Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Aunt Scapegoat

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To see the context of this story, read my other articles about being raised in a narcissistic family. I have been "no contact" for 5 months now beginning my 6th month.

Relaying this one is painful. Why? This is a person I saw my family destroy. This is someone I cared about for years. Some may argue she made many poor decisions herself, that can be true of all of us. Even if a person does make some poor decisions in their youth, that does not mean treating them like dirt for eternity. For me though she served as a warning. I wish I could set her free, but they "won" her. They control her. They broke her.

This aunt is my narcissistic mother's younger sister, but she was not the youngest child, she was one of seven landing in a more middle spot.

To me her story is tragic but also for me her life was a lesson. I noticed that the same trends had developed with two generations. The story of my narcissistic mother who was the golden child in her family who "married well" and moved up the ladder when compared to her youngest sister who ended up in the dregs of severe poverty and illness by a young age, was comparable to what happened to my sister and me. I have a talent for seeing patterns but this one was obvious it was inescapable. How does one sister become so successful and one end up on skid row? How is one so respected and one seen as  "nothing"? Why did it happen in two successive generations?

In recent years, I would see her back hunched over, head down, mumbling silent, knowing this was a person who had been crushed by life and by those around her. In her case, she passively accepted what they told her about herself, in my case I fought back.

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One thing studying narcissistic families is all of them usually choose a scapegoat, sometimes there is more then one, but most often it is one person in the family that serves as the human trash can. In a family where there are multiple people who lack empathy, a scapegoat is in for it. Where they are blamed and shame for the family's problems, they serve as an involuntary focus to hide endless family secrets, lies and evil. Scapegoats can be multi-generational. Now scapegoats are their own people so you will see I became someone else entirely different from my aunt.

I grew up with my aunt who is 14 years older then me being called a "loser", "scum", etc. It never let up. One thing my parents had a masterful talent of was dissecting and tearing someone apart. What does this teach a child? My parents hated my love for the underdog by an early age, and that included the love for this aunt.

At the age of 7 when she was 21, she moved in with my family a few states away from her mother's and I remember being close to her. She was later forced to leave because she got drunk at a New Years party, my parents took her and us kids to at a neighbor's house in our old neighborhood we had just moved away from.  This was a one time event my parents seemed to over-react to like crazy to as the party had some drinking at it even with children there though the children mostly hung at in a separate room. Hypocritical? Yes I think so. I don't know if she drank or partied much of the time elsewhere at that time, it seems doubtful as she had no car of her own and we lived in the suburbs, but I remember that moment, my angry parents screaming at her on the way home in the car. I got the message loud and clear that my aunt was "bad". Was she drinking to obliterate the pain?

We were told as children not to end up as a "loser" like her for many years. My parents would point to several people like this within the family. Sadly I would become one of them when I grew up. The message was delivered loud and clear that only people with money and very good jobs mattered, lesser jobs or even more humble lives were not acceptable. As far as her alcoholism was concerned, I have known people who have struggled with that problem, I would put her on the mild end more lost in the cultural attributes of the 1970s, but in my family that was enough to write her off as a human being and that's wrong. There was no mercy there.

She grew up along with my mother on a small farm in a small town and did poorly in school despite working hard.  She did struggle with substance abuse problems, she partied on weekends, after work, which was not abnormal for those times. She did not get into any hard drugs as far as I know but basically ran with a "partying" crowd.  For years she was a lived in caretaker for the elderly and before then worked at a nursing home as an aide.

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 While my mother was highly respected by my grandmother, things were very different for my aunt. I remember watching my grandmother snap at her, during visits, back then she was large and weighed somewhere in the mid-200s. Eating some potato chips out of a plastic bowl, my grandmother would meanly tell her was fat, didn't make enough money and ask her when she was going to get herself together. This is what I observed on family visits from far away. I remember wanting to cry watching this because it replicated some of what I faced at home. She would whisk herself upstairs to her small loft bedroom in my grandmother's farm house and "hide out". She seemed despondent and depressed by an early age. She was not the type to answer back like I was. Her mother's word was law even to a very advanced age.

 Just to let my readers know a simple fact, my grandmother was as cold as my mother. There wasn't much empathy there either. She died of cancer without one shown emotion as if terminal illness was akin to waiting for a bus. One clueless aunt would praise my grandmother for her stoicism and strength, while I just saw rock hard stone and ice though on the surface she would at least attempt some conversation with me unlike my mother.

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Remember what I said about my picture being censored from my mother's house? My grandmother had this picture display of all family members on one wall, leaving me out with my sister's wedding photo, smack dab in the middle. One year I painted a picture frame as an art project and put a wedding photo of I and husband, me resplendent in my custom sewn wedding dress but still very fat, and gave it to my grandmother. I wanted to see if I would earn a place on this wall. It wasn't. It was put there but on another corner semi-hidden away.

                                                    [picture source]

I remember seeing my aunt in her late 20s and early 30s working as a live-in caretaker for an 80 plus year old woman in her house, thinking she already has been packed away. She worked hard at this job and showed care for her charges.  I was in college and imagined my future as still wide-open even though my health problems had already started. During this time we would exchange letters, and I would even drive down on my own to see her for visits where we would share meals together and hang out. We shared many fun times. We could talk unencumbered. She was hopeful about her future and wanted to go to EMT school.

She would marry this man who sadly just seemed to use her for a place to stay and who never had any functional employment. Both lived in a old trailer owned by another uncle who via his own connections never wanted for employment, had had moved on to bigger and brighter things. This trailer was next door to my grandmother's house, about 500 feet away. Another uncle with his wife and his children lived two houses down in a manufactured home. They talked to my aunt but didn't seem close. They didn't help her much either.

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My aunt would get cancer. BAD CANCER If one knows illness can come from stress and trauma, it makes sense. It was serious cancer to the point they burned out her insides with radiation. I wasn't old enough to warn her not to trust everything doctors told her and doubt the narcissistic relatives warned her either. She ended up permanently disabled by her early-30s, on dialysis. I was disabled by age 29. See the similarities?


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Now this isn't the worse of the story.....her husband would leave and divorce her and she would be left next door to my grandmother's farm house which did have running water, and all the modern necessities in a broken down trailer without running water. The trailer was old and basically began to fall apart and that included the plumbing system. No running water. On dialysis. How many years did she go without running water? I heard SEVEN from someone. The excuses were rampant among my family though my mother later helped her get a new small decent trailer. I don't know how much my mother knew living long distance, but the relatives including my grandmother who lived right next door to her, what did they know? I don't think much of them as people. I really do not. Judgmental? Perhaps, but then remember I'm the woman who got abandoned in the ghetto by the same family while gaining weight and severely ill. Even if some resented help came later with comments about losers and put-downs--I suppose it's not good for appearances to allow your relatives to die on your doorstep. Why were both of us left to flounder for years and years? Both of us scapegoats ended up in severe poverty. Hers was worse then my own in many ways. I got the urban grotty kind and she got the rural isolated kind. In my case I figured out fast how to go to the social workers for help to survive, in her case, a passive malaise set in. I suffered far away which in many ways was probably easier, then suffering right next door to a mother who refused to help.


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 Some of them mumbled "She hid this from us"! But then I thought after all the years of shame and blame no wonder. I remember reacting with disgust and even horror over the fact I never knew, but this was years after I had been shut out purposefully. I would drive down for visits to see my grandmother and still being na├»ve, would believe her, when she told me, "Your Aunt doesn't want to talk to you!". Her phone number had changed and no one would give me the new one. They claimed she was too poor for me to call since it would cost her "minutes". I never heard from her. I sent letters. I sent cards. The door was slammed shut in my face. In essence by my mid 20s they shredded any hope of a relationship I had with my aunt.  Even as recently as 4 years ago, they hemmed and hawed about giving me her phone number and even when I on occasion was given one, it would just ring and ring. The narcissists wanted their control and no scapegoats teaming up. I was too poor myself to travel to see her or play a bigger part in her life. They were able to shut me out successfully. Sadly that happened with so many people. It does give me intense grief.

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How do I describe this but to understand why a couple years ago, I cried my eyes out seeing one of her old letters during the years we were friends and the person that used to be there, under all the challenges. The more gentle soul? The aunt I once knew. The person I used to be able to talk to and who even used to agree with me about the toxicity in the family was wiped away. A potential ally who had a little bit of spirit in her crushed into an obedient passive cipher. She accepted everything they told her about me, from mocking my Christian religious beliefs and believed all their lies.  I cried over her just like I did my sister.


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I didn't figure out the games they played with the phone and contact until too late though I protested plenty and went against what they told me trying to call her. They must have commanded her to avoid me. The smear campaigns must have been intense ones behind the scenes. The set up in the family was that I was "bad news", a recalcitrant  rebel" and everyone was to keep their distance. She obeyed and followed too. She did what they told her to. That hurt. 



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When I said to family members, "How on earth did Grandmother [who was healthy and active until only a year before she died] allow that to happen?" No one answered. They seemed to act like this was normal treatment. To this very day this makes me want to throw up.  One aunt who is married to the narcissistic uncle [her and my mother's brother] just had excuses to make and more bad things to say about her. That aunt didn't like it when I said, "It's too bad she didn't run for the hills!" and that there was nothing to respect about my grandmother leaving her to live in that condition right next door.

What kind of family is that? Remember we are talking about 2 siblings who make 6 figures, a mother right next door in a decent modernized farm house. A person on dialysis with serious health problems. See where I am going with this?

I tried to reach out again to her a few years ago. I sent her a box of books, other gifts and a painting and a card and letter in a box. The painting was of flowers in a garden, the books were various fiction novels, cookbooks and more. I wanted to let her know I cared, I wanted to reform a relationship even with all the games with the phone. I never heard anything back. More rejection for me. Keep in mind the family would play up this aunt's illness but despite her dialysis and colostomy, in many ways her physical functionality was far higher then my own, she could sit in a car for hours, my mother invited her once to fly to her Florida home--this in the time after she got her a trailer after the years of neglect and abandonment, she was never housebound from weather like me, but I was labeled "the interloper" bothering a desperately sick woman and not a niece just wanting to have a relationship with an aunt.

Around three years passed, and I think she called once or one time I actually got through on her constantly changing unknowable phone number, and I was told by other relatives, she had gotten a serious hoarding problem. One thing she hoarded was food which did not surprise me given her history of poverty.  My aunt would apologize over and over to my mother for her hoarding as my mother issued more edicts to keep clean. My painting was now water stained still in the opened box she had thrown in her closet. My mother asked me, "Did I want it back?" I still wonder about this, why did she throw my painting in the closet? My mother and sister did not respond but acted like this was something normal. My art is part of me, it's almost like she shredded me and threw me in the bottom of the closet, a big middle finger extended. The creepiest thing, is the family treated this as normal, my mother cleaning up her trailer earlier that month, when I visited her at home, said "Here's your painting!". I said "Why did she open the box, take one look at the painting on top and just throw it in her closet?" None of them said anything. This was acceptable to them. They did not care that I was hurt, and if one day they read these words, they can know I walked away tired of trying to give love and care to people who simply did not want me around and sadly this included this aunt.

One scary moment was back around 2009, my mother had her move in for a few months while she was recovering from a surgery and my mother with a glint in her eye and set jaw turned to me and said, "Why is she having these surgeries anyway, why is she fighting to live!" She should give it up!
Remember what I have said about the veil slipping, that was one of those moments.

Remember this is a person who can live alone, who is higher functioning then me physically when it comes to many things  who can drive herself to dialysis, who has no housebound problems. My answer was too weak, sometimes my mother would shock me with her blatant callousness where my mouth would freeze. I am not coward but she has left me speechless more times then I want to count. I said something about how normal people want to fight for life, and it being God's will for them to live longer and come to Him or some other theological musings, but I was wasting my time, this was my mother.

 My mother continued and started complaining about how "lazy" she was and how little she was helping with the housework and how she needed to work on herself with comments about her colostomy bag causing unwanted odors. I turned to my mother and said, "The woman just had heart valve surgery, and has been disabled and on dialysis for 15 years, she's not suddenly going to go get a executive job and a corner office and start jogging everyday." My mother did not respond but huffed and left the room. Why take a ill person in if you are just going to resent them? Martyrship? Appearances? That day I saw her hunched over on the couch, and tried to talk to her, she was so depressed, I didn't even approach her about the painting issue. She was very thankful to my mother and sadly I believe, incorporated every negative word into her being. Ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome? Yes it was kind of like that.

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Back several years prior to this, my mother and her then new husband clucked their tongues over my aunt's poverty and how it disgusted them and how she ran up some debts and they found a black trashbag of collection notices and unopened bills in her trailer. I turned to them and said, "She lives on $600 dollars a month, what do you expect on that low of money?" My defense were for naught. They were smug putting down another poor relative. I grew up with that too and knew every time a relative ill or not had to borrow money or was in need or unemployed or buried in medical bills, of course it was always THEIR FAULT. The sharks never wanted for a job or even a dime, what did they understand? Nothing.

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My aunt was a warning to me, I had to escape. I had to flee. I had to leave Low Contact behind and go right back to No Contact.  In my case I was more protected by a husband, and long distance, but I knew the cards were on the table. For years even when visiting my grandmother's house and the relatives in that state, I would leave crying in the car. My husband would say with concern "What's wrong?" but that is how I felt around all of them too. The older I got the more I saw that how toxic my mother's family was. Between the cold stone narcissists and the quiet and afraid, emotionally I would be wrung out. Keep in mind I am the only member of the family who ever answered back to both grandmother and my mother.

I had the illness, I had the risk where they could try and grab my guardianship too just like my aunt. Even if I know my way around a court room better and have witnesses for competency and am fully competent, I saw what happened to my aunt.  My vision of hell was before me, being dependent on my mother for care one day or her sister the mini-me and being emotionally destroyed and completely broken in the process. The risk is too high. I didn't want to be my aunt one day. I didn't want a narrowed down life where I had become defined by these people in each and every way.


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I wish I could have set my aunt free.  I pray for this everyday even at this late date. If only we could have become allies. I wish I could have said to her, these people are horrible for you.  My mother thinks she is better then you for her money on this earth but that is not true. God does not judge by those things.  Come and walk with me. But sadly she rejected me too, and I had to walk away from even her.

Narcissists break down and destroy people. They destroy relationships.  That is part of what they do. They got my body but not my mind, soul and spirit. With my aunt, they got all of it.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Add to the doctors don't get fat people files....

Kick Out Fat People to Lower Healthcare Costs?

I can't for the life of me fathom how this guy became a doctor thinking a) Fat people choose to be fat and b) Being totally brainwashed that everyone eats their way into being fat. Irony of ironies, he looks at least 50lbs overweight himself. Fat people are being failed because these types can't think outside the box. He is right they should not be made into pariahs, but I wish his thinking was more developed.

In Defense of Tiffany Sedaris: David Sedaris's sister

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Sister of famous writer David Sedaris commits suicide.

David Sedaris in response writes an essay about of how awful she is.

Is my theory that Tiffany had been the family scapegoat too far out?

I don't think so.

Read the essay here:


Now We Are Five

This is one of the meanest articles about anyone deceased I have seen.

So this wealthy academic writer whose relatives have money to spare and then some writes about a sister's suicide where they don't help her or provide any other support system, and leave her to die in poverty and squalor in a rented room "on the hard side of Somerville Massachusetts" , while he blathers on about the purchase of a family vacation homes and rentals and decides to put her down even in her death? Where was sister Amy Sedaris [of Strangers with Candy fame?]

One commenter here, brings up an interesting point:

"but I found her penniless death juxtaposed with him buying a beach house on a whim just heartbreaking."
After deciding Sedaris is a full blown narcissist--and yes I know I am not a psychologist,  I google "Sedaris and narcissist" and notice others have come to that conclusion as well:
"His reaction is revealingly narcissistic. Instead of wondering why she killed herself, he dotes on the fact that she 'ripped up the family pictures' and that this was 'melodramatic' (pot meet kettle!). Then he wonders how she could have 'left' such wonderful people (including himself!). No wonder she killed herself...it sounds like a family of people with narcissistic personality disorder." 
Going back to his article that basically trashes his sister: His comparisons to his sister dying with nothing comparing her to a toddler are disgusting.
"Compared with most forty-nine-year-olds, or even most forty-nine-month-olds, Tiffany didn’t have much. She did leave a will, though. In it, she decreed that we, her family, could not have her body or attend her memorial service."
Sadly her final wishes weren't respected either. This is an interesting admission:
"Lisa, Gretchen, and I treated the others like servants and did very well for ourselves."
Of course the obituary was written in a way so the family would not be questioned about the conditions they allowed their sister to die in. That stood out to be too. There is no empathy for her being shunted away for YEARS to a reform school [Elan] which was notorious for abuse. What kind of family sends off a daughter for two years? Maybe she talked "at" them because no one ever was interested in actually listening. Where was the kindness and compassion for her?  He admits he really didn't know her well. Well did he try to get to know her? It's as if she got thrown out of her own family, of course they will say she was the one that left, but then how and why did she leave? He makes her out to be a druggie, but a pot leaf drawn on a school folder in the 1970s means very little. He couldn't come up with more then that? He has an argument with her and doesn't talk to her for eight years?

In narcissistic families, material possessions are the measure of all things.
 “Just awful,” my father whispered. “A person’s life reduced to one lousy box.” I put my hand on his shoulder. “Actually, there are two of them.” He corrected himself. “Two lousy boxes.”
The "We are so wonderful" message here is sickening:
"How could anyone purposefully leave us, us, of all people? This is how I thought of it, for though I’ve often lost faith in myself, I’ve never lost it in my family, in my certainty that we are fundamentally better than everyone else."

This statement from the parents also is telling:

"We had other kids . . . You think we could let the world stop on account of any one of you?" 

I went and googled about Tiffany, from what I can tell while she had mental health and other struggles, she seemed like a nice person, she was an artist in the community and had friends.

Her art was beautiful. 

Others remember her.

I don't think so much of David Sedaris. Some may find his hipster-esque narcissism charming. I checked out a few books of his from the library and tried to read them. Something bothered me. The smug attitude? The humor at the expense of others?  But now I know why, I did not continue.

"Funny" and even "charming" people with "no heart" don't appeal to me. His sister deserved a lot more then that. 

Perhaps she summed things up regarding her family in this comment from years ago.

"Tiffany is the family black sheep, the one who was sent to reform school, the one who tells the family, early in the story: "Don't you get it? I don't like you people."

Looks like to me, she had reason NOT to like them.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Apply This to Endocrine Problems in General....


The woman eating the giant block of cheese says it all. This goes with my two hams for dinner joke.

"I miss my planet..."


Narcs


My N mother and other narc relatives were the master of this. When I used to stand up for myself, she would say to everyone look at her, she is "negative", "angry", "mad". Fighting with people who have no emotions and where every word out of their mouth is a lie, is a wasted fight.

The Swelling


The doctors are paying more attention to all my swelling. I showed them the picture up top. My feet do not swell as much as the legs. I am diagnosed with lymphedema but am exploring many things right now. The swelling is getting insane. It's gotten far worse. 

For 15 years, they told me I had congestive heart failure from all the weight and that was the reason for the incredible amount of swelling in my body. The water on my body is getting very serious, it is causing me very bad pain, in both legs, my stomach and many other areas. The nurse practitioner said to me, your congestive heart failure has improved by all the blood tests, I said, for me to have this much water on my body, shouldn't I be gasping for air? How could my congestive heart failure still be in mild land, while I am swelling so extremely.

She said something is not adding up and something is seriously wrong. One latest nurse practitioner even said, the swelling on your body is so extreme, they wonder if there are hormonal reasons. The endocrinologist I saw was in shock from it all. He even asked me if I had surgery on my lymph nodes and I said no.

I still await results on my latest Cushings test. I turned my urine in last week. The other day, I told the medical professionals, the more I do, the more I swell up and it's taking over my life.

I am getting physical therapy, and an occupational therapist doing lymph massage and some wraps and a nurse. I am exhausted but trying to stay alive. This is the worse of all my disabilities, that forces me into bed for hours. Get active, I swell up, and yes I can literally see my stomach and leg grow and I am not kidding! I've been diagnosed with lyphedema for years and plan to see a specialist, insurance mandates I finish some present nursing care, physical therapy and lymph work now, but I need to see a doctor that specializes in all this. I need more answers. I blamed all this garbage on congestive heart failure for years and years. You're fat so you're heart has failed. What if swelling up like this made me FAT to begin wtih?

One thing they have pointed out is my right leg is swollen too but they see how thin it is underneath, why would an otherwise very fat person have a leg that looks that "normal" under all the water?

My lymph therapist also has discovered all my lymph nodes are swollen and that includes on my arms to some extent too. I feel swelling in my hands all the time. She has told me I have mild lymphedema in at least one arm. The stomach swells up constantly as well especially the lower half. They know I can gain 30lbs within 2 weeks, this alarmed the doctors as well.

I have been investigating different lymph disorders. I am wondering about lipedema since I am so huge on the bottom and my feet do not swell as much as the rest of me. I have the far thinner waist and larger bottom show on the picture at the link. I am far smaller on top. Sometimes I wish I could have afforded the Mayo clinic years ago. I'm doing leg wraps and what I can. At least they are all taking me serious now about how serious the swelling is affecting my life and hurting me. This stuff is very painful! Right now as I sit here, my stomach has swelled on top of my legs and my legs hurt like crazy.

I told them in pictures, my face changes depending on the day and how swollen up I am. After this long I just want answers and am tired of suffering.

Update on this article: 11/22/2013 I got some help and leg wrappings and treatment are shrinking my leg down, there is still more to deal with but some kind medical professionals have helped me. They are realizing I am swollen with fluids body wide, and I have sought help via various online support groups for more answers too. I feel far more hopeful about my left leg which I am wrapping 4 times a day.

Speaking The Truth

Be This Guy


Meme found on a social website. Hopefully he wasn't dragged off to a camp for refusing to conform, but I respect the guy and many people will stand up despite the consequences. We are in times where people should stand up for more of what is right.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sheep


Cleaning: We All Have Thought It!


Are You Fat Because You Don't Do Enough Housework?

Superman Gets Fat ?

 
In the other comic, Lois Lane gained weight, both Superman and Lana do in this one.
 I'm not that keen on the getting stuck in the phone booth thing.

My Life in A Poor Neighborhood


I wrote the below essay a long time ago, it's a snippet from a writing assignment. This was after I had escaped to my then small rural town. I tried to toss a little humor in it and hope it's not too out there. I want to keep the neighborhood unnamed but it was in a metro city of over 10 million souls which is known for having a serious crime problem. During my residential counselor job, I saw even worse areas of the city, but this one was near the top and notorious for high crime. The reason I was there? It was on the bus line and the only rent I could afford. The name of the area, streets, etc, is fictional. Why did I move there? To stay off the streets taking the only job above minimum wage I could get, and then as my illnesses worsened the bottom fell out.



I left out some of the worse experiences, like being jumped at a subway stop where I had to fight the guy off--he wanted to do very bad things to me, and from seeing an armed robbery at a bus-stop by a guy with a sawed off shot gun, where I had me and husband hide in time--all the work with young incarcerated and troubled teens gave me an edge on the street smarts. People would come up to you and demand not ask for money.  I got jumped two other times, and was able to get away but when I got followed by acouple of men for a few city blocks, that frightened me too. Dodging and dashing into stores not knowing why you have become a target is very frightening. This is the place where I had my weight gain.



I have written about living there before, and well the daily stress of it was intense, since I lived in an apartment infested with mice--I could see a dozen run across the ragged carpet in one day. Real life mice are NOT cute. I had no car, no working stove--literally for years, plumbing that never worked--water that turned ominously black in the bathtub, no phone--we used the always broken down one across the street from the laundromat, and often we went without regular meals--yes I know ironic, there were days where one meal a day was all we had and even times the refrigerator would die and there would be no replacement for weeks, and I remember during one winter, keeping cold-cuts and some cheese in between the front door and screen door. My apartment building was so bad, that people would rent the small rickety infested two room apartments to sell drugs out of. I was truly just one notch above the streets and we paid $450 a month to enjoy it all.


One factoid, I was either working, or my husband had a job for 9 dollars an hour which was full time when I was disabled the entire time we lived there. Big cities empty your pockets and this one did big time. There was no lazy and poor, there was simply not enough money. That is one myth about the poor that none of them are working and are laying about. Most states unless you are disabled, you are in work program if you are unemployed to get a check. It's weird how the politicians ignore that fact. The Tea Party imagines people on welfare and disability floating down the Riveria eating steaks every night on their dime.

Crime was high in this area, it still is, I check out a blog written by someone who lives there now. This was not a place you could relax. There were signs even warning about the high rat population on display. One had to live by their wits every second or get caught unawares. My husband then boyfriend had an attempted robbery made on him with a screw driver on the subway but was able to run away. I saw enough at my job and at home, that it took a toll on me. I suppose you could see later, why my goal, was escaping to a  SMALL TOWN in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, and I got that for 10 years. Where I live now is on the small side but I still miss that feeling of peace and quiet in the woods.

I believe life in America is turning less pleasant for many people. Areas like this lost the jobs first. The factories closed in urban areas first and this is what you got. Many people cannot even dream what it means to be poor in America. They often times blame the people. I've been poor enough to know that many will list your failure as for the reason you are poor or impoverished. Every step to scramble up, takes money. If you have no money you don't go anywhere. If I was living this over again, I would have gotten on a bus and left with nothing if it came to that, the violence and more took a toll on me. As far as the poor people who may make bad choices like substance abuse that lead them down the spiral, there are many who have not.

What is sad is after I lived in place like this, is I escaped and then my small town died economically, while the crime rate was far lower, even they ended up with home invasions sprees acouple years ago after I was gone, and I knew people there living in shacks or RV campers with no food, or phone. It was scary to see some of the re-runs, people losing jobs, and then when my husband was laid off, I felt triggered back to where I had been. My shouts of "Never-Again!" remembered from years and years ago.



Many people are not aware that our cities are dying from the inside out, and now many of our rural towns are too unless wealthy hipsters have deemed them a "go-to" place. America is on life support and we saw that this week with the whole the government is out of money debacle. All they did was kick the can down the road for a few more months for a future crisis. They won't stop the wars, bail-outs, foreign aid, but always they put everyone on welfare, and disability on the so called chopping block. To any conservatives reading this blog--I'm not a liberal either, I think things were far better when one income could support a family. 50 years ago, my husband would have had a middle class wage at a stable job, and I could have been taken care of alone from that. "Throw them" all in the gutter and shut the EBT cards off is NOT a solution while they are no jobs or options for people and the outsourcing of jobs continues. Sometimes I am astonished at what is going on out there.




The prices for Obamacare are insane, and way beyond what anyone can afford. Americans are getting massive sticker shock even the poor. Only rich politicians could think some middle class family that makes $40,000 a year could afford another "mortage" [insurance] to the tune of a $1,000 more or month.  But if you don't pay, you get punished with fines. That reminds me of life in that old city of mine, how draconian it was, to be poor meant you were fined everytime you turned around simply for having no money. I really worry for people with this one. 




They had their EBT practice shut off for a few days in some states. Was that a practice run? I know life is harder for people in both places I used to live. There's many people suffering now. I am praying for all of them.



What was scary for me is I was that poor and had no life skills on how to survive while poor. I came from this narcissistic family that taught me no life skills, absolutely NONE, except for serving their needs. They shopped til they dropped at the mall and had roast beef every week. I at least had home ec and knew some vestiges of budgeting, trust me our money wasn't being blown on fun or any parties or other hobbies, it simply was too little. Imagine a fat Aspergers young woman with very poor health even while working, thrown into city streets, given no tools, trained to be deferential, and told, "Sink or Swim, Baby!" Forty something me now has her jaw drop at the sheer neglect!



Today I can survive far better and am more adept at standing up for my rights. The me of today would not live in an apartment with no working stove or refrigerator anywhere. I know how to ask for and get help which in the state of health I am now in, is necessary. Resourcefulness can be born in the desperation crucible. I grew up upper middle class and was left totally unprepared for where life took me. Today life is a far far better quality even if I still struggle at times.



One thing I see in society that concerns me as people should know is the poor are being blamed for all the problems in our country. I don't like either party but when you see the entire government try to scapegoat the poor, for their trillions of dollars in debt while ignoring the bail-outs, endless wars, corporate pay-outs it's sickening. Going around the internet seeing half the populace blame the poor and their costs for disabilities and welfare was disheartening. I want to ask some of those people what do you expect to happen when people have no jobs and options? They have dismantled the manufacturing base, and now coming with it, is the erosion of the tax base.   

Anyhow here is my old essay....

***********************************************


Unlike the projects on the popular 70s TV show, Good Times, there is no way JJ would be screaming, "Dyno-mite!" Thelma would have been too overwhelmed from her three jobs to keep the slumlord paid. It was the kind of place where you were ashamed to live. Bad career decisions, debilitating illness, lack of jobs, unemployment, stagnant wages, naivete of "just getting off the boat", language barriers, and racism brought together the unenthused, multicolored population of Poverty Town. Big cities have eaten people alive. Here, they were being chewed up and spat out.




Taking a scan of this 'hood, one was struck by the sameness of slummy two-story buildings. All were made out of crumbling brick with broken windows and doors. You got to take your pick between mice and/or roach infestation! These apartments came with no-working stoves, for $450-700 dollars per month even in the mid-90s, stinky trash bins notwithstanding. Streets full of empty bottles, trash, cardboard boxes, and pop cans only added to the gritty atmosphere. The mixture of people was overwhelming, ranging from hardworking factory workers and office entry-level types to gang members driving down the street flashing colors. Three homeless guys with Walmart shopping carts sold stolen clothes and slept in the crevices of an abandoned Chinese restaurant. Mexican guys pushed carts full of mangos and tasty mayonaise-covered corn on the cobs to make their living



Poverty Town also had its own Haight Ashbury-style section. It included an abandoned metaphysical bookstore, and an herbal store with 30 year old, dust-covered macrame' hanging dejectedly in the window. Some windows stubbornly carried tie-dye banners and marijuana stickers. Most of the last of the old 60s coffeehouses had closed down in 1994, due to the new folks from worse neighborhoods that mixed with the 50-year old lifelong bohemians. One last holdout, a coffee shop served as a safe haven for the young creative crowd, usually those who drudged at miserly McJobs leaving them too poor to live in the artist neighborhoods that laid further to the South and charged $1,000 a month for rent.



We had our neighborhood characters, like the Church Lady, who wore '60s cat glasses, imitating Dana Carvey's version from Saturday Night Live. Outfitted in orange polyester pants and purple floppy hat, she walked around repeatedly passing out the same fire and brimstone religious tracts to belivers and nonbelievers alike. This was a good thing for my then lost soul, but I still remember one Jamaican man jokingly told her that she was mistaken, and we were already damned: "God's already condemned us, you see to this hellhole for eternity"! She believed him for a minute or two!



A main character was the drunken building superintendent who fixed the broken things in our apartment with gum, tape and spit. The usual place you could find him was slouched across this stoop with a vodka bottle in hand. He'd jump up in tirades against the government, and alderman, but no one would listen. His relatives ran a Polish funeral home on the South Side, and made excuses as our apartments imploded.



Another guy we called "the Player", hit on people to hustle. He would sell drugs from an ever-ready paper bag and offer other street services. Seedier then his Saturday Night Live counterpart, The Ladies Man, he'd hit on anyone from 18-80 by promising them a good "party". This corrupt soul would approach all the mass transit souls for a buck, turning himself into the honorary bus stop troll. Every now and then, he made his appearance on the subway train begging for money for St. Iglesisus [which is "Saint Church" in Spanish] handing out a fake tract that made its route among the professional beggars. They also employed handouts that falsely announced, "I am a deaf mute", please help me," complete with sign language diagrams enclosed.

Raggedy male and female Dilberts, just like the overworked cartoon character, would usually walk to the corner, to wait for the bus for the Cook Street station. This was usually followed by the half-hour zip downtown to jobs that paid from 10 dollars and hour and down. The lucky ones worked in offices doing mail work and typing. The unlucky ones drove buses and hualed trash. Grim-faced, gray and hard, they steeled themselves for another day of whipping at the hands of yuppie overseers who considered them lower forms of life.

Unmarked police cars patrolled the corners and were as noticeable to the residents as regular ones; Drug busts with youth sprawled out on their hoods were daily occurences. Next door was the known drug building whose underground, enclosed garage proved ideal for transactions. The pissed-off but courageous landlord strutted around with a baseball bat in his hand, like the principal Joe Clark of Lean on Me Fame, to scare them away. They always came back.



Two rundown convenience stores served as the places to buy health-destroying consumables like beer, Cheetos and bologna, and served as an alternative to school for countless street youth. Food deserts are not a myth. Next door was a laundromat run by a woman with 12 children, and a phone that was constantly fought over by those with no money like ourselves to keep one at home.

No churches in Poverty Town could be found, except for an old Catholic church, where all the masses were done in Spanish. However a voodoo shop, stocked with endless bottles full of weird and smell herbs, and a price list for spells, ranging from financial success to reclaiming one's lover was well attended. Rotting bones, strange leathery substances, shrunken heads and chicken feet hung in its window. One grocery store where they sold leftover food and rotten meat from the suburbs was the main grocery store, while one could find anything from lamb's head, to beef eyes, tripe and goat meat at the other food stores.

The main sources of recreation were a sports bar for the down-and-out Archie Bunkers located on the Boulevard, while another watered hole on the adjacent corner catered to the hip-hop crowd. The few impoverished hipsters stuck to their Bukowski-style haven. Liquor and playing dice in the street also had their part in daily entertainment. More staid folks usually stayed home, or took whatever little disposable income they had down town.



However, all these ventures were taken seriously with nary a grin. People only smiled if they were high on drugs or about to move. It was a place where lack of income demanded a compromise in finding cheap rent, the one thing it's diverse personalities all held in common. As a temporary waiting station and like a prison, no one was there by choice. I was lucky, I got out!

Tofu Scramble

I've been trying to switch to more vegan meals and having some success. I found this recipe in an old vegetarian cookbook, one sautees some cut up peppers, onions, perhaps greenonions and other vegetables, and then crumbles the tofu into the pan, I use extra firm, and adds tumeric or curry powder, and some cumin, pepper and a few splashes of soy sauce. I have eaten it with wheat toast, and also served it on low carb tortillas with vegan cheese and salsa. My husband even will eat this and he usually is not one for tofu! So on that note it was a successful recipe.

Stamps

A few weeks ago I went to a stamp show that was great fun, I did have to buy some cheaper stamps due to my lower means, the 10 cent deals in some cases and focused on topicals. I am focusing on different countries from Mexico to Japan to lesser known ones. I have a collection of different African stamps too, I like the wildlife pictures on some of them. The above stamps I would love to have too. I am at that point where I am just starting to "specialize" and one topical collection I have is birds.

Hypothyroidism

This is a good picture summing up the effects when it's untreated:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dear Mr. Watterson:

I definitely have to see this! Calvin and Hobbes was one of my favorite comic strips of all time.

Monday, October 7, 2013

When Scapegoats are Ostracized By an Entire Family



[cite for all pictures-This Charming Charlie]

At every job I used to have pre-disability life, I always managed to find one friend or ally usually in the mix if I was there long enough and it wasn't a temp job. Every organization, club or church I have been a part of, I usually ended up with a couple of friends. And in my case, I don't just have pals though everyone has those but real friends I can talk about anything with.  Sure I'm shy to a few people but my social fortunes were far poorer among those I was related to.

Today I am asking how did I not end up with so few allies in my entire family? Inside there is a painful part, that says, "your whole family hated you and had little to do with you as possible, what's wrong with you?"

From the start, I was treated like an outsider. This was the scapegoating process in the narcissistic world. Sometimes it can be painful to hear people talk about their cousins, aunts, uncles, children, step-children, grand-nieces, and grandparents. I am now without one relative in my life. I never really had no family when it got right down to it.

My mother controls so many of them. Since I went no contact, not one has to tried and contact me except via her direction. No one wrote an email [they have it] and no one tried to write me via a social website.  Only two contacted me via her direction on the exact same day and wrote the words she wanted them to write. It was easy to tell.  Dry one-liners which in my sister's case screamed, "Mom told me to send this!" No whiff of any apologies or concern or anything else. No unscripted messages. It was kind of like dying ahead of time, and you walk into your own funeral or memorial service, and realizing not one relative has shown up. A big part of my going NC, was realizing impeding illness and possible shortage of time here on earth wasn't changing anything. Years ago I made too many excuses for relatives not showing up in hospitals when I was so sick except for my husband. 

Not one of the 16-23 people I walked away from, even though they know I have serious life threatening health conditions asked, "Are you all right?". I have gotten far more care from churches and organizations and clubs I have been a part of then my own supposed "family".

 Yes, they should be ashamed of themselves.  I spent too many years like Charlie here, until I found love via my husband and friends:



How does one function when their own family hated and rejected them? The worse thing my mother ever did to me  was taking other people away from me and destroying my relationships with them because they cared most about keeping her pleased and fearing her.  This happened via the result of smear campaigns, and forcing me into a role, I later rejected. My mother bonds with people by putting others down, and a smear campaign is when things are distorted and manipulated to get people to think badly of you.  The below experience as described by another ACON in her rejecting family,  got extreme for me by the way. Everything was about pleasing the queen while I was chopped liver,  some of the relatives would ask me questions like "Do you think your mother likes me"?

"I, for example, had an “over-active imagination” and while the phrase “drama queen” had yet to be invented, that was the gist of how NM painted me to the family. In a situation in which numerous motives might be at work, NM always selected the worst possible one for me, regardless of what was truly going on in my mind. Over a period of years a picture of me was formed in the minds of family members who rarely saw me and when they did, the reality of me was overshadowed by the picture in their minds.
 When NMs do this, it sets the stage for later predations. If everybody “knows” how bad you are, they have no empathy for you even though you are a small child. They feel bad for your poor mother and admire her courage and bravery in continuing to deal with you and even love you despite your awfulness. Cousins ignore, disdain and/or bully you. It becomes a habit to hate you, a habit to blame you, a habit that becomes entrenched and unquestioned after so many years, and it spreads from one family member to the next like a disease." [link]
 This sums things up. Everything revolved around her. Nothing she said about me was questioned. For me the bad way the family looked at me spread like a disease too. Some relatives would change on a dime once she had a visit with them or saw them more. There was one point I even said to  my siblings, "Can we Have our OWN relationships"? By the way this is not unknown in the narcissistic world, it is known that narcissistic mothers via triangulation and manipulative ways destroy relationships, especially between the chosen scapegoat and others. I think this happened in the extreme with me and it cost me the entire family.

When one thinks about mankind, I wonder if this is the microcosm of toxic families that shows the macrocosm of why in the world, so many sociopathic dictators rule who seek to destroy those who are good, or creative or have another voice or who stand for truth. In other words why do folks like Stalin and Hitler rule the roost, and get others do their evil bidding? If anything in this fallen world, the more evil a leader, the more control they seem to gain. This was true of my mother. Her power was complete.

 I don't know everything my mother told my other relatives about me, but whatever it was it was bad. One thing I did notice was the constant invalidation, that no matter what I did or said, it did not matter. Even if one family member agreed with me or backed me up even for the slightest second and that was rare, she seemed to always make sure that this would end no matter how petty of a matter it was. Any rebellion was quashed and any alliance with me, was to be thwarted.  I have heard her tell people directly, I was not important, and not worth the bother. Imagine people listening to this for years and years?

Before I went NC, I caught some of this stuff in action, she told my brother not to visit me last fall because it would be "too much trouble". I had not seen that brother in 4-5 years. He went to go visit her and followed her directions.  She told a cousin, I was silly and stupid to stand up for my personal beliefs, this was the family gathering where she actually emailed everyone a list of topics no one was allowed to discuss and he went along with her even though at first he had agreed with me. That was yet another betrayal. She has the money, presents and fancy dinners to give them, I do not.

One part of my going NC, was realizing I did not want to be the forever scapegoat, the person that mattered not, where my forever role among these people seemed to be "fat, poor, loser" and nothing else. By the way, they know about the endocrine disorders and the mild Aspergers, it made not one whit of difference. There was no give or take on the health problems and how I was finding travel far more difficult. I haven't even seen friends in my old town 150 miles away due to the limitations of funds and health now to make the trip. Sitting in a car with severe lymphedema is a different matter then the average person. Many were just flat out mean, including one uncle who on a social website, who would insult the poor knowing of my economic struggles.

It was sad to see the growing subservience over the years among the clan. If the Queen didn't like you, then others realized this, and to stay in her good graces they would avoid you, and at least not want to become close to you. This basically sums up, why I ended up where I did. She totally ruled the roost. One way she totally ruled, is she always came first when it came to visits or anything else. The light was shined on her, while I stood to the side in darkness.

Until I found ACON boards and read how this happens with these severe personality disorders, the malignant narcissists have the extreme talent to isolate the scapegoats,  for years I questioned how did this happen? I blamed myself for far too long. At least now I know.


It's scary how I tried so hard over so many years to work on relationships that were a dead end. Trying to write letters to this one aunt, only to be ignored. Sending one aunt a painting I did, and a box of  gifts only to have her throw it into the bottom of the closet and have it get water damaged. By the way she was the scapegoat of the last generation, and I will write about her soon too. She was no ally, she allowed herself to be crushed into nothing by these people and served as a warning.

Trying to call another who never called back. Inviting cousins and others to visit only to be ignored. Visiting people out of state even during years I was at extremely high weights and had breathing issues, timing those visits for non- housebound times, swelling up in the car for hundreds of miles {I was limited to trips that took one day to get there and back with some hours to visit} and never having anyone return the favor. No one calling, the immediate members of the family calling at the level of the bare minimum, the not being invited to weddings, and parties and other family events, or being set up not to show up with others like my sister refusing to share their plans, it all added up. I tried too hard too long. I got the feeling over the years, that duty and appearances were the only things keeping the head matriarch even bothering with me.

What is weird is how much I tried to approach them and tried to take an interest in them as people while they took none in me. I told them, I felt bad about how I lacked the money and finances to visit as much as I wanted--I did push myself body and otherwise to visit as much as I could. Part of this was even informing them, that I haven't even seen one of my favorite places on earth my old small town, in more then two years. I would invite them to visit, and I live in a place that is popular, with plenty to do.  For years when I lived in my remote rural town, I thought that was why no one visited, but really it was more, because when I moved to where I live now, I moved smack dab in the middle of my mother and sister who live 300-400 miles apart and off the highway they use, and that changed NOTHING as they visited each other for years and weeks at a time. My mother would drive thousands of miles to go out of state, hundreds to go visit others. She never misses a family event and is there for everyone to see which limited my role even more as a nobody within the family while she waged her smear campaigns against me. She considered me unimportant and the others at her direction jumped on the bandwagon.

I live 75 miles away and only saw her TWICE at my home in the last 6 years, once for an hour on my birthday when she happened to be on the way home from somewhere else, and for the 2 minute present drop off of last year. Yes, that told me what a low priority I had become among many other things.

The family was a clique and I was not in it. Most of them were 6 figures rich, I am not talking ordinary middle class types but ones who could afford a new car every two years, who owned second homes, who flew to China for business, who had massive weddings, that cost tens of thousands of dollars. Sadly though in my family, only what you DID matter not who you WERE, and all achievements were measured by the dollar signs, not by any other criteria. Volunteer work, community projects, artistic ventures did not count.

There is a divide now in the family between the upper middle class types and the few poor ones that remain. The upper class ones see themselves as extremely superior to the poor ones. They look down from mountain tops. The sad thing? Well most of the poor ones have accepted their place, I supposed they consider me uppity for not doing so and not worshipping them because of their greater money. If you do not become who they want and do not conform, you are called a loser and a failure. I grew up hearing very bad things said about cousins, aunts and uncles who did not acquire a certain income, "that one is a drunk, that one is lazy, that one is no good!" Ironically even some of the ones on their knees before the Queen were maligned all the time, but they never would believe that was happening when I told them!

One thing I read on many psychology websites, was that when Scapegoats "fight back" and are no longer willing receptacles of abuse, they are closed out. Around my 20s, I stood up against the overt abuse enough for this to begin happening. Imagine your mother is the leader of a clique and you're the rejected nerd girl, in the junior high school slam book. Thus was my life with my family. I wasn't getting invited to parties, talked to. None of the relatives ever shared any of their real selves with me, or got deeper then a cashier at a gas station. I hope and pray one day, I find out I am not really related to any of them but if I am, I lost the DNA Lotto on multiple levels.

Yes I had to give up and walk away. This scapegoat quit, and walked away from the doors slammed in her face and those who didn't even "see" her. I pray everyday that my nieces and nephews become different people who stand up for themselves and care about and love people the right way. I pray at least a few "rebel" against the family system and "come out of it". I am growing stronger since going NC, and realizing I am somebody to other people and to God. No more being a nobody to pedestrian people with no emotions who don't really care about anyone else but themselves.