Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On my side???

Yes, I'm terrible at keeping up with writing. Life at home keeps me plenty busy lately it seems with 4 kiddies and another on the way. But every once in awhile I can find a moment, like now, to spew out some of what's been on my mind lately. . . .

Needless to say, the holidays brings on the phone calls. Benevolent it seems just 'seeing how I'm doing', etc. but something doesn't sit right. When I get that uneasy feeling inside, I begin searching. Searching for answers. When browsing through some blogs, I came across this post from Soaring Dove. A couple of ideas she had really struck a chord with me and shed some light on some areas I've been struggling with regarding NFOO and those who enable. One was:

The Army of the Enablers blindside us when we are most vulnerable. We trust them to have our back and devastated to find out that they have stabbed us in the back. The Enablers echo out our same Battle cry that the Overt N's abuse is wrong and must come to an end, but when we are holding the Overt N accountable the Covert attack of the Army of Enablers begins with either overt or covert bullying, harassment, guilt tripping tactics in order to recruit us to join their Enabling Army that Specializes in Cheap Premature Forgiveness and supports the Overt N ruling the KoN.

The Enabling Army turns on us, and the focus is no longer the Overt N's Lack of Remorse and Desire to Hurt Others, but our Lack of Forgiveness, Acceptance, and Reconciliation with the Overt N. The Enabling Army say they have our best interest at heart while they are attacking our heart. We know the identity of the Overt N is pathological and evil, so we do not want any contact with the Overt N, but the Enabling Army can not and will not admit the Overt N is evil, because then what does that say about them?

Wow, this completely describes my enabling father and dare I say my brother, aunt, and anyone else who shows no concern for the hurt NM has done - only to shun , guilt me, lie to me/about me for separating myself from the toxic/destructive web of my narcissistic mother and sister. Yes, they will feign concern, wonder what's wrong, why am I so upset. But it's just a fake concern. They search only to gauge where I stand with NM, am I ready to submit, where that leaves them in the toxic web, and what can they take from the conversation to add to their appeasement arsenal when NM seems like she will attack them if they have contact with me. They will share bits of our conversation as an offering to the 'Narc God' (aka - NM) so she can add more gossip about me in her slander campaign and be pleased with them for being the messenger like the good puppet they are. *SIGH*

Which highlights another of Soaring Dove's points:

The Covert Illusion of the KoN is that the Enablers are fellow victims trapped in the N's KoN with lots of FOG (Fear Obligation Guilt) preventing their escape. We project onto the Enablers that they would want to be rescued, but they don't because they are not captives looking to escape harm, but rather covert Ns who know the overt N needs a target and if it will not be us, then it will be them. Covert Ns are not like us, they are like the Overt Ns. Covert Ns do not want to escape the KoN, they don't want to leave Hell, but want us to return to Hell to serve their own self-interest of not being the Overt N's new target.

So reality has hit me like a ton of bricks. Aside from DH, my kids and my wonderful MIL & her hubby, I have no one else on my side. Blind to think I had one ally from my FOO. Like Soaring Dove said, and my heart now accepts - They don't want to be rescued!

Sometimes we have to stand alone to stop the cycle of dysfunction, division, emotional destruction - even if it's only for our own selves. There is no one else with enough of a backbone to expose the evil that is my mother. The legacy I leave my children will not be like the one I've inherited from my own family. So courageously I stand. . . on MY OWN side!

Love this bible verse!
Titus 3 10-11:
10 Warn divisive people once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

Friday, September 23, 2011

You Don't Always Get A Choice

This idea popped into my head while discussing some biblical issues with my daughter yesterday. Her non-Christian friend commented that since God gave us free will then we are free to make a choice and it's 'all good' - with a controversial topic being discussed. Perplexed as my daughter was, she couldn't think of a response at that moment so she asked me later. I told her that yes & no regarding the whole issue of free will and choice. We are given free will to choose. We can choose what's right or wrong, truth or untruth, God or the world. but when it comes down to God's word and how we are to live, there are many instances where we DON'T get a choice! Period! No gray area! You believe or you don't! We can't pick some things out of the bible to follow and then discard the rest. As Mark Driscoll quoted on his Facebook page:
"If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself." - Augustine

There are so many instances in life and what we see daily that counter this idea such as. . . .
I can't say I believe in God's blessings of wealth, prosperity and then discard where he says we are to look after the poor - Matthew 19:20-24

I can't say I believe in the sanctity of marriage and then bail when we hit a rocky path (note today's approx. 50% divorce rate) - Matthew 5:31-32

I can't say I believe that children are a blessing but then say that the kids I have are enough, don't bless me anymore God! - Psalm 127: 3-5

I can't say I believe that Jesus was persecuted and died for me yet I don't think as a Christian I am subject to any level of discomfort for my faith - Mark 8:34-38

And this one being the hardest for me . . . . I can't say that I believe God has forgiven me yet I don't feel someone else is worthy of forgiveness - Luke 17:3, Matthew 6:14-15

Yes, we are to rebuke out of love hoping to achieve repentance so we can forgive but we live in a broken world. Evil exists and it's real as it manifests in the hearts of so many. I honestly am not waiting for an "I'm sorry" from my NM or EF. I've struggled with what forgiveness is supposed to look like then if I don't get repentance? Max Lucado, in his book 'Cast of Characters', had an idea. . . .
"To forgive someone is to admit our limitations. We've been given only one piece of life's jigsaw puzzle. Only God has the cover of the box. To forgive someone is to display reverence. Forgiveness is not saying the one who hurt you was right. Forgivenss is stating that God is fair and he will do what is right. After all, don't we have enough things to do without trying to do God's work too?"

So do I have a choice to forgive or not? Yes. No. I don't get a choice. I am to forgive. Then let God do the rest with the other party involved. Forgiving someone who's wronged me is for me; not always them. It's saying I forgive for the past while also saying that from this point forward I'm a new person. What was done before will not be acceptable now. A chasm in the relationship with a new beginning. No longer allowing abuse. Yes. Forgiveness is for me. It's not approving, diminishing the sin done against me, it's not enabling those who keep doing wrong, it's not denying what was done, it doesn't need an apology back, it's not about forgetting or ceasing to feel the pain, it may not be a one-time occurence, it leaves room for justice, it doesn't automatically extend trust back to those who damaged our trust, and most importantly. . . . forgiveness is NOT always about reconciliation.

*Thnx to Mark Driscoll's blog posting on Forgiveness at Mars Hill*

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sticks and stones

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!" . . . .

That famous old adage from childhood. *Sigh* If only I knew then what I know now. Words do hurt and it's in those words that so many of us hide. Hide from being shamed. Hide from feeling 'less than'. Hide from being a disappointment. Hide from low self-esteem. Hide from hurt, anger, resentment, sadness. But in reflection I realize that those words belonged to someone else. Those feelings weren't mine. They were the negative thoughts born out of someone else's dysfunction, spoken from their lips and thrust into my heart to make me become less so they can become, in their eyes, more. I have been sacrificed for the benefit of someone else. . . . my welfare a total unconcern. Those meant to help were only in place to harm. Because I wasn't with them, I am automatically deemed 'against them'.

It wasn't until I realized my own self-worth, separate from those words, that I could rise above the labels & demands put on me. I no longer had to play that 'role'. I used to feel bad for myself, sorry for what I endured while blindly believing they would change. But I don't as much anymore. Now I feel bad for them. Sad that those negative words in their own heart are all that their life will amount to. Pitiful. On a mission searching endlessly for someone else to 'dump' their thoughts on . . . . those negative,toxic words that truly describe the wickedness in their own core.

Friday, September 16, 2011

How Much is Too Much????

Ugh! It's been a LONG and rough week for some reason. This is already week 2 of back to school so our routine is actually going quite smoothly. Maybe it's the cooler weather? Baby Natalie is only waking about once a night but I still can't sleep well. Who knows. I just feel so tired and sluggish. Not matter how early I hit the sack, that morning wake-up around 6am-ish is a pain in the arse. :( Maybe it's a combination of things in my life right now that is just wearing me out??? . . . . . Was thinking this morning and trying to narrow down my routine during the day but it's such a fine line between deciding what is too much and what isn't.

How much is too much TV time? . . . . sometimes an extra episode of Dora gives me 30 min. of sanity!
How much is too much computer time? . . . . again, some sanity time and communicating w/hothers.
How much is too much coffee? . . . . is there such a thing as this??
How much is too much of saying "No" or redirecting little ones? . . . . gosh, will he EVER just do it the first time, lol!
How much is too much doing and not getting much back? . . . . . I'm supposed to serve joyfully w/out resentment, right?!
How much is too much housework to worry about? . . . . . the trinity of laundry, dishes & vacuuming are sapping my creative side, really!
How much is too much yelling, craziness around the house when I really just want to lie down? . . . . . is it Mommy's naptime yet????
How much is too much with a pet that no one seems to want to take care of? . . . . can add said responsibilities into my housework question - blah!
How much is too much with tight budgeting? . . . . will there EVER be relief??
How much is too much with monthly bills? . . . . . seriously, what more can we go w/out to save $$$??
How much is too much time between date nights? Alone time with different kids? . . . . . ALWAYS a balancing act with this
How much is too much volunteering/serving? . . . . . want to help, but lately I just feel burned out on teaching kids - I'm sure that sounds awful. :(
How much is too much planning, organizing, rearranging when it all ends up looking the same w/in a week? . . . . nothing else to say here!
How much is too much missing that moment to say what you really feel? . . . . either good or constructive criticism?
How much is too much pushing, hinting for me to 'make nice' with emotionally abusive people because 'they are who they are'? . . . . can't people just live their own life?!
How much is too much in regards to forgiveness, repentance, and reconcilation? . . . . . I know God wants us to forgive, but he doesn't mean to let others continually harm us like a doormat does he??

I'm sure there are millions more that I, and others, could post. Just really in a crux with things lately wondering how much it too much trying to be everything to everyone while still trying to figure out who I am???

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Soup-y Tuesday

Ever get tired of the same routine, same schedule, even the same lines of BS that some spew at you? Me too, lol! But the more I get 'tired' of things, the more it drives me to do things differently. Currently, I'm tired of being in debt and 'doing the dance' with our budget. So as is typical for my personality, I'm not OK bitching about it and carrying on doing the same thing with disappointing results.

See, being on a budget in a purposeful way to save, pay down debt and establish financial freedom mean that I have to research and try new ways to feed our growing family of 6 on a mere $100 (give or take a little xtra) a week. Impossible? Some weeks, YES! But through meal planning, carefully organizing what I have, and making more from scratch has helped mitigate the 'budget crunch'.

Which brings me to Soup-y Tuesday!!

I've been playing around with making certain nights of the week theme nights so Tuesdays are now being converted to soup-for-dinner. :) Soup is usually cheaper and I can make my own stock from homemade roast ckn or beef products.

Tonights Menu is: Onion Soup with Sausage & mushrooms, cheese filled bread stix (bought these per kid's request) and salad.

p.s. Monday is now leftover day! . . . and any other day where there's plenty left to feed the masses!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Outside the Sphere

What do you do when you're hurt? How about when you're sad/upset? Struggling financially? Depressed? Just blah? It's easy to shove these emotions inside the center of our core and just 'deal with it'. Not everyone is very successful at this, though. Antidepressant usage is on the rise, not to mention those that resort to/are in the midst of some form of substance abuse to numb oneself. But it doesn't go away. Deep in the sphere it festers.

I tend to be a 'stewer' where I replay old hurts, try to figure out resolutions to any problems/issues that arise; a deep thinker if you will. If I don't understand something, someone, or myself I set forth on a mission to research and figure out what ails. Unfortunately, these deep feelings tend to isolate. When I'm focusing on my own hurts I can't possibly be concerned with the hurts of others. . . . at least not to the extent that I could. I'm stuck in my sphere. A circular bubble with a thick wall keeping outside influences away so I can continue to hang on to/nurse those hurts & feelings that I naively think define me. An impenetrable sphere where nothing gets in but where nothing also gets out, expunged, cleansed. Stagnant. Slowly rotting. Dark.

But there's hope! Today I was reminded of that. I had lost a gift card given to me months ago. I felt silly, foolish that I had not been more careful. It was a real downer because we could really have used it then but we managed. So I prayed. Not necessarily a prayer to restore the card, thus assuage my own embarrassment. No. I prayed forgiveness for not appreciating the blessing as I should. May seem silly to some to have murmered such a prayer. But here I sit admist a week of financial struggles - light bulbs burnt out, groceries in general waning, dog needing more allergy meds, school shopping around the corner, etc. Just a whole bunch of 'little' things that add up to a financial burden when they are all in need of being done/replaced at once. *SIGH* But lo and behold there it was! At the bottom of my baby's toy hamper was the little card that I thought I'd lost for good staring back at me.

A simple occurance in the day to so many. No big deal. Just grab it, spend it and go on about life - right?? I couldn't just do that. Not without giving Glory to where/whom it's due. To me it let me know that my heavenly Father is looking out for me, even when I feel others have let me down or when I've dropped the ball for someone. YES, he does care and he will provide. It will all be done on His time and the timing will be perfect! I can begin to feel secure enough, knowing God has my back, to open a door in that sphere as I let the 'ugly' seep out and allow the love and compassion for others flow in. No more does the sphere have to be a ball & chain holding me down.

There's more in this world than just ME. . . or US. . . or YOU! I pray for boldness to step outside the sphere I've been hiding in. Allow me to make a difference for someone so they too can have the courage, support to take that step outside the sphere, and so on. A new movement forward. Progress. A positive difference!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Messy Love

"MOMMMMM, are you redy to mix the gredients??"

Pause. Sigh. Cooking with a toddler takes patience, especially when it's with my energetic son and it's a morning where I've yet to finish a cup of coffee. *insert possible meltdown from both of us*

But I look at those big blue eyes beaming their laser sharp glare at me overflowing with excitement to get to work. How can a mother say 'No' or 'Not yet'?? Simple. I can't! We got to work on baking our homemade granola bars .

Later that evening I was pondering the day and still muddling over being loved by God and what it truly means to love. Have I ever been loved by some? Have I reciprocated true love back? It's truly hard to get a handle on what LOVE really is because we all have our own warped perception of it. According to First Corinthians 13:4-7 this is love:

Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
Love does not demand its own way.
Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.
It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

If this is the standard, which it is to me, then I have failed on many occasions. I'm just a total mess. Or at least I live in a world filled with 'Messy Love' moments. To me that means that failing isn't an exception, it's the norm. I don't have patience all the time, I raise my voice, I've spanked, I've said unkind things, I've been irritable, I've doubted faith and relationships, etc. All of these shortfalls to those I 'love'? Need I go on? Yup an utter mess! But through love also brings honest repentance, change and forgiveness. It's in those moments of my mess that I can stop, say sorry to my children or husband and seek change. I want to change because I love them. If you truly love someone, you will WANT to change if you've done something to harm. It makes me want to be less so they can be more, if that makes any sense to some of you.

There can be great joy in messes. Some messes are just permanent fixtures that you glance at occasionally, tidy up a bit and keep going through the day with them there. A permanent fixture, if you will. There's comfort in their imperfections as you glance over thoughout the day, like my kitchen floor:

When I look at the mess, I feel love for my kids and their creativity and childlike heart that relishes the moments of simplified playtime. When I look at the mess of baby things over the house I thank God for my precious baby that inhabits those spaces. Some messes are welcomed and are needed. They help to make us a better version of ourselves.

But then there are the not so lovely messes in our lives. You know, the ones that really make you uncomfortable to even talk about let alone look at them. Thoughts of them sometimes bring anxiety or even anger. Broken relationships of warped love . . . that really wasn't love at all but just sinful selfishness meant for one to gain the upperhand over another. Manipulations meant to harm. Control meant to confine. Trust meant to break. Gifts with strings attached. Love never truly given.

Those are the messes that we sweep under the rug or jam in the closet hoping, praying that no one opens the door or lifts up that particular rug. That is the messy love that causes pain. We continue to live while walking over the rug but never again allowing the rug to be fully removed for the dust of our broken heart to scatter.

LOVE. An emotion that can so easily build up but then quickly break someone down. Confusing. Empty. Messy.

That is why I'm working everyday to redefine what love is based on God's view and the love I have for my husband & children. When I see my children's eyes longing, wanting, needing - it is up to me to choose which form of messy love I will unload on them. Will I burden them with hurts of my past? Or will I change the cycle and start anew? Will I love them for their imperfections allowing them independence & autonomy; just tidying up a bit but allowing their own mess to shine through?

We all have a choice and I've made mine!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In need of a spiritual intervention. . .

Aye! So it's been quite an adjustment to baby #4 and I'm not going to lie - my patience, self-control and even my sanity have been tested to the brink. How do some mom's do it that have multiple children? Now don't get me wrong, I am quite the multitasker. For example: I could nurse baby, talk on the phone, cook dinner and even answer the inadvertent questions of my other kids as they came along to interrupt while shooing the dog w/my foot to get out and quit begging in the kitchen. But running on that mode of stress only lasts so long before I'm yelling, "Calgon, take me away" . . . . if any of you remember those commercials, lol! There's got to be something better than this. . . . .

But the seriousness of this post is that despite all of my chaos, I've found it even harder to concentrate on God and staying focused. I just got done reading Francis Chan's book, 'Erasing Hell' and it did strike a chord with me but I'm ashamed to say that on so many levels, my life seems so 'full' that I don't think it has all yet sunk in - the depth of my depravity, the eternal and my fate amidst it all. I know of these things but it feels like something has been blocking my heart lately. I've dived into the Bible again searching for refuge, for a Father beyond my own father's shortfalls, reaching to the One to quiet the storm within my own thoughts. It can't be because of my undervaluing who God really is, is it??? All that mixed in with a little of my own negative sense of self/worth??? Hmmm. . . .

I've heard in one sermon the preacher saying that how we view God the Father in a similar fashion that we view our own father. Well, let's just say if that is the case it doesn't leave God and I in a very good situation to say the least, which is probably why subconsciously I'm already expecting to be rejected when it's my time to be judged. Pretty disheartening, huh?! Yup, that's what I've been muddling over and trying to find/cling to the truth that God is nothing like that at all. Judgement doesn't have to = rejection like it does here on earth with those we love and thought loved us too. I do believe it logically but it's just not absorbing in my heart spirtually. Anyone else had this view???

Monday, June 6, 2011

Children Learn What They Live

I'm currently reading The Idiot's Guide to Raising a Strong-Willed Child in an attempt to better understand my son's actions and continually find more productive ways to handle my reactions. I love that little boy with all my heart but I cannot deny that he is surely a little spitfire sometimes, LOL! Plus I want to learn whatever I can as a parent to better understand myself and my kids - something I didn't have with my own parents. :(

I found this poem in the book which was written by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D. approx. 50 yrs. ago. It amazed me when reading it how relevent it is even in the present time. Makes one realize that good parenting, and even bad parenting, can leave timeless effects. Enjoy the poem! . . . .

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy
If children live with jealousy, they learn to envy
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves
If children live with recognition,they learn it is good to have a goal
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness
If children live with fairness, they learn justice
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and
in those about them
If children live with friendliness, they learn that the world is a nice
place to live

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On with Plan B

Well, it's been awhile since my last post but I do have good reason. . . especially since it's taken me a total of 3 days just to write, edit, and post this, LOL! My daughter was born on May 9th

and though I had set out for an all natural birth, it didn't quite go as expected. Obviously, even having to go to the hospital for an induction takes away from the 'natural' nature of birth. But I was as minimal as possible with just an oral med. to start the process but not much happened for hours. Then breaking my water. . . . again, not much! This went on for almost 30 hrs. and I was stuck at 3-4 dilation. :( So we went with Plan B and I broke down deciding that Pitocin was the best option at this point. After those wonderfully feeling contractions *insert sarcasm* for an hour, I had an epidural. Then lo' and behold, my baby girl was born not long after! Guess my body responded better to the intervention - *shrug*

But even in that process I learned some new things. For starters, our nurse had a cute quote. She asked if I knew how to make God laugh? She paused and when I said, "No" she continued with the answer of, "Have a plan". And it seemed to resonate with me because I thought I had every aspect of this pregnancy figured out, planned out and was on my way. It took more faith and trust for me to go forward with something outside of my 'plan' than it did to even conjure up my plan. Guess God had that lesson for me all along! When I think I have it figured out, He lets me know that I should move over a bit because He is the one that's driving. I can just sit in the passenger seat and enjoy the ride. :)

Also, after looking at my beautiful baby's face and pondering the direction of my life, my faith, my current situation with NFoo - I've decided that I want my blog to likewise gravitate in a different direction. From a couple of comments my brother has shared about NM - such as her refusing to come to his son's bday if I am there and her/EF no longer attending church because it's the same one I go to - it's textbook narc behavior which proves that she is content in her wicked, hurtful & unrepentant ways. Because of this, I don't want to dwell on her or a subject related to her. there are so many more positive & uplifting things in my life. I do myself a disservice by focusing on the past since going no-contact means there isn't much heartache going on presently because I don't deal with NFoo.

By not having contact with NFoo, my hubby and I have allowed ourselves to open our life up to a myriad of friends/church 'family' members that have offered such positive influences to us and our family. It is immeaurable how they have touched our lives. We never would have had this opportunity had we solely been stuck in NM/EF's web of influence which sheltered/isolated us from others due to their judgement/influence on our lives. I'm sad it has come to this with my family but ever thankful for the things God has shown me of other people in our lives.

It's true that when one door closes, several more can open and it's that hope that I'm clinging to and looking forward to along with working on forgiveness.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's D-Day done MY way :)

Well, after a very low key pregnancy, the last 3 wks have been very back and forth with 'issues' of my amniotic fluid levels being low (dr's get nervous when it drops as low as 5 or below) and the office staff/dr'spushing for me to have an induction - despite me asking for time to naturally get my fluid levels up. Now a little background on this is that I initially wanted to have my baby at a birth center this time with no/little intervention but it boiled down to cost and what our insurance would cover so I stayed w/the OB practice I was already established with. Another point to make is that other than low fluid levels, there is NOTHING else showing up as a concern regarding my health or baby's health. Her stress tests have all been great! & she moves constantly - thus mitigating any other red flags that induction is mandatory.

Needless to say, I've had to come out of my comfort zone and be more of an advocate for me and my baby on what is truly necessary and what's just the dr's pushing for me to fall in line with 'protocol'. Definitely trying to grow outside the box of being a compliant daughter of an NM, lol!

Well, add to this equation my SGBro calling to pressure and covertly guilt me into letting NParents (NP) know about the impending arrival of baby #4. He even went so far as to suggest that the NP's could still come to the hospital in a 'controlled' environment just to see the baby and then be on their way and suggesting for me to be 'Christian' in this situation because I cannot take back the resentment if I ever re-establish a relationship w/NP's in the future.
WOW!! His conversation was WRONG and so co-Narc it's like reading it out of an enabler textbook. This is the same brother whom I just blogged about getting sh*t on by NM - plus I've explained my feelings, hurts, resentments about NFoo MANY times to him since my initiated estrangement. Oh, and he's been a professed atheist for many years but is 'warming' up to the idea of there even being a God, doesn't go to church and I don't believe he even reads the bible. . . . but he's suggesting that I be 'Christian' in this matter - LMFAO!!! Um, OK! *sarcasm*

SO. . . . What should the Brash do??? Capitulate as usual? Go with the flow for other's sake?? HELL NO!! While I'm not looking to go totally renegade and be purposefully defiant - I am finally agreeing to be induced though on a day that works with MY schedule. . . . *note* my file already shows that I apparently 'REFUSED' to come in for induction two days prior. I don't think ASKING for more time to naturally increase fluid levels is outright 'REFUSING' but WHATEVER! Also, once they get contractions going, I want NO FURTHER interventions which I and hubby will stick with (please pray I can withstand the pain and any annoying nurses, lol!!)

Secondly, my brother's supposed 'benevolent' request will be ignored and if he asks again, he will clearly have my full unrated reasoning as to why I DO NOT think I'm obligated to allow manipulative, destructive, unrepentent, hurtful people around me or my children. My parents are fully aware that I'm pregnant and they know when my due date is. When I sent letters explaining my hurts and their actions being the reason for me distancing myself from them, they are adults and fully capable of reaching out to take responsibility, correct, apologize for said actions. Yet they have NOT done anything aside from dropping manipulative/hoovering hints to me. . . . like leaving items on my porch and pics in my mailbox w/out any correspondence.

NO! - I WILL NOT AGAIN sacrifice MY comfort, dignity, self-esteem & self-worth just to appease THEIR comfort level. Me and my family deserve more, which is why I'm moving foward with this new step in my life and doing things MY WAY!! :)

p.s. Thank You to all my fellow bloggers/readers who have wished me well. It means a lot to have people rallying behind me and wishing good things for me!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Moment

I'm currently pregnant with baby #4 and am about 2 wks out from my due date which has had me on edge a little lately w/planning, etc. Aside from that, I'm still working on healing and re-creating a healthy life w/out NFoo (see past posts regarding this). Then insert me getting borderline fanatical about looking up budgeting, frugal living, easy meal prep blogs, sites and books from the library. Our budget is stretched super thin and focusing on ways that I can improve some areas of how our household functions has been all consuming - maybe a little TOO consuming.

But now I'm getting to the point of really thinking about what I've spent so much time focusing on?? Well for starters, I've been dealing with anger, hurt, resentment against some family members along with elation, worry, anxiety, joy from the impending arrival of our baby girl to more stress and frustration with our lack of $$. But it all revolves around ME, 'what-if' scenarios, and could-a/would-a/should-a thinking! There has to be more to the day and life than this? :-P

In the blog ZenHabits, the author Leo Babauta wrote a recent post commemorating his 38th birthday with 38 lessons he's learned in life. The one that made me stop and really think is life lesson #5:

"The moment is all there is. All our worries and plans about the future, all our replaying of things that happened in the past — it’s all in our heads, and it just distracts us from fully living right now. Let go of all that, and just focus on what you’re doing, right at this moment. In this way, any activity can be meditation."

Like the quote mentions, what would my day - and even life - look like if I minimized the worry, stopped replaying old hurts from the past and started letting the right here, right now affect me?? What if I lived more of a 'carpe diem' - or seize the day mentality??

Maybe I would stop more, open the blinds and truly look at the beauty of the sun glistening off of my newly budding lilac bush. . . . see the sparkle in my toddler's eyes and enjoy the squeals as he runs chasing his older brother and sister through the house. . . . welcome the scruffy feel of my yellow lab rubbing on my leg trying to steal one more pet. . . . kiss my husband a little longer to enjoy those last few seconds before he's out the door and off to work. . . . sit down with my older kids more and pray with them.

Sometimes I feel so limited by my past and let worry of the future take hold of and shadow those moments that should be so precious to me right now. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we not let go and just like the breeze on a crisp Spring afternoon. . . let The Moment hit us, experiencing it's presence - allowing us to feel and LIVE?!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Indian Giver - a Narc's specialty

Let's begin with a current story:

I just talked to my Brother (who is NM's scapegoat) the day after Easter to find out that NM has struck a chord with one of us kids AGAIN - no surprise there! Apparently a nice set of bistro table have been sitting in their basement for years being stored/unused and NM promised them to my bro approx. 6 months ago, though of course after NM made a note to let him know that she's offering them to him since he doesn't get much (Aww, what a great mother!! - *gag*). HOWEVER, when my brother called to wish NM a Happy Easter, NM informed my bro that NSis was coming out to their house for Easter and her DH was bringing his truck so they could take the tables. Say what?! No inference as to having previously promised them to my brother?? Of course not! In fact, she did her usual projection/gaslight tactic by telling him that NSis really wanted a chandelier & lamp but NM strictly said, "No" to those items as she was saving those for my dear brother (Aww again at what a great mother she is! *insert sarcasm* ). The irony of it all is that my brother has already told NM a couple of times that he doesn't need nor want the chandelier/lamp that she already tried to give him on numerous occasions. . . . . which occasions NM has 'conveniently' forgotten.

So now some analysis:

First of all, anyone who is in contact with a narcissist knows that they are awful gift givers overall - if they even decide to give you anything. It's either cheap, suited to THEIR tastes, or a ploy to illicit some form of adoration/worship from you for THEM. If one lacks empathy and basic human consideration for others (which narcs do lack), there's no way that person can possibly take the time to pick out a heartfelt gift that says something special about YOU. They don't care what's special about YOU - plain and simple. So ALWAYS beware of narc gift givers.

Also, after talking to my bro another thing struck me. No gift is ever given by a narc w/out some strings attached. The gift is simply a tool to be used by the narc as some form of manipulation. It made me think of the term "Indian Giver". See, once you are offered something by the narc - it's your turn to jump for joy and bow down in utter graciousness that they thought of little ol' you. Can you feel the love yet?! If you don't jump, then be ready for their wrath or for them to 'take away' the gift as a form of manipulative punishment. . . . which is exactly what happened to my bro. :(

Those tables were never truly a 'gift' nor did she care about what he didn't get from her in life. They were simply objects used to sacrifice my brother's feelings at the expense of punishing him (maybe for not visiting/calling enough) and to also suck up to NSis - who NM had complained about to my bro a couple days earlier because NSis has been ignoring NM. Nope, the tables were only a pawn to AGAIN, put NM and HER needs in the middle of her Narc Web leaving my brother duped by her "Indian Giver" tactic and my NSis to fawn over the perceived 'generosity' of NM. Never a dull moment!! *wink*

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Rainbow

I saw an interesting comment on a website - but am sorry that I don't remember the link. :(
(If I find the exact article I will edit this post)

Basically it was an article where Dr. Karyl McBride was quoting one of her clients regarding the reality of having narcissistic parents. The client said that she finally figured it out that her parents' narcissism was akin to them being colorblind and her struggling to get them to see the 'rainbow' in her. It made perfect sense!

You cannot will a 'colorblind' person to see the difference between shades of gray, brown, navy blue, black OR between white, light pink, off-white, etc. All the colors are clearly the same to them. Whereas for a healthy person - my inference meaning a non-narcissistic individual - he/she can not only see the difference but can also appreciate the beauty of those differences.

If you are continually exposed to someone trying to mute your 'colors' and insisting you see the world through a limited scope of the color spectrum they see, it can be very damaging to your psyche in the long run. You will miss out on the beauty and no longer apprecate the differences/uniqueness everyone can bring to a relationship. So to anyone still being clouded by the FOG (fear/obligation/guilt) of a narc - find your way out so you can finally let others see the rainbow inside of you!! :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

One Step Closer

I've spilled a lot along the lines of the toxic behavior of several of my family members and shed some light on NPD. . . . but really, what does that mean in relation to me and the person I am? To be honest, there are still many days I'm trying to find that answer, unsure of the 'real' me, but I am learning as I go.

For starters, I know that I'm a work in progress as I sift through the lies, division, emotional strain/abuse, and silence. Being a DoNM (daughter of a narcissist mother) means that I rarely have had the chance to showcase who Brash is. It's always been me reacting to some action of my NFOO (narc family of origin) thus minimizing my independence. Make sense? Basically, I've come to find that I can't truly follow a path in life that's meant for me if I'm continuing to choose the directions that are pushed, strongly urged, or outright controlled for me by others.

There's been a lot over the last couple of months that I've had to silently sit and analyze to make sense of it all. Like a heavily veneered piece of furniture in need of repair, I'm slowly peeling back the layers to see the raw beauty of what's underneath. And I can realize the joy in being who I am with no apology for being different than someone else. I can now work on diffusing the lies that NM, EF, NSis and others in my family have poured on me for many yrs.

This means I am one step closer to:

*Accepting myself and even my faults; I don't have to be perfect like NFOO pushes
*Accepting differences in others such as my husband and children. We are all one big melting pot of a mess at times and I LOVE it!
*Loving my body and it's shape the way it is and no longer starving to be 'perfect'
*Realizing that being a stay-at-home mom isn't a lack of accomplishment but one of the best choices I've made in my life so far
*Believing that I am lovable and not because I've made myself into something that suits everyone else - but because I AM ME!
*Having confidence in the choices I make and the maturity to change any choice that no longer works for me, my husband and children
*Realizing the unconditional love of my Heavenly Father - who is a father so unlike my own. Sometimes it's hard to imagine the love God has for me.

There are several more things I'm learning everyday and sometimes the feelings, negative and positive, can be overwhelming. But each time I display the patience I never received, give the unconditional love I didn't have, each time I offer grace and mercy to my kids despite their mistakes - which I didn't experience at their age, each time I boldly try something new instead of listening to the fear NM has put in me to stay the same, and each time I smile above the pain in order to heal and move forward. . . .

. . . . I know that I'm on the right path and moving One Step Closer to the real Brash. :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

I was thinking of this old adage the other day and as usual it got me pondering. How many times have I, or others, heard this and incorporated it's meaning as we shift through our ideals, beliefs, etc. in our life? How many companies operate under this veiled message? I guess people assume that as long as things are going great in their life, or if a company is experiencing record sales, then everything must be fine. So let's keep doing it, right?

I've come to find that in many cases the phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is just a load of crap!! No one can argue that life is meant to be an ongoing sea of change. We see this everyday from watching our kids grow, experiencing our own changing likes/dislikes, weather, political shifts, demographic shifts, and so many others to list. Life, along with everything and everyone, is not meant to be a static object stuck in a particular moment of time. We should be continually moving, growing, learning and most of all - CHANGING! This means that sometimes things are broken and will need fixing from time to time.

The idea of 'good' and 'bad' are really subjective to our own ideals. If something is broken then it must be bad and in the same respect, if something is working then it must be good. This lax and flexible rule applies to our own personality traits/behaviors. Yes, you can be a 'good' person, but in relation to what or whom? To your neighbor? To your boss? To your spouse? Anna brings up a good perspective in her blog:

"If good is used for the evil purposes of predators then good itself becomes dangerous. We really must make determined efforts to not allow good to be used as a cloak for evil, especially if that good resides in ourselves. . . There is something fundamentally wrong with our idea of how "good" people should be if we are not discriminating enough to make sure our "good" is not used to facilitate evil. If the "good" qualities we boast of are used as weapons in the hands of a predator then our "good" is actually turned to evil. This is very serious business."

What about the narcissist? How many dysfunctional families utilize the aforementioned hidden message under the guise that everything is fine so don't try to 'fix' things by changing the status quo, speaking out, ignoring the 'white elephant in the room'? This message is highly orchestrated by the narcissist because they truly are static beings who don't believe they are broken or need to change - yes, in their mind they are inherently 'good'. And it is expected that the non-narcissist, enabler, co-narcissist is to exhibit certain 'good' qualities of their own. Some examples Anna gives of 'good' qualities expected by the narcissist are:

*deeply empathic
*people pleasing
*slow to judge
*excessively tolerant
*belief in the basic good of others

When we bestow these graces upon evil people we can safely state that these qualities become evil themselves.

I have allowed myself to be stuck in these 'good' behaviors. These characteristics in and of themselves are not 'bad' but like Anna points out, when we exhibit these qualities in the dynamics of a relationship that continually allows someone to harm us, then these traits are no longer 'good' and healthy. I've been so quick to please and very tolerant believing in the good of someones' intentions that on too many occasions I've overlooked and ignored someones' harsh criticisms, devaluing me, belittling me and my kids. I've even kept quiet when these tactics have been used on others - either overtly or covertly in the form of gossip and false concern. Thus allowing someone's evil to permeate my own heart and that of those close to me.

It's looking at this in hindsight that I realize that some of my family members are broken and YES, I am broken as well. I need fixing!! If you look from a more spiritual perspective, we are all broken. Jesus didn't come to earth to help an intact, 'good' group of people. Jesus came to offer hope and salvation to everyone because we are all broken and riddled with sin - we can't save ourselves. I think realizing this is a step in a positive direction towards healing. Not only do I have my heavenly Father's help towards changing what's broken in my heart, I can also draw on the strength of no longer being afraid to question the status quo, rock the boat and confront that nasty white elephant sitting smack dab in the middle of the room!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Little Girl Lost

Little Girl Lost
Written June 2007 / Finished Jan. 2008

Here I am alone, sitting in the corner as I cry
So much anger built up inside constantly questioning "Why?"
I remember his distance to me; quite aloof and somewhat cold
Mostly speaking if I made a mistake with a distasteful tone in his scold
Never measuring up to his standards no matter how many times I overachieved
Now locked in this world of perfection with disappointment; never relieved
And I remember her compassion yet tempered with chaos and constraint
Never allowed to disagree; only to back down and forced to compensate
I remember finding her one time crying on the floor in her despair
Her struggles put above our own and now I’m the one sitting there

I am a little girl lost
With my writing as my outlet; my voice
Though you choose to stay in denial
My heart doesn’t have that choice

I’m empty and so confused, admittedly ashamed of whom I am
So many things to be thankful for which is why I cannot understand
Yet I constantly feel inadequate and my self esteem is at an all time low
Subconsciously waiting for your permission to tell me which direction I should go
Are you even aware of what you did by overly suppressing the child inside?
You’ve muted the voice I held within and even in adulthood your grip won’t subside
Maybe if you admitted your mistakes because more than a simple ’sorry’ has come due
And stop the negative cycle of guilt you project to play the victim like you do

I am a little girl lost
Riddled with guilt and emotional decay
In a place separate from reality
As my identity has withered away

I am constantly in a struggle and getting lost in this situation
Forced to pick sides between parents and sibling triangulations
Pitting us against each other through your manipulation while being subtle
Always quick to blame who’s doing wrong, leaving you on your faultless pedestal
And I can’t forget how easy it is for you to withdraw your love and turn your back
If we try to be adults and disagree, our independence yields your verbal attacks
It’s been an unspoken rule to let the past go, or has it really been just your choice?
Since you’re unable to confront the pain you’ve caused as you fight to stifle my voice

I am a little girl lost
Acknowledging the hurt and trying to restrain
Your conditional love and constant demands
Because I know you’ll never change

The struggles I now face in adulthood are too apparent to hide
Feeling lost and unloved amidst the pain as I try to push it all aside
Struggling with this fa├žade of perfection reaching for a goal I cannot attain
Constantly pushed because of your own shortcomings while I’m left with nothing gained
Must be nice to sit in your world of that delusion where you have sole control
But I’ve moved on into reality now and to your suffocating grip I say "No More!"

Monday, March 21, 2011

Healing - not all about forgiveness

Healing is not as easy as saying "I forgive you" and then it's done, especially with a narc. How do you even touch the emotion of forgiveness when the perpetrator admits to nothing and blames all but herself? Convenient for them, huh?! The damage is done yet the narc claims no responsibility to clean up their own mess. One site that I've looked at a lot recently for this purpose, to not only work on my own healing but also spiritual growth, is Luke Ministries.

After going 'no contact' for the time being from some family members, I felt an overwhelming feeling of guilt and couldn't understand why. Why should I feel guilty for cutting people out of my life who continually hurt, emotionally abuse, and criticize me - especially when their toxic behavior was starting to spill over onto my children - just because they're 'family'? It just didn't make sense. I felt like a 'bad girl' for not sticking around, submitting to their manipulations and just taking the brunt of the crap they fling at me. Truly this isn't the way one is supposed to live but I've had many years of emotional conditioning where it wasn't MY feelings I was apparently worried about deep down.

After reading more on the concept of forgiveness and contemplating on my own comfort level in dealing with these family members, I've come to realize that my healing is not dependent on giving them forgiveness; my healing is dependent on keeping their toxic behavior far away from me, my husband and my children!! Refusing to acknowledge their wrongdoing, twisting things to make it look like I'm at fault, and lying/gossipping about me behind my back just proves they are not looking for forgiveness. One only seeks forgiveness when he/she honestly feels they have done wrong and wants to make amends with the person(s) they've hurt. Forgiveness means the offensive behavior is to cease, if not greatly diminish, which has yet to ever happen.

No, a narcissist and his/her enabler isn't looking for forgiveness because they don't want to change, admit they are wrong, accept responsibility. All they want is to keep you around to cut down/abuse in order to lift themselves up. It's all about THEM, which makes it a futile effort to try and heal in that type of environment.

**Warn a divisive person once, then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned....Titus 3:10-11**

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Narcissism What??

Many have heard the word 'Narcissist', like I have, but really don't have an in depth idea as to what it really means. It is a little more than someone who just is 'full of themselves' or is conceited, vain, etc. Because the term has been 'simplified' (and isn't fully correct), it can be hard to truly convey the lasting effects one feels after being in the Narcissists' toxic presence for any length of time, let alone being raised by a narcissist parent (NP).

A quick listing of traits is given on the site - below:

Narcissistic Personality Symptoms

1.grandiosity / exaggeration
2.fantastic thinking / romantic
3.believes special / unique
4.requires admiration
5.entitled / demanding
6.exploitive / manipulative
7.lacks empathy
8.envious / jealous
9.arrogant / haughty

Narcissism falls under the Cluster B category of personality disorders - which are personalities that are highly dramatic, both emotionally and behaviorally. . . . yup, that's my Mom!! Antisocial, Borderline, Narcissistic, and Histrionic Personality are in this group. As one site noted: "In considering individuals who create the most damage to social and personal relationships, the abusers, manipulators, “players”, controllers, and losers are found in Cluster B."

To put it in laymen's terms with examples (which really helps me), the site has some great ones! I've added a few exerpts below based on the traits that stand out to me as being exuded frequently by my own mom:

Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers

** Everything she does is deniable. There is always a facile excuse or an explanation. Cruelties are couched in loving terms. Aggressive and hostile acts are paraded as thoughtfulness. Selfish manipulations are presented as gifts. Criticism and slander is slyly disguised as concern. She only wants what is best for you. She only wants to help you.

** She favoritizes. Narcissistic mothers commonly choose one (sometimes more) child to be the golden child and one (sometimes more) to be the scapegoat. The narcissist identifies with the golden child and provides privileges to him or her as long as the golden child does just as she wants. The golden child has to be cared for assiduously by everyone in the family. The scapegoat has no needs and instead gets to do the caring. The golden child can do nothing wrong. The scapegoat is always at fault. This creates divisions between the children, one of whom has a large investment in the mother being wise and wonderful, and the other(s) who hate her. That division will be fostered by the narcissist with lies and with blatantly unfair and favoritizing behavior. The golden child will defend the mother and indirectly perpetuate the abuse by finding reasons to blame the scapegoat for the mother’s actions. The golden child may also directly take on the narcissistic mother’s tasks by physically abusing the scapegoat so the narcissistic mother doesn’t have to do that herself.

** She demeans, criticizes and denigrates. She lets you know in all sorts of little ways that she thinks less of you than she does of your siblings or of other people in general.

** She’s a liar in too many ways to count. Any time she talks about something that has emotional significance for her, it’s a fair bet that she’s lying. Lying is one way that she creates conflict in the relationships and lives of those around her - she’ll lie to them about what other people have said, what they’ve done, or how they feel. She’ll lie about her relationship with them, about your behavior or about your situation in order to inflate herself and to undermine your credibility.

** She has to be the center of attention all the time. This need is a defining trait of narcissists and particularly of narcissistic mothers for whom their children exist to be sources of attention and adoration.

** She is insanely defensive and is extremely sensitive to any criticism.

** She projects. This sounds a little like psycho-babble, but it is something that narcissists all do. Projection means that she will put her own bad behavior, character and traits on you so she can deny them in herself and punish you. This can be very difficult to see if you have traits that she can project on to. ex: An eating-disordered woman who obsesses over her daughter’s weight is projecting.


**She destroys your relationships. Narcissistic mothers are like tornadoes: wherever they touch down families are torn apart and wounds are inflicted. Unless the father has control over the narcissist and holds the family together, adult siblings in families with narcissistic mothers characteristically have painful relationships. Typically all communication between siblings is superficial and driven by duty, or they may never talk to each other at all. In part, these women foster dissension between their children because they enjoy the control it gives them. If those children don’t communicate except through the mother, she can decide what everyone hears. Narcissists also love the excitement and drama they create by interfering in their children’s lives. Watching people’s lives explode is better than soap operas, especially when you don’t have any empathy for their misery.
The narcissist also uses favoritism and gossip to poison her childrens’ relationships. After her children move on with adult lives, the narcissist makes sure to keep each apprised of the doings of the others, passing on the most discreditable and juicy gossip (as always, disguised as “concern”) about the other children, again, in a way that engenders contempt rather than compassion. The end result is a family in which almost all communication is triangular. The narcissist, the spider in the middle of the family web, sensitively monitors all the children for information she can use to retain her unchallenged control over the family. She then passes that on to the others, creating the resentments that prevent them from communicating directly and freely with each other. The result is that the only communication between the children is through the narcissist, exactly the way she wants it.

. . . . It is for these examples/reasons given above that I have chosen to distance myself from the flagrant toxins that are dished out in my family. It is hurtful, disappointing and it's apparent that some have made their choice to function through life this way, no matter who they hurt . . . . but I no longer can. :(

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A New Reality

WOW - I haven't written in FOREVER! To be honest, I sort of gave up on it since usual time crunches didn't make it easy to add to the daily agenda. So why start up again now? As usual, life goes around & around, stuff happens and I need to get it out . . . sort of akin to an emotional purging.

So much has happened since last July that I don't know where to begin. But I'll cut through all the mess and basically say that w/in the last 8-9 months, I've learned a lot about God, a lot about myself and even more about my dysfunctional family. And NO, my family doesn't put the 'fun' in dysFUNctional! ;)

Simply put, I believe my mother suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) along with some other cluster B personality disorder traits - Oh Joy! My sis didn't fall too far from that nutjob tree herself. And my father?? Well, he's the epitomy of enabler or co-dependent. It's always been about mom, no matter what/how she's hurt us kids. *Sigh* It's all just been a whirlwind to say the least and for the time being, I've cut contact with the three of them until further notice. I've tried to 'play nice', swallowed too much self-denial, and let too many wrongs go that were done to me. Not anymore!

So needless to say, this blog is going to take a more dramatic turn for a bit as I continue to research, discover and heal from the 30+ years of emotional and verbal abuse. It's time for me to discover who 'Brashley' really is and begin to piece the brokenness together again as I build a new reality along the way. :)