Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Escaping Flying Monkeys and Finding "Found Families"

My emotions towards those who have been on the side lines has changed. I still have contact with my brother, some cousins and their families but sometimes I ask myself, "Why didn't anyone ever stick up for me?" The cowardice bothers me. They allowed her to just take an eraser to me. Remember I went NC not just with the Queen Spider and her Mini-Me but 85% of the family, these are the 15% or so I kept some limited contact with. I have not seen any relatives save for one cousin I saw this year in 5-8 years and the visits to my narcissistic mother's house before I went no contact.

 I know people have their own lives, but I have realized even with these "nice" side relatives, I am not very close to them. My brother knows me the most but with the years that has ebbed away. With my brother I will give him this, he did defend me a few times when my mother and grandmother went after me viciously about my weight. However I know he is going to stay in contact with her and be visiting, and sending flowers on Mother's Day. Those are his choices, I am not going to tell anyone what to do or not do, and he isn't telling me what to do either, as the boundaries we established to be in contact ourselves but it makes me have certain emotions I am dealing with.

I also must not forget that just last year, she told him not to visit me, that it would "take too much time" even though he drove up to my state and was only 45 minutes away instead of 8 hours and he obeyed and at that point I had not seen him in 5 years.

 My narcissistic mother always had to be the center of attention. One niece is writing me emails, but I can tell she is afraid of them being read, so even there the relationship will be affected. With older family members, I am removing myself emotionally from seeking closer relationships with these "'nicer" members. For years I attempted it, and well it's time to focus life on more rewarding activities.

 Outside of one cousin who visits me every 10 years, none had ever made a move to visit me. I even thought to myself  some time ago "Maybe I should get on a bus to see some of them and travel, but 16 hours on a bus means a possible hospital visit to me, it's not going to happen." This many years disabled and sick, I did become forgotten about and my narcissist mother was able to use this to her advantage.

I was watching some Ollie Matthews videos, and in one,  he said, to avoid those who are still in contact with your narcissists. I can see why he warns about that. For me this is the entire family. Years ago in my early 20s, when I was around some of my aunts, uncles and cousins, and driving down to visit them, some would tell me, they knew something was wrong with my mother and that they agreed with me. I told a few about specific things she had done, and they reacted with outrage.

As a child, I told a few of the adults about my abuse and even asked to live with a couple and was ignored and pushed away. One aunt on my father's side, heard about some pretty serious abuses when I was in my teens and visiting her trailer. She was abused herself by my father. He trashed her even for leaving a physically abusive husband.

They would tell me, "Yes something is seriously wrong with your mother.", and then make some complaints of their own about her ripping them off, or lying and saying nasty things to them.

But what does this really mean if it's only voiced in backrooms? And as time went by that even disappeared as her smear campaigns and manipulations grew more cunning.

 Even these she won over to her side or fully conquered. Aunt Scapegoat was one of them by the way. She would tell me around the age of 20, that my mother was mean, and heartless. Today Aunt Scapegoat would sooner rip off her right arm then speak out against my mother. During my last visits to my mothers house when Aunt Scapegoat had come up for a visit, she would literally almost run from the room when she saw me coming to talk to her. I had memories too of Aunt Denial doing this too. This never occurred to me until recently. Some of you may be surprised like "why didn't you notice?" but remember these people actually smiled a few times at me in comparison to my mother's sour faces.

I realized while feeling my freedom and happiness in no contact, that I felt bad talking to even some of the "nice" relatives, there is this feeling of betrayal with the ones who are old enough that undergrids each and every one of the relationships. There was betrayal. They sat silently by for the most part. They made excuses for my mother. They told me she still cared due to her present giving. They told me that I was the trouble maker, should make peace and be more accepting. They all threw me under the bus in a group family email where I told her she could not censor our speech as adults. Even for the ones cared about, I found myself on edge with the very few I talk to. Inside I felt like crying every time I even talked to one who was not mean or anything on the phone. It was hard to explain, but those emotions have a reason to exist. In other words, my expectations are low because these people never had my back.

I found myself thinking, "Should I even put effort into these relationships?" and the answer is No. They feel so dead end to me. I suppose my feelings of betrayal lie underneath that feeling. No one ever stood up for me. They always obeyed my mother. They always defended my sister at her behest. They sat silent as my mother and the other narcissists insulted me.

 I do feel utter hopelessness and feel bad around people from my family even the one's who are not overtly against me and who are "nice". Maybe because I know they will be visiting my narcissistic mother, smiling at her, and trying to please her? Maybe because I know if push comes to shove, who will they choose? Maybe because I know my name will never be mentioned at any family gathering ever again and not one will dare to rock the boat?

My brother told me a couple months ago, my mother never mentioned me once, nor that I had left. The rest support my erasure then by complicity. I wish I had asked him, "Well why didn't you bring me up?" I am tired though of asking anything of them anymore. Just like the narcissists on a lower level, if one is disappointed enough, you walk away. Outside of him with some of them, there were far too many unanswered emails and phone calls. I knew I was rendered voiceless in the fact many did not want to get in the middle. If people always choose against you and do the bidding of your narcissists why would you want to be close to them? The trust is not there.

 I relate to what Gail Meyers wrote here:

"I spent years of my life trying to show various flying monkeys the truth. It virtually never worked, not once in the twenty or so years I kept trying to "clear the air" or to finally be understood. They do not understand because they do not want to understand. Many are willfully ignorant and blind to the situation.  There is not some magical phrase and method you have not yet discovered that is suddenly going to cause these people to stand up for the truth.

What I have realized is the flying monkeys generally have their own reasons for behaving the way they do. Some may truly do it out of ignorance, truly fooled for years by the narcissist. However, it is my experience that most flying monkeys have weak characters.

They may know the truth, but lack the backbone to stand up for what is right. They may themselves fear becoming a target of the narcissist. They may have been a target of the narcissist in the past. They may have been taught to get along with everyone regardless. They may also be a narcissist themselves or hiding their own troubling behavior"

With some I am okay being a facebook friend, an "acquaintance" from long ago. I don't need to be NC, but I am not investing myself anymore. It is what it is. Saying hello just like someone does with people they went to high school with, almost a reunion sort of thing but I know my expectations are gone with the flying monkeys and other family members. I do not expect close relationships. That boat has left the dock. I don't want to expend the energy anymore to put it simply.

I suppose I consider some of these folks the "nice", "don't know what is going on" bystanders. Them I can excuse to a point for a little bit of distance, or being more extended relatives. One cousin, told me he remembered all the screaming and yelling of my family and it freaked him out. With these relatives contact was only intermittent. However with some of the others, like my brother and closer ones right in there, there is no such excuse. They saw a lot of went on. I told them many things too.

                                           [picture source]

I am meeting nice people in various places, churches, groups etc,  I am developing a new church family right now which is brightening up my life. These folks treat me well and with kindness just like my old church family. I feel good around these folks not how I feel around my family. To survive my abuse, I always sought "found families" and close friends in my communities.  I am finally facing the fact there is a void there with my family of orgin, and coming to a place of acceptance. The biological family I wanted and desired is not to be. Unless I find the would be family that put me up for adoption and because I could not have a family of my own, the best path in life is to put my energies into mutual loving relationships such as my marriage, friendships and my "found families". This is the path I have taken since my first no contact. This is also why some losses were so hard. I told one good friend this the other day, this is why I took the loss of my last community so hard.

My found families have helped me, been there for me and been people I have been able to share myself with and who have loved and given me acceptance. People that were positive and loving. One thing about my life years ago was entering the world, I did not want to succumb to the despair inherited from the narcissists. Maybe they would mutter everyone was on the take or sucked or just like them but I did find people who did care, and who had empathy and love for other people. This ranged from my earlier church family to my close friend "Pam" now deceased who offered me a lifeline. We even used to joke that she was my "real Mom" and in my late 20s and 30s, it was good to have an older friend as a mentor.

The world does have nice people in it. I have seen people so brokenhearted by the abusive and cruel, they come to doubt this, and not believe it but I have been blessed in finding good people in life. I also was given an alternative to the life displayed to me by my family. People with good moral codes, faith, kindness. We want people around us who we see as a good influence. Even the Bible states "Bad company corrupts good morals" and with narcissists this is absolute truth. They can infect a whole group of people. Narc "cults" families are infected.

I am realizing I am even losing memories, no one to talk about memories with save for a few with my brother. However even with him, his denials and rosy-eyed view of my mother, grates beyond belief. I told him a few things he listened to but in the back of mind wondered if I was believed? One time he told me, "She has bought presents for my children, she cares about us". One thing to look at with people is actions. Who is he visiting? I realized that the fact of the matter was, my probability of seeing any of these relatives in person ever again, was probably pretty low. It can be painful to care about or love someone knowing that they have pushed you away to please narcissists. However they have made their choice, and you can't control it. One thing when a person gets hurt enough and you pay attention to your own needs finally, you learn to protect yourself.

ACONs need to protect themselves from the silent bystanders, and others, of the dysfunctional family system. One thing, if you feel upset when you talk to someone pay attention to the emotions behind it. Don't ignore what your gut is telling you. We do have reasons to be upset with those who never stood up to the narcissist for us or even just minimally. It is a betrayal of sorts. We need to seek positive people who will care about us and who will back us up. They are out there. Find new "families".

How Much Severe Obesity is Actually "Swollen With Fluids"?

 old painting done by me sometime in mid 90s

Yesterday I laid down in bed many hours. Sometimes I will do this. Why? This doesn't mean I never get up, taking pills, making meals, cleaning stuff, answering the phone still has to be done but when I lay in bed, I will sometimes pee hour on the hour. It takes the fluids down, and with that the pain. For years, laying down for hours a day was mandatory to control swelling and water. Yes I worry about my activity levels too.

Hopefully the Flexitouch System folks will show up at my door very soon, here is me laying down, with my less severe leg encased in a demonstration model. I am praying it is approved. When I got measured, and had it on my worse leg, it took three inches off my calf in just 20 minutes. That is on a leg that had been reduced down by quite a lot already.

 I look forward to having more fluids taken off. There are days I am lighter, and ones where I am heavier now. Things will happen to me where sitting in scooters, my stomach won't touch the front of it and will be 4-5 inches away, and on a swollen day, that space just does not exist. Even my hands will go from plump mittens to being thinner and with loose skin on less swollen up days. On "lighter" days walking is far easier.

My legs did shrink from all the compression therapy. Both legs were swollen up, even the "thinnest" one. My worse leg is far smaller then it used to be. During this time when the picture was taken, infections were constant.

Sorry for husband's knee blocking my foot in the picture with the red dress. That leg has been reduced even more believe it or not as well as the thin one. I will have to keep my legs wrapped for the rest of my life.

But over the months since my lipedema diagnosis, I have been pondering what about other severely fat people? How many people are like me, where they are a lipedema or lipo-lymphedema case? How many women have died even, being told as it was ALL THEIR FAULT while being handed diets that don't work?

When I look at videos of other super fat women. I wonder how many could fall into my category? How many are swollen with fluids? How many are untreated lipedemics? This is not something doctors are looking for. If anything even if doctors admit you have lymphedema, and they did with me as early as 1999 with my worse leg--actually my lymphedema was all over, it is one of those most undertreated conditions if you are overweight.  They don't have you get compression therapy. They tell you things like you will swell up less if you "lose weight". And in this they do people a great disservice.

I see super-obese people all over where it looks like they may have a condition like mine. Yes some do not fit and have "thin" legs and their fat distribution is far different but people like me are out there.

How many of the super over the edge fat people actually have lymphatic disorders that have caused their bodies to swell beyond the pale? It's far more then what is admitted.

More research needs to be done on obesity. Too many are being hurt even by other conditions where the diet industry formulas hold sway.

Monday, July 21, 2014

"I Feel So Different"

This was another favorite Sinead O'Connor song. I am sure she wrote this song for a bad relationship. But I listen to it and apply to being No Contact from abusers and walking on into life seeking good people. A year in, and I can tell I feel "different" already. When you walk out of the mess and walk into freedom, the doors open up. I still have fear from the economic pressures but life becomes a visa of possibilities and some happiness, with the weight of oppressors removed.

Food Diaries and Nutritionist

My nutritionist gave me the adult version of this plate. Half of our plates are supposed to be vegetables. I kept a three week long food diary. My calories per day ranged from 1560-2300. The average was 1800-2000.

In a three week period, the "bad foods" I ate was 10 small onion rings--on July 4th with a grilled chicken sandwich from a restaurant, a piece of blueberry pie at a church potluck and 1 chocolate chip cookie from a box of them my husband bought.

Good meals included quinoa patties, veggie patties, almond milk, peaches, tomatoes, green beans,  a bucket of frozen broccoli and oriental vegetables cooked, one seaweed package, multiple salads, grilled chicken and a few bananas.

 I learned to avoid a certain mainstream corporate restaurant like the plague. MSG? Even in grilled chicken, rice and broccoli? I still have some bad habits to tighten down. I shouldn't have eaten the sweets. I like to eat half turkey sandwiches.

A lot of my food is lighter "lunch" fare. Many things have too many calories in them like 1 packet of fancy ramen noodles from an Asian grocery store having 500 calories. Watermelon seems to ease my digestive system and has only 50 calories a cup.

However I am too damn hungry all the time. It worries me.  It's 11:20 and I ate two piece of toast with vegan butter and a cup of scrambled tofu with some green onions and green peppers at 8:00 am and I already have hunger pain going like gangbusters. Why does the body want food constantly? Why can't it leave me alone?

I learned to delay lunch to stretch things out. The nutritionist wants me to eat every 4 hours. The food insecurity stuff makes eating healthy hard. I'm out of lettuce today which is irritating me because I need to fill up half my plate with veggies. I need more low calorie vegetable dish ideas.

One doctor wants me to eat 1200 a day. I don't see it happening but I have to get things lower then what they are. I may tell the nutritionist I am going to attempt 1800 a day as a baselevel to stick to.

  I took a walk almost everyday, not sure what to do know since heat is back but did stretchy bands last night. Well food is complicated. Hopefully the increase in vegetables will help me. Even with the lipedema diagnosis, I still have to make sure I do not gain weight and get off what I can. Hopefully with a Flexitouch machine coming soon, I will lose more water weight.

I have slept less on the increase in thyroid, no more 12-13 hour sleep marathons. I can feel a change already.

Bill of Rights Decimated

The Brick Wall Technique

Yes this one summed things up for me. My narcissistic mother would write or screech, "You're so angry!", as if my feelings arose out of a vacuum even the flying monkeys would say, "We are so sorry you feel that way!" putting the onus on me for daring be sad or upset. This is why nothing will be is solved or worked out with narcissists, they have no remorse and they do not care how they affect other's feelings. Their mode is to discount, ignore and invalidate your feelings. They will play the game of telling you that you are "crazy" to feel the way that you do, since they are so assured of their own perfection it's beyond disgusting. There is relief for me in seeing through this game. I realize what was done to me and that is empowering. People who discount your feelings reject who you are and should be avoided.

People Will Stare

Give them something to look at. :)