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Archive for January, 2010

This!

explains everything.

This Psychology Today blog post on narcissism and why narcissists are so popular and people keep falling for them is the Theory of Everything. For me, anyway, for today.

What did they find? As expected, narcissists tended to be more liked at first sight. Also as predicted, narcissists exhibited neater and flashier appearances, more charming facial expressions, more self-assured body movement, and more humorous verbal expressions.

But what they report next really shocked me. Not all facets of narcissism were equally predictive of popularity. In fact, the Leadership/Authority facet was almost completely unrelated with first impressions. They found that the facet that most strongly predicted popularity was the Exploitativeness/Entitlement facet. Additionally, while all of the facets of narcissism were substantially related to all of the cues that were rated by the observers, the Exploitativeness/Entitlement facet had more consistent and stronger correlations with the cues than any of the other facets!

In other words, the very worst narcissists–the exploitive ones who feel entitled to everything and will use you like a dish rag–are the ones who come across as most attractive and most charming on the first meeting. I won’t cut and paste the descriptions but they fit the Ex and the Engineer to a T–and my mother, too, who is very nice to people she doesn’t know and always well-liked by anyone she doesn’t live with, even if she is incapable of forming real friendships or relationships with them.

Another paradox, which Emmons (1996) called the narcissistic paradox, is the narcissts’ tendency to simultaneously devalue others while at the same time needing the admiration of others. As Morf & Rhodewalt (2001) put it, as narcissists

“yearn and reach for self-affirmation, they destroy the very relationships on which they are dependent.”

Back and colleagues note that narcissists can ‘solve’ the paradox by only relying on positive feedback from those with zero acquaintance whom they do not have to value.

Oh my god. Does that not explain the entire fifteen tortuous years of whatever-it-was with the Engineer? Positive feedback from those with zero acquaintance whom they do not have to value! Does it not explain almost everything about the Ex’s internet sex compulsion? Positive feedback from those with zero acquaintance whom they do not have to value. I knew him, and thus my feelings for him were intolerable because they were real and complicated and not composed entirely of admiration.

And my mother. Let’s not forget her. The people she lives with are intolerable, burdens, toxic waste dumps to be used as repositories for her negativity and anger and hate and scorn. Now that it’s my Dad, she hates him; when I was there, she hated me. It was more consistent with her self-image.

She can only deal with people she doesn’t have to know.

In light of this, I think blogging is a terrific arena for narcissists, if not the best arena imaginable. Narcissistic bloggers can get a constant stream of admiration from complete strangers in the form of comments after each blog post. The blogger doesn’t have to value the commentator or form a relationship with the commentator. In fact, the commentator is helping to feed the narcisstic blogger’s addiction for instant admiration. And comments that are too critical can easily be deleted.

I know that several of you know exactly who I’m talking about.

We tend to be attracted to people who possess the four qualities (flashy and neat dress, charming facial expression, self-assured body movements, and humorous verbal expression) that narcissists tend to (initially) possess. And to complicate matters, the JPSP study suggests that if someone at first encounter has all four qualities, chances are they are a narcissist. And not just any kind of narcissist, but the very worst kind- the kind that enjoys exploiting others while feeling a sense of entitlement in doing so.

So what are we supposed to do, intentionally go for those who show the traits that are exactly the opposite of what is generally considered attractive?

*Yes, that’s precisely what i’m suggesting!*

That’s good advice. I think I’ll take it.

The Trader wore ripped blue jeans the first time we met–it was a lunch date, he was working that day. He apologized for it. It was cute.

I think I’m safe on that score.

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My family actually found the other blog, which probably should not be that surprising except that I never talked about it and I always figured that with 80,000,000 blogs on the internet chances are they’d never stumble on it. Except a cousin did, who sent it to a cousin who sent it to a cousin who sent it to a cousin who sent it to their mother (my aunt) and so on until it got back to my Dad who then sent me a brief note about it. “I like your writing. I don’t remember the sofa incident.”

The sofa incident, for anyone who does not remember, being that time when I was little when my Dad threw me onto a sofa and I landed on the metal spine at the back and it hurt like hell and I cried and he told me it didn’t hurt because it was only a sofa and sent me to my room when I couldn’t stop crying. Lesson being: your feelings aren’t real, and if they are real they’re wrong, and in any case it’s not my fault.

It did show up on the old blog. He must have read back a ways to find it, or been directed there by an aunt. And then sent me a note to say he didn’t remember it.

No apology to go with it, not even an emotion like “Wow, that must have affected you” or “I don’t remember it but I’m sorry you had to go through that” or anything–or am I asking too much? It’s odd, isn’t it? To read an internet account of your child saying you abused them (whether intentionally or not) and only to muster “I don’t remember” in reply?

I think if that were to happen with PP, if one day she had a blog and I found it and read on it the recounting of an event where I’d hurt her and I didn’t remember it or I had different memories, I would talk to her about it. Her feelings about it, her memories, the way it affected her, would count. They would matter to me. I would want to know where they came from, if I had hurt her I would want to know so I could apologize and make amends.

Then again, it’s that kind of family.

People don’t talk to each other, they talk about each other. They other day a cousin posted a FB status update to bitch about an anonymous aunt. It’s just that kind of family. The kind where you find your cousin’s blog and read it for years without saying anything, just passing it along to the other cousins and aunts and uncles until a while later it gets back to me through my Dad, who then admits having read something fairly explosive but without emotion or acknowledgment.

Another brick in the “even when I tell them about me, it doesn’t register and it doesn’t count” wall. I probably could write that Clod-and-Pebble memoir and be as open and honest as I please, and the thing I fear–that it would rupture all these strained and fragile relationships–wouldn’t come to pass, because it would require them to care about what I think and what I remember about my life.

Maybe what I should do is conduct an experiment.

Think of, say, three or five things that my parents don’t know about me and just tell them the next time I see them. And see what happens. God knows there are hundreds to choose from. I could tell them that the Ex is a sex addict, I was never meant to be a career girl, I enjoy improvisation in crafts, PP is good at match and her best friend is her math buddy (and a boy), and I’ve written a couple of trunk novels. And then see. Do they ask me any questions? Does it register? Do they remember it later? Do they care, does it count?

My parents know nothing about me.

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So, ok, how about this one?

The Trader had a dog from a shelter last summer. He thought it would be a nice playmate for Trader-Tot and maybe a companion for him in his new solo lifestyle. Then Trader-Tot and the Evil Ex moved Far Far Away (and as Madeleine and Niamh can atest, it is truly Far Far Away) and the Trader’s life became dominated by travel schedules, and he realized that he was no longer capable of caring for the dog appropriately. So he decided, with a heavy heart, to bring it back to the shelter (it is a no-kill rescue operation and the dog was in no danger, though of course it would be very *sad*).

Last minute he thought to ask me if maybe my parents might like the dog, it being about their preferred size, age and activity level. I asked them.

This still makes me angry, but it’s recent so maybe that’s ok.

“Well,” they said. “We’ll take it if it’s a choice between our house or the pound, but we really don’t want to, we have enough dogs. We will if we have to, though. But who could treat a dog so poorly? Why wouldn’t he think about this before he got a dog?”

Oh gee, I don’t know, maybe like most people he didn’t think he’d married someone who would move their child across an ocean out of spite. And maybe he already feels badly enough about this and doesn’t need your moralizing. And maybe it’s actually a good thing that he’s prioritizing his relationship with his son over the care of a dog.

Unlike my parents, who have always treated their dogs very well, and treat their children like used tissues.

I was so angry–I still am–to think that they could actually dare to criticize someone for being a good parent and a poor pet owner, when they themselves spend a fortune on and spoil their dogs while treating their daughter like an escaped mental patient. Is it any wonder I hate them?

I love them too, but my god, I hate them. They are as crazy as two moths in a candle shop.

So I suppose on that encounter they scored both on Not Knowng Maeve and on Not Knowing Themselves. If only they’d just bought dogs and never had kids.

(sigh)

Using Bea’s comment as a semi-model: they don’t know my schedules. My Dad always calls at 8, which is just when I’m putting PP to bed so I can’t answer, and then calling back means I miss my run which I do when she goes to sleep, and I tell him this every time but he never remembers. So I let his calls go to the machine and I call back when I have the internal fortitude to listen to the whining which means I get a guilt trip along the lines of “Oh, you’re calling back, I thought maybe you were ignoring me.”

They know of the friends I made in highschool who I am still in touch with (which means you, Niamh), but despite having met other friends including mom-friends particularly at PP’s birthday parties they never remember them. Or their kids. Nor are they interested in hearing about them, not that I am all that keen to offer up whatever is going on in their lives to their particular brand of hypocritical moralizing. They don’t know about my blog friends. They don’t know about my mom friends. They don’t know about my poetry or writing friends. Even the ones they’ve met. They ask no questions, and remember nothing.

Even the thought of discussing parenting strategies with my parents leads to such a state of cognitive dissonance I fear I am in danger of complete mental shutdown. No good. No, Dear Readers, it has never happened, nor will it ever, nor would anything good come of it if it did. Oh my dear lord. I can only imagine what my parents would have to offer if I ever even tentatively suggested that I might like to find ways of getting PP to get ready a little faster in the morning. It would be sure to include heavy doses of It Is All Maeve’s Fault, or Maeve Is Imagining Things Again, along with a good strong measure of If PP Is Misbehaving You Need to Control Her Through Threats and Intimidation, which is always the answer they have for other people’s children. And which explains a lot.

(By the way, maybe I can talk to you a little bit about it. Not only is PP slow, not only according to me but her father and all her teachers and daycare teachers as well, to the point of often missing her lunch recess because she isn’t done eating yet or her afternoon recess because she hasn’t yet completed her work, but she knows she is slow and it bothers her. Not in any obvious way, meaning she doesn’t tell me it bothers her, but the other night when she couldn’t sleep at 1 am, poor poppet, and I gave her a snack because she was so hungry, and she sat on the couch with it talking more than eating, she said in a tone of exasperation, “Mummy, am I the slowest eater you have ever known?” It sounded like she’d borrowed it word for word from someone else’s mouth, and I’ll bet you a hundred dollars it’s her Dad because it sounds like the sort of thing he’d say, tone included. “You are a slow eater,” I said. “It’s more that you talk a lot than that you are slow at eating, though.” “Yes,” she said. “I do talk a lot when I am supposed to be eating. But I just have so much to say! Like to my friends, I have to tell them that they are my friends and that I like them a lot!” Which is adorable and I can’t fault her priorities–much–but knowing that she knows she is slow (literally slow, not mentally slow) and that she knows it bothers people and that it bothers her that it bothers people is the sort of thing that, if my parents were sane, I might talk to them about and get some feedback on. Instead I tell them that everything is fine with her and she is nearly perfect and there is nothing going on, ever.)

So–back on topic–more evidence that my parents know nothing about me.

Articles or books they think I might like?

My mother lent me the Sex and the City movie.

I told her I’d never watched an episode and didn’t really think much of the show, but she insisted I borrow it anyway. When I’m going to find the time to watch a movie I don’t want to see to make my mother feel good, I’m not quite sure.

So even when I tell her something about me–it doesn’t register, and it doesn’t count.

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Mom: Would you like some tea? [while I am visiting]

Maeve: Sure, thanks!

Mom: Do you want cream or sugar?

Maeve: No, I drink it black.

We have had this same conversation now for at least seventeen years. I never put anything in my tea. I drink it black–and, frequently, sludge-like for maximum caffeine impact.

I’m aiming for ten minutes each day of my-parents-don’t-know-me-ness, and it’s tough to think of examples because of that whole, well, Evidence of Absence thing. Writing about something that never happens is tough.

So I am trying to think of something they should know about me or be interested in about me. Things that other people do know. Things that aren’t Deep Dark Secrets.

Things like … that I spend a lot of time reading poetry, particularly nature poetry. Things like … that I once was part of a panel discussion on blogging at a conference. Or who my good friends are these days, who I spend time with. Or that I love math and science, and read about physics and biology and evolution and neuroscience and psychology for fun. I don’t know, Dear Readers. What are some things your parents know about you? What are some things you make it a point to learn about your own kids?

~~~~~

When I wrote the first evidence post a couple of days ago, that little riff at the end where I thanked the fear for its long service and invited it to retire … all of a sudden the image of a young girl, about ten, something like a cross between me at that age and a Dickens street urchin popped into my head. She had long, dirty, dishwater blond hair, a blank little face and a knife. “Don’t worry,” she said, “I won’t let anyone get close enough to hurt us like that ever again.”

And I thought, my god, all these years I’ve been kicking this little girl in the head. Shut up, go away, sit down, stop bothering me, don’t you realize how hard it is to act normal when you’re around screwing everything up? Can’t you let me alone? And all this time it’s been this little girl trying to keep me safe.

So for the past few days, instead of kicking the fear in the head when it pops up, I’ve tried telling it that it’s ok now. You’re safe, I’ll take care of you, it’s over. It’s my job to protect you now. And I don’t know why or how, but it does feel like something’s shifted with it.

No idea yet whether it’ll stick or make much difference. It does feel better, though.

I remember clearly so many times as a child thinking, “I’m going to grow up and get out of here and I’ll never come back and I’ll NEVER let myself be dependent, I’ll never need anyone, I will ALWAYS be in a position where if someone hurts me I can leave.” I remember making that promise, and I’ve kept it, for good or ill (mostly ill). I don’t remember making the other one. But I did, and I kept that too.

Two Wicked Vows that need to be broken.

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Finding evidence of absence is just as hard as they say, Dear Readers.

So if I think about it, knowing someone involves two things: 1) You are curious about that person; you ask them questions and engage them in conversation, and then, 2) You display recall of those conversations or interactions later. You remember what they told you or what you saw. You show that you were paying attention.

Maybe I should focus on the first, and then the second.

They don’t communicate with me. My father calls sometimes, but only to complain about his life and my mother, really. He asks perfunctory questions about work but I know from experience that if I actually try to answer them or talk about what life is really like, I will be punished for it. My mother never calls me at all, and when we do speak (whether in person or because I called them) she has nothing to say.

This has gone back as far as I can remember. Did they know me better when I was a child, living at home? In a way, yes–because they could observe me. They could see me reading and writing all the time, so they knew I liked to read and write. But they never showed any interest in the books I was reading, nor did they ever ask to read the stories I wrote. They didn’t ask about my friends. Later on, they showed no interest in my boyfriends, issuing blanket approvals of all of them (“someone actually likes our fuck-up daughter!”) without ever inquiring as to their plans or intentions or talking to me about good vs. bad boyfriends.

They knew what toys I liked but not what games I liked to play with them, thus persisting for years in the belief that I liked dolls and barbies because I was girlie, when actually I had them go off on super-secret missions to save the planet xybikon.

Since I began publishing non-fiction in the past couple of years, they have not asked once to read any one of my articles. They display no interest or curiosity whatsoever. I emailed my dad my first print piece and he emailed me back something like “neat!” He had no questions about it, no compliments, and hasn’t asked to see any others since.

They display no interest in why I left the Ex.

When one boyfriend disappeared in my teens and I locked myself in my bedroom for three weeks, not even leaving it to take a shower, they didn’t ask me what was wrong.

When I tried to commit suicide, they didn’t ask me why.

When I tried to tell them about the bullying in middle school, they blamed me for it and refused to listen to my stories about it.

When I tried to tell them, as a very young child, when they had done something that hurt me, they reacted with rage–especially if I cried as I told them I was hurt. If I tried to avoid this by writing it out, they mocked the letters. But they certainly did not want to know.

They never asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. When I made a decision of what school to go to after highschool and what to study there, they didn’t ask, they had no input. They were happy that my choice met their test of pragmatism but didn’t ask why that was my choice.

They never seemed to care who my friends were or what we did together. There were no rules and no curfews and they never asked what I did when I got home, or if I had fun.

This all seemed perfectly normal when I lived there.

They don’t ask me what I do with my time or what I’m reading now. They ask me about work. I give them a one-word answer. That is the end of the conversation about me.

There must be something, some fundamental piece of neural equipment, that either never existed in their heads or atrophied from lack of use, because they don’t appear to know that this is what people do or should do when they want a relationship of any kind with anyone. As far as I can tell, they don’t have these conversations with each other either.

This has got to be painful for them, even if they can’t or don’t know it.

But it is simply untrue that they hated and rejected me because they knew me so much better than anyone else did, and that was always my assumption, and the reason other people had to be kept at a distance.

I’m not writing this to criticize them for their behaviour, although it was an atrocious way to treat a child. But the neuroplasticity gurus these days keep writing and saying that your brain will structurally change with repeated attention or practice of new behaviours or new thoughts. So I guess what I’m trying to do is carve those new neural pathways by making it a habit to think of my parents as people who know basically nothing about me and who’ve hated and rejected me for unrelated reasons of their own.

So I’m practicing:

My parents know nothing about me. My parents know nothing about me. My parents know nothing about me. And I will keep practicing. And it will undoubtedly get very boring for you, Dear Readers.

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This is the chapter that will write itself: more evidence that my parents don’t know the first thing about me, as demonstrated by their inability to choose a gift I have any use for:

The digital photo frame that has sat on my bookshelf for a year, not even plugged in, because I have no use or desire for a frame that needs electricity to display a picture. I have used it in the past and will probably let guilt trump common sense again in the future but it is never something I would have picked or wanted for myself.

The GPS, when I don’t drive.

Many years worth of small and tasteful jewelery birthday presents. I never wear jewelery. I’ve been engaged twice and never wore an engagement ring.

The box of pre-cut scrapbooking doodads. I do like scrapbooking, but I enjoy mostly the creative aspects, and do almost all of it myself. I have struggled to use even a few of the precut doodads in my layouts, back when I had the time for scrapbooking. Pre-made card-making things. Again, there’s no scope for creativity, so I never use them. I let PP use them instead, and make sure to use those cards for my mother.

A nice little lipgloss set. I hardly ever wear makeup.

They do ok for PP, with explicit directions, but even then there are gaffes. The books about dinosaurs and fairies that are years too old for her; the fairy toys because my Mom likes to think of her as and call her a fairy, when PP doesn’t get the joke. Of course it’s easier to get gifts for a kid, especially one who is easily pleased. So many toys! And so many of them are so much fun.

I don’t want to sound as if I am complaining that they give me gifts. It’s even easy enough to see, with some of them, that they are truly trying hard to find and give me something I will like. Maeve likes scrapbooking, we’ll get here these scrapbooking supplies! And so on. But because they don’t know me, they don’t know what it is I like about scrapbooking, so they get things I won’t like and struggle to use. It’s not difficult to get me something I would like and use, but generally they’re not for sale on the home shopping network, and my mother doesn’t want to leave the house to go shopping.

Even people who hardly know me at all can usually manage to give me something I appreciate and can use. The SA’s parents, last christmas, gave me a very nice christmas cookbook. His sister gave me a fair-trade tea mug that I still use all the time–it was the second time I’d met her. The Trader, who I’ve only known for a few months, got the books and the skates.
So many of my friends have found perfect things for myself or for PP, things I treasure and use all the time. But my parents, who have known me for my whole life, got me the World’s Ugliest Purse for christmas.

They just don’t know me at all. And if they don’t know me, they can’t hate me for any good reason.

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I’ve been reading yet another book about how to overhaul your personality. Well, that’s too drastic–about how to change longstanding and damaging patterns such as dismissing, preoccupied or disorganized attachment, ptsd, poor anger control, inability to connect to or express emotions, and so on (it’s called Mindsight, and I’ll probably review it on FB when I’m done if you’re interested). These books are hard, not only because they remind me of the many many things about myself I am dissatisfied with and want to change but because they also remind me of where so many of these things originated. So I end up reading them in a state of furious, depressive anxiety, heart pounding and all.

But I did get some good stuff out of it. The discussion about implicit and explicit memories, for example, and how implicit memories don’t feel like memories because they don’t have the sensation of recall. So it feels like something that is happening now even if it’s something that actually happened thirty years ago. Apparently gaining the ability to be more objective by practicing some form of meditation can help one prevent implicit memories from intruding on the present so forecfully.

I hope so, because there are so many things that are triggering, and unfairly so. Like just reading that book. My parents were not in that room actively rejecting me as I read, but it sure felt like it.

He also talks a lot about those famous coping mechanisms from childhood that are maladaptive in adulthood. Like the woman whose stepmother was so relentlessly critical and attacking that one day she simply told herself that she would never feel anything again, and she didn’t. Until she came into therapy at nearly fifty with the sensation that life felt flat and meaningless.

Some of my coping mechanisms are historical, and need to go (eg. “Never talk to anyone or let them get close to you because if you do they’re sure to hate you as much as your parents did”). But some are current, and what do I do with those?

There are so many things that it seems like I can’t afford to let myself think about or feel right now, because I need to be functional. I can’t afford to get lost in a ruminative, depressive funk for a couple of months and hope it all gets straightened out; besides which, it wouldn’t because there are no real solutions. So: I don’t let myself think about my parents these days because I can’t afford to be so upset or angry at them, it’s too distracting, I can’t work. I don’t let myself think about how much I still hate the Ex or blame him for how challenging life can be post-divorce, because we need to have a civil co-parenting relationship for PP’s sake (and yes, I know how much harder so many other people have it, but being a single mom without a lot of help is still hard). I don’t let myself think (much) about the problems with the apartment or neighbours or how little I enjoy my job because none of those things can be changed right now. There is so much stuff I’m talking myself out of feeling, constantly, that I think I’ve talked myself out of feeling pretty well altogether.

There has to be a better way, but what? I’ve identified a coping mechanism but if it’s actually helping me cope and I need it … then what do I replace it with? Being a quivering heap? That’s no good.

However. The job/housing thing is most likely to be temporary–it CAN change and probably will even if not now. And maybe when the rest of my life is a bit less stressful I’ll be a bit less angry that the Ex’s choices have affected so many lives, and ours much more than his. And the parents thing….

After my Mom un-dumped me, I never did have that talk about “it’s the Ex or me, you need to make a choice.” I was too confused and unsettled by her just going back to the old weird normal as if nothing had happened. But last night it sure felt like I needed to. Like we needed to just have it out and get it over with one way or the other. And I cried and cried and cried.

And once all of the crying was done (which I am still wearing today, thanks for asking, in puffy eyelids and a stuffed nose), a few things occured to me.

Like, this is probably an implicit memory. It feels like the present but it’s thirty years old. If I could only get a bit more distance from it, maybe it wouldn’t feel so overwhelming. Because as much as it felt like it my parents were not in the room telling me that I am unloveable.

Like, the fact is that this is not the catastrophic event it was when I was five, when I depended on and needed them and they defined my world for me. I pay my own way now, I don’t need them to live, and I have other (far better, far kinder and more reliable) sources of connection and self-esteem than their broken estimations. Like, it still feels catastrophic, as if it would be the end of the world if they were to reject me again, but that too is probably an implicit memory. Their rejection now would be painful but it would hardly change anything material in my life.

Like, the resolution I want is not going to happen. My father, if I spoke to him separately, might possibly understand and apologize, but that would change nothing. He knows that the Ex cheated on me and is associating with him regardless because it is the easy and non-confrontational thing to do. If the chance to bring this up with him comes up, I will probably say something about how angry and hurt I am about this, but I should not expect anything to change. And my mother has never apologized for anything and is not likely to begin now. So if we did have it out now, and if I did issue my ultimatum, I would simply lose my parents. Who are shitty parents, and it’s not much of a loss for me, but it is a loss for PP, who has no other family close by. And it could also sever the very slight relationship I have with my brother and SIL, who live far away but who also are the parents to one of PP’s few cousins.

I just can’t imagine putting PP through that after the divorce. “Honey, you know how I said that parents can’t stop loving their kids even if they stop loving each other, so you shouldn’t be worried about that? Well, sometimes, parents can stop loving their kids, and your grandparents stopped loving me so we won’t be going to visit them anymore.” Ugh.

Like, if I can gain that distance and truly believe and feel that this is not a catastrophic event, then maybe I won’t feel like I need that confrontation or resolution either. Just as I no longer need to confront the bullies who made me so miserable when I was in middle school. Because, enh. What impact do they have on my life now?

Like, that constant fear that haunts me that anyone else who ever gets to really know me will figure out why my parents hated me and hate me just as much is totally unfounded, because my parents have no clue who I am. They don’t hate me because of some extra, superior, special knowledge of my inner self. If they had even a passing acquaintance with my outer self, they wouldn’t have bought me the World’s Ugliest Purse as a christmas present.

That’s what they told me. That even if no one else had figured it out yet, I deserved their hatred and rejection. As a child I had no choice but to believe them. Now I don’t have to.

(There’s another book I’m reading now that has a section about how to challenge and change beliefs as well so I’m trying to draw on that too.)

If the belief is that anyone who gets to know me well will hate and reject me for the same reasons my parents did, then all I need to do is convince the unconscious grey matter that my parents don’t know anything about me, and maybe this will go poof and disippate like a bad dream in a cartoon show. Which is not to say that everyone will then necessarily think I’m great, but at least the possibility that they won’t may not seem so certain or so terrifying. (It is terrifying. Those old feelings creep into the present a lot. They’re creeping right now. Hello, old friends. You know, I appreciate all you’ve done for me in the past, but it’s ok now. I’m not going to be tossed out on the street to starve and die alone if any one particular person doesn’t like me, even if that person is a parent. You can relax now. Your job is done.)

Anyway. I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks writing out in as much detail as I can every bit of evidence I can find that my parents haven’t got the first clue who I am. There should be a lot. Let’s see if it works.

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