Damages 

So last night was the night I had been dreading since Thursday. It was the night that had put me on a real downer Thursday and Friday. I had to go to my mum’s house last night. 

Well, what do you make of this … 

She gave us an envelope and then walked inside. We opened the envelope to see a card with a cute kitten on the front. Inside was a handwritten poem which said that they (mum and stepdad) had put a “small amount” in our bank account.  

I wasn’t expecting this AT ALL and instantly my eyes filled up with tears. I felt SO awfully guilty. We went inside and thanked them both and my mum seemed very pleased with herself and said how she couldn’t believe she had written the poem herself and that it had almost made her cry too! 

Guess how much the small amount was? £5,000. Five thousand actual pounds. Fuck!! 

I felt awful for the things I’ve thought, said, dreamt about and I felt guilty for so many things. 

But I also thought to myself it is just money. It is just money. (Admittedly a bloody huge amount of it). 

Well, I found myself then thinking “I should tell her about the redundancy situation. I should tell her about my new job“.

I actually caught that thought and had to tell myself not to do that. I had to tell myself that her giving us money didn’t mean she got to know stuff that I had clearly chosen not to tell her right now. That her reaction wouldn’t be better just because she had given us money. 

The rest of the night was fine, mainly because family friends were there. I didn’t tell her anything. 

We left and I’ve felt fine since. I will confess that I went out earlier and spent £170 on new work clothes and a new work bag. I laughed and told my fiancé I was spending “my damages”… clearly that was a bad tasting joke with a small element of truth to it. 

Half of me is feeling the very clear pull the money has had on me… the other half is thinking the money repairs nothing. It changes nothing. 

Isn’t money powerful? Or am I just easily bought? 

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She’s upped the ante

Oh Wow.

So I got to work this morning and things were manic. I’ve been covering our coordinator for the last week as I always do when she is on holiday or unwell and that means I am the person that allocates cover for staff that are unwell or on holiday and means I am the go to person for the support staff and sort out capacity and answer any queries etc. I was rushing around helping one of our lawyers with some urgent work and I saw work friend in my peripheral vision. As I said yesterday I am trying to just stay out of her way at the moment as I have no intention of trying to be the one to fix this latest spat again. So I kept my head down and looked at the piece of paper I was holding.

She then (very loudly) tutted, sighed and made a comment along the lines of “Oh for Christ’s sake” and I just ignored it and carried on with my work.

An hour later she “Replied To All” to an email I had sent to the entire department. This included lawyers and support staff. She replied to all to ask something which she thought I had not dealt with and in my eyes, tried to make me look bad again. She could have emailed only me (or phoned me, or asked me face to face).  I was furious and so I replied only to her and told her nothing was needed because it had been dealt with. I wanted to tell her never to do that to me again, but thought better of it. Trying to keep our spat separate from work – unlike her.

I then went to lunch an hour ago with two of my other friends and we were sitting at a table eating our lunch when she appeared in the canteen. Obviously this made me feel very awkward and tense (nervous if truth be told!) because I didn’t want to ask her to join me because we are not talking and I am keen to actually resolve our issues and not just do the usual sweep it under the rug thing… she then proceeded to slam her food tray down on the table right next to us and pull out her chair loudly to make a point. She then sat there on her own and began to eat her lunch.

I felt SO uncomfortable because not only was she sitting on her own which made me feel guilty, she was so close she could hear everything I was saying which is just awkward and made me feel as though I couldn’t relax even at lunch. Like it isn’t bad enough getting things shouted out at me when I am walking to the bathroom at work! Anyway I decided to try and ignore my feelings and so just carried on eating and talking to the others.

A few minutes later she jumped up from her chair, causing the chair to shriek across the floor, slammed her food on a tray and stormed over to my table where he stared at me in a way only your mother could – a total look of disapproval and anger and shouted (literally shouted) “REALLY??? REALLY?????????” then stormed off.

The “Really?” was clearly her way of voicing her disapproval and anger at me not inviting her to join our table. She is now back in victim mentality and knowing her as well as I do, she will probably now cry and tell anyone at work that I am ignoring her for no reason and excluding her, forcing her to sit alone at lunch time. I will be made to look like the bad guy as always.

I am so sick of this. I try so hard to fight against my feelings of just smoothing things over for the sake of keeping the peace, but I don’t want to be emotionally blackmailed like this anymore and so I am trying to stay true to myself and stick to my feelings that if she wants to join me for lunch, we clearly need to resolve our differences first and have an adult discussion – not at work and not in front of other people.

She needs to stop making me feel obligated and guilty if I don’t see her and playing on the fear that she knows I feel not knowing when she will ignore me or huff and puff or verbally shout at me.

She needs to separate our friendship from work and stop with the emails and she needs to respect the role I am in when I am covering this coordinator and respect that as everyone else does (i.e. when she decided she was unwell the other day and couldn’t come into the office, she should have told me, but she didn’t because she feels she is older and therefore has no obligation to tell me – despite the fact that she DOES tell the actual coordinator when she is here and she is younger anyway!!).

It isn’t much to ask is it?

So now what do I do? I am now feeling even more tense and nervous and awkward – the atmosphere is awful as you can imagine. All of this is intolerable, I do not want to be in this position and I do not want to feel I have to sort things out just to avoid feeing bullied at work. She is 53 for goodness sake.

Get Out Of Jail Free Card: Toxic Friendships/Relationships

I don’t know if anyone remembers me talking about my work friend a while ago, the lady who is in her mid-fifties that gets very angry and sulks if I don’t go to lunch with her? Well, earlier this week before things went to shit with T, she did it again. The story itself is pretty long and boring so I won’t bother to go into that, but she is currently doing her usual sulking and ignoring me thing which is seriously pathetic! Anyway, me and my boyfriend have just been out to lunch together and we were talking about it and it just made me realise a few things very clearly.

I am suddenly so aware of the amount of friendships and relationships I have had over the years with toxic people or people who are dysfunctional to me somehow. I realise that I attracted these people because it was a familiar dynamic to me. For example I was used to being put down and taken the piss out of by my mother and so I attracted a narcissist as a best friend for 8 years right up until she gave me the perfect get out of jail free card last August. One down.

I then started to realise that work friend is also unhealthy and I realised a while ago that she was also attracted to me for similar reasons. She isn’t out-rightly abusive like the other friend was.  She wouldn’t call me names or tell me I looked ugly BUT she does demand my constant attention and if I choose to do something other than see her, I do get punished. Emotional blackmail.

I found myself saying to my boyfriend today that I was secretly quite enjoying the fact she hasn’t spoken to me since the beginning of the week because I felt relaxed and able to do what I wanted to with my lunch hours at work without feeling guilty or without having to be the subject of her aggression when I walked past her desk (she has previously shouted things out to me as childish as “OH BYE THEN!!!” if I walked past her desk in front of other colleagues which is just pure cringe.

I told him that I was enjoying the silent treatment she was giving me this time and he asked “how long can she carry that on for though?” and I said I didn’t know but she is extremelly stubborn and has never apologised before. She usually blames it something that maks it impossble to argue with (usually that it was the anniversary of someone’s death) and so it gets swept under the rug. He then asked “how long can you carry that on for?” and I said I would quite like to carry it on indefinitely – if only that was possible.  I told him I had thought about how nice it would be if I were to get a new job and be free of her and also said that I’ve imagined what it would be like if she were to leave herself.  I have no doubt that I would feel so much happier every day at work (I know this makes me sound like a cow).

My boyfriend made a comment about how many people like this I have in my life and how he found it rather amazing and I explained that, actually, it isn’t a surprise at all – that was my normal and these two friends of mine were, at the time, exactly what I wanted and needed. People who kept me down, kept me in my place, kept my self-esteem non-existent and kept me dependant on their approval.  I was programmed this way! All things I was used to with my mother. I attracted two more women, both in their fifties (like my mother) who acted in very similarly abusive ways – one just more subtle than the other.

We chatted about this for a while and he made a jokey comment about “who was next” meaning who was next to get “cut” from my life. I think he was joking although I do wonder if there is a little bit of worry about it being him one day in the back of his head. It will never be him because he is so genuinely kind and loving to me. I’ve never felt love and acceptance like it in my entire life. Still, it must make you worry a little when your girlfriend is in therapy for years and you see her change and make adjustments to what she will and will not put up with – and when that includes actual people – it must be a bit scary, right?

scissors

The thing is that I am linked to the two that are left: bitchface (mother) and work friend in ways that make escape very difficult.

With bitchface there are all sorts of difficulties there, family ties, taboo and possibly (although I find this hard to even write at the moment), POSSIBLY a tiny bit of hope that hasn’t quite gone awayyet that she will suddenly get better (I know, I know..).

With work friend, I have to see her EVERY DAY. I have to walk past her desk constantly every day to get to the bathroom and to get to the kitchen – to leave the office – everything. We also have to communicate about actual work now and again but that is easy because we have email and so that helps.

The point I am trying to make is, I feel kinda stuck with this unhealthy “friendship” and as awful as I feel saying this, if I didn’t work with this woman, I would absolutely not consider her a friend. I would not meet up with her and I imagine the polite texts that would no doubt be exchanged if one of us left our current job, would pretty quickly stop… until we no longer spoke at all. I feel equally as mean saying that I live in hope that something like that happens to free me from it.

Now I imagine reading that you are probably thinking that I have a massive victim mentality but I don’t mean it like that, I don’t mean it as a “poor me, what can I do” just I feel I am limited in what to do about it without causing great difficulties and heaps of guilt and awkwardness at work. Does that make sense?

I’ve written previously about my weird fantasy that my mother would do something so awful that I could cut contact with her and walk away without guilt – without having to try to get my family or family friends to understand. I know this isn’t going to happen because the abuse my mum put me through is over now (well in that I am an adult and in therapy)  – that all the undeniably bad things she did have already happened and nobody did “see” that ….  but it doesn’t stop the get out of jail free card fantasy that I have about it.

I know it is so cowardly but I wish they were all as easy as removing my ex narc friend from my life. I say easy now but obviously it wasn’t easy at the time at all. I went through lots of grieving for the friendship and felt heaps of guilt and sadness and doubt – but now I see very clearly that it was a very big step for me in terms of healing and removing one of the abusive people from my life.

What makes it so hard with the two that are left is that you can’t talk sense into these people.  They do not think they are doing anything wrong – who am I to moan having put up with it for so long? There are no “you did X and it made me feel like Y” chats to have with them.  One I am trapped into seeing because of taboo and family and the other because I have to see and work with her every day.

So what happens next then?

I guess the only “escape” is to strengthen my personal boundaries (hate that word) and start to make it more clear what I will and will not accept.  I guess that in time, they have to accept that I have these new boundaries or perhaps I will lose my appeal – either way I guess I am a winner LOL. I’m just wishing there was an easier way out – I guess its my own feelings I am trying to hide from, wishing there was a way not to have to feel the fear, the guilt, the sadness and everything else – fast-tracking to the end. If only things were that simple eh?

With work friend, I’ve got better at sticking to my guns. When I tell her I am not having lunch with her and she gets angry or sulks, I’ve stopped responding to her – I used to apologise or defend myself and enter into conversations about it which I no longer do. I state what I am doing and that is it, BUT unfortunately it does still get to me and as much as I hate to admit it, I do still feel the fear. I feel intimidated and nervous when I will then see her or walk past her desk not knowing if I will be ignored or shouted at…… I know it is abusive and childish behaviour but it doesn’t stop me feeling that internal panic – fast beating heart etc.  It’s a proper body reaction. So with that in mind you can imagine what subconscious fear I have in going against bitchface!!!

I guess I just have to find a way to sit and feel the fear, the anger, the sadness, the guilt and not take the easy way out. I guess I need to get brave.

I put on a good front that I am brave and confident but I am not and she/they both know that. They both play on that. I am desperately trying to get stronger and healthier and they are both desperately clinging onto my legs trying to pull me back down.

keep you down

Sometimes when I realise the impact having a narcissistic mother has had on me it still shocks me.

I can only just allow myself to think and write these thoughts without fear of being punished or judged because I understand that I am not a bad person, I am allowed to think “nasty” or “bad” things because we all have these thoughts. I am no different and nobody is perfectly nice and good all of the time. Yet I still find myself saying “I feel bad but.”, “I know it sounds horrible but…” which I guess is still me saying “please don’t tell me I am bad for this.. but“……….

the saga continues…

brave

 

Related posts for background: Life without the narcissist friend, outgrowing roles, emotional blackmail