Thursday, May 17, 2012

Narcissism: "The Rager"

All of us have dealt with a narcissist, and many stepmoms get to deal with them on a daily or weekly basis! Quite a few of us constantly struggle with the reality that the kids are being raised by someone so self-absorbed that we wonder how the kids are being raised at all...and why the courts or CPS haven't noticed.

Although I've known (and dated) quite a few narcissists, it can be a little comforting (and simultaneously disturbing) to read about narcissism. It helps you to...see a little more clearly why your life is made so freaking insane by someone who probably, literally, is insane. You also start to realize that there are more narcissists around you than you thought...Like your boss or a coworker. Or, you may feel a lot better about that horrible break-up you had with an ex who, once you read up on narcissism, very much fits into a narcissistic definition.

If you're dealing with a true narcissist or are being driven nuts by how many seem to be around you the more you pay attention, I recommend The Sociopath Next Door  by Martha Stout. There are also plenty of web articles out there, some better than others. This one isn't straight out of a professional psychology book, but it's interesting not unlike other articles on narcissism. I wouldn't put much weight on it, but the reason I'm sharing it is because I was struck by the Rager description which absolutely perfectly describes my husband's ex. It is exact, to the T. And people ask me why she is the way she is....

"The Rager is a common and somewhat obvious narcissistic type of personality. A barely controlled rage simmers below the surface and often lashes out at anyone nearby. Unhappiness is expressed with increasing hostility. There are episodes of explosive rage with irrational, mystifying or unexplainable causes. Violence may be a factor.
What is most characteristic is hypersensitivity to any perceived insult - whether intended or not. Everything is taken personally and usually interpreted as an attack. What sparks the rage is narcissistic injury. The world may be seen in black and white terms. Projecting blame is a knee jerk reaction. The subjective experience of rage may be accompanied by interpretations of malignant intent. Not surprisingly such reasoning may have a paranoid quality.
" For years Betty ruled her family with her unpredictable explosions of anger. Gradually she alienated everyone. After 16 years of marriage Eric left for a younger woman. It was his bid for a new life but he then instituted a custody fight for the three teenage children. Perhaps surprising to no one but Betty - the children expressed a unanimous desire to live with their father.
"Anger feels like anger - naturally. But it is important to focus on the underlying, perhaps more uncomfortable, emotions. This may include sadness, fear, shame or despair. What is absent is a capacity to modulate intense emotions including, but not limited to anger... The Rager can be intensely controlling and it is almost the norm that the relationship will be abusive."
From: Narcissism: A Nine Headed Hydra?

Monday, May 14, 2012

M-Day Poem

A poem borrowed from a friend on Facebook:

~A stepmother consoles you when you feel sad
And hands out a punishment if you are bad
She'll tuck you in bed and read you a story
And yet, it's the real mom that gets all the glory

A stepmother hides the tears that she cries
When mother's day comes and then just slips by
With no card, and no hug, though she really feels sad
She won't let you see it, won't let you feel bad

She feels like an outsider but tries to fit in
If you're playing a game with her, she'll let you win
She makes sure your birthday is one special day
And when hers is forgotten, she'll just look away

When your teen years come, life gets much tougher
With a stepmother these years, for her, are much rougher
You may say or do something that injures her feelings
Please keep in mind that she hurts while she's healing

Your stepmother has done the best she could do
And no matter your age, she'll always love you
For Mother's Day, the best present to get her
Is the most precious of all, that you didn't forget her

~~~ unknown author

Side commentary: Why does it not surprise me that the author is unknown...So many of us maintain anonymity even though we're so too often unknown...The person who wrote this needs the credit instead of fearing her stepkids' dislike. This goes above that!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

M-Day 2012

I'm going to keep this short and simple.

If you function as a mom, you deserve recognition as a mom. If the mom who gave birth and the stepmom both care for the child, they both deserve some form of recognition.

The mom will always have the all powerful bond and genetics and history and title and...and...and...more. If the stepmom functions as a mom in some way, giving of her life to raise the children as well, she can still deserve a call with a "Happy Mother's Day!", a card, a gift, a dinner. She will always and forever lack all the rest, from birth on, but she does deserve recognition for the work, effort, presence, guidance, and crap she puts up with from pure dedication. She may not seem perfect, act like "mommy", or be the Sound of Music (wannabe) nun, but she is there in their lives, serving as a mom in some capacity. And such, given the role she takes on, deserves some recognition on Mother's Day.

We honor our grandmas, friends who are mothers, and our friend's moms on mother's day. It's really not that hard to accept that the woman who also cooks, cleans, and cares for the kids gets some form of kudos on Mother's Day, as well. She fits in the category, by definition past birth, and anyone who says otherwise needs to examine where their judgement is truly coming from.

Oh, and cut that crap out, jealous moms. We'll always get the lesser gift, the forced "happy mother's day" wishes, and the afterthought. You won at the pregnancy and we don't know why you don't get that still. Be proud to be their real mom, and we wish you would be by showing your kids how self-assured and truly loving and accepting you are- by accepting us.