Monday, July 28, 2014

In a few hours I will be getting back in the grind of things. I am more willing to roll up my sleeve and go with the punches. Nonetheless, I'm not sure how I will cope. There are many positives but there are also many negative emotions. Some are reasonable but others are over reactions. Irregardless, they are overwhelming and very real. This morning, the thought of escaping and doing something away from this reality was very enticing. Years ago when I was at life cross road, I signed up to be a volunteer to go to Africa. After several interviews over a period of several months, I was offered a lead position to go set up a special school in a foreign land. At the time, I really did not care much about anything. I just wanted to leave. To leave the life I knew and to get away from it all. If that volunteer work did not pan out, I was determine to be a dive master in the Maldives. In the midst of the chaos, I met my now husband. Despite the overwhelming need to get away, I decided to stay and gave the new relationship a go. I am glad I did. The work that I did fell apart. Nothing went my way professionally but my personal life took a positive turn. This relationship has stood the test of time. Work has been work. While I find my profession fulfilling, this was not the year I was willing to change. My plea fell on deaf ear and it has been more hurtful than I had imagine. Spoke to many people but truth is, only time will tell. At this point, I will try my hardest to hold it together while taking time to care for me and my family. At the end of the day, that is what matters the most. I hate this cross road and maybe it is time to look out of open casting call.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Currently at my life's cross road. Looking at the big picture, it is not a bad cross road to be in but emotionally, I am struggling to give myself permission to do what my heart desire. Giving up control is a hard thing for me to do and giving up financial freedom is also difficult. For a couple of years I have toyed with the idea of taking the year off to be a Stay at Home Mom. Job has pushed me to make this decision. I don't have to but I would like to. But I am also consumed with all kinds of fear. Never thought this decision would be this hard. For the last few months since the changes at work came to light, I have had a pit my stomach and could not understand what that pit was until now. It all stemmed from having a choice or lack thereof. Growing up, I hated the fact that my parents almost always were in position of not having a choice in life. We couldn't buy something or do something, because we didn't have it. In my psyche, having the choice not to have and not to buy is empowering although the outcome is the same. At this juncture, I feel like I've been pushed in a corner where my choice is taken from me and therefore rendering me powerless. I still don't know how to snap out of it.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Had a rough week. For several reasons. One, I think I am going through pre-menapausal. Feeling a little "off." hot flushes, irritability. Two: work has been challenging.  It's just that time of the year. I tried not to let it bother me but it did.  Today, I walked out, packed up and left. I was surprised how hurt I felt. I felt extremely unappreciated. Almost instantaneously, I realized it is yet another unresolved emotions from my past. The distance I went for my parents, only to be pushed to the way side. That's exactly how I felt today. Unvalidated.


Interestingly, right after I posted the above, I found a blog about being vulnerable and letting ourselves feel the hurt. For only if we allow the flow of our true feeling, that we can take the journey of healing. After tossing and turning for 2 hours........and at 1 am, I finally figured out why I am so hurt. I am hurt because I should have been holding my infant child that was never to be. I am hurt because I shouldn't even be there for someone to have the opportunity to be mean to me. I was supposed to be on maternity leave for a few more months. I am hurt because I never took the time to grieve for this loss. For a moment, I envisioned my children in heaven awaiting my arrival. All happy but I wish at least one or two more had made it here. But I also envisioned them looking over their brother who is here.

Now I know.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Coworker  "but your father was a man of God."
me: "he was no man of God"
Coworker, "but he studied theology"
me: "sure he did, but that doesn't make him the man of God"

That was something I thought over for many years and have come to this conclusion. What's the prerequisite to be a man of God? Not much really, all it takes is "calling." Anyone can claim to have a "calling." I truly believe my father wouldn't be able to do anything else. Being a pastor allowed him to be on pulpit week after week. It is the only job you can be in the forefront with barely any effort. I proceeded to tell my coworker that my dad was so bad that we ended up in the worst of the worst church, tucked in the most secluded part of the country. He always ended up in a church that no other "men of God" wanted to go. The church I grew up in, was once known to be haunted. When we moved in, the place was overgrown and my parents with their bare hands, cleared the entire property. Then my Narcissistic Mother who also studied Theology, helped to run the kindergarten. It was so successful that the enrollment went up 5 folds, to a point where we had to turn kids away. Once the church had money, it didn't take long to other "men of God" to take notice and want a piece of the pie. Granted my parents did attempt to embezzle $$$, it wouldn't have come to light if the church weren't generating money.

These days as the indiscretions of the churches begin to surface, others are starting to have a glimpse of the facade that I grew up in. The self righteousness. The judgmental nature of many Godly people.  My Narcissistic Mother could take on the pulpit and give the best sermon. My father on the contrary repeated himself week after week for as long as I can remember.

What is it then? What is uttered is not what is within. I believe there are "men of God" out there. But they are few and far in between. Fewer than we think. We know of a handful and many more are not caught. The scandals will find its way out for some and others, it will go undetected. So much for all these "men of God."

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Woke up this morning to a text from a college friend - Dr,  letting me know that a mutual friend - FT just passed away from bone cancer leaving behind a husband and two children. Last time all three of us met as group was in the exotic island of the Maldives almost 15 years ago. It was my all time BEST vacation EVER. I have not been in touch with FT since.

First time I met FT was at a diving trip in Aoteroa. I've always LOVED the Maldives and when I found out that FT was from there, I shared my fondness and yearning to dive in the Maldives again. She told me that her uncle owned a dive shop and if I ever visited her, she can make arrangement for her uncle to take me diving. I was thrilled of sheer thought of having a local as a guide and even more excited about the possibility of a couple of free dives. I graduated soon after and left. Found a job in Asia and kept loosely in touch with Dr. While I was away, Dr and FT somehow became friends and then roommates. They became good friends. When they both graduated with their doctorate, they and another mutual friend SF decided to take a trip around the world while visiting friends along the way. I was one of the friend they decided to visit. At the time, I also ceased the opportunity to join them for a week when they finally dropped FT back in her home country of the beautiful Maldives.

When I arrived in the Maldives, I was taken on a private boat to the main island and there, waiting for me, was a limousine with the country's flag. I had a driver and I was taken to FT's sister's home. It was a three storey building and her sister lives on the top floor. All of them were there to greet me and before long, I found out that our friend with an uncle who owned a dive shop was actually a part of one of the most politically influential family in the country.  She was related to everyone in the very top position in the country including the president. None of us knew until we stepped foot in her country. As a friend, she was one of the most down to earth person we have ever met.

She took care of every aspect of our vacation. We were treated like VIPs. We were flown to whichever island we wanted to go. We stayed in the best resorts. We had fun and she expected nothing in return. Her hospitality was beyond words.

I've always talked about that vacation to friends and family. I always bragged that I knew someone of position in that country. I've always thought that it would great if I could bring my family back there to visit some day. I guess I still could. But it will never be the same without her.

Dr. wants to make a trip there in the near future in memory of her friendship with FT. She wanted closure as they had a fall out a few years back. I think FT will appreciate that. For now, I am left with a memory of a friend who treated me like gold even though we didn't know each other that well. I hope her soul rest in peace for she was a good person when she was here on earth.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

This post marks our 13th year wedding anniversary. As a couple, we have each grown to be much better person today than we ever was. Interestingly, 13 years ago neither one was us realized that we each have a Narcissistic Mother. In fact, we both thought we had great mothers. Everything his mother said was given such great regard.  My husband was in awe of his mother. As for me, I wanted nothing more but to fulfill my mother's every wish. I sacrificed more than I should just so I can give it to her. 

We both suffered as a result of it. Given both mothers have opposite traits within the narcissistic spectrum, our symptoms are very different. I am very indifferent, on the exterior at least. Almost always uncertain how to react. Him on the other hand is very reactive to the slightest thing. 

The core of who we are is a result of years of trying to navigate ways to fulfill the impossible needs of our narcissistic mothers. My husband never measured up to his "fabulous" mother while I can never fulfill the "wrongdoings" of the world that my mother had to endure.  It is simply insane that we are not more insane..

In recent years, we have both come to grip with the reality. The price I paid for my epiphany is rage. My husband's paid the price of disappointment.

Since I cut contact with his mother, this anniversary will be the first with nothing from her. It is actually rather nice. Because I no longer have to put on a facade. Instead, we just took our time for ourselves. Went to a local seafood festival, walked around in the sun, swam in the pool, and ended our weekend with a dinner at our favorite restaurant. Food was good. Just us three as a family.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Friend of mine took the long trip home a few weeks ago to visit family because she was homesick. Another friend just renewed her passport hoping to go home this summer because she too is homesick. When I first moved here, my feeling of homesickness became almost unbearable by the time the third year came along. I was working full time and going to school in the evenings. I had to beg my boss and my professors to let me take a few weeks off. I was so excited when my boss approved my vacation, excusing me from my summer duty. Unfortunately my first visit home was a dose of reality that I had not anticipated.

My oldest brother, my youngest niece and my mother picked me up at the airport. The last time I saw them, my brother was driving a nice car. They had long used up the ten grand I wired them. I was picked up in a old decrepit car that was about to fall apart. When I asked whose car it belonged to, I was met with sheer silence that could slice through a soul. My visit was awful. I was so miserable. I hated every bit of it. By the time my husband called, I was crying my eyes out. I don't even remember the details of my misery. The house had such negative energy that it sucked the very life out of me. I couldn't wait to get out of there.

Three years later, I made another trip home. It was soon after my 2nd and final round of failed IVF. I had a positive pregnancy test a few days, only to find out that it was a chemical pregnancy. I had days to purchase my ticket and I paid premium. My emails to my family about my visit were ignored. It was the hurt that I refused to entertain. I planned the trip knowing the consequences. I planned my trip with extended days with friends in the beginning and end to refresh my soul. It worked out well. This time, my oldest brother and my oldest niece were there to meet me in the same old car, three years older. This was the trip my mother rolled her eyes at me when I walked through the door. I responded by giving her a big kiss on her cheek. I soon found out that she hated me so much that she didn't care if I did not have anyone to pick me up. The tension remained but soon she did soften her harden shell and cooked me a few of my favorite dishes. But I never did forgive her for rolling her eyes at me. I never did tell her about my miscarriage but close family friends who knew made sure that I had extra nutritiousness food to heal. My mother was so preoccupied with her hatred and anger that she didn't see the daughter in front of her.

My last visit was four years after that. By then, both my parents have passed. I wanted my son to meet his cousins. I was not sure how the atmosphere of the house would be. I was surprised by the simple joy without the presence of the haunting negativity. The visit was a success. The cousins met and created happy memories.

Two years have gone by and I have not had an ounce of homesickness. I do think about my friends and my nieces and nephew. But everyone has moved on and so have I. I have created a life here and is happy with where I am. Homesickness is for others and it is merely a concept in my mind. A unfulfilled desire that I no longer entertain. My home is here.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Have not been updating my blog lately. Not too many things left to ruffle my feathers. That's a good feeling.

Decided to get back to it after an incident with a neighbor's relative yesterday. Story began more than 10 years ago when we first moved to our current resident. The neighborhood was warm and friendly.We quickly met a dear old lady in her 70s living almost directly across the street from us. Soon, her next door neighbor sold their house and gave us a simple request, that is to keep an eye on her. I took that to heart. Pretty soon, she found out where I came from and the many places we have been. She was baffled on why we chose to settle down across the street from her. I had forgotten about that conversation until she brought up last week but this time, she has an answer. That we were sent here to take care of her while her own abandoned her. Sad as it may seem, I do take that with a grain of salt. I am uncertain of the claim of abandonment for I was once accused of that very same crime. I help her, as the relationship allows me. I am also constantly reminded of the dear neighbor who stuck a bag of lunch through the window for my father in his later years. I see what I do for my now 80 plus year old blind neighbor as paying it forward. Her time is almost up and she knows it. That became most apparent last Wednesday when I eventually was able to get her to open the door. She was so frail and disorientated. I gave her water, juice, and warm up some leftover for her. I was concerned and I called one her of niece. She sounded irritated and short, but she eventually called me back to apologize. She tells me her version, and it sounded contradictory from her aunt's (my neighbor) version but rational  nonetheless. I don't take side. I just do what I can. Upon my neighbor's request, I made several calls to see if I can get her some help. I got the run around and no help came forward. But in one of the calls, I was forewarned to be careful, and it is sad that I know exactly what the speaker meant. We are keeping tight records of items she has asked us to purchase for her. We have receipts before we accept payments and we pay by credits for record keeping.

Yesterday, the reality came sooner than we thought. An innocent call from my neighbor's niece came just before dinner. She wanted to come by for us to sign documents as witnesses. We innocently obliged. She came in with a paragraph of not more than 10 lines stating that we are not blood relatives of her and we have no claim to her will or assets. I made a "signature" on the page. I made a mark on the paper to get her out of my house but I was also insulted by her attempt to deceive us. My husband and I talked about the signed documents and he said in reference to my neighbor's niece, "She obviously do not know our character." We have been helping this neighbor for more than 10 years. I used to include her on my outings during my holidays. I have taken her furniture shopping so that she can replace an old rocker that swivels. I took her to the furniture store that she wanted. We looked through the catalog. We chose the fabric. My husband picked it up for her, assembled it for her, and put up with her smart comment. Other than her sister who comes about once a week to take her grocery shopping, hardly anyone showed up to help her.  We invited her to all our dinner party, big or small. All our friends knew her. All our out of state relatives who have visited us, have met her. Now in her later years, her relative are suspicious of our intention. We didn't just start helping her. It's been years.

The least of our concern is getting a piece of her pie. Maybe her niece could have done it in a non deceptive way. But all in all, my only hope is that she did it in my neighbor's best interest.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Well, I was told that the long awaited letter finally arrived. Addressed to my husband and sent to my husband's work place decorated with bold CONFIDENTIAL. That was 2 days ago. No more conversation about it as we thought the original is on it's way. So far, nothing addressed to me. If anything, I am still not able to fulfill my "get back at ya!" return to sender ploy. At least I am not consumed by it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What are my fears? Why do some things bother me so much more than it should?

One of them would be the sense of belonging. Growing up, I never felt like I belong. My peers were of another race and religion. I was made fun of and often I didn't feel like I belong. When I went to highschool, kids from various schools came into one and I found myself not fitting in with my own for I had more in common with those of another color and believes. When I moved to a bigger city, it was better until our graduating years. Everyone had path planned out for them and there I was, not one of them. There is a price to pay for wanting to be one of them. I reach out more than I should and when my effort is not received or returned, I feel more hurt than I should. I became that little girl who didn't fit in.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

So Narcissistic mother in law finally called to ask to speak to me. I was rather surprised by my timid reaction but I quietly refused to take the call. My anger was rather delayed as usual. Before long, I was losing sleep and getting more and more aggravated. I became enraged as to "who does she think she is! what makes her think she gets to decide when to or not to speak to me!" Then I started plotting as to how can I have my final say. On one of my sleepless night, I decided that it was a great idea to tape record my point of view, call her and press play. I started drafting my letter filled with insults but I didn't get very far. I planned on continuing my letter today but had an epiphany on my way to work. I came to realization that I am not going to be able to go anywhere with my letter. There is nothing I can do to remotely come close for her to realize her transgressions. Like all Narcissistic, she will  and has in the past distort the truth and use it against me. Reaching out to her in any shape or form merely gives her more ammunition to strike back.

I reached out to a friend, who is a mental health therapist about my feelings. He asked if my anger and frustration stem from my unresolved feelings towards my own Narcissistic mother.  I agree completely with him and from the very beginning I was well aware of it. But what came to light is that my strong need to attack her stem from my perceived second chance to strike back. An opportunity that I did not have with my own mother.

I also did quite a bit of reading online about how to deal with Narcissistic people. One article spoke about not playing games. In order to stop playing games with a Narcissistic, simply let the ball fall on the ground, don't pick it up, and walk away. Contact in any form, is like picking up the ball and throwing it to a Narcissistic. The ball is now on their court and now they get to choose what to do with it. Therefore, I will resume my no contact and be at peace with myself. For as long as I stay in no contact, I have the winning card.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Today I am reminded of how fragile life can be. About this time last year, a coworker much younger than me passed away from cancer leaving behind an infant daughter. Just before the holiday, another much younger coworker was diagnosed with cancer. Saw her today and she already had a wig on. As I was driving home, I suddenly remembered a very brief call from a college friend two days ago informing me that her husband has been sent home with hospice care. I called her as soon as I got home and again, our call was cut short as he needed her care. After I let the dog out for his business, I started cooking. On most days, I would have been very frazzled. Rushing through my chores so that I can catch a quick glimpse of my favorite show before the boys get home. Today, I was lost in my thoughts of what my coworker is currently going through. I don't know her on a personal level but I know that her chemo starts tomorrow. I know she has two very young children. I know that she lost her mother also to cancer. I heard that her husband is having a hard time coping. I heard that she is falling apart. I heard that she is worried about her sick time, job, money etc.  There is just so much on her plate. I feel that my life is on an upswing and I wish that things like that don't ever happen to anyone. I can only ponder quietly and say a quick prayer or two for those going through their down swing. Days like these remind me to cherish my time here. No one knows how long we are assigned to live. Anyone one of us can be gone tomorrow. My mother-in-law lost her first husband to cancer. She has always said that having lost someone so young, she feels that she has earned all her wrinkles. As I begin to see the signs of my less firm skin, I have to remind myself that my time here is a privilege. I hope that one day I am able to proclaim that I earn my wrinkles too and not be resentful that I live a day too long.
Jody Stadler's self-portrait at age 70: "70th Birthday: 2,207,520,000 Seconds."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

This Christmas is as perfect as I envisioned it for my son. Spending time with family. It was very heart warming to see his cousins giving him so much attention. Seeing the teens putting up with him jumping on their beds, rummaging through their stuff, and taking over their ipads. To see true love from his Papa and from one whom I considered his true grandmother. To have him keep us out in the cold so that he can marvel at his Papa's Christmas lights. To see him so excited when he spotted another house with Christmas lights on. To catch him steal a piece for candy right after breakfast. To see him showered with presents even from ones who couldn't be there in person. To see him spoil rotten. The presents will soon lose their appeal. He will soon outgrow the new outfits. But the love will linger and so will be memory. That I will hold dear.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

This Christmas for the first time in over 12 years I did not make the trip up north to see my Narcissistic mother in law. The decision not to go was made months prior and as the time approached, my husband's agony became increasingly more apparent. He was short and finally the late phone call from her pushed him over the edge. He regretted taking it out on my son's toy but admitted that it has been very difficult for him. It opened up our channel of communication and it helped to give him some perspective. He finally decided not to tell her in advance and to lay the truth out for her to see after he arrived.

When he arrived alone, he merely told her "they're not here!" She was clearly upset and her immediate response was "I need a drink!" She also had to ditch the idea of taking us on a field trip to walmart to pick an air mattress for us to sleep on that night. She clearly did not prepare for our visit and had we gone, we would probably have to sleep on the floor on the first night as the battery on the air mattress would have needed an overnight charge before we can use it. When the opportunity came, my husband told her about how she taunted me with a bottle during her visit in February and she said "I did no such things." Before long, he realized that they were going no where and he simply stopped as he could not get through to her. She also said that she was always good to me. That she would do anything to mend our relationship but that was also followed by, "I am too old to change." Best part is, he told her that I will only speak to her after she sees a therapist. Apparently her face dropped after hearing that.

She still have made no attempts to speak to me. Last I heard, she is working on writing me a letter. What is there to write if she has done no wrong? What can the letter possibly do when she has no insight whatsoever? Being who I am, I am curious in terms of the content but I also know if I am to open the letter, I will have more stuff to get aggravated on. For now, I wait to see how long before the letter finally arrived, if ever. If it does, the best is really to return it right back to sender, unopened. That should send a clear message as to where I stand. 
I was raised Christian and surrounded by staunched Christians most of young life. Marriage was taught to be forever through thick and thin and divorce was not an option. I witnessed my parents unhappy union and yet, they remained married their entire life. When my first marriage failed, I had no support from my parents and my Christian friends advised me to pray and stick it out. God will take care of it. One friend told me that separation was ok but divorce was a no no. In the midst of it, an elder of a church listened to my plea and my anguished. Him and his wife did not ask me to stay. They were supportive and gave me great advise.They told me to be fair, not to let him roll me over with nothing to my name, and to let go of the small stuff. Specifically, they told me not to spend my energy fighting for pots and pans. That was my guide and I did just that. Fighting for what was my share lingered longer than I had anticipated. At one point, I had almost given up. It took every ounce of me to stick it out. Blood, sweat, and tears.  Letting go was also hard. But I came out of the battle with what was mine, enough for me to move on. I still would have loved to be able to have that peacock chair at my patio, the imported sofa set, the custom made curtain, and the side cabinet I picked up from a local salvation army. It was an emotional bond I had with those things. They were things that were carefully selected and placed with much thoughts but at the end of the day, they were just things.

My husband's brother was already divorced  and his sister was about to file for a divorce when we met. When my mother found out about their "failed" marriage she made a comment that "westerners like to divorce!" I didn't give much regard to her comment knowing that she was ignorant. The people I know never took marriage lightly and the decision to get a divorce was never an easy one.

So this Christmas I  met up with a childhood friend. I knew that she had been fighting with her husband but I was not prepared to get a text from her stating that she is contemplating leaving. But I also know that it had to be at a point of no return. Subsequently I found out about his violent temper, the throwing things and the years of emotional abuse. When she called after our visit, I not only told her to leave, I told her to go as soon as the window of opportunity presents itself. I told her to be careful. To be safe and to have the courage to protect their infant son. I do worry about her. Truth is, I am afraid that he may hurt or kill her. That is the reality. There is so much I want to tell her and there is so much I wish I can do for her. I still hear the whisper of the advise I was once given.  In time, I will also tell her to fight for what is hers, what is fair, and to let go of the small stuff. I will also add one more of my own.  I will tell her not to feel bad if she sees faces of happy family because within each smile, there is a story. Be it bad or good. That kept me going during my tough years. Made me realize that all is not always what it seems. Reminding myself that "everyone has a story" made me feel like a fighter and not a failure.