Of Mice and Monsters X

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Several years after I was out of the relationship with my ex, my mother received a phone call from a detective in Boston wanting to know if I was alive.

My mom told him that I was alive.  He asked when the last time we had spoken.  She had told him it was about a week prior.  He explained that he needed confirmation from me that I was indeed alive and to contact him at the phone number he provided.  He explained that my ex had tried to developed a photograph at a local pharmacy which depicted a naked woman hanging from a tree, bound, blind-folded, gagged, and severely beaten.   He claimed that the woman in the photo was me.

My mother was of course shocked but told me to call the detective.  I did not believe it was the cops, I thought it may have been him posing as a police officer.  Instead I called the police department’s main number myself and asked for said detective.  The story checked out.   I was asked to come down to the police station to verify I was, and that I was alive.

I took the ride and met the detective.  He showed me the photo and I verified my identity.  He asked me if what happened in the photo was consensual.  I said that it was.   The detective seemed taken aback.    I did tell him at that time I wanted the photo destroyed and that was confused to me as to why my ex had been developing it in the first place since it had been years since we had split up.

The officer assured me that he would make sure he had put the fear of God in my ex about distributing a photo like this and the implications it would have for him if he didn’t destroy it.

As to why my ex had kept it all those years?  Like many Sociopaths, particularly those who are sexual sadists, most acquire trophies from their victims.  This photo of me may be a trophy of his handiwork.  He can re-live that day over and over again by looking at it.

That was the last I heard of him until two months ago when I received a Facebook friends request, which I promptly deleted.

I often read other blogs here on WordPress of both victims of Narcissism as well as a few Narcissists themselves.  I have been watching Sam Vatkin’s videos on YouTube for years. I also have been watching Richard Grannon on YouTube for near as long as well.

It would seem that I am doing a good job of staying no contact, despite the two hoovers he sent my way.   One came 1.5 years after he discarded me, the other five years later.   I am left with a morbid curiosity as to why he ever hoovered me so far out after discarding me.   I may well never know.

What I do know is that there is life after a Narcissistic Sociopath.   I eventually did go on to meet a new guy.   It’s only when one door closes they say that another can open.

Donning the mask

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I struggle for authenticity.   There is a yearning for wholeness, for acceptance of self, for cohesion within myself.  Despite this, shame has always driven me to compartmentalize areas of my life; to stay fractured, splintered.

Only 3 friends know about this blog.  Still fewer know my dad signed his parental rights away when I was one and a half.  Few people who know me are aware that I swear like a sailor despite me having a good command of lexicon at my disposal.   My eating disorder is only known by my immediate family and 2 close friends.   I can count on one hand who knows this abbreviated story I recount here,  the abuse I suffered at the hands of my ex.  No one knows I am a survivor of incest as a child, but my shrink, my dying mother, and my fiancé.

It is still hard to say that out loud,” Isurvivedincest,” even in a therapy session behind closed doors where no one can hear.

But how to synthesize these areas of my life?  Would people be accepting of the “real me” after years of putting on a veneer and hiding the ugly things that I am ashamed which happened to me?

Me trading authenticity for acceptance began in early childhood.  Often doing what other kids wanted to do even if I didn’t want to, afraid I might lose them and/or their friendship.  I became a people pleaser at a very young age. In a desperate attempt for love and affection which were denied all around me.  Instead of getting love, I received the abuse, exploitation, and humiliation.

As a victim of incest, the first lessons I learned was that my home was not a safe place, and that my body was not my own, and that I didn’t get to have a  “no”.

As early as kindergarten I recall feeling shame, it manifested in feeling ‘less then’ the other kids.   Anxious and unsettled and wanting to sit near the teacher hoping she might like me or show me some approval.

As I grew older and the sexual abuse intensified and more violence in my home occurred, an irrational belief sprouted that the ugliness inside me may be transparent. I began creating a false persona to hide my shame.  Hide my tears.  Hide my emotions. Hide my authentic self.   I had observed first-hand that the girls who were quiet and sullen or melancholy got made fun of, got devoured like shark meat ny the mean kids.  So I immediately suppressed my feelings under a fake happy,  sunny,  disposition.   I realized that with my persona operating, that  I could “pass” for normal.   I could have friends, connection, some sort of meaning in an otherwise desolate life.

Because my older siblings were all poly-substance users, I too began smoking marijuana at age 12.  Took my first drink of vodka by 13 years old and never looked back.   By high school I could drink most guys under the table and had alcohol poisoning once.  I was not deterred by this.  At this point I believed that I couldn’t let the “real me” come through, the fake me had been operating for so long.  I’d lose everything, I feared. Friends were the only positive thing I had in my life at that time and I was petrified to lose them.  Even if their friendship was built upon knowing me, a girl who was hiding the pathetic, sad, depressed, nothing-to-offer loser who hated herself underneath this joke-telling, witty, charismatic confident false girl they came to love.

Using booze and pot helped me turn down the volume of the authentic me deep inside me, screaming for relief and accelerate the fake persona that I was creating externally, that was happy and confident.  As I was fast approaching my high school years substance use was just I needed to survive all the sharks who would eat me up.

I don’t remember much of high school due to all the alcohol and marijuana use.  My parents divorced and our house was sold.  I found myself looking for a place to stay as neither parent was financially capable of absorbing me after I graduated.

I had never told either of my parents  about the incest.   As I entered my freshman year of college, my eating disorder was so severe that I had starved myself down to an emaciated state.  I couldn’t think or read very well as my mental functioning had declined from being malnourished.  For many months I was harming myself, also called self-mulilation.   I used self-injury to push back any feelings of intense emotion with which I couldn’t cope.   Then things changed and my feelings simply left.  My depression intensified and I just felt numb all the time.  Empty, cold, void of any emotion had become the new norm.  I had persistent and intrusive thoughts of suicide.   This dragged on for 6 months or more.  I figured I may as well be physically dead too.  Seemed logical to me.  Finally one night I decided to end my life.

First, I asked God to forgive me, and then I went ahead with it.   I guess God had other plans.  After getting discharged from the regular hospital,  I was sectioned involuntarily into a psychiatric hospital.   This was the first time in a long time any of what happened to me as a child would surface again in my consciousness.

I find it interesting that had I not attempted suicide at 19, I may have well have kept that mask on.   My authentic self may never have had the chance to be re-born.  My then therapist told me, “sometimes we have to have a complete and total breakdown, so we can put ourselves back together in a more healthy way.”

It has taken many years in therapy and I am still only able to let down my guard and become vulnerable to a few.  Happiness? Real long-standing  happiness? Still elusive I’m afraid.  I do find moments of real joy though.  I’m told I can learn to expand those and they can grow.  Self-love is the one thing I have yet to be able to achieve.  I have been working on learning to set boundaries and learning what it looks like to truly care about myself.  Imagine, having to be taught that.  Most of my life has been spent caring for others and I do that really well.   Historically, I give and give until I am emotionally drained or financially bankrupt.   The goal for me  is to learn to put myself first and not feel guilty for doing so.

Though I have always had the ability to love others and deeply empathize, I find it strange that both myself and my pathological narcissist both employed “masks” to hide our authentic selves.  Perhaps we have something in common after all.

 

Of Mice and Monsters VIII

The relationship had degraded so much and yet I did not know to extricate from it. Fear was a large factor keeping me in it, but also as hard as it is to understand for those who have never been involved with a pathological, I still had a faint hope that he would somehow return to the man I had initially met. The nice, sweet, charming, caring person who was attentive to me and hung on my every word. However, that man whom I fell in love with had fallen away. He was replaced with an empty, selfish, highly sadistic man who ignored my boundaries, was prone to give me silent treatments on a whim for reasons I was told to “figure out.” Every once in awhile that old nice version of him would return leading me to believe it was me that was the problem.  This “intermittent reinforcement” I would later find out, was done deliberately to keep me hooked in the relationship.  At times he even said to me that if I could just stop the (insert bad perceived behavior by him) or begin (insert a desired behavior which he had yet to see from me) than perhaps things could be the way they once were between us. Deep down though, I had a gut feeling he never had any intention of making good with the follow through.

Giving false hope is the devil’s work.

At some point I believe I had chalked up 12 bacterial vaginosis infections in the course of 5 years with him. Prior to knowing him I had never even had one my entire life. My gynecologist said they were sexually indicated but they could be acquired by other means such as swimming in ponds, douching, using tampons and not changing them often enough. Yet none of those applied to me. She made it clear it was not something one could get from a toilet seat. How did I get these infections? I couldn’t help thinking he must be having an affair.  My heart was sad thinking why wasn’t I ever good enough?

There were the middle of the night wake-ups where I’d find him gone out of bed. Only to find him using his phone in the bathroom sitting on the toilet seat checking his voicemail because he couldn’t sleep or so he said.  When questioned about it he would always deflect the question and blame me with an accusatory tone,” how dare you try and control what I do when I am having trouble sleeping!!!” Or that he was booking a doctors appointment. WTF? Are you kidding me.  You are booking a well visit with your primary care physician at 3:30 am?

There were lies.

That he was snow blowing for hours during the winter and couldn’t answer the phone , yet when I arrived I touched the snowblower and the entire machine was totally cold.  He never knew I did this.

Lies about going to his regular AA meeting but when I’d ask what the topic was, who chaired the meeting, or who the speaker was, he said he couldn’t remember. Anyone who is in recovery knows this is total BS unless you are drunk going to the meeting.   He was 26 years sober.

There were so many lies, so many inconsistencies, so many scary things that I had been fervently praying. Begging God to please remove him from my life. To please keep me safe and release me from this man. Day and night I prayed. Because for reasons unknown to me at the time, I could not seem to muster leaving him of my own free will.  Each time that I tried my heart would be overcome with a  sorrow so deep and painful, that I would do anything to avoid that level and degree of pain; including not leaving him.

Then my prayers were answered.

I was on his computer and had noticed a photo that hadn’t been there the week prior.  It was a photo of a naked woman lying on a table, with him wearing a green shirt on with his hand outstretched touching her genitals.

I asked him about it.  He claimed it was from years ago.   I knew it was a lie.   So I said, “All photos have time-stamps, right click on the image and show me it was years ago.”

He replied, “You don’t control me I’m not going to do that.”

I said,” this has nothing to do with control, if you can prove that this was done years ago just go ahead and right click on it and prove me that I’m wrong.”

He said, “get out.”

“Excuse me?”

Get your all your things together and get out , we are done, it’s over Lexi.

I told him, “I’ll be happy to get out if you want to be done , but just the same I want you to show me that the photo was from years ago, prove that I am wrong.”

“Just get out.”

My lip began to quiver and tears began to fall down my face as I begged him,”Please tell me the truth about that photo, I’ve been good this you for 5 years,  I loved you and I don’t deserve lies, please just tell me the truth.”!”

You want the truth?” He said.

Yes,” I whimpered.

“That photo was from when I went to a gang-bang the first year I was with you…….I am a sex addict.  I have gone on Craigslist hookups, done a fair share of swinging,  paid for prostitutes, and have a steady pool of friends with benefits that I have sex with, some that go back for many years,”  he said cooly.

I was shocked, replulsed, and terrified all at the same time.   They sat when you die your life flashes before you at rapid speed.   Well it was like that.  I kept thinking of all the sexual partners he had been with.  How many had there been?  Had I been infected with HIV and didn’t even know it?  My heart skipped a beat and my blood ran cold.

Before I could say anything he said,” you need to leave now Lexi, are you happy you got your truth?”

I carried my things to my car.   The cross on his kitchen wall for reasons unknown, slid upside down on the wall and inverted.  It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

As I walked out the door I felt mostly  numb as the tears had already dried on my face.  My thoughts still raced a mile a minute, though mostly consumed with one persistent thought, ‘how could I have been deceived by a man without a conscience.’

Of Mice and Monsters VII

Not long after he shared his fantasy of his torture chamber with me. I was in my home and received a call from him. He told me, “you should really check the unsolved homicides from 1995-1997 in Boston. 

So indeed I logged onto the Massachusetts State police website and told him, “I see X amt. of victims here. They are both male and female. They have a wide range in age and ethnicity. The manner of death varies as does both the manner and means in which their bodies were disposed.”

I continued, “I’m not seeing any identifiable pattern of behavior that would tie any of these victims together.

He replied, ” No, that’s right you don’t.”

So I questioned, “why did you have me go check on these specific unsolved homicides from these 2 years?

Nothing

Did you have anything to do with these?”

Silence

Then…..quiet laughter.

Then, “goodnight Lexi.”

Then the phone hung up.


The following day I phoned the Massachusetts State Police and asked to speak to a detective.   I ended up talking to one and told my entire story. Highlighting his sexual sadism and impulsive violence, the photographs I saw of the pummeled, black and blue woman, on through to the animal killing story, to the sexual fantasy of wanting to abduct a teen.

Sadly, the detective thought that my claim was outrageous, my credibility nill , and he consequently dismissed me as a crackpot.  He told me he would “ keep a report on file.”  This I knew to be a lie.  I felt like this sexual sadist was above the law.  I was pretty sure he believed he was above the law too.

I felt hopeless that day, but things were about to change and a Higher law would set things right.

Confessions of a Germaphobe

 

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I slide in on the heels of a middle-aged woman, so the door swings open and I never touch it.

I reach for the automatic paper towel dispenser, pull off a piece and head to the bathroom stall.   Naturally, my hand does not want to touch any part of the handle of the stall while opening it or closing it.   So I use the paper towel as a barrier between the door and my hand as I open the bathroom stall handle.

Next I begin prepping for the “hover”.  Women develop great muscle tone in their legs by hovering over the toilet seat.   Because I have germaphobia, I can’t use the outer layer of toilet paper provided,  because God knows what might linger on that puppy.  Blowback, splatter, or spray.  Things that can’t be seen with the naked eye.   What if the person before me had explosive diarrhea?  dear God….microscopic fecal matter or worse blood borne pathogens lingering.  My thoughts race a thousand miles an hour and my heart beats a thousand beats per second.   I want OUT of this horrid public bathroom that smells like a raw sewage backup with febreeze misting in through the air.

I have to unravel several sheets of said toilet paper round and round many times and then discard that before I can even think of it, as “safe” to use.  Then I’m clear to for take off, ready to void.

Oh and that’s the other thing, pooping? Ummm no. I would rather prairie dog it til’ I get home before I’d use a public rest room.  That’s pretty much a cardinal rule of “no can do” with my OCD/ germaphobia variant.

Once I’m through, and am all buttoned up, I grab another piece of toilet paper to grab the door handle with and let myself out of the stall.  Before I exit , I throw that into the toilet and turn around quick-like and kick the flusher handle down with the bottom of my shoe.

I return back to the automatic paper towel dispenser to get a piece, with which to turn on the water faucet at the sink and also use it to pull down the soap dispenser.  I then wash my hands.   I return back to the paper towel dispenser to get more paper so I that I can dry my hands and grab one extra square to let myself out of the bathroom.

It is a well-choreographed dance like movement in an operating theatre.   A waltz I know well after being diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in my late teens.  I have it down to a science now and can do it so quickly I do not think about the routine.  I get in, and get out in nearly the same amount of time that the next person does.

Once back in college, I felt a sense of shame about having this lengthy public bathroom regimen, knowing (at least intellectually) it was irrationally based behavior.   Come on, if someone was watching, it looks bat-shit crazy.

Then one day I observed one of my professors who held a PhD, using the same bathroom, who had just had a bowel movement and left without washing her hands.

I no longer felt ashamed after she walked out.   I believe I may have washed my hands an extra time, just because.

Kool-Aid Jones: from Pulpit to Pinterest

You better believe that if renowned narcissist Jim Jones were alive and well today, he’d be reaching far more numbers of vulnerable and impressionable minds by writing a blog from an upscale flat in London than he ever did in the jungles of Guyana.  He’d still have his loyal following of devotee’s with their troubled pasts of trauma, broken childhoods, broken marriages, and broken dreams.  He would naturally espouse to have vast knowledge on how to remedy all that ails them.  He would peddle his special brand of elixir or “how-to” and offer to turn their lives from misery to sanctity and freedom.  All that he would ask is that they just put their faith and trust in him, their fearless and self-ascribed leader .

Like any good narcissist, he seeks unlimited success/power/love, admiration.  He has a grandiose self-worth and believes himself superior to others.  He has a lack of empathy well-hidden behind a seamless veneer of charm and charisma.  Has a sense of entitlement and possesses interpersonal exploitative behaviors.

In today’s day and age vampires have adapted.  They have no need to fear the daylight, for there are dark sunglasses and sunscreen.   So too, the modern-day Jones would dispense his Kool-Aid differently than his predecessor.   The pen has always been mightier than the sword, or in this case, the cyanide.   Our modern-day Jones would trade preaching for blogging.  He would use volumes of facts about narcissism offering to help others’ gain understanding.    Jones may perhaps don the Scarlet Letter and admit publicly to being a narcissist.  This would do two things:  through his blog he would both normalize and desensitize the topic of malignant narcissism as well as foster a cheerleading team for himself.  He could ensnare victims by creating an online support group via the comment section of his blog and most of them would naïvely walk into it and never seeing it for its dark potential.   His harem, a coterie of would be stand-ins vying for place as his next primary source should that crack at bat ever happen.   The real coterie’s purpose to him? anything he wants.  Since many subscribers have their profile linked to their social media, at his disposal are their emails, photos, and sometimes phone numbers.   He would most likely spend hours writing, cultivating, and pruning his blog as it would be no doubt a great source of ready-to-eat supply.     Simply put, narc heaven.

By the time our Kool-Aid Jones blog gets into the minds of subscribers, his words have already become like a slow-acting poison.  Eating away at them long-after he is gone.

Wait, he seems so benign our Kool-Aid Jones, is there really a need to run?

 

 

 

 

 

Of Mice and Monsters II

It smelled of mold and mildew down there.  The air always had a cold damp quality to it.  Because of my asthma, I had never liked going there.  All the walls were entirely lined with neat rows of shelf-stable food.  Enough for a small family to survive an Armageddon.  I always thought it strange.  Then there was the safe.   The massive safe hidden behind the stairs.  Standing at well over 6 feet high, it was large enough with which to store a body.

All throughout our relationship, I was never permitted there while he opened the safe.  It was always one of those unspoken rules.   The mystery that shrouded the safe added to my wonderment of its contents.  The only light was from the lone 60-watt bulb dangling from the ceiling.  There were two dirty tiny windows meant only to allow light and ventilation.  They were both sealed tightly shut.

He was cooking spaghetti and meatballs that night and asked me to run down to grab a can of diced tomatoes.  I headed downstairs and began searching the shelves for the requested item.

Suddenly I heard him shut the basement door and then slide the metal chain latch  over.  Then I heard his footsteps on the floorboards above me trail away.

I bolted up the stairs heart racing and called out his name all the while feverishly trying the door handle in hopes it would open.  It did not.

He did not answer.

It hit me then.  The sheer and absolute terror.  The blood in my veins ran cold as I realized I have become entombed in this cellar.

I yelled at the top of my lungs and began pounding my fists on the door, “PLEASE!!! PLEASE!!! I’m begging you!!Let me out!!!

Still no answer.

More screaming, more begging, more pounding on the door,” I’m BEGGING you to please come back, I don’t have my inhaler, please let me out!!”

Silence.

My tears turned to full on sobs realizing I would might never get out of this basement.  My mind began to race:   Would I die from an asthma attack and suffocate or would I die from thirst/dehydration since there was only food down here but no water.    That I would never get to say goodbye to my family….

Seemed like seconds turned to minutes and each minute felt like an eternity.

When suddenly I heard his footsteps again and then the metal chain sliding to unlock the door.

“Why are you crying?” he laughed, “You didn’t think I was going to leave you down there forever did you?” He chuckled,” I was just fooling around with you.”  He pulled me in close and hugged me.   I felt relief, repulsion, anger….   The Stockholm Syndrome with which I was quite familiar, was unfolding right in front of me.  I simply couldn’t see it.

I don’t know how long I was actually locked down there.    It was long enough to know that I was not dealing with a garden variety “Daddy-Dom” into some weekend kink.

In retrospect, I think that’s why I stayed.  He intrigued me.  I thought with all my psychological acumen, I’d find out what made him tick.  But by then it was nearly too late for that.  For what I’ve failed to mention….was that by then I was in love with the monster.