Category Archives: narcissism

Safe relationships

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I have written a few posts about my own personal experiences

with control and abuse, along with the battered women’s

shelter job as the Child Advocate. In my stories, I try to indicate

that everyone should be loved, cared about and treated in a kind

way, whether married or in a relationship. I encourage men also

to find that secure and “safe” love.

I have watched several movies over the years that had good

content, ideas and moving stories about women’s struggles

to get free and improve their lives. My story about the woman,

Maria, who lived in my apartment building was a haunting

one that from time to time, I stop and stand still. A prayer comes

to mind, then I try not to worry about her.

I just watched, “Safe Haven” and would recommend it. Although

it is not as wonderful as Nicholas Sparks’ book and following

movie, “The Notebook” which dealt with another serious subject,

Alzheimers and dementia. Both James Garner as the patient elderly

husband and Gena Rowlands make that movie meaningful through

their subtle portrayals of a couple who have been together many

years. The younger actors, Ryan Gosling and Rachel Mc Adams

portray the couple as younger and more impetuous, combatting

some class issues and yet, overcoming them.

Julia Roberts and Patrick Bergen were in the movie, “Sleeping with

the Enemy.” The story made from a book, covered similar subject of a

scary, angry husband as found in “Safe Haven.” Julia’s character has

to “fake” her own death to get away from her abusive husband.

Another fine movie, “Enough,” starring Jennifer Lopez and Billy

Campbell covers the abuse theme but I like the proactive moves that

Jennifer’s character chooses. She begins to train in getting fit by learning

skills called “Krav Maga” which teach her strength. She learns that she

must listen to her own voice and approaches her ex-husband in his own

home, breaking in to scare him one last time to leave her alone.

Jennifer’s character has hidden his guns and weapons. She pretends to be

hurt and weak, then strikes back. I won’t tell you more but I liked the fact

that she did not just hide and try to make a new life. She tries this, but the

movie and story goes beyond running, gives some other areas to develop.

I think that in “Safe Haven” it is interesting to have the “bad” man be a cop.

He makes his way  southward to Atlanta by flashing his badge to get

information. Somehow, he lands in the nice, peaceful town where the woman

lives and had found her “safe haven.” Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough

are the beautiful actors that depict the future happy couple. The chilling cop

and ex-husband “villain” is portrayed by David Lyons.

Although each movie promotes the idea of freedom from abuse and control,

I find that the dependence on a “new man” a little disconcerting. It is always

nice to have hope of a better life, more friends, and possibly a new love. But

it would be nice to show the women standing on her own two feet, being

happy and secure on their own first. Finding that “safe haven” within oneself

really is the best way to move forward wherever you head after getting out of

an abusive or controlling relationship.

Self Love

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We all need a healthy dose of self love to get through this world

in a successful way. There are some who have too much of a

dose of this and they are labeled, “narcissists.”

I am going to tell you of a man who I once knew and dated

It was long enough ago that I am not worried that he would

associate this post with himself, if he would stumble upon

reading my blog.

This man had what one dear friend later, much later, revealed

to me: “A stable of women who were attractive ponies he liked

to take out and trot around town with.”

Wish I had known that BEFORE I dated the man!

This attentive man seemed to anticipate all that would make me

happy. Looking back, he had quite a charming and smooth

manner about him. He showered me in the first few weeks

with nice meals, special words, extravagant gifts and the

ability to look deeply into my eyes. He seemed to absorb all

of my desires and produced tickets to a theatre production

and one concert. Along with being interested in rubbing my

feet and back after a couple of  long days.

There were of course, since I am telling you a story about a

narcissist, evidences dropped like hints of the underbelly or

seamier side to him along the way. If I should after he listened

to my recounting my  busy day, interrupt him as he was starting

to tell me about his day, a flash of anger shot through me like

daggers from his eyes. He was able to tamp it down within a

short moment though. Less noticeable but there. Other subtle

hints of things to come. He wanted me to meet his family so

we traveled out of town. At dinner, while his  6 year old niece

was eating quietly, he proceeded to start a rather pompous

story about his military responsibilities at his past weekend

reserve duty. Sandy accidentally asked,

“Uncle ____ did you know I have a recital next week?”

He kept on talking, as if she were a gnat and he wouldn’t even

bother to swat at it.

I interrupted his long reserve duty story to ask,

“Hey, did you hear Sandy has a recital coming up?” and I

turned to her and asked, “What are you going to wear?”

As a teacher, sometimes I learned that adults can remember

the subject matter of what they may want to continue talking

about, so assumed he would be okay listening to her answers.

When she was done, he did this hurt (passive aggressive action)

thing when I asked “Now what were you saying about such and

such?”

He answered, “Never mind.”

On the way home from his brother and sister in law’s

house, I was given a searing scolding about how ‘we

don’t interrupt’ and ‘children need to seen and not

heard!’

Being the way I am, since this was only the first or second

time I had heard him lose his cool, I assumed he was just tired.

I rationalized his behavior. I did not worry about the situation.

The next time we had dinner after he came back from reserve,

I asked him while we were eating and catching up on each

other’s weekends,

“So, how many people do you stay in touch with between

weekends?” (Meaning do you have friends that you hang

out with from reserve?) He scowled at me and asked me,

“What do you mean by that?”

I then said what I meant and he was very nasty about the fact

that it was ‘not my business.’

I had more men that were friends during this period so I

just put this egotistical man on the “back burner.” There

were too many warning signs that he was demanding and

selfish.

Now, there is, and always should be, good self image in the

people you surround yourself with. Many successful people

have strong, assertive natures. They surround themselves

with others like themselves and understand about not

taking themselves too seriously. They need to share their

experiences without bruised egos when there are expressed

differences in their approaches. Sigmund Freud addresses

both healthy self love and narcissism in his psychological

studies and books. His book, “On Narcissism” may be

helpful but is challenging to me to read. There are many

other newer studies and professionals who write about

this subject.

The moment that I started to appear busy and did not answer

this man’s phone calls, he was like a changed man! His

responses on the phone when I did answer, were caring and

thoughtful. He inquired about ‘what had he done?’ Also, he

insisted that I needed a nice meal out at a fancy restaurant.

He would not take “no” for an answer! I backed down and

stopped resisting him. Instantly, he was so pleased and told

me the time to be ready.

We had a pleasant evening and I allowed him to talk about

his own career and did not inquire about his military reserve

duty at all. When we were saying ‘good night’ I mentioned

that I had to go to a professional workshop that would mean

I was out of town all day the following Saturday. He said,

“No problem. Have a nice time and hope it is more meaningful

than most workshops are.”

Once I got back into town, I asked my girlfriend if she would

want to go out, last minute notice? We went to a local dance

and sports bar. We were dressed fairly casually and I was just

wanting to have a relaxing time. We looked at the dance floor

as we sometimes were searching for a couple of our other

girls that would possibly be out. There on the dance floor,

was the man I had been dating. The woman with him

was tall and lanky. She had dark, long hair and she was

wearing dress that I would call a “party” dress. Or maybe

even a “New Year’s Eve” dress.

Granted we had had only five or six dates, so we did not

have any verbal promises, but I was hurt. I had become

attached to this prideful man. We both looked at each

other, he kept dancing and did not indicate by a wave of

his hand nor a smile that he recognized me.

I turned around and started walking out, my girlfriend

was chatting with someone. I had gotten to the door

when he was pushing through the standing room only

crowd. I heard him saying, “Excuse me, excuse me.”

He called, “Robin, wait!”

I felt so lucky to be able to turn and say, “Don’t bother

explaining yourself! We really don’t have that much in

common!”

Years later, I met a man that I ran into who knew him and

had served along side him at Rickenbacker for Air Force

Reserve that this man I had briefly (thankfully!) dated,

used to, in his words, “Banging every cadet there was

who would go into a supply closet with him!”

Well, it is like ‘the other shoe dropped.’

That explains that!