When I went to settlement, unloading the “home” I’d owned with my ex- narcissist, I found out that I was being held solely responsible for all outstanding fees, interest, and penalties on our mortgage. Having been put through the wringer by Bank of America I was pissed off. I wrote my lawyer explaining everything BoA had put me through since I had agreed to taking over the mortgage on February 1st of 2017. My question was this: wasn’t my ex liable for penalties, fees & fines accrued prior to February of 2017?
It turns out he is not. When I reread our “agreement” I agreed to indemnify him from all past, present and future liabilities regarding the mortgage/home.
According to my attorney it made me sense for me to agree to this because on that day BoA assured my ex, via phone, that we were approved for modification, so anything he’d accrued would be wiped out. If you follow my blog you know that BoA are crooks and the modification was never approved.
None of which is what I’m writing about. What I’m writing about is this:
Narcissists are cool, calculating people. They have no feelings. Feelings get in the way of rational thought. Their lack of feelings is what enables them to screw us over, time and time again. While we are getting upset, feeling fear, anger and sadness, they are calmly calculating the cost to them.
I think back to that day, the day we drafted our final divorce agreement, and I feel confident that had I felt no feelings, I would have understood the ramifications of agreeing to this clause and I would have said no. My feelings of fear, frustration, exhaustion, betrayal, and anger all came in to play. Every word I heard that day was filtered through this cache of emotions. Each word said to me that day had to traverse my minefield of feelings before landing in the center of my logical brain. No wonder I was always so lost in my marriage.
It brings to mind a furnace filter — paramount on my mind, as I just moved into a home with a filthy one. The furnace filter captures all of the impurities in the air. It prevents all air from entering the home until the impurities have been separated out. This is a great system, until the filter gets too full. At some point the filter has been bombarded with so many impurities it is no longer effective. At this point it allows nothing into the house. It is a mass of unwanted particles and spores, and nothing can penetrate it.
I feel like this is what happened with my emotions during my marriage. I went into my marriage with a damaged filter from my childhood. I had been cleaning out that filter in the 3 years prior to my marriage and thought I was in great shape. Alas, I was not.
In the beginning of our marriage I was able to filter out the bad. My emotional filter was functioning well enough to recognize most good versus bad messages. As time went on my emotional filter, continually bombarded with crazy messages and faulty thinking, got bogged down. My filter was so busy trying to decipher the messages from the days, or weeks, before, it could no longer keep up with the demands of the day at hand. I left my marriage with a useless filter.
My filter, or bullshit meter, simply does not work around narcissists. It’s almost as if there is a certain spot on my filter that is damaged beyond repair, and that is the spot they go to. If it were an actual filter there would be a hole in it that the impurities are able to go right through.
And now, I want to cry. Why? Because I fear this is permanent damage, this hole in my filter. I think that whenever faced with a narcissist, or some other personality disordered person, I will never be able to successfully navigate their insanity. That hole is so big I will never be able to hear what is being said with my bullshit meter in place, I will always fall victim.
Not only do I want to cry but I’m really freaking mad. I’m mad because as a child, when this filter should have been reinforced, it was torn down. At a time when I was vulnerable and needed others to be my filter, the others were either absent or actually adding to the overload in my brain.
In my life today I have less need for an effective filter. Today I can freely walk away from people who make me uncomfortable – people who feed off of my insecurities. I think of a person earlier today who does this all the time to me. She sucks me into a conversation, acting as if it is a joint concern, only to hijack me and hold me hostage while she regales in the difficulties of her life. I know that when she approaches me it is to pull me in to her story. I am nothing more than a prop to her, because in her mind, she is all that matters. Her life, her children, her experiences, far outweigh anything I might feel, and I am nothing more than a filter she uses to unload her negativity.
What is most annoying to me about all of this is that I’m once again drowning in fear over money. Money was the weapon my parents used, and continue to use, to overwhelm me, thus gaining control. This was a habit picked up by my ex. I never knew what was happening with our finances, and when I asked I was accused of emasculating him. I wasn’t, but that allegation stopped me in my tracks, and sent me down the spiral of shame, during which I dwelled on the ways I was an “emasculating bitch”.
PS: I wrote this about a month ago. In that time several things have happened.
The first is that I’ve been able to take over my finances. Knowing I have control, know what is happening and am making my own decisions has relieved my fear. Yes, I have little quivers every time I purchase something, but I know myself and I know that I will do the right thing financially.
The second is that I identified and dodged a narcissist/toxic person!! GO ME!
She is a person who befriended me a few weeks ago under the guise of our commonality. That should have been my first clue – narcissists always mirror your life. In retrospect, as I was spewing shame filled secrets from my marriage, she was reiterating her “story” – she had been a bad wife, and had she nagged less she would still be married. She never divulged more, not even her ex’s name or address. What part of that did I think was normal??
After the funeral of my bosses son,, I shared with my “friend” how triggered I had been watching her with her steadfast, loving spouse. My “friend” agreed that she felt the same way. What would happen if we lost one of our children? Would there be two different receiving lines? And who would be standing in ours, while our Ex’s stood with their new girl.
A few days later she cancelled some plans because she was packing for a trip. I texted back that it was fine, then I referenced these feelings, as well as some other triggers we had talked about. She texted me back: “murphy, I have processed these things, and I don’t want to be involved in drama. I don’t think the drama is good for you either”.
Ouch. My stomach flipped. There I went again, being a drama queen, starting up unnecessary trouble & over reacting. Part of me though, knew this wasn’t true. So I sat with it for a few hours.
Later in the day I texted back “I’m so happy you feel that way-it’s great. It’s different than what you said before, but I am really happy you feel that way”. I had figured out what I was dealing with! I won’t diagnose her, but she is not on the same path as I. She is hell bent on dismissing the feelings she is uncomfortable with, and any time I try to talk about a feeling she will pull the trigger – Drama Queen.
If I have learned nothing else over the past 3 years it is this: I Am Not A Drama Queen. I am Highly Sensitive, and I like to discuss, dissect and process my feelings. In fact, I must do that to continue cleaning out my clogged filter. This is not drama, it’s appropriate behavior.
The fluttering in my stomach is gone.
I’ll keep my distance from her and store this in the back of my mind for later. Because I am sure of 1 thing: Toxic People love me, but I don’t have to love them back.