In The Gaslight

The wife of a narcissist wakes up.

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On Being A Balloon

So, I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking lately, trying to figure out why I married the person I did.

Like, a lot of thinking. Verging on obsessing. Who am I kidding? I’m totally obsessing.  But I like to think I’m justified in this one teeny particular instance.

About 3:00 in the morning, it hit me.  Because I’m afraid that without an anchor, you just don’t know where the balloon is going to sail to.

[FYI: I’m the balloon in the example, and my husband is the anchor. Duh.]

I looked back over my years of dating and friendships, and over my years of marriage. There are a very few friends I’ve had who are really truly balloons, and while I love(d) them (some are still in my life, others not), it was never comfortable to be with them. There was always the sense that if I didn’t act extremely responsible and a little ploddy, between the two of us, we might just sail away on a gust of “why not?” and that’s kind of terrifying.

This is not coming out clearly.  Let me try again.

I love being curious. I love going ahead and doing the thing everybody wishes they could do, if only.… The kid who hugs the principal at the last day of school. The one who hams it up when using the grocery store speaker to call all baggers to the front. The person who imagines beauty, and then actually makes it happen. Who makes a tiny little fairy door and places it carefully in the hollow of a tree. Who makes pancakes, and tries to make them to represent the Hawaiian islands, using blueberries to represent mountains. Who actually takes the belly dancing class.

There is nothing more fun than just saying, “Why not? Let’s try!”


If two of us got together and both of us were of the “why not” persuasion, we could end up in a yurt in Arizona. Or dangling from ropes tied to the sides of camels. Or crashing and burning in a heap of pathetic poseur-ness, jobless, friendless, homeless.

Almost without exception, my long-term boyfriends and friends have been … how to say this without seeming nasty? They’ve had a strong sense of reality. They’ve been very solid and safe and maybe barely tolerated my whimsy, but certainly didn’t celebrate it or participate in it. One boyfriend called it my “daisy-fairy-ness.”  He was right, actually.  That’s a perfectly good description.  It drove him nuts that I went around humming happily to myself, just trusting the universe would make things work out for me.  Now, I was working my butt off to accomplish things, but I didn’t spend much time worrying too much.  Usually if I did what felt sincere and honest and true, things would, in fact, fall into place.  Not always what I had hoped or planned, but almost always something good eventually.  I was very good at rolling with what came at me, and making the best of it.

Throughout my life, when I’d get a goal that wasn’t quite sincere, or it didn’t resonate with me but I still really really wanted it, I’d hammer away at it.  I’d hammer and hammer at a door that did not want to open, and for good reason. Some of the times, I’d actually force that door open and jam my foot in there and wiggle my way in, but those never left me feeling right. I’d feel proud of having “made something of myself,” but the sun didn’t shine on me. The achievement felt effort-full.

All of these men I’ve been with have something in common.  They were ALL anchors. They were what I wasn’t. And most significantly, they were who I thought I needed to be.

Not who I needed to be with.  Who I needed to BE, because I believed that who I was was inadequate to the task of growing up.

Sit with that for a sec.

Not until really recently have I ever felt like the me who I actually am could possibly be someone who could be a grown up all by myself. I’m not sure what has shifted, but I believe in myself now. I believe that even though I have all of those ‘daisy-fairy’ qualities, they aren’t the only things I have. I am also responsible and smart, aware and mature, and I can figure things out. I don’t need a ribbon. I can see the ground when I float, and I know how to get back down there sometimes. I don’t need an anchor, I just need the balance I ALREADY HAVE within myself.

I can be the woman in the flowy skirt who wears a feathered headband, and also be the person who pays her insurance bill. I can be the person who hides little sparkly things in unexpected places for other people to find, and still keep my car registration up. My children can both have a midnight snowball fight on a Wednesday AND get their teeth cleaned every six months.

It is possible.  It IS possible.




Just Not Interested

I have a wonderful friend who lives very nearby, and sometimes I call her up and we just sit on the porch and have wine and talk, and sometimes we go out.  We’re nearly the same age, and she’s divorced with no kids and fairly new to town, so she enjoys the company.

This week had been rough (but what week isn’t, these days?), and I had been feeling restless and cooped up for days.  The evening before, my husband suggested that I go out with one of my friends, so I could get my ya-yas out and settle down, but nobody was available then. This morning, I texted my friend and arranged to go out for maybe a drink and a game of darts tonight.

While I waited for her to get done with her stuff so we can go out, I was sitting in the living room with my husband, reading stuff on the web. I suddenly come across something so damned funny to me that I bark laughing.  It was a wildly inappropriate joke that only someone who went to my college would understand, and it was encapsulated into one embarrassing picture. I picked up my laptop and walked over to him to show him (he went to that school too), and said, “Wanna see what I was just laughing so hard at?” and I held out my laptop. He just raised an eyebrow (without looking up from his phone) and said, “Ummm, I’m not really interested right now.”

Well, fine.

Turn Off the Light, Please

You know I have lots of trouble sleeping. GEE, I wonder why.

Anyway. I usually end up sleeping on the sofa because every time I try to sleep with my husband, he ends up waking me up because I’m snoring, or breathing too hard, or rolling over too much etc. Finally, I told him that I couldn’t sleep w/him at all because I’d lay there and keep myself awake so I wouldn’t upset him by falling asleep and doing something annoying. And that was very bad for my sleep habits.

SO anyway, he’s been bugging me, saying that I really should come up and sleep in bed with him again, etc. Last night, I did, going to bed at about 10:30 tonight. He had gone to bed at about 9:30, and at 11:30, he suddenly woke up, TURNED ON THE LIGHTS, then went downstairs (leaving the light on) to go to the bathroom.

I lay there, blinking in confusion, and finally, fuming..

When he came up, I was all, “WHAT? Why did you turn light on? I was SOUND ASLEEP.” He huffed, “I needed to find something.” And then he sat there for several minutes and futzed around finding his headphones or something. I finally said, “Ummmm… are you going to maybe turn it out? I’m trying to sleep, you know.”

He was upset at me because of that, and grumbled about “needing to see what he was doing,” and proceeded to thump and whack around, smacking into the headboard several times, shaking the bed while he was trying to find whatever it was. So when he did turn it out, I was wide awake again and angry. I had actually MANAGED TO FALL ASLEEP in bed with him before this, and then he woke me up with a light in my face for several minutes. I got up and started walking away, and he sighed sleepily and unhappily, “What are you doing? Where are you going?” and I said that, “well, I’m wide awake now, so I’m going back downstairs.” He murmured something about how he didn’t understand what was wrong with me, and rolled over and went to sleep.

I AM SO PISSED, and I know that no matter what, if I bring it up to him, he’s somehow going to make it about how I am unfair or selfish or too sensitive or whatever. He HATES it when I would read my kindle in bed (on the lowest light setting) because the little sound I apparently make when I’d move to turn the page would wake him, so I never read in bed anymore (that is about the only way I can easily fall asleep). He hates it when I BREATHE too loudly when he’s sleeping. 

But this? This is fucking pathological.

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