January 1, 2023
My maternal Grandmother, my Nana, for most of us our memories of our grandparents are quite special. My maternal Grandfather died when I was quite young, I was 2 or 3 when that happened. To this day I can still remember the smell of his pipe and the tobacco blend he mixed for himself. My favourite memory of him though is, the way that he could bring himself down to my level, that of a 3 year old and talk me down from when I was throwing a stubborn temper tantrum, and making me feel safe while reluctantly giving into him. That sense of safety was solely lacking from anyone else, my Grandmother and Aunt would grab me while picking me up, perhaps a bit too roughly, then hug me very closely to restrain me while I had my tantrum, then snuggle me to calm me down, my Aunt’s bosom was great for that. Needless to say, my parental response was always a hard slap or more, and then a huge helping of shame would heaped upon me.
Both my brother and I while we were young would try to escape to my Grandmother’s home during summer vacation, though never together, and neither one of us would talk about what was happening at home. We both kept silent in terror of parental reprisal which had been beaten into us from, well since day one.
My Grandmother and her family should have come to Canada aboard the RMS Titanic; you know the one, the ship on her maiden voyage that sank on April 15, 1912 after striking an ice burg some 600 Kms southeast of Newfoundland, with the loss of more than 1,500 souls. We missed that sailing because her younger sister got sick and was too ill to travel. It is a little bit freaky knowing this, we would have been in steerage, and with the class restrictions in place at that time, it is very likely that we would not have survived the sinking. I tend to believe that there was at least one Mothman involved here, in the film The Mothman Prophesies, the female sheriff of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, is numbered 37; she survives the failure of the bridge over the Ohio River. In the case of the Titanic, I cannot help but wonder what numbers our family were? And why us?
My grand aunt lived a full, reasonably happy life, dying in her eighties, my grandmother was widowed in her fifties and lived as a single woman for more than forty years, always claiming that she was a one man woman, and wanted to be reunited with her husband. It’s a lovely sentiment but it likely does not work that way. My Grandmother lived through some interesting times, the Spanish Flu, both World Wars, lost a nephew in Vietnam, and finally, the tragedy of the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001.
That one pissed me off the most that she had to see people at their worst. She, like her sisters, lived a relatively simple life as a doting wife, and mother. She never worked a day of her life except as a home maker, and she mowed her own lawn with a manual push mower well into her eighties, as well as shovelled snow, that great big double driveway and sidewalks.
So that was her, she lived through some interesting stuff, then had my mother, saw her marry my father, then experienced the tragedy of that, the suicides of her eldest daughter and son-in-law. What exact life lessons she was supposed to learn is hard to pin down. In all honesty she lived an incredibly simple life, most of it in her kitchen playing hostess to friends from Scotland, and of course to family. In some ways it’s almost as if she lived vicariously through the people who came into her home because she herself did not travel. The thing I know for sure is, her kitchen was filled with love, warmth, delicious smells, and stories that were told too many times, and incredible advice. Sometimes that advise was hard to get to because it was wrapped up in that story that you tuned out from because you have heard it 8,000 times too many! That said, listening to her, and the things she knew, did teach me a lot about resiliency, and that was something that I was struggling with. In those years as a 10 – 12 year old, they were the worst of the bullying that I experienced, it was extremely tough bellying up to it day after day, year in year out, lasting in total about 5 years. That experience taught two very important lessons, 1. That people are followers, no better than sheep and once you realize that, 90% of the problem goes away, because they are not as strong as you, they are nothing but energy vampires. 2. Once you realize that they are weakling nobody’s, you can reverse the roles played and empower yourself from their weakness. Do not be bothered with anger and bitterness, they will not remember you five years from now, take your power back and forget them where they stand, they are not worth your power.
This may seem as if it is full of arrogance and ego, it really is not. All you have now done is set impermeable boundaries, this is the treatment that I will or will not accept. It places you in a position of strength, allowing you to teach others how you expect to be treated, if they measure up, awesome, if not, you can walk with no worries.
Love yourself first, you do not need a trend to be cool, leave the guy/girl stealing lunch money under the rock from which they came, do not allow their toxicity to poison your now or your future. Sometimes it helps to understand where the bully is, he/she may from an early age be locked into survival mode, which triggers our fight, flight, or freeze mode. It’s not up to you or I to heal or disarm them, they are the ones who must come to the realization that their behaviour is unacceptable. A bully who is unable to bully is a non-threat to you, what the bully does outside of your environment will change through fear, the behaviour will either get worse, which can be mitigated through legal action, or it will correct itself through fear of being cut out and being disrespected in total. Loneliness is a powerful teacher.
Remember too that you are never one thing only, teacher or student. In every situation there is energy exchanged, ideally where you want to be is, so full of positively charged energy that anyone who is negatively charged bounces off of you, literally like water off of a duck’s back. This may seem somewhat impossible but remember, you are starting from a place where you have developed impermeable boundaries. This is not a place where you can hide and fall into isolation and sadness; instead it is a place of refuge, a place where you have drawn a line in the sand, a place where your power is greatest.
This was an excellent strategy that worked well in school hallways, also on city streets, and the chaos that you find in some truck stops, like those shit holes like both the T/A and Pilot in Gary, Indiana. Fucking parasites hanging out at the Diesel pumps bugging drivers for money. It was also an interesting way to short circuit the leprechaun, as a narcissist one of her favourite means of attack was to play you off of another, using a combination of guilt and shame to manipulate me. She could never understand why that tact never worked. The problem there of course was, being a narcissist, she would work even harder to maintain power and control and whatever the occasion might have been, would turn to shit as she found ways to make the occasions failure my fault, which of course was her fault but since a narcissist will never take ownership of their actions, it was going to be someone else’s fault anyway. There is no winning against a narcissist, some of the most common traits of a narcissist are, inflated ego, lack of empathy, constant need for attention, repressed insecurities, few or no boundaries.
When I first got with her back in the late 1990s, I came at the relationship from a position of weakness, I was barely out of my women were shapes protection mode, I had no idea that a narcissist was a real thing, and I was still hung up on the Nanny, and the leprechaun was about as opposite to the Nanny as is possible to be. So I am in this position of weakness, and I am looking at the love of a narcissist, who may show love and act in loving ways, but are really love bombing you by overwhelming their prey with verbal, physical, and material expressions of love. In a “normal” relationship this “honeymoon” period will last for some time, years even; however, with a narcissist, this will quickly devolve into where you are devalued. To do this they will use a number of strategies, the hardest hitting being what is called gas lighting. This alone is capable of causing you to question everything about yourself, the people around you, and your sanity. They will make statements like, there’s something wrong with you, Everyone is worried about your state of mind, I got this one a lot, “That’s not what happened”, and “You’re crazy!”
As an Empath, I was suckered into this foul relationship because of what I am. For almost twenty years the traits that make me who I am kept me there, it was unfortunate that I had no idea that I was an Empath, though knowing probably would have made little difference. Empaths are not strictly speaking healers, though all of us have that ability. As I have said above, we are not always one thing or another, teachers or students; the major role that the leprechaun played in my life was to finish ripping my ego apart, the role I played for her was to perhaps begin her healing. She had deep seated issues, her covert narcissism being but one of those.