Don’t Leave Home Without It

A couple of nights ago, I took this photo of the Aurora Borealis.

See anything?

You might see a little something, but you will have to enlarge it – a lot.

Living north of 60 degrees N latitude means that the Aurora is spectacular. From the south, the Aurora assumes a fairly standard curtain-like shape. It hangs there high in the sky, its undulating green hem twinkling in the solar breeze. But It’s not always readily visible from the south (and by south I mean southern Canada). There’s light pollution, the earth’s position and distance to consider.

From here, however, it’s a different story. It’s a living shape – swirling into seashells and lodgepoles and disappearing into the horizon in a smoky streak.

You can see stars through it.

So, why don’t I have a better photo to share with you? Well, it’s a long story. Actually, no. It’s not. It’s a simple story.

I forgot my camera. Again.

My M and I were driving back from grocery shopping – we have to drive an hour and a half for that – and we had made a bit of an evening of it, too. A meal in a restaurant, like that.

It was about 10 pm when we started back and by then it was completely dark – a great opportunity to see and photograph the Aurora.

But the photo you see here was taken using my cell phone, and with something like the Aurora, that doesn’t work.

So I was a little pissed at myself for not bringing my camera, even though I knew there was a good chance that I would see the Northern Lights.

Essentially, I didn’t do my due diligence.

The are good photos to be had if you bring your camera. (The Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island.)

Sometimes, that’s not important. It winds up just being irritating. But at other times, it can be downright dangerous. You wouldn’t want to fly with a pilot who hadn’t done her due diligence, for instance.

And then there’s the inbetween. Where you’re warned that you need to pay attention, that you’re getting complacent, that there is potential danger. For instance, that maybe your ex-narcissist is still lurking, still checking, still trying.

That happened to me last June.

All of a sudden, there he was, demanding my attention.

I hadn’t thought about him in any real way in a long time. Yes, I’d written about my experiences with him, but from the perspective that he was out of my life, that my chances of any kind of contact with him were becoming more and more remote with the passage of time.

But then, in June, he started actively trying to find me. And the indirectness of his actions scared me because his past attempts to re-establish contact had been very front and centre.

He went to my last workplace, claiming to be my spouse and asking for directions to my office. HR denied him any information and then phoned to let me know – the person he spoke with knew he wasn’t my husband and also didn’t like the vibe she got from him. So she took it upon herself to phone a former employee to give a heads up.

Then there was Dan, my son’s dad. We hadn’t spoken in a long time, but he phoned to tell me that Harry, my ex-narcissist, had called him looking for my address. Dan was concerned because he knew that I had experienced a lot of trouble with Harry.

Two warnings. Both from people who didn’t have to do anything.

Harry’s indirect approach had me worried. This behaviour told me he was planning some sort of trap or ambush. M advised me to go to the police.

I was in the process of organising that in my head when … my phone rang.

It was Harry.

There was an immediate ten minutes of non-stop murmle, murmle, murmle. It came pouring out of him, like a rusty faucet disgorging a hundred years of mind-filth: I’m doing this, that, this, that – it’s so good, it’s so good, it’s so good our relationship was great, was great, was great, you were so good, so generous, so good I’m sorry, sorry, sorry, so sorry I went to your work looking for you isn’t the Okanagan great? it’s so great, so great, so great things aren’t going as well as I thought for me the weather is great so great it’s great it’s all great may I darken your door again? when I think about it we had a great situation it was a great situation great situation, so comfortable so comfortable let’s meet for coffee.

See where that went???

My response: Harry. I’m sorry to hear that things are not going well for you right now. I’m not in the Okanagan. I am in the middle of moving to Winnipeg (fabrication) to start a research project at the university there (fabrication). I’ve bought a house there (fabrication). I wish you well.

Staying calm in the face of narcissistic yammering is a good thing. (Skaha Lake, Okanagan Valley.)

I quickly ended the call after making the point that I was (really) unavailable. Then I immediately changed my phone number. I had blocked his previous number but he had changed it – the only thing to do was to change mine.

I think I was lucky. I had warnings. The people he contacted didn’t give him any information. I actually wasn’t in the Okanagan while he was looking for me there. And lastly, I don’t think he was overtly looking for vengeance.

In the end, he was probably only looking for a place to hang his hat and was just running through a list of possibles. I don’t know how far down the list I was and it doesn’t matter.

But this event says a couple of things. One is that like the cat who keeps coming back, you never know when or where your old narcissist is going to materialise. Which reminds me – be sure to keep careful track of your online presence. That’s how Harry had firstly attempted to find me again – through an online reference. When it comes to the internet, you can’t be too cautious.

And the other is that you should never leave home without your camera. Who knows; you might need to photograph the Aurora Borealis.

Have you ever been bitten by the complacency bug?

 

19 thoughts on “Don’t Leave Home Without It

  1. Oh My. This wasn’t too long ago.

    My narcissist parents were never quite that bad. They did demand our attention be focused on them, and no matter how much attention we (their two kids) gave, it was never enough. But, like I’ve said, they aren’t as rough around the edges now that they’ve aged. They would never have searched someone out like your ex, though.

    Your ex must’ve been starving for ego-stroking and was searching for someone to give it to him. I like how you handled the situation. Good job with remaining calm.

    Aside from that, I needed your lesson about the camera a little sooner. I just published a post that shares that very thing . . . forgetting my camera. LOL

    Side note: 90 minutes to grocery shop. Ack. As I posted a couple of weeks ago, I’m lazy. 😛

    • Yes – I think he had run out of options and was looking for a place to spend the winter (like an old nasty bear). His latest target had probably thrown him out. I think he may have been just testing the waters – seeing who would be willing to take him back. Yikes. His behaviour really shows how oblivious he is. I worked hard to get him out of my life and then to cut off contact, but he obviously hasn’t done any kind of self-reflection around why I would do that.

      Thank you. It was hard to stay calm with him but I knew that I had to exist, if only briefly, in his weird world where behaving as he had was an okay thing to do. That was the only way I could shut the door on him, hopefully permanently.

      Yup, a 90 minute drive for groceries. It certainly does focus your mind on what you need to get, but not on cameras. 🙂 I’m interested to read about your camera adventure. 🙂

      • I think you did a great job with not telling him to pi$% off. You handled it well. Sometimes I shoot my mouth off by telling a person just how awful they are. Not always, but when I’ve finally had enough. You’re right, he obviously didn’t do any self-reflection.

        • Thank you. 🙂

          I think we all can reach that point – the “I’ve had enough point.” It’s just that with narcissists, getting angry is so frustrating – in the end you’re angry and frustrated and that’s it. They’re off in their alternate reality while you wind up at the doctor getting blood pressure medication. 🙂

  2. Great post! I wasn’t expecting it to go where it went.

    First, I thought the image hadn’t loaded because all I could see was black, but then I realised it had loaded and I can see what looks like the shadow of a temple. I’ve always wanted to see the Aurora but I’m too lazy to travel somewhere where it’s a regular sight. On rare occasions you’re supposed to be able to see it where I live but I’ve yet to do so. I once had the opportunity to see St Elmo’s Fire but I went inside minutes before it happened…

    I tend to not have my camera or my phone on me, but I tend to think some things aren’t meant to be captured except by the eyes in the moment.

    As for your ex… narcs get nostalgia big time and when they do they try to make whatever they’re nostalgic about happen because they think it’s going to solve everything for them, problem is that their version of the past is never what the past was like when it was the present, and the people in their nostalgic dreams are never who those people actually are. The fact that he can’t fathom that tracking you down the way he did was creepy, completely inappropriate, and not at all what you would want… but it’s never about you, it’s always about the narc.

    What I liked about your story the most was the way the people (except for your ex) are so protective of you… sometimes our complacency shows us that others have our back, and we can relax our guard 🙂

    • Thank you. 🙂

      There’s no temple – if you enlarge it enough you can see the outline of a couple of trees, some fuzz (the Aurora itself) and a couple of stars. When I realised that I had forgotten my camera, I actually thought the same thing – that some things aren’t meant to be captured. You just need to appreciate them while you can.

      I really wanted to make the connection between narcissism and ordinary behaviour – that despite all the focus on it, narcissism isn’t an outlier that occasionally makes these snatch and grab appearances before scurrying off into the underbrush. Or that it isn’t some kind of anomaly, like DT.

      Narcs really do get bitten by the nostalgia/sentimentality bug. He did keep going on about how great our relationship had been and about the other “great” elements of our life together. However, the reality is that he complained about all of it – none of it was good enough or the way he thought it should be. And, of course, he was completely oblivious as to how I was feeling about everything. It really is all about them …

      You’re right. When you have some good people around you, you do get protected from your own carelessness – there’s a cushion there. I’m very grateful for them. 🙂

  3. Good advice. The predators make for the easy ones first, it is in their nature so stay strong.. I hope that you don’t have any further worries.

    I’ve got to the stage where I write “Camera” next to my keys. 😀

  4. I’m sorry I missed this post, Lynette. I didn’t see it in my WP Reader. As I’ve followed your blog over the years, I often wondered if your ex made attempts to make contact. That’s very frightening, but reassuring that your old workplace handled things properly. Take care and be safe!

    • No problem. 🙂 I’ve been quite spotty about WP over the last six weeks or so as I’ve started my new position now and it’s extremely busy – very steep learning curve! I’m going home exhausted but I’m sleeping like a baby. 🙂

      I think I was quite lucky. As another blogger noted, others had my back while I was off being complacent. It’s good to know that I have that (and also in reverse). 🙂

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