All posts by Lynette d'Arty-Cross

WANTED – Adult Children of Narcissists for a survey

This is an excellent post about the adult children of narcissists. Consider taking the survey if you think you may have had a narcissistic parent.
Thanks, Lynette

An Upturned Soul

Narcissist parent



What do you tell other people about your childhood?

Do you edit it, rewrite it, make it sound normal or tell it like it was?

What do you tell yourself about your childhood?

Do you remember it well? Do your memories of it make you smile or would you prefer to forget it happened, but can’t because it influences your adulthood?

How do you describe your parents to others?

The way they want to be described or the way you experienced them – is that the same thing or different? Or the way others, friends, acquaintances and strangers, want you to describe them for their benefit, but not yours?

Do you speak about your relationship with them openly or keep it to yourself, hiding the truth behind a facade of what is expected of you, how others expect a child to talk about their parents?

What was your…

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Things I Learned from Rudy

My sweetie Rudy
My sweetie Rudy

Rudy is my dog. Well, he’s technically my son’s dog, but he has lived with me for most of his life. Rudy readily adopted M into his pack and now hates it when M is away. Recently, he also adopted B, M’s son.

Rudy is an amazing dog. And he’s about to turn 15. We’re not sure exactly when he’s turning 15 because he was an SPCA dog. But it’s within the next three months, most likely around the end of February or beginning of March. Rudy is in excellent health and is still living a full life. His hearing and eyesight are not quite what they used to be and he’s got a little arthritis, but those things aren’t holding him back at all.

So in honour of Rudy’s 15th birthday, and in honour of the fabulous guy that he is, I’m going to share with you some of the wisdom that I’ve learned from Rudy over the years.

1. Go for a walk every day. If there’s mud, snow, or deer poo, play in it. (Actually, you can skip the deer poo.)

2.  You sleep better when you’re with your pack.

3. Grow your pack whenever you can.

4. Always wag your tail and show your pack how much you missed them.

5. Be sure to use your bark sparingly, but don’t be afraid to use it if the zombies come.

6. One invitation can negate seven rejections. (No matter how often Rudy is kicked out of the kitchen, he completely forgets the moment he’s invited in for a tasty tidbit!)

7. Demonstrate your loyalty without reservation.

8. Enjoy your food, especially your vegetables. (Rudy loves broccoli, asparagus and peas.)

9.  Roll over and get your tummy scratched as often as you can.

10. Be polite to the other dogs, even if you don’t like them.

11. Going somewhere, anywhere, is a wonderful thing.

12. If someone tells you you’re great, lap it up and wag your tail in appreciation.

13. Grumble if you think the humans are being unfair. They might change their minds. 😉

14. If you need to lick your butt, don’t worry about what others might think.

15. Remember that you bring great joy and pleasure to life. 💜

You’ve brought great joy and pleasure to my  life.


Where Does Narcissism Come From? Part II

From what I experienced with my ex-husband, narcissism, and by that I mean the extreme narcissism that produces narcissistic personality disorder, is a result of a combination of personality and environmental factors.

Harry, my ex-narcissist, seems to me to have been born with a personality – in other words, the basic personality that was the result of his genetic inheritance – that left him unable to cope with much in the way of emotional upheaval. As a child, he was was probably much more emotional and sensitive than most people.

That was in the 1940s. And being an “emotional” boy would not have been an accepted trait during that time. He likely would have been castigated for any displays of emotion. “Boys don’t cry.” “Act like a man.” “Toughen up.” And so on.

Then, from what I’ve been able to piece together, the perfect confluence of long-term emotional upheaval began: his mother developed a drinking problem and was sent away by Harry’s father to get treatment. She was gone for a long period of time, possibly more than a year. Then, Harry’s father, distant to begin with, exposed Harry to a sort of uninvolved neglect. It could also be that at about this time, Harry became nascently aware that he’s gay – he was around ten.

As a result of these nurturing deficiencies, Harry became locked into childhood behaviour. He developed a love/hate relationship with women. He was in awe of his distant father. As he became older, he enacted repeatedly the wounding that he suffered from his parents, spreading it to others like a plague, hoping, on a subconscious level, to eliminate it from his life, or worse yet, dropping it on others so that they could feel the same way that he does. After all, it isn’t “fair” for others to feel better than he does.

Because he was a child when this occurred, with a child’s sense of understanding and logic, the narcissistic wounding was perceived through a child’s eyes. A childlike reaction resulted: in particular, narcissists react to criticism in very childlike ways. They are hypersensitive to any kind of perceived negativity that might be directed at them. One cliche certainly applies to narcissists and criticism: they can dish it out but they can’t take it. Eventually, the original wounding is forgotten and buried, and the narcissist can no longer make any kind of connection between event and  behaviour, if a connection had ever consciously been made in the first place.

Although Harry is a grown man physically, he relates to the world through the brain of a sensitive child who was damaged beyond repair. He has developed coping mechanisms and armour to protect himself from further injury. He has objectified others so that they can’t hurt him; since others are to be viewed with mistrust and suspicion, they become tools. Despite this, he is aware that others function better than he does, so he frequently copies them, masquerading what he interprets as “normal” behaviour. The fact that others seem to function better than him also causes frustration and rage. He thinks, “I’m doing what they’re doing. I’m saying what they’re saying. And I still can’t get it right.” He has completely lost himself in a confused morass of borrowed behaviours, opinions and habits, looking for the right fit, as if buying a new suit.

The sensitive child still lives within him, so there is a further impetus to over-react to criticism, or, he might perceive as criticism an action or comment that is completely innocuous. His bewilderment has continued to grow as he sees others handling criticism in a much healthier way, even as he sees them as objects of suspicion.

He doesn’t understand others or himself. He doesn’t understand life. He just emulates it. And he’s built such a ferocious, defensive fortress for himself, and has such mistrust of others, that he’s never going to admit that anything is wrong, let alone allow someone to help him.

He has wound up with no self of his own. He doesn’t know what he thinks or believes about anything. He might say that he believes or thinks this or that, but it’s only temporary. He will change his mind ten seconds later.

He is constantly on the hunt for some sort of satisfaction, idealizing, devaluing and discarding as he goes. He tries to soothe himself with the acquisition of things and money and people.

He doesn’t know love. He doesn’t know comfort. He doesn’t know empathy. He’s completely empty except for that infected, weeping wound and the fear and anger that it generates.

And the worst part is that he has come to the conclusion that everyone else operates in the same way. We’re all like him – without scruples, without principles, without truth.

There are times when I feel very sorry for Harry. He didn’t have the best childhood. He grew up during a time when it was expected that men be “tough.” A younger brother died in a tragic accident. He went on to face other life difficulties.

But then I stop to remember that there are many, many people who have it much, much worse than Harry, but who treat others with genuine courtesy and respect.

Is Harry, and are narcissists in general, more to be pitied than blamed? In many ways, they don’t know what they’re doing. Or should they be held to account, even if they don’t fully understand what that means? What do you think?

In my next installment on narcissism, I plan to look at the emerging theory that narcissism is the result of abnormal brain structure.

Yop Narci Signs

So I found this in my search terms, along with “narcissist bullshitter” and “the narcissist cookbook.” Could be something funny here – do you think?

Are narcissists bullshitters? Do they bullshit about cooking? Or are they busy cooking up bullshit? With Yop yogourt? Yuck. Now there’s an unattractive visual. Maybe the searcher was looking for Gordon Ramsay’s cookbook.

My ex-narcissist was the biggest bullshitter when it came to his cooking abilities. And everything else. But when it came to recipes for the narcissistic line, he was yops, er, tops.

What recipes would The Narcissist Cookbook contain? Let’s take a quick stroll through a potential table of contents.

1. Appetiser – The “I love you because you’re perfect” Smoked Oysters.

2. Pasta – The “I can’t live without you, precious” Farfalle with Creamy Truffles.

3. Meat – The “I really need a quick loan and will pay you right back” well done flank steak.

4. Fish – The “will you marry me” Cedar-Planked Salmon with Arugula Salad.

5. Palate Cleanser – The “you’re such an annoying person but anyway will you buy this suit for me” Eye-Watering Lemon Sorbet.

6. Dessert – The “I’ve fallen out of love with you but you still need to buy these tires for my car” Curdled Creme Brulee.

7. Cheese Plate – The “I know you want a divorce but you’re gonna have to pay me” Squishy Grape and Smelly Rotten Cheese Platter.

8. Very Expensive Civet Coffee with Petit fours.

9. Free-at-last Digestive (recipe not included in cookbook but necessary in order to recover from meal-induced heartburn. Don’t worry. It goes away.)

10. (Next day) Tummy-soothing Oatmeal with Brown Sugar, best consumed with good friend.

Do you have any recipes to add?   🙂

Another Health Update, Again

First, I have to apologize to my readers and to the people I follow for having been incommunicado for a while here. I will catch up with all of you, I promise, but it will take me a while.

So, what was I doing? Well, I was off being an introvert after I was surprised with the news that I actually wasn’t out of the woods with my heart-health after all.

And, I was doing as introverts do. I wasn’t depressed, but definitely worried and befuddled. Quietly freaking out is probably a better description. But introverts need time to absorb information, turn it over in their minds, and think carefully about whatever it is. And I took the time to do just that.

The history of this is that after my “all clear,” one of the specialists called me to his office and told me that upon further investigation, my tests actually showed that I likely had had a heart attack and that there was also heart disease of some sort, as well. Ischemia, they call it. If that isn’t a scary name, then I don’t know what is. Inside you, your own body is scheming against you. Great.

He told me that I had to have another test. This time, a definitive one. An angiogram. A cardiologist sticks a probe into an artery in the arm or leg, then enters the heart and takes a look all around to see what’s going on. Yum.

I couldn’t wait to have this done but at the same time, I didn’t want it done at all.

In the meantime, I had to wait. So I decided to put my health first and foremost.

I walked and did mild exercise.

I read about my condition.

I took appropriate supplements.

I worked at keeping my weight down and eating a mostly green veggie and fruit diet.

I religiously took my myriad of prescription medications, including the one whose chief side effect is weight gain. Isn’t there a story in here somewhere? Ah yes, here it is:

Specialist (aka, God): You need to lose 10 kilos. (For the metrically challenged, that’s 22 lbs.)

Me: Won’t that be hard to do if I’m taking this stuff that causes weight gain?

Specialist: (consults ceiling and gives every impression of an imminent ascension into heaven) What stuff?

Me: This medication. Metoprolol.

Specialist: What about it?

Me: It causes weight gain.

Specialist: Make sure you start losing some weight, now. See you next month.

See what I mean? I think his real name must be Dr. Kafka.

Anyway, I tried to remain calm while I waited for six weeks for this next test. Easily said, not easily done.

Finally, test day arrived. I was on a ward mainly comprised of men who were in varying stages of getting the bad news about their heart conditions. My anxiety began to climb but I tried valiantly to keep my mind off the situation.

Then they wheeled me into their chamber. Lots of monitors, tubes, straps, needles and stuff that was completely unidentifiable but scary nevertheless.

They gave me a sort of twilighty drug that actually didn’t work because I was completely awake the entire time and trying to see the cardiologist’s monitors. Which I couldn’t, of course, because they were placed so that he had a good view, not me. And besides, I don’t know what that would have accomplished anyway – I wouldn’t have known what I was looking at! But human nature being what it is …

So they stuck their mobile forward observer’s post in my wrist and I felt it slide past my shoulder. Then … nothing. Ten minutes of waiting while I thought I was going to crawl right out of my own skin.

A young man’s face leaning over mine – the cardiologist in training – and the immortal words: “Your arteries are pristine.” No ischemia.  No heart attack. No damage of any kind.

I gave M the big thumbs up as they wheeled me back to the ward for a couple of hours of recovery. I couldn’t stop grinning. I couldn’t stop smiling. I couldn’t stop feeling grateful. The next day was my birthday and I couldn’t have had a better present.

It turns out that my heart went a little glitchy because I did too much physical activity on a hot day and a nerve in there started to act out. It’s what the techs who originally tested my heart had thought – nothing really wrong.

I can actually have this nerve fixed if there’s any more trouble from it, but right now I’m just going to wait.

That gives me time to think. I think about the men on that ward that day who didn’t get good news. I wonder about how they’re doing. I wonder about the two cardiologists. One who told me that I’d likely had a heart attack and was suffering from clogged arteries. One who proved that I wasn’t. I think anout the friendly nurse who coached me on keeping my arteries pristine. I think about my M, who sat beside me the entire time.

I am grateful.

A Happy Health Update

I had the last of the tests on my heart yesterday, and the techs and the supervising cardiac specialist indicated to me that they couldn’t see any damage from the period of dysrhythmia that I experienced! Yay! 🙂

A bonus is that they couldn’t find any underlying problem that might have caused the dysrhythmia in the first place! Yay yay!!

I can’t tell you what a relief that was. Or maybe many of you have experienced something similar.

So, the way I understand it, some nerve endings in my heart misfired for some reason. This had never happened before, and there’s a good chance that it may never happen again.

It was likely just a glitch. In the scheme of health things, a very small one. And I’ll talk to the cardiac specialist about all this stuff when I have an office appointment with him.

But this little glitch forced me to re-evaluate many things; to be more mindful. I feel like I’ve got a second chance.

My husband is presently commuting to his new job that is four hours away. We only see each other a couple of days a week. Do we really want to keep doing that?

Do I want to stay in a job – I’m a high school teacher – that’s incredibly stressful and is “lead” by some of the most dogmatic, short-sighted, otherwise-unemployable people anywhere? I have one year left. The pragmatic decision is to stay. That way, the numbers will work out much better.

After many years as a private pilot, I have prepared a second career as a professional pilot. By the grace of someone or something, this issue with my heart is unlikely to affect my long-term medical status with respect to this career. Again, the pragmatic decision is to wait for a year before starting it.

My deep-down sense is that stress caused this situation in the first place.

But I have to be able to live my life, too. I can’t act like a delicate hothouse flower. I never was one of those and can’t see any value in starting that now.

Maybe I’m just talking about living a more balanced life, and the big question for me is how to do that.

What about you? Have you faced a situation where you’ve had to re-evaluate how you live your life? Have you felt like you’ve had a second chance? How have you handled it? 


Death Takes a Holiday

So I’m stuck in the hospital.

I don’t think it’s too serious but suffice it to say that my heart became a little glitchy on Tuesday morning. Officially, what happened is called supraventrical dysrythmia. Great name, huh? What this means is that electricity wasn’t passing properly through my heart and caused a weak, crazily fast rhythm. Would have outdone the “zoom zoom” kid on the Toyota ads.

It was a really nasty experience. Especially the medication they gave me that stopped my heart and restarted it. When they said that I would momentarily feel like I was dying, they were right.

But the EMTs and emergency people really  were fabulous. Without them, I might not be here.

I even got to ride in an ambulance.

Don’t know how long I will be here in hospital, but I’m taking it in stride, even if it can be a little tedious. At the same time, I also realize that I need to be here, to rest and recuperate.

I also realize that I’m re- assessing, too. Stuff that seemed so important three days ago no longer seems very important at all.

I have been tested, poked and prodded and there’s more coming.

But one great thing is that I’ve spent some real quality time with WordPress, reading and reading while at the same time just being taken care of.

From that perspective, it’s been great.

The idea of having time has been great.

There’s nothing like an acute encounter with death to refocus you on the important stuff.

I’m glad he was on holiday.