Category Archives: Commentary

A New Name!

The Canadian men's ice hockey team celebrates ...
The Canadian men’s ice hockey team celebrates winning the gold medal in overtime over the United States during the 2010 Winter Olympics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s official – I have a new blog name! My particular thanks to Project Southsea for his suggestion which I then altered slightly. In his football obsessed (soccer) nation, the term “back of the net” is a reference to scoring a goal, but in Canada, a hockey obsessed nation, that term would mean that the puck is “behind” the net.

My puck is definitely in the net.

Two little words, big difference, so I made a couple of changes. I am, therefore, now officially called “In the Net! – Stories of Life and Narcissistic Survival.”

My original title, “Narcissism – One Woman’s True Story of Marriage to a Narcissist” is now a category title, and I still want to post about that topic and stick to my original intention of warning others about getting into relationships with these people. But as I indicated in my last post, there are many other things that I want to write about, too.

I will still have to closely guard my privacy by altering anything that could personally identify me or the people in my life, but there’s much that I can share.

Thanks to all of you who have supported me with your follows, your comments or just by clicking “like.” You are all very much appreciated.

So, if you’re interested, ask what you would like –  and with your permission, I may turn your question into a post!

Time for a Change

So I’m thinking of changing the title of my blog.

When I first started this project, all I wanted to do was throw my voice into the growing chorus of warning about narcissists and the damage they can do to the rest of us. And I intend to keep posting about that topic.

But I also find that more and more, I want to post about other things – as you’ve probably noticed.

It’s interesting how this blog has changed since I started it – it has almost taken on a life of its own, something that I think is a good sign of growth and moving on – a very suitable notion for spring.

And I have moved on. I no longer feel the intense urgency to write about narcissism that I did in the beginning. I have crossed a Rubicon of sorts – I’m no longer inside the box but outside, having a peek, grateful that I’m no longer trapped in there. In the light – a much better place to be.

In tandem with this is the fact that I have a wonderful relationship with M, that we’re making plans together, that despite the crap, one can have a perfectly ordinary, perfectly good life again.

Yes, I was married to a narcissist. And I lived through it, even though there were days when I seriously thought I was losing my mind. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I felt like I was in hell.

I’m still cleaning up the financial mess that he left me with and I will be doing that for a while, but M is also helping me.

There are times when I still wish that I had never laid eyes on him, but then I remember how much I have learned, and I would never want to give that up, in spite of how much it cost me.

But I’ve moved on and my blog title should, too.

Any suggestions? 🙂

Happy Easter – I Think.

Easter postcard circa early 20th century
Easter postcard circa early 20th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spring has just started and we of course will have Easter in a couple of days. For many people this is an important religious occasion but the idea of a spring celebration of some sort has been with us since ancient times.

Many places in Europe have a bonfire night at some point during the spring, the idea being that lots of light will chase away the darkness and usher in the longer days more quickly.

Down through the ages and across many cultures there has been an emphasis on rebirth and growth and rejuvenation and young, fluffy animals and, of course, on eggs  – those classic symbols of birth and new life.

It’s fun to get together with family or friends to have a few egg fights (with the hard boiled ones, not the raw ones!) to find out which egg will be the “champion.”

As a child I really enjoyed Easter. The whole Easter egg hunt bit was a lot of fun.

I grew up with roasted lamb and roasted salmon at Easter and we often finished off the last of the frozen or canned produce from my mother’s garden from the previous year.

Now, of course, we can get almost anything that we want at any time of year, day or night, as long as we are willing to pay the price. Strawberries from New Zealand during December. Quinoa from South America, a product my parents had never heard of. Wine from South Africa. “On demand” movies at three a.m.

There is, of course, the argument that we should be more cognizant of “eating locally” or should attempt to follow the “Hundred Mile Diet.” The global food industry is seriously contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and our desire for exotic products like quinoa is harming accessibility to the indigenous peoples for whom it is a basic foodstuff.

Despite these arguments, though, I have to say that I’m simply nostalgic for the times when we actually had “food seasons.” Of course, I ranted about a related topic in one of my Christmas posts which you can read here.

Easter eggs // Ostereier
Easter eggs // Ostereier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nevertheless, I got rather annoyed when I saw the chocolate eggs gracing the store shelves back in January. They were literally competing with the chocolate valentines. I commented on this to one of the store employees who said that they had no choice but to put them out because they were shipped to them and couldn’t sit in storage. She told me that she had heard the same complaint from other customers, a response that may or may not have been true.

The fact is, there’s nothing special about it any more.  Many of us have access to so much plenty that we have no appreciation for where it comes from or for what it takes to land in our stores. We have everything we could possibly want and our expectations keep escalating. A few days ago I watched a teenager of about 14 deliberately damaging her iPhone. She then bragged to the people she was sitting with that it was okay because her parents would get her a new one.

Our desire for whatever we want, when we want it, is inflicting hardship on those with less means. It is causing environmental damage.

We’re fat. We’re complacent.

When I was a kid, I could tell what month it was from what was available in stores and even in my own back yard.

I think it’s Easter. But frankly, given what’s on the store shelves, it could be August. And that’s a little sad.

So, in this season of rebirth and growth, we might want to consider doing a little “growing” ourselves by keeping an eye on where items are coming from. To perhaps buy “locally” more often. To be a little less demanding and a little less entitled. To be a little more in control of our basic narcissism.

To be a little more considerate.

And that’s never a bad thing.

On “Being” Canadian, Part 2

So I was noodling, mulling over how I was going to fashion part two on “being” Canadian, when Barack Obama put his size twelve tootsies  into his  mouth, both at the same time, and provided me with the perfect fodder.

It seems that while giving a speech on Israeli/Palestine relations, Mr. Obama compared the two warring nations (question – Is Palestine now considered to be a nation?) to Canada and the U.S. What he meant was that Canada and the U.S. sometimes disagree about things but that we eventually figure it out without resorting to violence, and that Israel and Palestine should get over themselves and do the same. What it sounded  like was that we are at each other’s throats and that Toronto is Baghdad‘s sister city.

Twitter is beside itself with glee. The twittersphere is busy twitting, sorry, tweeting, about a movement called #TheCanucksAreComing. Sounds like a bowel movement to me.

Some of the comments are really funny. Some are just plain stupid. Some are using this incident as an excuse, oops, forum, to complain about Quebec. 

Remember my comments from part one about how we can be smug and arrogant and have a self-esteem issue all at the same time? Well, some people might say that this goes a long way to proving it. The Canucks Are Coming?? In what way, exactly? According to the twits, sorry, twitterers? tweeters? it’s going to look something like this (with my respects to the originators of these comments, I have taken some liberties and made some twits, er, tweaks):

Washington will need a wash after it has been set awash in a sea of poutine. [Will we need a pipeline for this??]

All U.S. hockey players are part of a sleeper cell. [Especially Tampa Bay.]

We will change the alphabet from “eh” to “zed.” [And add an indiscriminate “u” tu euery wurd.]

The Americans will face maple syrup bottle projectiles as militants of the Canadian Intifada cross Lake Erie. [We will cross with the guidance of the ice road truckers except by dog sled. More authentic that way. Waiting for Lake Erie to freeze, however, might be like waiting for, well, hell to freeze over.]

Wayne Gretzky is an embedded spy. [Which is why his hockey team can’t get to the Stanley Cup.]

There were lots of other comments about Tim Horton’s coffee and burning down Washington, all of which give some insight into the Canadian psyche. While many were quite funny, they also had something of a scathing edge to them.  A little hurt, maybe; maybe even a little bitter.  A little bit pissed off that the U.S. doesn’t pay more attention or isn’t more respectful or doesn’t turn to us more often for advice or help. After all, we have all the answers!

And we also need to grow up about it, too.

What do you think?

Barack Obama, President of the United States o...
Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, with Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy St. Paddy’s Day

Ireland
Ireland (Photo credit: Trent Strohm)

I’m not Irish but I love Ireland and have been fortunate enough to have had some very happy holidays there.

It’s been almost two years since my last visit and I so very much enjoyed it – the people, the lovely fresh food, the history. The weather was also lovely – something that I was told was unusual for that time of year – April.

Rain wouldn’t have mattered.

To all the Irish and all the Irish wannabes, Happy St. Patrick’s Day from a great admirer.

On “Being” Canadian, Part 1

So, it’s soon going to be spring and I live in Canada. I know that mentioning that fact will conjure pictures of palm trees and sandy beaches snowshoes, sled dogs and hockey players for you.  Oops. Sorry. I went off on a flight of fancy there. The fact is that this country is so big that you can’t make any generalized statements like that.  Actually, the same is true for small countries, which only goes to show that stereotyping is just a form of intellectual laziness and convenient labelling. But I’m digressing again.

I have never gone dog sledding in my life. Ditto snowshoeing.  I watch hockey now and then but have never played it.

I hate poutine. Worst of all, since I’m half French I’m supposed to like this crap and have secret family recipes for it hidden in the attic. Soggy  fries (I am NOT going to refer to them as French – they never were and never have been) buried under some sort of packaged sludge masquerading as “gravy”.  Would probably work as a below zero lubricant for your snowmobile.

Then this mess is further assaulted by a load of  “cheese curds.” Yuck. See attached picture. Jamie Oliver would choke if he saw this stuff. And yes, we let our kids eat it. Encourage them, even. Whoever invented this dreck should be buried in it.

I like maple syrup but I don’t collect it and turn my back yard into a frozen syrup arena.

Most of us do not live in igloos, but some of our first nations people are trying to hang on to the knowledge of how to build one, along with other knowledge that we attempted to either beat out of them or steal from them, including the game of lacrosse. We changed it, called it hockey and then wouldn’t let them play it.

Some of us get terrifying winters and some of us don’t. I live in a part that used to be fairly predictable but isn’t any more. Global warming, anyone?

Summers can be ridiculously hot in some places and beautifully temperate in others. We actually have “desert zones” and “rain forest zones.”

Not all easterners grow potatoes and wrangle lobsters. It’s true that some of them have a pretty strong accent, but so what?

Canada produces some of the best ice wine in the world. Go figure.

The Tim Horton’s coffee shops are really popular in this country. They’re named after a hockey player.  Some people think that this is classic Canadiana. I do not.

Sometimes, other nationalities think that we’re a sort of watered down version of the U.S.  I once heard Canadians referred to as “plastic Americans.” Ever mistaken an Austrian for a German? They hate that and can respond rather ferociously to it.  We feel the same way about the assumption that we’re Americans.

Some Canadians think that in order to be a “success” you have to go to the U.S.

We can often be a rather smug and even arrogant bunch about how great things are in our chunk of the world, but we have our problems, just like everyone else. I’m sometimes viewed with suspicion because I have a French name. Is she a separatist? (No, I’m not.)

What about the tar sands and the oil pipelines? An environmental disaster? I believe so.

Some people say that we have a self-esteem issue.

Our politicians leave a lot to be desired and they exploit holes in our electoral system that you could drive an aircraft carrier through. We aren’t doing much about it.

What say you? What’s your opinion? Where do you live? What stereotypes do you face?

Montreal poutine from La Banquise in Montreal
Montreal poutine from La Banquise in Montreal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To Accept an Award or not to Accept …

Liebster Blog Award
Liebster Blog Award (Photo credit: ObscuredDreamer)

I’ve been nominated for the “Liebster Award.” Twice. I’ve also been nominated for the “Versatile Blogger” award. I would be lying if I didn’t say that this made me feel all warm and smiley. It certainly did. All three times. However, I would also be lying if I said that I would be comfortable in accepting them. So, I just wind up in a real conundrum. I want to acknowledge and thank the people who have nominated me, but I also don’t want to jump through the hoops of acceptance and put up the badges, either.

If I have it correctly, the “Liebster” works like this (the “Versatile Blogger” award is similar): if you’ve been nominated, you can nominate others who have less than 300 followers. They answer some questions about themselves and then they nominate others who have to answer new questions developed by the latest nominees. And on it goes. It reminds me a bit of a chain letter or chain e-mail.

I can see the advantages of participating. If you’re relatively new it spreads word of your blog around and may encourage people to take a look. This is tempting to me because my purpose is to get the word out, as widely as possible, about all those narcissists out there.

However, I wouldn’t be comfortable answering the questions and I definitely wouldn’t be comfortable displaying the badges. I don’t want to get too much into my personal life for obvious reasons. My ex-narcissist, like most narcissists, is volatile and vengeful. If he were able to verify the author of this blog, I’d be in trouble, even though I’ve also protected him. Not that he would get anywhere much, but he would probably try to sue me, something I could really do without. He’s about as litigious a person as you could ever come across – in fact I would say that if he’s anything to go by, it’s a characteristic of narcissism. For that reason, I’ve been careful to keep the identifying features to a minimum. I don’t want to say what I do for a living or where I graduated from high school or how many children I have.

There’s also the fact that I’m just not comfortable, generally, with sharing that sort of information or with displaying badges.  I would like to acknowledge, however, the people who have nominated me.

First of all, Project Southsea. He’s a good young writer with a wonderfully dry sense of humour who does manage to get himself into some interesting situations. I very much admire the fact that he’s willing to share these awkward experiences with the rest of us.

Secondly, there’s trophydaughter. She was very kind to nominate me and also offered to let me dump the rules! She’s dealing with a narcissistic mother and writes fluidly and candidly about the frustrations and difficulties of handling with that situation.

Thank you both. You honour me.

I also want to suggest an alternative to the blogging awards, however. Teeny Bikini, author of  The Jiggly Bits, passed this idea on to me, which is to nominate people for the WP Reader’s Choice Awards. You can nominate a favourite post – an excellent idea. And by the way, if you haven’t visited Teeny’s blog yet, you are really missing out. She’s funny and edgy and completely wonderful. Take a peek.

There are so many good writers, artists and poets on WP, and I really enjoy all the people on my reader, but here are some particular favourites, in no special order:

1. Narc Raiders – Betty does excellent commentary on narcissism.

2. the wind horse blog – Zen Doe’s writing is absolutely beautiful.

3. rarasaur – More beautiful writing, just for the pleasure of it.

4. One Old Sage Musings – thought-provoking and sage commentary.

5. Ned’s Blog – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve snorted coffee while reading Ned’s column.

6. Kimberly Harding – Kimberly’s artwork is powerful and visceral and yet it also communicates delicacy and humility .

7. Rule of Stupid  – I’ve “nominated” RoS before. If you haven’t taken a look yet, please do! RoS also did a similar post; I have to credit him with the idea for this one.

8. Ramblings from a Mum – Ramblings is kind, warm, gentle and quite a storyteller! Do take a look!

9. Scott Williams – Scott provides sensible, wise commentary on the stuff that can really make us nuts.

10. Planet Jan – Among other things, Jan has written excellent, well-researched pieces on narcissism.

It’s very difficult to choose from the people I follow, but there you are. I hope you find one or two whom you can really enjoy!

How do you feel about awards?

Still Here, Still Reading

First of all, acknowledgements: I got this idea from Ramblings from a Mum, so thank you, Ramblings!

Over the last four months I’ve been recuperating from a major surgery and as I started to feel better I also started this blog. Now, all healed, it’s time for me to return to work.

Rusty recuperating after surgery
Rusty recuperating after surgery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This means that I won’t be able to make as many comments as I’ve been making – I shall often have to make do with just clicking “like.”

That doesn’t mean that I’m not reading. In fact, I don’t believe in following a blog unless I am going to read it. Otherwise, what’s the point? An attempt at better stats? Well, I suppose, but I believe that that somewhat defeats the point of having a blog. Isn’t it all about putting your writing and ideas out there to get some feedback, whether good or bad?

I have so very much enjoyed getting to “know” some of you. Scott Williams, Kimberly Harding, planetjan, ruleofstupid, Ramblings from a Mum, Teeny Bikini. The ideas, humour and honesty that you share with the rest of us are inspiring. I have learned so much from doing this and from  you, in particular.

To everyone who has either chosen to follow me, to click like, or just to stop and take a look, thank you. I never thought that so many of you would be interested in reading my  stuff.  So, I’m still here and still reading (and writing) – just with a little less time available!

This Is for You, M.

Some of you dear readers have probably come to the conclusion that after my nasty experience with a male narcissist that I’m a sort of man-hater. Nothing could be further from the truth. My experience with Harry has in many ways been beneficial and clichéd as it might sound, has helped me to become a better person. Not that I would recommend this method of self-improvement.

Becoming a better person lead me to M. He is the love of my life and the best man I have ever met.

I feel profoundly lucky to have found you.

Love tree
Love tree (Photo credit: @Doug88888)