Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Publications and narcissists

Five more pieces, two short essays and three poems, are being published in this semester's Lit Journal at the Pie Tin.

I really need to stop leaning on the student journal and submit more nationally. 

I'm also having a difficult time narrowing in on what I want to flesh out for the second narrative in Creative Non-fiction. I was supposed to do more with Joseph Smith Jr. research, more on the diagnosis of sarcoma. My professor in that class wants more on my excommunication, and so I think about rounding out a piece on husbands and fiancees and boyfriends, and what options a female kid from Hicksville, Jell-O was given to make of herself. Wife. Mother. Don't dream of selling real estate, what with ERA and all. 

My mother is ramping up the narcissism lately. During our interview a few weeks ago I'd asserted that blossoming sexuality is normal for the average 17-year-old. Common, she said. Not normal. 

See, I know enough bishops, stake presidents, behavioral science professors, and everyday people to know that most kids experiment with sex. But my mother, whom it is impossible to get away with contradicting is on the rampage, posting all sorts of passive aggressive Mormon propaganda lately on Facebook. The latest is a study comparing religiosity and pre-marital sexuality. If you're Mormon, you've likely seen it floating around the internet, because it mentions that Mormons report that only 14% of active members engage in sex prior to marriage. And even though the study makes room for the error of falsified self-reporting for the sake of public religiosity, that 14% is about 50% less than all the other reporting Christian religions. Which, if you're my mother, prove the point that early sexuality may be common, but it is certainly not normal. 

She's also started calling my kids. Why this is weird: She's not been one to keep in touch with them at all before. So she has four grandkids, whom she rarely visited while they lived 5 miles from her, whom she has little to do with even now. But since I'm less inclined to pick up the phone and deal with her self-adulation, and since I have her on my restricted list on Facebook and she sees next to nothing I post, she's begun trying to wage control through them. My teens are at a loss. All of a sudden their grandma wants to call and get the scoop on their lives. And like E—, my 17-year-old told me, she doesn't seem genuinely interested in their lives; she's just snooping for the sake of finding a new avenue of control.

Mr. PNU held me this morning as I battled emotionally with the latest sideways Facebook attack. I tell him I just can't do it anymore. All my life I've fed into her pathological insistence that she is always right, and that at the heart of me there is something deeply defected. I do so well without her ugly, abusive commentary.

"Don't listen to the little voice in your head telling you she may be right," my husband said. "She's not. She's wrong. You ARE good."

And sure, I've had a couple of days where I freak because my affect wobbles, but the majority of the time I'm doing fabulously without medication. I live an active LDS lifestyle (granted, I found the decaf coffee loophole and I'm riding it for the sake of my love of coffee.) I'm raising four beautiful kids, integrating well in both my academic community and the local art scene, being supportive of friends in need, extending myself all ways imaginable in the robust atmosphere of life. Yeah, I sometimes qualify as an emotional basket case, but why must she criticize and find fault and cut me down every time I give her more than 30 seconds on the phone? 

Because that's what narcissists do.

Don't get sucked in. Everything she lets you see is a lie.

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