06 March 2008

Everything and Nothing

I've read that everyone we meet has been sent to teach us something. If that's so, I'm hard at work.

I encounter my father, in various guises, everywhere. I'm surrounded by narcissists--at work and at home. Hubby is so self-involved that I'm surprised he even notices I'm in the room. Sometimes I'm not sure that he does.

Stepson doesn't know anything about me. He never asks about what I'm interested in, what my life is like. He knows nothing about my childhood. Our conversations are always about him.

Not everyone in Crazy Land is a narcissist, but we've got more than our share. The Foot Lady, Crazy Employee, Owner, Loathsome, The Golf Pro--for all of them the world is a mirror.

If there's anything at which I'm expert, it's dealing with narcissists. Unfortunately, the way I deal with them is very unhealthy. Being highly intuitive, I'm able to figure out what they want and how they want it, then give it to them. Not so difficult, really. Generally what they want is validation; only preferences for the means of validation differ between individuals. I anticipate their needs. I hide my own. Or I believe the needs I have can't be met by other people.

I'm so chameleon-like that everyone thinks I'm like them, but I'm not, you know. There are a lot of things I have to fake. I don't know what occurs in non-catastrophic childhoods. It's as alien to me as living on another planet. It's such a strange thing, to try so hard to picture what "normal" (for for that matter, dysfunctional) childhood looks like. I won't ever know.

So what am I learning? Apparently, not much. I continue to live with a man who has an absolutely astounding sense of personal entitlement. At work, I shift certain characteristics to the foreground and others to the background, depending on who I'm with at any given time. I'm not pretending to be someone I'm not; I'm merely rearranging parts of my personality. Morphing into someone others find more palatable and easy to understand is probably one of those things I'm supposed to learn not to do.

At the moment, I think the lesson to be learned is to love myself, just as I am. That's a mighty tall order. I've lived my life, dedicated to figuring out how to fit in with everyone else, working on social skills, fixing the things that were wrong with me.

I've decided to stop trying to change myself into someone I'm not. What does that have to do with my dad? Everything and nothing.

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