An Open Letter to My Narcissist

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Dear Sir,

 

I am going to have to let you go. It's not you; it's me. This relationship just isn't working, and I think it best that we part ways before any further damage takes place. There is a severance package, and you're welcome to file a grievance if you feel this separation is unjust. Please note that no parts of the severance package can be exchanged, and once accepted-- it cannot be returned. All grievances must be filed in writing prior to your exiting the premises on this day. I know you might have questions, so please let me explain further in the hopes that you can leave with the answers you desire.

 

First and foremost, you are not the center of the universe. You once slyly coerced me into believing that you needed to be the center of my universe, but I have since wised up. You are no longer the magnetic force that requires my constant attention, affection, energy, and lifeblood. You are not the center of anyone's universe but your own. Only you think that you are always right, always being wronged, infallible, and to be revered and respected. You are none of those things.

 

Secondly, you have an opinion. Every. One. Has. An. Opinion. Your opinion belongs to you, and of course, you feel strongly about it. But that doesn't make it more valuable than anyone else's. For example; "mushrooms are disgusting" is my opinion. Nothing you say is going to make me change my mind. In the event that I choose to change my mind, it will be because that's what I WANT to do. You cannot make me like, love, or enjoy anything that I do not want to. The sooner you realize that you are one of many, not the only-- the better.

 

Thirdly, your lack of manners, etiquette, and common decency is deplorable. You communicate your wants and needs after the fact. For some reason, the whole world is supposed to anticipate and fulfill your desires, quietly, stealthily. It is quite ridiculous. Refer to point 1 if you are confused. The constant yelling, cussing, and berating of people whose sole purpose is to provide you with a limited interaction is sad. You are flat out mean. You're mean to everyone, all of the time. You can be nice, kind, charming, and sweet. But those traits are short-lived and vastly overshadowed by your demeaning ever-present down talking.

 

In the years that I have known and interacted with you, you have pretended to make changes to yourself for the better. These are shenanigans. Your defective personality permeates through whatever facade you claim to have adopted. The only constant about you is that you are unable to change. You cannot see the hurt and harm that you have caused, you accept no responsibility for your words or actions, and the fact that you can position your mouth to lie about it is another sign of just how ill you are.

 

Lastly, I strongly suggest that you seek professional counseling. Your behavior suggests that there is something very hurt, bruised, and torn inside of you. Something you have never dealt with in your more than four decades on this planet. You can only hear your own voice, your own thoughts. You justify you. No one else provides anything of value to you (in your opinion). You have no friends. And the family you have; while local, they remain at a distance. You claim that people only seek you when they want something from you. Think about the fact that no one seeks you.

 

As part of your severance package, I am ceasing any and all extraneous communications with you. If it doesn't involve the safety, health, or education of our children; it will not be discussed. You are encouraged to embrace this as a full and actual reality from this moment forward. Going forward, our relationship is defined as parallel parenting. This is my home, and I will raise our children as I see fit. Your opinion, outrage, and disagreements can be submitted in writing once a month. They, along with any other grievances, will instantly be shredded. Never having been read-- because severance.

 

I wish you well. I will pray for your mental health and stability. I will pray for your continued relationship with our children-- that it is healthy, encouraging, and always loving. Please take any personal belongings with you as you leave as you will not be permitted to return to the property. I thank you for the hard lessons I learned while being near you. I will forever be grateful for our children, and the strength I gained pulling myself up and out of your grasp. All of the locks have been changed, so do with the keys what you will. Your severance is effective immediately. As previously stated, any grievances must be in writing prior to your exit. Be well.

 

Sincerely,

The Me You'll Never Know

Tanisha Ware

See more of her blogs at BrownSugarBritches.com

Pushing Buttons

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My oldest son, now 26, was the product of divorce from about the time he was four months old. His father found someone new while I was still pregnant and filed for divorce when he was eight days old. I was 23 at the time. Being young and a first-time mother, I had no idea how to handle a divorce and a newborn. Someone wise once said, “You can’t control everything, only how you react to it.” At that time in my life, I reacted to every single thing! We were in court for any little disagreement or argument. Luckily, my parents were helping me with the legal bills. My ex’s father was a lawyer, so he didn’t have any legal costs and loved to go to court. The entire time my son grew up, we fought over any minute detail.

One time, in a meeting with my lawyer, she said to me, “You do realize that he knows how to push your buttons, and he is doing it every time he can?!” I ignored her thinking she had no idea what she was talking about and who I was having to deal with almost daily. We argued over where to meet for pickups, what my son was wearing, if the new girlfriend could pick him up, what he could take back and forth between homes…literally anything there was to argue over, we argued!

Fast forward to today. I am nearly 50 now, and my son is grown. I haven’t had to deal with his dad in several years. As I look back on the lawyer’s words, I realize that she was exactly right! He did know how to push any of my buttons that he could. He pushed me to the point of me arguing and getting upset every time. I now use those words in my life when dealing with others who might try to get to those hotpoint buttons. I take a deep breath and assess the situation. If I realize they are going that direction, I really try to control my reaction. I realized that at 23, I didn’t know how to do this!

I am writing this blog post in hopes that maybe some of you single moms will read this and take it to heart. You don’t have to react to everything the ex does! And realize that maybe he is trying hard to get a reaction so that he can use it against you, whether it be in court or in the presence of your child(ren).

Take a deep breath, look at the situation, and react or don’t. You are in control, not your ex!

-Julie Burr

Owning Up, to Ownership

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My first memory of postage stamps was when I purchased them from the local pharmacy. I think their value was 18 cents then. The price had just increased, and my grandmother was nearly offended at the additional three cents. I have always been amazed at the United States Postal System. In 1981, you could put a few handwritten pages inside an envelope, address it, and have it hand-delivered anywhere in the country. Door to door, for a full 18 cents. Even today, with postage at more than half a dollar, the statement stands true: Door to door. Quite extraordinary, don't you think?

 

With that said, I despise checking the mail. For one reason and one reason alone, I am terrible at managing money, and the mail is proof. The only things I ever find in my mailbox are notices, statements, and remittance slips for things I cannot pay. They come in a variety of colors because colored paper is threatening. They come with statements, claims, and words like "past due," "final" and "attention" written on them in bold, because bold words are equally threatening. They burst out of the mailbox when I force myself to open it because there are so many crumpled envelopes from one week, or two weeks, or more weeks. The threats and warnings can barely be contained within the metal box to which only I hold the key.

 

I work. I earn. I spend. I have been a poor money manager for all my years. My grandmother used to say, "that money's burning a hole in your pocket." And it was. It does. But I cannot live this way any longer. I have children, and their future is tied up in pink and green and grey paper with big, bold words on them because I don't have the ability to think more than a day in advance. I didn't even start saving for retirement until I had worked for 20 years. I have been stuck in a never-ending cycle of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" (also something else my grandmother used to say). I know that some of you are quite shocked, but I honestly didn't know to choose any better. It's true. I did not think far enough ahead to worry about how anything was going to be funded. Not even when it came to owning a car or having children. I used to just quickly think "it'll work itself out." But I know better now. I do.

 

I am owning my irresponsibility. I am owning my selfishness. I am owning my ignorance. And I am making changes. My first step was to open all. of. the. mail. You would think I had cut down a tree, but no, it was just a month's worth of notices. I addressed the most prominent and worked backward. I addressed and dismissed my shame and owned my tardiness. I spoke to so many people and explained all of this to them. I made arrangements and asked to have reminders in the form of mail, email, and texts. I even asked for patience. I accepted the fees, the late fees, the reconnection fees, and even the "it's been turned over to collections", and the "sent to litigation." It was so hard. By the time I was done, I was in tears. My notepad littered with amounts, addition, subtraction, months, balances, due dates, question marks, and many sad faces.

 

How could I do this to myself? And to my kids?

 

The truth is, it doesn't matter how I got here. What matters most is that I am aware that the fault is mine, and the responsibility is mine. I have to forgive myself, create a plan, get on track, and stick with it. Of course, it's not going to be fail safe to begin because I'm learning, but it's a start. I've been investing in my retirement for many years at the maximum level. I have payment plans set with everything that was past due. I'm eliminating a few amenities until I am back on track. I'll be cooking from a limited menu and focusing on household favorites until we can loosen our belt a little because I know they will be eaten and enjoyed, with limited waste. I'm aiming for very few extraneous purchases until the holidays. And even then, I plan to cut back.

 

The best part of this process has been the love and understanding I have received from my kids. I sat them down and explained it all. I told them the mistakes I'd made and how it evolved into this predicament where I have to make some hard choices. We talked about the past, the present, and the future in relation to jobs, money, earning, bills, spending, and saving. Of course, they don't understand the nuances of finance, but they understood enough. We agreed to work as a team toward a constant goal of spending less money. We talked about long term goals like college, vacations, cars, and weddings. And the definition of "needs" versus "wants."

 

It's not going to be easy to change my spending habits or save money. Certainly not as easy as putting postage on a letter and having it travel across the country for a few cents. But it will show my children that sometimes grownups make mistakes -- that it's always good, to be honest, and take responsibility for your choices (or lack thereof). It will also prove that our needs are met, goals have to be set, plans have to be made, and money has to be saved. Some money has to be saved. I know better, and I can do better, and we will all reap the benefits. As long as someone checks the mail.

Tanisha Ware

See more of her blogs at BrownSugarBritches.com