Posted by: Judy | June 28, 2012

Temper tantrum final?

Adding to it all, I’d had some work difficulties pop up. A total stranger called into question my intelligence and integrity, and none too politely. I still don’t know how to handle this. My general rule is to never associate with them again, if I can help it. I’m now realizing this is not an acceptable response when my work capabilities are being questioned by someone who isn’t qualified to do so. I need to learn how to stand up for myself without being confrontational. Knowing this, I still felt like I had failed myself.

Another layer peeled away.

It still wasn’t the starting point.

Reading another blog. I was reminded that I had been trained to be a “whore” of sorts. My NM would verbally attack me, and my EF would slip me some money afterward.

For the record, when I realized what was happening, I never allowed NM to verbally attack me again. I learned to either walk away or calmly respond. Yeah, it surprised me, too, when I realized how easy it was to deal with. However, I also had to accept that part of the difference is I’m much older now. Age does make a difference.

I realized I was still angry about that. I still resent it.

Will I never get over it?

Actually, yes. I should be angry about that kind of behavior. I should never be okay with it.


Closer. One more step back.

What – core deep – started this whole mess?

NM has been home “sick.”


I know. I know. I’m such a witch. I lack compassion. I’m a horrible person.


The truth.

This has been going on for several weeks.

NM wasn’t feeling well and had family over anyway. Family members who were vulnerable to anything contagious. Too sick to leave the house and expose some people, but not too sick to have people come by and expose them. Then there were the days when NM couldn’t expose some people, but had to visit others because they’d miss her. Then there was the excuse of couldn’t go out where NM might be exposed to too much cold A/C. This is the same person who brags about loving the cold. And again, the illness is possibly viral.

During all this, she has to be essentially on top of me any time we’re in the same room. NM will stop what she’s doing in another room to crowd me in the kitchen. One of the times I was making lunch. It took a whole ten minutes. She was less than a foot from me the entire time. NM even sneezed on my food. Great. Thanks. She will interrupt what she’s doing to guard her territory. Think I’m being oversensitive? When I’m done in the kitchen she’ll leave it as well, even if she’s in the middle of doing something there.

AH! Bingo.

Having to constantly be on guard because NM is constantly present is horribly wearing. I know there are people who are saying I’m exaggerating about the crowding. Then there are those I know who are shuddering right now because they know I’m not. This isn’t about crowding normal personal space. This is about someone who will walk as close to you as possible, despite having plenty of room to give you a little space and brushing against you. Touching without permission. If I’m working at the stove, NM will have to get something from the cupboard and then take care of things at the sink and then something else from the cupboard on the other side so I’m constantly having to avoid running into her. Side note: I have no memories of NM touching me in any overtly improper way… actually… wow… that’s a lie. It wasn’t extreme. Not that I remember. However, my backside, my arms, my hair, and my face were all considered fair game. She could touch me anyway she wanted, anytime she wanted, and I was cruel if I flinched or backed away. NM would also talk to me in totally inappropriate ways. I cannot tolerate being touched by NM. Ever.

In the last several weeks, that boundary has been violated repeatedly.

I let it happen. I’m not a little girl anymore. Granted, some part of me was tired of fighting. I didn’t want to fight NM anymore. I was wrong. I was frustrated and willing to look anywhere to find support. I didn’t put protecting me first. My fault.

What do you know…I’ve found the starting place.

What was the key to figuring it out?

NM is “well” again and off doing other things. I was able to bake a few cookies in the toaster oven and clean up without having to listen to inane comments about everything I make and do and having someone crowd me.

In case you missed the key: I made cookies.

Baking is not a “safe” activity. Remember that the kitchen is off limits, regardless of what she says. I only bake when I’m home alone. When I am safe from her.

I’m learning to feel safe in many ways despite the danger surrounding me, but I now know I still have a lot to learn.

Yep. I guess this is the final, for today.



  1. ((((Judy)))) I am one of the ones shuddering. I think it’s very hard for other people to understand this unless they have felt it themselves. I used to attend a gathering on Tuesday mornings and when my sister moved over she started coming too. At one point it felt like her presence was filling up the room and there was no room for me, like she had taken over completely, it felt claustrophobic, it’s so difficult to explain. In the end I stopped going.
    I think you’re doing great considering how hard it is to live with people like that. Thanks so much for sharing what you are learning with us.
    P.D. New washing machine so far so good. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kara, I’ve been there. In fact, reading this has inspired this Monday’s post. Thank you. And glad to hear everything is good, so far. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I too shuddered. My NMIL practically sits in my lap. She has, literally, stepped between me and someone else to get my attention. She always has to be touching people and “cuddling” them. I have had her stalk me around a room as I move from chair to chair to get away from her. It’s a horrible feeling to have someone violate you in this way. NM doesn’t do the physical touching (she’s a bit cold in this way) but always has to be in my space. She is always listening in on my conversations. There is not a conversation that she doesn’t feel she should be a part of. She’s always in my space, but in an actual physical way, but still it feels as if she’s always sucking up all the space in a room, like Kara says.
        And the exposing people to sickness thing. What is that with Narcs? My NMIL sees no problem exposing people to illness but hates when others do it to her. She will be around sick people and then come to my house around my kids and say “well, I didn’t touch them.” Well, you did touch everything in their house and breathe their air. Another boundary violation. ick.

        • Welcome, Jessie. Yes! I recognize the stalking in a room. *shiver* The double-standard and hypocrisy is maddening.

  2. I don’t know how you live in the same house with her. Our patron St Jude must be looking out for you ๐Ÿ˜‰

    In my late 20s, spending just a couple hours with my mother would make me pace like a restless tiger. My husband said it would take me three weeks to get all of the pent up agitation out of me after even a short visit with my mother. Being around her makes me feel like a human stain.

    Therapy made it more bearable, but it still makes me on edge. Now I bear it by not doing it ๐Ÿ™‚

    The dreaded “sick” NM. That’s the worst. You don’t lack compassion. You treat her better than she deserves.

    • I had to look up St. Jude. I’ve heard of him, of course, but I’m not all that familiar. Glad I did. Patron St. Jude of desperate cases and lost causes. I love it.

      If I could go NC, I would, so I figure God has something else in mind.

      • Hey cool! I taught you something about our namesake you didn’t already know.

        I get a kick out of it, actually. For all that I am agnostic, I wear a bracelet with a St Jude medallion whenever I feel anxious.

        • To add to the humor: My NM wanted to name me something else. My EF told her she could call me whatever she wanted, but he was filling out the form. They named me after the daughter of a family friend. Funny how it it has turned out to be so perfect in relation to St. Jude. Thanks for cluing me in. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. The person who rudely questioned your intelligence and integrity? (Pardon the witch hunt, here)..sounds like narcissistic behavior to me. But, the ‘understanding’ side of me wants to give that person the benefit of the doubt and consider that they might have low self-esteem and feels the need to bash a newly successful person, in order to feel better about their own inadequacies…right… Either way, what that person did was WRONG!! You should feel angry about that, and definitely have the right to feel that way.

    One of the things that I believe you have had a problem with, every bit as much as me… you don’t HAVE to associate with that person for ANY reason if you don’t feel safe (emotionally). I have always tried to get along with everyone even after someone attacked me in some way. They tore me down…check. They caused me to be afraid…check. why would I want to take another second of my time with them? Surround yourself with people who are like-minded and supportive. The others can kiss your glass ๐Ÿ˜€ You don’t need them in the least. You don’t have to be rude to them, but you don’t have to coddle them to make them feel better, either. Protect YOU, first and foremost.

    Being able to feel safe in your surroundings is a part of feeling and ‘being’ home. Me? I’m sure that, for a time, I will have a problem with that, as well. Time will fix that, I think.

    • I finally came to the same conclusion, lifebegins45. I think narcissism and low self-esteem go hand in hand. They have to belittle others to feel better about themselves. I don’t actually have a choice since it’s work, however, I’ve decided how to handle it next time. First and foremost, their opinion doesn’t matter, and I need to remember that. I stepped back into the old habit. True, I was vulnerable because I’m finding my way, but finding my way doesn’t mean I’m lost. From here on, they can say what they want; it doesn’t mean they’re right or that I have to take it to heart in any way at all. I will hear it with the understanding that it’s them not me. Thanks so much for the support and encouragement! It helps so much.

      • Good for you! that’s a hard realization to come to, and sometimes harder to implement, but it DOES get easier with practice. i haven’t arrived in this area, either, but It’s coming along ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Yes, I’m a little worried about the implementing part, and you’re right practice makes it easier.

  4. A sensitive person will be aware and respect another personโ€™s space/boundaries
    When one of my grandchildren was very small he couldnโ€™t abide being hugged so we settled on a handshake (so sweet, he was two years old!). These days he is quite happy to hug; his decision. Everyone needs their own space and should be able to make their own decisions on what feels right for them.
    You have my sympathy, ((Judy)) there is nothing more irritating than a โ€˜space invaderโ€™, especially one who sneezes!!
    Molly x

    • ((Molly)) Thank you! I’m guessing part of the reason the grandchild is now comfortable with hugs is because they were given the right to choose. Bless you!

  5. Hugs, I so get it. Makes total sense and you are kinder than she deserves. To add to this she can be so unpredictable and needy when sick like some how you can fix or change germs. Looking forward to Saturday.

    • ((Ruth)) Saturday is almost here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I was shuddering too. I focus so much on the horror of my dad, that I forget about the lack of boundaries with my mom. My mom was so starved for attention and affection, she forced way too much on us kids at times. And it always felt wrong. Not a safe/secure hug or snuggle, it was either a smothering, awkward, nauseous feeling. I can actually remember my mom would pay me a quarter to rub her back, brush her hair, or sometimes, and this is weird, just caress her arms up and down. I forgot about that until reading this post. I don’t recall any natural forms of affection from either parent, just sick or weird. My mom also does the hover and get in your space thing, even today. She follows you to get a drink of water, then complains about which cup you chose, and then as you drink the tap water, she watches and then says, you know I have bottled water, you didn’t have to drink that. The more I read your blog, I think I need to start calling her NM too. Hmmm.

    • I probably should have posted a warning label… but it’s difficult to know. It seems like such a little thing…

      She may simply be needy. Harpy’s Child’s narcissist list, posted in Resources, is the list I see sited most often for determining whether or not a parent is a narcissist.

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