Salameister was reaching toward the end of his ninth month broadside, earth-side, sunny side up. I wouldn’t have known it consciously at the time, but storm clouds were building on the horizon. They were visible, but I was like the tough old resident who doesn’t leave her shack for nothing. No storm was going to shake me, I determined. The entries from my blogs in September 2011 were about embracing myself as an artist, about being strong, about creating daily rituals to encourage a more fulfilling habitual. Then there was this post in which I wrote about an idea I’d been fed. It looks now, like a piece of light that pierced the fabric of lies I was wielding to protect myself from the oncoming pain.
Feh used to feed this idea to me that I was helplessly sexual. I liked the idea: in part because it took me from a place of feeling less than (e.g. fat, invisible, the un-remarkable ‘friend’) and to a place of feeling like some kind of bombshell who was lusted after. That felt good. Loving myself was an idea that feh actually helped grow… though I had resolved to hang on to it somewhere within, even after his charisma turned. I didn’t like the idea for similar reasons any self-respecting person would have. When we want to be seen as people, with ideas, stories, and intrinsic value, we don’t want some sexpot energy getting in the way.
I bring all of this up now due to a nearly unbelievable, small turn of events just passed. To preface it, let me say I’ve been doing some reading on narcissists, and more seriously on narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Feh has many of these traits. He was formally diagnosed as such by the psych-evaluator in our first divorce case (we’re on the second one now). I began researching this stuff after my dear friend “Sophie” talked with me about the roles narcissism and delusion played in her childhood.
The father of my children is delusional at times. It’s frightening to attempt to parent with another person who is mentally ill, refusing self-exploration/treatment, and hostile. It’s frightening because I imagine the effect it will have on my kids’ psyches. It is frightening because I don’t know how best to handle it.
Over the weekend I spent some quality time with Sophie. When I attempted to leave, the fates–disguised as sub-zero temperatures and an old car battery–decided to give me several more hours of visiting time with her. I notified feh, because it would affect my ability to pick the kids up from him at the pre-arranged time. I’m being generous when I say that, due to the fact that I give him only as much information about my goings-on as is pertinent to the health and well-being of our kids, he felt enabled to reply to my notification with this:
“It happens. No problem.
How was the in call time?”
What feh is referring to is his obsession with prostitution. “In call” is prostitution terminology. He taught me about it during our relationship. He used to tour me around his favorite online back pages and teach me the lingo. His personal motto is “Every girl is an angel, until the rent comes due.” That means, in his delusional, misogynist mind, all women are whores. He attempted to get me to whore myself for a savings-account when we were together. He nearly succeeded.
With feh, this is the landscape I learned in. Alien. Prefabricated. Irrational. These are lessons I’ve learned. Pay attention to red flags and whispered concerns. Go slowly. Trust your family. I had to explain to my sister-friend what his reply meant. This is the path I have had to walk and will continue to gracefully move through and beyond… not so graceful that we didn’t reply to his email with this:
Because, really? He Don’t Know Shit. And no storm will budge me from the castle I have built and maintain. And no alligator will drag my children into a moat of alien lies and degradation.
What’s your favorite way to prove ’em wrong?