Tickety Boo Or Not So Pucker

Last late Spring I had occasion to be in Scotland. A marvellous country filled with beautiful scenery and plenty of history. I realised that I was fairly near to a place where I had spent a handful of childhood holidays and decided to drive to the location to ascertain if it remained as I remembered it. I found the estate with ease and followed the single track road trying to catch a glimpse of something, anything that I remembered from our visits here. It was as I turned from the track onto a driveway that I knew I had found the correct place. I halted my vehicle and stared down the driveway. It was lined with scores of cherry trees which were in full blossom. I remembered the first time I saw this drive way and was taken aback at the vibrancy of the pink blossom and how it rained upon us as my father drove us down the driveway, the breeze displacing the blossom and causing it to cascade over us. It was quite the picture and something that I have always recalled although not as much as what came next.

We had spent a week staying at a five star hotel about an hour away from where we were now. This was at the insistence of my mother who had declared,

“If I am to rough it then I want my luxury either side of it.”

Typically a cold fury ensured until my father, as ever, conceded and agreed that we would stay for a week before and four days afterwards at the sumptuous hotel. The place we now headed to was an estate owned by a friend of my father. They had both been in the Royal Air Force together and Geraint, his friend, had removed himself to Scotland to oversee this estate. My mother had said nothing from the moment we had checked out from the hotel that morning. She sat, her icy rage chilling the interior of the car as my father drove us to the estate. My sister babbled incessantly during the journey, commenting on everything we passed in order to fill the silence. My father concentrated on the road ahead being well-used to these frozen car journeys and no doubt wondering how my mother would continue to behave once we arrived. I knew exactly what she would do and I could see my reflection as I grinned with anticipation.

Our car slowly drove along this bright pink tunnel until we halted by a gate. Set on a hillock to the right was a large and impressive house from which a figure, who I assumed was Geraint, half-walked half-jigged. His red corduroy pants housed two legs which skipped across the carefully manicured lawn that embraced the hillock, the colour contrasting with the mustard of his jumper and the green of the shirt beneath. He was as colourful as the entrance to his estate. My father lowered the window as Geraint neared and bellowed into the car,

“Hello hello, well how are you all you wonderful people, tickety boo or not so pucker?”

The rear of the car exploded into laughter at this expression. We had not heard anything like it and coupled with this multi-coloured man who bore a huge grin on his face we were mightily amused. This became the mantra for the week as my siblings and I would ask one another at any opportunity whether he or she was tickety boo or not so pucker. Still laughing I watched as my mother leant towards my father’s side of the car and trilled,

“Geraint how positively marvellous to see you. You look excellent well. I must say we are so looking forward to staying with you this week, it is awfully kind of you to accommodate us. It looks glorious, tell me how is your wife?”

I smirked as what I came to know as the façade was rolled out. I glanced at the rear view mirror to see my father’s reaction. As I suspected it was one of relief.

We children enjoyed our week. We had been housed in a large cottage which was clearly one which belonged to someone who had worked the estate in the past, a farmer or woodsman perhaps. Geraint occupied the main house where we dined three times if I remember correctly and there were fifteen cottages scattered across the estate. We spent our days locating them and adding them to the map we made of the extensive estate. My mother alternated between being fragrant and charming whenever she met Geraint and his family (tickety boo) to then sitting in silence when consigned to the cottage (not so pucker). As usual my father flapped about her trying to extoll the virtue of the cottage and its simpler way of life. The cottage had a permanent musty smell and it was necessary to chop logs outside to burn in the fireplaces and place in the aga range to provide cooking and heating facilities. We enjoyed this difference to the usual conveniences we enjoyed at home but my mother did not. She passed no adverse comment. She did not need to as she had repeatedly berated my father when at the hotel about his choice in coming to stay in this “bloody medieval hovel” and it seemed to me that the lap of luxury which she had insisted on had been not so pucker for her since she spent all of her time slating my father for wanting to see his old RAF pal. The blaming and name-calling then gave way to her iciness for the entire week. I do not recall my mother speaking to my father save when we were in the presence of Geraint and his family when my mother was charm personified, complimentary and quite the star of the dinner table.

Yes this trip stuck in my memory for many reasons but most of all for my exposure to the phrase tickety boo or not so pucker. I saw how these polar states were played out by my mother as part of her manipulation of my father, her quite amazing vacillation between delightful charm and muted resentment. She shone and then she iced over. I have come to realise that this entertaining phrase is most apt for our kind. Either everything is tickety boo, wonderful, marvellous and golden or it is not so pucker, awful, horrible, terrible and cruel. There is never any middle ground. No neutral. We do not do mediocre or mundane. We either give you tickety boo or subject you to not so pucker.

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178 thoughts on “Tickety Boo Or Not So Pucker”

  1. HG,
    You answered yes to the first question below from Valkyrie. My question from that is would you admire that same ability done on you from your ipps?

    HG, is the ability to use power to manipulate, hurt and humiliate people an admirable quality?

    Does it make either the receiver or the giver’s lives better? You can feel powerful getting what you want out of life using tricks and lies. Or you can get what you want by using integrity and honesty.

    Power is not always used for good. Simply exhibiting power does not make one great. You could say Hilter was powerful.

    Wouldn’t matrinarc’s power be admirable if she used skills that made others happy and safe?

    1. They would not do that though, GM. However, if they did try then I would find their pluck entertaining albeit ineffective.

      1. Pluck is an interesting substitution for action taken to manipulate, hurt and humilate.

    2. Pluck denotes a courage or spirit. It does not imply a positive or negative action, only the determination with which someone untakes a task.

      Personal responsibility is key. I do not admire actions where someone determinedly hurt others.

      I admire actions where someone exhibits pluck to help and heal others.

  2. This article rings true for me. I had a narcissistic mother as well. I can recall as a young child being the recipient of her fury in private, but then the telephone would ring in the middle of her berating me or my silent treatment, and she would instantly morph into the most pleasant social butterfly. I would sit there and watch her phone conversation, envious of the person on the other end who was getting the pleasant mother I was trying so desperately to win back, but then she would hang up the phone and the fury would return. I honestly never realized this was unusual behavior until I was in my 30s, or that I was being manipulated.

    1. Michelle
      My mother was the same way. I’m now 60 and just learning about narcissism because of narcex. I suppose I should be very grateful there haven’t been more of them in my life.

  3. I will have to see my not so pucker mother soon. She just sent me a few lines by email (after many months of total NC) and already upset me. I really can handle the other narcs in my life; they really do not affect me. But she is another story, another level; she is a real BITCH full of malice.
    One short email exchange and she manages to make her hate her again.

  4. Indeed, it is well written. My favourite part is the image conjured up in the mind of the ‘evergreen’ Gervaise, skipping across the lawn in his red trousers.

    With this in mind; I proffer this http://lookatmyfuckingredtrousers.blogspot.com/

    The point may be lost on our US cousins but I have a funny feeling that HG knows where it’s at..

    Incidentally, I am in awe of this picture which shows not only tokenism in it’s finest form but also simultaneously punishes two fuckingredtrouser transgressors for the transgression of not wearing ‘fucking red trousers’.by humiliating them.

    http://lookatmyfuckingredtrousers.blogspot.com/2012/12/two-dozen-men.html

    A sublime image for a Friday, I affectively empathically feel, Nay! Assert!

    1. Haha. That blog. Trustafarian. I am American but I live in the UK, and I have my suspicions about HG and his ‘kind.’ Did you get an invite to Eugenie’s wedding HG?

  5. HG

    You’ve only mentioned the negative about your mother, but you said somewhere that she’s an elite too. How did she get praise, and positive fuel?

  6. Just experienced this first hand for a change …. But how can some narcissist seem so warm and kind?!

    1. Ava101, Double-faced. My mother is a Matrinarc and she has always had tons of friends to fuel her up when her own kids would not. Friends were tickety boo, kids not so pucker.

  7. You had me at Scotland and I love the picture almost as much as the one you painted in your story. These type of stories make you more personable to me.

  8. Spending a vacation/holiday with a narcissist is dreadful. They know you are stuck with the. The games they play are ridiculous and exhausting, yet they smile and act giddy for the selfies to make people jealous of their vacation.

      1. It meant Kaboom, HG just noted it’s a peaceful thread (day) without commenters who provoke reaction.

      2. HG

        “That is because there is an absence of certain agitators.”

        “No, I mean they have stopped commenting.”

        SMEARING

        If this is about me.. you could have just asked me to stop commenting you know.

        #☆@%&$#!!

      3. Blank

        “If this is about me.. you could have just asked me to stop commenting you know.”

        I reread your comment, because I felt I missed something. It wasn’t that I missed something, your last sentence caught my attention, it sounded familiar.

      4. Blank
        Why would you think it was pointed at you? Is there something you recognize in your behaviour that makes you think that?

      5. Clarece,

        HG is a narcissist. He hates peaceful threads. That’s why he uses Serene’s ‘refreshing thread’ comment (which had nothing to do with the absence of agitators) to stirr things up.
        He just knew he’d get response. It’s nothing but provocation.

      6. Incorrect and incorrect again. Any agitating which occurs is usually between readers and nothing to do with me (i.e. they exchange views with regards to their own perspectives) and therefore the low potency and small amount of fuel generated is not fuel for me (which i do not need anyway) – thus there is no need for agitation. Secondly, my observation was entirely relevant to why the comment ‘refreshing’ was made. I provided an explanation, it was nothing to do with seeking a response – none was required. I thought you were NC by the way?

      7. Blank
        I am fairly certain it has nothing to do with you so just keep posting like usual.

      8. Twilight, I have to clarify:

        I recently told Windstorm and Tigerchelle I was going to stop commenting for a while (see: Shoot you down thread) because I felt I was a bit too much lately, but I would be reading.
        In the last Poll-thread I mentioned somewhere I had gone full NC with HG (which isn’t the case of course, because I am reading), just to say to HG I am angry with him messing with the comments.

        Then HG states here that the agitators have stopped commenting. So I guess he means I am an agitator.

        If he thinks I am an agitator and he doesn’t like that, he could have told me so, or ask me to leave.
        He has repeatedly mentioned on this blog that we could do firm discussions, since this is an emotive subject.

        This is what HG mentioned in the second last poll:

        “There Is nothing wrong with robust debate and if someone does not accept the view of another, so long as they can explain why and do so in a constructive fashion, even though it may be viewed as an ‘attack’ it will be allowed. There is a difference between forensically carving up another’s argument to just hurling unsubstantiated insults around. People should understand that this is an emotive subject and it attracts varying views and personality types and this invariably leads to some strong observations”

        Now, can we do robust debate or can we not? I’d like to know. It’s not that I enjoy arguing, not at all really, but I like to be able to honestly speak my mind and be able to defend myself, when people throw in wrong accusations. If not, okay, I will just read. I was going to anyway for the time being, if HG had not felt the need to provoke me here.

      9. Twilight,

        “I reread your comment, because I felt I missed something. It wasn’t that I missed something, your last sentence caught my attention, it sounded familiar.”

        Can you please explain what you mean?

      10. Blank

        You last sentence is/was similar to what another has said, the difference is context. I believe you said it out of being hurt for something you perceive direct towards you and I also believe you still feel extremely sensitive to things.

      11. HG,

        “Incorrect and incorrect again.”

        Okay, sorry, my wrong.

        “I thought you were NC by the way?”

        Don’t be silly. How can I comment on your blog and be NC with you?
        And, as you may wel know, I’ll miss the dope when I go NC. It’s either your dope or N-ex’s.
        Now, I’ll be a good girl and I will shut up for a while allright?
        Love you xx

        PS: If I ever decide to have a consult with you, can I yell at you? Or does it cost extra?

      12. Apology accepted.

        Indeed, I did not think you would be away for long. You need not shut up, all contributions are welcomed here.

        Yes, you may yell at me if you wish and no, it does not cost extra.

      13. 😁 Narc Angel, hi! 🤗🤗 I was wondering what you’d come up with this time 😘
        Now you’ve changed your Avatar I can’t call you Mother Superior anymore 😄. And I can’t even make drama, since your shield is activated 😯.
        Take care Angel, if you weren’t on the other side of the world, I”d invite you for a drink tonight. xx

      14. Blank
        To clarify: I asked that question because I did not assume the agitator comment was directed at you, but wondered why YOU thought it was directed at you. It could have been directed at me, but then I disregarded that as ridiculous because of course I am delightful (when I am not smacking knuckles with rulers). I will be back in my black and white momentarily because the colours of a unicorn do not become me or my disposition. For the record – if you weren’t on the other side of the world I’d accept that drink, but seeing that you are – cheers anyway.
        NA

      15. Twilight,
        I am an HSP. That means sensitive on all fronts.
        (Or as Matrinarc would say ‘too sensitive’… oh, and she said I’m ‘instable’ as well – just so you know).
        Thank you for you response Twilight, xx

      16. NA,

        (sorry Serene, for having to use your serene comment all of the time, but there are no other reply buttons, so pardon me please)

        NA “To clarify: I asked that question because I did not assume the agitator comment was directed at you, but wondered why YOU thought it was directed at you.”

        I know why you asked NA. Please see the foregoing in my comment to Twilight. I do not consider myself an agitator, I don’t want to be an agitator, but I can see why other people would consider me an agitator. That’s empathy, putting yourself in other people’s shoes. I don’t just read words here, I read between the lines and use all of my senses, to understand what people are really saying. This is hard, because you don’t see body language nor facial expressions, still you can sense a certain ‘vibe’. A lot of people get anxious when there is an argument. I understand that, I can feel it myself (it’s even physical, because my stomach starts bloating). Still, the truth/justice for me comes first, always, that is because of all the hypocracy I’ve seen in childhood, in that strict religious, sectarion environment I grew up in.
        I like to sepak my mind. I am well aware that there this no such thing as “one truth” or “the truth”, but I mean it like being true to yourself, honest to others, justice in the world (which will never happen). And yes, I know I aint no saint myself, but I try hard :).

        “It could have been directed at me, but then I disregarded that as ridiculous because of course I am delightful (when I am not smacking knuckles with rulers).”

        I can picture you perfectly like that (although I have no clue what you look like of course :)) And I will add to it that I ‘feel’ what you are like, I see your ‘outside’, but I also see your ‘inside’.

        “I will be back in my black and white momentarily because the colours of a unicorn do not become me or my disposition.”

        That’s exactly what I thought and I couldn’t picture you as this woman at all. 🙂 Your current Avatar tells me: “You better not fool with me” 🙂

        “For the record – if you weren’t on the other side of the world I’d accept that drink, but seeing that you are – cheers anyway.”

        Thanks, I enjoyed a glass of Courvoisier. I hardly ever drink strong booze, but my friend brought it from France. I must say it was good and I slept really well.

        Make sure you’ll do some agitation while I’m gone, otherwise it’ll get too snuggy in here ;). HG may say I do not need to shut up, but I can sense some commenters here may think otherwise.

        Take care NA! xx

  9. HG, you are a brilliant writer. This piece reads like a memoir or powerful short story, drawing the reader in with vivid detail and characters, with emotional energy. And a lesson, closure, at the end. Although your blog helps us tremendously, I certainly believe you are one of the better true working writers today. Have you ever considered writing a novel?

    1. Thank you, I appreciate that. I do have certain novels planned and in hand, it is something I would like to do full-time eventually.

      1. No, but I have listened to the Hitch many times on radio and I have listened to part of a Dawkins audio book – must get around to finishing that.

      2. You’re a brilliant writer, HG and I don’t think it hit home until this piece. “His red corduroy pants, which housed two legs, skipped across…” What a fantastic way of otherwise saying, “He wore red pants.” Excellent! I reread that sentence at least three times. How fun!

        We all ‘subconsciously’ know that you’re a superb writer because your use of the written word has inexplicably healed us. But the actual semantics of excellent writing isn’t always apparent; you just know it’s good when you ‘feel’ it. But I truly witnessed it in this piece.
        You absolutely should publish.

      3. That was my favorite part too 69R! “He wore red pants” doesn’t allow you to see him coming out to greet them the way he did.

        Another place I remember reading such descriptive writing that puts you right there with him is when he was in the barn during hide and seek and the girl wanted him to hold her hand. It was in one of the books. I don’t know if it’s an article, but I loved that piece too. I felt like I could’ve been that girl. It was such a simple story that could have been told in a paragraph or two, but he made it so much more. He’s like those people that can tell a joke and it’s funny as hell. Then I tell the same joke to somebody and there are…crickets! Ha ha. This man truly has a gift.

      4. HG

        “Thank you, I appreciate that. I do have certain novels planned and in hand, it is something I would like to do full-time eventually.“

        I’ll read anything you write, but if you plan on writing any erotica you best be getting on with it. If you wait much longer you’ll have to take the little blue pill just to get it up to get it down on paper.

      5. Haha. I don’t know, but if you’re typing with that…

        A) Good for you!
        B) Based on women daydreaming about you, think of the money you’ll make if you advertise it as a scratch and sniff.

      6. NA, THAT was funny! Even though I am enamored with HG, I can honestly say I have no interest whatsoever in sniffing where his penis has been with or without Viagra! Keep typing with both hands HG. Although I’m sure you have a brilliant member, it’s the fruits of your intellect that keep this empath engaged.

      7. K, no interest in sniffing the boxers. I just want ONE of those kisses and I’ll die a happy girl! Yes, I spend a lot of time in fantasyland. It’s more interesting there.

      8. MB
        I just couldn’t resist teasing you a bit. Fantasy Island is a great place to be sometimes.

        Sailing by C. Cross

        “Fantasy, it gets the best of me
        When I’m sailing
        All caught up in the reverie, every word is a symphony
        Won’t you believe me?”

      9. Seems to me the only thing viagra offers is to help a middle-aged man play guitar better, or bathe unabashedly in public at the beach. The viagra commercials make no promises about writing!

      10. Yes! Yes! Yes! You as I always say are a very gifted talented writer!! You would have much success!! I hope someday you will be able to write full time! 🌺

  10. Wissh, I can feel the love and care for your son. It is a very complicated process to figure out how to help and support your children while they find their way in life.

    You worry because you care. I think the open and loving dialogue is good. He may or may not be on the spectrum as Clarece says. I had a good friend once tell me she thought I was depressed and maybe I should see someone. She said it out of genuine concern and I appreciated her honesty.

    Your love is most important. It is hard to watch someone you care about struggle. Much love to you. Hugs.

    1. “Would love to see a book” was for HG.

      It came right after my Wissh comment, so it just looked odd. The two comments weren’t related.

  11. HG, one of the most whimsical, personal stories you’ve shared. I thoroughly enjoyed it—thank you!

  12. I loved this memory. Roughing it in a cabin with a fireplace, how beautiful. Did your father have an affair , with a student ? Did your mom think he was ? Do you think she had ever any reason to be so cold ?

    1. She is a narcissist thus she would accuse him of doing so (there was never any evidence) and her coldness is the coldness of her ignited fury.

      1. Yes . I have read many of your childhood memories. I just wonder if as children we makeup our own reasons why are parents are the way they are ……I have always tried to understand my parents , ever since I saw a psychologist. And as a parent I tell my children many things many adults would not . I don’t want my children to believe lies their father said ..but I don’t want the to be confused and choose sides either. Their father is cold to me now ….he tries to tell them I had an affair . I have told them my truth as to what happened . They know it ….only because I take the time and energy to let them make up their own minds after I explain my truth . If I never concerned myself with their feelings and never asked , talked about how they felt …..I would just be a selfish bitch.

      2. I know you only share what your ember and how you remember it . You see your father as manipulated by your mother . He seems like a good man and someone you respected and felt sorry for. And he seems to be devoted to your mothers happiness .

    2. Hi molly…i hope you dont mind but i wanted to say youre right as children we do see our own version of reality and maybe not the whole picture. Eventually all the pieces fit together.
      I think HG’s dad was an enabler and he in a way used his children to take the heat off himself. He allowed her treatment of HG to lessen the impact on him. I could be completely wrong but this is what i get from what ive read.
      I am curious to know the dynamics of their relationship once they were empty nesters. If im right im betting it got worse bc he would take more of the brunt of her narcissism.

      1. I see similarities in my husband parents. His mother dominated the attention of the father ….so he didn’t have much to do with his only son. ( the narc in my life). I see he hates his mother but worships his father . When his father wasn’t there for him and ignored him , and gave more affection and sympathy to the three girls , his sisters. But, the mother gets blamed and hated …when it’s his father who wasn’t there for him. It’s easier and more socially excepted to hate the mother and to project all the problems onto her.

      2. Molly, I read here (maybe ‘Flushing out the Narcissist’ ?) That the parent that they speak the most highly of is the one that failed to love them. It’s so counterintuitive that I asked HG for clarification. If I am correct, the scenario that you have described makes perfect sense. Maybe the hatred for the other parent is borne out of their failure to protect? HG can confirm.

      3. Well ..I get to see this dynamic because I have been with him so long. He complains about his mom and his hate is directed at her. But she listens to him , buys him stuff , negotiates with him and taught him how to play cards amongst other skills .. I saw his older sister rubbing their dads feet for long periods of time while everyone else sat around watching ….and this was at a lake cabin with everyone . It was weird to me . He would sit there like a king .

      4. My husband also walked in on his mother and father having sex and thought his father was hurting her.

      5. Chihuahuamum, Very interesting comments. I think IPPS in my own situation as (former) IPSS to an MRN is an enabler too, though I do not think she is entirely aware of what he is. I often wanted to tell her to control her fucking predator husband but her ET keeps the scales over her eyes.

        She must do the same with their kids – they are her sentries and she uses them to protect herself. They are also recent empty nesters. I have thought about how that will go but I am not so curious that I would look at their social media again. My guess is that one or two kids will fail to launch and IPPS will encourage that failure (with compassion) so that sentries continue to be in place. The nest will never be empty so that IPPS and MRN do not have to face each other.

        In my family, my mother is also Matrinarc and my father (who had his own anger issues and is not such an empath, though he is not a narc) did not protect us. We all got out of the house as quickly as possible, and they downsized so that we could not come back. But their toxic, miserable relationship continued and we were all caught up in it – still are. They are very elderly now and finally, finally live apart (but in the same place). Don’t get me started on the grandchildren dynamic…my mother doesn’t accept that my son (the golden grandchild in her eyes) is not her son.

  13. Beautiful descriptive writing HG! I like the part about his pants “housing” his legs. I can see him. I can’t wait for the Tudor Tales. 20 more days!

    “Set on a hillock to the right was a large and impressive house from which a figure, who I assumed was Geraint, half-walked half-jigged. His red corduroy pants housed two legs which skipped across the carefully manicured lawn that embraced the hillock, the colour contrasting with the mustard of his jumper and the green of the shirt beneath.”

      1. I’m actually quite envious of your command of language. I don’t know what I’d do with that talent, but I sure would like to have it.

      2. MB
        “I’m actually quite envious of your command of language. I don’t know what I’d do with that talent, but I sure would like to have it.”

        I heard: you’d like to have his expert oral skills.

      3. NA, ha! I don’t ALWAYS have my mind in the gutter! I am truly jealous of his vocabulary and command of language. I feel satisfaction in using the perfect word. My mother has always said I have a large vocabulary. (I used big words as a kid.) HG puts me completely to shame. I’m kindergarten in comparison. He uses words I’ve never even heard. I don’t have to look up many anymore, but in the beginning…OMG! He’s very well read and refined. Polished. I’m rough around the edges from not pursuing my academic potential. Not lazy, I just took a different path in life.

  14. I forgot to mention the black and white thinking. That is very prevalent in npd and bpd as well as autism. Mix in self absorbtion and the inability to empathize its not surprising the switch from smile to scowl.

  15. Hi Wissh! Wow! Intense day for your poor brain with the long conversation with your son. I’m curious, how have you always felt your relationship with him has been? It sounds like he stays in frequent contact with you to keep in touch. I’m wondering if, in his world view and perspective, he views you as close and has you painted very white. In fact, other girlfriends from past relationships may have never measured up to mom.
    I feel for you because with this visit, nothing will really be different or out of the ordinary for him. He’ll just be his usual self. You’re just seeing him through different lenses now. Narcissism is on a spectrum. He may not have full blown NPD but just definitely higher on the Narc traits, low empathy. Don’t completely panic yet…lol

    1. Thank you Clarece. Perhaps I’ve been immersed in the study of narcs too long?
      I had knee surgery this morning. Both my sons have been here to help me, though not at the same time. This particular son really surprised me today, walking the dog, bringing me things, actually asking if I needed anything. It was so unlike his usual self absorbed chatter.
      You asked about my relationship with him, I think in general is always been good, we’ve certainly had our moments, but also very different from my relationship with my other sons. He is the eldest, born when I was only 19. In a way we grew up together. Now that we’re both older it something’s feels like he’s the parent. 🙄 He’s always shared his thoughts and what’s going on in his life with me, often telling me more than I want to know. He treats me more as a contemporary than his parent. We are also very different politically and with regard to religion, I try to avoid those discussions because they can get really hot. I do believe he views me as close, he’s close to his dad too, and I don’t think he’s had enough long term relationships to compare. He’s a total player. This is not to say he wouldn’t want that, I believe he does, but he can’t maintain a long term relationship, and he cheats.
      Another aspect of our relationship is that I am a nurse and he is a paralyzed veteran. He’s in town right now, and I scheduled my surgery for when he’d be here, for a wheelchair tennis tournament. He was very young when paralyzed and I once again became his caregiver until he became independent. Now we live far apart but he still calls via FaceTime when he’s upset and/or he’s having medical issues. I’ve been a pretty good enabler over the years too. Anyway, you’re right and I’m holding off the panic as I listen to his every word. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes. I don’t see him as having no positive emotions, but empathy if it exists is in short supply and of course his comment on conscience, guilt and remorse freaked me out.

  16. I loved this for many reasons. First off i can envision this estate. I love the older country manors and their”medievalness” lol it sounded like a lovely place to spend a week and besides the bad behaviour on your mothers part some great memories were made. Focus on those memories bc they are what truely matter!
    Ive seen this flip flop of facade and cold fury with my own mother. Shes done it with her children and with my stepdad. He will tip toe around her when shes not so pucker. She will give him icy body language, scowl, sulk and put her bitch face on. Not to mention silent treatments. Throw in a few cupboard door slams. As soon as a stranger or distant family members around shes the sweet oh so caring lady. In the past ive felt like slapping the side of her head. Im not one to lash out physically but it sickens me! Im curious why you grinned in the car predicting her behaviour HG? Was it bc of how ridiculous her sliding from one character to the next was? Did you find this funny or even admire how decietful she could be completely fooling your dads friend. She resented the fact of visiting your dads friend and it also not being up to her standards or liking.
    My mothers done this at funerals and around people who are terminally ill acting so concerned and caring yet sizing up their items in hopes of acquiring them. She loves to come off as the sweet nurterer. Shes a dirty angel and a cold calculated bitch in one.

      1. Ty HG for your reply. Its not hard to decieve people. Eventually if theyre around you long enough they catch on.

      2. Whoa! “Admiration”. That is revealing. You hold no admiration for her now, rightfully so. Otherwise there would be no Grand Design for her demise and you to be validated what she has put you through for a lifetime. When did the admiration dissipate? When you got to put some distance between you and her when you left to go to the University? Or much later, when therapy began?

      3. I wrote about admiration for the way she operated in Fury – I saw how people bent to her will and I decided “I want that”. Admiration faded when I surpassed her.

      4. Always does when the student excels the teacher, in regards with your kind HG.

        The picture is beautiful HG.

      5. Ah, you saw what you wanted and needed for survival. Makes sense.
        “Admiration faded when I surpassed her.”
        It all begins and ends with her. How is that her not still having power over you?

      6. Then can you say if you’ll be content if your Grand Design never comes to fruition or has the outcome you seek with her being exposed finally?

      7. Admiration of bitchy behavior? It was admiration of her ability to control I suppose. It’s difficult to wrap my mind around your attitudes toward her. You hate her, yet you are similar to her.

      8. Indeed you are superior, HG. You’re an Ultra. I meant that some of your behaviors are similar to hers. No offense was intended.

      9. Oh my gosh! You’re going to expose your own mother?? My loss of respect for narcissists is an endless pit.

      10. And that is the only way to do things
        That thought amused me HG.

        My sympathy and compassion is on short supply today.

      11. Despite whatever she did in the past, you wouldn’t have this website if it weren’t for her. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways. I would hope therapy is making you a better human being, not a more potent narcissist. If that’s what you’re getting from this site, please say so now. We all could expose narcissists, and there’s a lot of people who could do it to you too.

      12. I’ve just realized, your family doesn’t know this is you- narcsite, Amazon books, YouTube videos, upcoming radio interview? This is part of your therapy though.

      13. Hg,
        I remember you stating that you do not communicate very often to your other siblings, yet they have children and when you pass away, you will more than likely use your nephews/nieces to help carry on your legacy much like a parent does with their children. This was in one of your YT live streams. So obviously, you still have a connection with your siblings somehow. When you expose your mother, do you think there will be backlash from the rest of your family? I have a borderline mother, who still has issues, but has gotten better with age. Whenever I expose her, it makes my siblings uncomfortable or upset. It seems that they prefer to keep the dynamic in place, even if they know it was/is toxic.

      14. Laughing out loud, you have a bevy of followers begging for a pet on the head from the master, and sometimes I can’t see the difference between them online as the women infatuated with a narc in real life. But hey, love and peace and whatever gets you through the day.

      15. HG, is the ability to use power to manipulate, hurt and humiliate people an admirable quality?

        Does it make either the receiver or the giver’s lives better? You can feel powerful getting what you want out of life using tricks and lies. Or you can get what you want by using integrity and honesty.

        Power is not always used for good. Simply exhibiting power does not make one great. You could say Hilter was powerful.

        Wouldn’t matrinarc’s power be admirable if she used skills that made others happy and safe?

      16. Yes.
        Both in certain instances.
        Indeed, as Lord Acton’s oft-quoted observation demonstrates.
        To a lesser degree.

      17. I guess most children grow up admiring their parents. They do not know that what they are experiencing is not normal.

        Now you know the way she treated others was not healthy or kind.

        Do you contemplate, based on how her behavior made you feel, that you would not like to hurt others in a similar fashion (cold fury, manipulating, admonishing)?

        Her methods certainly “worked” for her, but what does it matter if you “won” if you gained it by malicious, deceitful, and dishonest means?

      18. HG, thank you for your responses.

        How does manipulation, hurting someone, and humiliation make the giver or receiver’s lives better?

        Why is power used to harm more admirable than power used to heal?

      19. The giver will achieve the aim of the manipulation thus their life is better. The receiver learns a useful lesson.

        Because it is harder to achieve and is more effective.

      20. The receiver is mistreated and abused. You cannot justify abuse by saying that a “lesson is learned”. A dog you beat will learn not to bark, but at what cost? It may not longer trust people, even non-abusers. It becomes psychologically damaged. It suffers. There are better ways to treat animals and people and get the same result. Cruelty is a choice.

        I totally disagree that power to inflict pain is harder to achieve than the power to heal. It is easier to shut down or get angry. To seek revenge. To harm. It takes real strength, love, restraint and compassion to respond with kindness. Turning the other cheek is not an act of weakness. You do not turn your cheek in fear. It is an act of great strength.

        The power to harm is actually not more effective. Psychology shows that abuse only works temporarily in getting people to do what you want. The effects on the person are far reaching. Victims themselves can become more aggressive and bullying. You may get them to do what you want, but you have hurt them.

        You gain someone’s trust. You tell her you love her. She thinks this person protects me and loves me. Then, you systematically abuse her. The person she was told loves her.

        It takes more patience and wisdom to respond with compassion. The effects are longer lasting and help people emotionally/psychologically.

        I do appreciate your honesty in your descriptions. Reading the truth helps. I do not condone the behavior, but I am glad that you share your experiences and I can and will always hope you learn compassion.

        ❤Valk

      21. Valkyrie
        I totally agree! It is a lot easier to blow up in anger and hurt someone than to patiently listen to them, figure out how you can be supportive and then do it. Being supportive takes more time, more effort, more thought and more strength.

        It also provides a much more long lasting sense of well-being and strength than the brief flash of fuel and superiority you get from blowing up in anger.

  17. So sorry your mother was so icy, insensitive and bullying towards you all and she was not able to enjoy the beauty of the cottage and the beauty of her family.

  18. Thank you for this peek into your childhood, HG, I’d say I enjoyed reading it, but that wouldn’t be exactly accurate or kind, would it? What I mean is I enjoy your writing style.

    I’m feeling bereft this morning. I’ve immersed myself since late July in the study of narcissism in an attempt to understand the relationship I was in with narcex, while trying not to see narcissists everywhere. It hasn’t been the easiest thing, as just like in nursing school where you suspect you have every ailment you’re learning about, so it would seem I’m surrounded by heretofore unknown narcissists. Early on in this process, in a lightbulb moment, I found a reason for my mother’s horrible behavior our entire lives. Her entire life, I presume.

    Yesterday, along with another lightbulb, my life as I’ve known it shattered. Forgive the drama. All of a sudden narcex has taken not even a backseat, but has become a very minute thread in my own life tapestry.

    My son is surely a narcissist. I don’t know what school or cadre, not sure it matters at this point, but I’ve learned enough by now to put the puzzle pieces together. I want to ask myself how I could possibly not have known, but again, you don’t know what you don’t know. At one time or another in his life he was diagnosed as having ADHD, and then later with bipolar disorder many years ago when he had a hypomanic episode and was hospitalized. I will never forget the look in his eyes then.

    In the years that followed, he always rejected the bipolar diagnosis. He’s on no psych meds and medicates himself with weed. I thought of his narcissism as selfishness, his inconsideration of others as not suffering fools gladly. He can’t maintain relationships with women, or they with him, and has had scores of women, one night stands, and generally treats them well initially, but eventually poorly and they leave. At 40, he has had one brief marriage many years ago lasting less than a year. We actually discussed this yesterday, he says he thought he loved her but got bored after six months.

    He would like to have a child, one of the few goals he hasn’t attained yet, whereas I’ve been thankful for no grandchildren because I thought he’d make a terrible dad. So while talking about this yesterday, as the terrible realization of his narcissism was taking hold, I asked him about that desire to have a child, with HG’s writing seared in my brain. I mentioned how narcissists think of their children is mini versions of themselves and their accomplishments, but don’t love them, and asked him why he wanted one. He laughed at that as though it were funny and said, “yeah, I want one so I can coach him in sports.”

    We talked about his emotions. I told him what I’d spent the last two months studying. The reason this all came up yesterday was because he made some really narcissistic comments about his brother, who I defended. His next comment floored me, “don’t try to make me feel guilty, I don’t feel guilt.” 💡 How can that be, does he feel remorse? He pauses. He shakes his head. Does he have a conscience? He responded to that question by blaming me, “No, but that’s how you raised me, not believing in God or Hell, so I grew up thinking I can do whatever I want as long as I stay out of jail.”

    THUD That sound was my heart hitting the floor. His life passed through my memory in a flash. A thousand different times I should have recognized his narcissism, a thousand red flags not acknowledged. I thought back to his dad, a brief 3 year relationship and see some similar traits in him but also he’s been married for 35 years now. But there’s my mother too. Where did this come from? Was it my parenting?

    I don’t know what to do now. I know now that there is no FIXING this, if there were, narcex would have been fixed by my love and adoration. In narcex I saw all the things HG is teaching us about. In my son… Well, he’s been on his own for many years, I see him only a couple of weeks a year, though he calls via FaceTime often. (OMG, Does that make me his NIPPS?) I’m sure I see only what he allows me to see. Another comment from yesterday that stands out is that while he acknowledged those behaviors, lack of guilt, remorse, conscience, is that he doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with that.

    I tried to ask if he feels positive emotions. He talked around the question but didn’t really answer. Fury? ✔️ He has a “quick temper” as displayed most visibly when he loses a tough tennis match. He’s the guy cursing, throwing things and smashing his racquets to bits.

    So if you’re still reading this long but extremely abridged tale, what in the world do I do now? I mean, I know I can’t change him in any way, and obviously nothing happened yesterday that hasn’t been going on for 40 years and yet, it feels so different. I am picking him up at the airport today for a week long visit. (His call yesterday was to tell me he missed his flight.) I believe HG doesn’t think we should bring up their narcissism, I don’t know where in his works I read that. Still, I’m sure it will be brought up. I don’t know how it wouldn’t. When it came up even yesterday and he admitted to being narcissistic in the original discussion involving his brother, I think he meant the old, more innocent or naive definition of narcissism we used to have: selfishness, and thinking pretty highly of himself. I can’t imagine he knows he has NPD, but maybe he does. Greaters do, but are they volatile? Narcex is brilliant but only UMRN, no violence, anger firmly in check, with supposedly no awareness of his NPD. My kid is also brilliant (ha, but what mother’s child isn’t?) but does he have awareness? While I don’t think so, he seemed awfully smirky during our whole FaceTime conversation.

    Oy. Thoughts and advice much appreciated. Damn, I wish my N focus had stayed in narcex.

      1. Oh believe me, I’m gearing up for our consultation, though I had thought it would all be about narcex, and the questions I’m gathering have been related to that. I’m getting ready to spend a week with The Kid, will gather more questions, but an hour goes quickly, I might need to book two separate consultations.
        Thanks, HG.

    1. Wissh
      I’ll put in my two cents. Maybe it will be a little helpful.

      I have 2 narc sons. One was born to me and the other adopted as a teen. I think that the older is an upper midranger and the younger is a lower midranger. I don’t think any good could come from telling them that they are narcs. They would just get defensive and it would damage our relationship.

      In my opinion their lack of empathy is like a millstone around their necks making life more difficult. Not just relationships, but having to deal with others at work seems so much harder for them.

      The older one realizes this lack of empathy because of how we raised him and tries to compensate with logic and cognitive empathy. He gets a lot of advice from his father, who is an aware narc. The younger one who we adopted is clueless. He thinks he’s a great person and everyone else is the problem.

      What I have always done with my oldest is to point out other people’s perspectives that he is unaware of. If I see him doing something potentially hurtful, I explain why it could or does hurt the other person. He may not agree (and he’ll probably jerk me around about it for amusement), but it does make him think. I will not tolerate him hurting anyone (especially me!) in my presence. I just get up and leave.

      My youngest son is much more volatile. Any sense that I am criticizing him and he will blow up. Being around him is like walking on eggshells. I do still try to advise (mother’s can’t help that), but I am very subtle and always encouraging. Mainly I listen to him vent and I make statements like, “Women do need some time on their own.” More possibilities in the situation or other people involved, but never telling him what I think he should do. That would make him angry. Sad to say, I avoid being around him as much as possible because it is so stressful/painful for me.

      1. Windstorm,
        I love reading the things you share about your life. You have such a great grasp of the complexities of human personality. Your viewpoint has several perspectives, all of which are interesting, and you explain things well.

      2. Caroline
        Thank you very much. You are very kind. You’ve brightened my day! 😊

        I have always tended to sit in the background observing and thinking. Glad something useful can come from it.

      3. Thank you for sharing that, Windstorm, you’ve given me food for thought. I will continue to try to determine where he is, if he is, during this week we’re spending together. You’re very wise, I’ve never walked away and he’s certainly vented at me over the years. We shall see I guess.

    2. Wissh, For now why don’t you leave something out for him to read – maybe one of HGs books? Or print out one of HG’s posts and leave it lying around? Perhaps your son will pick it up out of curiosity and because you’ve already discussed narcissism with him. Maybe it will start a conversation. Good luck and do keep us posted!

      1. Good idea SMH,
        how often have we read something that has resonated with us, and it has been a key that has opened a door into a world we didn’t know existed, but was familiar.
        CS Lewis wrote “we read to know we are not alone”, and I find that’s true.
        I particularly like it when someone writes in a way that gives words to heretofore untanglable, indecipherable, unnamed, unquantifiable impressions or heartache that I have. I like to be able to say “that’s what this is”, or “this is what is happening here”.
        It becomes a discussable, and potentially manageable, entity.

        Windstorm’s sons may feel more understood, less alone and disconnected by reading HG’s work. We can hope.

        HG, is there anything you have ever read that has made you feel less disconnected and alone? Whose words resonate most with you?
        Have you found that your writing has changed your internal emotional landscape?
        As a fellow child-of-a-narcissistic-mother, I have compassion for you. I wish comfort and healing for you.
        I’ve learned that the traumas of childhood have no time stamp on them in our memory, and they keep up a constant plea for justice in our subconscious, until we address them (as best we can).

        We await the details from you of the Sword of Damacles finally dropping on your mum. We might have to avert our gaze at times, but we have bought ringside seats at the narcsite Colosseum.

        Is that popcorn I can smell?

      2. I meant to say “Wissh’s and Windstorm’s sons…”
        Autocorrect is trying to twist my words. Ugh! Reminds me of my sister.

      3. Thank you, SMH. I’ll check in and post after our week together is over. It’s certainly been interesting so far.

  19. Thanks for throwing in an older, excellent article. The contrast you describe on this trip with the caustic, iciness doled out to the family (mainly your father) behind closed doors, then charming, gracious guest and life of the dinner parties with the host and his family shows how the behavior leaves such an imprint as kids look to their parents as their role models in how to engage in the world. MatriNarc sets a tone that if you are unhappy with your surroundings, it’s completely acceptable and normal to take that frustration out on your family in private but stay all smiles and fake with your best foot forward for outsiders. Such a confusing mixed signal for kids to discern from. It makes it understandable how Lenox and Rachael, who did not suffer the emotional and physical abuse to the extent you did, became primed later in life for Narcs to take advantage, especially with Rachael marrying one, because it truly feels like normal, familiar territory. So the cycles continue.

    1. My two-faced mother was also like this, all smiles and politeness around others, a lying, screeching, hitting lunatic inside our house.

  20. I loved this post! Thank you for sharing more about your childhood but especially the interactions between your mother and father. I love the picture too! By the way your mother is a bitch!

  21. I’ve often heard about the black/white thinking concept BUT never have I been able to grasp it HG until you painted the reality of it so beautifully when we spoke. This example further illustrates what it means. I’m sorry about your mother. I wish it had been different for you.

  22. Haha. The Tudors go camping.
    I do love to read of your own personal experiences, observations and memories HG. The picture is stunning and evokes peace. Thank you for taking us along.

  23. Great article HG. My in laws always said their son was ‘black or white, nothing in between’ and its true.
    When its tickety boo – everything is WONDERFUL. But the not so pucker, is the borders of hell. Your poor dad. Were you the Golden child?

  24. I love this story , and hearing about you as a child. I can picture it all so well, you in the backseat observing it all. My mother was a sourpuss too, but not so demanding- she would get her way by presenting it as something we would all enjoy- and we did. She would have fixed up that cottage and chopped the wood when none of us were looking- she’d send us off to do something- and we’d come back to a wonderland. I think that’s how she got her praise and plus that’s the quality of how she liked things to be. So she was kind of an angel with a sadistic streak. She was very good at everything, she even applied for a window dresser job at a clothing store and was hired as the store manager instead! Not bad for someone who got married at 16 and had her first child at 18. But yes, she was definitely sour a lot.

    This is such a pleasure to read. HG, are there any authors you enjoy reading?

    1. Iain Banks, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Brett Easton Ellis, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Samuel Beckett, Philippa Gregory, Terry Pratchett, Irvine Welsh off the top of my head.

      1. Love philippa gregory…im surprised you like her writing HG. Shes got some hot scenes mixed in with history 😄

      2. Do you like Iain Banks’ sci-fi stuff? With the “M”, which always amused me. Or should I infer you don’t, because you don’t list it. His mind/imagination was fascinating.

      3. He was a talented writer and his sci-fi work is good but I prefer his other fiction – Complicity, The Bridge and Walking on Glass are favourites. I was in Rome 6 years ago and whilst there re-read six or so of his books one after the other after having not read them for over a decade.

      4. HG, I want to ask what genre would give you the most joy or pleasure to write about…But I guess I should rephrase; if lack of time and acquisition of fuel were less an issue for you, is there a particular fiction genre that would give you great satisfaction to publish?

      5. That sounds exciting – I hope the day comes when you are free to do so. You already have a built-in fan base.

      6. Stop it with the favourite author and book talk!
        It’s highly arousing….

        I’m kidding about stopping it but not kidding about the arousal

      7. You mentioned Chaucer and I remember The Wife of Bath’s tale:
        “What do women want?” Dominance over their husbands.

        She was a narcissist who took advantage of men she had ensnared and must have thought that all women were just like her.

  25. Matrinarc really is a sick sick bitch.
    To shut out the effects of such natural beauty would require incredible fury.

  26. I am sorry, your mother seems to be like my mother in law. Who I blame for my husband “condition”. That was beautifully written.

  27. The picture is quite beautiful HG! Thank you for sharing this story from your childhood! You are once again correct in writing there is no middle ground, only very high or very low! Have a wonderful day!🌺

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