The other “N word” I am talking about is NARCISSIST. The poison that infiltrated my life four years ago is mostly forgiven (thanks yoga) but not forgotten and will certainly never quite go away. Here is some catharsis.
Four to five years ago, when my father started that final spiral to the grave in the last year of his life, something went wrong almost every day. His diabetes was out of control. He fell three or four times. He hurt his knee and was in bad pain. He couldn’t or wouldn’t take his meds properly. He ate poorly. He drank soda and alcohol. His blood sugar was dangerously high. His blood sugar was dangerously low. He was hallucinating. He had surgery for diverticulitis. He slept much of the day. He could not sleep at night. He was housebound. He could not see much due to advanced macular degeneration. He couldn’t hear well. This eliminated his last pleasures, reading and watching TV. He had peripheral neuropathy. He had dementia. He talked to my dead mother and a strange cat illusion that sat on the couch in his house. His speech filter was gone. At times he cursed openly and discussed sex and his resentment of other races in front of anyone. He said he did not believe in God. He endured an interminable week of delirium when he hadn’t a clue where he was in time or space, combined with strong hallucinations and hellish rage. He was rolling downhill fast and I was getting lots of phone calls from his helpers and hospitals and doctors. Scene set.
Enter Lisa, SIL to the rescue! She took control. Oh yes she did! She set up some old man group home for him to go to or a nursing/assisted living home of some sort. She decided his pharmacy needed to be changed so it was closer to HER house, even though I was the one managing his meds and setting up his doses for him.
Dad was so far gone by the assisted living discussion, he could not understand why his (henpecked) son and DIL wanted him out of HIS OWN COMFORTABLE COOTY RIDDEN BOOK FILLED HOME (that happened as well to be in a very desirable neighborhood). Lisa’s plan backfired. Old “Pops” as they called him (still don’t know why) was not cooperating. He was irritated, upset and confused. (They didn’t know why–ha) DEMENTIA. Duh.
Was it “Pops'” interests she had at heart? No. He was simply getting in the way of HER F-list celebrity lifestyle of world travel, cocktails, professional ball games, gourmet food, and 5-star hotels. Oh yes, and being some sort of PTA royalty. And managing her “superstar” kids’ high school athletic “careers.” She wanted as much stuff and “accomplishment” as she could get and and could broadcast on Facebook.
The week of my father’s impending death came five weeks after the epic group home showdown that failed. He took a nap on the anniversary of my mother’s death and just did not wake up right. I had gone to get his painkillers at the pharmacy (that Lisa changed to without asking) and showed up in the afternoon. He wouldn’t wake up, but he was alive. I called 911. His blood sugar was ultra low, but when the paramedics shot him up with sugar, he only moaned and cried. He was ready to go I think. He went off in an ambulance again and got stabilized in the hospital yet again.
Once a day or two went by and the hospital staff knew LISA was in charge, my brother announced that he had to leave town ON BUSINESS. OK that happens. He is the only wage earner in his family. But two hours later on THAT Sunday night, Lisa broadcast on Facebook that they were “taking a break from the Dad drama” at BOX SEATS AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL, WINE GLASSES IN HAND! My father was on his DEATHBED and they knew it. Fine. They had prepaid tickets maybe. BUT ADVERTISE YOUR SPECIAL EVENING ON FB? WTF?? My brother made no mention of this as part of his business trip. (Shame?)
Superwoman SIL made sure to call nurses FIRST THING every morning once again ensuring that they knew that SHE was in charge and handling it. The fact I AM my father’s first born child and blood relative had no effect on Lisa, who treated me like the dumb little sister. That week she was speaking in her usual patronizingly friendly way with the nurses and doctors–calling them by their first names and ingratiating herself etc. (barf) She referred to my DYING FATHER as “AN ANGRY NASTY MAN” right in front of me and staff. I ran from the room crying. This man was a kind, funny, responsible, offbeat man WITH DEMENTIA you f**ks! When I had a question for a doctor, she shut me down saying “THE DOCTOR DOESN’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THAT!” You see, she was in a big hurry to get my “nasty” father in the ground apparently. Quicker to the inheritance? Annoyed at all the party time and PTA heroism she was missing?
She started “handling everything–calling relatives without asking (BUT NOT ALL OF THEM–I got to figure that one out later by myself–thanks Lisa!). I couldn’t keep track of it all as she hurried everything. We had come to the hospice discussion. Of course Lisa had already picked out a company SHE KNEW and made an appointment without my input. Of course I was the only authorized person to sign the paperwork as my brother was still out of town.
Finally, I grew a backbone and told all nurses and doctors were not to speak with Lisa anymore! If she had any rights to ANY info it would come from me or my brother. SHE WOULD NO LONGER BE FIRST IN LINE. No staff people even knew I was Dad’s first born blood relative next of kin! WTF??! Oops I guess I was pretty upset at the time. Lisa offered ME no direct comfort, only organization and affair handling.
To put the cherry on top of my dad’s final hospital stay, she wanted to plan the FUNERAL before he was dead! (Thankfully it was prepaid.) However, despite the fact my dad was a converted Jew, he had never given up his love of bacon and sausage. Lisa, not realizing that family members who usually do the funeral attending and correct Jewish rites would be many of the ones coming to the funeral at the Jewish cemetery. She was planning a “tribute” bacon and sausage table at the funeral reception in a kind (and less religious) relative’s Jewish home! WTF??? Yet the breathtaking narcissism of Lisa told her that she was doing something creative, meaningful and thoughtful and couldn’t understand why we weren’t all bowing down to her efficiency and brilliance for “handling” it all!!!
While my brother was still away on business, I got endlessly long texts from her that were too detailed to address in my rather upset state. Once again they really were pleas for congratulations and plaudits. F**k that and f**k her! My brother planned to visit Dad immediately after arriving at the airport which was fairly close to the house. He blew off visiting for a whole day despite the fact Dad was now in hospice and he hadn’t seen him for a week!
As my dad lay in his living room in the hospice bed, we had visitors come round to say goodbye. I even took advantage of the non-denominational chaplain provided by the hospice company, since my brother had left Judaism for all intents and purposes. My sister-like cousin returned from her trip to NYC. I had back up.
One day I arrived at the hospice house to find Lisa ordering around staff and asking questions that DIDN’T MATTER in her usual rapid fire manner, because you see SHE WAS IN CHARGE. “Who bought the food?” “What is this?” “Why are we out of toilet paper.” “Who’s going to buy the toilet paper?” When she found out I had invited a relative over as well as the chaplain, a pall came over her and my brother’s faces. They took off to get toilet paper, bought it, THEN DEPOSITED IT NEXT TO THE MAILBOX AND TOOK OFF WITHOUT SPEAKING TO ANYONE! WTF?? No longer in control of the situation and forced to be around a Jewish relative scared them away? I still don’t get that one.
Four days of hospice and my dad died peacefully. He lay in state in the living room until the funeral home could pick him up. We now appropriately had funeral discussions. Lisa, soundly defeated on the bacon idea, did not want to pull her kids out of school for ONE F**KING DAY FOR THEIR GRANDPA’S FUNERAL!! But the previous year, she pulled them out for an entire WEEK of school to go to IRELAND TO HER NIECE’S ROMANTIC EXPENSIVE EUROPEAN IRISH CASTLE WEDDING AND GENERAL PUB HOPPING!! To narcissistic Lisa, the Facebook fodder would be worth the kids missing a whole week of school!
Additionally, she wanted to hold the funeral on the eve of a BIG HOLY JEWISH HOLIDAY. WTF?? Who does that? Also, it would delay the funeral which should not be delayed in Jewish tradition. SHE did NOT get to control this decision and was pissed.
Despite all the sturm and drang, the funeral went smoothly enough. My father is still dead four years later. His house is now a rental shared by my brother and me. My brother even grew a pair back and seems to recognize the virulence and negative power of his wife’s narcissism.
Today, I am cordial to her, but she is not welcome in my life anymore. (Not that she would want to be–I am not a catch for her social climbing connections) I don’t even see my brother’s family more than once or twice a year. Even years ago when we were friendly, SHE picked family get together dates and times, SHE judged my family’s choices. SHE called my children “losers” to my face as she is a mean drunk. SHE criticized my lack of furnishings. SHE got too drunk and barfed on my bathroom rug and tried to hide the whole thing. There are many events I now see as a means to feed her narcissism. Everything was about what was in it for HER. Even at family events and receptions, she made sure she went home with every single bit of cheap Chinese swag offered per person!
All this living the “lives of the rich and famous” has made her today quite overweight, mean looking and borderline alcoholic or maybe even a functioning alcoholic. She used to be sweet, pretty and thoughtful. Or so it seemed. Her marriage launched her dream (stay at home mom with luxury demands) life. And yes, she is a textbook NARCISSIST. And I refuse to feed the beast.