Saturday, March 30, 2019

More Narcissistic Parenting on Lucifer

I'm now watching the next episode of Lucifer—"Pops".

This one goes even further into the narcissistic parent thing, although they haven't used the term yet.  I wonder if they will?

In the episode, a chef is murdered. As Lucifer and Chloe, his detective partner (Lauren German), interview the suspects, they learn that the chef was a father-figure to his staff. But it wasn't always a happy, positive father-figure kind of thing. The chef was domineering and demanding. It was a struggle to try to please him.

Lucifer (Tom Ellis) relates to all of this a lot, because he has that type of dynamics with his own father.

The show is really into pursuing parent-child issues.

And in this episode, we also get a mother and child one.

It turns out that Chloe's mother, an actress (Rebecca De Mornay) is a narcissist as well. She's the stage mother type—pushed her daughter to be an actress and is now doing the same to her grandchild.   

When Chloe angrily protests and says her mother has no right to just barge into their home and—

Her mother interrupts and slyly reminds Chloe that Chloe doesn't own the home. She's living there rent free. Guess who's paying?

If narcissistic parents have the means, they will buy their children expensive gifts. But there are strings attached.  The strings probably won't be apparent right away. The parent might even say. No strings attached. I'm giving you this, because we love you. We WANT to be able to do this for you.  It brings us joy to be able to give to you like this.

Then later down the line, the strings will begin to show themselves. You'll learn that in exchange for the gift, you're expected to do any favors that are asked of you. If you're going to say no, you better have a good excuse.

Also in exchange for this gift, you will be expected to keep all grievances against your parents to yourself. If they offend you, keep quiet. If they have hurt you, keep quiet. If they have not been there when you needed them, keep quiet. If they did something to make you feel they don't love you enough, keep quiet. If you feel they're being unfair, keep quiet.

The gift is supposed to make up for all of that.

No. No. Not really. The narcissist can do no serious wrongs, so they wouldn't feel a need to make amends.

The gift is not about amends.  It's more of an argument against your grievances. How can you say we don't love you enough? Look at all we've given you!  What do you mean we weren't there for you? 

Now not all narcissistic parents have money. And even those who do will resort to using other tools. Sometimes it might be gaslighting. You can't be mad at me, because that never happened! It's all in your overactive imagination.  Or they'll minimize. Or they'll be insulting.  Maybe there will be a mixture of all of the above.....

When Chloe gets angry, her mother says something like, for someone who's given up on acting, you sure are dramatic.

I am betting most people with narcissistic parents grew up hearing these types of things a lot. You're so negative. You're so sensitive. You're selfish. Why do you think everything revolves around you?  You're our little drama queen. You have no sense of humor.  

In narcissistic families, there is major indoctrination. And one of the main messages is that the problem is with you, the scapegoat. 

I'm not sure about Chloe, but Lucifer is doing a pretty good job of fighting against the whole thing. He seems to have maintained his self-esteem despite his relationship with his narcissistic father. Though, like me, he's a bit obsessed.  I guess true healing occurs when you do what Christian on Lost advised. Let Go and Move on.  But I kind of think it's rare for that to happen. Unfortunately.

For better or worse, we never recover from our relationship to our parents.



For more like this: My Posts about Narcissism and other Toxicities 







The Daddy of Lucifer Morningstar

Lately I've been watching the first season of Lucifer.

I'm loving it.

And finding it a bit therapeutic. 

The show is about Lucifer (Tom Ellis) rebelling against his father, The Almighty God.

Lucifer leaves his job as the guardian of hell and comes to Los Angeles to learn about humanity.  

He has a wicked sense of humor and is vain, but he's a nice guy. He's honest. He has compassion. I like him a lot.

He's a good guy with a very bad reputation. And he has a father with a very good reputation...a reputation that Lucifer disagrees with. He tries to get other people to see his viewpoint and seems to usually fail.  Not many of the characters argue against him. They just kind of...ignore him?  They give him a blank look. They humor him.

The Devil-God relationship, on the show, reminds me a lot of narcissistic parenting. Although since we're not shown conversations between Lucifer and his father, we don't get to see any gaslighting. And personally, I feel that gaslighting is the hallmark to toxic, narcissistic parenting.  So, the analogy isn't complete for me. BUT....besides that.

Let's start with the blank looks and humoring.

I think children of narcissists probably get this a lot when they speak their truth. If their parent is not openly and passionately defended by the listener, at best the listener will probably just give a noncommittal response. There's a underlining message of, I am here for you. I am going to listen to you. I'm not going to argue with you. But I don't believe a word you're saying. OR I believe that YOU believe this is what happened. 

Now I'm thinking...since we don't actually see Lucifer's father on the show, we don't get to see any narcissistic behavior in action.  I guess it's more about what we see from his other children, believers, and followers. 

And they're the flying monkeys.

In narcissism situations, flying monkeys are the ones who defend and fight for the narcissist.

Then there are two other narcissism vocabulary words that fit well with Lucifer—golden child and scapegoat.

The scapegoat is the one who's seen as the black sheep—the one who is deserving of punishment.  Daddy and Mommy are wonderful parents. Their family is ALMOST perfect. It's just they have this awful glitch they are forced to work with. 

The golden child is the one who's adored. The favorite.

And this isn't necessarily static in a family. The golden child can do something that drops them to scapegoat status. The scapegoat can learn to properly lick boots, and they'll rise to the golden child status.

From what I know of Judeo-Christian mythology, Lucifer was God's favorite son. And then he did something wrong? I'm not sure what.  If God is like the typical narcissists, my assumption is that Lucifer insulted him and/or complained about one of God's choices. Or maybe he failed to show God enough gratitude and adoration.

Oh! Wait.

I don't need to depend on the TV show to see evidence of God's narcissism.

I forgot.

Through life I got glimpses of it when worshipping at Temple.

Really? Who, besides narcissists, demands to be worshipped?

Who else would expect you to accept the shit thrown at you with a smile and at the same time be eternally grateful for every crumb dropped your way?

Like a narcissistic parent, God demands adoration and excessive gratitude.  

Although to be fair, there's no proof that God demands any of this. He could be this really cool guy (or woman or Octopus) who rolls their eyes when people do the worshipping and says, Man...I really don't need all of this. Thanks. But how about you go and find something more fun to do. Enjoy yourself!  And maybe he'd say, I appreciate all the gratitude, but I'm also totally cool if you have some constructive criticism. I'd love to hear some of your ideas about things

Anyway....

Back to the flying monkeys.  

On Lucifer, the main one so far is the angel Amenadiel (D.B Woodside). He seems to be the golden child of the family.

He tries to convince Lucifer to go back to hell. When convincing doesn't work, he tries more manipulative tactics. He befriends Lucifer's therapist (Rachael Harris) in an attempt to get her to unknowingly manipulate Lucifer into doing what God wants.  

And when that plan doesn't work?

Amenadiel works an angelic, medical miracle.  The plug is pulled on Malcolm, a dying, crooked police officer (Kevin Rankan).  Moments after the equipment is unplugged and his loved ones are crying, Malcolm comes alive again. We later learn he visited hell for 30 seconds; then was brought back by Amenadiel.  

Amenadiel's miracle doesn't come for free, though. In order to not return to hell, Malcolm has to murder Lucifer. The idea being that if Lucifer is killed, his soul will be returned to hell. (Maybe his body too? I'm not sure how that all works with angels)

Yeah. So God and his angels are supposed to be the good guys.Yet they're forcing someone into a life he doesn't want, because it works with THEIR plans. And when he tries to rebel, they use manipulation to try to force him back back into line.  

While some flying monkeys are calculating and cruel; maybe narcissist themselves; other flying monkeys are good people—just misguided.  They usually avoid manipulation and just speak from their heart.  I think he does love you.  I think you just misunderstood him. I think he just wants what's best for you.  He really cares about you! He talks about you all the time, and he gets all teary-eyed.  

These people aren't about helping the narcissist win, and they don't want to hurt you. They listen carefully and attempt to understand. They don't say manipulative things or insulting things like, It's too bad you only see the negative. 

 They just want there to be peace and happiness between everyone. And they want to believe the narcissist is the hero they have imagined him to be.  They love you. They care about you. But they want you to be wrong.

And that's still very frustrating (and often hurtful). But at least it comes from kindness.  

On the last episode I watched, "A Priest Walks into a Bar", this type of flying monkey comes in the form of a priest (Colman Domingo).  He's kind to Lucifer. He befriends Lucifer. He seems to be a really nice guy. But he's a supporter of Lucifer's narcissist father, and he gently defends God when Lucifer vents about him.  

Lucifer complains about God's plan for him, and the priest suggests the plan isn't over.  

Flying monkeys do that. They try to get you to second guess your opinions and assumptions. Does he really hate you? Or is he just using tough love?

And maybe the priest is right. Maybe God loves Lucifer as any father should love their child. And the punishment was more about helping Lucifer in some way. Or maybe what seems like a punishment was actually an honor.

OR maybe Lucifer's right, and God's plan didn't go beyond wanting Lucifer to be miserable. Maybe it's just about God being arrogant, spiteful, and vengeful.  



Friday, March 29, 2019

My Disney Dining Plan

One of my unfulfilled desires in life is getting the Disney Dining Plan.

The Disney Dining Plan is where you pay for your food in advance and then get to feel that your Disney vacation is all-inclusive.

You already paid, so you don't have to worry about what you eat and what you spend. You can feel free!

Except it's not that simple.

The Disney Dining Plan isn't an all you can eat deal.

You get...

Points?

I'm not sure what they call them.

As of now, for $75.49 per person you get (per night):

1 Table Service Meal which includes an entree, dessert, and drink. (or you can do a buffet/all you can eat thing)

1 Counter Service Meal which includes an entree and drink.

2 Snacks

1 Refillable mug

And with each of the two meals, you can get a single serving of an alcoholic beverage.

Now what's fun and confusing is this doesn't have to be done in a simplistic daily way.

You don't have to say, It's Monday! Let's go get our table service breakfast. Then later we'll have a counter service lunch, and tonight we'll go get two snacks.

Instead you add up the nights of your trip; then multiply the nights by 1 table service meal, 1 counter service meal, and 2 snacks.

So let's say you have a four night trip.

That means you get 4 table service points, 4 counter service points, and a total of 8 snacks.

On your first day, you could have two big table service meals and no snacks or counter service meals.

On another day, you might eat all snacks.

There are stories of people who end up with lots of snack points at the end of the trip and end up rushing to the gift shop to pick up a bunch of Rice Krispie treats.

That just sounds so fun to me.

We rarely buy food at the gift shops.

So to be told we HAVE to buy treats because otherwise we're throwing away money?

I just love that.

Anyway....

Almost every time we go on a Disney trip, Tim and I consider getting the food plan in the future. We do the math; then decide it's not worth the money.

We don't eat enough. The Disney Dining Plan would make us eat more than we usually do.

We also don't spend that much, on food, each day. We don't even usually come close.

Still. Despite all the very rational reasons why we shouldn't get the food plan, I still end up wanting it.

We're going to Disney World in a few days.

I learned something that pulled up my unfilled desire.

Supposidly, you can trade in your counter service meal for three snacks and a drink...as long as you get all of the snacks in one transaction (at one register)

Now this made me think maybe the Disney Dining Plan WOULD work for us!

See, another thing that stopped us from getting the plan is that we're really big on the Epcot food festivals.  I think we usually end up getting more than two items a day.  We probably are more likely to do ONE meal a day; then spend the rest of the time snacking at the festivals or other places around the parks.

It seemed the food plan would deter us from doing what we like.

But knowing this new rule....

I started doing the math again.

I went through some menus and imagined what I might want to eat that day.  I tried to pick expensive things. Like orange juice. You're supposed to order orange juice, because often that's worth more than the other drinks.

Do I want to drink orange juice with all my meals?

Uh...no. Not really.

But that's what life seems to be like on the food plan.

In order to get your money's worth, you need to eat not what you want to eat but what costs the most.

I forgot what I ended up pretend-ordering, but I came up 19 dollars short.

I think the main reason for this is I'm vegetarian.

Vegetarian food costs less at Disney World than the meat dishes.

So....I decided that until Disney creates a lowered-cost vegetarian meal plan, it's probably best that we skip the whole thing.

Then I came up with an idea.

How about make my own food plan?

No I won't get the beautiful delusion of freedom that pre-paying gives you.  But I CAN have fun with all the points.

I decided, though, that since this is my own food plan, I can make my own damn rules.

So this is what I have planned.

We are going for five nights.

I get 5 table service meals, 5 counter service meals, and 10 snacks.

That's just like Disney's rules.

And here are where my rules are different.

Just like with Disney, you can trade a counter service meal for snacks.  But with my plan, it doesn't have to be all in the same transaction. I can get three different snacks plus a drink at four different places if I want.  Why not?

In my plan, I can also trade a table service meal for a counter service meal OR more snacks.

Since a tables service meal includes a dessert, I can get that dessert with my counter service meal. Or I can skip the dessert at the meal and add it to my snack allotment.

What it comes down to is a counter service meal equals 3 snacks and a drink. A table service meal equals 4 snacks and a drink.

Then I thought it over. Do I really want 2 drinks a day?  I usually just drink water. Plus, we'll have sodas in our villa, and we can get free soda at the DVC lounge and Club Cool.

I decided I can trade those drinks in for snacks as well.

All together, if I wanted to snack all day and all week, it would come out to 11 snack points per night or 55 snacks for the whole trip.

Other rule tweaks:

With Disney, you have to give up 2 table service credits for room service and the fancy signature dining restaurants.

I started stressing about that, because I had promised Jack we could get room service on our last morning at The Grand Floridian.

I worried this would lead me to starving one day...though that's probably highly unlikely.  If we went the snack-wise route, it means I'd still have 45 snacks left for the rest of the time.

But still. I decided I'd just relieve the stress by changing the rule.

So with MY Disney Dining Plan, room service equals one table service credit plus, because of the 3 dollar delivery fee, 1 snack credit.

We're not doing any Signature Dining restaurants this year, but if I do this in the future, my rule is that the entree equals one table service credit and any appetizer or dessert equals a snack credit.

If Disney had this rule, they'd probably lose too much money because the Signature Dining restaurants are quite expensive.  And if WE ate too often at Signature Dining restaurants, we'd probably lose too much money as well.  But if we limit ourselves to 1 or 2 per trip, I think we'll probably be okay.

You know....

I'm curious, so I'm going to check the math on that again.

If I get dinner, dessert, and a drink at Restaurant Marrakesh, at most that would cost me 34 dollars (tip not included). That's with me getting the vegetarian meal, the most expensive dessert, and orange juice.

If I got the vegetarian entree at Le Cellier, one of Epcot's Signature Dining restaurants, it would cost me 33 dollars.  So it comes out about the same.

I think where my rule can get costly is where I say you can get appetizers and/or dessert for a snack credit.

From what I've seen, most snacks cost between 4 and 7 dollars.  The appetizers and dessert at Le Cellier range from 9-24 dollars!

So. Yeah. If we go to too many Signature Restaurants and use too many snack credits on appetizers and desserts, we'll probably start crying when we get our bill at the end of the trip.

Other things that could go wrong?

Despite not pre-paying, I might somehow still feel pressured to get in all my meals and snacks. If this happens, I will probably end up feeling very sick to my stomach. My clothes won't fit when I get home, AND we'll be saddened by the bill.

What I hope will happen with my personalized dining plan?

I hope I get to have fun with the points.

It just feels like a cool and exciting game to me.

And I hope it gives me a sort of welcome to order food. I hope it makes me hesitate and worry less about how much I'm spending.

I'm not pre-paying. No. What I AM doing is giving myself pre-permission.

If I am very hungry and/or there are lots of things I want to try, I CAN order 6 snacks at the festival in one day plus eat a table service meal.  I probably won't. But I can.



Well....

I think what I might do is update this post after we get back and I'll share how I did.

What was my average spending a day on food?  Did it end up close to 75 dollars? Less? Much less?  More (heaven forbid!!).

What was my lowest day? Highest day?

Did I end up feeling pressured to eat more than I wanted?

Did the food plan add a special thrill to the trip or did it add an extra bit of stress? Maybe both?




Edited to Add 4/8/19- We're back!

Actually, we've been back for a few days. I've just been lazy about editing this.

So...this is how it went.

I did have fun with the points.  I mean it wasn't a ton of fun. But it is something I'd want to do it again.

In the end, I was left with 0/5 table service meals. Though we had only 3 table service meals and room service.  Towards the end I converted the 5th one to snacks.

The table service restaurants we went to: Kona...twice! In the same day!  A bit nuts. We went for breakfast. Then later Jack wanted to get another table service meal, and for some reason, we decided on Kona again.

Then on our last day, we went to Marrakesh.

I was left with 2/5 counter service meals. I think I must have converted one of those to snacks as well.  I'm pretty sure I got only two—the vegetarian korma at Sunshine Seasons and a pizza at Gasparilla Island Grill.

As for snacks, I was left with 8 out of....I'm not sure.  Originally 10, but then some of the other meals got converted.

My least expensive day was the first day. $8.28.  I got a side of macaroni and cheese for lunch while Jack got a full size meal. Then we went to the Magic Kingdom and I got some lemon soft service.  Later Jack was too tired to go and eat again. We had gotten up at 3 in the morning to catch our flight!  So I just ate our Amazon snacks in the room.

On my two most expensive days, I spent close to 52 dollars. These were when we had the table service meals. And I'm not including tip. (The real food plan doesn't include it either)

If it was totally up to me, I'd stay away from table service meals and just do snacks and counter service.  I'm never very excited about the vegetarian options at the table service restaurant, and I'm always shocked by the prices.

Well...Disney food prices are shocking all around.  But at least with some places, you get a fair amount of food.

With Disney prices are dependent on location and ingredients.  A Mickey waffle at the Grand Floridian Cafe is $15 while you can get a Mickey waffle at Sleepy Hollow in the Magic Kingdom for $6.79.  Although the Grand Floridian one comes with a piece of breakfast meat. I don't think that piece of meat would be worth 9 dollars, though!

Yeah. I'm looking at the menu again. You can get a side of the breakfast meat for 4.5. Plus the Sleepy Hollow waffle comes with strawberries.  Fruit is pretty pricey at Disney World.

As for ingredients. I got a fancy, very artistic salad at Kona.  It was not enough for me to eat. Then I got a side of mashed potatoes, and it was too much for me to eat.





Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Robert's Bad Behavior on Coronation Street

On the episode of Coronation Street, I watched today, Michelle (Kym Marsh) broke up with Robert (Tristan Gemmill).

The main problem in their relationship is that Robert strongly longs for a child, and Michelle doesn't want one.

Michelle doesn't want another child, because she went through the horrible experience of having a stillborn baby.  She doesn't want to risk enduring that pain again. And well...even if the next baby survives, it still might be painful, because the new baby might remind her  too much of the child she lost.

Now, of course, many mothers go onto have new children after losing ones in the past. It can work out for some families in very lovely ways. But every family is different. Every mother is different. 

Some months back, Michelle TRIED to be like the mothers who choose to try again. At first, she said no. Then she changed the no to a yes. I'm guessing most of this was about wanting to please Robert. Sacrifice her own needs to make him happy.

I'm betting, though, that she convinced herself that it was NOT just about pleasing Robert. She probably started to believe she truly was okay with it.

Then, a few episodes ago, she was in a mood of some sort. Anxious, maybe. Tense.

She told Robert she thought she was pregnant.

And now I'm going to actually get to the point of my damn post.

Robert's bad behavior.

It started with his reaction to her maybe-pregnancy.

He was ecstatic.

And I do love seeing a man who's enthusiastic about having a baby.

The problem with Robert, though, is he was so wrapped up in his own happiness, he didn't notice that Michelle seemed much less happy.

They went their separate ways for a few hours with plans to get a pregnancy test later.

Then Michelle gets hit in the stomach by a ball.  She's horribly upset. She goes to the hospital. There, she learns the baby hasn't been injured, because...there is no baby. There never was.

Michelle's upset; the assumption being that she's disappointed. 

BUT...no.

It turns out Michelle is relieved. Relieved not to be pregnant. But it's not a happy, easygoing kind of relief. Because she knows she has to deal with Robert.

Michelle's solution is for them to break up. It's not the happiest of solutions, but with Robert so strongly wanting a child and Michelle so strongly NOT wanting a solution, it might be the solution that's needed. 

They talk. Robert gets more and more shitty.

Here's a list of what I saw in today's episode.

1. He tells Michelle she might change her mind.  

For Michelle to feel okay staying with Robert, she needs Robert to accept her decision. Telling someone they might change their mind is NOT accepting their decision.  

I feel conflicted saying this, because recently I told someone they might change their mind. I felt kind of rude saying it, but I'm not going to feel too guilty. Because this was different. It wasn't a huge emotional decision. It was about travel plans. And this person actually DOES change their mind a lot when it comes to their travel ideas. And sure enough...a week or so later, they had changed their mind.  

It's still kind of rude, though.  And annoying. So I should probably watch myself with that.

Now whether it's over huge things or trivial things, I think it's okay to SECRETLY wish that someone change their mind.  Though you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. 

AND you might say or do subtle, manipulative things that shows the other person that your patience and understanding was a big fat lie.  

2. Robert criticizes Michelle for her grief over her baby Ruairi.  I forgot his exact words, but the general idea was, enough already. Get over it.

Get over it, so you can give me what I want.

3. When Michelle becomes furious over this, Robert defends himself by saying yeah, he knows how much she's hurting. He was the one that was with her when she was about to jump off a ledge.

Yeah, Robert. Now is not the time to flaunt your good deeds.

This is one of my pet peeves. Someone says or does something shitty; then they defend themselves by reminding their victim of a time they acted decently in the past.

I mean, MAYBE, I have it wrong. Maybe Robert really was trying to convey that, despite his misbehavior in the break-up conversation, he truly does understand her pain, because he's seen that pain at its worse.

But to me, it felt more like...defensive bragging.

I had this issue with my father a few months ago.

I got mad at him, because in a text exchange, he made it known that he had not been paying attention to what I had told him about my neurological issues. 

Okay. So he wasn't paying good enough attention and/or misunderstood the stuff I had explained to him. Fine. But what he said was also very minimizing, and that bothered me a lot.  

When I confronted him about it and said I was fed up, instead of apologizing and asking for clarification, he got defensive. He brought up the fact that he was the one who had offered to use his connections to get me a doctor, and he was the one who had offered to pay for the doctor.  

It's like I tried to do this for you in the past, so I can't be faulted for mistakes I'm making now.

But since he had minimized my issues with his mistake, I didn't take his past offers as evidence that he DOES care. I saw it as evidence that he had simply been humoring me and my concerns while at the same time flaunting his power and connections.  

Now I don't think Robert was humoring Michelle and flaunting his power when he helped her in her suicidal moment.  However, just because someone talks you out of killing yourself, it doesn't mean they're truly sympathetic or understanding about the root of your death wish.  

4. At one point, Robert warns Michelle not to do something she might regret—referring to breaking up with him.

That just sounded so arrogant to me.

I think I'd feel better about him if he said something like, Please don't do this to us. Or, I really fucked up. Please give me another chance.    

When Robert warned her about regretting dumping him, I sort of wished she would have said something like, No. What I'm going to regret is not dumping your ass sooner.

5. When Robert hears that Michelle was seen with her cousin Carla (Alison King), Robert gets angry and declares that Carla has been turning Michelle against him.

In reality, Carla was simply providing support and comfort to Michelle.

His paranoia was extremely unattractive.

It's pathetic that he was trying to blame Carla for his relationship problems instead of taking responsibility for his own ugly behavior.  

Now I'm thinking, though.....

Maybe I haven't been paying attention enough through the years.

But I don't think I've seen considered Robert as being such an asshole. 

He has usually seemed pretty okay.  

He's had some gambling and drug issues but usually has seemed like a fairly nice guy despite that.

I could be forgetting something?

Or could it be that he's a decent guy who is slowly losing the plot.

Maybe he just wants that baby too much.

I think sometimes we can want something too much, and that desire can lead us to acting selfishly and/or manipulatively. We can also maybe become defensive and paranoid.  

Anyway....

I wonder what will happen.

Will Robert and Michelle stay broken up?

Will Robert realize he's lost the plot and get back on track?  Will he be able to give Michelle a genuine, mature apology?  And if he does, will she accept it?
  

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Trying to Make Amends with Expensive Gifts

I'm still watching season one of The Fosters.

Today I watched the episode "Family Day".

Stef (Teri Polo) gets a gift from her dad Frank (Sam McMurray). He has bought her family a car...which they very much needed.

Stef refuses the gift, because she's mad at her dad for not attending their lesbian wedding.

Well...

He didn't attend the wedding, because she told him she didn't want him there.

She didn't want him there, because he does not fully support gay relationships. And he calls it a lifestyle choice.

He's a conservative.

It's complicated.

I wish Frank was less right-winged.  I wish he fully supported his daughter's relationship and understood that it's not just a simple lifestyle choice.

BUT....

I think she should cut her father some slack. And Steph's wife Lena (Sherri Saum) agrees with me. She lectures Steph about being more tolerant of her father's clumsy, slow steps towards tolerance.

That's the thing. We have to be tolerant of other people's intolerance and ignorance IF they show signs of trying to be more open-minded and accepting.

Steph, though, is also annoyed at her father's attempt to try to amend things with an expensive gift.

I TOTALLY get that. 

And I'm wondering whether it's ever okay to make amends with an expensive gift.

Can money ever build bridges?

I think MAYBE it can help. Sometimes.

Maybe money can be a gesture, at least.

Here's, though, where I think it's not okay.

A) The expensive gift is seen as the only thing needed to build that bridge.

I don't need to try to open my mind a bit and learn more. I don't need to show any extra compassion. I gave you that car. That's enough.  You have no right to doubt me.

B) The expensive gift is held over the recipients head when there is conflict. In other words, the recipient is not allowed to express anger or disapproval to the giver.  If they do, they are reminded of the expensive gift.

C) There are threats to take the gift away or the gift is taken away when the giver gets offended and angry.

I'm writing this and realizing all three, of the above, are pretty much the same.

What it comes down to is whether the giver is giving to make amends and show kindness or whether the giver is giving as a means of control and dominance.

With Frank, I get the feeling it's more of the former.

I think his heart was in the right place.

But since Steph had a strong reaction to the huge gift, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe she's used to her dad trying to buy his way out of conflict. And maybe he's bought her expensive things before; then held it over her head. In that case, I can't blame her for wanting to refuse the gift.  

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Callie Deserves Some Privacy...Please!

I've been watching the first season of The Fosters.

Something really annoyed me in the third episode.

Timothy, the high school English teacher, (Jay Ali) assigns his students to write about their own personal guilt in their journals.

He assures them that the assignment is  private and won't be read. So this is supposed to make them feel secure enough to write down their secret, guilty confessions.

Later (maybe the next day?) he looks at their notebooks to make sure they've done the assignment.

Okay, maybe he's not sitting there carefully reading, but if I write something private, I don't want someone glancing at my page for even a millisecond.

I'm fine with teachers encouraging journaling but don't request that students write something that personal!

How about just asking the students to write about guilt in general. Then it's up to them if they want to write about their own guilty feelings.

And....

The other thing that bothered me about the assignment is it's too easy for notebooks to be found, stolen, and read by the wrong people. Why is Timothy setting the students up for that risk? Does he not think about bullying?

My fears were not unfounded.

Callie (Maia Mitchell) doesn't do the assignment and gets in trouble with Timothy. Well. maybe not trouble, but she does get a lecture. (I can't remember if she got detention or anything like that)

She ends up finishing the assignment.

Then, sure enough, her foster brother's girlfriend (Madisen Beaty) finds the notebook, reads it, and slyly alludes to what Callie has written.

Thanks, Timothy. You asshole.

By the way....

Maia Mitchell is another Australian actress.

What's crazy is I used to force myself to write only about things if it was related to Australia in some way.  So I could write about my annoyance at Timothy, BECAUSE Maia Mitchell was Australian. If she was not, I'd have to skip writing the post.

Now I stopped that rule, but in the last few posts about TV shows, the characters I've felt compelled to write about have been played by Aussies.

  

Friday, March 8, 2019

Dining Room Table Full of Australian Books

There are moments where I really miss my Australia obsession.

I'm having that this morning.

Today, we're having some of our carpets replaced and stretched.

I decided it might be a good idea to make it easier on the carpet people, to move furniture, by emptying the furniture as much as possible.

Maybe 20% of this is kindness on my part. The rest is selfishness. I figure the less work they have, the faster they'll get their butts out of our house.

Okay, and you know what. The 80% isn't pure selfishness. Because I'm also doing it for Yeti and Annie (our cats). They get really anxious when we have people in our house.  

Anyway, so I emptied two of my office bookshelves that were filled with mostly Australian books.

I took the books downstairs and placed them on the dining room table.

Then I decided, while I'm doing that, I might as well go through the books and find ones I no longer want to keep.  

It's not the first time I've done a book culling since we began this adventure of downsizing/relocating.  But I definitely need to lose more.  Our current home is huge and has an abundant amount of built in bookshelves. Our next house is going to be about half the size, and I don't think it will have a lot of built in bookshelves.

So....

I went through the dining room table books and put books I wanted to keep on one side and bye bye books on the other side.  

I'm keeping all novels that were my favorites and/or memorable to me. This includes Jaclyn Moriarty's The Spellbook of Listen Taylor, Lily Brett's Too Many Men, Tim Winton's Cloudstreet and The Riders. Bryce Courtenay's The Power of One, Ruth Park's Swords and Crowns and Rings and Playing Beattie Row, John Marsden's So Much to Tell You, Toni Jordan's Addition....

I'm keeping Peter Kocan's novels. 

I kept a couple of Claire McNab's books. I enjoyed all the books I've read of hers, but I don't want to keep all of them. I don't remember which ones I liked more, so I'm just keeping the ones with cuter titles. Or really, I went by which Aussie animals I liked most. I gave up platypus, wombats, and dingoes and kept quokka's and kookaburras.  

Of course I love ALL Australian animals.  I think I just chose Quokkas because they're more obscure and for a long time my ring tone was Kookaburra's call.  

I kept a book that wasn't an absolute favorite, but a friend gave it to me.  Plus I definitely liked it enough. 

I decided to keep books that I'd probably get rid of otherwise, but they have some type of water damage.  I might as well keep them instead of trying to pawn them off to someone else. 

I'm keeping all books published during and before 1988. I just like having old books. They feel treasure-like. 

As for the books I'm farewelling They're mostly novels. Some I vaguely remember liking but I don't remember much about the actual story.  So I don't have much of an emotional attachment. Or I remember them and have a small bit of attachment, but I feel they're better off finding new readers. And then there are some books I simply didn't like much. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Scarlett's Momma

Lately I've been watching season 2 of Nashville.

In the episode I just finished watching, we meet the mom (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) of Scarlett (Claire Bowen).

Claire Bowen is Australian, by the way. I thought I should mention that since this used to be a blog about Australia and Australians.

So....

Anyway....

Scarlett's mom was talked about in recent episodes. The big brother from Hill House (Michael Huisman) acts as Scarlett's album producer, and in order to get her to make music that's impressive to him, he pushes her to confront her dark side.

Scarlett reveals that although she calls her mom and leaves friendly, cheerful messages; deep inside, she has a lot of sadness and anger towards her mother.

Scarlett ends up writing and recording a song called "Black Roses".

I can see your eyes staring into mine
But it's a battlefield and you're on the other side. 
You can throw your words, sharper than a knife, 
And leave me cold in another house on fire.

When Scarlett's mom comes by for a surprise visit, Scarlett is tense but civil. Then when they have a moment of privacy, the mom takes off her mask and shows her Disney Villain side.

Probably inspired by a heart to heart with her ex-boyfriend Avery (Jonathan Jackson), Scarlett stops playing nice and publicly serenades her mom with "Black Roses".

Scarlett's mom is not at all pleased, and I realized then that she is probably quite high on the narcissistic parent spectrum.

Here are some behaviors she displayed that I see as being part of the narcissistic parent package.

A) The mask.  When other people are around, Scarlett's mom acts slightly annoying but fairly decently. She seems to love her daughter. Though she does make a subtle snide comment. I forgot what it was.

Oh! Now I remember. She comments on her own lack of music-success and puts the blame on her pregnancy to Scarlett.

Okay, but without an audience, Scarlett's mom goes no-wire-hangers. She lashes out verbally and physically, because Scarlett didn't share a family secret with her. She couldn't handle being left out of the loop.

I think the intensity of the mask varies with narcissistic parents. Sometimes it can be extreme.  Daddy is super ideal Daddy at company picnics and at church; then at home he ties his kids to chairs and tortures them.

Other times the difference may be much less extreme. Mommy acts supportive, encouraging, and inventive at the playground but then at home is disinterested and grumpy.

Now, of course, every parent is going to have bad mood hours/days. And we're more likely to suppress our bad moods in public. But with a narcissistic parent, the variance between public parent and private parent is going to be too consistent.

B) Impressing people in their child's life. Scarlett's mom gets up on stage and sings with Scarlett's band members.  She wants to be adored by the people in Scarlet's life.

Most people do want to be liked. There's no shame in that. Or at least it's not abnormal.

I think, though, with narcissistic parents, they care more about what the friends think of them than what the friends think of their child. And how they are treated is more important than how their child is treated.

At their child's birthday party, they'll worry less about whether they're child is having a happy, good time and be more focused on whether all the invitees think that little Amanda has a super awesome Mommy.

They need to be the parent that's seen as cool, fun, attractive, etc.

C) Responding to child's anger with reminder of material things given to the child.  Scarlett's mom responds to the song not with sorrow, an apology, a plea for things to change, etc. She reacts by reminding Scarlett that she put a roof over Scarlett's head.

Narcissistic parents don't want to to get real with their kids. They don't want to get closer. They don't want to mend fences. They don't want to make improvements.

What do they want?

Adoration and gratitude.

D) Taking Credit for child's success. Scarlett's mom takes credit for Scarlett's success. I forgot what she said, but the general idea is you got this far, because of ME.

Like anything with families infected with narcissism, this too varies family to family. And sometimes it can change within a family.

Some narcissistic parents do NOT want their child up on a pedestal and will knock them down every chance they get.

Other narcissistic parents will allow their  child up on a pedestal...will even encourage it. But they want the credit.

You have my genes!

 It's because I made you take those piano lessons!

I'm glad my job gave us the means for you to afford private school. 

 It's good I had these connections and could pull some strings for you. 

There was actually another example of this behavior in season one.  Despite being one of the most famous country singers, Rayna (Connie Britton) can't count her own father as one of her fans.  He's very unsupportive...at least emotionally.  Then, in a heated argument, he takes credit for her success, because he secretly backed her financially.

I think most artists and/or performers would rather have their parents play the part of fans over playing the part of financial backers.

As for Scarlett and her situation, poor Scarlett has a nervous breakdown, up on stage, in front of thousands of people.

My guess is that a good-size chunk of people in psychiatric wards are there because their self-esteem and sanity were chipped away by narcissistic parents.  

Saturday, March 2, 2019

If You're Favorite Thing About Lost Was.....

Jack has been making me happy and proud by binge-watching Lost.

This has inspired me to think of shows that people might enjoy in their post-Lost recovery days.


Some people might want to jump to a new show right away.

Other people might need some time to grieve.

But when they're ready, here are some of my suggestions.

If your favorite season of Lost was Season 5, try the series Dark.

If you really loved the whole Richard thing, go for Westworld.

If you're a big fan of season 6 of Lost, I suggest The Good Place.

If you liked the plane crash/survival drama of season 1, try The 100. Although Desmond is in that, and it might be emotionally confusing.  In my Lost grieving days, I had a difficult time watching shows with Lost actors.

I've heard Manifest is also being compared to Lost. I haven't seen it yet, so I can't speak for it personally.

If you liked the Walt-has-powers storyline and wished they did more with that, Stranger Things might be a treat for you. 

If you, for some reason, enjoyed the weak and confusing answers to the island mysteries. Like if you weren't bothered by that whole Libby thing, you might enjoy the French miniseries Les Revenants.

If your favorite thing about Lost is all the flashback storylines, This is Us is probably the perfect show for you.

If you're favorite storyline on Lost was the whole Ben, Locke, and Jacob thing, try The Path.

Well...

That's it for now.

If I think of more, I'll add them later.