Summary for the rest of April, May and June 2000
I had a lot of things happen during this time, but because I found out that my estranged husband had borrowed his brother's computer and was connected to the Internet, I decided to hold off on posting things here to give myself one less thing to worry about. Though after I thought about it, I realized that he probably didn't even remember about this site and never knew the URL. Moot point now anyway. His brother, who lives several states away, took his computer back.
There is an ex-friend of mine who I had told about this site, but she wouldn't let me give her the URL back when I was still living with the bastard and none of what I have written on here has made it back to him, so I don't think she remembers this site either.
So, I'm going to recreate a summary of my life during this time, using the emails I sent to my friends. I was going to do this *after* the divorce was final, but the way things are going at the moment, that may not be until September.
April 6, 2000
During lunch, I went to take my walk and landed wrong. Apparently they have been trying to even out the sidewalk and I was on autopilot. So when I went to step on a previous high spot, it wasn't there and I lost my balance and fell just like I did a year ago when I broke my foot. Luckily this time, I wasn't going as fast and I had a very sturdy pair of simulated suede pants on. I heard a crack, scraped my right knee, and now my left foot hurts like hell, but I didn't ruin my pants this time. I would have been ticked if I had - I really like these.
I remember reading that people with fibromyalgia shouldn't walk on uneven surfaces - I guess that means me too. mutter...mutter...mutter Now how am I suppose to exercise?
Well, if I remember right, the worst time for someone with FMS to exercise is in the morning - the best is in the afternoon. I think I still have my Tony Little exercise tape and I do have a VCR now. Maybe I could exercise when I get home in the evening. Yeah, right. I have to cook dinner for the kids, make sure they do homework and then we often have other places we need to go to.
Lunch time is the best time for me, but I don't know what type of exercise I can safely do here. I do know that I'm not going to church tonight. I guess I'll be using my cane for awhile.
May 5, 2000
For those of you who didn't know, I was laid off right before Easter because they didn't have enough work to keep me busy.
I've been sending out resumes, going to interviews, determined not to under-employee myself again. I had some good leads and I've had some bad leads.
Anyway, I was talking to my lawyer about my divorce (husband's own lawyer says he's completely insane - My lawyer and I can't fathom what he hopes to accomplish with a court hearing - The law has change and the kids can choose their own custodial parent at the age of 10 now - etc.), when I started to tell him about my jobs search efforts and stuff. He asks me what the salary range was going to be for the job I'm going to interview for this afternoon. Then he starts asking me about what I can do and stuff. I'm here thinking he's going to suggest some sort of goverment agency or something, but instead he tells me that his firm has opened an office in Irving, TX and is going to open another one here in Plano in eight months and he wants to interview me for a job!!! Side note: I didn't get it. They had another candidate with more legal experience.
This man knows I've been through therapy, has heard me break into tears on the phone and has dealt with me when I've been hysterical and he wants to interview me a week from tomorrow.
I love it!
My husband's lawyer thinks he's completely insane and my lawyer thinks I'd make a good employee.
Another May 5, 2000 email
He's claiming the he CAN'T pay (child support) to *me*, because it was suppose to be taken out of his paycheck and paid to the STATE, and to pay it directly to me would be illegal.
He's so proud of himself on this reasoning. I'm calling my lawyer Monday to make sure, but I'm pretty sure he's on some real shaky ground, because my current lawyer knew about the earlier ruling and yet was still surprised that he wasn't paying me anything.
Asked around and found out that what he's suppose to do in this situation is keep a verifyable record of what he has paid me and show that to the clerk's office when they finally get around to demanding the money.
May 17, 2000 or so
I got a temp job which allowed me to work with someone very sweet. She and I became friends and she later referred me to a better agency which landed me in a wonderful postion that may (hopefully) lead to something much better in the long run.
During this time, I found an article on job schizophrenia and took some of the tests to see where I was going wrong in my search for gainful employment. One of the tests was the Keirsey Character Sorter, based on the Myer-Briggs Temperment Indicator. I like the longer version better because it is more consistant. I have learned many traits over the years that cause my scores on a normal short MBTI test tend to bounce all over the place. But the Keirsey "long" online version lets me grade things on a continuum and my scores always come out as INTJ with a very strong F influence and after reading the descriptions for INTJ personalities and INFJ personalities, I found them to be very accurate - although many of my F traits did not become evident until I left home.
A week or two before all of this, I went to a therapist associated with my church because everybody was telling me I needed to go back into therapy - except one friend who was a psychologist himself for over 25 years. The therapist listened to me and told me that I didn't need therapy - what I needed was encouragement, a job and to minimize as much contact with my estranged husband as possible. He pulled out a diagnostic book and read a description from it which fit my husband. He didn't specify which, but he told me that my husband has a personality disorder and not only did I handle the situation properly, but he would only get worse and no woman could had made my marriage work.
After finding out my MBTI, I joined a mailing lists for INTJs. Don't assume that a list of similar personalities is harmonious, because frankly I believe that INTJs in particular should not be allowed to congregate in large groups without referees in full body armor and at least a coroner or two in attendance. BUT they give good, useful information and are efficient problem solvers. While fighting with insomnia, I took a chance and posted this to the list:
While I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, it occurred to me that maybe someone on here could help me with something. I need a good reference on personality DISORDERS. A lot of the frustration I have been having in the past year has been trying to explain the actions of my soon to be ex to other people. Especially my own lawyer, who is actually my second lawyer, since my first one decided to have a lapse in professional behavoir. I had told him over and over again that my husband would do what he could to make this process last as long as he could. I told him that my husband took passive-aggressiveness to new heights. But my lawyer believed that he wouldn't have any problems coming up with an agreement that my husband would sign - especially since I wasn't making any real demands and what we did send him was more than fair. I tried to tell my lawyer for months that it didn't matter what we gave in on, it would not be acceptable, but he just told me in a slightly amused voice not to worry.
Well, finally my husband's lawyer broke down and told mine that his client was completely insane. I could tell that my lawyer still couldn't grasp what we were working with and had to tell him what a therapist had just told me a few days before - that my husband has a personality disorder and that what I needed was to stay away from him. I had only gone to the therapist because I had been trying to deal with someone who worked with helping displaced homemakers get back into the career world and she, in her lack of understanding, decided that I needed to see a therapist and would not believe me when I told her that I had already gone through enough therapy and had learned those skills I needed. The therapist said the same thing - my problems were not something that could be fixed by counselling. He went on to tell me bluntly what my previous therapist and the marriage counselor had tried to hint to me long ago - my husband has a serious personality disorder and is basically trying to destroy me.
Try explaining that to someone within five minutes. They think you're nuts. My original therapist actually had me drag my husband into one of my sessions early on and explained to him that one of his seemingly "logical" notions would actually be the end of me and that if he persisted, he would be guilty of causing his wife's death. I won't go into details, but I had been trying to gently talk him out of it. Our marriage counsellor ended our sessions because my husband refused to admit that he was responsible for any part of our problems. I left nine months after that.
But now I need to be able to explain something that I have a hard time understanding myself - why. My lawyer is mystified. My husband won't even tell his own lawyer what he disagrees with on the divorce settlement. My lawyer finally asked me what problem my husband had with it. I told him I didn't know. I'd had been trying to explain for months that my husband didn't like things being "taken" from him - especially money. I tried to tell my lawyer that my husband only wanted to punish me and make sure that I never dreamed of crossing him again. He's a quiet guy and likes to portray himself as easy going. If everything I've tried to tell my lawyer hasn't made in understand, I didn't know what else would.
Between my husband's lawyer's comments, a taped message that was left in my voice mail, and the fact he lied about the bank foreclosing on the house when we only asked that my name be taken off of it (no money what-so-ever), it is finally starting to sink into my lawyer's head that my husband may be dangerous. And frankly, not even I can predict him anymore, though I can still forecast his overall behavior and I'm afraid of what he'll do next.
I think that I might feel better if I understood which personality disorder my husband actually has. The professionals won't tell me exactly because they don't like making specific diagnosis without directly testing the person and I understand that, but I need something more concrete than "You need to have as little contact with him as possible and try to give in on things just enough to make him lose interest in the game and fade out of you and your children's lives. And whatever you do, keep an eye out for signs of him abusing the kids." Hardly helps my depression and anxiety. I almost become nonfunctional with worry when the kids are with him, but I can't do a damn thing until I have concrete proof and if I had concrete proof, I would have reported him years ago. It's a good thing that I was able to keep him from being too physically abusive. I grew up with a parent like that and knew just how to interfere in such situations for the sake of my younger siblings.
As a matter of fact, I was so successful at it that he accused me in the temporary hearing of not letting him discipline the children and one school counselor thought I had just taken leave of my senses when I left, because my children hadn't shown a lot of the major signs of coming from an abusive home - with the exception that my son hated his father. Of course, all the other professinals that had interviewed us quickly figured out that I had ran inteference. I guess my INTJ/Master Mind personality served me rather well there. And at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that I can prove I have well-behaved children in a court of law. I also made his lawyer look pretty stupid. As my first lawyer put it, between his cluelessness, my husband's unreasonableness, and my preparedness, her job in the courtroom was a piece of cake.
Anyway, I'm going to try and get at least a few hours of sleep before I have to get up this morning and I'm sorry to present so many problems, but I figured that y'all might actually be able to help me come up with a real plan of action, instead of this "wait and see" crap. I have almost always had some sort of contingency plan and I feel lost with out one now.
I did get some not-so-useful replies from someone who seem to stick out on the list like a sore thumb, before I got what I needed from those who were researching before answering me.
Is there something you are seeking from your ex, apart from agreement on divorce settlement.? (by this I don't mean what he might think you are seeking).
All I am really asking for is the divorce and custody of the kids. I've already been awarded the latter. Everything else on the agreement is cookie cutter standard with some concessions towards him. The first one asked that my name be removed from the mortgage, but my lawyer removed it when my husband told his lawyer that the bank had foreclosed on the house and that he would sign it once we removed that clause. My lawyer removed it and instead of signing the papers, he called me up and tried to bully me into being a good little wife and coming back. Then he started to be unreasonable with his demands on his visitation. That's what I got on tape. Also, the property has already been divided up - by him. No, he didn't do it equally, but it's not worth fighting him over.
What I would be happy with:
1)The child support.
2)Once a month normal visitation (We now live over three hundred miles away and the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend stuff is starting to ruin my health.)
3)The ability to get on with my life.
What I would LOVE:
1)Getting my name off the mortgage (I had a friend check with the county clerk's office - no trustee deed has been filed.)
2)Having him totally out of our lives and never seeing him again. In fact, I told my lawyer I would be willing to give up the child support for that.
Of course, if he persists on being stupid, with the new laws he's going to end up in jail. He is actually saving the money he says, but he says it would be *illegal* to pay it directly to me, since we were suppose to have it garnished from his wages, but my first lawyer didn't file the papers. According to my lawyer and several people I have talked to who actually pay child support themselves, he's going to be in real trouble when we do get this before the courts and what he's suppose to be doing is paying me the child support and then all he has to do is show the cancelled checks or some other form of receipt and they'll just subtract that amount from their records.
Now I have a question. I made it clear in my earlier email that I was being more than fair to him and that I was not asking for anything really. Why did you feel the need to ask me your question? Did you think that despite my words, I was being unreasonable? If so, what did you base this on?
I reread her post and an earlier one she sent to someone else and decided to add this:
I suppose what you wish to point out is that maybe I am still looking for something on an emotional level from my estranged spouse.
Wrong. I just want him gone and preferably not know where I am. He is petty and vindictive and prone to physical violence. He did not hit me, but I had told him late one night when we were dating that if my husband ever hit me, I would take the kids and the next time he saw me it would be from behind my father's shoulder, while he was holding his hunting rifle. There were signs, however, that last few weeks I was still with him, that he was considering violence. He started slamming things down next to me when I wasn't expecting it and kicking things around in the hall when he knew I was just falling asleep. About a month before that, he began to hide my own things from me.
You cannot reason with people like this. By this time, he saw any comment I made about his actions as a challenge to his "rights". Obviously, he wasn't always like this and I can only speculate what caused the change, but that doesn't change the resulting actions.
Then I received this reply from a list member I now consider to be a friend:
Can I offer my humble opinion on this statement? I hear this kind of statement a lot from people in relationships gone bad and I can't help but to think that it's not so much a "change" as the emergence of a person's true personality. People don't tend to show the dark side of their personality in the beginning of a relationship. Also, in the beginning of a relationship, someone with possessive tendencies might not exhibit those tendencies because they do not yet feel that the other person "belongs" to them yet. But once the relationship is firmly established, the psycho comes out in them and it's not so much a "change" as an emergence of the problem that was already there.
I hope you don't mind me interjecting my opinion. And perhaps it might be that I'm wrong in my analysis and if so, then my bad.
My reply to him:
Actually, I think you're probably right. At least according to one of my brother in-laws, I'm now seeing the person he actually grew up with. I often use that sentence, because when I use the explanation you give, people start to defend him when they don't even know him.
The therapist I saw recently pinned that problem right on the head. He went on to rehearse all the stuff people had told me in an attempt to appear "fair" minded and he had them down verbatim. He went on to prove to me that my marriage and divorce was not a typical one and it would be nearly impossible to explain that to a lay person especially in just a few minutes. He then went on to assure me that no matter what anyone else said that there is no doubt that I did do the right thing the right way. Every professional, except that one screwed up school counselor, said the same thing. And actually, that particular school counselor backed off once the teachers had a few words with her.
The therapist also gave me a guideline for determining if someone had a personality disorder since I grew up with a parent who had one and am very suspectible to them. As he put it:
A regular person when they seek therapy says, "Can you help me? I have had this happen to me and I want to be able to know what *I* need to do to get over it and get on with my life."
Someone with a personality disorder says, "Everybody else in this world is a total anus! How can I make *them* get their act together and do what they're suppose to."
In short, someone with a personality disorder accepts no responsibility for the problem or their own actions and believes the solution lies in forcing others to do what they think is necessary. One more thing, personality disorders are incurable by medical and psychiatric means. The only hope is that the person suddenly looks around and says, "Maybe I need to change some of my own behaviors." But the instances of that actually happening are very rare.
Then the list owner gave me a treasure trove of useful information:
for info on his list; you may be able to get something out of it, and joining is free.
Other resources for personality disorders:
Then she referred to another part of my message:
Irrationality in a parent is not good for the child, regardless of any physical or sexual abuse.
The professionals are probably right. If he's got any of the PDs, the best you can do is not act in response to him, treat the kids rationally and lovingly, and don't start any wars, because he won't react rationally. He probably never will, because he probably won't ever accept there's anything wrong and hence won't get treatment.
I was a bit surprised that she was so sure it was the Narcissist Personality Disorder, until the next email where she posted the descriptions of the different personality disorders and when I read the Narcissistic one, I realized it was the same thing the therapist read me:
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
requires excessive admiration
has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
Then she sent me the most wonderful URL for dealing with a Narcissistic Personality in court:
... and another one about treating personality disorders and chances of successful treatment:
May 29, 2000
I had listed the URLs to my sites (including this one) to the INTJ list to give examples of my webpage design capabilities. One member wrote this back to me:
General comment: Interesting work!
Re: Your mom's diagnosis. While I am not doubting the validity of your(?) diagnosis that your mom is paranoid schizophrenic, her behavior is not out of the realm of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). (But this is something probably only YOU can evaluate - it can be rarely diagnosed by a health professional because narcissists so rarely can admit anything is wrong with them.)
See this URL by Joanna Ashmun:
for a terrific, to the point method of diagnosing NPD, written by a lay person/victim. It's the best page on the topic I've ever seen, and describes my own mom to a "T".
Previous mentions of NPD on this mailing list have pointed to Sam Vaknin's pages. He is a (very rare) self professed narcissist. I found his pages somewhat interesting, but a bit too long-winded for my taste: Joanna's page is far more succinct, (more "INTJish" IMO.) Anyways, the information on her page has only helped to improve my life - maybe yours also?
I wrote that before I had an understanding of personality disorders. But she still has some Schizphernic tendencies, but perhaps narcissism in extreme mimics these tendencies.
If you don't mind me sharing this here, I'm going to cut and paste pieces on how to recognize a narcissist and my own experiences with my mom and perhaps my husband. I'll probably cut and paste what I've written here on Fribble's site later. That head cold I have a few weeks ago became worse (bronchitis now) and composing emails sometimes helps me to keep my thoughts clear.
If you do mind, then just delete this message now....
You have been warned....
"For instance, they always fill in their gaps (which make up just about the entirety of their visible life) with bits of behavior, ideas, tastes, opinions, etc., borrowed from someone else whom they regard as an authority. Their authoritative sources, as far as I know, are always people they've actually known, not something from a book, for instance, and narcissists' opinions may actually come from someone you know, too, but who is not to you obviously an authority on the matter at hand, so narcissists can seem totally arbitrary, virtually random in their motivations and reasoning."
To quote my mother: "What someone tells you is more important than what some paper says." This is something she actually said to me about six years ago.
I can't remember a specific incident with my husband (of course, Mom's got two decades on him), but he had always scoffed at my "book knowledge" not being based on real life. I once pointed out that my book knowledge came FROM real life and then proved my point with one of his own tech manual tables that he used frequently in his own job and therefore had validity because he had proved it to himself.
"They are evidently transfixed by a static fantasy image of themselves, like Narcissus gazing at his reflection, and this produces an odd kind of stillness and passivity. "
NOW! This fits my husband to a T! Sheesh. I'll spare y'all the details.
Mom's image of herself has changed a little over the years - very little though. She's very obsessed with people thinking she's "normal" and has managed to perfect her test taking skills to the point that she comes up with on the dot average scores across the board on aptitudes tests. She didn't appreciate me telling her that not having a preference in anything was NOT normal.
In fact, when she took the Keirsey test last week, she came up just slightly as an ISFP. This actually makes sense, because when Mom's not the center of attention, she's reading or playing computer games or doing some craft. She really doesn't like parties either. Anyway, the day after she took the test, she said to me, "I bet, (Fribble), if I took that test again, I could come out completely even on all the personality types."
On the other hand, she's positive that she's part of the Swedish royal line and has expressed the belief from time to time that she's Princess Charlotta reborn.
"...they expect others to look after day-to-day chores, they resent wasting their specialness on common things, they don't put their heart into their work (though they'll tell you how many hours they put into it), they borrow their opinions and preferences and tastes from whomever strikes them as authoritative at the moment."
Give you two guesses who did most of the housework while I was growing up and the first one doesn't count. Another direct quote: "With five children, there is no excuse for my house to be dirty!"
As for my husband, he "couldn't" take the trash out or help with other household chores, because he was too tired from work or from working on remodelling projects, which he often use to amaze friends and family with.
"They seem not to make typical memory associations -- i.e., in the way one thing leads to another, "That reminds me of something that happened when I was...of something I read...of something somebody said...." They don't tell how they learned something about themselves or the world. They don't share their thoughts or feelings or dreams."
My mom recounts "dreams" all the time, but they're always things she believes is prophetic and uses them to try and get us to do what she wants. However, she also recounts things that she had heard, read, or "experienced".
My husband won't go into associations unless pressed and sometimes not even then. Whenever asked directly if he's upset, he'll usually deny feeling anything, even though he just snapped at someone. He will never venture anything about his motivations.
"They often say that they don't remember things from the past, such as childhood events, their schooldays or old friends, and it seems to me that they really don't most of the time."
Mom - no. She'll tell you hour upon hour about her childhood.
Husband - yes.
"with Cheever, they're very striking, as you'll know if you've read any of his fiction; his characters and plots tend to be narcissistic (i.e., self-obsessed tunnel vision spiraling into nihilism),"
Don't know about my husband or Mom, but this fits one sister and my brother.
"A striking thing about narcissists that you'll notice if you know them for a long time is that their ideas of themselves and the world don't change with experience; the ones I've known have been stalled at a vision that came to them by the age of sixteen."
I can see this to some extent with the two siblings mentioned previously and my husband. Mom? Well, her way of dealing with things hasn't really changed, she has just come up with different excuses for it.
"Once they know you are emotionally attached to them, they expect to be able to use you like an appliance and shove you around like a piece of furniture. If you object, then they'll say that obviously you don't really love them or else you'd let them do whatever they want with you. If you should be so uppity as to express a mind and heart of your own, then they will cut you off -- just like that, sometimes trashing you and all your friends on the way out the door"
Mom, husband, a few former "friends", etc. But as the article goes on to say, "Narcissists are so much trouble that only people with special prior training (i.e., who were raised by narcissists) get seriously involved with them."
Thus explains why I have gotten involved with as many as I have. Thanks, (fellow list member).
June 8, 2000
One of my fellow LOTH sisters is putting together a poetry anthology and since I had been helping her out as much as I could, she asked me to write a short bio about myself:
(short paragraph of the normal stuff - i.e. real name, place and date of birth, etc.)
My mom used to read me poetry when I was just a little tike. One day I asked her how she knew all this neat stuff and she explained about reading to me.
"When you learned to read, you can read this yourself," she said.
Little did she realize what she was in for. I started to ask her every morning if I was old enough to read. Finally, my parents got me a phonics reading packet with records and Dad made me a little record player. By the time I entered Kindergarten, I could even write sentences. Of course, one of my first books was The Golden Book of Poetry.
I was suppose to skip second grade, but my first grade teacher thought that it would harm me emotionally. Mom says she did it out of spite. I don't care either way, because my second grade teacher taught us about writing poetry. After that, whenever we had to stay inside for recess, I wrote little poems and handed them to her. I even wrote one for the death of our class hamster. I've been writing poetry ever since.
Just thought y'all would like to see it.
June 16, 2000
I told my estranged husband that I couldn't afford gas to meet him at the halfway point. He, sounding reasonable (now, there's a laugh), said that if I could manage to get the kids all the way to our old home town, that he would pay for gas. I told him it was difficult but if he did give me money for the trip, I could do it. I had to use the money I had set aside for my teeth. (I'm getting treated by the local college of dentistry. I make a wonderful patient for a student with my very high threshold of pain.)
On the morning of this date, my daughter woke up early, leaned against me and told me she had a nightmare while I was answering emails. This is what I sent my friends and family:
(My daughter) just told me she had a scary dream. I'm writing down what she told me.
She told me that in her dream, she, (her brother) and I were taking something apart to find out how it works. Then we put it back together and connected it with something, but we found out that that something was evil (someone came by and told us) and took everything apart again and got rid of that part, which was scary according to her because it could connect together by itself. Then evil part was found and passed by two of my husband's friends and then to him and then he turned evil too.
The night before their dad gets them for the summer.
For the record, not only did the bastard only give me enough money for gas the RETURN trip, but if I hadn't protested about the rise in gas prices, he would had only given me HALF of that. The only reason I was still able to afford my dental fees is because my best friend hid the amount I needed in my suitcase before I left.
Then when I tried to find a compromise of what weekend I can have the kids during summer visitation - I'm suppose to have them for two weekends and I thought I'd make easier on everyone and just have the long 4th of July weekend - I find out that he was taking them out of town for two weeks and wasn't planning to tell me.
And people wonder why I sometimes wish he would burn in hell.
The week of June 20, 2000 and then some
That friend I mentioned earlier, who I was working with when I discovered my MBTI type, convinced me to try this other agency and this week they placed me into an assignment with a major company which one of my sisters worked for. One of the other temps I worked with was quite rude, even though she try to hide it under patronizing sweetness. We definitely had a personality clash going, but I did my best to deal with it - even when she would interrupt me to give wrong information to a question that was asked directly to me.
Despite my best intentions, we had two fights. I was certain I had lost any chance of actually working for this company again. But as it turned out, those confrontations actually helped me. They needed someone for a long term assignment who could deal with difficult people without resorting to screaming. Some of the people I will be working with are quite volitile. I'm not worried. The first job I had after I left my husband had me dealing with irate people from New York City, and although most New Yorkers are real sweethearts, there were always a few that felt they had to live to with the stereo type. And take my word for it, dealing with a difficult person over the phone is a whole lot easier than dealing with them in person. You can do stuff like roll your eyes to the ceiling without escalating the situation.
But I did my best to work with that one temp. And I asked the INTJ list to repost the method of explaining something to a non-intuitive person:
It's a 4-step process:
1) State what you are going to explain and that you are going to explain it.
2) Explain it, without digressions.
3) Explain that you have explained it.
4) State what you have explained.
Someone else on the list pointed out that this was exactly how many of us were taught to write the infamous "Five Paragraph Essay":
1st paragraph - state your main point and the three supporting statements.
2nd paragraph - expound on your first supporting statement.
3rd paragraph - expound on your second supporting statement.
4th paragraph - expound on your last supporting statement.
5th paragraph - summarize and restate your main idea and supporting evidence.
Anyway, I had developed a strange need to research someone during all this period of stress, which was really bizarre because I almost never research people and the few times I have, it has been an historical figure. I began to wonder if I was losing my mind, because this was so atypical of me.
All I really know for certain, is that the man had caused what I call a data blip in a list of bios I had skimmed and I was curious as to why. My experience as a QA specialist had instilled in me the concept that what the actual data was, wasn't as important as why it was missing. And when I needed a distraction to help me relax, this person was the first thing that came to mind. I checked out a few other examples of his work and was impressed by his versatility, which reminded me of my own approach to poetry. I some searches and found almost nothing concrete on him, except some excerpts from a few interviews. I dropped it for awhile, but when I began to have trouble sleeping again, I decided to see if I could find the rest of the interview articles. It took a little ingenuity and time, but I found them and a few others. What I did read impressed me even more, but it wasn't until I found an article that described how he ended up in the arts that I realized why I felt the need to find out more.
As it turns out, there are some key elements in his life which correspond quite closely with my own. There may or may not be more - I don't know enough about him personally and I really don't need to, because that article finally drove home what I have known in my own heart for awhile now. Something my closest friends have being trying to get me to see.
You see, this man did not follow the artistic path at first. He was very practical and got himself a Masters in Social Science. Then he realized that he couldn't face the thought of being a clinical psychologist, so as he put it, he became a big boy and enrolled in the school of his art. It is amazing to think how close the world came to losing someone so extremely talented and successful.
Now, I love writing. It is almost an obsession. But I have told myself for years that it was foolish to choose it as a career. I was three semesters short of a BS in Chemical Engineering when I got married and had children. I have been considering going back to school and finishing at least an Engineering Science degree, but I don't want to be an engineer. I worked with several engineers as a lab technician and it is very true that people knock themselves out to become engineers and then spend the rest of their careers getting out of being one. Frankly, it's a rotten job most of the time and very stressful. I really don't want my children to deal with a completely stressed out mother. They've been doing a pretty good job lately with it, but I could not justify it in my heart if I made them deal with it indefinitely.
I've also been considering becoming a therapist, but it's not as steady of an income nowadays for those starting out. I have considered the programming route too, but I become too focused when I program and have even woken up in the middle of the night writing code in my dreams for one of my projects.
I brought up the subject with one of my brother in-laws - a wonderful man married to the sister just younger than me. Though he is eighteen years older than my sister, they have such a beautiful marriage that I can't imagine her with anyone else. Anyway, this brother in-law is a programmer and a musician. He told me that I should stop worrying about what other people think and trying to win the rat race and find myself a job that pays the bills. Then tell myself, "I'm just doing this for the money. I don't need to have job satisfaction. I will get that from my *other* job - my writing."
This has helped me greatly. What has killed me on the employment front is my desire to get ahead and being too efficient. I make people feel insecure. Now I just smile and tell myself I'm going to write something good that night and take it easy at work. And now I have a job posting job openings for a major corporation with an invitation to apply for any position I think I would be good at when the assignment is about finished. Since I'm relaxed, the people around me aren't worried that I will take their jobs and I don't have to worry about them.
That was why I actually joined the INTJ mailing list in the first place. I had hoped that they would be able to share their techniques of using my natural traits to my benefit, instead of my detriment. It hasn't quite helped me as much in that area as I had hoped, but obviously it has helped me in other areas I had not expected.
I almost left it, though. By trying to win some of the arguments on the list, I found myself displaying negative traits that I had long ago discarded and I was worried that these traits might find their way back into my real life dealings. I was also discarding the balance I had been finding in the past year by trying to suppress my F side, which only made me more snappish. Finally, I discussed my concern with a few members I would miss if I had left and between their suggestions and my own realizations, I decided to stay. But now, I exercise restraint on which threads I will jump in on and I don't try to play Vulcan. Strangely enough, I sound more reasonable to myself.
Unfortunately, during these back channeled discussions, I accidently scared someone off the list. Though I had some trouble with her when I first joined, we had come to an understanding. She is going through some rough times of her own and I was trying to be supportive. Then she posted this:
Wouldn't it be interesting though, if we had some real psychologists on list when these sorts discussions come up, ones that had some years of experience in practice as opposed to a few uni students dong a few papers and studying the subject based on texts. I think it would be real interesting and informative.
Then I replied:
Wouldn't it be even more interesting if they were on the list, but silently observing us to gain some insight into human nature? Imagine the books they could write.
The next email I receive from her said that she didn't know where I was coming from and that between me, the list, and someone else, she felt she should just stay away and that I shouldn't take it personally. At first I thought it was something I had said about her personal life, but I hadn't brought up anything that she hadn't already brought up and then I remembered the exchange above and realized that unlike me, this person probably didn't like the idea of being "observed". Yet, on almost all mailing lists you have lurkers - I really don't see the difference between someone reading everything without replying and someone studying natural behavior, except that the latter might actually find something that will help the rest of humanity.
Maybe I'm just weird.
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