Megan Ryan’s Voice - It’s only week four of this year’s homeschooling, and already I can’t wait until it’s over…sometimes. Most people automatically assume the material/teaching is the hard part about homeschooling aka am I smart enough to teach? That’s not it. The REAL hard part is discipline, especially schooling teenagers. Being the teacher AND the principal and meting out the punishments, then stickin’ to yer guns. Teenagers are professional soldiers when it comes to emotional battles, and it’s all too easy to get stuck in trench warfare with them. Our teens are no different. They aren’t sassy, gum poppin’, eye rolling brats like a lot of public schoolers, but they are stubborn all the same. (Aren’t ALL teens??) They are having the usual difficulty (denial) in getting back into the new/old routine of school, and they are making everyone pay by shirking work and walking around with silent but dark thunderclouds over their heads. I’m SURE I was the same at that age – I freakin’ hated school.
As you know, I already warned them not to try last year’s shenanigans, but they’re doing it anyway. Neglecting subjects A, B, and C because they are at their mother’s house those days, and she doesn’t sit on their shoulders (like us) and ensure they complete all their work by the end of the day. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t crack a whip behind them all day shouting, “Heeyah mule!”. I write out the days work in a notebook and leave them to do it during the day. When it is finished, THEN privileges begin like having friends over and TV watching. If it isn’t done by 6 PM they have to stop for the day, do some push-ups (disciplinary action), and roll the work over into the next day and even into Saturday if need be.
It’s times like these Marcus and I fantasize about throwing in the towel. And I DO mean fantasize. “Hey honey the kids are in school! What do you wanna do today?! Drink ice cold beer at the beach?? Done! WHEEEeeeeeee!” Then we wake up and stick to our guns for one more day, then another, and another after that.
Liam Marcus’ Voice - Duh gone it! I don’t know how we’ve been able to manage without the public school system for, what, seven years. Well, well, well, a lot of patience and stamina; brain stamina. Ha ha ha. Hey, don’t sweat it, let’s have some fun. You know it’s been fun.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – I recently rediscovered a TV series of interest to me from the mid-‘90s. “The Pretender”. Simply, it was a man who could pretend to be anyone he wanted to be, i.e., a medical doctor, an FBI agent, whatever. There were other elements to the show I didn’t care for back then so my interest solely lied on the action, the pretending, and the climax of the show – how Jarod, the main character, got away with acting up a part, and putting the evil guy behind bars. What I didn’t realize then was the enigma of living in the middle of a narcissistic circle.
Since I resided for a time inside a narcissistic circle propagated by Megan’s family, it has brought the side that I didn’t care for about the show in a new, more attractive perspective. The “Parker” family circle in the show is supposed to be Jarod’s enemies. The people behind Jarod’s sudden disappearance of this dad, and mom when he was just an adolescent. A few decades passed and Jarod was finally able to escape the brutal and sadistic measures of enslavement dropped upon the now grown up Jarod. The Parker family business, “The Center’s” new business is seeking and re-apprehending the boy-genius, now man-genius that Jarod became.
The writers of the show are geniuses in their own right. The way they capture the elements of a narcissistic family is incomparable to any other show attempting the same thing. I can honestly say, and Ryan agrees, is that the only thing that has kept me alive has been the fact that her family doesn’t have enough money to buy me off. Seriously, I still live in fear of her family because they could easily have me killed if they wanted to. It is not a tremendous fear. However, it is a fear I can live without – more like a possible change in my life that I know can happen at any moment in my life. A splinter in my mind.
This sort of elemental circumstances can be found in “The Pretender” show.
The show’s last season was in 2001, followed by two movies made for TV, and that was it. It was a terrific show, though it would have been better without the curse words. If you want to know what a narcissistic family is like, in all of their elements, including their complacency to murder, watch this show from beginning to end. It is an educational, yet frightening realization of the true nature of a narcissistic family circle.
However, I’m not saying that this could happen in every narcissistic family circle, simply that some of the elements are basic, that is, excluding murder. Murder may be an extreme, but know that it is always a possibility, especially against those that get in the way of the narcissistic family’s flow of life.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – After reading Marcus’ voice above, some of you may say he’s being overly dramatic. Well, he isn’t. Those of you who come from families with one or more narcissists can relate to us. In the show you see this witch of a woman called Miss Parker. She starts out as one of the bad guys, but eventually the writers develop her character more and we see she is the daughter of a narcissistic father. Daddy is also the head of an evil company with lots of money. Her one goal in life is to earn the approval of her father, but when she eventually falls in love with an ‘outsider’ she feels the need to leave Daddy’s company and make her own life. When Boyfriend can’t be bought off by Daddy, the boyfriend winds up dead. What really happened, is the outsider boyfriend helped her to wake up to the sick web she was caught in with Daddy and Brother.
It all sounds like typical American soap opera crap, but to the children of narcissists it is all too close to reality. A narcissist will do terrible, hateful things to keep his or her “loved ones” enmeshed in the sick circle of give and take. Meaning the narc takes everything and gives nothing while the victim gives all and gets nothing but more demands.
So if you’d like a peek into the not-so-far-from-the-truth world of narcs and their children, take a look at the old TV show “The Pretender”. Just keep your trigger finger on the mute button for the occasional curse word. Why do they have to put that junk in there, anyway??
Liam Marcus’ Voice – We have found a fountain of musical rainbows, and the music is free. We found it at reverbnation.com. Our special “somewhere over the rainbow.” The beauty is that these artists aren’t signed with major private record labels making their music extremely available for any interested listener.
Megan Ryan’s Voice - Call me a geek, but I really enjoy listening to “unknown” artists. There is SO much more out there than what “Big Entertainment” pushes down the public throat. Plus we can help these artists share their talents independently instead of conforming to what they “should” sound like in order to make it to the big time. It’s also much easier to find talented Christian artists and support them.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Just like you see in cartoons, I had a light bulb turn on over my head the other day while Marcus and I were praying the rosary together. It must have been God’s providence. For a very long time I have wondered why certain members of my extended family have considered me to be gullible. They treated me as if I was a numbskull who would follow any foolish notion that came down the pike. Like they had to save me from myself because I could easily be led astray. Their condescension always puzzled me. I graduated at the top of my class in college, I never got suckered into paying too much for a car, I never gave any money to scam artists on the internet, I can smell a lie from fifty paces…and the list goes on. So WHY do they hold such opinions about me?? In comes said light bulb.
I trusted them.
But they were not worthy of my trust.
It is my nature to either trust somebody 100% or not at all. I don’t make friends easily. If I let you into my inner circle it is because I trust you. Completely. Until you get there, I trust you very little – if at all. Because they were family, I trusted them to always tell me the truth. But the trademark behavior of a narcissist is lies. A narcissist will lie to anyone in order to get what he or she wants, or to avoid the consequences of their own behavior. Constantly.
When I was in my late teens I had a pet snake. A Burmese python which is the sort that gets really huge. When I had to move to another state, I left the snake in their temporary care. Well, life got in the way and temporary turned into a looooong time. They told me they had to give the snake to the zoo because it had become too big for them to care for. I sadly agreed and gave them permission. Years later when I moved back to my home state, I went and visited it at the zoo. It made me feel better to see it well cared for there. Several years later they finally owned up and told me the truth. The zoo had refused to take on another giant snake. So what did they do? Did they say, “Hey Megan, find another home for your snake because the zoo won’t take it.”? Nope. My family members took it out to the back yard and put a bullet in its head. Then they lied to me all those years about it.
Well, because I trusted them to tell me the truth, and therefore bought the lies they told me all throughout my life), I was branded as gullible. Guilty of the crime of trusting my own family members. But wait, didn’t I just say above that I could smell a lie from fifty paces? Yes, I can. If you’re not one of those I trust 100%. If you are someone I trust, I don’t bother to look for lies. Yes, I’ve had that come back to bite me in the past, but who hasn’t? If that trust is broken, I then have to decide if you will stay in my inner circle. If the answer is yes, then I have also decided to trust you again. For so long I thought there must have been something wrong with me if they thought not all of my dogs were barking. Now I know the truth. There is nothing wrong with trusting, but there is a LOT wrong with lying to others and disregarding the feelings of others.
So at the end of the day I ask myself, “Okay, so how do I reconcile my past with the newly born Christian I am today?” Am I holding a grudge against those who’ve hurt me, or have I forgiven them? Christian forgiveness doesn’t mean I have to feel warm and fuzzy towards that person, it only requires that I wish the best for that person despite what he/she did to me. The best meaning here to be, wanting him/her to find salvation in Christ and be with Him in heaven someday. Forgiveness doesn’t require me to be a door mat, or to keep going back to that person for more abuse. Sometimes it’s hard to forgive – seemingly impossible. But when it seems far off I try to remember the sage advice of Johnnette Benkovic. She says that forgiveness comes gradually, and sometimes all you have to do to get on the road to forgiving someone is to pray a simple prayer. Talk to Jesus and say, “Lord, please help me to forgive them. Help me WANT to forgive them.”
Liam Marcus’ Voice – They seem to have lied to Meg all their lives for various reasons. You know, to keep her from knowing facts about life, facts about them, facts about almost anything except the facts needed to have a life of emotional and psychological independence. Is this possible? To some it may be, but to others, not so much. In the long run it always seem to involve a timetable of sorts. Grinding certain phrases and behaviors into the victim’s psyche. The monotonous episodes of a narcissist can lead to the victim’s inability to look at their behaviors objectively. In the process one could become sufficiently self analytical because of the narc’s diluted care for others. One starts asking, “is there something wrong with me? Why is she treating me this way?” One’s ability to recognize a lie then becomes, for all intents and purposes, impossible. Thus the narc’s license to lie to her victim would then become the subject matter by which the narc would start labeling her victim a repudiated individual unfit to take care of herself for life. Little does the narc know that it is her own sick behavior which creates the presumption that her victim is gullible and unable to make up her own darn mind.
With a family member who uses her own flesh and blood in such a manner, manipulates her, coerces, lies to, and then unfairly condemns her victim for the narc’s own behavior, who the heck needs an enemy? This is a sorry fact pertaining to the reality that the family member is both an unfortunate addition to the victim’s family tree, and the worst enemy anyone can ever have.. for life!
Megan Ryan’s Voice – We finally emerge victorious from a prolonged battle with Infant 0.9′s wicked diaper rash! We have cloth diapered her since the beginning and use an organic disposable at night. We did the same for Preschooler 4.9 although his disposables weren’t organic. In fact we use his same old cloths on her, because that’s the beauty (and $ saving) of cloth diapers. To make a long story short, she developed a large, painful looking, burn-like rash a while ago. Nothing we did made it go away. Out of desperation we switched her solely to organic disposables (ouch – SO expensive!) and the rash faded after a while. Switched her back to cloth and !BAM! rash city. Hit the reset button. Back where we started. So we sent an email shout out to our Catholic homeschooling group for help. Why not just go to the pediatrician? Because when it comes to curing things naturally and without prescriptions, we don’t have much faith at all in modern medicine. Once you read below, you’ll have a better understanding why. NO WAY would a pediatrician in our town have figured out the problem. They would have simply treated symptoms over a series of wasted office visits. Sad but true. We got tons of great advice from our friends, and now we’ll share with all of you the advice that won the day.
I washed all of her diapers several times in hot water alone, then once with a long soak with washing soda, followed by a few more rinse cycles in hot water. The washing soda balanced out the pH of the diapers as there must have been some buildup. The several hot rinse cycles removed any oily residue from the store-bought organic detergent (with fabric softener) I was using. An oily residue also would have trapped ammonia and contributed to the pH buildup. Click Here for the website that taught us about pH.
Then I made some homemade, organic laundry detergent using Dr. Bronner’s organic castile soap, washing soda, borax and water. It wasn’t much effort at all and yielded four gallons of detergent – yay! I made a liquid version of my friend’s recipe, but you can Click Here for a similar version.
In the meantime I used organic disposable diapers and liberally applied a homemade balm of organic coconut oil and tea tree oil with every changing – just in case it was a yeast/bacterial thing. The recipe is 10 parts coconut oil to one part tea tree oil. I used tea tree oil because it is anti-fungal, but diluted it with coconut oil because the tea tree can be quite strong. I chose coconut oil because it is anti-fungal AND antibacterial while remaining very mild.
Finally, I switched from using a wet diaper pail system (a plastic kitchen garbage can filled with water and detergent) to a dry diaper pail (no water/detergent). This also helps keep the pH neutral.
All in all, she has extremely sensitive skin. The same system that gave her a horrible rash was the same one (the diapers too) I used with our previous baby with no problems whatever. I guess it proves (once again) what one of my wise momma friends told me: Just when you think you have the parenting thing down, you get a new baby with a whole new set of obstacles to overcome
Liam Marcus’ Voice – Thanks be to God. We spent a few months battling the little one’s issue with her rash. Megan had to stop eating certain foods for fear that the foods may have been the culprits. Little did we know. Megan, don’t forget about all those baths in the natural goat’s milk soap we got from the local lady at the farmer’s market. It appears that the way to cleanliness isn’t always what doctors and commercial product companies have in mind for us. What I mean is that chemical soaps apparently aren’t reliable enough to keep us clean from everything. I personally wouldn’t mind doing it the way it is healthy and literally clean.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – I would like to share a little tip with all of you, my new found trick for getting Preschooler 4.7 to do what we tell him to. Not just do it, but do it TODAY instead of days from now. Preschooler’s typical response to “Go brush your teeth.” is an cheerful “Okay!” but then he continues playing for five more minutes, then chases the cat, bounces a ball around the kitchen, stops to play with the baby’s toys, walks around the block, and rides in the Kentucky Derby all while on his way to the bathroom. That’s IF he doesn’t forget what he was supposed to be doing in the first place by then. I found myself constantly nagging him to do it, do it, do it now please, do it now please, NOW!
So my solution is to tell him once. If he doesn’t do it within a minute I simply set the egg timer for five minutes and say, “If you’re not finished brushing your teeth (or whatever) when the timer rings you can have Time Out.” Then I shut my yapper and (try really hard to) not let it bother me any further. If he’s not finished when it rings I calmly put him in time out. When time out is over we repeat the process. This is great because it keeps me from losing my temper (and vice versa) and generally having ill feelings consume the both of us and escalate into ugliness. For the first week or two it seemed like he was having 50 time outs per day, but things got better once he knew that I was serious about this whole business. Now he averages one TO per day, sometimes less. Oh by the way, I prefer using our cheap little egg timer because it’s portable. I can use it for the park, Grandma’s house, or anywhere in between. This method also works great with older siblings too. When the Teenagers are on Preschooler Duty they can use the timer to get obedience without all the shenanigans and hoopla that so often accompany sibling interactions.
Liam Marcus’ Voice - BWAH-hahahaha – you are as silly as moi, I love you. We all do that, well maybe you didn’t have an opportunity to say “yeah” and then disappear for a while, you poor girl you. Apparently you were a daughter of a narcissist, heh? I love throwing that phrase around… it sounds better than my previous one and not so rich with empathy, “coward” – LOL. In any case, did you use to sit tight in your chair for hours at a time until you did what you were ordered to do? It is obvious my dear wife that you are doing everyone a lot of good by having these little episodes. You are practicing tolerance, which I, to certain extent lack. Now, now, you don’t say “please, do it now”, do you? You had better try the, “Germs will come in and start gnawing at your teeth and make them look rotten and nasty to the point that you’ll eventually have to suck your food through a straw because chewing would be too painful…” story on the little guy. Ah, nothing like the harsh truth spiked with a little horror. Trust me, it will work. It did for my mother.
So there’s our tip. I hope it helps and doesn’t make us sound Holier Than Thou. Don’t let it fool you because we’re just as imperfect as the rest of the world out there. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know we always try to keep it real around here. So God bless and keep plugging away at life until you get your ultimate reward: Eternal life with our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – There seems to be an increased number of individuals who think they are saved and don’t need to do anything to gain the Kingdom of God. Is this possible? This type of thinking is self serving at best. Kind at worst, in this type of peoples’ mind, that is. There is nothing kind about acting like a jerk. Regardless, of whether or not you have accepted Jesus Christ as you personal Lord and Savior. Believe it or not, there are Christian music bands out there that believe that because they accepted Jesus, they are guaranteed a place in Heaven. It doesn’t matter that they still curse. It doesn’t matter that they stave people on the back. It doesn’t matter that they gossip behind everyone’s back. Their human condition is not being judged there, just you, whoever is not them.
A bit of news from the good book, the Bible. The Word of God to some, even to our good socialist government here in American when they proclaimed it in Public Law 96.1211
James 1: 26-27, “If anyone thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
The so-called Bible readers and experts don’t realize the simplicity within this wonderful book sometimes. It is plain, if one chooses to use plain language, what it says within the Great Book. If these so-called Christian music bands understood God’s plan a bit better, they would more than likely choose a different genre to define their style and actions. Maybe, they would come closer to our Lord. Who knows.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Marcus my love, I think it boils down to the fact that Protestant bibles are missing seven books – the epistle of James being one of them. Our readers can Click Here for a succinct answer on why Martin Luther removed them. They can also Click Here to find out how the fathers of the Catholic Church knew which books belonged in the bible and which did not.
“There are fields, Neo, endless fields where human beings are no longer born. We are grown. For the longest time, I wouldn’t believe it. And then I saw the fields with my own eyes, watched them liquefy the dead so they could be fed intravenously to the living. And standing there, facing the pure horrifying precision, I came to realize the obviousness of the truth. - Morpheus, from the movie The Matrix
Megan & Marcus’ Voices – We just read this riveting article titled Dirty Secrets of The Pet Food Industry, and we’ll be changing the way we feed our kitties. The scene from The Matrix quoted above immediately came to mind. Megan’s Abyssinian has recently developed skin allergies but has also had potty problems since day one. Her veterinary care has entered the amorphous no man’s land of “Let’s try this and see what happens. Oh, and fork over all your money please.” The challenge will be to change the food they eat without spending too much money. Don’t get us wrong, we love our cats, but we love our human children more. We’d rather spend our money on them.We’ll keep you posted on our progress so we can help you by learning from our mistakes, and saving you the trouble of reinventing the wheel.
If you have any suggestions we’d love to hear about them in the comments section of this post. God bless!
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Summertime is upon us and that means free family movies at the cinema! Yay! But you know us, we usually avoid the cinema because we can skip the nonsense in Hollywood movies by using our Clearplay DVD player. Free movies are hard to resist so here is what we do to protect our family at the theater. Get a list of all the movies they intend to show at your theater. You can usually find this by checking their website. Then go to Catholic Movie Reviews and search for the movie title. Based on that, you can decide to see it in the theater or wait until the DVD comes out and use your Clearplay. Unfortunately we have to do this even for the free “family” movies at the theater because you just never know nowadays <sigh>
Liam Marcus’ Voice – I don’t know. A few visits to the beach seem to be in order. We haven’t been to the beach in nearly two years – since I accidentally dipped the video camera in the sea water and ruined it forever.
What about you? What does your family do for fun in the summer?
Liam Marcus’ Voice – I recently met a friend for the second time. He became my best friend in a matter of hours. We spoke about personality issues, insecurities pertaining to people we’d met, and about God. The God of the Bible is all love, we agreed. We seek God when we do not know Him in many ways, sometimes in undecipherable ways, especially when we are not close to Him – when we are lost. We think we are with Him, but how can we be with Him if everything we do contradict His commandments?
Deep thought? Yes, I believe it. I was just condemned by a few people for being so. However, this newly found friend expressed sympathy, not pity or annoyance. In fact, he expressed the apprehension of having the same issues.
Why are there people with biases against those with a cheerful nature? Does it frighten them? I would like to know.
Megan Ryan’s Voice - Yes, I think cheerfulness frightens some people, especially insecure people. I think when insecure people meet someone who is openly cheerful and bright, they fear that person is actually making fun of them instead. Others may simply be taken aback by the exuberance and be unsure how to deal with it.
Marcus, what you said about trying to be close to God without obeying His commandments reminds me of why Catholics are often attacked by Protestants. Catholics are often accused of trying to earn our way into Heaven/salvation by doing good works. In reality, we Catholics know we are undeserving and only Jesus’ voluntary death on the cross purchased humanity’s salvation. The ‘good works’ we do are merely our attempts to follow God’s commandments. Saint Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” Click Here for a great debate regarding Good Works vs Faith Alone.