names have been omitted in this post
this post contains language
“I've never seen anything like her... "He said to her, referring to me "She could sell ice to Eskimos... I've never seen anybody sell something faster than her."
To some extent it was true... at that time art which was a passion of mine growing up, I soon discovered I could sell art with the snap of my fingers. I was in my early thirties and it would be in two years in 2012 upon filing for divorce and leaving the art business I'd enter real estate and yet despite some success hated the contract aspect of it.... I discovered having ADHD and dealing with contracts weren't the best way for me to make a living... too much stress in the case of potential error and it nearly gave me a nervous breakdown... I hated having moments of panic wondering if I'd remembered such and such. It wasn't worth the sleepless nights. Some might say I gave up but I was glad I tried it... I learned a lot and sometimes realizing something isn't a good fit and gracefully bowing out speaks to maturity versus stomping our foot and stubbornly clinging to something that isn't.
But for now the couple I had just waited on had bought the painting they'd admired and I was ecstatic regarding the newest sale. I stood there beside him and sniped "Yeah? Too bad I never see any of the money!" I huffed.” Are you actually going to give me my commission this time?" I demanded.
"You'll get your money... "He replied in a cool tone. But I knew he was lying. I always had to remind him, again and again. I always had to nag and beg. It was such bullshit. Oh how some people like that you can snap your fingers and make the magic happen but then they don't want to pony up and pay you for your hard work.
"I sure as hell can't sell that well... "He trailed off and looked at me "I don't know how you do it."
"I don't crowd them and rush them... "I replied "You can't keep talking. It screams desperation. You make a few positive comments and then stand back and admire the painting. You have to know when to be quiet." I told him.
"Ohhh, okay... " He trailed off sarcastically and shook his head but I knew he wanted to say more. It was simmering on the tip of his tongue just under the surface. Of course so did I.
"You know... if you'd let us make some changes around here the place could really thrive." I told him "There are a lot of things we could be doing to improve." I informed him dressed, in black heels, dress slacks and a long gray tunic.
He stood there with his arms crossed and closed off to any change that I would broach. Often the old ways that no longer or maybe never did serve any good purpose are clung to out of dysfunctional comfort because of familiarity no matter how destructive they are. Sometimes an iron clad fist of control is preferable over growth. “Oh, yeah? And what are those?" He asked... but not in a tone that was genuinely curious and amicable but instead brimming with contempt and suspicion for me and any new and so called improved ideas.
"First of all... we need to be charging the customers more. We're serving the wealthiest people in town... we're not selling socks. So we need to be acting like it. Any service you provide you need to be charging them the most you can without them walking away." I told him.
"I'm not doing that... we can do a good job and give a good value." He shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.
"I'm all for doing a good job.... the job, the service should be excellent... but you're GIVING your services away most of the time. Why would we do them any favors? It’s no secret that the wealthiest people are often the cheapest. They ALL want a good deal... they all ASK for a good deal... they're like a bunch of whiny preschoolers who want their cookie. No way.... “ I shook my head... “I’m so sick of this shit... "I told him, "I can't keep dealing with this!" I snapped.
"Well, it’s worked just fine!" He retorted “You know, you think you’re so smart!” He tossed at me with sarcasm.
"It could be so much more!" I exclaimed almost pleading with exasperation knowing it could... seeing the golden and promising potential of the business but not able to do anything about it because my hands were tied. "How do you think were ever supposed to get ahead and increase salaries if you continue to keep us in this pit?! If you'd just let someone else have some decision making... but no... you want to control everything!" I practically yelled. I was fed up... I had been broaching ideas for years now along with others but when they aren't heard or acknowledged or given any life you eventually have to make the difficult but necessary decision to either continue to hang in there and simultaneously scream into a pillow daily (!) or simply walk away to save your own sanity. I finally chose the latter... I could not take it anymore. It was a sinking ship that could not be helped and in many ways after I walked away I hoped it sunk... because it was such a poor and sorry reminder of all the financial and emotional pain wielded for years upon years. Pack it all up and express mail it to hell, I thought... I wanted to drive by one day and it all be gone... like it never existed.
When people actually care about their employees they ensure they are taken care of. If as a leader you’re getting screwed financially essentially your whole staff is getting screwed too and then one wonders how a business hasn't gone into the ground. If your numbers aren’t where they should be... guess what? As a leader that’s your fault. You either aren’t managing the business correctly or aren’t holding someone accountable beneath you. You know what often the problem is? Someone giving customer service confuses their customers as being their friends. They aren't your friends. By putting our egos aside and not trying to win people over with 'good deals' or the guise of people pleasing or massages to boost our egos and realizing we can get what we need by giving excellent customer service yet simultaneously charging what we need our business would be in a better place... namely in the black and not in the red.
Instead, in the midst of “good deals” or “good value” which may in some cases be code for the employees getting screwed may translate to the employees suffering financially. Maybe someone in authority gets a little low on cash and then up-charges some unsuspecting customer driving a Maserati because they want to go buy a material item such as a painting, vase, rug, bronze, etc for themselves to feed their ego. That item purchased whatever it may be doesn’t go back into the business for profit but hoarded and stored. Or maybe money on certain sales is being made under the table and not shared with the employees but only belongs to one person. Yet on the same note what if you then have some poor little widow come in who needs to sell something just to put food on her table and you knowingly charge her more than you should? The people you need to be giving a break to, some empathy to you're not. The people you’re donating something to in the name of charity is ironically the crappiest thing you can find... comparable to searching a junk drawer for gifts to give, true character screams loud in these moments often hidden behind closed doors where no one is aware of them happening except those closet to the perpetrator.
Narcs are known for giving perks and allowances to others that they would never give to their own employees or family, etc. They do whatever they can to save face in the community and be seen as a "good guy" or "respected woman" and be liked. Being liked by strangers at the detriment of one's own circle is a sign they do not value their employees and use them in whatever ways they can. Narcs are known as users and abusers in their relationships and that’s no different when it comes to business. They use others to get ahead in life and are usually the only ones to reap the benefits. It's not just about money though... that is only one portion of the issue. If a manager is not respected for his or her decisions or lack thereof whether it's the marketing, the hiring and firing process, holding others accountable, treating employees with blatant gross disrespect either through emotional or physical abuse, (as narcs are known to do) talking out of both ends (ahem) when it comes to profit or lack thereof... and manipulating the excuses as to why those numbers aren't what they should be due to fear of being fired by higher ups and or being outed and held responsible for screw ups.... it causes unrest, maybe fear, disgust and uncertainty in the lower positioned people in regards to whether this "leader" is someone truly capable of leading the flock... if they are showing signs they are inconsistent and or to be doubted there will be seeds amongst the employees that grow into gradual lack of trust and maybe even in extreme cases resentment and hidden hate for them.
Narcs often use their positions of power to use others and or coerce them into sexually based relationships like those we've seen exposed in the media lately. It's not new news that narcs objectify women and treat them as nothing but a tool to be used. Narcs thrive on power and believe their higher up positions will cause whomever is their target to cower ( and question themselves if they would be believed by others) and acquiesce to them. By staying in the relationship and or departing from it the narc moves on to a new body; a new man or woman, a new form of supply to chase, conquer and own so to speak... feeling powerful that he or she has managed to triumph again in their sick little fantasy world. When I had a higher up approach me once and say "You have really good looking legs".... I stared at him and replied "You DO realize you're married and being inappropriate, correct?" He shook his head and spoke "I'm giving you a compliment for Christ's sake." I responded by saying "No, you're not. You're offensive. Don't ever talk to me that way again." That was his one time warning. The next time I'd raise hell with human resources. It never happened again... we have to call out people who cross lines on their behavior and if necessary out them for the way they are. Because if we allow it to stay hidden especially in the workplace it will only worsen and aside from enduring behavior we shouldn't be accepting we will feel powerless if we are. Being involved in unsavory situations we may end up getting pulled into all sorts of additional situations we don't want to find ourselves in.... like being subpoenaed in law suits, divorces, custody battles, company investigations... causing headaches for everyone if and when the behavior is finally revealed or discovered.... instead let's get the situation addressed immediately and have zero tolerance policies in place for every company so it's clear what is acceptable and what is not because narcs count on zero accountability to continue their gross ways.
In the case of family businesses the general failure rate is high; typically reaching a seventy percent failure rate before the second generation can even take over... and third and fourth generations aren't much safer. Family businesses often have unique challenges as those who are in power (the oldest generation) may not want to relinquish any power to the younger ones. They don’t always realize the younger ones are looking at it with a fresh set of eyes and see the holes that need to be repaired. The solution is not to give equal power as that nearly always leads to a fracture of the family in a power tug-of-war and the dissolution of the business... yet the newest generation must be given some decision making or they may feel their efforts are fruitless and walk away. Narcs are classic control freaks.... they are incapable of letting anyone else have any decision making as they always believe they know better (no matter what the department even if they only excel in a niche). In the case of narc parents they expect their children to make them look good, to serve them and follow in their footsteps. Narc children grow up being told who they need to be for their parent. Narc parents typically choose a golden child as their favorite and a black sheep that they dislike. Even if they have a golden child he or she may not be allowed any decision making... as a narc trusts few if anyone. If no one is allowed to make decisions that is to the detriment of the business as they lose so many golden opportunities for their business to become well rounded; people of varied skill, perspective and experience can add value to a company's overall success.... but the one in charge has to be willing to listen and really want the company to grow. Growth is a foreign concept to narcs because they absolutely abhor personal growth and giving in to growth would be the equivalent of loosening their iron clad grip on whatever or whoever they are trying to control.
Maybe they refuse to get their business and inventory organized yet simultaneously complain they can't understand why the company doesn't seem to grow and they've lost the such and such order. Maybe a manager gripes about how they need some money and always seem short but yet in the same breath admit they aren't capable of producing financials that will enable them to track their revenue. Maybe the numbers aren’t what they should be yet no one recognizes the controller is a waste of space. Maybe a techie can’t write a line of code to save their life but they chastise their peers that can. Maybe the administrative assistant can't figure out what food to serve at the company party yet won’t let anyone else give input. Perhaps the company head bitches about the management underneath them yet never cleans house and consequently let the chips fall where they may. Granted, these scenarios do not always automatically translate to the person being a narc but it’s possible. A narc positions themselves as superior to others and yet are incredibly inept. They inflate their image to be grander and more important than it truly is. Working for a narc who is ineffective is often frustrating at best, or at worst complete hell for those that see the company issues firsthand like bright flashing lights and would love to make the necessary changes yet their hands are tied.
We cannot be surprised when people finally become silent or retreat or let loose with a litany of pent up gripes, sacrifices, injustices and long unvoiced needs when they work for or with a narc. When it comes to business we can take one look at the television show The Profit and see that oftentimes people who are failing at business are failing because of poor margins, deep-seated-personal issues they have not relinquished due to control or fear or namely ego-based thinking or a lacking of management and leadership skills on their part. When a business fails it’s not typically the employees who need to be scrutinized but the leader... ultimately a narc may have difficulties leading because being a leader means they would have to put their ego aside to do so... and we know that in itself is next to impossible.
names have been omitted in this post
"Mommy!!!!!!" She shrieked from the taupe leather backseat of the SUV as I sat stopped at a red light waiting for the traffic to pass so I could make a right turn and pull out onto the main thoroughfare. We were departing Rio Mambo, a Mexican restaurant that was a favorite of ours and where we'd had lunch... a delicious combination of tacos, enchiladas, rice, beans, salsa and of course my daughters favorite queso. The restaurant shared space with other restaurants like Outback Steakhouse and a sporting goods store... which made for a busy parking lot on that sunny Saturday. Startled by her shriek I simultaneously saw a man pull into the shopping center beside me... slowing down enough for us to make eye contact. He was handsome, had a beard, drove a black pickup and smiled broadly at me when our eyes met. "What on earth are you yelling about?" I asked her incredulously quickly glancing in the rearview mirror at her. I then watched as he proceeded to smile at me and wave at my daughter as well. She squealed with a smile "Mommy!!! That's the guy! That's the guy!" She told me excitedly. My mother who sat beside me in the passenger seat looked on with surprised amusement.
"That guy?" I asked my daughter completely confused, referring to the guy who had just passed. I redirected my focus on the traffic in front of me watching for it to clear then made the right turn.
"Yes!! He's your type!” She exclaimed.
I laughed and my mother joined me, then I spoke "Well... he may be attractive but...” I pointed out.... "We don't know anything about him! He could be a psychopath!" I told her. My mother murmured in agreement.
"I don't think I've seen him on Dateline..."My mother said and we laughed... but then she added “But we don’t know him.” She pointed out to my daughter.
My daughter shrugged and sighed "Oh well, I tried!" She replied then after a pause added, "Mommy, who are you taking with you to your work holiday dinner?" She asked pointedly. Last year it was at Eddie V’s and this year Ruth Chris... a place my ex and I used to go.
“No one.” I replied offhandedly.
My mother made a tsk tsk sound and spoke “That realtor friend you have is such a sweet boy. Is he single? Or doesn’t he know anyone that you could take? “ She asked me.
“No... he has a girlfriend. I think they met on a co-ed softball team or something. He’s like ten years younger than me. I doubt he knows anyone.” I told her.
”Oh...” My mother replied “Well, what could you join to meet someone?” She ventured aloud.
I wondered if they had taco and margarita meet ups... or maybe a pizza and shooting range night. I imagined myseif joining a co-ed softball team and spoke “Well, not softball. I’d be the girl way out in the field with a helmet on saying ‘Don’t throw that ball near me!’ .... I don’t think that works very well!” I laughed.
My mother and daughter laughed and as they chatted I zoned out; my thoughts drifting to dating and how part of me as much as I'd love to have someone special in my life one day the thought of sharing a home again and combining possessions and personal space made me want to run and hide under the covers. My nature was fiercely independent and as soon as anyone began bringing up marriage I shut it down and closed the door ... as the last two relationships proved. Why aren’t people ever content with just being exclusive yet having separate spaces? Why do they always have to combine every last fork and pillow they have? I was currently in a period of struggling with what God wants for us and what I thought made more sense rationally and how little I felt I could fully trust someone again. I wouldn’t live with someone because I’d want to be living in His word... and then there was the issue of sex which was only ok according to Him within the parameters of marriage ... the only alternative was going without. What a pickle this was, I thought. I found agreeing to marriage comparable to being a bird that could once upon a time fly freely and then when it says “I do” it’s caged and stifled... I saw marriage as a loss of power. I was struggling with that philosophy and I didn’t know when that would change if ever so I chose doing nothing and not dating at least for now. Maybe what the real root of the issue was that I didn't have any faith that God might send a Godly man to cross my path one day that He approved of.... maybe the problem was me. Sometimes it’s easier aka more comfortable to cling to our excuses, lack of faith and stagnant ways of thinking ... but when real growth and change is desired that mind-heart state can only last for so long.
When we are young we have absolutely no idea that who we marry is one of the important decisions we will ever make in our life. Maybe we can choose a different career, go back to school or become an entrepreneur and start our own business. We could hopefully turn that around if we realize down the road uh oh... we chose the wrong path workwise. But marriage? There is no reset button... no redo. I say this not to chastise who have already been down this road because we already know the prices paid for not being able to press rewind and we must do our best from here with pockets of lessons learned... however for those younger that have yet to marry... choose wisely; observe and heed actions. It’s incredibly important that we make certain who we are marrying is truly who we believe them to be. And to realize that bad signs or red flags are not to be glossed over or ignored but to view as utter deal breakers that make us walk away.
At the end of the day though marriage specifically is not what gets us in trouble where children and ex’s and custody are concerned. It’s not the “I do’s” or the registry squabbles or who is going to do the laundry or load the dishwasher. Obviously we love our children dearly and would never regret having them. However with a narc it’s the act of procreation and giving up our power in agreeing to have a child with our spouse who later turns out to be a monster. When it comes to being forever linked to a narc essentially sex is the turning point in which later this baby, this child is used as a weapon to harm you.... later you may chastise yourself for ever allowing that person to touch you, to have sex with you, to create a new life together... because you see that they sadly used that beautiful moment and turned it into a future opportunity of hurt, pain and loss against you. You feel robbed and yet you still have your purse and wallet... you feel violated and yet it was consensual. You feel tricked... and you were. The truth is who we marry is so important but who we have sex with is even more.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
names have been omitted
The heavy double elevator doors opened and we stepped inside. My mother was to my right and dressed in dark dress slacks, a dressy black sweater and necklace. With my hair pinned up I was in knee high boots, black pants and a wool blazer holding a mountain of paperwork in my arms, my black leather Marc Jacobs bag hanging on my right arm like a heavy ornament. Women all filed and crammed into the elevator each holding their own clip boards, notebooks and stacks of court filings. Each woman looked beyond stressed with their jaws set firmly in place like clenching was the only setting their jaws knew. Dear God, this is a grim scene, I grimaced and overheard one woman whisper to her friend wearily “I’m so ready to have this behind me.” I looked over at her... her eyes looked tired, her dirty blonde hair disheveled, like she’d been up all night and needed a coffee and a one way ticket to an island somewhere. Dear Jesus, help this woman I thought and prayed. Then the elevator doors dinged open. We all filed out, scattering like kittens going our separate ways to fight our battles in the various court rooms.
Upon reaching the 360th court room in which I’d been in many times before, I checked in with the bailiff and let him know I was there. He had me fill out a simple form stating that I was pro se. I spotted my ex’s posse seated on the opposite side and took a seat on the left. The judge was busy handling other unrelated matters that needed to be addressed before our hearing and as I sat I observed a young attorney hand the judge paperwork that merely needed to be signed by her. “It's a divorce... they agree on everything” the attorney told her, “The papers just need your signature.” She nodded and began signing off on them. I sat there marveling how lucky those people were and probably didn’t even realize it. By both being in agreement they had saved themselves a whole lot of misery, grief and money. I wondered why they were getting divorced... they probably didn’t even know what a sociopath was, bless their blissfully ignorant hearts ....and I hoped they never did.
Soon we were instructed to rise and then beckoned to approach the bench. We all made our way up to the judges bench and stood before her. She stated why we were there then asked what my objections were to what my ex had filed. I stated to her what they were; that he had filed to have access to my estate in the event I passed while the children were minors under the guise of child support and that he was wanting the right to move out of Tarrant County with the children if I moved. She asked where in the parent child order those sections were located at and I began rapidly searching in my own copy for them... stressing because I couldn't seem to find them and silently chastising myself for not marking the sections with post it notes. She waited patiently as I skimmed more than thirty pages trying to find what I needed. Finally she sighed with irritation which I initially believed to be at me but instead it turned out to be at the opposing side... "Could one of you please help Ms. Gafford find the sections she needs help finding?!" She demanded and soon the opposing side began rapidly searching their own copies of the papers they'd filed. Finally the sections were found and she carefully looked over what he had filed. I stood waiting, hoping, praying she would understand my concerns. As she reviewed what he had submitted I saw a frown crease her forehead and a concerned expression. “I’m not in agreement with this....” She stated “Because he’s stating if she decides to let’s say... move to Arlington for example, that he can move.... I don’t want him then picking up the kids and moving to Alaska.” She frowned and I quietly exhaled a deep breath I’d been holding with relief... thank you, God, thank you God, I silently thanked Him. I knew my ex wouldn’t move to Alaska... but maybe further and not tell me where. She agreed to strike the section out and then began reviewing the estate issue. I watched her and then from behind me the Amicus for the children spoke up “Your honor, he’s just asking for this in relation to child support... “ She told the judge speaking up for my ex, trying to get him what he wanted. I was beyond sick of this woman... she needed to butt out and I turned around to openly glare at her. She had been a thorn in my side since day one as her role to be looking out for the children was a joke. The judge raised an eyebrow and glanced over at her then back at the papers “I really do not find this necessary” She replied and proceeded to strike out that section as well. Thank God. I stood there in disbelief and somewhere at the back of the court room my mother gave a silent happy cheer. I watched as the judge signed off on the newly improved papers and I thanked her. She nodded and dismissed us, directing us to go downstairs and have them filed with the clerk.
Back in the courtroom later where my mother was waiting for me she rose and we walked out of the courthouse together in victory. It might be a small victory in some folks eyes but it was a big one for me... as it was the first and really only victory after a long time coming. What made it even sweeter was going pro se and not having to spend a dime on an attorney... while my ex had spent another small fortune on his. It was enough to make you laugh and want to skip all the way home... back at work that afternoon I was beaming and that night we celebrated. Had I perhaps been so terrified of not having an attorney even when they had proved to not be effective most of the time that I had allowed fear to drive me in continuing to hire one even when I should have put my faith in God?
Hebrews 6:19 19
We have this hope as an anchor
for the soul, firm and secure.
Is our faith sometimes in believing, hoping in men over Him... how many of us have been guilty of that? Probably more than we would want to admit. One reason God allows problems in our life is a test of faith... how are we responding? Are we putting up roadblocks? Are we placing our faith in men or even ourselves? Or are we focused on Him?
Are we dismissing that God might allow certain people in our lives? Either to date or merely be friends with... yes, we have free will... but are we minimizing or even ignoring God's great power of knowing who to send our way to cross paths with? Maybe. When we place our trust and reliance on God we are also simultaneously placing our life's stability in Him. When we say "Oh, I won't ever get married again... it's too risky... I'll just have to settle for x,y,z because I have issues, I just can't trust people, I can't trust myself or my gut intuition, etc.... "
What we're REALLY saying is: I don't trust God. We are thumbing our nose at God and saying "I've felt let down before so I can't trust you with x,y,z, God you're not big enough for this" when He never promised us a life without issues. But He does ask us to trust Him. And yes, at times that is admittedly hard to do... whether it's filing for divorce or trusting that He will be there to lean on in the midst of our fears and court battles. Maybe we are wondering if we really should believe in marriage again or alternatively just throw in the towel and settle for something that makes us wrestle with Him in the mud... know that He wants your trust... He is not a traitor. He loves you and wants you to trust that He will be there for you through it all... to have faith in not just certain areas of your life but all areas. Somewhere deep within some of us we are hoping, praying for our battles to be conquered... somewhere deep within us we are wanting to believe that tomorrow will be better than yesterday... somewhere deep in our soul and every fiber of being some of us are wanting to know that love can be ours again... in the way that He approves and desires for us... He wants you to dive right in in faith and follow His lead.
For I know the plans I have for you,"
declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you
and not to harm you, plans to give
you hope and a future.