Then there was the day Grandma faked a heart attack and the time she sent the Sheriff to do a “welfare check” on me. Classic! Quintessential narcissistic tactics. Shoulda’ seem ’em coming. But I didn’t.
These two tales stand out in my memory among many tales of narcissistic nincompoopery. For years, I thought they were must Grandma being weird. But in my online research about narcissism, I ran across tales of other narcissists pulling the same shit. If they can’t get their way, they’ll suddenly develop chest and arm pain. If they’re wrong, they get shortness of breath. If they’re not the center of attention, they’ll pull ye olde heart attack stunt and start popping nitro. Anything to steal the limelight, especially at other people’s weddings, parties, etc.
And police welfare checks? It turns out that’s a quintessential narcissist tactic too. They can’t be bothered to get off their own ass to check on a No Contact relative, but they’re more than happy to misappropriate public funding to distract well-meaning officers of the law from genuine emergencies to do “welfare checks” on No Contact relatives!
My first clue that Grandma was a narcissist came from Mom. She told me how Grandma never could keep a circle of friends. At some point, her friends all started giving her the cold shoulder. “She’s so confident,” Mom simpered, “it never bothers her.”
I mulled on that for awhile and then said, “Mom, I don’t think so. She may have vanity, but like the vanity cakes Laura Ingalls Wilder describes in her books, she’s hollow in the middle. She appears proud and confident, but she’s not.”
That was quite a shock for Mom. She’d drank her Mom’s Kool-Aid, believed her brainwashing bullshit and never saw the truth.
It was a fine Sunday morning in May 2000. I’d just completed technical college, been forbidden to attend my graduation ceremony (Thanks, Parents!) and landed my first graphic design job. I was scheduled to begin the next day. Incidentally, that was also the day Dad was leaving his job of twelve years. He’d asked to be “let go” and his company more than happy to oblige, even throwing a severance package in for good measure.
Does helicopter parenting harm or help kids? Click here to read my conclusion from real-life experience!
Mother was stressed out to the max. No more incoming funds and her baby trying her wings all in the same week. This Helicopter Mom was at her wits’ end!
Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling too well that Sunday morning. Queasy. Nauseous. Naturally, Dad put it down to “stress.” Hell! He blames sore throats on stress. So I dragged my sorry-ass carcass outside and helped him wash and wax two cars. My duty done, I came back inside and threw up.
Hello Norwalk flu! Day after day, I lay flat on my back, scarfing popsicles, happy as a lark but unable to eat.
Four days later, Hurricane Granny blew into town. She came over unannounced, disregarding Mom’s “call first” boundary with flowers, grapes, candy…you name it, Granny brought it. Her visit was followed by a snarky phone call to Mother just to make it perfectly clear that the flowers were for me, not for Mom.
That was followed by another call, laying down the law to my mom. “That girl should be in the hospital,” Granny commanded.
And mother lost it. For the first time in forty-four years, she raised her voice to her mother and put her in her place. (And bloody well time too!)
The Fake Heart Attack
Grandma called again the next morning. She’d just gotten out of the hospital, she said in her usual weepy voice. She’d been there all night, she said sniveling. She was sure she was having a heart attack. They’d done EKGs. A stress test. The whole enchilada. And all because her daughter, her own daughter, her only daughter had yelled, actually yelled, at her.
Where do I even begin? Not only did she misappropriated insurance funds, but she also monopolized doctor and nurse time that should have been spent on patients that were actually ill.
And all because her daughter grew a backbone. If she can’t be in control, she’ll pretend to die. I dunno’ about you, but this stinks to High Heaven! It was one of her best stunts.
Sheriff “Welfare Check”
Fast forward fourteen years. I’d been No Contact with my whole family for six months. And it was wonderful. The peace. The serenity. I knew it was too good to last.
Sure enough, on Good Friday 2014 there came a knock on our door. I looked at Michael in shock. Who the heck could that be!? Peeking out the window, I was horrified to see a sheriff’s vehicle parked in our driveway.
I started shaking! Quickly, I scooped up CweeCwee, our exceptionally stupid doxiepoo. I needed a pooch to get me through whatever awaited me on the doorstep in the shape of our local sheriff.
Me: “Yes, Officer?”
Sheriff: “Lenora Koplin?”
Me: “No. That hasn’t been my name since I married two years ago! I’m Lenora Thompson now.” (with disgust)
Sheriff: “Well, Ms. Thompson, I’ve been asked to perform a welfare check on you.”
Me: “You’ve been asked….to do…a what!!?! (splutter, splutter, splutter)
Sheriff: Ms. Thompson, are you okay?
Me: “Of course I’m okay!” (At this point, I’m afraid I gave a rather loud snort of derision. As you can imagine, I was copping a major ‘tude!)
Sheriff: “This is Officer X. Lenora is 10-4. Repeat: Lenora is 10-4.” (into his radio)
Me: “Who the heck ordered this welfare check?!” (I’d already guessed, of course.)
Sheriff: “I’m not at liberty to disclose that, Ms. Thompson.”
Me: “Michael, it was Grandma, damn her! This is a slap in your face, Honey! She thinks her sweet, little Lenory would never go No Contact, so obviously you’re holding me hostage! And she’s clearly stating that she doesn’t believe our marriage is valid by using my hated maiden name! What a slap in my face!”
Sheriff: “She just loves and cares about and is worried about you, Ms. Thompson.”
Blah, blah, blah, blah, frickin’ blah!
Unbelievable! It was all I could do to keep my cookies down hearing the “love and care” bullshit spouted by the long-suffering public servant who’s time had been misappropriated by Granny on the taxpayer’s dime.
Typical, Typical, Typical
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Like I said, Granny was just pulling typical narcissist bullshit. But forewarned is forearmed.
If you start growing a backbone, prepare for the false guilt of “causing” your Friendly Neighborhood Narcissist a myocardial infarction (heart attack).
Prepare for finding an officer on your doorstep to do a “welfare check” on you too!
But why just tell the officer “I’m okay”? Boring!
Break into song and dance a little soft-shoe shuffle! “I’m not just OK, Officer. I’m doing splendidly! I’m reveling in the peace of No Contact, enjoying life for the first time and the narcissist is pissed off as Hell. Okay, did I say? I’m fan-frickin-tastic!”
Did you like what you read here? If so, I’d be happy to contribute an original story about narcissistic abuse (and its many rotten bedfellows) to your site or guest blog. For details on the “whole package” deal I offer, please visit www.lenorathompsonwriter.com. I promise…you won’t be disappointed!
Recommended Reading: www.lenorakoplin.weebly.com It contains a lot of great links, quotes, etc. This was my first website. When my parents finally “found” it, they spent five minutes on it, looked only at the homepage and went straight to their attorney, I assume, to disinherit their only child.