There’s something about normalcy: When you’re living in normalcy, it’s easy to take it foregranted because it’s comfortable. But sometimes, it’s hard to perceive “normal” because abnormal (i.e. narcissistic abuse) is all you’ve ever known. And even if you’re living in normalcy now, the instant anything goes wrong, you fly to Battlestations Red Alert, dukes up, adrenalin racing, just waiting for it all to be blamed, somehow, anyhow, on you.

But if you’ve never lived in normalcy, let me tell you about it. You’ll have to forgive me if this article rambles. But maybe that’s because I live in normalcy now. And normalcy is relaxed and rambly.

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A Very Normal Man

I learned normalcy from a very special man. In fact, I married him. As a young woman in my twenties, I remember crying in exasperation, “Why can’t I meet anyone normal!?!”. I got tired of the self-absorbed brainiacs and the already-married alcoholics. Sadly, those were the only two types of guys that gave me a second look.

Then, when I was 31, I met Michael. Naturally, I assumed he was like the people I’d known intimately in my family. Uptight. Perfectionistic. Highly scheduled. Blame-casting. Narcissistic. That’s the only type of people I knew. I thought it was normal.

But as Michael likes to tell me, “When you ‘assume,’ you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me.'” (ASS+U+ME=Assume. Cute, isn’t it.)

It’s taken me four years, but I’m finally realizing that there are other kinds of people in the world. Normal people. Relaxed people. People who live and let live. People who’s life theme is, “Fuck it.” People who don’t sling blame and shame. People who are normal. People, in fact, like Michael.

If the words “normal” and “normalcy” are a trigger for you, please feel free to replace it with another word like “healthy.”

So, just in case you’ve never lived in normalcy, or are living in normalcy but can’t realize it, here’s some inside info.

Living In Normalcy

Relaxed. That’s the best adjective to describe normalcy. Let me put it another way. Your tummy gets bigger because you unclench those perpetually clenched stomach muscles. You can just let it all hang out.

A few minutes ago, I spilled my coffee. Woosh! Nothing was said. There were no snide comments about my clumsiness. No upset about the mess. No lectures about, “Being more careful.”

That’s normalcy.

Everything’s My Fault

In my past life, it felt like everything was my fault. No matter what domestic tragedy happened, somehow, someway, it could always be tracked back to me. Especially if the drains clogged…always my fault.

After awhile, I learned to think like this. To seek out blame. To apologize profusely for everything. It was easier and kept the drama to a minimum.

Michael cured me. “Why are you apologizing?” he’d say. “It’s not your fault. I’ll have [fill-in-the-blank] fixed in a jiffy.”

Now and then, something is my fault. Still, he doesn’t shame and he doesn’t lecture. He simply gives me a bemused look and perhaps a pointer or two about how not to ruin things. (Did I mention I have ten thumbs!?)

That’s normalcy.

Just Not Happy

When did you last see a narcissist happy? Not a cloud in their sky. Joyful. Nothin’ “goin’ on” under the surface.

Yeah. Me neither.

There’s always a knot in their scivvies…and it’s generally our fault. If only we’d change how we look, act, speak, feel, they could finally be happy. Oh…and love us more with no “if onlies” in their hugs.

Now Michael’s been gifted with (and learned to have) an extraordinarily sanguine temperament. It takes a lot to put him in a bad mood. I can recall only a few “Michael’s Unhappy” days since our wedding. One was our first Christmas. He hates Christmas. The other was when he saw great injustice ongoing in the world. And there was a period when he was in great physical pain all day, every day.

But…he never said, thought or implied that it was my fault. There were no “if onlies” slung at me. He was just grateful for every cuppa coffee I brought him and every meal I cooked and kept his angst to himself.

That’s normalcy.

Keeping Up the Façade

Narcissistic homes are like pretending to live in a novel. You’re pressured to act perfect, smile perfect and look perfect all the time. Woe unto you if you spill the beans, tell the truth, develope OCD or have a normal imperfect human moment. Naturally, I carried this way-of-living into marriage.

Michael’s not like that. He doesn’t demand any secret keeping…obviously, because sometimes I even write unflattering things about him.

“Is it the truth?” he’ll say.

“Yes, it’s true.”

“Then write it,” he says.

That’s normalcy.

Uptight and Perfectionistic

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Narcissists, at least the ones I’ve known, have a particular way of living. Every moment scheduled. Each meal planned well in advance and on the table at exactly the “right” time. The beds changed once a week on Friday and only on Friday. The dishes washed after every single meal. Never a bill paid late. Not a blade of grass out of place. Even the solitary dandelion that dares to show it’s lovely golden face is swiftly and severely punished. And a strict bedtime observed.

Then I met Michael. As long as supper is ready by midnight, he’s happy. He carefully drives our ol’ 1978 ride-around lawnmower around the daisies to leave them standing…as does everyone else in our small town. He doesn’t give a shit if I change his bed…and generally complains vociferously if I do because “my pillows have been moved.”

And bedtime is whenever our circadian rhythms tell us to sleep. It might  be midnight or it might be 5 a.m. Big whoop. It just doesn’t matter!

That’s normalcy. (And being a freelancer who works twelve-hour days from home helps too!)

Goodbye Creativity

I dunno about you, but I enjoy being creative. I guess that’s why starting therapy and launching my pyrography artwork business kinda’ coincided with, finally, feeling peace.

But there was something that irked the livin’ daylights outta’ me about the narcs. Everytime I expressed interest in something creative, I was encouraged to get a book…to research it…to learn how to do it “right.”

Damn it all, anyways! How about, “Let’s just wing it. Let’s reinvent the wheel. Let’s figure it out from scratch!”

That’s what creativity is supposed to be about! It’s not about impressing others. It’s about healing our souls.

That’s normalcy.

There’s Goes Ol’ Waterworks Again

As codependence and invalidation go hand-in-hand with narcissism, it’s not safe to give vent to honest emotions in such households. You’re either going to be shamed or have your emotions “solved” for you…or both.

Now I tend to have intense emotions…whether I know it or not. And I can cry on a dime. It took Michael by surprise when we first got married, then he learned to ignore my sniffling and weeping. Rarely does he try to “fix” my emotions. He just giggles, ruffles my hair, calls me “Ol Waterworks” and lets me have my emotions in full faith that I’ll figure it out, sooner or later. (And I do.)

Damn that’s nice! And..

…that’s normalcy.

D’dat, d’dat, d’dat, dat’s All Folks

Well, that’s about all I can think of at the moment. If you’re already living in normalcy, I hope this article gave you a better appreciation for the great gift normalcy is. Sometimes it helps to take a step back and realize what a blessing we’ve been given.

And if you’re not living in normalcy, I’m sorry, cause it’s really, really nice. It’s been a blessing I bumbled into by marrying someone who felt “different” than what I’d always known. Maybe, my words will give you a goal to work towards, a litmus test to apply to the people you meet.

Thanks for reading my article. Please don’t forget to subscribe!

Until next time…{insert pithy cliché here because I can’t think of one!}


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Sold! "The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off." (But I can make another one just for you! click on the pic to order.)

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This article is for informational and educational purposes only. Under no circumstances should it be considered therapy nor replace therapy and treatment. If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is staffed by certified crisis response professionals. The content of these blogs and all blogs written by Lenora Thompson are merely her opinion. If you are in need of help, please contact qualified mental health professionals.