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this stops with me

i remember feeling so relieved when joe biden won the election in november 2020. it filled me with dread and terror to contemplate another four years of trump who has far exceeded my expectations of how terrible his leadership could be. when the networks called it for biden, i felt like i could finally breathe a little. i felt cautious hope. yet, i know from personal experience that narcissists will stop at nothing to hang onto their illusion of power and control. my relief and cautious hope were coupled with paranoia that somehow biden would not make it to inauguration day. trump and his cronies would find some way to take him out, to hang onto their power against the will of the people of the united states of america. but surely, i reasoned with myself, there are stop gaps in place and checks and balances to ensure a peaceful transition of power. even as trump and his supporters fanned the misinformed flame of a fraudulent election, i told myself we just have to survive until january 20. just a few more months. then wednesday, january 6 happened. an attack on the united states capitol building by domestic terrorists commissioned by the president of the united states. expected and unexpected all at the same time.

i have been absolutely disgusted by the conservative christian right. appalled, even. i thought about confronting the few friends and family we are still in communication with that fall into this category. those who promote conspiracy theories and view trump as their jesus come to restore the power they think is rightly theirs. who else is going to call them to account, i thought. and then i realized i do not have to confront anyone right now. my words change nothing. people who refuse to see cannot be made to see. i honestly view this category as a lost cause at this point. not all christians are conservative. not all christians are conspiracy theorists hell bent on making their moral code the rule of law in this country. not all christians think their way is the only way, that everyone who does not think the way they do is damned to an eternity in hell. as i expressed previously, eternal separation from their cosmic narcissist god sounds pretty good to me. i have an appreciation for those who identify as christian and are grieved by the egregious misrepresentation of their faith by some who claim to be the same. and at this point in time i am not at all interested with associating with those in the camp of "trump is our savior" and "masks are an evil meant to conceal the image of god." just. gross.

i had hoped that my paranoia was just that, paranoia. but when the domestic terrorists descended on the capitol on wednesday, january 6, my paranoia was confirmed to be well founded. narcissists will stop at nothing and this reality is so triggering to me, having escaped narcissistic abuse myself this past year. when i see leaders with the same characteristics, i cringe. and i am under no illusion that trump is a blip on the radar. though he did not have the popular vote in 2016 either, he did have the electoral votes. he won the election in 2016. millions of people voted for this man, knowing exactly what he was. and more did so in 2020 than in 2016. those who identify as christians voted for this man, turning a blind eye to his character and looking toward the supreme court to justify their decision saying "but we must ensure that conservative judges are appointed." trump is a means to an end: we must maintain power, we must maintain control. i may not identify as christian anymore, but i do know that power and control are not things that jesus advocated for among his followers. and i hope that those who justified their decision, continually made excuses for this man, and called the oppressed the oppressors and the oppressors the oppressed -- i hope someday soon they are willing to open their eyes and see the truth and repent in the way their bible instructs them to. but i admit, i do not have much hope for that.

as for me and my family, we are focused on seeking emotional health. self-awareness, emotional intelligence. modeling kindness and compassion for self and others. the hardest is for self, i think. i have so many insecurities as a human about all the things. i constantly worry that i am not good enough and am going to screw up my kids. this narrative does not serve me well. at all. it is hard to choose to parent in a way that is different than i was parented as a child, in a way that is not traditional. before i even knew there was a term for it, i knew it was what i wanted to do. i knew that i wanted to show my children how to identify and process emotions. i knew that i never wanted to make them feel like they were too much, that my love was conditional based on their emotional state. that i was ashamed of the way they were acting. now, just because i never wanted to do these things does not mean that i have not done these things. for sure i have. and i recognize and apologize and we try again. and slowly but surely we are all learning. i am re-parenting myself as i parent my children in the method of conscious/connected/gentle parenting. i am seeing the fruit of it, and it is beautiful.

juniper has exploded with language in the last few months. she and sabina have been playing together more. this goes well about half the time. i mean, they are humans and being a human is hard. especially when your brain is not fully developed and you have not reached emotional maturity. and lets be honest, it is hard even when you have achieved these things. i love how juniper loves her big sister. she wants to do everything her big sister is doing. sabina can be so kind and patient with her baby sister. it is the sweetest thing to witness. last night the two of them were playing with juniper's lego duplo set david and i gave her for christmas. at first sabina was frustrated that juniper was messing with what she was trying to create. and then this beautiful transition happened. sabina turned toward juniper and asked her how she wanted to play with the toy. she spoke to her with kindness and compassion and so much patience. together they constructed two towers. it was a beautiful display of turning towards each other and leaning in. and i was so proud.

i have identified that sabina gets frustrated when others do not want to play the way that she wants to play. i have voiced this to her, and suggested that it is okay for others to want to play in a way that is different than the way she wants to play. i have caught myself wanting to spend time with bina in a way that i want to. i want to go to target or to get ice cream. she just wants to sit on the floor with me and play with her horses or play a round of spot it junior. bina often exclaims that she just wants to spend time with me and yet juni gets all the time with mama. in frustration i have retorted that i have offered to spend special time with her and when i do she declines. it is not about juniper. it is about bina wanting to do things when and how she wants to do them. and then i realize -- it is the same with me. instead of imposing the way i think spending time together looks like, i could turn toward bina and say: how would you like to spend time together today? what does spending time together look like to you? i can attune to my child, really see and hear her and what she wants. is that not what all of us want as humans? to be fully seen and heard? why is this such a hard thing for us to give to others?!

our first summer in michigan, david and i went to a parenting session hosted by this woman from boston. i do not even remember her name anymore. but the one thing that david and i took away from that session was to treat children with respect. it blew my mind. i often hear adults demanding to be respected by children, but not modeling what it is they want themselves. not showing children what it looks like to treat others with respect by treating their own children with respect. i think we also conflate respect with obedience. if you do not do as i say, you are not showing me respect. but that is not what respect is. i am not seeking to raise obedient humans, i am seeking to raise kind, emotionally intelligent humans. humans that have empathy. humans that by definition, then, are not narcissists. i am seeking to raise children who know themselves, and can know others. authentic human beings unafraid of taking risks and learning from decisions that do not pan out the way they had hoped. and instead of self flagellating, humans who take what they learned and adjust and adapt and try again. humans who keep trying, who value a diversity of experiences and know they cannot do things alone. humans who know the value of collaboration and community. humans who know life is not worth living without the beauty of sharing it with other authentic human beings. what a difference we could make in this world.

david has discovered a passion for hygge. he and the small people went to target and picked up some comfortable blankets and candles. eucalyptus essential oil. we have put our gas fireplace to good use and thrown down one of the orange nugget comfort cushions in front of it, gathering together with our blankets, and reading books and talking by the fire. these are my favorite moments with my people. this is what bina is asking for -- time together. enjoying each other's company and being fully present in the moment. these are the times when the state of this nation and the severity of the pandemic recede a bit and we can just be. be with the people we love most, honoring and holding space for each other. i am grateful for david and the way he has stepped into the role of the stay at home parent. finding his own way and his own flavor. our family is better for it.

three more days until wednesday, january 20. today is sunday, january 17, a day that is expected to hold more protests leading up to the inauguration. we have a president that still has not conceded to the fact that biden won the election legitimately. i do not expect that everything will magically be better once biden is in office. this nation has been a haven for white supremacy since its inception. christianity has been a major player in enabling and upholding this. there is much self examination that is necessary to make any sort of progress in dismantling systemic injustice and oppression. the sad reality is that not many humans are willing to examine self. one thing we are excellent at as humans is self deception. if we do not want to see the truth, we will not. no matter how much evidence is given to support it. i think of jesus saying to those who asked for more miracles that no amount of miracles would provide sufficient evidence for them to believe. i do have hope for change because trump was not elected for a second term. enough people said "enough is enough -- this is not who i want to be." this is who we are, but this is not who we want to be.

narcissists may stop at nothing, but at their core they are hollow individuals. masters of self-deception. obsessed with their image and how others perceive them. miserable humans, is what they are. incapable of loving others and incapable of receiving real love. their "love" is transactional. conditional. it only exists as long as one plays their game by their rules. and if one has their eyes opened to the truth -- that the narcissist is not who they want you to think they are -- the task of cutting free from the narcissist's tendrils is intense. it requires sacrifice of the perceived safety offered by the narcissist. there is likely enmeshment of many types: financial, emotional, spiritual. the cost of freedom may seem insurmountable, but the cost of remaining enmeshed is one's life. what does one have to lose? one is dead if one stays anyways. trump asked black voters what they had to lose by voting for him back in 2016. a lot, was the answer. and not just black voters, but voters of any race and demographic. a vote for a narcissist costs you your soul. choose life. choose authenticity. choose freedom. there is no life with a narcissist, one who only exists to feed their own ego at whatever cost. our nation has seen that clearly now, whether it chooses to believe it or not. break free. stop feeding the narcissist. stop giving the narcissist fresh supply. if we fail to see, we dig our own graves and the graves of our children. let this generation be the one that says: THIS. STOPS. WITH. ME. who is with me?


hello there.

brittain here. just sharing my journey day to day with lots of laughs along the way.

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