Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"How Could You? A Sad Story" Copyright © 2001 Jim Willis

Excerpt: "They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch — because your touch was now so infrequent — and I would’ve defended them with my life if need be."

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was “bad,” you’d shake your finger at me and ask “How could you?” — but then you’d relent and roll me over for a belly rub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because “ice cream is bad for dogs” you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife, is not a “dog person”…still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.

Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a prisoner of love.

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch — because your touch was now so infrequent — and I would’ve defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered “yes” and changed the subject. I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You’ve made the right decision for your “family,” but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said “I know you will find a good home for her.” They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with “papers.” You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar as he screamed, “No, Daddy! Please don’t let them take my dog!” And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life.

You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked “How could you?”

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room.

She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood.

She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured ” How could you?”

Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said “I’m so sorry.” She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself –a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place.

And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my “How could you?” was not directed at her. It was directed at you, My Beloved Master; I was thinking of you. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

Copyright © 2001 Jim Willis
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Travels and Trials of Old 18 - Her Story

"The truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it, ignorance my deride it, but in the end, there it is." Winston Churchill

". . .When close to being outwitted and exposed, the bully feigns victimhood and turns the focus on themselves. . . Female serial bullies are especially partial to making themselves the center of attention by claiming to be the injured party whilst portraying their target as the villain of the piece. . ." Tim Field, Bully on Sight

Although you hear many people using the term 'stupid cow' or some such, from my observations they are far from stupid. Each member of my herd has particular character traits and behavior that are uniquely their own. Cow family groups are often found grazing together -- the Grandmother, Daughters, and Granddaughters. Most often many traits of the sire and dam in terms of personality and behavior are passed on to their calves. Most cattle breeders are familiar with the term "heritability", and certain behavioral as well as physical traits are quite heritable in cattle. If a cow or bull is inclined to be more curious and precocious, the probability is great that their calves will have some degree of this same trait. If a cow is a pushy sort of girl, then look for that to express itself in her offspring, and so on with the whole gamut of possibilities. Old 18 was, and is now again, a gentle and quiet old girl, easily contented.

While we generally see these desirable behavioral traits of cows passed on to their calves, every now and then the odd one hits the ground -- the odd calf born to very good-natured parents that is inexplicably disconnected from kinship with it's family group, and typically much more aggressive about protecting its personal 'flight zone' space.

My observations of people over the years, and particularly the past several years, is that the odd calf in a herd of cattle that is a Genetic misfit with the parents and other siblings, can be found as well in human families. The destructive types of human misfits explored in this essay are the self-absorbed humans who perceive themselves as more important than anyone else and more deserving than anyone else -- the narcissists -- they close their eyes to the needs of others, and place individuals in their family unit who might be useful to them at a careful and calculated distance -- a human 'flight zone' that is based on how much or how little the individual complies with the misfit human's needs. (See Mayo Clinic, Narcissistic Personality Disorder )

You can rarely see it in their eyes unless you are their target -- they just don't have a lot to give of themselves and they like it that way -- and, yes, I'm referring to the few odd cows and calves I've encountered and the human misfits, who are quite often Sociopathic Serial Bullies, which is one of the most damaging degrees of sickness for the narcissistic human misfit. The odd bovine misfits won't be found licking the face of their sisters or their mother, hanging out under a tree with their family group, helping with the care-taking of one another just doesn't happen -- unless of course there is personal gain, but a cow doesn't generally hang with another for personal gain. While they most definitely aren't stupid, they wouldn't conceive of the using or abusing of another's emotions as the path to filling their belly with the best the rancher has to offer -- but without a doubt a human misfit will.

This summer Old 18, a very aged cow, returned to my herd -- I've referred to her as 'Old 18' in an earlier essay, and she is pictured above in November of 2004. I placed Old 18 a couple of years ago with a nice family nearby who could keep her in smaller pastures that wouldn't be so hard on her bad hip. However, this respite from life in a big herd was short-lived, and she was traded into a commercial herd where she was just one of a group of many -- her physical limitations no doubt of little consequence to the new owner. She was brought back to me because she is too aged to be of value to the typical rancher, and I did not want her taken to an auction barn where she would undoubtedly suffer from ill behavior on the part of humans -- and she did not deserve that treatment after all her years of service to us humans. Initially, I was irritated at the cavalier treatment of Old 18 by the fellow that dropped her off in the cattle pens. But upon second thought, at least he had the courage and the care to try to do what was now best for her now that her usefulness to him was over. He could have put her in a pasture corner and simply ignored her until she died a so-called natural death.

Old 18 was mal-nourished , her joints popping loudly through the air with every measured step, and perhaps worst of all, her personality had changed -- she was shy of me, of everyone. You couldn't walk near where she was resting, typically alone in the beginning, without her struggling to her feet and shuffling away. She was a tired and frightened old girl, and I'll never know what human treatment she received to make her so. I thought I was doing the right thing, letting her live in a less strenuous environment; believed that she would be cared for as the special grande' dame British White cow she is, until the day she died -- I was wrong. Perhaps, if she could, she would have articulated these questions during her sojourn away from home:  (Source: Physical and Emotional Response to Abuse
***"Question: I feel so ill and desperate I sometimes have suicidal thoughts?
Answer: These feelings, which include reactive depression, are a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. You are not mentally ill, but mentally injured and fatigued. The cause is external which means someone is responsible and liable for your condition.

Question: Why am I a victim?

Answer: You're not a victim, you're a target. The bully has deliberately and intentionally targeted you. It is the bully's pattern of behaviour with constant nitpicking criticisms, false allegations and so on which reveals intent."

For several months now I've again found myself in a long term babysit of Old 18. She was pretty much emaciated upon her return to the ranch, but now she has a decent amount of fat cover. While her time away from here greatly worsened her bad hip, her joints no longer pop and creak so loudly. I keep her always in a pasture near the house. At the end of every long day I seek her out and make sure she is okay, that she hasn't taken a turn for the worse, that she appears healthy and at enough of a level of ease to enjoy the remainder of her life. It doesn't take much time really to just check and say hi and make sure she's okay --

[. . . the narcissistic human has no time for such care-giving activity, unless it is perceived as a gainful approach to their selfish goals, such as known reward at ultimate death of the individual, be it parent or child, or the narcissist's projection of their self love in their offspring or parent. Self-love through offspring or parents in the narcissistic human is particularly insidious -- as it is only as constant as the offspring's or parent's constancy of agreement with the narcissist human.]

The days can be long for a rancher, it's not at all a glam pursuit. Most often the days are filled with the more gainful side of one's occupations that support the rearing of cattle -- and at the close of the day as dusk approaches you take that walk and check on those who may be in need of your attention. Sadly, human misfits have so little 'humanity' that they can't be bothered to even take this same little bit of time, this brief walk, with aged or injured human family members -- their own time, their own health, is all that matters.

The human misfit's self-importance is so great that they can't be bothered to check upon and observe the health of nearby family members that have in their view failed to supply or comply with their wishes -- a cow would never be so cold. Old 18 has another cow that has bonded with her and they are now often found together keeping one another company. If I had daughters here at the ranch from Old 18, I've no doubt they would be seen regularly at her side.

Sadly, when it's a human misfit, much harm can be done to the entire family unit when one exceedingly malicious person is born into that fold. When it's a cow that is a bad apple, eventually it's seen and accepted as such by us humans, and we let someone else see what they can do with the cow by way of the auction barn -- just maybe it would prefer different, or better, digs to call home.

With humans, we can't just dispose of the family member and let someone else try to work through their personal issues -- we can only hope the misfit human will win the lotto and just go away and stop causing such unnecessary pain and distress to the other members of the family unit -- or best of all, hope they'll surely come to their senses and be that loving and care-giving human that is a reflection of the family unit. This generally doesn't prove to happen. Instead, that human continues to cause extreme pain and distress to the vulnerable family members who can't fathom the root of their malice, and can't fathom the depth of their deceits.

But it is not theirs to fathom, it is an anomaly of nature -- much better they all would be not to try to fathom the depths of the odd misfit human, but to put them aside and go on, much like one assumes a cow family must surely do by simple animal instinct. But in the daily course of life that realization of one bad apple being a weird anomaly of nature is hard to accept by a human mother, father, or siblings -- painful to work with, and the attempt at acceptance of the misfit human puts other loved ones in harms away, drains away their spirit, and takes away their beautiful smile. . . perhaps forever.

With the misfit cow, we let it go elsewhere so it's behavior won't be a daily pain in the rear, won't perhaps influence the behavior of other cows and calves by example. With the misfit human who just doesn't go away, and most likely we don't want to go away, we remain so hopeful of a return of kindness and care to their character that we allow them to remain in our family unit.

Because of their mutual love of their mother, father, or siblings; the family unit remains in a state of hope that the human misfit will find again the clarity and gentleness of spirit of their youth, that can perhaps be likened to the young calf feeling the strength and the wonder of it's legs as it dashes across the pasture without an agenda at hand. Sounds sappy, and it is, and it's just what your human misfit wants you to do, believe . . .hope. . . there is an end to the emotional pain in sight, if you'll just provide what they seek this time -- manipulation is perhaps their greatest skill.

Old 18 seems to be handling the cold of winter fairly well. I was concerned about her being in perhaps a great deal of joint pain with the change of the season, but so far she seems to be at a constant level of ease. It's not unusual to find Old 18 resting with all the baby calves gathered around her, their dams designating the old girl as the babysitter for the day. Oftentimes, the youngsters make a mad dash to her and run around her, as though they're trying to encourage her to have some play time with them. As long as I see that she is content, she'll remain with me, and with this earth . . . I think she's well worth the extra time and care-taking.

NOTE: I imagine this blog will only bother those people who feel uncomfortable with themselves upon reading it.

The DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder are:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of:

1. a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e. unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e. takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others, (Unless it can be publicly accomplished to further the narcissistic ideal self they strive to project.)
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes
Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder often cross a moral line into Sociopathic Serial Bully disorder.  Sociopathic Serial Bully?  Serial bullies harbour a particular hatred of anyone who can articulate their behaviour profile, either verbally or in writing . . . in a manner which helps other people see through their deception and their mask of deceit. Serial bullies hate to see themselves and their behaviour reflected as if they are looking into a mirror.


"Yet, the prime rule of narcissism must never be forgotten: the narcissist uses anything available to obtain his (or her) Narcissistic Supply. Children happen to be more attached to the female narcissist because women are still the primary caregivers and the ones who give birth. It is easier for a woman to think of her children (or her own mother) as her extensions because they once indeed were her physical extensions and because her on-going interaction with them is both more intensive and more extensive.

. . .Devoid of the diversity of alternatives available to men – the narcissistic woman fights to maintain her most reliable source of supply: her children (or parents). Through insidious indoctrination, guilt formation, emotional extortion, deprivation and other psychological mechanisms, she tries to induce in them a dependence, which cannot be easily unraveled.  But, there is no psychodynamic difference between children as sources of narcissistic supply - and money, or intellect, or any other Source of Narcissistic Supply. So, there is no psychodynamic difference between male and female narcissists. The only difference is in their choices of sources of narcissistic supply."

Follow this link for an online Narcissistic Abuse Message Board.

"Nothing can prepare you for living or working with a sociopathic serial bully. It is the most devastating, draining, misunderstood, and ultimately futile experience imaginable." Tim Field, Bully on Sight