A Case Study: The I’m’s…..

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You know who they are — we work with them, we may live with them, we’re friends with them, they’re disbursed throughout our families, we pass them in cars and on the street everyday. Those familiar people who, for lack of a better word, are assholes who think the world revolves around THEM. They are what I comically call “The I’m’s“.

They can call or text early in the morning, late at night, at work, in the store, in the gym, in the car….anywhere at anytime when they need YOUR help. They sound the alarm and expect you to come running and, like the sucker you are, you answer the call to action. They will walk through a burning fire, scale the highest mountain, swim in the deepest ocean, fight the most abominable traffic, hop a flight, take a cab, get on the bus, walk, take the subway, go out into the hottest weather or the coldest blizzard to get to you when THEY need something.

But here is when they earn their title. You may be someone who rarely asks for favors and try to handle your life like a BOSS. But the second you ask one of these “I’m’s” for the teeniest, tiniest of favors, here it comes, what for it…I’m too tired, I’m too busy, I’m too sleepy, I’m too hungry, I’m too hot, I’m too cold, I’m too exhausted (to drive), I’m not in your neighborhood, I’m stuck on the freeway and it’s too far out of my way, I’m working late, I’m digging a tunnel to China, I’m feeding the cat/dog, I’m washing my car, I’m picking my nose, I’m plucking my eyebrows, I’m scratching my butt (it may take a while), I’m involved with family commitments (family is never an issue for these people until it involves helping you, that’s their excuse), I’m inventing the cure for whatever illness I can think of that will get me out of assisting you, I’m too broke to drive because I need to conserve my gas so I can get to work, though they forgot their lie and posted numerous pictures on Facebook and Instagram of them out at a swanky restaurant or party, bragging about how much fun they had. This list could literally go on forever. But I think you get point.

The I’m’s are basically narcissists with a little bit of passive/aggressiveness and egomania thrown in for good measure. Usually they’re innocuous and they’re not particularly bad people. But they are draining and infuriating. They have no idea that their actions affect their relationships with people in their personal as well as their professional lives. They only see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear and everything else is white noise. They can pick other people apart at the seams but when they’re called on their bullshit, they become extremely defensive, then try to flip the script and blame the issue on YOU. It’s Psych 101…..a classic move if there ever was one.

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So it brings me to this little sage piece of advice: if they’re in your life, you must make a decision if they’re worth the frustration, headaches and hurt feelings you’ll have dealing with them. Can you accept the mind-numbing fact that they are who they are and they won’t change. Or do you jump ship, swim as fast as you can to the shore, get to a safe haven, shower, change your clothes and catch the first thing smokin’ as far away from them as you can get. The choice is yours. I have some decisions to make of my own and it may be painful but I know what I need to do to preserve my sanity. You see, I’m not your garden variety woman, I have 1-800-FUCK-YOU on speed dial. I have very few problems with doing a surgical incision on relationships that are more of a liability than an asset. That’s just who I am.

So until next time, have a great weekend and I will keep everyone posted on my Winter cleaning. 🙂 Peace!

Batsh*t Crazy…Why Narcissists Make Your Head Explode!

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We all know them; we work with them,  interact with them at events, parties, numerous social gatherings, school  and yes, they’re even in our  families. The ever-present all-consuming ones who create drama…they feed off volatile situations like legendary vampires feed off human blood. They go from person to person telling tales of imaginary wrongs foisted upon them by the abundance of bad people who always mean them ill-will. And believe me, it’s always and forever someone else and never them.

They can’t keep a job because the boss, lets see — hates them, is jealous of them, less intelligent than them, less deserving of the title than them and we can’t forget the “isms”, no need to name them. Never-mind the insignificant little details that may involve tardiness, insubordination, arrogance and possible incompetence. That’s conveniently left out of the conversation because…wait for it, it’s not their fault! Shhhhhhhh….

If their relationships or marriages fall apart, of course, they’re the injured party and here comes the pity express. Need I say more. They rant, rave, pout, whine, storm out of rooms like crazy people, point fingers, foster hellish and nightmarish situations that an Academy Award winning screenwriter couldn’t possibly dream up in a thousand years. But somehow in their twisted sense of self, they will never own up to being the writer, director, editor, executive producer and star of their own melodrama or in many cases, horror film.

Oh, and lest I forget, how they can drag other people into their bizarre psychotic episodes. They can have you embroiled in conflicts that you have no knowledge of until you start receiving texts, Facebook messages, Tweets, phone calls and emails asking to explain. And your first thought is what the fuck is going on?????? Then you call them on their bullshit and out comes the righteous indignation; head explosion part deux!

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Who am I talking about….energy vampires, malignant narcissists, self-absorbed morons, all about me jerks and batshit crazy loonies who live in a world created by them, for them and about them. No matter what, they can take a perfectly happy day and obliterate it into dust. When the meme “misery loves company” was invented, it was a person who was victimized by one of these foreboding creatures.

So people, take it  from one who knows, get these joy-sucking leeches out of your life! They serve no one but themselves and they don’t love anyone more than they love themselves. It’s evidenced by the their constant praising (of themselves) and kissing their own asses.  Oops, almost forgot, they’re smarter than everyone else on the planet and  they have no hesitation in telling you that…often. These nutters will drain the last ounce of breath out of your body and brain cells out of your head. They inherently aren’t worth what you go through to deal with them. They will never change but what they will do, is change YOU!

RUN!!!!! Your physical and emotional health depends on it!!!

Raising the Minimum Wage…Why Not?

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Today I was reading where Gov. Jerry Brown backed a plan to raise California’s minimum wage to $10.00 an hour by 2016. A number of Los Angeles-area business groups criticized the legislation, saying it would unfairly burden companies. And according to the article in The Huffington Post – Los Angeles, Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, called the hike “obscene” and said it’s unrealistic to increase wages 25 percent in two years.

Well isn’t that special and of course the requisite reasoning for these businesses objections is that the legislation is done by people who don’t understand business. And they would have to pass the costs along to their customers and clientele. HOGWASH!! or BULLSHIT!!!!, you choose. California’s minimum wage is $8.00 which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. However, states like Washington ($9.19) and Oregon ($8.95) are  higher.

Most of those who support this legislation says that the hike will add about $4000 annually to a worker’s paycheck thus with the extra money, they can infuse the local economy with much-needed revenue.  How bad can that be?

I feel the problem is not that employers aren’t able to pay employees a fair living wage, it’s that many of these multimillion dollar businesses simply don’t want to. Many of the owners are motivated by greed; they’re money-whores. They have been allowed to cruise for decades with hiring illegal immigrants, low-balling wages, paying no health insurance to many of their employees ( and this is done by keeping the employees below what would be considered full-time) and in some cases,  inciting an atmosphere of fear. Their stance, because of the over-saturation of unemployed people and illegal immigrants willing to work, is that all of their employees are expendable. If the employee puts up a fuss, then SEE YA! And the reality is that they will probably have that position filled within a few days, if that long.

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I  saw a couple of months ago where the owner of the restaurant chain Mr. Chow, Michael Chow, sold his small mansion, and I’m gagging at the idea of a “small” mansion, and bought a behemoth. Michael Chow is apropos of many of these business owners and restaurateurs who are out there putting up a stink about minimum wage. And I use him as example because he comes from affluence. His father is a renown Chinese actor and his mother comes from a very wealthy family. This is why most of those business owners have no clue. They’ve never had to work for minimum wage, they’ve never had to travel for hours to and from work and they’ve never had to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. They don’t have to figure out how to pay for glasses, braces, clothing, food, shelter, school supplies and college. That’s a given for them.

Many hop into their Rolls Royce Phantoms, Bentley’s, Jags and what not,  leave work and pass by their employees standing at the bus stop, and don’t even see them because they’re invisible and go home to their mansions in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, the Hollywood Hills or wherever they decide to lay their expensive hats and handbags. Unfortunately, most couldn’t care less if they tried about their employees plight.  I have seen many domestic helpers coming out of the Hollywood Hills on foot, down perilous hills, around dangerous curves all the while their employers were luxuriating at their plush, palatial estates.  You would think that knowing their helper doesn’t have a car, they could at least take them to the bus stop. Oh Hell no, what was I thinking.

According to CNBC, California is number 9 on the list of where the wealthiest 5% in the nation lives.

Percentage of millionaire households in 2011: 6.01%
Millionaire households: 750,686
Total households: 12.49 million

To me this is obscene. I don’t begrudge anyone their hard-earned success, but a lot of the wealthiest people’s success comes from family wealth and connections. It puts a person WELL ahead of the game when you have everything in place to succeed. It’s the same with housing. We have an influx of new apartment complexes going up here in Los Angeles almost every few months, but the vast majority of working people can’t afford to live there. The rent is starting in most places, anywhere from $3000, $6000 to upwards of $13,000 a month. Who are these millionaire/billionaire developers building these complexes for if it’s not for their own ilk?

Even with a minimum wage increase to $10.00 an hour, most people still have to live in undesirable neighborhoods or way out in the Valley where the apartments are cheaper, but there’s stiff competition to rent the ones in better neighborhoods. Living in the city where it’s convenient to everything…within walking and short driving distances to supermarkets, pharmacies and shopping complexes, FORGET IT, unless you have stayed put in a rent stabilized apartment for years.

It saddens me to know that we are fast becoming a nation where fiction is now becoming fact. We are moving toward the Dystopian societies of the films Elysium and Soylent Green. The gap is widening between the rich and poor and the middle class is being slowly squeezed out of the equation entirely. So I ask again,  why not raise the minimum wage to something where people can live comfortably with some semblance of dignity and respect? Well I guess raising the minimum wage would mean the wealthy just couldn’t buy another expensive toy…and we can’t have THAT, now can we?

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The End of a Helluva Week! Time To CHILLAX!

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After a week of war mongering, political posturing, death, destruction, work overload and all around joy killing discourse, I’m glad this week is O-V-E-R! Many of us have high pressure careers and stressful lives and by Thursday, we’re seriously on life support with one foot in the grave and the other one on skates. Come Friday…we’re done!  I don’t know about you, but I need a drink.

I’m tired, I’m drained, my brain is fried and all I need now is just to cut the air up full blast (in these parts, we have a freaky heat wave sucking all of your energy and oxygen after having a pleasant summer…wouldn’t you know it), a nice cool bath, some sexy music in the background and the cap popped off the bubbly; just allowing the madness to completely drain out of my body. Good times!

I hope all of my little Scoodie-oops out in the blogosphere will find your calming piece of the world and have a CHILL weekend with whomever or whatever you have in your life that brings you joy. Until next time, CHEERS!

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We Salute Our Brave Men and Women In The Armed Forces!

Today is Armed Forces Day and as a person who knows many friends and family who have served, I can only say — I’m proud of your strength, courage, character, bravery and sense of duty. You’ve served your country well and to those still serving, stay safe, be well, know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and come home soon.

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Another Level of Stupid…Pregnancy and Babies are Not Novelties

Yes I’m on my soapbox this morning. Is there no end to the stupidity of some people? In the article below, a father starts a business of throwing sonogram parties. Allow me to remind people that sonograms are medical procedures and should be done only in a medical facility by licensed medical professionals and a doctor should be the one ordering them.

Babies are real live human beings and should not be there just for their parent’s amusement. Why on earth would a parent subject themselves, their baby and their family and friends to an unnecessary medical procedure just because it’s the newest fad and they think it’s cool ? What if that sonogram shows a problem with the baby that they didn’t know about? Then what?

I guess that little detail wasn’t necessarily thought out was it!?!? Pregnancy and babies can be a beautiful things but far too many people only like the good side of it; presents, attention, oooohing and awwwwwing, the decorating of the baby’s room, the pretty clothes, etc., but what they sometimes forget is that said baby, is not a toy or a novelty. You don’t just get to play with the kid (before birth) by rubbing your belly a million times a day and after – patting them on the head and parading them around like the newest pair of shoes or handbag.

I thought that “babymoons and push presents” were some of the most nonsensical fads surrounding expectant parenthood, but this one takes the top prize. I cannot stress enough, that this IS a medical procedure and the medical community does not recommend it. Most doctors will only order one, maybe two during the pregnancy. I’m beginning to think for some people, that having a baby is just another way to feed their malignantly narcissistic personalities.

Fla. Father’s Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties

By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES | Good Morning America – Thu, Jan 3, 2013 6:39 PM EST

  • Fla. Father's Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties (ABC News)

    Good Morning America – Fla. Father’s Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties (ABC News)

Chad Berry and his wife Camie of Fort Meyers, Fla., know from personal experience that having a baby is a miracle — their own daughter is living proof. Madisyn, now 14, was born after they lost five, two to ectopic pregnancies and three in miscarriages.

So today they offer a “glimpse of your little miracle” in a low-cost ultrasound to couples who want to celebrate the joy of pregnancy in their own homes or at celebratory venues.

Camie Berry, 38, is a certified sonographer and her husband, who used to work as a lab technician, runs the business side of Miracles Imaging. The couple is tapping into one of the latest trends in pregnancy, one that has been growing in popularity over the last several years — sonogram parties.

“We’ll get a call that someone is having a baby shower and ask if we can come,” said Chad Berry, 37. “In two weeks, Alex and Kara are having a package with us. They are renting a real nice room at a country club. We set up and bring the massage table and the screen set up for them so everyone at the baby shower can see.”

Women who opt to get a 3-D image of their child at 23 weeks, moving and showing facial expressions, say they are a fun way to share the excitement of pregnancy.

As finger food and drinks are passed around the room, the mother-to-be stretches out on an examining table while the technician moves a wand across her belly. Imaging equipment is hooked up to a TV screen or computer monitor for all the room to see.

Berry said that the services he and his wife offer should never replace routine medical care, but it can be a more affordable way to see a 3-D image not taken during a routine prenatal exam.

A hospital-based ultrasound might cost up to $800 or more locally, according to Berry. “We can do it 70 percent off because we run a small clinic.”

“The most touching one we ever did was for a couple in their 40s trying to have a baby,” he said. “She finally got pregnant and they planned a dinner at home but didn’t tell the parents. One of the grandparents was crying hysterically the whole time.”

The man had been diagnosed with cancer and told he likely would not live long enough to see the baby. “He could watch it in his own home,” said Berry. “This was the most rewarding experience to provide that to someone.”

But medical experts caution against the experience. The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Food and Drug Administration, strongly discourage having ultrasounds purely for entertainment and not for a medical reason.

An ultrasound provides reassurance and some useful information for doctors on fetal development — to confirm dates, detect a heartbeat and to check for certain genetic defects.

According to Austin, Texas, pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown, there is no “requirement” to have an ultrasound during a normal pregnancy and is up to a practitioner to determine if the woman is at high risk — usually carrying multiples or a history of pre-term labor or diabetes.

“Some doctors don’t do any,” she said.

“Yes, it is pretty cool to see your baby that way, but not necessary,” said Brown, the author of“Expecting 411.”

“In our book, we discourage couples from going to the mall and getting glamour-shots style ultrasounds,” she said. “There is no certainty of the technician’s training or if the machine is properly maintained. And, some of these photo shoots last three to four hours. It is not worth the risk of exposing your unborn baby to several hours of sound waves and excess heat.”

Technician Lisa Dixon, who is just starting up Peek a View ultrasound services in Santa Monica, Calif., confirms that the trend is growing. “‘Viewing parties’ is what they are called,” she told ABCNews.com.

She charges $375 and up for her parties, depending on location. Like Berry, she provides 3-D images and a DVD with the deal.

Miracle Images provides a “gender reveal” package for $179 anywhere between 15 or 32 weeks. For $198, a client can buy, “Watch Your Baby Grow” with a classic sonogram session during each trimester.

With the deluxe “Shower Package” for $249, Miracles Images will go to a reception hall or a home and provide a 4-D film of the fetus moving in the womb that can be Skyped to absent family or friends.

LeAnn Flippen of Lehigh, Fla., surprised her 33-week pregnant sister-in-law with a sonogram at ababy shower because the family couldn’t afford a 3-D image through their own doctor. (Insurance only pays for 2-D images, unless there are medical complications.)

“My brother was trying to be frugal because with a baby on the way, he didn’t want to spend the money,” said Flippen. “She is a dental hygienist and doesn’t get maternity leave.”

“With 3-D you see the entire face and the pudgy cheeks and nose and eyes,” said Flippen, 30.

“We ate as soon as we got there and played a game while they were setting up,” she said. “We had her chair at the front door so everyone was in front of her and she was the center of attention…. She was so excited.”

Flippen, who has two boys, is now 23 weeks pregnant with a girl. At 15 weeks, she went to Miracle Images to find out the gender in 3-D. Back in 2007, she went to another ultrasound company and had a 3-D image of her son and paid three times as much.

Viviana Aguilera, a 25-year-old teacher from Cape Coral, Fla., held her own sonogram party in her home. Friends attended in person and family from Miami watched the 4-D image of the 29-week fetus moving in her womb via Facetime on her iPad.

“It was awesome,” said Aguilera, who got a discount because her husband is in law enforcement. “The house was packed.”

Sonogram Parties Are the Rage

At first the baby wasn’t “cooperating,” she said of her daughter, who is now 2 months old. “So they made me do certain exercises and I was eating brownies and drinking Coke, trying to wake her up.”

Afterward, she received a DVD and photos. “I would definitely do it again.”

But medical experts say that even though sonograms are considered “safe,” they do not recommend them for “entertainment.”

“Ultrasound should only be performed for medical purposes with a prescription from a licensed professional so people won’t do it just for the fun of it,” said Dr. Deborah Levine of Harvard University Medical School, who is chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Ultrasound.

Certified technicians are also not supposed to practice independently, without a “physician behind them,” she said. “If a sonographer goes out to the house, you don’t know how it is calibrated, who is operating it and you don’t have the normal quality assurances as in a medical practice. You don’t have the normal checks and balances.”

But Berry of Miracles Images said no research has determined that ultrasounds are unsafe.

“We have quite a few ob/gyn doctors here that we refer women to,” he said. “Insurance covers on one or two, and especially for those on Medicaid, there is little chance for them to have them done.”

He offers discounts to active military, firefighters, first responders and police officers.

Miracle Images requires that their clients have their own doctor to provide prescribed medical sonograms and to oversee their prenatal care.

Berry insists his is no “fly-by-night” operation and has a medical director on call if ultrasound reveals medical problems. “When we find a baby with no heartbeat, we know the physician to call.”

Even LeAnn Flippen, who is now 23 weeks pregnant with her own child, doesn’t seem to worry that an ultrasound could reveal a deformity before a horrified group at a sonogram shower.

“It’s always a concern,” she said. “I guess I leave it up to God. There’s nothing I can do.”

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to One and All!

May your holidays be filled with joy, laughter and love.  Stay safe, celebrate like there’s no tomorrow and enjoy!!!

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