Life was good before the Narcissist came into our world. We lived in a house on Oxford Way near Mitchell’s Cove, with peach trees in the back and close enough to the ocean to hear the sea lions. On weekends we drove up to the ranch to see Grandpa Tony. The family business was run off the ranch. My father, Johnny, was raised and worked up at the ranch. My Grandfather Tony lived there, before him, his father Francisco. Many Italian immigrant families lived and worked on the North Coast of Santa Cruz. The Ohlone Indians were there before us. It was our sacred safe place in the world.
The pasture had red cows, a pond, oak trees, green rolling hills, covered by orange California poppies in the spring. Salamanders and a chorus of frogs inhabit the pond. We float surf boards out into the middle, drift on our bellies. Big-eyed tadpole, black muck on the bottom of the pond. It’s a spiritual place. A mystery hides underneath that pond.
With all that bliss around us, one day in the late 1970s, a Narcissist named Bob Limpkins appeared. He was a member of the Yacht Club and was dating my aunt Elvira. Bob was a nice guy. He kept one hand in his pocket, chit-chat, never sat with us to eat. Just circled around studying us with his glass of Chardonnay. He was perfect, a normal person. Nothing is out of place, not a speck of dust on his blue Mercedes.
Elvira and I were close, she is my father’s sister. In the tiny bathroom in her duplex apartment on Windham Street, I would watch her put on makeup and get dressed up for dates with Bob. She had long, black hair and tan skin. She worked at the bank on Mission Street.
On holidays, when she was single, Elvi came with me, my brother, father & mother, in the good old days. She gave us gifts like money trees and make an appoint to have my “colors” done. Every birthday she was there to help open presents and feed the kids cake. I told her “Wear the groovy paisley, purple mini dress.” Elvi, had a 38 pistol under her four poster bed, and a boyfriend that drove a Porsche and raced yachts.
The princess had found her prince. Elvira wanted to marry Bob Limpkins, of the San Jose State Limpkins. Self proclaimed, philanthropists that put their name on buildings and in the newspaper. On my aunt’s wish, I intervened and brokered the deal. I told the Bob, “She will marry the man who gives her a music box.” He bought a lovely wooden music box for her. The day of the wedding we couldn’t go because we were all sick. A foreshadowing of what is to become.
They went to the U.K on their honeymoon. It was the time of Prince Charles marriage to Princess Diana, they were the Prince Charles & Diana of Santa Cruz (in their minds). Evli told me when they came home from England, that “there is a place for the royals and a place for the peasants.” She didn’t look happy about that information. She was never comfortable with narcissism Hob Nob Bob exhibited. She wasn’t cruel, or mean to us. I could never figure out why Bob thought he was so cool. Now I know entitlement is a narc trait.
Splinters of Narcissism red flags, came right when they returned from their honeymoon. Limpkins had put Elvira’s family down, calling us “blue collar” because we worked with our hands, drilling water and oil wells. He is rich, white collar and a covert narc. I had no idea what a sociopath was, or a passive aggressive, now there is a vampiric narcissist is among us. The knowledge of covert narcissism and gaslighting would not me revealed to me until 30 years later. The Narc had a huge head start and many years in training. His whole family are Narcs.
Eliv gave me a gold and diamond promise ring when I graduated from 8th grade. Years later I would pawn in on 42nd Street and 9th Ave. when I was hungry. At the time of the royal wedding, everything was rosy, we got married, here is a bottle of wine. A perfect image.
A Broken Heart is a Broken Heart…
After years of brooding over working and being under the gun with my Grandfather, Johnny and Tony had an argument and Johnny struck Tony. He felt awful, called 911 and left the ranch. When I came home, there were cops outside. Johnny went down town to the police station, my grandfather didn’t file any charges.
I called immediately my grandfather said he was “Ok, but be careful, your father is violent.” I put the phone down. Then months of quiet was in the house. My parents had divorced a year earlier and taken my brother Max up north to live with my mother and her new husband. After that tornado ripped through the house, Bob the covert narcissist targets us.
Out the blue, a phone call came in one night. It was Elvira telling us my grandfather had crossed out Johnny’s name in his will. Her husband, Bob Limpkins, asked Elvira to betray her brother and get Tony to disinherit him. Bob parroted from behind Elvira on the phone and said it was “for clarity.”
It confused me, because I had just spoken to my grandfather, we were ok. Now suddenly, Elvira and Bob have stepped in to take advantage of a bad situation. This threw us off balance emotionally, financially and put us in survival mode after a life of abundance, safety and stability.
Elvira was a teenager when I was born. I had never heard aunt Elvira cry, until creepy uncle Bob appeared, intimidating in the background in full triangulation mode. In person he is a wimp. hides behind his stuffy office walls, calls out commands for his wife to enforce and creates chaos.
When you are at work trying to pay the bills, or asleep on the weekend, the covert narcissistic is in action via triangulation. Turning Elvira against her family, breaking her spirit, giving her diamond ring love bombs in between. Playing the grand philanthropist all around Santa Cruz and San Jose State University. I knew something was wrong, I just didn’t know there was a playbook and a word for it.