[Copyright 2007 by PhoenixRising and Another Recovering Target of a Narcissist]
Once upon a time there was a bear, a badger, and a raccoon. They all lived in the same neighborhood of caves and burrows.
Bear was a commanding presence, taking up a lot of space with both his personality and size. He demanded constant reassurance of how worthy he was, and how well accomplished he was, even though his den was not out of the ordinary (and mostly dug by Badger, anyway) and he slept all winter long.
But Bear liked to boast. And because he was rather delusional and half believed his boasting, himself, he managed to convince a lot of people around him that he was something special.
The fact was Bear was not only average, which to Bear was unthinkable, he was, also, very lazy and selfish. So truthfully, he was less than average. If it weren’t for the camouflage of his words, people would have not been so impressed with the bear, Bear really was.
But no one was more fooled than poor Badger, who was deeply in love with Bear. Or in love with who she thought he was or needed him to be. And perhaps, because of this, Badger was more fooled by herself than by Bear.
Which worked out great for Bear.
Badger put up with Bear’s mood swings, and agreed with Bear so many times, her neck developed a permanent crick in it due to the constant bobbing up and down of her head.
When Bear growled and flashed his teeth to Badger, and threatened to find someone better, Badger stayed up nights thinking of how she could improve herself.
When Bear told Badger she was not smart, Badger enrolled in school.
When Bear accused Badger of going to school to find a new boyfriend, Badger quit.
Badger danced back and forth at the end of Bear’s strings so much, that she became more and more like a wooden puppet, and less and less, like a living badger.
Bear told everyone Badger was crazy. And indeed, it looked like she was.
Except to Raccoon, who was Badger’s long-time friend.
“What are you doing?” asked Raccoon. “What happened to the fierce life-embracing Badger I once knew? You never let anyone push you around before. Can’t you see what he’s doing to you?”
“He’s not like that!” said Badger. “I know he loves me. No one knows the real Bear, like I know the real Bear.”
And no matter what Raccoon said, what examples she gave of Bear’s bad treatment of Badger, Badger refused to listen. She just snapped at Raccoon, and bared her teeth.
Finally, Raccoon sadly shook her head, and walked away.
One day the spring rains came. It was an unusually wet season. Bear and Badger’s burrow started filling up with water. Straightaway, Bear abandoned the cave and Badger, and found someone else to shack up with, someone with a dry home.
But Bear would return to visit Badger. He told her he missed her and thought about her. (Bear couldn’t be too sure when he’d need her again. A person had to keep their options open, you know.)
But Badger saw Bear’s intermittent visits as proof of Bear’s real feelings for her, and Badger waited steadfastly for Bear’s permanent return, hanging on to the promises Bear left behind like the water logged flowers he picked for her on the way to her home – the promises that he would return permanently…
…some day, and take her away from here.
Badger waited, not minding the growing dampness of her home or the slowly rising waters. After all, it was for love.
And the rain kept falling.
One day, flash flood warnings resounded throughout their community, Raccoon, alarmed, rushed to save her friend.
“Get away from me, Raccoon!” Badger hissed. “Bear said he will return and I know he will!” Each time Raccoon pleaded with Badger, Raccoon was rebuffed by Badger.
The waters rose and rose. Fearing for her friend’s life, Raccoon, once again, raced to Badger’s home. From the entrance, Raccoon could hear Badger struggling and gasping for air.
“Come out! Come out!” Raccoon screamed. “Don’t you know he’s not coming back, and even if he did, he’d just as soon let you drown?”
“That’s a lie!” screamed Badger, choking on water she swallowed in her screaming.
Not being able to stand it any longer, Raccoon reached into the burrow to save her drowning friend…and Badger bit her.
Because that’s what Badgers do, when they’re cornered or threatened.
Shocked, Raccoon withdrew her hand. She looked at the open cut. Raccoon slowly extended her arm to the rain, and let the water falling from the skies, run over her wound, as her tears ran down her face.
She turned her back, and left Badger with the rising water. She could not help Badger. Badger was the only one who could make her leave the hole she had dug for herself.
Raccoon’s wounds eventually healed. She had given Badger the best of her insights. She had to let her go.
Raccoon never did know for sure what happened to Badger, except she did hear of a very wet and half drowned badger, who showed up one day in another part of the woods, on the other side of the mountain – way too far for lazy Bear to cross – who set up home, and now runs a support group for the emotionally shattered.
Raccoon likes to think it’s her friend.