Day 72 The Hoover-The Narcissists Will Always Remember You… Again so What?!

Day 72

The “hoover” maneuver named after the vacuum, is based on the theory that my narcissist will always return to suck me back into his drama. Mine was no exception!  If I was an extension of my narcissist, doesn’t it stand to reason, I must remain a fixture forever in the narcissist narrative?  I was and possibly still for him a token in his mental treasure chest.  Like all of his women, (victims, sources of supply) I was and still mentally am a fixed player in his twisted, self-propitiating, endless drama.  While I may have been his first hoover, the last time he drew me in… 35 years after our original “relationship”  this could have destroyed me.  I count myself fortunate that it did NOT, for that I am grateful!  When dealing with my narcissist it was amazing that in the face of all the mental cruelty how even the slightest show of “love” impacted my better judgment.  I guess I have to always remember that when playing with the narcissist he will always manipulate the situation such that for him in every situation it ends up “heads I win, tails you lose”…  While I will always be a fixed player in my narcissist’s game, I have decided that I am NO longer playing!  In this resolve there is power, still a touch of grief, yet freedom to be sure…

Your assignment

Imagine the narcissist in your life remembers you like an old playmate.  You are a fixed character in his sick internal narrative.  Calling on you at any given moment is his prerogative, because you are simply an extension of him.  The good news for you is that YOU CAN STOP PLAYING…he CANNOT!!

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Day 71 More Maturity, Less Anxiety!

Day 71

Maturity: In psychology, maturity is the ability to respond to the environment in an appropriate manner. This response is generally learned rather than instinctive. Maturity also encompasses being aware of the correct time and place to behave and knowing when to act, according to the circumstances and the culture of the society one lives in.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maturity_(psychological)

Anxiety: is an emotion characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behavior, such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints, and rumination. It is the subjectively unpleasant feelings of dread over anticipated events, such as the feeling of imminent death. Anxiety is not the same as fear, which is a response to a real or perceived immediate threat, whereas anxiety is the expectation of future threat. Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness and worry, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing. It is often accompanied by muscular tension, restlessness, fatigue and problems in concentration. Anxiety can be appropriate, but when experienced regularly the individual may suffer from an anxiety disorder. en.wikipedia.org · Text under CC-BY-SA license

Finally, outside of the narcissist space, I began to mature.  More like I began to emotionally mature.  I have always been mature in the everyday responsible take care of my son, pay my bills and manage my home kind of way. However, all of a sudden, (a year plus AN (after narcissist)…lol) I began to see my life though a different lens, an emotionally maturing kind of lens.  It was slow at first… taking myself to therapy, committing myself to a twice a day work out routine, catching up on projects, writing, reconnecting with friends and more.  At the unset, the initial effort was herculean because I was in terrible grief over the loss of my narcissist.  Worse yet, I plowed through the loss in a state of perpetual anxiety. This state of anxiety (that I never really understood as odd) was my normal holding pattern. In time, the grief became manageable.  As I matured, the anxiety also lessened. Before this awareness, I spent a great deal of time tied up in an anxiety centered knot, just waiting for the next catastrophic fall out…  This kind of anxiety state, I discovered is NOT everyone’s normal!  Over the course of the year that followed my break up, I began to feel safe in the knowing that I was in better control of my life.  Giving up the dream of my “perfect love,” meant giving up unrealistic expectations of love.  Where albeit the highs were high, the lows were soul crushing and both anxiety driven.  It was an initial shock to my system, always poised for the chaotic fallout. The climate of waiting for the other shoe to drop (as is created by the narcissist) thwarts maturity.  After all if I spend all my time and energy trying to make the narcissist happy (who perpetually makes themselves unhappy) so that nothing bad can happen, it stands to reason something of myself will get lost in the process.  I grew up in this kind of chaos through childhood, and thought nothing odd in the reproduction of it my adult life.  I thought this was the way the world worked!  I am happy to say, I was wrong!

Day 71 Your assignment

The soul crushing anxiety produced by the threat of abandonment is really nasty!!  This is the narcissist long game.  DO NOT buy into it! Try to separate yourself from the “what could be” that causes you the most grief.  With respect to this try to take a step back and list things that are causing you grief based on what is real and possible and what is being dangled in front of you that you will never reach.

Day 70- Postmortem Analysis Becomes New Relationship Paralysis

Day 70

Richard Grannon, Spartan life coach did a really nifty video blog about the brain’s body guards. It makes more sense to me now as I try to understand the continued ways in which I overthink new friendships.    What I gleaned from Grannon’s blog; the way I see it, my brain is a superpower, equipped with emotional defenders!  These protectors work very hard to identify and keep me safe from emotional and physical harm.  They alert me to threats.  Their job is keeping me safe.  They caution me to lock my door, stay off of dimly lit streets, and be mindful of bad neighborhoods.  They urge me not to text and drive, and yes, the even warn me to keep my nose clean from narcissistic “crusties”, despite my predisposition towards the abusive or chaotic narcissists. My emotional body guards try to keep me narcissistic free while desperately trying to understand what happened because it is their job is to identify threats.  The narcissist that claimed to love me and did all kinds of really great things for me (in the beginning anyway-) was hard to spot as threats!  Convincing me that the crazy-maker that felt so righteous was really NOT good for me, was a big undertaking for the protectors!  I spent so much of myself trying to make sense of a man that continued to claim that he loved me, yet treated me with profound disregard, while blaming me for not seeing the goodness in his motivations! Once free from the narcissistic spell, the guards, (still not able to help me fully make sense of what happened) are in a kind of overdrive.  So it is easy to understand why I spent so much time trying to figure out what the hell happened – so it will NEVER happen again!  Fast forward a year later in walks Joe Almost Normal…and my brain is still on this protective overdrive.  I have the tendency to over think everything!  So any offense can become a glaring red flag, and that old pattern of analysis can really gum up new friendships. What to do?? A friend gave me some good advice; rather than focusing on each individual exchange, try and look for patterns.  Is my new friend guilty of making the occasional mistake, or is it a pattern?  Narcissists are great at making a first impression, and then slowly moving from Mr. Wonderful to Mr. Hatful-sneaky -Mean-Guy, leaving your guard in the wake of perplexing analysis long after the discard. Long lasting adult friendships that move from the platonic to the romantic are NOT so charged with the initial pixy-dust nor do they dissolve into a black abyss.  In other words, the swings from good to bad are not so profound.  So given that insight it is important not to get caught up in over analysis of every slight…

Day 70 Your assignment

Choose your battles carefully. NOT everyone is a narcissist!!  There are a lot of really good people out there, ready and looking forward to find someone as special as you!!  Be mindful, and look for patterns that may not be a good fit for you for the long game, however, give yourself and the world a chance. Living a better life is my best revenge against the narcissist and his sadistic hope that your life is in ruination!

Day 69 Peeling Away the Layers of the Narcissistic Onion and getting to Normal!

Day 69

Every layer, every lie, every understanding realized, brings normal into view.  Leaving the known, no matter how soul crushing, requires a great deal of self-reflection, discipline, and hard work.  By now, and by that I mean over a year of therapy, research, and a great deal of applied energy into action, I am beginning to see normal with greater and deeper clarity.  While I have reflected on this subject before, it is worth revisiting as each movement forward is a new vantage point.  The “getting” to the other side is slow and messy emotional kind of business, requiring among other things both grief as well as celebration.  I guess for me the two look something like this; I have grieved the loss of your soul mate from Hell! I have grieved the ideal perfection I saw in my “perfect-love.”  I equally grieve the understanding that the wounds “the love of my life” dug deeper, were old and festering for a long time.  I celebrate my chance to see the truth. I rejoice in the opportunity to find peace. I am determined to find my own happiness and discover normal.  In short, be patient, it is a long process! Getting from the “narcissist break up ground zero” point to normal, is a much longer process than I anticipated. After all, it is not a “normal break –up!”  Words like trauma bonding, love bombing, crazy making, reward, punishment, gas lighting, grooming, hovering, no-contact and so many more narcissistic relationships words are just NOT part of the normal relationship lexicon.   While I am no authority on the subject, it seems to me normal is NOT a place where anything I need is punishable by silent treatments, threats to leave me for someone better, or comments meant to diminish my preferences, likes or desires by shaming me out of having them.  Normal IS a place of safety, mutual respect, where the everyday giving and taking of two people moving together is quiet, and to some measure easy…  Every layer peeled away from the narcissistic facade reveals a deeper truth, both of the pathetic narcissist as well as the internal strength that has brought me (and I hope through my shared experiences, you) closer to normal…

Day 69 Your Assignment

Do not be afraid to celebrate your progress or allow yourself to feel washed over by grief.  Remember this is a process.  While I am not going to win any popularity contest by saying this… recovery is a LONG process.  Stay no contact with your narcissist as you peel away enough of the narcissistic layers to really see and feel normal!

Day 68 Yes Your Narcissist Misses You…So What!!

Day 68

Warning! What I am going to say is totally unsubstantiated by the research, because as opposed to my experiences all the literature suggests that out of the narcissist’s sight, is out of the narcissist’s mind!  However, I have NOT found this to be true!  I base this assertion ONLY on my experience with my former, one Mr. Narcissist.  My narcissist was in a constant state of postmortem relationship analysis (i.e. of all his past relationships).  In particular he ruminated over his own astounding move of disloyalty towards his lifetime business mentor, which ensured him a substantial career loss.  In addition, he struggled with tenuous relationships with his children, and a plethora of failed intimate relationships which he continued to keep (in his mind anyways) as “friends.”  The more than occasional disgruntled colleague, same sex friend or sibling was also part of his constant rehashing and lack of understanding of what went wrong.  The collateral damage of relationship “rubble” was difficult to deny!  It is like there was always a problem with someone and not him, but he could never figure out exactly what was wrong with them even though he strongly believed it was never a problem with him! The chaos constantly switched between intimate female relationships, his children, siblings, parents including father-type mentor and more. The mental justification to act the way he did was always interesting and went something like this; “look at those idiots, ingrates, they are jealous of my blinding success, spouse, girlfriend, accomplished children… etc.” always the projection of his internal inadequacies turned to anger!  Additionally, it was like when his anger was directed towards one of these people, I felt safe, until once again it was my turn in the narcissistic spotlight! At some point even the narcissist can’t keep telling himself “they are all jealous” and really still believe it.  It was more than just time to time, he questioned and rationalized his behavior constantly.  I observed even though he would rationalize himself as not the problem using the self-twisted rationalization, he still suffered.  Through all my experiences I promise you that even if it was only for a fleeting moment, I did see anguish.   However, so what? Unable to function as an emotionally available adult, struggling with even the slightest concept of self-awareness, trying to constantly to justify the emotional body count left in his wake…moments of self-loathing that never turned into an action plan of better treatment for the people that dare to love him… getting around this, was this how I want to spend the rest of my life?  Is this what I wanted or deserved?   The answer is NO! I have always been drawn to the weird and dysfunctional, but is time to MOVE ON! It is time to say I need something different and at the very least stay away from the CRAZYMAKERS that “MISS ME”!!

Day 68 Your Assignment

Imagine this emotional train wreck does really miss you…so what? It not like you will EVER change him and or get your needs met.  So again I will say to you, imagine he does miss you just as much as you miss him… so what?  He will manage to compartmentalize his hurt and go back to his rationalizations while you will CONTINUE to anguish!  If someone is somewhat balanced, more normal, even slightly self-actualized for more than just a brief moment, love becomes the greatest of all action words!!

Day 67 You Have to be in Full Attendance on the Road to A Better You!!

Day 67

When I became more in touch with the kind of person I wanted to be, I had to leave many habits behind.  If someone had told me a year ago that I would be out of my home participating in a fighting gym five nights a week, blogging and working to finish long term self-directed projects I would have asked “WHO ME???”  Through my challenges and growth this has become me, a better me!  A me filled with joy and in full attendance whether at church or boxing, working out, or writing! This was not always me. I spent far too many years in some kind of twilight.  I cannot blame my narcissist for the twilight sleep walk of my life!  While I can be angry about the years I lost with my narcissist, I can also be grateful.  Because I am recovering the life he would have so easily stole.   One of the best things that came out of boxing is the unyielding discipline that draws a person into the fully present.  If you spar, you have no choice but to be fully in the moment. I think it is one of the reasons I became so enamored by the sport.  Like it or not you are held to task in the moment and it is truly exhilarating!

Day 67 Your Assignment

Try to keep yourself in the now for three minutes…this is the amount of time boxers use for one full round.  Keep your thoughts in the present, even if it is just describing mentally the walls in your room, office or backyard.  Breath deep and enjoy your three minute round with the present!