Day 84 I am not an expert of therapy, however I do know that in this past year, while I was in traditional therapy, medication as a treatment for my loneliness (or reaction to loneliness) seemed to frequently come into the conversation. While I am a firm believer in medication for many things…I am not sure feeling alone (or the reaction to loneliness) is one of those things a pill can change. Over and over the diagnosis seemed to be some kind of depression, and while I felt sad to be sure, depression just never seemed to resonate for me. Ok so what do you do when the world keeps telling you to just take a pill because you’re depressed, when in truth you are just lonely. Is it that depression is easier for people to deal with because there is a pill? Is loneliness interpreted as something put upon the listener? I am not sure, however I guess with enough loneliness, in time, depression is sure to follow. And when you are isolated and feel like there are no options I think medication is a beautiful thing! Why do I think I am not depressed? Because, I see options. I work out twice a day, I cook, clean my house, enjoy visits with my son when he is home from college. I read, write, go on the occasional date, and maintain connections with friends and a church. I came from addiction and as a result stay away from drugs (including prescriptions) and excessive use of alcohol. Do I sound depressed?? I mentioned in another blog, I walked into a kind of church well outside of my faith. I volunteered in an effort to better understand the comings and goings of the church as well as to find some kind of grief group. In that search, I found so much more. It is committing to a new life and a new way of working any program that will make a difference. Grief is part of the reconciliation of past pain. Grief is part of letting go of old narcissistic fantasy laden relationships. Then comes letting go of the attachment to the grief and moving forward. Committing to this process is arduous! If only there was a pill, ha! I am working to make a new life, breaking the chains of a past life that did not hold the promise of connection. Connection and the commitment to making those connections work, I hope for me that this is the way to my own “happiness”!
Day 84 Your Assignment
Get out of your routine. Let go of your past. Commit to making changes. Make a game plan. Look up local churches, and see what they offer. Libraries are great places to find different activities, see what is going on at your local library (i.e. discussion groups, etc.)! These are inexpensive ways to meet new people and make rich changes in your life.
As always these are my observations, these are not the opinions of a clinician, but rather a person trying to make her way seemingly walking on a broken road. So with that in mind, if the terms souls crushing closeness feels accurate when describing a nondramatic relationship then perhaps like me, it is time to take inventory. When the question is soul crushing closeness or self-prescribed aloneness the answer can most likely be found by looking inside NOT OUT! I say this because on the regular people with intimacy issues have to make a difficult choices. That is, to be with someone (anyone) resulting in a feeling akin to soul crushing closeness or deal with an equally difficult state of affairs of – aloneness! This kind of position usually predicates disaster, perpetuating the same cycle of relationship failure. When people say “it is better to be alone than with the wrong person,” this statement may not hold the same water for people that have an intense fear of being alone. When a person with intimacy issues on a conscience level asks themselves what is better; souls crushing closeness (because of desperate and bad choices) or aloneness, understanding the ramifications of the question as well as the answer, the arduous journey of self-discovery begins. With this understanding, once having poised the first question, the next question is “WHY?” Why I am so afraid of being alone that I would rather give myself to a bad situation then hold out for something that I know will be better for me? This is of course the big question.
Day 83 Your Assignment
Think about some of your choices. Have you made bad choices because of fear of being alone? While I have no exercise that can make this any better if the answer is yes, I can say that identifying behavior is the best way to change it…
I grew up in the “never tell what goes on in the house” mentality. In other words, whatever weird or vile thing that took place in the bizarre world of my mother and father were not the kinds of things I was encouraged to share with people outside of my house. This kind of “don’t talk about what happens behind closed doors” mentality breeds a kind of collaboration with the abuser. It is instilled in early childhood as mechanism to levy guilt as a means of silence. This is the EXACT same mechanism of my past narcissistic relationship!! It was a kind of mentality that my narcissist used to emotionally tie me in closer as well as isolate me from others. “They are all jealous of you or (us)” he would say. To paraphrase he would also use the logic; they may be your friends but are not evolved enough to understand us…blah blah! This was also a familiar doctrine preached by my parents in my home of origin. I mention this because as a result of the group recovery setting, I realize this “don’t tell” technique is a widespread platform used to manipulate as well as to keep people quiet about the odd comings and goings of Mr. and Mrs. Narcissist! My new rule is that I do not want to begin or keep relationships that are built on a foundation of keeping sooooooooo many secrets!
Day 82 You Assignment
Personal business is private, and within reason I completely understand and support this notion. However, there is a difference between personal business as opposed to when a person is mistreating you and telling you this is a private affair! Ask yourself if keeping your parents or partners secrets is part of your narrative.
Sam Vaknin, self-proclaimed narcissist in two pithy sentences describes himself as a narcissist that “Loves to hate and hates to be loved.” In theory, a speculative polarized opposite or complement to his-(this) nature a pithy reply…”I feel a deep and profound need to love and in twisted way also love to need.” This is the place I feel most at easy. I want so desperately to love and feel a kind of easy in the place where I love to need. The unmet need, the failed adult relationship are my sweet spot. It is not as if I want consciously to be here but here I am all the same. Since 9/11, the world has changed, however my internal narrative has been slow to adapt. As I close over a year of therapy, I have come to identify my condition, state of affairs, “disorder” if you will as an arrested maturity due to unresolved grief. This arrested maturity has made coupling, parenting family and friendships dynamics extremely difficult to manage. I wonder, if I had met a wonderful, loving normal man early on in my life, would I be blogging about the unyielding depression that comes with trying to live out some kind of a normal suburban life? Not because I was really bored, but because it would seem, for me anyways unresolved grief DOES NOT just magically DISAPPEAR! As a result of my new insights, I decided to find a grief group or counselor. I went to a local mega church (outside of my faith). I was drawn to the mega church as every week night the parking lot was filled with cars and signs that advertised different groups. I found a number of groups, I began exploring the recovery groups. Oddly enough, it was here I found a world of people who understood my grief, shared in my life experience and most surprisingly to me was that they were asking for NOTHING (no money) in return for help. Surprisingly enough, I remembered (something I had forgotten) my mother was an alcoholic and my father was a rage filled misogynist. The fellowship immediately got me in touch with those past memories as well as a local pastor, (grief counselor) who once again asked for nothing (no money) to help me feel better. The world is an amazing place! There are avenues for all of us if we are committed to the hard work of recovery of any kind. It appears cost is not always a problem if you are sincere about getting some kind of help or support. I am not sure I will ever be the kind of person that finds comfort in the closeness or will be able to deliver on the promise of true union, however this is my ground zero. What began as this 90 day journey, has turned into 15 months and counting of arduous self-reflection. Feeling as bad as I have felt about myself, I am always surprised to discover that people see something salvageable in me.
Day 81 Your Assignment
Like me and possibly you, there are so many people looking to find relief from grief and childhood trauma. Do not let money be an excuse to not find support. There are places to go and people who will understand your grief. For better or worse, my circle of influence did not understand or could not relate to my experiences. I am hopeful I have found a place and a group of people that will. Do not be afraid to try places outside of what is comfortable for you…
I understand the NEED people have to want the hoover, because with the hoover (hoovering is a technique that is used by Narcissists (and other manipulative people) in order to “suck” their victims back into a relationship with them. Hoovering is often done after the silent treatment and is given when the victim has left them) it is the dearest hope of the victim to want the return of one’s Narcissist and in some cases can come with the hope of returning to love bombing scenario (love bombing is an attempt to influence a person by lavish demonstrations of attention) and affection or perceived unconditional love. So how I understand this process goes something like this; my brain has a default setting. In times of hopelessness, grief or despair I go back to the place I felt the best. This of course for many, including me is the love bombing stage in the narcissistic courtship. It is that palace where I felt amazing, I felt I could no wrong. Perfect! My very existence was all he needed to feel complete. It is like a mother’s love. (And here is where it gets weird!) as a “normal” mother loves without condition, she cares for her infant with limitless and boundless endearment. It is from this place of lacking unconditional love that makes the love bombing stage SOOOO glorious. It is a natural place to go when things are not going well in my “real life.” So the default setting of my past narcissistic love bombing stage reboots whenever things are not so nice in my real life. However, real life is not a love bombing stage NOR will it EVER take the place of a MOTHER’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. You either got it from your mother or you didn’t! If you didn’t get your mother’s unconditional love, the love bombing is only a cheap imitation. It is a deep rooted con, an illusion perpetrated by someone equally as damaged in the hopes of eliciting a reaction from you. This is a platform for disaster, certainly not a foundation to build a lasting relationship. The good news is once you can declare what is truly lacking in yourself it is from this place of knowing that a person can move forward. It is again a most difficult task. There is no easy answer and by no means easy solutions for such a complex problem. If we accept the current wisdom that narcissist and their counterparts are drawn together because of mutual childhood trauma, then we it owe it to ourselves to discover the origin of the trauma and grieve it in order to evolve from it and then hopefully move forward.
Day 80 Your Assignment
Real and meaningful change can only come when real and meaningful change is applied to one’s life. Recovery is as much as decision to get to the real heart of the matter…in this case your own heart! If you are looking for a hoover is it because there is something lacking in your past or present life? While identifying the parts of yourself that are lacking is difficult, it is also part of the problem as well as the solution. Who is the more evolved you??
It is from a place of “alone awareness” that recovery from narcissistic attractions and ultimate relationship failure begins. It is like when an addict admits they have a problem, and from that ground emotional zero they begin the arduous task of overcoming the addiction. For the addict, that dependence ends up retarding their very maturity. It is my thought that the same is true for people addicted to abusive and soul crushing relationships. However, bad relationships DO NOT SEEM like addictions. In fact, it is like a socially expected norm; that a few bad relationships are like the “primer” for the “ultimate –good” relationship that is right around the corner. There is even a socially acceptable tag; the “serial monogamist.” And while I guess there are some very happy people transcending the intimate realms of their lives in such a fashion, I wonder if it is as satisfying as the creating of a long term bond with another person? Narcissist and the people that try to love them are trauma centered. Bonded by a mutual unresolved childhood wound, the broken hearted continue to dance. In an attempt to fully resolve myself of the narcissistic attraction stemming from trauma, I had to first admit I felt alone and abandon by my parents. This was SOUL-CRUSHING! Then from there I had to grieve. Therapy was good, but now comes the grief… Grief is brutal, but it is a process. Recently I looked into grief support groups and I am humbled by the dramas so many of our brothers and sisters endure at the hands of people never deserving children. The GOOD NEWS is YOU and I have spent countless hours examining (YOUR) my role in (OUR) my latest narcissistic union, while trying to remove (YOURSELF) myself from the tyranny of the all too well known narcissist. That makes me and you a survivor! It is not easy to break old habits, but that is all they are, habits. Some of us learned that chaos and dysfunction were normal. Some of us were told we are not lovable. Some of us see abuse as love and love as painful. Each of us that was born into this kind of crazy have had to hit emotional rock bottom to realize that we have choices. We could choose to do nothing falling deeper into the abyss, accepting our fate and recreating the same misery or change. Change requires stopping bad behaviors, admitting and giving into the origins of the profound aloneness, giving up the known, grief as process and THEN moving on…
Day 79 Your Assignment
There will be really dark days as you grieve the loss of your relationship. There will be even darker moments as you try to reconcile your past with your present. Seek support grief groups, at least try one. If not a group, read about grief. Write a note to yourself. Tuck it away in a safe place and on it write down all your strengths, remind yourself of all your beautiful intellect, reassure yourself that a good thing can be just around the corner and smile. Every minute of every day holds an opportunity for change and growth!!