While I have expressed the same sentiment about learning and discipline, in many of the past blog posts, it is worth repeating. As I repeat these thoughts, I also find myself recommitting to that same learning and discipline that has helped me escape much of the old thinking. Old thinking that translated into old habits, landed me inside the narcissistic space in the first place; and is still something I battle. As I move out of the narcissistic head space, I realize that letting go of “old” habits requires embracing new habits. New habits come from new learning experiences. New habits come from re commitment to discipline that requires letting go of old habits and learning new ones. You might think this is a walk in the park, but if we look at addiction as a model, only 2.5% of addicts will actually make lasting changes. According to AA that translated into 1 out of 100 will stay clean! So moving away from destructive habits, no matter how personally catastrophic requires commitment, learning and discipline. There are books, videos, classes and groups that are free or cost very little to join. Learning new things is important. However, keeping myself out of stress free and drama free relationships still remains a little trickery. This too is a question of commitment, learning and discipline. It is easy to excuse situations. It is easy to justify bad behaviors. It is far more difficult for me to remove myself from these elements as so much of my life I have cultivated these kinds of connections. I find that keeping true to myself is often lonely, however I have to believe that it is only a matter of time before I find my like waters!
Stay strong! Commitment to learning and discipline is a clear road out of the narcissistic head space!!
Friendships, like all relationships are not fall back positions. Friendships, relationships are earned –won and lost with every exchange. There is no such thing as we can always just remain friends. Every exchange is an opportunity to move forward or move back. Since I began my journey, in some ways regarding all relationships it has been two steps forward and one step back. It is difficult to erase a life time of behaviors and predispositions. I have cultivated and lost many friendships based on old narratives. Old narratives remind me that my needs are not important. I should try harder to get along. Why risk controversy? Why upset the applecart? Narcissist cause all kinds of mind-twisting drama then ask why can’t we all get along? It is important to be able to discern between my own attention seeking behaviors and those same behaviors from others. Friendships require energy, patience and understanding.
Day 96 Your Assignment
Learning to use your resources wisely.
Life is a habit – I see myself as a recovering accommodator, it is easy for me to fall back into the same kind of relationship again. I am drawn to the peculiar, the abusive, the “unavailable”. It is very easy for me to rationalize bad behavior. I have to work very hard to stay focused on the truth about people and how they treat me. So what to do? Use all means possible to know the people in my life. Google them! Ask about them, try and stay within a known circle of influence. Know a person’s history, and get valid sources to substantiate that history. Other qualities to look for when dating; availability is this person available? People who are in current relationships and marriages no matter what the stories/lies are not available. If someone cannot take you out for dinner they are NOT available. In the process of getting to know someone over time, (and it is definitely recommended do take your time), other things equally important as availability will emerge. For example, does a person remain true to their word or are there many broken promises? When a person breaks a promise to you do they try and explain away the broken promise or do they ignore you? Is everything good until you have a problem? Are you getting at least as much as what you are giving?
Day 95 Your Assignment
When you are attracted to a particular type of person it is tricky to navigate around your sweet spot. This is why you need to remain vigilant. If you are trying too hard and you always coming up short get out sooner than later…chances are this dynamic will not change. Do not be fooled, Assess my needs as you enter new relationships and ask yourself are you getting as much as you are giving.
Over the past year and half or so, since ending my toxic narcissistic childhood first love revisited I have kept busy. First, it was understanding the underpinnings of this insidious affliction- that is understanding narcissist abuse. I often think about if I had known then what I know now how different my life might have been. I came out of such a toxic environment, and he was for my first attempt to really belong outside of that mess. As a result of the trilogy of my mother, father and first love, my self-image, confidence as well as the understanding of my self was compromised. Well as they say, I hope it true, it is never too late I began a course of therapy both secular and non-secular and this helped me to understand both him and myself. I continued my exercise routine adding evening work outs at a fight club near my house including jujitsu and boxing which helped strengthen my body as well as my emotional head space. I began a journey of blogging. At first, I knew nothing about the internet. A generous friend gave of his time and helped me with the post. As result of our continued friendship, we now work together expanding his web design business. This month alone we working on three different profit yielding projects. With the help of another friend, I started another business. I found free poetry class and life coaching lessons the local library. I plan on taking a master gardening class there again all free. Volunteering, another free opportunity to create growth and meet people. I pay for one guitar lesson and month and of course all of this is layered into the fabric of what once was my life. The therapy I am involved with now is also free. It comes from the pastor that councils me from the church that I volunteer, I feel his investment in me has been valuable as he is really the first person to say out load- you’re not depressed, you’re just lonely. He has helped me to make weekly outreach plans, something that I have to realize is very difficult for me. Had someone told me a year and almost a half ago that I would be involved in two business, two churches, two gyms, a number of classes and new activities I would have never been able to believe it. Regardless of where the road take me, I feel I am ready to be a far better traveler.
Day 94 Your Assignment
You owe it to yourself to be your own advocate. You owe it to yourself to get busy and pursuit your purpose. While I cannot guarantee where this will take you, I can tell you the trip is far more fun when you are in the driver’s seat!
Discipline is about being congruent. Acting in harmony with thoughts, words and action defines character. This is discipline. This is being congruent. It is either black or white in this case there is no gray area. In the bazillion shades of gray that most of us eventually settle for and into discipline and being congruent can easily be misaligned. In trying to find my purpose, as I discussed in the previous blogs, I have discovered I was not always acting in being congruent with my thoughts, words and deeds. I lacked discipline. I lacked being congruent. I was not raised to trust my own thoughts. This lack of trust translated poorly into words and deeds as I was not acting in harmony with thoughts, or true feelings. This came from growing up in a place where my thought- or interpretation of reality was punished. If I was not on board with the crazy, my parents would simple dismiss, isolate, or ignore me. As a result, I became fearful of remaining true or congruent with my inner thoughts. I rationalized and justified because somehow the fear of rejection and abandonment outweighed all rational thought. In truth, I had very little trust for my own resolve. This is where I got lost. The messages I received about myself as a young girl did not help me negotiate the world from a position of strength. Growing up, if I did not go with the CRAZY flow, then I was OUT! Who wants doesn’t want to belong i.e. out? The problem with that, is as I became an adult it was an easy path to follow. I have spent the last year and some months steeped in reflection, therapy from two different therapist, I have purged myself into everything from poetry class, music class, jujitsu, boxing, volunteering, and starting new business all the while finding my purpose. In all of this I now realize that the greatest gift to myself is the ability to remain focused on my purpose as I stay in harmony with my thoughts, words and deeds. Remaining disciplined and congruent from thoughts to action plan has been a major positive movement in finding a better way out of “Crazy-Ville” and into “Normal Town”. As I become stronger, I notice that I am not alone in these struggles, I am just for the moment more conscious of my fight.
Listen to, and trust your inner narrative. Be mindful of your thoughts, words and deeds. Stay congruent with all your thoughts, words and actions. Try to be conscience of what you truly desire and work towards that end!
If you can’t identify your purpose, then finding a purpose is a or should be your purpose! The ache for companionship is real. It can be awkward, debilitating and frustrating when failed connections are the only ones that seem to manifest. The feeling of being left out of this game can be distracting when trying to discover your purpose. However, be strong! Do not allow yourself to be distracted. Your life’s ambition and your life’s work needs to your focus. It is easy to get lost in the hunt for some ideal relationship, especially when you have never really had a good connection, but this can be a trap for people who overly focus on a relationship. It is a kind of cruel twist of nature that people with intimacy issues, really hunger for intimacy and in and of itself this hunger makes them a less desirable. This neediness trap can be very difficult cycle to get out of and it is ideal narcissist prey! As for purpose, your purpose has got to your own, it cannot be an extension of another. Get to know yourself. Understand what makes YOU happy or what will make you happy. This might require some research. For example go to the local library and spend some time identifying things that interest you (–outside of relationships-). Try to think of all aspects of your life and or personality; for example physical, emotional, financial and spiritual as an example now make small goals for improvement in one or two. Find a hobby, learn a language or start playing an instrument all of this while you are searching for your life’s purpose and that is a purpose! Once you have identified your purpose, it is easy to move forward. Well at least to move forward with a greater ease and not just fixated on a personal struggles… Free from relationship dependency, you are far more likely to find both your purpose and ironically meet people that will share in YOUR interests. Each of us are beautiful and unique. No two people are the same. Find your beautiful and unique purpose, and the narcissists around you should find you less interesting!
Day 92 Your Assignment
Start thinking about your purpose. Go to the local library and begin your research. Think of it as like finding a beautiful lost work of art. The busier you are, the more interesting you become, the less interesting you become to the narcissist!
The journey continues- As I moved out the darkness of the narcissistic space, like an addict off the booze, I was forced to rework my life. Abandoning the addiction, the fantasy of false love, I was forced to examine all of the pillars that underpinned my loneliness. This was a bitter sweet journey beginning with the heart breaking realization that my mental image of my childhood sweet heart was a lie, but as I have stated many times a trip worth taking. These next days are more about that clarity that I hope will come from embracing ground zero of loneliness. The journal also acts as a continued reminder that there is no magic formula or set amount of time to pull out of the grip of narcissistic abuse. It is two steps forward and one step back. Abuse of this nature only occurs in the narcissistic space, not so much a real place, but existing all the same space! It is more like a mirage, a kind of head space that manifest because two people are willing to buy into a narcissistic fantasy- lie. Fantasy-lie can be a great release from a brutal reality-truth, but in the end remains just that, both a fantasy and a lie. Once removed from that head space, for better or worse I felt far more in touch with my own reality as well as my own demons. For me, those demons were about trying to belong in places that I just didn’t fit. Dealing with my childhood shame and history of dysfunction that would take far more than a few blogs to fully detail. I now realize, in my early adult life I was NOT working on the best version of myself. I was emotionally festering from deep inside the childhood wounds. This made me an easy target for the guy who was willing to tell me exactly what I wanted to hear! Working from the outside in, trying to recapture pieces of a lost life or more to the point trying to gain acceptance and love from indifferent, sadistic, withholding types of people that were just not interested in giving me what I needed was my way of doing business with the world. This draining pursuit of the love lie, was (and is) just that…a never ending battle, that kept devouring me. Like the mirage, narcissistic love is a cruel promise that from far away looks beautiful but disappears the closer you get! People say you have to love yourself before you can love others. While I understand and respect the mantra, the truth as I see it, love is way a thinking, a guiding principle that if used correctly will break the chains of dysfunction and loneliness. Platonic-love, romantic love, love of the world, the love for a purposeful driven life, may begin with self-love or is it the byproduct of self-love? Embarrassing the world, learning to hug, experiencing the world outside the lines while finding purpose is a tall order for those of us unable to get beyond our own trauma, anger addictions and grief. Moving forward is about the maturing evolution of all areas of life, it is a process one that requires one thing to be successful and that is no matter how slow the movement forward, never giving up!
Day 91 Your Assignment
Continue your efforts to find your own way. Never give up on your vision. Know you are not alone!
So the detour from my originally planned 90 day journey to almost a year and half (so far) to complete these 90 posts has been well worth the trip. I would have never thought to say it in the beginning, however, what began as the end of bad soul-crushing relationship, turned out to be one of the best adventures in my life. In the past months, I learned so much about trauma, both mine and his, and in the process of that, discovered that the world while a tough neighborhood, can also be good and loving place. I understand that in all my time of feeling alone, (just like you) I am not alone! There are amazing safety nets that appear the moment you look for it! Help and support manifests in the most unexpected and beautiful turns in the road. Recovery is a process, and not an easy one. It begins with the understanding of who you are, ending with the knowing of who you choose to become. Committing to that process of “becoming” is the most valuable part of the lessons learned. Learning to renegotiate the negative narratives that drive behavior while becoming your own best friend is a challenging, but the only way out of the narcissist’s hunting ground. Recently, Time magazine touted a cover that reported “TRUTH IS DEAD,” in a sermon at my church last Sunday, the Father explained that it is not truth that died, it is humanity that is dead to the truth. It is in the discovery of our own truth that gives us the ability to move forward!! I have no choice but to continue writing for the next 90 days.
You are perfect and improving-the first 90 days are just as important as the next 90 days!
There is nothing new about the 12 steps recovery model. I wonder if the tool could be used to help those of us trying to break free from abusive narcissistic relationships. Can the twelve steps be used for any addiction? Are narcissist’s addictions? Just as narcissist are addicted to narcissistic supply can narcissistic supply provider also be addicted to narcissists? Certainly anything that aims to takes you high, only to smash you down, that continues to draw you in could be considered a powerful negative addiction. Trade out the word alcohol for narcissist and I wonder if this could be a useful tool for recovery?
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
I was raised in addiction and unyielding crazy. I prided myself on not being addicted to drugs or alcohol, still could my narcissist be considered my drug of choice? It was in the pastor’s office, as I explained my “love-story” that I began to understand the underpinnings of addiction. As I spoke about the unyielding fear of my narcissist’s inevitable hoover and the shame I felt at the idea of being easily sucked back into his craziness, it became clear to my new counselor that I was an addict of sorts! He identified the source of anything that takes me high, only to smash me down, that compels me to continue to want to be close to it, is a negative addiction. How odd to think that a person could be addicted to another person! Worst yet to be addicted to a person that abuses them! Well if I am addicted to people that continue to hurt and abuse me, then I should be able to break the habit as well! So as I examined the 12 step of breaking free of alcoholism, it made all the sense in the world that I could apply the same tool to abusive relationships. So another tool in the arsenal of recovery. One thing I have learned over the course of this very long journey, that each of us as we struggle in our own way to find our way out!
Review the 12 step program, and see if it can help in breaking free from you narcissist!
For most of you following my blog, or any other blog about narcissism, the “hoover” is a well-documented part of the narcissist tool box. Briefly, the narcissist objectifies all of his prey. The narcissist continues to see his victims as a part of himself, as a result thinks nothing of returning to feed on them with little regard for their mental wellbeing. The hope is in-between the hoovers, victims are able to assimilate new understandings and insights into old narratives and behaviors. Be strong. Be ready. It is coming! While this is hurtful to be sure, I think that narcissist return for one reason, and one reason ONLY-that is to continue feeding and punishing in order to be able to feed whether consciously or unconsciously (if you or I allow it!) They are very skilled sadistic punishers, feeding off of your hurt. Sadly, I think that there sadistic punishing agendas are simply a way (perhaps the only way) to quiet their own internal shame; one of the very emotions these trauma driven people experience. Regardless of the why of it all, what to do? The inroads for them are astonishingly predictable, hang up calls from unknown numbers that come at times he would always call, texts meant for someone else, a mention of you to someone somewhere somehow, a breach into your life. Ok the day is today, you are face to face with a man (regardless of what he says) his intent is to eventually punish you for loving him and feed from your reaction. None knows this better than you and I… the victims! Everything you have done, all your work, research and therapy can be gone in an instant if you are not careful, so be VERY CAREFUL. KNOW enough to CALL THE END GAME and WALK! That is unless you are legally obligated (i.e. children together) to have some kind of contact, but even in the case of court ordered contact, protect your heart from involvement Move along! Unlike LOT’s wife (looking back at SODOM and GOMORRAH,) (in the old testament the angels said to her “DON’T LOOK BACK”, but she did and paid the price)! To do this you must know well before he returns that NO MATTER WHAT HE SAYS, you will not allow yourself to look back. This requires mental preparation, discipline and trust in yourself. The inroads to healing my childhood traumas were (are) painful, yet rewarding. No one can heal for me, fake promises of love are like the fake news, don’t believe it!
Day 88 Your Assignment
This is a very difficult post for me as I know and can feel the hoover is coming, I am prepared, but I also know it will be difficult. Be ready and know you are deserving of so much more than the lies you are about to hear. There is an old saying, “When the snow melts, the shit show.” Live in your own springtime!