Since my trip to the Gulf Coast, I’ve been noticing this…shifting inside.  Other people have mentioned that they’ve noticed something in me has changed.  I think something has.

I don’t know exactly what it is, but I feel like more and more, I can see things as they actually are–and they almost always aren’t nearly so bad as I had feared.

I’m also starting to realize just how much I project ill will onto others where it doesn’t exist.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t have an emotionally toxic mother and a thoroughly evil husband, but it means that a lot of my paranoia, hypervigilance, suspicion and fear of others is often unfounded.   it’s nothing but a defensive mechanism, part of my disorder.

In a post from a few days ago, I talked about my mother in law. I thought she hated me for a long time, but during my trip I learned from my son that she doesn’t, not at all.   In fact she actually does care about me.  I projected ill will onto her because she isn’t a woman who is emotionally expressive and she’s very pragmatic in her dealings with others.    Being so hypervigilant and sensitive, I read that as “hate.”   I can think of several other examples of this too, where I realized it was me projecting things onto others in a negative way.

It’s like my vantage point has shifted.

At the same time these blinders to myself are being removed, I feel myself beginning to embrace the moment I’m in. Not just as a mindfulness practice, but as a real way of being and feeling. Maybe it’s due to trusting others–and the world–and God– more.  Maybe I’m slowly learning to trust again, the way I did when I was a child–and there’s awe and wonder there now mixed in with the tired old fear and shame. But it’s a new, more mindful kind of trust than the mindless gullibility I had as a young girl– a trust tempered with caution born of great pain.

Sometimes when I’m fully in the moment and allowing my heart to open to it, I feel this sort of melting…or shifting inside. It’s almost a physical feeling but not quite. It’s like the emotional equivalent of that warm, contented feeling that permeates through you like warm syrup  after a having a glass of wine.   It’s an expansive, almost loving feeling, toward life itself, and it’s delicious.

It’s not something I’m used to, and its fleetingness makes it almost hurt sometimes. I want this feeling. I want so much more of it. I miss it when it goes away again, and it always does.  It doesn’t last.   Right now, it’s such an elusive  thing and so fragile.   The fragility hurts, but it’s the kind of hurt that feels almost good, like the way a loose tooth hurt when you were a kid and you just had to keep pressing it with your tongue.  That doesn’t really accurately describe it, but it’s the closest analogy I can think of.

This feeling is better than any drug.   I need to feel it again…and again.   I need to internalize and make it a full-time part of me.

I know these are the real feelings of my inner child, who is no longer in such a deep slumber.

She’s beginning to wake up because someone–me–is learning to love and accept her for who she is and is no longer keeping her hidden away like some sort of shameful embarrassment.

One of my readers who is also a friend, described this exact same feeling to me in an email today. In some ways I think we’re at the same stage of our healing, although other details differ.

We talked a lot about that and about me as a child. I got this warmth in my chest, and acceptance of the child. Of me. I felt this softness inside, like something broke and became fluid. I felt warmth, maybe even love, to that child that was me. It was so nice to feel like that. Soft inside. Forgiving. No anger.
Now it has turned a bit cold again. But I wan’t to feel it again.

This nails the feeling exactly, and so beautifully expressed.

42 thoughts on “This…shifting.

  1. I have heard alot of people say that. That feeling, I just wish it would stay, or stick around a bit longer before it goes…why does it have to leave. Sometimes it is so short lived and that beautful sensation of feeling “all is right in the world” type of feeling from the physical warmth like from a glass of wine to your own inner peace just seems like we get teased with a glimpe of heaven and that’s why it doesn’t last…I don’t know. But liked alot about what you wrote. I too had a Narc mother and very very evil sadistic husband.

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  2. When we raise our frequency, the patters begin to change. We attract more positivity and blessings in life. Being trapped in a victim mode makes us attract the same kind who push us into feeling, more of a victim.

    Let the hurt, insult, embarrassment, shame all go in the universe.

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    • I think you’re right. It started to happen…when I let go of my hatred of narcissists and think of them as damaged people instead. Ironically, in so doing, I could start to let the past go and begin to let go of my shame. I also am finding out that God used what happened to me to make me even better than I could have been. That doesn’t mean God is a mean bully who makes bad things happen to us, but that he sometimes allows it, and then turns it into a kind of blessing if we are listening. Being trapped in victim mode (as I was for most of my life and sometimes still am) really sucks. I want out of that.

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  3. I’ve had a similar change in myself over the last week or two. I’ve been attending a men’s group weekly for the last month and last week I had a really huge breakthrough. I know the feeling. I’m glad you have noticed a change for the better in yourself. I wish you all the best 🙂

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  4. That was beautiful. That expansive warm feeling you describe is what I am consoled with myself, on more and more occasions, when I talk to God and place my whole trust in Him, in a sleepy sort of way. I know He sees me exactly as I am so I have to trust my instincts as well. It’s a letting go, to let your authentic self (what you call your inner child) free. However, if I “reach” for the warm feeling (reaching is our own action, not God’s), when I “trust” God for the effect, rather than for God, the feeling tends to disappear. One has to trust that God understands however, how much we need this feeling, He forgives as well the reaching, and the more confidence we place in Him the more He will repay. He is never angry and never expects from us more than we can give. He sees us exactly the way we are, and wants us to know how loving and providential He is, the ultimate provider. If He was a mean Man With a Stick he’d lend us the stick to battle our inner critic over the head.

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  5. “So true, and your last sentence is epic. 😄

    Ha ha! Yes! When you discover the little secret that your inner critic doesn’t want you to find out, that God is actually on your side, not his, your inner critic will shrink into a laugh-worthy frustrated little man. I purposely laugh at my inner critic now, and am more able to distinguish the voice of my true conscience, over the inner critic’s inane accusations. I am actually smiling to myself as I write this, thinking “the joke’s on him!”

    I think true conscience just presents itself like “knowledge”, something we know to be true. A conscience is just that, a conscience, an awareness of something. We can choose to act on what we know, to “do the right thing”, or not (that’s where free will comes in) but it’s an error to think our conscience judges us. A conscience doesn’t say “coulda shoulda woulda” to us until we want to puke. It is only God that can judge us fairly.

    Guilt exists when we do something wrong, but true guilt, I believe, is more of a quiet knowledge, when we are indeed guilty of something, an awareness that we are responsible for something, that we have separated ourselves from God. Guilt is, well, guilt. But true guilt is not a toxic, deathly shameful feeling like our inner critic would impose. It was not God who induced Judas to despair. It was his inner critic.

    Now when I watch the Mel Gibson movie, The Passion of Christ, I think of that, and I think God may have had mercy on Judas, even though he committed suicide, because he could not distinguish between the voices inside his head. The accusatory, unmerciful voice is always a liar, a manipulator and a thief, just trying to frighten us to death with cheap tricks and gimmicks.

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    • That’s funny to think of my inner critic as this fussy, annoying, persnickety little man, probably wearing coke-bottle glasses and a plastic pocket protector. LOL!

      I think guilt definitely has it’s place. Without it, everyone would be a psychopath. It keeps us civilized. It’s when it becomes excessive and you blame yourself for things you never did (usually because you’re being controlled by an abuser or your self esteem was obliterated by narc parents) — that’s when guilt becomes toxic. In small doses, it’s necessary, and I get tired of all the self-help gurus who tell you that feeling guilty is somehow shameful or unhealthy. If you did something wrong, you SHOULD feel guilty!

      That’s not the same thing as shame, which means hating YOURSELF, not hating something you DID.

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      • Lucky Otter what you say about guilt is so true. So often the world goes from one error (a disproportionate focus on guilt- scrupulosity- the inner critic) to the opposite, but equally erroneous error, lack of “any” focus on guilt, as if guilt is just an illusion, a remnant of something superstitious and archaic “imposed by our Catholicity”. Bull****. We are either guilty of something or we are not. A well formed conscious will feel guilty and make amends. This is a healthy thing, for us and for others. Scrupulosity has never been condoned by the Catholic faith (scrupulosity is actually condemned as a heresy) even though narcissistic “Catholic” parents may have instilled this in us. When people ask me “but doesn’t the church teach this and that is a mortal sin?” I say “Yes, of course. But she also teaches a very limited criteria involving our direct intent for us to be actually “guilty”of that sin in a “mortal” or “deadly” way, even if we have “committed” it. God is merciful and understanding to us and never turns His face away. If we do sin intentionally and mortally (give up trying “to be good”, “living” in sin) it is still only us turning our faces away, allowing our concious “to die”. But God remains constant in His love, mercy and understanding, and He has this convenient habit of bringing things dead back to life….

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        • Adding to my previous comment on guilt, I think sex outside of marriage is a good example. I believe every person knows deep down inside that physical intimacy is only correctly ordered when two people love and trust each other enough to get married. That is because it IS a big, passionate, personal deal. It is about true love, that never ends, that we a ALL deserve. The sexual union is so powerful it can create life, for God’s sake. That being said, we are all human, we are all weak, and God is merciful to the lonely who seek, not to offend him, but medicate their loneliness with an illusion of intimacy and trust for a singular moment (or 15 minutes lol) when the real thing seems “denied them” in life. Uncommitted sex is the wrong medication for loneliness, as many used women have found out, but God did not say “go to hell” to the repentant prostitute woman, He said “sin no more.” What’s interesting to me in that parable, was how it wasn’t recorded what Christ said to the men who used her, but I imagine the men involved had already turned away from God through their sins, but the prostitutes heart had never left Him, i.e. she hadn’t sinned “mortally”.

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  6. Wow good job.

    I think that’s what happens when you courageously confront your issues and inner demons- when exposed to the light, they look scary at first, but eventually they run like cockroaches and you can see they’re not so scary after all. Light a teeny candle in a big room, and no more darkness. Light always trumps darkness.

    “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

    And I’ve found the same thing with God- when you confess your sins and shortcomings to him, even if they seem really bad, it turns out he’s not surprised or shocked or horrified or angry- he knew all along. No matter how bad your (fill in the blank), he forgives you and loves you and even likes you and approves of you.

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  7. I have found this blog today and have been reading your posts about scapegoats, especially those about poverty and being victimized in adult life. I can relate to all you have written about this subject. It feels good to know that I am not alone.

    Thank you so much for your work, Luckyotter. I will keep on reading your helpful articles and wish you all the best!

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  8. This excellent blog spoke to me deeply about a growing recognition of my own projection that people are hostile and that the world is brutal and cold. It helps to have toddler grandchildren that let me see the world through different eyes. They aren’t jaded about people yet and I’m touched by their wonder at small things. I feel this shift too as I keep hearing these words in my mind “trust in the Lord, don’t lean on your own understanding, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”
    I’d told myself “you didn’t get the job” and had a sob story in line that ageism would prevent me ever working again no matter how qualified. I heard that passage “don’t lean on your own understanding” which in my case is shaped be a belief that people are unkind and brutally cruel. This new perspective, seeing the world with new eyes lets you see what is beautiful and the sense of well being, the absence of turmoil makes life a delight instead of a prison sentence.

    I was convinced that I didn’t get the job I applied for, I started a story line in my head about what that meant about my lack of opportunity when I heard this too “stop writing your sad story, God isn’t done writing the conclusion”… On Tuesday I found out I got the job! Letting go of preconceived anxious thoughts is real freedom and life begins to really change

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    • I agree with what everyone is saying here. What a delight to be able to discuss this with people who understand. It is soooo easy to slip into anger and paranoia when one has been trained by a parent you loved, but who really did not love back in a healthy manner. Often narcissists will smear campaign you to others your whole life as well, so it becomes “normal” to expect that your dear friend, or beloved relative, has been “turned” against you. After one episode of prolonged crises, I began second guessing the attitude of grocery store clerks, bank tellers, even my own children. It was only when I realized “Hey this is paranoid” that I had the strength to choose reality over suspicions, and not let my narcissist win by making me as crazy as she is. Living with a narc parent really can trigger so many other disorders. Common sense balance and grounding as well as child like trust in God’s goodness, mercy and benevolence are the only tools, I believe, for not only surviving, but thriving! The world really IS a beautiful, joyful, loving place, despite it’s sorrows. Me thinks someone didn’t want us to find out, poor deluded narcissists…I guess they underestimated God’s goodness to us. 😜

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  9. Your blog is very therapeutic and you talk about things that are new to me. I’m becoming more mindful, but, aren’t sure I’ve seen my inner child yet. Probably not or I would have known it.

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  10. This is so inspiring…i was reading today about BPD and neurosis..lot of the neurosis is we turn the pain of rejection or hurt into an inner critic designed to protect us from further harm and if we believe this negative voice we cant even be open enough to open an honest reality check conversation with the other person..We project past hurt and past hurt has to be left in the past which can only be done once we understand where it came from and the role we play in replaying it over and over..Brilliant post. LO.

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