Start the New Year with a (genuine) smile.

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I’ve always railed against the fake kind of happiness whose intent is to diminish, belittle, and avoid responsibility or compassion, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with a little authentic positivity. When you really think about it, there are always things to be grateful for, no matter how seemingly insignificant they are.
So let’s start the new year thinking of things to be grateful for.

(via Tessa over at Tessa Can Do It.)

My list of 10 things that make me happy:

1. My relationship with God
2. My church
3. My empathetic therapist
4. My incredible son and daughter
5. My 2 cats
6. my small but cozy home
7. my 2 blogs, one which has grown enough I make a little money from it (about $40 a month from ads)
8. my ability to write what I feel and write it well (most of the time)
9. music — almost all kinds
10. my insight into myself (even my therapist is impressed)

Music always lifts my soul, so here’s a few of my favorite mood-lifting songs (this is by no means all of them!)

This ’90s rock hit, meant ironically or not, always makes me feel better even when I’m at my lowest.

I think James Taylor was talking about God here:

This emotional ballad helped me get through some really rough times.

I never grow tired of this huge dance hit from about 2 years ago because it’s just such a great song with a positive vibe and it makes me want to turn somersaults all over my house (which I can’t do but I still want to!)

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Thanksgiving 2015 (with pictures!)

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Mr. Biggles and his Thanksgiving greeting.

I look back on last Thanksgiving and realize now how weird and sad it was. My daughter was in jail for 30 days for DUI (she has improved IMMENSELY since that experience)–I don’t recommend jail time for anyone, but it actually was a wake up call for her and she’s been making lots of positive changes this year. Now she’s engaged to a great guy, has a house, and is working full time and looking into going to college (finally!), possibly working with troubled kids or in the substance abuse field.

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I made myself sick eating these while making them. 😛

Last Thanksgiving was very strange. I had dinner with her then-boyfriend, a charmer named Paul who seemed too good to be true (and was!) He was financially stable, seemingly successful, very polite and seemed to really love my daughter, but he was actually a sociopath who in short order showed his true, evil colors, but I won’t repeat that story again (I already wrote about him early this year). My daughter, who was in jail last Thanksgiving, couldn’t join us and so it was a lonely Thanksgiving dinner with just me, Paul and my roommate Stacey who tagged along because she had nowhere else to go. The food was excellent (Paul is a very good cook and of course he was love bombing us and trying to brainwash us all with how perfect he was before the demon inside him began to come out and wreak havoc on our lives).  He had us all fooled, but that story (which I’ve told already) doesn’t belong in this post.

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Dexter all ready for the holidays in his “Ho Ho Ho” collar.

This Thanksgiving was much better–much more of a normal-family Thanksgiving.   The food was great (I brought 2 pies–which no one ate–and deviled eggs I had made this morning. While I was making them, I probably ate about 8, and the only downside to my Thanksgiving was I spent most of the time at my daughter and her fiance Ryan’s house in the bathroom, LOL! So I wasn’t very hungry, although I did pick at the delicious turkey and stuffing my ex had made.

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It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas!

Speaking of my ex, he was there, mostly staying in the kitchen cooking and washing dishes (he was probably trying to avoid me, LOL). We actually got along very well and he was on his best behavior. We even had a pleasant conversation with each other. I’m still very low contact with him (and intend to remain so) but today there was no antagonism, fighting, or drama of any kind. He even showed concern over how sick I was feeling (probably fake, but was still nice).

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I just thought this looked pretty.

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Dinner is served!

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Enjoying the food.

My daughter’s best friend was there (they seem more like sisters than friends and they look alike too) with her 1 1/2 year old son Weston. Also there was the friend’s sister and her 6 year old son Clayton. My daughter is great with the kids, especially Weston (who she babysits a lot for); I definitely think she’ll make a good mom someday.

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Ryan teasing Weston with his “glowstick” gloves.

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Soon to be newlyweds.

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Weston again.

When I arrived my daughter and her friend were putting up the Christmas decoration, my ex had started a fire, and they finally have some furniture in their lovely 3 bedroom, 2 bath house, so it looks like home now.

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They look so much in love.

After we ate (no one actually sat down to eat, as most of us just nibbled from the plates laid out on every flat surface), we went out in the backyard because it was pretty warm (60’s) and took more pictures. When it stared to get dark, I headed back to my house because I have trouble seeing on the road after dark.

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Weston and Clayton.

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Are you listening to me???

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Going for a ride!

Random thoughts on family.
I was also thinking about how my immediate family is splintered into at least 4 or 5 discrete groups located in various parts of the country. There’s my enclave of our splintered family (me, my daughter and her husband-to-be here in North Carolina, and all our pets); then there’s my son in Florida with his “adopted” family of close friends and his partner’s immediate family who almost think of him as a second son, and their 2 dogs; then there’s my 80-something mother and her extended family in the upper-middle class Chicago suburbs; and finally my aging father and his caretaker-wife in Texas, who in recent years have been celebrating the holidays by themselves or sometimes with their neighbors (since he hasn’t been well and Parkinson’s has compromised his ability to walk or speak normally).

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My son (the family empath) has this dream of organizing a huge family reunion one day when he can afford it; of anyone in the family, it means the most to him to bring everyone together at some point. He’s even made friends with distant cousins, second cousins, and other relatives I’ve never even met through Facebook and other social media and is closer to all of them than either me or his sister is, because he has reached out to them and we have not.  I think that’s beautiful but I don’t know if the family reunion idea will ever work. There’s just too much baggage, drama, and too many of us not speaking to other family members. It sucks and is very sad but that’s how it is. I think it’s commendable though that he’s the only one who actually cares about wanting to heal this family and bring us ALL together, even if his ideas are too idealistic and unrealistic and unlikely to come to fruition (half of our relatives probably wouldn’t attend anyway).

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Resting after stuffing ourselves. That’s my ex back there in the kitchen.  

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Yours truly.

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I’m not sure what she was doing here but I don’t appear to like it! 😀

I feel very thankful our little corner of the family appears to be finally healing, and for once we enjoyed a holiday with NO drama, NO stress (other than my poor stomach), good food, fun, and lots of hugs and love to go around. And I’m thankful my ex opted to stay out of the way in the kitchen most of the time. :mrgreen:

Can a malignant narcissist ever become self aware?

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Frankly, I don’t think so, and that’s what makes them malignant. I think there’s a point at which a narcissist can’t ever turn back and that’s the point at which they can’t see their own narcissism or what they do to others. And they don’t care. Malignant narcissists are happy being just the way they are, or they think they’re happy being that way. You can call out their behaviors until you’re blue in the face, and they still won’t see the obvious; instead they will attack and rage. They don’t CARE.

I have no idea how close I might have come to becoming malignant but I just thank the Lord I didn’t. I think I’m low spectrum but still on the spectrum.

If you spent your entire life surrounded by and under the thrall of malignant narcissists, you can’t escape unscathed. If all you get is a case of “fleas,” consider yourself very lucky. These toxic people infect others with their disease. I was with mine far too long.

I couldn’t understand before why it was so important for me to understand people with this disorder. Now everything’s so clear as to why. Even before I knew, I was trying to understand myself and now I’ve been brought to a place where it’s possible to change. I feel like God pulled the scales from my eyes, and I’m so grateful He did.

I’m also glad I chose the truth over saying nothing or taking this blog down (I had considered both). In fact, being in this new state of awareness feels like the beginning of a new journey–harder, but ultimately more rewarding than the last.

Thanks so much to all of you who have remained supportive during this ordeal. I had imagined the worst, but I imagined wrong. 🙂 The worst that’s happened is a few troll comments. No biggie.

Thank you!

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Closure.

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Closure can open new doors, even as one door is closing for good. There are so many other doors we can’t even imagine. Doors that may be right in front of us but we can’t see until we accept that the old door will never open again.

Sometimes just apologizing to someone can lighten your emotional load and bring closure to an uncertain or painful situation.

I had been struggling with severe guilt and shame over some things I said to someone whose views I respect. I never had ill intentions or alternative motives but this individual reacted in (what I thought was) an extreme way to my obliviousness and insensitivity.

While this individual has still chosen to no longer be friends, I respect their views about that and I think that decision is for the best.

For my part, I just feel so much better now that I apologized and had the opportunity to thank them for their friendship when it was needed. It’s no longer necessary, and because I reached out in sincerity and humility, I feel like I can finally move on. I feel so much lighter and freer than I did before I reached out. There has been closure, and that’s always a good thing.

This blog is half a year old today!

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On September 10th, 2014, after about 2 months of just reading blogs by other survivors of narcissists (and occasionally posting on Dr. George K. Simon’s wonderful blog, “Manipulative People”), my life was about to change. And it started with a small idea.

I had always like the idea of starting a blog, but didn’t for several reasons.

1. I thought it would be too hard.
2. I didn’t feel inspired enough to write articles every day or do the work to maintain a blog.
3. I had no idea what I wanted to write about.
4. I thought I forgot how to write. Seriously.

It just seemed like an overwhelming, daunting task and I just thought I wasn’t an interesting enough person with an interesting enough life to start a blog. For years while married to and living with my narc, my self esteem had been so decimated that any interests I once had were gone like the wind, and any talents I once had I was convinced were gone. I didn’t even think I was that intelligent anymore.

For a couple of months after FINALLY kicking my narc to the curb, I floundered around trying to find my bearings and get used to living without him. I was ecstatic he was gone, but I was like a ship without a rudder for awhile. I was still codependent and felt anchorless. I wasn’t used to being alone.

In about May or June of 2014 (I kicked him out in February), I started to entertain the idea of blogging and thought it might be something I might do in the future, but not anytime soon. I still had no idea what to write about. But I thought my story might be interesting. I worried it might be too depressing to write about though–why would anyone with an ounce of sanity want to read about my problems, for heaven’s sake? Maybe I’d just write about my experiences in in Wordpad and leave it at that.

I’m not sure why I started to read so much about NPD, PTSD and Aspergers in around July 2014, but I knew my ex had NPD and wanted to find out more. I also wanted to find out what made me tick and what made he and I tick and why I was always so codependent and scared of everything. I read voraciously, both blogs and too many articles and books to count.

Then in August 2014 I discovered a blog written by a woman I could relate to better than any other blogger about narcissism I’d yet come across. Like me, she’s an Aspie, and like me, she struggles with poverty, being bullied as a child, and having narcissistic parents. Like me, she likes to keep her topics varied and writes about unrelated topics sometimes. Her politics are also very much like mine. We believe the same things about the increasingly narcissistic society we live in today. We both love art, reading, talking about deep things, hate political correctness and small talk, and we both love Roz Chast and Peanuts cartoons.

But we have our differences too: Unlike me, Peep struggles with Lipedemia, morbid obesity, and numerous chronic physical conditions that make mobility difficult for her. Also, unlike me, Peep has a much more Biblical and fundamentalist view of Christianity than I do (yet we are both Christians who have asked Jesus to be our personal savior). The abuse Peep endured was much more severe than mine (and mine was pretty bad!). Unlike me too, she has no children, and is married to a non-narcissistic man and they enjoy a very loving relationship. Peep doesn’t believe any narcissists can ever be cured, while I still think the jury might be out on that, at least for a few.

Peep is also a very good writer and sometimes very funny. Her posts are always a joy to read and even when they’re depressing, they’re so helpful and well written. I devoured her blog like a dog devours steak.

Peep was the blogger who inspired me to start this one. I was reading an article on her blog one day (I can’t remember which one now) and suddenly looked up and said to myself, “That’s it. I’m starting my own blog.”

It was a clear decision, a “eureka” moment really–no more wishy washy indecisiveness and self doubt for me. The idea came so suddenly it almost seemed like it was someone else telling me to do it. Now I think it was God (I was also agnostic at the time I started the blog, but began to shed my doubts about his existence, among other things, just by WRITING.) See, I think creativity is actually very close to a spiritual experience and when we allow our God given gifts to flow, that’s when see truth and beauty and come the closest to being with God. All of us have gifts. Your job is to ask God to help you find it. It may not happen immediately, but keep asking and I promise you it will come to you. Maybe not in a “eureka” moment–it may happen more slowly–but you have a gift God wants you to share with the world.

I’m veering off topic. Sorry about that.

…So that night, I pulled up WordPress on my browser, opened it up for the first time. and that night put up my “Hello World” post

On a gut level I felt that making this blog public was incredibly important–because doing that would help me, as an Aspie who is also avoidant–connect with others. Making it public would also help me get over a lot of my social anxiety. It seemed like a crazy thing to do at first–share my personal story I wouldn’t even share with my neighbor or coworker–with God knows how many hundreds or thousands of complete strangers all over the world. But it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made, and it’s working!

Everything since that day has changed. My whole life is changing. Maybe not my external circumstances so much (yet), but I’m changing on the inside. I’ve noticed my overall tone has changed from a much more negative, pessimistic, cynical and poor-me attitude to one that’s more positive and fun.

That being said, I do have my less pleasant and more pessimistic moments and I make sure to write about those too, because it’s important to allow myself to feel and then purge my painful emotions. People who feel down can sometimes relate better to “misery loves company” than too much upbeat positive thinking. I know I can–only lately am I responding more to “positive thinking” articles.

Being too upbeat all the time isn’t the way real humans operate, and the ones who do operate that way are more annoying than a bad case of fleas. They’re probably narcissists too.

Back to the point, at this late age, I’m finally finding out what Lucky Otter is all about, and she’s pretty cool!

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This journey has been an incredible ride into the inside of my mind and soul. There have been difficult and frustrating parts of this journey–but those were actually the best parts, because it was those hard times I had in the blogosphere that taught me the most about myself and my relationship to God and to this world.

I was surprised to find I still had the gift of words that God in his grace and mercy had given me, and had never taken it away! He gave me another chance.

The growth of this blog has been incredible in the six months it has existed. I won’t get into the details about that here because I have written about that so much before, but it’s more than I ever dreamed was possible. It’s surreal.

So I’m celebrating today by congratulating this blog for turning 6 months old today and for bringing me and so many other people hope, insight, tears, and laughter. And forging some great friendships along the way.
If it weren’t for you guys, my followers–and all your support (special thanks to OM–he knows why!), this blog wouldn’t be what it is right now.

This blog is my pride and joy, my getting-big-and-unwieldy-but-much-more-interesting new child, and just like a loving mother of a big and active toddler (that’s the stage of “life” I think this blog is at right now), I want it to grow up to be the best blog it can be and to be able to help more people who feel like their hope is gone.

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Thank you all so much! ❤

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Thank you, OM!

Thank you, Opinionated Man, for the INCREDIBLE activity on this blog last night due to your reposting my rant about political correctness. I got about 20 new followers because of that. I was so busy replying to comments I couldn’t post anything else last night! Thank you so much. You’re amazing.

I can’t even.

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I was about to go to bed but decided to check my email one more time tonight, and read something unbelievable.

A person who had been reading my blog and says they are a narcissist wrote me a long email. To protect their privacy, I will not repost their email.

To paraphrase, she told me she knew she was a narcissist and felt like she didn’t deserve to live anymore. A few months ago she was ready to commit suicide. She confessed to me many of the things she’d done to hurt her husband, her kids, friends and family which I won’t go into detail about here to respect her privacy. She said she wants to change but doesn’t know how to stop. She tries, but it never works for long. She is also an ACON who had a narcissistic mother (and no father because he died when she was a child).

She’s been reading my blog for awhile and has never commented because she said she was too ashamed to even post under a handle on a public website, but she said my posts have given her so much hope that she decided not to kill herself and is starting to see a therapist who specializes in personality disorders. In the parlance of young people today, I can’t even.

I just have no words right now except tears. I’ll have to respond to her email tomorrow.

I can’t even tell you how amazing and incredible and magnificent and encouraging it is when someone tells me my blog has helped them or given them hope. I get choked up every time I hear something like that. But when it comes from a narcissist? That just proves to me there really is a God who loves every one of us.

Even if this person isn’t a narcissist, who cares? Whatever her problem, she feels better.

What an incredible gift. Who cares about spikes in stats or numbers of views, when THIS is what really, really matters.

Free association…thoughts on gratitude, pride and healing.

My head was exploding with ideas for new posts this morning (creative new ideas are almost out of control! Halleluia!) but since none are long thoughts and all came to me as I was running my morning errands and buying a few groceries (By the way, if you’ve never tried Bolthouse Smoothies, you haven’t lived. Blue Goodness is the best. Naked brand smoothies may be a little cheaper. Of course you can make your own too if you’re not lazy like me).

Free association #1. My daughter’s victory.

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I got a text from my daughter saying she pressed charges on Paul last night for assault (he had slammed her into the door, which was why it broke) and theft of property (he did still have everything of hers, including most of the money!) and the sociopath who passed himself off as such a “loving” boyfriend was arrested this morning.

Then the unbelievable (well, maybe not so unbelievable) happened. He called her from jail, crying and apologizing over and over again. I would doubt it’s genuine remorse as he is obviously a skilled psychopath–he’s probably just scared to death of her now and the fact he was called out and actually arrested for his despicable behavior, and he lost. I told her I was proud of her for having so much courage and getting justice.

I am ever so grateful. This proves there is justice in the world and karma WILL come back to haunt the evildoers who have no remorse for their actions. At the end of the day, they will get what they deserve, even if it takes longer than we expected. Sometimes we just need to grow some balls (even if we’re female) and throw away the Cowardly Lion act. With God’s grace and patience, we will be vindicated.

Free association #2: Pride: seductive and deadly.

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Proverbs 29:23 – A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Galatians 6:3 – For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

Proverbs 11:2 – [When] pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly [is] wisdom.

Proverbs 26:12 – Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? [there is] more hope of a fool than of him.

James 4:6 – But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Proverbs 16:18 – Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

I’m treading on dangerous territory now as big changes are beginning to happen since I left my narc and was inspired by God to start a blog. Doors that seemed forever locked are now opening. I feel like I take up more “space” in the world–before, my world seemed very small and claustrophobic. I felt hopelessly stifled, and at the same time I was afraid to venture out into the wider world, which I am doing now, even if right now it’s just the wider world of the Internet.

This is all fine and dandy, but it contains a deadly pitfall: the sin of Pride.

Pride in moderation is fine and healthy, as long as we don’t give all the credit for our joys and achievements to ourselves (because we are not gods–in spite of what sociopathic “prosperity preachers” like Joel Osteen tell us). We need to realize that as humans, we are vessels made by God and our first priority is to give glory to God, in whatever manner or talents He has gifted us with.

Each and every one of us has a special gift or talent we were given and the painful lessons we learned in life may be the key to what our purpose in this life may be and where our true abilities lie.

If we neglect to credit God for imbuing us with his Spirit in the form of creative, empathic, scientific, or any other type of vision, we can become full of pride–and pride is a slippery slope to full blown narcissism. That’s why so many Hollywood celebrities have become so narcissistic–because they failed to realize they are not gods themselves–their success or outstanding talent is a tool that God imbued them with and they are merely vessels. God wants nothing but the best for each and every one of us. He wants all of us to realize the potential he created us with. However, his gifts are to be used to help us best serve Him and others, not to serve ourselves.

I need to continually remind myself of God’s enormous role in the changes I’m beginning to see in my life–as well as this new, unfamiliar, optimistic feeling that I actually have a future and a purpose in this world to help first myself and then pay that forward to others.

Sure, of course, there’s going to be a little narcissistic pride (like always bragging about my stats LOL), because we are human and imperfect. That’s okay as long as I NEVER forget that it’s not all about me. God wants me to use my writing and blogging ability not to become full of myself over what it can do for ME (because that’s the point at which everything falls apart, as these Bible verses tell us), but to use it as a tool to help others fulfill their OWN potential and help them find the person God wanted THEM to be so they can use their own Godgiven gifts…and pay it forward…just like in that old 1970s shampoo commercial that said if you tell your friends, then they’ll tell their friends, and on and on and on….I know we’re not discussing brands of hair products here but the analogy is a good one.

God wants all of us to succeed, in spite of what our abusers and narcs have convinced us is true. They are lying. Because God made you special, he made me special–we are images of Him and how special and loving he is.

If you think God didn’t give you any special gift, you are mistaken. If you think you lost or wasted your gift, you are wrong. I was sure I had frittered away and wasted all my talents and abilities due to prolonged narcissistic abuse. I was sure God hated me and was using me as an example of how NOT to be, how NOT to live, as a pitiful laughing stock to the rest of the world…I really believed this!…but again, I was so, SO wrong.

Just be careful about Pride, because it’s very seductive and deadly and can veer you WAY off course, into narcissistic selfishness and darkness…and will affect all those around you in a negative way, especially yourself.

Free association #3: Could insightful narcissists be healed?

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I like to look for the good in people and maybe I’m just hopelessly naive and unrealistically optimistic, but I absolutely refuse to believe (as many people do) that certain narcissists can’t ever recover from their disorder. Perhaps true psychopaths/sociopaths and the most malignant, evil narcissists have crossed a line into darkness and it’s too late for them to change, but I think as long as a narcissist has insight into their own behavior, there is hope for them to heal. I think insight is the first step to healing for someone with this devastating personality disorder.

Right now I can think of several narcissists who have enormous insight into themselves and I think they do have hope of recovery — even if they themselves don’t believe it. There are three I am thinking of in particular: Sam Vaknin; the narcissistic commenter KWWL who recently posted on my blog about their NPD and desire to heal; and my own daughter, who may have NPD (or BPD) but has expressed a true desire to change and stop doing manipulative and bad things. I am sure there are many others, and some of them may be reading this blog right now.

I have a great deal of empathy for narcissists like these, and in that spirit, I want to say a prayer for all narcissists who have been given the divine gift of Insight:

Dear Father,
Please show these troubled people that they have goodness in them, and are the way they are due to how they were treated as children and their terror of removing the masks that serve to protect the hurt child inside, and that they have become so comfortable wearing.

Let that hurt and lonely child out in the fresh air, let that child be nurtured with your love and our prayers, keep that child safe from further hurt, teach that child that doing the right thing can be just as satisfying (and much more so) as doing the wrong thing, and show that child where their true talents are, so they can begin to walk on the side of the sunlight instead of forever attempting to walk the fence that separates the darkness from the light.

Narcissists, even the most insightful, are in grave danger of losing their balance and falling into darkness (as we all are). Father, please keep them safe from themselves, and teach them that at the end of the day, their false pride can destroy them, not to mention those they come in contact with.

Finally, Father, for the narcissists without insight, please bless them with this gift. For those with insight but who don’t want to change, bless them with the desire to change.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional therapist, and do not have an advanced degree (just a BA in Psychology and Art), and have no guarantee anything at all would work for narcs, but in thinking this problem over so much (and doing so much reading by experts in this field–M. Scott Peck, Vaknin, Hare, George K. Simon, various bloggers who believe NPD can be cured, and others), I think an insightful narcissist could be healed through a four-point program–difficult and probably very expensive, but something that possibly could work for some under the right circumstances. (These ideas are not my own–they are an amalgamation of the ideas of others–even the spiritual element of prayer and faith are from the ideas of M. Scott Peck).

How to cure an insightful and willing narcissist.
1. Emotional catharsis (brought on by loss of narcissistic supply and preceding Cold Empathy from the therapist working with them): https://otterlover58.wordpress.com/2014/11/30/could-reparenting-actually-cure-a-narcissist/
2. Dream analysis and training in Lucid Dreaming (because this may be the only time the True Self is accessible).
3. Retraining the conscience through CBT (cognitive behavioral training)
4. Faith and prayer (from others)
Insight and willingness to change must precede all of this, of course.

I am also not suggesting we should enable or give narcissists what they want. We still need to go No Contact with the malignant, psychopathic ones and those who have done damage to us, and sometimes even the ones who just annoy us.

Narcissists, if they are ever to recover, need TOUGH LOVE.

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Note to narcissists who may be reading this.
This is not and never will be a narc-free blog (see my Rules in the header). If you are a narcissist and want to talk about it honestly and civilly here, as some have already , I am inviting you to do so. If you want help, even though I can’t help you myself, I may be able to help direct you to some good resources (also see Info and Support in my header). If you don’t want to post on a public blog like this, you are free to email me with your questions or story.