Feeling like a heel.

How are you supposed to feel when you had to go no contact with someone because they invaded your boundaries and then you find out they are in a lot of pain because of your rejection?   I know it was the right thing for me and I had no other choice, but it still makes me feel like a damn heel.

I don’t expect answers; it’s a rhetorical question.  I am not going to change my mind.

I guess this means I have a sufficient level of empathy, so there’s that.

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Empathy and conscience are not the same thing.

Empathy-definition

I recently saw this little gem on another website.

If you feel upset, worried, and guilty that you don’t care about others enough, then you don’t lack empathy. That right there shows you you have a conscience. Also guilt is a sign of empathy. If there’s guilt, there’s empathy. There can be no guilt without empathy. No empathy, no guilt because they are part of each other.

I’d like to take issue with this paragraph. The author is stating that feeling guilty or having a conscience means you have empathy. I beg to differ.

Empathy is the ability to feel an emotion with another, to be able to “put yourself in another person’s shoes.” It has nothing to do, really, with having a sense of right and wrong, which is what both guilt and conscience are based on. It’s entirely possible to be a self-righteous, stiff-necked prick and not have an ounce of caring for the way others feel. Think of that teacher you hated. Chances are, that teacher had a very strong conscience and a clear idea of what was right and wrong (and held themselves to the same tough standards they expected you to meet), but thought nothing of making you feel like a wad of old gum on her sensible orthopedic shoes when you violated their lofty standards. It’s also possible to feel guilty over things that aren’t even your fault but be completely oblivious to the feelings of others. Think of the worst covert narcissist you know. Chances are, that person is constantly saying “I’m sorry” and flagellating themselves until they draw blood, but their over the top guilt stems from a need to prove they’re really a good person, not because they really care that they just put your feelings through a cheese-shredder. They aren’t going to feel your pain with you–they just want to redeem themselves and have you forgive them.

Empathy and conscience do often go together though–they’re like the peanut butter and chocolate of the world of emotions–and I don’t think it’s possible to be a high empathy person and at the same time have no conscience or the inability to feel guilt or shame. But to assume that a strong conscience or the ability to feel guilt automatically indicates high empathy just makes an ass of u and me. All having a strong conscience or sense of guilt means is you’re not a sociopath.

Where I stand on “positive thinking.”

positive_thinking_problem
Positive thinking taken to extremes is deluded thinking.

I’ve seen several blog posts about the problem of forced positive thinking lately, and since this is an issue that has concerned me for a long time, I thought I’d add my own take on it.

In recent years, there’s been an increased societal pressure toward “positive thinking.” I think two factors have led to this trend–the New Age philosophy that we can “be as gods ourselves,” and the continued glorification of the Reaganistic optimism of the 1980s. The signs are everywhere, in self-help and pop psychology books, in countless popular slogans and memes that appear on bumper stickers and coffee mugs, on motivational posters, on calendars, on the political campaign trail, and all over social media such as Facebook. The forced positive thinking brigade has even infiltrated churches. Motivational speakers like Tony Robbins and preachers of the “Prosperity Gospel” like Joel Osteen have gotten rich by telling us that if we only think positive thoughts, our entire lives will change for the better. They tell us if we let go of negative thought patterns, we can become happy, successful, healthy, and wealthy.

This is all fine and good, and personally I see nothing wrong with positive thinking for its own sake. Even if the outer trappings of your life rival those of someone living in a Third World nation, it’s certainly better for you if you can scare up a little optimism and hopefulness, and it’s definitely bad for you to dwell in hopelessness, depression and negativity. At the very least, seeing the glass as always half-full will make you more accepting of your sorry lot and therefore happier. That said, it’s incredibly difficult to see the glass as half full when there is barely a drop in your glass. That would be deluded, not positive, thinking.

For all its advantages to our psychological well-being, there’s a dark side to the positive thinking movement too, which goes hand in hand with the current societal glorification of narcissism and the nasty belief that selfishness and lack of compassion are virtues. While telling people that thinking positive thoughts is not a bad thing itself (because there is truth to the idea that negativity tends to draw in negative things–I have seen this dynamic for myself), the positive thinking movement has been taken to disturbing extremes. It’s led to victim-blaming and an overall lack of empathy for the less fortunate. The poor are blamed for their own poverty, regardless of the circumstances that might have led to it or keep them trapped there. They are told they are “not positive enough” or “made bad choices.” Even worse, some churches of the “prosperity gospel” ilk tell them they must have some moral failing or God would be rewarding them with material blessings. They are made to feel shame and guilt for their sorry financial condition. The chronically ill and disabled are likewise blamed for “not taking care of themselves” or “choosing bad habits.” It’s easy enough for someone who has never had to struggle with poverty or serious illness to thumb their noses at those who have and tell them it’s all their own fault.

broken_society

Is this the way Jesus would have acted? No, of course it isn’t. In fact, most of Jesus’ followers and disciples were the most financially and physically vulnerable members of his society. Jesus himself was humble carpenter and certainly not rich. He didn’t condemn these unfortunates or shame them for failing to be positive enough, or making the “wrong choices.” In fact, he seemed to love these vulnerable people most of all. Whatever happened to the “social gospel” of the late 19th and early 20th century? Oh, that’s right–it became “communism.” Somewhere along the way, compassion for the less fortunate and the culture of charity got twisted into “weakness” and “enabling.” The enormous popularity of Ayn Rand, who believed the greatest human evil was altruism, is disturbing, especially since her philosophy of “objectivism” has infected the minds of powerful politicians of a certain political persuasion, including many “Christians.”

While I don’t subscribe to some Christian fundamentalists’ idea that Satan is behind all this worship of greed and self-love and the denigration and victim-blaming of the less fortunate, I do think it’s a very destructive turn in the way our culture thinks, and it’s psychopathic in nature. Lately I’ve been seeing more blog articles criticizing this trend, and that seems like a good sign that at least a few people (usually victims of narcissistic abuse themselves) are finally realizing our society has become woefully empathy-deprived. Hopefully their message can break out of the blogosphere it’s currently confined to and begin to touch the hearts of The Powers That Be who are not yet completely brainwashed by the Cult of John Galt.

It’s absolutely fine (and desirable) to be a positive thinker, because positive thinking does tend to have its rewards, but blaming the misfortunes of others on their negative thinking or worse, their moral failings is just a form of societal gaslighting and is utterly evil itself. It’s also rife with hypocrisy– the Positive Thinking Powers That Be denigrate the emotions of guilt and shame for themselves, but they make sure those who haven’t been blessed the way they have feel plenty of guilt and shame for not having been “enough.” They never stop to think how impossible it is for someone who is struggling every day just to have enough to eat or with severe pain or illness to think in a positive way. It’s much easier for the already privileged and healthy to be able to say “life is good” and mean it. The well heeled Positive Thinking bots never stop to think of this–or they just don’t care, which is most likely the case, because those who haven’t been “blessed” with wealth or good health MUST have done something wrong to deserve it.

Any society that is empathy-starved is eventually going to self destruct.

For further reading, check out this article from The New York Times and also this one about empathy being a choice.

I still have so much to learn…

dunce-boy

I just spent a few minutes ordering (used) books about Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorders from Amazon. There’s still so much I don’t know, especially about my own BPD, which trips me up constantly, in spite of my attempts to be mindful and think before I act (or react).

For example, a few months ago I unintentionally alienated someone I valued as a friend. Actually two people were involved. What happened was I went on a rant because a second woman hurt my feelings, and rather than discuss this privately with her, or simply move on and chalk the whole thing up as a learning experience, I decided to write a rant and publish it. No, I did not identify the person in my rant and yes, what this person had said to me (in private) was extremely mean and hurtful (and definitely not true either). But could I just move on or let it go–or just tell the person how hurt I was? No, instead I had to turn this person’s private message to into an angry blog post. After I realized what I had done, I removed that post, but its repercussions still haunt me. This individual is absolutely convinced I am a malignant narcissist with evil intentions and has said so in public. I’m not, but based on my behavior at the time, I can understand why someone would think this is the case.

The woman who I wrote that scathing post about wasn’t someone I knew very well, and her low opinion of me (which it turned out had been low from the beginning–she just didn’t like me, which is okay, it happens to everyone) really didn’t matter too much, since we hadn’t been “friends” for very long. But in the fallout from that bad decision I made to call her out publicly, I alienated someone else whose friendship I really DID value–because it turned out that person was friends with the person I ranted about. I didn’t know.

I also did something else to anger the woman who’s friendship I valued (basically, a blatant invasion of her boundaries), but again, at the time I didn’t realize what I did would be hurtful to them. I was just so…CLUELESS. All of this impulsive borderline shit I was pulling came off to others as MALIGNANT NARCISSISM and since then I’ve had that label slapped on me by someone who mattered to me and a few who never really did. Being thought of that way by someone I value really hurts. It hurts a lot. That’s about the worst insult I could ever get (strangely enough, when I was younger, the easiest way to insult me was to call me TOO SENSITIVE, ha!)

But I deserved it too. Putting myself in my alienated friend’s shoes after the damage was done, and thinking about how I would have felt if someone did the same thing to me, I couldn’t deny that I would have been extremely angry, to say the least. Also, the timing of my actions was just too weird. I didn’t know I was hurting anyone, at least not consciously. I really didn’t. But how would my friend know I didn’t know? Why wouldn’t she think it was malicious and intentional?

what_did_i_do

The problem with having BPD is the obtuseness that comes with it. In that sense, it can resemble Aspergers because you just don’t KNOW what is appropriate. You simply are not aware of when you’re acting out, manipulating or attacking someone. I think this is one of the little-talked about things that separates BPD from full-blown narcissism. Borderlines can just be so fucking clueless. We are so out of touch with ourselves and who we really are that we don’t even have a false self to pretend to know what it’s doing. We really don’t know what the hell we’re doing and even when we think we have our behaviors under control, they still sneak out, without our even knowing. It makes you really feel crazy and out of control when later on it’s pointed out to you (as to a two year old) WHY what you said or did was wrong and WHY someone was hurt by it, when you thought it as just a normal reaction at the time and you had no earthly idea it would be so hurtful or damaging. But when you do become aware, it’s so OBVIOUS that you say to yourself, how the hell could I not SEE that?

BPD is a sort of blindness. You get so tangled up in your own emotional state you literally cannot see how you may be hurting others. You may not be throwing screaming temper tantrums or throwing things across the room, but the harmful actions come out in other, sneaky, passive-aggressive ways. You don’t WANT to hurt others, but you do anyway because YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. It sucks because as a person who does have a conscience and struggles constantly with guilt and shame, I feel remorse when I realize what I have done. The problem is, by the time I become aware, it’s often too late to repair the lost friendship. They have already given up and moved on. BPD destroys relationships.

I feel like even with the DBT skills I’ve been using and the reparenting techniques I’ve tried recently, that there is so much about this awful disorder I don’t know. I don’t know myself as well as I should. Dammit, I DON’T TRUST MYSELF! My Aspergers/Avoidant PD mitigates my Borderline symptoms to some extent, but they still come out. I avoid others partly because I’m afraid I might hurt them. I don’t want to be this way anymore.

I feel like I need to educate myself much more about BPD, and just knowing WHY we do the things we do and act out in passive aggressive ways without knowing what we’re doing, will help. So that’s why I just ordered some new books. I need to spend some more time reading and less time unintentionally creating drama, stupidly thinking that it’s “right.”

This journey of self-discovery is amazing most of the time, but sometimes facing the truth about yourself is unbelievably painful.

One last thing–if you are reading this (and you will know who you are if you read this post), I want to say I’m so sorry. I was wrong.

I feel like I’m a bad friend.

bad_friend

Tonight on a whim I looked up an old Facebook friend I hadn’t talked to since 2012 (we had been close from 2009-2011) and was shocked and very upset to learn that she died this past September of Merkel cell carcinoma. She’d had to have part of her jaw and her lips removed and I even saw her post that first announced her terminal cancer diagnosis. She asked for prayers.

I never knew. I never bothered to check in on her until tonight and felt just awful about not having been there at all for her while she was in so much pain and dying. I left a post on her wall (which is still up) telling her to rest in peace and how sorry I was. What else can you say to a dead friend you abandoned? Sure, she was only a Facebook friend but I still feel like an insensitive heel.

About two years ago, another casual friend, someone I had actually known through work who ran a blog about living in poverty in the United States, and who was known to have suffered from major depression, committed suicide. I hadn’t talked to her in several months, and it was her husband who posted about her death on her wall. I learned this horrible news THE DAY AFTER she killed herself. All I could do was offer some kind words to her bereaved husband, who had loved her very much and was understandably devastated. I felt ashamed at not having talked to this woman during the months prior to her suicide and was almost too embarrassed to say anything to her husband.

I always seem to find out bad news about friends and people I used to know on Facebook, which is another reason I don’t like Facebook too much.

But neither of these things are as terrible as the way I treated a close friend of mine from back in the 1980s. Robert was gay and he was one of my best friends for several years. We used to have a blast together, and were even roommates for awhile. I remember planning his 21st birthday party and how much fun it turned out to be (and I hate parties!)

But Robert was also promiscuous and brought strange men home while we were roommates. He also developed schizophrenia around this time, and due to both his bringing men I didn’t know to the apartment and his declining mental condition, I had no other choice but to move out. We continued to remain in touch occasionally even after I married, but over time, as friendships do when lives go in different directions, we lost contact and stopped speaking.

betrayal

Just after my son was born in 1991, I received a phone call from Robert’s sister. She told me Robert was in the hospital and very close to death. He had AIDS and had lost his vision and his mind, and was no longer able to feed himself and had to be cared for like an infant. It occurred to me he probably already had AIDS during the time I knew him. I was shocked at the news and promised to come visit him in the hospital, but I never did. In all honesty, I was afraid to see him like that and chickened out, even though I had intended to go.

He died two weeks later. His sister called again and invited me to the funeral. Again, I didn’t attend because of the guilt I felt over having abandoned him and never visited him in the hospital.

I realized later how selfish this was of me, only caring about my own needs and feeling like seeing him like that would be too upsetting and just plain weird. My friend needed me when he was dying and I let him down. I never forgave myself for that and still pray for God to forgive me for my selfishness. I’m sure He has, but I never really forgave myself.

That’s why I feel like I’m a terrible friend and maybe don’t deserve to have any.

What my fear of rejection makes me do

borderline_pd

Time for a true confession.

I’ve been focusing a bit less on narcissism because the topic itself is somewhat of a trigger for me right now.

But I’ve recently decided to write openly about my BPD, which (along with Aspergers) is often misdiagnosed as narcissism.

Besides the envy and pride I’ve previously mentioned as my worst narcissistic traits, there is one other thing that has sometimes made me wonder if I might really be a narcissist.

Whenever any male in a position of authority has tried to tell me the truth about myself (like a therapist or teacher), I want to attack them. When I was much younger (teens and 20s) this manifested as rage attacks (as it did with my therapist during my 20’s). Today it’s more likely to be expressed as sarcasm, snarkiness, or just…silence. All of this is very narcissistic of me and makes me want to cringe in the corner when I think about it. Because knowingly hurting someone goes against the bigger, better part of me, a person who is kind and compassionate and hates to see anyone suffering or hurt.

I used to torment my therapist back in the 1980s. He didn’t know the intense feelings I had for him. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. If you’ve ever watched the ’90s Nickelodeon cartoon “Hey Arnold,” you will remember how cruel Helga always was to Arnold, but secretly she mooned over him.

helga_arnold

My therapist must have hated me. I LIKED tormenting him. He sat there week after week taking it like a trouper. If he was angry or upset, he never showed it. Most likely my strong feelings and verbal attacks were a form of transference. Maybe I experience a form of transference toward any male in an authority position who mirrors me.

I finally told that therapist I was quitting. Why? Because of my fear he was so tired of my mindfucking him that he’d tell me he couldn’t be my therapist anymore. I knew I wasn’t cured, but I left anyway. Sure, I was having trouble handling my infatuation, but now I know it was really all about hurting him before he could hurt me. How stupid of me, since he was probably more than happy to see the back of me.

hateyou_leaveme

I’ve really been thinking a lot lately about my BPD and the unpleasant ways it sometimes manifests itself. The behaviors are narcissistic, and they don’t happen all the time, or with most people (thank God for that!) But the reason they exist at all is because as a Borderline, I live in mortal terror of being rejected or abandoned, and certain men in authority who tell me truths about myself may represent my father, who I was afraid would reject me (even though he wasn’t really the problem at all).

Sometimes I do wonder if I may be a narcissist.

But I know I’m not because it makes no sense. Real narcissists don’t have a conscience or empathy. They can’t be happy for you or sad for you and I can be. If I do something wrong–even if I derive some kind of sick pleasure during the time I’m engaged in it–afterwards I feel terrible. I just want to run and hide.

I’m working on these behaviors, using an old workbook I got in 1996, because lately I’ve been thinking about possibly dating again. I’m getting over my fear of finding myself with another narc, because I feel like I know enough to read them now, to see the red flags and know when to run if I must–but I also don’t want to drive a nice guy away due to my “I hate you….don’t leave me” Borderline tendencies.

There’s so much apologizing I would like to do to so many people. I know that’s not possible but I wish it were.

I know I’m changing for the better, but a lot of bad and painful emotions are coming to the surface in the process of discovering who I am, because I’m feeling again. I think my PTSD is almost healed, and that’s a great thing, but mixed in with all the nice, loving, tender emotions are some not so nice ones too. Like a maggot crawling on the petals of a rose.

I never said I was perfect.

I hate my BPD.

bpd_crazy

Sometimes my BPD rears its ugly head. It comes off as narcissism to people who don’t understand. I don’t always understand it either, and because impulsivity is a factor, when I act out in Borderline ways, I’m not even always aware at the time I’m doing it. Sometimes it doesn’t become clear to me until it’s pointed out to me later, and then I’m all, “Oh my God, what have I done?”
Then I beat myself up with guilt and shame, which is what I did today.

Even though I learned tools for handling my BPD when I was hospitalized (for Bipolar II) in 1996 and have found those tools helpful, sometimes it’s not enough and my BPD gets the best of me. I’ve been accused of being narcissistic before. I know I’m not a narcissist, but I can understand why some people might think so.

bpd_things

God, I really hate this disorder. Out of all my disorders, it’s the worst one. It trips me up so often and destroys friendships and makes people think they can’t trust me. Then it’s very hard to convince them I never had ill intentions, but acted impulsively out of whatever emotion at the moment was driving my behavior.

I think blogging was the first step in my recovery from narcissistic abuse, but I’ve reached a place where a lot of emotional garbage that was buried and frozen because of my PTSD is coming up to the surface and it HURTS A LOT. I just wanted to cry all day. I didn’t but I wanted to.

I will still blog of course (I don’t plan to ever stop either), but my BPD is showing more and I think all the weird emotions I’m feeling that I can’t understand are becoming too much for me to handle alone anymore. It was suggested to me that I really need to seek counseling at this point. I know there are free or low cost mental health services in my area I could look into.

I hate my BPD. I wish it would just go away and stay away forever. It’s caused me and people I cared about so much misery. It’s destroyed so many friendships. I don’t want this anymore. I can live with my Aspergers and even enjoy it, but being a Borderline really sucks. 😦
Just one more way my FOO fucked me over…

Why are we all so old?

old_women

It seems that most of us who have finally left their narcissistic abusers, blog about it, or have finally gone No Contact with their narcissistic FOO’s (family of origin) are not spring chickens. Most of us seem to range from our 40s to 60s.

We are just now finding out, late in life perhaps (but never too late), what WE are really all about and the way we wasted so many years staying with our abusers or allowing them to continue to control us, even from a long distance. Many of us remain terrified of our parents or siblings until a very late age. We unconsciously revert back to our childhood roles when forced to deal with them.

It hurts to realize that our younger years were wasted on being narcissistic supply to someone else, instead of becoming the productive, happy people God meant for us to be. There’s a lot of guilt when we realize how we cheated ourselves out of happiness. We neglected our abilities, abandoned our interests, never developed our minds and talents, and became vulnerable to mental illness, generally dismal self esteem, poverty and even chronic illness due to the abuse we endured. This is the way our narcs wanted us, because a weakened person is not a threat. A weakened person is obedient and won’t leave the narcissist. Most of us were trained from an early age to be supply for other narcissists.

While it’s natural to feel regret for all that we missed out on when we were younger, we need to forgive ourselves. What happened to us wasn’t our fault. It happened because we are nurturers by nature and attract narcissists who see us as easy marks. They are also pathologically envious of the qualities (such as empathy and love) we have that they will never possess. They want what we have but will slowly (or not so slowly) kill us to get it. But those qualities they envy and want so badly will always elude them, because they must come from inside themselves, not from others they have recruited to be their victims. Inside, they are emotional vacuums that are essentially empty but devour the life force from others.

It’s never too late for us to change, but I wonder why it is that you rarely sees narcissistic abuse bloggers who are much younger than their 40’s. Does it really take that long for us to wake up from our delusions that by only pleasing our narc that we will live happily ever after? And WHY does it take that long?

It’s amazing how much I have learned about myself in one short year. I never believed people when they used to tell me I would be so much happier and more confident without my needy malignant narcissist ex-husband feeding off of my patience, my finances, my emotional stability, and even my sanity. I thought this shit was normal. I was accustomed to it. Now I know it was anything but normal. Seriously, you’d have to take a gun and shoot me in the head before I’d go back to living the way I did until just over a year ago.

On abused men.

abused_man

I also sometimes wonder how many men have been victimized by narcissistic/psychopathic women (or other men). I know they exist but there seem to be very few men blogging or writing about their abuse. That’s probably because men have a harder time talking about their feelings, especially on a public blog or forum. To admit having been abused by a woman probably is seen by men as an admission of weakness, even though it’s really anything but.

I think men’s fear of being seen as weak or vulnerable puts them at a huge disadvantage and makes it less likely that they will ever be able to repair the damage done to their minds and emotions. Men are also less likely to enter therapy than women. They may finally leave their abuser, but they continue to suffer alone instead of sharing their pain and journey to wellness with others who have similar stories. I think that’s so sad.

Guilt: the great inhibitor.

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When I started this blog, I also made a commitment to 100% honesty about my feelings, no matter what. Doing that was easier than I thought and due to my honesty, I’ve become less fearful of what other people think and my self esteem has improved (though it still has a long way to go to be in the “normal” range).

About a month ago, my parents discovered this blog. My mother, though she’s in her 80’s, is active on social media and has accounts with Facebook and LinkedIn. At first I was horrified, and waited for something terrible to happen.

Nothing did, at least nothing that was evident at first.

I worry less about my father reading this blog, but then again, he’s not an MN and he actually seemed somewhat supportive of what I’m doing. If he objected to my discussing my MN mother in such a negative way, he never let on that he did. My mother, as expected has said nothing. I quietly unfriended her on Facebook because I’m linking my blog posts there now (my profile is set up so only friends can view details), but she can still access this blog directly if she wants to.

And that’s where my problem comes in. Knowing that she is probably reading every word I say is causing me to censor what I post and be about 95% honest instead of 100%. It’s stupid, because she doesn’t approve of me anyway and will say bad things about me to others no matter what. She has for years. So I don’t really understand why I’m so worried about what this 80-something woman might say about this blog to her relatives.

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Every time I want to post something, I’m hesitating if it’s about her. Since it would be dishonest of me to post wonderful, great things about her, I’m finding I’m not posting about her much lately at all.

My mother has terrified me my entire life. Even though I’m in my 50s now and I am very low contact with her (I only went No Contact with my ex), I still worry about what she might be thinking or saying about me. It’s so stupid–what difference could it possibly make? I’m not a child and I’ve already been abandoned emotionally by her, so why do I still care so much? I know I’m never going to win her approval even if I should ever become wildly successful (for her, it wouldn’t count as success because it would be ME) and what else can she say about me that she hasn’t already been saying? I don’t use real names so I can’t be sued. And finally, it’s not as if she hasn’t already read everything I’ve said about her under “My Story” already. There’s nothing worse I can say that I haven’t already said.

I know it’s irrational to censor myself for fear of what she’ll think, but I can’t seem to let go of my fear of her. I know she will never love me or approve of me. But I feel like she can still control me and she still scares me. I know much of this has a lot to do with having been programmed to always feel guilty and ashamed, even though ironically, both my parents believe guilt is a bad emotion.

How many of you have had to face this situation? What did you do to cope with it? I really need some help here, because if I can’t be 100% honest about EVERYTHING, that puts a damper on my healing.

Toxic guilt

guilt

I’m sick with 103F fever and can barely eat or move, and I still feel guilty about not going to work today even though there was no way I could have gotten through today. When I called they told me to “feel better, get some rest” but I still always feel so guilty, so unproductive.
I feel like I should go scrub the kitchen or something. I’ve been in bed all day and it’s almost 4 PM. I feel like a slug.

I still feel guilty when I take care of myself. I still feel like if I’m not doing things for other people, I’m not a good person. I know that makes no sense, but it’s how I was trained.
I also start to worry about things when I feel overwhelmed with guilt. That somehow I’ll be punished. This is a toxic sort of guilt that leads to toxic worry.

There’s good guilt (when you have hurt someone and feel sorry later) and bad guilt.
This is definitely unhealthy, bad guilt, residue of being surrounded by narcs my whole life, and it’s very toxic.

I just wrote two short posts (including this one) and that does makes me feel a little better but not enough to ease my sense of being useless.