Why unrelenting, chronic rage is so toxic.

monsters-nietzsche

There is nothing wrong with anger when it’s needed. Righteous anger is a normal human emotion and helps us survive. When we are faced with danger, unfair treatment, or have been attacked (either overtly or covertly) by dangerous people, it’s normal to feel rage and anger. Anger is a stronger, more proactive emotion than fear, which it normally overrides if it’s powerful enough. Fear keeps us stuck in abusive relationships. Righteous anger is the only emotion that can give a normally fearful abuse victim the motivation and drive to leave their abusers and/or take action against them. All this is perfectly healthy and anything less than that is bound to keep you stuck in an abusive, codependent relationship.

But some people, especially those who suffered horrendous abuse by their own parents or caregivers who were supposed to love them, cannot let go of their rage, even after they go No Contact. That’s understandable, especially if their lives have been ruined due to the abuse they endured. But chronic rage isn’t healthy or helpful. Staying in a state of unrelenting, permanent anger is physically, mentally, and spiritually dangerous because it continues to fester and build on itself long after any immediate danger is past. Chronic rage destroys the body by releasing unhealthy levels of cortisone (the fight-or-flight hormone) into the blood, and this can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, heart problems including heart attacks, and a host of other medical problems. Anger is bad for the body when it’s chronic. High levels of cortisone brought on by rage are meant to be temporary and allow the person to confront or escape; otherwise it’s a poison.

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Chronic rage is mentally and spiritually dangerous too. It festers away inside a person and causes them to become bitter and toxic to themselves as well as to others. It prevents a person from ever being able to feel true happiness or enjoy life. Chronically angry people are hard, unforgiving, bitter, cynical, easily enraged, and in great danger of becoming narcissistic themselves. I’ve become sadly aware of this sort of thing happening to some victims of abuse. That’s why I don’t think people should remain in a state of chronic anger, if it’s at all possible for them to move away from it. A good (non-narcissistic) therapist can help–or a pastor, rabbi or priest, or even a mature, empathetic non-angry friend if a competent therapist is unaffordable.

Letting go of rage doesn’t mean loving, enabling or forgiving your abusers. It doesn’t mean “hugging the narcs” or feeling sympathy for them, if you’re not so inclined. Letting go of anger when the danger is past is simply a step toward health and healing. The sort of unrelenting, chronic anger I’ve seen so often that keeps people stuck in a mentally dark place even without their abusers present can become a form of self-abuse. In essence, their abusers are continuing to destroy them even if they are no longer in contact.

Chronic, unrelenting rage can turn formerly good people into exactly the kind of people they hate the most–narcissists. They may not be aware this is happening to them, but others can see it. This is also one of the reasons why narcissism is so contagious and is sometimes compared to a communicable disease. Abusive, malignant narcissists can easily turn a person into one of them. Even Henry Rollins said so.

This is not a nice post.

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I committed to complete honesty in my blog, even when it means I have to show an ugly side I prefer others not see. This blog is the only place I can be completely honest about everything regarding myself and the Narcs in my life, so I don’t expect everyone to like this post. In fact, some of you may hate it. It’s ugly, and it’s negative, and it’s petty, but it’s also something that’s REALLY bothering me, and since this blog is, first and foremost, self-therapy, sometimes ugly stuff is going to come up. What I’m going to write about may even make some of you suspect I’m the narcissist, but read further if you want to understand. I really wish I didn’t feel this way and didn’t have to write this ugly post.

I’m going to keep this short because I don’t want to dwell on it. In fact, I’d really just like to forget about it and move on. But I’m obsessing, so maybe writing about it in my blog will help me to let it go. I can’t talk about this with anyone I know IRL.

For those of you who have read my entire story (click the “My Story” link in the green header), you already know I spent many years supporting a man I was no longer married to, allowing him to freeload, trash my house, take over my home, abuse me and my family, and suck me dry financially, spiritually and emotionally for 7 years after we were no longer married to each other.

In 2010 or 2011, Michael applied for disability. I won’t say he isn’t disabled, because in a relative sense he is. I do think his “mental problems” are largely fabricated. The guy is a Narc–that’s his primary mental problem. I don’t believe he is actually Bipolar and he certainly isn’t suffering from PTSD. I don’t think Narcs can suffer from PTSD (can they?) although perhaps they can be bipolar. But I know him, and I know 99% of it is an act, so that he could appear “crazy” enough to get the treatment required by SSI so he would qualify–and also be able to stay in a psyciatric ward during the time when he would have otherwise been homeless.

Keep in mind that Michael didn’t have a second thought about ousting me from MY home (AND taking my kids away from me) back in 2003 when he was working in cahoots with his flying monkey Rachel who had taken over my home. He never apologized for this either. Yet he hates me because I “made him homeless” because after waiting on him hand and foot for 7 years and getting (and asking) nothing in return other than some help with the bills (which because he refused to work he couldn’t provide) I finally tossed him out when I reached my breaking point when he gave my daughter a black eye. I told him way back in 2007 when he first moved back in with me I would not tolerate violence. Well, he broke that promise. If he hadn’t done that, chances are I would still be putting up with him today.

During the time he was waiting for disability, he did so by my charity. If it hadn’t been for me providing him a place to live–and otherwise supporting him, he would probably have died on the streets since no one else would put up with him (and everyone else had kicked him out). He would never have gotten his SSI because no one would have sacrificed their happiness, given over their home, or put up with his intolerable, exploitative behavior for that long.

One day recently I sat down and calculated how much he had cost me over the 7 years he lived with me and the 5 he lived as a human leech and did not contribute one penny to the household expenses. I spent at least $20K on him, including turning over at least a third of my tax returns to him for at least 4 of those years. And this after he whined countless times, “But I don’t cost you anything!” Yeah, right.

Today he got his SSI check–not the regular monthly check, but the back pay going back to the time he stopped working in about 2008. The check he got is for well over $30K. So this useless, narcissistic, evil, hateful, exploitative, pathetic excuse for a human being is being rewarded–on the backs of the two people (me and my daughter) who made it all possible for him (not to mention the taxpayers). And yet….he told my daughter I will not get a dime of this money. Even though he saw how much I struggle financially, even though I work my ass off, even though I do all this with a smile on my face…not once during the time he lived with me did he show one iota of empathy or even offer to help around the house. Even after working all day, I came home and did all the housework–which meant cleaning up after him because he sat here getting high and trashed the house every day.

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If I was going to make him accountable for what I had to spend on him, I would ask him for $20K. But I will not do that. I feel $3500 is fair. Of course he is not legally obligated to pay me this sum, nor do I have any legal rights to it. I don’t have a case in the eyes of the law. I don’t expect to get a dime from him, in fact, knowing his history with money, I expect he will spent most of it on drugs and gambling, maybe buy himself a nice new car (while my transmission on my 2001 Taurus is almost shot) and find a place to rent. The rest he’ll spend on whims–because that’s the way he operates. He sees something and has to have it right now. Like most narcs, he’s stuck at the emotional level of a very young child. The money he has will probably be gone in six months.
But it still doesn’t make me feel any better. I feel like I’ve been had. Used and used up.

I’m still dirt poor and now the asshat’s got a shitload of money for doing absolutely nothing except use me to freeload off of while he waited to get that money, and the unfairness of it is astounding and infuriating and makes me want to break a lot of things.

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I understand if this sounds incredibly self indulgent, childish, and petty, and I apologize for that. I’m not too proud of it either. But I just don’t understand why Narcs ALWAYS seem to come out ahead, leaving a trail of destruction and misery behind them. I hope there’s a such thing as karma.

The Serenity Prayer comes in handy in times like this.

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The Courage to change the things I can
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

It’s the only thing I can do.

Why my parents disowned me.

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I was going to skip over this post, but I think it’s an important thread in my entire story of psychopathic abuse. I’m going to keep it as short as possible though, just because I really don’t feel like writing too much tonight. But I’m afraid if I don’t write about it now, I might forget.

I have already explained that I’m certain my narcissistic mother never loved me, although she pretended to when it was convenient. I spent much of my childhood and adolescence in a state of “learned helplessness” as a result of their incredible mindfuck–I was expected to achieve (on their own terms) and punished if I did not, yet at the same time I was being psychologically programmed to fail. For more detail, you can read my earlier entries (click on “My Story” in the green header above) which will explain how this mindfuck worked.

To make a long story short, I think I would have been disowned regardless. If I had become a financially successful adult, I would have been a HUGE threat to my NPD mother and she would have cut me off. I have noticed the way she denigrates and says terrible things about any powerful woman she envies (she is very transparent)–my mother always dreamed of being a Martha Stewart-like success story. She always took pride in her homemaking, entertaining, and “gourmet” cooking. And she always admired and envied the rich and powerful, something Martha certainly is. My mother’s achievements don’t hold a candle to Martha’s and she knows it. I remember several years ago my mother ranting over how ugly and gauche she thought Martha Stewart was. I saw right through her hatred–for a narcissist, almost all their hatred is fueled by envy. If I had become more successful than my mother, she would have cut me out faster than a surgeon cuts off a wart. She wouldn’t be able to handle someone outshining her, even her own daughter.

But I digress. As things turned out, I never became what most people would consider successful, at least not in the financial and material sense. I had a few opportunities and false starts, but through either self-sabotage or sabotage by others (described in my earlier entries), anything I started I’d give up quickly or never follow through on. I hope that pattern has finally changed.

In her later years, my mother, dependent on her oldest daughter (the one she abandoned as a child but who has now become her flying monkey and biggest apologist) will not allow me to visit them in their home. My mother and I are No Contact now (my own choice), but a few years ago, after my mother reluctantly moved from New York to Chicago to live with my half-sister, she told me I would not be allowed to come there because “Rebecca doesn’t like you.” WTF?!? Rebecca hadn’t seen me in over 20 years! She barely knew me. I mentioned how outrageous that was but my mother just said, “Well, it’s her house. Those are her rules. You are a very difficult person to get along with, you know.” I was offered no other explanation other than my sister’s “rules” and my horrible personality.

I thought about that conversation for a long time and finally got it–my mother was embarrassed by me! Always obsessed about her social standing, I had become too “working class.” My lowered social status would certainly offend her fake upper-middle class ideals and pretentions. I actually had to laugh when I found out my mother was no longer able to find any professional-level work and was working part time as a clerk in a department store. But it took a cousin of mine on Facebook to tell me that. My mother would have died before admitting that, especially to me.

I remember a few years ago, burned out by office and retail work, I mentioned to my mother I wanted to start a housecleaning business. It was something I could do without a lot of capital, it was physical (I like to move around when I work), and I was qualified to do it. I thought it might be fun, and I would be able to work alone and set my own hours instead of having to punch a clock and sit in front of a monitor or phone all day. I even had business cards made up. My daughter was interested in getting into it with me–we were going to call it “Two Blondes and a Bucket.” (no matter that I’m not really blonde anymore–I could dye my hair). Here is what my mother said: “I don’t think anyone would want to hire you. You’re a slob and you have a police record.” (she was referring to the pot charge I got when I was married to my Narc husband.)

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When I showed her my novel I wrote back in 2004, she glanced through it and said, “well, you should focus on getting some articles in magazines first before writing a book–you’re not ready.” I may not have been ready to publish a novel, but my point is, she always berated me for “not improving my circumstances,” and yet any time I presented an idea that might lead to a better life, she shot it down. It was the old mind-fuck all over again. She’s good at it.

That’s why I refuse to use Facebook anymore. My mother and her flying monkeys, as well as my father and his current wife who may well be NPD or at best, someone with OCD and a lot of narcissistic traits, have found me there. My stepmother is a control freak and an ultra conservative Republican who can’t stand me “because I’m a failure” and because I allegedly subscribe to “a mindset of dependency” (even though I haven’t asked them for anything in years). My Narc ex has found me there too, and even hacked into my account. He also trashes my character all over his Facebook page (he’s not dead by the way–he was in a psychiatric facility). I might delete my FB page if I figure out how. So much hatred. My family sucks. There, I said it. I’m like fucking Cinderella.

My father is sick with Parkinson’s and my stepmother, who is also his full-time caregiver and mouthpiece, acts as a “gatekeeper” to keep me from “upsetting your father.” If I call their home, I always have to go through her first, and tell her what I want to talk to him about before I’m allowed to speak to him. Hello? It’s my FATHER, you controlling bitch. When I do get to speak to him he is usually very loving (when I can understand him) but he’s completely dominated by his wife, just as he was completely dominated by my mother–only it’s even worse now because he’s physically dependent on his wife too. He’s always been drawn to Narc women and is a huge enabler. I do believe he has love for me though, I always have, even though he was very strict. I was cut out of his will after I allowed my Narc ex to move back in with me. (My father saw his true colors early on, and detests him). I want so much to explain why I did that, to have him read my blog and maybe he would understand the reasons–but his wife would not understand and she’d have to “approve” it first. Because she’s a cold person with very little compassion, I doubt she would.

It makes me sad I can’t have a healthy or loving relationship with my aging parents, who won’t be around too much longer. But it is what it is, and I can’t focus on that or regret we don’t have that kind of loving relationship. All I can work on is me, and finally stop trying to get their approval, because it ain’t ever gonna happen. If I can feel proud of myself, and even help others along the way, I think that’s more than enough. This blog is the beginning of that, and of course my parents will never know about it, if I can help it.

Waking up from the nightmare

Woman Looking at Reflection

So after 28 years of narcissistic abuse I finally felt free. Before, even though there were periods where we hadn’t lived together, I never felt completely free of Michael’s toxic influence. But my daughter Molly and I were quite literally survivors and both of us had psychic wounds that ran deep and would take years to heal, if they could ever be healed at all.

My job (which I still have) doesn’t provide health insurance so I couldn’t afford to pay for a trauma therapist, but I started reading everything I could about NPD and PTSD/C-PTSD (the type of PTSD that’s associated with abuse). Molly still didn’t want to go to therapy but was still getting her meds for Bipolar and she was in a fairly stable relationship and was no longer getting into trouble the way she used to. She was also beginning to understand why I did some of the things I did and acted the way I had, and I learned she too had a lot of anger toward Michael.

But things were not perfect between us either and we did continue to argue from time to time, and when she was angry, she liked to bring up the fact I had given up custody of her to DSS even though at other times she says she understood it was the only thing I could do at the time and it did save her life. So I don’t let those occasional attacks bother me too much. I know it’s manipulation. Sometimes I think she may have NPD herself, but she does have a conscience and empathy so more likely she just has narcissistic traits which are common people with Borderline PD.

So in March I had to go to court and testify against Michael in order to obtain a permanent restraining order (the one that was issued at the magistrate was good for only 1 month). I was working with an organization that helps abused women and their families, and they counseled me on what to say in court. It was ridiculous I had to jump through all these hoops just to obtain a piece of paper to keep a man I wasn’t married to anyway away from me and my property, but it was what it was.

I knew I had a good case and no reason to be worried but I was still terrified of having to face him in court. Michael is very glib and has a lot of charm when he wants something. He can make himself sound like a victim and make the other person sound like the devil himself. He managed to be surviving pretty well in the men’s shelter, although he told Molly when he saw her how much he hated it and wanted to come back. He also made her go buy him things, which she would do. She felt guilty and caught in the middle between the two of us. It wasn’t fair to her.

Ethan came to visit in early March (on his way from Illinois to his new apartment in Florida–he graduated college in January and is is seeking work in film editing or something related). He wanted to make sure Michael was not going to show up. I assured him he wouldn’t. We had a fantastic time, but he said when he tried to call his father, Michael didn’t want to see him. For some reason he thinks Ethan was the one who convince me to kick him out of the house. No matter how much he’s told Ethan had nothing to do with it, he still blames him for brainwashing me. Huh? Talk about blame-shifting.

I had to write everything I wanted to say in court because I knew my mind would go blank when I had to get up at the stand and talk about why the restraining order should be extended. The big day was in mid-March. Several other cases were heard first and I avoided looking behind me because I knew he was there. I could feel his eyes burning holes into my neck. Finally I was called to the stand and presented my case. I didn’t cry (because it’s really hard for me to cry anymore) but I was trembling and my voice was shaking from fear. The judge had to keep asking me to speak up. I studied her expression but it gave nothing away.

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Michael was called up after me and gave a ridiculous story about how Molly had hit him first and he gave her a black eye in self defense (which is total BS because he didn’t have one mark on him). He gave some other lame
“reasons” why he needed to move back but since he really didn’t have a good reason, they didn’t fly with the judge. In fact, he was almost laughable and seeing the manipulation from more of a distance now, he seemed so transparent. Although I hated him, I almost felt sorry for him.

I won my case and the restraining order was extended for one year. The counselor from the women’s organization that had been working with me gave me a validating hug. I went home feeling lighter than I had in a long, long time.

Michael wasn’t done with me yet, but since I was no longer supplying his narcissistic goodies, his attempts at revenge were rather lame. He did things like trashing me on Facebook, saying what a horrible wife and mother I was and how he wished he never met me. He threatened suicide over and over again. I was kind of embarrassed for him, but because of it I stopped using Facebook, which I wasn’t using much anymore anyway because my mother and other family members had found me there (even though I had changed my first name a little to throw them off).

I had to adjust to my new life. For several months I just tried to take things easy, not get involved in too many new things. I read a lot of books, mostly about NPD, malignant narcissism and personality disorders in general. I read a lot of other books too, and started researching all these disorders online and reading a lot of blogs and forums.

I started making glass, mirror and ceramic suncatchers on weekends and have tried to sell some of them. Mostly I just make them for pleasure though. They also make great gifts. I have several of them on my porch and I love watching the way they catch the light and send colored prisms everywhere.

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But writing has always been the one thing I know I’m best at, yet somehow I couldn’t bring myself to write anything beyond a forum post. It just seemed like too much work, and I was afraid I’d forgotten how. I feared I was no longer as smart as I used to be. I didn’t realize at first these numb and dumb feelings were symptomatic of C-PTSD. I knew if I ever did write again it would be to tell my story, but I had no idea where to begin. It all just seemed overwhelming. I thought about blogging but I was afraid it would be complicated and technical, and I still didn’t know what to write about or where to begin.

I re-read M. Scott Peck’s book “People of the Lie,” which I have reviewed in this blog, and realized Michael was not just narcissistic, but was truly evil. Despite it’s medieval connotations, I believe evil and evil people really do exist, and I was very lucky that I survived and both children survived. While most evil people don’t usually murder (they want to maintain their benign appearance), they are murderous and often drive others to suicide or self-destruction. They lie about everything.

I joined a gym and got back in shape. My job is also physical and that keeps me in shape too. I started liking what I saw in the mirror again. I also started meditating, something I started back in the ’90s and then stopped.

About a month ago I revisited the idea of blogging, inspired by some blogs I had seen by other survivors through my readings. On a whim I decided to start one. There’s been no looking back. At first it was meant to be self-therapy, a sort of online journaling, but now it’s turning into so much more and a few people have even said they feel inspired and it’s helping them too. And that makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I still have a purpose in this world and am not just marking time until I die. I want to think that everything that happened to me happened for a reason and that something good can come out of this.

I still have a long way to go, and as soon as I can I want to start seeing a trauma therapist. In the meantime life isn’t unbearable anymore. It’s getting better.

About a month ago Michael was kicked out of the apartment an organization called OctoberRoad was providing for its mental patients. My daughter allowed him to live in her car. He left the windows open during a rainstorm one night and the car was nearly destroyed. She took the car keys away and she hasn’t heard from Michael since, which is very odd, since he would call her up to 10 times a day to demand things.

She has no idea where he is. We think he may have killed himself. She wouldn’t have been notified because she had his wallet in her car and there’d be no way anyone could identify him.

Michael was having his mail sent to the house, which I did allow. After three previous rejections, Michael’s SSI finally came through — and that includes several years of back payments, so he is getting a check for about $30K.

If he is dead, how ironic that it happened just as he finally had a means to be independent and no longer had anyone he could use and abuse. Maybe that was the only reason he stuck around so long–as long as he could use up and destroy others. With that opportunity taken away, and with no real self to fall back on, there was no longer any reason for him to live. Or maybe he was finally forced to look in the mirror and all he could see was an endless black void, and that was just too much to handle. What he has been reduced to is just a shell of what he used to be, but was there ever really anything there?

Interlude: a day filled with light

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Before I get started writing about the last part of my journey with my psychopathic ex, I wanted to share my experience today because it was such a mindblowing one. There’s been so much darkness in these posts and doing the emotional work required can be painful and exhausting. I really needed a respite from that and today I got it.

A week ago I was reading about a place called The Light Center, in Black Mountain, NC (which is close to my home), a prayer and meditation center that among other things, focuses on using colored light to help stimulate and align the chakras for improved physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. I know this sounds like an ad but it’s not. (If you’re interested though, I’ve linked their website above).
I’ve always been interested in the chakras and attracted to all things metaphysical so I was intrigued and thought I might benefit, especially after releasing so much negative energy while I was writing my blog post late last night. I needed something to offset all the negativity and recalibrate my chakras.

I mentioned I felt like I was dead inside for a long time. In a way I was. My chakras have been in a very sick overall state for a long time, particularly my lower chakras which I think were and are almost non-functioning. My root chakra (grounding–survival and security, animal instincts) is my weakest. I live inside my head, less so inside my heart (but I’m working on that) but I’m not grounded or in touch with physical reality much at all. Not long ago I took an online chakra test and scored highest in the Crown chakra (top of the head–spirituality, universal consciousness, release of karma) I don’t know exactly what all this means but it does tell me I have very poor survival instincts but a highly developed awareness of the spiritual. This does seem to fit my overall relationship to life.

The Light Center is a geodesic dome that sits near the top of a beautiful green mountain in North Carolina’s Black Mountains (part of the Blue Ridge). The highway to it is long and takes many sharp turns as it snakes its way up. As you begin to climb, a primeval silence takes over and you begin to feel disconnected from the hubbub of humanity and the mundane world of commerce and dysfunction that lies below. I was with my 21 year old daughter who felt she needed healing too (and had nothing else to do today). Finally, after what seemed an endless climb into the clouds, a sign for the center appeared. We turned onto a gravel road and the silence of very late summer closed in, the air cool and foggy with a hint of fall. The trees seemed to whisper. I got a great sense of the spiritual and when we turned a corner, we finally saw the top of the dome.

Inside we were met by a substantial woman in her late 50s or 60s who smiled and welcomed us. Something about her exuded serenity and love. She gave us a tour of the center, explaining its history and how it came to be. I liked the fact there’s no fee for their services, and the top of the dome, which serves as the meditation and prayer center, is open 24/7 except when the road is inaccessible.

Then she left us alone in the Light Room, which she had explained to us briefly. It was a silent sixteen sided chamber with completely white walls, and equipped with easy chairs and small blankets and pillows for comfort. The lights dimmed to darkness and ambient music began to play, and suddenly we were bathed in red light, which represents the root chakra. We spent five minutes under each of the colors, all the way up to purple (the crown chakra), with the lights dimming to blackness in between each for about a minute. My breath slowed and I tried to focus on each chakra as the corresponding colored light went on, and spent the moments of darkness in between thanking God for this experience, the beautiful day with my daughter, and for the mountains and beauty just outside. I thanked Him for helping me get back in touch with my creativity, my long-lost love of writing expressed through starting this blog.

But most amazing of all, I didn’t feel hatred for my psychopaths. This was a very new feeling for me. Unbelievably, I felt compassion for them. So I asked God to heal them, if not in this world or this lifetime then in the next. I realized that for psychopaths, all their chakras are closed off and disconnected from each other. Functioning chakras are necessary to utilize the life force and do good in the world. Psychopaths have them but they are so nonfunctioning they are really are almost dead inside. It’s like a 4 cylinder engine running on only one. The car won’t run.

If you could see the aura of a psychopath they would be very thin, dark, almost black. There’s nothing in the world we, as humans, can do to help the psychopaths in our lives. We have to let them go. Only God can help them, and only if they choose to let Him inside. I believe even the worst psychopath has moments, however rare, of clarity and truth and those are the moments God can heal them. In the meantime, we can pray for them, and pray for ourselves, and pray for a world that comes to know we are all connected and all equal in God’s eyes. I was humbled by this revelation.

On the drive back down the mountain, my daughter said she felt the same thing.