Keeping it all in perspective.

perspective

Tonight I needed to step away from blogging and take care of practical matters. If you’re a person prone to an active imagination or lives inside your head (like most Aspies), emotional and spiritual growth can be tricky because it is so extremely seductive for people like us, and far, FAR more rewarding and exciting than the physical world of chattering neurotypicals, abusive narcs, bills, jobs, traffic jams, annoying bosses, and people who walk four abreast and block your way in the aisles at Walmart.

We’re all at different stages in our journeys, and we move at different rates. Everyone’s experience is different, and God has a plan for every one of us. But God’s plan will be different for each person. You will not experience your awakening the same way I will, and what you are called by God to do will not be the same as mine.

I never felt close to God until about three months ago. For years I tried–I prayed for faith even–but always felt my prayers fell on deaf ears and that God, if he even existed, didn’t like me too much. I tried various religions over the years and none of them spoke to me.

My awakening wasn’t earth shattering, I didn’t have a Saul-to-Paul like sudden conversion. I didn’t see a burning bush. I wasn’t struck by lightning in the desert. I didn’t fall on my knees and sob in repentance. I didn’t see Jesus on a piece of toast.

I didn’t suddenly become cured of my Aspergers, PTSD, anxiety, avoidant personality, and (possible) BPD. I still struggle with these things every day, and will probably continue to do so for quite some time.

But being able to see beyond the everyday physical world was every bit as exciting as those dramatic conversions you see in the movies and TV. Mine happened over a period of weeks, but was no less emotionally intense. It might not have made good TV, but I was never trying to get on a reality show anyway.

Besides feeling alienated from God, I felt alienated from my abilities and talents. As someone who was emotionally numb for so many years, my creativity was in the toilet. After years of narc abuse, I didn’t think I could think for myself. I was sure I forgot how to write. In fact, I was quite sure I lost quite a few IQ points. I felt helpless and incompetent, one of life’s losers. I’d internalized my family’s opinion of me. I also thought I didn’t deserve these God-given gifts since I hadn’t really used them, so it only made sense he’d take them away.

All that being said, my awakening has been rapid. It’s a little dizzying and disorienting at times, but it’s never been scary. There are a lot of changes in me, and I can see this reflected in my writing since September. My early posts tended toward fluff and the merely informative or entertaining; even my entries that comprise “My Story” seem as if they were told by someone other than me; they give the details, but seem to be lacking much feeling. I was still in my PTSD state of emotional numbness. I felt disconnected from myself. All the colors in my world were washed out and grayish, like the colors in an old color photograph that’s been sitting in a musty attic or in the sun way too long.

My recent writing has been about deeper subjects and my style far more analytical. As my knowledge about narcissism and narcissistic abuse has grown, I’m exploring topics I never intended to on this blog–the metaphysical and supernatural, for one, especially how those things relate to narcissism, which I’ve come to realize is more a spiritual disorder than a mental one. And overall, I think my posts are a lot more positive. I complain less and when I do I can find the humor there now too, even if that means only laughing at myself. Because everything has its humorous side. It’s just a matter of perspective.

I’m seeing things and knowing things and not understanding how or why or what it all means. But it is. Things are revealed as they need to be. It’s okay and isn’t frightening, but can be a little disorienting. Sometimes I have my doubts about these things but that’s normal for those of us who have been trained to never trust our own judgment.

Because my creativity has taken a sudden upturn too, it’s too easy for me to confuse a creative vision or idea with spiritual truth. In fact, the two are related–creativy is very close to spirituality and each depends upon the other for its existence. Sometimes they’re one and the same. For me, blogging is a melding of creativity and complete emotional honesty.
But they’re not always the same. It’s important to step away to gain perspective on which is which, and when they not the same.

When I talk about my awakening sometimes I think I sound a bit insane. After years of being told by my narcs that I was always imagining things, always the crazy one, I learned not to trust my own judgment. Like most victims of narcissistic abuse, I didn’t know what was the truth and what was a lie. Because I couldn’t trust my narcs, I couldn’t trust even concrete evidence being waved in my face, and trusting any sort of intuition? Fuggeddaboutit.

With all this shiny new clarity, I often have doubts about my thoughts and feelings being real. I worry that people will think I’m some deluded woowoo. Sometimes I wonder about it too. I pray for the ability to distinguish truth from my own vivid imagination and/or wishful thinking. Like I said, I never could trust my own intuition because my narcs told me it was all a lie.

But truth doesn’t lie, and when you feel something, know something, to the core of your bones, and can’t explain it but just know it as truth, you must trust that what you feel is real. You have only God to answer to; no one else in the world can take away your truth. You are not deluded. Trust your intuitions.

We need to keep things in perspective though. It’s easy to get carried away emotionally by rapid spiritual growth and allow it to consume us or remove us from the need to still engage with the everyday, material, and all-too-often boring world we know through our 5 basic senses. We sometimes feel above it all, like it’s not worth our time or effort because the spiritual realm is so much more captivating, exciting, meaningful, and mysterious. Over-imaginative creative INFJs like me tend to prefer the spiritual and mental realms over the mundane physical one. We also tend to have poor survival skills, especially if we’re also suffering from PTSD (or Aspergers).

We have to engage with the physical world whether we like it or not. It’s not going away, but it’s not all bad either. The physical world gives us the material tools we need to carry our whatever our vision is. In my case, it’s this laptop. I have to remember to maintain it, run a full antivirus scan every few weeks, clean up storage space, and dust my keyboard and screen every day. Without this $300 Hewlett Packard laptop, I would not be where I am right now. Thirty years ago, I would not have been able to undergo such rapid change, because I wouldn’t have this tool that has brought me into a community of so many people who can relate to me in a way no one else has ever been able to, my family least of all. So it’s this banal corporate-made piece of plastic and metal that has enabled me to engage with others and explore the deeper meanings of things.

We also have to remember to take care of our physical bodies. I don’t need to tell you how to do that. If you’re not healthy we’re not going to be able to reach those higher states of consciousness and you’re still going to feel like a victim. How can you not, if your own body is turning against you? We still need to stay in and engage with the real world, and that means staying (or getting) as healthy as we can. Your mind works better when the body is well fed and well rested.

If you have a chronic physical condition, do the best you can. You will still get to where God is taking you; it might just take a little longer. Take the best care of yourself you can.

It’s okay to disengage. In fact it’s necessary. Because it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all this new stuff of the spirit, heart and mind. It’s important to step back every so often and do something normal like bake a cake, clean the house, mow the lawn, shovel the snow, pay the bills, read a good novel. Take a walk. Paint a picture. Put in a new kitchen floor. Call an old friend. Take a long hot bath, light a candle, and feel yourself sink into the comfort of the water and let your mind wander. Those are times I like to be still and listen to what God is telling me.

I can’t spend every minute on this laptop , as much as I’d like to. Stepping away from blogging about and thinking about narcissism and everything I’ve learned lately gives me more clarity; if I spend too long thinking about narcissism or healing from narc abuse and even just writing in general, I can get emotionally overwhelmed. Even though they’re mostly good emotions, even those in excess can muddle your thinking and turn your thoughts into a confused jumble. There’s a such thing as too much of a good thing.

If your spiritual and emotional journey is moving at a faster pace than you expected,like mine seems to be, remember to step back and join the regular world at frequent intervals and I promise you will gain more clarity on things.

If your journey seems to be at a standstill, or is poking along like a tortoise, don’t worry. You are changing too. God is doing his work in you even if you can’t feel it yet. When God reveals his purpose for you, you will know it, because it will be a moment of utter awe. It’s hard to explain but you’ll know it when it happens. It may not be dramatic, it may be a quiet realization. You will know, and you will know why it has taken this long.

Pray for patience and faith, and most of all strength. If you are not a believer in God, believe in something and ask it for guidance. Remember to enjoy the small, every day things. Appreciate life in all its kaleidoscopic colors. Because even in the everyday things, you can find beauty and truth.

Do narcissists have a spiritual purpose we can’t understand?

darknessintolight

This fascinating topic was raised in the comments section under The Man You Love to Hate…or Hate to Love.

The implications raised here are bound to be controversial to some, but I think Joan and CheriSunday may be onto something. In fact, I’ve sometimes wondered myself if narcissists exist for a good reason that only God can understand, but I always thought it sounded too crazy to write about and it was hard to formulate those feelings into words. I’m glad other people have had the same thoughts. It makes me feel less crazy. And it actually makes a type of sense.

CheriSunday says:
January 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm

As you wrote quote “Maybe when one chooses to become a narcissist…..you are drawn into darkness, and once you’ve entered you can’t ever escape.”
My response: I live in a darkness, however I know light shines through my being.
Why feel sorry, we like to suffer, for some , sufferance becomes their friend, that’s how we make peace with the darkness.
CheriSunday

Joan S says:
January 26, 2015 at 8:45 pm

That is very wow. I actually think that aware narcissists like Mr. Vaknin might be a gift. We can’t interpret that gift yet, but will remain till we can.

I like your point though that some like to suffer that it brings comfort. I just can’t believe that darkness can overcome the light though, that is impossible. Maybe if you felt that light long enough it will bring about the deliverance. They just have to want that deliverance. Have to want it. And that is where narcissists are stopped. JMHO of course. I like insightful things.

luckyotter says:
January 26, 2015 at 11:59 pm

Joan,
we don’t know what God’s reasons are or what his plan is. I have thought myself, that narcs may have been put here for a reason that only God knows. Maybe they are here to teach us valuable lessons about human nature and spirituality in general.

In thinking so much about narcissism, because it’s a mental disorder that most likely has a spiritual component, I have been brought much closer to God in the process and have found some semblance of joy and peace for the first time in my life. I have never been happier than I am now. So looking at it this way, narcissists may help us in our own spiritual journey.

I don’t think narcs are demons, I think they’re here for a reason and that reason is a teaching one, even if the lessons we learn from them are painful. Even Satan himself, was created by God and was initially God’s most beloved angel, and his purpose was to test our faith. His original name, Lucifer, means “light bringer.” He became too narcissistic for Heaven because he began to think he was greater than God so he couldn’t stay. (I don’t know whether or not this is a literal story or there is or ever was an entity called “Satan,” but it’s worth bringing it up in the context of this topic).

This doesn’t mean we have to (or should) associate with a known narc. But the ones we haven’t been able to escape from or those who raised us, at the end of the day (when we can finally see the forest for the trees), can make us stronger; their darkness can put our own light into sharp relief.

And in atypical narcissists like Sam, who have contributed so much good to the world (even if his motives were self serving), it could be that he (and those like him, if there are any others) are a special kind of gift, and that his darkness may be a necessary thing, both for himself and for us. We don’t know the reasons, but he may know, and although he suffers, he may have accepted this suffering as part of whatever his own mission on this earth is. He may not need deliverance, or maybe the deliverance will come at a later time or upon his death. We just don’t know. Only God does.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” — Kelly Clarkson

luckyotter says:
January 26, 2015 at 11:43 pm

CheriSunday, first of all, welcome to this blog! 🙂 I love to see new “faces” around here.

If you know light shines through your being, you are not hopeless. Maybe there are some people who need to suffer. We don’t know the reasons. In a way I can relate. I flirted with darkness for many years, out of choice. Fortunately I’m coming to a place of more light but there are still dark days. I accept them for what they are, and realize those dark days may have some enlightening lessons in them. “Without darkness, there can be no light.”

I am curious, though, since you say you choose suffering and you have never posted here before, are you an NPD sufferer or have another disorder, like BPD or depression? Forgive my presumptuousness, but because of the nature of this topic and this blog, I don’t think it’s stepping on your boundaries to ask. I hope you don’t mind.

I also think most narcissists have an inner light that does shine through sometimes, except maybe MNs and psychopaths/sociopaths. There is a lot of light in Sam and that’s why I think he is still able to help people and victims looks up to him even though he is exactly the sort of person we’re trying to get away from. I hope that makes sense.