Envy is my worst character trait.

envy
Envy, by Marta Dahlig, Deviantart

I’m about to write a painful, bitter post. It’s about something brings me a great deal of shame, so much shame I hesitated writing about it at all. It’s about what’s probably my very worst quality. But my need to be honest on this blog (because it may help both me and others), no matter how ugly or socially unacceptable my feelings may be, overrode any misgivings I had about what I’m about to write.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an envious person. Having been programmed by my FOO to be a perpetual victim, honed and chiseled by master artisans to become a dysfunctional, self-loathing adult unable to achieve even the normal comforts, supports, and pleasures non-abused people enjoy and take for granted; seemingly set up to always fail (and then get callously blamed for my failures by the very people who programmed me to fail), another unpleasant side effect of being programmed to be a “loser” is a nasty tendency to envy others for having those things that should have rightfully been mine too.

I’m not talking about winning the lottery or acquiring a new Ferrari (though those things might count too). I’m talking about envying those who achieve or acquire normal good things that most people who were raised in loving families take for granted–landing a great job, acceptance by a publisher, a place to go and be supported unconditionally when their luck is down, a wide circle of friends, an inheritance earned through simply being who they are and being a member of a family that cares about them unconditionally.

If such a good thing happens to a person I always knew had those things, someone who never seemed surrounded by darkness and always seemed to have things pretty easy, I envy them a lot less than if those things happen to someone I had met when they were still on “my level”–in other words, a fellow victim who suffered abuse and is still reeling from its fallout, struggling (and failing) to find their footing in a world that seems so cruel and cold, the way I continue to do and feel like I will be doing until the day I die. If such a person’s fortunes suddenly change, I fall into a slimy, nasty cesspool of envy. Instead of feeling inspired and encouraged that yes, the good thing that happened to them could happen to me too and I should just be patient, yada yada yada, I just feel consumed by that bitter, horrible emotion that does no one any good, least of all its bearer.

easter_outfit
Coveter-in-training: being a hybrid mini-me/scapegoat/golden child to someone I knew even then I could never aspire to set the stage for my tendency to envy others.

I think I know why it’s easier to envy people who suddenly came into a great opportunity to change their lives than those who already had things easy. It’s a “misery loves company” kind of feeling: when you feel victimized by life and all the people you ever had to answer to, it helps to know that others feel exactly the same way because it means you’re not alone. It’s not that you want the person who’s fortunes changed to feel as badly as you; it’s not even that you’re not happy for them. It’s more that there’s a sense of solidarity in being able to wallow in a communal pit of misery together, and suddenly that feeling of solidarity is broken. It’s that feeling of realizing, “it’s not just me after all! I’m not alone!” being thrown into doubt because that person is suddenly able to lift themselves out of a hellish existence and you are still not. In all honesty, it feels like a kind of…well, betrayal.

I know it’s not really that at all. All of us who were victimized by narcissists all strive to break out of the trap of a life of failure set up for us by our abusers early in our lives. During our wallow in communal unhappiness, we feel strong solidarity. We support each other, cry on each other’s shoulders, feel angry on behalf of each other, and wish each other the best with utmost sincerity, as we wish it for ourselves. But then one one is suddenly lifted up out of the mire, you can’t help but feel left behind. You’re completely unprepared to feel that way, because this person was an angel to you and came to you at a time when she was most needed. You looked to her for inspiration, advice and support. So you beat yourself up over your envious feelings because you know feeling this way is wrong and sinful. You feel like a hypocrite, since in theory, you wanted what was best for this person and still do. You know they deserve good things and there is a part of you that is happy for them, but it’s corrupted by the unwelcome thought, “why not me too?” like mold on a delicious chocolate cake.

You know their reward was not undeserved. We are all at different parts in our healing journeys, and some are farther along than others. The person you so envy is farther along their spiritual and emotional journey than you are. You’re well aware of that fact and it never bothered you. You saw that person as a teacher and guide. You know that perhaps you’re just not ready yet to handle something that good happening to you yet and that’s why it hasn’t happened. First you must learn to better appreciate the things you already have, to see the glass as half full.

Of course you wish this person no harm; your envy is not the sort that wishes to take away anything or try to sabotage the person’s good fortune. But the bitterness and sense of unfairness is still there, eating away at your insides like an unwelcome and potentially lethal parasite. You know better but you can’t help it. Exhausted from your bitterness, you feel tired an depressed. You shout at God in frustration and exhausted rage: “When is MY ship ever going to come in?” You don’t want to take away anyone’s good fortune; you just want to have some for yourself too.

I think it’s hard for ACONs to learn to trust. The people in our lives have proved to be anything but trustworthy. We’ve been hurt, betrayed and disappointed by everyone we thought mattered. We learned to expect the worst from people. Many ACONs turn to God or religion as a respite. Desperate to trust someone, anyone, they fully embrace God and throw their worries blindly at the feet of the Almighty. Their faith seems perfect. Others, like me, have more trouble. How can we fully trust an entity we can’t actually see? How do we even know there’s anything there at all? We overthink everything and overthinking makes faith difficult to attain. I pray for faith constantly, because I know that’s the only thing that will take away my fear, self-loathing, suspicion of everyone, and my envy. The person I envy right now has faith that seems nearly perfect. How can I get to that point?

I pray that one day my envy can be transformed, that I can be genuinely happy for the good fortune of someone else, and even be inspired by it. I also pray that the person this post refers to doesn’t judge or condemn me for feeling envious, but something already tells me they will not. I will always be grateful they came into my life.

****
Further Reading:
My Envy

Advertisements

Chronic rage is a trap, not a trophy.

rage2

If we are survivors of narcissistic abuse, we are all at different stages of our recovery. If we are just coming out of a relationship with a narcissist or in the process of going No Contact (which is the best gift we can give ourselves), it’s natural to feel anger and even hatred toward our abusers. Our anger overrides the fear they instilled in us and makes it possible for us to take the actions necessary to disconnect from them.

When I started this blog, I too was extremely angry at my narcissists, particularly my psychopathic ex. As an ACON, I railed on about my parents too, particularly my MN mother. Early posts of mine on this blog have a much more bitter and angry tone than my more recent posts, some of which attempt to understand why my narcissists did what they did to me and about what makes narcissists tick in general. I don’t regret making those early, angry posts, because that’s where I was at emotionally on this recovery journey. I NEEDED to feel that anger and hate. It served a survival purpose. But anger is a survival emotion and is meant to be temporary, not become a psychological and spiritual forever-home.

I am no longer in a situation where I am in close contact with malignant narcissists, and I was finding that holding onto all that rage was turning me bitter. When a person is filled with rage, the body’s cortisone levels rise and blood pressure rises. These are physiological changes that make “fight or flight” possible. But over prolonged periods of time, being in such a physiological state is bad for you and can lead to physical illness.

Besides being unhealthy for the body, holding onto rage way past its expiration date makes it impossible to move forward to a place of real healing. If you feel rage all the time, you simply cannot move forward. It blocks you from opening your heart to all the good things that life can offer. Frankly, I was just becoming bored with it. There had to be something better beyond it–and there is!

I see this unwillingness or inability to let go of chronic rage and hatred in many survivors of narcissistic abuse, especially ACONs who were raised by narcissistic parents. Of course it’s perfectly understandable to feel an almost overwhelming sense of injustice and betrayal when you realize your own parents didn’t love you and in fact probably hated you and set you up to fail in life. It’s understandable to hate the people who were supposed to nurture you and give you the tools you needed to have a happy life but instead attempted to murder your soul. I get it, I really do. I felt that way about my mother for many years.

Anger-Bhudda

Some of these chronically angry abuse survivors have embraced a mentality of perpetual victimhood, using their rage as a sort of trophy “proving” how abused they were. They can’t or won’t let go of their rage because it makes them feel vindicated. I remember reading a comment from one angry ACON who said if he/she were to let go of their bitterness and hatred, they would have let their abusers “win.” But this person is wrong. Because paradoxically, remaining stuck in misery, rage and hatred is making it impossible for this person to heal and live a happy life, and isn’t being miserable exactly what their narcs want? Holding onto rage and wallowing in all the ways they victimized us vindicates the narcissist, not the victim. If our rage destroys or kills us (because eventually it can), the narcissists will be throwing a party to celebrate.

I think the best revenge is to live well. If a victim of abuse moves into a place of peace where healing is possible and can learn to become happy and even successful in life and stop using their victimhood as a kind of trophy, their narcissists will HATE that! Nothing enrages an abuser more than seeing their victims become happy and successful (and not bitter or angry). So how does healing ourselves and letting go of our “trophies” of rage and hate let the narcs win? It doesn’t. In fact, WE win and THEY lose.

But if I were to say this to them (and I have), I would be accused of “victim blaming” and even “narc hugging.” They would say my blog is “dangerous” to abuse survivors (and they have!) They would accuse me of having no empathy for their plight and am in fact taking the side of those who abused them! None of that is true. They just don’t get it. They think that because I’m suggesting they move away from their hatred, this means I’m blaming them for their misery and making excuses for the narcissists who abused them. This is a dangerous and tragic misunderstanding because they can’t even see the way they have been turned against themselves by their own narcissists! They can’t allow themselves to ever feel happy or let go of the bitterness that continues to hold them hostage to their narcissists even after they’ve gone No Contact.

Narcissism is the “gift” that keeps on giving if you let it. You can’t be happy if your default setting is rage. All that rage will eventually destroy your body AND your soul. In fact, living in a state of perpetual rage can turn a person narcissistic themselves. It’s a fact–I have seen it happen and it’s a horrible and scary thing to witness.

monsters-nietzsche

I read a post on Constant Supply: The Narcissist’s Wife about the very same thing I’m talking about here, and their post is what inspired me to write this article. I’d been wanting to write about this, but due to the nasty pile-on I experienced from several ACON bloggers a few weeks back due to an article I posted suggesting we stop hating on all narcissists (the message of which was taken WAY out of context–in no way did I EVER suggest we condone what narcs do or engage with them in any way), I’ve been reluctant to post any more articles even touching on this touchy matter.

Reading this blogger’s article gave me the courage to express my feelings about this apparently controversial issue. I’m prepared to be attacked again, but at least I know what to expect now and can arm myself accordingly. While the blogger I mentioned in the previous paragraph does talk about “forgiving” her narcissist, I wouldn’t go that far myself. I don’t ‘forgive’ my narcissists for the way they held me back all my life and nearly destroyed me, but I no longer choose to hate them either. My attitude about them is that they simply do. not. exist. They are no longer an important part of my life and I refuse to give them any more space in my brain than they deserve. Don’t forget that narcissists crave attention–ANY attention–and that includes negative as well as positive attention. To act as if the narcs don’t even exist is what they hate and fear more than anything in the universe.

Living well and healing yourself without reacting to our narcissists either negatively or positively is the sweetest revenge possible. The narcs will hate you for it.

living_well

We are all at different points of our recovery journey, and those who seem stuck in the “rage” setting (which is normal and necessary early in recovery) and have thereby not been able to move forward to real healing should not pass judgment on those who may be farther along the road and have reached a place where holding onto all that hatred was becoming burdensome and harmful.

I chose to jettison all that negative baggage to make my progress along the rocky road of recovery easier, and I have seen many others do it too, and actually become happy people. I hope and pray eventually ALL abuse survivors can reach a point when they realize holding onto their baggage is self-destructive and is holding them back from true healing–and is keeping them trapped in their own identity as “victims.”

I’m prepared to be disagreed with for posting this, but frankly I don’t care. If you are one of those who choose to hang onto your chronic rage, that’s your choice, and I respect that choice. I have no right to judge you or condemn you for doing so. But I don’t think it’s helpful or healthy. Hopefully, some people who have this problem might be able to take away something positive from this article and be able to extricate themselves from the quicksand of rage and continue to move along the road to recovery.

Please also see my article, Why Unrelenting, Chronic Rage is So Toxic.

I have issues.

raking_cash

This post is going to suck.

Today I’ve been obsessing about the hefty lump sum payment my sperm donor is getting in SSI back pay for the seven years I supported him. I have never heard of anyone getting such a large lump sum from the government nor do I know of anyone who will be getting the amount every month he will be raking in.

So now I’m having to cope with the nearly unbearable sting of envy AND righteous anger (because if I hadn’t supported him all those years he would not have been able to sit at home and go through the whole disability application process, which took almost that long; and also because his payments were increased because he’s “homicidal”).

I’m beyond enraged that I have to continue to toil away at a job I dislike, that really doesn’t suit my personality or interests and I have no health insurance, while he will be living quite well off the benefits my goodwill made possible for him without having to work. All because he’s “homicidal.” (I do not know what his diagnosis was. I’m surprised there would be compensation for something like ASPD; maybe it’s his fake “schizophrenia.”). I think he’s gaming the system.

When he was over here on Sunday collecting his belongings (and trying to take some of mine), he started talking about the pottery classes he’s going to take with some of the money and the new car he’s going to buy (I have to drive a 14 year old clunker that’s got an expired registration because I can’t afford to get the tuneup it desperately needs). I finally told him I did not want to discuss money. I didn’t want to think about it, and I’m sure he was rubbing it in on purpose.

rich_and_poor

Must be nice. Yes, I’m bitter. I hate feeling this envious. It’s bad enough on its own, but add to that the GUILT I feel over being consumed by this…narcissistic emotion. I don’t think there’s any uglier or more painful emotion than envy, in this case envy mixed with righteous anger. I’m praying for God to remove this horrible character defect before he actually gets his lump sum payment, because I have no idea what I will do when that happens.

Maybe he sold his soul to the devil or something, because no matter what, he always seems to come out on top in the end.

Where’s Karma when you need her?

Who will take care of me if I become disabled so I could apply for benefits?

I wish I could just stop feeling like this. I sound like a damned baby.

GOD, I hate this.