Emotional vomiting.

Reposted from Down The Rabbit Hole.

vomiting

My moods have been as unstable as the ocean before an approaching hurricane. One day euphoric, the next in the depths of rage and despair. My few good moods lately are so easily shattered.

Then I see my own narcissism and have trouble sorting it out from the normal “negative” emotions we all have for survival. What’s worth being upset about? What is just selfishness and entitlement?

I observe and watch myself. Since my revelation, the wall of cognitive blindness that kept me unable to see my narcissism melted away and what is revealed is the underlying envy, rage, entitlement and grandiosity. This layer was always the most painful to me (and hardest for others to deal with, because the false grandiosity (which can be pleasant, even if deluded) came marinated in a poisonous concoction of envy and rage. So the grandiosity and entitlement is toxic to everyone. It’s like snake poison.

Becoming humble isn’t becoming weak or masochistic. It doesn’t mean you allow people to flagellate you or abuse you. It means knowing you have limits, acknowledging you are only human and not a superman or woman. It means accepting the truth about yourself, even when it hurts. It means seeing what’s real. The scales falling from our eyes may be painful, but in the end this pain will set you free.

I’ve been emotionally unstable for three weeks now. Of course those could be BPD traits coming to the surface too. But I know a lot of it is all the spiritual poison of long term narcissism rising to the surface of my consciousness so they can be purged.

I can feel these black poisons in my body and mind, dragging me down and making me feel sick. I’ve cried more this week than I cried in the past 10 years. It’s cleansing, satisfying crying. It feels good. I feel more centered and relaxed and more at peace when I’m done. The truth becomes clearer. If you really want to get better, tears are the vehicle that carries the sickness from the body. If you have a stomach virus and couldn’t vomit you could die. The same thing goes for spiritual and emotional sickness like NPD or BPD.

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I also write bad purple prose poetry where I vomit everything out. I haven’t done that since I was in my teens writing angsty, angry poetry in my school notebooks. It doesn’t matter that the poems are awful. They’re helping me purge myself of the spiritual poison of decades of abuse. It’s part of getting better. Like the crying, writing these poems brings me relief and more clarity. So do writing out my thoughts and feelings, no matter how “ugly” they may be.

The actual nitty gritty of healing from NPD is going to be so painful. I can see how painful and scary it will be. I’ve seen the entrance to the tunnel and it’s dark and vast and depressing, but I’m going in there to rescue my real self, my child self trapped there who never got to grow up or to know who she was. I care about that little girl now. I used to hate her, I wanted to divorce myself from her. She embarrassed me and shamed me. Now I need her help because she has empathy and sensitivity and enormous strength of character and I need those things more than I need a million dollars or a lover. She is my beacon of light. I know she is me but we’re so disconnected; there is so much baggage between us.

Even becoming self aware is painful. Strange, unfamiliar emotions come to the surface of awareness but at first they make no sense. You feel dissociated, apart from yourself, looking inside. But then it starts to make a lot of sense and you can’t believe you never saw it before. Looking inward from the outside is like you’ve been transported to a psychedelic upside down land. You don’t know what’s the true self and what’s the false one. You feel your different selves battling it out, and it makes you confused and disoriented. It also gives me headaches.

This is the stage I’m at right now. I can finally see my behaviors as others saw them, and sometimes stop myself before I act out. I’m getting better but I still slip up a lot. My emotions seem to be rising from both the “good me” and the “bad me” and they fight for center stage. It’s like a collage in relief and you’re not sure which is the background and which is the foreground. You can’t always tell yet which self is the true one and which one is the liar, and you’re begging a higher power or somebody, anybody, to show you what is true.

If the narcissistic mind in the process of healing were the whole universe, this inner conflict would be a battle between good and evil of Biblical proportions. Most of us aren’t evil, we are deeply conflicted and make bad choices.

But only you can know what are the right choices, and what is true–and that takes patience. You have to accept it’s going to take time to be able to internalize what’s right and good and what connects you with others. You can’t give up, no matter what.

I need clarity. I need help sorting out all these conflicting, confusing emotions that churn inside me and make me sick. This cathartic emotional puking–relieved with episodes of expansiveness, optimism, limerence-like euphoria and even moments of real empathy–is removing these toxins from me and I think in time, the episodes of joy and optimism will become more frequent and more stable and replace the episodes of vomiting.

I’m beginning to see the direction God planned for me. Since making this shattering discovery about myself, everything is becoming clearer. Ideas are finally gelling together from my chaos of conflicting ideas and insights. And these ideas aren’t popular and they’re not what I thought they would be; they’re what’s needed. But before I can make these ideas a a reality, I need to face the pain and purge it and remember it’s all part of healing. I need to go in that void and slay the dragons–ether that or reconcile with them.
I’m up for the challenge…I think.

I just wish that in going through this process I didn’t have to engage with the mundane world of work and paying bills. I wish I could isolate myself somewhere on a remote beach, just listen to the waves and feel the hot sun and the coolness of the sea…go inside my beach cabin and play music and write things that elicit my real feelings…and not have to deal with other people for months or even a year or two. Just spend all that time working on myself instead of having to keep up the lie just to survive in the world. When my self imposed exile is over, I’d return to modern life a changed person.

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Down the rabbit hole.

rabbit_hole

This blog has existed for nearly a year and I’ve come to care about all of you who read it. I hope some of you have found it helpful in navigating your world after narcissistic abuse. But more than anything, this blog has been a journey of self discovery since I left my malignant narcissist ex. It’s been a wonderful tool, but part of the process of self discovery is learning things about yourself you didn’t want to know. That’s why I’m writing this article.

It’s the hardest article I’ve ever had to write.

For several days I’ve mulled over how I was going to talk about it. I know it’s not going to go over too well for some. I fully expect some of you to leave and if that’s what you decide to do, I can’t say I blame you and it’s okay. I understand. For what I’m about to say will probably shock some of you as much as it shocked me.

But to say nothing would be to misrepresent myself so rather than take down this blog (which would be akin to giving away a pet you love), I’m going to stick to my original vow to be honest, no matter how much it hurts and regardless of the consequences. It’s the only right thing to do; to continue blogging about narcissism without writing this post would make a fraud out of me.

A little background.

Here’s a quick background for those of you who may be new to this blog. A year ago I started journaling on WordPress as self therapy because my life was shattered after 27 years of abuse at the hands of a malignant narcissist after having been raised by one (and possibly two). In 1996 I was hospitalized with major depression and anxiety and diagnosed with BPD while in the hospital. I took the DBT classes but at the time didn’t take it very seriously and didn’t use the tools as well as I should have. I kept the workbook though, and last year after I got out of my abusive relationship with my ex, I started to use the tools again and they do help but it’s no cure.

Several things have led to the breakthrough I’m about to describe–writing a LOT about my feelings and recovery from narcissistic abuse, reading as much about narcissism, BPD and PTSD as I could get my hands on, trying my best to always be honest no matter how painful or embarrassing (but not always succeeding), and finding God and prayer. It’s been an incredible roller coaster ride.

I’d been praying daily for the ability to regain the easy access to my emotions I had as a child, only tempered with the wisdom and restraint of an adult. I kept reading, writing, and trying to elicit emotion through music, movie-watching, and self-reparenting. This required making myself as vulnerable as possible. I even took myself to see “Inside Out,” which loosened something inside me but not quite enough. It was like one of those almost-sneezes that never quite comes out and leaves you wanting to punch a wall in frustration. Nothing much happened after that. I was growing impatient.

Emerging awareness of a horrifying truth.

This week has been very difficult for me emotionally. It started with an unnamed, free-floating but intense anxiety and panic, to the point I could barely function. A few days ago I plummeted into a black depression that seemed different somehow in quality from my prior zombie-like apathetic depressions when I was living with my ex. This depression felt more alive and more proactive in some way. I’m pretty sure I had an idea all along of what was about to happen but it hadn’t quite bubbled into conscious awareness yet. Its rising through the murky swamp of my unconscious caused me to panic and then a kind of grief took over but I still couldn’t name what its source was.

A week ago, I fell into a panicky, anxious, almost dissociated state and this was followed by a “wet” depression (that included tears instead of my usual catatonic apathy). I didn’t even know what I was crying about. I lost my motivation to write (in retrospect, I think this as a form of self protection when I needed it). I was snappish and irritable on the job but would come home and set aside alone time so I could just let everything out without fear of embarrassment or shame. I knew instinctively something important was about to make itself known and that scared me, but I felt a kind of excitement too.

During this time, I had trouble sleeping and when I did sleep my dreams were upsetting and I had this overwhelming sense of aloneness and separateness. I rarely have nightmares but woke up shaking and close to tears twice.

A few months ago I began to worry I might have NPD. I could tell because of an expressed grandiosity that had always remained hidden in the past (except in my BPD rages which I learned to control) due to my blog being somewhat successful and attaining the attention of a few important people in the field of narcissism. A few people suggested I was narcissistic (not on this blog but elsewhere) and I took this to be bullying (and some of it may have been). So what did I do? DENY IT LIKE HELL! It wasn’t lying–I still didn’t believe I really was one, but I was beginning to question and think it wasn’t impossible and comments like those told me something I did NOT want to hear. Because inside, I already knew.

I think that’s why recently I’ve been writing a lot about covert narcissism. I didn’t make the connection though until the other night.

My “Aspergers”

You might have noticed I took “Aspergers” out of my blog’s graphic and my profile.
There’s a reason why. For as long as I can remember I’ve been painfully shy, socially awkward, and always seem to be a target or victim no matter where I am. I obsess intensely over my hobbies and interests and have trouble making eye contact, which is another symptom.

I don’t function well in work situations because of my low self esteem, kick-me demeanor, and lack of confidence. I’m always passed over for promotions, raises and other perks that others seem to get with ease. Underlying all this self-hatred and always feeling unworthy, is this sense of grandiosity. I’ve always had a seething, hidden resentment toward others who seem to be doing better or have more (which is almost everyone). It’s mellowed with age but hasn’t gone away. I know I shouldn’t feel that way but it just comes over me and I always feel this…bitter resentment and envy. But I don’t have any desire to ruin anyone’s life or take away what people have. I don’t have ill will and don’t want to hurt anyone, but just I feel so envious and defective, and then I feel guilty and beat myself up over having these evil thoughts.

I’m an underachiever and have been my entire life, in spite of a high IQ and a college education. Things seem to come so easily to everyone else and I’m constantly comparing myself to others, and always coming up short. I can’t seem to help comparing myself to everyone all the time, even though I know rationally that these sort of comparisons are poison to my soul and aren’t going to make me feel any better.

I never was able to stand up for myself and resented how disrespected I got by everyone. I felt like, how dare they treat me that way–they’re just a bunch of dumb neurotypicals and I’m too good for them anyway. But at the same time I longed to be included and treated like everyone else.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about covert narcissism and have posted a few articles. Covert narcissists are almost always painfully shy and sometimes awkward. Their social ineptitude is also a kind of social cluelessness, VERY similar to Aspergers–only rather than having a developmental/cognitive source, a covert narcissist’s social cluelessness and obtuseness is due to the great effort of trying to keep the mask of sociability up so as to not risk being “exposed” as the empty shells we feel ourselves to be, and that is exhausting. This is taken as a lack of empathy but actually it’s obtuseness–like it is for Aspies. After speaking to a lot of covert narcissists over at Psychforums over the past few days and reading their experiences, I think the caring is actually there (not for malignants though), but they can’t SEE that they should care because their defense mechanisms keep them from seeing it.

And there you have it. I’m a covert narcissist.
Some of this could be explained by my Avoidant PD of course, especially the social awkwardness and avoidance of others, but cNPD explains it too. I had no idea. I’m not sure if I have comorbid Avoidant PD or not, but I sure as hell don’t have Aspergers.

These are all symptoms of covert narcissism. Although cNPD is not yet recognized by the DSM, I think it will be in future editions. There is a lot of talk on the web about it, a lot of scholarly articles. While our outer behavior can resemble Aspergers, and had both me and even a psychiatrist I was seeing fooled, the reasons underlying the Aspie-like behavior is nothing other than narcissism. When I found this out the other day, I was blown away but spooked out of my mind. The shock of the truth can take your breath away.

Problems with empathy.

All my life I’ve difficulty making lasting friendships because I lack the ability to really be able to empathize with anyone. Oh, I can empathize in a kind of distracted, disconnected way–like if I hear about an abused child or animal I feel bad and sometimes even tear up. I can empathize with fictional characters in books or films. I hate hearing about injustice and abuse. But no matter how hard I try, it’s almost impossible for me to be able to really share the feelings of a real life, flesh and blood person. I don’t want to see anyone suffer, but it’s just all seems so foreign and I have trouble relating. If someone tells m a problem, I can sort of empathize, but it’s a cold, intellectual sort of empathy and I feel like I’m acting, so as soon as they leave, I move on with my life and it’s as if they never told me. I used to wonder why most people didn’t like me that much but now I realize how self-involved I really was. Everything was always about me. I isolate myself because it’s hard to keep up the appearance of truly caring when there’s nothing inside except a yawning black hole and fear of being discovered.

I also was almost as abusive (emotionally) to my ex as he was to me, but again, at the time I couldn’t see the part I played in all this. I was very self-involved and manipulative in our marriage and although it probably would have ended anyway (a good thing), I sure didn’t help by being the way I was. I thought of myself as codependent until my sudden epiphany a few nights ago. Yes, I was a victim, but covert narcissists, when paired up with grandiose/classic narcissists, are almost always the victims. But I was far from an angel myself.

Mental blindness.
I always thought my BPD explained any “narcissism” I showed.

But all my life I’ve been accused of being narcissistic in various settings, and I never could understand why, because it seemed like I was always giving, giving and giving some more. I never made waves, never stood up for myself (except in sudden rages that used to scare people but I got that under control more or less using DBT tools).

I never set out to hurt anyone or play manipulative games. At least not consciously. But it seemed that I was always hurting people. Then I’d genuinely surprised when I was called out on it. I’d feel terribly guilty and filled with shame and apologize profusely (and mean it). I slowly began to see the passive aggressive things I was doing that I *thought* were just passive or things anyone would do. One hand never knew what the other one was doing. I came to not trust myself, and this added to my social awkwardness and shyness, because I couldn’t hurt anyone if I remained silent and disconnected.

I only become overt/grandiose when I’m getting a lot of supply (it makes me cringe with shame to use that word about myself). I’ve become more grandiose recently. Not aggressive. It makes me cringe to read some of my older articles that make me sound so arrogant and conceited. Even before I knew what I know now, I was trying to curb those kind of articles. I didn’t want to come off like a conceited asshole. IRL, though, nothing changed. I was still my same painfully shy, awkward self.

I control my borderline symptoms with DBT tools and that helps with some of the cNPD ones too (in clinical settings, DBT skills which were developed for BPD, also work for some people with NPD).
But my problem is, I don’t feel the things I want to feel — and I’m so cut off from everyone and avoid people because I don’t want them to see the void inside. My deep emotions simply are not accessable to me under normal circumstances.

Down the rabbit hole.

Nearly 11 months from the day I started this blog, I had a mind-bending breakthrough. It happened about a week after my inexplicable anxiety followed by depression began. One night I could’t fall asleep and finally gave up trying. At about 3 AM I talked to 2 close Facebook friends for awhile. They’d been a bit worried about me because my mood had been so erratic.

I logged off Facebook at around 4 AM.

And then…I read this article:
http://www.researchgate.net/publication/275665641_Narcissistic_Personality_Disorder_Diagnostic_and_Clinical_Challenges

It fit me like a glove. I saw myself described in one of those vignettes and…and went down the rabbit hole…
I could not deny it anymore. I was a fucking narc.

I’ve probably already read about 50-100 articles about covert narcissism (cNPD) so I don’t know why this particular one had the effect it did. Maybe I was finally ready. While reading, I recognized myself. It was a deep and horrifying knowledge that hit me like a tsunami. It was like that lightbulb moment. And getting punched in the gut HARD at the same time. I almost threw up. I cried like a child for over an hour. For a few terrifying minutes I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt hot and cold flashes and started to shake.

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No. No, it couldn’t be. I could not have NPD. I frantically tried to fight the truth. It just seems absurd and you’re sitting there with your tongue hanging out when the connection is made. “Huh? wut? But I’m a victim of narcisisstic abuse! I’m an ACON! I’m a nice person! I have low self esteem! How on the name of God can I be a narcissist?

And then….at least for me…you freak out.
I could not deny the truth anymore.

The shock of realization broke through my emotional zombitude. I’ve been on the verge of tears now ever since my epiphany. There may be an element of grief involved. I feel like one of my layers of defense fell off.

It’s funny because this was hardly the first time I’d read anything about covert NPD. I never connected it with my own problem. BPD was bad enough.

Sudden clarity.

Everything suddenly made sense and I felt like I was seeing my situation and all my relationships—hell, over 50 years of my life–with eyes that had been closed since I was very young. I remembered, vaguely, that someone told me something when I was four years old. I couldn’t remember what was said or who said it but I did know whatever it was had been the catalyst when all my problems started that would not abate for over 50 years. One day when I’m ready I’ll remember what actually was said and who said it. I cried harder than I’ve cried since I was about 12. Realizing I am a covert narcissist is something that although its discovery is incredibly upsetting, it’s also something I needed to have in my conscious awareness before I could really start to do the hard work necessary for real healing.

I have faith God works on all of us if we reach out with a sincere heart and ask for help. Now that I know I’m a covert narcissist, the next step is to figure out what to do with this information. Right now I still feel shell shocked. I have to be gentle with myself while I work through and try to understand everything that happened. I’m working on finding a therapist to help me sort it out because I think it’s too big for me to handle all by myself anymore (I can’t afford on though and finding one who works for free or on a sliding scale with NPDrs is going to be a huge challenge to say the least). All I can do right now is keep on praying and writing every day and working on myself and being as mindful as I can until I find someone appropriate. I know the work ahead of me is going to be harder now than it has been and that’s okay. It may take a long time and that’s okay too. I feel like I graduated from something. This might have been the best moment of my life because now it means I can work toward ridding myself of it. I’m both excited and scared to death. I know I can do this thing. But for the love of all that is holy, WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG?

Coming to the realization that you have NPD is an enormous step, but they sure aren’t lying when they tell you how painful it is, and you’re just sitting there shocked and crying, with the emptiness that’s inside you just yawning open like a black hole. It’s incredibly scary but I’m not backing away. I don’t want this disorder. I want to be able to feel real emotions and real empathy and have satisfying relationships and be a normal, happy human being instead of this terrified, angry, envious, and constantly scared person who feels like they deserve nothing but at the same time resents everyone for having what I don’t. It’s a hell of a way to live and I’m over it.

My take on the genesis of covert narcissism.

An interesting thought started to play around in my mind–covert narcissists have TWO false selves: the outer meek, deferent, “nice” one that everyone sees, that cloaks the grandiose, entitled false self just under that (you know, the one that seethes with resentment and envy because you feel “entitled” to be regarded better or have more, and why should THEY get what I need? )

My little theory about this is that a covert narcissist is born when a narcissistic parent is especially abusive–or the child is especially sensitive. My MN mother scared the daylights out of me–I mean I actually saw those *black eyes* on her. She hated my “spooky” moods when i was about 4-6 and used to punish me for them. The “spooky” moods I had were when I’d go inside my head where she couldn’t reach me, especially when she was punishing me. That’s why she hated them, because she couldn’t penetrate these trances. I don’t know when I became a narcissist, but I’ve been this way as long as I can remember. My guess is it happened around the same time I had the weird “spooky” moods, probably around age 4. I don’t remember actually making a conscious “choice” to become one.

I think the covert form develops when a child is afraid that being too grandiose or aggressive will result in punishment. The child learns it’s not safe to challenge the parent in any way or be “better” than them, so although already a narcissist, they add the additional mask of being an obedient, deferent person. They grow up unable to stand up for themselves or express their opinions because of fear of punishment but inside they are anything but what they present to the world and hate being corrected or told what to do. It doesn’t go away either and leads to a life of misery and loneliness. The good thing though, is that covert narcissists are more easily cured because their disorder is so ego-dystonic and they’re so unhappy that they’re more likely than overt/grandiose narcs to get help.

I think it can also develop when a child is both a scapegoat and a golden child, which is common in only children. I would bet there’s a correlation there between only children and covert narcissism. I wonder if any studies have been done.

Narcissism is an effect of prolonged abuse from early childhood. (So is BPD). I’ve sometimes wondered if BPD/NPD may be a form of complex PTSD so deeply ingrained that it’s very difficult and sometimes not possible to dislodge. BPD symptoms in particular seem almost identical to complex PTSD but the DSM doesn’t recognize complex PTSD (C-PTSD) because it’s due to prolonged trauma rather than a single traumatic event, like a car accident or a war.
I agree all those effects are due to abuse, and are part of covert NPD/borderline PD (I have both).

For awhile I thought I had NVS (narcissism victim syndrome), which can show many of the same traits as narcissism. Basically it’s the “fleas” a narc leaves on you. In my case, the fleas were so many and lasted for so long that my case of fleas turned into full blown narcissism. I didn’t know this until a few days ago. I could still have NVS too; most narcissists probably do. After all, their disorder is caused by abuse. NVS is another diagnosis that is not recognized and is still largely an Internet meme.

The other side of the mirror.

twilight-zone

Since my epiphany, things are weird. I’ve been a bit dissociated and things seem a little unreal to me right now, almost dreamlike. It’s as if with one layer of defenses gone (denial), my body seems lighter somehow. I’m not feeling grounded at all. I’m also almost constantly on the verge of tears. Just a lot of emotion filtering through, neither good or bad. I think this is a good thing.

I’ve been posting on a forum about NPD and a lot of narcs post there. I’ve found several of them to be welcoming and supportive. These people don’t seem very narcissistic at all. They’re like me; they want to change. I can relate to some of their stories too. I know I have to be careful though. I’ve had a few surreal moments where I wondered if somehow, I’d shifted to “the dark side” and evil was taking over and was starting in the insidious manner of having open and honest conversations about narcissism with other narcissists.

I always wondered why it was that, whenever I wrote an article about why narcissists became that way, or the ways they suffer, that I’d always get so emotional. I know these articles enraged some ACONs. Why was it so important for me to “understand” narcs? Why couldn’t I just accept they were these evil, inhuman demons who had no capacity to change? There was one article in particular, “Letter from a Narcissist’s True Self,” that made me so emotional I was in tears while writing it (even though the fictional narcissist is far more malignant than I am).
Why?
Why did I feel a kind of warm empathy for a few narcs who wrote to me telling me they hated the way they were and hated themselves?
Why did I feel somehow personally insulted when narcissists were demonized (even though I still agreed much of the time)?
Why did I get into a blog war with people who hated the fact I suggested that maybe narcissists get too much hate and not enough understanding. That they were victims too?
Why did I care at all about…these toxic people?
Now I know why. I was trying to understand myself.

Other strange things have happened too. Bizarre coincidences and “signs” that all of this discovery had meaning and that my assessment of myself was correct. Describing these things would take too long and this article’s already long enough, so I’ll spare you the metaphysical woo-woo for now. Suffice to say that almost everything I thought I thought was true was a lie, and everything I thought was a lie was the truth. It’s disorienting. I’m on the other side of the mirror, looking inside.

Where to go from here?

Immediately following my epiphany, I realized I needed to make a decision about this blog, for to continue it as it was and say nothing about my realization would make me a fraud and a liar and that flies in the face of the honesty I made a commitment to a year ago. So I had three choices.
–Take this blog down. (That was out of the question–it would be the equivalent of having a beloved pet put to sleep).
–Shift its focus to say, a general purpose blog? (Eh. That idea didn’t excite me).
–Bite the bullet and “come out” about my narcissism and take my chances?
Yes I would lose readers if I did that (and of course the “supply” is nice), but what would be the right thing to do?

I decided to go with being honest. I think I made the right decision, as difficult as writing this post is.
Whatever I shift the focus of this blog to (and it may not change that much), it has to be coming from a sincere place fueled by honesty and candidness. I’ve already had practice having haters, and I’m prepared for that again (well, sort of). I’m prepared to lose readers. It’s okay.

I’ll continue this blog for those of you who want to stay, because I love doing this so much. But I can’t be the new Sam Vaknin, nor would I want to be. There’s only room for one of him and there’s plenty of blogs out there for victims of narcissistic abuse written by non-narcs. So although I’ll continue to write about narcissism and the effects it has on its victims, I’ll be shifting this blog’s focus, though I’m not sure what direction that will take.
I’ve also decided to start a second blog, which is intended to be a supportive environment for people like me–self aware narcissists/BPDs who need to talk about it and want to heal.

I have a lot of anger toward the narcissists who infected me with their disorder. You can’t spend an entire lifetime at the mercy of malignant narcs and not develop at least a bad case of fleas yourself. I never asked for this and I reject it. I do have a conscience (a well developed one actually) and now finally awareness, so those things are in my favor. I’m not malignant, thank God. At least I hope not. But I’m on the spectrum whether I want to be or not. I want to get off.

I think my life will be changing for the better now. I don’t have to be a narcissist if I don’t want to be. That’s what I’m working toward now. I know I can do this thing. Wish me luck.

And now I’m going to hit “Publish.” My heart’s in my mouth right now.
I hope my friends here can understand.

ETA: I started the new blog: https://luckyotter.wordpress.com/

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.

Infected by evil: putting the pieces together

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This is one of the most difficult posts I have ever had to write, but I can’t rest until I do. Because everything is making sense to me now.

In having several long talks with Paul, Molly’s ex, I am ever more convinced than ever my ex-husband Michael was a monster, someone who wasn’t even human. He has told me some incredible things that happened during the short time he lived there in his house. He is convinced as I am that Michael is a monster.

And I am realizing that everything that’s happened lately was preparing me for a mindblowing and chilling realization, and now everything that’s happened is making a lot more sense. God really does work in strange and mysterious ways. I must have been ready for God to be revealing the truth to me the way he is now. Not so much before. I could not have emotionally handled knowing the truth.

In going back in my mind over my marriage and in particular what has happened to my daughter starting about ten years ago, when she was about 12, I realized the timing of things has been uncanny, with a lot of foreshadowing and signs that gave me bits of whatever truths I could handle at the time. Now all the truth is finally being revealed.

My ex is a monster, evil to the core. He is one of the most evil human beings I have ever met, and I hesitate to even call him human. It’s not hatred of him making me say these things; in fact I feel quite sorry for him. It’s just a truth: he is one of the most malignant narcissists and evil psychopaths I have ever known.

I mentioned in an early post how I saw the opaque, black alienlike eyes on him once when he was angry and drunk. What I failed to mention was that I saw those eyes while we were having sex. And they were accompanied by an expression I can only describe as hatred so profound it sent chills throughout my body. I felt violated and pushed him off me, and made some excuse. I was chilled to the bone.

I was never able to have sex with him again after seeing those eyes. I knew what I saw was real. I knew if I had ever sex with him again I could be infected with his evil.

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“The Nightmare” by Johann Heinrich, 1783

Around the same time (and I think I talked about this too once), my father talked to him on the phone, and told me later he swore he heard a gutteral, inhuman voice coming from my ex. It only lasted a second, but I totally believe it was not his imagination. There is nothing wrong with my father’s mind. What he heard was real, even though I never heard it myself. But I had seen those eyes. It was all coming from the same place–a core of pure evil and malevolence.

Shortly after this, in about 2005, we divorced. Lack of sexual relations was only one of the reasons. In fact, it wasn’t even the primary reason. I just knew this was someone who hated me and who could not be trusted and was dangerous to our children and to me.

I did not go No Contact with him. I had never heard of No Contact back then. I was very emotionally and mentally weak and beaten down, and only a step away from developing Stockholm Syndrome, which would have fully put me under his thrall and turned me evil too. I was afraid of him because he was so spiteful and I felt powerless against it.

My daughter Molly, just 12 at the time, did not want to live with me. She had always felt closer to her father, who used her as his sounding board and treated her more like a buddy than a parent. Up until this time, she was the perfect child–straight A’s, lots of friends, extracurricular activities, did her homework, helpful around the house, very empathic, loved animals, athletic. Her father always favored her over his son, who was treated as his scapegoat and was much closer to me. Molly was his golden child. I had no idea at the time of the extent of his evil and how it would infect his daughter. I didn’t want Molly to hate me so during the custody hearings, it was agreed Ethan would live with me and Molly would stay with her father, with unlimited visitation on both sides. Essentially we both had joint custody and decided to let the kids live with the parent they chose.

I know now I should have been stronger and fought for her to live with me, as much as she preferred her father. If I had, Molly may have not developed the very serious and dangerous problems she has now. She may not have developed NPD of the malignant variety or addiction to the worst drug on the planet today–methamphetamine. But I was so afraid of her hating me and at the time, I didn’t see the danger of her living with him. He had a new girlfriend who seemed stable and very friendly and seemed to like Molly very much. Oh, there was so much I didn’t know back then.

My son never liked going over to their place. He said the atmosphere there was creepy, the house was old and rundown (it was), and it smelled (they had 8 dogs), and the girlfriend (let’s call her Heather) was very much involved in the occult. He said she had weird symbols everywhere like pentagrams and gargoyle-like figurines. He was telling the truth. Once when I had to go there to pick the kids up, I noticed a wall hanging depicting two demon lovers hanging over their bed.

Around this time, my father sent me M. Scott Peck’s book “People of the Lie,” with a note attached. In the note he explained he never had believed in evil or evil people before, but after having read the book, he recognized my ex, Michael, as a Person of the Lie. He told me to be very careful about allowing Ethan and Molly near him, and to watch out for myself as well.

I read the book with fascination, and definitely recognized Michael as evil, but was not yet ready to internalize these lessons, and was still in denial and very much under Michael’s thrall, so I did nothing about it at the time. I made excuses to myself that maybe he really wasn’t that evil, but in my heart I knew he was.

A seed had been planted though–A seed that would flower and bloom and grow into a mental clarity that has brought me courage–courage to kick him to the curb a year ago, courage to start this blog, courage to face the truth even at its most ugly and disgusting, and a willingness to fight against the scourge of malignant narcissism in my family and in general. I now know, through writing in this journal, exactly how the mechanics of evil have worked in my family. Had I been able to internalize what I had read in that book in 2005, I may have been able to keep Molly from experiencing what was about to happen to her. Make no mistake: codependence and fear are as deadly as narcissism itself.

Heather (my ex’s girlfriend) was addicted to pain pills and (I found out later after it was too late) often took my 12 year old daughter to parties where there were hard drugs and alcohol present. She allowed Molly to try pain pills. Ethan had stopped going there and Molly never told me about this so I had no idea what was really going on. I was probably also in denial. My ex was usually so drunk he couldn’t drive Molly to school. I remember Molly being upset by that–at the time she still loved school and learning. But there were no school buses out there where they lived in Leicester, NC, which is a remote and rural outpost of Asheville. So her attendance and grades suffered, through no fault of her own.

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My ex, through Heather, began to dabble heavily into the occult and bought himself sets of Tarot cards and taught himself to do readings. Sometimes they held seances in their home and sometimes Molly participated, though it didn’t really interest her much.

But when I saw Molly she was still the sweet, studious girl I always knew. She seemed a little resentful at being in my company though. There was also something far away about her look, like she was deep in thought about something. I chalked it up to preteen angst and moodiness and didn’t worry about it much.

A few months after Molly turned 12 (I can’t remember the date, but it was sometime in the late summer), something happened that changed Molly’s entire personality. She crossed a line over into evil. I have written articles before about how a good person can become evil: they can be found here and here. Though normally a choice is made where the person crosses a line into evil, sometimes the transformation is not through a conscious choice, as in the example of some war veterans forced to commit atrocities against their will. They return from war having lost their ability to feel empathy and love. In Molly’s case, it was also not a conscious choice, but something done to her by her own father, a dangerous malignant narcissist and psychopath.

All children becoming adolescents go through a rebellious phase, which is a normal part of growing up and separating from one’s parents, but it’s nearly always a gradual process and eventually abates as the child finally becomes independent or moves out of the home. But for Molly it was different. She literally turned into a different person overnight, like Jekyll and Hyde.

On that fateful night in late July or August 2005, Molly was raped by her father. She thinks it may have happened twice that night but she is not sure. She may have blocked out most of it, was drugged beforehand, or she has so much shame that she cannot talk about it.

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I never knew about this until this past Christmas night. All I had heard before was that Heather had kicked Michael out of the house that night, because she found Molly and Michael sleeping in the same bed. As bad as Heather was, at least she had the decency to get rid of him.

Molly had to come home with me, but her personality had changed drastically. From that time on, she was in constant trouble at school, did drugs, and was sexually promiscuous. Her grades went from As to Fs. Her behavior got increasingly worse over the years and didn’t improve as she reached her 20s. Today she is a hardcore drug addict and a malignant narcissist herself.

An investigation had been done by social services but was inconclusive because Molly couldn’t remember what had happened or if anything had happened at all. There was no indication of sperm present but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t raped or molested.

The truth came out on Christmas night after she had a few drinks and sometimes that can act as a truth serum.
Molly had begun to cry, sobbing, “I’m a terrible person. I make everyone so unhappy. I cause you and Mommy and my friends so much misery and pain. But I keep doing it. I don’t know how to stop!” Tears flooded her face. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was facing her lost self and emptiness without the masks on. As Sam Vaknin explains, a narcissist without their masks or has lost their narcissistic supply falls to pieces.
Paul and I went over and held her and told her she was not a bad person, just a person with a lot of problems and a bad drug addiction. We told her we loved her and everything would be okay. She kept crying, and then blurted out, “My father made me like this. He made me bad.” She sounded like a tiny girl. She sounded like her lost true self.
“What do you mean?” I asked, terrified to hear the answer.
She wiped her eyes angrily and said, “the night he raped me.”
“He raped you?”
“Remember when Heather found him in bed with me? He wasn’t sleeping. He raped me. I saw his eyes. They were black. He looked like the devil. I couldn’t look away. I was scared but I couldn’t look away. I felt like I was under some kind of spell.”
I stared at her, dumbfounded, my heart pounding like a hammer in my chest. I couldn’t form words. I could barely breathe. Paul told me I looked like I saw a ghost.
Molly continued, “That’s when I went bad. Something happened to me. I don’t want to be like this. I hurt everyone. I lie to everybody. But I can’t change.”
This didn’t last long. Soon she was asleep and the next day, the drama started where she and Paul fought and she went off in a van with her methhead friends.

Last I heard she’s living in a meth cooker’s house. I have no idea where it is. I don’t have a way to contact her. I have had to let her go. I have to, for my own sanity. She can’t live with me anymore. I can’t help her anymore. I am praying constantly for her salvation from the disease of malignant narcissism her own father infected her with when he raped her nearly ten years ago.

And yet, I have faith somehow everything will work out. I think…THINK…I have the courage now to face anything that happens.

I don’t think Molly is 100% evil like her father because she had that moment of clarity on Christmas (I have never seen Michael be anything but evil or under the guise of a mask). She’s had other moments that give me glimpses of the brilliant, empathic, sensitive girl she used to be. I know deep in her soul she is screaming for help. I hope she gets it. I hope she’s one of the very few narcissists who can get better. The fact she’s still young is to her benefit. Getting off drugs will make it easier for her.

She may not have hit her bottom yet. Once she gets as low as she can go (with God’s grace avoiding death), she may be ready to rid herself of the chemicals that obscure what she has become from herself. It’s going to be a hard road for her to face, a hard road for everyone. But I can’t give up hope yet. She is my daughter.