I think it’s time we stop bashing all narcissists.

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This post is probably going to make some of you angry or upset. I understand that. After all, many of us were badly damaged by the narcissists in our lives. Anger and even hatred is an understandable and very human reaction to their abuse.

The blood sport of “narc bashing.”

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There are a lot of people these days writing about narcissism and the sentiments found on the Internet about “narcs” and “N’s” is overwhelmingly negative:

— They can never change.
— There is no hope for them.
— They are monsters.
— They are demons.
— They aren’t human.
— God hates all narcs.
— They all deserve to burn in Hell.
— There is nothing good about them. Everything they do is evil.
— They were born evil. They are bad seeds.
— They never tell the truth.
— They have no emotions. They are machines.
— They all deserve to die.

Pretty ugly, isn’t it? This attitude is fueled by hatred and behind hatred is fear. Again, I understand this. I’ve experienced that hatred and fear myself. We have a right to be angry if we were badly treated by a narcissist. People with NPD aren’t pleasant to be around. But here’s the rub: unchecked fear and anger lead to hatred, and hatred accomplishes nothing. Hatred builds walls and leads to a refusal to even try to understand people with a devastating mental disorder. Hatred is itself evil–and narcissistic.

Hatred also leads to bigotry and intolerance. There is already too much of that in the world. People with NPD are mentally ill. We don’t malign people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder the way we malign people with NPD, but people with those disorders can also be very unpleasant to deal with. If someone started a blog that spewed hatred toward people with schizophrenia, there would be outrage. That person would be called a bigot and possibly evil.

Narcissists are abuse victims too.

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It’s true that people with NPD are extremely unpleasant to deal with. But all mental disorders are unpleasant. People with NPD weren’t born that way. There is no such thing as a “bad seed.” In almost all cases, a person became a narcissist because of severe abuse or neglect as children. In most cases, they were raised by people who were themselves malignant narcissists or psychopaths.

Pastor David Orrison, who writes about narcissism from a Christian perspective in his “Narcissist Friday” posts, illustrates this well in this sad story. He is rightfully critical of the disorder and its manifestations but his posts are always written in a way that attempts to understand narcissism and people with NPD the way Jesus would have done–holding them accountable without hatred.

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Some of you have said, “but they don’t count because they made a choice to be narcissists.” Yes, that is true, it was a choice. But that choice was almost invariably made when they were young children, as a coping mechanism to protect themselves from being hurt anymore. Narcissists are people who started life with too much sensitivity, maybe more so than those of us who identify as HSPs (because we still found a way to cope with life without constructing a protective False Self). Narcissists felt too vulnerable and naked. They were born without any natural coping mechanisms at all. They knew they couldn’t survive without this protective natural armor, so they had to construct a False Self to cope. The False Self is a lie, but it protects the True Self from further harm. The reason they act so mean is because they live in terror of the False Self being damaged and exposing the too-vulnerable True Self. Like the rest of us, they wanted to survive. This was the only way they knew how.

This doesn’t give them an excuse to act as they do. It doesn’t mean we have to tolerate their manipulations and abuse. I’m not condoning abusive behaviors and that applies to anyone. But we don’t have to spew hatred against people suffering from NPD all over the web either. We don’t have to be so judgmental. We don’t have to pat ourselves on the back because we are “better” people. Only God can judge us that way. We can try to have compassion without giving in to abuse or allowing narcissistic behaviors to destroy us.

A serious dissociative illness.

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Narcissists suffer. They are deeply unhappy people. They don’t know how to feel empathy, or experience joy or love for others. They never learned how–or they dissociated themselves from those feelings at an early age because it hurt them too much to be that way. They are not without emotions. In fact, their emotions are so strong they feel like they must always be on the defensive, 24/7, 365 days a year. Imagine how stressful it must be to go through life in mortal terror of your facade of invulnerability being ripped off, of constantly having to act a part in a play, of never being able to show your pain to others, of never being able to risk loving anyone else or feeling empathy, of being bitter and envious of everyone all the time? It must be hell.

Narcissists, in spite of their name, don’t love themselves. They only love their False Self, and will do anything to protect it from exposure as the mask it really is. Because the False Self was constructed when they were so young, they don’t even know themselves most of the time. How can you love someone you never got to know? If anything, they live in deep shame of who they really are so they hide from the world behind their masks.

Some mental health experts believe NPD should be classified as a severe dissociative disorder. You can read about that here and here. It’s not that narcissists don’t have any goodness in them, but that they have “split” from their good (true) self to avoid further harm–even to the point where they can no longer access who they really are. But the pain they feel still comes through and if we listen closely enough, we can hear what they are really saying: “please love me.”

Narcissists never got to grow up. Their true self is at the emotional stage of a very young child. Inside every narcissist is a little boy or girl of 3 or 4, sitting in a dark corner crying because they feel so lonely and unloved. Their reactions are at the level of a young child too. They never learned how to experience more mature emotions, because the False Self was constructed when they were too young to feel the emotions of an older person.

NPD is a spectrum disorder running from mild all the way to psychopathy and sociopathy at the top of the spectrum. Most narcissists are not psychopaths (who actually have Antisocial Personality Disorder rather than NPD and have built a wall so impenetrable even they can never access it and will never be able to admit they are the ones with the problem). Even malignant narcissists (just under psychopathy on the spectrum) may have rare moments of insight and regret for the way they behave. It’s my belief that NPD is as much a spiritual disorder as a mental one, but that doesn’t automatically make all narcissists “evil.” Who are we to assume that God hates all narcissists and can’t help even the most malignant ones? I believe God can perform miracles should He choose to do so. To speak for God this way is itself narcissistic.

Art allows the True Self to find expression.

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The pain and hurt that fuels narcissistic behaviors can find honest expression. I’ve noticed many or even most narcissists have a talent in one or more of the arts–William Shakespeare, Ezra Pound and even Michaelangelo (who probably had NPD) come to mind, to name a few. Good art is about Truth and is one of the greatest blessings God can give. It’s through these artistic endeavors that a narcissist’s true self comes through, that they dare give that vulnerable hurting child a means to express the truth of how they really feel. Having a creative ability–whether in the visual, literary, or performing arts–is all the proof I need that people with NPD are still loved by God. Through their art, they are crying out through their mask. They want to be loved and they want to feel love. I can think of many examples of this, but the other day I received an email that really stood out to me and made me take a second look at my own negative attitude toward “narcs.”

The email was from a young man who admits he has NPD. He expressed a strong desire to try to heal himself. He hates his disorder because of what it has done to his life and the ways it has caused his relationships with others to suffer. He wants to know how to feel empathy and genuinely love others. I have no doubt his words were sincere and came from his True Self.

This young man said he was a singer-songwriter so I checked out some of his stuff on Youtube. (I can’t post it here right now because I have not asked for permission to do so). I was blown away by his talent. The words of the songs he writes express emotions almost too deep for words. His powerful emotions of pain and the desire to love and feel connected with others come through in his beautiful voice–and in his face when he sings. I have no doubt his music comes from his True Self, not his false one. Through music, he’s able to break through his wall of narcissism and allow himself to become vulnerable, to cry out in the darkness.

Insight and willingness: ingredients for change.

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I don’t know if this young narcissist can heal himself. It’s a difficult enough disorder to treat by professionals, but he says he can’t afford a therapist and can’t find one willing to treat NPD anyway. Most narcissists won’t present themselves for therapy because their disorder is so deeply ingrained they have no insight and think it’s everyone else who has the problem, not them. Some narcissists may have insight into their disorder and know they aren’t well but still not be willing to change because their mask has become too adaptive or they are too afraid. But insight is the first step toward redemption–it’s not possible to have willingness without insight. This man has both the insight and the willingness. With both present, I think there is hope for him.

Tough love, not hate.

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Just because we should stop spewing hate against people with NPD doesn’t mean we have to tolerate their manipulative and abusive behaviors. It also doesn’t mean we can’t leave a narcissist or go No Contact. In fact, doing so may be the most loving thing we can do for them. Going No Contact removes the source of supply we have been giving them, and in rare cases may cause a narcissist to seek help or at least begin to question their own motives. Going No Contact is also the most loving thing we can do for ourselves. Refusing to have further contact with a narcissist isn’t an act of hatred. It’s an act of self-love and survival.

St. Augustine said, “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Jesus inspired this quote because He hated no one but was no pussy either. We can hate the behaviors without hating an entire class of people with a severe mental and spiritual illness that causes them even more misery than they cause those they attack. Going No Contact or refusing to play their narcissistic games isn’t an act of hatred. It’s an act of survival and is just plain common sense. It may even be a way we can show them love–“tough” love.

I realize this post may be controversial because we ACONs have gotten so used to thinking of “narcs” as evil. Their behaviors may be evil, but people with this disorder are still human beings who have feelings–even if they don’t know how to show them properly or keep them under wraps. Except for the most malignant narcissists and psychopaths at the top of the spectrum–who probably can’t ever change–I think calling narcissists evil, or referring to them as demons, monsters, or machines is a form of bullying a group of very sick people and is just as hurtful to them as what they have done to us.

I also realize I may sound like a hypocrite. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve engaged in the popular sport of “narc bashing,” and recently too. While the anger and rage we feel toward people with this disorder may be adaptive while we are trying to disconnect from an abusive narcissist, when these emotions no longer serve a practical purpose (after we have gone No Contact or disengaged from our abusers), they become bitterness and hatred, emotions that eat away at our own souls and can even turn us into narcissists.

I write so my head won’t explode.

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Alaina, a frequent commenter on this blog, said she almost named her blog “I Write So My Head Won’t Explode” but decided it was too stupid to be a blog name.

I think it’s great. So great I decided to write an article with that name. It’s great because it’s the truth. If I didn’t have this blog and wasn’t able to write every day about the good, the bad, and the ugly, I think I would have gone insane by now.

Writers are by nature people with issues. We have mental problems. That’s why we write. If we didn’t write, we’d be drinking, drugging, sleeping all day or stuffing our faces with junk food, or engaging in any number of other unhealthy and self-destructive activities. I know I did until I started writing.

franz_kafka

If you can write, you are blessed. If you enjoy and are good at any creative endeavor (writing, art, acting, singing, dancing, etc.) that can add something useful, entertaining, educational or beautiful to the world and at the same time provide an outlet for your deepest, most painful or confusing emotions, for the love of God, use your God-given gift.

Writing is my safety valve. It’s something I love doing that isn’t going to destroy my mind or my body. But it’s a discipline too. Sometimes I have to force myself to write, even when I don’t want to. I’m always glad I did.

As ACONs and survivors of narcissistic abuse, we also have a calling and a responsibility to educate others about what we have experienced. Nothing happens for no reason. We were given the lives we were given as an education so we could help others. Part of our responsibility as narcissism bloggers is exposing the N’s of the world who have nothing but ill will for other human beings–and we do that through writing.

calvin_headexplode

Since my daughter moved out Tuesday night, I’ve been more depressed than usual. In fact, I haven’t been this depressed in over a year. It’s not so much because she’s not here(though I do miss her), but that she lied to me when she was leaving. I confronted her about the lie yesterday–she told me her grandfather had sent her birthday money in a card, when he actually did not because I called him and asked–and she explained it was a bluff because she thought maybe I had stolen it and was possibly trying to get money out of me (playing on my “guilt” for having “stolen” it).

I felt betrayed and hurt by her lack of trust in me as well as her lying to me in such a mean spirited way. It’s been bothering me since it happened. It made me worry that she may really be a narcissist and not a borderline at all. I started thinking maybe she was diagnosed with BPD so her insurance would pay for her treatment (I don’t think NPD is covered by most insurance companies). I really don’t want my daughter to have NPD. It’s a painful and horrible thing to face–that your own kid who you love more than anything in the universe, may be a narc. I’d rather believe she has BPD. Maybe that’s all it is. I hope.

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Yesterday I didn’t even go to work, I was so depressed about all this. I lay in bed sleeping most of the day instead, which is what I do when I’m depressed. Of course that just made me feel even worse. I didn’t want to write, I just wanted to sleep and feel sorry for myself.

But I also felt like pressure was building up in my head and that if I didn’t write, my brain might explode. So I forced myself to write, and I did feel a lot better–I no longer feel stressed to the point that I think I have to wear a head truss to to keep it in one piece.

Nobody knew who I was.

nobody
Woodcut by Käthe Kollwitz, 1867-1945

I used to be a nobody.

Or, as my malignant narcissist mother would have put it, “a nothing.”

Before I started this blog, years of psychological abuse had sealed my lips and closed my eyes to what I could be. I rarely spoke to the people around me, and when I did, I revealed nothing because I was too afraid and was convinced I was a boring person who lived an equally boring life. I never ever revealed anything about my emotional life to people outside my immediate family, and even with them, I was reticent.

I’ve always found it difficult to make friends offline, due to my Aspergers and my avoidant personality, as well as my fear of revealing too much. I still almost never talk about my feelings offline. When I was a child I revealed way too much. I was highly sensitive and vulnerable but didn’t know how to handle it. That kind of openness got me bullied and as a result, I learned it was best to say nothing at all. I didn’t realize my high sensitivity was in reality a wonderful gift.

I shut and locked all my psychological doors. After a while, I couldn’t remember how to unlock them. For me, writing was the key, but I assumed the lock was broken and the key would not work.

For most of my adulthood, although I managed to marry and have a family (with a narcissistic bully who was all wrong for me or for anyone) I had practically no social life outside of that and hardly ever engaged in any interesting activities. I gave up easily. I never completed anything I started due to my dismally low self esteem that told me I was sure to fail. I gave up writing and art and all the things I had loved when I was younger. I feared being boring but boring is exactly what I became. I was just too afraid of everything to be anything else.

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I believed my purpose in this life was to be an example to others of how not to be. Hell, even my own mother called me a loser and a failure, and if your own mother has no faith in you, how can you believe in yourself? Mother knows best, right?

Wrong.

I thought about writing a blog, but didn’t because I feared I would have nothing to say that would interest anyone. I also thought it would be too hard and I would give up in frustration, like I had given up on so many other things when they became too difficult. My irrational fear of failure crippled me.

Even if I could think of something to write about, I was afraid people would hate my words and ideas. Ideas? I didn’t think I had any anyway. In my own mind I was the most boring person in the world. I felt like a walking zombie, marking time until death.

I was so wrong. So very wrong. I’m free to reveal the self on this blog that was in hiding for decades and many times was hidden even from myself. I’m finding it’s safe to be open and vulnerable, at least online. And I’m finding there is so much joy to be had if you just open your eyes and your heart and let yourself feel life. It really wasn’t that hard to do, once my psychopathic sperm donor was out of the way.

I never thought I could help anyone, least of all myself. I felt impotent and helpless in the world, someone born to be a victim, a source of narcissistic supply to others, because that was how I was trained. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t really stupid, uncreative and boring. I wasn’t a loser and I only failed because I was too afraid to try anything and would give up easily the few times I did try. I didn’t realize it was my PTSD and depression that turned me into a walking zombie. Mental illness is a powerful dark beast and can engulf and eclipse your true spirit.

My creativity is blossoming. I always had ideas, but now they’ve revealed themselves as I’ve let go of my debilitating fear and self hatred. Sometimes I feel like I have too many ideas and can’t write them down fast enough.

Although my external circumstances haven’t changed very much (outside the narc being gone), I have hope now. I feel like a real person again, an interesting person who can even be a friend to others. I’m even starting to like myself, and think I’m a pretty interesting person. I’m even becoming proud of my high sensitivity I used to be so ashamed of. In its highest form, high sensitivity can reveal empathic ability.

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I truly believe that once I got the narc out of my life, that God stepped in and took things over. He has shown me who I really am and what my purpose is in this world, and it’s not to be an example to others of how not to be. A plan for my life is taking shape and every day it amazes me. There’s so much to be amazed by. He is teaching me how to use the gift of writing that I had been wasting for so long on bullshit or not using at all.

Becoming vulnerable again through my writing is a beautiful thing. If you like yourself, you can handle the bullies, but chances are there will be fewer than you think, and most people will admire your willingness to be open and can relate to that. Your voice will be heard by those who are really listening. It can penetrate the darkness in other people’s lives.

Being vulnerable is about being honest. It’s embracing the truth rather than believing the lies.

Becoming vulnerable takes courage. Rather than being a trait of a weak person, it really takes a strong person to be willing to feel life in its kaleidoscope of colors. Before, I only saw in shades of gray.

I used to believe there was nothing left to look forward to. Now I know there is still so much ahead of me.

Nobody knew who I was. I wouldn’t let them in. Now the door is wide open. Come on in.

My crazy fantasies.

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I have some crazy fantasies. As an INFJ Aspie with an extremely vivid imagination, for me these fantasies can be almost as real as reality itself, and that is really pretty cool. Some people, usually neurotypical extroverts, think it’s unhealthy to live inside my head so much. I disagree. If I enjoy these thoughts and they don’t interfere with day to day functioning, how is it unhealthy?

I won’t go into the details of my fantasy life but there are times I think there’s something wrong with me for having the kinds of thoughts I do and deriving so much pleasure from them.

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I was telling a friend on FB tonight about the details of one fantasy. She doesn’t think I’m crazy but pretty normal. I just had to bounce this off someone else as a sort of reality check. I need to do that from time to time, just to make sure I’m not insane.

I think most of us, especially if we’re introverted, have our secret life we don’t want to talk about. It’s like having our own personal movie that we write, direct, cast and star in. These personal movies can make a rather humdrum, often irritating and sometimes depressing life seem more full and interesting.

The other great thing about having such an active inner fantasy life is it sometimes jumpstarts creative ideas, which can be transformed into actual, tangible things that can be shared with the whole world.

This blog is half a year old today!

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On September 10th, 2014, after about 2 months of just reading blogs by other survivors of narcissists (and occasionally posting on Dr. George K. Simon’s wonderful blog, “Manipulative People”), my life was about to change. And it started with a small idea.

I had always like the idea of starting a blog, but didn’t for several reasons.

1. I thought it would be too hard.
2. I didn’t feel inspired enough to write articles every day or do the work to maintain a blog.
3. I had no idea what I wanted to write about.
4. I thought I forgot how to write. Seriously.

It just seemed like an overwhelming, daunting task and I just thought I wasn’t an interesting enough person with an interesting enough life to start a blog. For years while married to and living with my narc, my self esteem had been so decimated that any interests I once had were gone like the wind, and any talents I once had I was convinced were gone. I didn’t even think I was that intelligent anymore.

For a couple of months after FINALLY kicking my narc to the curb, I floundered around trying to find my bearings and get used to living without him. I was ecstatic he was gone, but I was like a ship without a rudder for awhile. I was still codependent and felt anchorless. I wasn’t used to being alone.

In about May or June of 2014 (I kicked him out in February), I started to entertain the idea of blogging and thought it might be something I might do in the future, but not anytime soon. I still had no idea what to write about. But I thought my story might be interesting. I worried it might be too depressing to write about though–why would anyone with an ounce of sanity want to read about my problems, for heaven’s sake? Maybe I’d just write about my experiences in in Wordpad and leave it at that.

I’m not sure why I started to read so much about NPD, PTSD and Aspergers in around July 2014, but I knew my ex had NPD and wanted to find out more. I also wanted to find out what made me tick and what made he and I tick and why I was always so codependent and scared of everything. I read voraciously, both blogs and too many articles and books to count.

Then in August 2014 I discovered a blog written by a woman I could relate to better than any other blogger about narcissism I’d yet come across. Like me, she’s an Aspie, and like me, she struggles with poverty, being bullied as a child, and having narcissistic parents. Like me, she likes to keep her topics varied and writes about unrelated topics sometimes. Her politics are also very much like mine. We believe the same things about the increasingly narcissistic society we live in today. We both love art, reading, talking about deep things, hate political correctness and small talk, and we both love Roz Chast and Peanuts cartoons.

But we have our differences too: Unlike me, Peep struggles with Lipedemia, morbid obesity, and numerous chronic physical conditions that make mobility difficult for her. Also, unlike me, Peep has a much more Biblical and fundamentalist view of Christianity than I do (yet we are both Christians who have asked Jesus to be our personal savior). The abuse Peep endured was much more severe than mine (and mine was pretty bad!). Unlike me too, she has no children, and is married to a non-narcissistic man and they enjoy a very loving relationship. Peep doesn’t believe any narcissists can ever be cured, while I still think the jury might be out on that, at least for a few.

Peep is also a very good writer and sometimes very funny. Her posts are always a joy to read and even when they’re depressing, they’re so helpful and well written. I devoured her blog like a dog devours steak.

Peep was the blogger who inspired me to start this one. I was reading an article on her blog one day (I can’t remember which one now) and suddenly looked up and said to myself, “That’s it. I’m starting my own blog.”

It was a clear decision, a “eureka” moment really–no more wishy washy indecisiveness and self doubt for me. The idea came so suddenly it almost seemed like it was someone else telling me to do it. Now I think it was God (I was also agnostic at the time I started the blog, but began to shed my doubts about his existence, among other things, just by WRITING.) See, I think creativity is actually very close to a spiritual experience and when we allow our God given gifts to flow, that’s when see truth and beauty and come the closest to being with God. All of us have gifts. Your job is to ask God to help you find it. It may not happen immediately, but keep asking and I promise you it will come to you. Maybe not in a “eureka” moment–it may happen more slowly–but you have a gift God wants you to share with the world.

I’m veering off topic. Sorry about that.

…So that night, I pulled up WordPress on my browser, opened it up for the first time. and that night put up my “Hello World” post

On a gut level I felt that making this blog public was incredibly important–because doing that would help me, as an Aspie who is also avoidant–connect with others. Making it public would also help me get over a lot of my social anxiety. It seemed like a crazy thing to do at first–share my personal story I wouldn’t even share with my neighbor or coworker–with God knows how many hundreds or thousands of complete strangers all over the world. But it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made, and it’s working!

Everything since that day has changed. My whole life is changing. Maybe not my external circumstances so much (yet), but I’m changing on the inside. I’ve noticed my overall tone has changed from a much more negative, pessimistic, cynical and poor-me attitude to one that’s more positive and fun.

That being said, I do have my less pleasant and more pessimistic moments and I make sure to write about those too, because it’s important to allow myself to feel and then purge my painful emotions. People who feel down can sometimes relate better to “misery loves company” than too much upbeat positive thinking. I know I can–only lately am I responding more to “positive thinking” articles.

Being too upbeat all the time isn’t the way real humans operate, and the ones who do operate that way are more annoying than a bad case of fleas. They’re probably narcissists too.

Back to the point, at this late age, I’m finally finding out what Lucky Otter is all about, and she’s pretty cool!

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This journey has been an incredible ride into the inside of my mind and soul. There have been difficult and frustrating parts of this journey–but those were actually the best parts, because it was those hard times I had in the blogosphere that taught me the most about myself and my relationship to God and to this world.

I was surprised to find I still had the gift of words that God in his grace and mercy had given me, and had never taken it away! He gave me another chance.

The growth of this blog has been incredible in the six months it has existed. I won’t get into the details about that here because I have written about that so much before, but it’s more than I ever dreamed was possible. It’s surreal.

So I’m celebrating today by congratulating this blog for turning 6 months old today and for bringing me and so many other people hope, insight, tears, and laughter. And forging some great friendships along the way.
If it weren’t for you guys, my followers–and all your support (special thanks to OM–he knows why!), this blog wouldn’t be what it is right now.

This blog is my pride and joy, my getting-big-and-unwieldy-but-much-more-interesting new child, and just like a loving mother of a big and active toddler (that’s the stage of “life” I think this blog is at right now), I want it to grow up to be the best blog it can be and to be able to help more people who feel like their hope is gone.

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Thank you all so much! ❤

Keeping it all in perspective.

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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.

11 ways to deal with a narcissist.

stop!
1. Get as far away from them as you can, preferably No Contact. This isn’t always possible especially if there are children involved.

2. Do not let them manipulate you. If you can’t cut them out of your life, if they start manipulating you, cut them off by changing the subject, interrupting, or straight up telling them to stop in a firm voice as if talking to a three year old. Keep doing this if you can’t get away.

3. Deny them narcissistic supply!
This will actually help them because it will send them into a narcissistic rage (that is going to be difficult for you but you must be strong and not back down). But the rage will pass and then the narcissist will sink into a narcissistic crisis–which means then you are probably going to be dealing with an extremely depressed person but narcissists rarely attempt suicide. They may be open to getting help if this happens. They may also leave you in their attempt to find a new source of supply if it’s become clear you are not going to feed it anymore.
If the narcissist leaves you, it’s you who wins. Even if you think your life depends on them. It doesn’t.

4. It’s okay to have empathy for the narcissist because deep down they are in pain. If you don’t that’s okay too (and probably better to lack empathy for them if you’re trying to get out of the relationship). Once disengaged then it’s okay to be empathetic if that’s in your nature, but remember they have chosen to be narcissists and are still very dangerous. Hate the sin, love the sinner.

5. The only kind of “love” they should get from you is TOUGH LOVE. Especially with a child who is a narcissist.

narcissist_shame

6. Be very, VERY clear about your boundaries. Do not tolerate any violation of them. Be firm, do not back down even if they become enraged. Stand your ground. If you feel intimidated remember you are dealing with an eternal 2 or 3 year old. Would you let a toddler get the better of you? Of course not. It’s the same thing with a narcissist. They are really just small children throwing a tantrum to get their way.

7. If you can’t escape, have some kind of outlet or get away to do things for yourself.

8. If your narcissist has isolated you from everyone else, use art, music or writing as an outlet. Creating things frees us, even if only in our minds and hearts. It’s something that’s all about you, and no one else. A narcissist can criticize it, but cannot penetrate your creative vision. I believe everyone has at least one creative/artistic ability they can develop.

9. Read everything you can. Go to as many websites about narcissistic abuse as you can. Read blogs, books by experts and survivors, find out how others have coped or are coping.

10. Realize you are not alone and many suffer with you. Malignant narcissists are at fault for your condition, not you.

11. If you believe in God, ask Him for guidance and strength. You will need it. If you are an atheist or agnostic, ask the Universe or your Higher Power or even the Tooth Fairy for the same.

This is what I was born to do.

borntodothis

Writing has always been what I’ve excelled at more than anything else, but because of the emotional and mental damage done to me by my psychopaths throughout my life, I never pursued it seriously and always felt I didn’t know what I should be or do. At an early age I started to believe I wasn’t much good at anything anyway.

These are the lies and half lies that were told about and to me by the various psychopaths who got to control me (some are based on half truths):
1. Suzanne is smart, but will never excel at anything because she doesn’t apply herself (true, but I didn’t apply myself because I was told I couldn’t do anything).
2. She is too sensitive to make it in this world (you can be sensitive and be successful).
3. She doesn’t make friends easily because she has a terrible personality (I am shy and not very social but I do not have a terrible personality).
4. She’s negative and lives on the pity pot so she will never achieve anything (this has been true at times).
5. She’s lazy and unmotivated and always gives up (see # 1).
6. She doesn’t stick with anything long enough to get really good at anything (see #1).
7. No one wants to be around Suzanne because she’s such a Debbie downer (depression and PTSD caused by being abused by psychopaths).
8. She isn’t any good at office politics (This is true).
9. She should have become a nurse or a teacher because then she’d always have a good job. (I am totally unsuited for nursing and teaching).
10. If Suzanne was thinner she would be more successful and get better jobs (I have never been seriously overweight so this is a lie).
11. If Suzanne smiled more people would like her better (probably true, but smiling doesn’t come second nature to me–I am working on that).
12. She’s stupid and has no common sense (I am not stupid but it’s true I can be a bit of the “absentminded professor”)
13. She’s insane (insanity implies someone who isn’t aware of their own actions or motives or is deluded–I suffer and have suffered from major depression, C-PTSD, autism and avoidant personality disorder. These are not “insane” diagnoses).

You get the idea.

yousuck

The closest I ever came to having a writing career were my two jobs as an editor–I was a technical writer and editor back in the late 1980s, then became a copy editor and later associate editor for a medical journal from 1989-1991. My job included writing a one page regular column, and I also used to write freelance reviews for self help and pop psychology books. These were all good jobs but none paid well. But honestly, I didn’t really like what I was doing (except for writing the book reviews). It was a very corporate environment and there was a lot of office politics so I was never 100% comfortable there.

After moving to North Carolina in 1993 after my second child was born, I never again had a job even remotely related to publishing or writing, and I thought I never would again.

I wrote a novel in 2003 but it was rejected by several publishers (and my narcissist mother said she hated it and I wasn’t ready to write a novel) so I put it in a box in the back of my closet and never looked at it again. It embarrassed me. So from then on I limited my writing to posts on forums or comments on other people’s blogs. I believed I had forgotten how to write, and even worse, I thought I lost my creativity. I never seemed to be able to come up with ideas anymore. What was really happening was I was so terrified of failure (and so brainwashed by my abusers that I always would fail) that it was just safer to never try anything new or take any risks. If I never tried anything, then I couldn’t really fail, could I? Why have ideas if you’re never going to act on them?

That’s faulty logic though, because if you never try anything new, accept a challenge, or take a risk, you may not fail at any activity but you will fail at life, and that’s a lot worse.

One of the benefits of freeing myself from the psychopaths in my life is occasional unexpected bursts of inspiration, and that’s how this blog came to be. Now that I write something every day, my creative muscle is strengthening and I feel like new ideas pop into my head several times a day now. I thought I’d have trouble even coming up with one post a day, but most days I have ideas for two or three. Blogging is something I should have started years ago; it might have led to something bigger and maybe even become a career.

But you know what? There’s no reason why it still can’t. I feel like I finally found my purpose after so many years of feeling like a lost ship without a rudder. I have a good feeling about it.

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My son is “furry”–got a problem with that?

mexnyman

So far my blog has been pretty inoffensive. Well, I like to think so anyway. But I knew the time would come where I’d have to post about something controversial and now is that time.

My son is a furry. And not only do I not have a problem with it, I’m damned proud of him. Yes, I really did just say that.

I know what some of you are probably thinking.

“What kind of a ‘parent” are you?”
“Furries are a bunch of perverts! How can you accept your own CHILD being one?”
“You are depraved to be writing bragging about that.”
“Ewwwwwwwww!!!”
“You are going to hell and so is he.”
“You are SICK!!!ELEVENTY!!111!!
*puking sounds*
“MAKE HIM STOP!!!”

Let me explain. My son, now almost 23, was, along with me, his father’s scapegoat during most of his childhood and teen years. Like me, he’s a HSP (highly sensitive person) and HSPs and psychopaths as parents do NOT mix.

His father, Michael (not his real name), nearly destroyed my son’s self esteem. As a child, he was easily hurt, withdrawn to the point I thought he was autistic (he isn’t though your truly is), and was told (and began to believe) he couldn’t do anything right. Michael called him stupid, sissy, a wuss, and constantly told him he’d amount to nothing. Like me, my son had few friends in grade and middle school. He was bullied. I identified with him (and tried to protect him from Michael’s narcissistic rages) because well, he was so much like me.

I already told you earlier how Michael’s flying monkeys bullied him just prior to the divorce. Ethan (not his real name) was about 12 during this time and that’s a vulnerable age for even the strongest, most confident kid.

Fortunately, Ethan decided to live with me instead of his father after the divorce (my daughter chose her dad, and that’s another story I’ll get into in my next post). I don’t like to toot my own horn and I certainly wouldn’t have qualified as “Mother of the Year” but I like to think I did a pretty good job as Ethan’s mom, and some of the damage that Michael and his team of flying monkeys had done on my son was repaired. Or at least kept him from becoming one of those hardcore emo kids who writes freeverse poetry about suicide, rain and darkness and may even attempt the ultimate self destructive act. Or kept him away from drugs and early drinking. Or becoming a Narcissist himself. He never became any of those things, and in fact was always pretty straight edge. He told me (and I believe him) he never tasted alcohol until he was of legal age. He never liked pot and certainly never touched anything harder. He always did his homework. In high school he was one of those computer geeks and found he had a fascination with photography and art, something I also was involved with when I was his age.

Ethan wasn’t popular and seemed to have no interest in girls. He had a few friends he hung out with to play Age of Empires,” “Legend of Zelda” “Black and White,” and other video games. He was really good at the games and started his own forum about auto racing (something he’s still passionate about). But he was still painfully shy and lacking in confidence.

Two things helped to improve Ethan’s self esteem: Outward Bound and Kung Fu. His 8th grade graduation trip, instead of the usual “fun” trip to New York City or Washington DC, was a physically and mentally challenging 4 day Outward Bound expedition to the mountainous wildnerness right here in western North Carolina. I won’t get into detail about his trip (that’s a story he can tell), but he came back a little different, a little more mature, a bit more confident. When I asked him if he had fun, he said not really, but it was a trip he would never forget and that taught him a lot of things about himself.

When Ethan was 15, he decided to take Kung Fu classes. He was pretty good, and stuck with that for 3 years, advancing to Green Belt, which is more than halfway to Black Belt.

Ethan was keeping some secrets though, and admitted later on he was still deeply unhappy. I didn’t know this at the time, but I did know there was something he wasn’t telling me, and I could have guessed what it was. But I had to wait for him to say it.

At age 17, Ethan came out as gay. He was afraid to tell me, but I told him I had known for a long time but was waiting for him to say it. Ethan was relieved, and now that he was “out,” his confidence level went up a little more, and suddenly at school he was considered “cool,” something he had never been.

It’s so funny how kids will bully another kid they suspect of being gay but who isn’t “out” (and he was definitely bullied about that), but as soon as they’re “out,” they become accepted and cool. It’s a paradox, but it really isn’t–because it’s really not about gay vs. non-gay, it’s about self esteem. Bullied kids are kids who are too outwardly sensitive and have little self confidence. A kid with confidence, even if different from the other kids, is accepted, or at least respected. And I think that’s what happened with Ethan when he came out as gay.

After Ethan graduated from high school in 2010, he came out as “furry.” At first I didn’t even know what that meant, and Ethan didn’t want to explain it to me so I had to go online and do some research myself.

There’s been a lot of negative publicity about “furries,” especially since an infamous episode of the TV show CSI, in which a serial murderer was a furry who liked to kill wearing an animal costume. But this negativity isn’t deserved or even valid. Most of the criticism of furries is related to their alleged depravity–furry detractors insist furries engage in bestiality, or at best, have a fetish about having sex dressed up as animals.

While I won’t deny there is a subset of the furry community that may have a sexual “fursuit” fetish, it’s a small subset from what I’ve seen (and I know a lot about furries now) and the idea that they’re into bestiality is a ridiculous claim with nothing to back it up.

My intention here isn’t to give you a history of the furry fandom (there’s plenty of other places to read up on that). But a little background is required. The furry fandom grew out of the science fiction community back in the early 1980s. Most furries are geeks–comic book geeks, computer geeks, sci-fi geeks, Dragoncon geeks, art geeks, and among Millennials, animated cartoon geeks. Millennials grew up inundated with a huge array of the best made animated films and shows Disney had to offer; and because their stressed out parents were often working or busy with other things, cartoon animals like Mufasa, Timon and Pumba from “The Lion King,” CatDog, Bolt, and the Animaniacs were often left in charge as surrogate babysitters to entertain them.

Naturally a lot of Millennials developed a special affection for these cartoon critters who gave them so much laughter and comfort as children, and some of them continued this fascination into adulthood.

Enter the furries. The vast majority of them are Millennials (born from 1982 to 2000 or so) and there are a surprising number of female furries and heterosexual furries, and many of them are married. There are furry conventions that are becoming more popular every year, the most famous one being Anthrocon, which is held in Pittsburgh every year. Most furries are involved in art–either visual or performing art. I’ve talked to furries, and as a whole they’re a creative bunch. Furry isn’t a perversion; it’s a hobby, no different than someone who attends Star Trek or comic book conventions.

Being a furry has helped Ethan find his creative outlets. Ethan is naturally rather shy and reserved. Dressing up as “Mex” and his other “fursona” has allowed him to discover his outgoing and sociable side and that he has a love of performing (dancing and acting), which is something he might not have explored had it not been for the costume where he feels more comfortable experimenting with that side of himself.

He showed interest in photography and art at an early age, but has developed these abilities, and is now a fledgling filmmaker with a professional eye. He took up filmmaking in college and now has a degree. He makes his own music videos and has posted many of these on Youtube. Not all are about furries. Although none have gone “viral,” several of his films have received thousands of hits. He also is a competent artist, and draws well, although I think he’s more naturally talented at photography and filmmaking.

Here’s one of his videos from his music channel, Radio Recall.

What he’s proudest of is his dancing. He’s been training himself in street-dancing for two years. At the past two conventions he’s attended, he entered the fursuit dance competition. At the most recent one, he was one of the finalists, and he told me being accepted as a finalist was the happiest, most validating moment of his life and the high from it lasted for days. Now he’s working hard at getting even better so he can possibly win one of the Top 3 awards the conventions give out to the winners.

Here’s a video of his performance in the dance competition at a convention in Florida.

Ethan has shown me what can happen to a highly sensitive person who is able to escape from psychopathic abuse when still young, and then is given validation and encouraged to follow their own path, even if it’s not a path most of us would take. He’s shown me what I could have become had I been given such an opportunity (or taken advantage of it) when I was young. Not a furry or dancer or filmmaker, but someone who chased my dreams and never looked back. Ethan has shown me that none of us is a hopeless cause, and it really is possible to free yourself from the barbed wire prison of family psychopathy. Instead of being attacked by the flying monkeys and having your wings clipped, you can learn how to fly.

And that is why I’m proud my son is a furry.