Delphine.

terra

“Terra” by Jenndalyn, Etsy.com

While I was in therapy a couple of years ago,  my therapist asked me to keep a dream diary.    I noticed that I actually seemed to remember more of my dreams while doing this.   I used to write about my dreams often on this blog, but even more often on another blog (Down the Rabbit Hole) I started around that time that focused on my therapy and the things I was discovering about myself and relationships with others.  I took that blog down about a year ago (it still exists, since I didn’t want to delete it, but I set it to private, and then stopped paying for its domain so it’s out there in WordPress Limbo somewhere but no one can see it, not even me unless I decide to revive the domain, which I doubt I’ll do).

Also about a year ago, I stopped going to therapy (I no longer felt that I needed it) and I stopped keeping  the dream diary, which was probably a silly thing to do.   Since then, I haven’t been paying much attention to my dreams and hence, I remember few of them.

But this morning I had one that was quite vivid and actually woke me up.  The dream seemed to have deep meaning and also a message that is important for me to remember, so I wrote the dream down as soon as I woke up.   My most  vivid dreams are always in the early morning, and this was no exception.  I consider this to be a very positive dream, though I’m not sure of its exact meaning for me.

I was cleaning apartments in a two story apartment building.   The apartments were almost identical and they were small.  The apartments at the ends of the hallways were a bit larger and had a different layout from the ones lining the hallways.  It was the end of the day and I was exhausted.  I wanted to go home, but I still had one more apartment to clean, on the second level.  It was one of the end-apartments, so it would be one of the big, rambling ones.  Ugh.  I hoped it would be one without pets or kids, maybe with a single old lady who barely touched anything in her home.   I was so tired!

Wearily, I headed toward the apartment.  Before I even knocked on the door, a woman who appeared to be in her late 30s or early 40s opened the door and ushered me inside.   How did she even know I was there?  She wore a wide smile and bohemian looking clothing.  Her hair was long and wavy, and tied in a messy ponytail with tendrils that curled around her cheeks.  She was a pretty woman, but seemed a bit frazzled.

It wasn’t hard to understand why.  Behind her, down a long messy hallway, I saw 4 or 5 kids, ranging from about age 3 to 12 chasing a large dog around.   Oh great, I thought.   Pets AND kids.  I’d be here forever.   No, no, no.  I wanted to go home.

The woman offered me some iced tea with lemon, and put out a plate of cookies, which I accepted.   Two dirty faced kids came running in and helped themselves, stuffing their faces with cookies.  The dog, some kind of sheepdog/retriever mix, came shambling in behind them, and barked a few times.  One of the kids offered him a cookie and off they went again, running back down the long hallway.

The woman, whose name was Delphine,  projected a bohemian friendliness, warmth and empathy.   I could see she was exactly the type of person who would feel right at home in such a messy, large, disorganized apartment.   The place was so huge and rambling that it seemed more like a house than an apartment.  It was much bigger than the other end- apartments I’d seen earlier, and seemed to have hidden rooms and all kinds of nooks and crannies that seemed utterly impossible in such a space.  It seemed as if it might be separate from this world and therefore not really in that apartment building at all.   The entrance to her home might have been a portal to another dimension.

Delphine showed me around the place, which seemed to ramble on endlessly.  She joyfully told me stories about the rooms and the children and animals who lived in them.  She also  showed me which rooms to clean, but there were only three I’d need to worry about.   I felt that she could sense how exhausted I was, and was trying to help me out by not overloading me with work.  The bedrooms I was to clean belonged to three of her children (I never did find out how many she actually had), but they were pretty well kept, so all I’d really be doing was vacumming the rugs, dusting, and straightening the beds.

The work went fast, so fast I can’t even remember doing it.   But Delphine wouldn’t let me leave.  Or more accurately, she didn’t tell me I couldn’t leave, but she kept showing me incredible, magical things that made it impossible for me to leave.   I noticed Delphine didn’t walk: she floated.  Although I could see her bare feet under her long Indian print hippie dress, she seemed to not really be using them at all.   What was this woman?

We were walking along some kind of half outdoor wooden catwalk to another part of the huge apartment (don’t ask) and growing directly out of the wooden planks was what she called a lotus bloom.  It was in some shade of purple but looked grayish too.  But its color wasn’t what made it so otherworldly and incredible.   I  bent over and looked closely at it.  I saw that the whole thing was moving, almost vibrating, and embedded in its whorl-like petals were other, identical, smaller blooms also vibrating.  Within their petals were even smaller blooms, on into infinity.   Magnificence in fractals.  I couldn’t stop staring, but t Delphine had other things to show me.

On another catwalk hung an intricate bamboo cage and inside the cage was the most incredibly colored bluebird I’d ever seen.   It was alone in the cage but didn’t seem lonely.   The bluebird was  colored blue and bright red (instead of the rusty color normal bluebirds have on their bellies).  The colors were of a brightness that that could be considered neon.   His feathers glowed and shimmered like LED Christmas lights in the middle of the day.

The bird looked directly at me and smiled.  No, it didn’t have teeth or lips, so I can’t explain how it smiled, but it did.   Somehow, I knew the bird knew me from somewhere before, but I couldn’t remember from where or when.  He seemed familiar and I felt good around him.  I couldn’t bear to leave.

I woke up at that point, and sat there for several minutes feeling awestruck.  I was trying to hold onto the memory of the dream before it fragmented and faded away forever , and then decided to scribble it down so I could write about it here later.

Advertisements

Forever alone, revisited.

keep_calm_forever_alone

This is going to be another “running naked” post.

I have mixed feelings about being in a relationship. On the one hand, I long for it because I can’t deny that my inability to connect with anyone on a deep emotional level has caused me a lot of sadness and pain.

At the same time I need my solitude, and it’s almost always my preferred state, due to my avoidant personality. I’d much rather do things alone than do them with others. I’m simply too selfish and don’t want to give of myself to anyone else. I think the selfishness stems from fear though. I’m too afraid: I struggle with fears of rejection, abandonment, judgement, engulfment, being hurt, being used, being abused, etc. I have little to no interest in sex, although I can be sexually attracted. (maybe this is TMI, but I prefer my fantasies to the real thing).

So I have a sort of conundrum. I don’t want to grow old and die alone, but at the same time I don’t want to and am afraid to do what it takes to avoid being alone forever. I was married to my malignant narcissist ex for many years, but the marriage was extremely dysfunctional and I was always in the codependent role. Thinking about the marriage’s failure (which was inevitable from Day One) now makes me feel sad, although for a long time I just felt rage (which is why I started my first blog).

I would only consider a relationship with a non-narcissist now (and really, not with any Cluster B), but that’s a problem because I’m simply not attracted to non-disordered people. I never have been.

The other problem is I’m “in love with the idea of being in love.” Like most Cluster B’s, I become limerent easily (though less so than I used to) and get addicted to the whole “high” that infatuated feeling brings. But it never lasts and I know intellectually it’s not real love. It’s a type of addiction that feels as good as a drug, but the crash (and there always is one) is just as bad as coming down from a powerful drug too. I miss that drug-like high of falling in love though.

To rectify this longing, I live the limerent experience out in my mind by developing powerful crushes on people who cannot give me anything in return for a variety of reasons. Oddly enough, this lack of reciprocation is okay with me. I don’t feel like anything is “unrequited” because I deliberately and consciously get attached to a person only in my own mind and prefer not to share my feelings with the person in question. I have an active enough imagination that there is no need to play it out in reality. In fact, I’d probably run away in terror if it became obvious my feelings were returned. I’d get off on the supply that comes with that, of course–but it would send me into panic mode too. It’s very weird. I don’t know if this is just an eccentricity of mine, or if this sort of thing is experienced by others. Having an active imagination does have its benefits. It’s very narcissistic though.

I think unless I can become non-disordered (which is unlikely), that I need to accept the idea of being alone for the rest of my life. On a day to day basis, I’m okay with that, but it’s sometimes so hard when you look around and everyone else in my age group is married or in a relationship, and I have to do everything on my own. You’re treated by society as defective and if you don’t make a good living, it’s hard to even survive. I feel like a freak sometimes. I can’t look at singleness as a permanent lifestyle or I get very sad and afraid. I have to do what they do in AA, and take things one day at a time.

Narcissists in fantasyland.

kitten_sees_lion

We already know narcissists lie. It’s the one thing they’re all good at. I read a conversation today about the way narcissists lie even about things there is no reason to lie about, and that they also begin to believe their own lies.

Narcissists have been telling lies for so long and have gotten so good at it that they really do believe their lies are the truth. Sometimes they even become skilled at using lies to cover up other lies. To a normal person, living a lie and trying so desperately to cover the truth would be an unbearably stressful way to live. Narcissists are stressed out by this as much as anyone else, but they don’t know where their stress comes from. They are deluded and think their lies are the truth. They honestly don’t know any better so they can’t stop lying and they can’t stop the stress that comes from that.

Think of a young child playing pretend. The child may know the fantasy is just a fantasy, but while they’re in it they believe it’s the truth. Tell the child their fantasy is a lie and they will rage and get very upset. But for young children, living outside reality to some extent is normal. When an adult lives outside reality and creates a fantasy world they think is real, we call it crazy.

If you tell a narcissist to stop lying, they will attack or sometimes, withdraw or even disappear. This happens because: 1. They hate the truth because if they know you can see through their lies, you have blown their flimsy cover and that is terrifying to them; and 2. like a young child, they don’t want to leave their fantasy world–a dream where they are perfect and superior to everyone else. Because in reality they know they aren’t. In fact, narcissists have dismally low self esteem. They hate themselves–but are in love with the false self they created. That’s where their grandiosity and sense of entitlement comes from. They need a constant influx of narcissistic supply from you to keep their false image of themselves alive.

wizard-of-oz2

In “People of the Lie,” M. Scott Peck discusses a malignantly narcissistic patient of his named Charlene. After years of therapy (during which Charlene spent most of her time sadistically playing with Dr. Peck like a toy), in one session she told him about a dream she had of a “marvelous machine.” The machine did everything and was perfect in every way. Charlene proudly told Dr. Peck she had designed and built this marvelous machine herself. When Dr. Peck suggested this machine that did everything was actually an elaborate weapon Charlene had created in her mind to avoid facing the truth about herself, Charlene’s cover was blown and she reacted with unreasonable rage, attacking Dr. Peck for not agreeing with her about the perfection and beauty of the “machine” she was so proud of and what its true purpose was. She could not bear to face the truth and preferred to keep living in her fantasy world of delusions.

wizard
Wizard: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz wanted to appear to be a powerful and ruthless tyrant, so even though he was actually a weak and unassuming little man, he hid behind a curtain, amplified his voice, and projected a scary image onto the far wall when Dorothy and her friends entered the Wizard’s castle. What gives the Wizard away as not being a true narcissist (I’d venture to guess he was probably a borderline) was the fact that when exposed, he took responsibility and showed true remorse for behaving the way he did. It’s still a good illustration of the way narcissists deny reality though.

Narcissists hate themselves and only want you to see what they want you to see. While perhaps done unconsciously, they construct a False Self which is a self of lies. This mask isn’t who they are but they sure get good at convincing everyone it is. Their abuse of others stems from the need to protect “the marvelous machine” they created. If they feel this cover may be blown by the truth, they attack, abuse and rage (or leave), because they’re so terrified you may see the emptiness inside or even worse for them, the vulnerable and defenseless True Self hiding in the dark corners of their unconscious.

I’ve seen narcissists talking to themselves, sometimes in public. It’s weird. It’s as if they don’t know they are talking to themselves. I used to point this out to my ex when he was holding conversations with himself, and he’d deny it or get angry. Could narcissism be a psychotic or dissociative disorder? Do they hear voices in their heads? Sometimes I wonder.

By telling themselves so many lies, they are abusing themselves as much as they abuse others. Only they never realize this. And they won’t ever let you tell them. They’d rather wander forever in the confusing labyrinth of their disordered minds where up is down, north is south, dark is light, yes is no, wrong is right, and they are gods. They can’t face reality because it might destroy them. Or so they believe.