Blogging is not for pussies.

Originally posted on April 1, 2015

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Don’t be a pussy.

Anyone who blogs about a sensitive topic, especially one that focuses on mental health issues (religion and politics would be up there too), is bound to run into haters and detractors at some point. If you blog about a controversial topic, such as narcissism and narcissistic abuse (which is my #1 topic), religion, politics, or the ethical ramifications of breeding pit bulls, by default you make yourself vulnerable to online narcissists, trolls, bullies, and psychopaths. You are going to attract people who do not wish you well. It’s a built-in hazard of the trade.

Even if your blog isn’t particularly controversial or doesn’t focus on a sensitive issue, you are going to have haters and maybe even bullies. OM (Opinionated Man) is a perfect example of this (he insists he has a LOT of haters), and his blog is one of the most popular on WordPress. He doesn’t let the haters get him down, and neither should I and neither should you.

I’ve wasted a lot of time beating myself up for things beyond my control. Over people who do not wish me or my blog well. Way too often I allow other people’s negative opinions of me, my blog, or my articles to get me down and even make me want to change my blog’s focus or remove posts that I thought might have offended them.

You cannot please everyone. It’s not possible. If by some fluke you somehow do please everyone, then you probably have the most boring blog in the universe, one that’s all sweetness and light 24/7, and never approaches anything the slightest bit triggering or controversial.

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Someone is going to be offended.

Even if you blog about something as benign as cake decorating or flower arranging, you are probably going to offend someone. Maybe someone doesn’t like the fact you write recipes using cream cheese icing instead of buttercream, or vice versa. Maybe they are diabetics who take offense to the fact you don’t include sugarless cake decorations in your recipes. They might even assume you are prejudiced against people with diabetes. Maybe someone doesn’t like the color yellow in your floral arrangements because they have bad associations with that color. Maybe they are angry at you because the flowers are dead and they are are morally opposed to killing plant life for ornamental purposes. They could be offended by your fonts or your layout. Maybe they hate your avatar because your picture reminds them of their rude neighbor who lets their dog bark all night and revs their engine every morning at 5 AM.  You have no control over these things.  My point is that no matter what you blog about, someone is going to take offense.

If you can’t stand having bullies and haters, you probably shouldn’t be blogging at all. If you blog about a sensitive or controversial issue, as I do, you are going to attract even more of them than you would if you only blogged about cake decorating or flower arranging or baby koalas.

The Green-Eyed Monster.

Some people are also going to be jealous of you. If your blog becomes successful, expect to have haters. That’s probably why OM has so many haters. His blog is one of the most popular and well-known on the Internet. I’m not tooting my own horn here, but I’ve noticed as my blog has grown, I also have acquired more haters and critics. As a self-identified HSP (highly sensitive person), this realization has been hard for me to accept. I need to grow a thicker skin and just write about what I want and not worry about what the haters think.

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On Political Correctness.

I don’t like political correctness. I don’t like feeling like I have to censor my own thoughts and feelings, because openness and honesty has made my blog what it is. If my words offend someone, they just need to deal with it. If they hate me or my blog, sucks for them.  There are other blogs they can read instead. No one is holding a gun to their head telling them they have to read this blog. I even have an Escape button that will take them to the Huffington Post (it’s not lost on me that some may be offended by THAT). It’s not like I’m the only voice on the Internet that addresses the issues I write the most about. There are hundreds of others.

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I’m a natural pessimist. If I enter a room and everyone is friendly and welcoming except for one person who scowls at me, I’m the type who will fret and ruminate about that one grumpy person rather than feel blessed and grateful that everyone else is happy to see me. Focusing on that one negative person keeps me from enjoying the party.

It’s the same thing with blogging. I have a lot of supporters and friends in the blogging community. There are lots of people who enjoy my blog posts and visit every day. I shouldn’t worry about the few people who are critical of me or my blog, because they don’t matter. They are probably not the sort of people I would want to have as friends anyway.

So, if you blog, don’t be a wuss. Grow a tougher skin and accept the fact you are going to have haters. You don’t have to approve their comments. You don’t have to search Google to see what your detractors may be saying about you. You don’t have to let their vitriol ruin your day. They don’t matter.

Don’t censor yourself. Most people will be able to tell if you are trying to hard to be “politically correct,” and your blog will become boring and insincere and no one will want to read it.   People aren’t stupid and can tell if you’re not being honest or are censoring yourself because of your fear of criticism or offending someone.

Blog from your heart and soul. Be courageous. Write about what you want, no matter how controversial. Don’t be afraid to stir the pot and stand by your heartfelt opinions, even if they are unpopular ones.

Tell the haters to take a hike. You are going to have them. They don’t matter.

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Quotes about Truth #MarchforTruth

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These days, it seems like the truth is optional, even demonized.    Truth is the most important thing for a society (or a family, or any group of individuals) to be able to function and remain psychologically and spiritually healthy.     Valuing the truth is necessary for a society to remain civilized.  Any society that has a casual relationship with the truth or attempts to silence those who speak the truth (or that discourages or forbids critical thinking, creativity, and education — because all these things get at the truth) is on a slippery slope to becoming a dictatorship.

I would have loved to attend the March for Truth here my city today, but due to injuring my right knee a few weeks ago, I can’t walk long distances, so I wasn’t able to go.   Marches are being held in many cities throughout the United States and around the world today.

Since I couldn’t march, I wanted to do something to honor this day, so here are some quotes about truth we all need to remember and take to heart.

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The only people who are mad at you for speaking the truth are those people who are living a lie. — Unknown

Morality is the basis of things, and truth is the substance of morality.  — Mahatma Gandhi

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.  — Albert Einstein

Truth is like surgery. It hurts but cures.  Lies are like a pain killer.  It gives instant relief but has side effects forever. — Unknown

I’m for truth, no matter who tells it.   I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. — Malcolm X

Sometimes the truth hurts.  And sometimes it feels real. — Henry Rollins

Three things cannot be long hidden:  the sun, the moon, and the truth. — Buddha

The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth. — John F. Kennedy

Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth. — Albert Einstein

Tell the truth, or someone will tell it for you.  — Stephanie Klein

The greatest advantage of telling the truth is you don’t have to remember what you said. — Mark Twain

You can’t change the truth, but the truth can change you.  — Hebrews 5: 12-14

The worst thing about being lied to is knowing you’re not worth the truth — Anonymous

Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth, we shall never recognize it. — Blaise Pascal

In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story. — Walter Cronkite

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. — Gloria Steinem

A wise man confesses his wrong, a fool defends it. — Unknown

Truth sounds like hate to those who hate the truth. — Unknown

 

 

On being controversial.

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I don’t write to people-please. I did enough people-pleasing as a scared, awkward child and a codependent wife to a sociopath. Those days, for me, are numbered. I blog to be honest about myself and the way I see the world. Being completely honest isn’t always easy, and there have been many times I haven’t posted something I really wanted to because I was afraid of how people might react. But my track record is pretty good, and usually my desire to post an opinion or viewpoint that may not be “popular” overrides my fear of angering or upsetting someone. Even if I hesitate before posting an unpopular or controversial opinion, more often than not, I’ll eventually post it anyway and worry about the fallout (if any) later.

Most of the time, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve had people actually thank me for posting a controversial or unpopular opinion, because as it turns out, there are people who feel the same way I do, but haven’t worked up the courage to admit it in public. They are grateful to know they’re not the only person in the world who feels a particular way. Other than those occasional words of gratitude, posting something controversial or unpopular has usually proved to be no more eventful than posting something that’s completely vanilla and inoffensive.

But occasionally, my posting something controversial has been met with anger and even hatred. I have my share of haters, but fortunately they are relatively few. Because I’ve always been a fairly non-confrontational person and also because I have such low self esteem and hate it when people hate me, at first the reality of having haters was hard to take. The first time I got skewered for posting something people strongly disagreed with, I was tempted to close up shop and stop blogging. My self-esteem and motivation to blog took a nosedive for weeks. I was extra careful to keep my posts as vanilla and bland as possible, so as not to offend anyone.

But being vanilla was boring to me. And I think it bored my readers too. My view count diminished, and after awhile of wondering where I went wrong, I realized that I was boring my readers because I was bored. I wanted 75% dark chocolate with chili powder and sea salt, and so did my readers, but I was giving them tapioca pudding because I was afraid of burning any tongues.

I’m not a shit-stirrer. I don’t write controversial things just to be controversial or to get attention. But I often have opinions that don’t go along with what’s popular or politically correct. Writing about these things, if I feel strongly about them, is exciting to me, because I feel like I’m sharing a point of view too often overlooked that I think deserves to be considered. I feel like I’m educating my readers, and sometimes they tell me my viewpoint was one they never considered before. That always makes me feel good. Telling them something nice and PC and popular doesn’t make anyone think. It doesn’t challenge anyone. It doesn’t rock their world. You can go on Google and find 3,654 other posts saying the exact same thing.

If you write honestly, from your heart, and you’re a thinking human being, you are going to have a few opinions that raise a few eyebrows (or even make a few hands curl into fists). And blogging, good blogging, is about honesty, even when it’s un-PC. Frankness and the courage to speak out about how you really feel is what makes a blog popular, even if the opinions stated always aren’t. As a bonus, you’ll get a lot more traffic too. And while you’ll get a few critics and even a few trolls, most of that boost in traffic will be from people who agree with you.

Anonymity.

I was thinking about how strange it is that I’m not afraid to reveal my innermost feelings to total strangers I have never met, but it’s so hard to share those same feelings with the people who are closest to me. There are things I’ve written here on my blogs that I couldn’t even tell my therapist yet.

On having seasonal affective disorder (SAD), dishonesty, and a few other things.

This is going to be a long post, because I have so much to say.
I haven’t been completely honest about why I haven’t been posting as much (being overworked and tired is only part of it) but I was very confused about all these emotions I’m having and wasn’t sure where to begin, even though I wanted to talk about it. I just felt so overwhelmed and confused I was sure anything I wrote would overwhelm and confuse the hell out of anyone reading it and make no sense. Even now, I’m having trouble knowing where to start and am not sure this is going to make any sense, but I’m going to try, since I have the time.

1. Seasonal Affective Disorder.

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Let me start with the most obvious and simplest to explain. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Last fall, I was so new to blogging and so excited by the novelty of it that my excitement over my new “toy” overrode my usual feelings of depression I get when the days become shorter, colder, and gloomier. I even thought I’d been spontaneously “cured” but it’s back this year. It always starts around late August, when the days are becoming noticeably shorter (and this year, the trees begin to change early too). The fact that it’s still as hot as a pizza oven makes no difference. SAD is triggered by lack of daylight. It really starts to kick in after the autumnal equinox (September 23 this year) when the days begin to become gloomier and grayer and the nights are longer than the days. In this part of the country, there’s always a lot of rain in the fall and overcast days. I know we need the rain, but my brain doesn’t care and the darkness always triggers depression, which causes me to feel sad (SAD is a good acronym for this disorder!) and as gloomy as the gray days, and any motivation I have or energy goes out the window.

The string of upcoming holidays, which seem to mitigate the gloom for normal people (and even make them feel happy), don’t help me one bit. In fact, they make things worse. Halloween isn’t too bad (it doesn’t cost much and isn’t a “family” holiday), but Thanksgiving and Christmas are a different story. As a person with no money and who is not in contact or close to most of my family, the holidays, especially Christmas, are very difficult for me. Besides my children, I have no one to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with. Christmas is so overcommercialized and you are made to feel somehow defective or different (in a bad way) if you can’t afford to buy a ton of gifts (and don’t get many either), don’t love Christmas music, or can’t get into the “holiday spirit.” I know Christmas is really about the birth of Jesus, not crass commercialism, but unfortunately our society has made it that way, and if you’re a poor person with hardly any family and few close friends, it’s really hard to not get depressed.

I always begin to feel better sometime after Christmas, and usually by early February my mood is improving, despite the cold weather. Again, this has to do with the lengthening days. In fact, every year I look forward to the winter solstice, because it’s then that the days begin to grow longer again. It doesn’t take too long for my body to notice it. And once Christmas is over and done with, I feel relief. Then it’s just a matter with putting up with 2 more months of cold and gloomy, overcast days. And because I live in the South, the winters here are not long. It’s usually warming up by early March or even the end of February, and the first signs of spring can be seen then too. I always notice my energy level and motivation increasing, and my mood becomes more upbeat and positive.

So the lack of motivation caused by my SAD (and blogging no longer being the novelty it was last year at this time) is partly responsible for my not writing every day the way I used to. But that’s only part of it.

2. Coming to terms with being a covert narcissist.

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The other part is a lot harder for me to talk about, even though I’ve talked about it before, and nothing bad happened when I did and people didn’t unfollow this blog in droves, the way I had feared. About two months ago, I began to self identify as a covert narcissist (in addition to my having BPD and Avoidant PD). It explained the “Aspergers” I was sure I had up to that point. I don’t want to belabor again how I made this discovery or why (if you’re interested in reading more about that, I wrote several articles about it in early-mid August and started another blog, intended to help people with self-aware covert narcissism and BPD who do not want their disorders), but for some reason, I began to feel a lot of shame associated with the “NPD” label, based on the general attitude toward narcissists, especially those who have been abused by them (and the attitude is understandable).

Although I didn’t want to be dishonest because this blog has always been a place where I can be completely honest and would not have discovered this truth about myself had it not been for writing honestly about my feelings every day, I clammed up just the same. I began to fear people’s judgment of me for being “one of them” (even though I’m mindful and think I do pretty well not acting in narcissistic ways) and feeling like maybe I should downplay the “narc” label. After all, it’s just a label, right? And not even a label given to me by a therapist or mental health professional, but a self-diagnosis which might be wrong anyway. I can’t even bring myself to add “covert narcissism” to my list of disorders. BPD’s bad enough.

But in spite of all that, in my gut I know my self assessment is correct. I’ve become very hesitant to call too much attention to it however, because of my fear of negative judgment (which in itself is a part of both BPD and covert NPD). I know it’s silly, because it was abuse itself that made me this way. In the past few months I’ve hesitated to write articles about abuse, because knowing I have covert narcissism made me feel like a fraud. But I’m not a fraud because I am myself an abuse victim–one so badly damaged I was infected with narcissism myself. That’s why once I got over my rage and hatred toward narcissists (which I worked out through my earlier blog posts) brought on by their abuse, I found myself attempting to understand why they did the things they do. It took several more months of completely honest writing (running naked in public) that pulled the scales from my eyes and made me realize that I myself had the disorder and was trying to understand myself!

It took an email I got this morning from an ACON (who I had confessed about my narcissism to) that said she could understand how I could have been infected and that as long as I was aware and trying to change (which I am doing) that there was nothing wrong with my writing for ACONs and in fact, she had been helped by my articles and would continue to read them. Most people, in fact, have been very supportive and understanding. I was actually shocked by this, given how demonized NPD is.

I know as a blogger who writes primarily as a form of self therapy, that I cannot get any better if I stop being honest. I worry far too much about what others are going to think, or that I will be disliked, or people will judge me harshly. I suppose this is natural, having been judged harshly by my narcissists all my life, so I always assume the worst will happen. It rarely does, but just the same, it makes me clam up and leave things out.

These labels can be so damaging, and make those of us who want to change ourselves afraid to admit the truth. It was bad enough admitting I was BPD, because of the negative stigma associated with that. But admitting you’re “N” is even more scary. Some people think you’re the devil himself. But why should it be that way? It’s just a label. If I’m not acting out or hurting anyone, then it makes no difference to anyone but myself. It’s something I need to deal with. I can’t get any better if I don’t come to terms with that reality and on some level, accept it.
I could be wrong anyway (but I don’t think I am).

I felt so much better when I left nothing out, when I was so candid and brutally honest about the most personal and embarrassing and shameful things imaginable. It was scary but I never once regretted it, and found myself growing and changing, becoming happier and more confident (in a real, not a narcissistic way). I was feeling more empathy for others and becoming less shy. I was finding myself connecting with people in a way I was never able to, and was beginning to feel like I mattered. So why would I stop?

I judge myself and don’t want to “own” this label, but realistically, how could someone have been raised the way I was and NOT develop a Cluster B disorder like BPD or NPD? I was both scapegoat AND golden child, and constantly receiving contradictory, mixed messages (I was perceived as either “better” than others, superior, and expected to live up to some ideal image of a child my parents had for me, or I was told I was worthless and bad because I was unable to live up to that unrealistic ideal). This isn’t something I chose; it was something done to me. Narcissism is contagious.

And that brings me to the third issue behind my depression and lack of motivation…

3. Fear of parental disapproval.

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There’s another reason why I’ve been less motivated to write. The way I was raised has everything to do with all my emotional problems and my mood swings, inability to connect with anyone emotionally, or feel like I’m leading a fulfilling, successful life. It even explains why I married a malignant narcissist and spent 27 years with him as a codependent, abused wife (covert narcissists–and BPDs–often pair up with higher spectrum or overt, grandiose narcissists and are almost always codependent).

But lately I’ve been afraid to write about my parents and their emotional abuse of me, even though they were my first (and because my personality was still forming, my most toxic), abusers). I can’t blog honestly if I leave my experiences with them out. But I’ve been afraid to write about them just the same, and that’s because about 6 months ago, I found out my parents had found my blog and were reading it. That might make anyone clam up, but no real names were being used, so I wasn’t guilty of slander or libel. It might even do them good to read about the way they made me feel, even if they didn’t care or tried to project everything back onto me (because I wasn’t lovable enough as a child, or am a “loser” who makes “bad choices” today or whatever it is they’re saying about me). It would certainly do ME good to be honest about what happened. After all, this blog is my self-therapy and with any therapist, you would talk about your childhood and the bad parenting you got, so why wouldn’t I write about it? It’s not as if I’m losing anything by doing so, since (as far as I know) I’ve been disowned anyway. I’ve been the black sheep for years and am NC with my mother anyway.

But I still fear their judgment, for God knows what reason. Why do I write openly about my ex’s abuse and not fear his negative judgement? What makes it so different? What makes that “okay” and writing about my parents “not okay”?

I worry way too much about the negative opinions of others, and that in itself is part of my narcissism. I was bullied as a child and that didn’t help either. I put far too much importance on what other people think. I don’t think I lie excessively, but leaving things out is a kind of lie too. I lie by glossing over things, not talking about important things that affected me and caused my problems, not admitting the way I really feel about something, downplaying both my abuse (due to fear of my parents judging me even though they already do) and my own disorders. When I lie by omission, it’s still a lie, and I’m not doing myself any favors either. In fact, the fear of negative judgment feeds on itself, and I imagine the worst outcomes and that tends to feed my fears even more, making me even less motivated to write.

So what I need to do is not worry about what everyone will think, and go ahead and write what I feel and let the chips falls where they may. If I’m harshly judged by some, so be it. Those are probably not people I would want to have anything to do with anyway.

A small part of my depression is because my car needs major repairs and my job only pays enough to pay the bills so I’m living pretty much from one paycheck to the next (and working a lot more). I’m going to go ahead and ask for donations via Paypal but I’ll do a separate post for that and I hope it doesn’t offend anyone.

So that’s where I’m at. I need to start writing about everything I’m feeling again, starting from today and stop worrying about what a few people think and censoring myself because of them. They don’t matter, but my growth as a person does, as well as those who get something from reading this blog. Censoring myself for fear of negative judgment is one of the things I need to work on getting over. It helps no one, least of all me. Haters are always going to exist, no matter what you blog about. I can’t lose my original focus and why I started blogging in the first place, and lately I’ve been slipping. That needs to stop now.

You may find this article inspiring too, if you blog and are afraid to be completely honest.

On people pleasing.

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I think most of us who were exposed to narcissistic abuse for any length of time learn to become people pleasers, always deferring to our “betters” (the narcissists) and becoming human doormats. People pleasing is known by many terms, but “codependent” in particular comes to mind. It’s an extremely unhealthy way to live.

All my life I’ve been a people pleaser. ‘ve always been terrified of saying “no.” I’ve always gone along with things I didn’t like just to keep the peace. The problem with being a people pleaser is that it tends to attract further abuse (they know we’re pushovers so they’ll up the ante); and potential abusers can “smell us out.” People pleasing also never really pleases anyone. Someone is always going to be displeased, even if it’s only ourselves. Chances are, the person you’re trying so hard to win the approval of is going to find something wrong with what you’re doing for them anyway, especially if they’re narcissists.

People who try too hard to please everyone–like politicians who can’t commit fully to either liberal or conservative stances because they’re too afraid of the disapproval of either side, wind up alienating everyone. It comes off as insincere–and it is. You just know they’re hiding something.

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I remember the first time I realized how fake I was being while engaged in people-pleasing. I was about 9 or 10. We were visiting some relatives in another state and my uncle had a collection of decoy ducks he was very proud of. I could have cared less, but because I’d been raised to always be polite, I faked intense interest in his hobby. In fact, my “act” was so extreme he really thought I was interested and kept talking to me about his ducks even though I wanted to scream at him to shut up already. It’s fine to be polite and civil, but I was so afraid he would “discover” my boredom with his hobby that I went above and beyond-and felt absolutely disgusted with myself later. Of course that didn’t stop the people pleasing. No one living in constant terror and shame the way I did would be able to stop.

Freedom from the “people pleasing” game where you always wind up losing doesn’t mean not helping others or being cold and selfish. People pleasing is very disordered and even narcissistic in itself–because you’re trying to please others to get approval or love, not because you really care about their feelings or well-being. You don’t need empathy to be a people-pleaser, just a weak and beaten down ego that makes you grovel like a dog for a treat. People pleasing is actually a central feature of several personality disorders–BPD, Avoidant PD, Dependent PD, and Covert Narcissism.

Unlike people pleasing, true caring and altruistic feelings for others are not about pleasing people–they’re random acts of kindness that come from an authentic and confident person’s heart, and nothing about it is fake. I’m working toward this too. Right now I’m still caught up in the fear of displeasing anyone and the ramifications that has for me. It’s very self-centered.

In summary, people pleasing is about lies–it’s all about trying to boost a shaky self esteem and it’s about as fake and inauthentic as you can get.

On freaking out.

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I shouldn’t freak out so much whenever I post something I’m embarrassed by or ashamed of or that is very personal.
I always forget how good running naked in public can feel.
The outcome is never bad, and always leads to even more self awareness.
How can that be a bad thing?

I’m not alone in freaking out over stuff like this. It seems to be universal, hardwired into the human brain.
Why is there so much shame in making yourself vulnerable, telling your secrets? Does it mean you’re weak? Is it something we should be ashamed of?
I don’t think so. I think being vulnerable and candid means we have the courage to honest even when it hurts, and that makes you stronger than 100 boxes of Wheaties.

I posted an article earlier I was certain would run off most of my readers, cause my friends to leave me, and basically kill this blog.
But that hasn’t happened.
Everyone’s been so supportive.
And I want to tell everyone thank you. I’m glad I did this now.

The Four Agreements

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Click to enlarge.

Why this blog is becoming successful and how yours can too.

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The beginning: Taking that first, scary leap of faith.

When I started this blog in September, my intention wasn’t to have a “successful” blog. My initial aim (and still my primary aim!) was to heal myself from PTSD, severe anxiety and depression caused by many years of victimization by narcissists. The healing isn’t finished yet, and probably never will be completely.

Deciding to make my personal diary a public spectacle seems rather narcissistic, but my reasoning for doing this was (a) as an alternative to traditional psychotherapy, which I could not afford (and still can’t afford); and (b) my belief that complete honesty on the Internet with complete strangers was the key to my healing and overcoming my many fears, especially my fears of social interaction.

It’s a lot like that first venture into the deep end of a swimming pool. At first you’re scared to death, but soon no one can keep you away from it!

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So far, it’s working. I can honestly say these past five and a half months have proven to be the best therapy I ever had. Yes, putting my heart and soul and vulnerability out there on the web was incredibly scary at first, and I hesitated much about posting some things about my past (and still do sometimes), but I went ahead and did it anyway, then held my breath and waited for the psychopaths, bullies and trolls to descend on this blog like the wicked witch’s flying monkeys descended on Dorothy and her friends in The Wizard of Oz.

That never happened. The few trolls are easily controlled–I just don’t approve their comments. I guess I’ve been lucky: there’s only been about two on this blog so far. I learned not to take what they say personally. I’ve already been the victim of Internet bullying, and feel that with my own blog, I have a lot more control and I know how to handle the bullies and trolls.

My first mentors.

The word Mentor in magazine letters on a notice board

Early in my blogging experience, I was fortunate enough to have three very different people from completely different backgrounds help me obtain more visibility. These people were my first mentors, before I learned the ropes of blogging or how to get it seen.

As a brand new blogger and a person not known for being patient, when my first week passed and I had a measly 12 followers, and was getting practically no likes or comments after slaving away for hours on a post that was painful to write, I expressed my frustration in this post (which is still one of my most popular). I couldn’t lie anymore–although I started this blog as an online journal, dammit, I wanted people to actually read my thoughts! Opinionated Man, known for his kindness to newbies, reblogged that post on his blog HarsH ReaLiTy the next day, and I spent the entire weekend fielding so many comments and new followers that I never had a chance to do my laundry or go grocery shopping!

I consider that my first big win, or maybe my second. My next big win was writing an article about “I, Psychopath,” Ian Walker’s documentary about Sam Vaknin, and that attracted the attention of Sam himself (who admitted he found the article by Googling himself!) For awhile he was sharing every article I wrote about him (and I kept writing more not only because of my interest in him, but I have to admit, to keep my momentum going, since every article I’ve written about him has become wildly popular, even if not shared by Sam himself.) He’s been doing less sharing of my articles and that’s perfectly alright, because now I know how to build my own momentum.

My third big win (but really my first) was Fivehundredpoundpeep’s wonderful blog. Prior to starting this blog, I’d been reading hers religiously and was astonished how much I could relate to this woman, who is an Aspie like myself abused by a truly evil family of narcs (even more so than my own). I added her blog to my blogroll and started commenting on her posts and soon this was a mutually beneficial arrangement where she added my blog to her blogroll (and hers is a pretty popular blog).

All these things have helped my visibility enormously. OM reblogging several later articles has helped too, as well as taking advantage of his regular invitations for bloggers to “pimp their blog” on his website.

Getting over my fear of social media.

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Would I really sell my soul to this devil? Well…yes.

Even with all these fortuitous events, I was still terrified of sharing my articles on social media, Facebook in particular, because of my fear of my FOO (family of origin) and other people from my past I prefer to keep a distance from finding this blog. There’s only so much visibility you can attain through the help of others. To become really successful and for your blog posts to move up to the top of search engines, you can’t rely on other people to do all your disseminating work for you. Eventually you will need to promote your blog yourself, and that doesn’t take into account just writing posts people want to read (which I will get to in a minute).

I didn’t have too much of a problem sharing my posts on Twitter or Stumble Upon, since none of my FOO use those services (except my son, who’s a Twitterholic), but ignoring Facebook is a bad idea for a blogger who wants to grow their visibility and have a successful blog. So I held my nose and first signed up for a LinkedIn account, which seemed less “dangerous” than Facebook. A few weeks later, I finally threw in the proverbial towel and decided to start sharing my articles on Facebook too, even though I use my actual name there instead of my psuedonym, as I do here.

At first nothing much happened. But soon I found I was friending and following people on both Facebook and Twitter who may be interested in a blog like mine. I started paying attention to the “who to follow” section, which always annoyed me before. I followed or friended a number of groups and organizations too that were relevant to the subject matter I write about. By following organizations and groups, you get a lot of new people at once seeing your shares instead of just one person at a time.

Within the past two weeks, my Twitter followers have increased from about 80 to about 130. Every time I sign into Twitter now, I have more followers. That was never the case before.

I’m still wary about Facebook, but I’ve noticed my posts always get the most shares on that site (sometimes in the double digits), so I make sure to “like” relevant groups and organizations, as well as friending a lot of individuals in the narcissistic abuse community.

I recently was able to start running ads on this blog because my traffic was sufficient to do so. I doubt I’ll ever become rich with this blog, but I may earn a bit of pocket money anyway. I sure would love to earn enough to be able to quit my day job, but that’s probably more likely to come from writing a book at some point and selling it on Amazon than it is from this little blog. But that’s okay. Things are happening at the rate they’re supposed to, and not before I’m ready.

Reaping the harvest.

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Due to my becoming far bolder about sharing this blog on social media, it’s been attracting attention from professionals and other people I’m surprised found it. Last week I posted a video of Christian singer-songwriter Danny Gokey’s hit “Hope in Front of Me” and I got a direct message from him on Twitter thanking me for doing that. I got a thank you and several retweets from film director Eric Casaccio, the maker of the upcoming movie, “Narcissist.” I have received a private email from two academic researchers from the University of Georgia who asked me to link to their survey about parental narcissism on this blog. I was more than happy to help them with that project. (The survey is still open and the link to it is in the sidebar; the deadline for that is February 28th). I’ve also been asked to review a new book for abuse survivors and am currently working on that too.

In the past week, my followers have increased by more than 100, and this doesn’t include random readers who are not following my blog at all. As OM says, it’s not about how many followers you have or how many “likes” you get, it’s about how many hits you get. Several of my articles are now on Page One of Google. Other search engines are appearing in my stats now too, including obscure ones and AOL (does anyone actually use AOL anymore?) This is all kind of shocking to me, but the more stuff you have appearing at or near the top of search engines, the more hits you will get. It’s a self-perpetuating mechanism.

All this may sound like bragging, and it probably is. I can’t become too narcissistic about all this as vanity is one of my character flaws. I still have a long way to go. I still have a lot of healing to do, and healing is still–and always will be–the main focus of this blog.

The best reward of all.

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More encouraging and exciting than anything else, though, are when I get emails or comments from abuse survivors who tell me this blog or my story of abuse has helped them. I used to feel so incompetent and useless in the world, so testimonials from people who tell me they feel less hopeless and broken because of something I wrote feels like winning the lottery. Better than winning the lottery. It makes me feel like I have a purpose, that I wasn’t put in this world just to be narcissistic supply to others. I used to actually believe I was put on this earth as an example to others of how not to be.

God, how wrong I was about that. If you feel that way and you are emmeshed with a malignant narcissist or psychopath, you have been trained to believe you are nothing and can offer nothing good or useful to the world. Please believe me, that is wrong. Your abusers are projecting their own self-hatred and worthless feelings onto you.

Tips on writing a blog people want to read.

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Besides taking that leap of faith to finally promote my blog and share articles on social media (and getting a lot of help from others, especially in the beginning), if you want to grow your blog there are several other things you really need to do:

–Include ALL the social media buttons under every article. Even if you don’t use them (but you should), others will. That will help your visibility even if you don’t promote yourself.

–You don’t have to be a Shakespeare or a Poe or have great writing ability. If you know how to string together a few sentences and have halfway decent grammar (grammar and spell check will help), you can still write a blog post people want to read. The key is to make it conversational and personal. Don’t overload the reader with too many facts or pedantic language. And always, ALWAYS be honest. People can tell when you’re lying or leaving out pertinent information. They will finish reading your article feeling unsatisfied and cheated and may never return.

–Use graphics for long posts to break it up. No one wants to read a wall of text, no matter how well written it is. Pictures are easy to find on Google images–just type in a phrase that describes what you’re looking for, or even use pictures you took yourself. Quotes and block quotes work well too at breaking up walls of text, and never be afraid to use humor!

–If your blog focuses on one or two subjects as this one does, it’s okay to add in an occasional article or post about something unrelated. In fact, I think it makes your blog fresher and more interesting. Another benefit of posting unrelated material is that you will attract readers who may not otherwise be reading your blog. I have had a number of foodies and furries reading this blog (and even following it in a few cases) because of articles I wrote about those subjects. It helps to be versatile, but be careful not to lose your original focus.

–If your blog is about a serious or dark subject (as mine is), watch the negativity. People won’t feel helped if all you do is complain or act pessimistic. It’s great to be honest, but people want to feel like you’re giving them some hope for their hopeless situation too. That’s why I include inspirational memes and quotes, happy or cute photographs, cartoons, jokes, and lots of music. (Music has been major in my healing, second only to writing). Sometimes I find that if I post something positive even when I’m feeling like I want to jump out a 16th floor window (it happens more often than you think!), it actually improves my own mood.

–Make sure you post frequently. You don’t have to go crazy like me and post 3-5 new posts a day, but if you publish one post per day, that’s enough to keep readers interested. If you can’t think of anything to write about (and I do have those days), sometimes just a funny cartoon, inspirational meme or pretty photograph with one or two sentences will do. There’s nothing that will kill a blog faster than abandoning it. If you don’t appear to care, your readers will go somewhere else.

–Use as many links as possible in your articles. Doing this will create a pingback or a trackback: Blogs you link to will see the pingback and in return, will most likely follow your blog and recommend it to others.

–Link to your own articles too. Doing this not only adds depth and background to your article, but it also encourages readers to not stop with the article they’re reading–they might click on your links and read your other articles too!

–If you have the time, comment on or at least “like” posts by other bloggers. Follow as many other bloggers as you can, too. Most people are polite so most likely they’ll follow you back.

–Unless you are in a situation where you have potentially dangerous people stalking you on the Web, never, ever, EVER require people to sign in to read your blog. I know if I see a blog that requires me to sign in or use a password to read posts, I’ll bypass that blog, even if it’s about a topic I’m jumping out of my skin to read about.

–Probably most important of all: always reply to your comments! It might seem like a chore, but if you fail to reply to your comments, your readers will think you’re ignoring them and no one likes to be ignored. I also don’t understand why some people don’t allow comments. Interaction is necessary for a blog to be active and dynamic. Replying to comments will keep your readers around and make you seem like you care about them.

There’s a lot of other blogging advice that’s more technical than what I have offered here, and I don’t consider myself any kind of expert on how to run a successful blog. I’m nowhere near OM’s level of viewership and probably never will be, and that’s okay. Besides all the above things I suggested to improve your visibility and readership, I strongly suggest adopting his blog HarsH ReaLiTy as your blogging bible–and in return he just might reblog something you posted!

For more about increasing readership and popularity of your blog, see this article (told from an earlier–and more humorous–POV–I wrote it in early December): https://luckyottershaven.com/2014/12/08/this-blog-is-growing-yours-can-too/

My daughter just made me cry.

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Molly and me in the car in April 2014. I was 2 months No Contact with my MN ex by then.

My daughter Molly got home from visiting some friends, and admitted that she had come across my blog back in December and read the article about her where I said I thought she was a malignant narcissist (I think I was mistaken about that).

I thought she’d be angry, but instead she told me that although it hurt her feelings, it was a wake up call too, and because of that article, she started to rethink some of her past behaviors. She had time to do that during her 30 day stint in jail too.

Then she actually thanked me. She said, “Mom, even though I was so hurt you thought I was a narcissist, I started to think you were right and realized I do act very narcissistic sometimes, especially when I was doing pain pills (she hasn’t done pills in over a month). I want to say thank you, because I know you would never have written that if you didn’t love me.”

It gets even better.

She continued, “You’re different now, Mom. You seem so much happier now. I’ve read some of your other blog posts and I have to say I really admire you, Mom, for being so honest about everything. I think you’re so brave to be doing that and it’s doing good things for you. I could never do what you’re doing. I really want to change, Mom. I want you to be as proud of me as I am right now of you.”

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She took this with her phone while we were talking. I wasn’t crying yet lol.

And then she came over to hug me and we were both crying.

For the record, the article I linked to describes something that wasn’t true. She had a brief relationship with a narc who lied to me about her doing hard drugs and because he gave such a good impression (this guy was a skilled psychopath who could sell ice to a penguin), had me believing him. It turned out everything he said to me was a lie. I wrote about that too, but it isn’t a long post (and actually replaced another one which I deleted).