Unexpected angels.

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During the past few months — since Trump got elected — I’ve become more judgmental and less trusting.   Now it’s true that due to being a victim of narcissistic abuse and suffering from several disorders and C-PTSD due to the abuse I endured, I’ve always been suspicious and hypervigilant of others’ intentions, always assuming the worst, or that they have some hidden agenda.    My motto has always been, “if you think the worst will happen, you will never be disappointed and your heart will never be broken.  If the worst does happen, you won’t be devastated because you will have expected it.”   It seemed foolhardy, even stupid, to be an optimist or expect the best from others.    Emotionally,  I couldn’t do it anyway.

But that’s a rotten way to live and certainly not a recipe for happiness or even contentment.  You walk through life being paranoid and suspicious of everyone all the time, always wondering what others are planning to do to hurt you.  You can never attain any semblance of happiness with a mindset like that.

Since I’ve been blogging and been in therapy, and since I’ve become a Christian, this had been improving.  I was feeling happier, trusting others a little more, and not always assuming everyone had a knife hidden behind their back.     I was beginning to find what I think God’s purpose for me is.    I noticed that people were actually treating me better, fewer negative things were happening, and best of all, more positive things were happening.  Changing my mindset to a more positive, hopeful one did indeed seem to attract even more positive things in my life. I realized that while it’s perfectly normal and even desirable to acknowledge and express “negative” emotions, that walking around with a perpetual black thunderhead hanging over my head wasn’t helping me or anyone else.  It was a defense mechanism that worked in its way, but was never going to allow me to be happy.

Trump got elected just as my SAD was kicking in, and the combination of the two sent me into a depression that seemed as bad as those I had when I was still married to my abusive husband.    It got even worse since his inauguration, and the ensuing (and immediate) shitstorm of chaos and fear-mongering that seems to have been unleashed since January 20.    It was so triggering for me that I began to distrust almost everyone again, no matter if they were on the right or the left.  It seemed as if there were no good people left in the world, and the world itself was going insane.   After all, how could a good person vote for such a leader, and yet, here he was.   Somehow, evil appeared to have won.     I’ve been scanning the news every day like a meerkat scanning the horizon for predators.

But even worse, I’ve become judgmental.   I never used to judge others for their political or religious beliefs, even if I disagreed with them.  I always believed that people have a right to believe what they believe, for whatever reason, and just because I disagreed with them doesn’t mean they are inherently bad people.   But lately, I’ve been adopting a hateful belief that all Trump supporters must be horrible people.    This is unlike me, and I knew judging others this way was wrong, but I couldn’t help it.    If someone was an asshole to me, even if they were just a driver acting like an asshole on the road, I’d say to myself dismissively, “they must be a Trump supporter.”   To my way of thinking, anyone who voted for Trump had to be a “bad person.”   Even though I knew several Trump supporters who are actually very kind people, I couldn’t seem to shake the judgmental thinking and stereotyping of Trump supporters as being a bunch of “deplorables.”

Today I was working in the home of an older retired couple who I knew had voted for Trump.   They listen to Rush Limbaugh and have a “Make America Great Again” bumper sticker on their SUV.   I also knew these were very nice people. The wife, Doris, always has homemade baked goodies, and they always tip.   Both are extremely friendly and just seem like good, salt of the earth people.  Okay, so I knew intellectually that Trump supporters weren’t all asshats, but I couldn’t accept this on an emotional level.   I also haven’t been able to accept on an emotional level that there are ANY really good people left in this country.

Today they proved me wrong on both.    The husband, Alan, started asking me questions about my car and then went out to look at it.  I thought it was a little odd, but maybe he was just a car buff and curious about my car.

He came back inside and said, “Your tires look like shit.”  He knew I was driving to Florida in a few weeks.  Somehow I felt on the defensive.   I started to explain I intended to get new tires before my road trip, but he interrupted me.   “I want to buy you a new set of tires.   There’s a tire shop down the road.”   Whoa, what?   I stood there, my mouth hanging open like a dimwit.

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“Oh, no!”  I said.  “I can’t let you do that.”

“I want to and I will,” Alan said.   That was final.  He wasn’t giving me a choice.    “Wait here a few minutes, it’s just down the road.”

I gave Alan my car keys.  I was in shock.    I felt like I should offer to pay him back or something, but he wasn’t having it.

When he got back from dropping off the car, Doris and Alan invited me into the kitchen where we sat down and had some cake she had baked and some Cokes.   Alan started talking about God.  It turned out he’s actually agnostic.  He said, “I don’t know if God exists or not, but if He does,  then He works through people helping others.   I want you to understand why I did this today.  Doris and I never had children, and we are retired and comfortable.   We’re not going to take all this with us when we die, so we like to help our friends and neighbors when we can.”

Driving home on my four brand new tires, I realized in my heart and not just in my mind, that angels can be found in the most unexpected places.   There are genuinely good and even altruistic people left in the world after all, and yes, some of them are even Trump supporters!

We should never judge the hearts of individuals, regardless of their beliefs.   We are all brothers and sisters under God.

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Self-pity and self-compassion: there’s a huge difference!

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I read a post yesterday on another blog that I agreed with, except there was one thing that didn’t quite sit right with me. The post said that self-pity is an important part of healing from Complex PTSD.

In his book (which I’m still reading), Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, Pete Walker says that self-compassion is an important part of healing, and I think this is what the blogger actually meant. But self-compassion isn’t the same thing as self-pity, an activity which I don’t find at all healing and in fact seems to make my problems worse. Of course we have the right to engage in self pity from time to time (and probably can’t help doing so), and no one should deny us the right to do so. But for me, it just doesn’t work. It’s an unpleasant, soul-sucking experience that seems to drive my negative programming even deeper than it already is.

The way I see it, the difference between self pity and self compassion is analogous to the difference between pity and empathy. I think this makes the distinction clearer.

Pity has an element of condescension or even contempt. You pity someone you dislike or look down on. It’s kind of like sympathy but it’s contaminated with judgment and scorn. You feel like you’re “better” than a person you pity. A wealthy banker may “feel sorry” for a homeless person without feeling a shred of empathy. The banker is glad they’re not homeless, and feels as if they’re above that anyway. If someone says “I feel so sorry for you,” or “I pity you,” you’re likely to feel offended and judged, not comforted. I hate being pitied so much I might be tempted to punch you if you do.

Superficially, empathy, compassion, or sympathy may seem like the same thing as pity, but they’re not the same at all. Sympathy means to feel sorry for someone without judgment or condescension, but it’s not quite the same as empathy, because it lacks the sharing of a feeling. It’s a shallower emotion, but it’s still better than pity. Compassion and empathy are interchangeable and both imply feeling “with” another person, or sharing an emotion with them. It’s giving your friend a heartfelt hug after a breakup, or laughing or crying with them when they’re happy or sad. It’s giving a homeless person your own sweater because you hate to see them shivering in the cold. There’s no condescension or judgment. When someone empathizes with you, they say, “I understand” or “that really must have hurt.” Doesn’t that feel a whole lot different than someone telling you, “I feel sorry for you.”

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Self-pity is part of our toxic programming. It’s driven by shame. Self pity is when you sit around and think about how much your life sucks and how much YOU suck. There’s no self-nurturing or comfort in self pity, no self love, only self-hatred and shame. Self-pity enforces the terrible things we’ve already come to believe about ourselves. If we’ve been told time and again how stupid, bad, clumsy, ugly, or what a loser we are by our narcissists, eventually those voices become internalized and we develop a toxic inner voice called an Inner Critic. When you’re stuck in self pity, that’s your Inner Critic demeaning you and repeating to you the same lies about yourself your narcissists already drummed into you. You learn to abuse yourself, and self-pity is just self-abuse. When you say, “I suck” or “I’m a loser” or “nothing ever goes right for me,” you’re reinforcing the toxic programming and acting as a flying monkey against yourself.

Unfortunately, for those of us who suffered from narcissistic abuse, it’s common to wallow in self pity. It’s an all too familiar state of mind, but it isn’t the real you. The things we tell ourselves when we’re stuck in self pity are lies. When I get stuck in self pity, I feel just horrible. I just want to die. I usually wind up feeling resentful and angry at the world, but also ashamed of myself for being such a helpless victim and pathetic loser. I’m consumed with shame and guilt, which leads to depression. I also can’t release the negative emotion when I’m in self pity mode. I get stuck there and it drags me down and saps from me any energy or joy. I’ve had hangovers that felt more pleasant than a bout of toxic self-pity.

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You can replace self pity with something much better that also feels a heck of a lot nicer: self-compassion. Self-compassion means acknowledging that you are a human being worthy of love, happiness and the good things in life, while empathizing with your inner child’s hurt over not having gotten those things. You give your inner child permission to feel sad or to grieve and agree with them how unfair it is that she/he got cheated or was abused. This may seem like self pity, but it’s not, because the element of judgment and shame isn’t there. You’re not beating yourself up over how terrible you think you are; you’re telling yourself you’re good and deserve better and allowing yourself to grieve. Instead of covering up your inner child with a paper bag, you’re offering her a hug.

It helps me to actually visualize my inner child. I have her talk to me and tell me what she needs and wants. I don’t judge her or try to shut her up; I just listen. If she feels sad, I tell her those feelings are valid and let her feel sad. If she feels mad, I let her express the anger (but at the same time reassure her she won’t be able to hurt anyone or anything because I won’t let her). I find that by non-judgmentally listening to what she wants and needs or how she feels, I’m eventually able to release any negative emotions and I don’t get stuck. By giving myself permission to feel without self-judgment or self-shaming, sometimes I wind up being able to cry, and as weird as it sounds, that always comes as such a relief. When I’m stuck in self pity, these healing tears never come, because the shame that’s been programmed into me won’t allow me to release them. My programming tells me the massive lie that crying is shameful and weak, when in actuality it’s sometimes the most healing thing you can do. Your Inner Critic is a narcissist who doesn’t want you to heal and that’s where all that awful self pity comes from.

Never judge a thing until you try it for yourself.

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I’m one of those people who’s willing to try new foods, even if I think I probably won’t like them.   One of the good things my parents did for me when I was a child was get me to try new foods.   My mother loved to cook, and my father and I were her taste testers.

A typical dinner table conversation might go like this.

Mom: Here’s some Brussels sprouts.

Me:  Ew. Everyone at school says they’re yucky.

Mom:  Oh no, they’re good.

Me: But they look yucky!

Mom:  Well, have you ever tried them?

Me: No.

Mom:  Then how do you know you won’t like them?

I had no answer to that, so I tried them and have loved them ever since.   That happened many times over, with different foods.  I didn’t love all the foods I tried, but many I did.  If I hadn’t tried them for myself and just assumed I would hate them because other people hated them, I never would have discovered how good they were.

The same thing is true for just about everything else.   When I decided to start a blog in September 2014,  I had to decide between Blogger and WordPress.    Yes, there are other blogging platforms, but those two are the biggest and most well known.    I talked to a few people online who told me that WordPress sucked.  They said it was full of snobs and the people were unhelpful to newbies and unfriendly.    They also told me it was hard to learn and the templates not user-friendly.   No one had much of an opinion about Blogger.  All my friends knew was that it was owned by Google.

So I decided to go with Blogger.   I opened up Blogger and started the process to set up my blog.  But I ran into a problem almost immediately.   Because Blogger is connected to Google (and I already have a Google account), it kept wanting me to put in my real name.   For a blog like this one, that was out of the question.  I tried to write over it but it kept defaulting back to my name.   I even tried to change my Google account information, but for other reasons that wasn’t going to work for me either.

Frustrated, I closed Blogger and opened up WordPress.  I had no idea what to expect and was sure I’d be completely lost.    I chose a theme.  So many attractive free themes to choose from.   Which one to select?   Finally, I settled on the Twenty Ten theme and within 10 minutes I had my blog!   I went to the dashboard and took a look around.  Yes, it was a bit confusing but I started to play around with it and try different things.   To my surprise it wasn’t hard at all!  No, things didn’t come second nature to me yet. There was a bit of a learning curve, but after my first few posts, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the basics.    When I got stuck I went to the Forums and asked for help there.  To my surprise I got my questions answered pretty quickly and in a friendly manner.  As I began to attract a few followers, I also found that the other bloggers were helpful and very welcoming of newbies.    I can’t say whether the same is true of Blogger, but I decided that my friends had been wrong about WordPress, at least WordPress.com.   (WordPress.org is too daunting for me right now and at the moment I have no need to self-host).

I would never have been on WordPress at all had it not been for the name issue at Blogger. I can’t even imagine that, because my experience at WordPress has been incredible.  I’ve never known such a warm and friendly bunch of people as the other bloggers here.   I don’t know how WordPress got a reputation for being snobby and unfriendly, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

The moral of this story is that you really can’t assume things based on what other people tell you.  You have to form your own opinions, just like you should always at least try a new food if you’re not allergic to it.   There’s no way to know what you’re going to like or dislike until you actually experience it for yourself.   Other people may be well-meaning (or not!) but their opinions are going to differ from yours, and if you just go along with them rather than making your own decisions, you never know what you might be missing.

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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.

So tired of always feeling on the defensive.

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Sigh.

Maybe I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started blogging publicly. Someone who used to be active here but disagreed with me about several points is calling me out on their blog again. This person is obviously still reading this blog, because if they weren’t they wouldn’t have known about my “psychopath” post the other day.

This person once again completely misunderstood what I was trying to say (which I ranted about earlier today and will not rehash again) and assumed things about me that are not true. Worse yet, this person has proven to be incredibly judgmental of me, and appears to be using me and this blog as target practice. If they hate this blog so much, why not simply ignore it? Just stop reading it! Wouldn’t that make their life–and mine–easier? But no, things just don’t work that way. People are so quick to judge someone else based on nothing. Some people just like to act like assholes.

But that isn’t really the problem. The problem is me. As a blogger, having critics and haters is inevitable. Even if I was writing about something as benign as cake decorating, someone would have a problem with it. Maybe someone is diabetic and can’t eat sugar, and my posting cake recipes that use sugar could be taken as discrimination against diabetics. If I wrote about flower arranging, someone might think it’s wrong to kill plants for ornamental purposes and attack me for it.

I write about narcissism. Narcissism by nature is a controversial topic. It’s not a pretty topic. It’s a topic that is very triggering to many people, and there are many different theories about it. It’s not an exact science either, so it can’t be backed up with “facts,” only theories. Nothing anyone ever said about narcissism is a fact. All of it is theory, conjecture, and opinion.

I have my own opinions and theories. Sometimes people agree with them and sometimes they don’t. Whenever you have a theory about something, people might misunderstand it or they might disagree with you. When I decided to blog about narcissism, I didn’t realize how emotionally strong I had to be. I didn’t think about the fact there would be those who would judge me based on an opinion, or project bad intentions onto me because they didn’t understand something I was trying to say.

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All my life I’ve tried too hard to people-please, due to the way I was raised. I wasn’t allowed to have my own thoughts and feelings or to speak up for myself. So when I’m unfairly attacked, I feel very hurt and go on the defensive. In a real life situation, when I’m attacked, I’m likely to clam up and say nothing (but I seethe inside). Online, I feel more comfortable speaking up for myself, but I try not to make waves or be confrontational. But why not? Why do I feel like I have to make peace with everyone? Why do I feel like everyone has to like me? That’s unrealistic and childish. Some people just cannot be pleased. Some people are not going to like you, and it’s pointless trying to get them to. Blogging means you are going to have haters and critics. It means some people will judge you unfairly and make unkind remarks. It takes a bold person to write a blog about dark and controversial subject matter and an even bolder one to not allow negative remarks or blog posts by others to ruin their day.

Being an HSP I take everything to heart. I let destructive criticism bother me too much. My skin is too thin and I brood when someone says something unkind about me or something I wrote. I hate being misunderstood and I hate being judged. Being judged unfairly is very triggering for me. But it happens. It will continue to happen, because that’s what happens when you have a public blog. I need to stop feeling like I’m on the defensive all the time and like I have to apologize for my existence. I am not a bad or stupid person just because someone else says (or implies) I am.

So from now on, as hard as it is for me to do this, I am going to stop reading destructive criticism on other sites. I know it’s out there but I’m just not going to look at it. Because when I do look at it, it inhibits me and turns me back into a fearful child terrified of my mother’s wagging disapproving finger. I know I have far more friends and supporters than enemies and detractors. Unfortunately I focus too much on the detractors. There isn’t much I can do about them. If they have decided to hate, they are going to find something to hate no matter what. So I need to simply ignore them because they don’t matter, and focus on my supporters instead.

It’s just a matter of seeing the glass a three-quarters full instead of one quarter empty. Focusing on and ruminating about the few haters I have is just stupid. Going to their sites to look when I know there are unkind remarks there is just going out of my way to be hurt and that’s incredibly stupid. Why is it so hard to resist doing it though?

I am not defending psychopaths.

Someone has accused me of defending psychopaths because of the question I posted the other day wondering if there might be any “good” psychopaths. In case there’s any question, I think I need to explain a couple of things because I don’t believe that at all.

1. It was simply a random thought that popped into my head. I do not, and never have, thought of ANY psychopaths as good people, and I have never known one.

2. It was a question, not a statement or even an opinion. I just wanted to know what other people thought.

I have strange thoughts at times. Sometimes they even border on crazy. You can take that or leave it. I don’t mind constructive criticism (in fact I welcome it), but I dislike being pigeonholed and blanket judgments being made about me based on one random post. I never once said or even implied that psychopathy is a good thing. I don’t think it is.
Some people really misunderstand my motives. I guess I shouldn’t let that get to me but it does. People are too quick to judge.

Chronic rage is a trap, not a trophy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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