Toxic positivity.

There’s nothing wrong with positive thinking.  But it’s become fashionable in recent years to shame “negative thinking.”  I put that phrase in quotes because sometimes “negative” just means being realistic.    Too often, being positive is the same thing as denying reality: The 3 pack a day smoker with a chronic cough insists they are healthy when you suggest they see a doctor (of course, this could be fear on their part too).   The abused wife tells you everything at home is fine even though she has the demeanor of a whipped dog and flinches whenever her husband speaks to her.   Your “friend” tells you you’re being paranoid when you (correctly) observe that he hasn’t called you in several weeks and is always “busy” whenever you’re around.    He is gaslighting you.

These are examples of toxic positivity.  Empathy is not a factor when it’s directed at someone else’s concerns.    Toxic positivity sounds more like criticism or gaslighting when directed at another person, or just plain lying or denial when it’s about yourself.   In both cases, it helps no one.

I don’t know who made this chart, but I like it because it shows the difference between toxic positivity and real positivity, which includes empathy.

toxicpositivity

Further reading: 

Where I Stand On Positive Thinking

I used to be a dominionist without even knowing it.

angry-violent-god

I’ve written about dominionist Christianity extensively, so I won’t describe it at length here.  One of the most toxic and abusive doctrines of dominionism is that if you are vulnerable in any way — if you are poor, sick, disabled, mentally ill, or even a person of color (in dominionist doctrine, people of color are believed to be derived from the line of Ham, the son of Cain, who was Adam and Eve’s “bad” son — in the past this has been used as “biblical” justification of slavery) — these are all indications of God’s disfavor and people “afflicted” with these things deserve their lot.   In contrast, God’s favored people are always rewarded with great wealth, perfect health, and no disabilities.  They are also usually white and Republican.  This is why dominionist Christians feel no obligation to show compassion toward the sick, poor and disabled (as Christ would do) — because to help them would be to go against God’s will.   It’s also why they seem to think unlimited power and greed (and oppression of others) is perfectly moral.

But getting back to myself.  While I was never a dominionist Christian or even a conservative evangelical, my attitude in the past toward myself was a very negative, self punishing one.   I always had at least a nominal faith in God, but I truly believed he disliked me and my terrible luck, my bad relationships, my inability to form close relationships, my emotionally abusive family, and my poverty were all punishments God was inflicting on me because he hated me.    I looked at others and saw how fortunate they were (or at least seemed to be) and felt like God must like them much better.  Sometimes I thought God only put me on earth as an example to others of what not to be.

This made me feel completely worthless and made me want to hide in shame from the world.   It made me painfully shy, which only exacerbated my problems meeting people and socializing.    In my recovery from narcissistic abuse, I realized this negative, self defeating narrative was self inflicted due to internalizing abuse inflicted on me when I was young.   I began to realize that I had good qualities and never had the chance to develop them.

I like myself now.  No, I’m not living my “dream life” (that would involve traveling all over the world and writing bestselling books) and I will probably never have a high powered, high paying career at my age.  I probably won’t ever achieve all my dreams, but really, who does?   I’m still on the lower end of the income scale, but I wouldn’t say I’m impoverished anymore.   I have enough money to be comfortable and even buy a few luxuries (like occasional inexpensive vacations, beach trips, new books, the occasional dinner out, and nice clothing).

I’m still alone (not in a relationship), and even though sometimes that’s lonely and I even occasionally feel sorry for myself, I also know I prefer things that way for now.  I’m still working on myself, trying to find out more about me and what God wants for me (and what I want for myself).

I feel fortunate to have two wonderful adult children, both of whom I have a great relationship with, and three awesome cats.   I also live in a beautiful part of the country, with endless opportunities for photo taking and just enjoying the natural world.  Not everyone is so fortunate to have that.

Recovery from narcissistic abuse coupled with reframing God as a benevolent and loving Father who wants all his children to be happy and healthy rather than as a punishing and hateful bully who favors some of his children over others (and rewards them primarily with wealth and material abundance) has made all the difference.

I think this is why I find Christian dominionism so triggering and scary.  Not just because it’s become a real threat to our basic freedoms and rights, but because it’s a toxic, abusive, and hateful belief in an avenging, constantly angry, narcissistic God who likes to bully and punish the most vulnerable.  That sort of God, to me, is as bad as the devil.   I think that God was made in his narcissistic control freak human makers’ own image.

I’m so glad I don’t believe in that God anymore.

 

Self pity and stress.

goodgrief

Today wasn’t a good day, except for it being Friday.

1. I woke up with a pounding headache.
2. Traffic jam made me late again.
3. I wasn’t in a good mood and was being hypersensitive to everything. I felt like my coworker was picking on me today even though she probably wasn’t. Some days I just take everything the wrong way.
4. I felt depressed and negative all day, and I’ve noticed after some time of feeling more positive that a negative outlook tends to attract negative things.
5. I was unfavorably comparing myself to others who have things better. That’s a bad character defect (envy) I’m trying to work on.
6. I had another argument with my roommate. I’m convinced she is doing things to annoy me on purpose. I won’t even get into what the argument was about because it was stupid.
6. It was cold and windy and they are predicting snow tonight. I hate cold weather.
7. I was trying to renew my antivirus software and couldn’t open the browser to renew it. I Googled a customer service number for Norton and called the first one that came up, which was a shady company (iYogi–do NOT talk to them!) that supposedly represents Norton. I got a very nasty guy who barely spoke English who I allowed to remote access my computer, and he told me my hard drive was corrupted and then started hard-selling me some bullshit program to clean up my hard drive “that only cost $149.99 and you get all this!” He was almost impossible to get off the phone and started yelling at me and telling me I was being uncooperative because I wasn’t buying his hard sell.

I finally got him off the phone (he kept asking when he could call me) and scrolled on Google until I found a real customer service number and they were able to help me. Of course there wasn’t anything wrong with my hard drive, only a browser hijacker (Astromenda–be careful, it’s very hard to get rid of and it slows your system down and makes pages hard to open) that was blocking my access to certain pages. He told me people have complained to him before about iYogi. If you have Norton and have to call customer service, be sure it’s the actual Norton (Symantec) website’s number.

work-stress

I don’t know why everything has to be so hard.

That’s it for the negativity for today. Tomorrow’s another day.

Sometimes you have to remind yourself you are still moving forward even if you take a step back sometimes. I don’t have as many bad days as I used to. But I was beating myself up for having a bad day, being negative, oversensitive, hypervigilant, impatient, and envious. I need to stop beating myself up all the time. I’m too hard on myself. I was trained too well.

I had a bad day.

bad_day

Shameless self pity alert. If you hate negative posts, don’t read this.

I barely even replied to my comments today, so if I didn’t reply to yours, don’t take it personally. I’ll try to catch up tomorrow. I didn’t even post anything today, and that’s a first in a long time.

You see, I had a terrible day. It should have been a great day. The weather was warm–in the 70s!–and sunny, and yet my day started out horrible and stayed that way. First of all my roommate got mad because I wouldn’t jump start her car (which needs more than just a jump start) even though I was rushing to get out of the house for work this morning. I asked her if she was going anywhere today that she needed the car and she said not really. I told her I would help her when I got home, and she got all pissy. She actually had the gall to ask me to call work and tell them I’d be late just so I could help her jump start her damn car. I didn’t do it. In fact, I told her how entitled she was acting and she went back in the house pouting. Whatever.

This isn’t the first time my roommate has acted entitled and petulant when she didn’t get her way. I’m beginning to think she’s another narc. There’s a lot of red flags. But she helps me with the rent and I trust her on that level and can’t pay my bills all by myself, and that’s the reason she’s here. There haven’t been any real problems except that her entitled attitude is annoying as hell. She was never supposed to be my best friend. But she invades boundaries, is nosy, and demands special treatment. I left the house angry and feeling put upon.

I was already in a bad mood because of that, and then at work I was paired up to work all day with a woman I dislike (and who I’m pretty sure dislikes me). She’s not a narc, but our personalities just don’t go together well. She doesn’t understand my Aspie ways. She is very social and also acts bossy without having any reason to (I get that a lot–people always try to boss me around like I have no brain). I went off on her twice and apologized, but I just don’t care for her at all. She just gets on my damn nerves. Being an Aspie is so hard sometimes.

neurotypical

We had four houses to clean and none of them were easy. Sometimes I wonder why at my age I’m still cleaning fucking houses for a living, when I have a college degree and I can write. Other people get to write for a living and I’m better than some of them so why can’t I make a living doing it? Oh, I know why. It’s my shitty self esteem, which was destroyed by the narcs that have been pulling my strings and reminding me I’m no more than their puppet since the day I was born. I was trained to be narcissistic supply, to have no self esteem and have no mind of my own. I was trained to be prey. I was a good student. It’s hard to untrain yourself, even after the narcs are gone.

Being as Aspie just exacerbates this unfortunate situation. It’s hard–almost impossible–for us to make the social connections neurotypicals are able to make to get ahead in life. And in these days where “networking” is so all-important, it seems to me that WHO you know is more important than WHAT you know. It really sucks.

bullshit

I hate that management took away my regular partner, who I got along with well. Management never explains anything. They just play us like chess pieces. They do shit like this and never tell us why. I’m over this job and am looking for another. It will be another shitty job of course, but at least will be a change. I hate working with all women. I get along better with guys in working situations. I miss working with men.

I posted nothing today because I came home angry, exhausted and depressed, and crashed on the bed for a nap almost the minute I got home. I never woke up or even had dinner. I just woke up a few minutes ago and ate a piece of cheese. This was the only post I could think about writing. It’s a sucky post but at least it’s something.

I’m just feeling blah, depressed and uninspired. And I have to go back to my shitty job tomorrow. I’m afraid I’ll be paired with this woman again. If I am I am going to management and tell them I cannot work with her and ask why I can’t work with my old partner anymore–or better yet, work alone more often. You make more money that way and I like days when I can work alone and not have to deal with socializing.

There are days, like today, where I feel like I’ve made no improvement at all, and haven’t really changed from the mousy little person I was a year ago. I’m just a mousy little person who writes a blog. I feel like my life will always be like this, that I’ll always be poor, always have a crappy job, always feel inferior to others, and never really be able to have fun or enjoy life. I’m aware a lot of this is just my pessimism and having a negative attitude. I know not every day will be like this. There are always going to be bad days even when things are generally going pretty well. I’m angry I didn’t get to enjoy the beautiful weather today. But there will be plenty more pretty days to enjoy very soon.

God help me. I have to get up for work again in a few hours. I really hope it’s a better day. I always feel guilty when I wallow in negative thinking, the way I’m doing right now. At least I can write about it.

I just get so tired of it…

rejected_child

I just read this blog post “I Would Be Begging for Help if it were Me” by Fivehundredpoundpeep. I highly recommend it to all ACONs. However, I won’t lie–her well written article triggered me, and the following may be the most emotional post I ever wrote.
This actually started as a reply on her blog, but I decided to turn it into an article because it’s very much on my mind. Tears are not far away.

The mother she describes in her article sounds EXACTLY like mine–the tone, choice of words, attitude, everything. Criticism under the guise of “help.” Dismissal in the name of love. With mine it’s always “positive thinking:”
“If you were not so negative, things would come more easily to you.”
“If you were more pleasant to be around, you would be able to make the connections to help you advance in a career.”
“You never were the competitive type.”
And always, always, “You’re too sensitive.”

Well, excuse me, Mommie Dearest, you’re too damn insensitive. You may not know it, but my high sensitivity, much as it may annoy you, is going to OUT you one day as the MALIGNANT NARCISSIST you always were, and will save my sanity. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

And then you dare to tell me how much you love me in the next line? Prove it.

She used to send me corny memes and hackneyed sayings about always being sunny and cheerful, and accepting things the way they are. Scooping all these memes together and throwing them in the blender, here’s the pureed form of the message she was giving me:
“You are a failure and will never get anywhere in this world because you’re not a fun person, you never smile, you’re always negative, but you should accept things as they are and be happy with your lousy lot, because you don’t deserve any better.

That’s what she was really saying. She’s one of what I call “the positive thinking nazis.” Actually both my parents are. There’s nothing wrong with positive thinking, of course, and it’s something we should all strive to do. But my FOO took it too far. They used it as a way to sugarcoat and deny real issues. It was like putting a Band-aid on a cancerous lesion so it didn’t have to be seen. If it didn’t have to be seen, it would go away. That was the sort of narcissistic magical thinking and insanity I had to deal with.
They used it as a way to deny responsibility. That’s the most glaring thing wrong with the positive thinking movement, when taken to ridiculous extremes. The denial of reality and rejection of responsibility.

Of course if I ever confronted my mother about this (which I never did, not directly anyway, since I was a teenager), she’d either fly into a narcissistic rage or vehemently deny it.

staring_at_wall
My mother still has the power to make me feel this way. That’s why we’re estranged.

Seriously, that’s the only kind of “help” I have ever gotten from my MN egg donor since I grew up. But I can’t be rejected anymore because I don’t ask her for a thing anymore. I could be lying in a gutter with a broken leg and no home and no way to get to the hospital, and she’d probably tell me I was just being too negative and drawing in my own bad fortune. I would rather lie there and bleed to death than beg her to help.

My whole FOO are huge proponents of the postmodern narcissistic grandiose fantasy of “you create your own reality. If you fail, it’s no one’s fault but your own. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps and suck it up.” It’s The Cliff’s Notes version of Ayn Rand’s objectivism. No compassion. No empathy. No love. Only judgment, gaslighting, subtle put downs, no loyalty, and thinly veiled hatred. And unfair and untrue accusations of my acting “entitled” because at my age, of course I should not be needing any help. But I’ve never asked them for much anyway. They think I asked for too much. All I ever wanted was love. No their conditional fake excuse for love.

It made me furious to the point of wanting to smash my fist into a brick wall when well-meaning people who may have heard about my financial problems or need of emotional support, said to me something like, “Honey, don’t you have a family you can turn to?” Or “Surely your family will help you out of this jam.” Sometimes it still happens, though I tell no one IRL my troubles. But I don’t want to hear what they have to say: all these people assume that just because their own families will help them or give them a hand up when they’re down on their luck or just need a non-judgmental listening ear or a soft shoulder to cry on, then the same must be true of my family too. It’s just what everyone does for own flesh and blood, right?

crying_chld

These fortunate people with loving families may be well meaning but they assume because theirs will help them and give them unconditional love, that the same holds true for people like us. They simply can’t or won’t believe there are some parents who actually HATE THEIR CHILDREN.

I get so tired of it. So very tired of it. That’s why I tell no one my problems anymore except on my blog. I never ask my parents for help, ever, and never will again. Especially not my mother. But I won’t need to. I’m still poor but I’m surviving, even thriving now–but not because of any of their heartless and judgmental “advice.”

I’m getting better because I have the ability to reach out to my real family–this amazing community of people who have such similar stories–through a skill I’ve recently rediscovered and is the tool to my healing: my writing.
I don’t need to be my mother’s scapegoat anymore.

Girl Scout Cookies and God…

Frustration___Co_Production_by_ttancredi
Original art from Deviantart.com

It’s times like this my self esteem and progress in healing seems to take a dive into the toilet.
I don’t handle frustration well at all, and it can set me off on my old unhealthy patterns of negative thinking, feeling victimized, and wallowing in self pity.

I am having the tranny rebuilt on my car, and have just enough money from my tax return to have it done. Of course, God always comes through if you ask, and that’s what he did–but I still can’t help feeling sorry for myself because now I have to use my tax return to replace my tranny (and have a car that runs by the end of this week) instead of doing things I would prefer to do, like going to a few concerts or even planning a weekend trip. I know I should be grateful this happened now–when I have the money–instead of later on, when most likely I would not be able to afford it at all.

For the past two days, my roommate hasn’t been feeling well, so she has allowed me to borrow her car to get back and forth to work. Today I needed to get to the bank before they closed to deposit my state return and buy a few groceries. I live about a mile and a half away from the store, and the weather is nice so walking (which I would up doing) isn’t really an issue.

My roommate’s car wouldn’t start and we couldn’t jump start it with my jump start machine either. My daughter has a friend who was picking her up to go to the mall, and it would have been easy enough for her to drop me off at the shopping center so I could do my errands, but she said there wasn’t enough room in the car (there wasn’t).

So I walked, and instead of feeling happy that I could enjoy this beautiful and mild late winter day with the breeze in my face, I felt petulant and victimized instead. When they drove past me and didn’t slow down to ask me if I needed a ride after all, I felt angry and just wanted to give them all the finger. I know it was irrational of me because there were already 5 people in the car along with a baby, but I couldn’t help feeling like the victim again.

Now I’m cranky and depressed and just feel like sleeping away the rest of the day. Is this terribly narcissistic of me? I think it really is. I hate myself for feeling this way, and sometimes it feels like these sort of situations just make dogmeat out of all the progress I’ve made.

I know those of us healing from narcissistic abuse and PTSD have setbacks, but I still can’t help feeling like the way I feel is just wrong and selfish. So there’s guilt on top of everything else.

I knew I needed to blog about this today, as embarrassing as it is to admit how immature and childish I am behaving. I’m sure many of you have felt similarly in these sort of frustrating situations, even when they’re relatively minor, as this one is.

I need to focus on my blessings: my car WILL be fixed (even though it will set me back) and I had an opportunity to take a nice long walk on a pretty day. I also stopped and bought a box of my favorite mint chocolate Girl Scout cookies from some girls outside the supermarket. Think I’ll go indulge now. When all else fails, chocolate is great therapy.

girl_scoutcookies
This may be the best therapy at times like this.