George W. Bush’s Painted Atonements.

bush-painting-7-690

During his presidency, I did not like George W. Bush or his policies, even though I always felt that he wasn’t a bad person and that he truly believed that what he was doing was right for America.   I never voted for him, and was disappointed when he won the presidency (for two terms), but I also never experienced the visceral level of fear and dread that I do now with Trump in office.

Eight years ago, I never would have imagined that there’d come a day when I actually would start to like Dubya, at least a little.

But last week, Bush said a few things that indicated he definitely did not approve of Trump’s immigration ban, or his attacks on the legitimate media.

“A bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely.” — Former President Bush in response to question about Trump travel ban

On the Today Show, he said this to Matt Lauer:

“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy.  We need an independent media to hold people like me to account. Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive.”

Source: George W. Bush Throws Shade at Donald Trump

How right he is.

I also found out he was never a Trump supporter, and in fact, he voted for Hillary Clinton!   Imagine my shock.

This week, the New Yorker published an article called George W. Bush’s Painted Atonements.   They are from a new book, “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.”  The New Yorker article includes a slideshow of several of Bush’s  individual portraits and a group mural which Bush painted, from photographs, of 98 physically and/or mentally wounded Armed Forces veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

bush-painting-1-690

I knew Bush painted, but it never occurred to me he could actually have talent, and yet he does.   These paintings are wonderful and the expressions on the wounded veterans in his portraits capture their pain, despair, and anguish.   The paintings also seem to indicate that Bush has compassion toward these wounded warriors, and may be struggling with a lot of guilt over both the wars he got us into.    Painting may be how he’s trying to redeem himself.

bush-painting-5-690

Advertisements

Dear Father…

dear_father_____by_tamingthetiger-d3iyrad
“Dear Father” by Taming the Tiger

I usually shy away from anything too spiritual or religious, because I do realize many of my readers are atheist, agnostic, or of differing faiths–and I respect their right to believe as they wish.   But today in church when the priest asked us to “add our own prayers,” I felt inspired to pray a particular prayer that has great meaning to me, for a myriad of reasons.   I would like to share it here, so maybe others can join me in prayer for these things that are so important to me.

*****

Dear Father,

You have created us all in your own image. I don’t believe you have left anyone out of your great bounty and the hope for eternal life, in spite of what some Christians and others believe.      I don’t believe that Christ’s death on the cross was a “limited atonement” meant only for a select few (as Calvinists believe).   I believe he died for us all, and offers all of us the chance for redemption and healing, no matter how hopeless things may seem.

PTSD, C-PTSD, and narcissistic abuse survivors.

God, please shower your grace and compassion on all victims of narcissistic abuse and all people suffering from PTSD and C-PTSD, that they may find comfort in your arms and be able to trust again, realize that there is still goodness in the world, and eventually, that they may find loving, healthy relationships and friendships that do not turn abusive.  Many survivors have turned to you when everyone else seemed to be turning away from them and rejecting them, and found that you were there and were listening.  But many, especially if they were rejected or scapegoated by their own families, are so damaged they have trouble trusting anyone at all, even You.   Please give them the courage to turn to you when things are at their darkest and it seems like they have no allies.  Please help them to trust you, and to heal from abuse, regain their sense of self worth and self-esteem,  and be whole and happy again. Please show them that what happened to them didn’t happen in vain, and that they are so much stronger than they realize because of the adversity they had to face.  Please let them feel the loving arms of Jesus Christ holding and protecting them from harm.  Guide them on the path to become whole again, and to use what they learned to help others heal, should that be your will for them.

Also, although anger is a necessary stage of healing (in order to leave an abusive situation or person), please allow victims who become trapped in their anger and hatred to be able to move on from it, because only then will healing be possible.   I’ve seen too many survivors who remain so mired in rage that they take on the traits of their abusers and acquire a victim mentality that does not allow them to move forward in their journey to healing.

As for myself, please don’t let me stray from the path you have set me on, which is beginning to be revealed to me. Please don’t allow me to become bogged down by envy, selfishness, or pride.   Don’t allow me to let my own will get in the way of what you have planned for me, for whenever I have forced my own will, it always turned out to be all wrong.

People with NPD, BPD and other Cluster B disorders.

God, please show these broken people who have made so many bad choices and act out toward others–usually because as children they were shamed for their own vulnerability by abusive caregivers or parents–that they do not need to rely on primitive defense mechanisms, abusive or aggressive behavior, or a “false self” in order to survive and be happy.   Please show them the beauty of their own inner vulnerability and that being sensitive can be a great strength and is never a weakness.   Please lift the scales from their eyes and show them that the things they have learned to believe about themselves and others are lies–and the truth is the opposite of what they have always believed.  Please remove the fear and shame  keeps them trapped inside cold, dark walls that separate them from their own vulnerability and the light of your grace.   If there’s a glimmer of their original soul left in them, please help that spark grow like a mustard seed within them and burn away the darkness that surrounds it.  Make them aware that their defense mechanisms are only allowing them to live the stunted, painful life of an emotional cripple, and that by jettisoning authentic feeling, they also jettison love, empathy and joy. With fewer people with narcissism and other “predatory” disorders in the world, there will be fewer abuse victims too.

In particular, please make my mother aware of what has happened to her (due to no fault of her own) and what she became, even at her very advanced age.   Even if it’s too late for her to be healed, at least remove the scales from her eyes and allow her the grace of redemption.

Our increasingly narcissistic society. 

Over the past 30 – 40 years, our western society–especially in America–has become increasingly cold, callous, lacking in empathy and compassion, materialistic, hubristic, and narcissistic.   Wealth and power are valued over compassion and love.   Individual achievement is valued over community involvement.   Greed and an “I got mine!” attitude is valued over altruism and compassion for the less fortunate.

Even families buy into this lie to the point of scapegoating family members who fail to “keep up” (or who are vulnerable or attempt to expose the family dysfunction).    Intolerance of those who are different, hatred, and racism abound.   Every day people die because they are the wrong color, wrong religion, or have a lifestyle that the Powers That Be believe is wrong.  Our society is like a huge dysfunctional family, complete with its narcissistic and abusive leaders, its golden children, and its scapegoats.  This should not be the case.  God,  please heal the hatred and fear that permeate our society and keeps people from being neighborly and charitable toward one another.  Please make dysfunctional families whole and healthy again, and give the scapegoats of both society and of dysfunctional families relief from their suffering and pain.  Make “the least of these” realize they are as worthwhile and valuable to you as the powerful ruling class who seems to have every earthly thing.

I ask these things in the name of your son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

My ex might be dying.

redemption

My MN ex may have cancer.   He’s been coughing up blood a lot and has been a heavy smoker for years, and also smokes a lot of weed too.  He’s also been losing a lot of weight.  He tells my daughter he doesn’t think he has much time left.

He’s covered by Medicare (SSDI), but he’s terrified to go see a doctor.    I don’t blame him actually.  I’d be terrified too.

He told my daughter if he has cancer, he just wants to let nature take its course and doesn’t want treatment.  He’s a very high spectrum malignant narcissist, but he hates himself and his life.  What he lives is not a life, it’s an existence.   He’s just marking time until death, and he’s not even that old (he’s 55, but looks 70).

Although I can’t stand him anymore and refuse to have further contact with him, this development makes me feel very sad.   It makes me sad that he allowed his own narcissism to destroy him (as well as almost destroy the people who loved him, including our children).  It makes me sad that he’s isolated himself from his family by driving the people who loved him away, one by one–and will probably die all alone with no one to really care.  His parents are both dead and he has no other close relatives.

It makes me sad that he, like my mother, will most likely die without ever being free of his narcissistic prison.    I am praying for him because although I don’t like him, I know he’s living in a self imposed hell of his own making and his life is without any joy or lightness or love or hope.  He’s the most negative person I’ve ever met.

I would love to see him at least become self aware enough to make amends to both his children, and realize that what’s happened to him is his own doing, not the fault of those who were close to him.    Not because I want to see him suffer the pain of self-discovery (I’m not a spiteful person seeking revenge), but because I feel like that could possibly redeem him in God’s eyes, even if it’s at the 11th hour.

No, he doesn’t have enough time to be cured of NPD (or ASPD, or whatever he actually has), because that can take years that I don’t think he has, but at least some kind of redemption may be possible and he can have a moment to reconcile with his family before he finally shucks off this mortal coil.

I would also love to see him accept the love of Christ and allow himself to be comforted in His arms during his last moments.   He needs that so badly.  I’ve felt the love of Christ very keenly lately, and when I feel overwhelmed or discouraged or depressed, I ask Him to take me in his arms, and I can feel that he really does and that brings me great comfort.   I felt his presence strongly during my spiritual awakening (of sorts) in the Gulf of Mexico a couple of weeks ago.   I feel it whenever I fall onto my bed and weep after therapy, and he just rocks me and holds me like the parent I always wanted and tells me everything will be alright.  He was always there but I refused to see.

My daughter does still speak to her father sometimes, but after stealing all her money last month, there’s definitely a rift between them now, and she’s starting to realize what sort of person he really is and that he’s utterly incapable of loving anyone.   He told her he wants her to have a baby before he dies so he can have a grandchild for a short time, but she’s smart enough to not do that until she’s actually married (she’s with a very good man now who I think might be “the one”–and there are no red flags that I can see).

Maybe this man, being so physically ill (even though there’s no proof it’s cancer it probably is), will begin to look at himself in a different light and begin to develop some self-awareness.  I’m praying, and I know God listens.  So I’m not without hope that at least that could happen.