What Color Am I? A True Story About Race Identity and Racism.

I love this post about racism by my friend Linda Lee, and want more people to read it. I was surprised by what she found out about herself, but I think it’s so cool!

Please leave comments under the original post.

 

A Blog About Living With Complex PTSD

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I have never been able to understand racism. Not even when I lived in an all-white town and believed that I, too, was 100% white.

If racists were a tiny minority group, then I might understand it. I would believe they were mentally ill. Their thinking is screwed up because their brain isn’t working right. (Yes, I know how ironic this is, considering that I have a diagnosis of PTSD!) But so many otherwise “normal” people are rabidly racist — WHY? It makes no sense to me.

I grew up in a small town in southwestern Missouri. One day when I was five years old, my mother took me to see the doctor. Ahead of us, in the waiting room, sat a beautiful dark skinned family: a mother, a father, and two small children. They were sitting near the receptionist’s desk, in the area where everyone usually sat.

I went…

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What motivates me to keep going.

treasure

A few people have asked me how I remain so motivated to stay in therapy and so determined to become whole one day, in spite of the many setbacks I’ve faced and the inevitable triggers I’ve willingly confronted. Even my therapist has said I’m one of the most motivated clients he’s come across. People wonder if I’m just a sucker for punishment and even have masochistic tendencies.  Why on earth would I want to voluntarily embrace so much psychic pain instead of opting to remain emotionally numb the way I used to be?

I think the number one motivator for me is that I’ve learned to think of the road to wellness as an adventure of the mind and soul, not unlike climbing Mount Everest or exploring the ocean depths.    The only difference is that it doesn’t involve bodily risk. Staying as emotionally dead as I used to be seems as boring as staring at a wall all day.  Now that I’ve seen a glimpse of what I can attain, I never want to go back.  Knowing what I know now about myself, remaining in that particular hell would drive me insane.  So these days, I’d rather face the unpleasant challenges and do battle with them.   None are too big for me to conquer, even though at times they can seem to be.

By nature, I’m not a huge risk taker, but I’ve always been fascinated by the workings of the human mind.  My own mind is like a labyrinth right before my eyes, but within its dark tunnels and crevices I never know when I’ll find some treasure.

Being in therapy for anyone who suffered severe trauma and abuse can be extremely triggering and at times very painful.    I’ve left some sessions and fallen into vast yawning depressions afterward, feeling lost within the emptiness that I always knew was there even before I knew what was really wrong with me.

Faith that a higher power (or God, if you prefer) will show me the way to the treasure chest I know lies deep within is a huge motivator for me, but even now, without knowing exactly where it lies, occasionally I stumble across evidence that I’m getting closer.   A diamond here, an emerald over there, a small vein of gold embedded in the unforgiving granite.   It gives me hope and motivation to keep going.    I no longer doubt that it’s there….somewhere.   All I need is to keep going.   Therapy provides me with a compass to know which direction to go and the assurance that I won’t die trying to find it.   The journey may appear dangerous at times, but I know it never really is.   Staying mindful helps me conquer any fear that I’ve gone too far or too deep.

Discovering things about yourself that you never knew can be really sobering, even upsetting, but it’s also enlightening.   Awareness and insight about your own motivations is the key to healing from anything that plagues the mind and soul.   Self discovery is always fascinating and full of the unexpected.    It may seem like hard work, and it is, but I know the reward will be worth all the pain, and there are enough pleasant surprises along the way to keep me trudging along the rugged trail.   I can do this!    You can too, if you want it badly enough.

I’m not making any New Years resolutions.

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It’s hard to believe, but I’m entering my third year since ousting the narcissistic psychopathic ex from my life once and for all. So much has happened since then. The other huge change I made in 2014 was starting this blog, which has proved to be powerful therapy.

In 2015, I shifted my focus from the narcissists in my life to my own behaviors and realized that to find happiness, I needed to change. Blogging alone was no longer enough, and so I entered actual therapy–the intensive, psychodynamic type that makes you dig deep into your distant past, not just behavioral therapy like CBT or DBT (though those certainly do work too). I’m seeing some patterns that are so obvious to me now, I can’t believe I didn’t see them before. Tonight was probably the most incredible session I’ve had so far, and I’ll be writing about it later. This has been one of the best decisions I ever made, and I couldn’t have asked for a better therapist.

I’m not setting any New Years Resolutions, because those have a way of getting forgotten or abandoned. I’ve never kept a New Years Resolution, ever. But I have a feeling 2016 is going to be a great year with or without resolutions. Right now, I’m just feeling incredibly grateful at the shape my life is taking and the discoveries I’m making on this healing journey. I’ve surrounded myself with people and situations that are good for me and are helping me grow. That’s something new for me. I always surrounded myself with toxic people before. No more! Those days are long gone.

Have a safe and happy New Year and an even better 2016!

Processing my trip down the rabbit hole.

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I’m so glad I talked about it. Everyone has been great. There have been no negative comments and hardly any unfollows, which surprised me. I’ve had a few comments like these though:

“You can’t be a narc, you’re too self aware and have too much remorse,”
“You’re a good person, so that can’t be true.”
“It’s just a bad case of ‘fleas'”
“It’s probably really just complex PTSD mixed with BPD”
“It’s probably NVS (narcissistic victim syndrome).”

Denial is understandable; I denied it too. For months. And it could be that all those things are true too. Narcissism is, after all, a result of being a victim. Narcissists are the most damaged of all victims, so damaged they became what was destroying them. And until (and if) I can get an official NPD diagnosis (which I probably wouldn’t get anyway, because I don’t fit the classic DSM criteria for NPD), there’s a possibility that I don’t have NPD at all, covert or not. Narcissists low on the spectrum aren’t necessarily bad people who have lost their humanity, but they are broken people and some want help. BPD symptoms and Avoidant PD symptoms mixed together can also look a lot like covert narcissism, but a few things didn’t fit–like the hidden resentment, envy and grandiosity I thought everyone felt.

In addition, because of the intensity of the emotions and events that led to my discovery and the surreal and almost supernatural coincidences that began to play out immediately after, as well as an enormous feeling of relief and a completely shifted vantage point where I could now see myself as others saw me, I can only believe my disorder is real and not a figment of a deluded imagination.

I feel like the copious tears I was able to shed just prior to and during my epiphany both cleansed me of some of the toxic, angry emotions I was always carrying around (suddenly I feel something closer to actual empathy!) and helped carry me to the next step of this journey, which is healing.

I know the next phase will be even more difficult. I doubt I can do it alone. I started a new blog intended to act as a therapy tool for this second big phase of my journey (and is also intended to help others in similar positions find their way), much as this blog has been a therapy tool for the first.

Because there’s no way I can afford the type of therapist I’d need, I’ve decided to search for a university clinical psychology program that uses BPD/NPD patients as “guinea pigs” to people training to be therapists, especially in reparenting/psychoanalytic (not just behavioral like CBT) techniques.

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During my crisis last week I thought the shock of finding out the truth would kill me. But it didn’t and now I think it’s the most pivotal moment in my life. It also proved to me that God not only exists but loves me very much, because this revelation came after weeks of prayer that I thought were falling on deaf ears. I was almost ready to give up my faith because nothing was happening.
I was even losing interest in writing.
And then it happened, when I didn’t expect it. It hurt more than I can describe in words. But so does bearing a child–something wondrous comes after all the pain. God doesn’t always make things easy.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen down the line, but that’s not for me to know yet.
The idea to start a new blog happened after the dust settled so I think that was part of his plan for me.
If I’m right and God has taken the reins of my journey, I have faith he’ll direct me to the right therapist.
I’m both scared to death and excited as hell to meet my real self and for us to become reacquainted.

I think the true self comes out through art and creativity. For some narcissists, the “art” they produce isn’t real art but trash. But if they’re at all able to suspend their false self while creating (and I think some do), their art can be honest and beautiful because it’s coming from a place of truth.
Writing is when my true self is at its strongest. So I’m taking things from there.

I’m not sure which direction this blog is going to take. I’m not sure how to reconcile writing about narcissistic abuse without seeming like a fraud, even though that’s probably stupid because it’s not as if I wasn’t a victim of abuse. I was for my entire life until a year ago. Getting away from my narcs brought me the clarity I needed to get to this point. I don’t even want to think of what I might become if I had never escaped.

If anyone’s afraid I might abandon this blog, I promise I won’t. Just like I wouldn’t abandon a first child after having a second. However, for the time being I may focus a bit more on the new one, because of my need to write about things that would fit better over there right now, as well as mundane things like setting it up, putting some “meat” on it, and getting it established.

I’m not sorry this happened at all. I’m grateful. I feel so much better now, almost happy!

Down the rabbit hole.

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This blog has existed for nearly a year and I’ve come to care about all of you who read it. I hope some of you have found it helpful in navigating your world after narcissistic abuse. But more than anything, this blog has been a journey of self discovery since I left my malignant narcissist ex. It’s been a wonderful tool, but part of the process of self discovery is learning things about yourself you didn’t want to know. That’s why I’m writing this article.

It’s the hardest article I’ve ever had to write.

For several days I’ve mulled over how I was going to talk about it. I know it’s not going to go over too well for some. I fully expect some of you to leave and if that’s what you decide to do, I can’t say I blame you and it’s okay. I understand. For what I’m about to say will probably shock some of you as much as it shocked me.

But to say nothing would be to misrepresent myself so rather than take down this blog (which would be akin to giving away a pet you love), I’m going to stick to my original vow to be honest, no matter how much it hurts and regardless of the consequences. It’s the only right thing to do; to continue blogging about narcissism without writing this post would make a fraud out of me.

A little background.

Here’s a quick background for those of you who may be new to this blog. A year ago I started journaling on WordPress as self therapy because my life was shattered after 27 years of abuse at the hands of a malignant narcissist after having been raised by one (and possibly two). In 1996 I was hospitalized with major depression and anxiety and diagnosed with BPD while in the hospital. I took the DBT classes but at the time didn’t take it very seriously and didn’t use the tools as well as I should have. I kept the workbook though, and last year after I got out of my abusive relationship with my ex, I started to use the tools again and they do help but it’s no cure.

Several things have led to the breakthrough I’m about to describe–writing a LOT about my feelings and recovery from narcissistic abuse, reading as much about narcissism, BPD and PTSD as I could get my hands on, trying my best to always be honest no matter how painful or embarrassing (but not always succeeding), and finding God and prayer. It’s been an incredible roller coaster ride.

I’d been praying daily for the ability to regain the easy access to my emotions I had as a child, only tempered with the wisdom and restraint of an adult. I kept reading, writing, and trying to elicit emotion through music, movie-watching, and self-reparenting. This required making myself as vulnerable as possible. I even took myself to see “Inside Out,” which loosened something inside me but not quite enough. It was like one of those almost-sneezes that never quite comes out and leaves you wanting to punch a wall in frustration. Nothing much happened after that. I was growing impatient.

Emerging awareness of a horrifying truth.

This week has been very difficult for me emotionally. It started with an unnamed, free-floating but intense anxiety and panic, to the point I could barely function. A few days ago I plummeted into a black depression that seemed different somehow in quality from my prior zombie-like apathetic depressions when I was living with my ex. This depression felt more alive and more proactive in some way. I’m pretty sure I had an idea all along of what was about to happen but it hadn’t quite bubbled into conscious awareness yet. Its rising through the murky swamp of my unconscious caused me to panic and then a kind of grief took over but I still couldn’t name what its source was.

A week ago, I fell into a panicky, anxious, almost dissociated state and this was followed by a “wet” depression (that included tears instead of my usual catatonic apathy). I didn’t even know what I was crying about. I lost my motivation to write (in retrospect, I think this as a form of self protection when I needed it). I was snappish and irritable on the job but would come home and set aside alone time so I could just let everything out without fear of embarrassment or shame. I knew instinctively something important was about to make itself known and that scared me, but I felt a kind of excitement too.

During this time, I had trouble sleeping and when I did sleep my dreams were upsetting and I had this overwhelming sense of aloneness and separateness. I rarely have nightmares but woke up shaking and close to tears twice.

A few months ago I began to worry I might have NPD. I could tell because of an expressed grandiosity that had always remained hidden in the past (except in my BPD rages which I learned to control) due to my blog being somewhat successful and attaining the attention of a few important people in the field of narcissism. A few people suggested I was narcissistic (not on this blog but elsewhere) and I took this to be bullying (and some of it may have been). So what did I do? DENY IT LIKE HELL! It wasn’t lying–I still didn’t believe I really was one, but I was beginning to question and think it wasn’t impossible and comments like those told me something I did NOT want to hear. Because inside, I already knew.

I think that’s why recently I’ve been writing a lot about covert narcissism. I didn’t make the connection though until the other night.

My “Aspergers”

You might have noticed I took “Aspergers” out of my blog’s graphic and my profile.
There’s a reason why. For as long as I can remember I’ve been painfully shy, socially awkward, and always seem to be a target or victim no matter where I am. I obsess intensely over my hobbies and interests and have trouble making eye contact, which is another symptom.

I don’t function well in work situations because of my low self esteem, kick-me demeanor, and lack of confidence. I’m always passed over for promotions, raises and other perks that others seem to get with ease. Underlying all this self-hatred and always feeling unworthy, is this sense of grandiosity. I’ve always had a seething, hidden resentment toward others who seem to be doing better or have more (which is almost everyone). It’s mellowed with age but hasn’t gone away. I know I shouldn’t feel that way but it just comes over me and I always feel this…bitter resentment and envy. But I don’t have any desire to ruin anyone’s life or take away what people have. I don’t have ill will and don’t want to hurt anyone, but just I feel so envious and defective, and then I feel guilty and beat myself up over having these evil thoughts.

I’m an underachiever and have been my entire life, in spite of a high IQ and a college education. Things seem to come so easily to everyone else and I’m constantly comparing myself to others, and always coming up short. I can’t seem to help comparing myself to everyone all the time, even though I know rationally that these sort of comparisons are poison to my soul and aren’t going to make me feel any better.

I never was able to stand up for myself and resented how disrespected I got by everyone. I felt like, how dare they treat me that way–they’re just a bunch of dumb neurotypicals and I’m too good for them anyway. But at the same time I longed to be included and treated like everyone else.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about covert narcissism and have posted a few articles. Covert narcissists are almost always painfully shy and sometimes awkward. Their social ineptitude is also a kind of social cluelessness, VERY similar to Aspergers–only rather than having a developmental/cognitive source, a covert narcissist’s social cluelessness and obtuseness is due to the great effort of trying to keep the mask of sociability up so as to not risk being “exposed” as the empty shells we feel ourselves to be, and that is exhausting. This is taken as a lack of empathy but actually it’s obtuseness–like it is for Aspies. After speaking to a lot of covert narcissists over at Psychforums over the past few days and reading their experiences, I think the caring is actually there (not for malignants though), but they can’t SEE that they should care because their defense mechanisms keep them from seeing it.

And there you have it. I’m a covert narcissist.
Some of this could be explained by my Avoidant PD of course, especially the social awkwardness and avoidance of others, but cNPD explains it too. I had no idea. I’m not sure if I have comorbid Avoidant PD or not, but I sure as hell don’t have Aspergers.

These are all symptoms of covert narcissism. Although cNPD is not yet recognized by the DSM, I think it will be in future editions. There is a lot of talk on the web about it, a lot of scholarly articles. While our outer behavior can resemble Aspergers, and had both me and even a psychiatrist I was seeing fooled, the reasons underlying the Aspie-like behavior is nothing other than narcissism. When I found this out the other day, I was blown away but spooked out of my mind. The shock of the truth can take your breath away.

Problems with empathy.

All my life I’ve difficulty making lasting friendships because I lack the ability to really be able to empathize with anyone. Oh, I can empathize in a kind of distracted, disconnected way–like if I hear about an abused child or animal I feel bad and sometimes even tear up. I can empathize with fictional characters in books or films. I hate hearing about injustice and abuse. But no matter how hard I try, it’s almost impossible for me to be able to really share the feelings of a real life, flesh and blood person. I don’t want to see anyone suffer, but it’s just all seems so foreign and I have trouble relating. If someone tells m a problem, I can sort of empathize, but it’s a cold, intellectual sort of empathy and I feel like I’m acting, so as soon as they leave, I move on with my life and it’s as if they never told me. I used to wonder why most people didn’t like me that much but now I realize how self-involved I really was. Everything was always about me. I isolate myself because it’s hard to keep up the appearance of truly caring when there’s nothing inside except a yawning black hole and fear of being discovered.

I also was almost as abusive (emotionally) to my ex as he was to me, but again, at the time I couldn’t see the part I played in all this. I was very self-involved and manipulative in our marriage and although it probably would have ended anyway (a good thing), I sure didn’t help by being the way I was. I thought of myself as codependent until my sudden epiphany a few nights ago. Yes, I was a victim, but covert narcissists, when paired up with grandiose/classic narcissists, are almost always the victims. But I was far from an angel myself.

Mental blindness.
I always thought my BPD explained any “narcissism” I showed.

But all my life I’ve been accused of being narcissistic in various settings, and I never could understand why, because it seemed like I was always giving, giving and giving some more. I never made waves, never stood up for myself (except in sudden rages that used to scare people but I got that under control more or less using DBT tools).

I never set out to hurt anyone or play manipulative games. At least not consciously. But it seemed that I was always hurting people. Then I’d genuinely surprised when I was called out on it. I’d feel terribly guilty and filled with shame and apologize profusely (and mean it). I slowly began to see the passive aggressive things I was doing that I *thought* were just passive or things anyone would do. One hand never knew what the other one was doing. I came to not trust myself, and this added to my social awkwardness and shyness, because I couldn’t hurt anyone if I remained silent and disconnected.

I only become overt/grandiose when I’m getting a lot of supply (it makes me cringe with shame to use that word about myself). I’ve become more grandiose recently. Not aggressive. It makes me cringe to read some of my older articles that make me sound so arrogant and conceited. Even before I knew what I know now, I was trying to curb those kind of articles. I didn’t want to come off like a conceited asshole. IRL, though, nothing changed. I was still my same painfully shy, awkward self.

I control my borderline symptoms with DBT tools and that helps with some of the cNPD ones too (in clinical settings, DBT skills which were developed for BPD, also work for some people with NPD).
But my problem is, I don’t feel the things I want to feel — and I’m so cut off from everyone and avoid people because I don’t want them to see the void inside. My deep emotions simply are not accessable to me under normal circumstances.

Down the rabbit hole.

Nearly 11 months from the day I started this blog, I had a mind-bending breakthrough. It happened about a week after my inexplicable anxiety followed by depression began. One night I could’t fall asleep and finally gave up trying. At about 3 AM I talked to 2 close Facebook friends for awhile. They’d been a bit worried about me because my mood had been so erratic.

I logged off Facebook at around 4 AM.

And then…I read this article:
http://www.researchgate.net/publication/275665641_Narcissistic_Personality_Disorder_Diagnostic_and_Clinical_Challenges

It fit me like a glove. I saw myself described in one of those vignettes and…and went down the rabbit hole…
I could not deny it anymore. I was a fucking narc.

I’ve probably already read about 50-100 articles about covert narcissism (cNPD) so I don’t know why this particular one had the effect it did. Maybe I was finally ready. While reading, I recognized myself. It was a deep and horrifying knowledge that hit me like a tsunami. It was like that lightbulb moment. And getting punched in the gut HARD at the same time. I almost threw up. I cried like a child for over an hour. For a few terrifying minutes I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt hot and cold flashes and started to shake.

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No. No, it couldn’t be. I could not have NPD. I frantically tried to fight the truth. It just seems absurd and you’re sitting there with your tongue hanging out when the connection is made. “Huh? wut? But I’m a victim of narcisisstic abuse! I’m an ACON! I’m a nice person! I have low self esteem! How on the name of God can I be a narcissist?

And then….at least for me…you freak out.
I could not deny the truth anymore.

The shock of realization broke through my emotional zombitude. I’ve been on the verge of tears now ever since my epiphany. There may be an element of grief involved. I feel like one of my layers of defense fell off.

It’s funny because this was hardly the first time I’d read anything about covert NPD. I never connected it with my own problem. BPD was bad enough.

Sudden clarity.

Everything suddenly made sense and I felt like I was seeing my situation and all my relationships—hell, over 50 years of my life–with eyes that had been closed since I was very young. I remembered, vaguely, that someone told me something when I was four years old. I couldn’t remember what was said or who said it but I did know whatever it was had been the catalyst when all my problems started that would not abate for over 50 years. One day when I’m ready I’ll remember what actually was said and who said it. I cried harder than I’ve cried since I was about 12. Realizing I am a covert narcissist is something that although its discovery is incredibly upsetting, it’s also something I needed to have in my conscious awareness before I could really start to do the hard work necessary for real healing.

I have faith God works on all of us if we reach out with a sincere heart and ask for help. Now that I know I’m a covert narcissist, the next step is to figure out what to do with this information. Right now I still feel shell shocked. I have to be gentle with myself while I work through and try to understand everything that happened. I’m working on finding a therapist to help me sort it out because I think it’s too big for me to handle all by myself anymore (I can’t afford on though and finding one who works for free or on a sliding scale with NPDrs is going to be a huge challenge to say the least). All I can do right now is keep on praying and writing every day and working on myself and being as mindful as I can until I find someone appropriate. I know the work ahead of me is going to be harder now than it has been and that’s okay. It may take a long time and that’s okay too. I feel like I graduated from something. This might have been the best moment of my life because now it means I can work toward ridding myself of it. I’m both excited and scared to death. I know I can do this thing. But for the love of all that is holy, WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG?

Coming to the realization that you have NPD is an enormous step, but they sure aren’t lying when they tell you how painful it is, and you’re just sitting there shocked and crying, with the emptiness that’s inside you just yawning open like a black hole. It’s incredibly scary but I’m not backing away. I don’t want this disorder. I want to be able to feel real emotions and real empathy and have satisfying relationships and be a normal, happy human being instead of this terrified, angry, envious, and constantly scared person who feels like they deserve nothing but at the same time resents everyone for having what I don’t. It’s a hell of a way to live and I’m over it.

My take on the genesis of covert narcissism.

An interesting thought started to play around in my mind–covert narcissists have TWO false selves: the outer meek, deferent, “nice” one that everyone sees, that cloaks the grandiose, entitled false self just under that (you know, the one that seethes with resentment and envy because you feel “entitled” to be regarded better or have more, and why should THEY get what I need? )

My little theory about this is that a covert narcissist is born when a narcissistic parent is especially abusive–or the child is especially sensitive. My MN mother scared the daylights out of me–I mean I actually saw those *black eyes* on her. She hated my “spooky” moods when i was about 4-6 and used to punish me for them. The “spooky” moods I had were when I’d go inside my head where she couldn’t reach me, especially when she was punishing me. That’s why she hated them, because she couldn’t penetrate these trances. I don’t know when I became a narcissist, but I’ve been this way as long as I can remember. My guess is it happened around the same time I had the weird “spooky” moods, probably around age 4. I don’t remember actually making a conscious “choice” to become one.

I think the covert form develops when a child is afraid that being too grandiose or aggressive will result in punishment. The child learns it’s not safe to challenge the parent in any way or be “better” than them, so although already a narcissist, they add the additional mask of being an obedient, deferent person. They grow up unable to stand up for themselves or express their opinions because of fear of punishment but inside they are anything but what they present to the world and hate being corrected or told what to do. It doesn’t go away either and leads to a life of misery and loneliness. The good thing though, is that covert narcissists are more easily cured because their disorder is so ego-dystonic and they’re so unhappy that they’re more likely than overt/grandiose narcs to get help.

I think it can also develop when a child is both a scapegoat and a golden child, which is common in only children. I would bet there’s a correlation there between only children and covert narcissism. I wonder if any studies have been done.

Narcissism is an effect of prolonged abuse from early childhood. (So is BPD). I’ve sometimes wondered if BPD/NPD may be a form of complex PTSD so deeply ingrained that it’s very difficult and sometimes not possible to dislodge. BPD symptoms in particular seem almost identical to complex PTSD but the DSM doesn’t recognize complex PTSD (C-PTSD) because it’s due to prolonged trauma rather than a single traumatic event, like a car accident or a war.
I agree all those effects are due to abuse, and are part of covert NPD/borderline PD (I have both).

For awhile I thought I had NVS (narcissism victim syndrome), which can show many of the same traits as narcissism. Basically it’s the “fleas” a narc leaves on you. In my case, the fleas were so many and lasted for so long that my case of fleas turned into full blown narcissism. I didn’t know this until a few days ago. I could still have NVS too; most narcissists probably do. After all, their disorder is caused by abuse. NVS is another diagnosis that is not recognized and is still largely an Internet meme.

The other side of the mirror.

twilight-zone

Since my epiphany, things are weird. I’ve been a bit dissociated and things seem a little unreal to me right now, almost dreamlike. It’s as if with one layer of defenses gone (denial), my body seems lighter somehow. I’m not feeling grounded at all. I’m also almost constantly on the verge of tears. Just a lot of emotion filtering through, neither good or bad. I think this is a good thing.

I’ve been posting on a forum about NPD and a lot of narcs post there. I’ve found several of them to be welcoming and supportive. These people don’t seem very narcissistic at all. They’re like me; they want to change. I can relate to some of their stories too. I know I have to be careful though. I’ve had a few surreal moments where I wondered if somehow, I’d shifted to “the dark side” and evil was taking over and was starting in the insidious manner of having open and honest conversations about narcissism with other narcissists.

I always wondered why it was that, whenever I wrote an article about why narcissists became that way, or the ways they suffer, that I’d always get so emotional. I know these articles enraged some ACONs. Why was it so important for me to “understand” narcs? Why couldn’t I just accept they were these evil, inhuman demons who had no capacity to change? There was one article in particular, “Letter from a Narcissist’s True Self,” that made me so emotional I was in tears while writing it (even though the fictional narcissist is far more malignant than I am).
Why?
Why did I feel a kind of warm empathy for a few narcs who wrote to me telling me they hated the way they were and hated themselves?
Why did I feel somehow personally insulted when narcissists were demonized (even though I still agreed much of the time)?
Why did I get into a blog war with people who hated the fact I suggested that maybe narcissists get too much hate and not enough understanding. That they were victims too?
Why did I care at all about…these toxic people?
Now I know why. I was trying to understand myself.

Other strange things have happened too. Bizarre coincidences and “signs” that all of this discovery had meaning and that my assessment of myself was correct. Describing these things would take too long and this article’s already long enough, so I’ll spare you the metaphysical woo-woo for now. Suffice to say that almost everything I thought I thought was true was a lie, and everything I thought was a lie was the truth. It’s disorienting. I’m on the other side of the mirror, looking inside.

Where to go from here?

Immediately following my epiphany, I realized I needed to make a decision about this blog, for to continue it as it was and say nothing about my realization would make me a fraud and a liar and that flies in the face of the honesty I made a commitment to a year ago. So I had three choices.
–Take this blog down. (That was out of the question–it would be the equivalent of having a beloved pet put to sleep).
–Shift its focus to say, a general purpose blog? (Eh. That idea didn’t excite me).
–Bite the bullet and “come out” about my narcissism and take my chances?
Yes I would lose readers if I did that (and of course the “supply” is nice), but what would be the right thing to do?

I decided to go with being honest. I think I made the right decision, as difficult as writing this post is.
Whatever I shift the focus of this blog to (and it may not change that much), it has to be coming from a sincere place fueled by honesty and candidness. I’ve already had practice having haters, and I’m prepared for that again (well, sort of). I’m prepared to lose readers. It’s okay.

I’ll continue this blog for those of you who want to stay, because I love doing this so much. But I can’t be the new Sam Vaknin, nor would I want to be. There’s only room for one of him and there’s plenty of blogs out there for victims of narcissistic abuse written by non-narcs. So although I’ll continue to write about narcissism and the effects it has on its victims, I’ll be shifting this blog’s focus, though I’m not sure what direction that will take.
I’ve also decided to start a second blog, which is intended to be a supportive environment for people like me–self aware narcissists/BPDs who need to talk about it and want to heal.

I have a lot of anger toward the narcissists who infected me with their disorder. You can’t spend an entire lifetime at the mercy of malignant narcs and not develop at least a bad case of fleas yourself. I never asked for this and I reject it. I do have a conscience (a well developed one actually) and now finally awareness, so those things are in my favor. I’m not malignant, thank God. At least I hope not. But I’m on the spectrum whether I want to be or not. I want to get off.

I think my life will be changing for the better now. I don’t have to be a narcissist if I don’t want to be. That’s what I’m working toward now. I know I can do this thing. Wish me luck.

And now I’m going to hit “Publish.” My heart’s in my mouth right now.
I hope my friends here can understand.

ETA: I started the new blog: https://luckyotter.wordpress.com/

I’ll be gone for a little while.

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Blogging for these past 11 months has been an incredible journey of self discovery and now it looks like I’ve reached the end what writing alone can do for me. But it’s brought me to this point and without it I would not know the things I know now.

A few days ago I had a sudden realization and that realization is a huge breakthrough for me. Of course that’s a great thing, but its price is also a great deal of pain that I need to process and I think any further online self-therapy for the moment is going to take me too deep into something that would be best handled with professional counseling.

I detest the word “hiatus,” but I can’t think of a better word to use at the moment. I’m going to miss writing every day so much that I’m literally in tears right now, because I’ve grown to love this so much and there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. But I need to think of what’s right, not just what I want. I need to do a lot more reading and research about what’s going on with me right now and try to get a handle on it as well as find a good therapist.

I’m not ready to say what I know. I’ll come back here and write about it when I’m ready. It’s not a bad thing, it just is and it’s good that I know. I couldn’t see it before but now I can’t believe I didn’t. I will say this–that it explains a LOT. It also has answered many of the questions I’ve asked and wondered about for almost a year, but has raised new questions. My entire POV has shifted and things were not as they seemed.

I was always honest (as much as I could be at least) on this blog so I can’t write about mental illness or personality disorders again until I am ready to be honest about how all that applies to me too. I’m really going to miss that too.

I wish I could be more specific. I’m dying to write about it but I can’t yet. Change is hard but I must step back and process things, find out more. I don’t think I’ll be gone long. I just need to do a lot of thinking and sort some things out in myself first.

I’ll probably still continue to post articles about topics unrelated to mental illness or personality disorders. I don’t see any reason not to. I plan to do a “Progression of Fall” series starting sometime next month, similar to my “Progression of Spring” posts. Photography. Funny stuff. Maybe a serious article about something unrelated to this blog’s primary focus. Stuff like that. I may even be back posting before then. It might not take long at all.

I could come back within just days or a week or two if I feel ready to talk about what’s going on with me. But right now, I’m just not ready. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. It’s overwhelming and I need to step back and try to process it and get a clearer perspective on everything.

Don’t worry, I am fine. I’ve just entered a painful phase of self-growth. Writing is no longer enough and at this point could trigger things that might be dangerous to try to face alone.

I’ll miss you all very much but I shouldn’t be away very long.
I hope you understand.

If anyone wants to get in contact with me, you can reach me via email, LinkedIn or Twitter (the information is in the “Contact Me” tab). If you want to friend me on Facebook, email me and I’ll give you my actual name (which I have never used on this blog, for obvious reasons).

Peace and blessings,
Lauren Bennett

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Forget-me-not.

Bring it on!

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This week has been very difficult for me emotionally. It started with an unnamed, free-floating but intense anxiety and panic, to the point I could barely function. A few days ago I plummeted into a black depression that seemed different somehow in quality from my prior zombie-like apathetic depressions. it felt more alive and more proactive in some way. I’m pretty sure I had an idea all along of what was about to happen but it hadn’t quite bubbled into conscious awareness yet. Its rising through the murky swamp of my unconscious caused me to panic and then a kind of grief took over but I still couldn’t name what it was.

Most of you who read this blog regularly know I began this blog almost a year ago as a form of self therapy (because I couldn’t afford a therapist). From the beginning, I committed myself to 100% honesty. Well, I’ve probably fallen short of that goal, as I’ve omitted some important discoveries and other things about myself that I simply didn’t feel comfortable sharing, even under my alias.

Last night–nearly 11 months from the day I started this online journal–I had a huge breakthrough. Prior to this, I tried to sleep but could not. When I did my dreams were upsetting and I had this overwhelming sense of aloneness and separateness. I woke up shaking and close to tears. I gave up trying to sleep and talked to 2 close Facebook friends for awhile. They’ve been a bit worried about me this week because my mood has been so erratic and I’ve done so much crying, which until recently has been unusual for me. I cried all the time as as a child but then dried up sometime during my teens.

Several things have led to my breakthrough: writing a LOT about my feelings and recovery from narcissistic abuse, reading as much about narcissism, BPD and PTSD as I could get my hands on, trying my best to always be honest no matter how painful or embarrassing (but not always succeeding), and finding God and the power of prayer. It’s been an incredible roller coaster ride.

For several weeks prior to last night, I’d been praying for the ability to regain the easy access to my emotions I had as a child, only tempered with the wisdom and restraint of an adult, of course. I kept reading, writing, and trying to elicit emotion through music, movie-watching, and self-reparenting. I knew this required making myself as vulnerable as possible. I took myself to see “Inside Out,” which loosened something inside me but not quite enough. It was like one of those almost-sneezes that never quite comes out and leaves you wanting to punch a wall in frustration. Nothing much happened after that. I was growing impatient.

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A week ago, I fell into my panicky, anxious state followed by a “wet” depression (that included tears instead of my usual catatonic apathy). I didn’t even know what I was crying about. I lost my motivation to write (in retrospect, I think this as a form of self protection when I needed it). I was snappish and irritable on the job but would come home and set aside alone time so I could just let everything out without fear of embarrassment or shame. I knew instinctively something important was about to make itself known and that scared me, but I felt a kind of excitement too.

It happened last night at about 3 AM after my Facebook friends and I ended our conversation. I read something that triggered a deep knowledge that hit me like jolt of electricity. For a few terrifying minutes I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath and I might even throw up. I felt hot and cold flashes and started to shake. What I learned was overwhelming and devastating–but I also knew I’d known this for a long time but had repressed it.

Everything suddenly made sense and I felt like I was seeing my situation and all my relationships—hell, over 50 years of my life–with eyes that had been closed since I was very young. I remembered, vaguely, that someone told me something when I was four years old. I couldn’t remember what was said or who said it but I did know whatever it was had been the catalyst when all my problems started that would not abate for over 50 years. One day when I’m ready I’ll remember what actually was said and who said it. I cried harder than I’ve cried since I was about 12. I can’t go into detail right yet about what this discovery was–I’m not ready. I may never be ready. But it’s something that although its discovery is incredibly upsetting to me, it’s also something I needed to have in my conscious awareness before I could really start to do the hard work necessary for real healing.

God answers prayers in his own time. He’s working on me. I have faith he works on all of us if we reach out with a sincere heart and ask for help. Now that I have this information that was revealed to me, the next step is to figure out what to do with it. Right now I just feel shell shocked. I have to be gentle with myself while I work through and try to understand everything that happened. I’m working on finding a therapist to help me sort it out because I think it’s too big for me to handle all by myself anymore. All I can do right now is keep on praying and writing every day and working on myself and being as mindful as I can until I find someone appropriate. I know the work ahead of me is going to be harder now than it has been and that’s okay. It may take a long time and that’s okay too. I feel like I graduated from something last night. I’m ready for the next step. Bring it on!

Somehow I feel lighter today although I’m exhausted and desperately need a good night’s sleep.
I know I can do this thing. But for the love of all that is holy, WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG?

Crazy ride.

Giving up is conceding that things will never get better, and that is just not true. Ups and downs are a constant in life, and I’ve been belted into that roller coaster a thousand times.
–Aimee Mullins via http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/

To ride or not to ride.

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Roll back down the track about 11 months. September 2014. That was the day something in my brain finally connected right and I got the idea to start a blog about narcissistic personality disorder.
I had no idea what I was in for. Not even close.
I didn’t have the foggiest idea what sort of roller coaster ride starting a blog about narcissism would become.
It would become the most life-changing ride of my life.

I had no real plan to start a blog. Occasionally I’d have the fleeting thought like “oh, maybe I should start a blog sometime…” but these thoughts were passing and vague, like puffs of cigarette smoke passing over my head. And they went nowhere. Instead, they dissolved in the sea of my uncertainty and inability to make any sort of decision: “Oh, but no one would read my blog,” I’d remind myself. “I’m so boring and have no interests and so what would I blog about anyway? How boring my life is?” So these passing ideas were just sort of pipe dreams. They had no spine or any substance at all. They dissolved away like smoke and vapor and dreams. So I wasn’t seriously considering blogging until the day I finally did.

In February 2014 I’d kicked out my narcissist ex who was living on my couch and making my life a living hell. For about two months I walked around kind of numb and rudderless. I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going and I was scared but sort of excited too. Mostly I was just trying to find my bearings and stay grounded. It could be frustrating. I just wasn’t used to making decisions or doing things on my own, without the narc’s “help.”

In about April or May I started reading a lot about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I first reread “People of the Lie,” the only book about malignant narcissism I owned at the time (now I have a whole library of such books). I began to read George K. Simon’s “Manipulative People” blog. That was the very first blog about character-disordered people I ever read. I posted a few times, tentatively, but never got too involved, because soon I found other blogs and started reading and sometimes posting on those too.

One day in September 2014 (the 10th to be exact) I was poking around online and on a whim decided I wanted to start a blog. The idea came out of nowhere. In retrospect I think it was God giving me a nudge because I was ready. But ready for what? I had no idea where such a thing would take me–all I knew was I needed to tell my story and in doing so try to sort through all my confused and bewildering feelings. I attempted to start my blog on Blogger, but it kept wanting me to use my real name because it’s run by Google and connected to it, and using my real name on the type of blog I was going to do was out of the question. I had heard WordPress was hard, but decided to give it a shot.

Ascending the track, eyes ahead, heart in mouth.

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WordPress wasn’t hard. The learning curve was about three days, and after that I felt like I knew what I was doing. At first writing was a bit of a chore, and I didn’t write every day. As time went on, and I started to explore narcissism more deeply and do more reading (by this time I had ordered two of Dr. Simon’s books–“In Sheeps Clothing” and “Character Disturbance”), I found my fascination increasing. I was also beginning to change and my confidence was starting to rise out of the toilet. People told me I seemed somehow “different.” For the first time in my life, I felt like I was doing something that made me feel passionate and that could possibly be of use to others too.

Since then, many things have happened in my blogging journey. I’ve learned more about myself and my narcissists than I ever dreamed possible, and I also found faith in God during the process. I believe with all my heart that God gave me the life He did to lead me to where I am now, writing about my experiences as a victim of narcissistic abuse and learning as much as I can, so I can pass along what I know to others who are in similar situations.

On top of the world–but don’t look down.

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There have been incredibly heady, exciting times–sudden spikes in popularity, an article going viral for the first time, certain well-known people in the field of narcissism who found and helped promote my blog and its articles, suddenly having so many new friends, getting comments and emails from people who told me my words gave them hope or the courage to leave their narcissist, or even in one case, saved their life. It was surreal the first time I found one of my articles at the top of page 1 of Google, or got reblogged by someone whose blog gets many more hits than my own. As an added bonus, I found out my traffic was sufficient to run some ads, and from that I’ve been able to make some pocket money. Making money never has been and never will be my purpose for doing this, but I’m not going to lie and tell you it isn’t sort of nice to have an additional $20-$30 dollars a month for doing something I love to do. Maybe someday I can parlay this into a career, especially if I write a book (which I plan to start doing fairly soon, when I have some time and think of a topic for a book I’d want to write). It might even be fiction, only using what I know now about myself and the scourge of narcissism as a sort of matrix that holds the skin of the story together.

Hurtling back to earth.

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It hasn’t all been a joyride either. There have been painful and disappointing times too–my first hater and troll comments, people accusing me of having dishonest motives or being a narcissist myself (or at least a narc-enabler), the loss of several people I thought were friends along the way (for various reasons), finding unflattering comments about this blog on other blogs, finding out I’d unintentionally hurt a few people I cared about; other friends disappearing into the black hole of cyberspace, writing highly personal articles that scared me to post so much I felt sick before finally taking that deep breath and posting them anyway (and I’ve never regretted doing so), being emotionally triggered by someone else’s sad story or just from digging so deep into my own psyche or past; chronic worrying that maybe I’m too narcissistic; and having periods of self-doubt and depression when I wonder if I’m good enough to be doing this at all or if it even really means anything.

Exhilaration and sadness.

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But on the whole, the ride–like a rollercoaster–has been incredibly fun. The downs just mean you’re going up again, and the overall feeling of blogging about narcissism (and related mental health subjects) has been exhilarating, empowering, and the most enjoyable and creative activity I’ve ever undertaken–and best of all, I’ve actually stuck with it. In the past, I would get interested in things, but never stick with them for very long, especially once the going got rough or I realized how much blood, sweat and tears it would require.

But blogging about narcissism, as emotionally triggering and difficult as it can be at times, is a labor of love and the more I do it, the more I want to keep doing it. Unlike every other interest and hobby I’ve had, I haven’t lost interest in it.

Writing about narcissism (and my own disorders) is incredibly emotional, sometimes painful, and a LOT of hard work. There have been times I found myself in tears after writing a particularly emotional article, especially if it involved a painful experience from my own past, and for me being able to release emotion is a great thing because for so long most of my emotions were bottled up.

The Healing Power of Creativity.

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Blogging is also very creative. One of the only things I rarely ever doubted about myself was that I had the ability to write. Creative writing was always something I was good at and did for fun. As a 7 and 8 year old, my father brought home these tiny little leatherette-covered notebooks with the covers in bright primary colors. The tiny pages had miniature lines for writing which was good because at that age, I still couldn’t write in a straight line (the slope was always downward: was that foreshadowing what was still to come?) On the cover they had a single word like “Memorandum” in embossed golden letters. They were given to me in stacks of rubber bands. There must have been 50 of them. In those little books I wrote lots of little illustrated stories. I always used colored markers and pencils, never crayons because they left too big a mark on the tiny pages. I don’t know what happened to those little books but I wish I still had them.

Even my parents–who rarely had anything both good and true to say about me (I was both scapegoat and golden child in their marriage)–both admitted I could write really well. I worked in medical journalism when I got out of college and wrote some freelance book reviews and did some proofreading and freelance editing, but after having children and moving to another state, I gave all that up. And when I did write, it was always for someone else or for money, never for the love of doing it.

Also by then I was in my disastrous marriage to a psychopathic malignant narcissist, and all the good and healthy things about myself (which didn’t seem to be many) began to gradually and insidiously slip away. I became a near zombie. I thought I forgot how to write. In 2003 I wrote a novel (a very bad one, it turned out) and I had my mother read it (she was probably the worst person for me to have read it) and she told me it sucked, which it did. I was trying to write like Pat Conroy, an author I was very much into at the time.

I reread it two years ago and cringed while reading it. It was full of florid, purple prose, cliched phrases and cliched, one dimensional (is that a cliche?) characters. The one sex scene was embarrassingly bad (I will not go into detail about that here!) I felt sick after reading this amateurish piece of badly written sentimental trash and it was everything I could do to reread even a page of it. That’s how embarrassed by it I was. It was so bad that a Harlequin romance would seem like Tolstoy in comparison.

In what universe had I ever thought that piece of Pat Conroy wannabe-garbage was good enough to send out to publishers and agents (who all rejected it)–or have my constantly-critical mother read it? The novel is still sitting in a cardboard box in the back of my closet, its pages becoming brittle and yellow with time, but for some reason I can’t bring myself to throw it away. It’s a reminder of a time where I couldn’t write because I was too divorced from my own emotions. A person who is dead can’t write–and I was like a walking dead person, trying to write about emotions I couldn’t access.

So after that I imagined I was a terrible writer after all, and never really had that much ability. Writing this blog has reassured me that my ability to write never went away and in fact it’s improved over the months I’ve been writing this blog. So blogging is increasing my self esteem that way too. I think the abilities God gave us are one of his greatest gifts, and those of us who have a talent in one or more of the arts (performing, literary or visual) are especially blessed, because we have the means to communicate feelings to the world, not just ideas, facts, or thoughts (not that those aren’t valuable too).

I call blogging my self-therapy because that’s what it is. It’s also my creative outlet right now. I can’t get over all the positive changes I see in myself (and that others have noticed too), including an increased ability to be in touch with my true emotions, having a relationship with God after having been agnostic most of my life, a much more positive attitude than I used to have, better health, and retrieved memories and revelations about what my painful and difficult life has really meant (news flash to myself: I was not born to be an example to others of what a “loser” looks like).

I don’t want to get off this ride.

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Queen’s University engineering student David Chesney rides the 28- metre-long rollercoaster he made.

All these discoveries are so unbelievably exciting and validating they far surpass the pain I’ve sometimes experienced on this sometimes terrifying ride into the unknown. Sometimes I feel like I’m exploring a new galaxy, and finding wonders every day, both great and small–and horrors too, but the horrors are usually cast by my own shadow and prove in the end to be harmless.

I would never have believed the most amazing journey of my life would take place without my ever having to leave my house.

There’s something about a roller coaster that triggers strong feelings, maybe because most of us associate them with childhood. They’re inherently cinematic; the very shape of a coaster, all hills and valleys and sickening helices, evokes a human emotional response.
–Diablo Cody

via http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes

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I still have so much to learn…

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I just spent a few minutes ordering (used) books about Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorders from Amazon. There’s still so much I don’t know, especially about my own BPD, which trips me up constantly, in spite of my attempts to be mindful and think before I act (or react).

For example, a few months ago I unintentionally alienated someone I valued as a friend. Actually two people were involved. What happened was I went on a rant because a second woman hurt my feelings, and rather than discuss this privately with her, or simply move on and chalk the whole thing up as a learning experience, I decided to write a rant and publish it. No, I did not identify the person in my rant and yes, what this person had said to me (in private) was extremely mean and hurtful (and definitely not true either). But could I just move on or let it go–or just tell the person how hurt I was? No, instead I had to turn this person’s private message to into an angry blog post. After I realized what I had done, I removed that post, but its repercussions still haunt me. This individual is absolutely convinced I am a malignant narcissist with evil intentions and has said so in public. I’m not, but based on my behavior at the time, I can understand why someone would think this is the case.

The woman who I wrote that scathing post about wasn’t someone I knew very well, and her low opinion of me (which it turned out had been low from the beginning–she just didn’t like me, which is okay, it happens to everyone) really didn’t matter too much, since we hadn’t been “friends” for very long. But in the fallout from that bad decision I made to call her out publicly, I alienated someone else whose friendship I really DID value–because it turned out that person was friends with the person I ranted about. I didn’t know.

I also did something else to anger the woman who’s friendship I valued (basically, a blatant invasion of her boundaries), but again, at the time I didn’t realize what I did would be hurtful to them. I was just so…CLUELESS. All of this impulsive borderline shit I was pulling came off to others as MALIGNANT NARCISSISM and since then I’ve had that label slapped on me by someone who mattered to me and a few who never really did. Being thought of that way by someone I value really hurts. It hurts a lot. That’s about the worst insult I could ever get (strangely enough, when I was younger, the easiest way to insult me was to call me TOO SENSITIVE, ha!)

But I deserved it too. Putting myself in my alienated friend’s shoes after the damage was done, and thinking about how I would have felt if someone did the same thing to me, I couldn’t deny that I would have been extremely angry, to say the least. Also, the timing of my actions was just too weird. I didn’t know I was hurting anyone, at least not consciously. I really didn’t. But how would my friend know I didn’t know? Why wouldn’t she think it was malicious and intentional?

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The problem with having BPD is the obtuseness that comes with it. In that sense, it can resemble Aspergers because you just don’t KNOW what is appropriate. You simply are not aware of when you’re acting out, manipulating or attacking someone. I think this is one of the little-talked about things that separates BPD from full-blown narcissism. Borderlines can just be so fucking clueless. We are so out of touch with ourselves and who we really are that we don’t even have a false self to pretend to know what it’s doing. We really don’t know what the hell we’re doing and even when we think we have our behaviors under control, they still sneak out, without our even knowing. It makes you really feel crazy and out of control when later on it’s pointed out to you (as to a two year old) WHY what you said or did was wrong and WHY someone was hurt by it, when you thought it as just a normal reaction at the time and you had no earthly idea it would be so hurtful or damaging. But when you do become aware, it’s so OBVIOUS that you say to yourself, how the hell could I not SEE that?

BPD is a sort of blindness. You get so tangled up in your own emotional state you literally cannot see how you may be hurting others. You may not be throwing screaming temper tantrums or throwing things across the room, but the harmful actions come out in other, sneaky, passive-aggressive ways. You don’t WANT to hurt others, but you do anyway because YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. It sucks because as a person who does have a conscience and struggles constantly with guilt and shame, I feel remorse when I realize what I have done. The problem is, by the time I become aware, it’s often too late to repair the lost friendship. They have already given up and moved on. BPD destroys relationships.

I feel like even with the DBT skills I’ve been using and the reparenting techniques I’ve tried recently, that there is so much about this awful disorder I don’t know. I don’t know myself as well as I should. Dammit, I DON’T TRUST MYSELF! My Aspergers/Avoidant PD mitigates my Borderline symptoms to some extent, but they still come out. I avoid others partly because I’m afraid I might hurt them. I don’t want to be this way anymore.

I feel like I need to educate myself much more about BPD, and just knowing WHY we do the things we do and act out in passive aggressive ways without knowing what we’re doing, will help. So that’s why I just ordered some new books. I need to spend some more time reading and less time unintentionally creating drama, stupidly thinking that it’s “right.”

This journey of self-discovery is amazing most of the time, but sometimes facing the truth about yourself is unbelievably painful.

One last thing–if you are reading this (and you will know who you are if you read this post), I want to say I’m so sorry. I was wrong.

Nobody knew who I was.

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Woodcut by Käthe Kollwitz, 1867-1945

I used to be a nobody.

Or, as my malignant narcissist mother would have put it, “a nothing.”

Before I started this blog, years of psychological abuse had sealed my lips and closed my eyes to what I could be. I rarely spoke to the people around me, and when I did, I revealed nothing because I was too afraid and was convinced I was a boring person who lived an equally boring life. I never ever revealed anything about my emotional life to people outside my immediate family, and even with them, I was reticent.

I’ve always found it difficult to make friends offline, due to my Aspergers and my avoidant personality, as well as my fear of revealing too much. I still almost never talk about my feelings offline. When I was a child I revealed way too much. I was highly sensitive and vulnerable but didn’t know how to handle it. That kind of openness got me bullied and as a result, I learned it was best to say nothing at all. I didn’t realize my high sensitivity was in reality a wonderful gift.

I shut and locked all my psychological doors. After a while, I couldn’t remember how to unlock them. For me, writing was the key, but I assumed the lock was broken and the key would not work.

For most of my adulthood, although I managed to marry and have a family (with a narcissistic bully who was all wrong for me or for anyone) I had practically no social life outside of that and hardly ever engaged in any interesting activities. I gave up easily. I never completed anything I started due to my dismally low self esteem that told me I was sure to fail. I gave up writing and art and all the things I had loved when I was younger. I feared being boring but boring is exactly what I became. I was just too afraid of everything to be anything else.

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I believed my purpose in this life was to be an example to others of how not to be. Hell, even my own mother called me a loser and a failure, and if your own mother has no faith in you, how can you believe in yourself? Mother knows best, right?

Wrong.

I thought about writing a blog, but didn’t because I feared I would have nothing to say that would interest anyone. I also thought it would be too hard and I would give up in frustration, like I had given up on so many other things when they became too difficult. My irrational fear of failure crippled me.

Even if I could think of something to write about, I was afraid people would hate my words and ideas. Ideas? I didn’t think I had any anyway. In my own mind I was the most boring person in the world. I felt like a walking zombie, marking time until death.

I was so wrong. So very wrong. I’m free to reveal the self on this blog that was in hiding for decades and many times was hidden even from myself. I’m finding it’s safe to be open and vulnerable, at least online. And I’m finding there is so much joy to be had if you just open your eyes and your heart and let yourself feel life. It really wasn’t that hard to do, once my psychopathic sperm donor was out of the way.

I never thought I could help anyone, least of all myself. I felt impotent and helpless in the world, someone born to be a victim, a source of narcissistic supply to others, because that was how I was trained. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t really stupid, uncreative and boring. I wasn’t a loser and I only failed because I was too afraid to try anything and would give up easily the few times I did try. I didn’t realize it was my PTSD and depression that turned me into a walking zombie. Mental illness is a powerful dark beast and can engulf and eclipse your true spirit.

My creativity is blossoming. I always had ideas, but now they’ve revealed themselves as I’ve let go of my debilitating fear and self hatred. Sometimes I feel like I have too many ideas and can’t write them down fast enough.

Although my external circumstances haven’t changed very much (outside the narc being gone), I have hope now. I feel like a real person again, an interesting person who can even be a friend to others. I’m even starting to like myself, and think I’m a pretty interesting person. I’m even becoming proud of my high sensitivity I used to be so ashamed of. In its highest form, high sensitivity can reveal empathic ability.

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I truly believe that once I got the narc out of my life, that God stepped in and took things over. He has shown me who I really am and what my purpose is in this world, and it’s not to be an example to others of how not to be. A plan for my life is taking shape and every day it amazes me. There’s so much to be amazed by. He is teaching me how to use the gift of writing that I had been wasting for so long on bullshit or not using at all.

Becoming vulnerable again through my writing is a beautiful thing. If you like yourself, you can handle the bullies, but chances are there will be fewer than you think, and most people will admire your willingness to be open and can relate to that. Your voice will be heard by those who are really listening. It can penetrate the darkness in other people’s lives.

Being vulnerable is about being honest. It’s embracing the truth rather than believing the lies.

Becoming vulnerable takes courage. Rather than being a trait of a weak person, it really takes a strong person to be willing to feel life in its kaleidoscope of colors. Before, I only saw in shades of gray.

I used to believe there was nothing left to look forward to. Now I know there is still so much ahead of me.

Nobody knew who I was. I wouldn’t let them in. Now the door is wide open. Come on in.