To everything there is a season…

I forgot about this old article I wrote in June 2015, but I’d like to put these thoughts out there again for others to think about.

Lucky Otters Haven

seasons

There seem to be three different kinds of people in the world. Those who are fake-positive, always wearing a plastered on smile and never admitting to failure or to their true emotions; those who walk around wearing their misery like a badge of honor; and everyone else.

Before I became active in the narcissistic abuse community, I really only met the first type of person and the third. I’m all too well acquainted with “positive thinking nazis” — you know, fake and shallow people who don’t want to acknowledge your pain and tell you to “get over it” or “you bring your misery on yourself with your negativity.” These people are often–but not always–narcissists (but even when they aren’t, they are all neurotypicals.) They are good at social skills and making a good impression at all times, and that means they are always smiling. They cannot and will not understand…

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What 2017 has taught me.

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I feel like a victim again.   I was doing pretty well emotionally until this year.  Since I left my ex in 2014 and started blogging, slowly I began to feel freer and lighter emotionally.   I felt like I was finally rid of most of my C-PTSD/BPD symptoms and the emotional work I was doing both in and out of therapy was reaping benefits.    I came to realize that I had been repeatedly victimized by others for most of my life because I acted like a victim and kept telling  myself I was one.  I became my own abuser.   Although I will never blame myself for what happened to me or the psychological problems I developed because of it (which in their own warped and unhealthy way protected me),  I realized, like Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz, when Glinda The Good Witch told her she always had the power to go home but just didn’t realize it, that I always had the power to be a non-victim, to not live in mortal fear of everyone, but didn’t realize it because the abuse I endured had made me blind to the fact I was as worthy and powerful as anyone else and deserved to be treated well by others.  I was finally seeing what was possible for me without all that paralyzing fear, shame and self-hatred dragging me down.

But the political abuses of our monstrously narcissistic and sociopathic president and his equally malicious administration has retriggered a lot of the Bad Old Me, the scared-of-everything-and-everyone me.     I won’t go into the specifics of what those abuses are since this is not intended to be a political post and I know I’m not alone in feeling so terrified and depressed at the same time.   All of us, especially those of us who survived narcissistic abuse, and especially if it was sustained over a long period of time, all know why he triggers us.

2017 has been a horror show for me.    I feel like an unwilling participant in the Trump Reality Show, all the while knowing I’m on the losing team.    This doesn’t just mean obsessing over the latest upsetting news story and worrying about the effect its outcome might ultimately have on my freedom, financial status, health, and general well-being.     I’ve also been doubting myself again.  My feelings are hurt more easily, I ruminate and obsess for weeks over insults and rejections, even by people I don’t know well.   Often I feel like I can’t function at all.   I’ve returned to feeling like a victim, and even while I know that such a self-defeating, negative attitude tends to draw in even more negativity,  I can’t help it.   Almost a year after Trump’s inauguration,  I’m generally in one of three moods: fearful, depressed, and angry — sometimes all three at the same time.  Sometimes I feel dissociated, like nothing is real anymore.   Sometimes I slide into a kind of numbness where cynicism and fatalism take over.   I think about death a lot.

But something odd has happened too.  In the midst of the darkness, my faith in God has intensified.   I know he has a plan for me, which involves illuminating the truth and serving as a voice for the vulnerable.   Even while my emotional life is presently in turmoil, I feel like God is very near and no matter what happens, I should not be afraid or give into despair or hopelessness.   Even if I become one of the casualties of this president’s policies,  and even if I have to die,  it will have meant something and I would have fulfilled His purpose for me.

As my faith has grown, my heart has changed.   I used to consider myself self-centered and unconcerned about others, even to the point of not being able to feel much empathy to others.   But that was because I felt like I constantly had to protect myself from being hurt.   It’s strange to me that even though a lot of those old “poor me” emotions have come back, this newfound concern about the world at large has not faltered and always exceeds my concern for myself.  That is definitely something new.

I realized about two years ago that the narcissistic abuse I had to endure as a child wasn’t just some random thing that happened.    It was ultimately a teacher that gave me a doctoral level course in how narcissists operate.   It was schooling to prepare me for what we are facing now on the national level.  After my rage at my abusers (and people with NPD in general) burnt itself out, I began to wonder if I was a narcissist myself, or even had NPD.    I looked at those traits I possessed that resulted from not having been validated as a functioning, worthy human being by my parents — my self centeredness, my envy of others, my tendency in the past to not take responsibility and project fault onto others, my rage, my frozen empathy, my tendency to hate (or fall in love with)  people easily — and concluded that I was myself a narcissist.   I made it my mission to rid myself of my narcissism, but at the same time (or actually, slightly prior to it), I entered an odd phase where I began to sympathize with narcissists and sought to understand them rather than keep bashing them.   I wrote posts criticizing what I felt, at the time, was an unjust demonization of people with NPD by the narcissistic abuse community.    I even started a blog documenting my self-healing journey and later, my therapy.   (That blog has been inactive since April and I have no interest in ever posting in it again).

As it turned out, that weird phase was short lived.  I had insisted that my therapist give me an NPD diagnosis, since I was so certain I had it and couldn’t work on myself properly if I didn’t have the actual label.  My therapist didn’t think I even qualified for the BPD diagnosis I had been given in the ’90s.   Instead, when I kept pushing for a diagnosis, he said he thought I had PTSD (more accurately, C-PTSD), maybe with a few narcissistic traits (“fleas” in narc-abuse parlance), but certainly not fullblown NPD.     Gradually I stopped sympathizing with narcissists too, and developed indifference toward them.   The whole topic of narcissism, in fact, had begun to bore me.   Today I could care less about narcissists, although I don’t actively feel hatred toward them.   I just feel — nothing toward them.

I’ve been puzzling over why I developed that weird empathy toward narcissists (and my conviction that I was one), because I’m feeling none of that now, with this malignant narcissist president, or toward narcissists in general.  Yesterday I finally realized why that happened.   The darkness and evil we are facing is so dangerous and so powerful, that for me to have remained in a state of hatred (which is normal for people who have recently left narcissistic relationships) would have kept me from being able to reach out and give hope to others.  Hatred, no matter if it’s born of righteous anger, is just another form of darkness, and blocks any light from getting through.  Not only would it have hindered me from doing the work that God planned for me, it would have eventually destroyed me.  Hatred eats you alive and exacerbates any narcissistic traits one has.   In order for me to let go of my hatred I had to look inward at my own narcissism and rid myself of it.  I would not have been able to see what I was doing to myself with such clarity had I remained stuck in hatred.

I know I’m not explaining myself very well, but I know I’ve changed, and all these psychological stages I had to go through happened as part of my training.  Knowing that, none of this is easy.  In fact, it’s excruciatingly painful but in an existential, rather than personal, way.   It hurts to know there are so many horrible people in the world who have no conscience, no moral center, no respect for the truth or for justice, and do not care about anyone but themselves.   It hurts to know that greed and narcissism is decimating everything good in the world.   It hurts knowing that we have a bunch of men running the country who have made it clear they want most of us to perish and are actively trying to make that a reality and are gleefully going about their mission to destroy.   It hurts to know that, to them, I’m worthless, a useless parasite who deserves to die.   Their soullessness and cruelty makes me question my own worth and is making me doubt myself again and making me act in the old ways that bring about abuse.   I’m prey and they can smell that.    But this time, it’s not just about me.   It’s about all of us who have been targeted.   The evil we are in the midst of feels eternally powerful, oppressive, almost biblical in its malice, some dark force not of this world.  It’s overwhelming.   It’s overwhelmingly sad.  And scary.  And very, very hard not to give in to hate.

Nevertheless I must soldier on.    I can’t go back.   My past gave me tools to do the work I have been asked to do, whatever that work may be.   No matter what happens, God has my back.   But it’s so hard.

The real reason why my attitude toward narcissism changed.

Suffering can create maturity in survivors

There are a few people in this world that astound me with their ability to find the silver lining behind every black cloud and these are the people who always inspire me to do better. Katie is one of them. You should follow her blog because it’s awesome.

Please leave comments under the original post.

Keeping it all in perspective.

perspective

Tonight I needed to step away from blogging and take care of practical matters. If you’re a person prone to an active imagination or lives inside your head (like most Aspies), emotional and spiritual growth can be tricky because it is so extremely seductive for people like us, and far, FAR more rewarding and exciting than the physical world of chattering neurotypicals, abusive narcs, bills, jobs, traffic jams, annoying bosses, and people who walk four abreast and block your way in the aisles at Walmart.

We’re all at different stages in our journeys, and we move at different rates. Everyone’s experience is different, and God has a plan for every one of us. But God’s plan will be different for each person. You will not experience your awakening the same way I will, and what you are called by God to do will not be the same as mine.

I never felt close to God until about three months ago. For years I tried–I prayed for faith even–but always felt my prayers fell on deaf ears and that God, if he even existed, didn’t like me too much. I tried various religions over the years and none of them spoke to me.

My awakening wasn’t earth shattering, I didn’t have a Saul-to-Paul like sudden conversion. I didn’t see a burning bush. I wasn’t struck by lightning in the desert. I didn’t fall on my knees and sob in repentance. I didn’t see Jesus on a piece of toast.

I didn’t suddenly become cured of my Aspergers, PTSD, anxiety, avoidant personality, and (possible) BPD. I still struggle with these things every day, and will probably continue to do so for quite some time.

But being able to see beyond the everyday physical world was every bit as exciting as those dramatic conversions you see in the movies and TV. Mine happened over a period of weeks, but was no less emotionally intense. It might not have made good TV, but I was never trying to get on a reality show anyway.

Besides feeling alienated from God, I felt alienated from my abilities and talents. As someone who was emotionally numb for so many years, my creativity was in the toilet. After years of narc abuse, I didn’t think I could think for myself. I was sure I forgot how to write. In fact, I was quite sure I lost quite a few IQ points. I felt helpless and incompetent, one of life’s losers. I’d internalized my family’s opinion of me. I also thought I didn’t deserve these God-given gifts since I hadn’t really used them, so it only made sense he’d take them away.

All that being said, my awakening has been rapid. It’s a little dizzying and disorienting at times, but it’s never been scary. There are a lot of changes in me, and I can see this reflected in my writing since September. My early posts tended toward fluff and the merely informative or entertaining; even my entries that comprise “My Story” seem as if they were told by someone other than me; they give the details, but seem to be lacking much feeling. I was still in my PTSD state of emotional numbness. I felt disconnected from myself. All the colors in my world were washed out and grayish, like the colors in an old color photograph that’s been sitting in a musty attic or in the sun way too long.

My recent writing has been about deeper subjects and my style far more analytical. As my knowledge about narcissism and narcissistic abuse has grown, I’m exploring topics I never intended to on this blog–the metaphysical and supernatural, for one, especially how those things relate to narcissism, which I’ve come to realize is more a spiritual disorder than a mental one. And overall, I think my posts are a lot more positive. I complain less and when I do I can find the humor there now too, even if that means only laughing at myself. Because everything has its humorous side. It’s just a matter of perspective.

I’m seeing things and knowing things and not understanding how or why or what it all means. But it is. Things are revealed as they need to be. It’s okay and isn’t frightening, but can be a little disorienting. Sometimes I have my doubts about these things but that’s normal for those of us who have been trained to never trust our own judgment.

Because my creativity has taken a sudden upturn too, it’s too easy for me to confuse a creative vision or idea with spiritual truth. In fact, the two are related–creativy is very close to spirituality and each depends upon the other for its existence. Sometimes they’re one and the same. For me, blogging is a melding of creativity and complete emotional honesty.
But they’re not always the same. It’s important to step away to gain perspective on which is which, and when they not the same.

When I talk about my awakening sometimes I think I sound a bit insane. After years of being told by my narcs that I was always imagining things, always the crazy one, I learned not to trust my own judgment. Like most victims of narcissistic abuse, I didn’t know what was the truth and what was a lie. Because I couldn’t trust my narcs, I couldn’t trust even concrete evidence being waved in my face, and trusting any sort of intuition? Fuggeddaboutit.

With all this shiny new clarity, I often have doubts about my thoughts and feelings being real. I worry that people will think I’m some deluded woowoo. Sometimes I wonder about it too. I pray for the ability to distinguish truth from my own vivid imagination and/or wishful thinking. Like I said, I never could trust my own intuition because my narcs told me it was all a lie.

But truth doesn’t lie, and when you feel something, know something, to the core of your bones, and can’t explain it but just know it as truth, you must trust that what you feel is real. You have only God to answer to; no one else in the world can take away your truth. You are not deluded. Trust your intuitions.

We need to keep things in perspective though. It’s easy to get carried away emotionally by rapid spiritual growth and allow it to consume us or remove us from the need to still engage with the everyday, material, and all-too-often boring world we know through our 5 basic senses. We sometimes feel above it all, like it’s not worth our time or effort because the spiritual realm is so much more captivating, exciting, meaningful, and mysterious. Over-imaginative creative INFJs like me tend to prefer the spiritual and mental realms over the mundane physical one. We also tend to have poor survival skills, especially if we’re also suffering from PTSD (or Aspergers).

We have to engage with the physical world whether we like it or not. It’s not going away, but it’s not all bad either. The physical world gives us the material tools we need to carry our whatever our vision is. In my case, it’s this laptop. I have to remember to maintain it, run a full antivirus scan every few weeks, clean up storage space, and dust my keyboard and screen every day. Without this $300 Hewlett Packard laptop, I would not be where I am right now. Thirty years ago, I would not have been able to undergo such rapid change, because I wouldn’t have this tool that has brought me into a community of so many people who can relate to me in a way no one else has ever been able to, my family least of all. So it’s this banal corporate-made piece of plastic and metal that has enabled me to engage with others and explore the deeper meanings of things.

We also have to remember to take care of our physical bodies. I don’t need to tell you how to do that. If you’re not healthy we’re not going to be able to reach those higher states of consciousness and you’re still going to feel like a victim. How can you not, if your own body is turning against you? We still need to stay in and engage with the real world, and that means staying (or getting) as healthy as we can. Your mind works better when the body is well fed and well rested.

If you have a chronic physical condition, do the best you can. You will still get to where God is taking you; it might just take a little longer. Take the best care of yourself you can.

It’s okay to disengage. In fact it’s necessary. Because it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all this new stuff of the spirit, heart and mind. It’s important to step back every so often and do something normal like bake a cake, clean the house, mow the lawn, shovel the snow, pay the bills, read a good novel. Take a walk. Paint a picture. Put in a new kitchen floor. Call an old friend. Take a long hot bath, light a candle, and feel yourself sink into the comfort of the water and let your mind wander. Those are times I like to be still and listen to what God is telling me.

I can’t spend every minute on this laptop , as much as I’d like to. Stepping away from blogging about and thinking about narcissism and everything I’ve learned lately gives me more clarity; if I spend too long thinking about narcissism or healing from narc abuse and even just writing in general, I can get emotionally overwhelmed. Even though they’re mostly good emotions, even those in excess can muddle your thinking and turn your thoughts into a confused jumble. There’s a such thing as too much of a good thing.

If your spiritual and emotional journey is moving at a faster pace than you expected,like mine seems to be, remember to step back and join the regular world at frequent intervals and I promise you will gain more clarity on things.

If your journey seems to be at a standstill, or is poking along like a tortoise, don’t worry. You are changing too. God is doing his work in you even if you can’t feel it yet. When God reveals his purpose for you, you will know it, because it will be a moment of utter awe. It’s hard to explain but you’ll know it when it happens. It may not be dramatic, it may be a quiet realization. You will know, and you will know why it has taken this long.

Pray for patience and faith, and most of all strength. If you are not a believer in God, believe in something and ask it for guidance. Remember to enjoy the small, every day things. Appreciate life in all its kaleidoscopic colors. Because even in the everyday things, you can find beauty and truth.

Do narcissists have a spiritual purpose we can’t understand?

darknessintolight

This fascinating topic was raised in the comments section under The Man You Love to Hate…or Hate to Love.

The implications raised here are bound to be controversial to some, but I think Joan and CheriSunday may be onto something. In fact, I’ve sometimes wondered myself if narcissists exist for a good reason that only God can understand, but I always thought it sounded too crazy to write about and it was hard to formulate those feelings into words. I’m glad other people have had the same thoughts. It makes me feel less crazy. And it actually makes a type of sense.

CheriSunday says:
January 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm

As you wrote quote “Maybe when one chooses to become a narcissist…..you are drawn into darkness, and once you’ve entered you can’t ever escape.”
My response: I live in a darkness, however I know light shines through my being.
Why feel sorry, we like to suffer, for some , sufferance becomes their friend, that’s how we make peace with the darkness.
CheriSunday

Joan S says:
January 26, 2015 at 8:45 pm

That is very wow. I actually think that aware narcissists like Mr. Vaknin might be a gift. We can’t interpret that gift yet, but will remain till we can.

I like your point though that some like to suffer that it brings comfort. I just can’t believe that darkness can overcome the light though, that is impossible. Maybe if you felt that light long enough it will bring about the deliverance. They just have to want that deliverance. Have to want it. And that is where narcissists are stopped. JMHO of course. I like insightful things.

luckyotter says:
January 26, 2015 at 11:59 pm

Joan,
we don’t know what God’s reasons are or what his plan is. I have thought myself, that narcs may have been put here for a reason that only God knows. Maybe they are here to teach us valuable lessons about human nature and spirituality in general.

In thinking so much about narcissism, because it’s a mental disorder that most likely has a spiritual component, I have been brought much closer to God in the process and have found some semblance of joy and peace for the first time in my life. I have never been happier than I am now. So looking at it this way, narcissists may help us in our own spiritual journey.

I don’t think narcs are demons, I think they’re here for a reason and that reason is a teaching one, even if the lessons we learn from them are painful. Even Satan himself, was created by God and was initially God’s most beloved angel, and his purpose was to test our faith. His original name, Lucifer, means “light bringer.” He became too narcissistic for Heaven because he began to think he was greater than God so he couldn’t stay. (I don’t know whether or not this is a literal story or there is or ever was an entity called “Satan,” but it’s worth bringing it up in the context of this topic).

This doesn’t mean we have to (or should) associate with a known narc. But the ones we haven’t been able to escape from or those who raised us, at the end of the day (when we can finally see the forest for the trees), can make us stronger; their darkness can put our own light into sharp relief.

And in atypical narcissists like Sam, who have contributed so much good to the world (even if his motives were self serving), it could be that he (and those like him, if there are any others) are a special kind of gift, and that his darkness may be a necessary thing, both for himself and for us. We don’t know the reasons, but he may know, and although he suffers, he may have accepted this suffering as part of whatever his own mission on this earth is. He may not need deliverance, or maybe the deliverance will come at a later time or upon his death. We just don’t know. Only God does.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” — Kelly Clarkson

luckyotter says:
January 26, 2015 at 11:43 pm

CheriSunday, first of all, welcome to this blog! 🙂 I love to see new “faces” around here.

If you know light shines through your being, you are not hopeless. Maybe there are some people who need to suffer. We don’t know the reasons. In a way I can relate. I flirted with darkness for many years, out of choice. Fortunately I’m coming to a place of more light but there are still dark days. I accept them for what they are, and realize those dark days may have some enlightening lessons in them. “Without darkness, there can be no light.”

I am curious, though, since you say you choose suffering and you have never posted here before, are you an NPD sufferer or have another disorder, like BPD or depression? Forgive my presumptuousness, but because of the nature of this topic and this blog, I don’t think it’s stepping on your boundaries to ask. I hope you don’t mind.

I also think most narcissists have an inner light that does shine through sometimes, except maybe MNs and psychopaths/sociopaths. There is a lot of light in Sam and that’s why I think he is still able to help people and victims looks up to him even though he is exactly the sort of person we’re trying to get away from. I hope that makes sense.