People Who Build Bridges and Those Who Burn Them

burning-bridge

Sometimes you might have to burn a bridge to keep the narcissist from following you. And you have to be choosy about which bridges you choose to cross.

You may have noticed I changed the header picture on the blog. I took the picture this summer while Stella and I were at the river. We were wandering along the river, no houses in site, no sign of people and then there in the middle of nowhere is a foot bridge someone obviously put a lot of time and effort into building.

Of course I was intrigued to see where it led and tentatively put one foot on the bridge to test it for strength, it felt solid so I tried two feet and it held. It wasn’t far to fall if it did break but I really didn’t want to get wet. I was kinda nervous crossing the bridge because I didn’t know what would be on the other side but the bridge held, there was nothing scary on the other side and Stella and I went on our way. Ever since then I have wondered who built that sturdy little bridge and why they bothered.

What also surprised me is that no one had destroyed it! Usually when someone obviously works hard to create something, someone will come along and destroy it, maybe it is built so strong that it would take too much effort to destroy it?

Here comes one of my famous (joke) analogies; the world is full of people who build bridges and people who destroy or “burn” their bridges.

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The selfish people who lack empathy burn or wreck the bridge because they don’t want anyone to attain what they do, as if there is only so much good stuff to go around and if they help someone else somehow they will lose out. Narcissists are the bridge burners, once they are done with a victim they feel they must destroy them and any hope the victim has of ever leading a happy fulfilling life. In the narcissist’s sick mind if he doesn’t destroy the victim before he leaves he hasn’t done the job, he failed, he loses and the victim wins. It is hard for a normal person to get their head around that kind of logic; if he leaves the victim with anything, including their self respect and esteem he somehow loses. The narcissist is like some kind of toxic leech that not only has to feed off of a live host, he won’t move on to the new host until he has sucked the first host dry.

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A narcissist sees no point in helping others be successful unless there is a benefit to them, why would they? that just seems stupid to them. They will con someone into building the bridge for them and then they will either charge a toll to use it or burn it so no one else can use it. With my ex ,everything had a price tag and everyone was fair game. He told me once that he would screw his own grandmother (not in the literal sense, he meant figuratively in a business deal. But as I say that, he probably would screw his own grandmother if she was willing)

Empaths build bridges. Their way of thinking is; if I have to go through this I will make it easier for the next guy, I will help the people who come behind me. Why? why not? Like the when the welfare worker asked me why on earth I would have a blog that I put so much effort into, if I was not getting paid.

Or the cop who investigated my ex’s claims I was inciting violence against him through my blog, who asked me why else would I have the blog of not to disparage my ex. He totally understood when I told him that I would never stop sharing my experience because silence that perpetuates domestic abuse and I hoped that sharing my story would save someone else from the same fate or worse.

I also had a selfish ulterior motive and that was; I didn’t trust myself to not attempt suicide again. I didn’t trust myself to value my life enough to keep fighting and to do the work necessary to heal BUT if I declared to the world I was going to heal and survive I couldn’t very well go and kill myself. What message would that send? I valued the lives of strangers more than I valued my own, but at least I knew that about myself and used it to save my life.

Another selfish reason I had for starting the blog was; it gave meaning to everything I had been through. If I didn’t use the experience to help others, if I didn’t experience personal growth and if it didn’t somehow make me a better person; then I had wasted 10 years and lost everything I owned, for nothing and I couldn’t live with that.

I feel it is the responsibility of every person to do what they can to make the world a better place; the narcissist does everything he can to destroy the world and anyone who crosses his path. It makes life harder on the empaths in the world, especially when you marry or elect one. In typical narcissist fashion Trump wants to build a wall instead of a bridge.

What is the point of this post? I guess my point is this:

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I know most of you are hurting, feel emotionally raped and like you will never be happy again but please try to view this as a chance to grow, become a more authentic version of yourself and be a bridge for people who will come behind you. It doesn’t have to be through a blog or any obvious way; you can be a bridge, a light to other victim if you will; by NOT hanging your head in shame or hiding the truth from the world. Be the ear to some victim of abuse when they need to be heard, reach out in friendship when you see abuse happening, mentor a young girl so she knows she is complete and “good enough” without a man. Teach your children how a woman should be treated and show them by example how a strong woman behaves, it is not enough to tell them, you must walk your talk. Be the woman your daughter and son respect.

Even if you don’t have children of your own, you can still be a strong role model. View yourself as you would a friend or your daughter………what would you say to her, what would you wish for her, what does she deserve? and then do it for yourself. Sure it’s a lot of work and it will take time and it means stepping into the unknown, it means leaving your comfort zone, (doesn’t it just make you furious that your “comfort” zone is a place that causes you so much discomfort?)

 

Rewiring Your Brain For The Holidays

(It has taken me a week to write this post, I started before Thanksgiving but I have been going through a depression lately due to my health and being denied disability yet again. I simply have not been functioning, the house didn’t get cleaned, I didn’t answer the phone, I withdrew. I am ok, just grappling with this living day to day lifestyle I am forced to live with. This is not the life I saw for myself and I struggle with being alone, not with being without a man during the holidays, I am ok with that. It’s the not being with my boy and my granddaughter. When you only have one child it’s just the way it is sometimes. Anyway, here is the post I have been working on)

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It’s that time of year again; Thanksgiving, with Christmas in hot pursuit; and you are already anticipating how lonely and sad you are going to be. If you are in contact with the ex narc he is taking every opportunity to rub salt in your wounds by making a big deal of gift giving, attending functions with the new woman and showing the world just how happy and in love he is.

The little voice in your head is repeating the mantra, “Maybe it was all your fault.” “You are going to be so lonely” “You will never love like you loved the narcissist ever again”, “If only he would have loved you like you love him”, “If only he was the man you met” (but he is with the new woman, he is that way with every woman when he first meets them, until he has them firmly hooked), “All you wanted was for him to love you”, “Maybe if you wouldn’t have confronted him about the other woman, not coming home, the personal ads, not having a job, or whatever else you confronted him on; he would be with you this Christmas and there is always the, “What if the light finally went on for him and new woman is reaping the rewards of all your hard work?”.

You have a whole month to get yourself really depressed by Christmas and you could come up with many reasons why it is the narc’s fault. 

You would be correct that he is to blame for much of your pain and I am not trying to diminish the narc’s responsibility for your pain; but if you ever want to get past the pain you have to somehow start viewing the whole experience with realistic eyes. You have to keep bringing yourself back to reality. 

You allowed yourself to get sucked into the fantasy, you didn’t realize it was a fantasy but it was and in the end you were lying to yourself as much as he was lying, in fact; in the end you were the one doing most of the lying, he was showing his true colors and you blindly refused to see or accept it. It’s hard to give up your dream, your fantasy. I know, believe me I know; when I was going through it I was thinking, “Yeah, it’s easy for you to say that, you have never loved like I love my ex. What we had was special, I loved/love him with my whole being, with every fibre of myself.” I truly never thought I would stop loving him, I clung to my pain and to that “love” like it was my lifeline. I thought I had to know what he was doing, I had to love him; loving him had become as much a part of me as breathing, eating, functioning day to day.  Even if I could talk to him once a day I could function, but go no contact? The thought of it was enough to put me into a panic attack.

We had a pattern, he would say it was over, I would move  out, he would start being nice, call to see if I had eaten supper, my truck would break down and I would have to call him to rescue me, we would be friendly, I would pretend to be casual, he would try to get sexy and I would pretend to say no, we would end up in bed, I would assume we were back together, he would stay the night and not leave, and the cycle would continue. After we had done it half a dozen times I thought, that is just the way we are, we will never really break up. The last two times we got back together I didn’t believe his lies but I told myself, “It can’t be my fault if he hurts me because he is lying, how can it be MY fault?!” It was easier to believe the lies than walk away”

The moment I knew I had to let go of that dream was when he was gloating to me when his ex died and had spent the last 15 years of her life pining away for him, stalking him, warning the new women in his life and the whole time she would have taken him back in a heartbeat. She couldn’t let go of the fantasy, even though she could recite everything he did to her and how much he hurt her, you could tell when you listened to her that she still loved him and had sacrificed the rest of her life to revenge, she had become her pain, it became her identity. I could relate; she had lived to love him and ended up living to mourn the loss of him. I was not going to be like her, I was not going to go to my grave caring what he was doing or who.  Spend 15 years reciting all the ways he hurt me and packing venomous hatred that would slowly kill me? I don’t think so!

  Before my ex, I used to believe that we had no control over what we thought; victims say it all the time, “I can’t stop thinking about him and the new woman, I can’t stop wondering if I was to blame.” Although it is easier to just let your mind take you on these pity trips and keep you in victimhood, you CAN change what you think about if you are diligent about making yourself face reality. Every time your mind starts to lie to you, repeating the same mantra over and over again, you have to argue with it (if you are out in public it is best to have this argument in your head and not use your outloud voice). 

It won’t be easy, breaking bad habits seldom is, you have been brainwashed,neuro pathways were formed in your brain and every time you are triggered to think a certain way your brain takes the path of least resistance, it goes where it knows, which embeds those thoughts or beliefs even deeper in your brain. But all is not lost, the brain CAN be retrained and new pathways can be made and over time and practice you will develop healthier and deeper pathways than the ones left by the narcissist. Here is an excerpt from an article I read on the topic of trauma survivors; 

Here is how it works: as a young person, probably around the age of 15 or 16, you learned to drive a car; this took a great deal of intentional thought and effort. Remember how you gripped the steering wheel and carefully executed every action? Now, you hop into the driver’s seat without giving it a second thought. This is because your brain laid down a neuro pathway for the completion of this task; from start to finish, a set of synapses occur to complete the action.
In trauma, a similar pathway is set down; it can even be additionally ingrained due to shock or intensity. Therefore, when a single trigger or set of triggers occur, the emotions associated with the trauma are revisited.

But, due to neuroplasticity, this does not always have to be the case. New pathways can be created through changes in behavior, environment and neuro processes. Not only is the brain capable of creating new pathways, it is designed to do so. The brain is highly resilient and desires flexibility. The brain functions at its best when it is limber and rich with options. The incredible thing is that the human brain has a very real desire to heal itself.

Creating new pathways necessitates a great deal of awareness, mindfulness and acknowledgment of the present. Yet, in time, these new pathways will eclipse the old, thus allowing trauma survivors. 

You can find the full article here:

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95% of the time a person is thinking with their subconscious mind, that is scary when you think how twisted your thinking became after being with the narcissist, the warped way he expected you to view things; is it any wonder you are having trouble dealing.

I know personally how a person’s mind can lie to them. I have shared before about being anorexic/bulimic for almost 20 years and how when I looked in a mirror I saw fat, it didn’t matter how much weight I lost, feeling skinny was as fleeting as my next meal. I weighed myself 20 or more times a day, being up a pound could send me into a tailspin and depression and self doubt. It took me years before I could look in the mirror and see that I was not fat, every time I looked in the mirror and thought I looked heavy I would tell myself that my mind was lying to me, I was not fat and prove to myself that I was not fat; I threw my scale out, (no contact with the scale), that was a huge step! and I gauged if I was gaining weight by how my clothes fit, I joined a gym, I ate healthy and I allowed myself to “fail” once in awhile.

I still have cognitive dissonance when I paint something or write something; I never think it is any good at the time I am doing it, but later I will see something I painted and find myself thinking it’s pretty good and then realize I painted it, or I enjoy reading an article that sounds familiar and  realize I wrote it.

I admit I still have a ways to go on the self confidence front. I used to think I was the only one who had self doubt, but you know what? I think almost everyone has it from time to time. Narcissists have learned to monopolize on everyone’s insecurities and then criticizes the victim for being insecure and needing reinforcement.

Some people would disagree with me but I believe self improvement is a lifelong process, you never finish the job and if there is something you don’t like about yourself you can always change it.

So what does all this have to do with Christmas and being happy through the holidays? Being sad and lonely is totally a mind thing, your mental attitude can be helped a lot by how you view your life, if you believe the lies your mind is telling you and if you let go of your expectations.

Most families are NOT having a Norman Rockwell Christmas and you and your ex certainly didn’t have them. People on FaceBook post pics that would make you think otherwise, but believe me, there are more family fights and tears through the holidays than any other time of year and a lot of it is because of expectations and disappointment.

If you have children you have a responsibility to make it special for them, you can fake it for a day or two for your kids can’t you? I know it is hard, it seems the narcissist is all you can think about or talk about but if you can put your mind to something else, anything else (except finding another man) I think you will find people are much more supportive and friendly to you. People are uncomfortable around unhappy people, people get bored hearing the same complaints over and over again. Yes, you need to talk about it but you also have to learn to not talk about him/her, it’s all part of retraining your brain to think about other things.

You will never regret time spent on self improvement but trust me, you WILL regret the time you waste obsessing about him and what he is doing. If you are going to be alone through the holiday season think about volunteering at a soup kitchen, seniors home or animal shelter, places are always short of staff through the holiday season. If you have money, how about contacting your nearest women’s shelter and adopt a family this Christmas. I have already done that this year, a woman with 3 children just left her abusive ex with nothing. I don’t have much money but it was amazing what I was able to find when I dug through cupboards and I painted them each a Christmas bauble.  To help someone else always makes me feel better, it feels good to do nice things for people, and most people are very appreciative.

But no matter what happens, remember Christmas day only has 24 hours, just like any other day and you can do anything for 24 hours.

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Blame the victim? Domestic violence as covered in The Sun and The Guardian – Michele Lloyd and Shulamit Ramon

Inforrm's Blog

image-20161122-11012-15asg9rDomestic violence is an enduring problem in the UK: an average of two women a week continue to be killed by their current or former partner. It’s a widespread and important story, and – like all news media – newspapers make a decision about how to report this issue.

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I Know Everyone Is Sick Of Hearing His Name

I have debated doing a post about Trump because the net is inundated with election rhetoric, everywhere you go someone is spouting about him or Clinton, it seems everyone has an opinion.  Friendships are being destroyed and people are being unfriended and blocked on Facebook. People are rioting in the streets, crying and fearful.

Being Canadian I have never paid much attention to US politics or problems in the states, I just kinda thought they lived like we did north of the border. I wasn’t really aware of prejudice, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, and even though I have gay friends and had a gay brother in law that I loved dearly; I never really thought about gay rights. Even with domestic violence, I had very limited knowledge of the dynamics of abuse and I admit I had a pretty narrow and judgemental opinion on the topic.  As is the case with many people, unless it affects them directly, they don’t think too much about it; leading them to have erroneous judgements. Just as dangerous as a psychopath, is a person who has strong emotions about a topic they are uneducated about. Nothing infuriates me more than someone speaking with authority on a subject they know nothing about. Equally annoying, are the people who refuse to take a stand and turn a blind eye to what is happening, “Why can’t we all just get along?” “I don’t want to discuss it””Let me keep my head in the sand” They think they are safe by not taking a stand, staying neutral, (many victims have “friends” who “didn’t want to sides”), but many times by not taking a stand, they are taking a stand, because if you don’t stand up against violence, prejudice, bullying and racism your silence gives the perpetrator strength, silence equates to acceptance, you are saying it is ok.

Being a victim of abuse tends to (or it did me) make you so much more aware of any abuse, be it to dogs, seniors, child trafficking, LGB, police brutality or racism. After being a victim and having people turn their back, not help, not believe, and even join in the abuse; I can no longer keep my mouth shut and I don’t care who I offend while standing up for the rights of others.

There is nothing I can do as a Canadian citizen about an American election, except try to educate people about psychopaths and to be honest I really didn’t think he would get in, I don’t think many people did think he would get in. AND if the people of the USA would have used their vote productively he probably would not have gotten in but people either didn’t vote or threw their vote away by voting for someone not even in the running. Their apathy did as much damage as if they had voted for Trump.

I get it, that people thought Hillary was as bad if not worse than Trump, personally she is not at the top of my favorites list, but come on people, the FBI has investigated her about those damn emails as thoroughly as is humanly possible and found nothing, nothing that warranted charging her.

She was criticized for Bill’s actions, she couldn’t win for losing with some people. The woman’s husband had an affair that was dissected publicly worldwide and she chose to stay with him and keep the family together. I think the president of the country has a responsibility to act with integrity and honesty, he has a duty to keep his prick in his pants and because of association the First Lady has a responsibility to act with integrity which Hillary did, in my estimation. Why she had it thrown in her face NOW, how many years later, and have it turned into a flaw of hers, I do not understand. I sure the hell don’t envy her, she is a better woman than I, she somehow managed act with dignity when I am sure there were days she wanted to just run away. Anyone who has been the victim of domestic abuse knows the strength it takes to stay, let alone forge a public name for yourself. Imagine the hit her confidence took?

Then she was raked over the coal for defending a rapist, she was fresh out of law school and a public defender, she had no choice. I have often wondered how a defence lawyer lives with himself, but we have to have them.

I could barely contain myself when I saw a woman comment on someone’s facebook that Bill and Hillary prefer sex with women. I asked her how she knew this. She immediately copped an attitude and repeated the information with authority. And I have read articles that say Michelle Obama is really a man. My good God people, I suppose you used to read the Inquirer and believe it too! that is just so trailer trashy, red necky of you, really!

I love these people who spout off “facts” about things they know nothing about. Do they not know how foolish they look? Do they not know that a lie told enough times becomes “fact”? It is a favorite tactic of a narcissist, they tell a lie to someone they know will repeat it, often referred to as “Flying Monkey’s” and sit back and wait. Gossips love to spread dirt, “I know something you don’t know” One person tells 6 people, those 6 tell another 6, and now with the internet and social media, people are telling thousands of people in a few minutes. In a day or two it has been heard so many times by people that it must be true and it becomes a fact.

I am actually quite amazed at victims of a narcissist who jump on the “blame the new woman” bandwagon. I agree that there is never a good enough excuse for screwing another woman’s man; but as a victim, you should know from experience that the narcissist must have spun a fantastic web of lies.

But then we saw it with Trump and Clinton during the election, it’s no wonder victims of abuse around the world were being triggered into PTSD. I may not have researched Hillary extensively, I did go and verify plausible “facts” I heard, but I didn’t research Trump any deeper than Clinton. There was no need, my opinion of him was formed long before the elections, long before the women came forward with allegations of sexual abuse. I didn’t have to go looking for dirt on him, I didn’t check to see how many times he claimed bankruptcy and I didn’t have to see his income taxes; those things only served to verify what I already knew, that he is a narcissist/psychopath. A person had to look no further than to his own words and actions. I was amazed that he was not charged with inciting violence by offering to pay the lawyer fees of anyone who punched a protester, when he insinuated harm should come to Clinton.

I cried when I heard Trump won, not because I thought Clinton was that much better, but at least she has experience and if she was going to show signs of being a narcissist it would have come out long ago. I was upset because it is eye opening and fricken scary to witness first hand how people can easily be manipulated into a hate filled mob of racism and anger………no rage!

I won’t bother repeating all the horrific things he said about so many people, races and genders (and then denied it adamantly in typical narcissist fashion); I was dumb struck so many people were accepting of it, to the point of voting for him. I was under the naive belief that humanity had evolved past that redneck, uneducated, narrow point of view. It shook me to the core to realize that many people actually swallowed the poison. No doubt they could never understand why a woman stays with her abuser or how someone like Jim Jones could convince the people of Jonestown to drink the koolaid.

If I mentioned Trump was a psychopath people would snort as if I was exaggerating, over-reacting, after all, “guys will be guys”, “he didn’t mean it”, “after the election he will change”, But CLINTON, what about those emails!!?? I felt like bashing my head against a brick wall. As with all narcissists he was misunderstood, misquoted, set up, the mike didn’t work, Hillary was a “nasty woman”. He popularity would drop and he would go on his best behavior, tell the people what they want to hear and boom! the next day he’s got everyone back in his camp.

I didn’t judge Trump on hearsay, on pending charges, gossip or prejudices, I judged him on his own actions. Like I said to my ex one time when he accused me of making him look like an asshole by talking badly about him behind his back.

“If me telling the truth about the things you do makes you look like an asshole,

maybe you should stop acting like an asshole.”

I had a conversation the other night with someone who was saying the people wanted a change and we all have to sit back and wait to see what he does, after all he has advisors, he doesn’t really have any power, everything he does has to be passed by senate. Well, I listened to an expert talking about the damage Trump could do and really? who honestly thinks Trumps ego is going to let him take advice from anyone? I have heard people say his advisors will have to teach him how to act and monitor his behavior, omg……. does that sound familiar to anyone? Those of you who have thought you were special and you were going to teach the narc how to be a decent human being know how futile it is to try to teach a narcissist anything; he doesn’t want to have empathy or a conscience, he doesn’t want to care, he can’t care.

I realize it is totally out of anyone’s control and I hope he is investigated and watched closely; Trump getting in doesn’t bother me near as much as the realization that there are that many people out there who believe in him.

Did society learn nothing from Hitler? Hitler promised to make the country great again, he promoted violence, but I highly doubt people thought he was capable of the atrocities he committed. The thing with psychopaths, you never know how evil they can be until it is too late.

 

 

Eleven Things I Wish My 30’s Self Had Known

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If you could go back in time and change things, what would you change?

Because of the ripple effect I probably wouldn’t change a thing because it would mean giving up something else. Even with my experience with my ex, as horrible as it was; I wouldn’t change anything because it taught me so much about myself that I probably would not have learned otherwise.

Plus I used to lose sleep worrying that I would never find my purpose for being here on earth and I believe it is through my experiences in the past I am able to live my purpose through this blog and other outlets, like Quora.

Things DO happen for a reason, even if we can’t see that reason at the time that it is happening, later we realize there were very clear steps to getting where we are.

That said, this is what I wish I would have known 30 years ago, it is hard earned knowledge, will any 20-30 year old listen to me? I doubt it, growing up takes time and experience, some people are slow learners, some never learn and some people are too afraid to dig deep enough for real personal growth.

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#1. I wish I would have known how pretty I was while I was still pretty so I could have enjoyed it. (That may sound egotistical, but I think it is a common problem with women and men; we don’t realize how great we are just the way we are, that is understandable when you look at social media, magazine covers, etc)

A few years back I was looking through old photos at a friend’s house and kept coming across pictures of my ex husband snuggled up to the same sexy redhead. I was starting to get pissed, “who was this bitch?? and where was I??” Then I remembered I used to dye my hair red and it was me!

My brother and I were talking one day when I mentioned that, I was shocked when he agreed with me and said he wished he would have known how attractive he was when he was younger. I had always thought he was so confident. He had never had a hard time getting women, he was good looking and very charming his whole life. I had been the one who could always find flaws with myself and had been shy.

What difference would it have made in my life? Instead of dating more, I would have dated a lot less because I wouldn’t have been deriving my self worth from the men in my life. I have wasted a phenomenal amount of time thinking and worrying about men. Long before I met my ex, I would be immobilized waiting for the phone to ring, spend hours upon hours discussing with friends, “what do you think he meant by that?”, “Do you think he likes me?”, “Will he call?”, “Why hasn’t he called?”, “Should I call?” and then he would call and I would go on a date and wonder if he had a good time, did I say anything stupid? Omg! hours and hours wasted on dating guys I didn’t even particularly like.

#2. Your mind lies to you. I didn’t know this until I was in my early 50’s. I spent years as an anorexic/bulimic, from about 17 until I was in my 30’s. When I looked in the mirror I saw a fat person. I always felt grossly overweight, I put myself through hell. I finally joined a gym, started working out and drop kicked my scale out the back door, but it took years, I mean years! before I could look in the mirror and not think I looked fat. I was looking through old photos the other day and I was never fat!

So, if my mind could lie to me about the way I looked it could also lie to me about the narcissist is my life, or that I needed the narcissist, couldn’t live without him, and I just had to retrain my brain to think otherwise.

#3. Other people lie to you, even the people who love you, they don’t necessarily mean to do you harm, but your brain only knows the information it is fed; if you are fed erroneous information early in life you could grow up feeling like an imposter or feeling less than. You are not what other people say you are. No one knows who you truly are at the core, even you probably don’t know. I went most of my life not living true to my core self. I did certain things because I had been told I was that way by my father, mother, teachers, boyfriends, it was not until my ex totally broke me and I had to put myself back together that I realized I wasn’t being me. I spent so much time feeling like I was a fraud and people were going to pick up on the fact that I was not perfect and hate me. My house had to be spotless, I had to be skinny, I had to be the best mom, sister, daughter, employee, cook, host, and I drove myself crazy in the attempt. (psst…..no one is perfect, it isn’t even possible!)

My father used to bitch about my mom and even said to me, “You won’t be like your mother, you will always want sex and will want to please the man in your life.” “If you aren’t good I will take your brother and leave.” My mom used to criticize other people and say, “You would never do that.” “You will always keep your house clean.” “I wonder why that guy asked you out”, she was always on some new diet and talking about being fat.

I had some pretty fucked up beliefs about myself. I went to counselling and had come along way by the time I met my ex, but a narcissist is an expert on picking up on a person’s tender spots and I was unprepared for his insidious wearing away of my self confidence. It wasn’t until I was totally broken that I discovered who I am at the core and found my true core values.

#4. Being sensitive is NOT a flaw!! This is a  HUGE one!! OMG!!! my whole life I was told I was too sensitive, like it was a bad thing. The world needs sensitive people to balance it out. Where would the world be without sensitive people, we would all be a bunch of Trumps! But it is not an excuse for letting yourself get caught up with an asshole either. You have to learn to know when you are being played for a fool and when you aren’t. Often times I hear a victim say, “I can’t help it, I am sensitive, it’s just the way I am.” Everyone can change or learn to control certain behaviors that are unhealthy for them.

#5. It is not my job to make sure everyone is happy, safe and not suffering. I can not and do not have to fix the world.  If someone has a problem, I don’t have to fix it. In fact, by always taking control and fixing things for everyone I was sending them the message that I didn’t think they were capable.

#6. Not everyone is going to like you. You don’t like everyone, you don’t have to, and neither does anyone else. There are going to be people who like you, love you, hate you and who are indifferent to you; none of it reflects your worth. It just means we are all different. The people who have to be “right”, which makes you “wrong” are narrow minded and limiting; try to surround yourself with people who don’t have to be right and can appreciate other’s differences. And just because you have a different value or  belief does not make you special or right and the other person wrong. I learned the hard way that judgements have a way of coming back to bite you in the ass.

#7. You don’t have to make decisions immediately and it is ok to change your mind, especially if the person you have made plans with changes the rules. If someone is pressuring you to make a decision, it is probably because they are afraid that if you think about it too long you will realize it is not a good idea and not in your best interest. The best thing to do when you don’t know what to do; is nothing. Things have a way of working out on their own.(It may not be the resolution WE wanted, but there will be a resolution, and it will be the right resolution) Often times when we rush to make a decision it’s because we know it is wrong and if we wait we won’t get what we want. A great example is when the ex narc comes back loving bombing the victim wanting them to try again, making all sorts of promises and the victim feels pressured to say yes. Pressure from the narc but pressure from themselves also; they are afraid that if they don’t say yes right away they will lose the narc. If you lose the narc because you needed time for him to prove he is a changed man, to build your trust again, and prove he is a man of his word; well that is your answer right there.

#8. I am not invincible or better able to recover from hardship than the next person; but I am far stronger than I ever knew or gave myself credit for. You don’t know how strong you are until you are on the other side. When you think you can’t survive remember, you already are. If it was easy, we wouldn’t need strength. Just like a bodybuilder doesn’t know how much weight he can lift until he lifts it and the more he lifts the more he can lift. You don’t know what you are capable of surviving until you do it and the more you go through the stronger those emotional muscles get. All you have to do is look at where you came from to know you are strong enough. If you focus on repeating over and over again, “I am not strong enough” you will feel weak, if you focus on, “I have been surviving for X amount of time, I am strong” you will feel stronger. This takes us back to #1, our brain only knows what we put in it, change the way you talk to yourself and your mind will start thinking differently. I remember the moment I went from being a victim to being a survivor; it was when I realized that I had been saying, “I can not do this one more day.” for something like 700 days, I HAD been doing it for 700 days!

#9. Listening to my gut instincts would have saved me a whole lot of heartache in life. If you wait to see if your gut instinct was right it will be too late, trust your instincts know better than you. I heard a guest on Oprah one time, a detective of some sort, say that any survivor of a rape he had interviewed told him that they ” had a feeling” to not go into the building or go down that street, or whatever put them in danger. Our gut instincts may not see logical at the time and we tend to rationalize things to ourselves  in order to stifle that inner voice.

#10. How people treat me has far less to do with who I am and a whole lot more to do with who they are. If someone treats me badly it is not a sign I have done something wrong or need to change; it probably means that this person should not be in my life and they have issues.

#11. What we plan for, what we hope for, how we see our lives being in the future, very rarely comes to be and as disappointing as it may be, we have to pick up and make the best of it, learn a lesson from it, use it to grow and be a better person, help others with our knowledge, and just carry on best we can. Lamenting, “But that’s not fair!” never solves anything and isn’t going to change anything.

 

None of us know where our lives will take us, even if we are in total control of our life, we can’t control the lives of other people and there are going to be times someone makes a decision that affects your life, peace of mind and happiness. The best laid plans can go south in a heartbeat and if you want to be happy, you had better learn to go with the flow. Thirty years ago I certainly didn’t envision my life being what it is at almost 60. I didn’t have any grand plans for my life but I didn’t think it was even possible for me to be homeless, or that a man would ever hit me and I would stick around, or that I would end up with no money and a ruined credit rating, or heart failure.

I also never imagined my writing helping thousands of people or being published on a website that is in the top 10 sites in the world, or being interviewed on talk radio. I never knew I had talent painting and that someday I would live off of money I made from selling my painted creations. There were times I didn’t think my son would live past 20 and I was brought to my knees with grief and worry over him and now he is a man I am so proud of my heart fills to overflowing. It is so nice to see your child grow into someone you not only love, but someone you really really like.

I have no regrets because I can’t, life doesn’t come with any guarantees, don’t we all want a fairytale life with no pain, troubles, trauma or broken hearts. Very few people, if anyone, gets that. There are so many people who have suffered far more than I have. People who have lost a child to a drunk driver or some psycho. They just found a woman who was held captive since August in a shipping container, she watched her husband get shot dead by her kidnapper. Why did that happen to her? who knows, there are evil psychopaths in the world who commit horrible crimes against humanity. Life sucks sometimes, I don’t understand why a baby has to die, or why a good kind person gets abused and taken advantage of.  All I do know it; there is evil in the world, and you protect yourself best you can and then just live life the best you can.

 

Solution To Ending Narcissistic Abuse Begins In Grade School

I am sure most people do not realize that in many ways we groom our young women to be victims, and no one likes a victim it seems. We have no problem making children accountable for what happens to them but not so good at making they accountable for what they do. We are  society of “blame shifters”.

I have been saying for a long time that we need to educate our young women about narcissists and teach them self respect and how to set boundaries at a young age but it was a call from someone this weekend that gave me an epiphany.

  • Names and some of the circumstances have been changed to protect the privacy of the people involved.

A six year old little girl takes her rock collection to school for show and tell and the rock collection gets stolen. The teacher says, “If you wouldn’t have been taking your rocks out and showing the other children they would not have been stolen.”

Nothing earth shattering there, we have all heard a teacher or parent say the same thing but can you see what is wrong with how it was handled?

What was stolen is not the issue, it could have been a bag of rocks or a bag of diamonds, something important to the little girl was taken from her and she feels bad; her feelings were not acknowledged and in fact she was blamed it happening. Whoever stole the rock collection is given the message that it is ok to steal or take whatever he/she wants.

15 years down the road the girl is a young woman who gets too drunk at a party (perhaps her drink is spiked?) she passes out behind a dumpster and a young man rapes her. His father later says that his son is having to pay a stiff price for a few minutes of fun, the girl is blamed because she was drunk.

How can some seemingly insignificant event in grade school end up with rape? Simple really.

They say that a person’s self worth and personality are formed by the time they are 6 years old. Until the age of 7-8 a child absorbs every bit of information they receive without the benefit of logic and reason.

The teacher missed a golden opportunity to teach an important life lesson to her class and could have done damage that will manifest later for the children and in the very least perpetuates one of the biggest contributors to the cycle of abuse continuing.

How c+ould she have handled it in a positive way? By explaining to the class that it is wrong to steal and by asking the little girl how she felt about her rocks being stolen. The teacher could have taught empathy by asking the students to share how they would feel if something valuable to them was taken. There could have been an opportunity for the thief to apologize and return the rocks. But at the very least the little girl’s feelings would have been acknowledged.

The message that was sent was; it’s your own fault when someone does something mean to you. The little girl will hesitate to speak out when she is abused because she doesn’t want to be blamed and will grow up thinking that her feelings don’t matter.

Teachers have a lot of influence over our children, not all teachers have the skills to do their jobs well, luckily most do. I encouraged the parent to take this as an opportunity to teach the teacher by explaining calmly how she could have dealt with it in a more positive way. If he didn’t get a satisfactory response then go into the school and talk to the principal. The parent was worried about the affect on his daughter and was very angry, I explained that the teacher may not be as aware and that there are good teachers and bad teachers; what is important is that the parents consistently support their children and ensure that the child always knows that no matter what they can go to their parent and be listened to.

self-esteem

We all have to be very careful of the messages we send to our children, messages we send every day without even being aware of it; verbally, visually, by what we do and what we accept. “It takes a village to raise a child” has never been more true. And fathers teacher your daughters how they should be treated by setting an example and showing her how a real man treats women, after all they usually marry someone just like their daddy.

Take This Short Quiz To See If You Could Be The Victim Of Abuse

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Society has many misconceptions of what kind of person becomes the victim of domestic violence. Seeing as October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month I thought I would discuss the common traits of a typical victim.

I held many of the common judgements of abuse victims all through my 20’s and 30’s; I can remember saying things like:

  • “A man would only ever hit me once.”
  • “If a man ever hit ME, I would be out of there so fast his head would be spinning.”
  • “She must provoke him.”
  • “It can’t be that bad if she keeps going back.”
  • “It would never happen to me, I am too independent.”

I felt sorry for a victim of domestic abuse but I also thought she was weak, co-dependent, needy, and to be honest; not too smart.

By the time I was in my 30’s, 40’s, I felt immune to domestic abuse, I was self supporting, independent, confident, a homeowner, had a good job, AND I had never been in an abusive relationship. (I took shit from no man and could live without a man in my life better than most women)

When I met my ex I couldn’t believe my good fortune to meet a true sweetheart, someone who could talk openly about his feelings, who called when he was late, who couldn’t get enough of me and loved me just the way I was. He never got angry, we had so much in common, he had a great sense of humor and although he seemed like he was a little too sensitive and loved me more than I loved him; I had always been told by men I was too independent and I made the conscience decision allow a man to take care of me.

Little did I know 10 years later I would fear for my life and leave him with nothing, not even my self respect.

Take this quick quiz to see if you have the traits of a typical abuse victim.

  1. Are you honest and trust worthy?
  2. Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance and can change?
  3. Are you a romantic at heart?
  4. Do you have high morals standards?
  5. Are you self sufficient and independent?
  6. Do you have a good job?
  7. Are you attractive?
  8. Fed up with men taking you for granted?
  9. Intelligent?
  10. Are you always there for your friends?
  11. If you say you are going to do something, do you follow through?
  12. Are you empathetic and intuitive; picking up on the emotions and moods of the people around you?
  13. Are you willing to admit you are wrong and try to change?
  14. Do you seem to instinctively know what people need and want?
  15. Are you generous and charitable?
  16. Have you been told you are too sensitive your whole life?
  17. Do you put the needs of others before your own?
  18. Do you try to resolve problems calmly and rationally?
  19. Do you believe relationships take work and if you love someone you don’t abandon them at the first sign of trouble?
  20. Do you believe everyone has a good side?

Who wouldn’t want to be described to have these traits? It doesn’t matter how many of the traits you answered yes to, because there is no typical victim, they come in all ages, races, economic backgrounds, they are lawyers, doctors, cleaning ladies and stay at home moms, they are grandmothers, and teenagers. No one is immune.

The things that led to me staying with my ex was my belief that I was immune to domestic abuse and that I was too strong and independent to ever let a man control me.

If we are to ever end domestic abuse we must dispel the erroneous stereotypes we have assigned the victims of abuse.

Narcissists generally do not want a weak needy woman, there is no challenge; the ego boost (narcissistic supply) comes from breaking a strong woman.

For years people thought women stayed because they needed the man to support them, so women fought for equal rights, equal pay, and they hold high paying power positions. Women now need a man less than ever in history and yet the stats for domestic abuse are not going down. In Canada, every 4 days a woman is killed by a family member and every 6 days a woman dies at the hands of her intimate partner. One in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime. THAT is despicable!

Your best defense against ever becoming a victim of narcissistic abuse is knowledge, knowledge is power. Share your knowledge with others, not to expose your abuser, there is no way you can warn every woman he will end up dating and it just makes you look bitter and vengeful. If you want to end domestic abuse, educate society whenever the opportunity arises, educate our young women.