Category Archives: Love

How To Love A Woman Who Has Been To Hell

There is a blog post making its way around on the internet, “How To Love A Woman Who Has Been To Hell and Back” “How To Love A Woman Who Has Been To Hell and Back” 

It is a well written post and I am sure many victims of a narcissist/psychopath can relate, obviously; by the amount of times it has been shared and shown up on friend’s FaceBook feeds; but I take issue with a lot of what it contains. After reading it and thinking about it, more and more I kept thinking, “So, because you were hurt, you now have a license to go around hurting others?” What about the man who was hurt by a narcissistic woman? Almost all narcissists complain about how they were taken advantage of and abused by their previous partners, it is almost a challenge to the new target to try harder, love better, prove they are different. The article is below, read it and think back to how you felt while with the narcissist, my notes are in italics.

Many have tried. Most have failed.

The weak need not attempt, for it will take more strength than you even know you possess; more patience, more resilience, more tenacity, more resolve. It requires a relentless love, one that is determined and not easily defeated. I remember thinking that my ex was just testing me to see if I would walk out on him like all the others, and I was determined to prove to him I loved him and wasn’t going anywhere.

For the woman who has been to hell and back will push you away. She will test you in her desire to know what you are made of, whether you have what it takes to weather her storm. Because she is unpredictable—at times a hurricane, a force of nature that rides on the fury of her suffering; other times a gentle rain, calm, still and quiet. Sounds just like a narcissist to me, my ex used to say his love was cycleable. One day he would love me and the next he acted like he couldn’t stand the fact that I was breathing his air.

When she is the gentle rain that falls in time to her silent tears, love her.

When she is the thunder and lightning and ferocious winds that wreak havoc, love her harder.

She is a contradiction, a pendulum that will forever swing between fear of suffocation and fear of abandonment, and even she will not know how to find the balance between the two. Because today, although she will never tell you, she will feel insecure. She will want you to stay close, to tuck her hair behind her ear and kiss her on her forehead and hold her in the strength of your arms. But tomorrow she will crave her independence, her space, her solitude. Does this not sound familiar to the rest of you? the N pulling you close so he can push you away?

For while you have slept, she has been awake, unable to slow her thoughts, watching clocks and chasing time, trying to make the broken pieces fit, to make sense of it all—of where and how she fits. She fights her demons and slays her dragons, afraid if she goes to sleep they will gain the upper hand, afraid if she goes to sleep she will no longer be in control. Tomorrow she will be tired, and your presence will smother her. She will need only herself. My ex rarely came to bed, it was when he would be on the net putting personal ads in or plotting revenge of some sort. I think he was afraid to sleep for fear of not being in control.

When she reaches out to you, love her.

When she pushes you away, lover her harder.

New situations and places and people and experiences will make her anxious. She will be fiercely independent and long to overcome her fears, all the while as terrified as a small child alone in the big world. Sometimes she will need to be courageous, to prove to herself she has what it takes. Other times she will need you to take her hand and hold it firmly in yours. Sometimes she may not know what she needs, and you will need to read her like a book with worn pages and a tattered spine and be what she needs when she does not know herself.  I often felt like I had to be a mind reader, always struggling to keep the N happy.

When she is brave and steps into the world on her own, love her.

When she is scared, but refuses to take your hand, love her harder.

She will live in fear of not being enough and always being too much—an endless battle to find the middle ground. Ashamed if the scale falls one way or the other, ashamed to be herself for no one has ever loved her both when she is small and also when she is tremendous.

When she feels too much, love her.

When she feels not enough, love her harder. When the narcissists act quite doesn’t measure up or fit the occasion, fill in the blanks for them and assign them emotions they are not feeling.

Sometimes she won’t hurt and the light will shine from her eyes and her laughter will be a rare and precious melody. But sometimes she will hurt so much from the trauma still in her body; she will ache, she will feel pain and anguish. The light will grow dim and the music will fade.

When she is the light, love her.

When she is the darkness, love her harder. Even though you are tired and don’t know the steps any more because the N keeps changing them, keep dancing in hopes that some day they appreciate all you have given up and done for them.

She will always love you with caution, with one foot out the door. For she does not understand a love with no conditions, one that is powerful enough to withstand hard times. She cannot allow herself to fully trust in your love, and she will keep parts of her heart hidden—the parts that have been hurt the most, the parts she can’t risk being hurt again when she has worked so hard to stitch them together.

She will always watch, wait and expect you to leave first. And when you don’t, she has a truth written upon her heart that says you will—it’s only a matter of time, for everyone who loves her leaves her. And so she will seek to sabotage the relationship; she will seek to destroy it, she will seek to leave first, she will seek to hurt you before you can hurt her. This is how she stays in control, this is how she survives, how she will ensure she will not get hurt again.  OMG! how many times did I think my ex was trying to sabotage the wonderful love we had and if I could just prove to him how much I loved him he would eventually relax and enjoy this special love we had.

When she wants to love you, love her.

When she wants to hurt you, love her harder. Your martyrdom will be rewarded.

Being out of control terrifies her. Don’t ever make her feel powerless, trapped or without her freedom. She needs to dance barefoot under enormous blue skies, to feel sand between her toes, to run with wolves as the wind weaves magic through her hair, for here is where her healing is found. Never clip her wings, for if she has the freedom to fly, she will always come back to you.  Never ask for faithfulness or commitment, just prove your loyalty to them and some day, maybe, your selflessness will be rewarded with their love. hahaha

Love her when it’s easy, and love her harder when it’s not.

Love her in a way that will defy all she has ever known love to be.

Love her because you understand with every fiber of your soul the gift of her love, what it has cost her to offer you her fragile heart.

She does not need you. She has chosen you.

Because you have what it takes to survive the storm.

Because even when she doesn’t know how to love, you know how to love harder.  oh yes, your special love is enough to save her from herself, to save the relationship, some day, right? right?

First of all, the person who is writing this is basically saying, “I am helpless to stop being a victim, I have no control over who hurts me or who I hurt because I am damaged goods”. They are putting their self worth and happiness into the hands of the next man who comes along. They are off the hook as far as any responsibility for whether the relationship fails or not and if the guy can’t prove he is a good guy, then it certainly isn’t her fault. If he turns out to be another narcissist and she gets hurt again, it isn’t her fault, she is totally an innocent victim. She might say that she is an open book and wears her heart on her sleeve, she can’t help it, it’s just the way she is. Sigh. Doomed to forever be the victim, why, why, why?????

None of us can be blamed for being the victim of a narcissist when we didn’t know they even existed, and I am not saying that none of us will ever fall victim to another one someday in the future. But if we cloak ourselves in victimhood, relying on anyone but ourselves to keep us safe, we set ourselves up to remain a victim time and time again. In typical victim fashion, I vowed to learn everything I could about narcissists so I could identify one before they hurt me and it scared the hell out of me how many I saw all around me. (all people have narcissistic traits, it is the degree of those traits that determine if a person is a true narcissist) but I guarantee we are all surrounded by narcissists and psychopaths. And with their ability to morph into different characters and personalities, talent for rewriting history and ease at playing the victim or the knight in shining armor make it impossible to identify most of them before its too late.

Whoever wrote this article should not be dating and falling in love, they are too damaged to enter into a healthy relationship. Sorry. That may offend someone of you but; if you are expecting someone else to fix the damage done by the narcissist, or that you have some “get out of jail free card” that allows you to mess with someone else’s heart because you got hurt; you are not ready to date.

First of all, to announce to the world that you are horribly damaged by a narcissist is  like putting a big old bullseye on yourself and saying, “Come get me”. He would love the challenge of winning your trust and then dumping you. You would not believe how many times I have had someone from the blog start dating far too soon, thinking it would heal her/him; only to have them come in crying because they had told the person how badly they had been hurt in the past, “I told them how hurt I had been and that I needed honesty and time to learn to trust again and they cheated on me. How can someone be so cruel, knowing a person has been hurt so badly?” They are forgetting that a narcissist doesn’t care how hurt you were in the past other than it gives him a perfect opportunity to suck you in by pretending to be your soulmate.

So how do you heal? how do you protect yourself?

You have to accept that the narcissist is not the first person to victimize you and tell you lies about yourself. The fact is, had you not been taught to doubt your gut instincts, had you not been told lies about who you were and that your strengths were weaknesses, you never would have been sucked into that dark vortex of narcissistic toxic love. Unfortunately not many people were nurtured and accepted exactly as you are.

I have written on this topic several times before; here is a link you might find helpful

The other thing you have to accept is; you can love someone deeply without sacrificing yourself. Yes, I know, you are sensitive, you feel things more intensely than most, you hate to see someone hurting, you want to fix things for the people you love; but that does not mean you can’t learn to love smart, stop giving trust to someone who has done nothing to earn your trust and then wait to see if they deserve it. You can learn to listen to your gut and believe that your gut never lies to you, you can not allow yourself to be pressured into a relationship too quickly. It doesn’t make it any less romantic, in fact; it should make it more intense and romantic to let the love grow naturally. The narcissist rushes you into a commitment and you allow it because you are afraid if you don’t he will find someone else. If he finds someone else that quickly and easily then there never was a deep love there and you are not really losing anything. On the other hand, by going into a relationship with the baggage from past hurts, expecting that person to accept your erratic moods and love you enough to heal you, you could very well destroy what could have been the love of your life.

You will never go wrong living true to your core self and in total honesty be the best version of you that you can be. Honor and value yourself and then you don’t have to worry about being made a victim, you can trust yourself to protect you.

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The Reality Of Love

This is a recycled post from two years ago that I thought was well worth reposting.

It’s all about trusting, trusting that the truth always comes out, trusting that you are loveable, trusting your gut instincts and trusting that; if it doesn’t work out with this guy or the next, it is not a reflection on you. If the guy turns out to be an asshole maybe he is just an asshole; it does not mean you did something to deserve it or you are flawed in some way.

There are narcissists everywhere, everyone meets them in their life, there is nothing wrong with you, nothing about you attracts them, don’t take it personally when you discover a man you met is a narcissist. Just walk away. That is the lesson you need to learn from this whole thing; the narcissist is the sick one, you just have to learn to accept they exist and they will eventually let their true colors show. Your job is to make sure that when the mask drops, you are prepared to walk away.

Falling in love is not about being the kind of woman any man would love and trying to fit a mold; it is about meeting men and taking the time to find out if HE is right for YOU. You are not going to know that in a few weeks or months………….give it time!!

Anyway, here is the post from the past 

Why Am I Not Enough?

I received this heart wrenching comment on the blog yesterday and wanted to address it in a stand alone post because, although it doesn’t happen often, I have had other women come in the blog with the same issue. First let’s read the comment from “Jane” and then I will discuss it.

“From the start he told me he wanted a one sided intimate thing with me and no relationship like girlfriend boyfriend. the narc was married once.From the start I cared for him and went along with this nightmare.He is cold aloof angry and says he has no feelings for anyone including me.He doesn’t like any closeness and the intimacy is for him only without being graphic.L can’t sleep at his house.Only please him there and he takes me home.No hanging out or staying at his house.From his bedroom to his car to home.Why does he act this way? Do you think he was hurt by some female and now protecting himself from me? That’s not a typical narc because they have no feelings.I’m looking for excuses for why I am staying with him.Why do I care for a man who treats me like dirt and everytime I go home from seeing him I cry and so depressed.I feel so alone and empty and horrible but yet I can’t leave him.Why is he putting this cold,onesided wall between us.Please can you explain why he doesn’t want a relationship with me but had one when he was married. I am always sad and feel like I’m dead inside.I’m not happy like I was before I met him.Why do I care for him? Can you tell me please?”

Jane, your pain and confusion is heart wrenching and it’s very obvious how unhappy you are. I am sorry you, for whatever reason; feel you are not deserving of love and respect and have spent the last 18 months with a man who treats you with less respect than he would a prostitute. I hate to put it that bluntly but there is not much more a man could do to a woman to prove she is worthless to him. A prostitute has control, she chooses when she will have sex and how much she will charge, she decides what sex acts she will perform and which ones she won’t. A prostitute has no expectations of the relationship going any where and she is quite happy to take her pay for services rendered and go home. The man you are seeing is not even giving you the respect of valuing the sex he gets from you. Is it any wonder you go home and are depressed, crying and feel horrible about yourself, yet you continue to see him. Why? Very good question.

I am not a professional therapist and I know nothing about your past, if this is history repeating itself with every relationship you have had or if you were abused as a child, felt abandoned as a child etc And we certainly don’t have the time to get into all that here. I think you would benefit greatly if you got into therapy with a reputable counselor and investigate why you find it so hard to set boundaries, demand respect and would settle for a man who treats you like garbage.

All I can do is touch on the generic reasons for you to be in this relationship and feel you can not walk away. I think I will do it in point form for the sake of brevity, not importance.

  1. I am not going to discuss the reasons I think he does the things he does because I don’t see him as the one with issues. I am not convinced he is even a narcissist. Everyone is calling everyone else a narcissist these days, it is the go to buzz word whenever a person gets hurt, the person doing the hurting must be a narcissist. No, sometimes they are just not that into you. I will tell you what I told my son when he started dating and having sex.

I explained that women tend to give sex for love and women find it very hard to just have casual sex. Men can have sex with anyone whether they are really attracted to the person or not but women are different, when they have sex, chemicals are released that make them more trusting and fall in love more easily. It is human nature, nothing you can do about it. I do not believe you have to wait until marriage to have sex but you do have to be honest. Never tell a woman you love her in order to get her into bed, as long as you are honest about your intentions it is her responsibility to say no or accept that it is just sex without strings.  That said there are women who will tell you that they are fine with casual sex when they really aren’t, not many women can have no strings attached sex. If you see that happening you need to end the relationship because she is going to get hurt and even if you were honest and tell her a dozen times you are not interested in a relationship,every time you have sex with her she is going to think maybe you love her. Some women will just not accept the truth and it would be wrong to take advantage of that. (I want to put a caveat in here. I always had a very open and honest relationship with my son, not all men, especially older men would have heard that kind of advice coming from their mom) I also told my son to be sure to use protection at all times because there are women out there who will be so intent on making a relationship happen, they will purposely get pregnant.

In my heart I really do believe a woman, especially a middle aged woman; needs to be responsible for her own happiness and well being and if a man tells her he is not interested in anything more than casual sex on his terms she has to either accept that (fine, we are all adults nothing wrong with a sexual relationship if that is what they both want) or move on.

2. There are a couple of red flags of a narcissistic relationship that are consistent through all narcissistic relationships and they are;

  • they are all pathological liars
  • it is always a whirlwind romance in the beginning. They can’t gt enough of you, they thought they had been in love before but now they know what true love is, you are soul mates, you are perfect, he wants to be with you constantly, professing his undying love. It might not last long because as soon as the narcissist feels he has the victim firmly hooked he will start the devaluing stage

Those two elements are not in your relationship from what you have told me so I tend to think he is exactly what he told you he is; he doesn’t want a relationship, he just wants sex. If you are going to tolerate that why should he change? He is getting exactly what he said he wanted, you are the one being dishonest. You are the one who has spent the last 18 months wondering why he doesn’t love you and what is wrong with you when you should be saying, “This man can not give me what I need. I need to move on so I can find  a man prepared to and capable of giving me what I need.”

3. He has done nothing to warrant your love and devotion. You have created a fantasy love relationship with him in your mind. It does not exist. Victims of narcissistic abuse are led to believe the N loves them with all his heart, they are promised forever, he is their knight in shining armor so they have a basis for their love and it is embedded in their brain by the narcissist and when he withdraws his affection the victim tries to win back his love. But in your case he didn’t lie, he didn’t pretend, he was straight up honest and you created the whole fantasy in your own head. For 18 months you have pined away for a love that isn’t there and imagined how wonderful it would be to be in love and in a relationship with him, if only he loved you. Do you see the problem here? You are refusing to accept him for who he is. You were attracted to a man, and randomly you have created your fantasy love relationship in your head with him. You are in love with someone who is only in your head, he doesn’t exist any where but in your own mind and you have brain washed yourself to believe that if only this man would love you the two of you would ride off into the sunset happily ever after.

4. Our brains only know what we put in it. We say things like “I can’t stop thinking about him” “I can’t stop obsessing.” But we can, we control our brains, not the other way around. We are born with a blank slate and our brains store information from the day we are born to the day we die. We all get fed misinformation throughout our life and we believe lies about ourselves or other people. Every thought we have, every reaction we have comes from the information we have been given in some form or another throughout our life. I suspect that at some point in your early life you were made to feel you were not worthy of love and being treated with respect. That you had to give sex in order to get love. You have the power to change the way you view things. You created the relationship, you are the only one who can uncreate it. It will take effort on your part, but every time you find yourself thinking you love him and can’t walk away, stop yourself (every time you think a thought you bury it deeper in your psyche and the quicker your mind will go there. It is a vicious cycle that only you can stop) and tell yourself the truth. Literally write it out and say it out loud to yourself whenever you start thinking you love him and can’t live without him. Something like this

“He does not love me and has given me no reason to love him. I deserve and am worth so much more than what he can give me. He has proven to me that he is incapable of loving me. That does not mean I am unlovable or that I am flawed in any way. This is not love and I do not need it in my life. I am capable of protecting myself, I am strong, I am a grown woman who deserves to be treated with respect.” Keep saying it over and over again, or any other version of the same thing, as long as it reinforces you are enough, you are strong etc and not listing all your flaws.

5. You seem to think that because he was once married he is capable of love and commitment and that there must be something wrong with you if he doesn’t love you. Did you ever think that maybe he wasn’t any different in his marriage and that is why he is no longer married? Maybe he was a cold bastard to his wife and she finally left him and he was smart enough to realize he doesn’t like being married and he should be honest about that with women? Marriage does not indicate an ability to love and be faithful. A 30 year marriage does not indicate two happy people, ask anyone who was married to a narcissist for 10-20-30 years. You really are creating a whole person in your head and running on misguided truths.

6. Another possibility is that you are actually afraid of commitment and true honest intimacy,  so you seek out men who are unable to commit, keeping yourself “safe”. Purposely picking a man who reject you right from the start of the relationship protects you from ever truly opening up and exposing your most vulnerable areas and being rejected for it.

It is human nature to want to be loved and wanted, we are born needy and with any luck we are raised by parents who ensure we always know we are loved and accepted, who encourage us to express our feelings and be the best version of us we can be. But humans are fallible, our parents are packing baggage from their past that they may inadvertently unload on us. They may have unrealistic expectations of who we should be and not allow us to develop into our own person. Other people may be raised to believe love is conditional, or that we are totally unlovable no matter how hard we try to be what they want. Maybe your parents were perfect but you were abused my a relative, or teacher, or you were raped and never dealt with the after math or were made to feel it was your fault. There is endless reasons why you may feel you are not worthy of love not even respect. I truly feel that if you find out what these lies are that you believe about yourself and have subconsciously reinforced your whole life, you will find the answer to why you can’t walk away.

What can you do about it right now?

I know it is easier said than done; but you really need to go no contact. Without explanation or excuses or ultimatums. You need to take a break from any relationship and find out who you are and why you don’t like yourself.

Dr Phil said one time, “We teach people how to treat us.” and it is very true. This fellow you are seeing treats you the way he does because you let him. You think that if you don’t give him what he wants when he wants it, he will leave you. You don’t realize that you would not be losing anything. Neither would he, because he has nothing invested in the relationship, he can always find a woman for sex. Don’t you want a man who enjoys all of you? values you and worries as much about losing you as you worry about losing him? A love relationship where both people are invested and you are not the only one. Love does not hurt like this, co-dependency hurts like this, unmet expectations hurts like this, not living true to your core being hurts like hell, not having boundaries hurts, never having your feelings considered hurts, BUT the most hurtful thing happening in your life right now is the lies you are telling yourself about yourself. I am sure you would not let a friend carry on with a man like this knowing she is short changing herself and allowing herself to be abused and used. Do you have a daughter? wouldn’t it break your heart to see her lower herself to this level? Have as much compassion for yourself as you would anyone else.

We are here as moral support any time.

Hugs

Carrie

 

Over Two Million Views

Yesterday the blog rolled over 2 million hits in total; with over 2200 followers. There are blogs with many more followers and zillions of hits but for someone who just hoped my words reached one woman and let her know she was not alone or crazy 2 million is like winning the lotto. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would reach that many people from all over the world!

It has been extremely difficult to not have an internet connection lately, I hate not being here if someone comments and needs help but the people here have done a great job supporting each other.

I have learned so much from this blog, from the people who visit here and received so much support and love I can’t imagine where I would be had I not reached out in desperation looking for answers and a reason to live. I felt empty and like I could not carry on when I started the blog and the people here filled me with love, encouragement, support and made me accountable, they shared their pain, their joy, and at times they put food on my table and a roof over my head.

I always loved to write, it was my therapy but never did I think anyone would want to read what I have to say and now I have 2230 people who actually signed up to be notified when I publish a post! Little old me. Like they say, one person can change the world, even if just a little bit.

Before I lost my internet I downloaded a bunch of my top posts from here and Quora and have taken the opportunity to work on my book in the evenings. Reading old posts and the comments has brought back so many memories and I wonder where some of the people are and how their lives are. Did they go on to find love? Have they found inner peace and no longer allow anyone else to define them? That is what I hope.

Some still come here and it fills my heart when I see them supporting a new visitor to the blog and I see my words coming out of their mouths, preaching no contact just like I did to them when they came in here feeling lost and broken.

There are a few I know of who are still with their abuser and I worry about them, Jill being one that crosses my mind often, others who stopped coming because they went back and then months later show up more broken than before. There have been victories, court cases won and children used as pawns by the narcissist. There are people like me who have been destroyed financially by their ex and struggle daily to survive. Mothers who didn’t get to see or even hear from their children yesterday. Victims are all different, from all walks of life but they all have one thing in common; they are strong, supportive, caring, and making the world a better place just by being existing.

They have all been told they are “too sensitive” like it is a bad thing to care about other people, that they are crazy, and they all doubt themselves, isn’t it a good thing to have self reflection and be willing to admit you might be wrong, isn’t it a good thing to want to see the good in people and believe everyone has a good side? Where would the world be without the caring, empathetic people?

I would hate to live in a world without the sensitive caring people; I cringe at the thought of what the world would be like. It is the caring sensitive in the world that instigate positive change, champion a cause, and change the world. Do not ever feel you are less than the other guy because you care!!

The world needs MORE people like you, not less!!! and don’t let the narcissist steal that from you.

 

 

Put The Bullshit Aside – This Is All That Matters

As promised I am posting another comment made by a visitor of the blog. I read it, walked away, cried, my heart broke, I took a moment of silent reflection; I hope she felt the hug I was sending her through the miles. I find it hard to imagine she didn’t feel it because I could feel it almost like she was in my arms.
I thought I had composed myself enough to reply without tears but the minute I put my fingers down to type the tears were streaming down my face. This woman has lived my greatest nightmare, I can not possibly know what she has lived through, just trying to imagine brings me to my knees. 
But as with all tragedy, there are lessons to be learned and she has a very important lesson to share, one I felt deserving of it’s own post.
You see, this will be the one thousands post, there have been over 22,000 comments made on the blog; about every subject possible to do with narcissists. We rant, rave, do our own arm chair analysis of the relationship, we try to figure out why he did what he did, who he did it with, we discuss all we lost, how we don’t know how we will carry on, start over, ever find love again………. and we beat the subject into the ground for months, sometimes years, before we pull ourselves up and take control of our happiness once again. Hopefully!! Some of us will go back a couple more times, believe his lies until we believe our lies, putting value on worthless things and devaluing the only things worth anything at all, things that are priceless and irreplaceable. 
I hope you will read her comment, take a few minutes to absorb it and understand it and then read it a couple more times. It is THAT important. It is a message I have tried to convey but this message is coming from someone who has lived it and therefore is an authority on the subject of “What is really important in life”. 
When you have everything taken away you are left trying to figure out who you are. For years you have been someone’s daughter, wife, mother, you are identified by the car you drive, the neighborhood and house you live in, who your friends are, your profession, the size of your bank account. Some people go their whole life defining themselves by material things and what other people think of them, determining their worth in the world but all these meaningless worthless things. 
Without all these things who are you? That is when you have to be totally honest, face the true demons, the ones inside you, you have to just be you. You are all you have, if you let yourself down you have no one to blame. 
Here is Liz’s comment, she says it better than I.
Liz Catherine
January 8, 2016 at 12:41 pm

I want to bring a new perspective to these discussions with the hope of moving forward. I have posted here before and so I receive the latest comments which have recently saddened me.

My son was killed in an accident 3 years ago, and what I live with is that I allowed my partner to try to steal from our time and happiness together for 5 years before he died, aged 20. I allowed my ex to have greater needs to the sitting room than we did, to the extent that we stayed in the kitchen at all times. I allowed my ex, through controlling and manipulative tactics, to make me feel guilty for us being there or laughing with my boys and disturbing his peace (even though my sons and I were far quieter and more polite out of fear, than is healthy). I allowed that, no matter what the reason.. fear of confrontation, abandonment, approval or love.

The last time my son, Tom, spent the day with me at our house, there was a miracle.. my ex was out. We laughed, sang and played games free from the cold stare and judgement of being our happy selves. Tom wanted to play my ex’s accoustic guitar for us to sing to. Although he was a very talented guitarist, I knew I had to phone to ask my ex for permission. The answer was a straight, cold ‘No’ and no reason given. We smiled at each other compassionately, drove to fetch Tom’s own guitar, and had a magical afternoon of singing and playing our favourite songs. It is a memory I cherish, like all of the memories of him being with me in this life, and that day was only 4 days away from never being able to see him again. Nobody will ever steal the joy I shared with my son, and what is absolutely certain, is that noone could ever take a moment’s happiness from his life.. Tom was joy and love and thankfulness personified.

We can all be selfish and put our own needs for love/approval/money or anything else before what is really and truly important in this life. If you’ve lost a world of assets at the hand of a narcissist, but have your loved ones and your own soul in tact, then you haven’t lost at all. You’ve learnt a lesson. I learnt a lesson too.. that only Love gives us the ability to be honest about ourselves, to be grateful for what we have and have had, and to let go of the need to feel wounded. The loss of a child shows you that there is NO loss you can possibly suffer that comes close to their loss of their future. The only thing you can do in the face of it, is to go forth and live out your own future with integrity and love for others, in their place. If you can learn this lesson of letting go of everything but Love, without having to lose what is actually most precious of all to you, then you will have understood.

Does Unconditional Love Exist?

I think many victims get stuck on “I love him unconditionally”, “if I prove my love is unconditional he will eventually let his guard down and love me also”.

He has told us that his ex’s turned on him for no good reason took him for granted, didn’t appreciate all he did, cheated on him, whatever his story is, he was the victim in the relationship. When he starts to pull away from us we fill in the blanks trying to make sense of it by telling ourselves; he is hurt and afraid to really give himself 100% for fear we do the same thing to him, so we set out to prove we are not like all the others and our love is unconditional.

I am saying this because it was what I was thinking when I was with James, this may not be your truth; but I got so stuck on proving my love was unconditional I ignored that he was not loving me in the same way. All of a sudden his love had become full of conditions. If I found his personal ad and was angry, he only had the ad because of MY behavior, if I didn’t act like “this” he wouldn’t want to go looking elsewhere. “Why would he want to come home when I act like “this”. He would refuse to say “I love you” because I wanted him to, he should not have to say he loved me just because I said it first. James used to say his love was cycleable, (whatever the hell THAT means!) he started to say things like, “I love you today.” WTF??

In the beginning he would hold me and say, “I love you just the way you are, please don’t ever change.” I tried to talk about it with him and in tears explained I was not going to be able to keep up the schedule of sleeping at his place, commuting the hour to work every day, coming home to an apartment he had completely destroyed while I was gone, have sex the minute I walked through the door, clean the house, make dinner and and stay up half the night with him and do it all over again the next day. He would pull me close and say, “I love you just the way you are.” and I would say, “but this is not the way I am.” and he would pack me into the bedroom, stroke my hair, tell me he loved me and we would have sex and I would hope my message had gotten through but nothing ever changed.

It is really hard to leave someone who is telling you that they love you unconditionally; even if their actions are saying something else.

The victim gets stuck on the “idea” of love, we get stuck on his words and ignore his actions. Actions speak louder than words is never more true than with a narcissist.

Victims usually say the narcissist “changed overnight” everything was great for a year or 10 years and then out of no where he discarded them, or they discovered the N was having an affair. I challenge them to be truly honest with themselves and look back. It is hard to admit that there were signs really early in the relationship that they chose to ignore because that would mean they are responsible for some of their own hurt, they were willing to accept less than they deserved as long as the narcissist said he loved them. It is not a very flattering thing to admit.

When the final discard happened with James I was crushed, I never thought he would truly discard me and find someone else because to be totally honest I didn’t think he would find another woman who would tolerate the things I did. THAT is really sad, I had that little respect for myself that I was willing to live on the crumbs he tossed my way just to live on the promise and hope of love.

It didn’t start that way, but my determination to prove I loved him unconditionally had clouded my good judgement, my need to be better than all the rest, love him better than all the rest; had made me in a martyr, willing to sacrifice everything to prove my loyalty. I had become a suicide bomber, willing to die for the cause, for the idea of unconditional love.

Here is Matthew Hussey’s take on unconditional love.

 

Self Worth – You Are Not Who Loves You

You are not who loves you.

Think about that.

Let it sink in.

You, Are. Not. Who. Loves. You.

self worth

I answer questions on Quora, many of them are about narcissists but many of the questions people ask me are basic relationship questions and most of them are coming from young people. When I say young people, I am meaning anyone under 30. (30 is young when you are almost 60). When I was that age I asked the same questions, I remember spending hours with a girlfriend dissecting what a guy meant when he did this or that. What he meant when he said this or that. Trying to figure out if he liked me or not.

We also spent a lot of time crying about what an asshole a guy was and how he had hurt us only to be ecstatic an hour later when he called to ask us out.

Sound familiar?

Know-your-self-worth-ladies

I don’t know what guys do, do they sit around worrying what a girl meant when she said something? I just don’t think they do it as much as women do. I have heard men talking to their buddy who has a broken heart and it usually involved drinking and getting laid. Which is going to end up with a girl sitting with her girl friends trying to figure out if he likes her or not.

What women end up doing is basing their relationships on the advice given by women who are the same age, with the same experience, and the same knowledge as them, guessing  about what a guy is feeling.

Can you see why this is dangerous and absolute insanity?

When a girl asks me what I think a guy meant when he did something my reply is,

“Who cares why he did it. How did you feel when he did it?”

Whether a guy is a narcissist or not, it is dangerous to try to figure out why he did what he did; or said what he said. The only sure way of knowing if he is the guy for you is how do you feel about it, him, the situation?

Part of the big attraction to the narcissist is that in the beginning there is no question of what he meant by this or that because the narcissist is so into you and is telling you all the time how perfect you are and that he loves you and he is showing up and you don’t have to guess if he is dating anyone else because he is always with you, always wants to see you. You don’t have to guess if he likes you, which makes him awfully appealing. He thinks you are a valuable person and that feels good! Everyone wants to be loved and accepted and of course it is going to make anyone feel good, whether it is a boy or a friend, we all want to be liked.

But if you are NOT liked, it does not devalue you or mean you are “less than”. it simply means that for whatever reason that person does not like you. Maybe they are flawed and unable to care for someone but we never consider that; We always take it to mean there is something wrong with us.

If I was to start dating again or if I had a daughter who was just starting to date I would tell her to stop guessing, stop analyzing and start listening to her gut. Take what the guy says and does at face value, stop adding value to it, stop projecting, stop guessing and just accept it at that moment. He took you for dinner and you had a good time, he said he had a good time, assume he meant it. Then see if he calls, if he does, accept the date if you want, if you want but if you don’t want, don’t! It is not going to kill you to stay home on a Saturday night, it does not mean you are not valuable as a woman if you don’t have a date, it means you are picky and don’t want to waste your time spending it with someone you don’t really like.

So many times women will say, he did something that bothered me but I let it slide because we had just started dating. I am not saying you need to dump a guy the first time he says something a little hurtful, or the first time he cancels a date or is late and when you first start dating someone they might be dating other women. That is normal, BUT if it is a recurring problem and he has committed to you and continues to date then you have to stop competing for his attention and wonder if he is the guy for you.

I know that a large part of why I fell in love with James is because he loved me so much. It is hard to walk away from someone who loves you that much. It was nice to never wonder if he was going to call or not, it bothered me that he called so often! but I thought I was being too picky, here I had this guy who was nuts for me, I should just be thankful. NO, I should have listened to my gut that was telling me he was calling too much and I needed more time. When I told him I was staying home for the night and he called and begged me to come to his place or he told me his friend was only in town for one day and he really wanted me to meet this friend I should have listened to my gut that said, “No you want to stay home tonight.”  I am not saying you never compromise but if every time you have plans without him and he finds a way of getting you to change your plans (even if it is a compliment that he wants to spend time with you) there is an imbalance of power happening, you are being controlled in a subtle way. It is hard to see control when it is presented in such a way that it is a compliment. If he said, ” I forbid you to do your own thing tonight, you must spend your time with me” it would be easy to see he is controlling you and it would be easy to justify not seeing him any more. But you know that if you went to your girl friends and said, “I wanted to stay home but he asked me out, what should I do?” They are going to tell you to go on the date, don’t be a stick in the mud, the guy likes you for God’s sake! Don’t refuse him, he might not ask again!

Women are especially bad for assessing each other’s worth by the men in their lives. I don’t think men do that to women as much as women do it to themselves. A woman sees a man with another woman and he hits on them they see themselves as having more value than the other woman. They are complemented and feel special and superior to the other woman.

Men on the other hand, usually (because nothing is ever always) stay clear of another man’s woman. If a man hits on a woman in a bar and her boyfriend walks up, the guy will usually say, “Oh sorry man, I didn’t know she had a boyfriend.” I have always had an unwritten rule about not dating any woman’s man and certainly never date a girl friend’s man, even ex boyfriends are off-limits. But a lot of women will walk right over the other woman to get the man, friendship? loyalty? right out the window if it means you get a man out of the deal. THAT does not give you value, it makes you a bitch with low self-esteem in my mind, AND it tells you a whole lot about the kind of man HE is. If he can do it to her, he will do it to you; he is not a loyal trust worthy person.

Another question I get is, “Should I be angry he did this or that?”

Here is a real life example of what I mean:

I have never had a problem with a guy going to see strippers, I figure he comes home to me, he is in  a bar with a bunch of guys, the stripper is not having sex with all those guys so I figure it is probably one of the safest places for him to be actually. But I have a friend who is extremely bothered if her man goes to see strippers, like I mean beside herself, it causes her real anxiety.
Whether I think she is right or wrong is irrelevant, whether he thinks she is right or wrong, is irrelevant, what IS relevant is she has great anxiety over him going to see strippers.  Now this should be a non issue in my mind. If he loves her and doesn’t want to cause her great anxiety, he will give up going to see strippers. BUT if not going to see strippers causes him anxiety then he needs to find someone who doesn’t care if he goes to see strippers.  In my mind she should win over the strippers or he just does not care that much.

What happened was he said he would stop going to strippers and lied and did it anyway. She found out and they fought, this went on for years, she would get upset, he would say he would stop he would lie sneak to see the strippers and she would be suspicious every time he didn’t answer the phone or went out without her, he would get angry because she was always suspicious, she would get more suspicious because he would get more secretive. They were always fighting, about her snooping, about him lying, she was always unhappy.

This happened before I met James and my advice to her was, “If he cares so little for your feelings that he can’t give up the strippers for you, he doesn’t love you. It doesn’t matter if he thinks your feelings are right or wrong, it is what you feel. Either he can live with that or you have to learn to accept that he goes to see strippers but YOU have to make a decision. He has made his decision, he has chosen the strippers over what you need from him. So now you have to choose to live with it or walk away.”

I was pretty smart back then, but up until then I had never been with a man who didn’t respect my boundaries. If I would have followed my own advice when I met James I would have walked away in the first year.

What it all boils down to…………………assessing our value by what a man thinks of us and not by who we are.

This video has an excellent message everyone should listen to. I wish it was played everyday in school because if there is one lesson everyone needs to learn it is to value yourself always. If we all valued ourselves the narcissists in the world would have no one to feed off.

self worth 2

It says to live true to yourself. So what does that mean for a person like a narcissist, then he will continue to be an uncaring asshole! Yep, you are right, the assholes would still be assholes but they wouldn’t be able to do the damage they do because we wouldn’t be trying to gain their approval, they would have to be assholes all alone because we would value ourselves too much to get sucked into their game. See, we wouldn’t care they were assholes, we wouldn’t try to change them, we would just accept they are assholes and move along. We wouldn’t analyze what they meant by that or guess if they like us, because we would have moved along because we value ourselves and our time. We would not be wasting our precious time and efforts on someone who does not value us the way we should be valued. Assholes would be a non issue.

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