3 Million Hits

Three Million Hits!! Compared to many blogs out there, 3 million is no big deal when they are spread out over almost 7 yrs, but for me it is mind blowing that, that many people found value in what I had to say. The fact that I have almost 3000 followers who actually signed up for more posts from me is equally unbelieveable! As I have said before; when I first started my blog my only hope was that some day, some random woman would be searching the net trying to figure out, “what the hell happened to me?”, stumble upon my blog and know she is not alone. 

My tag line at the time was something like; “I don’t know where I am going but you are welcome to join me on my journey to find answers.”

It took a few months before I even had one hit; and that almost gave me an anxiety attack! It was fine and dandy as long as no one was actually reading what I wrote. I started to realize I was far from alone with my pain and confusion, I was getting hits from all corners of the world, from straight people to gay, rich and poor, young and old, religious and atheist, men and women; there was an epidemic world wide!! And there weren’t a lot of people talking about it, not honestly, there were blogs that told you what to do, leave. But no one was talking about the insanity of living with a narcissist, the roller coaster ride of emotions, gas lighting, manipulation and how absolutely helpless the victim feels. I remember the first time I decided to share some of the absolutely bizarre things my ex did; I was so afraid everyone would think I was crazy, lying, or deserving of the abuse I received, but the response I got was the exact opposite! I had more comments than ever before, people saying, “OMG! That happened to me too” or “It’s like you lived my life”.

It seemed the more personal experienced I shared the more people could relate to what I was saying and I felt an even greater responsibility to speak honestly and openly AND to not give up on my journey to find answers and ultimately heal myself. I couldn’t very well kill myself when I had all these people coming to me for answers, I didn’t want anyone to think dying was the answer. 

I look back now over the almost 7 years since I started this journey and I am amazed at; how my life has changed, how much I have grown, how much I have learned about myself and other people, and how rewarding the blog has been and how my attitude has changed from 7 years ago. I no longer think of my ex as the worst thing that ever happened to me and now view him as the catalyst to one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Don’t get me wrong, in no way do I believe he ever had any intention of being a positive influence in my life. I give myself credit for turning a negative into a positive and not allowing him to destroy me as he intended.

It has been a gradual thing and I have had my obstacles along the way that I can’t blame on my ex, but I learned one very important thingthrough the blog, I can be totally honest about my mistakes, voice my honest opinion and I am accepted and even liked for who I am. I never knew inner peace, no matter how strong I had been or obstacles I over came prior to meeting my ex; I never had true inner peace and had always struggled with self doubt.  I learned one very important truth through all this, self doubt comes from not living true to your core self, it comes when we try to be someone we are not, someone we think other people want us to be, because we feel like an impostor. I also learned that I don’t want to change who I am, I may not like everything about myself but I am a work in progress and I will strive to be a better person until the day I die. I also learned that we all screw up and we can all make amends, get back on the horse, forgive ourselves and make tomorrow a fresh start. Living with regret serves no useful purpose, learn from the past, yes; but to dwell on the past only ruins your future and to worry about the future and what might happen ruins your today. 

I had always worried I would never find my purpose for being here. Finding their purpose is not something everyone concerns themselves with but I feel I my purpose is the same as everyone’s purpose, be the best person I can be and help others if I can; by sharing my experiences and what I have learned. 

I was afraid that when I was unable to post to the blog it would die and fade away, but it continues to grow (albeit at a slower pace) and attract followers. Just the other day I received another thank you from someone who was helped by the blog. I always appreciate hearing from people who were helped in some way but as with any time I give, whether it is money, time or compassion; over the years I have received so much more back.

So today I want to thank you, my followers and readers. Thank you for sharing your story, for your support, (emotionally and financially) throughout the years. Thank you for coming along on my journey. Although I would say I am healed, my journey continues because it is a life long journey of self discovery and acceptance.

I was with Stella yesterday and she was laying in the sun. Some people were walking by andshe got up to greet them. They said what a lucky dog she is to have a mom a who provides her such a good life. I replied that she has never known anything else and probably doesn’t fully appreciate how good she has it. I thought for a second and added, “her momma has it pretty good also”.  I may not like where I live, I may not be where I had thought I would be at this age but all in all, right now; my life is good.  I always think about the serenity prayer

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change

Courage to change the things I can

and the wisdom to know the difference.”

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Quality Over Quantity

As some of you may know, I spent 6-7 months terribly sick and unable to blog or do much of anything but lay on the couch in pain. I was suffering horrible side effects from some of the meds I was on for my heart plus when they tried to implant a pacemaker, twice; and failed, they managed to pop some of my ribs out of place. None of the doctors were willing to investigate why I was in such pain and finally I took matters into my own hands, went to a chiropractor and that is when I found out my ribs were misplaced and I started the slow and painful process of getting them put back in place and then I cut back on my meds and noticed an immediate improvement in my overall health and outlook.

I have since been put on meds that don’t cause the horrible side effects and have been spending the past month trying to get back to my old self.

By far it was the worst 6 months of my life, including recovering from narc abuse. It was the worst torture imaginable. I had told the cardiologists that I was not concerned with quantity of life, I have no regrets and would be at peace if I was to die tomorrow. I wanted quality of life. Some people have a hard time accepting that, they think it is a negative attitude. Personally I think it is realistic and positive, I am not afraid of dying.

I AM afraid of spending the rest of my life in abject poverty, unable to see my son and granddaughter, unable to afford a decent place to live, unable to be a productive member of society, a burden. Unable to work but denied disability benefits.

The really twisted part of it all was; that although they weren’t able to hook up the pacemaker, they were able to implant a defibrillator, so there was no hope I would die.

BUT, it is all behind me now and although I feel like 6 months of an already shortened life, were stolen from me, for now, life goes on.

It seems that even without regular posts the blog has picked up followers and continues to help people. I was feeling uncertain about what to do with the blog, I have shared pretty well everything I had to share and to be honest was feeling a bit like a broken record repeating myself. I also felt I wasn’t living up to my commitment to the blog and the people who come here looking for help but I can’t stay stuck in the past either and need to challenge myself, expand myself, grow, live!

I have decided to focus on my book again, I am more than halfway done and it is a shame to not finish it. I cleaned up the appearance of the blog a bit and plan on spending an hour a day replying to comments and doing a weekly post.

It feels great to be back! to the blog and the land of the living!!

 

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.

Valentine’s Day Post 3 Days Late

I honestly started this post in plenty of time to publish it before Valentine’s Day but my health has not been great this winter and there are times I don’t get off the couch all day because I can’t sit without severe pain in my back. So here it is, better late than never I suppose.

Some of you are obsessing about all the wonderfully romantic things you envision your ex doing for his new “soul mate”, others are still with the narcissist and have either been disappointed yet again because you didn’t get so much as a card or he didn’t even come home. Let’s face it, no one can ruin a special occasion like a narcissist!

Then there are those of you who feel they have wasted the best years of their life, that it is so unfair that he has moved on to a new love while you are still feeling so broken and wondering if you can ever trust again, ever love again.

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat,

  • He has NOT gone on to love again……… he never loved you, he has never loved anyone, not you, not the women before you and not the women who will come after you. He is incapable of love, he is only capable of acting like he is in love in order to hook his victims.

The second thing we need to discuss is the trust issue

You do not have to learn to trust men again, that really was not the problem. If you insist on making it the problem you will never be able to relax and enjoy a healthy relationship. As much as I do not believe in victim blaming there comes a point when we have to take responsibility for our own happiness. If we throw our hands in the air and say, “He lied to me! what could I do? what if the next man lies to me? ” we are forever at the mercy of every asshole that comes our way.

Sure there are tell tale signs of a narcissist but many women don’t seem to learn that a narcissist is always nice in the beginning, he always presents himself as your soul mate and always falls madly in love and can’t get enough of you, so they get involved with narcissist after narcissist, always lamenting the same thing;

“He was so into me, I was the best most perfect woman he had ever met, I didn’t chase him, I told him I had been hurt in the past and honesty was important to me and he lied!! How could he hurt me knowing I had been hurt in the past?”

Things you can do to avoid getting hurt by another narcissist.

Please note – no one is a narcissist magnet, narcissists are everywhere and everyone the narcissist meets is assessed on whether they are of some use or value to him/her. Narcissists do not confine their abuse to romantic partners, and because they morph into whatever the woman wants, they do not have a “type” they are attracted to. (I always felt special, that he would never find a woman more well suited to him, until he left his Plenty of Fish account open on my laptop and I read the profiles of the women he had on his “Favorites List”.  I couldn’t understand why he would pursue women he had nothing in common with. I now know why.)

When I first left my ex it seemed I was meeting narcissists at every corner, they were everywhere! For one thing you are super aware and sensitive in the beginning and you are one of the “walking wounded”, narcissists zero in on the wounded and will present themselves as your knight in shining armor; that is why it is best to not even think about dating for a couple of years. If the thought of not dating for a couple of years gives you a panic attack, for sure you should not be dating!! You have put far too much importance on being part of a couple.

  1. Stop doing things because you are afraid that if you don’t, he will find someone else. This includes sleeping with him too soon but also little compromises that tell him you don’t respect yourself so why should he.
  2. When you make the man that important to you, you immediately put yourself at a disadvantage and him in control of the relationship and your happiness.
  3. Stop viewing every guy you date in terms of “Is this the one?” So many women are so concerned with finding someone to love them that they totally ignore that the guy is nothing like a man they would be happy with long term. They immediately try to be the woman he wants instead of just being themselves and seeing if there is a true connection there.
  4. Stop falling into bed with the guy on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd date; you may think you can handle casual sex but men and women are not made the same. There is a natural chemical reaction when a woman has sex, the act of having sex releases chemicals in the woman that cause her to become more forgiving, less cautious and more trusting. Men have sex and go to sleep, wake up and think, “I had sex” the woman wakes up and wonders if he will call her again, how to let him know she likes him without appearing too needy, and worries about being rejected. If you do fall into bed with him, don’t beat yourself up, realize you are going to feel more needy for a while and wait it out, take a step back and let yourself feel the feelings without acting on them.
  5. So how do we protect ourselves? Stop giving trust to people who haven’t earned it. We are so quick to trust and then wait to see if he gives us reason to not trust him. That is backwards, it is crazy to blindly trust someone we don’t know, hold back, let him prove he is trustworthy. “But I don’t want to get hurt.” You can not be hurt if you let things play out in their own time. You may be disappointed to find out he is not what he say he is but you will not be devastated because you had put all your trust in him and he abused it. To expect someone to earn your trust is not selfish, it is smart.
  6. When I started dating my ex I made the conscious decision that I was just going to have sex with him. (I didn’t know about the chemical thing back then and really, I was in my 40’s and a big girl, why couldn’t I have casual sex? He was so damn sexy! but I was not that into him other than that at first). I had never liked a guy who was too clingy or demanding of my time but I had been told by my mother, girlfriends, and some guys that I was too independent and didn’t give “nice guys” a chance, so when my ex started calling too many times a day I didn’t dump him like my stomach wanted me too.
    The first real date we had I met him at his place and he barely let me get through the door before he was taking my clothes off and leading me into the bedroom. I quite literally felt like walking out and told him so, in the past I would have walked out but I wanted to be nice. My gut kept telling me to just walk away from him, long before anything ever really went wrong or before he ever got strange.  We lived an hour apart and I didn’t want an “every night” relationship. In the past I hadn’t had an ‘in your back pocket” relationship, I had dated guys from out of town that I saw every weekend, or local guys who I saw on the weekends but week nights were reserved for my son, I worked full time, I had to get home to make supper, clean house, spend time with my kid and when my ex called every night and wanted me to go down to his place I would decline but he would pressure me, have some excuse why I needed to come “just this once”. and I allowed him to pressure me into seeing him.
    He was so into me, cried when he said he loved me, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
    But almost right from the first few dates I felt like pulling away and I allowed myself to be manipulated.
  7. In a normal relationship there are periods of adjustment, traits or habits that surface that may bother one or the other person. This is the getting to know each other stage, the time when you decide whether this is actually a person worth investing in. Let’s be realistic here, you can be extremely attracted to someone right from day one but we are ALL on our best behavior when we first meet someone, you are, I am, we all are; the narcissist is a totally different person! In a normal relationship you may eventually discover that you are just not a good match and go your separate ways. It may be the other person’s choice and you may get hurt feelings but you will survive and go on to love again. Not every one you love is going to love you back, that does not make them a narcissist!

The way to protect yourself is to remain in the here and now, believe your gut when it tells you something is not right, you don’t have to make a decision right away to commit to  him or to leave him, just keep your feet on the ground and don’t allow yourself to drift into fantasyland. He is not prince charming and you are not going to cure him with your magical love.

I did date a narcissist the first (and only) time I have dated since leaving my ex. I did what most victims of a narc do when they start to date again, I told the new guy how badly I had been hurt, how I wanted to take it slow, how I needed honesty, etc and he was SO understanding and thought I was so strong, he cooked me lovely dinners, he did wonderful things for me, he loved everything about me, I got a text every night from him saying good night and every morning I got a “have a great day, Babe.” text and my stomach was screaming to be careful. But I didn’t know if I was just being too sensitive, reading things into it that weren’t there, being paranoid, I enjoyed the attention but I was feeling pressured. I just kept a mental note of things that didn’t sit right with me and I kept my head in reality, took my time and guess what? It didn’t take long and one day I arrived unannounced at his place to find a woman there. I had suspected and was proven right. I handed her the key to his place and said, “You’ll be needing this.” and I walked out.

I did tell him what I thought of him a few days later and to be honest I shed a few tears. But it was only a few, and only for one day and I was over it. I had not invested in the relationship, not in a big way and it was so much easier to walk away, I was not shattered by it. In fact, the experience showed me that my gut instincts could be trusted and I was capable of detecting a narcissist and protecting myself and my heart.

Happy New Year, Welcome 2017!

 

welcome-2017I am not a big fan of new year resolutions, never have been, never made one that I kept; so I stopped making them years ago. This year I am not making new year resolutions but I AM making new year intentions. 

I think resolutions put a lot of pressure on us and we set ourselves up to fail, whereas, intentions mean you are going to try to make some changes. I used to diet, a lot! and the minute I decided I was never going to eat chocolate cake again all I could think about was chocolate cake.

I never did say “I will never speak to my ex again”, it was too final, too “over”, too much for my heart to bare. Just thinking I would never talk to him again made me want to call.
I did it hour by hour, day by day, and the longer I went without contacting him the more I didn’t want to contact him because he always made me feel bad and I wanted to feel good. I knew any “high” I got from contact with him would dissipate quickly with the end result of me crying and being hurt, filled with self doubt, so now it has been 5 years and I would be hard pressed to come up with the day of our last contact.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with life and what works for them, I share my experience and thoughts in hope they help others, whether it’s to learn from my mistakes or my successes makes no difference, as long as something is learned and beneficial to someone.

Even though I don’t make resolutions I do evaluate the passing year/s and think about what I want to accomplish in the coming year. Years fly by so quickly now, I find it is easy to have them slip by and before you know it 10 years have gone by and you have changed or done nothing yet aren’t happy. As in the 10 years I stayed with the narcissist.

My ex used to quote Oprah and Dr Phil as proof he was so enlightened, using the experts to prove his point, he especially liked “You can’t change anyone else, you can only change yourself” or in other words, “If you want someone to change you have to change yourself.” Which is correct but not in the way he meant it to. What it means is; if you don’t like the way someone treats you, you can only change how you deal with it, which could very well mean you have to walk away. I also believe we teach people how to treat us; no we don’t teach them to abuse us but by allowing it and forgiving time after time, we are teaching them that they can do whatever they want and we will always forgive them. Sometimes we have to walk away. I know I forgave my ex because I was afraid if I didn’t I would lose him, but what was I losing? I could explain until I was blue in the face why his actions hurt me and nothing changed.

I was tagged in a Facebook post during the holidays that got me really thinking, well the holidays really had me thinking about my life, my attitude, my people skills. The person was angry, hurting and saying that a positive attitude does not fix everything. I don’t recall ever saying it did and I don’t think I am an overly positive person; but then, that can be how you look at it. I told my brother that someone thought I was too positive, he laughed and said, “You aren’t positive at all!” Which was just as offensive as being told I am too positive. But my brother really has not paid much attention to my life either, he doesn’t know what I have been through, where I have lived, my struggles; only what my mother has told him and that thought is scary because my mom has some pretty far out views and misconceptions, if she even listens to what you are saying before she is telling you what you did wrong or need to do to change things.

As some of you may know, I spent Christmas at my brother’s with my son, mother, step dad, etc. I noticed something happening even prior to Christmas that I didn’t like and didn’t know how to handle which has motivated one of my intentions for 2017. All families have a way of interacting that is pretty ingrained, which isn’t a bad thing if it is healthy, but I find myself getting very upset and offended. I know my brother and son love me and don’t mean to hurt me and I have no desire to start a fight with either of them. I don’t want to get into a debate about what they said or meant by what they said and I know it will end up with them telling me I am too sensitive and me removing myself from the situation. I want to have a relationship with my son and brother that we all enjoy, I want them to enjoy spending time with me and I most definitely want to enjoy my time with them. Which is not the way things are now.

I am sure they would both deny it but I feel they treat me like I am stupid, it feels to me that everything I say is met with an argument and I get sick of it and when I defend myself I am told I am looking for a fight. For example: I mentioned that while we lived in Clearwater the 4 dogs were really good at dinner time and would sit and wait for their dinner. My son laughed and said “No way!!” he insisted there was always a fighting amongst the dogs at meal time. I ended up text messaging the girl that owned the boys and asking her what meal time was like. My son wanted to know why it was so important to me that I was right that I had to message her, my question is “Why was it so important to him to contradict me to the point I felt I had to prove my point?”

I can laugh at myself as well as anyone but when it is a constant barrage of insults, arguments and little jabs, I lose my sense of humor. There was a cougar hanging around the house and I was nervous to walk with Stella to the cabin late at night, I believe rightfully so considering there were cougar prints outside the cabin door in the morning but the guys laughed at me and said I was over reacting. But I left and my nephew stayed in the cabin and they gave him a shotgun to pack when he walked to the cabin. Not that I wanted a shotgun, I just wanted to be walked to the cabin and not laughed at.

I ended up being very quiet and doing a lot of writing and thinking. There were other things that happened, nothing major but I want my relationships to be the best they can be and confrontation rarely works.

When I got home and checked my email and there was a course being offered, something like, “Getting rid of bad Family Karma”, it costs $25 us, and I immediately paid for it (thanks to some donations I received before Christmas). I haven’t started the course yet but will share what I learn as I go. I also bought a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer “Intentions” and am looking forward to reading what he has to say.

Maybe all your relationships with your family and friends have been smooth and wonderfully fulfilling and rewarding and the narcissist was the only one who ever hurt you and that you had problems with but I can’t say that and I don’t many people can. I believe that you can study the traits of a narcissist and not be safe from getting involved with another one. Your best chance of not getting sucked in by another narcissist is by changing how you communicate and how you deal with other people.

Plus I believe there is a tendency for a victim of a narcissist to see narcissistic traits in almost everyone or to second guess themselves when they do meet a narcissist and question whether they are just being too sensitive because of their experience with the narcissist.

I vowed a long time ago to just be honest with my feelings and not try to guess what people mean or why they act the way they do, to take things at face value and not assign feelings to people that they may not be feeling. But when it comes to the people we love it is not so easy. I hope to grow in this area in 2017.

Another intention I have for 2017 is to become more regimented as far as doing posts for the blog and pursuing other avenues and platforms for my activism, hopefully some that will bring in some regular income.

So……. all that said, my Intentions for 2017 are in many ways the same ones I had last year, to grow and become a better person; grow, improve and continue to help people through my blog and most importantly improve my relationship with my son by changing how I interact with him.

What are your intentions for 2017?

Many of you may think that 2016 was one of the worst years for you but I think it is one of your best years, because you did something for yourself and you grew as a person.

Remember in 2017 to look forward and not back.

Eleven Things I Wish My 30’s Self Had Known

the-storm

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.

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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.