Tag Archives: controlling your thoughts

Finding Inner Peace When Your World Is Falling Apart

After leaving my ex I felt empty and hopeless, I had never felt so broken, I can’t even describe the pain. I wanted to beg him, I did beg him at one point, something I had never done with any man. I had no pride left because I felt I had nothing left to lose, I had invested everything I had into the relationship. All I could see in my future was unhappiness, loneliness, poverty, and regret.

My mind was constantly rehashing every aspect of our relationship, I spent hours on the internet trying to find out what my ex was doing, hooked on trying to figure him out and expose his lies. I obsessed about “if only”, “what if”, and I envisioned how happy he was with “her” and how she was getting everything and more than I had wished for and deserved. I relived the relationship day in and day out. He was in my dreams (nightmares), and my every waking thought. I couldn’t talk about anything else, my pain ached through my whole body. I just wanted out of my body, I had panic attacks, desperate to stop the pain.

At times I felt like I was trudging through quick sand, no matter how I struggled to get out of it, I only sunk deeper. Other times it felt more like I was being battered by the ocean, I would break through the surface, gasp for air, get hit by another wave crashing down on me that pulled me under, bashed me against the rocks, until I didn’t know which way was up. I would see the light, break through the surface again, gasp another breath, only to get pulling down again.

Yesterday I had YouTube playing on the tv while I painted and as happens, I went from watching Oprah Soul Sunday to a few hours later watching Eckhart Tolle. Then I remembered how listening to him had helped me stop my mind and find inner peace. Here is a quote of his;

Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.

Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Yesterday he was asked by a member of his audience what the catalyst was to him finding Inner Peace and he said it was different for everyone. But most people reach a point of “hitting rock bottom”, hating their lives, themselves, of in his case, wanting to die because he couldn’t stand being unhappy any longer. That is where I was, I couldn’t go any lower without dying. While taking a course on being a life coach the class was asked to think of a time we felt like a failure. I answered, “I woke up and realized my suicide attempt failed.” There isn’t much lower than that. Compounding was feelings of worthlessness was my ex, who; when I told him I had failed in my attempt to kill myself told me to try again because “no man would ever want a suicidal, paranoid, bitch like me.”  It was then, that I fully realized; I was responsible for my own healing, and my worst enemy was/is the voice in my head telling me lies, lies I had been told my whole life.

I became acutely aware of what my mind was saying and started sorting out the truth from lies. The negative voices, my mother’s voice, “you can’t make money doing that, if you could, someone would be doing it already”, “what are you going to do now? You can’t survive”, “you always were too (fill in the blank)”, “that’s nice (my painting) but no one will pay money for it”. That is until I started selling my stuff in a popular antique store and her classy friends were raving about how talented I was.

I knew, if I wanted peace of mind; I had to stop ruminating over; what others thought of me, what might happen in the future, what I could have done differently in the past, how much I had lost, and all the other things I had no control over. I had to start living my life as purely and honestly as I could, every day. If I slipped one day, I could always start over tomorrow morning. All I had was this moment and I was never going to find happiness anywhere but in my own mind.

Life is a series of lessons, either we learn them or we end up stuck and angry, sad, and resentful our whole life. No matter how carefully we plan, or how hard we wish, life is going to happen and we can flow with it or fight it all the way. It is when we fight it that we lose our inner peace.

90% of what we worry about never comes to pass. When faced with a choice or dilemma and people around us demand we make a decision, is when we make poor choices. Decisions made under duress are the ones we often regret. We should never do anything that doesn’t sit well in our gut. I have learned that the best thing to do when you don’t know what to do; is nothing.

“Nothing!!!?? How can you do nothing? I need to fix the problem”

No, you don’t. If the answer doesn’t come easily to you, if you have to canvas friends and family to see what you should do,  you need to do nothing. Try it, more than half the time the problem solves itself or an answer becomes obvious. For example; my mother had a friend who wanted to rent out his basement. It didn’t have a kitchen or private entrance, it was just a bedroom, bathroom and bar fridge with a hot plate, but they would allow Stella. She really wanted me to take it.

In her mind it was the answer to my homelessness problem. (Because living with her with my dog was totally out of the question. Not that I had asked to live with her and was living in my car, sleeping in her carport sometimes, but that didn’t look good if her friends found out.)

I went to see it. They seemed like a nice couple but I didn’t immediately jump on it. My mother made a deal of $500/month with me doing the yard work. I was getting $700 a month on government assistance, I had heart failure, my heart was functioning at 17%. I couldn’t afford $500 a month and couldn’t promise my health would allow for me to physically do all the yard work. Besides that, their big tv was downstairs and he said he’d be coming downstairs to watch his sports and to practice his singing because he belonged to a barbershop quartet.

I was polite when we left, thanked them very much and said I’d get back to them, but needed to think about it. My mother was pissed! It was perfect! I was being stupid and stubborn not snapping it up. What was I going to do? She had gone to the trouble to arrange this, what would they think if I didn’t take it? I gave her my reasons for being hesitant, I would have no privacy, no kitchen and most importantly, I couldn’t afford $500/month and it wasn’t worth $500 a month and I couldn’t DO the yard because of my health.

A few days later the family was invited to my mom and step dad’s for Mother’s Day supper. When I arrived my brother immediately started in on me about not taking this golden opportunity mother had found for me. That I was being selfish and crazy to not jump at it. After all beggars can’t be choosers. I tried to explain why I was hesitant but mom had obviously already made his mind up. I decided I was NOT going to succumb to pressure no matter what, I didn’t feel at peace about it. At dinner my mom sat down and said to me, in her most cheerful phoney voice,  “Did you tell your brother about your new place to live?” I said, “There was no need, you had already filled him in.” She denied it. I said, “oh for God’s sake mother! Stop with the lies! I am so sick of you talking behind people’s backs trying to manipulate things the way you want them. I am done! Stop trying to pressure me into making a decision. I told you I need time to decide and I can’t afford $500 a month.” She looked hurt, (Fuck!!)”But where will you live?” 

I walked out and drove home. I stopped at the gas station close to my mom and contemplated going back, but I knew it would be because I felt guilty, not because I was sorry.

The next day I called the friend of my mother and told him I appreciated him offering me the basement but I had to be honest; there was no way I could afford $500 a month, couldn’t do the yard work because of my health and didn’t feel comfortable about him coming downstairs to watch TV, I am a very private person.

He asked how much I could afford and I told him the government allots $350/month for rent. He said that would be ok and he said he would move the tv upstairs and not watch it downstairs. I agreed to move in and ended up living there almost 2 years. He ended up reducing the rent to $200/month and my health improved so I could do some yard work. I still didn’t like living there but it enabled me to get back on my feet.

Without going into my mother’s upbringing and the demons in her head, her need to control everyone and everything has contributed to some of the worst mistakes I have made. It has taken me most of my life to learn to trust my gut and ability to make good choices.

So many times we get so focused on what we think we must have that we totally miss out on great opportunities right under our nose. We try to make things, people, cooperate with what we want to happen, what we think will make us happy. And we have this “anything worth having is worth fighting for” mentality when we should look at it from the point of view of, “when you have to compromise your core self in order to make something happen, maybe it’s not meant to be.” And never ever make decisions when you are in panic mode.

We all need to look at the under lying reason we feel panicked. Often times it’s ego driven. As with my mother, her need to find me a place to live had very little to do with concern for me and more to do with what her friends think of her. Her need to be thought of as a caring person, her embarrassment over her daughter being homeless. She was prepared to put me in the position of not being able to pay my rent just to save face.

When we split from the narcissist he always rejects us, even if we are the ones to leave and even if we know it is for the best; the minute he rejects us our ego kicks in. The narcissist almost always find the “love of his life” immediately after the split and our ego tells us there must be something wrong with us. When he blames us for the demise of the relationship, it our ego that needs to be proven right. When people believe his lies about us, it’s our ego that needs to prove him wrong. When we should know that true friends wouldn’t believe him and we have nothing to prove. We should live true to our core self and not concern ourselves with what others think of us. “what other people think of us is none of our business”. We don’t like everyone we meet, it’s egotistical to expect everyone we meet to like us.

It’s egotistical to think we are the ultimate woman that any and all men want, able to please every man, nor should we want to please every man.

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