Tag Archives: finding my best self

Being An Empathy Is Not A Flaw – Unless You Make It One

We always hear about Empaths when we talk about Narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths; as if, in order to fall victim to a narcissist you must be an empath. AND, it insinuates that IF you are an empath, being a victim is a certainty of life.

I dislike labeling people, or being labelled. I think often times people use their “label” as a copout. “I can’t help it, that’s just who I am”.

We always have a choice. Even the narcissist has a choice. It’s harder for the narcissist because he doesn’t have a conscience to guide his decisions, making it very easy to act solely in his self interest. But he has a personality disorder, key word; disorder.

Being an empath is not a disorder. People may treat you like you’re flawed; my mother always thought something was “wrong” with me. It wasn’t until I was in my 50’s I figured out that, I am normal, there are other people like me in the world and I am part of a rather rare personality type.

The world is made up of all types of people, (not just narcissists and Empaths) with varying degrees of empathy and anyone with a conscience has the ability to change, if they want to.

It’s definitely easier to stay the same than put the work into changing, even if staying the same causes us alot of pain. We don’t want to admit it, we prefer to blame the narcissist, our parents, or the fact that we are empaths and it’s just the way we are.

Too many empaths aren’t parented by people who nurture the empath’s uniqueness and teach the empath how to properly channel their special skills, protect themselves, and how to set boundaries.

If you are able to identify that you are an empath who was somehow involved with a narcissist, whether it was a parent, spouse, boss, friend or sibling, you are able to change how you relate to the world and end the cycle of being a victim.

There are perks to being a victim and it can be hard to give it up. It means you are responsible for your own happiness, your own security, you will have to make decisions and you will be the only one to blame if they fail. Whereas by remaining a victim you aren’t responsible for anything!
The narcissist is the “bad” one and you are the “good” person. Your life is a mess, but it’s not your fault. If the narcissist would just ……… (Fill in the blanks) your life would be perfect, you would be able to be happy. Elusive happiness, kept just out of reach by the nasty narcissist.

Some of you might find what I am saying offensive; but being a victim can be a pretty comfortable place to be. Feeling sorry for yourself can become a habit, and after awhile it becomes part, or your whole identity. You don’t know how to be anything else.

In a perfect world every parent would cherish their children for their unique traits and encourage their child to be all they can be instead of wanting to mold them into who the parent thinks they should be and being critical of their differences.

Let me make this very clear, being an empath does not mean you are flawed but it does mean you have to be smart and force yourself to set boundaries and protect yourself.

I don’t know about you but growing up I was always told I was too sensitive, too emotional, or to quote my dad, “a flake”. I was also the “care giver”, “peace maker” and “secret keeper”. I had no idea how dysfunctional my childhood was until I was putting my life back together after being destroyed by the narcissist.

I grew up in a home where my feelings were scoffed at or ignored, both parents kept secrets from each other and expected us kids to keep the secrets, we tiptoed on eggshells to avoid my dad’s temper and my mother was an oblivious people pleaser who preferred to keep her head buried in the sand because what she didn’t see couldn’t hurt her and “how things appeared” was all that mattered.

I buried my feelings until I would eventually explode over something insignificant; making myself appear irrational and unpredictable. I would feel guilty, end up apologizing and my feelings never got acknowledged or dealt with.

I became a people pleaser anticipating everyone else’s needs and being the person they told me I should be. I felt like a fraud and feared people would figure out I wasn’t who I was pretending to be and not like me.

I felt like a fraud because I was trying to be what everyone else wanted me to be; it’s impossible to feel confident if you aren’t being yourself. It’s hard to be happy when you aren’t pursuing anything you are passionate about and living your life for other people.

I would bet money that you were made into a prime target for a narcissist by people who supposedly loved you and had your best interests at heart.

My whole life had been spent rescuing everyone else, instinctively knowing how to make people feel better and the whole family relied on me to be the stable, reliable one, while at the same time making jokes about what a “flake” I was. My younger brother was a train wreck, my mother moved right next door after my dad left her and arrived at my door in tears every night, my son’s father said, “you wanted him, you’ve got him, deal with it”, then I married a guy who was financially irresponsible and I ended up losing everything because I co-signed debt for him and he claimed bankruptcy. My son quit school and was getting into trouble.

I was SO SICK of being responsible!! Then my mom, who held the mortgage on my tiny cabin (because of my ex going bankrupt) sold my cabin out from under me because she wanted me to wash my hands of my son.

Then I met the narc. Looking back I can see how I was a prime target. He was charming, younger, wined and dined me, thought I was the most beautiful woman he had ever met. I was perfect just the way I was. He was exciting, spontaneous, and madly in love with me, the real me. And I made the conscious decision to let my guard down and let a man take care of me for a change.

When things started to fall apart shortly after I moved in, I had no where to go, my mother had sold my house. I thought, “what have I got to lose?” And stayed when he asked me to.

When he told me I was too sensitive, too suspicious, paranoid; I believed him and doubted my gut instincts; because I had always been told that by my own family.

Had I been taught as a child to listen to my gut, that I was special because of my ability to read people’s emotions and told my feelings were valued and not dismissed. If someone had allowed me to express my anger and validated me; the narcissist wouldn’t have been able to get a strong hold of me.

I have forgiven my mother, she was raised by a very abusive man and her mother was an uneducated weak woman. She married my dad young and had never been with anyone else. She never was a nurturing mother, she was a child herself and she did what she could to avoid anger, and learned to lie, have secrets, self preservation, even if it meant making her own daughter the scape goat.

We all have our own stories of our childhood and I bet few of you were nurtured and accepted as you are. It is up to you to heal yourself by learning how to be an empathic person without sacrificing your own happiness and security. It is possible.

I talk about how you can learn to accept and love yourself in these past posts

https://ladywithatruck.com/2015/03/12/i-bet-you-are-an-empath/

https://ladywithatruck.com/2018/04/16/22438/

https://ladywithatruck.com/2014/07/25/spiritual-growth-and-emotional-maturity-comes-from-pain/

https://ladywithatruck.com/2014/07/25/spiritual-growth-and-emotional-maturity-comes-from-pain/

The Lies We Use To Sabotage Our Happiness

This morning I listened to this TED Talk and want to share it with you. It discusses the false narratives we all have running in our heads.

I have covered this topic several times before but it is always worth repeating and sometimes people can receive the same information many times before something *clicks*.

I think most people deal with some sort of false narrative that runs through their head. A false belief instilled in you at a young age that you have continued to tell yourself over and over until it became part of your identity and influenced the choices you make, the people you associate with, the job you do, every aspect of your life.

Now, before I go any further, let me make it very clear, I am not victim blaming; but the narcissist is adept at feeding these negative false narratives and it’s how he controls his victims.

People always want to know how they can protect themselves from get tangled up with another narcissist. They think they must research every trait and nuance of narcissists so they can identify them. When actually, the best defense against a narcissist is to know, accept and love your true core self. Self doubt, needing acceptance, and guilt can not influence your choices if you believe in yourself.

My false narrative went something like this;

“Once people get to know you they will find out you don’t know what you are doing. You’re a fake.”

* Growing up I was always told what I should do in order to be successful, liked, accepted. For example, a good woman has a spotless house (my mother) a good wife gives her husband sex whenever he wants it, (my dad), a good wife is a great cook and hostess. Things that I did enjoy and was talented at were laughed at and ridiculed, like my writing (my father found my journal, called a family meeting and made me sit there while he read it out loud and laughed about my most private thoughts and feelings) My artistic talents were deemed; cute but not saleable.

* As a side note; my writing has made me money and helped thousands of people and my painting has kept my head above water for years and my landscaping is in high demand. They are the only things that have sustained me the last 10 years.

“You are overly sensitive, too emotional, something is really wrong with you, you’re a flake.”

* Something my father used to tell me, my brother heard it so often he believed it and joined in. Hard not to believe something when the two men you love the most telling you it’s a fact.

“You aren’t attractive, you are fat, ugly and you are going to have to try really hard to keep a man happy.”

My mother was always putting me on a diet because we both have a pear shaped figure. I look at pictures of myself now and I was not fat. I have gone my whole life feeling fat, had an eating disorder from 17 to 30 yrs old. My weight would jump 10 lbs in a weekend because I would binge and purge. When I stopped dieting, threw out my scale and started walking and working out my weight stablized and I’ve worn the same size slacks for 15 years. I remember being excited that a certain handsome fellow had asked me out and my mom said, “Hmmm I wonder why he asked you out?”

After leaving my ex I was so broken, felt so worthless and didn’t even know who the “old me” was so didn’t know how to put myself back together.

I had no choice but to dissect all the things I had been told about myself and determine if they were true or not. I knew if there was something about myself I didn’t like it was within my power to change it.

I found that when I listened to my gut and acted on what my core self felt was right and didn’t base my decisions on what I thought others thought I should do; life went much smoother and I never felt like a fraud or flake.

Listen to the TED Talk and tell me what your false narrative is in the comments below.

Being Yourself And Being OK With That

I watched this video from Matthew Hussey this morning and saw validity in what he was saying about allowing and accepting a person for who they are but I also think it is the mistake many victims make; when the narcissist starts to let his mask slip we don’t walk away when we see the ugliness.

But I think the problem goes alot further than that, I think “we”, society in general, but particularly the victims of a narcissist tends to hold themselves to such high standards and that is one of the factors keeping the victim in the relationship.

My mother was saying something the other day that wasn’t very complimentary about a person and she said, “You would never do that.” I thought about it, I don’t know if I would do what that person did because I have not lived their life. She was talking about the woman in a relationship inviting the in-laws over, acknowledging birthdays etc and saying I had always had the in-laws over send cards, bought gifts and all those things a “perfect daughter in-law” would do. I look back and can clearly see that what I was doing was playing the role of “Perfect Domestic Partner” and for the most part I was not comfortable in the role, didn’t want the role and was afraid I was going to be discovered as a fake.

Let me explain: I didn’t realize I was a fake, I was being what I had always been told I was, I didn’t know any better. Just like my mom saying I would never be like this other woman she was being critical of, she may not have been criticizing me, but she was sending a very clear message that I should not be like that and that was “bad”. So you can see how we are influenced growing up, there are very subtle messages embedded in our brains telling us how and who we need to be in order to be excepted and “OK”.

The problem is everyone has their own idea of what ideal is and if we try to be everyone’s ideal person we are going to spend our life always feeling like we don’t quite measure up or that we are going to be discovered to be a fraud.

Although I was confident, or had learned to project a confident image; I never had inner peace, I always felt judged, like I was failing somehow, that I had to live up to some high standard to be loved, that I was on the  brink of being discovered and then rejected when “they” discovered the real me. I never talked about feeling that way because I thought I must be the only one who was living this lie. I felt everyone but me was totally comfortable in their skin and were being totally themselves and I was the only imposter. I also thought I was the only woman going through what I was with my ex only to discover there are hundreds of thousands women going through what I went through. So I am taking a wild guess that I am not the only one who was/is trying trying to live up to impossible standards.

When my ex started instilling self doubt in me and started the devaluing stage he always spoke about the “something” he had seen in me from the beginning but he had thought he could “help” me with “it” and he loved me enough to overlook “it”. But he was just too healthy and “normal” to live with my “dysfunctional” way of looking at things. In the 10 years we were together he never identified “it” and I could guess at any number of flaws “it” could be. I asked, begged him to tell me what “it” was but he never told me. I know now that he couldn’t tell me, he just knew that most people fear they have an “it” and he was happy to let me fill in my own blank. He told me other people saw the “it” and agreed with him; I started to fear making friends in case they too saw the “it” and rejected me.

When you live in a dysfunctional family or are raised by narcissistic parents you grow up fearing the “it” yet no one ever identifies “it”, you just know you are not living up to everyone’s standards, you may be hitting the mark one day and then failing miserably the next, never knowing for sure what you are doing wrong, what “it” is about you that makes people be so mean to you. You are told “it” is that you are too sensitive, so you try to not let things bother you; but they do bother you, inside you still hurt and you learn to shut down your feelings, hide your true self, play the role that is expected of you, you end up jumping through other people’s hoops and they keep expecting you to jump higher and you always feel like a failure and never know when you are going to be criticized for “it” because you still don’t know what “it” is and you end up being a hamster on a wheel trying to please people, afraid to be yourself because “you” are flawed, not good enough,

Maybe you have learned to fake self confidence, you are successful at work, you have learned to stand tall and not take shit from anyone, but inside you still don’t know what “It” is and you feel like a fake, like “they” are going to discover you don’t know what you are doing, you are not who you pretend to be and “they” are going to reject you.

You meet the narcissist and he loves you just the way you are! all of you, you have never been loved like that before, he wants to know all about you, he wants to be with you all the time, you feel truly loved and accepted and your confidence grows, you feel sexy, attractive, and loved, yes loved for all of you! You are lovable!! Hallelujah! So when the narcissist starts to show sides of himself you don’t like who are you to reject him when you know you certainly aren’t perfect. You are going to love him the way he loves you and show him how good it feels to be loved flaws and all. Once he feels how it feels to be loved unconditionally, he will cherish it like you do and you will ride off into the sunset together to live happily ever after.

But then he discovers “it” and the discard begins. You break up, are heart broken; but if you are like me, you don’t want to be with anyone who doesn’t want to be with you, you prepare for the breakup. But he comes home from work or calls you mid day and acts like nothing ever happened, he says you are too sensitive, you are relieved, but still unsure of what “it” is.

You have friends and family telling you that you shouldn’t go back but he is so loving again and everyone is telling you that there is something wrong with you. I remember saying to my ex an my mother, “I don’t know why you don’t like each other, you both think I am terribly flawed in some way.”

By the time we broke up for good and he found someone else, a new “soul” mate I was a shell of the woman I used to be, I didn’t fit anyone’s idea of who I should be, I didn’t know who I was any more. I couldn’t breath, I could sit on the couch for days, staring into space, I would forget to blink, to breath, I couldn’t sleep, but I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t listen to music, I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because I didn’t want to hear how flawed I was for loving him and he couldn’t hide his loathing for me.

How was I supposed to carry on? when I didn’t even know who I was any more?

I was shattered into a million pieces, where did I start to put myself back together? when there is nothing left of you it is overwhelming to try to think about fixing yourself.So I did the only thing I could think of to do. I had to go to work and I knew who I was at work, I could fake it at work, but as soon as my work day ended I broke down into tears again. I would park on the side of the road and dissolve into tears. It went on for weeks, months, and I knew I had to function at a deeper level than just “Lady Witha Truck” and my ex was working double time trying to destroy my business and my good name. How was I supposed to survive this?

First of all I set out to find answers to the question, “What the hell happened to me?” but that did not give ME back, I knew what he was but who was I? I used to be OCD about my house being clean and now I would leave dishes until they grew mold, not doing dishes until I had nothing clean to eat off of. I even bought plastic utensils and literally threw pots away because I could not bring myself to wash them. My mother would come to my place and just start to clean as soon as she walked in. I was ashamed but not enough to do something about it. My memory failed me time after time, I would be consistently late, (something I had never been before), I forgot birthdays, I didn’t have the energy to do special things for people.

I started to beat myself up for not being able to be “my old self”. And then something changed inside me and I realized I had never been my authentic self. Why was I only concerned about my house being dirty when my mother came over? Could it be because I had never cared about my house being spotless and I was doing it because my mother had always done it? Had I really enjoyed the elaborate entertaining I had done? No. I had pt myself through hell before, during and after, berating myself if everything wasn’t perfect. I had never enjoyed being social that much and had always gone home and relived the whole evening and dissected everything I had said all night. I had had a real drinking problem for a lot of those years because it was my liquid courage. I didn’t drink any more, I had changed, whether the people who knew me liked it or not, I was never going to be the person I was. I gave up trying to revive the old me and set out to discover who I really was, honestly, and without influence from anyone else. I didn’t have anything better to do. I was not able to be the old me and I was barely functioning at any level, I might as well take the opportunity to figure out who I was. That is when the real healing began.

More to come in future posts.