Tag Archives: Generosity of Strangers

Response to How Do We Know If A Person Is A Narcissisr?

Yesterday I reblogged a post from Elise Stewarts site. It was a comment/question left by one of the visitors to her blog asking how does a person know without a doubt that a person they meet is a narcissist before they get in too deep to get out unscathed. I went back today and commented on the post and have copied and pasted that response below:

Carrie ReimerYour comment is awaiting moderation.

I can relate so well to the commenter on all aspects of her journey, including the heightened empathy. She/he doesn’t say how long they have been split from the N (or if they did I have forgotten) but its been 3 yrs for me and I have found that at the 2 yr mark I felt a lot more vulnerable than I do now, 3 yrs out. I haven’t hidden away but I have been very cautious and have dealt with a few N types since leaving my ex. It seemed as if I was an N magnet at first, not romantically but because I was so vulnerable emotionally and so destitute financially I seemed to attractive men wanting to take advantage of that, I became quite cynical and shut off because of it. I don’t feel I am cynical any more but I am cautious and very aware of every little indication a person may be an N, whether it is a social situation or work, family even and I take my time getting to know them. Personally I find I am quite perceptive and usually pick up on the signs rather quickly. I think the secret is listening to your gut. There are no guarantees, the professionals get sucked in by these people all the time, and they are experts at hiding their true selves but there are little “give aways” that we previously ignored and we always feel it in our gut. I think the only way we can assure ourselves safety from these soul suckers is to take all relationships slow, that is not to say a person has to hide away or be shut off to people, in fact the best way to disarm an N is to be open to them and see how they react to your openness. But you can’t do it from a vulnerable position and that takes time, you have to be healed enough that if you discover the person is an N you can walk away unscathed. Maybe disappointed that the person wasn’t what they projected but not devastated because they abused your deepest fears and vulnerabilities.

The truth is, there are always going to be N’s waiting to bounce on a person and if we are to move on with our life we have to be aware and listen to our guts instinct and not doubt ourselves. Every single person I have talked to who has been involved with an N had early signs and ignored them and didn’t listen to their gut. I know she asked for a sure fire way of knowing without a doubt that a person is an N, and the only answer to that is listen to your gut, it does not lie. Sure you can doubt it, what it you are wrong, what if the person isn’t an N, maybe I am just being too cautious, maybe my N radar is malfunctioning because I was so hurt and now am damaged from that hurt, maybe I suspect everyone is an N. that is the empathy in us speaking, we don’t want to falsely accuse someone of being something they aren’t, we don’t want to be unfair but we can control that self doubt and have to.

When a deer in the forest senses danger they act on that gut feeling, it is a God given gift to sense danger; the deer doesn’t stand around and wait to make sure they are picking up the signal properly. They don’t worry about looking silly for running, they don’t worry about being fair think to themselves, “I have come so far and now I have to run back the same way I came and waste all that time, maybe I am wrong, maybe I should just go a bit further so I can be sure there is danger and then I will feel better about wasting my time or maybe there won’t be danger and I will get where I am going faster”. NO they run!! as fast as they can in the opposite direction and they don’t look back and I am sure they thank their lucky stars they got away.

As for needing human closeness and interaction; she is right that we all (or most of us) have a need for closeness with people, we need other people in our lives to care about. Especially an empath needs to love someone. I found one of the things that I had the hardest time dealing with was, I loved loving my ex. He didn’t love me, he didn’t treat me lovingly so it made no sense to stay; but I stayed because I loved loving him. The N forces us to love like we have never loved before, he challenges us to love unconditionally, love despite how he treats us, and we give from our soul because it is the only way we can love at that point. When you give that much it is very hard to stop loving and giving but eventually you give until you have nothing left to give and he discards you. once your reserves start to replenish he comes back and you do it again and again until finally he walks away for good or by some miracle you break away. But eventually your reserves replenish and you feel the need to love again. I don’t know how to explain it but I found in my life I was able to focus my love on other things besides him. I started to perform random acts of kindness, it is a safe way to show love to someone, you never see them again but you make a difference in someone’s life. I started my blog reaching out to other victims in hopes of saving them from some of the heart ache I suffered and at times that is almost too much to bare because I can relate so well but for me it takes a bad experience and makes it worth while. On occasion an N has come into my blog but it didn’t take long for myself and the members of my page to pick up on them. I was able to observe from a safe distance and when enough signs presented themselves I dealt with them. I focused on mending some family relationships (I think almost everyone who has been involved with an N has some family fences to mend) by being open and honest with my feelings and was prepared to lose the relationship if necessary but in each case the relationship became stronger and better for it.

Sorry Elise, this got much longer than I intended. Just my thoughts on it. Excellent question, it really got me thinking.

Have a great new year and thank you for all you do to help other victims of narcissists. I came to your blog years ago now and I forget what I said exactly, something about “when does the pain stop” and I didn’t even come back to see if there was a response but you emailed me personally. It meant a lot to me.

Hugs Carrie
An after thought on my reply to this commenter. Victim, or survivors of a narcissistic love relationship have to be very aware of their neediness. The N tears the person down to nothing and stomps on their self esteem and then tosses their love back at them with a smirk and disgust saying they got much better love elsewhere. To go looking for another love relationship seems like a logical way to heal, find a man who will show you that your love is good and you are good and enough but it won’t heal the hurt only put a bandage on it and the likelihood of getting involved with another narcissist is so high it isn’t worth taking the chance.

There is absolutely no way a person fresh out of a relationship with an N is healthy enough to recognize an N. They are thinking about the discard, the belittling, all the abuse that came after the love bombing of the beginning. As soon as they meet someone who thinks they are the best, everything they have been looking for, can’t get enough of you, you are perfect, you start soaking it up like a dry sponge and you are doomed.

It is imperative that a person get to the point where they don’t need the approval of a man and love themselves fully before they leave themselves open to loving again.

hugs

Back to work, more later

Carrie

praying handsWhen my son went into rehab at Union Gospel Mission on Cordova in the downtown east side of Vancouver he joined a church called Coastal Church where he was taken under the congregation’s protective wings. He found himself and God. He was baptized in English Bay one year and I was baptized a year later with him in the ocean right by my side, it was one of the most memorable days of my life.

When he was in the depths of his drug use and crime, he was lost to himself and to me. I had always been able to kiss it better, make the pain go away but this time I was lost and beside myself with fear, grief and helplessness. My family had told me to wash my hands of him and forget I ever had him, and that I had “ruined” him by “loving him too much”; which of course was impossible but i didn’t know how to help him. He would disappear for weeks at a time and I would be calling his friends trying to find him, but I couldn’t get through to him, I knew he was hurting deep inside from his dad not being in his life, being teased at school and I felt I had failed him also. I would go to work but wasn’t able to even think of anything but Kris, I was consumed with worry to the point of not being able to function.

ask believeThen a girl I worked with suggested I try praying. Now, I  had very little exposure to religion prior to meeting JC, aside from my paternal grandmother who tried to give me an introduction to God, no one in my family was a believer. When I met JC and found out he had been raised by very Christian parents I was reminded of my grandma and I soaked up any info I could off of him and his parents. I said I believed in God, and JC and I said Grace and discussed the Bible, but when the girl at work suggested I pray my immediate thought was, “You obviously don’t understand the severity of the situation, this is requires more than a prayer”. I finally was desperate enough to try anything, including prayer. The girl at work helped me come up with a prayer that went something like this.

Please God take care of Kris, let him feel my love in all certainty no matter where he is. Please help him see he is deserving of happiness and love. Please lead him down the right path to people who can help him and show him how special he is and please God keep him safe and healthy. one last thing, please God bring him back to me and let me have another chance at being his mother, if you do I will do better somehow. In your son’s name Amen.

I photocopied it and taped it every where I might have an anxiety attack, my computer at work, the bathroom mirror, the fridge; it became my mantra and eventually…….it helped.

Weeks went by and then Kris showed up at my door dirty, tired and hungry. I washed his clothes, he had a shower and I fed him then he told me how he had gone to Union Gospel Mission in Mission for dinner. At UGM if you want dinner you have to listen to a sermon first and a few nights prior he had heard a man speak and something he said stuck with Kris. He talked to the man and a few days later that he decided to go into rehab. The man was able to get him into rehab in two days, any time I had tried to get him into rehab it had been a 6 week waiting period and by the time the bed was available Kris was gone again. He stayed with me for two days and I drove him to UGM, the man was there to send him off. Kris did awesome, the people at UGM loved him and Coastal Church made him their “poster boy”, Coastal Church has a wealthy congregation and pride themselves on accepting any one into their church, prostitutes, drug addicts, criminals come as you are. Kris blossomed there with men to emulate, and the praise and encouragement he kept wanting to please,  they made him accountable, he took his GED, and was top in Canada, then he did a year of discipleship before he was accepted at Alberta Bible College and went to study Theology. Every time I attended church I was greeted by people telling me what a wonderful son I had. One of the members of the congregation gave him an apartment to live in for a small percentage of what he made in a month. Kris wanted black leather everything and I had thought he was being picky to not just take a used couch I offered him, but he told me that God wants us to ask for what we want and to be specific. He said that he had cut out pictures of the black leather couch he wanted and the tables etc. A woman member of the church, who set up apartments for out-of-town businessmen furnished the apartment with black leather everything out of an apartment she was hired to redecorate; she had no idea that Kris wanted leather. He had tattoos that another member of the church covered with professional tattoos and another member paid to have some others lazered off. A dentist that went to the church fixed his teeth, another paid for his education, he got a brand new top of the line bike from someone else, he traveled doing missionary work in Cambodia. He came into his own, his eyes have always been like a mood ring; grey if he was sad and the bluest blue when he was happy and his eyes were blue. My prayers had been answered. His church family was able to do more for him than I ever could have and they believed in him. He always knew i loved him and believed in him but I was his mother, he needed to hear it from people who didn’t have to love him.

The whole time JC and I were together we had miracles happen over and over, I have written about the house at Hatzic where we both felt the spirit of the daughter who had died, we had amazing people come into our life and it seemed there was always someone trying to save JC. It was a large part of why I stayed with him as long as I did.  I realize now that some of what happened was him manipulating the situation but there were genuine miracles that happened in our lives and times God stepped in that JC totally ignored. I had a very strong feeling God was trying to show him the way and he was fighting it tooth and nail.

My faith became stronger and stronger as time went on, mainly because I didn’t know what to do about JC and my relationship, I would pray for a sign that I should stay or leave; and as I am sure you know, a “sign” many times a sign can be interpreted the way you want to interpret it. One thing for sure, every time we split my prayers would be answered and I always did better when JC was not in my life, yet I would go back. My life would get better, I would get strong again and i would let him back into my life and within a few months my life would be falling apart again.

The first time JC strangled me, we were driving down the road on our way home from picking up a scrap car, he was driving and had badgered me for days about owing him $2000 for repairs on my Prelude, I had paid him back and he had agreed I had paid him even though I didn’t think I owed him and it wasn’t a week later and he was riding me again about owing him money. I was a nervous wreck and crying, he kept harping on me and I grabbed his leg and said I didn’t owe him, didn’t he remember I had paid? and without a word he slammed on the brakes and had his hands around my throat. Instinctively I grabbed his wrists and tried to pull his hands off my throat but he was far too strong. I stopped struggling, I remember thinking that he was going to feel so bad when he realized he had killed me, I wondered what he would tell my son Kris, then my body went limp and everything went black. I came too coughing and gasping for air and he continued the drive home. He went in and got on the computer right away and I tried to talk to him, he was just cold, his eyes icy blue and filled with loathing. I finally went to bed and cried.  I don’t know how much time had passed when I felt a pair of strong hands holding my head, one on each side of my head and I felt a calmness come over me and a feeling that everything was going to be ok. I opened my eyes expecting to see JC but there was no one there, I got up and went to him and asked if he had just been in the bedroom holding my head and he looked at me like I was crazy.

prayer answer noEvery time we split I left with nothing but my clothes. One time I went to live with my brother who had promised me work but then it didn’t pan out. I needed to make money and all I could think of was all the stuff I had painted over the previous couple of years. I had never tried to sell any of my art pieces and I was scared to death to approach shop owners about buying it but I was flat broke. I had enough money to get to Fort Langley, a tourist town that has antique and boutique shops lining the streets. When I got there I prayed that I would make $40, enough for gas to get home and some groceries.

I got there about 3 and went into almost every shop, losing my courage every time and walking out without approaching any one. I had given up and was heading out-of-town but I kept telling myself, “you won’t make it home without buying more gas.” I drove past the last antique shop on the edge of town and saw a woman hauling furniture back into her shop. It had been a sunny day and she must have had her wares on display outside and was now, at 4:50 packing it up for the day. I drove about a block and turned around. As I parked she looked up from what she was doing, she didn’t look happy to see a customer that late in the day and I thought to myself, “She’ll be even more unhappy when she finds out I want to sell her something.” I approached as I felt my cheeks getting hot. I told asked her if she would be willing to look at some of my art pieces and she said sure. Long story short she bought $40 worth and told me she was going on a month’s vacation but when she got back she wanted to see more of my stuff. I thanked her and went on my way.

I didn’t go back after a month, I was back with JC and didn’t have a car any more, besides I was too afraid to go back. It was almost a year later that JC and I were semi split again and I needed money desperately so I called the woman’s shop. She was off work that day but the woman who answered the phone told me to call Shirley’s cell phone. She didn’t sound happy to come to the shop on her day off but after a few minutes she told me to meet her there at 3 o’clock. All the way there I prayed to make $100, not $20, not $80, I had to have $100, I prayed non stop all the way there. Shirley liked my stuff and in the end bought $100 worth. She hesitated when she went to get the cash and then she looked at me with a strange look and said,” I would hesitate to say this to any one else but I have a feeling you will understand what I am about to tell you.”

She came and sat down on a bench in front of me and said, “You prayed on the way here didn’t you?” I nodded, she went on, “I didn’t really want to come down here today on my day off but God spoke to me and told me, “this woman really needs the money, go and spend $100.” I said yes that is what I prayed for and she smiled and nodded, “I knew it.” when she counted out the money she said, “$50 from me and $50 from God, we both think you have talent.”

Shirley became a good friend, every time I took product to her we would sit and discuss God and big and small miracles that had happened in her life and were starting to happen in mine.

I started listening for that tiny voice, and it seemed everywhere I went I met Christian people who shared with me, my faith grew daily because almost daily I experienced a miracle of some sort. I had left JC and didn’t have a job, nor furniture but I had income tax money to pay rent. The place I rented was owned by a man with a scrapyard and I was only there a couple of weeks when the owner offered me a job driving the delivery truck. After ten months of driving for him I was to be laid off and I decided I wanted my own truck to do landscaping, deliveries, anything but haul scrap metal. I had no money, a horrendous credit rating and soon no job. I looked everywhere for a truck, tried every way I could think of to get a truck but even those car lots that advertise, “Every one drives, we turn no one down” turned me down for a truck loan.

I was about to give up when I saw a cute GMC 1 ton with a flat deck on it parked on the side of the road with a for sale sign in the window. I stopped and immediately called the number. The man, Rene’ said he would be right there with the keys to let me have a look at it. He told me he had parked it there not even an hour earlier and I was the 4th call he’d had on it. I told him my situation, that I was losing my job and wanted my own truck. I offered him to trade my Eagle talon for the truck but he had enough vehicles so I thanked him anyway and headed home. I prayed for God to some how get me that truck and then I let it go. I must have told him where I worked because 1/2 way through the day he called me.

Rene – You really want that truck don’t you.

Me- Yes I do but like I said I don’t have any money.

Rene’ – I was talking to the wife about it last night, and well we don’t really need the money right now; maybe we can work something out.

Me – What did you have in mind?

Rene’- How much money do you have right now?

Me- Only about $100

Rene’ – Write up an IOU and come to my house tonight with your $100.

I went that night with $100 and a promise to pay the balance within a year and left with a signed transfer and tax form and the keys to the 1 ton.

A stranger, signed over his $4000 truck on a promise and a prayer.

And so began the Lady Witha Truck.

answered-prayers-islamic

Miracles DO happen, even when it doesn’t seem possible, that is why they are called miracles. Believe in the power of prayer, no matter how bleak your situation may seem; nothing lasts forever, not good nor bad.

I want to share more about the miracles that have happened in my life but now it is very late and I am going to bed.

wishing everyone happiness and everyday miracles

Letting It Be

One of the things I learned through the 10 years I was with JC was that some times you have to let things play out. I used to make things happen, but there was no way you made JC do anything. Plus for the most part while we were together we were leaving it in God’s hands, we prayed alot and I drew alot of peace and strength from that. Since JC, I haven’t gotten the same sense of being at peace when I pray. Before I met JC I wasn’t a “nonbeleiver” but after I met him and his mother my belief grew very strong, and it has just been gone since things turned bad the last time we were together. You csn’t laugh at me but I actually thought God had brought us together and whenever we were about to break up my truck woid break down or he would get injured and circumstances (God) brought us back together. Naive eh? It took me 9 years to believe anyone could purposely sabotage someone’s vehicle or purposely injure themselves. I was always waiting for him, to go to the store, to go to Christmas dinner, to take me to emergency, you msme it I waited. When day after painful day I waited for my truck to be fixed I learned patience and I learned to wait,  it was out of my control; I had to let it go.

Yesterday I woke up and needed smokes so immediately got up and took a sleepy eyed Laila for a walk to the store. It was peaceful, the sun just coming up, me in my pj’s, macassins, sweatshirt and no contact lens in. Au natural! Poor neighbours!! I went in (couldn’t tell you who was in the store but it was crowded ) and the smell of bacon and eggs made my stomach growl. I got a cup of coffee and the newspaper and made some small talk with the little Chinese lady that consisted of alot of smiling, hand gestures and head nodding, then headed home.

I wasn’t looking forward to working and had $40 and 1/2 a tank of gas so didn’t feel panicked about making money so I sipped my coffee, ate the rest of an apple pie and read the paper front to back. I didn’t get out of the house until after noon with a “come what may attitude”.

I have been really plagued with indecision about what I should be doing with my life, whether I should give up on scrap; I am just not able to do the job the way I like. But I don’t know what else to do; work at Tim Horton’s or WalMart for $10 an hour part time? But yesterday I decided to let it go. My first pick up was one of my favorite customers, Symons Tire, I love those guys; and then I dropped my weedeater at another customers, Prospect Equipment and once again enjoyed some easy banter. From there I zipped out to a new customer I picked up last week, the distribution centre for MTF stores. They had 3 pallet jacks to be picked up. I was very proud of myself that I got one on the truck all by myself. It took a bit of doing and I was laughing out loud by myself as I struggled with the damn thing; but with a chain, a load binder and using my sides as a ramp I got the job done and it was time to head to the scrap yard. When I got back to Abbotsford I drove past Home Depot (also a customer) and saw they had some scrap out. I was loading it when a couple of guys yelled out loud”Hey! Lady Witha Truck, how are you doing today?” one of the guys was hanging out the window but I didn’t recognize him. I waved anyway and yelled back,”Great thanks”. I went back to loading and then heard a voice say,” It is you! I saw the pink sign on the truck door and thought it must be you”. I turned and saw a homeless guy I’ve talked to many times in the past, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten his name but I greeted him with as much enthusiasm as he had greeted me. He asked where my big truck and the crane went. I told him I had to get rid of it. He said,”wow, that’s too bad, you were really a force to be reckoned with, like you were my , well, you were like my hero. You were really doing it, better than the guys.”

Me: Shit happens you know?

Guy: Yeah, don’t I know that!.
Guy: I am so happy I ran into you, I’ve wondered where you were. Hey I have something I want to give you, you’re gonna be so excited when you see it and if you don’t mind I’d be honored if you take it. He pulled the lid off a rubber maid container he has strapped to a small trailer he pulls behind his bicycle.

Me: That’s a nice set up you have there.

Guy: Yeah its everything I own, a down sleeping bag and another one that I use as a mattress, a change of clothes, that’s about it.

Me: you’ve got it very neat and it stays dry and it looks good. The guy proudly pulled the lid with a bit of a flourish: Now you can see inside.

Inside the container his sleeping bag was neatly rolled up, his clothes folded and he pulled everything out to get a towel from the bottom. Wrapped in the towel was a pair of wire cutters he hands to me: They have a life time warranty at Canadian Tire. He says.

Me: wow! That’s super, I can always use wire cutters. Would you be offended if I gave you $5 for them?

Guy: I didn’t expect anything for them but if you want.

We talked for awhile about scrap prices, where he sleeps at night and I asked him if the cops leave him alone and he said yeah except to wake him up to make sure he isn’t dead.

Me: You know…..if it weren’t for the generosity of a friend who lets me live in his trailer I’d be sleeping in the bushes right along side you.

Guy with a wink: I wouldn’t mind and he giggled nervously and I just wanted to give him a hug.

Me: I had better get going.

Guy as he extends his hand: I sure am glad I ran into you!! You are a really special lady you know.

I shook his hand and thanked him.

Me: you take good care now ok? And we waved goodbye. I got to the scrap yard and as I went over the scale I hear, “You’re breaking the scale!!!” and turn to see a nice looking guy who haul scrap and we laughed. They called him back into the office and I yelled,” Your in trouble now”.

As I back up to the scrap pile to unload the owner Carlo gives me a wave and walks over to the truck: Hey Carrie, how are you today?

Me: Great! And you? Carlo looks tired and is covered in dirt but he flashes me a big smile of perfect  white teeth that seem brighter because he is so dirty: busy day but I’m good.

I unload and go over to the nonferrous section. I am unloading my nonferrous and hear,”Hey Lady Witha truck!” and look up to see another fellow scrap hauler and give him a wave. As I walk into the office another one of the regulars, an older guy I see there often greets me with: Hey smilie, you staying out of trouble?

Me: Of course! I’m too old to get in trouble.
Him with a snort: Too old.
Me as I pushed past him: excuuuuuse me, coming through. And everyone in the office laughed.I got $120 and it wasn’t even 4 pm yet. I took the dogs for a much needed pee and walk and then went to Shoppers drug Mart for some face cleanser. When the cashier rang up my order she asked if I wanted to donate to their cause. I asked what the cause was and she replied 100% of what they collect goes to help women who have been in abusive relationships. I told her to add $5 to my bill. She was squealing with excitement! “You get to sign a butterfly!” she explained $1 you get a leaf, $5 a butterfly and an acorn with $10 and she’s only had people donate $1 so far. I had a laugh and told her I was in an abusive relationship and we discussed how emotional abuse is much harder to heal from than physical abuse. She is young but very mature and I tell her about my blog. From there I go to the grocery store, there’s a guy a guy playing the guitar, he’s pretty good, has a raspy voice and is singing a country song that got me feeling like a dance. Just as I get to the door a guy is walking out, I don’t recognize him but he says, “Your trucks keep getting smaller Lady Witha Truck.” Me: ALOT smaller! And laugh.

I grabbed a few groceries, took the dogs for a walk stopping half a dozen times to let people pet them. Laila performs and gives high 5’s right on cue. A lady leans out as she drives past, “Hey are those Shar-pies? They’re beautiful.

Me: Dad and daughter” thanks yes they are!

We get back in the truck and as I drive past the guitar player I feel I should be giving him something but I’m heading home and don’t want to stop. I get to the first intersection and turn around. I pull up, stop the truck and throw $3 in his guitar case as he sings “You gotta know when to hold them. Know when to fold them. Know when to walk away and know when to run.” I smiled at him and said,” Have a good night”.

I think I got my answer today

http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/special/serenity.html

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change
Change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Yesterday I felt I was exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment in time and I was at peace. One day at a time.

Love to you all.