Tag Archives: personal growth

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.

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Personal Growth and Resilience – According To Scott

Orange butterfly , isolated on white

If you see yourself in this comment please do not be offended because I don’t even remember who has done this but I have had people come into the blog and post a comment asking how to heal. Three or four people including myself will give informed, honest replies.  Later, I will receive an email from the same person asking the same question. It is as if they think I have a secret formula that I don’t share on the site and if they message me privately they will be privy to the secret of healing.

They broke up with the abusive ex 2 weeks ago and want to know why they are not healed and how long will it take? will they ever be able to date again? how will they ever trust a man again? They want to “fast track” their healing, and who can blame them, it feels horrible to hurt like that. It’s scary to hurt like that, you fear that you will never stop hurting.

I really hate to break it to them that I don’t have a magic potion that can be sprinkled like fairy dust and make the pain go away. In fact I have healed for over 4 years and still am healing. I don’t want people to think they are going to hurt like this for 4 years, but healing is not an overnight sensation, it takes time and if you put a band-aid on the pain by dating too soon you more than likely will be here again.

I have said it many times, it takes time to heal, be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself and stop putting pressure on yourself to “just get over it.” Yeah its’ maddening that he appears to have gone off with the ‘love of his life” and isn’t suffering in the least while you are in so much pain you can barely function. That train of thought will only make you hurt more; you have to (yes I said HAVE to) do a lot of self counseling and remind yourself over and over again that he is disordered, he doesn’t feel like a normal person and the fact that he can leave the relationship with you and immediately find his “soul mate” is proof he is disordered. If you were able to walk away without a backwards glance and find a new love you would be disordered also. Your pain is a sign that you are a normal, feeling, caring human, unlike the devil in disguise you have been sleeping with.

growth is painful

Personal growth is often brought on by some traumatic event but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience if you tackle it with the right mind-set. If life was rainbows and unicorns all the time there would be no need self-reflection and we wouldn’t want to change or better ourselves. Maybe you aren’t experiencing what I did, but some of you may be able to relate. The extent of the damage done by the narcissist varies according to how strong the victim was, how long the relationship lasted, how evil the narcissist was and if the victim had a support system. The first few times JC and I split I was in a lot of pain but it was not until the last time we split that I felt I had been stripped of everything that made me who I was.  I know now that JC wanted me back because he had not done a good enough job destroying my soul; I had been able to carry on. By the time he was done with me the last time I can’t even describe the state I was in except to say, I was empty and didn’t even know who I was any more, nothing gave me joy, nothing about myself felt natural, I had no confidence.

The only thing I can compare it to what they do to cult members, they break the person through brainwashing. I did a series of posts on the topic of brainwashing last March you will find them here:

Brainwashing Part 1

Brainwashing Part 2

Brainwashing Part 3

Brainwashing Part 4

person growth 1

I don’t know when it happened but at some point my healing (my reconstruction or rebirth) stopped being about my ex and more about me. I stopped trying to find the “old me” and started trying to be “the best me”. It stopped being a painful process and became an adventure and I began to enjoy the challenge. I continue to research, explore, and evaluate my beliefs, boundaries and personality traits and I expect this journey to continue until the day I die.

Scott got me thinking about this subject, (that’s what I like about Scott’s blog; he gets me thinking) when I read his post today.

I hope those of you trying to be your old self will embrace the opportunity to be the best you, something the narcissist can never do. A narcissist does not see the need to change or improve, everyone else should change to accommodate him. What a shallow, one-dimensional, limiting existence; to never grow, to always be disappointed by the people in your life, to go through life expecting someone else to make you happy and it never happens. He/she is on an endless merry-go-round of trauma, drama, disappointment, and unmet expectations, surrounded by inferior people. In his desperate attempts to control his partner and his unreasonable expectations of someone else to provide his self-worth and happiness he lives a pitiful life where he can never let his true self show because he knows society will reject him if he ever did.

But YOU, you CAN change, you can grow, you can find pleasure in yourself, you can find happiness and you  can be awesome!!

new life

Colors Of My Life-Shadows and Highlights

colours

For years I wished I knew how to paint. I had a girlfriend who’s walls were decorated with paintings she had done. I envied her talent, I had tried to paint and for some reason it never looked like what I was seeing. I could see what I wanted to paint but when the paint got on the canvas it was just a bunch of one-dimensional blobs of color. I gave up and accepted I just did not have the talent to paint. I was artistic in other areas and used my creativity to decorate my home with flower arrangements and other crafty pursuits but I still wished I could paint.

For literally years I would make an attempt at painting only to be disappointed every time.

Then, while with JC, we moved to the gravel pit. I loved to garden, having my hands in soil and putzing in the garden was my serenity, it gave me peace, I prayed while I gardened, especially since being with JC, gardening had always been my retreat but now it was even more important to me. As you can well imagine, a gravel pit is not conducive to gardening plus it was early spring and too cold to plant. There was no TV, no internet, no phone, only AM radio and I was slowly going crazy trapped there without a vehicle 10 miles from my nearest friend. JC was hauling scrap and got a cargo van that was full to the roof with “stuff”. There was furniture, tools, and craft supplies. I pulled out some acrylic paints and brushes and other craft supplies and put them away.

One rainy day I was flipping through gardening magazines, wishing I could be planning a garden somewhere, crying because I was so far from any place I wanted to be.

I remembered when JC and I first got together 3 years earlier, what a different relationship it had been. I had moved into his apartment with him. When spring came I got very depressed about being on the 3rd floor and not having a garden to dig in. I had gone to him in tears and told him I needed dirt to dig in. He had laughed, picked me up and packed me to the bed, pulled me close to him, kissed my forehead and stroked my hair as I laid with my head on his chest and told him how digging in the dirt was my serenity and I missed my gardens. We made love and then he to me to a garden shop and bought me planters, bags of dirt and plants and when I mentioned I always wanted a pond he bought a big plastic planter.  He helped me set up a small waterfall on the deck that I surrounded with various sized planters full of flowers. I loved him so much for that and I had felt so loved and understood.

I pulled out the paints and again tried to paint the flowers I saw in the magazines. The same thing happened, just blobs of color on a piece of paper. I sat there looking at the blobs of color and the picture; why did my painting not look like the picture? Then it hit me, the flower had depth, which meant shading and variations in the colors. Instead of wasting paper I took a cookie sheet and painted on it so I could wash it off and I start experimenting. I looked at the picture with new eyes, I noticed that where the sun hit the flower it looked almost white, and the center was almost black, so I started to paint the flower again this time adding highlights of white and shadows of red mixed with black or darker red. I only had a few colors so was limited but I could see a flower when I was done, not a blob. I washed it off and tried again.

Over time I collected more colors and got better and better, until I couldn’t bring myself to wash off the cookie sheet any more and I found something else to paint on, I painted frying pans, saw blades, coffee pots and I ended up with dozens of art pieces. JC started to say I should sell them, they were that good, then a friend of his bought several items. It was a year later that I loaded up everything I had painted and took them into Fort Langley and sold them.

But the point I am trying to make is this: After I realized that everything had variations of color I never viewed things the same. Everything I looked at I viewed as if I were going to paint it and realized that although mountains aren’t blue they will appear blue from a distance, moss is not green, it is yellow, bright green, brown, the sky is blue but so many shades of blue and clouds have blurred edges.

I had always been a “black and white” person, I didn’t have grey areas. I had solid boundaries  and very firm views on right and wrong and the longer I was with JC I had to change my view of the world because he had so many grey areas and nothing was clearly defined. I had to learn to be flexible and adaptable to survive, I had to view things differently than I ever had before.

Learning to be adaptable was not always a good thing, it enabled me to stay with JC a lot longer than I should have and I compromised in areas I shouldn’t have but the end result after leaving him is that I now am stronger for it and my boundaries and views are my own and not someone else’s beliefs that have been forced on me. I know JC would love to take credit for this transformation. Had he not pushed me I would have remained rigid and judgmental, but my transformation although a byproduct of his abuse was not because of any good intentions on his part. His motives were purely selfish in nature and he didn’t care how it would affect me long-term. As far as he knew he would leave me in the same emotional devastation he left all the others, he did not know I would take the experience and eventually flourish, he intended to destroy me. If he wants to now take credit for my strength he can kiss my ass.

I am telling you this because you may be stuck thinking you can’t leave, or life will never be better than it is, your life is destroyed and there is no hope of ever finding happiness again. Even black has variations in color, look at your keyboard right now; if it was solid black it would be all but impossible to type and find the keys. But the light bounces off the angles, the recesses of the keys are black but where the light reflects give definition.

Life is like that, it may seem impossible, bleak, black and foreboding, hopeless but if you look at it honestly and with different eyes you will see there are always options, always another way of looking at it. You have to train yourself to see the possibilities and not look at things as solid colors.

Experiment, you can always wash off the cookie sheet if you don’t like it, but look at the possibilities. Explore your options, there are always options, you can say “I can’t leave” but have you exhausted all your options? do you know all your options? You can never say I can’t if you haven’t explored your options. Look for opportunities not obstacles.

We all have choices, to stay or leave, to stagnate or to grow, to be beaten down or to stand strong, to stay with the devil we know or take the chance on the unknown.

Our Growth Chart

Welcome to our growth page.Image

This where we come to share our progress in our recovery. This is not where we cry or complain; there are other places for that. This is where we give ourselves a pat on the back for making it through a day without crying, count down how many days we have been N/C, talk about something we tried for the first time even though we were afraid. This is where its ok to brag, so let it out! Tell us about your accomplishments no matter how insignificant you may think they are.

glass heart

Sometimes relationships are like broken glass,
It’s better to leave it broken
Than risk getting hurt
Putting it back together.