Tag Archives: self worth

Knowing Your Worth

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Ocassionally I have a woman come into the blog thinking the man they are in love with is a narcissist because he won’t commit. I have to tell them that just because a man won’t commit does not make them a narcissist. For one thing a narcissist is not that honest. There is nothing wrong with a man for not wanting a commitment. Maybe he should stop seeing a woman who he knows wants a commitment but if he is honest and the woman keeps coming around, screwing him, cooking for him etc even after he has repeatedly told her he will never commit, can you really blame him for taking what she is giving? She obviously doesn’t respect herself or her own boundaries, is it up to him to do it for her? I suppose he should but in reality very few men will. She would call him a narcissist and be angry either way for rejected her.
News flash!! Not everyone is going to love you.
The following is my reply to a woman asking me how she can break away from a man she has been seeing for 3 years who won’t commit and never pretended he ever would commit.

Jane, I am not a trained professional therapist so I am not qualified to counsel you, I can only give you my personal opinion. Plus, I know absolutely nothing about you, your past or how your personal relationships are and have been in the past.
I am guessing this is a pattern in your life, with all people; not just in romantic relationships.
I would guess that one or both your parents were critical or distant and no matter how hard you tried you were never able to win their love and approval, you were never “good enough”.
You were the “people pleaser”, the “fixer”, always doing for others and derived your self worth from the praise of others. Sacrificing your own well being, being a martyr, all in the name of being “loved”. But never learning that you were being used and taken advantage of, not loved.
Most narcissists are not as honest as this man, they profess total commitment but lead a double life, often having many women at one time, all believing he is committed to them and that is where the victim gets sucked in. If the narc would have been honest they would have left the relationship.
The fact that you stay knowing the truth tells me that you rely on other people to give you value.
It is human nature to want to be liked, in fact we tend to try harder to please people who don’t seen to like us. No one likes rejection.
But most people wont stick around to be rejected time and time again. You do not love this man, you have made him your “value gauge”. If you can make him commit then you have value, you are worthy, enough, loved.
The truth is; what he thinks of you has absolutely nothing to do with your value, worth or whether you are loveable.
He has every right to not want to commit, and he shouldn’t continue to sleep with you knowing you want a commitment but most men don’t do the right thing and if he tells you he will never commit and you keep coming around he’s going to take what you keep giving.
You are not the victim of a narcissist, you are a victim of your own inability to defend your boundaries.
You want to be loved and have worth but you have attached your self worth to being loved. Your value has absolutely NOTHING to do with who loves you. You are willing to give up your boundaries, what you stand for; in order to be loved and have value. But you fail to realize that in order to be loved you must be loved for who you are, not the pretzel you contort yourself into, not for the things you are willing to give up but for the things you stand up for. If you don’t respect yourself and who you are (boundaries define who you are) you won’t be respected by others. Respect is essential in any loving relationship, in any relationship period. If you don’t have boundaries and defend them how do you ever feel loved for who you are? How do you ever trust yourself to not be disrespected and used?
Loved based on how much you are willing to sacrifice is never real love, it is never secure and you never feel fulfilled and empowered. You always doubt it.
The way to ensure you don’t get involved with a narcissist is to stop dating until you stop deriving your self worth from a man and know your value without being told you have value. When you love yourself, for all your perceived “flaws”, and are willing to walk away from any man who doesn’t appreciate you for who you are, you will continue to get hurt.
I suggest you stop trying to figure out what the man wants, stop trying to be the woman you think the man wants and start looking at men from the perspective of; is this the type of man I want? Is this man worthy of MY love, is this man’s values in line with MY values? I think you need to find a good therapist who can help you do that.
I know it is scary to let go of this guy and be alone but until you can be comfortable alone and truly enjoy your own company you will repeat history.

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When Will I Be My Old Self Again?

I hate to break it to you but you will never be your old self again, nor should you, for many good reasons. Here are a few reasons why you should take this opportunity to become the new and improved you.

1. Your old self got you into this mess in the first place, lets hope we all are wiser and stronger people for the experience. No experience in life is a waste as long as you learn and grow from it, don’t waste this chance to do some major personal growth.

2. Being naive and oblivious to the evils of the world gives us a false sense of security, and feeling secure is something everyone wants. We want to believe everyone has a good side, that bad things happen to other people, not us, evil people are in the movies and live somewhere else. We liked thinking we would be able to detect if someone was evil, we also used to believe in Santa Claus; but we all have to grow up and face reality some time.

3. Dwelling on the past and all you lost is only going to make you unhappy. Wishing things were different will only make you unhappy, you can’t change the past but you can change how you handle the future.

4. You can’t fix anyone else, you can’t change anyone else, but you have total control over how you live and if you live true to yourself and your core beliefs no one can ever make you feel guilty, less than, or that you don’t deserve to be happy.

5. No one, no matter how much you love them; has the right to expect you to compromise your principles or your well being. 

6. On the same note, to expect someone else to make you happy or feel valued is giving them too much responsiblity and pressure. I know I sure the hell don’t want the responsibility of someone else’s happiness and self worth.

7. It is not your fault you got sucked in by a narcissist because you didn’t know better, but now you do know better and need to figure out how to avoid it happening again. The scarest part for me was the thought that I had totally been a victim and had no control over what happened to me, it meant I had no control over it happening again. I HAD to find a way where I had control over what people did to me, I could not go the rest of my life helplessly reacting to life and the actions of others. 

(To not take some responsibility for it is setting yourself up for a life of fear and unhappiness. You are relying on luck to keep you safe and saying to yourself, “you are helpless to protect yourself”, then wonder why you keep getting hurt. There are women who go through life lamenting, “Why do I keep meeting assholes?” We all meet assholes, assholes are every where, the question should be, “Why do you stay with them?”)

8. Living true to your core values, having “deal breaker” boundaries, not sacrificing your happiness and security is NOT being selfish, it is being smart and it protects you from being a victim. Love is NOT sacrificing yourself, your values, your security, your morality. If someone says, “If you really loved me you would do this thing I ask.”  rephrase it and say, “If you really loved me you would not expect me to do something or accept something that I do not feel comfortable with.”

9. Some where along the way, during our upbringing, someone instilled in us that we are not complete or valueable without a partner in our life, that a bad relationship is better than no relationship at all. That is straight bullshit!! 

I am not a man hater, I am not the least bit bitter or jaded about relationships, a relationship can be wonderful, sharing your life with someone can be fantastic, a shoulder to lean on when life gets you down, someone to share the good times and weather the bad times with. I liked being part of a “couple”,  when a relationship is healthy there is nothing better but there is nothing worse than feeling alone when you aren’t, or always having to fight for your right to feel a certain way, there is nothing comforting about having to snoop to see if your spouse is being faithful, you should be able to trust your partner’s word, you should be able to trust your partner’s promises, you should be able to trust your own recollection of events and not be told you are crazy or paranoid. None of those things are part of a healthy loving relationship, and if you stay with that person, you never will have a healthy relationship.

10. You owe it to yourself and any future partner to take the time now to heal present and past hurts, deal with that inner voice that says you are not good enough, learn to set boundaries, YOUR deal breaker boundaries, learn to listen to your gut, to block the negative shit we have been told about ourselves, learn how to live a true and honest life in every area of your life. Stop being what you have been told you should be and start being the person you are meant to be. I guarantee you that if you start living life true to your core self you will know your worth and no one will ever be able to make you feel less than again, you will have less and less self doubt, and you WILL find inner peace. 

I recommend taking at least a year or two after a narcissist to heal before dating. If the thought of that makes you feel panicked and anxious, then you most definitely need to take a couple of years. If you need to find a man because you think the clock is ticking and time is running out for you to have a child, or you feel you can’t support yourself, or you can’t survive without a man, or all your friends are married and you feel like odd man out, and especially if you find yourself trying to be the kind of woman the man wants instead of being honest with yourself and him and admitting early on when the man is not the kind of man you want in your life. Too many times women bend over backwards trying to be what the man wants and making excuses for his unacceptable behaviour because they just started dating and don’t want to appear demanding or bitchy. 

I have actually had women come into the blog complaining because a guy doesn’t treat her with respect and at the same time describe how he got blind drunk their first date, she slept with him on the first date and she has been concerned about his drink all along, he has a warped sense of humor and expects her to come to his place for sex and then leave. He has never pretended to be in love with her and she is calling him a narcissist. No, you are a door mat that won’t demand a man treat you with respect. I think it was Dr Phil, or Oprah that said, “We teach people how to treat us.” And it is the truth. We teach people how to treat us by what we accept, asking for respect is not the same as demanding respect and being prepared to walk if you don’t get it.

So, please don’t wish to be your old self ………… strive to be your best self and make it a life long journey

Eleven Things I Wish My 30’s Self Had Known

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If you could go back in time and change things, what would you change?

Because of the ripple effect I probably wouldn’t change a thing because it would mean giving up something else. Even with my experience with my ex, as horrible as it was; I wouldn’t change anything because it taught me so much about myself that I probably would not have learned otherwise.

Plus I used to lose sleep worrying that I would never find my purpose for being here on earth and I believe it is through my experiences in the past I am able to live my purpose through this blog and other outlets, like Quora.

Things DO happen for a reason, even if we can’t see that reason at the time that it is happening, later we realize there were very clear steps to getting where we are.

That said, this is what I wish I would have known 30 years ago, it is hard earned knowledge, will any 20-30 year old listen to me? I doubt it, growing up takes time and experience, some people are slow learners, some never learn and some people are too afraid to dig deep enough for real personal growth.

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#1. I wish I would have known how pretty I was while I was still pretty so I could have enjoyed it. (That may sound egotistical, but I think it is a common problem with women and men; we don’t realize how great we are just the way we are, that is understandable when you look at social media, magazine covers, etc)

A few years back I was looking through old photos at a friend’s house and kept coming across pictures of my ex husband snuggled up to the same sexy redhead. I was starting to get pissed, “who was this bitch?? and where was I??” Then I remembered I used to dye my hair red and it was me!

My brother and I were talking one day when I mentioned that, I was shocked when he agreed with me and said he wished he would have known how attractive he was when he was younger. I had always thought he was so confident. He had never had a hard time getting women, he was good looking and very charming his whole life. I had been the one who could always find flaws with myself and had been shy.

What difference would it have made in my life? Instead of dating more, I would have dated a lot less because I wouldn’t have been deriving my self worth from the men in my life. I have wasted a phenomenal amount of time thinking and worrying about men. Long before I met my ex, I would be immobilized waiting for the phone to ring, spend hours upon hours discussing with friends, “what do you think he meant by that?”, “Do you think he likes me?”, “Will he call?”, “Why hasn’t he called?”, “Should I call?” and then he would call and I would go on a date and wonder if he had a good time, did I say anything stupid? Omg! hours and hours wasted on dating guys I didn’t even particularly like.

#2. Your mind lies to you. I didn’t know this until I was in my early 50’s. I spent years as an anorexic/bulimic, from about 17 until I was in my 30’s. When I looked in the mirror I saw a fat person. I always felt grossly overweight, I put myself through hell. I finally joined a gym, started working out and drop kicked my scale out the back door, but it took years, I mean years! before I could look in the mirror and not think I looked fat. I was looking through old photos the other day and I was never fat!

So, if my mind could lie to me about the way I looked it could also lie to me about the narcissist is my life, or that I needed the narcissist, couldn’t live without him, and I just had to retrain my brain to think otherwise.

#3. Other people lie to you, even the people who love you, they don’t necessarily mean to do you harm, but your brain only knows the information it is fed; if you are fed erroneous information early in life you could grow up feeling like an imposter or feeling less than. You are not what other people say you are. No one knows who you truly are at the core, even you probably don’t know. I went most of my life not living true to my core self. I did certain things because I had been told I was that way by my father, mother, teachers, boyfriends, it was not until my ex totally broke me and I had to put myself back together that I realized I wasn’t being me. I spent so much time feeling like I was a fraud and people were going to pick up on the fact that I was not perfect and hate me. My house had to be spotless, I had to be skinny, I had to be the best mom, sister, daughter, employee, cook, host, and I drove myself crazy in the attempt. (psst…..no one is perfect, it isn’t even possible!)

My father used to bitch about my mom and even said to me, “You won’t be like your mother, you will always want sex and will want to please the man in your life.” “If you aren’t good I will take your brother and leave.” My mom used to criticize other people and say, “You would never do that.” “You will always keep your house clean.” “I wonder why that guy asked you out”, she was always on some new diet and talking about being fat.

I had some pretty fucked up beliefs about myself. I went to counselling and had come along way by the time I met my ex, but a narcissist is an expert on picking up on a person’s tender spots and I was unprepared for his insidious wearing away of my self confidence. It wasn’t until I was totally broken that I discovered who I am at the core and found my true core values.

#4. Being sensitive is NOT a flaw!! This is a  HUGE one!! OMG!!! my whole life I was told I was too sensitive, like it was a bad thing. The world needs sensitive people to balance it out. Where would the world be without sensitive people, we would all be a bunch of Trumps! But it is not an excuse for letting yourself get caught up with an asshole either. You have to learn to know when you are being played for a fool and when you aren’t. Often times I hear a victim say, “I can’t help it, I am sensitive, it’s just the way I am.” Everyone can change or learn to control certain behaviors that are unhealthy for them.

#5. It is not my job to make sure everyone is happy, safe and not suffering. I can not and do not have to fix the world.  If someone has a problem, I don’t have to fix it. In fact, by always taking control and fixing things for everyone I was sending them the message that I didn’t think they were capable.

#6. Not everyone is going to like you. You don’t like everyone, you don’t have to, and neither does anyone else. There are going to be people who like you, love you, hate you and who are indifferent to you; none of it reflects your worth. It just means we are all different. The people who have to be “right”, which makes you “wrong” are narrow minded and limiting; try to surround yourself with people who don’t have to be right and can appreciate other’s differences. And just because you have a different value or  belief does not make you special or right and the other person wrong. I learned the hard way that judgements have a way of coming back to bite you in the ass.

#7. You don’t have to make decisions immediately and it is ok to change your mind, especially if the person you have made plans with changes the rules. If someone is pressuring you to make a decision, it is probably because they are afraid that if you think about it too long you will realize it is not a good idea and not in your best interest. The best thing to do when you don’t know what to do; is nothing. Things have a way of working out on their own.(It may not be the resolution WE wanted, but there will be a resolution, and it will be the right resolution) Often times when we rush to make a decision it’s because we know it is wrong and if we wait we won’t get what we want. A great example is when the ex narc comes back loving bombing the victim wanting them to try again, making all sorts of promises and the victim feels pressured to say yes. Pressure from the narc but pressure from themselves also; they are afraid that if they don’t say yes right away they will lose the narc. If you lose the narc because you needed time for him to prove he is a changed man, to build your trust again, and prove he is a man of his word; well that is your answer right there.

#8. I am not invincible or better able to recover from hardship than the next person; but I am far stronger than I ever knew or gave myself credit for. You don’t know how strong you are until you are on the other side. When you think you can’t survive remember, you already are. If it was easy, we wouldn’t need strength. Just like a bodybuilder doesn’t know how much weight he can lift until he lifts it and the more he lifts the more he can lift. You don’t know what you are capable of surviving until you do it and the more you go through the stronger those emotional muscles get. All you have to do is look at where you came from to know you are strong enough. If you focus on repeating over and over again, “I am not strong enough” you will feel weak, if you focus on, “I have been surviving for X amount of time, I am strong” you will feel stronger. This takes us back to #1, our brain only knows what we put in it, change the way you talk to yourself and your mind will start thinking differently. I remember the moment I went from being a victim to being a survivor; it was when I realized that I had been saying, “I can not do this one more day.” for something like 700 days, I HAD been doing it for 700 days!

#9. Listening to my gut instincts would have saved me a whole lot of heartache in life. If you wait to see if your gut instinct was right it will be too late, trust your instincts know better than you. I heard a guest on Oprah one time, a detective of some sort, say that any survivor of a rape he had interviewed told him that they ” had a feeling” to not go into the building or go down that street, or whatever put them in danger. Our gut instincts may not see logical at the time and we tend to rationalize things to ourselves  in order to stifle that inner voice.

#10. How people treat me has far less to do with who I am and a whole lot more to do with who they are. If someone treats me badly it is not a sign I have done something wrong or need to change; it probably means that this person should not be in my life and they have issues.

#11. What we plan for, what we hope for, how we see our lives being in the future, very rarely comes to be and as disappointing as it may be, we have to pick up and make the best of it, learn a lesson from it, use it to grow and be a better person, help others with our knowledge, and just carry on best we can. Lamenting, “But that’s not fair!” never solves anything and isn’t going to change anything.

 

None of us know where our lives will take us, even if we are in total control of our life, we can’t control the lives of other people and there are going to be times someone makes a decision that affects your life, peace of mind and happiness. The best laid plans can go south in a heartbeat and if you want to be happy, you had better learn to go with the flow. Thirty years ago I certainly didn’t envision my life being what it is at almost 60. I didn’t have any grand plans for my life but I didn’t think it was even possible for me to be homeless, or that a man would ever hit me and I would stick around, or that I would end up with no money and a ruined credit rating, or heart failure.

I also never imagined my writing helping thousands of people or being published on a website that is in the top 10 sites in the world, or being interviewed on talk radio. I never knew I had talent painting and that someday I would live off of money I made from selling my painted creations. There were times I didn’t think my son would live past 20 and I was brought to my knees with grief and worry over him and now he is a man I am so proud of my heart fills to overflowing. It is so nice to see your child grow into someone you not only love, but someone you really really like.

I have no regrets because I can’t, life doesn’t come with any guarantees, don’t we all want a fairytale life with no pain, troubles, trauma or broken hearts. Very few people, if anyone, gets that. There are so many people who have suffered far more than I have. People who have lost a child to a drunk driver or some psycho. They just found a woman who was held captive since August in a shipping container, she watched her husband get shot dead by her kidnapper. Why did that happen to her? who knows, there are evil psychopaths in the world who commit horrible crimes against humanity. Life sucks sometimes, I don’t understand why a baby has to die, or why a good kind person gets abused and taken advantage of.  All I do know it; there is evil in the world, and you protect yourself best you can and then just live life the best you can.

 

Expectations – Do They Set Us Up For Disappointment?

I received a birthday greeting from someone from the blog this week, this woman’s relationship ended one month before mine and she was saying how much the blog helped her to heal. Five years after D day and this is how she closed her message; it brought tears to my eyes;

“My peace is now profound.  I do so enjoy my life now and am still very happily single and doing so much with it!”

Read that again and really soak it in. Do you understand why those two lines made me tear up? 

Some people never attain inner peace, I am not even sure most people know what inner peace is; they are so focused on finding “happiness”, waiting for someone else to bring them joy, being disappointed over and over again when people don’t live up to their expectations. It is impossible to find peace while you are waiting for other people to give you happiness, your worth, your reason for being here. My ex used to blame me for him hurting me; one of his favorite lines was, “If you had no expectations you wouldn’t be disappointed”.  Eventually I stopped having any expectations of him or anyone else and I went numb inside. I shut off all feelings, oh sure it still hurt when he didn’t come home at night, but I stopped expecting him to be home. If he showed up, great; if he didn’t, oh well. His sister even said to me, “Aren’t you pissed? where is he? how can you just calmly sit there? I would be losing it if it was MY boyfriend.”

I had learned that to react only meant I would have to deal with more gas lighting,  more blame shifting, more word salad and just might get me a punch to the head; but worse than any of that…… I would be told how little value I had and that no man would want me or put up with what my ex had and my soul could not take it.

What was the point to getting angry? nothing ever changed and more importantly;  I was not prepared to leave. I felt my happiness, my very existence relied on my ex loving me and me pleasing my ex. Him showing any kind of approval or acceptance had become my life support. 

Is it possible to have any relationship and not have expectations? I don’t think so. We all have expectations of the people in our lives and they of us. The secret of having expectations is to not let them ruin your inner peace. 

My ex used to use another Dr. Phil Type quote, “No one else can be responsible for your happiness.”

Also a very true statement, but it needs clarification. NO, no one is responsible for your happiness but they can be responsible for your unhappiness and if you find you are consistently unhappy with someone it is your responsibility to not let them ruin your happiness. When my ex said his actions should not affect MY mood, it was a cop out. He was taking a true statement and twisting it to suit his purpose. 

It is true that no one can make you feel worthless unless you let them. A victim of a narcissist doesn’t see it coming and by the time the N is making them feel worthless they are so far down they can’t see the sun any more. But once you know what you are dealing with you have to break the spell and save yourself. It is hard, dang hard, I know and I remember having long talks with myself for a couple of years after leaving him. You are breaking an addiction to his approval, it is going to take time, don’t give up.

Keep reminding yourself that you can not control him or his actions, only your own. You can not fix him, only yourself, to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results is a sign of insanity. 

Before my ex I was an independent woman who took shit from no one, male or female. ( I had a long fuse, but once I reached my limit I was not wishy washy in defending myself and sticking to my guns) Everyone who knew me was waiting for me to have my fill and kick him to the curb; I was waiting for me to have my fill and kick him to the curb, walk away. It never happened.

A common lament of victim’s of a narcissist is, “I am not the same person. Will I ever get the old me back?”

The answer is “No”.

It is not possible to sleep with the devil, LOVE the devil and ever be the same again. BUT you can be a better version of yourself, you CAN find inner peace and a whole new life.

When I met my ex I had high expectations of everyone in my life but I worked very hard to exceed the expectations of the people around me. My self worth was very much wrapped up in the approval of others. I loved to entertain and cook for people but the torture I put myself through making sure the house was spotless, the meal was perfection and I was the epitome of a perfect host was not worth it.

Because of my own high expectations of myself I had given everyone who knew me a false sense of who I was. 

I also drank a lot!! because deep down I am a shy person and needed the liquid courage.

To put it plain and simple; I was not living true to myself, I was living up to other people’s expectations of who they thought I should be and who I thought they thought I should be. But one thing for sure, I was not living true to my core self. The only way to ever have inner peace is to be living true to yourself.

People have asked me how I can have inner peace when I am homeless and my life is in such turmoil. Inner peace has nothing to do with your outward world; it has to do with what is going on inside. For the first time in my life I am living true to MY standards, what is important to ME, and by MY moral code of conduct.

Some people don’t like it, they expect me to still jump through their hoops and live according to their rules. We all have to abide by common courtesy rules and have respect for other people’s rights and possessions. I am not talking about being like a narcissist and ignoring everyone else’s rights or just doing whatever we damn well please any time we damn well please. There is a happy middle ground.

It is not narcissistic to live according to your own standards and not accept bad treatment. 

I am not saying to become selfish to a fault, only to stop looking to others for your self worth, learn who you are inside, accept who you are. You ARE a good person, and if you find something about yourself you don’t like, you can change it. No one is perfect, NO ONE, everyone makes mistakes, everyone has some baggage. You are not defined by your mistakes or other’s opinion of you; only you can decide your worth.

I have always valued my reputation, even after my ex and I split I was proud that my reputation was intact. Well, he set about destroying that too and with some people he succeeded in changing their view of me. I struggled with that, a lot!! but when it comes right down to it, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it except live MY truth and carry on.

Like someone wise person said once, “What other people think of us is none of our business.”

What gives a person inner peace is living true to yourself no matter what other think or say.

That my friends is probably the hardest and greatest lesson I have taken away from being with a narcissist.

 

Put The Bullshit Aside – This Is All That Matters

As promised I am posting another comment made by a visitor of the blog. I read it, walked away, cried, my heart broke, I took a moment of silent reflection; I hope she felt the hug I was sending her through the miles. I find it hard to imagine she didn’t feel it because I could feel it almost like she was in my arms.
I thought I had composed myself enough to reply without tears but the minute I put my fingers down to type the tears were streaming down my face. This woman has lived my greatest nightmare, I can not possibly know what she has lived through, just trying to imagine brings me to my knees. 
But as with all tragedy, there are lessons to be learned and she has a very important lesson to share, one I felt deserving of it’s own post.
You see, this will be the one thousands post, there have been over 22,000 comments made on the blog; about every subject possible to do with narcissists. We rant, rave, do our own arm chair analysis of the relationship, we try to figure out why he did what he did, who he did it with, we discuss all we lost, how we don’t know how we will carry on, start over, ever find love again………. and we beat the subject into the ground for months, sometimes years, before we pull ourselves up and take control of our happiness once again. Hopefully!! Some of us will go back a couple more times, believe his lies until we believe our lies, putting value on worthless things and devaluing the only things worth anything at all, things that are priceless and irreplaceable. 
I hope you will read her comment, take a few minutes to absorb it and understand it and then read it a couple more times. It is THAT important. It is a message I have tried to convey but this message is coming from someone who has lived it and therefore is an authority on the subject of “What is really important in life”. 
When you have everything taken away you are left trying to figure out who you are. For years you have been someone’s daughter, wife, mother, you are identified by the car you drive, the neighborhood and house you live in, who your friends are, your profession, the size of your bank account. Some people go their whole life defining themselves by material things and what other people think of them, determining their worth in the world but all these meaningless worthless things. 
Without all these things who are you? That is when you have to be totally honest, face the true demons, the ones inside you, you have to just be you. You are all you have, if you let yourself down you have no one to blame. 
Here is Liz’s comment, she says it better than I.
Liz Catherine
January 8, 2016 at 12:41 pm

I want to bring a new perspective to these discussions with the hope of moving forward. I have posted here before and so I receive the latest comments which have recently saddened me.

My son was killed in an accident 3 years ago, and what I live with is that I allowed my partner to try to steal from our time and happiness together for 5 years before he died, aged 20. I allowed my ex to have greater needs to the sitting room than we did, to the extent that we stayed in the kitchen at all times. I allowed my ex, through controlling and manipulative tactics, to make me feel guilty for us being there or laughing with my boys and disturbing his peace (even though my sons and I were far quieter and more polite out of fear, than is healthy). I allowed that, no matter what the reason.. fear of confrontation, abandonment, approval or love.

The last time my son, Tom, spent the day with me at our house, there was a miracle.. my ex was out. We laughed, sang and played games free from the cold stare and judgement of being our happy selves. Tom wanted to play my ex’s accoustic guitar for us to sing to. Although he was a very talented guitarist, I knew I had to phone to ask my ex for permission. The answer was a straight, cold ‘No’ and no reason given. We smiled at each other compassionately, drove to fetch Tom’s own guitar, and had a magical afternoon of singing and playing our favourite songs. It is a memory I cherish, like all of the memories of him being with me in this life, and that day was only 4 days away from never being able to see him again. Nobody will ever steal the joy I shared with my son, and what is absolutely certain, is that noone could ever take a moment’s happiness from his life.. Tom was joy and love and thankfulness personified.

We can all be selfish and put our own needs for love/approval/money or anything else before what is really and truly important in this life. If you’ve lost a world of assets at the hand of a narcissist, but have your loved ones and your own soul in tact, then you haven’t lost at all. You’ve learnt a lesson. I learnt a lesson too.. that only Love gives us the ability to be honest about ourselves, to be grateful for what we have and have had, and to let go of the need to feel wounded. The loss of a child shows you that there is NO loss you can possibly suffer that comes close to their loss of their future. The only thing you can do in the face of it, is to go forth and live out your own future with integrity and love for others, in their place. If you can learn this lesson of letting go of everything but Love, without having to lose what is actually most precious of all to you, then you will have understood.

Why Are We Still Teaching Our Young Girls That A Man Gives Them Worth

I was on Facebook the other day and saw a touching post by a mother who’s daughter is being bullied by her school mates about being over weight and unattractive. I forget exactly what her post said because, although I was touched by her daughter’s blight, it was some of the comments that really hit home with me. And not for the reasons you may think.

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The mother posted a pic of her daughter in hopes of getting a bunch of likes and encouraging comments to make her daughter feel better and there were a lot of lovely messages of encouragement posted.

The first comment I read hit me between the eyes and I immediately felt angry. It got me thinking “And we wonder why women settle for less than they deserve and tolerate abuse just so they can say they have a man.”

The relatively young female who commented did so with genuine caring and with the best of intentions I am sure but her attitude screamed at me the problem with society and it’s attitudes about women. It is such a common belief people don’t even realize what they are saying.

I can’t quote the comment word for word but this is basically the message she conveyed.

“Don’t listen to them, you are beautiful inside and out. They are small minded and you are better than them. here comes the clincher………. wait for it……… Some day you will meet a man who will think you are beautiful and love you for who you are.”

I tried to respond to the post but for some reason was unable, but if I could have this is what I would have said.

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“Please, everyone commenting, I know you are all well-intentioned; but please! stop attaching a woman’s worth to having a man! This young lady has a whole future to look forward to, to live her dreams; encourage her to be the best version of herself that she can be. Tell her to live true to her inner voice, respect herself, and value herself and all her wonderful talents, some of which she may not even know she has yet. Explain to her that bullying comes from small minded people who are insecure, that is why they must bully others; in an attempt to make themselves feel powerful. Teach her how to set and defend boundaries and believe in herself so that when she meets a man she doesn’t compromise herself and her beliefs just to keep him. Don’t put so much value on having a man,  that someday if she ends up being abused she stays because it is better than being without a man. Encourage her to live for today and to actively seek out things that give her joy, to pursue her dreams and passions, forget what others think of her, if she lives true to her inner voice and living her life to the fullest; people will gravitate to her because her joy will radiate outward.

When you are doing something you love, you do it well, you can’t help it and doing something well builds self esteem and confidence. A person does not need to be part of the popular crowd, they don’t need dozens of friends (who really aren’t true friends) we only need one or two people who will have our back and not talk smack behind our back. But no matter what there is only one person you can or should rely on, only one person you need to be accountable to, one person who will be totally honest with you if you are willing to listen, and that person is you. Listen to your gut, not the crowds, not the bullies, not your girlfriends, or your boyfriends or what the latest teen magazine is saying about how to get a guy. Live your passion and always listen to what your gut instincts are telling you and you will find happiness and yes, you will find love.

I know bullying hurts, especially when you are a teen you want to be popular and no one deserves to be bullied, but to tell her that someday a man will love her and it will all be ok; is telling her she has to have a man to be valued. For generations upon generations we teach our girls that they need a man in their life to be whole, to be valuable, to be considered attractive, successful, and if you don’t have a man you are flawed in some way.

I wish to God that when I was 15-16-17-30!! someone would have said to me;

“Be you!! you are enough! you are special just the way you are. You don’t need to lose weight, you don’t have to be the perfect homemaker, you don’t have to tolerate shit from any man, just so you can say you have a man. “Man” does not complete a woman, she is a complete package all on her own and very capable of making it in this world. Since women’s lib, women have been proving they can do anything a man can do time and time again and instead of being respected and admired for their strength and brains they are told they can’t have it all, a career and a family. The only reason she can’t have it all is because people are clinging to the belief she is nothing without a man. She can be a homeowner, top executive, breathtakingly beautiful but if she doesn’t have a man everyone assumes she is flawed in some way.

I am 57 years old and I regret spending most of my life trying to be “enough”, I am tired of the hearing from people that a man will solve my problems; excuse me!! that attitude got me where I am today! I spent most of my womanhood trying to be the kind of woman who men want, I strived to be the perfect partner, loving, supportive, home owner, homemaker, a whore in the bedroom but a lady in public, the perfect hostess, the perfect mother, a good friend, and I continually gave more than I could afford to lose. Even after leaving James I an’t count how many times I was told, “It’s ok, some day you will meet a man who will love you for you.” As if without a man happiness isn’t possible; women are all on hold thinking once they meet a man, then they will be happy. What bunk!!!

All through high school I was told by my mom to wait until I got out of school, then I would meet a man who would love me. My dad was telling me that I was going to be a better wife than my mother was and I would know how to keep a man happy, I would never deny my husband sex, (yeah he actually said that) he even told me that when he was single he never went after the really beautiful women because the less attractive women tried harder. (yeah I hear ya, great way for a dad to talk to his daughter, well how about this one) if I wasn’t a good girl he would take my brother and leave mom and me. So the whole responsibility of keeping the family together fell on my shoulders, any wonder I had an ulcer at 9?

The whole time I hauled scrap metal no one understood why I would do that, my family thought I was crazy, but for the first time in my life I felt empowered, I wasn’t doing a job because it was a job I was told I should do, it wasn’t a typical woman’s job, I got dirty, greasy, and I worked as hard as any man and could operate that truck as well as any man and I was still every bit a woman. I felt attractive, in control, confident, I didn’t need anyone to tell me I was doing a good job. For the first time in my life I enjoyed going to work instead of crying every morning at the thought of being locked in an office all day and living for the weekends; and that radiated out.

I cringe at the thought of how many weekends I was quite content to be home with my son, putzing in my garden and at the same time feeling I should be with a man on a date. I remember having girlfriends who dated guys they didn’t even like just so they could say they had a date on the weekend.  I regret all the time I wasted worrying about whether the guy would all or not, whether I needed to lose 5 lbs, never feeling attractive enough because I look at old pictures of me and my God! there was absolutely nothing wrong with me!! If only I had known how attractive I was and appreciated myself more.

We never say to our boys, just wait, some day a girl will come along who will love you for you and then you will be happy and valuable, because boys don’t worry about that. When boys are taught about women terms like these are used;

They are “trapped”, a woman “catches” them, they get “tied down”, “lose their freedom”, “the old ball and chain”, “henpecked”, and if they get dumped they are told to just go to the bar, get drunk and get laid.  Who ever taught our young people that it is acceptable to ask for a pic of a girl naked and it was ok for the girl to send it??? and that it is acceptable behavior to give a guy a blow job and leave a lipstick ring as your “claim to fame”.

Why, someone please tell me! in a day and age when women are more independent, self sufficient and supposedly “equal”, and society has no excuse to be uninformed, a time when people talk openly about how wrong abuse against women is; are women still being told “wait until a man loves you”.

Why aren’t our girls being taught that;

  • If you are going to dress like a whore, men will treat you like a whore and there is nothing wrong with leaving a little bit to the imagination, it does not make you a prude, it gives you class.
  • It may be a double standard, but men on a whole do not respect a woman who has sex with them too soon and if a man is interested in you as a person and not simply as a vagina, he will wait until you feel comfortable.
  • Women may be able to do it all but they shouldn’t have to. There is no way a woman should be working full time and doing all the housework and child rearing also, and if the daddy of your children spends time with the kids, he is NOT giving you a break, baby sitting or doing anything miraculous; he is spending quality time with the children he fathered, period.
  • No one, male or female; should ever be treated with disrespect, hit, called names, or denied their feelings; ever! but we can not ask for respect, we must demand respect and if it isn’t given, we must be prepared to walk away.
  • There are people in the world who do not have a good side, evil people who will exploit you and use you; and you can not fix them nor should you try.
  • It is quite ok to not be liked by everyone, and for you to not like everyone.
  • It is ok to walk away from a relationship with a man without having proof he is an asshole. The fact that you are not happy is reason enough to walk, it doesn’t matter if everyone you know thinks he is a nice guy and you are crazy, you know how you feel and if your gut is saying to walk away, walk away!!
  • Listen to your gut instincts!! pulleeeeeeze!!!! it will never lie to you, trust yourself before you trust anyone else.
  • People should earn your trust, not automatically get trust until they prove they don’t deserve, then it is too late.
  • It is not selfish to say No to someone, and they should respect that you said no and not badger you, if they disappear because you said no then they were not the person for you. Never ever compromise your principles for anyone else. The minute you do you might as well walk away because from that day forward you will be expected to compromise more and more and No will mean nothing to the other person. The minute you compromise your values you have lost the game, he may be happy he got what he wanted but he lost respect for you and you for yourself.
  • We teach people how to treat us by what we allow. People say, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer, he kept badgering me, or he did it anyway……….. then you must walk away. He made his choice when he didn’t respect your feelings/wishes and so you must make your choice, tolerate being disrespected from this day forward or walk away with your head held high and your self respect intact.
  • And last but not least; have some loyalty to your gender, this is not a competition between women for who gets the guy. If you “take” another woman’s man, it does not make you a better woman, no matter what he is telling you. It makes you the next sucker in a long line of women who thought they got their worth from a man instead of from their integrity, honesty and values. and don’t be all surprised and indignant when he screws around on you. The number one unwritten rule for women should be, you never ever date a friend’s man, ever if he is an ex. Loyalty to your friends first and foremost and if he was worth your time and a decent guy, he would never have asked out a friend of his partner or ex partner. Think about it.

That is the end of my very long rant! *sigh* I feel better now, thank you all, I will just pick up my soap box and let you continue with your day.

Hugs to all!!

 

 

You Will Survive – But Will You Thrive?

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I have been going through old posts looking for stuff I want to include in the book and relating it to what many of you are going through now. James and I had split in early December of 2010 and in March 2011 I found out James was living with his new woman. I fell apart when I found out, he and I had been keeping in contact and I figured he was dating but he had always done that; when he found someone that he committed to and did the discard I was shattered.  The waves of grief would wash over me, threatening to drown me again.

I wrote this post June 8 2011,

“My gardens are doing well, as soon as the sun comes out for a few hours there are a bunch more blooms bursting open. I am amazed at how most of my plants were dug up 2 yrs ago by me (from the gardens of homes being demolished for a new road going in) rode around on the truck with scrap, sat outside until I got around to planting them, then got dug up again when I moved this winter. I forgot about them and they sat outside for over a month in snow and freezing temps before I planted them, now they are blooming so beautifully!!! Yesterday I grabbed a dead looking shrub. It was a twig sticking out of the ground and I figured if it didn’t have leaves by now it must be dead. But as its roots let go of the dirt I saw tender fresh green sprouts coming out of the root ball, it was alive! Just slow! So I gently pushed it back into the soil.

I guess people are a lot like that eh? You can rip them up by their roots, neglect them, and downright abuse them, but give them a little TLC and they flourish once again.

I’m not flourishing yet, but I think I’m like that twig, I’m not dead yet! just slow, I Just need a little more time, I’ll come back!”

If you are a gardener, you know that when you prune a bush it goes into a kind of shock at first but when it starts to grow again it comes back more beautiful than ever before. Every place you cut a branch off several will grow in it’s place. If you know what you are doing and make your cuts carefully you can shape the tree so that it truly becomes a show piece of a plant.

When they were putting in Highway #17 they had to rip out some beautiful old homes with gardens that were 30-40 years old. I love plants and it broke my heart to see these lovely plants being ripped out.  James, his son and I had just moved to Ladner and the yard was gravel and barren. Things were not going well between us, i was determined to make it work, and he was being his usual hot and cold self, I always found comfort in digging in the soil and nurturing something so I approached one of the excavator operators about digging up some of the plants and saving them. He saw no reason why not so everyday I went and dug up more plants and planted them in the yard at home. We were on a blueberry farm so fertile soil was plentiful, I dug a pond with gardens all around it. One day I noticed a tree ripped out by it’s roots, laying on it’s side covered in blossoms. it was at least 9 feet tall and had practically no root ball left, but it was blossoming.

I had a hell of a time packing it to the truck but was able to crane it onto the flat deck. When I got home I had to drag it to the pond, I kept thinking that there was no way this poor tree was going to survive this treatment. I dug a hole but it had so little for roots it kept falling over so I piled rocks around the base of it, and strapped supports to the fence to keep it upright. That summer I couldn’t believe my eyes when it produced two pears.

I don’t know what happened to the tree after I moved away, I like to think it is still standing there, providing fruit and shade to the people who moved in after us. I like to think it is standing on it’s own, strong and proud.

I draw a lot of strength from watching nature, the miracle of survival. All living things have an amazing capacity for healing, an instinct of survival, whether it is a plant, animal or person; we all have a drive to survive that often defies what we think is possible.

My first husband had a terrible motorcycle accident when my son was 5 weeks old. He spent 10 weeks clinging to life in the ICU ward of Vancouver General Hospital. Never in that 10 weeks did they give him more than 3 hours to live. I went everyday and even though he was in a drug induced comma and didn’t even know I was there; I whispered in his ear that he had to live, he had a baby at home, he had me and not to give up. Finally they came to me and said there was nothing more they could do. The antibiotics were killing off his good blood cells and they suggested taking him off life support and just keeping him comfortable. I agreed. They took him off the respirator and we waited …….. he took a breath, and another. Within a week his body managed to fight the infection raging through his body and he was out of ICU. He was skin and bones but against all odds his body rallied and he was going to live.

The head surgeon of the Intensive Care Unit took me into a private room on the day he was moved to a ward and she said that there was no medical reason for him to be alive. She credited me with “willing him to live”. She had never witnessed anything like it in her whole career and they were going to be studying his case in an attempt to figure out how he lived.

He was a different man after the accident and I was different too, both scarred and drained and we split.

I spent most of Kris’s life worrying that something would happen to him, I worried myself sick, had panic attacks when he was out of my sight because I so afraid of losing him. I went to counseling, dealt with issues pertaining to my dad and my childhood. I thought I had healed  and I guess I had healed many wounds, I gave up being anorexic, I learned how to communicate effectively and I carried on. I thought I would never love like that again and married and divorced the wrong man because I had given up on ever finding that kind of love with someone, until I met James.

I was determined to make it work with James, everything I had been through, all the pain and suffering had been leading up to James and he felt the same. It was meant to be. I loved loving him and I was not giving up on him, on us. A love like that could overcome anything and I knew without a doubt that he loved me just as much as I loved him and if my love could save my first husband then sure as hell I could save James. I had proven to myself and everyone who knew me how strong and capable I was. I loved James fearlessly, with every fiber of my being and believe me, when he discarded me the pain and sense of loss was unbearable. I was totally and utterly destroyed. I would tell myself; you are a survivor, but there was not one part of me that believed it. I had never tried to kill myself before but I could not find one reason good enough to make me want to live, not even my son.

I have struggled for almost 5 years to get back on my feet and dammit I get tired some days and I still don’t know how I will put food on the table next week, I still can’t pay my rent, but every day I am thankful to be alive. Every time someone comes in here and thanks me for being here and starting this blog, I know I am making a difference by being here, in the world. I am not just taking up space. I have turned the most painful experience of my life into something positive and I have done more inner growth than I ever would have without the experience. I would not turn back time and change things if I could because I cherish every minute of my life, even the bad times because they all make me what I am and brought me here. I am so blessed to have my son, my family, I cry almost daily, not out of despair but out of sheer gratitude. I am so grateful that I have been given the time with my son to make up for all the time I didn’t make him a priority because I was so consumed with my own pain.

I am not saying to bury your pain and not deal with it. I AM saying you WERE a victim, whether you choose to stay a victim or not is totally your choice. There are things you can do to help the healing process along and there are things you can do to stay a victim. You WILL survive, you choose how you will live the rest of your life. It IS a choice, you do have control of your thoughts, your actions and your life. It takes time to put the pieces together, it seems overwhelming but do it one step at a time. You will find people are a lot more understanding when they see you are trying to heal and not wallowing in self pity. I am NOT  saying you can’t grieve, and I had many pity parties throughout the last 5 years, I even planned them, bought wine to drink while I had them.

I fought with the phone, sitting there with his number on my display and my finger over the “send” button and went to bed instead and in the morning I never regretted that I didn’t call. Next time you want to call your ex ask yourself what is it you want to achieve from the call. What do you hope to gain? is it going to make you feel better? what could he say that would make the pain go away? That he is sorry? that it is all his fault? then you would want to go back to him because you would think he had changed. But you know he won’t change. Is there something you need to tell him that you haven’t already said a hundred times? a new way to describe the pain you are in? Do you think he is going to care? and if he did care, what could he do to make it better? I know you want him to understand and feel bad that he caused you so much pain, you think that if you could tell him it would some how take the pain from you and put it on him, he could pack some of it. But he does know, he did it because he wanted to hurt you, he doesn’t care. You know as well as I do that he will blame you, reject you and hurt you again. So why do it? Because being in pain means he is still in your life. You now equate the pain with love. His silence signifies he doesn’t care but if he gets angry, hurls insults, he still cares. You have to want to stop hurting. It is scary because you have hurt for so long you are afraid you don’t know how to be happy and the happy doesn’t come immediately. But it will come. I promise.

So when I say, be patient with yourselves, please listen!! Of course you don’t like being in pain and you want to be healed so you can move on with your life. So many times I hear victims saying the exact same things I did. “But I loved him/her more than I have ever loved anyone.” “I thought we were soul mates”, “He/she was so cruel.” I used to think “no one understood how bad I was hurting, how could they? Not many people have an opportunity to love as intensely as I did. Maybe their experiences were painful but I can barely even function, no one understands, it was different with James and I.”

We can’t imagine anyone else hurting that bad, we are shocked that a person CAN hurt that badly, it’s scary. I thought at times that surely it would kill me. I had lost all faith in there being a God or any fairness in the world at all, like I have said many many times, everyday for almost 2 years I woke up and said, “I can not do this one more day” and every night I hoped I died in my sleep, and I woke up every morning and I did it again. I not only had a broken heart, my business was destroyed, I was living in a trailer with no heat or running water for a year where the dog’s water dish froze in the inside the trailer in winter. I could see my breath it was so cold and I was alone, all alone. And he was trying to destroy the only thing I had left, my good reputation and any means of me supporting myself. I am not trying to say I hurt any worse than anyone else because I have heard horrendous stories here of what victims have gone through and we all have our own personal definition of hell and we all heal at our own speed,  We also choose what we do with the experience.

I have seen victims come in here years after being abused by a narcissist, full of anger, still clinging to their hatred and pain like a life line. They can only see what they lost, they take no responsibility for their part in it, forever a victim of the evil narcissist, forever bitter and lonely. Or there are other victims who bury their pain, immediately go out to find someone who can heal their pain, and they end up meeting narcissist after narcissist and every time they are broken even more because they never dealt with the original hurt and don’t understand that no one else can give you worth and as long as you believe they can, you are setting yourself up to be hurt over and over.

When you derive your self worth from someone else it is always a tenuous state of mind, every time the other person shows any unhappiness over something you did, even the slightest innocent comment can send you spiraling in depression and feelings of low self esteem. You can never truly be yourself because you are so busy trying to figure out how to win the approval of the other person. You don’t feel attractive unless they say you look nice, you second guess everything about yourself and need constant reinforcement. Happiness is always precarious and the pressure on the person in your life is suffocating because they end up being afraid to say anything in case they offend you. Perhaps they even leave you because they can’t handle you always taking the temperature of the relationship and they feel they can’t be themselves and just have a bad day without dealing with your insecurities.

I have always tried to find the lesson in anything that happens in life, otherwise what was it all for? Personally, I could not live with the thought that a 10 year relationship was a waste of time, that all this pain was for nothing, and I couldn’t go the rest of my life hating someone and trusting no one.  Like many of you I could find tons of reason why I could not go no contact and every time I did have contact I came on here and cried “Why does he have to keep hurting me??” and then someone asked me, “Why do you keep letting him?” I admit I was hurt, I was indignant, how dare they say I let him hurt me! I didn’t want him to cheat on me, use me, abuse me, I was an innocent victim!

At some point we have to take responsibility for our own pain and our own healing. There are victims  like James one ex who spent the next 25 years, until she drank herself to death; obsessing about what he was doing, keeping tabs on him, staying in touch, and I am sure crying why me, when she got off the phone. I swore I was never going to give him the satisfaction of being able to destroy me but he had done a pretty good job of it. I had a lot to overcome and I am still dealing with the aftermath of being with him and his sick vindictiveness, but I have found my self worth and inner peace and he can never destroy that. Once a person knows their value and believes in themselves no one can take that away and that is something he will never have and I know it eats away at him that he was not able to break me and I didn’t have to find someone else to heal me or fix my life, I did it all on my own.

He came to me after he got with his new woman and said he was a success and he wanted to help me be successful also. The arrogance!! I said, “You are not a success James. You were successful in snagging a widow with money. You did not earn that money, her husband was successful and her husband made sure she would never have to worry or work a day in her life, he must be rolling over in his grave watching you spend it. That is not success James, not in my books.” He was shocked.”

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