Tag Archives: Shame

Shame Can Cripple You

I have a very special event being put on by my Facebook friend 

David Bedrick JD Dipl PW.

The event is about overcoming shame. Shame is crippling and something victims of narcissistic abuse regularly deal with. 

It starts Nov 2, short notice, I know but it will be well worth the investment of time and money.

I love David’s , “Say it like it is” approach and I just know so many people here could benefit from this course; what a wonderful Christmas gift to yourself or to start the new year not hobbled by shame!

Here is David’s Facebook post from today and a link to the event.

Friends, if you are interested in exploring shame more deeply, I am starting a 4 week class November 2nd, at 7:30 EST. Classes are 1.5 hours each Thursday for 4 weeks. Message me if you are interested.
https://www.facebook.com/events/818296725018939/?acontext=%7B%22action_history%22%3A%22%5B%7B%5C%22surface%5C%22%3A%5C%22page%5C%22%2C%5C%22mechanism%5C%22%3A%5C%22page_upcoming_events_card%5C%22%2C%5C%22extra_data%5C%22%3A%5B%5D%7D%5D%22%2C%22has_source%22%3Atrue%7D

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The Secret of Happiness – Adaptability

I recently read an articles that said the secret to happiness is being flexible and adaptable. That makes sense, being adaptable means you make the best of a situation and you do not rigidly insist on things always going as you plan. The ability to go with the flow can make for a happier life it can also be the trait that keeps you with a narcissist. Out of curiosity I Googled “Personality Traits of Happy People” because I wanted to see if my theory was correct and…….well……. I rest my case. The exact same traits they say a person need to be happy are the same traits that kept us in the relationship with the narcissist.

Be Humble

Be Courageous

Be Grateful

Be Tolerant

Be Loving

Be Forgiving

Be Selfless

Be Honest

Be Persistent

Be Expectantly Patient

Many victims are ashamed they got involved with a narcissist, society shames the victims and the narcissist shames the victim, pretty hard to not feel ashamed when so many people are in agreement.

But the traits needed to stay with a narcissist are the same traits we are told we should have to be happy and to lead an exemplary life; so how can it be shameful to have these traits? The very same traits that made it possible for me to care for a 5 week old baby while having my husband in the hospital dying enabled me to stay with JC. The traits of forgiveness and being non-judgmental were the same traits that made it possible for me to stand by my brother when the family turn their back on him and the same with my son. Or when my mom and dad split and my mom was a basket case and needed a shoulder to cry on every night for months on end, it was me who was there for her. The very traits that I was criticized for with JC were the traits that have made it possible for me to assist other people in my life when they had no one else and got me through some really tough times in my life. It was fine for them when they needed these characteristics but they were the first to criticize me for them when I wouldn’t give up on JC.

JC used to complain I was too demanding, too inflexible, and that I needed to be more adaptable and learn to go with the flow and that I should be more grateful for what I had and not always be so negative. I had never been called negative in my life, in fact I had always had a very positive attitude and looked forward to the future with anticipation of what was to come. But I was very organized and structured, meals were at a certain time, I went to bed the same time every night, I had to work, I had a son to raise and I had a mortgage to pay, time was limited and I had a lot on my plate. I was not spontaneous, my 1st husband complained because he would want to do something on the weekend and I would want to stay home and clean the house. In my family we decided at Christmas dinner who was cooking it next year, my whole life was planned.

JC challenged all that and I didn’t mind that he was a free spirit, he was kind, loving, sweet and had a great sense of humor; so what if he was a little scattered and usually late, he always called if he was late and all the good things about him outweighed the couple of annoying things about him, I was at a point in my life where a little spontaneity was welcome. My son had moved out, I no longer had to be home for a child, I was ready to enjoy a bit of freedom, I thought, how wonderful that I would find someone like JC at this time in my life, I knew it never would have worked had we met any earlier because I would have been too regimented because I was a single mom with responsibilities.

I think in the past I had intentionally picked men who were passive because I had watched my mom being controlled and was determined to stay independent and in control and consequently I had packed the load in most of my relationships, always been the strong one and I was tired and ready to allow a man to “take care of me”. I had been making all the decisions for so long, carrying the load financially and emotionally I didn’t fight giving up some control.

Life was an adventure! I was SO happy with JC, I stopped planning suppers because i never knew what to expect when I came home from work, he would want to go somewhere and always wanted me along. I learned to become flexible about when we ate and when I did cook at home it was usually late and we would eat and just talk. When we went out we would stop at a bar or pub somewhere and share something, I usually let him choose, I wasn’t picky. We would blitz Vancouver, I didn’t know Vancouver so I relied on him and sort of played the role of tourist as he took me to this place or that, to visit friends of his.

I came home one day after work, the apartment was torn apart, there was water every where, stuff spread all over the floor and he was in the living room putting together a huge aquarium. I had always loved aquariums and had one for years but it was nowhere near that big. This was a 90 gallon aquarium that JC had found and somehow managed to get up 3 flights of stairs all by himself. My irritation at the apartment being a mess dissipated with my joy at seeing the aquarium. He was so knowledgeable about how to set up an aquarium and I love to learn about stuff I don’t know. I watched him setting up filters and pumps with fascination and a growing appreciation for this man who continually surprised and impressed me. We would spend our Sundays cruising pet supply stores looking for unique fish and thought nothing of spending a couple hundred dollars on a fish. I loved watching him with the fish, he even gave CPR to a fish that jumped out of the tank and cried when it died. Such a sensitive guy, I could not believe how I fell in love with him more the more I got to know him.

I always wanted to make love with him and he could make love over and over again, he always wanted me and I always wanted him, I had never wanted a man more in my life, never slept wrapped up in a man all night before in my life. THIS is what love feels like, nothing else mattered as long as he was by my side. I fell in love watching him get lost in playing his guitar, I fell in love watching him fix my car, I fell in love with every love note I woke up to and every bouquet he brought me home for no reason. I fell more in love every time I got upset about something and cried and he would pick me up and pack me to the bedroom and lay me beside him on the bed stroking my hair. When I came home one day and he put a song on the CD player and held me close while we danced (he hated to dance) and his tears slid down his face onto my cheek and he told me he had never loved anyone like he loved me and it scared him, we kissed through our tears and made love on the living room floor. When I cried because I didn’t have a garden to dig in he took me to the nursery and bought big pots, potting soil and all the plants I wanted and packed them up 3 flights of stairs so I could have my garden on the deck. He made me a pond with a water fall and then took a picture of it and had it blown up and framed for me as a surprise. Who cared about Valentines or Christmas gifts when someone was so sweet for no reason? I felt so blessed.

But he never seemed as impressed with the little gifts I got him, I just thought he felt awkward accepting gifts.

He was always wheeling and dealing but he always made money, on the weekend when the Buy and Sell came out he would get up early and run down to the corner store, coming back with two coffees and the paper. I was amazed at how he could horse trade and get something, put a bit of work into it and double his money.

Gradually, oh so gradually, his living on the edge started to scare me. I remember standing in the kitchen one time upset because I didn’t want to him spending money because we needed groceries and he had said to have faith in him, hadn’t he always pulled the rabbit out of the hat? So I conceded, he had always found a way to make money, we always paid the mortgage payment, we always had food, I thought “I have to learn to give up some of the control and trust him.”

A couple of years later we were basically homeless and he managed to find us a hovel to live in, I had never lived in conditions like that in my life, but I adapted because; as long as I could put my head on his chest at the end of the day I could over come anything. Only problem was, he had stopped coming to bed unless he wanted sex and we didn’t have a bed, only a couch for a while. I couldn’t cook suppers anymore because we didn’t have a kitchen. Before I realized what had happened I had nothing that was familiar to me, I did none of the things i used to excel at, there was no point in cleaning the house, what house? it was a dump, i had none of my possessions, none of my family photos, no kitchen to cook, no tub to bath, no gardens to putz in then my vehicle broke down and I had to walk every where,, but I adapted. I always found a way of making the most depressing place a home. I learned to paint to entertain myself and keep my sanity, I read, I stopped making plans, I gave up everything that made me me. But I decided I would treat it like research, I would use what i learned to help people later when we were back on our feet. I always believed we would get back on our feet, I truly believed in JC. I believed in God and a purpose and I believed he had a plan for JC and I and when I prayed for a sign telling me if I should stay or leave I could always find a “sign” to stay.

As we all know, if the N had treated us in the beginning like he did at the end we never would have dated him past the first date, we aren’t stupid, we don’t “like” abuse, we didn’t go looking for a man who would scream at us that we were psycho, paranoid demanding bitches, we didn’t want an STD, or a black eye. We weren’t looking for someone to give all our possessions and money to. We were trusting people who had no reason to believe the N was anything other than what he said he was.

Because we are caring, non-judgmental people who have screwed up in our own lives and we think everyone deserves a second chance, (after all we have ourselves hurt people when we didn’t mean to), everyone can make a mistake and everyone deserves a second chance right? Who are we to judge? This is the love of our life, for months he/she has been everything we ever wanted in a partner and more, they gave us more than we ever knew existed in a relationship, of course we are going to give them a second chance! Yes we were strong when we met them, we had never taken abuse from anyone in our life, we were independent and nobody’s fool; BUT we had never been in love like that before either. When you find a love like that you don’t just throw it away, in our minds the N’s behavior was totally out of character; we didn’t yet know that it WAS his true character and the man we met was a sham.

Most people don’t figure out they are with a narcissist until they have split and they go looking for answers, for certain; no one goes looking for answers until they are so invested  in the relationship it is very hard to extricate themselves. Plus, it is human nature to cling to a losing proposition the more you have invested in it whether that is emotional investment or financial investment.

Anyone who wants to judge the victims is naive and obviously never been in the position themselves. It is easy to see all the red flags when a person hears about the relationship after the fact when retold by the victim. When you are in the middle of the smoke screens, gas lighting and love bombing it is almost impossible to think straight and logically. The N does it on purpose to keep the victim off kilter. It’s hard to be strong when you can’t get your balance.

Now, unfortunately you will recognize the signs soon enough to protect yourself and you know your natural personality traits that can work against you so you will be more careful who you bless with your love and understanding.

But don’t ever stop being you, don’t let anyone tell you that you are to blame and that to be a caring person is wrong. Remember a narcissist has to have the best, they don’t pick losers. That is why they are driven to destroy their victims, they know they do not deserve them and the victim is so far above them they can only pretend for a short period to be like them and then they can’t keep the mask on.

Shame-Don’t Own It

This started off as a response to a comment and got so long I decided to make it a post.

This is the comment:

Dear Carrie,

I recently found out I was the other woman in the relationship with my ex. He and I dated shortly, he never fully committed, allways pushing me away, but really jealous. As he didnt want to commit we broke up but he insisted to stay friends. Still jealous and touchy, even sex. Then he pushed me away again.

So he didnt wanted me to move on and didnt let me go.
I am smart, beautiful, strong woman and told him goodbye. I invited him over after a couple of months as I allways saw a good man in him. I now finally know the truth, there was an other woman and now he is comitted to her. She has find me via the web and found out he cheated on her.

I emailed her my story and warned her about a medical issue. Her response: he told her i am sick, depressed suicidal, psychiatric and i threathend him to stay with me etc.

I still believe in him as a good man, he cried alot and told me I am a good person. People allways open up to me and i have with strangers allways an connection and they trust me.

Why cant i make him see the harm he did. Why did he remained friends, knowing i was hurt, why didnt he dump me and leave for the other girl so I wouldnt find out?
I am still attached and the new girl’s ex hurts. I feel ruinend. Would he feel remorse.

I feel like a failure but i allways kept my boundaries.shame

Saan

Sann, the reason you feel the way you do is because everything you know to be true about people, what we all believe to be true about the world and the people in it has been challenged. You are a strong woman (btw most victims of an N are strong people, a narcissist rarely pursues weak people because they are not a challenge and btw, they pick people with high moral standards and who are highly regarded by their peers). That surprises most people.

Almost every single person who comes in here after experiencing a relationship with a narcissist, whether it was a romantic one or otherwise; feels ruined, broken, a failure and they almost always say, “I was a strong, confident, self-sufficient, attractive woman.” as if by being a good person you should have some sort of protective force field protecting you from being taken in by a narcissist. That only weak, stupid people would get sucked in by an N.

You did not fail, You acted as you always have, in a way that has always worked for you, you stopped seeing him, you called the other woman and informed her, when he cried you felt compassion for him because you know everyone makes mistakes and deserves a second chance, you are non-judgmental, you. like me; have always believed that everyone has a “good side”, that if you treat people with respect and as you want to be treated you will get respect and kindness back. We grow up believing that good things come to good people and if something bad happens to someone it must be some form of payback for some thing bad they did or they somehow asked for it.

If someone ends up homeless we assume it is because they were bad with money, they have an addiction or a mental illness; they somehow contributed to their situation and if they lived an honest, wholesome life and worked hard they would not be in that position.

It gives us a feeling of superiority and we feel protected from it ever happening to us because we lead honest, wholesome, – lives. It gives us a false sense of security and for most people that theory is never challenged. When we see women in abusive relationships we assume she is weak, needy, co-dependent, insecure, must have had a bad childhood, ………….. there MUST be something wrong with her. It makes us feel superior, even though we say we do not judge and we have compassion for women of domestic violence, deep down we actually blame her for her situation because we know we would never allow ourselves to be abused. WE are confident, self-sufficient, honest, moral and immune to ever being there ourselves. So when we find ourselves exactly where we never thought possible we feel it has to be something we did, we failed somehow, how could we have been so stupid?

We hear about these evil people on the news, or we see movies about them but we never associate them with us!! I don’t know where we think these evil soul suckers live but they sure the hell do not live in MY house or sleep in MY bed.

And……… when we discover we ARE sleeping with one we do the right thing, and we believe that when we confront them on what we know and explain why what they did was wrong and hurtful; they will do as most humans would do……….they will stop doing it. They will either

1. Apologize and never do it again 

Or

2. Leave us because now we are on to them

We don’t expect them to deny it, call us crazy even when we have the evidence right in our hand (You could find an N in bed with a woman and he would tell you that you are paranoid and he is sick of your warped views of reality and he is not responsible for your happiness) and blame us for our own pain. We don’t deserve to be treat this way when all we did was be honest, calmly and kindly spoke our truth and believed in him and loved him unconditionally; how can he lie about us? why? what did we do to make him hate us like that? Or we don’t expect him to come crying, admitting everything he did wrong, beg for our forgiveness, and promise he will change and then have him continue to do exactly the same or worse things to hurt us. Why would he bother? He even has another woman why would he bother with me when he knows I am on to him and won’t accept being treated that way.

But we just did, he got away with it and he hurts us again because we believe there is good in all people, we are rational logical beings who try to make sense of the world around us, and if it doesn’t make sense we use our rational, logical mind to make it make sense.

We assign emotions to the narc that we would feel if in him position, because he doesn’t feel like other people and doesn’t have appropriate responses to situations we make excuses for him, he is putting a wall up because of past hurts, he just doesn’t understand that he hurt me, he really is sorry his just so ashamed her doesn’t want to admit it, I don’t want to rub his nose in it, so I won’t mention it again, he wouldn’t be here unless he meant to change because I was very open and honest about how I felt about it.

I remember calmly telling James how him having personal ads bothered me, to me it was infidelity to be looking for other women on a dating site. It was an insult to me for him to stay up all night looking at porn when I was laying in bed wearing something sexy waiting for him. I told him that there were women out there who would not be bothered with him wanting sex from more than one woman but I was not that woman and I expected fidelity and honesty. I didn’t give him an ultimatum, I told him my expectations and left him to decide if he could live within my boundaries or not and if he couldn’t, I assumed he would leave me but I was not going to compromise my standards. And for years I defended my boundaries, every single time I caught him with another dating site ad, or writing a love letter to some other woman I never allowed it, I always expected that some day I was going to explain it in a way he could understand and he would either stop doing it or he would leave. I certainly never anticipated that he would try to make me crazy with gas lighting (I had never even heard of gas lighting until after I had left him 10 years later), destroy my business to make me dependent on him, sabotage my vehicle, slander me, and slowly and insidiously eat away at my self-confidence and self-esteem and make me doubt my whole reality. What normal person who has never met a narcissist would expect that from another human being? It is SO far from our reality, from everything we have been taught and live by that we cling to our belief that there has to be some good in this person. We NEED them to have a good side, we NEED there to be a reasonable explanation for the things they do.

It is a horrifying realization that there is no good in them, that it was all an act and they are loathsome people who get off on others pain and suffering. We cling to the belief that they have a good side because we know that if they can do the things they did to us they are capable of being the person we read about in the news or see in a movie who kills without remorse. When he is screaming in our face and we see the loathing and hatred in his eyes we know that was the last thing those women (who were murdered by their lover) saw. It sends a chill down your spine when the realization hits you that you have been sleeping with the devil and you are in grave danger. The danger is not even that he is so evil, it is that he is so damn good at hiding it.

We get out of the relationship with this inner turmoil, we don’t want to believe we love something so purely evil, that we didn’t pick up on it sooner, and he is calling us crazy and psycho and people are believing him. We feel like we have lost control of our lives, he is manipulating everything and everyone in our lives and we don’t know how to protect ourselves from him, from the people who believe him and God forbid, How do we protect ourselves from another one.

We NEED to believe we aren’t to blame for our own pain but if we believe that then we have to also believe that we are helpless to prevent it from happening again. It is a hopeless thought, how can we go on if we know these people exist and there is no way of protecting ourselves?

All is not lost, because we can protect ourselves, not totally, there will always be narcissists in the world and they will always be cunning and able to morph into any person they want to be BUT now we know they exist, now we know that a person can look us in the eye and lie their face off, now we know that people will tell you that they love you more than anyone they have ever loved, and they can cry and beg your forgiveness and leave your bed to go to another woman’s bed.

I don’t believe that none of us didn’t know he was lying. I believe that we all felt in our guts that something was not right, we felt he was lying, we saw the signs, we found evidence, we weren’t stupid, our mistake was to believe in the good in all people. Our mistake was refusing to see evil, our mistake was to not listen to our gut when it said; danger. Our mistake was when he didn’t respond to our honest expression of hurt and didn’t respect our boundaries, we made excuses for him we assigned him appropriate emotions because if we didn’t we had to admit he was not who we thought he was and we would have to walk away.

If we take our time, and trust what we see with our own eyes and not what he is telling us to believe, if we listen to our gut we will be ok, we will get out before he has a chance to destroy us, we won’t be talked into remaining “friends” , we won’t believe the apologies, we will be able to walk away with our souls intact, our boundaries still in place and we won’t feel broken and helpless. 

I have been told many times I am an inspiration, that people can not believe how strong I am and that they hope to someday be as strong. I have to laugh because throughout my whole recovery I have felt anything but strong. For 2 years I didn’t think I would make it through another day and at the end of the day I often cried myself to sleep, most days I was all but immobilized with fear and hopelessness. I had never been that insecure, helpless and hopeless, empty, shattered, weak, ashamed, suicidal, ever grim negative thing a person can think about themselves I felt it. I loathed me as much as James had loathed me. And the reason for that was not because James made me feel that way (yes he treated me with loathing, he told me I was useless, a psycho bitch that made his life hell) it was because I had always thought I was stronger and smarter than to get into or stay in an abusive relationship and so did everyone who knew me. No one understood, I was ashamed, too ashamed to ask for help, I was judged by society, I knew what every one was thinking; that I was weak, co-dependent, flawed in some way or I would not have been in the relationship to begin with. Some thing was terrible wrong with me.

When women come in here and say they are ashamed that they were so weak I think to myself, “So you believe all these women in the blog are all stupid, weak, insecure women? that you are so much better than all these other women, you shouldn’t be here?” Of course you would all deny that you think you are better than the rest of us but that is what you are saying when you criticize yourself for getting sucked in by the N. Instead of views victims as weak maybe we, society, should look at them through different lenses, maybe we have to view them as being so damn strong that they were able to withstand the horrendous abuse of a narcissist and remain standing. I know most of the time I took James back it was not because I needed HIM, i felt sorry for him, he needed ME and I felt I was strong enough to put my needs on the back burner to help him. I was strong! you are strong!! 

There is no shame in being an honest, moral, responsible caring, person. Put the shame back where it belongs on the narcissist. He won’t take it, he will never feel shame or remorse but that is not your problem, just because he refuses to take does not mean you have to pack it; let it go……..it is not yours to pack.

misconceptiondon't want anymore

Silence Can Say So Much

lampverbal-abuse--most-interesting-and-creativ...

lampverbal-abuse–most-interesting-and-creative-ads (Photo credit: thelampnyc)

Abuse

Abuse (Photo credit: Ex-InTransit)

Silence tells the victim they are alone, they don’t matter

they deserve the abuse

Silence gives the abuser the power to continue the abuse

The only way to end abuse is to end the silence

Stop shaming and blaming the victim into silence

Stand proudly, speak loudly against abuse

Put the blame and shame where it belongs.

(Carrie Reimer 1958)