Happy New You! Reflecting to Heal Narcissistic Abuse and Resolving C/PTSD

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Sounded about right with all that’s on the agenda…

I went out to lunch with a friend today and I saw two couples sitting with their 2019 wall calendars and spiral bound planners mapping out their New Year together. I love a new planner too and the hope I feel when I can see 365 days all strung out in front of me to do with what I want. 365 opportunities. 365 gifts. What are we going to do with them all?

Planning has been one of the ways I’ve kept my anxiety at bay in the past, and the type of planning and tracking I do in my planner, has changed as I’ve changed. This year, I achieved what felt like an impossible feat; finishing my first novel. It took five years to write and each year for five years straight I put it in the slot of my #1 goal, and continued to move it to the next year, and the next… and the next before it was done.

But, 2019 will be the first year that I’m adding reminders to my planner that will continue to help me protect myself as well as keep me on the road to healing the destruction left in the wake of enduring and learning of narcissistic abuse.

My 2019 resolutions related to ending abuse, disrespectful familial patterns and recovering from trauma are:

  1. I’m going to stay angry about it. That doesn’t make me a bad person. It’s actually necessary when you are too empathetic and at risk for of being abused.
  2. I am hanging up my Wonder Woman outfit. People will have to fight their own battles like I have. I will no longer feel it my duty to rescue others. I’m busy rescuing myself.
  3. I will continue to take my anti-depressant and anti-anxiety meds and not allow people to shame me about it.
  4. I will no longer word paint for the blind. I understand now that narcissists purposely frustrate our efforts to communicate and our desire to feel validated and are not concerned with the truth.
  5. I will no longer be dismissed, demeaned, and devalued in my own family.
  6. I will remain No Contact with abusers, their triangulated flying monkeys and not feel bad about protecting myself from any of them. This is not a discard. These are boundaries for my health.
  7. People that can’t or won’t defend me against abuse are what my therapist call perpetrators of abuse. If someone is fine with me getting pummeled as long as they don’t have to get involved. Those are not my people.
  8. I will require an apology and changed behavior from here on out. (Hint: If you’re the type of person that hates apologizing, stop doing hurtful shit to other people you have to apologize for. Simple.)
  9. I’ll no longer be the heavy lifter in relationships and won’t accept lop-sided, sloppy seconds from people I call friends and family.
  10.  If things in my life are trying to fall apart, I will let them. I have no more strength to fight.
  11.  I will trust patterns and not words. 
  12.  I will listen to my intuition when it sends me warning signals and I will proceed no further — no matter what anyone says.
  13.  I will no longer allow negative, mean bullies to take their anger out on me with unfounded accusations, criticisms, and insults. If they don’t show up with facts and examples in a respectful manner, they can keep their generalizations and projections of themselves — to themselves. 
  14.  Others opinions of me are none of my business. I’ve studied myself for 51 years… I know who I am, and how I am, and I love myself. 
  15.  I’m worthy of the same love, consideration and respect that I’ve given to others. Asking for those things isn’t expecting too much.
  16.  I will rest when I need to without feeling guilty for what I’m not doing.
  17.  I will no longer apologize when I’m sick or when I need something. I’m human. And my needs matter.
  18.  I will focus more on the love I’m getting than the love I’m not.
  19.  I will have self-compassion and not beat myself up for having feelings, not accuse myself of being overly-sensitive, for crying or having a difficult day. Those are mental loops that play out in my head from abuse and I’m undoing them, defiantly.
  20.  I will say no without further explanation.
  21.  I won’t harm myself with hope. Hoping for reconciliation of any past relationship or wishing it was different will only leave me open for more harm.
  22.  I now know that no response — is a response. I don’t need to attend to every argument I’m invited to. I have to conserve my energy for more pressing matters like healing and living my life.
  23.  I will nourish myself with copious amounts of self-love; massages, facials, plan mini-getaways, take girl’s weekends, I will eat dinner in bed and lounge extravagantly. And I will know that I deserve everything good.
  24.  I’m only going where I feel happy, loved and accepted for who I am. I’ll surround myself with with people who are happy to celebrate me and my  own successes, who are encouraging to me, love me for who and how I am, and not those who merely tolerate me. (Tolerate traffic. Love people.)
  25.  There will be more talking about the elephant in the room and less sweeping things under the rug in my family. They will grow, or go. Their choice.
  26.  This is my blog, and my outlet for healing, and I will discuss on it what I wish. I will be transparent about my life. The good, the bad, the ugly. I will be brave with my life and not be bullied or threatened regarding what I write about. I’m a memoirist. That’s what we do. 

If you’re being mentally and emotionally abused, I hope my boundaries serve as reminders to you that we don’t have to take this shit anymore and we are worthy of all things lovely.

If you are in physical danger, please make a plan to leave quietly, or call 911.

If you’re here reading and we have parted on good, bad, or indifferent terms, I still wish you the very best in 2019 and always. I hope you find what you are looking for.

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing… healing… we’re gonna heal.

This is what healing looks like.

This is me not talking about what the narcissist did or said to me.

On my walk yesterday I stopped to swing after a wonderful hour long massage and a great night’s sleep.

Healing from this doesn’t come from posting memes all over your FB page about it. And it’s not in narcissistic abuse groups where people are in different stages of processing.

You’ll find true healing in your therapist’s office. In actively pursuing reputable sources of information regarding narcissism and no where else.

You’ll find it when you get outside in nature and outside of yourself.

Of course, I had to slide down the slide too. Lol!

I deserve to live my one and only life and so do you.

Be happy. Life is too short to spend it crying over those who didn’t deserve us.

You are loved,

Robin

You can purchase my memoir Steel Town Girl on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

Black Sheep and Golden Child: Discarded or Encased, Which is Better?

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Cicada wings I encased in resin

I used to be a charge nurse in long-term care facilities and later owned my own home care company. Over the course of my career I had to call many adult children and tell them the death of their parent was imminent. Once, when I called a local son of one of my dying patients, he said, “So, what the hell do you want me to do about it, why don’t you call my sister?” and slammed the phone down in my ear.

If the adult children did come to the bedside, these are the scenarios that usually played out: One child sobbed over their parent at the bedside, holding their hand, and doting on their every need. They’d run to the nurse’s station with yet another request and plead with tears in their eyes, “Is there anything else we can do?”

As we talked, they would say things like, “we’ve been estranged for years,” “flew in despite what’s happened,” “couldn’t please him,” “didn’t approve of,” or “was never enough.”

Ah, the Black Sheep. I knew the title well. Life for us is always like a funeral. No matter how perfect or successful we make the rest of our lives, there’s always something or someone missing. We can never truly have it all. It’s a cruel and unusual punishment for crimes we didn’t even commit. And what we are really grieving for when our parents die is how things could have been, and now there is no hope of ever reconciling our relationship. The thought of having an entire family around a Thanksgiving table or a Christmas tree are gone forever. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

The other adult child, usually decided to come, but they stood pissed in the hallway with their arms folded across their chest.

As we talked, I’d hear statements such as, “he was such a pain in my ass,” “he never respected my boundaries,” “thought he owned me,” or “as long as I kissed his/her ass.”

Enter the Golden Child. They didn’t speak to until spoken to, but had a lot to say. They grieve for the loss of their lives spent in cages, they grieve for the loss of their voice, and the loss of their individual identity. They’re finally seeing that the reward of being favored and accepted came with a price. Sure, it was wrapped up like a gift with a shiny bow, but has taken all but their lives. They’ve existed. And what are they now if they aren’t praised at every turn? Saved? They don’t know and aren’t sure they want to. —

My father was a Golden Child and then raised my brother to be a Golden Child. These tend to be their characteristics:

Golden Children are highly favored, given praise for the littlest of things, and are accepted the way they are, no matter what. There is no reason for them to ever change because the narc parent has sent the message that they are perfect the way they are. Golden Children can’t stand up for much of anything that is opposite the narc parent because the message is: “You had better tread lightly or else.” Some Golden Children are easily swayed by promises of gifts, inheritances, and lavish attention, praise and ego-stroking. They sometimes join in on abuse of other family members, parroting the narcs words, tone and even inflection. You sometimes find yourself wondering where the narc abuser ends and the golden child begins. They value safety and familiarity over the messy unknown life of the black sheep. The narc needs this triangulation of the golden child for back up. For their own validation and acceptance. Things they will never give anyone else. They need it in order to do their dirty work. Deep down I wonder if they know they are sell outs? But, the world tells us that golden anything is better than black anything else. Golden is accepted. Sought after. Bright. Gold means #1! But, Golden Children rarely if ever reach their magnificence. Some ask for handouts their entire life, and the narc parent is just too happy to bail them out again and again. Money? Cars? Lying for them? Fixing it? Protecting them? You name it. Consider it done. But, bailing someone out all the time or spoiling a child, is abuse. When parents do this they clip their child’s wings. The child can flap their wings against their entrapment, but they’re not going very far anytime soon. If they do try to go beyond the pale, they are quickly blinded by the light of complicity and their own illusions of perfection. They go along to get along. That’s how they survive. And there’s nothing more that can be done. — And when the parent that’s caged them dies… they are lost, pissed, and confused.

So, there they stand, along the dank nursing home hallways, arms folded across their chest and the person they’re really mad at — is themselves. They’ve sold their souls for the fake love and attention from a sick individual that needed some back up in the convoluted mess that is their inability to deal with their own pathological issues. Bullies. Always stronger in groups. A life triangulated away into nothingness. They’ve been duped. 

Black Sheep (me) are never bailed out, helped, selected, chosen or favored. We muscle through life on our own, like scrappy wild children looking for food, and nothing we come home with is ever good enough. We could have always done better. We grow up without love and nurturing and by some miracle known only to God, end up capable of pulling ourselves up and out of some of the muckiest, hurtful places in life, only to smile and give to others another day. We know no one is coming to save us and know that it begins and ends with us to be there for ourselves but somehow we remain open to hearing from God at anytime now. See how much I help myself? Do you see me now? In essence, we’ve become stronger for being discarded. We’ve had to figure shit out, and overcome painful negative loops playing in our heads to accomplish anything. Black Sheep can do whatever we put our minds to, and we tend to be over-achievers. We love with our whole hearts. And because we know how it feels not to be, everyone’s included at our table because we know that exclusion is deadly painful. Hell, we even have compassion for our abusers. We’ve loved deeply, even in spite of knowing we were being used and merely tolerated in return. But, yet, Black Sheep are out in life trying to create beauty out of our pain, families out of fragments, and feasts out of scraps. And when our ailing parent dies, we, the Black Sheep: seekers of answers, ask, “Is there something else we can do?”

My brother used to tell me before my dad triangulated him to his side, “You are the strongest woman I have ever met.” And, I’m still not sure, if that was meant to be a statement about me, or about his own limitations.

I don’t hold a grudge against my brother. In fact, I love him very much. Both the Golden Child and Black Sheep are abused children that grow into abused adult children. Both are molded, scolded and imprinted with shit that takes years of counseling to unravel, let alone understand. And sadly, unless we seek counseling and explore our own pain, sometimes we don’t even realize the deeper family dynamics that are so ingrained in us that are passed on from generation to generation.

I haven’t seen my brother in nineteen years, and I doubt I ever see him again. When I think about him, I get sad. Not so much for me, but for him. I can only imagine what kind of hell his life has been and how controlled he is as an adult. The last time I saw him, he sported purple bags under his eyes, had a flat affect and although he was alert and spoke, he did so with a reluctancy about him. It was as if he had accepted his fate of, “this is my lot in life and I had better keep quiet about it, or else.”

Fuck that.

I wish him nothing but the best in life. I wish him the ability to see through this one day and feel his way out the other side like I did. I hope he seeks help with his depression and finally lands in Wrongville with me. I hope that he was also able to break this cycle of abuse in his own family and do what my father wasn’t able to do in his. I hope he stands up one day and tells his children about their Aunt Robin. I doubt they know I exist. That makes me cry.

But, I’m glad to be the Black Sheep of my family sitting over here in Wrongville. We’re not complacent over here. Not willing to go along to get along. We stand and deal. I think if we’re going to be abused, it’s best to be excluded from the family dynamics of narcissistic abuse than it ever is to be encased in it like a bug captured in resin.

I will remember and recover. Not forgive and forget. My heart can only take so much.