In preparing to write this article, my intention had been to highlight how narcissistic personality remains largely misunderstood by the public. Specifically, I have found that most of the clients and everyday individuals I talk to about narcissism tend to associate narcissism with a sense of superiority, meaning that they understand narcissists as having an […]
I am grieving because life is out there and I am not living it today
I am too concerned with the pain of past that is gone
and if anger doesn’t serve the process of taking me
deeper into the sorrow that comes
when the cost of holding onto defences of anger
rob my present life of love healing and compassion
what is it worth?
Can I say I am really living?
Take a walk darling and let the energy flow!
Then wisdom voice/mind says to me :
Deborah be patient and compassionate
Love and don’t criticise yourself
it’s okay to struggle
it’s okay to question
it’s okay to wonder
it’;s okay to somedays get trapped in your mind
in trying to figure it out
because on a new day you will do something else
on a new day you won’t be struggling so hard
in time days of struggle will give birth to something else
you just have to be patient and trust the process
and know that there will be a day when you can move forward
into the present moment
to actually live it
to embrace life
just allow your pain and anger a place
and trust that they will transform
and release you
to love and freedom
Sometimes the steps backward teach us more about who we really are, that is so clearly expressed in this honest post. ❤
BACKFLIPS are the thing of talent show dance troopes….the visual motions that make the crowd get excited. When applied to mental health recovery, backflips are what I like to call what other people term ‘relapse episodes’, to make them seem a little less shit than mental health relapse episodes really are.
It should come as no surprise to my regular readers that in the last couple of months my recovery has flip reversed it. I haven’t hid it. I haven’t pretended to be anywhere other than where I’m at, and where I’m at is struggling, more and more by the day. I rang the crisis team earlier. Fortunately they helped and apart from some mild self-harm I escaped from that mood episode unscathed.
This year has been marked by five months of progress, until my bubble got burst by a very unfortunate person who I wish had never ever come…
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I want to feel the heartbeat of the world
The collective pulse that keeps us
Finding the strength
To reach out through our own pain for life
The courage that will not close the door on suffering
And will say this hurts
Is not right
But was all part of the journey that brought us to here
Fire and ash
Flood and storm
You rain down on the world
With a restless fury
That can terrify
But if we look deeper
If we have the courage to stand firm and true and open
In the eye of the storm
At its very heart
While wild tempests rage
Will we hear with open ears and hearts
Awakened to truth through suffering
The roaring cry for love
That can answer
And race forward from the heart
That in being isolated, exiled or rejected
So longs to be reconnected
To the healing heartbeat
You are brave
To bear your scars
You say I hurt
You say I am vulnerable
You say at times I feel like I wish that I could die
Because the deep down truth is that you suffer
At the hands of others
Who could not bear you being you
It takes such courage to feel that pain of inauthenticity
But somewhere deep inside
You love life
And a fire burns
All your pain
Comes from the harsh realisation
Of how in being starved
You could feel you were less than
And therefore had to beg for or buy love
But true love
Lies in authenticity
Even if the authentic real dark at times with tarnish
Obscures the true brightness of your orphan soul
Exposed to pain
Exposed to life
You travelled down so deep and into such pain and emptiness
Bearing things others could never imagine
To find a love
No can take from you
For all survivors of abuse
Masterchef Australia is currently on tele here in Oz and the refrain push, push, push is heard nearly every night but its a reminder to me that sometimes I just need to rest, rest, rest because I can push and push and push to have to get things done and sometimes its coming out of anxiety or critical energy.
Earlier I wrote a post that touched on positive self will, I guess this is action which is line with Self that tries work in a balanced way to both project us into the world, but at the same time tell us when to rest, go easy, or take it slow. In childhood I never got to experience relaxed happy times with my parents. It was a very duty bound home full of responsibilities and in some ways this can be good but not when it interferes with my ability to relax, let go and have some fun!
After getting into a rage last week about being stuffed around by the dentist and that arking up all my head trauma, I then got reminded of how it felt to be around family energy. Just this morning my brother called from America. He is go, go in the garden nearly put his back out by digging in the front yard. “Just be sure to take care of yourself”, I said. Then when I had to share about my dental trauma there was absolutely zilch emotional reaction or connection just a dull heavy emptiness and as so often happens after I got of the phone to him I found myself in tears. My family are JUST SO SHUT DOWN.
Later my sister called to say that in training this morning her personal trainers dog jumped on her and soiled her nice clean leggings, I just wanted to say ‘get lost’ she said. I considered this with a calm irony. I just said “Wow I can almost sense Mum’s flared nostrils from here!” I remember how my dead sister would never let my mother remove old flowers from her room and how she loved the story where Mum visited a family friend’s farm and got upset due to ending up with chicken shit on her shoe…this delighted my sister.
I have empathy for my Mum though, to be left that alone when you are young and then to feel the only way you can find value or worth is by taking control, keeping everything perfect and looking good is very sad on some level when it costs a heavy price in being able to just let loose, laugh at chaos and have some fun. I get anxious just thinking about the chicken shit, to be honest but I think that is a conditioned reaction.
I allow my own dog to jump up when he wants too. People at the dog park don’t mind, I know some would consider it not a good sign, a sign of ‘bad manners’ or inadequate training. I see it as a sign of how affectionate he is and how much he loves people, and having him has re-connected me with that part of myself which so long ago went into hiding in a home where we were conditioned to think more about how we looked on the outside, than about how we felt on the inside and must keep genuine needs and interest locked behind a wall of fear or shyness.
Today, once again I am not going to push, push, push. I just had a moment where I realised I was pushing and then felt really, really sad and an inner voice just said to me “how bad could it be if you just relaxed for a while?” So for the first time in over 2 years I sitting in my faded floral chair in my small dining room and writing this. It feels GREAT!
I know I can overcome my childhood conditioning. Day by day I am learning more about it. A constant theme in therapy is about how the inner critic pushes and savages me and I am learning to let go. I had a positive dream last night in which I was being expected to make a meal at an event where there was already a lot of food, I decided in the end not to make anything even though I felt guilty. I see that as a good sign. The other positive dream image was that I had met a lovely man and he got undressed to get into bed, I was about take off my jeans and then I felt I wasn’t ready. I got into bed next to him and said. “I’d like to take my time to get to know you before we sleep together.” He was fine with it. I am nearly crying as I write that because sadly due to low self esteem and lots of emotional intimacy hunger in my teenage and younger and even older adult life I have jumped into bed with partners far too soon, and in the last relationship warning signs were there at the start that he had narcissistic issues and I overrode my own instincts when he asked me to have sex as I was so lonely. This dream seems to auger really well for boundary issues. Maybe my ‘no’ and self esteem muscles will get stronger in time. Maybe I no longer have that same hunger due to my inner work and can now be a lover to myself, first, maybe I am learning to practice self care. The dream sure seems to be saying just that. Thank you God.
Just a few questions that have been on my mind lately most especially after listening to a programme on a therapist who works with sexual abuse perpetrators to help them heal. I know its a very controversial subject, those who have been abused have a right to be angry and perhaps hope these people could be locked up forever and the key could be thrown away. However this programme highlighted the wounded psyche of the predator and there are many levels of severity on this particular continuum.
One of the most important points made by the therapist who suffered from an attachment disorder himself was that so often these men (mainly he works with men as the majority of such predators are men) was how they lacked a real sense of self and identity, at the same time many of them being narcissists had no sense of empathy at all for their victims at all and considered them as objects. Most of them had attachment wounds from childhood which put profound limits on their ability to know themselves, like themselves, value others or see others as separate selves with feelings, needs and desires outside the needs and desires of the narcissist/abuser/predator.
When I think about my own attachment and abandonment wounds I think how I am not so different or was not so different to some of these men. The way I am different is that I did have a sense of empathy for others suffering. I have not always attempted to use others for my purposes, but I have gone into relationships with a host of unresolved needs, desires and longing that perhaps were a little too much for that particular relationship and then I have so often chosen those who are emotionally distant, or I have been emotionally distant at times out of fear of being overwhelmed and knowing also on some level that the attachment wounds I carried made the level of my neediness in relationships problematic. I was an ideal candidate for therapy which is really the best place to work on these issues.
Its only lately in therapy that I have been getting a sense of myself as a worthwhile person who has many valid needs and feelings which are all perfectly okay, sadly I was raised in an environment and with parents who didn’t allow me to have a lot of these needs and feelings or just neglected to notice them, pay attention to them or help me grow in understanding of what they were or of how to meet them and express them, Thus I grew up with great deficits in side, feelings of disconnection from my true self and low self esteem. which sadly for many years I covered up with drinking and drugging.
I feel sadness at this time of year and lots of anger too, as it was around this time of year that my marriage finally ended. It was around June 24 that my husband told me while on holiday in the UK that he was leaving me and didn’t love me anymore. He wasn’t going to come back even to help me sell the house or take any of his things, I was just to send them to him. Eventually he came back for a month in July and then left on August 4. It was the final chapter in a long saga where I had tried to break away from my family and build a new life with him overseas, but now I see my emotionally traumatic past and lack of sound emotional development pulled me back here to Oz where my sister was in a home and she was the sister who had been more like a mother to me, but had got so broken herself by failing to take care and I felt such a sense of responsibility for her.
An overdeveloped sense of responsibility is one of the key ‘adult child’ issues that so many of us suffer from. If we came from alcoholic homes or homes in which there was no emotionally present or available adult we had to ‘fill in the gaps’, taking care of things that were not our responsibility and growing up fast while perhaps hiding deeper emotional vulnerabilities needs and feelings inside. In a way it becomes a positive trait if we can use this sense of initiative well, but negative if we learn to focus excessively on others and little on our own needs and developing a strong sense of self. Then there comes a critical watershed time in life were we feel pulled up sort by our so called ‘defects’, those sticking places that keep us stuck in old patterns of other instead of self focus.
It is really not selfish to have a strong sense of self. Those who have no strong sense of self may often accuse us of being selfish if we do, or those who want us to focus on them or agree with them may accuse us of being selfish when we decide we don’t want to do this or that or agree to this or that. A strong person with a sense of self can say ‘No’ gracefully. They know disappointing another is not as important as taking care of themselves when such self care is necessary. They don’t become the martyr or sacrificial victim to the other person’s needs just because they feel this will give them a sense of value or stop other’s getting angry with or possibly abandoning them.
After posting my post on ‘negative ego’ yesterday and reading the comments and after listening to the radio programme last night, I got a much stronger understanding of how being able to have and own my anger was all part of holding onto a strong sense of self and allowing it a voice was a sign that I was beginning to know who I really am and how I really feel inside. Sad to say this is only just starting to happen for me at age 55 and I still have a long way to go as my ‘no’ muscles are not that strong. I still have a lot of inner negative voices that tell me ‘I must not be selfish’ and many other things that are just not nurturing to my self will.
However I have a great therapist and am being helped so much with the ‘will’ aspect by reading the book Soul Without Shame which I have referred to in some other posts. There was a wonderful chapter on will that I read last Monday and I am looking forward to getting back to it as I got a bit blown off course last week by the dental issue retriggering all my head trauma. One of the challenging aspects of having been in the AA programme in the past is that there is a lot of talk about negative self will, it is often called self will run riot. But as sensitive persons I do believe recovering alcoholics have a lot of work to do with strengthening their own will in positive directions, not to run roughshod over others (as there are some that will do that) but to use the will in a positive way in order to serve the needs of the self not in a selfish but in a self assertive way. Boundaries, self care, self esteem these are all such important issues. And our sense of self is often false if it rests on what we do instead of who we really are and what we really feel inside or on a false self we had to develop in order to please others, gain their acceptance or not be abandoned. For recovering alcoholics there is also that issue that so many of us may have a highly developed empathy which in making us over open to energies and stimulation required in the past that with an absence of self understanding we reached for substances to shut down the empathy. Its just an idea I am coming to lately as I am beginning to read and explore more about empathy, psychic receptivity and related issues. So many of us in recovery fall under the banner of high sensitivity.
For those of us invalidated in childhood it is a huge journey to find our way back to a strong inner sense of self value, self love and self acceptance, but I truly believe it is the single most important journey we must take in this life if we are to live with peace, inner connection, serenity and joy.