Friday, August 22, 2008

Solitude and Loneliness -- Two States of Being

I am convinced that part of becoming maturely healthy in heart and mind is learning to be copacetic with being alone. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. The two are not necessarily the same. Let me wax wordy to try to make this point. I'll likely end up making other points along the way, and with some luck I might even make some good ones. Does this post mean I've come out of hiatus? Unclear. Stay tuned. It was the comments of a reader on an old post that spurred this one...who knows when the next spate of wordiness will strike. Creativity can't be scheduled. Ack. I flatter myself.

It is in solitude that we are better able to take a good hard look at ourselves. It also makes a better environment for us to learn to stretch ourselves and grow in ways we haven't yet.

Being alone can be used by you as a preparation time for learning to be the kind of person a healthy person would want to be with. Too often we fall back into what is familiar and end up stunting our personal growth and wasting more precious time on another bad relationship. Until we're willing to make ourselves uncomfortable by not letting ourselves stay stuck in the familiar we won't grow because the familiar is also the bad. The familiar is "same old, same old". "Same old" is unacceptable. You've come to see that by now.

When you've become accustomed to bad relationships so that they are the ones that feel "right" and "normal" then it is a sign that you need to be alone for awhile. Maybe a good long while. Take stock. Make different choices. Push outside your comfort zones. If you've been raised by a malignant narcissist and have continued up to now in relationships with narcissists then you're not used to being comfortable when you're in a healthy place. You need to teach yourself to be comfortable with healthy and to learn to be uncomfortable with staying in the unhealthy. Solitude could be your best teacher. Your perceptions have been turned upside down and inside out by narcissists. Time to step back and calibrate your compass to true north. That means you need to learn how to make the 'familiar, but bad' be repulsive to you and not the rather attractive and comfortable thing it has been to now.

Human nature isn't naturally attracted to change. We tend to fear it. This is why we so often boomerang back into bad relationships; they are what we know so we feel a degree of security by sticking with what we know. This is why I know that by telling you to break out of the familiar I am asking you to let go of your security blanket. This is why I know that you will have to feel uncomfortable for awhile before you can get your head into a healthier place. You're going to have to let go of the familiar if you're going to break out of bad patterns.

You can learn that alone doesn't have to be lonely. There are always ways to interact with the world without having to be in an intimate friendship or relationship with someone which will eliminate loneliness while being alone. Alone time is a very good place to learn some good life lessons, unlearn the bad ones, and get comfortable hanging out with you. When you are comfortable in your own skin you'll find that others (who are also comfortable within their own skin) will be attracted to you. You'll also learn that people who don't like you because you are comfortable about yourself are exactly the people you don't want around. Narcissists are attracted to those who are all hung up on one neuroticism or another. They need our hang-ups to manipulate us with. This doesn't mean we need to be perfect. It means we know where we aren't perfect but also refuse to abuse ourselves because of it.

We must learn to define perfection differently too. Perfectly content is a much better state of mind than the constant pursuit of a state of perfect which doesn't exist in this world. In Philippians chapter four Paul gives a formula which is the key that opens the door to true peace of mind: "for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content..." And isn't peace of mind what we really crave?

Let me present this idea: human beings are so imperfect we are incapable of coming up with an accurate definition of what perfection even is. We wouldn't likely recognize perfection even if it was standing right in front of us. Christians: consider Christ. He was perfect yet the religious leaders perceived him to be the son of a devil. This is why I don't believe we should be pursuing our likely-to-be screwed up versions of perfection. Just drop it. You're wasting time.

Narcissists harangue themselves with a pursuit of some kind of superficial perfection (as they've defined perfection; it's always a subjective definition related to appearances not substance). We can distance ourselves from the narcissist's perverted definitions and world view if we drop the need to be perceived by ourselves or others as perfect. The narcissist insists we've failed (to be perfect) when we've made them angry, or when we didn't give them what they want in any other way. This is a perverted way of defining ourselves, the world and the word perfect. Because some part of us believes we need to be perfect the narcissist can control us by telling us we've failed to be perfect. The narcissist believes that perception is perfection. Did you swallow this lie? Convincing yourself or others that you've got it all together is quite separate from really, truly having it all together. Don't fall for the deception that appearances are reality. This is the realm where the narcissist dwells. They create the stage, set the lights to shine on their good side, bring the supporting actors on the set to mouth the script, and then pull off a masterful performance of looking like they are something they aren't. When she manages to fool the audience the narcissist can continue her pretense that she is perfect.

Drop the concept of perfect and move on to something more useful. When we're wrapped up in pursuing 'perfect' we are self-focused and myopic. We miss the bigger picture. We tend to trample on other people. We become more selfish! Even the well-intentioned pursuit of perfection gets trapped in these pit-falls. Remember that you likely wouldn't recognize perfection even if it walked up and said "hi" to you. You just end up chasing after illusions and miss the really good things that life does offer.

Learning to be okay with being alone, learning to create some space of time where you have to live quietly with yourself, this is the place where you can learn some important truths. If you find yourself alone right now see it for the opportunity it is. Don't beat yourself up like you're some kind of failure because you're alone. That's a waste of time in addition to not being true. Seize this period of time between relationships as the golden opportunity it is. If you have been wrapped up in horrible relationships with a parade of narcissists up to now then your being alone right now is a VICTORY. You have made progress! Quit beating yourself up for a good thing. You waste time, energy and opportunity with this negative thinking. And it's boring. You've come a long way, baby. Give yourself a high-five and enthusiastically approach this new (to you) state of being as your chance to get your head screwed on right.

Malignant narcissists are, without exception, cases of 'arrested development'. Stuck at the emotional and moral level of a six year old they demand the people in their lives submit to their sucky rules and temper tantrums. This has an effect on us. We, too, are somewhat emotionally stuck in varying degrees of arrested development because we've adopted many of the narcissist's views on things. Taking the space and the time for ourselves to finish growing ourselves up is essential for moving into healthy relationships in the future. Maturity includes learning when to kick yourself in your own ass to get yourself moving and knowing when to give yourself a break. Maturity includes the ability to look at yourself and others more objectively, making room for mistakes, but expecting decency from yourself and others.

Don't be afraid of being alone if that is where you're at now. There is a lot of important work you can do with this space of alone time you've been given. Much creativity has been borne of solitude. And remember that being alone and being lonely are not synonymous states of being. Not all people who are alone are lonely. And many people in relationships are lonely. My experience has taught me that there is no greater loneliness than that which happens when you're in a bad relationship. It is better to be lonely and alone than lonely while supposedly "with" someone. So, while we often think that being alone is a sentence to loneliness the truth is that there are lonelier places in this world than aloneness. The loneliest place to be is in a relationship with someone who sucks you dry.

“Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone.” Paul Tillich

28 comments:

thestranger said...

My parents were just disordered enough to help me grow up unable to recognize the difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one. I agree. Five years into my relationship I had the stunning revelation that I just might have prefered the pain of my abusive relationship over the pain of being alone, or my percieved fear of it. Learning how to love and take care of myself worked much better for me than looking for it from outside sources.

I never even thought of myself as already being alone even though I was with somebody, but it couldn't be more true.

nocaster said...

Wow, I refreshed my live bookmark in Firefox and there it was...a shiny new post. I hope your summer has been good and I look forward to more of your musings in the future.

Anna Valerious said...

"and there it was...a shiny new post..."

Surprise!

Thanks for the smile, nocaster.

Naive No Longer said...

Man do you make some "good reading". I'm gonna have to go back and re-read it because there were so many good points made.

All I know is that I used to be terrified of being alone . . . and now I'm not. BIG CHANGE. BIG. I've been alone now for 4 years since my narcissistic husband. People often ask me, "Aren't you lonely?" When I say, "No, not at all", they look at me rather peculiarly. It doesn't compute to most people that one can be content to be alone. It has taken me this long to get my head screwed on straight because I chose to come out from under the neverending reality-bending, the relentless critical evaluation and haughty scrutiny, and the daily lie spewing that comes from distorted perceptions being presented as truth and reality. Yeah, THEIR truth and reality.

Because we were taught so well by our narcissistic mothers to buy into the lies and distortions, as you said, it takes being alone to unwind and detangle it all in order to get healthy.

Isn't it liberating - a breath of pure fresh air - to be off the hamster wheel of being "obligated" to live up to the Narcissists definition of perfection? For me, I spent years twisting myself into pretzels to try to accomplish this feat, but to no avail. It was never good enough. And of course, it never will be. Because they keep changing the definition. They will never give you the satisfaction of deeming you "acceptable" in their eyes. So why the hell did we spend so much of our life trying???? I think your posting brings up some really good points. True freedom is when we drop the need to be perceived by ourselves and others as perfect.

Yeah, I bought into the lie. I swallowed it wholesale for most of my life and then somewhere along the way I threw-it-up. It never felt so good to throw-up!

And now I know that the next mate I choose, if there is to be one, will be a fundamentally different person than the type of person I "chose" in the past. Hallelujah!

Thanks for such a great and insightful post, Anna. Have you been eating your Wheaties (or some other such brain-food??)!!

krl said...

Yay!!!! "Shiny new post..."!! I swear I drove your 'numbers' up all summer...just hoping you'd be back!!! (Even if this is just a random one for now...)

Oh, this is so very welcome...and so timely for where I am right now. Thank you for sharing...for articulating my 'space' for me. I couldn't have put it those words. After 40 years of 'relationships'...in and out of marriage(s)...yeah...ugh...I AM FINALLY ALONE!!!! And I love it..for all the reasons you posted. FINALLY! Until these past few months, I never even dreamed I COULD be alone. I mean, I always wanted to 'try it'...(being alone.) I just thought I was SUPPOSED to be with someone...(or it would be 'selfish'..WHHHAAAATTTTTT? Where'd THAT come from?) I got me a kitten...named him 'Boyfriend'....and we are happy as clamz! I started reading again...ditched the TV...started talking to God....got myself a little 'space'...started going through layers and layer of 'stuff'...throwing much of it out. Re-established myself with my three children on an adult level. Got me (Thank you, GOD!) a REAL job! (Oh, I've ALWAYS worked, but just never had enough of myself left over to invest in anything with a challenge...a 'stretch'..) Anyway...all this in one summer!
I turn down 'dates' (maybe for now)...because every 'date' I've ever gone on ended up in a DecadeOfDisaster. DBDs I call them..DeathByDating.

Anyway....I LOVE it! I won't pretend ALL of it is easy as pie. I DO find myself unfocused in areas because I was always geared to live around someone else's wishes and schedule....and adjusted to that. So, now...on my own, except for work...I kind of meander.....feeling some 'guilt' about not being 'disciplined' anymore. Somehow? I think I'll get over it, ya know?

So glad to see you back...hope to see you again. I so thank you..and ALL of you out there...for being a part of what has changed my life, my heart, my soul, my thoughts...my BEING! during this last 10 months. Hang in there. It's WORTH it! God is Good.

Anna Valerious said...

NNL,

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with solitude. Your terror at being alone in years past, how you've now been alone for 4 years and that it has taken that long for you to get your head screwed on straight. I am well aware of how many people put up with horrible relationships because of their fear of being alone. Most fears, when confronted, dissipate like fog in the morning sun. Our fears are not good enough reasons to avoid doing what we need to do.

"And now I know that the next mate I choose, if there is to be one, will be a fundamentally different person than the type of person I "chose" in the past. Hallelujah!"

I am sure you are right. You know that you've changed fundamentally which is why you know the above to be true.

Anna Valerious said...

Krl,

Great to hear from you...and to hear how well you are doing! You've had quite a busy summer. Wow. The kitten named 'Boyfriend'...what a hoot! Love it. Kitteh will be the best boyfriend you ever had. I hope you continue to defend your solitude against incursions by DBDs.

"I kind of meander.....feeling some 'guilt' about not being 'disciplined' anymore. Somehow? I think I'll get over it, ya know?"

Good! I'm glad you anticipate getting over it. It took me some years to quit being my own worst task master. It's been gradual, but I've learned to not nag myself to death. It was a nagging instilled by my mother. I am free of her voice. I live life on my terms...not hers.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

On one level I "get" what you're saying, and on another level I think I don't quite believe it. I agree completely if alone=no significant other/romantic relationship. I think I would be fine being alone in that way.

I have always enjoyed solitude, yea, NEEDED it. However, having to break away from both birth families (one N, one very dysfunctional and siding with the Ns) is a very lonely place. Not to mention that my husband is trying to kick some very toxic relationship habits that I've been subjected to. He is in counseling and has made progress, but it's a long road.

We are just getting rooted in a church, and I'm sure that will help, but I'm reluctant to mention our past because I fear they will look at us differently. I have a lot of data from past relationships to back this up. And many of our new acquaintances in that church are my parents' ages and will NOT understand what we had to do. I will say they are very kind to our children, and we just tell them that our children need surrogate grandparents because their blood relatives are 3000 miles away (completely true).

So I feel lonely and closed in. I have a few close friends, but they are three time zones away and it's hard to coordinate phone calls. And they are busy with their own families.

It's curious, feeling lonely. I haven't felt it for a long time. And I feel lonely yet crave solitude also! I guess I'm just mixed up in general. Perhaps I'm in the middle of learning how to be healthy but I don't see it yet.

Renewed

Anna Valerious said...

Renewed,

I definitely was primarily speaking to romantic relationships. That is usually where the bad dynamics get played out over and over again unless people disconnect for a period of time and get their priorities and thinking straight.

When you're already married then obviously my advice isn't applicable. I was speaking to the situation where a person is staying in a bad relationship...whatever the relationship is...for fear of being alone. Being lonely isn't the worst state to be in. It isn't a good state...but there are worse ones.

I feel I can relate to the sense of isolation you are feeling right now. I also think everyone can relate to feeling lonely yet needing solitude. I don't think there is anything wrong with you because of this conflict of feeling. Hang in there, Renewed. You are most certainly not alone. And I think that you'll be able to make some good friendships with people who live near you in the months and years ahead. It can be slow going when you have to carefully select persons who are not going to condemn you for needing distance from bad family members. I think you are wise to be circumspect in what you share with others.

krl said...

"...It took me some years to quit being my own worst task master."

Not to belabour this, Anna...and I know I've referred to the AgeThing before.....Part of any 'ease' I've had in shifting gears is that I'm about 10yrs older than you! I, personally, don't think I COULD have slowed down....gotten off the HamsterWheel.... when I was younger. I was too locked in....too knee-jerked....and was one of those women who had a lot of strength and energy and so the whole AgeThing actually lends itself to slowing down, regrouping, desiring solitude etc. None of my relationships were 'companions' anyway. Shit no. Then when the hormones went the way of all things...YEAH....Nize 2 B Alone!!!! All in all? There isn't a whole lot of 'discipline' expended now to 'keep myself in check'....it's taking its own natural course.

My main point in writing this is because we are all different...different ages...different strengths...different kinds of 'worn out'.....and I think whatever course you CHOOSE....at least point yourself in the right direction. And if you don't know 'right'? At least, do DIFFERENT. And if you don't know what either of those is? Don't do ANYTHING until you know!!! Guaranteed you'll lose at least a decade if you don't stop and ponder.

Anonymous said...

Anna - welcome back. Plus, your mega-cat is absolutely magnificent. Cats really do know how to be themselves, don't they? That is opposite of malignant narcissists, right?

This new post is timely for me. Just found out the MN ex-husband got married to woman nearly 20 yrs younger, less than one week after divorce (which he pursed) was final. And there are young kids. I nearly passed out from shock, although of course I suspected major adultery. Knowing is vastly different from suspecting. Among other things, he is a pathological liar and a sadist.

So, it has been two years next month since he said "I was right" and he was leaving. He used my emotional collapse to try and break my back, I guess so that he could have it all his way. I know exactly what Kathy K. meant when she said there was a "big chill" when they take the mask off. There is something underneath, but it is not a normnal human face. No real person could be as completely ruthless and without compassion. It is devastating when you love that person (or who you thought they were).

I have felt searing loneliness lately (even though extremely busy raising teenage daughter)but agree that it can be useful time. I feel some despair over the wasted time (almost 20 yr marriage) and recognize, by viewing the healthy relationships around me, that I have been stunted too. Why did I allow this to happen to me? Ironically, I fought for better communication throughout the marriage, knowing that there was something drastically wrong. But, I never trusted my own intuition enough to act. However, I think the MNX is a true mastermind manipulator, which is rather scary.

Thanks for all you do here - in particular, I found the "Narcissism and Dynamics of Evil" article to be profoundly illuminating. It explains what I took months of trying to figure out (what the h--- was going on) and how it is (in my opinion) far more a moral, spiritual disease than a "personality disorder."

I don't feel jealous of people in wonderful marriages - their beautiful relationships are the product of their own hard work and good judgment. I admire them. I am just sad for my own confusing and disappointing life. My life task is to try and become a better person, but it is hard to find the energy to push forward. But what choice to we have? Either to choose the good, or give up, be consumed with bitterness, or continue to let them poison us with venom. 'jewell'

Anna Valerious said...

Jewell,

Excellent observation about cats! Thank you for that. You are exactly right. There are no masks with kitties.

I understand despairing over the wasted time, but I also recognize how useless and non-productive despair over lost years is. This is why this post encourages people to look at what you can still retrieve from past bad experiences. It helps to relieve that understandable but destructive despair. I know that the human temptation is to also despair over how long it may take for a good outcome to materialize through effort and self-discipline. How long it will take to get ourselves repaired? We want to throw our hands up. Yet, how easily we as humans will grab onto another bad relationship and let another 10 or 20 years slip away from us! So I really do encourage you not to get derailed on despairing over lost years or despairing over how long it may take to get your stuff together. You'll only sap your resolve and weaken yourself.

I'm thinking right now of the biggest trees in the world, the Sequoias. I watched a "Planet Earth" documentary yesterday which showed these largest living things on the planet. At one point those giants were tiny little seeds. Then a seedling. Year by year that Sequoia did what God created it to do...it grew. Bit by bit. It wasn't overwhelmed. It didn't have to waste a moment worrying about how long it was going to take to be able to push up 300 feet into the sky.

That should be us. We should be content to grow each day and leave the ultimate results to God. You can't rush a tree. You can't force your zinnias in your garden to bloom any faster by anxiety. Day by day they take up God's gifts. The sun. The water. The soil. And then do what they do quite naturally after receiving those gifts. Grow. You, too, are going to have to submit to the growth principle or ... die. Those really are our options. Grow or die. You obviously know that from what you've said here. Growth is life! You can truly live each day to its fullest if you are content to grow in that day based on whatever gifts God has put in your path. Don't forget that there are rest phases interspersed in the growth phases. Grow, rest. Grow, rest. That seems to be the way of the natural world. Rest is an important part of recovering from the predations of evil people. Restoration. Rest is the root of that concept. So don't be discouraged if you find yourself just needing to rest! Growth tends to come in spurts after we've gathered strength from rest and nutrition. :o)

I am sorry you were married to such an evil guy. I am relieved for you that you are now free of him. You said: "how it is (in my opinion) far more a moral, spiritual disease than a "personality disorder." I completely agree. This is the perspective I come at NPD with and therefore the focus on this blog. It is a spiritual disease and it can be contagious. Recovering from the psychic and spiritual damage of having lived with someone who has 'evil personality disorder' takes time. Don't begrudge the time. Be like the sunflower and keep your face turned toward the sun...everything else will fall into place.

krl said...

Oh Anna...What a wonderful encouragement to us all in the comment to 'anonymous/jewell'. Perfect. It's what I've been looking for. I needed to see the words. Thank you.

krl said...

jewell

I'm so glad you are not with that N anymore! Yes, the 'Narcissism and the Dynamics of Evil' is worth its weight in gold...and helped me so much too! During the period of time that I was rassling around with the 'concept', I also stumbled on this article by Vacchs. I get it out every once in a while when I feel guilty about being 'judgemental' or when I wonder what the hell happened to me. Maybe you can add it to your 'support system' if it seems helpful. Its title is "The Difference Between Sick and Evil". Hang in there. You aren't alone....we're all right there with you in one form or another.


http://www.vachss.com/av_dispatches/parade_071402.http

Anonymous said...

I had to comment on this post because its almost as if you crawled into my head and knew what I was thinking. LOL! I'm also glad you're back!

I am now living alone after being divorced from a narcissistic man, am not dating anyone and I could not be happier. I love my solitude. Thats just it, its solitude. I am neither lonesome nor lonely. I am content. Happy. At peace.

I enjoy the time I spend with me. My Saturday nights are spent with me in my jammies, cuddled with a throw on my couch, a cup of hot tea, and watching a favorite movie that I chose for MY viewing pleasure.

I was just thinking about this very topic the other day. How I am living alone, and how I am not dating anyone, yet I am very happy. I thought, what if this was wrong to want to be alone and am I scarred from my marriage to the ogre that I am afraid to date? No, I'm not afraid to date, I am not LOOKING for anyone either. But am I going to turn into a crazy cat lady? But I caught myself and realized that its not weird to like being alone. Its not weird to not want to date for a while. Its not weird to want to enjoy this solitude until I meet Mr. Right. And Mr. Right would be Mr. Right because he would applaud my desire to be alone and think I am a strong person for doing so. A real man would want a strong, emotionally healthy woman that can take care of herself.

I get so many praises for doing what I did - leaving the Malignant Narcissistic man that I was married to. My mother is so proud of me (she is a child of a N parent too). My dad brags about me as does my big brother. My best friend loves the crap out of me!

When someone stands up against what is wrong, only good things come out of it.

Anonymous said...

The loneliness that I have felt more recently is that no one that has been around me in the past or now, really gets the magnitude of the situation with my family. Especially Christians.They can be so self-rightous with their so-called wisdom.

When I made the final break from my family, I realized that I was really alone now. Even though I had to admit to myself that I had always been alone because of how they were.

Thank you, thank you for your blog.Thank you for validating what people like us have gone through.The people that I have been around make light of it.That makes a person feel alone.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anna. The Sequoia image is a beautiful one, and fits so well. There are so many things I can't understand, and I have worn myself out trying to fix, fight, grieve, etc. So very hard to accept the outcomes. Your example of growth, rest, and quiet acceptance of God's gifts really speaks to me. I have spent many months now trying to find and move into the calm, peaceful place. So painful when I still have contact with MNX almost every day. I don't want to stew in anger, regret, fear, etc. for life. Again, your idea of going through stages, like the magnificent Sequoia's, resonates perfectly with me. Thank you. 'jewell'

Anonymous said...

First, let me tell you that I greatly appreciate your blog. I've found so much great insight and thought provoking stuff here and it has been important to me. Thank you for that!

I have been alone for about 20 months after being with my malignant narcissist wife for more than 20 years. It was tremendously hard to get out, but I'm grateful avery day that I was able to.

But...being alone has been a bit hard. I found that I was so used to relating to my wife and her ever changing demands, that when they were not there, it felt like a void.

I think it's very true that you need some time alone in a situation like mine. I thought I was quite okay after about six months and started seeing a woman. There was nothing wrong with her, but for various reasons it didn't develop into a serious relationship.

I now see that I spent many months wishing for it to work out and actually being quite desperate (without really admitting it to myself). My point is - I see now that it was much too early for me to start seeing somebody. I wasn't yet comfortable being alone and I think you need to get there to be able to start a new, healthy relationship.

I have come a bit further, but how far...I don't really know. It's getting more and more obvious to me that all those years of abuse has marked me. This is probably a good thing as it makes it possible to identify and address my "issues". But I'm not sure when I'm ready to enter into a real relationship. I'm getting more and more comfortable in my own company, but I still feel a bit incomplete on my own. I'm seeing somebody at the moment and I try to keep an eye on how I'm handling it. I don't want to feel desperate again...

enrique

Anna Valerious said...

Hi Enrique,

You said, I wasn't yet comfortable being alone and I think you need to get there to be able to start a new, healthy relationship.

I firmly believe the same. I've lived that reality. I know it on a personal level. I know it from observation of others. Thank you for sharing your experience because it underscores what I have said in this post.

Wishing you all the best as you forge ahead into the good life.

GraFXGrl98 said...

All I can say is Amen!

Also...

I have a question for everyone as well if that's ok.
Has anyone else had trouble explaining going no contact to other people? My InLaws are great people (husband has a loving mother -wonder what thats like! - anyways!) but I recently went no contact with my NM and enabling father and I just don't know how to explain it to my InLaws. N's are so covert in thier evil it's hard to make others see what's really going on.

Anonymous said...

Good point. Actually since I have never been in a relationship aloneness doesn't bother me one bit.

In fact I relish it. People wonder if I am lonely if I move to a new place and don't make any friend for six months ha ha. Not really.

The problem for me is being alone is my comfort zone. Guess I better get up and make some friends.

Anonymous said...

grafxgrl I can't go no contact yet but my advice for explaining to your inlaws is make it as simple as possible. Perhaps explanations such as these:

She is not a pleasant person to be around.

Remember the mother in Cinderella? Well I have that mother too.

jenny said...

I will read this post every day until I'm grown up. The "arrested development" comment totally makes sense as we've been spending time with the developmentally arrested, so it would rub off on us. Got it!

Any clue how to "finish growing ourselves up"? I've read books and none of them seem to click for me. I can't tell you how many books I've read that are authored by people who've had exceptional childhoods into adulthood and right away I get turned off as to me they have the cards stacked in their favor. I know I shouldn't look at it like that, but.....

I do feel victorious that those unhealthy relationships are out of my life, but I feel stuck and don't know what to do next. I read more then one place that loneliness is a "gift" from God. If it's from God, then He likes to give me this gift quite often.

I will continue to reread this one blog and maybe something will sink in.

And speaking of "arrested development". Have you ever seen the show? I was watching it the other night and the Nmom of the family (I think most of the family are N's) was waving her hands around with a martini in one and she was spilling all over the place. It reminded me of your mom, sans the martini, and the story you told about her being an "actress" and her waving her hands.

Anonymous said...

Great work as always, Anna.

The fear of being "alone" is one that adults teach children from an early age. If some kid in a classroom prefers quietly reading a book while the other kids bounce off each other, the adults in his life go nuts! Why is this kid so detached/aloof/anti-social/lonely/shy? The child is pushed to mingle with peers when he doesn't want to, or has good reason to avoid specific peers. It seems that all children who need a little alone-time are assumed defective, rather than looking at what motivates the individual child.

I don't think it's often that an adult tells a child, "You should make an effort to enjoy your own company. You could do it if you really tried!"

GraFXGrl98 said...

I have tried that but my NM is the contant victim. They say "She's just lonely" or other excuses. Partly b/c when I went no contact she called them with a bucket load of lies. They know she's "not all there" but I don't think they will ever understand that her intent in everytihng she does is selfish and evil. They think she is just annoying. I don't know how to let people know that I'm not cutting family out of my life just b/c they get on my nerves -I had to get away from the constant poison.

Although I have to say through all the choas of going NC, I have never been more at peace. It hit me the other day that this is how I am supposed to feel and not attacked, hurt, guilty, and confused all the time! I am free!

Thanks for the reply!

moxie said...

Welcome back Anna.

As an introvert, I LURVE being alone, always have. Especially when you have grown up with a cupla narcissists, its the only place they can't get you.

I am linking to this post at the forum I have set up for spiritual abuse.

(www.safehouse.forumup.com.au)

Some of our members are really interested in the concept of narcissism because many have just come out of a cult and are just beginning to learn about how it works.

I know they will be encouraged by your blog.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

amen to that. i can attest to what has been said. altho i was a bit taken back to discover after 6.5 yrs of "alone" time (working on myself by the grace of God) i still had those residual tendencies to find these type of people even on the internet, miles and miles away. let's hope it was the last harah huh?

Loversoul said...

I have discovered this blog in the last couple of weeks or so, after my husband and I were 'excommunicated' by my NFIL and my EMIL. We earned this exile after we refused to back down and insisted on their acknowledgement of guilt after they verbally attacked my 19 year old son, and engaged in a smear campaign against my husband and me. I am grateful that this blog it is still up - the information and dialogue in it has enabled me to see the behaviour of my PIL in a clear light, as well as absolve myself of any unreasonableness when it comes to holding them accountable for their actions. I think they're in shock - no one has ever done it before.

Anyhow, I was moved by Jewell's post about her feelings of despair over her 20 year marriage to a MN. Years ago, when I expressed similar feelings to a close friend, she responded with a quote from Leonard Cohen, and it has always stayed with me. I offer it to you Jewell, and wish you all the best:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

(from 'Anthem' by Leonard Cohen)