Sunday, October 07, 2007

Letting Go of a Fantasy so You Can Grab Hold of Real Life

Occasionally I will use Google to see what people "out there" are saying about my blog. I was very interested to see someone define my blog as "too negative" and then go on to describe the hope for redemption they still nurture for their narcissist parent all stated inside the context of being a good Christian.

I find this comment about my blog very interesting because it is so upside down from the usual. It is an inverse viewpoint...the flipside of the reactions of others to my ruminations. Why the dichotomous difference in opinion? I'll share my theories.

I completely agree that this blog would appear to be very negative to someone who is determined to believe it is their Christian duty to not only believe in the hope for redemption for the narcissist, but to also believe they must stay with the narcissist to ensure that outcome. I'm obviously very negative on these points. I do not in any way encourage people to nurture hope for the narcissist's eventual reformation, nor do I encourage anyone's savior complex. In fact, I categorically state that the hope is so very slim as to be statistically insignificant. I emphasize over and over the need for emotional and physical distance from the vampires among us. To the person dedicated to believing the unbelievable, yeah, I "get" that I'm a bucket of cold water.

Here's the deal. I am completely dedicated to reality. Realists are often accused of being negative because some aspects of reality are not pretty. For those who are in constant pursuit of dreams and rainbows the realist is a curmudgeon. Curmudgeons can't get no respect from the idealists.

Many of you have been slamming your heads against the brick wall otherwise known as the narcissist for so long your brain pan is seriously dented making you worry about possible brain damage. You've expended herculean amounts of energy trying to find ways to make the narcissist happy only to fail endlessly. You come here and find out that you don't have to kill yourself in order to hopefully save the narcissist because it is humanly impossible to save them. You find out that you can't save the narcissist, you can only save yourself and your family from them. You find out you aren't responsible for saving the narcissist, and you breathe for the first time in years. You've tried to accomplish the impossible for years now and are ready to embark on the possible. So when you come here to read you find hope and relief for your weary heart and mind. The very opposite of "too negative" find hope and positive direction for your future here. The negative news about the narcissist (unreformable) translates into very positive news for you: freedom to pursue life without them.

Perhaps this should be the motto for my blog:

Close your heart off to the impossible -- Open your heart to the possible.

You can not insist on clinging to a fantasy and have any hope of living successfully in reality. Real life is where the really good stuff happens. It is a shame to miss out on the lasting and real joys life offers by persisting on living in la-la land. If you insist on trying to accomplish the impossible you will end up having accomplished nothing. If you can let go of trying to do the impossible it opens up the possible before your feet. We accomplish a lot more in our lives when we persist in pursuing the possible.

Some things truly are impossible. Here in America there is a lore, a mythos, that we can dream the impossible dream and then go out and make that dream come true. Truly, people have often accomplished what seemed to be impossible through very hard work and absolute dedication to their goal. Obviously, they proved the impossible to be possible. So they really weren't pursuing the impossible, were they. But we like to take those success stories and go on to pretend that anything is possible if we just want it enough. As if the strength of our wishing can make anything happen. This is the way children think.

Since I was a child I have wished I could fly. I would often have dreams when I was a child of being able to fly under my own power. If I spent every waking moment telling myself that I could actually fly on my own (without mechanized assistance) then surely I would sprout wings, right? Would all of you be cruel curmudgeons if you stuck a needle in my dream balloon by telling me I was wasting my time and emotional energy on the impossible? No, you would be doing me a favor by helping me realize I was in danger of losing out on the good things in life that were possible for me to gain if I would only decide to abandon my dedication to the impossible.

Face it folks, some things are impossible to accomplish. This may go against your belief in miracles or in the power of visualization, but the fact remains. There are plenty of things we as human beings can not do no matter how hard we try. Reforming a narcissist falls into this category. We lack the power to change another human being. Period. We can barely change ourselves let alone take on a successful project of changing another human being...and a profoundly disordered one at that.

I do not peddle pipe dreams here. People have to go somewhere else for that. I'm not interested in supporting someone's vain fantasy about helping or reforming the narcissist. My goal here is not to cut any slack for the immoral narcissist who cuts a swathe of misery through the lives of others. I am all for supporting those who can see their way clear to leave the evil and immoral one to themselves to live in the hell of their own devising. Even God Himself does this. Are we saying we better than Him by persisting in our belief that the persistently and consistently evil narcissist can "see the light" only if we stick with them? The worship of one's self is idolatry. The narcissist is engaged in a complete dedication to their worship of self. What is God's message to the persistent idolater?

"Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone." Hosea 4:17

I refuse to pretend I am wiser than the God who made this pronouncement. I contend that leaving the narcissist to his self-worship is Biblical and righteous.


Cathy said...

Christians do such a disservice when they give the advice to "just hang in there, God is a God of restoration, it will come, have faith", etc, etc. Uninformed but "well-intentioned" Christian advice and counseling actually harms its recipient and causes untold agony that God, himself would never intend as people then feel obligated to remain in relationships that are destroying their very being. All because they are joined to one called mother, or father, or husband. Yet, in every sense of the word they have failed that title.

Why do we hang on for so long and refuse to see? Because the perfect puzzle-piece to a narcissist is the overly empathetic person who wants to believe the best at all costs. The cost, however, is themselves. Yes, you are willingly sacrifcing yourself to the narcissist. How far down are you willing to go? How bad does it have to get? How bruised and bloodied before you finally get "mean"??? To this type of person (and I was one of them) being "mean" simply means "getting a backbone". Realizing you are worth more than this. Developing a stronger sense of "self". You have sacrificed your "self" to the narcissist which allows you to stay tangled in their web. You think you are being "mean" if you dare speak the truth, if you dare stand up for yourself, if you dare have an opposing opinion from the narcissist. Don't you see that they've trained you to feel that way? You aren't allowed to have an autonomous "self". Your "self" is there to serve THEM. Your whole purpose in life is to make THEM feel good about themselves. And you have bought into that hook-line-and-sinker. So you call it "mean" if you break the rules. Whose rules . . . the narcissists???? God's???? Take a look more closely at how God deals with evil. Very radically.

Get it inside of you that God himself loves you too much to require you to stay in relationship with someone like that - EVEN IF it is your husband, mother, or father. EVEN IF they do nice things at times. EVEN IF everyone else loves them to death.

Getting "mean" means seeing truth and reality as it is - not as the pretty picture you so desperately want it to be because it is your very own mother, father, or husband. Jesus said the truth is a sword - a sword that even divides families at times. Most people want to avoid painful truths and live in a false reality. But if you will be brave enough to embrace reality and truth, as painful as the ramifications of doing so are - you will find RELIEF. In many ways it is like the relief you feel after you vomit. But nevertheless, it is freeing to embrace the truth rather than avoid it. Even with the painful consequences it may bring about.

So, for those who call you "mean" Anna, I feel very sad. Because it means they are still caught up in the truth-inverting insanity of the narcissist and have a ways to go in their healing journey in order to get to freedom.

Anonymous said...

obviously, (and sadly enough) anyone willing to label you and your blog as "too negative", and pursue saving their n, has apparently not "had enough", or like you said, wishes to indulge their "savior complex". either they enjoy the games and misery just as much as the n does, or they just haven't gotten enough shit thrown their way to realize that separating from evil behavior is not NEAR as negative and as damaging as the abuse itself. i, for one, find your blog very uplifting, informative, and hopeful for a happier existence, and i know that is ONLY possible through cutting complete contact from my nmil and her goons. period.


Anonymous said...

Another fabulous post. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." Matt 23: 27,28

Don't panic. Just trying to put this into context for us Christians. Read the whole of Matt 23 and get a load of the realism that Jesus employed when dealing with the narcissists of his day. Who else would look righteous to men, but inside are full of hypocrisy. God knows how terrible it is to encounter somebody who portrays himself as pure yet inside is dead. I don't believe this just means spiritually dead either. Narcissists are emotionally dead and have sold their soul to the devil, so are dead in all other ways also.

I don't see Jesus telling others to just love and forgive these guys. The KJV calls them a 'son of hell'. Pretty stern stuff

I don't think you can get more real than God's own opinion on these sorts of abusers.

Cassandra said...

Sounds like a case of "I can't deal with this, so I will shoot the messenger..."

"Simon, please don't jump off the roof you'll hurt yourself"
"don't be so negative!"
"If you jump off the roof, you will hit the hard ground with force"
"You're such a hard woman!"
"Please come down"
"no, I can reform the inherent force of this ground"
"no, you can't!"
"look, it's my [insert value system/religious adjective here] duty to try"
"I think you are misinterpreting the....."
"so negative! I'm jumping"
"SIMON! NOOOoooo!!!!!!!"
THUD! She runs to Simon....
Simon: "why does this always happen to me?"***

*** [go to page34]

Think about the vampire legend as metaphor; hang around one too long and you risk becoming one.

Basically, the title says it all!


Anonymous said...

I tried to post when I first read this, but I think I may have done it wrong & erased it all rather than sending it. Anyway,bottom line was DON'T LISTEN TO THEM,ANNA!
We all know they just aren't ready to face REALITY!!! Thank you for helping me through the tough stuff!
I AM SOOO READY!! I've lived in a
fantasyworld too long. The truth hurts--but also sets us FREE!!

bonsai said...

It took me 40 years to wise up about my N-mom. And that's without a framework of Christianity (or any other religion) in my head.

If I'd had those expectations to deal with too, I shudder to think how much longer I might have wrestled with trying to "fix" her and trying to be the "good daughter".

Thanks for another great post, Anna.

Anonymous said...

I support your blog. I think your're brave to say what you do because our Hallmark society tends to want to sweep things under the rug. I have an N in my life; she's my mother-in-law, and I'm just now discovering ways to deal with her affecting my marriage. If I didn't have resources like this it might have meant divorce for me and my husband. So thank you for your blog.

Anonymous said...

I'm the "Amien" over at the "Elder Care" website discussion group who first began directing posters to your blog-site. I'd like you to post your same column at that site so that those individuals who described you as "too negative" can read your rebuttal.

Anna Valerious said...

Hi Amien,

I'm not really keen on posting this on the site myself because I'm not wanting to give off the impression that I'm defensive or feeling confrontational. I'm feeling neither emotion. If you think it would benefit people who might have been turned off by the bad review of my blog then you have my full and free permission to post this article at the Elder Care board yourself. I leave the decision with you.

Anna Valerious said...

I want to thank you all for your kind and supportive comments. I would like to make it very clear that I was not offended by this person's review of my blog as being "too negative". I did sense the need to defend the overall tone of the blog for the sake of those of you who find comfort and positive direction here. I feel very protective of people who are trying to break free from the grip of pathological narcissism. If I remember correctly, the person who made the "too negative" comment had at first liked my blog and shared the link with her sister. It was her sister who convinced her to see my blog as too negative. So, obviously, I need to put out a clear defense of this blog so that people can more easily ignore people who mislabel my efforts in order to justify their own decision to stay closely connected to their narcissist.

Katrina, I loved your succinct comment that "the truth hurts -- but the truth sets us free!" I couldn't agree more. I, for one, would rather endure the pain from facing the truth because truth hurts us and then it heals us.

Again, I appreciate the supportive comments here. It means a lot.

Anonymous said...

Faith happens in the absence of evidence. The evidence is that Ns are next to - if not completely - impossible to negotiate with.

I'm not sure I have any faith that I can have a healthy relationship with an N in the face of that evidence.

Thanks for positively supporting my jet-rocket fueled future for growth. Life is precious; I can't wait to start living my own.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that we are taught that bad people behave monstrous all the time, or that they have certain looks that "identify" them as evil. A naive yet comforting way of seeing the world: all is well and the big, bad wolf is so noticeble that you will be ready to escape.

Yet the truth is that a N, when feeling that he/she was badly treated (whether true or not) when they were "weak", will find a way to get back at you. A normal person wants to have a chat with you, but an N will find a sneaky way to get victory over you.

So hanging on to the "big, bad wolf" idea will mean that a person subjected to an N, will think he/she is going crazy. Becoming weaker, which is exactly what a N wants.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say you are amazing. Absolutely great; I cannot go into too much detail, but I AM one of the Christian Warriors standing up against this in everything I do. Thank you for pointing out that we need more people to be as "brave" (not trying to brag) as yourself and me, as Kathy Krajko* and the like for not only fashioning themselves in Christ as Warriors for Truth and the Return of the Kingdom; but also for being brave and just crazy enough to LIVE ALOUD THE CHANGES and erratic, angry behavior as the side you have picked in life finally sticks, because as you likely know and all survivors probably know, ain't YOU the crazy one establishing your divinity (undividedness) within? LOL
Thank you

*I do not think Ms. Krajko believes in God actually, so whoops about that. She's still great.

Anonymous said...

This has really opened my eyes... My father and stepmother are most likely narcissists. I am so glad to see this blog after a lot of searching for answers. What I've seen most of the time is "don't give up, you're making a difference" or just clinical explainations. Your blog is awesome and helped me to not hate myself for wanting to move on with my life and let God be my Dad for once.