It is terribly annoying to me when someone pretends to know my mind better than I do. Likely, the level of annoyance I feel when that happens is due to a heightened sensitivity borne of years of enduring this very thing. I took it uncomplainingly for much of my life. I would either submit to mother's or sister's analysis or quietly reject it without saying much of anything. It didn't do to contradict them because no one is more right than they are when they make a pronouncement. As for my heightened sensitivity. That isn't a bad thing. When someone has clobbered you really good and left a nice big bruise, if someone lightly presses on that bruise you are going to react. Your reaction isn't about you being too sensitive. It is about you having a sore spot pressed on. Just because you react sooner than someone else may to having that spot poked at doesn't mean there is something wrong with you. It means they need to lay off.
It turns out that the two people who knew me least were the ones telling me how I felt and how I thought. Isn't that the way it usually goes? It is ridiculous how often even a stranger will presume to tell you your own mind. I finally caught on to the fact that these two women didn't know me as I approached my forties. It became more and more clear to me that these two women knew so little about me as a person that it was completely laughable that they could think to tell me my own mind.
With narcissists, what suffices as knowledge of you is that they have learned a few of your buttons. With a little trial and error they have divined how to get you to jump when they say jump. This is what they use to pretend to themselves, and to you, that they know you better than you know yourself. They have summarily decided that because they can manipulate you with a few of your fears, or with your decency, they know who you are as a person. Unless you are simply a construct of a few base fears...this can't possibly be true.
Humans tend toward considerable complexity. Well, at least, normal humans do. Narcissists are different in this regard. In case you haven't already noticed it, narcissists are very predictable and basic. Nevertheless, each narcissist believes they are supremely unique and, therefore, just supreme. Part of what makes them 'supreme' in their opinion is that they reject the feeling side of themselves. Feelings are 'weak'. Thus begins the process of pretending away their feelings. Denying their existence. To reject the feeling side of one's humanity is going to render you a two-dimensional being. We see this in narcissists. No depth. No humanity. Any complexity they have achieved is simply due to all the lies they construct around themselves.
People too often agree with the narcissist that we are "weak" when we show our emotions, or when we let ourselves feel our emotions. This is a very significant thing that separates us from the narcissist: allowing ourselves to feel our emotions--especially the really big scary emotions. It is because the narcissist refuses to feel his emotions that he has to start pretending his way through life. He pretends to NOT feel what he feels. In pushing away his feelings he loses track of why he behaves like he does. He doesn't see cause and effect. Much of the time he ends up projecting onto you what he is feeling. This allows him to pretend those feelings are outside of himself...and then he attacks those feelings after he lays them onto you. It is safe that way. Introspection and accountability must be avoided at all costs because he is desperately fearful of really knowing who he is. I don't blame him for that...he is a vile creature by now and would have a terribly costly price to pay to own up for what he has done throughout his life.
Feelings are not good or bad in a moral sense. They just are. It is what we do with them that enters the moral sphere. We are accountable for our behaviors. What I have noticed after having lived this long is how often people are ready to instantly condemn you if you feel angry. Anger is one of those emotions considered to be always wrong in many people's estimation. They don't say this outright, but it comes out in how they address you and your anger. You need to get past it. You need to forgive. You need to forget about it. Move on. Etcetera ad nauseum. Never mind that your anger is an appropriate reaction to a gross injustice. Get over it. Why? Because they are uncomfortable with it? How narcissistic of them.
I've talked before about emotions vs. behaviors and how, no matter what our emotions are, we must behave in a moral way. Being angry is not justification for doing wrong by someone else. I am trying to get to something else so I won't go into more detail on this aspect.
What I want to get to is how do you know if you are in a healthy place in your head? How do you know, for yourself, that you are not letting your anger ruin your life?
You have the psychobabblers and do-gooder Christian types clucking their tongues if you happen to show a flash of anger when talking about the narcissist. They immediately assume that you are not progressed yet to a place of 'healing' if, when talking about the evil narcissist and her evil acts perpetrated on your own life (which likely has ongoing effects on your life and is therefore a crime in progress), you dare display your outrage. People are afraid of our anger. Why? One reason is because they are sloppy thinkers. They think that our anger is the problem when the real problem is the monster who inflicts pain every chance they get. Our anger is an appropriate response to their inappropriate behavior. If the tongue-cluckers insist we should not let ourselves feel an appropriate emotion then they are, in reality, insisting we become like the narcissist--pretending our way through life and denying what we feel. I'm not going there for anyone.
What is a much more accurate measurement of your emotional health than whether or not the outrageous acts of a narcissist can cause you to feel appropriate outrage? Ready?
How do you know if you have come to a place of acceptance?
Acceptance means you have stopped fighting a situation. You have stopped holding to any other alternatives as options.
As for me. I came to a total acceptance of who my mother is going on six years ago now. And, later, of who my sister is and who my father is. I stopped fighting the situation. I stopped believing that they would ever change and treat me fairly. I stopped believing they would stop abusing me. With my acceptance of who they are and what the situation was I was enabled to make better choices. I stopped making decisions based on baseless hope and their faithless promises. I have proven that I've completely accepted reality...which includes the reality of who these people are...by the fact that I've stopped fighting the situation. Nothing proves my acceptance of who they are more than going no contact and maintaining that no contact with no exceptions. I have proven by my behavior where my head is at. I recognize who these people are and that by staying in their lives they could continue to use and abuse me and my family. I therefore resolved on the only course that remained. Removing me and mine from their influence.
If you can allow yourself to admit when another person is dangerous or destructive...then accepting they are what they are is essential if you are going to ever be able to protect yourself from them.
The content of this blog is designed to highlight and underscore what the narcissist is...and what they always will be. If you can come to the point where you see that what is will always be...then you will stop fighting. The savior complex is a demonstration of the non-acceptance of whom the narcissist chooses to be. It is a form of fighting for the reality you want rather than what is. Staying in the 'mob family' with the narcissist as mob boss is another way we refuse to accept what is really going on. Pretending the narcissist can't cause you material as well as emotional and mental harm is a denial of truth. A non-acceptance of what is. I can accurately sum up this blog as my attempt to help others come to the same place of acceptance that I have come to regarding NPD. I outline the various ways I got there in my head.
Accepting reality is the touchstone of mental health.
Consider this. How easy would it be for me to portray myself here as having reached a place of perfect equanimity? How easy would it be for me to not punctuate my writing with words that betray my outrage at evil? Really easy.
I have always been aware that by expressing my anger and hatred toward people with 'evil personality disorder' I would be condemning myself in the eyes of those who choose to think that reaching a zen-like space is proof of having healed. I am willing to be seen as not having progressed to perfect equanimity with evil people. I'll explain why as I go.
It would have been such a simple thing for me to talk about malignant narcissists completely dispassionately. Kind of like the droning of the boring professor in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" where, regardless of the subject matter, I would speak in one tone endlessly. I'm sure many would be impressed with how strong I am to have gotten to where nothing rattles me. I could receive much praise for having perfectly 'healed' from my past. I'm not going for any silly little awards like that because I don't believe perfect calm in the face of evil is a goal to strive for. No matter how many people may praise me for it...I'm all about being real here.
Here's how I see it. If I were to be completely dispassionate in the discussion of destructive narcissism it would send the message to you that I would not be provoked into defending you if I were to witness the injustices of the narcissist you've endured. When you read my justified anger at the bad acts of the narcissist as it has affected me it gives you good reason to believe I would be just as outraged at what you've endured. You sense my empathy when you read my outrage. To display only perfect calmness in the face of overt evil would not convince you that I give a rat's ass about you. I do give a rat's ass. Which most of you 'get' when you read what I have to say. You sense I am one of your champions. You believe I would defend you against the indefensible acts of the narcissist if I were witness to them. You believe that I would not condemn your own justifiable anger at the total injustice of the evil acts of the narcissist. If I give myself permission to express my anger at injustice...surely I would give you the same latitude.
You get to hold onto some of your anger when you hang out here at my blog. I tell you that the anger can be good and constructive if you allow it to motivate you to make smart changes in your life. Anger is just a feeling. It can be destructive or constructive. It all depends on what you do with it. Anger is pain. It indicates that something is wrong in your environment. It is a powerful catalyst. It can either catalyze you to correct the problem...or to compound it. It is the emotional equivalent to resting your hand on a burning hot stove. Your reaction to your hand getting incinerated causes you to react immediately by pulling your hand from the source of the pain. You yelp and pull back. An appropriate reaction to getting burned. Your anger is a useful tool to help you stay away from the burning flame.
What if you have leprosy? What will your reaction to that hot stove be? Non existent. You won't feel a thing. Therefore, you'll lose your hand because you didn't have the ability to know you're getting burned. Think of the leper when someone tells you to get over your anger. Don't let someone convince you must turn yourself into an emotional leper in order to consider yourself "healed" from the abuses of the narcissist. It is important to let yourself feel your anger so you can keep from further injury. Your anger, if recognized and acknowledged, can inform you that you're in some kind of danger or some circumstance that must be corrected. If you remove the feeling part of yourself you will be guaranteed to start losing important parts of yourself. Children born with congenital analgia can't feel pain. The terrible injuries to their little bodies start occurring very early. Their tongues get chewed into hamburger because they can't feel it. They often lose one or both eyes. It is a terrible thing to never feel pain. Don't anesthetize yourself. It is never healthy.
Some memories will always be associated with a feeling of anger. I think that is a good thing. It is what helps us remember that the stove is hot. To have to burn ones hand once is bad enough. What a tragedy it would be if we couldn't allow ourselves to remember the pain of touching a hot stove. To have to touch it again and again...re-injuring ourselves again and again...how sad would that be? The scar tissue would build up and up until our hand was deformed. Retaining at least some level of outrage at the outrageousness of the narcissist can help us remember to stay away, to protect ourselves and those we love. Narcissists would love nothing more than that we erase our feelings of anger and outrage so they can re-perpetrate their crimes against us. In fact, the narcissists I know demand their victims forget the past. What they are really demanding is that we forget our appropriately negative reactions to being used and abused. So, hang onto a bit of that anger so you'll remember to leave these persons alone. Otherwise, you will get burned. Again. To stick around for continual burns by these people only scars you more; it deforms you. If you want to guarantee that you'll never truly heal...then lose your anger and keep the monsters close.
Am I advocating stewing in your anger? No, not at all. Do I stew in anger? Not at all. I have used my anger constructively to make very positive changes in my life. Because I've gone no contact with the family narcissists and their accomplices I have stopped them from continuing their crimes. Without the continual assaults--fresh memories are not being made. (Fresh memories revive old ones.) No contact has allowed the past to fade from my view. My feelings are calm; I have peace. Most of the time I don't think about these people at all. I have a full and rewarding life that occupies my mental, emotional and physical energies. The exception to not thinking about my family of origin is when I blog. For the sake of others who don't know yet how to escape from the predations of family narcissists I will sit down and remember. I will relive past experiences. I will, as I write, sometimes feel anger. Is it the white hot hate and flames of rage that engulf me? Oh, no. Nothing that dramatic. Mostly I feel outrage at the injustice. I have lived most of my life not allowing myself to be outraged at the gross injustices and abuses I have endured. So I let myself feel that outrage when I remember. And because I'm not afraid of that feeling...I feel it...and it passes. In the meantime, I use that feeling constructively by trying to frame words here on my blog for others to read and hopefully be helped by.
Don't condemn yourself for your anger unless you are using your anger to justify hurting someone else. Then damn yourself all to hell. That is always wrong. But to feel anger at the predatory, evil and cruel acts of the narcissist is healthy if you use it to catalyze yourself to make smart decisions for the future. Occasionally being reminded of your anger at these things helps keep you safe. And it helps keep you smart.
Should I ever be perfectly calm when I am staring into the face of evil and injustice? Not if I give a flying fig about humanity. Because I care about others I will never completely relinquish my outrage and anger at evil.
The day I give up my passionate hatred of evil, the day I quit feeling outrage at the outrageous, is the day I quit caring about my fellow man. So be thankful when you sense my anger and outrage. It proves I give a damn.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
An Accurate Measure of Mental Health ISN'T Lack of Anger
Posted by Anna Valerious at 11:10 AM
Labels: Concept of Evil
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thanks for giving a damn, anna.
and thanks for this post. something i greatly needed this week.
Well said, Anna!
This is one of the paradoxes abusers try to lay on us, in order to keep us confused and easy to control.
If we don't express emotion, we're cold fish; if we do, we're hysterical.
Nice little setup, that; it assures that, no matter what we do or say, it won't ever be taken seriously.
Which, is, of course, its purpose.
Anger does not automatically = lack of self control. More often it = awareness of an outrage.
Interesting, too, that one telling sign of severe mental illness is FLATNESS of affect. I.e., NO FEELINGS.
Not a sermon, just a thought :-)
It doesn't sound like a sermon...sounds like succinctly stated truth. Well said!
Anna, well said again. Well done.
I must have a great therapist because what she is telling me is that I MUST remember my anger, it's in there she says, it is my anger that will get me through and allow me to heal. It will give me the strength to continue my "no contact" situation and it will give motivation to continue to heal. She has said and I agree, that anger is a good thing when you are angry over an injustice done to you. There is NOTHING wrong with anger over abuse done to you.
I can also say that as a former victim of a NPD mom, you learn early to suppress anger. I was NEVER allowed to show anger at her for what she was doing to me. It's really hard now to get in touch with my anger and experience it. It's harder when most of society is telling you that anger is wrong. Amazingly enough they don't condemn abuse quite so vehemently.
Those who say that anger is bad or you need to get over it are either victems themselves, or don't know what abuse really is.
Good to hear that this hit the spot.
For whatever reason, your comment reminds me of one of the things that puts me in a terrific mood when I feel like punching in a narcissist's face...plug in a kick-butt movie. Some movie where the bad guys get it real bad. Woot! Woot!! May not work for everyone, but it sure cheers me up.
Kelly, it does sound like you have a great therapist. No sappy, crappy advice that pretends your anger is the problem. Anger is the solution if you are willing to let it motivate you.
Like you, I was never allowed to show even a hint of anger at whatever outrage I experienced at my mother's hand. When I think back at the child Anna I allow myself as the adult to feel the outrage the child was never allowed to feel. I say it is about damn time to feel it.
Anna, I have noticed you talk quite a bit about your N mother and sister and how the two of them worked together against you. Have you found this to be common with N parents as far as favoritism of other siblings? The reason I ask is my N mother clearly favors my sister and the two of them gang up on me every opportunity they get. This dynamic has been going on for years. I went to therapy years ago and asked the therapist to please give me the tools to have a successful relationship with my mother and sister and the therapist said that was "impossible" and that the two of them were like a pack of wolves against me. So not only have I lost my mother, I have also lost my only sibling in the process. I am definitely angry about the whole thing. I am angry that I have been mistreated, however, this anger has given me the courage to step away and not fall into the trap of abuse. I have accepted the fact that they will never change and the only person I have the power to change is myself. I have accepted the fact that I deserve better.
Anger is listed as one of the 5 stages of death [or experiencing profound loss of any kind, including divorce] and it is considered perfectly natural to be PISSED. Loss itself is a justifiable cause for deep anger.
We here have loss of intimate and close relationships [one or more parents, siblings, partners], that we have been basically forced to divorce literally or figuratively to survive mentally. Because this happened with trusted persons, add on a major betrayal experience.
There are many very good reasons to be mad as hell, and these are just 2 of them in my opinion.
One of the many reasons I like this blog so much is the awareness about the real importance of letting off steam by expressing anger!
ps - I too once sent my Nmom a sort of rude card on Smothers Day and it still makes me crack up to think of it. Mine said: "To someone who has been like a mother to me"
ps - I too once sent my Nmom a sort of rude card on Smothers Day and it still makes me crack up to think of it. Mine said: "To someone who has been like a mother to me"
HA!! Love it! Thanks for the laugh. :o)
"You sense I am one of your champions."
You are INDEED a champion, Anna, in all meanings of the word.
A champion for the abused. A champion as in one of the best. Thank you for another GREAT blog.
Thanks. Once again, a timely topic for me. Anger is not something that comes easy to me. I have had some many 'religious' people (including my mother) tell me that anger was not good - was even sinful. Bleah. My therapist has tried to help me let out anger at my mother. It does not come easy. Programming runs deeper than I sometimes care to admit.
Thank you that you are willing to feel anger on our behalf. That is so precious and rare, in my experience. It helps deprogram, if you will. ;-)
As to the 'kick-butt' movie idea. Yeah. That works for me, too. :-)
Thank you for caring - yes, I do believe you would stand up for me, and perhaps that's what hurts all the more now. When nmom uses her "oh, I'm so concerned voice" to talk about/stab me in the back, and then "oh, what did I ever do to deserve this" - the stands are silent....siblings pretend I am the one with the problem. It sure can be lonely out there!!!!
Keep putting your finger on the problems - no one states it as clearly as you do. Thank you again!
Thanks, Anna, for a wonderful, insightful (to say the least) blog. You are quite something! You continue to help with your wisdom and experience. I always feel empowered by your blogs. Please, don't stop! You have a way with words and are so good at expressing yourself and getting to the point of such a confusing mess.
I have gotten to the point of "no contact" with my Nmother and family of origin (almost eight months) and it's the best thing I have ever done to live with peace and dignity. I won't even go to her funeral. No respect to pay her. What a joke! I hear she is now terrorizing the old people she lives with in her foster home! I feel sorry for those poor, helpless victims!
When I think of that little child that I was, so sweet and trusting, being in the hands of an abuser, my own mother, it just blows my mind. Somehow I survived. It seems unreal, but I know it is my reality and I am finally living my truth.
Could you give us some names of those "kick-ass movies." I'd love to watch them! More therapy! Can't hurt.
Thanks so so much for caring, Anna. You are giving so much to us survivors! Again, you're wonderful!
So many times I have told I should write things down, like my feelings, but I never liked to do that b\c first of all it's hard to write down my feelings when I'm afraid to feel anything. I was too busy trying to please everyone and was afraid someone might find what I wrote and use that against me.
I left my N-husband of 11 years and went NC with my N-father at the same time. I also just went NC with my mother a month ago because I decided she doesn't know me as well as she thinks she does and I'm tired of her telling me what wrong with me and what I need to do. I am 45 years old and have decided to listen to myself for once in my life and I have found that I feel like writing things down now. That it is ok to have feelings, to be angry at how I was raised and how I feel now. You ahve helped me with that tremendously Anna. So many times what you have said is exactly how I feel, but didn't realized it till you put it into words for me. Thank you for helping me find my feelings. That I'm ok for having feelings and expressing them for abuse that has been dealt to me. I choose to stand up for myself now and not be a doormat.
It has been very hard and very lonely for me letting go of my N-husband, N-father and N-mother all at the same time and trying to not feel overwhelmed, depressed, hopeless, abandoned, panic, but from all these feelings, I am getting better b\c I am listening to myself and what I need and want and know I will be a better person without these people telling what to feel, how to act and what I should do. Good or bad, I am choosing my life, not them. From these struggles I become stronger. Thank you for your words and encouragment.
I have found a common reaction when you get angry about injustice is 'I am disappointed in your reaction'. Often the other party sits there looking smug and takes the high moral ground because they aren't getting upset. It's almost a given I think in our society that if you don't blow your stack over wrongdoing then you have achieved some sort of 'Nirvana'. If that is the truth, then Jesus kind of missed it I feel.Desite the fact that we christians tend to use the 'turn the other cheek' mantra to excuse everything from rudeness to insanity.
Anna, I have noticed you talk quite a bit about your N mother and sister and how the two of them worked together against you. Have you found this to be common with N parents as far as favoritism of other siblings?
From the many testimonies of adult children of narcissists that I've been privy to I'd say that, yes, it is a common dynamic to find a N parent showing clear favoritism toward one or more of the siblings. Of course, that means that at least one sibling is singled out for use and abuse by the N parent and the N-in-training sibs.
I went to therapy years ago and asked the therapist to please give me the tools to have a successful relationship with my mother and sister and the therapist said that was "impossible" and that the two of them were like a pack of wolves against me.
Your therapist was being realistic. I'm glad you weren't given the tools you asked for because it would have required you keep bending over for more abuse.
I am angry that I have been mistreated, however, this anger has given me the courage to step away and not fall into the trap of abuse. I have accepted the fact that they will never change and the only person I have the power to change is myself. I have accepted the fact that I deserve better.
You are a great example of what I was trying to explain...how our anger can be productive and helpful if we are willing to 1) acknowledge it is anger, 2) take the necessary steps to eliminate the problem which is contributing to the anger. Recognizing that the only person you have power to change is yourself is a HUGE realization. It is an essential truth that too many people dismiss or ignore...to their detriment. It is something I try to remind people of here. You can only change yourself and your own circumstances. You can't change the narcissist. You do deserve better. I'm so glad you know that.
It's amazing how much anger comes out now that I'm an adult. It's the emotion I was not allowed to have, or had to keep bottled up, even as my narcissist parent kept provoking it/ forbidding it. I think they make a game of irritating you to the point of making you shake with anger and then accusing you of mental illness when you finally blow up at them. It's all part of their most sinister game, pathologizing their victim. Of course all third parties buy the narcissist's charms over your distress. They'll just put on their parent of the year routine, and say how hard it's always been to sacrifice themselves for this "sick" child. A ready made alibi for why they have not attained the superstardom they were destined for. So the people who tell us not to feel anger now have no idea what we were up against. Only we do. Thanks for this blog.
I have totally been vindicated discovering your website on N-Mothers! I thought I was alone every year pouring through the Mother's Day cards, never finding one appropriate for my N-Mother, aka "egg donor".
Cheers to you!
M is for the many times you've hurt me.
O is for the others you hurt too.
T is for the tears upon my pillow.
H is for the hell you put me through.
E is for the evil that's inside you.
R is for the rotten sh*t you are.
Put them all together they spell Mother- She can go to h*ll and I'll wave- from afar.
Thank you for this blog. Maybe I can get back to being myself now.
Anonymous: "Smother's Day"
I`m still dealing with anger. Sometimes I don`t know what to do with it. I`m angry at the injustice that my N family has dished out and angry at so-called N Christian friends. I don`t talk to any of those N anymore but even if I did, it wouldn`t do any good because they would make it my problem instead of theirs. Those self-rightous Christian bi*****s are one of the the worst. Their mean and munipulative and have anger themseves but chose to deny it.That`s what makes them so self-rightious.Like you were saying how they think that they really know your mind, these N all thought that they really knew what was going on in my mind and always tried to diagnose my so-called problems. Very arrogant of them! I`m finally realizing that most of my friendships and dealing with people at church have been with N. When you grow up with N, you think that it`s normal to put up with that kind of behavior.Then you become a Christian and then you think that you have to put up with it because of what others tell you what they think the Bible says about those type of things. As you get older and have more knowledge of scripture, you finally realize what their telling you is not scriptural.I also think that the stupid stuff that they told me didn`t add up to reality(the savior complex and moralizers).Most Christians don`t know how to come along side someone and encourage. They have a "get over it" mentality for others but when it comes to them, their situation is always different than yours. They like to always point out what is wrong or so-called wrong with you but if you point out their stuff(like being mean, for example)then they get defensive and offended. Thanks again for your blog and letting people like us vent.
I am just discovering your blog Anna and all I can say is WOW. I was wondering how you can stay so involved and passionate about the topic and this post helps me understand.
It is sooo wonderful that you take the time to remember the past and share your memories with us. Thank you, thank you!
I keep a word document open when I read your blog to keep quotes, websites, recommended books, etc. so I don't have to go back and search for them. The "smother's day card - 'To someone who has been like a mother to me,' has joined my other 2 favorites from your blog that make me laugh:
"Every Mother's Day I go to visit my mother's grave... because deep, deep down, I know she is a really nice person."
"God love her - I don't know who else does."
Dead on humor that can help express the anger and rage helps so much. Learning to feel justifiable anger instead of the debilitating rage that overwhelmed so much of my life and caused me so much harm has been a blessing. Your blog has helped me tremendously along with my blessed therapist. I also identified with the part about feeling the anger that the child was not allowed to express. I am working on how to care for and nuture that inner child that still feels so much pain and to integrate her into my adult being so that we live a healthier life. Thank you again; keep writing for us all!
I get that all the time... he tells me "you're not well" (meaning mentally) whenever I show any outrage at the evil I experience from this narc. on a daily basis. I know I'm not crazy. Sometimes I respond that we both know I'm not crazy because if he really thought I was, he wouldn't dare mess with me the way he does.. Thanks for the validation
"plug in a kick-butt movie. Some movie where the bad guys get it real bad"
YEAH!!!!!!! *dances excitedly* I love doing that too when I'm pissed off! My favourite kickbutt movies are Equalibrium and Kill Bill! I especially like Kill Bill coz the bad guys in that one get it RRRREEEEAAALLLLYY bad! XD
I have just found and love your blog. You are describing the life that I endured with my mother and my ex husband. After seven years, I am still angry, mostly because of the way he treats our two children. I have moved from the UK to the USA (long story). But life is now much easier without the constant put downs and discord that we had to put up with. My children are starting to thrive, which is such a good thing for us. Thank you for your efforts.
Amen. This is brilliant.
This is so well written! Thank you.
I believe my sister is married to someone with NPD. She shows signs of being so out of touch with reality. I keep asking myself when she is going to explode. She seems to have no emotions. I see my BIL using her money to fulfill his every dream and she sits quietly by. I want to wake her up to reality but I don't know how.
Is she too far gone? She has been married to him for almost 30 years.
your blogs are like a magical healing cream for my internal wounds. thank you. thank you for being you. thank you for being real. thank you for existing. you are one of my saving graces.
Your comment is a healing balm to my own soul. I'm so grateful to know that you have been helped by reading here. Nothing makes me happier than to hear that someone has found in my experience and words some comfort and strength for their own. Thanks for making my day.
Oh amen amen amen!!! THANK YOU SOOO MUCH FOR THIS! YOU ROCK!
There is nothing worse than people who have absolutely no emotional reaction to you when you tell them something disgusting someone else has done to you. Or when they are still nice to the N knowing full well how they have treated you. To me they are just as bad and i have nothing to do with them.
After being involved with and subsequently learning about narcissism i have come to value and appreciate and treasure emotions. IT MEANS I AM HUMAN! THE NARCISSIST IS NOT. I will not deny any more of my emotions, its what separates me from a narcissist.
A lot of Christians think its spiritual to deny, suppress, ignore their emotions and pretend everything is all happy clappy.
Now that I'm a parent myself I feel a deep need to avoid the same demeaning, invalidating, mind-warping abuse that I endured from my parents. This post sparked so many memories of not being allowed to show anger as a kid, and all the work I did with my therapist to finally feel and embrace that anger. Now when my 5-year-old has her own moments of anger, she often goes way over the top in expressing it: screaming or shrieking, throwing things, breaking things, stomping, flailing on the ground, and even occasionally attempting to hurt me or a younger sibling. Usually in those moments, I tell her, "Being angry is always okay, but this is not an appropriate way to show your anger." Then I try to offer other ways to show it like:
- coloring to show me what it feels like inside (when she was super little)
- having a cool down break until we can talk again and brainstorm solutions
- going off to cry for a bit (or doing so on my lap). We've cried together a few times because we were both so angry.
...okay. So maybe those are really the only options I have, and we use them ad nauseum. To be clear, the above reactions are the reactions I'm aiming towards, the ideal. I sure don't always get there. And in the other moments, I sometimes feel like my words are only lip service to this principle. Or that she stays angry or tantruming so long that we never get to the talking/problem solving/communicating place. Or sometimes I'm so angry myself (and I'm only just learning how to deal with this very new emotion) that I revert uncomfortably close to a control mindset.
I do not ever want to shut her down in the way that I was. I do not ever want to be my parents. But I also don't want to be shrieked at, to tolerate property damage, to endure bodily harm, or whatever. That's unacceptable to me.
So what are some better ways of expressing anger myself as I go about parenting? And what are some ways I can teach her to really feel her own anger appropriately without going to the other extreme and accidentally teaching to just bury it?
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