The Inheritance (message by Graham Cooke)

I was going to write about my “savior/rescuer” complex–and I still intend to (that will be my next post, which will probably be up tomorrow), but I wanted to post this first. This video was just sent to me by a friend and I’m BLOWN AWAY.

I’m a Christian. I’m not a fundamentalist or a strict Biblical Christian by any means, but I still believe in the Trinity. I know many readers of this blog don’t believe in God, and I don’t think that this is the right place or time for me to try to convert anyone, since my own faith is still so shaky. But still–this deserves to be seen, even if you don’t believe in God.

The singer is Jonathan Helser.

A little background, if you’re interested, can be read about in the following post. I’m going to be attending a 4 day Christian healing program that has been effective for people suffering from trauma, PTSD, C-PTSD, DID, and even personality disorders. I’m a little scared but very excited. The reason I’m not posting the entire article here is because I don’t write about my religious or spiritual views on this blog–or at least I try to avoid it as much as possible. This is a blog about trauma, therapy and healing, but not spirituality or religion. That being said, I’ve come to believe that spirituality must be very much a part of recovery for the most effective results–and certain disorders–Cluster B disorders especially–must have some kind of spiritual element for treatment to work at all (even if that just means being prayed for). Here is the article I wrote on my other blog, if you’re interested in reading it.

So excited!

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My ex might be dying.

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My MN ex may have cancer.   He’s been coughing up blood a lot and has been a heavy smoker for years, and also smokes a lot of weed too.  He’s also been losing a lot of weight.  He tells my daughter he doesn’t think he has much time left.

He’s covered by Medicare (SSDI), but he’s terrified to go see a doctor.    I don’t blame him actually.  I’d be terrified too.

He told my daughter if he has cancer, he just wants to let nature take its course and doesn’t want treatment.  He’s a very high spectrum malignant narcissist, but he hates himself and his life.  What he lives is not a life, it’s an existence.   He’s just marking time until death, and he’s not even that old (he’s 55, but looks 70).

Although I can’t stand him anymore and refuse to have further contact with him, this development makes me feel very sad.   It makes me sad that he allowed his own narcissism to destroy him (as well as almost destroy the people who loved him, including our children).  It makes me sad that he’s isolated himself from his family by driving the people who loved him away, one by one–and will probably die all alone with no one to really care.  His parents are both dead and he has no other close relatives.

It makes me sad that he, like my mother, will most likely die without ever being free of his narcissistic prison.    I am praying for him because although I don’t like him, I know he’s living in a self imposed hell of his own making and his life is without any joy or lightness or love or hope.  He’s the most negative person I’ve ever met.

I would love to see him at least become self aware enough to make amends to both his children, and realize that what’s happened to him is his own doing, not the fault of those who were close to him.    Not because I want to see him suffer the pain of self-discovery (I’m not a spiteful person seeking revenge), but because I feel like that could possibly redeem him in God’s eyes, even if it’s at the 11th hour.

No, he doesn’t have enough time to be cured of NPD (or ASPD, or whatever he actually has), because that can take years that I don’t think he has, but at least some kind of redemption may be possible and he can have a moment to reconcile with his family before he finally shucks off this mortal coil.

I would also love to see him accept the love of Christ and allow himself to be comforted in His arms during his last moments.   He needs that so badly.  I’ve felt the love of Christ very keenly lately, and when I feel overwhelmed or discouraged or depressed, I ask Him to take me in his arms, and I can feel that he really does and that brings me great comfort.   I felt his presence strongly during my spiritual awakening (of sorts) in the Gulf of Mexico a couple of weeks ago.   I feel it whenever I fall onto my bed and weep after therapy, and he just rocks me and holds me like the parent I always wanted and tells me everything will be alright.  He was always there but I refused to see.

My daughter does still speak to her father sometimes, but after stealing all her money last month, there’s definitely a rift between them now, and she’s starting to realize what sort of person he really is and that he’s utterly incapable of loving anyone.   He told her he wants her to have a baby before he dies so he can have a grandchild for a short time, but she’s smart enough to not do that until she’s actually married (she’s with a very good man now who I think might be “the one”–and there are no red flags that I can see).

Maybe this man, being so physically ill (even though there’s no proof it’s cancer it probably is), will begin to look at himself in a different light and begin to develop some self-awareness.  I’m praying, and I know God listens.  So I’m not without hope that at least that could happen.

Is my narcissist mother changing?

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Something strange is happening lately, but I don’t dare get my hopes up yet.   My mother, who I’ve described many times on this blog, is an apparently unredeemable and hardened malignant narcissist who just recently talked trash about me to my own son and tried to keep him from allowing me to visit him.  (That was described in my recent post “Back on the Couch”).   I know she reads my other blog (Lucky Otter’s Haven) but I don’t think she knows about this one (though I could be wrong).

In that same post, I talked about my son’s revelation to me that my deceased dad’s wife never hated me (as I had believed).  I realized I’ve just been projecting onto her, just because she’s not emotionally demonstrative and I misunderstood her aloofness and matter-of-factness as coldness and hatred.    She even wants me to call her soon.  While my father was always disordered (either BPD or covert narcissism, or both),  he was never malignant and I always knew that he did love me, even if his expression of love for his youngest daughter left a lot to be desired.

After years of thinking I hated my mother,  I’ve realized I really do love her.   I wasn’t able to let go of my hatred of her until I let go of my hatred of all people with NPD.    In fact, I’ve developed compassion for her and although I remain (and intend to remain) No Contact with her (because she makes me so crazy and I have to),  I spend a lot of time in prayer for her deliverance from NPD, which has ruined both her life and the lives of those who have had the misfortune of being close to her.

A few days ago, she Liked a few of my posts on Facebook, including the photographs I took while I was in Florida with my son.   She also made a comment under one of my shared blog posts (I don’t share all my posts to Facebook –just the less personal ones–because so many of my family members would see them and I prefer they don’t).

Her comment was this:

“I think you are a fantastic writer.  I always love to read what you have to say.  You have so much talent.”

Huh?

I almost felt lightheaded from the shock of this.   I read it again, this time between the lines.  There were no barbs, no judgment, no criticism of any kind.  Just an acknowlegment that she recognized that I’m a good writer. No, better than that.  A very good, talented writer.   And that she loved what I had to say.

This, after referring to my blog as “that thing” just a few weeks ago.

Of course, there’s a distinct possibility (in fact, likelihood) that she’s just hoovering me or love bombing me for some reason, with both that comment and all her recent Likes. Maybe she’s trying to draw me back into her web for some reason–after all, she’s quite up there in age, and probably realizes she doesn’t have much longer on this earth.

Or maybe she’s recognizing that she can no longer control me (I went to see my son anyway and we had a wonderful time, and I didn’t have the “bad influence” over him the way she had warned him).  Maybe she has some grudging respect for me now, after years of looking down on me.  I doubt it, but it’s not impossible.

Or maybe….my prayers are working.  Maybe God has listened to my pleas and is going to deliver her from her narcissism, so that she and I can have that 100-Kleenex reconciliation before she finally  shucks off this mortal coil.

I’m not going to get my hopes up, because the reality is, very, VERY few people as malignant as she is can ever change, especially at such a late age.   But miracles do happen in this world, and God can do anything if it’s in his will to do so.

I’m going to remain No Contact, because she could well be just hoovering me, and I’m no longer so gullible to believe everything a narcissist tells me, or so desperate to hang onto the slightest sign of love that I get all starry eyed and “malignantly optimistic” about the true state of their heart.

I love sappy movie endings, and always want life to work out the way they do in the movies.   I always cry whenever a hardened narcissist turns into a good guy or gal at the end and tearfully makes amends for all the pain they have caused their loved ones.  I know life isn’t a movie.  But still…miracles can happen.  The timing of her behavior on Facebook is odd, and it dovetails with all my prayers for her deliverance.  So only time will tell.

How beautiful and perfect if my mother’s decades-long hardened heart finally unfolds and she’s freed of her narcissism in time for us to finally have the mother-daughter, heart to heart talk we never, ever had and I never dared to hope for.    How lovely and bittersweet if we could finally hold each other the way normal mothers and daughters do, both of us weeping with regret and sorrow over the past and yet with gratitude and joy for the present.

If this is what’s happening, I don’t think it would ever have happened had I not let go of my hatred and fear of people with NPD.

Going with the flow.

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I wanted to get up early and walk on the beach at sunrise, but I guess I was so exhausted from my long drive yesterday and busy evening (also stayed up late blogging about it and chatting with my son) that my body needed extra sleep, and I didn’t get up until about 1 PM!

No worries though.  My son has to work all night tonight so he was still asleep too.   I quietly ate some cereal and headed out. I decided to go back to Rees Park, where we witnessed the sun set last night.   I felt like it was calling me back.  This time I had the presence of mind to wear a swimsuit.

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The day was hot, very hot–95 degrees and very sunny.    I drove to Rees Park and immediately smelled the ocean smell and felt the soothing sea breeze, making it seem cooler.    I noticed that unlike last night when we were there at low tide, the tide was now coming in.  There were no sandbars and there were very small waves (really, more like ripples), and a lot less of the beach was visible.   Banks of puffy white clouds dotted the horizon against the bright, almost electric blue of the sky.

I took off my sandals and stepped into the water.  It was as warm as bathwater!  So unlike the ocean water further north, even as far south as Myrtle Beach. Of course, this was the Gulf, a smaller body of water than the Atlantic Ocean, so that probably had a lot to do with the very warm temperature.

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I waded out into the water, and when I looked down, I saw small schools of tan colored fish swimming around my feet.  I squeezed my toes into the very fine, silt-like sand, an lowered myself into the water.   It was like sinking into a bathtub, only so much better.

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I closed my eyes and used the rest of my senses to feel nature around me.  I felt the ripples gently rocking me, and I just let my body respond to that, rolling over and floating and stretching every part of me that could be stretched.  I breathed in the salty air and listened to the seagulls on the shore.  I scooped up some of the silt-like sand into my hands, and squeezed the water out of it until the claylike substance squeezed out between my fingers and left a small ball in my hands.   I looked at it and could see many tiny shells and fragments of shells studded throughout the ball.    It felt so nice in my hands I decided to rub it all over my arms and then lifted my legs out of the water and rubbed some of it on those too.

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I looked around me and saw a few other people, also just relaxing and enjoying nature.    I had a short conversation with a woman lying in the water nearby, who was visiting her mother.   She said this was better than going to a spa, and I agreed.

I just sat there, not caring that the tide was now getting dangerously close to where I’d laid my things.  I looked down into the clear greenish water and then looked out where it seemed to stretch out into infinity, becoming dark blue as it receded into the distance.   I looked down again and there were those little fish swimming all around me, as if protecting me.    I looked back at the beach and gazed at the palm trees and listened to the hissing of their fronds in the gentle breeze.    For a rare moment, I was completely in the moment, not worrying about the future or fretting over something in the past.  I just was me, just a part of nature.  Not my ego or my achievements or my failures or my fear or my anger or my shame.   Just me.

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I felt the healing energy of the sun, sand and water that cradled me, and realized that this was all God’s doing.   It wasn’t the water rocking and comforting me, it was God holding me gently and using the warm water to do that.  I never felt like I got that from my family or anyone else I loved, but God has always been there, always ready to hold and comfort me.  All I had to do was ask and be open to it, which requires you to let go of defenses and become vulnerable. Being in nature helps you do that.   I felt a lump of gratitude form in my throat and thanked him for bringing me to this place.   Through grace, I knew I would be healed, that one day my mental disorders would be a thing of the past.

When I got back to the apartment, I found out an answer to an earlier prayer was answered favorably.   I think that has everything to do with what I found out on the beach today.

I think this is probably a turning point for me.

THIS IS GOING TO BE LONG. I AM SORRY.

I have so much to say right now but I can’t because I’m in shock (a good kind). I had a sudden breakthrough that explains everything or a lot anyway. I know I have a lot of things to work on and probably a lot more traumatic incidents from childhood but I remembered this and it is a biggie, maybe a core memory that got occluded (though not entirely blocked, just not FELT until tonight). Since I can’t write normally I’m just going to do it as a list of events right now. I can’t even see straight because the tears keep rolling.

A few things to keep in mind…
1. It did happen when I was around 6 (an age which I have referred to over and over again in this blog, based on a “feeling”)
2. It was because of my mother — now I can see exactly what she was trying (maybe unconsciously because of her own issues) to do to me because of the kind of child I was.
3. It’s interesting that I mentioned I feel more emotionally vulnerable when I’m sick — you will understand why if you read all this. (I do not believe it was Munchhausen’s by Proxy however)
4. My true self / inner child that I pictured a few weeks ago as one of those big eyed children paintings from the 1960’s could not be more perfect as a visual of the child I used to be.
5. I have always been an HSP and that may explain the abuse and the chain of events that led to my shutting off almost ALL my feelings. That’s a complete lie because that sensitive child was always INCREDIBLY strong– or had the potential to be… but it was squelched.

Timeline of what happened to me.

Here is the chain of events as they unfolded. I may be missing some; I’m overwhelmed in every good way so my brain isn’t working quite right but I also feel incredibly blessed because I think God stepped in and made this happen because I was ready. I think it’s a kind of miracle, an Easter gift because I reached out to God in my moment of terror and pain (which only lasted about one hour) and also asked for forgiveness of my serious and rather frequent doubts. I think I’ll question my faith less now, though I can’t promise I won’t still have doubts and fall short of perfect faith. (

1. I was in a very good mood today though still feeling poorly from the flu bug I got a week ago (from my therapist — oh, the irony!) I came home and made a few posts. I felt excited for my friend Mary whose band is doing so well and they have a new song that’s getting lots of Youtube views. I talked to my son who will be visiting for 4 days the first week of next month. The weather was perfect in every way and I took some photos.

2. Around 8 PM I started to feel very achy and feverish. At first I thought it was just the virus giving me a last minute “finger” before it finally exited my body. I took some Tylenol and drank a large glass of orange juice with about 1000mg of vitamin C and made some tea.

3. An hour later, I felt much worse. I had bad chills, shaking and could hardly stand. I felt dizzy and a little delirious. Even though the evening is warm, even turning the heat up to full blast wasn’t helping at all and I felt my fever continue to climb. I tried to take it but kept dropping the thermometer, but I know it had to be very high. I tried to get warm but could not. I took some deep breaths but all that did was make my hands go numb and make me start coughing up residue from the bug. I started to feel nauseous. I tried to stand up and couldn’t keep my balance; and fell back into bed. I tried to get comfortable but could not. Thoughts of pneumonia played through my head. Maybe I was going to die. I’m terrified of dying. Maybe it was finally going to happen. I was going to die before I ever lived.

4. I panicked and dissociated badly. I felt like I was out of my body. I bit my hands and whimpered to hold back the panic. What the hell was happening to me?

5. I thought about going to the hospital but decided to turn to God instead. I shut my eyes tight and prayed and prayed and prayed. I begged forgiveness for having such weak faith. I begged him not to let me die. I wasn’t ready yet.

I didn’t know it yet, but I was experiencing a somatic reliving of past events.  Freud called this phenomenon “conversion.”

Transported into the abyss

6. I had a sudden image of myself as a 6 year old little girl, weak and frail and pale like the picture of the child in the painting. I lay in my parent’s bed, watching cartoons on TV, all my Little Golden books and various puzzles and games and toys spread around me. She fed me soup and crackers and cookies and fussed over me and stroked my hot forehead tenderly. She looked genuinely concerned. I remember how I craved this type of attention.
These were truly the only times I felt loved by her.

7. This was not an isolated incident, this happened many times over. I was a sickly child, who suffered from frequent colds, high fevers, many allergies, all the childhood illnesses, excruciating ear-aches that left me partially deaf in my left ear to this day. I was taken to doctors who gave me allergy shots but could find nothing else seriously wrong with me.

8. In other areas too, I was encouraged to be weak or fragile. Until I was around ten, I was bullied at school and given sympathy at home. My parents used to call the bullies’ parents and tell them to leave me alone, which only made the bullying worse (kids hate other kids whose parents snitch to other parents). I wonder if this was somehow known to them. If so, it was a very covert form of gaslighting. I was chided as being “ungenteel” and “acting low class” anytime I acted too “tough” or talked back or stood up for myself, or came back with a good snarky comeback.

9. Gradually I stopped being able to be anything but a docile codependent (until my teens when I pathetically rebelled and began to act out against my parents and built a tough (and quite scary at times both to me and others) rage and an overlying emotional shell but that’s a whole different topic even though the roots of that were from the same source).

10. Gradually I got sick less, but my emotional “weakness” became more painful and dysfunctional to me as I approached my teen years. After a while of being given “sympathy” for being over-emotional, “hysterical” (my mother’s word for me) and fragile, it was gradually ripped away and I was told to “sink or swim” with no emotional tools to navigate waters that were now way too dark and deep.

11. I was discouraged in subtle ways for doing things on my own that showed strength or independence. Drawing pictures and writing little books and playing with dolls and even being a good student was “okay” because a weak child could still be good at these things. At age 11 or 12 I wanted to join the swim team and while I wasn’t outright forbidden, I was told I wouldn’t like it because “it’s too competitive for you,” or worse, putting words in my mouth (“you KNOW you don’t like competition!”) I joined anyway but had self doubts all that summer. It was still a positive experience, but not nearly enough to rebuild my sense of self and ability to be an achiever. There were many other things I was also discouraged or even forbidden from doing, because of the tough image I wasn’t allowed to display. I won’t list them all here but trust me, this was a constant in my late childhood.

This is getting too long, so let me wrap this up.

12. I remembered all this and realized God had given me the gift of clarity and further insight into my mental illness (whatever it really is). I asked and it was given. I began to cry. Then an amazing thing happened. The fever broke and the physical pain disappeared! I suddenly felt a lot better!

13. Emotions are energy moving through or out of the body, and I realized what happened. My body RE-LIVED (truly FELT, not just thought about) the somatic experience of being a helpless, sick, feverish child. I suddenly had a memory of myself feeling that sick as a young child, like I was going to die, and being reassured and fussed over by my mother. Sickness and weakness was the only thing I was ever truly mirrored or emotionally rewarded for. All my life I’ve been craving that kind of care but I’ve run away from it too, because it proved to be dangerous. I had nothing to replace it with.

14. Approaching adolescence, I was no longer “rewarded” either at home or at school for being sickly/weak. The tables were cruelly turned on me and I was told to sink or swim. But inside, I was in excruciating pain.

15. I became codependent, searching for the “perfect parent” who I never really had.

16. Over the years, my pain got more deeply buried and I further added to this massive defense. At a certain point I became unable to feel much of anything. The stakes were too high.

17. When I was abandoned by family of origin, it was for the very same things I was doted on for as a young child (being a “weak loser”) How crazymaking and evil is that?  Inside, I always felt that way (and my life circumstances reflected that).  But on the outside, I had to hide my “weakness” to survive.   It never worked out too well for me though.

17. Everything I’ve been talking about and feeling in therapy lately was leading to this discovery. I have a long way to go. It’s incredibly confusing. But this is a beginning. I feel like now some real heavy duty work can be done.

18. I feel physically wonderful right now. My goal is clearer– to regain my HSP-ness but with mindfulness and wisdom and control (not a false self!)

ETA: I still feel unwell today, but nowhere near as bad as last night for that hour I thought I was dying.   This stupid bug does not want to go away!

Spirituality and therapy don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

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More often lately, I’m feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit while at church. What this feels like is an opening of my heart and a warm surge of emotion. Sometimes I even get a little misty-eyed during the proceedings, especially after taking communion. It’s hard to put the emotion into words, but it’s a sort of reverent feeling and I always come away feeling energized and ready to confront the week ahead, knowing I’m not alone and God walks beside me every step of the way, no matter how tough things might get (and my life is far from easy!)

I’ve been getting similar feelings during my therapy sessions, and I know some of this is due to repressed emotions coming to conscious awareness. A lot of the emotion, though, I have to admit, has to do with transference–which are the strong feelings some clients develop toward their therapists that can easily be mistaken for limerence or romantic attraction (but in my case lacks a sexual aspect, which is good). In actuality, you don’t know your therapist at all (or at least you shouldn’t, beyond his or her qualifications and competence). The idealization many of us experience toward our therapists are our own projections and indicate primitive attachment has been achieved, and this can become a basis of healing as you learn to work through those feelings to connect with your own emotions and eventually develop healthier relationships with other people.

So what does any of this have to do with the Holy Spirit? Why am I talking about therapy and God in the same article? Well, because the emotions I feel in therapy are often similar to the emotions I have in church. The transference I’m currently experiencing is strong, very strong. When I was 22 I developed a strong transference toward a therapist I’d been seeing for about 2 years and I couldn’t handle it; I lacked the maturity to be able to work through the almost overpowering emotions that came up and they became too painful and I eventually left. That’s okay though; I wasn’t ready.

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I couldn’t resist.

I’m a lot older and more mature now, and have learned how to be mindful and not allow my emotions to overwhelm me to the point of doing stupid things or making bad choices. In fact, I’ve almost become too controlled, since my primary goal in therapy right now is to connect more with my emotions, which due to complex PTSD, BPD and avoidant PD, have become almost inaccessible to me most of the time. Church and therapy are the two places where I feel safe actually allowing them to bubble to the surface a little bit.

But I’m still only human, and if I’m not careful, my transference toward my therapist could become inappropriate and while not likely to hurt him, could be damaging to me. Maintaining healthy boundaries and remaining mindful, while still welcoming and allowing myself to experience transference feelings toward my therapist can be a bit of a challenge.

So I had a sort of epiphany while praying this morning in church. Why not invite the Holy Spirit in during my sessions? Why not say a prayer just before each session, asking God to help me get the most out of therapy and thanking him for what I’ve already accomplished? Why not ask God to help me stay mindful but still able to experience the wonderful kaleidoscope of emotion that lies under all the fear and defenses I’ve built after years of abuse? God brought this particular therapist and I together for a reason. But he’s just a human being and imperfect like everyone else. I know this on a cognitive level, if not an emotional one. If he seems “ideal” it’s only God working through him; and it’s only me projecting my need for a perfect caregiver, a surrogate parent, onto him.

I also think that asking the Holy Spirit in during my sessions will actually enhance my ability to access buried emotions, and that’s my primary goal at the moment. I think that if I do this, I can get even more out of therapy than I have been getting, and will progress at a faster rate. so I’m going to try doing this this week and see what happens.
God and therapy don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Spiritual crisis.

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I’ve always hesitated about getting too religious on either of my blogs, since people of many different faiths (or none at all) read them and I don’t want to alienate non-Christians or atheists. But there’s no possible way to write what I’m about to write without at least acknowledging the presence of God (good) and Satan (evil). I will be referencing God because He plays such an important part in what happened to me this morning, but prefer to use the term “evil” or “forces of darkness” rather than Satan or the Devil. It’s all the same thing.

This morning I had a wake up call from God. Like so many other times when God knocks me upside the head with the truth, it hurt–a lot! But ultimately, it proved to me He hasn’t given up on me yet and has shown me the way to get out of the spiritual mess I’ve gotten myself into. But when He’s not pleased, He definitely lets you know. It’s my own choice what I do with this information.

As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with depression, lack of motivation, and strange dissociative episodes, where I often feel as if I’m out of my body. My “muse” seemed to have gone AWOL without any warning. I couldn’t figure it out, and thought I was having some kind of mental breakdown or a relapse into the numb depression I was in before I started to blog.

I didn’t realize until this morning that what was happening had little to do with my mind but a lot to do with my soul. Now when I look back at everything, I can’t understand how I didn’t see it, but Evil has a way of sneaking around and convincing you it’s Good when it’s the worst thing imaginable. Evil wants your soul and will do anything it can to get it, even convince you that bad is good and good is bad, and have you questioning your faith, if you have one.

I felt like God was very far away. I prayed, but half-heartedly, and no answers were coming. It was frustrating. Had God played a trick on me, or maybe didn’t even exist? Or maybe God just didn’t like me very much.

For weeks, maybe several months, my efforts at writing new blog posts felt forced. I felt that I was losing interest in narcissism and would have to take this blog in another direction. At the same time (and this is VERY insidious!) I found myself reading a lot about dark subjects, just because I felt drawn to them somehow. Yes, I admit it: while I want to be a good person and walk on the side of what’s good and right, there’s always been a part of me that’s attracted to darkness, even though at the same time I feel repelled by it. In fact, it’s much the same kind of “attraction” I’ve always had to narcissistic men–both attracted and repelled at the same time. I know it’s bad, and know it’s bad for ME, but rationalize to myself why it isn’t that dark or why it’s okay for me to be drawn closer to it. I thought I could delve into dark subjects as a sort of “spectator,” without getting really involved. I rationalized to myself that I wasn’t offending God because I wasn’t actually engaging in these activities. The power of the demonic is in its insidiousness. The way it sneaks up on you.

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Evil can masquerade as “good.” Be careful.

Last week I posted an article (which I removed this morning due to its content) about the use of psychedelic drugs as therapy for Cluster B disorders and PTSD. The article was at best irresponsible and misleading, and at worst potentially destructive, even…evil. But at the time I wrote it, I had somehow convinced myself it was okay as long as I prefaced it with a “disclaimer.” It never occurred to me that although I never would take such drugs myself, even as therapy (for the record, I don’t do any drugs and rarely even drink), that someone else might be convinced to do so, and find themselves in the midst of something they would not be able to handle or even in the ER! They could also find their souls in jeopardy.

That might sound dramatic but let me explain. In spite of my unhealthy obsession with dark things, I’ve shied away from anything involving the occult ever since my bad experience using a Ouija board at age 17. The occult scares me because I believe it’s possible to attract dark forces or spirits when engaged in it. Psychedelic drugs scare me too, but I find their effects (including their effects on me in the past, which were always negative) strangely fascinating. But when you take a psychedelic drug, you’re altering your consciousness and this often involves something called “ego death.” When ego death happens, people tend to dissociate quite badly. At high doses–or on strong psychoactive drugs–you lose your sense of yourself and forget who you are, where you are, or even that you’re human. At the same time your cognition remains intact. It’s at this point that many people either freak out and have a bad experience–or enjoy the experience and begin to think of themselves as “like gods” since they feel like disembodied pure consciousness and “see” things that are unbelievable in the context of the material world.

Several things can happen, and none of them are good. You can have a psychotic break and never “return,” you can “come back” believing the lies you’ve been told (that you’re “like a God” and can do anything God can do), or an outside entity (most likely, a bad one) can enter your body when you’re in this vulnerable state. I do realize some people claim to have had enlightening and even humbling experiences, and that may be the case for a few, but I think it’s the exception rather than the rule, and even then, you may have been deceived by dark forces. Some say that because psychoactive plants grown in nature and God created these plants, that they must have been put there by God for humans to use to achieve enlightenment. That may be the case but I doubt God wants us all tripping to know Him. They may have been given to us as medicine, meant to be dispensed by a doctor. We can’t know why they exist, but I have no business encouraging anyone to use them recreationally or as a method of self-therapy. There are too many risks and too many negative outcomes. It’s opening a Pandora’s box to the unknown. Just because you’re curious about what’s in that box doesn’t mean it should be opened. Personally I think psychedelic drugs are a form of sorcery (and I even said so in the article this post is about), and sorcery isn’t anything I want to get involved with.

I can’t help but think of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge, which may have been a psychoactive plant of some sort. Look what happened to them (and all humanity) after they ate from it! God specifically told them not to eat the fruit but they did anyway. We can’t know why it was put there if they were not to partake, but He must have had his reasons. They listened to the serpent instead who told them it was perfectly okay and not to listen to God. They fell for it and their disobedience led to the Fall. No, I do not believe this was a literal account of creation (I think it’s allegorical) but the message there is still very clear: there are some things God does NOT want us to do, and it’s not for us to question His reasoning. It could be that the answer would be too overwhelming for us to handle.

say_that_meme

It fills me with shame now to think that in posting that article last week, I was doing the same thing the serpent was doing in the Garden. Even with all the disclaimers and admission that I’d be too afraid to undertake any psychotherapy using psychedelic drugs, that article was still incredibly irresponsible to say the least. I can’t believe I even wrote such a thing, never mind actually posting it! But the dark forces can be very convincing and even hypnotic (much like a drug–or the serpent) and while engaged in activities that are more pleasing to those forces than to goodness (or godliness), you literally can’t see what you’re doing or why it’s a bad thing. Evil literally becomes “good” and that’s the lie the dark forces wants us to believe.

I now know why I’ve been feeling so depressed and dissociated. My soul was being pulled between good and evil. Being pulled in two opposite directions, I couldn’t “move,” hence the lack of motivation and dearth of new ideas. It also explains the strange out of body experiences and inexplicable sense of foreboding and panic attacks. These are all symptoms of soul sickness. Someone on another blog has said I seem very confused, and it’s true. I am very confused and have been for some time. The dark forces use confusion to disorient us and make us more vulnerable to their attempts to win our souls to their side.

I want to do what’s right; I want to please God, but at the same time I do find dark things alluring and seductive. All my life I’ve been surrounded by evil, and stayed with a very evil man far longer than I should have. I finally escaped, and found God, but the dark forces still want to get their hooks in me and this was their attempt to do so. I’m not strong enough to resist those forces without God, especially taking my background into consideration. If I deliberately dabble in things (and this includes even reading excessively about them) I’m leaving myself wide open to go down a very negative spiritual path.

This morning I saw a comment about this blog on someone else’s blog. The comments were not positive. The drug article was called out as being “evil.” I never thought of it that way, because the last thing I want to be is evil, but I immediately realized this person was right. I don’t want to post things that could be seen that way or could harm someone’s body, mind or soul. But that article WAS very dangerous and suddenly it was like my eyes were opened. I almost felt as if I’d just woken up and seen things as they really were. I saw myself in the mirror and the reflection wasn’t pretty.

My first reaction was extreme. I felt such overpowering shame (similar to what Adam and Eve must have felt in the Garden when they covered their bodies) that for a moment I was VERY tempted to just take down this whole blog and disappear. But suddenly I felt God’s presence and another thought entered my mind–Repent. Retract the article (as well as others that have been seen or may be seen as irresponsible or damaging to ACONs or disordered people, or ANYONE for that matter) and publicly apologize. I knew that God was giving me another solution because He knows that blogging has brought me to Him and didn’t want me to destroy the gift He’d given me to heal myself. To take down this blog and disappear would be the coward’s way out. It’s the way I have handled so many other things in my life when I handled things badly or hurt someone unintentionally. But God doesn’t want us to be cowards. He wants us to take responsibility for our mistakes, to own up to them, even when it’s embarrassing.
I was wrong. There’s no other way to justify what I did.

Many people might think doing such a thing a public retraction and apology would bring more shame than just disappearing. But ironically, I felt relief and gratitude. Gratitude that God had NOT turned his back on me (as I’d feared) and still has a plan for me. A year ago he was working on my mind; now He’s working on my soul, and the lessons you learn are so much harder. God is endlessly patient with us. He knows we’re human and will mess up sometimes. I messed up big time. I asked for forgiveness but I knew that the feeling of relief and gratitude meant He’d already forgiven me, as long as I never do such a thing ever again.

And God does perform miracles too. Several small (or not so small) miracles happened following my eyes being opened this morning. I could have felt hurt by the negative comments on that other blog, but somehow I didn’t–because I knew that person was right. I didn’t feel depressed today, and I felt inspired to write this article. I realized how much I WANTED to write it. I couldn’t wait to get home to write it. I haven’t felt this excited to write any blog post in months! I just knew that it was what God wanted me to do, and God always knows what we need even when we don’t.

When I got home earlier, there was one other little miracle waiting for me. This:

succulent_flower

A single bright pink flower on a succulent plant in my kitchen that has NEVER bloomed in the three years I’ve had it. I never noticed it until I got home, and suddenly there it was! I felt God’s presence and knew this was Him letting me know I’d made the right choice and was pleased. So I uttered two words: “Thank you.”

I know there will be many more spiritual crises ahead of me. I’m far from perfect and never will be. But I know if I stay close to God and stray less than I have over to the allure of darkness, I may have fewer of them and find I’m a whole lot happier in general.

ETA: Due to some interest expressed in reading the controversial article discussed in this post, I decided to make the article available, but password protected to avoid it being widely disseminated. If you wish to read it, please send me an email explaining your reasons and I will provide the password.

Dancing to the music of my emotions.

DegasDancer14
Edgar Degas: The Little 14-Year old Dancer (1880-81)

To the uninitiated…

This is a generalization of what a DIY self-reparenting therapy session is like…I say generalization because because each time I do this it’s different.

I say a prayer for protection and success and swaddle my body lightly in natural cotton sheets and curl into a semi-fetal position on the bed. Sometimes I clutch a transitional object such as a stuffed animal or a geode or rock I love. I stroke the object, drinking in its self soothing powers.

I imagine God’s love surrounding me–my nonjudging and quiet friend and therapist. He watches with benevolent and protective love as I struggle to birth my true self.
I know he feels empathy for what I’m going through

He watches as I breathe in love from this Source and direct it to my solar plexus chakra just under my navel. I place a warm hand over it the way a pregnant woman places her hand over her bump. I feel that is where my true self resides. I talk to her. I tell her whatever she begins to feel is okay. That it was always okay but something bad was done to her and it wasn’t her fault.

I hear the music, breathe it in, breathe in the scent of lemon mint from the candle on my dresser, breathe in truth, beauty, love.
I breathe in empathy for my child-self and imagine it cloaking her like a protective gauze shield
I breathe out pain, anger, fear, terror, shame, hate, envy, boredom, and cynicism. I breathe out lack of caring and lack of faith. I breathe out the inability to trust anyone. I hold myself and reassure my child-self she’s safe.

I feel different emotions pass through me–some are hard to describe, and some are confusing and unfamiliar. Some are vaguely familiar, like half-dead refugees from a time long in the past. These sublime and uniquely human emotions are to hate, anger and fear, what fine vintage Italian wine is to Mad Dog 20/20. Their beauty and elegance are too painful. The truth is too painful.
I’m an ocean with a deceivingly calm exterior that roils endlessly, silently beneath the surface–a stagnant, sluggish, algae covered surface that hides an ocean so deep the earth could not contain it.

I start to weep. I release anger, fear, envy, grief, and hate. Heaving with the effort of it, yet surrendering to it. I imagine the tears on my face as my ideal mother’s gentle fingers on my infant cheeks. This nurturing, compassionate mother is me. I wrap my arms around myself, rock back and forth, my body reacting and responding freely to everything I feel.
I tell my infant self she is loved and was always enough.
She cries too. These emotions scare her. They make her too vulnerable.
I assure her she is safe.
I tell her to be sensitive is a beautiful and powerful thing.
For each emotion we encounter, I ask her to embrace each one, projecting only love to it, no matter how much it hurts.
She does, at first, tentatively.

Her confidence grows. She comes out more. I ask her to internalize her feelings as they appear, for they are what she is, they are what make her beautiful.
I hold her as she feels each one.
She laughs and I laugh with her.
And she dances to the music of her emotions.

The insights she gives me are her reward to me for for giving her permission to be fully alive, develop her sensitivity to be put to use in the world, and finally begin to grow into a loving, non-disordered adult.

I got my roadmap today!

chakras

Today I decided to take the long drive to Black Mountain, North Carolina (about 40 miles from where I live) to visit The United Research Light Center. The first time I went to this spiritual healing center in the beautiful Black Mountains (part of the Blue Ridge), I had just started my blog about narcissistic abuse and was nowhere near self-aware yet. I had some incredible insights both that first time and the second time I went, but nothing like what happened today.

I was very new in my healing journey the first time I attended The Light Center in September 2014, and my first blog (after getting all the narcs out of my life who were holding me back) was just one week old. Following that first visit, I became much more dedicated to self-healing through writing and began to play with the idea that God really did exist and–surprise!–might even love me (I had been agnostic up to this point).

The second time I attended was on July 22 of this year. Very shortly afterwards I fell into the panicky anxiety, dissociation, and depression that preceded my trip down the rabbit hole and sudden awakening to self-awareness of myself as a covert narcissist. Prior to this, I felt like I was stagnating and had been running out of new ideas and even beginning to lose interest in blogging. I mistook the unpleasant prodromal phase of dawning self awareness as a return to my prior state of chronic self-loathing and depression. I had no idea what was about to occur and these painful emotions were my “dark night of the soul.”

I understand now I could go no further in this journey of healing without that self-awareness, because the first part of my journey was complete. That’s why I had felt like I was stagnating and not able to move forward.

Since I fell down the rabbit hole to self awareness, it’s like the new ideas and amazing insights I’m having into myself and my place in this world can’t come fast enough–I even had to start this new blog to document this second part of my journey and help me understand and process my new insights.

All services at the Light Center are free of charge, and it’s open 24/7. My favorite are the chakra balancing/alignment sessions given in The Light Room, which is a small soundproofed room filled with comfortable chairs, blankets and pillows. Chakra balancing sessions last about 40 minutes and are accompanied by the beautiful synthesized music of composer Richard Shulman, who created this music for the Center. The music is in seven parts, each focusing on the seven chakras, starting with the root chakra (base of the spine; groundedness) and ending with the Crown chakra (top of the head; connection to the Divine). The chakras are real and correspond to the the physical endocrine system, located along the spinal cord. They are composed of energy, and both physical and mental problems arise when the chakras are blocked, out of balance, or not connected with each other.

For narcissists, the chakra that is weakest is the solar plexus (third) chakra (I would have thought it was the heart, but the lower chakras must be functional in order for the higher chakras to do their work properly). And in keeping with that, in today’s session, I reacted the most strongly and had the most profound insights during the part of the program that focused on the third chakra.

manipura
Manipura (solar plexus) chakra

When the 40 minute program was finished, I realized I had been given my “instruction manual” for healing from cNPD/BPD. I know this sounds horribly grandiose of me, but I almost felt like Moses descending Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments! Today I descended a beautiful green mountain with a set of “commandments” I needed to obey in order to heal myself of my disorders.

I would like to take a little time describing what happened in that room and what my thoughts and feelings were as each of my chakras were touched by the light and music (each color and piece of music corresponding to a different chakra) because it’s the only way I can describe how I came to realize this was my “roadmap” of healing.

Prior to entering the Light Room I said a prayer for healing and protection in the little chapel upstairs.

The Lower Chakras.

1. Root Chakra (groundedness; physical needs): color: red.
As I settled in my chair and relaxed, I breathed in the red light and music, focusing my thoughts on the base of my spine and praying for the ability to stay grounded in reality, no matter how lofty my insights might become later on. Groundedness is absolutely necessary to stay in the here and now, and to be able to process higher states of consciousness and awareness without the risk of experiencing too much mental or emotional overwhelm and turmoil or suffering a psychotic break.

2. Sacral Chakra (emotion; sexuality): color: orange.
Focusing on the groin and pelvic area, I prayed and meditated on the the ability to experience all my emotions in appropriate ways, and for destruction of the mental wall of my false self that keeps me from being able to access them or release them when I want or need to. I also thanked God for the recent loosening of my emotional numbness that’s been achieved by my forcing myself to always be honest about my feelings whenever I write. But I still have a long, long way to go.

3. Solar Plexus Chakra (power; competence): color: yellow.
This is when the emotional dam broke. Even before I knew I was cNPD, I always knew I had serious problems with this particular chakra, always feeling so powerless, unworthy, and incompetent. (For grandiose narcissists, this chakra is also blocked or not functioning properly, but the narcissist will overcompensate for this by acting grandiose and entitled).

Probably for this reason, the music corresponding to this chakra (in the key of E) resonated strongly with me. I felt a tightness in the pit of my stomach, just below my navel (the solar plexus) which is where I sense my True Self resides. Suddenly I felt an upwelling of sadness and grief over this lost child, and tears streamed silently down my cheeks. I didn’t wipe them away but let them fall like a healing rain, telling this child she was enough, she was always enough, she was more than enough. I told her she had been lied to and what happened to her was not her fault but that she hadn’t been mirrored appropriately or loved enough to to grow into who she was meant to be. I imagined myself holding her like a loving mother would and I promised her that one day soon we would be one, and that she had so much goodness to give back to the world and she didn’t need to hide behind a False Self all the time.
I was a mess by now but I didn’t care. I felt so present in the moment and felt God’s love surrounding me and doing his healing work in me.

4. Heart Chakra (unconditional love; empathy; connectedness): color: green
I focused my breathing on the center of my chest and with each intake of air, asked God to give me the ability to feel the same way toward others I had felt toward my inner child True Self a few minutes earlier. With each breath out, I imagined my hidden rage, bitterness and envy being released, never to return. I felt a kind of pain, but the pain was weird because it was also pleasurable, similar to the way picking at a loose tooth can “hurt so good.”

The Higher Chakras.

5. Throat Chakra (communication; finding your “voice”): color: blue
I think in the past year, I’ve developed this chakra significantly through writing and now it works fairly well, but I know now what I want to communicate is far more than what I thought I wanted to communicate when I first started to blog. I focused on being able to use any new insights to help others, as well as myself, through communicating through my “voice,” even if that voice was only in written form. I also prayed for the ability to lose my shyness and fear of using my actual physical voice to communicate my thoughts, insight, needs, and feelings with others.
I became very emotional during this segment too.

6. Third Eye Chakra (insight, intuition, “knowing” through senses outside the 5 physical ones): color: indigo
Focusing on the spot in the center of my forehead (the “third eye”) I prayed for insights or at least the ability to further process the insights I’ve already had until God is ready to show me more about myself and my relationships with others and the world. I thanked God for showing me what he already has shown me and communicated how blessed I felt this has happened. I realized how much I’m learning to trust his judgment over my own need to “always be in control.”

7. Crown Chakra (connectedness with the divine; higher consciousness): color: violet.
I prayed for spiritual awareness and again gave thanks for the spiritual growth I’m undergoing and my recent awakening to self-awareness.

After the lights went out and the program was over, I got up from my seat and stretched as if waking up. I felt energized, emotional and somewhat euphoric all at once. I went into the reception area and purchased a CD of Richard Shulman’s chakra music (which was the same music that played during the balancing session).

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Richard Shulman’s CD of chakra balancing music is available fr $15 from The UR Light Center

Driving home back down the mountain, I played the CD of the music I had just heard in the Light Room and everything I’d experienced began to make sense. Each lesson I had been given for each of the chakras naturally led to the next, like a step by step instruction manual for ridding myself of narcissism.

I looked at the late summer foliage of the cathedral-like tunnel of tall trees gracing the road. Some of the trees looked tired, dull and past their prime–and almost ready to sleep for another winter. I felt a kind of empathy for the trees and plants, and for all nature, and suddenly I knew the capacity for real empathy was in me, and had always been in me. I always had access to it, but you must choose it.

Empathy is unconditional love.
I knew that the only thing keeping me trapped in the prison of my narcissism was fear, and to let go of fear was to embrace love.

Other people who have healed from narcissism have reached this same conclusion. (also see my article about Tony Brown).

But letting go of fear isn’t going to be easy. Oh, no. In fact, I think it’s going to be the hardest and scariest part of my journey to wellness, but I’m ready. I have my roadmap now.

My Roadmap.

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Credit: Vaporized – Diary of Scott Morris

So here it is. These are the steps I must follow to rid myself of cNPD and BPD.

1. Ground yourself in the present and in physical reality.(This is VERY important!)
2. Embrace emotional vulnerability and openness.
3. Reassure your True Self that he/she is enough and always has been enough. Your TS has always had the power to be happy and emotionally healthy as an adult and can still achieve that. Give your TS the love and mirroring they should have received.
4. Breathe in unconditional love and internalize that; breathe out anger, hurt and pain.
5. Speak your truth (or write your truth). Always be honest. Lying (or omitting the truth) will get you nowhere fast.
6. Take time to be still and receptive to messages/insights God (the Universe/Higher Power, etc) have for you. Be open to new spiritual discoveries, even if they’re painful at first or seem to make no sense. Given enough time, their meaning to you will unfold.
7. Always reach for a closer connection with the divine, whatever that may mean to you.

I felt so blessed I bought myself a little plant on the way home.
new_plant

I know I have a lot of work cut out for me, but I still feel incredibly blessed and very excited for the future.

Right now I’m just going to take it easy and spend some time processing what I learned today. I have to be careful not to move too fast, tempting though it is.

Do narcissists have a spiritual purpose we can’t understand?

Originally posted on Lucky Otter’s Haven on January 27, 2015

darknessintolight

This fascinating topic was raised in the comments section under The Man You Love to Hate…or Hate to Love.

The implications raised here are bound to be controversial to some, but I think Joan and CheriSunday may be onto something. In fact, I’ve sometimes wondered myself if narcissists exist for a good reason that only God can understand, but I always thought it sounded too crazy to write about and it was hard to formulate those feelings into words. I’m glad other people have had the same thoughts. It makes me feel less crazy. And it actually makes a type of sense.

CheriSunday says:
January 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm

As you wrote quote “Maybe when one chooses to become a narcissist…..you are drawn into darkness, and once you’ve entered you can’t ever escape.”
My response: I live in a darkness, however I know light shines through my being.
Why feel sorry, we like to suffer, for some , sufferance becomes their friend, that’s how we make peace with the darkness.
CheriSunday

Joan S says:
January 26, 2015 at 8:45 pm

That is very wow. I actually think that aware narcissists like Mr. Vaknin might be a gift. We can’t interpret that gift yet, but will remain till we can.

I like your point though that some like to suffer that it brings comfort. I just can’t believe that darkness can overcome the light though, that is impossible. Maybe if you felt that light long enough it will bring about the deliverance. They just have to want that deliverance. Have to want it. And that is where narcissists are stopped. JMHO of course. I like insightful things.

luckyotter says:
January 26, 2015 at 11:59 pm

Joan,
we don’t know what God’s reasons are or what his plan is. I have thought myself, that narcs may have been put here for a reason that only God knows. Maybe they are here to teach us valuable lessons about human nature and spirituality in general.

In thinking so much about narcissism, because it’s a mental disorder that most likely has a spiritual component, I have been brought much closer to God in the process and have found some semblance of joy and peace for the first time in my life. I have never been happier than I am now. So looking at it this way, narcissists may help us in our own spiritual journey. They whip us into shape. [I wrote this before I knew I was cNPD, but low-spectrum Ns can be shaped and molded by their own abusers].

I don’t think narcs are demons, I think they’re here for a reason and that reason is a teaching one, even if the lessons we learn from them are painful. Even Satan himself, was created by God and was initially God’s most beloved angel, and his purpose was to test our faith. His original name, Lucifer, means “light bringer.” He became too narcissistic for Heaven because he began to think he was greater than God so he couldn’t stay. (I don’t know whether or not this is a literal story or there is or ever was an entity called “Satan,” but it’s worth bringing it up in the context of this topic).

This doesn’t mean we have to (or should) associate with a known narc. But the ones we haven’t been able to escape from or those who raised us, at the end of the day (when we can finally see the forest for the trees), can make us stronger; their darkness can put our own light into sharp relief.

And in atypical narcissists like Sam, who have contributed so much good to the world (even if his motives were self serving), it could be that he (and those like him, if there are any others) are a special kind of gift, and that his darkness may be a necessary thing, both for himself and for us. We don’t know the reasons, but he may know, and although he suffers, he may have accepted this suffering as part of whatever his own mission on this earth is. He may not need deliverance, or maybe the deliverance will come at a later time or upon his death. We just don’t know. Only God does.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” — Neitsche

luckyotter says:
January 26, 2015 at 11:43 pm

CheriSunday, first of all, welcome to this blog! 🙂 I love to see new “faces” around here.

If you know light shines through your being, you are not hopeless. Maybe there are some people who need to suffer. We don’t know the reasons. In a way I can relate. I flirted with darkness for many years, out of choice. Fortunately I’m coming to a place of more light but there are still dark days. I accept them for what they are, and realize those dark days may have some enlightening lessons in them. “Without darkness, there can be no light.”

I am curious, though, since you say you choose suffering and you have never posted here before, are you an NPD sufferer or have another disorder, like BPD or depression? Forgive my presumptuousness, but because of the nature of this topic and this blog, I don’t think it’s stepping on your boundaries to ask. I hope you don’t mind.

I also think most narcissists have an inner light that does shine through sometimes, except maybe MNs and psychopaths/sociopaths. There is a lot of light in Sam and that’s why I think he is still able to help people and victims looks up to him even though he is exactly the sort of person we’re trying to get away from. I hope that makes sense.