A Spin On Healing?

Healing from trauma, dysfunctional thinking and faulty mindsets that originate from negative childhood experiences to narcissistic abuse as an adult can be a long, hard, intense and overwhelming journey. Sometimes you feel like just giving up! I can definitely speak on that. I always here about self love coming first before anything else but my problem with that is this: How does that work? What’s the process? Where do you start? I mean, if you’re someone who has always felt ugly, unworthy, devalued, not good enough, unimportant and basically just worthless no matter what you’ve accomplished or how much others have seen things in you that you don’t, then where does that person even begin to find value in themselves? I’ll be honest –  affirmations and mantras don’t work for me. They are nothing but words coming out of my mouth that I don’t absorb nor believe. Words on repeat like a broken record. I can tell you though that reading the right books on healing and listening to podcasts has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. I don’t think I’d be as far along as I am if it wasn’t for those two mediums and the help of my higher power. 

Yes, part of the process of healing is surrounding yourself with non- toxic, supportive people and people who are just overall contributors to your life as opposed to those that take away from it. Also known as Energy Vampires, Narcissists, Sociopaths and the list goes on. However, it dawned on me through my own crazy logic and maybe even a touch skewed that in addition to me probably getting ready to say something that’s been said before but just in a different way, that like it took a person or group of people, a situation or multiple situations or a combination of all the above to have created your issues and faulty mindsets at an early age, then doesn’t it stand to reason that the same holds true for the reverse? Yes, you do need to work on seeing value in who you are and acceptance of yourself in the moment but I believe that doing that can only get you so far. Just like it took external factors to create dysfunction, I believe that a person also needs external factors in order to create optimal healing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you need to rely on external factors to find worth and value in yourself, that you need to rely on other’s opinions about you or that you need to live up to someone else’s standards in order to find your identity. I just believe that part of the healing process is surrounding yourself with people that can validate and support your positive thinking about yourself. You see, it’s easier to perceive negative things about yourself at an early age because you don’t know any better. The events that happened to you and the people that you’re around are what you rely on and see as your reality. Once becoming an adult you have the option of seeing things differently because now you don’t have to depend on anything or anybody to tell you who you are – YOU define and determine that! 

My take away is this: work on yourself, come to value and appreciate all that you do have and all their is to you. Whatever makes up YOU. Even if once upon a time you were like me and could list a lot of things about yourself that you appreciated and held in high esteem and knew were valuable characteristics to have but, because you were in a long-term relationship with a narcissist you allowed yourself to throw everything away that was valuable in your eyes and probably a lot of other people’s eyes because you convinced yourself that even though you knew these things were valuable about you, you didn’t have the things that he or she found appealing, beneficial and important in his eyes about someone. I have good communication skills, I’m articulate, I’m very loyal, I’m empathetic, I’m not an Einstein but I was in the gifted program in elementary school and according to my mother I taught myself to read so I think I am somewhat intelligent and I’m a Capricorn! All of these things I know are good qualities to have and all of these things I know our marketable when it comes to finding a partner and cultivating healthy, meaningful friendships. However, none of these things meant anything to the narcissist in my life. I mean, they did as long as they served him some purpose and benefited him or made him look good in front of others but I guarantee you that someone else who had, and I’m just going to get specific here, more sexual endeavors, to put it mildly, in the bedroom and was willing to do a little more than I was and someone who had more material things and financial means that he could manipulate and benefit from always always outweighed the positive things about me because that’s when the scales slowly began to tilt and I slowly but surely started falling from his superficial grace. From that pedal stool he once had me on for so many years. That was just the nature of the beast I guess. Thank to God, LITERALLY, I was eventually able to tip the scales in my mind and come to accept that what HE placed value on was nothing but superficial qualities and at the end of the day they were qualities that don’t define a person and they aren’t qualities that make a relationship. So to that person who used to be in my life suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, to you I say: Have at it! Continue to bed hop, be emotionally unable to give or receive sincerity and true love and continue to be that empty shell of a person that will constantly have to come up with ways to reinvent yourself and keep the mask from falling off because I’ve moved on, made progress with my healing, my childhood wounds and have the peace of knowing that I will never ever again go through what I went through with you and be treated the way that you treated me because I am over allowing toxic people come into my life and have a lasting effect on it!

Amen.

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Dealing With This Phase Of The Healing

Last night I found myself asking the question: Is there any situation that’s more eye opening and reality revealing than being in a relationship or close interaction with a Narcissist? I’m not talking about someone who’s narcissistic, but rather someone who’s been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In my opinion, the answer just might be a big no. The only thing that I could think of that even comes remotely close is that of being in a drug addiction. Both scenarios force you to take a long hard look at yourself and ultimately address any core issues and dysfunctions that are unhealed that are at the heart of the toxic chaos you allow into your life. One uses a tangible tool that has the capacity to destroy your body physically and mentally. The other requires a living being to be the tool or messenger if you will, that most always deeply affects your mental, emotional and potentially physical condition. Regardless of which scenerio you find yourself in or if unlucky, you find yourself in both, one happening as a byproduct of the other, but the starting point always being the same: those parts of you that have always told you that you’re not good enough or you’re not worthy or that you have to compare and compete in order to stay in the game and HOPE to be noticed. Those parts that yell so loudly over and over and over “pick me! choose me! let who I am be enough to not be swayed to leave me! love me – flaws and all!”. 

Self Pity Is Not Black And White

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines self-pity as: a feeling of pity for yourself because you believe you have suffered more than is fair or reasonable. Well, I present to you that it’s more than that. Not only is it more than that, but it’s also not that black and white. I personally have a problem when someone tells another person to stop feeling sorry for themselves. It’s been in my experience that when a person feels sorry for themselves, aka self pity, that usually means that they are expressing how they are feeling about an unfair situation that has happened to them BUT with the intention of illiciting a particular reaction from their listening audience: sympathy, sorrow, etc. To me, that’s what self-pity is. I say this because for me, the fact of the matter is that while I take responsibility for my choices and behaviors in my life, I can also trace back to a point of why I do the things that I do and where my faulty mindset all began. Unfortunately there are those that will mistake this as placing blame and wallowing in self-pity. No. These are just facts about myself and when I talk about them, I’m not expecting others to feel sorry for me or to cut me any slack. There is a difference between expecting a reaction that will support the wallowing vs a person truly believing that as their reality due to issues, dysfunctions, etc.

I’m a logical, rational, connect the dots type of thinker. A lot of people have dysfunctional mindsets and for some you can’t just tell them to stop feeling sorry for themselves or simply tell them that they have a choice and that they have to take responsibility for their own behavior. That may be ultimately true to some extent but not only is it not that simple, but there’s a process in getting to that point. For some, this mindset, this way of thinking, is all that they know. To tell somebody to stop feeling sorry for themselves and in the same sentence also tell them what they need to start doing as a solution to stopping this “self pity” is a little passive aggressive in my opinion and can definitely bring on a defense mechanism, which is counterproductive and not a good motivator at all! People shut down when they think you’re attacking them. Everyone is unique. Those who meet the criteria I just talked about and who really do feel sorry for themselves because they blame others, constantly paint themselves as a victim and rarely look at the part they play in their misfortune are the ones who really do need to hear “stop it! take responsibility and change what’s within your power!” but those who come from a place of truly internalizing and/or personalizing every negative thing that happens to them because of faulty belief systems from a young age, well I believe they need to hear something different other than “stop feeling sorry for yourself”.

So I present to you, that self-pity is not just black and white. It’s your mindset, it’s your beliefs, it’s your expectations, and it’s your come from in addition to the words that you speak.

Generalizations

A This will be a little off topic from my usual posts lately, but I have to blog when the feeling hits! Earlier I was thinking about something that led up to me pondering the question, “why do a lot of women who have had a bad experience or even several bad experiences with men within a relationship tend to come up with generalizations about them?” For example, we’re probably all familiar with the “all men are dogs” saying. I’ve also heard about what “all guys” do when they want to leave you at the moment – they start an argument so that they can go to the other woman. Personally, as a female, I don’t subscribe to that. Yeah, I get it. It’s easier to blame something or someone else instead of looking at yourself and definitely there are men and women that use this unnecessary tactic. I’m also excluding relationships where personality disorders are a factor. First of all, you can apply that theory to PEOPLE in general – starting an argument just so one can leave. I don’t think its exclusive to men. Second, the narcissist that used to be in my life did not have that problem or should I say that theory didn’t apply to him. He was too much of a control freak and his mindset was that he was going to do what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it, with whom he wanted to do it with and he didn’t have to tell you anything about it and believe me, if part of his leaving was to get back at you, trust me you were going to know exactly what the deal was!

Maybe I’m too self aware and that’s why I ponder these ridiculous questions but it seems to me that when women adopt this mindset of applying one behavior to all men, not only do they have to process and heal from the bad relationships, but now they have to overcome the faulty thinking that they’ve adopted about men in general which, in my opinion is not only extra work but also makes it more difficult to get into a healthy relationship in the future. I say, take each interaction, relationship or even friendship on a case-by-case basis. Definitely learn from past mistakes, but part of the process of learning from them is not about attributing the mistakes of the previous to the current. If you’ve had a series of interactions where you feel that the men have had similar negative ways, then maybe it’s time to look within and find out what it is that keeps allowing you to be involved with men that exhibit these behaviors or what it is about yourself that you may contribute to the unhealthy combination. And just to be clear, in no way, shape or form am I justifying bad behavior, bad choices and toxic people. I’m saying that instead of taking the default mindset of thinking that the male species are all born with the same DNA strands when it comes to certain things, maybe it’s time to look at all the factors involved – which includes you!

Memoirs Of A Toxic Relationship – Lesson 2

That person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder that used to be in my life was finally given an ultimatum by me and I stuck to my guns about it. And I thank God every day that I did! To say that I was tired is such a cliche. I had BEEN tired for over 20 years but never took that first step that would ultimately free me from HIS world of chaos, deceit, ATTEMPTED manipulation, lies, cheating and the list goes on a mile long. Three years ago is when I heard a voice say to me so clearly, “it’s time”. That was the beginning of my journey to heal. It’s been rough. There’s been a lot of taking 3 steps forward then 5 steps backwards. A lot of questioning myself. A lot of game plans that I thought would allow me to be able to deal with this type of person. Then the day came when I hit my breaking point. I gave him an ultimatum – either he chooses me and shuts the door to all the other females and inappropriate relationships as well as all the doors he leaves open as a plan B or……..IM shutting the door on us and any type of relationship or interaction for good. Now mind you, prior to this I had tried to give him and us every opportunity to try and make this work. I will even goes as far as to say that MAJOR compromises on my part were offered but one thing I WOULD NOT give in to was marrying him AGAIN. And he knew this. Which is why I believe he used this as his trump card 🃏 aka his excuse not to compromise and be willing to give me what I NEEDED from him. Inevitably all this led up to that ultimatum. Yes, he attempted to manipulate the situation, spin it, twist the FACTS of it etc…….none of it worked because the truth of the matter was I wasn’t being swayed. I was no longer sweeping our reality under the rug. Not this time. He had a choice to make. I guess deep down I knew that either I wasn’t going to be the one he chose or if I was, it would all be superficial, deceitful and temporary and I’d be right back in the same predicament. To fast forward, that moment came. That moment during a conversation when he said in so many words that he chose the others. That he chose to keep doing HIM. That was one of the more painful moments between me and him but even in that moment, I literally felt a burden released and a weight lifted off of me. In that moment I felt free. Free from his chaos, free from that mindset I had been in that had me feeling like i had to compare myself and compete with all the other females and situations that I took a back seat to  INSIDE that bus he always threw me under! I was free to finally be able to set my mind on all the future healthy situations and relationships life had in store for me! In hindsight, i realize that was MY Independence Day. I do want to say however that my decision to close that door for good in the event i wasn’t the “chosen one” didn’t come over night. I actually pondered it, prepared for it, went thru all the emotions and even grieved for what I knew was coming. It prepared me to stand strong in my decision. 

I said all this to say that even though he chose other females, other situations and other things that he thought were more beneficial to his shallow and empty shell of a self, I didn’t lose. I actually won. I now have peace instead of chaos in my life. No more giving my time, energy and any part of me to someone who only offers deception, lies, cheating, maliciousness, slander and insincerity in return. I’m free, I’m healing, I’m moving forward and I WON! 

I’ve Come A Long Way

I was looking back over some of my journal entries and came across this one written on 9-26-2015. I’ve come so far from where my mindset was during that time and well, God is good! Take from it what you will (which I hope is a lesson) and most of all, happy reading!

9-26-2015
In the last few months I’ve been forced to acknowledge something that has apparently always been a factor in my relationships: I have a lot of relationships in my life that are not give and take, but seem to be more one sided. In addition to acknowledging this, it also led me to look deeper as to WHY this is and then it came to me: it can be traced back to my own issues and dysfunctions.

Let me tell you what kicked this whole thing off. A few months ago I made plans with my besty  to go over his house and just geek out like we used to do but hadn’t in a long time. Before I go on, let me say that he’s in a very dysfunctional relationship where his girlfriend is so insecure that she accuses him of being involved with everything from the bathroom mirror to other men behind her back and he’s never even given her a reason to think such outrageous things, hence her own issues and dysfunctions come into play here, and at the same time, so does my besty’s for putting up with it and not drawing boundaries. Anyway, having not seen him for a while, having dragged a ton of my devices with me and looking forward to us hanging out, I got about 60 seconds from his gate, text to let him know this and what was his response? That his girlfriend was there! Apparently she had just dropped by only a few minutes prior to me texting him my ETA (which in my opinion, was ample time to send a short text informing me of this)and at the end of the day, what this meant was that it was a no go on the geeking out, let alone me even stopping by for a hot minute to say hi! Remember she has unfounded “suspicions” and “jealousy” issues.

I can say that I was pretty much sent into an internal rage! I personalized it as I do most things that involve other people and their behavior towards me. The first thing that came to my mind was that he didn’t value our friendship enough to at least defend it to her if I came over for just 90 seconds. Then I thought about how he didn’t value ME as a person to initiate a text or call to let me know not to come – even if I had one foot in the gate, so to speak. After I calmed down, or is it more accurate to say that WHAT calmed me down came next and that was realizing that my feelings about how the situation was handled and how I personalized it was a direct result of my OWN issues. Issues that I’m in the process of addressing and trying to heal from that originate in childhood. Issues of feeling disregarded. Never being chosen because I never felt good enough. Issues of not feeling not important to anyone when it comes down to it because EVERY ONE else was better or more valued than me.

Once I saw the situation from this perspective, I realized a few things that can be applied to a lot more interactions that I have in my life: 1. I usually place way more value on my relationships than the other person does and as a result I’ve had to reevaluate if each relationship is worth continuing to be that unbalanced or is it time to withdraw a little bit 2. Although I have a ways to go, the fact that I made that connection so quickly and was able to pretty much take my anger level down twenty notches proves that I have made progress on my journey to heal and 3. I won’t take ownership for my besty’s unhealthy choices. He chooses to be in a relationship like this where he has to sacrifice others in order to appease her and keep the drama down. Although I strongly disagree with that method, sometimes we just have to go through things before wet get to certain points.

At the end of the day, even though I was able to take ownership of MY emotions and MY reaction to the situation, process it in a healthy way so that I didn’t get stuck in that old familiar ‘what’s wrong with ME’ mental broken record and not take on the choices he made personally, he still needed to know that the WAY he went about it was NOT ok! So, instinctively I didn’t communicate with him for weeks, even though I really wasn’t mad at him. I guess that was my way of coming to the conclusion that after weighing out our 14 year friendship, it was clear that I either valued the friendship just a little more than he did or probably what is closer to the truth is that I just have a better sense of self awareness and ability to confront things head on than he does. Either way, I considered that situation one of the many revelations I’ve had about myself over the last few years that have been part of my healing journey.

And yes, me and my besty are still friends, although I don’t place as much emphasis on trying to hang out with him anymore and it’s still all good.

Who Am I?

For so long my identity has been tied up in being a fitness trainer. At one point in my life I felt like that was my passion. And it was. But that was back in 1997 when I first started and was a lot younger. Now, I’m 45 and have been on hiatus from training clients since 2010 because I felt that the spark was gone and I needed to take a break to see if continuing in that field was really what I wanted to do. It wasn’t an overnight decision but one that had a lot of factors built into it. The irony to my story of becoming a fitness trainer is that I am also someone who has suffered from body image issues and and an eating disorder since elementary school. Of course, when I first became a trainer I saw an opportunity to finally address these issues but not in a healthy way and of course, I didn’t. I must admit though that as the years went on, my mind set shifted from doing extremely unhealthy things to achieve what was a never ending, never satisfied hamster wheel of trying to achieve what I thought I wanted to look like to ultimately liking what I look like, accepting my body fat percentage and finding new gratitude and appreciation in my athletic physique as well as encouraging and motivating my clients to truly except who they were and not pay attention to the number on the scale but instead to focus on their athletic ability and the things that they could do on a daily basis that was above the average person. Even with this shift in my mind set, in the back of my mind I still struggled, to an extent, with feeling pressured to look a certain way. Although mild, it was still there. At that point I had to really consider if being in the fitness field was truly conducive to my ongoing issues about body image and food. So I took a break. That was 6 years ago and since then I’ve taken on other endeavors in the social work field. Not becoming a social worker, but helping to re-train social workers on how to interact with families in a better way. Yes, completely different than Fitness. While I’ve been doing this work I’ve come to realize that while I still think somewhere deep down I have a passion for Fitness or at least an extreme enthusiasm for it and the desire to teach others about it, it’s not my calling so as a result, I’ve been at a crossroads ever since. I know that when you try to force something, it won’t work and people really DO need to find what it is that makes them happy. I’ve come to accept the fact that Fitness may not be my passion anymore, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be involved in it while pursuing other career choices. However my dilemma comes with the fact that I have allowed my identity to become being a trainer and being connected to the fitness world. It was one of those jobs that when people found out that’s who I was, it never failed to get a response that resembled that of envy or one of being held in high status. Although I have other interests that I would love to pursue such a psychology, technology, etc. I’m finding it really hard to do what one might call, reinvent myself. Its not just about reinvention, but also about letting go of the old and allowing the new to take place. Time is ticking and I know that I need to buckle down, focus and move forward. After all, I’m not getting any younger, I have too much potential and there’s so much left for me to do.