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.


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!

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.

Memoirs Of A Toxic Relationship – Lesson 1

Self reflection is awesome. Awareness is even better. Once you get it. Most of us know, at least those of us with half a brain or who have experienced it first hand, that being in an unhealthy relationship is emotionally,
psychologically, physiologically and even physically draining. So when chaos breaks out and we go thru it with our significant other, the one we care about, that person that knows how to push the right button or buttons and then walks out, why do we instantly wish that they would come back? Well, there’s obviously many answers to that question depending on a lot of factors, but what I’ve come to realize was that it wasn’t the actual person I was wanting back – after all, why would I want someone whom I just argued and fought with, who just shifted blame in my direction and took no responsibility for their behavior, deflected, lied and attempted to manipulate me and the entire situation to his advantage, to come back into my presence? Shouldn’t I feel relieved that he just left? Shouldn’t I see that as an opportunity to gather my thoughts and regroup? Yes. Well, let me add a disclaimer right after that answer: if you’re even remotely emotionally stable you SHOULD see it from that perspective, but obviously, when dealing with a malignant Narcissist or any other person with some element of a or actual severe personality disorder, it doesn’t work that way. If indeed you ARE dealing with someone like this, then chances are you yourself have some unhealed emotional wounds that need to be addressed. So with that said, seeing it from that perspective will probably be the furthest from your reality in that moment, for hours or even days to come and a lot of times until that other person comes back. Back to ultimately end up going thru it again and again with you. So what is it really that we feel if we’re at least smart enough to know in the moment of that conflict we wish this person gone, the fight to be over and things to calm down and then when they leave, want them to come back?

In my own personal experience, it took me a while to realize that it really wasn’t the person that I wished would stay and not walk out the door, but rather it was me trying to avoid the feelings and mental scenarios that I knew would automatically come as a result of them not being there. Feelings I didn’t want to deal with because they were too overwhelming and draining. Scenarios that I would create, whether real or speculated, that were too painful, such as WHERE he was going, WHO he was going TO and WHAT he was doing. All of those things were the driving force behind why I thought I wanted him to come back – or not leave in the first place. Once I connected the dots about this, I was able to stop beating myself up about having such a stupid desire and finally address the real issue. I was able to take another step  forward on my journey to heal my issues and dysfunctions.

They Didnt Wake Up One Day And Decide To Be This Way

We hear a lot about the negative aspects of Narcissists and the devastating effects their actions have on the people that get involved with them. I myself am no stranger to it all. I was involved with a Narcissist for 27 years and a few years ago is when I went through the peak of his narcisstic abuse and saw what he was really made of for a concentrated 10 months. Of course, for the couple years following the 10 months, it was the after shocks of the abuse that lead me to start on a journey of healing childhood trauma and old wounds. Given all that, although I didn’t  like all the pain and hurt I suffered those months, nor did I like having to acknowledge the reality of what was going on with me, with him and with us as a unit, I must say that I AM grateful that it happened because of what it forced me to face about my own self.

Narcissists do a lot of damage. Narcissists are very damaged people themselves. Their seems to be a common theme among the information that’s out on these type of people: they’re rotten to the core, there’s no hope for change and we need to just flee at first red flag. The majority of things that you read about these people  are how they operate, signs to look for and the life altering negative impact they have on someone who is involved with them. I get all that and yes, we need to know these things but I also would like to propose that another aspect of narcissism be taken into consideration and placed wherever it may be the most helpful in your life. I propose that we somewhere remember that no matter how devious, calculating, manipulative, uncaring, selfish and devaluing they are or can be, among other things, a Narcissist didn’t just wake up one day and decide to become just that!

A Narcissist becomes a Narcissist because of trauma or negative influences in their own life at an early stage. True, their may be some biological factors involved but even on that level, can we not say that the individual with this personality disorder is just like the other people who suffer different kinds of personality disorders who have it come full circle given the right stressors and environment, possibly because of  predisposure? I guess in summmary, all I’m saying is that we focus mainly on how bad these people are, and rightly so in order to help victims of narcisstic abuse heal but I also have come to believe that understanding that most of these people have suffered their own kind of abuse at an early stage that has caused them to feel the need to create this false persona and uphold it at any cost. I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this that you, like myself, know that the core being of a Narcissist is filled with shame, low self esteem and a few other negative feelings and the fact that they can’t bring themselves to accept responsibility for their actions let alone   see the cause and effect of them, just makes them look even worse in society’s eyes.

We focus on the damage they do, the lives they ruin, how void of genuiness and true self they are but as I eluded to earlier, if we remember that something bad happened to THEM at some early point in time that had a profound impact on molding he or she into the sociopath they are today, maybe that can open up some kind of compassion in us that can make healing just slightly more bearable.

Compassion. Not for the Narcissist,  but for you.