I wrote this May 4th 2017 and have come a LONG way since. It’s my hope someone, anyone, gets something out of it.
I was laying in my bed last night thinking about my past relationship I had with a narcissist for 27+ years. Reminiscing about how toxic it was but the reminiscing was not in an unhealthy way. I wasn’t focused on the bad, I didn’t start going back down that mental rabbit hole and it didn’t, thank God, elicit any I’ll feelings, anger or hurt like it once upon a time did. After thinking for a little while about this now dead interaction, it seemed like all the names that were “third parties” to our so-called relationship started coming to mind. I imagined that I was having somewhat of a fictitious conversation with him and found myself starting to point out to him how many superficial relationships he’s had since I’ve known him – superficial because they were based on material things, sex and how he could benefit from them – and that he must be the one at fault because he’s the common denominator but even within this make believe conversation, I automatically caught myself cleaning it up and telling him that I could easily say that but it wouldn’t be entirely accurate. See, the truth is, and I’m not sure if I’m going to phrase this right, but the truth is….it’s not 100% his fault! Yes, the behaviors are unjustified and inexcusable but the reality is that we, the narcissist’s “victims” or “targets”, allow ourselves to be treated in such a deplorable manner because of issues that still need to be addressed. The narcissist executes the behaviors because of his or her own deep rooted dysfunctions, but we allow it to continue. To happen in the first place.
Anyway, after thinking about all this, I was blown away by how many others that he’s gone thru since I’ve known him, that most likely have or have had at the point in time they dealt with him, various unaddressed issues just like myself. I felt a sense of sadness and a sense of ‘wow’! People, we have to heal. Whether our trauma/issues/dysfunctions are no longer able to be ignored and brought to us on a silver platter by a sociopath or be it some other messenger….we have to become more self aware, be willing to go into uncomfortable territory, love ourselves and ultimately HEAL. Spring clean the negative in order to bring in the positive!
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!”.
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!
This year I have written down a lot of goals. Most of them involve things that will help me be a better “me” on the inside and then theres the ones that will make me a more knowledgeable “me” such as things I want to learn but at the top of the list is the goal of surrounding myself with what I call like-minded people. In general, I’m what you call a loner. I have friends, but I prefer to be by myself most of the time however this year I’ve resolved to be more sociable and surround myself with people I have something in common with not just on an intellectual level but interests as well. I want to be around people who have goals and desires and aren’t just talking about them but actually getting up and aspiring towards them. Believe me, I know a lot of people right now who want this and want that, are going to do this, going to do that but it’s all talk! They don’t get off the couch or out the house or from in front of the computer long enough to make it happen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally not knocking being in front of the computer half your life since I’m a computer junky myself. Even I had to find balance between getting out of the house and breathing the closest thing to fresh air and sitting in front of my PC (or laying back with my laptop).
My point is, although their are many different types of people in the world and you’re going to interact with many that you don’t have anything in common with, you have a choice as to who you hang out with and this year I’ve chosen to find people that – and this may sound crazy – have common sense and use it, are half way intelligent (80% would be even better), have goals that contribute positively to their life in order to improve who they are and who genuinely have similar interests that I do. (I hate the ones that pretend to like something and it just happens to be something you like, but it’s all in the name of impressing you or thinking it makes them look better, grrrrr! Such a pathetic waste of mind energy!)
Anyway, in closing, I just want to make sure that I’m not coming across as thinking that a person shouldn’t have a variety of friends with different tastes, backgrounds, intellect, etc. That’s definitely what I’m NOT saying. I just believe that if a person is at a certain place in life, that they shouldn’t be weighed down by people who aren’t there yet and refuse to do anything to improve upon it.