Friday, 14 February 2014

Authenticity & Vulnerability

Over & over it keeps coming to me in these past weeks "tell your story".
But, it's hard to tell...
what if no one wants to hear?
What if people judge me & rubbish me?
What if there are consequences & I create more trouble for myself?
But, what if there was just one more person out there, just like me, who needs to hear what "we" have to say, what we've been through, what helped, what didn't & for that person to be able to learn of the tools that we've found along the way. Most of all, to know that they're not alone.
I have always valued authenticity.
It matters.

Although I have carried the pain of rejection & abandonment with me always, I did ok in life until the birth of my second child. He entered the world in rage; distressed, hungry & angry he was insatiable & endlessly demanding. It was in the year after his birth that I began to suffer depression for the first time.
No one was able (or willing) to help me with him & there was never any relief from the weight of his demands. My enjoyment of life evaporated in to a haze of endless broken nights, motherhood overload & physical depletion. He was incessantly fixated on getting his needs met by me, breast fed until he was three & wouldn't allow Rob to help him in anyway when he woke in the night.
When our youngest son was born four years later we were living back here, closer to family, that we soon discovered, didn't want anything to do with us or to help us in any way. It was in this time that Rob began his nursing training, with a wife that was struggling to stay afloat & three small children in tow.
It was around now that the real issues with our families began to emerge in full force.
My father's second marriage & it's troubles were ramping up & would soon hit the wall. Rob's father's Nazi obsession was starting to have a wild & shockingly detrimental effect on his family, yet he would remain unrepentant to his death & would leave a legacy that was to break the family in to irreparable, jaggered pieces.
The eldest son became the consummate narcissistic abuser & controller who grew up to systematically destroy everything around him. After marrying a prostitute & driving her son to suicide (at 22) he then began to target me & make me the family scapegoat. Everything..all the troubles & dysfunction were entirely my fault. I broke the family!
The evil effects of this household are so real & terrifying I have never known anything else quite like it. The day Rob's father died almost 6 years ago, was the day that 3 simultaneously lodged work complaints were set in motion against Rob...eventually leading to Rob being bullied out of the job that he had loved & carried out so well for over a decade looking after sick children.
People don't understand...the good & the bad, it all has generational impact.
Legacies are powerful & bad ones can be really, really hard to overcome.

I awoke this morning, feet burning, eyes stinging & aching all at once, stones in my chest.
 Swimming to the surface of consciousness with a hissing voice inside my head saying "I can't even look at you. I wish you'd never been born". I heard my soul ask "Who's saying that?" & then I knew it was the voice of my father repeating the words that echo in his own soul.
I have no conscious memory of this but my cellular memory says that it is so.
I am overwhelmed by a warm oppressive feeling: it is the residence of self-hatred.
I don't like the little girl inside me, I despise her & hate her.
I want to pull her hair, yank it & hurt her...hard.
 I wish she wasn't her.
My eyes are burning, deep.
 I cannot bare to look at her.
 I do not look up.
My feet are burning & I can barely walk, stiff, hobbling.
I cannot stand on my own two feet.
I don't want to be here.
I have no desire for life.

~Work toward loving that little child inside you in the ways your Narcissistic Parent never did.

I have a new understanding of just what has moulded my heart & clouded the windows of my soul. I was constantly conditioned, all through the years, to see life through the lens of fear & disappointment & never being enough. All I have ever known is the view through the smeared window pane.  All I learned to see reflected back at me was indifference or disgust & so I learned well the turbid language of self-loathing. 

This morning I read these thoughts from Embracing The Journey of Living Loved:

"I'm not sure where, when, or how it started...
But somewhere along the line, insecurity became a fashion statement...
When did putting oneself down become the social norm...??
"I'm so fat, I'm hopeless"...
"I'm so ugly, I'm disgusting"...

We've all heard the statements and yet, we sometimes just let them slide into oblivion, indifferent to the fact that these statements begin to shape our raw opinion of our self...
I didn't notice right away, but over time, these flippant words would begin to settle into my core and be absorbed like a sponge...
I believed these words...
And words contain life or death...
Discouragement hazed my path with obscurity...

My journey has been rooted in learning to love myself...
If the roots are rotten, the tree will die...
If the roots are healthy and planted in the soil of faith, the tree will flourish and bear the fruit of life...
I now choose to be mindful of my words since I desire to enjoy the luscious fruit of life..."

So many of us speak out words, harbour thoughts about ourselves...thoughts unwittingly, unknowingly rooted in self-loathing; but where did that disgust come from?
 From the voices we grew up with...
how they made us feel. 
These words are the sound track for life of the vulnerable infant soul whose parent/s are narcissistic abusers.
 It is hard to know this, know that I was not loved; not loved well...but here's the thing: from here on, I will chose to learn to love myself well; to unconditionally accept myself.
It's time to clean some windows!

Narcissistic Abuse

If you have googled & found us then very likely, you really need to be here & you're searching for answers like we are.
Rob & I have been married for 33 years & have both suffered from jaggered, destructive family experiences. We have come to a new place this year & know that it's time to really, really change our lives & heal.
We have found so many tools in the last year or so & will share them with you as we go, letting you know the most especially useful stuff. Most of all we want you to know that you are not alone in this difficult journey. I (Catherine) have been searching for truth, healing, peace & a sense of belonging for as long as I can remember.
I have been made a scapegoat through narcissistic abuse most of my life...and through my in-law family too. I have always been a truth seeker consequently, late last year (in 2013) I stumbled upon certain information that was so right & very profound.
 That information was concerning the condition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
I have been surrounded by & subject to the effects of narcissistic abuse my entire life.
It wasn't my fault then.
It's not my fault now.
I have been to hell & back & nearly lost my life in the process, so many times (through going to deeply suicidal places & losing my will to live).

What is narcissistic abuse?
It comes about by living/working with someone or being parented by a person who suffers from a condition called Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder include the following:
~A grandiose sense of self-importance (may be shown as an exaggeration of abilities and talents, expectation that he or she will be seen as superior to all others).

~Is obsessed with him or herself.
~Goals are almost always selfish and self-motivated.
~Has troubles with healthy, normal relationships.
~Becomes furious if criticized.
~Has fantasies of unbound success, power, intelligence, love, and beauty.
~Believes that he or she is unique and special, and therefore should only hang out with other special, high-status people.
~Requires extreme admiration for everything.
~Feels entitled - has unreasonable expectations of special treatment.
~Takes advantage of others to further his or her own needs.
~Has zero empathy - cannot (or will not) recognize the feelings of others.
~May be envious of others or believe that others are envious of him or her.
~Behaves arrogantly, haughtily.

How Do Narcissistic Parents Abuse Their Children?
Narcissistic Parents have many subtle - and some not-so-subtle- ways in which they abuse their children. 
These types of abuse include the following:
~Compulsively lying to children.
~Ignores and/or overwhelms the children.
~Neglects needs of the child.
~Makes child feel as though he/she does not matter.
~Puts parental needs far above those of the children.
~Mold children to an "ideal" image.
~Promotes and fosters a dependent relationship between parent and child.
~Distorts the concept of "love".
~Manipulates for pleasure.
~Says one thing one day, something else the next.
~Uses the child's vulnerabilities to exploit the child.
~Subtly and not-subtly insults children.
~Ignores personal boundaries.
 ~Treats others as objects, not people.
~Makes child feel as though he or she is insane.

I'm The Adult Child of A Narcissistic Parent...What Now?

Healing from such a traumatic childhood is absolutely a daunting task. Having your own emotional needs unmet for so long may make the notion of recovery seemingly impossible. It's not. 

Here are some guidelines for recovery for Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents:
~Begin working through the grieving process - allow yourself to grieve the parent you never had.
~Acknowledge that you've never learned how to properly deal with feelings, and begin to start working through these feelings.
~Work toward loving that little child inside you in the ways your Narcissistic Parent never did.
~Stop hoping that your Narcissistic Parent will change - he or she will not change
~Remind yourself every day that you need to take care of yourself - those needs for self-care are incredibly important.
~Remember - you matter too. A lot.
~You do not need to harm yourself or hate yourself. You're a great person, worthy of love and devotion.
~Stop being afraid of your Narcissistic Parent - you are an adult, you survived hell, and you need to reclaim your life as your own. Start by erasing that fear.
~Get rid of that feeling of not fitting in or belonging. It was put there by your Narcissistic Parent and it's got to go.
~We are none of us alone - that means you, too!
~Find and connect with other Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents.
~Find a therapist who specializes in treating Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents.
~You're probably still afraid of "getting into trouble" thanks to the way your Narcissistic Parent treated you. You're an adult now, and you don't answer to anyone but yourself.
~Release some of that anger. Smash some plates. Scream. Hit a pillow. Anything to let the anger of being an Adult Child of Narcissistic Parent out.
~Learn to be autonomous - start by making small decisions for yourself, and learn that you - yes YOU - are in charge of your own life.
~You are more than worthy. No matter what your Narcissistic Parent told you, you are more than worthy.
~Guilt. Ah, guilt. The best friend and worst enemy of an Adult Child of Narcissistic Parents. This may be the hardest of all the feelings to fight against, but you must. When that guilt is gnawing away at you, tell it to piss off.
~You do not need to feel guilty if you decide not to stay in touch with your Narcissistic Parent - it may be for your own good.
~Remember that your needs are important. Don't be afraid to make them know and ask for what you need.

If any of this rings a bell with you & you are in a relationship with a narcissist or or you are an adult child of one, then I encourage you to search & read & learn all about narcissistic abuse as best you can. There are many great websites out there with excellent information that will help you unravel the mess.
One of the clearest I found is: Band Back Together.
Find more info here about them & all credit for the above outline to this great site & marvelous people. 
Also here to read helpful bits from the book Malignant Self Love by Dr Sam Vaknin & to read The Invisible Scar: adult survivors of emotional child abuse pop in here

The thing that stands out the most in my reading at this time is that:
 The narcissist will never change.
Narcissistic abusers seek help or get better
....almost never!!

Two big fat lies that really bother me:
~That it doesn't matter what happens to you it's all about how you react to life/people.
That is utter crap!
~That it takes "two to tango"
Also rubbish!!!!! When you are trapped in a relationship with someone who has a personality disorder & especially when you are a child it is not the child's responsibility for how that relationship plays out...ever!

 I will be updating & no doubt rewriting aspects of this page as I learn, grow & heal but meantime this information is too important not to share. There is so much more to know believe me! I just wish someone had helped me decades ago!!

This is good:

This song has become our anthem at this time..Imany is amazing! We love this woman.
Please & Change: this album I put together for you..the songs may help & soothe.