Wednesday, July 20, 2016

This Too Shall Pass...

"Way over yonder
Is a place that I know
Where I can find shelter 
From a hunger and cold
And the sweet tastin' good life
Is so easily found
A way over yonder, that's where I'm bound..."
~~ "Way Over Yonder" Carole King

Readers, I offer my sincerest apologies for yet another long hiatus. As I mentioned in my previous post, life has a way of throwing us curveballs that, all too frequently, cause us to lose balance and fall... The key is to pick one's self back up and keep going.

And I will be the first to say I am struggling. 

As Milarepa, the Tibetan yogi and poet, once said,

"When you are strong and healthy,
You never think of sickness coming,
But it descends with sudden force,
Like a stroke of lightening.

When involved in worldly things,
You never think of death's approach' 
Quick it comes like thunder
Crashing round your head..."

At the behest of a dear friend, I have finally realized I am at a point where I need to share part of my story in the hope that it may help others who are struggling with the death of a loved one -- be they a spouse, child, parent, or friend.

My mother recently passed away. And though it was expected, it wasn't expected quite so quickly.

In the early 2004, my mother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. After seven bypasses and a valve replacement she did wonderful. No problems. In 2011, she had a major pulmonary edema that landed her in the ICU for several days, but she rebounded and went on to continue working and living the life she loved for several more years.

At the last, we were fortunate if she went two weeks without water buildup that would inevitably land her in the hospital. And despite the repeated hospital visits and stays, she continued to work. She worked all the way up to the day before her last hospital admission.

After years of water pills, her kidneys took a severe hit. Function was compromised and it sent her into kidney failure. It was the proverbial robbing Peter to pay Paul --- treat the lungs and hurt the kidneys or treat the kidneys and hurt the lungs.

Due to extensive fluid buildup and her body's inability to rid itself of the water, she suffered a severe pulmonary edema that forced the doctors to intubate her. She stayed on a ventilator five days. When the doctors removed the intubation tube, she lasted almost 30 minutes before her lungs began to fill again. 

As I sat at her bedside I knew something wasn't right. She was delirious. The doctor stated she was in what is called Sundowning -- a form of delirium caused from the combination of drugs she'd been on while intubated. He assured me that if she didn't have it prior to the intubation, she would come out of it. 

It ripped my heart out to see this refined, classy lady who raised me to speak of watching corn fall off the walls, petting dogs that weren't there, laughing maniacally at some joke only she knew, or experiencing sheer terror at the sight of shadow figures and people out in the hall who she thought were coming to get her. Then the pendulum swung the other way and she began lashing out. I tried not to take anything she said to heart b/c I knew it was the drugs. And then she sat straight up in bed and I heard that foreboding gurgle. I ran for the nurse and when I returned she was coding. I will never forget the look of sheer terror in her eyes.

I looked at her and said, "Hang on, mom... You're gonna be OK." To which she nodded, but we both knew deep down that wasn't the case. It was the beginning of the end.

She ALWAYS had a paralyzing fear of drowning. And at that moment she was drowning. The doctors looked at me and said, "She's coding. What do you want us to do." I was NOT going to stand by and watch my mother die like that. 

I said the only word that came to mind, "Intubate!" 

And so they did. But this time there was a caveat. A decision had to be made b/c she could not stay on the ventilator. And once she was taken off of it, there was nothing the doctors could do. Three days later, she was moved to Hospice.

For nearly two weeks I kept nearly constant vigil at mom's bedside. On the 13th day, that foreboding gurgle returned. She was looking right at me unable to speak. After three hours, she took her last breath. 

She was never one to talk about death. Like most of us, she didn't want to think about it. Period. 

But as my faith has taught me, death is part of the natural cycle of things. Without death there can be no life. 

As I watched my mother going through the death process it made me realize a lot of things. To watch it up close and personal happening to someone who you have been so close to, it really makes you reexamine those things that are most important to you... and I'm not talking about material things. 

In the weeks leading up to my mother's passing, she knew she was dying -- she just wouldn't vocalize it. I think part of it was to protect me. To try and stay upbeat that all would be OK, like she always told me. 

She begged and begged to see her brother who had recently had a stroke. I reached out to family to try and get them to bring him to see her. But was met with false promises and abuse. Each day mom would ask if he was coming to see her and the best I could do was to say, "I'm working on it, mom... I'm trying." She'd say, "I know you are, Precious." 

It is heartbreaking to know that as she lay on her deathbed, the one request she had couldn't be fulfilled b/c others were too busy with their lives. It brought home the reality that some people really don't give much thought or consideration to others until it hits them personally. I feel for those types of people. I hope they one day are able to find it in their hearts to practice what they supposedly preach and actually be there for those they say they love and care about. 

Everyone tells me how brave I was to fly (essentially) solo through to the end. I am blessed with a TREMENDOUS and LOVING group of friends (I call them my Framily) who stepped up and helped in every way they could. And the morning she passed, they were there by my side.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama once said, 

"Our prime purpose in life is to help others.
And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."

That was the way mom lived her life, as do I. And as they've proven, my friends live by the same creed. 

If mom's death has taught me anything it is that life is VERY short. To get distracted with the cravings of this world is a mistake. Family, friends, compassion and love are what matter the most. 

And so now, as I hobble my way through the grieving process, I have found it has made me embrace my faith all  the more. Regardless of your religious affiliation, I believe that all agree that death is something that makes everyone take a closer look at their own lives and how they live them. 

For those who have recently suffered a loss, I understand the void you feel. I understand the heartache and loneliness. The silence. The pain. 

There is a fable that states a Persian king once asked his advisers to bring him something that would make him sad when he was happy and happy when he was sad. He was given a ring with an inscription that said, "This too shall pass..."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama once said the best way to honor the memory those who we have lost is to move forward and continue on doing what they would want us to do. To live life to its fullest. To show compassion. To demonstrate love for all of humanity. To no harbor ill-will or anger.

I know mom is with me. I pray. I meditate. I offer thanks for the time I had with her. And I intend to honor her memory by being the strong, independent woman she raised me to be. I will celebrate her life and take refuge in knowing she is no longer hurting. She has found peace. And with that peace, a love that none of us could even fathom on this earthly plane.

As the main tenet of Buddhism, impermanence lies at the heart of all we experience on this earth. And as much pain as one feels following the death of a loved one, time heals. This too shall pass...

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Loving Kindness...


Prayer of the Loving Kindness (Metta Bhavana) Practice
May I be free from fear. May I be free from suffering.
May I be happy. May I be filled with Loving Kindness.
May you be free from fear. May you be free from suffering.
May you be happy. May you be filled with Loving Kindness.
May all people everywhere be happy and filled with Loving Kindness.

Dear readers...

I apologize for the hiatus over the past few weeks. It always seems that when we find a groove, life has a way of setting us adrift sideways... but only momentarily. With grounding and strength, may we not be swayed from our purpose and find peace regardless of the storms that gather around us.

I am revamping this space to be more inclusive of those issues that affect not only Survivors of DV, but anyone who finds that life is sometimes a bit too much to handle -- while adding a bit of Buddhist wisdom along the way.

Regular posts will return in the coming days. But, for now, I offer the prayer of Loving Kindness above. May it help you, as it has helped me, to keep focus and realize we are much greater beings than we realize. And that we are One.

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Love-less...

"Oh, I really should have known
By the time you drove me home
By the vagueness in your eyes, your casual goodbyes,
By the chill in your embrace
The expression on your face that told me
Maybe you might have some advice to give
On how to be insensitive..."
~~ Jann Arden, "Insensitive"

*** TRIGGER WARNING ***

Family and friends, and anyone else on the outside looking in, oftentimes do NOT understand the dynamics of an abusive relationship. The most common reaction from outsiders is to say, "Why don't you just leave?" or, even worse, "Get out, get over it and move on." 

Those who have never experienced narc abuse/domestic violence simply don't have the perspective to appreciate the gravity and danger of the situation. It is imperative one remembers that the narc is a charismatic chameleon. 

What outsiders see holds NO resemblance to the beast that lives behind closed doors.

It is difficult to explain how it is simply NOT an option to leave and Get Over It. The victim believes he/she CAN change the situation -- but the narc keeps upping the ante. It is a never ending battle. And the intermittent acts of kindness and sweetness the narc offers are enough to keep the victim holding out hope for a happy ending. 

Narcs say they want love. But, by definition, what they consider "love" doesn't even remotely resemble the real thing... Like what normal people seek. 


"... I want love, just a different kind,
I want love, won't break me down
Won't brick me up, won't fence me in
I want a love that don't mean a thing
That's the love I want...
I want love on my own terms..."
~~ Elton John, "I Want Love"

The MAIN flag, though I didn't recognize it at the time, was all the women -- "friends" he called them. Now, I have ALWAYS gotten along better with men than women, so the vast majority of my friends are male -- so, I didn't think too much of it. 

When the honeymoon was over, if I didn't answer when he called, text or spend time with him (b/c I had to work) he IMMEDIATELY took that as a Green Light to have a booty call. And it wasn't my booty he was calling. 

I would have NEVER found out had he not slipped up.

While on lunch break one day, I received a text from a woman I didn't know. Attached was a picture of her in bed with him. The taunting message ranted about what a prick he was for not returning her phone calls and texts and to make me aware of what an asshole he was. 

You know that Gut instinct you have? NEVER ignore it. I had an inkling for quite some time something wasn't right, but I thought I was just imagining it. After all, he "loved" me and would never hurt me. 

From that day forward, Trust was shattered. And lying among the razor-sharp shards of what remained were the seeds from which the Beast would grow. 

Narcs are notorious for their infidelity. But the way they make you feel in the beginning, it is easy to believe that you are DIFFERENT. He certainly had me believing this. The "indiscretion" he had was simply a moment of "weakness" and he wouldn't have done it had I paid him more attention. And at the time, I believed his shit. 

So I worked harder. Loved harder. But it didn't matter. He developed a perma-smirk -- amused with my efforts KNOWING it was all in vain.

You eventually get to a point where you can't take it. So you leave. But before you know it, you are sucked back into the belly of the Beast. And those around you don't understand. They lose patience. They express their frustration. And finally they shake their heads and give up. So, you return to the only one you think understands you -- the narc. 

Looking back I should have left after the first red flag flew. But I was brainwashed, blind. I wanted so desperately to believe things weren't as bad as they seemed.

It was only when he had me by the throat throttling me, and I saw the black void in his eyes, that I KNEW I was no longer dealing with the person I had fallen in love with. 

It was an illusion. He didn't care. He didn't love me. I was a pawn. I was a toy. I was an excuse. I was Nothing. 

Friends and family of a victim of domestic abuse need to educate themselves about the cycle of abuse to fully understand the dynamic of what's going on.

I was undergoing a significant change. I was no longer the fun-loving carefree woman I once was. The bad part was, I thought I was holding it together and no one knew. I'd smile and try to be casual about things as though they were fine, but they were anything but.

I was dying inside.

Victims of abuse exhibit Tell-Tale signs in their behavior and personality that need to be heeded. We don't come out and say, "I need help" b/c that is the furthest thing from our minds. We feel like we've got this. But in reality, we don't. We are simply trying to survive and change a situation that, little did we realize, was doomed from the beginning.

Signs of domestic abuse can include:

~~ Isolation ~~ The victim no longer has a social life. He/she falls off the radar b/c they are too wrapped up in their abuser. Remember, the abuser controls ALL communication coming in and going out of the relationship. Isolating their victim from any potential "threats" that may blow their cover is the first preemptive strike.  

~~ Personality changes ~~ Individuals who were once known to be outgoing become increasingly introverted and quiet. They may no longer return calls or texts. Excuses abound as to why they can no longer attend social gatherings or lunch/dinner dates with friends. Oftentimes, he/she becomes depressed, which only adds to the struggle to survive.

~~ Physical changes ~~ Victims of abuse often deteriorate in ways that become increasingly noticeable. He/she may lose weight (or gain weight) due to the stress of the situation. The person may start to look haggard and more stressed out. 

~~ Appearance ~~ Similar to the lengths an addict will go to in order to conceal physical signs of their drug use, a victim of  domestic abuse that has become physically violent will adopt a similar strategy. He/she may wear long sleeves or pants to cover their bruises -- even in summer. Women will oftentimes wear more make-up than usual in an effort to cover blackened eyes or bruises to visible areas that cannot be covered with clothing or a scarf. If a bruise or injury is spotted, we are at the ready with a "plausible" excuse --- to protect the abuser AND ourselves from the abuser lest he/she should think we have reached out for help or "told on them"... Which can only initiate further, worse abuse. What makes this aspect even worse, is the victim BELIEVES he/she deserved it.

~~ Mannerisms ~~ As was the case with me, I became very jumpy. I was no longer wont to giving hugs freely. I jumped at the least little noise. And if someone approached me or reached for me too quickly I would shrink back to avoid their touch -- something so casual as a hand on the shoulder or a tussling of my hair. Eye contact became nonexistent. 

~~ Interference ~~ The abuser often takes it upon him-/herself to run interference when loved ones and friends try to contact the victim. The narc may answer the victim's phone or texts so he/she can keep a finger on the pulse of the situation. When in public with the abuser, the victim will often keep eyes cast down or refer all conversation to the abuser who is more than willing to interact in social settings as long as he/she remains in control.

It is essential that if you believe a friend or loved one is in an unhealthy situation that you approach him/her in a nonjudgmental way. I know it is difficult, actually impossible, to relate if you've never walked in the abused's shoes.

Leaving an abusive relationship is something that must be done on the victim's terms. Only he/she knows when it's time to get out. HOWEVER, there ARE situations where that time never comes. But I pray that those who are trapped in the storm eventually see their way to make it to the opposite shore.

With time, he/she will see the situation more objectively and, with it, the patterns. Education is KEY.

Once the fog lifted and I was able to see him for what he was and the situation as a whole, I knew I couldn't go back. NOTHING I would say or do could mend the damage or change the situation. I had to survive. I had to move forward. And as terrifying as it was, I had the support necessary to maintain NC and begin to heal.

To this day, I'm still healing. I live with PTSD triggers and anxiety day in and day out. The good days are beginning to outnumber the bad ones, but they still raise their ugly head now and again.

There is no excuse for a narc's behavior. Their wiring is wonky.

But your wiring, Dear, is NOT wonky. You are NOT broken. You are NOT damaged. You have just endured a horrific situation. Punches don't have to be thrown to give you scars. I always said I would have rather he just hit me repeatedly without saying a word -- not even an apology b/c I know it wouldn't be sincere. Bruises fade. But the venom with which the narc speaks breaks you down and leaves VERY deep scars that take a long time to heal.

Sadly, I don't think the scars ever really go away, they simply fade. But they DO make us stronger. And with that strength comes a tremendous beauty with which we build a new life steeped in Truth, Love and Light.

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3

Monday, April 18, 2016

Lotus Flower...


 "You held me down, but I got up,
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound,
Like thunder, gonna shake the ground.
You held me down, but I got up,
Get ready 'cause I've had enough,
I see it all, I see it now..."
~~ Katy Perry, "Roar"

As Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, "No mud, no lotus."

Without suffering, there is no growth. Without hurt and struggle, there cannot be beauty. 

When recovering from an abusive relationship, you mourn twice -- for the loss of who you thought was your Soul Mate and the relationship itself.

But through the struggle of grief, we become stronger. It hurts like Hell in the beginning, but believe me, as the hurt begins to wane the ability to breathe freely returns -- and with it an empowerment and strength that cannot be rivaled. 

Initially you struggle with questions that, to the outsider, sound anything but sane given the situation They see.

"Why did I put up with his/her bullshit for so long?"
"Why do I still miss him/her?"
"Why can't I forget it all?"
"Why do I hurt so bad and will it go away?"

And on and on it goes for a while.

But eventually, as the clouds clear you see the sun shine down and with it Truth, Love and Light. It's a whole new World. And it is Amazing.

As you meander through the process of healing, you WILL bounce back and forth. You WILL struggle... It's natural. 

Here are a few methods you can use to help ease you through the hurt and pain.

~~ Feel Your Pain... Fully ~~ It is essential you allow yourself to feel the range of emotions FULLY. Yes, the person you fell for was a Fraud. Yes, the relationship WAS abusive. But you are here now. Get angry. Be frustrated. Hurt. See each of these emotions for what they are and allow them to come and go without attaching to them. Remember, EVERYTHING is impermanent -- this includes the hurt and agony you're experiencing. DON'T get Stuck. If you are feeling too overwhelmed, seek help from a trusted friend, family member or professional counselor. I know that counseling and a tremendous support system saved my life. There is no shame in reaching out for help. You are not a superhero.

~~ NO Contact ~~ Establish NO CONTACT and MAINTAIN it. It is impossible to heal from the abuse when you leave the door open even a crack. Leave it all behind. There is no healthy future when you leave one foot in the past. Narcs DO NOT change. Holding out hope for a redemption of any kind will only prove detrimental to YOU in the long run.

~~ Educate Yourself ~~ Learn about narcissistic personality disorder and the cycle of abuse. Now this doesn't mean you submerge yourself in a sea of NPD obsession. But it is essential to familiarize yourself with the terminology and pathology of behaviors so you can avoid falling for the same illusion again. The better you understand the signs, the easier it is to avoid in the future.

~~ Ground Yourself ~~ Narcissistic abuse IS Trauma, period. The sooner you are able to come to terms with the reality of your situation the better. The key is to NOT get caught up in the same cycle of doubt, longing, and self-blame. You MUST make the decision to move Forward WITHOUT looking back and dipping your toes in the "What Ifs." Learning self-soothing strategies, such as positive self-talk, deep breathing, and engaging in self-care are essential to healing. It is time to take care of YOU. (I will cover some self-care techniques in an upcoming post.) 

~~ Improve Your Self-Esteem ~~ Narcs leave their victims shattered. There is no recognizable sense of self when the dust settles. It is imperative you take the time to look at yourself in the mirror and see the beautiful human being you truly are -- and that includes recognizing the scars, both seen and unseen. Our scars are our badges of honor. We are Survivors. Take this experience and those scars as proof you are stronger than you have ever given yourself credit to be... And build on that. 

~~ New Routine ~~ Now is the time to establish the self and life you have always dreamed of being/having. Embrace the possibilities today and the future hold for you. There is NO ONE who can take those from you unless you allow it. And if you are reading this, then you are at the crossroads where you know you've a decision to make. Take charge of your life. Explore all the opportunities that lay before you. Maybe that means something so simple as reinventing yourself or embarking on a new career path. Take up hobbies and interests you were never able to before. Take advantage of the hope, love and life that is before you. 

You ARE like the lotus flower. All that ickiness and bullshit you put up with for so long are what have helped you to grow and become strong. Live life. Live love. Embrace Truth. And know that you are beautiful. 

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3 





Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Buddhist Prayer for Healing...




Just as the soft rains fill the streams,
Pour into the rivers, and join together in the oceans,
So may the power of every moment of your goodness
Flow forth to awaken and heal all beings --
Those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.

By the power of every moment of your goodness
May your heart's wishes be soon fulfilled
As completely shining as the bright full moon,
As magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
May all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.

For all in whose heart swells respect,
Who follow the wisdom and compassion, of the Way,
May your life prosper in the four blessings
Of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Victim NO MORE...


Please check out this video ("Discard Your Victim Status NOW") by Beverly Banov Brown, M.S... Brown incorporates nearly all the points I've discussed in this space thus far -- right down to the rose-tinted glasses (literally)... If you (or someone you know) are recovering from narc abuse, this is INVALUABLE information...

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

NO Contact 101...


"I don't feel you anymore,
You darken my door,
Whatever you're looking for,
Hey, don't come around here no more..."
~~ Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, 
"Don't Come Around Here No More"

Breaking the narc's hold is VERY difficult.

Up to this point, you have lived your life through and for the narcissist. So, going No Contact can prove one of the greatest tests thus far.

Going NC is YOUR way of saying, "I am DONE." And mean it. 

But, why is it so difficult to walk away from the narc? Let's take a look at a few of the intricately weaved elements and how they influence our ability to call it Quits.

Habitual Focus ~~ The narc has trained you to put him/her FIRST... Always. Anything that was of value to you, such as your time, boundaries, interests, relationships, career, etc..., has been systematically chipped away to a cold void. Things that once made you happy no longer appeal to you b/c your SOLE focus has become pleasing the narc. In the early stages of NC, it is completely normal to feel helpless, lonely, and lost. It takes a while to re-establish your footing, but you WILL get there.

Worthless ~~ Once you've been discarded by the narc, your sense of self is non-existent. Regardless of how confident you were or how much you did or didn't love yourself going in to the relationship, you are left shattered and, if you are lucky, a shell of who you once were. It is ESSENTIAL during this time that you NOT engage in negative self-talk. Although you may feel it, you are NOT worthless. You are HUMAN. And you have endured a helluva nightmare.

Brainwashing ~~ The narc is a MASTER manipulator. The methodical emotional and psychological breakdown of a victim is one of the narc's most insidious acts of abuse. It took me nearly two years before I could even admit to myself, let alone anyone else, that the relationship was Abusive. I think that deep down I KNEW it to be true, but I couldn't call it by name b/c of the fear and guilt I felt for my abuser. Add to that the overwhelming feeling of doubt he'd instilled in me. You MUST be patient with yourself once you break free to the other shore. It takes a LONG time to reclaim your OWN MIND. So please, please give yourself time to find the Truth you so desperately need to heal.

No Boundaries ~~ Essentially, the narc took ALL of you and trampled it beyond recognition. EVERYTHING you stood for, believed, thought, etc... has been defiled by the narc. In addition, all the shame and blame for the narc's toxic behavior has also been thrust upon YOUR shoulders -- yeah, he/she lied, cheated, hit you, etc... but YOU are the one who is painted as the abuser. Once you are able to see the relationship for the illusion it truly was, it becomes easier to sort through all the Bullshit to find what you KNOW is representative of YOU.

Validation ~~ Once I left my abuser, the ONLY thing I wanted was for someone to tell me I WAS NOT CRAZY. I needed reassurance all the time that I was NOT the person the narc wanted others to believe me to be. I wanted ANSWERS. What gave him the right to be such a Conniving Evil Prick? Why ME? How could he simply waltz away like NOTHING happened? What kind of soulless, depraved Asshole could behave like that and think it is OK? Once I began talking to others who had been where I was and started seeing a therapist all the pieces began falling into place. I know I will NEVER get all the answers I seek b/c there aren't any... and I will, likewise, NEVER get an apology from him.

But you know what? It doesn't matter anymore. I don't WANT an apology. Mainly, b/c I KNOW any semblance of an apology would 1) cause him immense pain to even utter and, 2) it would NOT be genuine.

I will live the rest of my days a VERY happy and contented woman if I NEVER have to lay eyes on him again. Now that does not mean that I cannot practice compassion. I pray for him... Often... From a GREAT DISTANCE, a SAFE DISTANCE b/c if there is ANYONE who is in need of guidance,compassion, forgiveness and kindness it's him and those like him.

As I've said time and again, YES I still get angry. But I don't let that anger dominate me or my life. I let it come. I let it go. And I've noticed over time, its visits are less frequent and don't last nearly as long as they once did.

And that is just it, the narc WANTS you to be angry, resentful, hurt, broken, lost... Why give him/her what HE/SHE wants when 1) it is detrimental to YOUR well-being and, 2) life is now all about YOU... yes, YOU.

It is at this point, you MUST remember, YOU are in control now.

Once the narc figures out that you are NC with him/her I promise you he/she will use EVERY POSSIBLE MEANS to slither back into the tiniest crack to throw you off track and regain his/her hold over you. He/she will likely go from one extreme to the other --- from "admitting" fault and promising you the World to a full-on offensive that smears you to the point its like he/she is trying to eradicate your existence. It is often during this phase the abuse and violence escalate.

YOU CANNOT BUDGE.

I KNOW it is difficult. But you MUST be consistent and firm in your resolve. Even when the narc's FMs come a knockin' or calling, you CANNOT react. Period.

I've said it before and I will say it again, DOCUMENT EVERYTHING.

When you implement NC, YOU are setting necessary boundaries for YOUR healing. The narc and his/her happiness are no longer of any concern to you. YOU make the rules. YOU are finally back in control.

It is ESSENTIAL that you maintain NC -- otherwise, you risk MORE trauma, re-attachment and all the foulness that goes with it.

Don't worry, the narc's grandiose sense of entitlement and power will provide plenty of rope for him/her to hang him-/herself (figuratively speaking of course). Once they get mouthy, they get sloppy and start to stumble. Let him/her stumble AND FALL.

No worries, the fall won't cause the narc too much harm --- it just hastens the inevitable. You know, the part where those who have supported and bought in to the narc's delusions and lies but realize they have been duped.  

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3














Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Triangle...


"Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over,
But had me believing it was always something that I'd done.
But I don't wanna live that way,
Reading into every word you say,
You said that you could let it go,
And I wouldn't catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know.."
~~ Gotye, "Somebody That I Used to Know"  

Triangulation is one of the first terms you learn in Narcology 101.

If there isn't drama, the narc is NOT happy. And one sure-fire way to spark drama is by triangulation.

It is also one of the WORST forms of domestic abuse in the narc's toolbox. 

Domination, control, manipulation -- all these elements are the foundation of the narc-mind. And it is used to help nurture and maintain the ginormous sense of entitlement the narc carries with him/her EVERYWHERE. 

Simply put, triangulation is commonly defined as:

Covert or indirect communication (by the narc) to a third party to enlist his/her help to further the narc's agenda. Basically, the narc pits people against one another; like how I said the role I played in the "relationship" was ENTIRELY dependent on who my abuser was talking to.

Regardless of the approach used, the message passed from the narc and/or his FMs to others is usually either totally fabricated or may contain a SINGLE GRAIN of truth at best. But you can be certain, whatever messages are being passed are being exchanged behind your back FOR A REASON.

I used to call my abuser's Flying Monkeys his Harem. Little did I know at the time, but I wasn't too far off. 

It would piss him off and I WOULD pay for it, but I didn't care. I was hurt. I was depressed. I was lost.

There are essentially FOUR approaches to Triangulation. We will start with my abuser's ABSOLUTE FAVORITE.

Two-for-One ~~  If you didn't have any insecurities going in to the relationship you sure as hell will when you leave. My abuser THRIVED on attention from the opposite sex -- to the point of (pardon the expression) Nailing Ass and Taking Names... And numbers.

He would oftentimes brag about a woman who had been to his work flirting with him, his ex-wife calling begging him to come back, or an ex-girlfriend (who wasn't actually an "ex" just yet) who just wouldn't stop calling, texting and coming by to see him. 

He acted SO helpless. Like he didn't know how to handle the situation (playing the Victim card). He was simply at their mercy, b/c he didn't want to be mean and well, "I'm sure you understand..." he would say. 

Essentially what this tactic does is make you feel like you have to love harder and work harder to keep your man/woman interested so he/she doesn't have a "reason" to stray. Well, I'm sorry but, as a general rule, narcs will stray REGARDLESS. And I GUARANTEE he/she will lay the blame at YOUR feet. Remember, NOTHING is the narc's fault. EVER.

Divide and Conquer ~~ The narc derives MUCH joy from pitting two parties against one another. Either they get some sort of direct benefit from the conflict or it is simply b/c he/she is bored and needs some entertainment. Either way, the narc preserves his/her 'spotless' image he/she portrays to the world. 

Oftentimes, the narc will seek help from family or close friends who are Sympathetic to him/her. Then, the narc will paint YOU as the abuser and rally support from his/her cheerleaders -- essentially, smearing you while pitting his/her 'supporters' against you. 

This is why I have previously stated, dividing and conquering was my abuser's way of ensuring that he and ONLY HE controlled ALL information coming in and going out of the relationship. 

Recruitment ~~ Narcs are unable to single-handedly maintain control without the help of FMs -- ESPECIALLY when you go NC. Those who rally for the narc's cause have only heard his/her side of the story -- and their support can quickly deteriorate to bullying -- they are OBLIVIOUS to the narc's Agenda. This tactic is right up there with Two-for-One as far as the emotional detriment it causes the victim.

Devalue and Discard ~~ The FINAL phase of the narc's Triangulation. It was at this point my abuser painted ME as the Stalker. Instead of being a rational, emotional human being who DISCUSSES things with his/her partner when a relationship is over, the narc takes the Coward's Way Out. Yes, they are Cowards from the word Go.

For the narc, it is much simpler to confide in others who support their cause. They feel Justified. The narc will NOT deny he/she has confided in others. It's yet another act of emotional abuse.

About 9 times out of 10, the person the narc has been "confiding" in is his/her New Supply.

The SECOND you show any kind of jealousy, anger, or hurt over the matter the narc will use it to his/her advantage. This is yet ANOTHER reason I can't stress Silence enough.

It hurts like hell.

You are left wondering, what is wrong with you? What did you do wrong?

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

If the narc has replaced you and is bragging about how happy he/she is with his/her new partner do your happy dance as you make your way to the other shore... FAR, FAR AWAY. Because as soon as the New Supply even hints that he/she suspects something isn't right or leaves early on the narc will be right back to Lovebombing and Hoovering YOU.

Sadly, narcs prey on empaths.

What you are feeling at this stage is real and agonizing. It is difficult to see how much better off you truly are. It is only after you have been AWAY from the narc for a period of time that you finally realize how much easier it is to breathe.

There are no hoops to jump through. You no longer have to walk on eggshells. And, most importantly, you are FINALLY able to concentrate on YOU.

Don't give a Second Thought to the Smear Campaign or the narc's Cowardice Acts. Those who bought stock will discover they were scammed soon enough. I promise.

Rediscovering yourself while, at the same time, allowing yourself permission to fully experience every emotion you feel is the most liberating thing in the world. Like I said, it hurts like HELL for a while, but the pain soon fades to a subtle pang you may feel once in a great while, such as when you allow yourself to reflect on your experience.

Once you regain your footing, it is very difficult to shake the paranoia the narc instilled in you. To this day I am VERY cautious about who I allow in my inner circle. Then add to it the residual trauma. It SUCKS.

But I am here to tell you there IS Light, Truth and LOVE -- REAL LOVE -- on the other side of this ShitStorm you are experiencing.

May the Universe help you claim the guidance and strength necessary to find your way to the opposite shore... It is from there you will take your first steps on the Path that was intended for you all along. And it will be an Amazing Adventure filled with Light, Truth, and Love.

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Silence...


"So it's gonna be forever, 
Or it's gonna go down in flames,
You can tell me when it's over,
If the high was worth the pain..."
~~ Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"

There's nothing like losing yourself in the beautiful silence and solitude once the storm has passed.

Until you reach that point you may very well feel like you are losing your mind. And to a degree you may be.

I know I did.

A mere few months into the relationship, I began to feel more and more confused about not only what was going on b/t he and I, but day-to-day happenings. He would say or do something and then turn right around and deny he ever said or did it.

I knew damn well he had, I witnessed it -- or so I thought.  

One of the greatest tools at the narc's disposal is making you doubt yourself. 

There are NO BOUNDARIES with a narc. NOTHING is sacred. And EVERYTHING is up for grabs.

AGAIN I say...

There are NO BOUNDARIES with a narc. NOTHING is sacred. And EVERYTHING is up for grabs. 

For instance, as I've mentioned before, you are NOT responsible for another person's actions -- ESPECIALLY the narc. HOWEVER, he/she does not see it that way. And over time, they DO make you feel like it is your day to watch them -- today and always. 

With my abuser it could be something so simple as, "Why didn't you wake me up this morning?" -- wouldn't matter if I had tried, if he didn't get up and was late to work that was my fault -- "Why did you let me do that?"  

The narc is a PRO at Crazy-Making.

And YOU, my Dear, are his/her prime target for outlandish and unreasonable behavior. Yes, it IS intentional. Yes, it IS meant to make you feel like you are losing your mind.  

Gaslighting and Confusion were my abuser's FAVORITE tactics for instigating and instilling confusion in me. 

Sure, I fought back at first (figuratively speaking). I would question, I would try to rationalize. And then I realized there is NO rationalizing narcissistic abuse. You are dealing with an irrational person. There is NO making sense of it.

But he would use his gaslighting techniques to make me feel like I WAS being too sensitive, too "thin-skinned," too weak, too selfish, too whatever fit the bill for the day and his mood. 

Once you fold under the pressure of the confusion and irrational arguments, the narc has won. You then shoulder the responsibility for things that are NOT your fault, but you feel as though they are, which only serves to reinforce the narc's control over you. 

Self-Doubt is one of your biggest clues that something isn't right and no it is NOT you. I'm sure it takes immense self control for a narc to witness his/her victim's decline into confusion and doubt without gleefully jumping for joy and clapping his/her hands. It is what they live for. Once the narc sees that you are starting to crack, he/she KNOWS he/she has a way to slither in and take up residence.

It was not uncommon for me to seek reassurance and validation about Everything from decisions to something I would say or do when around friends and/or family. It was like I needed propped up. I had gone from a totally confident woman to a fragile shell that could shatter with the slightest harsh wind.

Relationships with NO BOUNDARIES are breeding grounds for self-doubt and confusion. You don't intend to, but you LOSE yourself. All the lovebombing to win you over followed by rushing, merciless waves of devaluation cause you to teeter and fall. By the time you hit bottom, you aren't even sure who you are anymore.

Dissociation became my way of dealing with the constant onslaught of abuse. There were many times where it felt like I was watching the abuse happen but there was nothing I could do to stop it. I would simply Shut Down.

To this day, there are still things I cannot remember. My therapist said it is common for abuse Survivors to experience trauma-induced amnesia. She explained it is the mind/body's way of shutting down in self-defense when the trauma is too overwhelming for the individual to handle.

It was at this point that I genuinely thought I was losing my mind. If you have never been there, all I can say is it is the MOST terrifying feeling -- and it is compounded by the immense loneliness you already feel in your "relationship."

Then, other symptoms began to emerge for which I was NOT prepared.

C-PTSD/PTSD and Anxiety became my two main issues and remain so today.

It DOES NOT matter -- if you experience a trigger, your mind AND body IMMEDIATELY go into panic mode. Period. You IMMEDIATELY feel the threat is Real and you are experiencing the trauma all over again IN THE PRESENT MOMENT -- known as Re-Living the trauma. And to the Nay-Sayers, NO you CANNOT control it.

All you can do is learn to know your triggers and try to cope and work through them as best you can. It takes time. A LONG time. And even when you DO learn to work through them, the initial Threat is STILL real... You are still re-living, but you are able to better recover and come back to the present moment.

In case you are not familiar with PTSD, here are a few of the signs/symptoms:
* Flashbacks
* Nightmares and night terrors
* Avoidance (of people, situations AND places)
* Isolation
* Hypersensitve Fight or Flight response
* Insomnia
* Memory loss

After I was subjected to a battery of tests and assessments, my therapist explained that what I was experiencing was complex PTSD and anxiety disorder.

WOW... This Shit actually had a NAME?? Holy Jesus!! Thank God!!

And then I realized, I would forever be intertwined with a stigma -- you know, the poor abused girl who nearly had a nervous breakdown and who is now prone to fits and crying jags... Poor thing.

She's Special.

BULLLLLL-SHIT. I will NOT be That Girl.

I got irritated and then bypassed angry and went straight to PISSED when it dawned on me the damage my abuser had done. What gave him the right? Hell, what was wrong with ME to let it happen?

But after extensive therapy, I came to understand I DIDN'T "let" anything happen.

I was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of a narcissistic personality. Jackpot.

Talk about the Perfect Storm.

The days, weeks and months went by and I slowly started to make progress to reclaim ME. Along the way, I began my journey on the Buddhist Path and realized I could not hold on to my anger.

"An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind."
~~ Mahatma Gandhi     

He wasn't angry. Yeah, he left a helluva lot of destruction in his wake, but that was the norm. So why should I waste my time being angry, holding a grudge, wishing him ill? It was only harming me.

Now, I STILL have days where I get angry. But I observe it. I let it be and let it go. Anytime it shows up, I don't invite it in for tea, but we sit on the porch and I let it vent. I listen. I wish it well. And see it on its way.

Until next time... I sit in silence. I relish the quiet. I am at peace... If only for a moment.

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3









Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Run Baby Run...


"... You better keep your head little girl,
Or you won't know where I am...
...You better run for your life if you can, little girl..."
~~ The Beatles, "Run for Your Life"

Narcs DO NOT let go easily if they aren't the ones cutting the cord.

If you are going or have attempted to go NO CONTACT, you learn this lesson quickly. 

It is literally Baby Steps. Breaking the mental and emotional hold your abuser has over you can be one of the biggest battles you may ever fight. 

In the beginning, I was lucky if I made it a matter of hours w/NC. He made it VERY difficult to maintain, but I eventually did it despite his howls of protest and weepy messages vowing he'd changed. Then came the threats and stalking. Yes, stalking. 

From "chance" meetings, NUMEROUS phone calls, voicemails, text messages AND emails to his literally standing outside my window at night, he made it clear he wasn't going to go willingly or quietly. It got fucking CREEPY the way he could seemingly materialize out of nowhere... Or would call and let me know he'd been watching me.

Yeah, ballsy.

Keep in mind, he'd already "acquired" new supply who he was grooming but, until that supply was securely in his possession, he kept one foot in my world. 

What I experienced often goes hand-in-hand with leaving an abusive relationship. I wasn't the first. And I certainly won't be the last. 

According to Colorado State University's Women and Gender Advocacy Center, a 2011 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey revealed: 

~~ Repeatedly receiving unwanted telephone calls, voicemails, or text messages was the most commonly experienced stalking tactic... 78.8 percent for women/75.9 percent for men.

~~ There is a strong correlation b/t stalking and other forms of intimate partner violence... 81 percent of women were physically assaulted; 31 percent of women were also sexually assaulted.

~~ More than 60 percent of women were stalked by a current or former intimate partner.

~~ 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men in the U.S. have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime.

It is sad to say, but you learn to adapt. You adopt a New Normal. A 'normal' of hypervigilance ushered in by the abandonment of any routines you previously embraced. 

When I was finally able to get back out in the World without being too paralyzed by panic attacks, I kept myself surrounded at all times. During the first several months, I don't think I went anywhere that I wasn't in the company of either a friend or a group of friends and acquaintances. There IS safety in numbers.

As I mentioned in my previous post, dealing with a narc is one thing. Dealing with a narc who is also an addict is a whole 'nother situation. The person who was fairly predictable previously presents new challenges when the substances they're using make them feel invincible. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, is possible.

He would SWEAR I was delusional. I was making a big deal of nothing. He simply wanted to talk.

He'd always ask why I was lying about him to others. He wasn't Abusive. I was just clumsy and confused. Swore he'd never put his hands on a woman. 

In the interim, he'd told Everyone else I was the one stalking HIM. It's a shame they didn't know about the 50+ phone calls and hundreds of text messages he would send in a matter of a few short HOURS.

Everything from, "I'm so sorry.... I know I fucked up. Please, I just want to talk," to "Answer the phone, Bitch..."

There was absolutely NOTHING he could have said that he hadn't said before. It was all bullshit and I had no issue with calling it such. I was exhausted. I was drained. I was done.

But, despite my silence, I felt like I was dying inside. 

Part of me still desperately clung to the hope that maybe... just maybe... This Time he was sincere. 

Nope. 

I began experiencing symptoms of what I would later learn is PTSD and anxiety disorder.

Hypervigilance gave way to heightened startle response, night terrors, nightmares, and a reel of his voice that repeatedly played in the back of my mind reminding me of all my flaws, faults, and the enormous guilt he had projected upon me.

To this day, when I'm in public I sit facing the door and MUST know where all the exits are -- just in case. Loud, unexpected noises still rock me to my core. I still experience nightmares and flashbacks, but they aren't as frequent.

Unfortunately, I've a whole slew of PTSD triggers that are ever-present, but I've learned to cope and keep myself as grounded as I can when they happen.

It is difficult to explain these issues to others. I know what I experience is misunderstood and hard for others to fathom.

"I don't understand. You're a take-no-shit type of lady," they say. "You are so strong."

Yeah, Today. 

Domestic abuse CHANGES YOU. You don't have to be physically abused to find yourself drowning. The emotional scars I carried (and still do to this day) from before he even laid hands on me were enough to make me want to crawl in a hole and die.  

You finally work up the courage to leave. You build this tremendous support system around you to help guide and protect you during what is statistically the most dangerous time for a victim, and yet you still feel alone. You feel like you have somehow betrayed your abuser by simply wanting to Survive. 

Then, stalking gets thrown in the mix.

Understand, you CANNOT control what others do. All you can control is how YOU react.

Remember, the narc and his/her FMs want to get a response from you. DON'T give it to them.  

There aren't enough words I could use to describe how important going and staying NC is. Yeah, the abuser is likely to come unhinged. Yeah, the abuser is likely to lash out in ways you didn't think were possible. But you know what? You are in a better place.

Unlike the world, you have seen the Beast unleashed. You KNOW what you are dealing with, for the most part. 

The more Unresponsive you stay, the better off you are. Keeping silent despite whatever the abuser throws at you demonstrates strength while, at the same time, allows others to see what you have known for far too long. If you give them enough room, they will do a Fine Job showing the unsuspecting world who they really are... Seriously. 

If you are being harassed and/or stalked it is essential that you DOCUMENT EVERYTHING.

Keep track of ALL incidents. Know the time, place, who was present, what took place and make a police report. Over time, those reports add up. And with maintaining NC on your part, the narc has no ammunition to fuel his/her "victimization."

I am no longer the scared little girl I once was.

I lifted the duvet and saw there was no boogeyman under my bed.

I'd met him. I'd loved him. And he had hurt me beyond words. So, yeah, this little girl ran. And ran some more 'til she realized he was not a boogeyman...

He was simply a man... With a BAD problem.

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3





Monday, March 28, 2016

The Bitch is Back...

"Ever wonder 'bout what he's doing, 
How it's all turned to lies,
Sometimes I think that it's better,
To never ask why..."
~~ Pink, "Try"

*** TRIGGER WARNING ***

Addiction is a Bitch. 

Dealing with an abusive partner is one thing. Dealing with an abusive partner who is an addict is a whole 'nother Monster. The boogeyman's got NOTHING on a narc addict. 

There was a CLEAR line of demarcation in my relationship. Before the drugs. After the drugs.

Prior to the drugs, yeah, he was abusive. BUT the difference was, his patterns of behavior were Predictable. After the drugs, well... it was a whirlwind of mood swings and abuse on a whole new level.

Anytime you throw drugs in the mix of an already volatile situation things become MUCH MORE complex and dangerous.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), substance abuse is a "suggested cause" of intimate partner violence. There is no substantiated correlation b/t domestic violence and substance abuse, but a "significant" number of abusers "misuse alcohol and drugs."

In an American Society of Addiction Medicine report published in October 2014:

** Substance abuse has been "found to co-occur in 40 to 60 percent of intimate partner violence [IPV] incidents across various studies."
** More than 20 percent of male perpetrators of IPV "report using alcohol and/or illicit drugs prior to the most recent and severe acts of violence."
** Evidence suggests that "substance abuse/use plays a facilitative role in IPV by precipitating or exacerbating violence."

In my situation, what added insult to injury was his CONSTANT denial that anything was amiss. It was all ME. I was too sensitive. I wasn't trusting enough. HOW DARE I question the mysterious appearance of what were clearly track marks splattered over his arms and legs. HOW DARE I question the unmarked pill bottles strewn around. The roaches in the ashtray. The loaded handgun that suddenly took up residence on the bottom shelf of the coffee table.

He would fly off the deep end if I questioned ANYTHING. He made it clear he believed it was none of my business.

Sure, that would have been easy enough if I didn't have to deal with the repercussions of his highs and inevitable crashes. But the fact of the matter is, it WAS my business b/c I was on the receiving end. But he used my concern and questions as further fuel for his tirades and attacks.

Admittedly, I lived under a rock most of my adolescent and young adult years -- hell, even into my 20s. I'd never been truly exposed to drugs, or that subculture, but I'd read enough and seen enough while away at college I KNEW something wasn't right.

And then there was the hideous game of cat and mouse I'd have to play when even "attempting" to maintain a semblance of any kind of relationship due to the New Friends who came out of the wood work like goddamned cockroaches.

Sadly, what I endured is much more common than I realized.

According to a Psychology Today, more than half of individuals with NPD have a substance abuse disorder. 

Narcs and substance abuse is a dangerous, yet perfect, example of how one's inflated self-esteem and sense of power can get his/her ass in a sling QUICK. 

Unlike other addicts, the narc believes he/she has it all under control -- yeah, yeah, I know, EVERY addict thinks he/she can quit whenever he/she wants -- but this false sense of control is MORE prominent in the narc. After all, he/she controls everything and everyone else, so why not the drug, too? It is simply the way the narc's mind works. I know, I witnessed it firsthand.

Now, not only was I desperately trying to change a situation that was unchangeable, I was watching the person I loved kill himself and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. I was fighting two battles. 

Sadly, I was on the wrong side. 

I watched as he systematically shut down EVERY opportunity myself, family and his TRUE friends offered to help. He had it ALL under control. And we were all delusional, he wasn't using drugs -- he just wasn't "getting enough sleep." 

The degree of malice with which he would attack me grew tenfold. His paranoia bordered on insanity and his projecting and accusations became more outlandish than ever. 

Everything came to a screeching halt in a matter of hours one afternoon. Still bearing the bruises from not two days before, I offered one last attempt to reason with him. I never should have tried. 

The conversation -- or as narcs view it, the confrontation -- disintegrated into an argument. I waved the white flag to get him to calm down. Admitted fault for even trying to talk to him. Then he immediately demanded sex -- as a way of "making up." 

Watching Hyde turn into Jekyll before my eyes was disgusting enough -- now he was upping the ante by demanding another piece of me that I wasn't willing to give. Suffice to say things escalated yet again. 

As he throttled me, his eyes were void of any trace of the man I once knew. There was NOTHING there. It was at that moment I knew I had to get out. 

During my first visit with my advocate at the DV shelter, I had to take an assessment -- used to gauge the degree of abuse present in the relationship -- and it wasn't until that moment that I realized exactly how dangerous my situation had become. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states "non-fatal strangulation of women" by an intimate partner "is an important risk factor for homicide of women." Numerous studies have been conducted about IPV, especially the role of manual strangulation (a.k.a. throttling). According to one study

"Strangulation occurs late in the abusive relationship; thus, women presenting with complaints consistent with strangulation probably represent women at a higher risk for morbidity or mortality." 

Now, the question becomes, would he have done it had he NOT had drugs in his system? Maybe. Maybe not. I wouldn't want to venture a guess. 

What I am certain of is, it happened. And he KNEW what he'd done. 

But, in his mind, IT DID NOT MATTER. 

I "asked for it." It was MY FAULT. If I had only stayed on the straight and narrow and not "run my mouth" and did "my job" he wouldn't have had to do it. So, long as I didn't "provoke" him again, everything would be fine.

When you are in the midst of the storm it is VERY difficult to see the fallacy in such an argument. You are so broken down that you believe it. But I am here to tell you NO ONE deserves to be abused. As I've stated before, I don't care if you burnt his supper, shrunk his favorite t-shirt by accident or even if you DID do it on purpose, that DOES NOT give someone the right to abuse another. NO EXCUSES. 

Adding substance abuse into the equation makes it a bit trickier when trying to cope and survive domestic abuse and IPV. 

ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE, can tell you when to leave. That falls to you. Only YOU know when you are ready to take the leap into the waters and start swimming to the other shore. "But what if I don't know how to swim?" you may ask. Believe me, YOU CAN SWIM. And YOU WILL.

As terrifying and difficult as it is, you MUST take that proverbial step back to view your situation as objectively as possible. Has he/she promised to change? Of course. Has he/she? No. Do you hold out hope one day he/she will? Of course. What's the probability it will happen? Zilch. 

It is essential that you educate yourself about the cycle of domestic violence, NPD, and if alcohol and/or drugs are part of the equation, it won't hurt to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of addiction, too. 

Utilize as many resources as you possibly can. And if you are in a situation where you do not feel safe possessing these materials or perusing the Internet -- due to the watchful eye of your abuser -- employ the help of family and/or friends. 

Once you are able to identify the patterns you start to take back the Power. 

In "No Mud, No Lotus" Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh writes,

"If we can recognize suffering, and if we embrace it and look deeply into its roots, then we'll be able to let go of the habits that feed it and, at the same time, find a way to happiness. Suffering has its beneficial aspects. It can be an excellent teacher."

Indeed it can. And it is. And it can be as merciless as a ruler-wielding Catholic nun. 

Now, Hanh wasn't explicitly addressing domestic abuse, but I feel the passage is VERY fitting. 

As soon as I was able to see the roots of suffering in my relationship, it empowered me to see it for what it was. I had to swallow the bitter pill that it was a cycle of violence buoyed on illusion. 

There was NOTHING stable about it what-so-EVER and it would NEVER change. Accepting that fucking HURT. But it was also Liberating. 

I said it before and I'll say it again. Addiction is a BITCH. Watching someone you love battle their demons is torture. Losing them to their addiction, as I and my family lost Brian, is devastating and beyond heartbreaking.

But when the addict is your abuser, it makes the situation more perverse. You are now going to battle on TWO fronts. Continuing to try to save him/her from his/her addiction with the hope you will make a difference in the relationship and fix his/her underlying needs/issues is Suicide. 

There comes a point where you must view yourself with compassion. It is up to you to garner the strength to know you can make it on your own and that you do not deserve to be abused. 

You lived before your abuser, and you will THRIVE after he/she is long gone. 

We must not allow our circumstances and impermanent situations to force our hand and make decisions that can be detrimental in the long-term. Understand, there must be suffering in order for there to be happiness. The trick is what you do with both. The key is to find and maintain that delicate balance. And I have all the confidence in the world that you will regain your equilibrium. 

It's kind of like getting off one of those stomach-churning roller coasters. You feel like you're gonna puke -- and you may, I know I did -- but once you are off the ride and feel the solid ground under your feet there's nothing that can compare. 

Odds are, you will look back and think, "What a helluva ride... Not gonna do THAT again."

And you will confidently place one foot in front of the other and walk away... Like a Boss.

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3


Friday, March 25, 2016

Mirror Mirror...


"Nobody can hurt me without my permission."
~~ Mahatma Gandhi

It is time to look in the mirror.

During a conversation with a dear friend today, he made me realize something.

In my posts up to this point, I've tried to lay out the groundwork for recognizing and dealing with aspects of narcissistic abuse. However, I think we should take a step back momentarily and look at the inner workings of how DV relationships come to fruition.

Yes, as a rule, there are two sides to a DV relationship. There is the abuser and the abused, or victim, if you will.

However, as important as it is to become familiar with moving parts of the relationship, it is also essential to look more closely at the dynamics of the individuals involved in the relationship.

Technically speaking, there is NO KNOWN cause for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). But there are many theories out there about its origins. Depending on to which camp you belong, your opinion of NPD may differ. But at the root of all discussions are two common threads:

Genetics or psychobiology -- Essentially there is some kind of issue with one's hardwiring -- meaning, things don't match up between an individual's brain, way of thinking, and behavior. 

Upbringing/Childhood Relationships -- Somewhere along the way there were major hiccups in the individual's relationship with his/her parents/caregivers leading to excessive criticism, praise or utter dismissal of the individual by those adults. 

So essentially, we fall back to the Nature vs. Nurture argument. And that is an argument that could go on for eons with seemingly no resolution b/c everyone has their own opinions about what it is that shapes us. For the sake of argument, let's just say that either one or both of the above factors may play a role in the development of a narcissistic personality.

Now that that's out of the way, let's look at the victims of narcissistic abuse/domestic violence. There are essentially two types of personalities who gravitate (knowingly or not) to those with NPD:

Fixers: There are some individuals who experience what can only be described as a compulsion-like mentality to fix others. Oftentimes, those with a fixer mentality also exhibit elements of co-dependency. It doesn't matter if the relationship is toxic or not, the fixer is determined to make things work. As painful as it is to admit it, they take on a relationship with a person who they learn is NOT healthy for them, but they choose to become involved anyhow. There could be a plethora of reasons for doing so that stem from childhood trauma to low self-esteem (which may be rooted in said trauma). Whatever the case, the fixer often feels broken him-/herself and doesn't believe he/she is deserving of better. 

Empaths/Highly Sensitive Personality: Individuals who are highly sensitive are very attractive to narcs. For these types of personalities, they do not realize they're in a toxic relationship until it's too late. Unfamiliar with the red flags of DV, they are oftentimes bewildered at how they came to be in their present situation and are unsure of how to get out. Empaths are very in tune with the needs of others, feel emotions far more intensely than others, and are -- unfortunately -- great fodder for the narc. 

Personally, I'm an empath. After experiencing DV and NPD firsthand, I know to run like hell if I see even a hint of red -- or, hell, even dark pink, magenta, any semblance of red -- waving in front of me. And I think that is the difference b/t the two personality types. 

Fixers often don't care if there is a sea of red flags waving before them. By god, they WILL fix the person come hell or high water. There was once a part of me that leaned toward being a fixer -- until it nearly killed me. 

There comes a point in a relationship when you have to take a step back and really look at what is going on. Take off the rose-tinted glasses and see the relationship for what it truly is. 

As you get older you realize YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANYONE. If it is in their hardwiring to be a prick, they're going to be a prick. If it's in their hardwiring to be an abuser, they're going to be an abuser. Period. 

Once you come to accept that, then you need to look in the mirror. Take a good look and ask yourself some hard questions. 

"What brought me here?" "What am I doing to perpetuate this cycle?" "Why do I stay?"

And before you even say it, NO YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE ABUSED. I don't care if you DID buy him the wrong beer, burn his supper, or accidentally bleach his favorite shirt while doing laundry. NO ONE DESERVES TO BE ABUSED. PERIOD. 

Looking in the mirror while you're in the midst of the storm can be painful. I know I felt drained, defeated, hopeless, frazzled and even ashamed of my reflection.

But, as I found, an epiphany WILL COME.

This life is a Gift. You ARE a beautiful human being who is deserving of LOYALTY, LOVE AND RESPECT. And, with time, you will see it, too. And you will stand stronger, more confident and proud of who you have become. A survivor. 

Before you begin the trek to the opposite shore, you WILL reach a point where you have to start holding yourself accountable and seriously consider what you can/should do to change your situation. 

It took me a long while to get there, but I finally reached a point where I'd had enough. I was drowning. And he certainly wasn't offering a hand to save me. He was too busy tying boulders to my ankles to hasten the process. 

As I have quoted before, the Buddha said it is up to US to walk our own path... no one may do it for us. The same goes with the choices you make. 

Sure, you were duped by the narc. You fell for an ILLUSION. The important thing is NOW YOU KNOW. 

"But I love him," you say.

OK, I understand that. I DO. I said the SAME THING. Even after I had left and was struggling to lift myself from the quicksands of a VERY toxic and violent situation. 

But do you really love him/her? Or do you love the idea of him/her? Are you in love with the illusion you have of him/her? Odds are, I would venture to say, you are in love with the illusion you have of him or her. 

It is very difficult to look your abuser in the eye after they have forced you to have sex, struck you, kept you confined or threatened to do you bodily harm and say, "I love you," and FEEL IT. 

My abuser would always "lament" the "good old days" before the violence, before the abuse saying he missed the times we used to cuddle, when we would hold hands, when we would laugh. 

Well, ALL that took place in the idealization phase of the relationship, BEFORE the mask came off. Before I saw the Beast inside. I would say, "It's REALLY difficult to want to cuddle with someone who just forced you to have sex... It is REALLY difficult to want to cuddle with someone who makes you feel like shit ALL THE TIME... It is REALLY difficult to want to cuddle with someone who does nothing but tear you down." 

And for whatever reason, that didn't compute with him. 

While I was trying so desperately to change him, he was busy raising the bar. His expectations of who I should be FOR HIM and FOR US reached unattainable heights. In the end, I realized NOTHING I would do would ever be enough. He would still lie, he would still cheat. NOTHING would change. Period.

No matter how deeply or intensely you love him/her it DOES NOT and WILL NOT be enough for him/her to change who they REALLY ARE. And therein lies the conundrum. 

To further complicate the issue -- Enter, Fear. I KNOW b/c I was once there myself. I understand the fear victims have of their abuser. I understand the hesitancy to even entertain the idea of leaving. It is utterly TERRIFYING to the point it can be nearly paralyzing. I get it. 

But if the relationship has deteriorated to the point that you no longer recognize yourself in the mirror, it is detrimental to your overall health, and you ARE in danger and it's time to seek help from the outside. 

There are people willing to help. I promise. And I would almost guarantee, your friends and family who have been on the outside looking in have only been waiting for the opportunity to lend a hand. All you need to do is ask. And there are also other organizations and resources available to help you reclaim your life away from your abuser -- and to help you do so in a safe manner. 

"We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize."
~~ Thich Nhat Hanh

What I want you to please take away from this, at this point in time, is that it IS possible to avoid these types of relationships. Now, if you are a fixer -- and you know who you are -- I don't know that I can be of much help. But if you are an empath, like myself, the goal is to familiarize yourself with the red flags of DV and narc abuse. Know them inside and out. Then, should you cross paths with an individual who fits the bill of a narc, you know to run like hell in the opposite direction before they even have a chance to hook and reel you in. 

Understand, no amount of hollow apologies, false promises or honeymoon phases will EVER change a narc. The responsibility falls on your shoulders to educate yourself and take whatever steps necessary to not put yourself in the same situation again. I will say it once more YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANOTHER PERSON. PERIOD. 

So take the energy you would exert in the futile effort of trying to change a tiger's stripes and reinvest that energy into YOURSELF. Rebuild yourself from the inside out. Happiness and contentment are already inside you --- truly. You will NEVER find genuine happiness in another person and certainly not in trying to "fix" a volatile relationship. 

You are worth WAY MORE and deserve so much better. Just find your footing. Then it's a matter of placing one foot in front of the other. You WILL stumble. I did. A LOT. Hell, I STILL stumble. But with support, you WILL find your way... It takes time. It won't be easy. But it WILL be worth it. I promise.

"There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth;
Not going all the way and not starting."
~~ Gautama Buddha

In Peace and Love,
Namaste <3