Thursday, March 9, 2017

Qs for ACONs J#2: Warnings and encouragements for other ACONs?

What warnings or encouragement do you have/would you give to other ACONs in similar situations?



  • It gets easier with time after going no contact. The anger you feel towards the abusive parent lessens, although it can rear up unexpectedly, even many years later.

    Forgiveness is important, but it is a process that might take a long time. Forgiveness doesn't mean you need to mend fences and allow your abuser to be a part of your life.

    There is hope and healing ahead. I reconciled with a sister (Anna) after not seeing or speaking to her for 25 years. Our fractured relationship was collateral damage because of our nm. We now have a wonderful, loving , healthy and stable relationship. Don't give up hope for family members you want to have a relationship with.

    ~Elsa



  • I think to follow your own instincts and not let the guilt and the gaslighting, wherever or whoever puts it out there make you doubt yourself. Times when I knew things were way off kilter, even though I didn't understand exactly why, I didn't listen to my inner compass. Things don't always come as promptings, but rather a recognition that the dysfunction you're dealing with is more destructive than it may seem from the outside. I kept trying with certain relationships with family narcs because I didn't want to believe they were so far into the behavior that they were a danger and a threat to everyone around them. They're fueled by hate and anger, a need to control people, and if they can't control them, then just destroy them any way they could find. I kept thinking if I loved them enough, or tried harder etc. etc. etc. somehow they would get to a healthy, loving place and things would be better. Fortunately for me, Heavenly Father gave me such a strong prompting that I needed to find the truth and get to the bottom of things, and I couldn't ignore it. I listened, searched, prayed, did my homework, followed through on things I was told, instead of just believing what I was told, and eventually found the whole depth of all the ugly, evil truth and finally went NC (no contact) with those I needed to for good. I now have great relationships with the emotionally healthy people in the family (Elsa  ). My big regret is that I didn't stick to my instincts, and follow through with the NC many years ago. A lot of heartbreak and damage would have been prevented. As Elsa said, once you stick to NC, and time goes on, things get so much better. I have a peace and happiness in my family relationships for several years now that I had never had for even one day in my whole life before that. ~Anna




  • Trust yourself and God, first. They want you to doubt yourself, your perception of reality, and everyone except for themselves. This is a large way they maintain control. Learn to be self aware so that when they attack and accuse, you can weigh it for accuracy and dump the lies. Know that you have a whole life ahead of you as soon as you are free to leave. That hope kept me going. When it gets confusing, disengage and focus on what is clear. Don't be surprised if no one else in the family will listen or believe you. Narcissists build a complex web of distortions to support their needs so being born into the middle of one means it's already established how they want it. Look instead for connections that prove the narc patterns wrong. The narcs will try to undermine them because that threatens them, but that is simply more proof of what they are. The more you understand narc patterns and dynamics, the easier it will be to brush off their abuses as their own flaws rather than the flaws they declare are your own. If the abuse is bad enough you have found your way to researching it, there is likely nothing you can do that will correct the intrinsic decay. You can do everything you possibly can and it will never be enough. Instead of blaming yourself for failing as they do, accept it isn't your fault and let go knowing you've done enough. Beware other abusers who tend to recognize abuse victims as vulnerable. Take your time to heal before jumping into a relationship. Know that your successes count and you are far more capable than they will ever acknowledge. Know that perfection is not necessary for satisfaction and sufficient effort. Good enough is a great place to start and as long as you are trying, you are already there. Explore you interests. Try new things. Allow yourself to experience life. Watch the life and community around you to see options you never knew existed, particularly when considering employment and career possibilities. Now go make your life the life you've dreamed of having. ~ Aspen

Monday, February 20, 2017

Qs for ACONs J#1: How has narcissism affected you?


  • Affected what type of man I was attracted to. Not good until I learned. ~ Lone Star

  • I have very little self esteem. I feel like I don't matter, my needs don't matter, my contributions don't matter. I'd like to be invisible. When people say kind things, no matter how sincere or well deserved, I cannot accept these compliments. They roll off of me, like water off a duck. For example, on Sunday a member of the Stake presidency told me how outstanding my son is. He truly is, but I said "thank you, but I can't take credit. He had good seminary teachers and YM leaders." Pres. H insisted that I did deserve much of the credit, but that's very, very tough for me to acknowledge.~Elsa. (Since Let it Go is my life's anthem.)

  • My issues are very similar to Elsa, and we grew up with the same NM and NS, but I actually did feel invisible growing up. I was the oldest, but much older, and always felt like I was watching a program I wasn't actually part of. Some of it was too painful to watch, and the rest of it just left me feeling like I wanted my life to be somewhere else. I've also also always lived with a never fixable sense of loss. Elsa coming back in my life has done a great deal to help heal that feeling of loss. ~ Anna

  • I always feel like I am invisible to people and like I won't be remembered. I feel confused like I am lost in space when I am around that type of personality. I felt like my thoughts were being read by my N.M. and I had no privacy around her. I felt like a prisoner since I was at least 8 yrs of age crying grateful that I only had 10 more years before I could leave home which I did do at 18. ~ Angel Wings

  • Narcissism attacks their victims' perception of self and their place in the world. In a religious context, it also undermines our ability to have a healthy relationship with God. This happens on multiple fronts. If you are always being told not to bother people, praying means you are bothering God. When even your basic needs as a child are resentfully and minimally fulfilled, it becomes very hard to feel like you can ask for/pray for anything beyond what you absolutely have to have to survive. When the narc uses (abuses) their claim to authority (D&C 121:34-40), those behavior patterns are then anticipated in other authority figures and those in similar positions as the abuser. That is part of the PTSD that commonly occurs in child abuse. In my case, my sense of God often distorts from the gentle, patient, kind being to an all-powerful version of the dominant narc in my life. And that is a terrifying concept. I've been working on changing that pattern by choosing to believe myself instead of what the programming declares, but it takes work. That is actually integral to overcoming the abuse on all fronts. Part of narc abuse is something called gas-lighting, which means they actively work to undermine the victim's sense of reality. The more they can train us to doubt ourselves, the more control they have. Overall, it has meant I have had minimal support throughout life and now no contact with any family since they have either adopted narcissism themselves, are enablers, or want to hide from the fact that the family dynamics are rotten to the core. ~ Aspen

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Narcissist and the Empath

These are the thoughts of a fellow support group member with some minor editing and formatting to help keep track of which is being addressed in the given paragraph. Used with permission, but they requested to remain anonymous.

It starts with this:

Need to get my thoughts in a row about what I've learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), so they're not just going in circles around my head with the potential to get lost and confused in it all. Doing that here. 
This is just some of what I have come to learn so far. I am hoping it can be of help to others. It also helps me to get it down and I might as well do that on a platform others can benefit from and offer input to, rather than a personal journal, where there is no interaction. I am open to learning more and also aware that my self expression can be confused at times from my intent.

Thoughts begin here:

People with NPD get angry when they are called out for what they are. They do not have a sense of personal identity, only superiority. When this superiority is challenged, they become defensive. They will latch onto people with identities of status they approve of, to boost themselves.

Empaths [highly sensitive, empathetic people] get angry when they get labelled for what they are not.
They have a strong sense of self and try to express this. When they're called something they're not, they question themselves and how they can better express who they are.

But the person with NPD understands the initial response of anger as indication that's exactly what we are [also NPD], because that is what they experience. They think we are manipulative like them.


People with NPD do not experience complexity of emotion. Their minds are challenged developmentally. They continue to behave as a child throughout adulthood. Emotion for them is on a base level and is used as manipulation to get what they need.

A healthy mind grows out of this narcissistic stage and gains a level of independence, without relying on others to meet their needs, so they can grow.

In reality, people with narccasitic traits are far more complex and can be very interesting to unravel and study or even find humour in. But directly try to do this to someone with NPD, they will take it as an attack on all they've built to survive. But the surface level of all they express is very simple and even predictable. They expect others to be like that too, because they don't empathise. They get very angry when people with more developed minds don't act in the way the expect. Their need to need to control others and be seen as superior makes them masters of manipulation. They will draw others down, so they have control again and feel safe. Their ego is their fragile defense mechanism.

The empath's brain has developed to a greater potential. The mind has expanded to think and feel to infinite extents. We can imagine new ideas and choose to make an imprint of positivity on the world and learn to dismiss the judgement that inhibits us. We are capable of empathy. By feeling others' pain, we can alleviate suffering. We nurture and protect, knowing that it is better to do things for the good of the tribe and our environment, than become a soul-predator, destructive to everything in our path.

We can see someone vulnerable, learn what they need, and help them, rather than take advantage or impose ourselves in ways that only cause further distress. We can learn and make personal sacrifice to alleviate suffering of others. We can do things for ourselves, without harming others. We know that everyone is different and can celebrate that, rather than putting them into boxes and dragging them down to raise ourselves up (preventing progress as a society, rather than being the change).

A sensitive child in the care of a parent with NPD is dangerous. Automatically, from birth, the narcissistic parent (NP) sees their child as inferior. We are meant to improve their status, not diminish it. They get angry at anything we do that reflects badly on them. The goal for them is to harden our hearts and limit our minds. They'll try and turn us into something that is useful to them, rather than supporting us to flourish as individuals. They take advantage of a child's natural born instinct to unconditionally love whoever is presented before them and then bleed this dry.

Someone with NPD is not socially inept. Far from it. They take the world at surface value and mold themselves to fit among it. They know the difference between right and wrong. These rules simply do not apply to them and their superiority complex. So when they abuse us, they see themselves as justified. It is all to their own means [purposes/gain]. They enjoy breaking us and then showing a false persona to the rest of the world.

Healthy people who have not experienced this kind of abuse will believe the false persona, over the truth of our experience. They too often will not believe that anyone could act that way. Especially a parent, who in society is known to be a self-sacrificing, caring individual. NP will use this to their advantage and feed it into their manipulation, isolating their victim, while inflating their need for power and status.

People with NPD don't care about others over themselves, or feel others' pain. Why anyone would choose to feel another person's pain is backward to them, as it serves them no purpose. Nor do they understand why anyone would openly show vulnerability. They see it as a weakness, rather than a strength. Therefore, to them, the empath is inferior. They refuse to be associated with with anyone inferior and a threat to their status. They will try and stamp out the qualities they don't like about their sensitive children, using their own fear and shame to do this.

They tell us not be sensitive. They can try to make us an equal to them. They can respect an equal and self serving actions. They also thrive on competition. If we try to assert ourselves as individuals, they are jealous of our authenticity. They may like what we have and try to destroy it or claim it for themselves. They will create conflict of which the goal for them is winning, being right, and creating drama, so attention is diverted to them. Feeding off us in any way they can.

They don't accept defeat. That would require letting go of their superiority complex and putting them in the last position they want to be in and goes against everything they believe essential to survival. The concept of letting go of the idea of winning and instead meeting a mutual understanding is alien to them and serves them no purpose, so they don't care. They don't understand supporting another being, without getting anything in return.

We can try and change someone with NPD. But it is to no avail, when the person with NPD does not see why they should change. The person with NPD may even try to change, out of desperate need to reclaim Nsupply. If you tell them you want them to listen you etc and they fear abandonment otherwise, they will do this. But it quickly becomes draining on them. They are getting a taste of what they have done to their children their whole lives and don't like it. They very quickly revert to their old ways. To them, they have done enough to serve their need and now they can continue to use you to their means, which they never really gave up in the first place. As everything they do is, its all a ploy.

The closest that people with NPD can have to healthy relationships is with people they see as equal. This involves them stroking their egos, deeming them worthy enough to be stroked back. This is their idea of love. The equal will engage in conflict, but let the person with NPD win. The equal provides a level of status and makes them look good in front of others. The equal will defend and enable the person with NPD's behavior and provide a network of protection. It is always a dependent relationship. There is always something they can offer the equal, in return for having their superiority catered to and accepted. Engaging in such a relationship means sacrificing a lot on your own part, to receive little sacrifice in return.

The person with NPD rejects anyone that might expose them. Turns them into the enemy and gets others to back them up. They only make themselves stronger, when met with threat, so it is tremendously difficult to expose them for their flaws. They are quick to point them out in other people, but their sense of superiority prevents them from choosing to acknowledge flaws in themselves.

They don't accept they have a disorder unless they think they can somehow use that to their advantage.They know that narcissism is frowned upon and deemed socially unacceptable and demonized, so for many of them, outing themselves would be social suicide and must be avoided at all costs.

Because of the nature of the disorder, they very rarely get help and even if they do, they find a way to sabotage that, in favor of denying their flaws. Accepting flaws rings danger bells to them and they are quick to back away from that and then cover their tracks.

They try to enforce society's rules on us too, so we're compliant and can't use the system to our advantage, rather than exposing corruption and challenging it for the harm it causes. That would be the same as exposing traits [flaws] and challenging them in oneself. They see anarchy as a threat and something to be done privately for the benefit of themselves, never others.

They don't do anything for others, unless they can see how it will help themselves. They need to feel like they're going to be backed up with a safety net and supported and will never put all they've built for themselves at risk. Anyone who does so is crazy in their mind.

When their children act out, they thrive on the drama. Completely compliant children don't create enough of this for them, so they try to create it. Negative Nsupply can make them feel much better and more powerful than positive Nsupply. They think acting out is for attention and play into that, as long as they have control. They can offer Nsupply when they receive it in return. When they think we're escaping their control, they will even 'love-bomb', which is extensive ego-stroking, but not actual unconditional love, which they are incapable of, because that requires empathy and openness of vulnerability.

Their 'parenting' has two main possible outcomes, abused sensitive children with PTSD, or children who also develop NPD, both are destructive. Children learn from example and even empathetic people can carry *Nfleas. But the empath understands how these can hurt others and see this is wrong and learn to get rid of such traits. The children with NPD don't learn this and carry on the same harmful cycles. We're all a bit narcissistic and that's normal and okay, but when it's to a degree that causes harm to others, that is not okay.

We're all capable of learning to be positive people and that is part of what life's journey is about and we surely must make mistakes to develop as a person. Its not learning from those mistakes that is damaging. The superiority complex of narcissism makes it so negatively acting people see no point in changing their ways. It is possible for people with narcissistic traits to behave positively, but they have to get Nsupply from it in return and see an outcome that is useful to them, or else it is wasted energy. If the outcome is simply to help others and express kindness, that is very unappealing and just draining to them, They will find a way to sabotage it, so attention can be diverted to them. They have no concern how their self-serving need is draining and harmful to others, as long their need is met.

*
 Narcasistic flea. (Frightening Leftovers of Emotional Abuse) We can develop narcissistic traits from being in proximity with people with NPD. It doesn't mean we also have NPD, especially because we can hold ourselves accountable for our actions and change. The fleas often drop off after we no longer have contact with our abusers, as they can no longer feed and we learn to behave positively.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Afterword

Afterword
Friday, May 04, 2012
1:04 PM

I woke, this morning thinking of a boy I knew during high school. With youth group activities, we were sometimes near enough to interact and there were a few times when I was a less than well-behaved. Looking back, I remember feeling a vague sense that I was not being nice, maybe even a bully, but it was too vague a sense to truly grasp. What I did feel was that I finally had a turn to be in control, that I wasn't the one being emotionally and psychologically battered. That I wasn't weak.

What I was doing was treating him as I was always treated at home and the chance to get out of my own hated weakness somehow lent itself to me reversing the role onto someone else who was, in truth, innocent. I would guess that is why it is so common for abuse victims to turn around and become abusers themselves. I can't say how many times I've looked back, mainly on one particular evening, with great regret and remorse. The truth was, I always respected this boy and while he was always a bit aloof when I was around, he was also still always respectful, even after I had hit him with every 'boys are stupid' and such-like that I'd had available. It is even more ironic for me to remember that he was, as I saw it, also a popular boy and far from the type one might normally imagine as a bully target.

The truth is, it had nothing to do with him. I didn't understand what I was doing then, but over the years as I have looked back on these memories, I know that I was simply desperate to not feel so powerless myself and he happened to be there. I think also, it might have been so easy because he was a good kid and since I always was trying so hard to be good and still had everything turned against me, his goodness made it easier for me to funnel it all off of myself. At least, that's what it felt like at the time.


The second time such an opportunity came around, I was not as nice as would be hoped, but I was very vocal about making sure we weren't paired up again in the etiquette dinner. I believe that was a combination of me fighting the urge, poorly, to behave as I had the year before, and subconsciously trying to protect him from that urge to be horrible to him again. He may never know the truth of those years, but I have learned from it, and I believe the experience may find value in the understanding of others. For I believe that understanding brings far greater power than simple knowledge. With understanding, we are given the perspective needed to act with wisdom. 


5/21/16

Just FYI, but aside from learning to break the cruel sarcasms pattern from home (which the Spirit pointed out to me in 7th grade and I worked hard to eliminate in myself from that point on), this experience was really the only time this behavior came out. Mostly, my nature has been to observe and engage when applicable.

If the siblings find their way to this blog, I'm sure they would claim otherwise, but the misnomer of 'bossy' because I was expected to ensure all chores were completed and everything in the house was perfect is not the same. Especially when a single request/reminder was reported to the parents as out of line so that I'd get in trouble and they wouldn't have to do anything. Oh, but the chore was still required, which now, conveniently, was my problem. As I said - not the same thing at all.

On another note, this concludes what I have long called my 'Poem Journal', which covers the more critical years of my efforts to break away from an abusive home and the thoughts and emotions that would build and spill out in poem form because they had nowhere else to go. I imagine I will find other related topics to post about in the future, so this is not farewell. I may post older, related poems (I've one in particular in mind if I can track it down) or ones written since. I may re-post some from my main blog, Of Good Report. I have a whole section there about dealing with abuse. Whatever and whenever, this topic is near and dear to me and I will continue to speak about it so that maybe others will learn to speak up as well.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

36: Lazarus Heart?

26 Now, as I said concerning faith -- that it was not a perfect knowledge -- even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.

27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.


Lazarus Heart?

1/15/09

My heart lies cold - its life spent out
On hope for home and kin
So freely seen in neighbor lives,
So many gathered in.

Long coveted I what is not so
In Promise' timeless face
Till empty strength and empty time
Forfeit this solo race.

Now body shall live though heart has died,
Though no-one sees to mourn
'Less Lazarus heart the Lord shall raise -
Should thus His will be borne.


Even when you have no strength left and have to let go, you can remember that the Lord can raise anything from death - be it hope, love, life, peace, safety, understanding.

We are taught that if we can only desire to believe, that it is enough for the Lord to work with. So too, I believe, can He work with what we see as our failures in life - strength, family, work, health. He can make them all find life again. So even when we lose hope, we can remember Lazarus and hope again.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

35: How? When

8 For my thoughts are not your thought,
neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.


How? When

6/15/08

To face a fear so long a threat
To not fear the hurt they gave
To break the chains of fear they hold
To breathe free, feel calm, stay safe.

I wish I knew how not to fear
To believe no harm can be done
That the monsters of my past are dead
To believe that threat is gone.

Somehow he must become a face
Not one I've known for years
Somehow the threat must empty out
Somehow lay rest these fears.

They say he cannot hurt me
Though still he yet may try
They say I must just forward face
And leave these fears to die?

How?

But perhaps 'how?' is the wrong question - Better still is 'When'.
<Ralph Marston>


When

             the fears that hold you back
When your reasons to move forward outweigh your excuses for staying put, you will move forward.
When you are ready, life is here to fully live.
Choose it, and now is when.

Ralph Marston


The truth is not worrying so much about the how. The Lord will provide what is needed if we stay in tune with Him. He will also manage the speed. More often than not, in my efforts with the ultimate Counselor (see Isaiah 9:6) He has said 'not yet' more than He has said 'time to move on'. Whatever the timing is, when you are ready, the way will be there.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

34: Nothing Left

28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
29 Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.


...whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.


Nothing Left

4/15/08

'How much longer?' the question echoes,
And, 'Can I make it?' is close behind.
They say I have to care.
Yet I have nothing left to give.
And so I mourn
Because I fail.
But at least I gave my all.
And so I can rest as down I fall
And hope in the arms that will catch me.


Someone I know once told me of a dream she tends to have when faced with an obstacle requiring faith. It is as follows.

She is walking on a path towards a great cliff, the top of which she knows is heaven. The path is easy at first with pretty flowers along the way. As it goes it gets a bit steeper and more difficult but it is still quite manageable. Then it becomes more of rock climbing and requires all her concentration. It takes great effort but she is doing it. Her strength begins to fail and she begins to fear. Looking below, the rocks look like jagged teeth and she knows it will be her doom if she falls and the thought of having to try climbing again after is more than she can handle. She begins to pray and can hear the Father and the Son above telling her to let go. Of course she cannot let go so she keeps trying, climbing till the surface provides no more hand-holds and her fingers have been bloodied to the bone. Still above, they encourage her to let go. She dares not, but soon her fingers have worn down so much they break and she falls. She mourns as she sees heaven get further and further away. Shortly before she hits the bottom, the Savior catches her and carries her to the top. On the way he asks her, "Did you really think I would let you fall?"

The scriptures tell us that 'we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all that we can do.' We can't save ourselves. We must be on the right path and continuing forward as well as we can manage, but despite what my dad always tried to convince me, we can't and aren't expected to be able to do it all ourselves. Having obstacles that require more than we personally can manage are opportunities to turn to the Lord and trust in Him. Trust that He will make it right. Trust that He has provided the way to recompense the hurts against you, that He will guide you in a way that will make even more good come from the bad than you could imagine. Let His atonement give you strength and courage and peace. He suffered for everything. Your sins and others'. The illnesses and deaths. The heartaches and hurts and distresses of everyone. He knows. He cares. And He is there waiting for all of us to let Him into our lives so that He can help make it right even when the actions of others stand ready to tear us down. Trust His guidance and when this mortal probation is over you will find more than you ever imagined possible.