Die Trying: Say No to Learned Helplessness

My parents didn’t teach or model these behaviors to me, but I was able to go on and teach my own kids self-trust, self-love, and self-acceptance because I learned how to do them for myself.

This meme is written to encourage parents to teach and model these behaviors to their children and that’s great. We need parents to parent the kids they choose have. But, for adults who weren’t taught these things from their own parents, this can sound as if they aren’t able to source these things for themselves. And sadly, if they have kids at home they may just think, “I wasn’t taught this, so I can’t teach it.”

Yes you can. By remembering what you wanted and needed as a child.

Don’t let memes like this keep you in learned helplessness and excuses. Therapy, reading, writing, thinking, and feeling are your friends for life for all things healing and working to find yourself under the rubble of a fractured life. Everything we need to surpass our own raising is right there within us. It’s a choice.

I was a young mom and learned to parent myself while parenting my son. I read parenting books as we grew up together to find out what we both needed. And I still made mistakes.

I allowed my son to stay home from school too many days in a row for mental health days because I wanted to cuddle him and missed him while I worked. I also spanked him, yelled like a lunatic, and cried. A lot. I spoiled, gave in, held firm, led by example, failed and fell on the floor in a heap of exhausted flesh. I laughed and played, lectured and raved and showed up completely imperfectly, 150%.

So, decades later, when my relationship with my adult son fell apart, I was confused and devastated. My therapist said that mothering him was where I found my own secure attachment, and I was lost without it.

I’m mothering just myself these days. Unlearning what needs to go, owning what I did I right, admitting my wrongs, and relearning a new way of being in an ever-changing world. It’s a big job again. Most days I’m confused and exhausted, because the world is the biggest narcissist of all. The closer to kicking a goalie you get, the more they move the posts. But, I’m still here: trying my best.

What I’ve learned by writing memoir is that what we do today in the parenting department will be considered wrong two generations later by parenting experts and sometimes even our children. And regardless of the advice we follow, or don’t, sometimes relationships get strained and we need to take a break once children become adults. But, none if this is an out for not doing the job today. Right now. Right in front of you.

So, do your best and be ready to throw yourself under the bus about your own parenting mistakes because I can assure you, you’re making some doozies. You’ll read about mine in my second memoir.

You’re also doing a remarkable job. I commend you for showing up for your kids when no one showed up for you.

Perfection doesn’t exist. Just doing the best we can, showing up, connecting and thinking; “What did I need at this age?” is just about the best anyone can expect.

Growing up is a hard job — and if we’re doing it right, we do it all our lives. Be engaged enough and aware that all of life is for learning about ourselves and caring for others. Don’t give away too much of your power on the healing path. Try not to be too serious, but seriously show up.

We can go on to learn to trust, love and accept ourselves as we are, through parenting our own children— without permission, teaching and modeling of these behaviors from our own.

When we use our awareness of life as a teaching tool, our feelings to guide us, and our brains to think for more than just this moment, we’ll have given our whole hearts to our roles as parents.

I wrote this little poem today in my morning pages:

Life is about patterns

Until it’s not

And what breaks patterns

Is thought

Remembering then

Showing up now

Living in the middle

is the only how.

Say no to #learnedhelplessness #dietrying

Learn to Discern What You’re Listening to about Narcissistic Abuse on YouTube.

I wish videos on narcissistic abuse didn’t go straight to NPD when discussing narcissism. Because there are healthy levels of narcissism with a little “n” that we all have in order to forge ahead and make our own paths in life. Healthy narcissism is how we get our needs met. It’s how we get out of bed and try again. It’s how we rise above. It’s how we speak up and out against injustices and stand up to be counted. It’s how we are able to put ourselves in others shoes and put our own needs on hold for another.

This kind of narcissism is full of compassion for others, takes ownership of self, takes responsibility for one’s own actions, self-partners, fulfills self from within, is authentic and genuine, isn’t afraid to look imperfect, and has empathy for self and others.

As someone who has two narcissistic parents, and is married to a man with a narcissistic mother, narcissism that comes in the form of capital “N” Narcissism, as in the personality disorder NPD—we can tell you it is completely unhealthy and void of anything that resembles empathy. They present with an inability to ever be wrong about anything, can never have faults, be responsible for their actions, don’t take ownership of self, don’t even try to understand others feelings, can’t ever look imperfect, can’t show any vulnerability whatsoever, apologize, or have remorse and empathy for others.

The video I watched today went on to talk about how “sad” it is for victims. And while it is, I also wish videos that discussed NPD didn’t pigeonhole victims of it as somehow doomed to never prosper or succeed in life. Nothing could be further from the truth! I’ve been living this life, all my life — and I’ve never thought for a second I was sad or doomed.

Telling people this or even hinting to it, is just another type of conditioning and grooming going on in the narcissistic “expert” community that wants to educate people about it, yet have us heavily relying on their products, classes, books and more to heal from it.

It’s like dumbing us down while building us up to need them. It feels opportunistic and it feels wrong to me. I don’t begrudge anyone from making a living, but I do take offense to showing pity and pandering to a group of people looking for healing, while simultaneously keeping them stuck and sick and reliant upon their content to heal by using degrading words that push people back into the pigeonholes they are trying to escape.

Don’t believe anything that pushes you back in life! And don’t listen to people who use negative language to describe your life. Only grow forward and make your own path in life with your small “n” narcissism in tow.

We are not victims, nor are we sad. We are victorious and more powerful than they want us to believe.

#nowyouknow #notsad #notavictim #justsayin

Before you Label Someone Toxic… Check in With Your Heart.

purple liquid poison on brown wooden surface
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I read an article by Dr. Perry of MakeItUltra Psychology about How to Have Boundaries with a Toxic Person, and although I agree with his tips when it comes to healing from the trauma pathological narcissists leave in their wake, I don’t necessarily agree they should be incorporated immediately with anyone that we deem “negative,” which is basically anyone speaking out about the bad behaviors of others lately. Reading the comments under that post proved interesting.

One reader said, “I refuse to interact with negative people! As an empath, they literally make me sick!” — Ugh! People like this make me sick. And good luck living in your bubble.

Then, there was the person that said they “ignored them and went mute.” — Yeah. That’s called “gray rock” and is a survival tactic used by those healing from abuse when they have to interact with their abusers and ‘no contact’ is not an option for their healing. Used outside of this context, these people appear to be self-absorbed and rude, aka: as an asshole. Great look by the way.

And, my favorite comment — was the manager — who chimed in saying that the employees she managed were toxic because they complained to her, therefore, drawing her into the negativity and draining her. — Uh, that’s called your job, so people are going to naturally come to you with problems, you know… because you’re the manager… yikes, really?

I just finished listening to Dr. Christiane Northrup’s new book on Audible, called Dodging Energy Vampires, and although I know energy drainers are copious; I’ve dealt with my fair share of them, and we do indeed have to check them at the door after a while — I see an emerging trend happening where people are becoming far too superior to anyone in need of talking things through. And the trend I see is it’s typically the abusers who’ve done the wrong, and then want to prohibit the victim from talking about it thereby calling them “toxic” when the conversation points to them taking accountability for their actions. They are flipping the script and calling this “having boundaries.” —No, you’re a bully that abuses and then gaslights your victim. Let’s not get it twisted. —

Boundaries are for victims to protect themselves from more harm. Not for abusers to be able to abuse more. 

There are two people in a relationship: When one person in that relationship is no longer allowed to have a reaction to shitty behavior, and nothing you do, say, think or feel, after being abused is allowed— in the name of the other person “having boundaries” — you are in fact dealing with a narcissistic bully. When that person tells you whatever the hell it is they want to tell you, no matter how hurtful, and then pulls the, “you’re negative,” “it’s not about you,” or “it’s not personal” card, when you want to talk about it, what they are really saying is that they want free reign to abuse you, yet fog their intentions by calling them boundaries.

The subtitle of Dodging Energy Vampires is, “Evading Relationships that Drain You and Restoring Your Health and Power.” Evading relationships? O.k? But at what point? Apparently, “the second one deems someone is negative,” is the answer. If my son calls and asks me how I’m doing, and I say I have a headache — according to him and his millennial generation, that is negative and now — I’m always sick. So, that has become a reason for not coming home for eight Christmases. Li.ter.al. The message is: I have to be fun, and easy to be with at every second, never mention anything about myself, and when he asks me anything, lie. No thanks. Don’t come home then.

And, really… what relationship doesn’t drain us after a while? Solution: I’ll just evade you. Nice. Restoring our health and power is not about being armored up sitting high upon a throne in our untouchable superiority. Evading and shutting people down is a rigid, angry behavior and is abuse in an of itself when done to someone you’ve just abused. This behavior of cutting people off at the knees and evading others in pain is what Jeff Brown calls trauma-bypassing and is a learned patriarchal behavior.

This is only some of what Jeff Brown author of Grounded Spirituality writes about trauma bypassing:

“Be Here Now”! We can’t. We have too much trauma in the way. “The Power of Now”! Sounds good, but first, we have to deal with the “Power of Then.” Worst things, first. It’s easy enough to talk about being in the “now.” But what we are we even talking about? Now through the mind? Through the heart? Through the body? What does it even mean to be fully present? Most of the people teaching nowness are head-tripping, meditation addicted spiritual bypassers. What do they really know about presence? The truth is that we are all trauma survivors, and that includes every spiritual teacher I have ever known. Almost every one of them has confused self-avoidance with enlightenment, blaming the mind for all that ails them while conveniently sidestepping their wounded hearts. Bottom line- we can’t be in the present, because our emotional and physical body are tied up in trauma knots. Some, many, perhaps all threads of our consciousness are still back there, locked into the originating wounds. If we want to truly BE HERE NOW, we have to be there, then. We have to untie the knots and heal the core wounds. Then, and only “then”, will we know the true power of NOW.” — Jeff Brown

I’m all for boundaries against toxic people, but before labeling someone toxic, don’t forget people are human and looking for connection. Part of being a friend is listening and holding space for people. We’ve forgotten this. Giving people the benefit of the doubt first, with some compassion and empathy may work wonders on someone feeling heard. If someone is toxic, maybe we haven’t heard them out? If that’s your take on someone immediately, maybe you’re projecting? We live in a very literal society anymore. It would be nice if people had some sort of tolerance level before cutting people off, lest they become the toxic person themselves.

I’m not saying that we must become a welcome mat for people to wipe their feet on, or that we should tolerate people chewing our ears while we should be working, or that we need to be tolerating bad behavior year after year and calling that a relationship… let’s not be so literal and disclaimer-y to the nth degree, k? But, let’s use some common sense. We pretty much know in our heart of hearts the difference between someone venting, and someone toxic, am I right? When someone wants to mend a relationship by talking about the past so it doesn’t repeat itself, and that of someone smearing shit everywhere toxic. I certainly understand the difference. Venting is a once in a while thing, and toxic is all the time. Discussion about pain is altogether different and should be a back and forth, honest dialogue between two people who reciprocate listening, asking questions, while having respect for one another. 

Life is hard. Be kind. Come back later and let someone know you care before you decide someone should be written off as “toxic.” Think of that word, “toxic.” It means waste, very bad, unpleasant, harmful. Not something I’m willing to do on a whim. And, I’m not saying that we have to keep taking it and taking it to prove our love to people either. This is a balance thing. You can be soft and kind and still have boundaries like a mofo.

Thankfully, when I was dying on the vine, I was able to put myself into counseling when I didn’t have a shoulder to lean on or an ear to talk to about my pain. It made all the difference in the world to help me stay another day. Think! Some people may not have that resource. And why are they trusting YOU with their story!?

We want world peace, but we don’t want to talk. We want to break generational curses and patterns but we want to evade doing the work. That’s not how any of this even works.

Be an ear. A shoulder. Have a heart. Have boundaries, but don’t forget your own humanness for toxicity. Don’t be so quick to write people off. Take breaks, but go visit your heart and check in with what you really know. It knows the truth. Anything else is toxic.

Healing… healing… we’re gonna heal.

This is what healing looks like.

This is me not talking about what the narcissist did or said to me.

On my walk yesterday I stopped to swing after a wonderful hour long massage and a great night’s sleep.

Healing from this doesn’t come from posting memes all over your FB page about it. And it’s not in narcissistic abuse groups where people are in different stages of processing.

You’ll find true healing in your therapist’s office. In actively pursuing reputable sources of information regarding narcissism and nowhere else.

You’ll find it when you get outside in nature and outside of yourself.

Of course, I had to slide down the slide too. Lol!

I deserve to live my one and only life and so do you.

Be happy. Life is too short to spend it crying over those who didn’t deserve us.

You are loved,

Robin

You can purchase my memoir Steel Town Girl on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

My First Interview about Steel Town Girl and a Shout Out from my Editor!

Today, I had my very first interview about Steel Town Girl, with Rod Ice from Words on The Loose located in Geauga County, Ohio.

Rod worked for the GCML for 16 years and was also an editor for Gazette Newspapers in Jefferson.

He has a new column called Words On The Loose which has run for a couple of years, it is on FB and the net where he is promoting his books.

Thank you Rod for your interest in my book, my writing and self-publishing process, and for the opportunity to interview.

His books can be viewed and are for available for sale: Here!

You can follow Rod at:

Words On the Loose

Also, I got a shout out on Twitter today from my editor:

I am so lucky to have found this woman, you have no idea! To say she deserves a blog post of her own is an understatement. She is quite impressive! But, in a nutshell she is a freelance writer and editor and has 31 books of her own.

Yowsa!

You can find Lauren (you’re probably pronouncing her name incorrectly) Baratz-Logsted here with her full bio and available books for sale.

I love you Lauren whatever the hell your name is! 😘

Thank again Rod and Lauren!

Forever Grateful for you both,

~Robin

You can check out my new book Steel Town Girl on Amazon and Kindle

And, today I received my author copies.

If you need me, I’ll be signing books and running to the post office!