If you don’t know what to do, because you don’t know what you did wrong…
and you’re always tired and confused…
and going crazy with the mental anguish of wondering what more you could do to fix the situation…
and you feel that there is nothing more you could have changed about yourself to be accepted and loved…
and the grief of this is consuming you…
you’re either currently being narcissistically abused, gaslit, and manipulated…
or you’re just waking up to the fact that you are or have been.
Please know this:
You don’t know what you did wrong because you did nothing wrong. You can’t fix things because you didn’t break them. And you won’t ever change yourself enough to be accepted and loved by those who can’t accept and love themselves.
The grief will consume you if you continue to approach this situation with logical thinking and continue to deny patterns. Narcissists and those with any Cluster B personality disorder are the most illogical, irrational people you will ever have to deal with and their patterns repeat again and again and again…
The mental anguish you’re feeling is understandable. You’ve been through a hell that no one understands unless they’ve been through it. But no amount of making excuses for them, allowing yourself to be taken in by the love-bombing and future-faking will ever make them change. You will never get an apology. And you will never get changed behavior.
When we are being abused in any way, all we can do is: 1) accept it, or 2) make plans to stop the situation by leaving and, 3) put up boundaries and going No Contact.
Think back to all the times you’ve been called, “difficult,” “overly-sensitive,” “dramatic,” or “bitch.”🖕🏻
O.k. Who were those people? Write them down. What was happening between you two? Defending yourself? Someone else? Going toe to toe with a bully? Rising above the bullshit? Write that down. 🤩🥳😎
Do that a couple of hundred times in life and you have a lot of enemies. — Good for you. That means you’re not a doormat for others to wipe their feet on.🦶🦶Love yourself enough to be odd woman/man out. 💗💗💗🥰🥰
Now, who’s dismissed and invalidated your feelings, shushed you, implied you were “crazy,” and “too much.” What were you trying to express to them? Write that down. 😤 Use your anger for fuel.
Dismissed and invalidated a couple of hundred times in life and you have anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and physical pain — also known as C/PTSD from the psychological mind-fuck that is narcissistic abuse. 🤯 Undo the damage they’ve caused and write your truth. ✍️
Who’s ignored the core of who you are, mocked you, threatened your attempts at telling them what hurt and punished you for your “no?” Write that down. 😡🤬
Write all these stories out and you have a memoir. These stories are your gold. Your power. And they are more for your learning about yourself than they are for outing others. 💪🏻💥🎖
What are the patterns that keep playing out in your life? What’s your childhood conditioning? What role do you play in perpetuating these patterns? What could you have done differently then? What needs to change now? Have you changed over time? If not, why not? 🧐
Those names you wrote down? Abusers. Both overt and covert.
And there is both a time to stand and fight 💥🥊 and a time to walk away. 🏃🏻♀️
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 source 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 do 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 when you 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:
I’m going through old photos while working on my second memoir and found this memory today.
This one is from a trip to Las Vegas in 2001 where I visited Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. I am a huge fan of Oprah, so when I ran into her that day, of course I let her interview me for my upcoming best-selling book. Lol! 😂
I was writing my memories out by hand back then for the book I wanted to write someday and was filing them away in my 3-ring binder.
I used to sit and watch The Oprah Show every chance I had at 4pm and still have the notes I took on the episode where she interviewed authors of memoir on how they approached their writing process.
This exercise of looking back at old photos is helpful for reconnecting to our old selves to see how far we’ve come, and to see how much further we have yet to go. It’s also helpful for abuse survivors who have endured decades of psychological abuse to help us reclaim who we’ve always been at our core, before toxic people projected who they are onto us.
This photo reminds me what I’ve known all along. I’ve lived authentically and genuinely from my heart. I’ve approached my big, convoluted, noisy, messy, busy life with a huge sense of humor, a love of life-long learning, the strength and dedication to keep my word to myself and follow through on my commitments, while showing up for my roles and responsibilities and continued to dream big!
And here I am. Still smiling and laughing. Still learning and growing. Still strong and doing. Still keeping my word. Still showing up. And still dreaming big!
I’m also still very realistic about what a long way I have yet to go, to get to where I dream of being. But, the most important thing about this is I kept my word to MYSELF to write that first book! How is that for learning self-trust, self-love and self-acceptance on your own?
Don’t allow the community that teaches about narcissistic abuse tell that you don’t know how to teach yourself or can’t. If what you see is good and you’re happy with that, keep doing that. If it’s not, have the guts to change it.
And, don’t let narcissistic family project onto YOU who they think you are, or should be, in order to make them comfortable and to keep you in learned helplessness. Be defiant! Be a force to be reckoned with! They’ll get over it. Or they won’t. It’s their choice to make.
We can learn everything there is about toxic people of every kind and know something about every kind of personality disorder — and still get duped.
We can prepare in every way possible to never allow ourselves to be used, abused, or manipulated again, but that’s not real life. When we’re keeping our hearts open, living our lives and not isolating ourselves for protection behind impenetrable walls, those things can and will happen.
Believing that everyone who hurts us is purposefully toxic or disordered, and that healing from them is a one and done, is both naive and harmful. Harmful to us to think we should never be duped again if we just learn these simple rules. And harmful to others for pigeonholing everyone as “toxic” or “narcissistic” who may hurt us.
The world has gone crazy with all this narcissistic 101 crap. Everything I see is about it is from one extreme to the other: all good, or all bad; with no in between. That’s called borderline personality disorder. So, whatever you do, learn to see shades of gray.
I’ve tried all my life to walk the midline of life and have still hurt others inadvertently, or been harmed by others. I’m not going to stop living my life and trying again with new people. Making everyone we meet pay for the sins of another is not growth. It’s just another form of superiority.
Yes, we need to learn our boundaries, yes, we need to learn the signs of toxicity in others — and then— we need to liberally apply some common sense to the whole situation and realize that each time we engage with others there is a possibility that we could get hurt. Anything other than staying open is not living.