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.
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.
I got to chat face to face with a new friend this morning about my book. (She’s a voracious, fast reader, and former freelance writer and editor that hates prologues.) -Oops! Lol!
I’m glad I didn’t know any of that when I showed up on her doorstep today…
I rang her doorbell and when she saw me, she squealed, “I’m with you in the runaway shelter right now where the girl steals your money! Oh my god, how much more could you take!? I’m only 87% through! I’m going to finish this tonight!”
Tears floated down her face. She was damn angry. Fired up! Totally disgusted. Sad. In disbelief. Shocked.
“How could anyone treat their kids like that? How can someone allow abuse to break them like that and not be a parent?” We both agreed we just couldn’t wrap our minds around it.
She went right back to the book… She raised her voice in protest! “She was a smart woman! Do you think she knew? She had to know!”
I didn’t know…
She said how much she hated certain characters in the book. “And that Wayne! Ugh! What an asshole!”
She got quiet, happy in the tender parts. She told me I had stirred up emotions she buried deep within and we had “some things” in common.
She said, “I have a friend that wants to write her own memoir and she has vignettes written, but doesn’t know what to do with them.” —“I might be able to help her with that if she wants,” I said.
Then, we went right back to talking about the scenes of my life and just how much they moved her.
“I have a new Sharpie. I want you to sign my book! Keep it… to sign all your other books,” she said.
My husband sat watching. Listening.
Later, he said it was like watching a movie where someone was meeting a new author and now they were armed with excitement and questions and were passionate to discuss the deeper meaning. He felt proud of me. Excited.
I sat there discussing my life from the perspective of a third party observer. And just like that… I realized that while I was in my body, I was finally out of my story. The lost childhood I filed away in a notebook, finally meant something to someone other than me. Fully processed, and now helping others.
I sat there and finally felt like I was a full-fledged author. — I confessed to my husband I was happy and excited, but said, “I just don’t know how happy or excited I am allowed to be?” He said, “Be very.”
So, I’m officially owning “very” happy and “very” excited! After all, I moved someone through a wide range of emotions today. Mine, and theirs. And therefore my job as an author is complete.
P.S. – Authors aren’t supposed to use the word “very.”