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Showing posts from February, 2018

A Voluntary Orphan

It's been nearly twelve years since I went no contact with my covert narcissist mother, thirteen for my malignant narcissist father. After a lifetime of trying to reason and cope with the abuse, I made a choice to leave in order to survive them. I am now a voluntary orphan. It's been the hardest and best decision of and for my life.

Being human, there is nothing that makes no contact with both biological parents easy. It goes against all of my biological, physiological, and social programming. I am perpetually broken-hearted. I long for connection and understanding from my narcissistic parents, past, present and future. Alas, there was never, is not, and never shall be.

I ache for the child in me who missed out on not having loving, safe, supportive parents. I ache for the adolescent and young adult who had no positive parental example, no guidance, no support of any kind. I ache for the grown woman with kids of her own who struggles forward, hoping to carve a better path the…

What I'm Saying When I Have Nothing To Say

I have often been labeled a "quiet" person, which always takes me by surprise. My mind runs so loud and fast, I sometimes forget that the constant clatter in my brain is not what others hear. It's true that I often don't often call attention to myself, though it's never because I am without thoughts, ideas, or opinions. For a number of reasons, I am usually more likely to opt out than speak up. Here's a few.

Sometimes, I'm too traumatized to speak. When a new memory reveals itself, I often go numb. Usually this happens when something that was buried in my subconscious makes its way to the forefront of my mind. While all trauma gets stored in a part of the brain that doesn't have access to language, many of my traumatic memories are from a time before I could speak. It's especially difficult to put these feelings and experiences into words. Instead of fight or flight, I freeze. I am stuck in my body, fully aware but trapped in a protective shell. …

A Productive Sadness

My husband came home late last night to find me curled up in my favorite furry blanket, staring at the wall. He has found me like this many times before, often on days like this one, where I process a new traumatic memory in therapy. "Can I get you anything?" he asks.

"A better childhood," I reply. He nods and sits next to me. He knows I want him near, but I don't necessarily want to talk about it. It's exhausting to explain trauma to someone else when it's raw, and besides, it's not so much the event itself but the fallout from it that needs care. At the moment, that means I'm tapped into a deep well of sadness for the child in me who was neglected, terrorized, and so unloved.

This is a productive sadness.

It's progress. I have earned enough breakthroughs in recovery to know how important it is for me to fully feel this sadness. The old me probably would feel shame for being upset about something that happened so long ago. The old me proba…

Trauma Fumigation

Since writing more about the abuse I experienced and its subsequent long-term effects, friends and acquaintances tend to respond in a couple of ways. Some will comment on my "braveness." Speaking up is a life-changing milestone in my healing and recovery. It requires a lot of courage to do so, for a wide range of reasons. But I don't feel courage. I feel terror. Yes, I chose to make the leap, but I also knew that I had to. I  leapt from a collapsing building.

Out of necessity, I am doing this grand experiment of deprogramming everything I learned from my abusers and reprogramming my subconscious thoughts. I can no longer live with those old thoughts. They've infested me for too long. Now that I am committed to the task, I make new daily discoveries of the extensive damage. The more progress I make, the more I realize how much farther I have to go. Yaaay. 

It's like living with termites. Your house can go infested for years, until one day, poof! The support beams…

Why Trauma Survivors Can't Just Let It Go

It seems the deeper I journey into the healing and recovery process, the more I find that much of our cultural and conventional wisdom does not help trauma survivors. All the trite platitudes and sayings that might help someone having a garden-variety bad day can actually become giant triggers for someone living with trauma.

Let's assume everyone wants to live a healthy, pain-free, abundant, and productive life. There are hundreds of motivational books and centered on "fake it til you make it" principles, which encourage people to think positive, let it go, don't sweat the small stuff, etc. They may have helped some people. Judging by book sales, they have probably helped many. Yet, for many trauma survivors searching for relief, these books and motivational coaches don't help. In fact, many, like me, feel more depressed, broken, and impossibly disconnected after reading them. Here's why.

Trauma survivors are often highly motivated people. Many are condition…