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Showing posts from March, 2018

The Truth Can Hurt- But It's Never Cruel

Nothing is ever good enough for a narcissist. They seek to tear down and destroy any good thing they can't claim for their own spotlight. Chances are, if you've ever confronted a narcissist about their cruel words, you've heard them deflect, "I was just telling the truth!"

This is the lie of the narcissist: to twist "truth" into malice and give it a holy name. When something is true, it illuminates and inspires. Sure, the truth can hurt. Like a bright light, truth exposes everything. But truth is not judgment. It reveals, but does not condemn. Truth ensures that all will be seen- good and evil. This is why good people crave the truth and evil people must distort it.

A narcissist's "truth" is one such distortion. Its sole purpose is to throw shade on anything the narcissist views as a threat. When a narcissist says, "I was just telling the truth," what they really mean is that they refuse to take responsibility for their cruel an…

For Trauma Survivors, 'Pushing Through' Isn't Heroic- It's Avoidant

I study a lot of stories, and I am well-versed in the power of inspirational stories to uplift and entertain through shared catharsis. We can learn a lot about our own lives through storytelling. However, there is a big reason why some stories that feature characters who rise above their circumstances go down as all-time classics, and why some fall flat. It's all in how the character handles (or doesn't handle) their trauma.

Take Harry Potter, for instance. After his parents died at the hands of evil, he was raised by his aunt and uncle, the epitome of ignorance, hate, abuse, and neglect. When he escapes them by going off to Hogwarts, his experience there is not exactly all happy charms and spells. He narrowly escapes one plight after another until he finally has to battle the one who killed his parents. Harry Potter works because Harry appropriately faces the trauma of his past. He doesn't succeed in spite of it, he succeeds because of it.  He is the ultimate example of …

Abuse is not an Illness, It's a Choice

One of the biggest mistakes I see victims of narcissistic abuse make is to feel sorry for their abusers because their abuser is "mentally ill." This is wrong. Narcissism is not the same as mental illness. While someone with a mental illness might inadvertently cause chaos around them due to their mental state, most of them sincerely don't mean to hurt others. Many mentally ill people struggle with shame caused by their desire to be there for loved ones when their mental illness prevents them from doing so. It's important to understand that a narcissist does not feel this way. A narcissist willfully chooses to harm others. They are in control of their behavior, as evidenced when they put on the charm to manipulate people into thinking well of them. When they act in an abusive way, they choose to do so on purpose.

Narcissists, psychopaths, sociopaths, and those who make up the cluster B personality disorders are notoriously responsible for the bulk of physical, psycho…

Fear of Retaliation

Before EMDR therapy, I previously did not consider myself a fearful person. If I felt threatened, I would quickly push those thoughts out of my mind and focus on more practical, productive things. I learned to do this as a very young child who had no other option for coping with a cruel, punishing father, and an emotionally neglectful mother. While pushing impulses away can be a decent coping strategy short term, the long term effect of shutting down feelings of fear for me has meant lifelong chronic migraines and toxic stress. For much of my childhood and young adulthood, I didn't feel much fear, but it turns out, the bulk of my terror was repressed. I detached so much from what had initially been bothering me that I no longer saw the rather obvious connection between repressed trauma and chronic pain. 

Today, in order to heal, I am committed to the oh-so-fun task of feeling my feelings, especially the ones that were previously off limits. Today, my entire body is on high alert…

Invisible Me

I have a life-long habit of going unnoticed, even to myself. I am so busy getting things done, I rarely ever make time to acknowledge my own accomplishments. It struck me the other day, just how much I am managing while also making space in my life to grieve my past and heal from trauma. I felt a rare sense of pride, and then another wave of sadness, as feeling proud of who I am in spite (and because) of abuse is so fleeting. You see, when I feel proud of myself, I also feel how lonely it is to be standing in this empty space, unseen, unheard, and unacknowledged by others.

Sometimes, I hide on purpose. As someone who has survived narcissists, a spotlight on me means I am an easy target for abusers. It makes me feel uncomfortable, not because I don't want to be noticed, but because I fear retaliation for taking up space. As a form of self-protection, I tend to blend into the background, making sure everything runs smoothly. I am so good at this it is common for others to just assu…