Investment

I have long believed that the past is no place to live, I don’t forget it because it has taught me a lot. The past cannot be changed it simply is, so to learn and move forward is the only logical conclusion to me.

The present is where I should dwell and my mind is slowly adjusting to that. Truth be told I have had a terrible habit of living in the future, though it doesn’t exist yet, and it never seems to respond to my design. It seems the habit has evolved from investing, I don’t mean on a financial scale but a personal one. It seems perfectly human to put your time and effort into something, trying to build something more for yourself and your future. Seldom does one invest with out hoping for some kind of return on that investment, be it personal, emotional, or financial. The harder you try the more time you sink in the more invested you become and the harder it can be to let go.

The trouble here becomes if you believe hard enough in a sinking ship you will drown on it. I will tell you I’ve spent my fair share of time drowning. Sitting there with my bucket scooping out water as hard and fast as I can continuing to sink deeper into the cold wet inky abyss. The ‘I can fix this’ mentality all to often leaves me failing to recognize when I should simply abandon ship.

Life is unpredictable, beyond that it is uncontrollable, and never promised. So I must learn to let go of the future and live in the now. Accept the fact that sometimes things must fall apart to make way for better things.

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Living with Narcissists: Part 4

Can a narcissist love?

This question is one that has weighed heavily on me. It is one thing to feel as though I was unloved as a child, but to know it with any certainty is a cold truth to face. I am guilty of always wanting to see the good in people, cursed by my very nature to believe the best in them. The trouble with this nature is it can be blinding toward real truth when we choose instead to see that which we want to see, ignoring what is truly right in front of us.

In hearing stories of other victims that in so many ways parallel my own, and they speak in harsh and clear terms, as if they too struggle against their better natures to see the the truth. Each one states a narcissist is incapable of love. To hear it from the predators angle he too spoke in no uncertain terms, stating to his kind a child is not a person in and of themselves but a mere extension of the Narcissistic parent.

While a narcissist may outwardly seem to love them self like no other, it is a mask, a facade, one made even to themselves, covering up the self hatred that lies beneath, or at least so is my understanding of it. So if I am only viewed as an extension of a self that doesn’t love itself then how can I be loved.

The cold truth is that I can not, not truly. Even if I could it would not be as I view love to be. Something colder, more material, and conditional. Sadly this is the only form of love they know. Looks good on the outside, shiny and glittery yet no substance with in. In understanding this certain things take a new form of clarity for me, the greatest example I can think of is I am told by other that my mother does say nice things about me, just not to me. I have made jokes that she seems to like me better when I am not present to enrage her. Now I understand that is the extension of self at play, my accomplishments used to make her look better in the eyes of others and provide that positive fuel. The cold truth is it’s not about me and never was.

It is funny though, in this process I had to ask myself what does it matter, and admit that it truly doesn’t. I could theoretically have concrete evidence saying they do or do not love me, no matter which way the scales tipped it would not change a thing. My desire to see the good in people would have be believe their love is there yet that very same trait would have me finding fault in myself for where I found their love to be lacking, because it is hard to see the fault in others when constantly seeking the good. It’s time to admit it simply doesn’t matter because that’s what best for me. Until next time, thank you for reading, and I hope you all take some time to do what is best for you, what ever that may be.

-The Scarlet Letter

Living with Narcissists, Part 3

Parental Paradigm

For as long as I can recall I have felt like something isn’t quite right among my family, inside my head lived this ideal of what my and really all families should be. Impressions of the media and society only seemed to fit this sort of profile. I could never understand why people who loved each other would treat each other in this way. To point out flaws, to engage in endless and numerous yelling matches eventually devolving to silence, avoidance, never resolution, and so every old fight could be rehashed and tied into any new or existing one. An endless cycle of hostility and devaluation.

To them I am the sensitive one, thin skinned, reading too much into things, or the way I feel is unfounded and outright ridiculous. I could go on like this for some while, due to the years of blame shifting, projecting, guilting, and devaluing I have memories to draw from. I have learned this is normal for one who is placed in the black sheep role, and we are commonly placed in that role for the rebel heart that beats in our chest, because we are the ones that will open our eyes, that will see there is a problem even if no one else will admit it, and the most likely to speak out against it. This is an empathic quality, truth seeking, the trait of honesty so ingrained with in us that we are predisposed to seek truth. The factor of simply being empathetic also lines with the pattern of the black sheep, our softness seen as a weakness to be eradicated.

For as unhealthy and even toxic as I am aware my familial relationships can be, their relationships with each other strike me as no better. I have always known the Romantic relationship between my parents looks nothing like that which I want for myself. I often made the joke that the only thing that has kept my parents together is a mutual love of fighting, only know do I realize how apt an observation that was. Along with the one that my family are people who like to push buttons get a rise out of me and others. So many pieces of the puzzle were right in front of me all this time, I just could not see the full picture.

In better understanding the needs and motivations of those with N.P.O. At its variant levels, does everything finally begin to make sense. The frequent fits of rage, and screaming matches in a marriage would be seen as unacceptable by most, but in a marriage of two narcissists its a frequent supply of negative fuel, a surge of power, it scratches an itch with in them neither could scratch with out external forces. Because that itch is never permanently satisfied the seemingly destructive cycle continues, yet they are both drawing something that they need from this exchange. It could not and does not make sense to me in a way that I can truly understand because I don’t have that itch, I derive no pleasure from others pain, quite the opposite in fact. I am glad that the information is out there and so accessible. Understanding is helpful, it adds weight to words I have been telling myself for years and helps me to fight against the things imprinted on me from such a tender age. It also is helping me to let go of that life long fools hope that somehow it can get better, that our relationships can be repaired, transform into something healthy. One of the greatest sins of an empath is the desire to fix, but you can’t fix someone who does not think they are broken, truly you can’t fix anyone you can only help them fix themselves, and so truly we can not help those who will not help themselves.

This is a difficult journey for me, it is difficult for me to truly acknowledge my parents flaws when they are perfect, just ask them they will tell you. Also to admit to myself and openly that I am a victim and survivor, it feels like weakness, yet this is necessary to turn it into strength. The strangest part of all is learning that somewhere beneath the trauma and manipulation I work to move past, I might be perfectly sane, after a lifetime of believing I am on some level crazy. Unfortunately most monsters are not born they are made, the behaviours they exhibit, the white hot rage that seems to burn with in them, all symptomatic of a larger problem they themselves can not and will not see. Any attempt otherwise has not and would not change that fact. It makes me sad for them, and sad for me that there is nothing I can do to alter this. All I can do is try to accept this is not my failing, nor my responsibility.

Until next time.

-The Scarlet Letter

Living with narcissists, part 2

There are different kinds of Narcissists and among each blanket group lies multiple subtypes each prone to different tactics and different needs and understanding of those needs. When you cross that line to the empath side there are also different types of empath and subtypes among them. In learning about this I have come to understand more about myself, how I came to my assigned role in my upbringing.

Years of gaslighting have left my reality and myself distorted. Above all the greatest question raised is who am I really? Many of the traits I possess and feelings I have are learned, I tell myself this is good if they are learned they can be unlearned, if my brain can be taught to feel these things, it can learn they are fabricated, and begin to deconstruct them. In order to do this I need to separate what my core traits are, what is symptomatic of the abuse I have suffered, and what has grown from the seeds planted in my mind in childhood and well tended and fertilized in subsequent years. My first step into separated out the tangled web that is me is classification. For broad range classification there are 3 types of people qualified as being empaths. Bare in mind this is empathic in the sense of displaying empathy not the more super natural sense of the word.

I have often been one to tell you I’m the nicest person you will ever meet until I’m not. I have Narcissistic traits and tendencies. I’m sure right now you are thinking “everyone, or almost everyone has some narcissist traits.” Your absolutely right and it takes cluster of narcissistic traits to qualify as a narcissist. What I initially believed made me unique and truly all together strange, was the massive pendulum swing in my collective behaviours, the empathic traits in me are strong and yet there are points in my life my Narcissistic traits have all but dominated my kinder gentler traits. More over when my darker side has emerged I have never felt anything less the justified or vindicated in my actions. The lack of guilt and even feelings of satisfaction derived from these times have left me wondering if I was a Narcissist or even a full on sociopath. The truest irony of this is it took a sociopath for me to understand why. I speak of H.G. Tudor the sociopathic Narcissist mentioned in my last post. Narcsite.com being one additional resource I have found and also highly recommend. His breakdown of empaths is wider and more comprehensive then any other I have come across. Several videos speak about the super or supernova empath in some detail. They differ from regular empaths and codependents in some substantial ways, one being that they had more Narcissistic traits and stronger in nature then the other two groups, but still less so then the narcissistic groups at the other side of the scale. Their empathic traits strong in nature, he described it as a spot light and a candle. When the spotlight is on the light of the candle is barely noticeable. After a period of abuse the super empath reaches a state of critical awareness and decides enough is enough, when that happens they will either leave the relationship, or enter a supernova state where the empathic side or “spot light.” Is dimmed, allowing the Narcissistic side or “candle” to shine brighter, at which point they will deny the narcissist fuel, or use their own manipulation tactics against them, they will fight back and wound the narcissist repeatedly.

This hit home to me, every word resonating with me. What an intelligent hunter to have so thoroughly categorized his potential prey. He also explained that in the dimming process the empathic traits have not gone anywhere and the dimming is only temporary, the empathic traits are wired into our DNA.

So who am I that’s my first answer right there I was simply born to want to be a source of good in peoples lives, to be a giver, and to view this as a gift not to be taken for granted or advantage of. I was born to give of a place of strength, I recognize this trait blends in with a tendency to overdue it at times which is symptomatic of growing up never hearing but always feeling like love was conditional. Things like this I believe are important distinctions to make, I simply cannot fight my own DNA. How seemingly impossible it is that a man I have never met and has never met me, could tell me more about who I was born to be, then I was even aware of myself. Of course these traits do not encompass the totality of me, but it does explain some of my conflicting natures, and why I would be a prime candidate for the black sheep role in my family. It also makes me realize that parts of me have been dulled I don’t shine as brightly as I should as is my birthright, and I begin to see where things symptomatic of my trauma have played their roll, chipping away at the true me. How strange it is this far into my journey only now do I see the path to finding out who I truly am is less about learning of myself, and more of forgetting the things I have been taught of myself. It is quite the rabbit hole I have found myself down, surrounded by some hard truths, no turning back now. There is something real down here calling to me like a siren song, and I will find it. Until next time, the hunt continues.

-The Scarlet Letter

Living with Narcissists!

As of late I have found myself devouring every ounce of information I can obtain on Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Both from those who have it and have stepped forward to tell their story, to those who are victims of someone with N.P.D. sharing their experience, their findings, and their journey to healing. To be perfectly honest, this is something I have intended to do for a long time but until now I have put it off. I was raised by narcissist’s both with elements of overt and covert alike each one favouring the opposing side. As it seems anyone who has been a victim of gaslighting especially as a child will tell you, your reality is manipulated to suit the purpose of your abusers. After a lifetime of being told I’m “sensitive” “dramatic” or that things did not happen as I remember, that I am “ungrateful” and “selfish”. My sense of self worth severely damaged by being constantly diminished or invalidated by those who were supposed to love me most.

My self worth doesn’t even seem to be my greatest loss in it all, my sense of self or self identity suffers to most to this day. I was encouraged to pursue my parents interests and no others. Achievements that fell in any other areas were ultimately disregarded and/or diminished. The narcissists in my life were/are lesser to midrange narcissists, not the full on psycho or socio paths who are fully aware of what they are doing. They have no accountability for their actions even with in their own minds, and so anything viewed as an attack for their own perceived reality was met with anger, or other forms of punishment like silence, distance, or passive aggression.

One video I watched suggested that 90% of the depression an adult child of narcissistic parent(s) is caused by repressed anger. In hearing these words it was like a switch went off in my brain, and my anger has begun to unearth from its shallow grave. So my anger it’s not so repressed anymore or at least not all of it, I have little doubt there is more yet to surface as with buried emotions sometimes it’s a gush and sometimes it’s a trickle. As it surfaces I’m left with this conundrum, I have been struggling my whole adult life with issues imprinted on me by the narcissists in my life. What should be the most satisfying one might think is to confront my abusers, make them face their crimes against me, in some foolish hope of an apology and some sense of closure. These are things a narcissist will never give you. They have zero accountability, their lack of empathy and inflated self worth makes it seemingly impossible to understand or care how you may feel. Worse still like an emotional vampire they will feed off your emotional reactions to them good or bad. Any source of information I’ve encountered has advised against confrontation of a narcissist, and a life time of experience in the rebel and black sheep role has me inclined to agree.

In finally being willing to come to terms with being a victim it has opened new levels of self awareness, I now understand so much better why I feel the way I do and the way I did regarding the parts of this I have already managed to deal with. In delving deeper into what Narcissism is and the great variance among the broad term, learning what tools are in their chest, what sort of people they prey upon, and largely the victims who have spoken up and what they have felt and their childhood experiences, all the sudden I see the connections between so much that is me.

Back to why I am angry, I’ve been manipulated, slowly and methodically taught to hate myself, so well versed In manipulation that to any outsider looking in my life must be idillic, branded a liar, a drama queen, and over sensitive, no one but me, not even my parents could see that this was abuse, planting seeds of self doubt in my mind, it must be me, I am sensitive. My emotions never validated, often denied the very expression of any, belittled caused a sissy. Only now years later do I understand it’s not my fault, the feelings of inadequacy I feel no more then projections of my own narcissistic parents subconscious emotions, every thing they could not face in themselves projected onto me. Beyond being angry at all that was done to me, and the after effects I am still working on, is the anger of knowing no matter the reason or understanding offered, no matter the approach taken, they will never take accountability for their actions, our relationships will never transform into healthy ones, that even though they are wrong and have always been wrong if there is any hope to heal it is myself I must change.

Every mental health issue I have, for every negative emotion that plagued me I have learned are directly symptomatic of narcissistic abuse. The feelings of isolation, loneliness, being misunderstood, and difficulty trusting others, are not only all related to narcissistic abuse, they are specifically related to those with narcissistic parents who have been branded by said parents as the black sheep or scapegoat. Furthermore the child branded in this way is commonly second born, which I am. The more I learn the more I am shocked at the parallels so many people from different countries, races, backgrounds, have stories that resonate so strongly with in me. Their experiences and memories and feelings mirroring my own. I have learned something powerful, though I feel alone I am not alone.

For someone who has never been through it it’s a difficult thing to explain, when asked what they said it can be difficult to come up with anything all that bad, because often the don’t say anything that sounds all that bad. Such is the danger of gaslighting, the do not tell you outright that you are bad, they use subtle manipulation, and plausible deniability, to lead you to find that conclusion on your own. When you try to call them out on it they make you seem like the crazy one “I was just joking, you have no sense of humour.” “Your being a drama queen” “your sensitive or thin skinned.” “You need to buck up.” Phrases like these and many more are the calling cards of a gas lighter.

If your reading this and you want to learn more about Narcissism and it’s favoured victims empaths, firstly stay tuned because this is not the last I will speak of it, but secondly there is a source I have found fascinating, informative, and offers a perspective I would never have expect to be shared. That of an Elite Narcissist as he self identifies, or psychologically termed a psychopathic narcissist. A wolf In wolfs clothing, he offers full transparency on everything but his true identity. The name he goes by is H.G. Tudor, he has a Facebook page entitled “Knowing the Narcissist.” Has dozens of fascinating videos and interviews posted on Facebook, as well he has published several books I am quite intent on buying. I highly recommend checking him out.

Slow learning!

Well it appears I have been slacking again, it’s been a while since my last post. I could tell you it’s time constraint or exhaustion, but I think it’s more then that, a stalled feeling In myself and in my life until tonight. Not that I can say I have gained much momentum but tonight I have come to a powerful realization.

Expectation is the mother of all disappointments. My own self expectations are no small source of my own misery. Today I begin to draw my lines between desire and expectations.

The ultimate truth is beyond all expectations life seems to have its own agenda. Things will happen when they happen and expecting it to come any sooner will not make it so.

For so long now I have been all to certain that life has been teaching me an unending lesson in patience. I missed the obvious question, why am I so impatient. What was behind that impatience. Now I see it is expectation. This year has been a hard one in identifying things internalized in childhood and trying to break those chains. This is no exception. Pressures placed on me by others in my youth evolved into u realistic pressure and expectation I’ve placed on myself to this day. It is time to accept that I cannot force the will of the universe, nor should I blame myself for things beyond my control.

Expectation for things yet to pass hinders my ability to credit myself for the progress I have made, rather it sends me swirling in a cycle of self dissatisfaction for the progress I have yet to make.

Not all is black and white, life is made of many shades of grey. I believe it is alright to keep the desire for more, and continue to expend the effort towards that end, but let go of the expectation that it will happen at all let alone on my time line. Expecting myself to be able to make things happen before life allows them to is a fools errand and one I have run too long.

Well that is my food for thought for today, until we meet again.

-The Scarlet Letter

True North Strong and Free?

When I look around at my homeland from the highly developed areas with all their technological and modern marvels, to the more remote prairies, to the majesty of the mountains sometimes I stop to attempt to contemplate everything that went into making it what it is today, how much had to happen in a very short amount of time considering our country is only 151 years old, roughy 2 lifetimes or 4-5 generations how ever you want to think of it.

In a world more advanced with technology that brings the world closer together then ever before I know unquestionably I’m in no true position to understand the people that shaped this country and their struggles. I stop for a moment to consider the pioneers, I recently moved from small town to big city, away from the life I have always known in attempt to carve out a better one for myself, the Calgary tower stands as my own personal Statue of Liberty as a symbol for opportunity. I moved 3 hours from my home, others I know from there told me they don’t know how I could do this, they told me it was something they could never do.

The truth is that it’s only 3 hours drive away, I can take the time at my own choosing to visit friends and family, and if I fall completely flat on my face here I can always go home. My challenges compared to the pioneers are inconsequential. I can not even fathom what it must have been like to choose to get on a boat 1/2 the world away, knowing with scurvy ocean storms, maybe krakens that there is a 1 in 3 chance that I will not even make it to see the new world, and even I do I will spend the journey at sea watching others die, beyond the grief they would feel for the fallen is the strong sense of their own mortality knowing all to well they could be next. For them there was no going back, there was no visits at Christmas time, the moment the boat left shore there was family and friends they would never see again nor hear from, comparative to today when contact with people 1/2 the world away is as simple as a phone call, email, Skype or Facebook message just to name a few.

This could not have been easy decisions to make, nor hardships to endure. The kind of lives they must have lead to bring them to a point that these were the better alternatives are beyond my own imagining, especially when one considers the boat ride was but a small part of the battle. Once docked in the new world a whole new set of struggles began. To even know what food was safe for consumption would have likely been a guessing game. An expansive new land filled with new dangers, predators, and undeveloped with some very harsh winters. Really it’s impressive that they survived the first year let alone paved roads, built homes, laid tracks which given some of the terrain would have been no small feat.

The pioneers that built this new world into the country it became did such a good job that those of my generation grew up with comforts they could not even have imagined. Beyond indoor plumbing and heating, accessible food, roads, and all the technological marvels of the modern world they gave us a far greater gift. To live in a land free of repression, of religious persecution, gifts we take for granted. Every day I can express myself in any and ever form I choose whether it’s by blogging my thoughts here or on various forms of public media, to walking out my door wearing what ever I choose to wear, and speaking what ever comes to my mind with out fear of repercussion, not having to watch over my shoulder, even getting in my car and driving where ever I please to go unescorted.

These freedoms are my birthright, given freely to me for no more reason then when and where I was born, I won a sort of life lottery along with many of my countrymen and women. I believe in life there is a sort of balance and there are downsides to such freedom. We are free to make all the wrong choices, from our diet, to health and far beyond. Still there is a greater danger I believe, we have grown up so free we don’t truly understand how valuable that freedom is, we don’t even know what oppression really looks like. Because of this I fear that we are missing the warning signs, that we may wait too long to draw our lines in the sand.

To be honest it terrifies me that Sharia Law is now practiced in Canada. Yes the law states that both parties must consent to arbitration under Sharia Law, but I also understand the women are under pressure from the religious community to do so. This gives me a whole new level of respect for the states policies separating church and state. More concerning still the law may state that Sharia law is not to supersede Canadian given rights and freedom, yet there has been no one appointed nor authorized to ensure this law is followed.

To me this means women who are Canadian citizens are facing religious oppression to have their rights violated. That isn’t my Canada, that is not the land I grew up in, it serves as a stepping stone on a path to far worse things. As Canadians we should recognize the threat to our freedom, that our forefathers worked so hard and suffered so greatly to create for us in this new world but what is our response?

Well the open dialogue heard round the Internet is “don’t take our bacon.” Don’t get me wrong I enjoy a good bacon meme as much as the next person, but our freedom is more important then bacon, we don’t even know how much and so to us it’s a joke. I will not lie it is my deepest hope that Trudeau will not be re-elected, that the next person chosen to lead our country will not be a traitor to the very values it was built upon. To be honest for all the criticism our neighbour to the south receives they understand the value of their freedom, they may see those with out it as a threat to that very freedom, and they should. The thing I respect the most about America is they believe so wholeheartedly in their freedom that they will shove it down anyone and everyone’s throat, believing that all should have the freedom they enjoy. They have not forgotten the fight to build a land of freedom, and they would not let anyone take it from them. An example I hope Canada will follow. Well that’s it for me today until next time.

-The Scarlet Letter