Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The WoN Connection

“Connectedness is what our purpose as human beings is about. It's a primal need. It feels that way to me. My life feels meaningless without being connected to others. "I consider it a gift to belong here. The support I have received is crucial to my healing journey. The aloneness is unbearable in the immediate aftermath of the NPD relationship..” ~Talia

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Feel Like Spilling Your Guts to the Narcissist?


Are you reading self-help books telling you to spill your guts and Save Your Relationship? If so, the Royal Narcissist does a happy dance because YOU'RE finally admitting you're a mess! 

Keep your self-examination PRIVATE. Do not tell your spouse. Do not send him or her a letter of apology, listing your many flaws and faults. Many of us make that mistake before learning about pathological narcissism. There is a huge distinction between normal narcissism and pathological and one of the differences is introspection. When people who naturally introspect realize they have contributed to problems in the relationship, they take responsibility for themselves and alter their behavior. 

In a normal relationship, both people recognize their shadow side: the things we do unconsciously that disturb us and confuse a partner. We see it and we change it and we grow as a result. We assume our relationship with a narcissist works the same way--that once we admit we were selfish or self-centered, they will do likewise. 

Have you noticed how healing an argument can be when both people take a hard look at themselves, admit their flaws, and apologize? When someone apologizes, other people are quick to forgive because they also realize that despite their best efforts to love someone, they ALSO make mistakes. With the narcissist however, admitting your flaws LETS THEM OFF THE HOOK. What happens afterwards is that during another altercation, the narcissist USES every intimacy you revealed about yourself to justify WHY they did what they did. You feel like a failure and the narcissist is off the hook....AGAIN. As long as we admit to having contributed to the problem, the narcissist will AVOID (deny) his or her responsibility! 

This is counter-intuitive for people who are NOT narcissists. So we apologize again, hoping the narcissist will mirror our behavior by doing likewise and they DO NOT. In fact, they will build on your humble admission of fault as a character trait. For example: everyone does things that are selfish (insert whatever trait you want here). You say, "I am so sorry for only thinking of myself!" and you expect this admission to trigger a similar response from your partner. Instead, each time you are taking responsibility for your behavior, the narcissist accuses you of being selfish. He or she doesn't say, "I feel neglected when you do such-and-such". No. Why not? Because "I feel neglected" is self-revelatory. Instead, the narcissist says, "You are a Selfish person. Even YOU admit it."

Most people who have written about their break-up with a narcissist, have learned to introspect and take responsibility for their part in the fiasco. Most people also learn over time, that the narcissist will use any excuse, ANY EXCUSE AT ALL, to avoid taking responsibility. Your short list of defects, mistakes, flaws, and weaknesses become the reason WHY the narcissist acted the way they did.

It may appear to others that we're pointing accusatory fingers at narcissists without examining ourselves. This is simply NOT true. We have learned, even if we aren't conscious of it, that our admission of personal weakness will be used against us.

In a normal relationship, people are LOATH to bring up any intimacy someone has revealed about themselves. They respect the person's willingness to be honest about their problems. They empathize with how it feels when your weaknesses are used like weapons of humiliation. There's an invisible line that we do not cross, even if we are angry and defensive. We do not use someone's painful revelations against them.

Most people have been taking responsibility throughout the relationship, catching themselves in the act and apologizing. They didn't realize the narcissist was gathering ammunition instead of examining him or herself. The narcissist may cry or weep or appear to be suffering when you apologize but sad to say, it's not real. You'll know that the next time you've done something really swell and the narcissist says, "You may have excelled at that project, sweetie, but that's because you are so incredibly SELFISH. Even YOU said so!"

During my divorce, I read a recommended book titled "Spiritual Divorce" and dutifully listed my mistakes, flaws, ignorance, blah-blah-blah and tried to have a closure conversation with my spouse. I did not know about narcissism at the time. Do Not Do This if you believe your partner is narcissistic. It releases them from whatever introspection they are capable of and increases your VULNERABILITY. It's humiliating when your tender admissions, offered in good faith, are used against you. Or shared with the narcissist's new rescuer.

You must be cautious when sorting through self-help books that are NOT recommended for pathological relationships. YOU, the non-N, may end up being humiliated, degraded, and your most spiritual aspects of yourself brutalized. If you want (or feel a need) to self-deprecate, please post to a support group that allows you to express your feelings whatever they may be. For some reason, most people WANT to admit the things they did wrong. We need to purge and confess to being flawed. That's the good and the bad about having a conscience.

Remember: Pointing fingers at narcissists is difficult for Non-Ns. We want to be fair. We want to be honest. For every finger pointed at the N, we have three pointed back towards ourselves. So in order to feel good about ourselves, we can admit to having flaws, shadows and defects, too. But we CANNOT, SHOULD NOT, DO NOT need to admit this to the narcissist. It's not good for YOU and it's definitely NOT good for the narcissist.

When narcissists feel threatened, they cannot stop themselves from using whatever ammunition they have to defend themselves. Some narcissists regret their behavior afterwards but not nearly as much as we regret having trusted them.

Originally posted on the Narcissistic Continuum 2011


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

BlueSky responds: Is It Time to Date Again?

BlueSky writes on the WoN Forum:

I can relate to that anxious feeling...  I don't think anyone here wants to go through another narcissistic relationship. It hurts too much.  But the only way to ensure we don't get into another one is to isolate ourselves from all new people.  

It's not much of a way to live.

Maybe the first narcissistic relationship is the worst. Maybe there is something to the idea that since we've been through it before, we'll be able to get through it faster the next time, if there is a next time. There may not be.  I try not to be hyper-vigilant but sometimes catch myself at it.  All of life is full of risks! We cannot get away from it.  We could accidentally step out in front of a Mack truck tomorrow and that would be the end of us. 

I was talking to my psychologist about taking relationship risks earlier this week. About all he could tell me was to enjoy the good moments when they come along - if things work out with that person, they work out, if they don't, they don't.  

From a young age, I was in the mode of wanting to control the outcome of things when I was taking what I thought was a risky step.  I used to worry so much about doing the wrong thing, getting hurt in some way or doing something that ended up hurting someone else.  But we have no control over the outcome.  We never know for sure how our actions or words are going to affect ourselves, affect someone else, or how others will interpret our actions and words.  

I think we have to find a way to accept that we don't know what will happen next - good or bad.   And, since about 2005, what I remind myself of is that the unpleasant things in life teach us valuable lessons about ourselves and others and that if we learn these lessons, we end up being better for it.  It's hard to explain how I got there, but I decided that even though there had been so much damage and hurt from being with him, if someone gave me the chance to go back and avoid him, I wouldn't take it.  I'd learned too much from it and valued what I had learned.  (I know that many here likely would take that chance - and that's cool.)   

I recently saw the movie "About Time"' and it was a kind of cute but rather muddled movie. It was about a guy who discovers he can go back and relive bad moments and alter the outcome so that life would always be good and conflict-free.  I'm not sure the movie was really aiming at what I ended up thinking about ; but I did think about how the guy in the movie, by making everything all puppies and rainbows, was depriving the people around him of the normal obstacles and pitfalls we all encounter.  I believe we need them.  

OK - yes, maybe we don't really NEED narcissists in our lives....but please don't let that narc in your past get in the way of the possibility of experiencing and enjoying good things that come your way.  The only way to find out if your new relationship is a good one or not, is to go ahead and experience it. 

Original WoN Thread: I Messed Up posted by gareth


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bringing Home the Bacon: financial ideas by ComoKate & her WoN Friends

"Since most of us have economic concerns, starting an idea thread with links to potential money raising entities might help and inspire us. As with anything, take what you need and ignore the rest. Always be safe in contacting others and good luck! Please feel free to jump in and share your ideas and resources. We have a lot of energy and talent! We survived the narcissistic relationship, after all!

When I was in college and supporting my daughter by myself, I worked weekends as a receptionist answering phones, making appointments, filing insurance was *very easy work to do* and be trained in for that did not get in the way of my studying. They even let me bring my daughter who would watch television in the women's break room and color so I didn't have to pay a sitter. ( some of the kindest people I ever met were there. The clinic was bought out by a big HMO and everyone was scattered). Those were poor days but we made do. We went to the "dollar" theater to watch old movies, had popcorn nights, I would give her a few dollars and she would take FOREVER to compare everything at the Dollar Store. I sold plasma once a week for a tidy sum of money. I think the rates for plasma are much higher these days and am considering doing it again if need be." ~ComoKate

Job Search Engine Sites

Indeed includes millions of job listings from thousands of web sites, including company career pages, job boards, newspaper classifieds, associations, and blogs. Job seekers may also search job trends and salaries, read and participate in discussion forums, research companies and even find people working for companies of interest through their online social networks.

LinkUp is a job search engine that searches jobs on company sites. The job postings are from small, mid-sized, and large company career sections, and are updated whenever the company web site is updated.

Simply Hired searches thousands of job boards, classifieds, and company sites. Advanced search options include type of job, type of company, keyword, location and the date the job was posted.

The Beehive This Career Builder tool will help you create a plan to get the Career you really want. There are lots of steps, but we’ll make it easy for you. There are four main sections, all of which will help you create a personalized Career Plan.

Women Employed Mobilizing people and organizations to expand educational and employment opportunities for America's working women.

Education and Career Planning

Click To Empowerment: Choosing and Planning for the Career You Want (a free 22-page printable pdf document)

Ed2Go "I have taken several classes from this site. They "partner" with local community colleges around the US. You get a paper certificate from your local school but take course work online. These courses helped me with my night classes and I've been very impressed with their services." ~ComoKate

The MOOC list (Massive Open Online Courses). Free classes from the best Universities in the world.

Selling, Trading, Bargaining

How To Sell on Ebay Video List

Unleash Your Digital Talents: How to Sell on Ebay

Listia is a site where you can list things you want to get rid of and earn "credits" you can then spend on other people's stuff on the site. You can ask others to pay the shipping, but you will get fewer credits that way. People tend to bid more credits (like on ebay) on items offering free shipping.

Freecycle is a place to list things you want to give away and things you need or want.

Have a talent you can market? Turn Your Passion Into A Business on ETSY

"Craigslist has a barter section," Lottie says, "but people also list things in the normal categories and say sometimes they will trade. "If you have trade-able things, but no money, you can try bartering sites." 

Talia brings the 52-Week Save Money Challenge to our attention. "All you need to do is save the dollar amount of whatever week you are in during the year. Week one you add $1, week two, $2 and week fifty-two, $52. Add that all up and you have a cool $1378 dollars saved at the end of the year." This is a printable pdf worksheet.

Hopeful1 offers a suggestion: "I first heard Kim Komando on the radio giving little snippets of computer advice.  She also gives advice in other areas, she's very informative.  She gives references to legit work at home businesses." 

Check out this article on The Kim Komando Show: Earn Money at Home via the Internet. Take Surveys. Try blogging, but don't buy a new car before your pay check arrives! 

Honeybear suggests: "In many cities, there are now websites where you can sign up to babysit or even work as a nanny.  My daughter had a great second income from babysitting for families. Years ago when I went back to teaching voice, I had to string together jobs at four different places but I made a decent living.  If you have a bit of musical experience and know music and like kids, teaching beginning piano is also an option.  Many music stores look for responsible people to teach, or if you have a piano or keyboard in your home, you can also make some money that way. 

Private music schools in the area are also a source, but you have to seek them out and get a decent resume together. House sitting can also be a good thing.  Get info out there that you will watch houses and pets while people are traveling, and that could bring in some extra income.  Also, if you lived in my daughter's neighborhood, I wouldn't have to keep her dog." 

LiftedUp knows how to pinch a penny or two. She writes, "Financial survival. I nearly have been homeless many times and live on edge now so hope I can help!" 

Rent-a-Sofa Do you have a guestroom that's empty most of the time? 

OutReach These people saved my life...if you need prescription medication 

WAHM Finding jobs on WAHM and transcription etc, saved us from homelessness. 

Intentional Communities If you are looking for an intentional community, ecovillage, cohousing, commune, co-op, or other cooperative living arrangement, browse through our community lists.  

Food Pantries If you have a 211 line in your area call that to get referrals to food pantries. Also one can cold blind call churches, and many will have food pantries. We have done it that way too. If you live in a rural town find out where the local flea market is, a lot of poor people will sell cheap goods at these including canned goods and you can bring stuff and sell for a small fee. I have done that before. Here there is no sales like that but where I used to live had them. 

The Salvation Army will give out food 

DollarDays Everything food pantry 

Caretaker "I saved a couple friends from homelessness by giving them this link which gave them the idea to get a caretaker position.  If you are healthy and can handle it, there are jobs for disabled and elderly for live-ins. One job you can always get, its hard and yes, I did it, is a home health aide worker or nursing home aide. They won't turn you away usually and it may keep you off the streets." ~LiftedUp 

Lottie's List:

Amazon seller's account
Used book stores pay for books or trade
Ask friends or family if they want to buy anything you have
If you are a good cook or baker, there are people who would trade or pay for good home cooking. Place an advert," says Lottie.
Yard or garage sales (place ads)
Consignment shops in your area
Dog/cat sitting
Dog walking
Gardening help
Teaching a community class
Teaching a class for local kids/homeschoolers
Senior companion
Running errands
Party entertainment (balloon animals, face painting, clown?)
Music lessons
Cooking lessons
Other lessons you could teach?
Temporary employment agencies
Substitute teaching
Swap meets
Farmers market

Lottie says, "If you are a good cook or baker, there are people who would trade or pay for good home cooking. Place an advert."

A few last words from our wise ComoKate: 
"Being financially independent is extremely helpful in being able to make good decision that you *want* to make, not *have* to make. When you look at the suppression of women throughout history, much of it could not have happened without making women financially dependent upon men, ignoring the discrepancy in wages, lack of education, valuing time spent raising children, etc.   
Keep employed and keep busy with your own life. He broke your heart and trust. Don't let the coward break your life or spirit !"