December 31, 2013

You can call me Rick OR you can call me Narcissist Slayer!




Thank you, Phoenix Rising for granting me the title of Narcissist Slayer. Conquering narcissism is a formidable challenge whether the narcissism is embodied in others, or in the self. Unhealthy narcissism is not something we should deny or ignore because midlife narcissism is akin to moldy biscuits neglected on a shelf for decades. Even if your biscuits look fine to the naked eye, they're hard as concrete in the center. Nothing penetrates those suckers, not even my hot gravy. So spot that narcissism and eradicate it as soon as you catch yourself in the act and that's my bestest advice to anyone who cares about the way their lousiest behaviors impact other people.

I have a plethora of recommendations for Slayer Awards and they're listed on the bottom of my web page (both professional and layperson). Scroll down the page, way down, way way down down, way way way down to the depths, past that frightful epistle called The Narcissism Key. It scares me just logging in and seeing that article so don't feel badly if it scares you, too. I wrote it and the author's state of mind terrifies me. Who reads that much literature on narcissism and does that woman ever clean her house or watch brain-dead television like the rest of the world?

For this post and in accordance with the rules, I'll add a list of bloggers who have: blogged for at least one year; written primarily about narcissism; admitted we cannot be healthy slayers until confronting our own dragons. I had another criteria in selecting nominees: mutual reciprocity. They read me and I read them and we support each other's insights with compliments like, "Hey, that was Brilliant! Thanks for writing!"

At first, I resisted calling out people's blogs because they might not want to be noticed. But since I didn't recognize the other nominees Phoenix recommended, it seemed a very cool way to bring Slayers together! So here's a list of wonderful bloggers whose "Pens are Mightier than their Swords." They write to make things right and God Bless their courage for doing so because blogging is fraught with danger: will the narcissist-in-question discover their blog? Will people accuse them of being all-things-nasty that none of us wants to be? Will the inevitable invalidation shake their certainty to the point they stop fighting for their lives, stop writing? Writing about narcissism breaks the First Rule of Dysfunctional Families which is: Don't Talk. An unspoken rule that makes people like myself feel guilty about betraying someone we love(d) even though they've treated us abominably. We slay our own inner narcissist (the critic) when we know our lives are worthy of the time it takes to write about our battles.

Most of the bloggers on my list are ACoNs (Adult Children of Narcissists). My Partners-of-Ns friends have moved on with their lives, deleting their blogs and even a message board of that title. But I'm still here---tumbling deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole and finding new friends along the way.

Through the Looking Glass

I also believe writing about narcissism is a means for understanding the narcissist, rather than hating them for the rest of our lives which would be extremely easy to do, depending on how badly we were treated. In my opinion, narcissism blogs are a sign of courage and an act of love and that's the truth whether some folks appreciate the timbre of our voices or not.


As is the case with blogger awards, there's guidelines(and lordnose I love obeying social protocol), so the rules for the Narcissist Slayer Award are: 
1- Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them  
2) Put the award's logo on your blog 
3) Write a blog post and share the blog(s) you have chosen. There are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required
4) Inform nominees on their site 
5) Share one positive thing you took away from your relationship with a narcissist 
Check 1, 2, 3, and 4. And now for 5, the last rule: share one positive thing you took away from your relationship with the narcissist. My smart ass response to that question would be: Me. I took away "me", the most positive thing that ever happened to that rat bazturd. A less narcissistic answer (that wouldn't raise people's eyebrows in alarm) would be this positive realization: 

After loving a narcissist, you  know that that no matter the number of screw-ups you cause in your life, no matter how many epic failures you face, no matter how many times you trip over the humiliating messes created by numero uno yourself, you know you're doing okay because you don't blame others. Or run away. You get back up after another reality check and say, "Self, you are okay. You're not perfect and your face is kinda crumpled and the palms of your hands are dirty from scraping asphalt, but you are okay. Ordinary maybe. A little average perhaps. But good enough for loving overall."

Learning to love a narcissist while respecting his/her efforts to overcome obvious weaknesses (like that raging temper of my X's, which he was always sorry for, which he always promised never to inflict on us again but always did) gave me lots of practice accepting my less-than-perfect self. When you watch someone struggle with incontrovertibly crappy behavior and rise above your emotional reaction to punish his sorry ass because he's so damn hard to live with because you understand, because you know you're not perfect either, well---that is a gift to yourself. You were compassionate and understanding as good folks can be, even under duress. You can look back on your difficult relationship and say truthfully to the narcissist, "I understand you and I love(d) you." That is a beautiful thing and we should never disparage or shame ourselves for loving imperfect beings imperfectly. 

Love,
CZ




30 comments:

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you, CZ...I am HONORED to be in this group. And....you are brave and courageous and a bigger person than I am, for saying anything 'good' about the chief narcissist.

    There are so many pitfalls having a narcissist as a mother, father, husband, etc...in your lifre. It took me 6 decades to come to terms with what I was dealing with. And then the FOO. Yikes!~ All attempted to stop me from writing about the chief narcissist ("We are watching you"....) but they are the GC and have no reason to fear or dislike the narcissist: as long as they don't come under her gun. Which they don't because she NEEDS them around her. That old issue of Narcissistic Supply.

    But! even though my chief narcissist (I haven't even gotten deep on my first husband...ugh.) told me that "She could never truly be proud of me because I didn't allow her to be part of my 'artistry'....I finally could realize what was going on here: 60 years of self-blame and hatred fell off me.: (what she said was the leitmotiv of a narcissist. This is classical. )

    I am so thankful for sites like yours, CS's, all others you carry. They have been the 'extra' in the 8 years of therapy to understand this tough and difficult issue.

    They still are trying to get me to shut up, to stop writing (mostly by ignoring my pronouncements that ANOTHER book (poetry) is about to be published. Total silence, like that would put me off. LOL!

    It's a waiting game, life, and only death or senility would make me stop writing....and poetry. I can outlive them all on this issue. Use your genius for recovery...self first (because we have been taught that we aren't nuthin') and give what you can do to the rest of the world.

    Your blog leads in this CZ.

    Love and Greetings from the New Year!!!

    Lady Nyo

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    1. I'm with Lady N on this, CZ. You lead, you rock, you are the North Star. I love you for your strength, courage, perseverance, wisdom, compassion, and generosity of spirit. I know these words will embarrass you, but it's true. I posted a "thank you" comment here but it looks like it didn't "take." That I lasted over a year as a blogger is largely thanks to you, and to a precious few others. Your blog leads in this, and in addition, you are a "Slayer" with heart and compassion. Not the "kill the narc bastards" type but rather, the "let me work on myself right alongside trying to understand others." Your attitude that the narcissists in our lives can still be BAD even if we admit some of our own foibles, that acknowledging the latter doesn't invalidate the fact of the former, makes you a role model.

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    2. Dear LadyNyo,

      Of course you should be in this group. Your mettle has been duly tested by an army-of-darkness and instead of silencing yourself in fear, you kept writing. This is not easy to do. In fact, it's terrifying because you know that whatever you write will be twisted beyond recognition and used against you. This is curious to me and very "telling" because people that are generous of spirit, give one another the Benefit of the Doubt. Unfortunately, families can be our worst enemies.

      I am sure that were you to stumble on a blog written by a family member, you'd "sense" their suffering, you'd "see" their courage, you'd "know" in your heart that they were doing what life called them to do (saying "no" to inter-generational dysfunction).

      I think that people who are "generous of spirit", realize that the work we do on ourselves through our writing, is sacred. And they respect that. This is a lot to ask of the narcissistic family that tries to win favor by "outing" family members. It reminds me of the Seed Pod movie, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" which I watch every now and then as an emotional cleanser.

      I love what you wrote: "Use your genius for recovery...self first (because we have been taught that we aren't nuthin') and give what you can do to the rest of the world."

      Happy New Year to you and your family!! May 2014 bring us honor for fighting the good fight, and joy for finding friendship.

      Love
      CZ

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    3. Dear CS,

      I am getting use to you embarrassing me. When I see your name, I prepare myself for blushing but it's the good kind of blush. The kind that "heals" your broken heart one compliment at a time. I'm not sure what you write is a compliment---it feels more like appreciation for my peccadilloes, my individuality. It's like you see me and you love me in spite of my peculiarities. ha!

      That thought leads me to consider why it's "embarrassing" when someone sees us for who we truly are (and not the image they want us to be). Growing up in a narcissistic family can teach us to find comfort in our "false self", the one we painstakingly put together because we feel accepted and competent when we meet other people's expectations. Then along comes a friend who sees beyond the surface of propriety and says "I love your equanimity." And suddenly the shell breaks and we know she sees us as an individual, unique from herself OR through an agenda. I think you do that for people so naturally that you don't even realize you're doing it. You validate the real person and they know themselves even better than they did before becoming your friend.

      I did not even know I was equanimitous. ;-P

      I also love your closing line: " the narcissists in our lives can still be BAD even if we admit some of our own foibles, that acknowledging the latter doesn't invalidate the fact of the former.."

      Absolutely! Well-said!

      Love
      CZ

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    4. CZ, what you say here really struck me:
      "And suddenly the shell breaks and we know she sees us as an individual, unique from herself OR through an agenda. I think you do that for people so naturally that you don't even realize you're doing it. You validate the real person and they know themselves even better than they did before becoming your friend."

      This is the nicest most valuable thing you could say to me. Because it's something I've honed from my years as an academic advisor. When you direct dissertations, you have to listen to your students over the course of several years, from teaching them in classes, to mentoring them through quals, then directing them in an "original" research project. Good advisors learn to listen for the patterns of their students' OWN interests, AND the WAYS in which their students think, in order to give the most useful advice. No graduate student can produce a good dissertation if they are simply parroting their advisor. So I work very hard to "hear" their patterns of thought, emotional sensibilities, the ways they engage whatever they are writing/talking about, and then to "pull" that thread out and show it to them. To make themselves visible TO themselves. It's not unlike being a therapist in some ways. Over years I've learned to respond to people's writing with exactly this sensibility. This isn't bragging, it's a result of the work I've done for many years, to 'hear' who someone is through their writing and mode of engagement. That's what makes a good interlocutor.

      The thing I've LOVED about this process with you and my other friends here and at their own blogs, is that I have gotten a keen sense of each of you as individuals with your own sensibilities and patterns of response. And you do the same for me. You did it when I was bullied, as did Kara, and Molly, and a few others, who'd read me carefully enough to "hear" that I was being "mischaracterized" (to put it mildly. Evil manipulator? I should be so skillful). And my FOO has always mischaracterized me. What hurt me the most about both my parents over the years was that I had spent so much LANGUAGE on them, talking, trying to communicate who I was and they just refused to "hear" any of it. Their characterization of me just remained exactly what THEY needed it to be, so they could keep me in the role of "troublemaker," "ingrate," "know it all," whatever it was that let them bond by dumping FOO dysfunction on me. So hearing who someone is, really listening to them over time--whether in person or through their writing--is a true gift to give to others. All of the friends here have that gift and it's undervalued in this "tell-all," "show-all," culture where everyone FB's and Twitters everything and no one really listens to anyone else. Phew. Talk about long-winded! CS

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    5. Perhaps your training allowed you to break through the narcissistic grooming of childhood. Instead of repeating the narcissistic pattern, you broke through it--seeing your students as individuals, valuing their uniqueness, and listening, truly listening to them because you cared. In this day and age, your investment of time and energy in their lives is a miracle. I feel that in most relationships today, people either don't have the attention span, or just plain don't care enough to invest time listening to one another. It's like, "Hey, you already told me your mother was a bitch. I don't have time to hear you complain more than once!"

      That "3 strikes and yer out rule" applies to friendships, too. If you make someone feel 'bad' three times in a row, yer toast. These days it's all about how we make people feel...and listening to people carefully means we're not gonna feel good all the time. Life is a series of miseries we learn to live with. Find someone who cares enough to hurt with you. And then go have ice cream together. ;-P

      Love
      CZ

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    6. I noticed your equanimity early on, CZ, before I first left a comment on your blog. I noticed how you handled a weirdly borderline aggressive commenter named "L," who disagreed about feminism so took to calling people "bitches" simply for their views. At one point you said something about commenters needing to treat each other with respect if you're going to let them post, and she came back with more aggro, at which point you wrote something like : "OK, this ends here." And that was that.

      I saw you do in on WoN forum as well; I think I intuited that you were trustworthy before I even began blogging. And my intuition didn't let me down. No matter the "swings" in your life, you always move back to a center "baseline": that's equanimity.

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    7. Hi CZ, Lady Nyo and CS,
      When I read CS's comments I see very much what you describe. You will pull out something I hadn't even thought about in something I wrote and it brings it out. That is a wonderful gift you have given me and your students.

      And the comment about how conversations have been reduced to catchy slogans and Twitter comments is very true. Real conversations, listening and hearing each other gets difficult in a world that attention can drop after the first three words someone utters. I love coming here to hear each other, exchange and laugh and learn. No hashtags ;).
      xxTR

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  2. Thank you CZBZ, my mentor and inspiration. I read you for months before finding the courage to leave those first few comments on your blog; your careful listening skills could detect that I'd been reading about psychology for some time. Your gentle prompt question: "Do you have a blog CS? If so I'd love to read it" gave me the guts to start my own blog. Your immediate courage standing up for me against some truly nasty and childish bullies gave me the strength to come back and start Caliban's Sisters (yeah, I'm blamin' that on you and my other blogger friends who stood up for me). Your blog is an archive, literally, that I consult and reconsult whenever I'm feeling bothered by something (which is, um, ALWAYS). Your gentle way of disagreeing with people, sometimes even odious people, is a model of restraint, and your gracious and self-deprecating style a constant reminder that at a certain point, the narcissism we need to work on most is that within ourselves, the legacy of narcissistic pump-priming laid-in by our FOOs (or in your case, your narc Ex). To be listed along with Kara, Lady Nyo, TReddy, Jan, and Sweet Violet is an honor. But first, last and always, as sappy as it sounds, YOU, CZBZ, are my "homepage" when it comes to understanding the legacy of pathological narcissism in my life. Thank you and Happy New Year!!!

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    1. I am so pleased that I could influence you to start blogging, CS! I'm even more pleased that you came through your initial bullying without leaving OR retaliating. That takes some kind of strength...you have a mighty sword (your pen) yet judiciously appropriate when and how to use it. Shall we talk about restraint? Even as ridiculous as the "Dustup" was, you found meaning in an absurd experience and yes, you conquered a few demons for having the courage to begin again (and risk trusting people again) .

      I have pretty much stuck to the message board process throughout my Internet Recovery. But the past year or so, getting to know my blogging peers more deeply has been extremely healing--beyond what I'd ever expected blogging buddies could do for each other. But let's face it, my friend, our blogs are not Sunshine and Rainbows. We talk and we talk DEEP and there's not a lot of surface slogans making us feel better with a five-minute-high. Sometimes the only way to feel better is to let yourself feel worse than you could ever imagine you could possibly feel. Take it deep and take it slow..that's my motto. Which means:

      A blog like mine attracts people like you (and my other consistent readers) and so our friendships are not as tenuous as some of the cyber-relationships I've experienced. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and write. Sharing insights. Sharing loss. Sharing kindness.

      I was thinking about the way we engage in conversation---from letter writing to twittering. How short and shallow and without risk, can we get as a species? We reduce our experience into fifty words and assume that's short enough for someone to care? What the______?!! Bring back those long long letters I used to write to my friends who were delighted to get a fat envelope in the mail...and vice versa. At some point, this current fascination with Surface Sunshine has gotta end. There's more to a human being than a catchy slogan with kitty in the corner.

      Now I'm getting crabby and its New Years Day. hahahaha!!! My nephew has been yelling for me to join the family for a board game so I'd best scoot upstairs. But thank you, sincerely, for your friendship this past year. It has changed my life. I feel beautiful again.

      Love
      CZ

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  3. Thank you CZ. I agree with you that learning to deal with Narcissists is only half the battle, we must also be able to see and deal with the Narcissism inside ourselves (or Nfleas as we also like to call them). Otherwise we are in danger of becoming the very thing we're fighting against.
    I like that you added "mutual reciprocity" to the criteria. Isn't that where the "antidote" to Narcissism resides? To be able to take and give back in return. To support and to give thanks to others who have helped us and to try to be there for them as much as one can?
    CS has already listed so many of your lovely qualities. For me the one quality of yours that stands out and I have learned so much from over this last year is Graciousness. There aren't a lot of role models nowadays for graciousness, so to be able to see it action through your written word has been a source of encouragement to me. Love you lots.

    Kara xx

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    1. Dear beautiful Kara,

      You SO deserve a Narcissist Slayer award! You have guided my recovery work towards myself: How does anxiety impact my health, my sense of well-being? Should I take my environment more seriously and stop neglecting my self? Am I repeating self-defeating behaviors because I feel guilty about taking care of me?

      Taking our recovery to this level of self-awareness has been wonderful and "healing." I never gave much credence to alternative medicine, so stuck in measurable data and research I've been. Then I tried burning a candle and my GOD it changed the way I felt and yes, I started laughing at my obstinate attitude. If it works and if I feel better, does it matter what Dr. Stick-In-The-Mud writes about aromatherapy?

      I love you for encouraging me to treat myself kindly. And for "slaying" my data narcissist.

      Love
      CZ

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  4. Just so everyone knows, I changed the settings on my blog to 'moderated comments' because the SPAM was killin' me. Over a dozen advertisements a day and then I'd have to delete the comments manually after they'd posted. I hope after marking spamfor a few weeks, I can go back to automatic posting.

    What I'd like to know is: DOES anyone honestly believe a witch doctor in Africa can bring their lover home? How stupid. It boggles the mind seeing ads like this in 2014. It leads me to believe someone is writing back and paying for spells. Say, I could use some income! How about emailing me twenty bucks and I'll cast a spell that's sure to bring your narcissist home, professing his undying love. My spell goes something like this:

    "ppsssttt...loverboy. Your wife just won the lotto...shaballa kaballa mefirsto. Your husband inherited ten million dollars...abracadabra meluvsu!"

    That'll get him home.

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    1. CZBZ--I live in Africa...moved here 10 years ago from California. And the answer to your question is YES...people DO believe this stuff! Nearly half of Americans do not believe in evolution...and there is a growing "fundamentalism" in the country that repudiates science in all kinds of matters, from vaccines to cancer treatment to nutrition. People who buy into beliefs that fly in the face of science are ripe for picking by the charlatans among us...and that includes the beliefs that African "traditional medicine" can do magic.

      Real-life example from the pages of the local newspapers: men invaded a crowded restaurant and robbed patrons. They had smeared themselves with muti from a local sangoma who promised them that they could not be harmed by bullets with this muti on. I had a stuffed toy lizard on the dash of my car and a black African man refused to rent an apartment from me because of the lizard's muti -- he thought I had some kind of magic and was afraid of me controlling him. My maid, who is a Christian, is certain her dead ancestors control her life and cannot make decisions without consulting them.

      With the movement in the US away from science and towards crystals and specious logic that leads us to believe having chicken pox is better than preventing them, it is no wonder that opportunists (who MUST be narcissists or their consciences would not let them do this) try to exploit the desperate, ignorant, and gullible. By pretending they represent "ancient medicine" like traditional African medicine, they suck in the vulnerable. All of my comments are vetted by me before publishing for the same reason you have begun: I feel responsible for what people read on my blog, even the comments. I would no more publish a troll whose comments can do nothing more than hurt my readers than I would publish the outright lies that come through my spam. Because people who are in pain are vulnerable and a lot of people who come to my blog are driven there by their pain.

      But yes...people DO believe this crap...and I am sure there are those who believe the handbills plastered all over the roadsides promising "penis enlargement" as well...for every human frailty and insecurity, there is a charlatan just waiting to exploit it.

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    2. Sweet Violet! you are sooooo right. Whether in Africa (where this stuff can be very dangerous, deadly, and outright violence producing) or in Mexico, or the US amongst the poor...this stuff IS believed. We have lots of "Madam Mary" places in Atlanta (a huge black population) where for $25.00 some woman who has ordained herself as a 'wise woman' will take the money of the poor and gullible and give back nonsense.

      They will spend that money on something like this.....money candles (candles to pray before for $$$$) love candles (return my straying husband back to me), candles and spells to bedevil enemies. Think of the power of voodoo on a whole population here in New Orleans. Recently, a young woman kept writing to me from the Middle East. She was a woman who attended the zar rituals ('to cast out demons') and was estactic crushing the neck of a poor hen before all the other people. She was sprayed with blood and thought this wonderful! I have some knowledge of the zar ritual, wrote about it in "The Zar Tales", and I know its origin, but I refused to publish her comments about the chicken killing and her excitement about all this. She hounded me for a few weeks as to "why not???" (she was very persistant) and finally I told her that I found her superstition to be off putting, and though I EAT chicken, this was rank cruelty. She has quieted down...for now.

      But this is another example of the behavior of desperate (and sometimes just bored...) people. You are so right when you say: for every human frailty and insecurity, there is a charlatan just waiting to expoit it....and remove your cash from your pocket.

      Hugs,
      Lady Nyo

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    3. "People who buy into beliefs that fly in the face of science are ripe for picking by the charlatans among us." ~Sweet Violet

      While it shocks me that people would be so gullible as to send money for a Love Spell, it's not that surprising. I bear the burden of a few superstitions myself but make a conscious and deliberate effort to Think Critically.

      When we are suffering, we'll grasp at anything promising to ease our pain. People are vulnerable when they find narcissism/psychopathy blogs and I get furious with people who seize the opportunity to serve themselves. They would most definitely have a higher degree of pathological narcissism or even "almost -psychopathy" to be able to profit on people's pain without a shred of conscience. (The whole "Secret" phenomenon) But hey, that's how the financial world runs and as a society, we become less and less judgmental about "how" people make their money as long as they make LOTS of it. It appalls me the way some people look at riches, never questioning the means.

      But I am the perfect target for a narcissistic partner because I have a moral compass big enough for two. haha!!!

      I was joking around a little bit with the Magic Spell comment...I know there are people in the US who believe in spells like this. It happens all the time in our recovery community---people paying money for a telephone healing or a psychic reading and other such nonsense. But as I mentioned to Kara, I tend to be an extreme skeptic because my mind was "too open" and "too suggestible" for "too long." ha!

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  5. Yes, I agree...the conversation here and on other blogs from people here ...is deeper and more healthy than those blogs I have found over the years on narcissism. I feel like I am part of a pack of strong wolves. And I think that after a lifetime of feeling an outsider, for so many reasons, but they all come back to the self-identidy that we were forced to swallow as children. I am speaking to those of us who had those 'kind' of parents.

    And in this, I was thinking of what strength means. and what healing means...It's probably not too different for all of us, just at different stages with the individual.

    However, I feel that by the very purpose of our investigating the roles of family narcissists, by our understanding of narcissism in its heavy layers over our lives, that we are not subject to the type of narcissim that we experienced...perhaps it's again in the degree of narcissism.

    Everyone of us struggle with these fleas, as Kara mentioned...but fleas ain't the whole dog. They are just our awareness of what we have experienced and behaviors we have been subjected to...and perhaps in many cases they feel ...'normal'. But our conscious minds know that they aren't. The behavior of narcissists distort humanity, and I think that those of us, and that is all of us here...have gone through a refining fire on this issue. We are changed because of our experiences....we have been able to weigh the factors in this issue and we see what chaos narcissists and narcissism wrought in lives.. Therapy and people on this board make all the defining difference.

    One other thing. Regardless how much we have healed and walked forth in the world with confidence....those narcissists that we have left behind will never change. And they won't change their attitudes, opinions about us....because they need to believe in those ways about us. It is the one thing that justifies what they do to us. We still have no value to them.

    We find the value in ourselves in what we can do, and this begins the healing. It doesn't matter how big or small those first steps are, but believe me! They begin to roll downhill and years of abuse and self-abuse fall off your shoulders. You come into yourself and you can move mountains. Or so it seems.

    This year, 2014 is going to be a stellar year for all of us! I feel it in my growing gut!

    Love, Lady Nyo

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    1. I agree Lady Nyo, just cause we have fleas doesn't mean we are the whole dog. The fact that we have worked on this, explored, learned, read about narcissism in all its permutations means that we are actively seeking to understand, and willing to work hard to do it. Even if that work is, finally, on our own emotions since our "narcs" will never change. We are different. I think of us, though, as a pack of strong elephants who have walked through the plains and valleys and made it with little water or nourishment, until we finally found a deep well together. Our blogging feels like the well that does not run dry.

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    2. ps I just caught your "I feel it in my growing gut!" I feel it in my own growing gut. Maybe the "elephant" metaphor was ill-chosen!!

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    3. LadyNyo wrote: "I feel like I am part of a pack of strong wolves."

      I LOVE that you said that. A dear friend of mine who helped me organize WoN, said "Women who run with wolves" was her Bible. I bought two copies after that. One for my bedroom and one for my office. You took me back a few years and made me feel tough and wild running with a pack of women. But tell me, are you wearing your red shoes or should we be wearing UGGs?

      LadyNyo wrote: " I feel that by the very purpose of our investigating the roles of family narcissists, by our understanding of narcissism in its heavy layers over our lives, that we are not subject to the type of narcissism that we experienced...perhaps it's again in the degree of narcissism. "

      I'd like to address this because I don't want people to think that the narcissism I deal with is comparable to the pathological narcissism that destroyed my X. Believe me, there's a HUGE difference and that is probably why people are resistant to talk about narcissism in a less than pathological way. Comparing "my" unhealthy narcissism to his is like comparing Mount Vesuvius to a steaming tea pot. I'm the tea pot. I can shut off the heat myself once I figure out where the controls are. There's not a whole lot of anything to be done about volcanoes.

      As far as 2014 being a stellar year for us, I think you might be right. No data as to what might be coming up but I can feel in my bones that it's gonna be good.

      Love
      CZ

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    4. UGGS!! I got my first and only pair 4 years ago at Xmas from my husband. It was so cold that year (and this is the South) that I wore them in bed for three weeks. LOL!

      I am so slow about fashions, trends, that I didn't realize until recently that they were UGGS...I thought they probably were a knock-off...fell off a truck...you know. But I do wash them in the washing machine because over the past 4 years they are my designated work books, shopping boots, bring in the wood from the wood pile boots, and recently...last week...they saved my shins from a beautiful and MEAN rooster.

      Those RED shoes are in a box in the armoire. And they will stay there until the Hungarian Ball February 1st...where I will mark up the floor amongst people that I can't understand or speak the language. I'm wearing black and gold Japanese prints and the flash of red (and the noise) will at least get my big feet noticed. LOL!

      Love, Jane

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  6. Thank you for including me in your list of awards...on the one hand I am proud and pleased...on the other hand, that ACoN "I don't deserve this" feeling just reared its ugly head.

    Like many other bloggers on the topic of narcisssm, I merely share a lot of my own internal processes. The most painful letters I get are from people who want to know when it will be over, when they will be "healed," when they will be "normal." I hesitate to tell them my truth, which is that it is never over...it is part of my life path and will end only at the end of my life.

    I say this because in the decades I have been teasing apart the puzzle of my childhood, NM, and FOO, I find that that more I learn, the more I realize I have to learn. New insights happen regularly, and each time I thought I had the puzzle solved and laid to rest, something new popped up. I have now come to the conclusion that learning about and resolving the issues of my upbringing will be a lifetime project. It is not something that gives me anxiety or distress...just the realization that I am still figuring it out and probably always will be. My blog is a sharing of all of those "figuring it out" moments, a "ride along" on my research forays, all written with the intent of figuring things out for me and, hopefully, giving some insights to others along the way,

    I am honoured in the company that you put me, for the blogs you list are among my favourites as well. They have inspired me, comforted me, enlightened me---as have you. Thank you very much for your consideration and kindness in granting me the award and I will do my best to not disappoint in the future.

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    1. You are so welcome, Sweet Violet! I don't know why something like this hasn't been done before. Although wait. Maybe it has been done before and I didn't get nominated...ha! It's been such a pleasure acknowledging the hard work of my peers AND be recognized for my contributions, too. I must send PhoenixRising another "thank you."

      That you had the typical ACoN reaction when being honored, is no surprise. Maybe that should be an ACoN test? If someone compliments you, do you automatically think of ten reasons why you should not be complimented? Do you automatically dredge up a list proving you really aren't as good as people think you are? Do you fear someone is gonna shoot yer ankles now that you're in the spotlight?

      It might be even MORE difficult receiving praise than giving it. In this case, you have done so much to help others while also helping yourself and I hope you know how valuable your contributions have been and ARE.

      I appreciate your sentiment about your personal work never being done until you pass away. This mirrors my perceptions, too. Recovery becomes easier overtime in my experience, the first few years being the worst. After that, you can almost be excited when something 'old but new' rises from the depths of the unconscious.

      Love,
      CZ

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  7. I agree that receiving praise is harder than giving it. It seems this is a standard for ACONs. I deflect praise as if I don't deserve it...and we certainly know the syndrome.

    Very recently, on the advice of my dear, rattling old therapist I started again on a book: "Memories of a Rotten Childhood". These are scenes of life as I remember it growing up in a narcissistic family....father now dead, but NM and FOOs have all, over the years, revealed themselves to be crack Narcissists. As I was writing what I thought were childhood memories of skating parties, neighbors, etc....there were so many 'other' memories that floated into my brainpan. These were painful things that had been shoved down so far that only in the process of writing 'on the surface'....did they come floating up like corpses from my childhood. Murky things, thoughts, became clearer as they hit the surface and page and I started to see the connections of behaviors and events.

    I don't know how far I can go with this, frankly, because it is very painful. But it IS therapeutic. I would encourage everyone here to start writing their own 'memories', see what was around you then, and the connections. The more I remember and write, the more I realize that these things of my parents/foos/neighbors/teachers/ childhood friends, etc...were not isolated events, incidents, but were joined together by a pervasive mentality or pathology. I have structured these chapters in 'scenes' and then 'footnotes'...not at the bottom of a page where no one reads them, but as tangential chapters themselvs. There is so much coming to the surface, so much disruption, etc...things I never thought to talk to therapists in 30 years about....skirting around the surface of decades....that I feel in control of my past for the first time! I feel that I can follow a thread here, one that I had buried because of the trauma of childhood and it always lurked right under the surface: it was me that refused to 'go deeper'.

    Now? In writing about these things, I realize that shame is not my burden...it is the burden of uncaring adults all around me....relatives, neighbors, priests, etc...those who rejected us children because of their confusion and hatred of my mother.

    There is such relief in putting it all down, and making it 'real'...taking it from the shadows of the past and bringing it to the light of day. It also reinforces in me that NC is the correct and only path for me to follow because the behavior of family narcissists don't change....but I can! I can walk away from their constant slings and arrows and just try to live in the light.

    Many of our blogs do this, but for me,...just writing it as frankly, as plainly, as unvarnished as possible...more a book to ME....looking at all the alcoholic and crazy behavior of parents from the 50's on....it gives a satisfaction and peace. Knowing that, reinforcing that we were innocent children thrown into a cauldron of parental abuse and emotional abandonment makes me realize just how much we are able to survive and prosper. "Rotten" is a book I started 5 years ago, and couldn't continue but now I can. All your blogs I read have helped enormously in this.

    With love and hope~!

    LN

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    1. I cannot wait to read "Memories of a rotten childhood". You are a marvelous writer and your ability to put emotions into words will help people who can identify with your story. Yes, of course you help yourself but women-of-a-certain-age are notorious for "serving others", ha! As long as we're helping someone else, it's okay to help ourselves. ;-P

      It's so rewarding to know that my (our) blogs have inspired you to finish "Rotten." I know it's been very hard to continue doing this work since your beloved therapist passed away, but I'm so happy to know you're ready to move forward. I think your story will be remarkable, full of insight and hope. Please promise me an autographed copy!

      To 2014~

      Love
      CZ

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  8. Hi CZ,
    Thank you very much. I was lost when I started this journey, searching the internet trying to disentangle woven thoughts. Through the blogs you listed and others I became to understand something that felt so overwhelming and scary.

    I have found much of an anchor in your writing. I was so keen and maybe I needed it in the beginning to look at narcissism as something evil and then as I read more I began to see me in it. It was that that was my true fear in reading everything about narcissism. It was me in all of it that was the scariest of it all. And as I read, in the beginning not commenting, I began to understand it through your kind, gentle and humorous take on it. And part of the information you have shared has challenged many of my thoughts and for that I am truly grateful. For you and others to challenge how I think is to face many of the thoughts I grew up with thinking it was okay to behave like this, when, in fact, the opposite is true. But in the same sense, there is compassion and no ridicule in seeing it in ourselves. That is one of the best gifts I have received from sharing with you.

    Happy New Year! Looking forward to 2014!
    Love, TR

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    1. Hi TR! I think people go through a natural "polarization" process when first learning about NPD. The narcissist's empathy deficits and callousness is like an Alien Experience; so I also saw narcissism as a condition in others, not in me.

      If we can tolerate being aware of our own unhealthy narcissism, then we can dig into the meat-and-potatoes of narcissism as a pathology, not a normal developmental process where some of us get stuck. If we grew up in narcissistic families then it makes complete sense that we might have a few areas of "self" that need closer attention and care.

      I'm so happy to get to know you through the supportive ACoN community. As I've mentioned before, my connections were with people in forums, not blogs. So this has been a new and rewarding experience and i thank you for being open and honest about your process, too!

      Love
      CZ

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  9. The evils that the NPD's I've met have dealt out, victims need to group together - as any persecuted minority does. If only someone had told me how to detect the walking dead, would have save me a whole lot of pain. We need to be the protectors. What’s the equivalent of holly water and garlic ?

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    1. When someone is 'victimized' by a pathological narcissist, they need to be reconnected to others and group support allows them to make those connections while learning about NPD. Group support reunites victims with other people and themselves. They realize they aren't alone, that other people care, that the world is not filled with nasty people.

      I fully agree with your comment that "victims need to group together" and cyberspace communities are an excellent choice. Educating ourselves about pathological disorders will 'save us a whole lot of pain.' How can anyone know they're dealing with someone who has a NPD if they don't know what NPD is?

      What's the equivalent of holy water and garlic?

      Maybe a Golden Rule-r. Such as "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself." This means mutuality, reciprocity, a two-way street. Expecting "mutual respect and regard" would frighten most narcissists away; so maybe The Golden Ruler is an important tool to be stored in a Slayer's backpack.

      Ha!
      CZ

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  10. Great post, and great website. Thanks for the information! Continuum South

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