This is for my daughter.
I love you
Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.
As my landmark birthday rapidly approaches, I find myself pondering the experiences I have undertaken just in the past year.
About this time last year; I was fatally dancing with sadness and believing my life was at its peak. It wasn’t going to get any better than this. I knew I was just dealt a really bad hand and I was lucky to be taken care of as bad as it was.
Then, I got brave and smart. You know how that story goes; I have recited it many times and it was only the beginning of the rest of my life…….
I have seen things that I thought only belonged in dreams. I’ve heard, smelled, tasted and felt pure happiness. I dance in the rain and sing in the wild like there isn’t a care in the world. I can genuinely smile, and love and no amount of badness can stop me!
As I have learned on this journey, there has to be two sides to everything. If there is a black, then there is a white. A left then a right. A front and a back. Happiness then there has to be sadness.
But, the sadness is off balance.
I see more and more, people build these bubbles around them. Sometimes it starts off as a child; they don’t receive the foundation of love and security and nurturing, and boundaries and lessons. Learning what is right and wrong. What hurts and what doesn’t. As they grow older, they learn a bad lesson, not to trust others- only rely on themselves. And their bubble gets bigger and bigger to protect the fragile being inside.
We all have a little of this bubble around us.
My bubble was massive
As I sing and dance and smile along on my wonderful journey, a stone is randomly put in my path and I trip and fall down really hard (because my head is in the clouds and I’m not paying attention to where I am headed.)
I have fallen many times before. I get angry and shake my fists at the universe wondering why I get knocked off my kiester yet again. Haven’t I learned enough yet? Apparently no.
Fears and expectations.
The lesson for me this time as I circle back around and work another layer of that proverbial bubble; is fear and expectation. This is a toughie. You see, I still have expectations of how things should be or how people interact. I still feel like I need to be in control of everything. But, as you see the words on this page it doesn’t make very much sense. How can I possibly be in control? I am but a tiny spec in this massive universe. There are much bigger beings floating around taking care of things I can’t even possibly see or even fathom it is happening. I am only a servant. I have to learn to let go, trust, and have faith. I only have the power to control me. My behavior, my actions, my reactions, my acceptance.
Once I realized I cannot control, or expect a specific result or action; the weight just lifted off my heart. I then started changing my thinking pattern to what I can control and that is whether I want to learn and grow from these lessons and go back to dancing and singing in the rain.
Fear is the same way. Usually, a fear stems from the unknown. My mind goes into overdrive, and
I start creating worse case scenarios that may or may not happen. If I stop and pin point what exactly it is that is scaring me,
I can break it down into more manageable pieces, and chances are, it is my reaction that causes the particular scary outcome.
I feel like this is another one of my rambling stories with no conclusion, so I will try to make one up….
When you are feeling an emotion that you are expecting a particular outcome, when that power belongs to someone else; stop and think and look at it from your shoes. What can you do to change the outcome?
Thank you for reading and if you have thoughts please feel free to share.
We were Talking
About the space between us all
And the people
Who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion, never glimpse the truth
Then it’s far too late-when they pass away
We were talking
about the love we all could share
When we find it, to try our best to hold it there
With our love
We could save the world-if they only knew
Try to realize
It’s all within yourself, no one else can make you change
And to see you’re only very small
and life flows within you and without you
We were talking
about the love that’s gone so cold
and the people who gain the world and lose their soul
They don’t know-they can’t see
Are you one of them?
When you’ve seen beyond yourself
Then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come when you see
we are all one
and life flows on within you and without you
Lyrics by the Beatles
Dedicated to John Kauffman
My brother, a soul that was too good for this world
Looking back on my life the past 30 something years, I have recently discovered that I was trained to be a useful, compliant appliance for most of my adulthood.
My first relationship with a narcissist I was about 20 years old and being a young single mother, I was a perfect target for a low level somatic narc. The relationship started out with the usual love bombing. I was lavished with gifts and expensive outings and the usual tactics. Once he had me ensnared, the training and devaluation began. For fifteen years I was controlled by food, sex, money and self-worth.
It started out with my ‘non skill’ of cooking and cleaning. I didn’t keep a house properly. Never mind that I was going to college full time and taking care of his 2 children as well as my young toddler. That was not important for a good woman; or rather a good appliance. I had to keep a clean house and prepare meals a particular way and of course it was never good enough. He went off and did his guy things and I stayed at home taking care of home and children. Like a good appliance.
If I ever spoke up to defend myself, I was immediately knocked back into place with verbal and sometimes physical tactics. As the years went on, the physical tactics became more frequent. I worked a full time job and kept a spotless house, raised 4 children and cooked just like his mother.
As I grew older, I became more non-compliant. Somewhere deep in my being, I had a sense of survival. I would sneak and hide things that I knew I would get ‘in trouble’ for. Like cheeseburgers and cigarettes. I would even ‘steal’ money from the checking account to buy groceries to feed his family. Things I knew would get caught and have to ‘pay for my bad behavior.’ I also learned by staying drunk, it didn’t hurt as bad.
My second encounter with a Narcissist was about 10 years later. He was a completely different breed of narc; a mid-level cerebral type. He wasn’t very attractive had a doughy physique but seemed charming and intelligent. At this time in my life I still didn’t know about the concept of Narcissism and Empathism. I had no idea of the fatal attraction these types have for each other and the dangerous dance these two endure historically over and over again.
The relationship started in the predictable narcissistic handbook way, play by play. The first year of love-bombing. Then slowly the devaluing stage kicks in. Since I had already endured the physical and mental beating from my first narc, this one knew how to devalue with other tactics. As I was again working on another degree, he would make sure I was needed elsewhere so I couldn’t make it to class and he would leave cookie crumbs of his infidelity, to keep my mind spinning and twist it around that I was being jealous or controlling. His control tactic was money and convinced me I was unemployable and that I was a crazy drunk.
For six years I was convinced I was a dumb useless person and he was the only one who would put up with someone like me, that he was my only saving grace. I was, in my mind, a non-useful appliance.
But, there still was that sense of survival deep within my gut that reared her beautiful head. While he was gone on business trips, I would drink and text him things that I knew would push his buttons. He would go into a predictable rage just like clockwork. My fun little drunk game I learned to love to play. After one night of drinking, I decided to run away. I gathered up all the animals and drove to a seedy motel. Not one down the street, but downtown in the scary neighborhood. Of course after a few hours he found me with the tracking system in the car and my phone.
You see, being with a narc, no matter what type, will always be watching you. Your every move, and all of your habits. Any time your behavior is slightly different, the red button on their warning system flashes ever so brightly.
At this point, my survival intuition decided to come up full throttle. She showed me where to look for information about the phenomenon of empaths and narcs. It was like a ton of bricks just whacked me in the head! With the help of my children not giving up on me, my new found friends via support groups and info sites, I learned as much as I possibly could on the dangerous waltz of light and darkness.
After I untangled myself from the grasp of my narc’s tendrils, without his suspicions, which is very tricky by the way. (I had to keep feeding him fake empathy juice while detaching myself.) I stashed some money aside and when he least expected it, I took the dogs for a walk and never went back. The most successful part of this was going completely no contact. I even went to the extreme of setting my phone to factory settings and throwing it in the trash and deleting all social media accounts. I basically vanished for a while.
Even with all the knowledge I have learned, there are still parts of me that still want to behave like the perfect appliance. I am in a healthy relationship now, and have dealt with the dark shadow of self and am slowly learning that I am not an appliance but a human being. A loving, intelligent, highly empathic human being.
I am not a toaster, I am not a microwave. And I am certainly not a human robot that was programmed to be compliant and her only purpose is to please her Narc. One of the narc’s signature themes is to have a pet name for their appliance, as it de-humanizes their victims. Mine was Cherry from the movie Cherry 2000.
I was walking to the dollar store this morning to get some vitamins and cold/flu medicine to try to conquer this virus before it gets the best of me. While I was there, I picked up some dollar soups and snacks to supplement my meals that my family provides for me.
As I was walking back, I saw a sign that Taco Bell is hiring, so I grabbed an application. Then it hit me. Here I am, a college graduate, nearing 50 and I am applying at a fast food restaurant? So I can supplement my other part time job, so that maybe I can make enough money to afford a low income apartment with my son and maybe between the two of us we can make it work?
How about the 24 year old that just graduated from college and has $30,000 in student loans to pay for her Bachelor’s Degree, with hopes of landing a job to pay for her independence. She can only find temp jobs or jobs that require 50 hours a week and if she can hit sales, will make enough commission to make rent and car insurance. And hopefully have some left over for groceries.
Or the 30 year old that served honorably in the Navy. Trying to recover from a marriage gone bad and can only find mechanic or steel fabrication jobs for barely above minimum wage. And 60% of that salary goes toward his growing daughter for child support.
Last week when it snowed, and it was barely 20 degrees outside there was a homeless man trying to seek shelter under a bridge to block the bone chilling wind because the homeless shelters are completely full and have no choice but to turn people away. I can only imagine what this poor man’s story is.
Where is the opportunity and hope?
Don’t get me wrong. I am no stranger to working hard to make ends meet. In my days, I raised my flock and worked my full time job to pay for groceries and necessities for my babies. And like I have mentioned before; I am not uneducated. And I certainly don’t wish to tax the ever stretched out economy any further than it already is. I want to make my own way. I want my independence!
I remember 6 months ago when I left my bad situation, I was absolutely positive I would be back on my feet in no time. I have the know-how and skills to land a good job and I am the budgeting queen!
Here it is 6 months later, I have a weekend job that buys a few groceries and covers my necessary bills.
Where is my break? Where are all of these other people that are in the same situation, or better yet, in worse situations than me, where is their break???
When does it end and how do we fix it?
Fear is the most debilitating emotion in the world, and it can keep you from ever truly knowing yourself and others – its adverse effects can no longer be overlooked or underestimated. Fear breeds hatred, and hatred has the power to destroy everything in its path.
I fell. I fell down hard. This past month has been very hard for me. One of the hardest months I have had to deal with in a very long time and it isn’t over yet. That scared, lost little girl came rearing her head and she wasn’t going away until I hugged her tight, wiped away her tears and told her everything is going to be okay.
Sometimes on this great path of life, we have to face our dark side. I had to face mine. I had no choice. My higher Voice pretty much knocked me off my kiester and force fed it down my throat. Not fun to say the least.
I am scared and I cry. I cry A LOT.
So, I am taking my time and slowly working through each demon as they are thrown my way. Funny, most start with the word fear. Fear of abandonment, fear of being disliked, fear of being alone; there are more, this is only the beginning.
Each day I wake up, I have to make myself present in each and every emotion that I am going through. Anger, sadness, fear, hopelessness. I have to consciously remind myself of hope, love and happiness and keep working through these emotions like a crazy roller coaster ride.
You see, I am a little hard headed and have to go through these tumultuous emotions so I can grow, so I can experience the ultimate reward- Unconditional love.
I am learning though, for me to experience this love, I have to love myself unconditionally. Makes perfect sense, Right?
Here’s a New Year’s Resolution if I ever had one!
Anyone who is shedding their old skin and growing new skin is a blessing. It means we are growing- growing as a human. This reminds me of an old Beatles song that my dear friend showed me; and part of the lyrics go something like ‘with every mistake, we must surely be learning’. We never stop learning, and if we did how boring life would be!
Thank you for reading my posts on this wonderful journey of mine and if you have comments or insights I would love to hear them! I hope you have a Blessed New Year!
I was in a local store the other day after getting my first real paycheck and after paying my bills, I thought I had enough to get some much needed stuff. Thinking I had more money left over than I did, I grabbed some items that I was excited to purchase.
As I went through the checkout, I let the cashier know I was walking to make sure to put it all in one bag and double bag it. Well, as we reached the total, my card wouldn’t work. So, I had to slowly remove items until we reached an amount I could afford to buy. There were a couple of older ladies in line behind me that grew impatient as we slowly took off the items. Of course this encounter required a manager and although I wasn’t embarrassed, I became very humbled. I could’ve easily turned to the ladies waiting impatiently and making rude comments about me within ear shot- that I was homeless and am trying to get back on my feet after leaving an abusive relationship. After a few moments of contemplation, I chose not to say a word, as it was none of their business and walked off with my few purchases.
I am homeless. I live with my family and I have a part time job. Because of the area I stay, there is no public transportation, so the days I work I stay with my friend and he and my son drive me to and from my job. My son is also staying with some friends. He came back here to save his mom from the horrible situation she was in. So I do the best I can until I can get back on my feet.
You see, I left an abusive relationship. I was in this relationship with an emotionally, physically and financially abusive person for 6 years. With the help of my son and an online support group I finally got the courage to leave, and I left with nothing but a suitcase and my 2 dogs. My brother picked us up at a nearby school and have been living there since. My brother and his family provide me with a bed and my own room. I truly appreciate what they do for me. I went from driving a Mercedes and living in a big fancy house to having no car and no home and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
I also rely on my new found best friend and whatever he feeds and provides for me. I am very thankful for him, he has a huge heart and he takes care of me the best he can under the circumstances we are both in. He takes care of his widowed father and has for the last four years without a single regret in his soul.
I also have come to terms with that I have to apply for government assistance. I need to have a permanent residence so I can work on getting a full time job again to pay my way. I also need to see a doctor, I have had laryngitis for several months now.
I am not uneducated. I have an Associate’s Degree, many certifications and about 90 hours toward my Bachelor’s. So by no means am I unscholarly.
I never in my life thought I would be in this situation. But here I am, working part time and living in two different places so I can make it to my part time job. It is definitely an adventure. Good thing I have a positive attitude!
Since my new found minimalist lifestyle, I have grown a lot, spiritually and emotionally. I have let go of material attachments and have learned there are much more important things in life than our need for material possessions. I have found I enjoy each and every person I have come to know and love to hear about their life and experiences. I have also learned that each one of us has our own crosses to bear and life experiences we are dealing with.
I also never thought in my wildest dreams how some people forget what others are struggling with. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives and dilemmas and when certain situations cross our paths we automatically assume the worst about that person struggling in front of us. We are so quick to assume the young pregnant woman with her 3 year old using her food stamp card that she is unwed and is abusing the system. For all we know, her husband got laid off from his job and she is humbled or embarrassed by having to use food stamps. Or maybe she got brave and also left an abusive situation. Or the person walking into a café and paying for their meal with loose change. There are so many reasons why this person is living this way. The struggle is real.
Sometimes even our own families can judge our situation without justification. They get so wrapped up in their own demise and forget to look up.
I guess what I am trying to say here is, please before you cast stones on others, take a look at your own situation and take a step back and give that stranger or family member some consideration of their situation and by all means do not judge! I know this isn’t my normal content, but I felt a deep need to share my thoughts and experiences on this.
During the holiday season can be especially stressful, even for the most financially successful person. We should be considerate not only during the holidays, but, each and every day of the year. Each morning when you wake up and start the coffee before hopping in the shower, take a few moments and reflect and be grateful for what you have; and for those who are struggling and do not have please give them the common courtesy each and every one of us deserve.
Please like or comment your thoughts and please read more of my mindfulness at dianesthriftycupboard.com