Tag Archives: destroy

Thoughtful Thursdays #72 – Shame

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Shame will kill you and it is dangerous. Most suicides are shame based, addictions, acting out, aggression, violence are shame based. Shame is also a very social condition where we compare ourselves to others.

Shame effects intimacy, shame effects self esteem. Shame holds us back and makes us fearful of everything. Shame is pervasive, insidious, invisible and full of hatred

Shame shows up in toxic relationships and chaos. Shame shows up when you find yourself beating yourself up. Shame brings guilt, sadness, regret.

Shame will destroy your life. Shame shows up in not caring for yourself.

Shame shows up in the underachiever and overachiever. Shame will stop you from thinking.

Thinking is the only way to save yourself from further self inflicted injury be it emotional or otherwise. Thinking will grow your self esteem and see the possibilities of getting out of any mess you are in.

Brene Brown is a shame researcher and she says: if we share our story with someone who is empathetic, shame has no where to live, it cannot exist. This is where you will start to heal the pain of feeling shameful.

Think for yourself especially if you had toxic people around you when you were little. At any time in our lives we can mistakenly absorb shame because there are so many shame based people in our environment. Get rid of it. Stop believing lies about yourself. Test the lies and you will see they are not the truth. Challenge all notions of negativity. Shame is a useless, wasteful emotion.

We heal slowly one word at a time, one thought at a time, one breath at a time.

Find those who you can trust and who will lift you up. You will see that you can be the person you want to be by shedding the coat of crap loaded on you.

Take the risk. Take the chance. You can do it. I believe in you and I am absolutely sure you can shed the shame cloak.

Go ahead try. You will win. Do not let the enemy called Shame win. Period.

The Narcissistic Mother’s Game by Richard Zwolinski, from: http://blogs.psychcentral.com

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The Narcissistic Mother’s Game
By RICHARD ZWOLINSKI, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. ZWOLINSKI

Dear Therapy Soup Reader,

A woman in recovery from PTSD found that learning about her mother’s belated diagnosis of Narcissistic and Histrionic Personality Disorders freed her from much of her life-long guilt and shame. We’re sharing some of her thoughts she wrote down for you (with a bit of our editing).

Have you had a bizarre history of an on-again, off-again relationship with your mother who makes it truly impossible for you to maintain any self-respect because she uses and maybe abuses you? Even if you’re the kind of person who believes that both people in relationships need to take responsibility, it really may not be your fault. See if any of my questions resonate with you.

Does your mother ask how you are (and barely listens to you) just to get your stuff out of the way so she can talk about herself?

Do you feel a strange disconnect from her/with her?

If you have a cold, does she have the flu? If you dented the car was she in a six car pileup? If you got promoted did she get an Emmy? If you’re having a baby, did she invent a cure for botulism?

Does your mother seem phony or overly dramatic?

Do people who’ve never seen the two of you together find her charming?

Does you mother try to get your friends, spouse, associates to collude with her against you? Do the people in your life now “get it” and don’t find her charming any more?

Does your mother give your friends, her friends, doctors, even strangers, inappropriately expensive gifts and give you her hand-me-downs?

If you reject something she does she have hysterics, crying about how cruel and thoughtless you are and how she tried do hard to do good?

Did your mother ignore you as a child to the point where she would “forget” to buy you clothes, pick you up from activities, or feed you?

Does she say really hurtful things to you that land just under the radar—viciously cruel (perhaps even evil), but virtually no one else but you understands that it these are intentional put-downs? Does she generally do this when there are no witnesses or when there are witnesses that are “on her side”? Does she sometimes do it in front of your friends or spouse in order to gauge their reaction and see if they’ll align with her?

Does your mother deny your memories of events, even denying physical abuse? Does she employ several tactics to invalidate your memories, including dismissal of the importance of the memory, denial that the event occurred, breaking into hysterics and histrionics that effectively shut down all rational discussion, etc?

Does she “set you up”, promising you the moon (her love, a vacation together, a gift, a joint therapy session, a new car), reel you in with the bait, and then say that you misinterpreted what she meant and that none of that was going to really happen?

Did your mother leave you in dangerous situations—outside in storms, at home alone with known abusers, locked in basements, etc., when you were a child?

Did your mother ever take you shopping as a child and ask you to pick out your favorite stuffed animal or toy, then buy it, wrap it up with bows, and give it to the neighbor’s kid, watching closely to see (and enjoy) your pained surprise?

Does your mother almost always lie, even when it would be in her best interests or simply easier to tell the truth?

Does your mother usually forget your birthday or send you a wildly inappropriate and unwanted gift?

Did your mother ever move and not tell you her address for a while, a week, a month, years?

Did your mother indulge her every whim and fantasy, having the house feng shuied, getting in-home massages, buying expensive antiques, jetting to Europe to get her hair cut, but felt it it unnecessary to buy you clothes, shoes, books, toys or other basic things a child usually gets?

Is everything always about her?

Does she blame everyone else for anything and everything and never, ever takes responsibility for the emotional (and sometimes physical) wreckage she leaves in her tracks?

Did your mother ever try to get you kicked out of college, a job, a group? Did your mother ever get you fired from a job?

Did your mother ever come to your elementary/middle/high school/college/performance and laugh at you or pretend she didn’t know you? Did she tell other performers (and their parents) how wonderful their performance was, but say nothing about your performance or talk about you dismissively?

Did you ever run into your mother’s arms as a toddler, only to be pushed away in disgust?

Do therapists not believe you, until you show them letters and emails from from your mother or they get the chance to meet her?

Did your mother triangulate the family, demanding that her parents, your aunt, your cousins not have contact with you because it “upset” her? Did she do the same with your siblings? Does she create a web of lies and manipulate circumstances to keep people separate so they don’t figure out what’s going on?

Did your mother shower “love” and overwhelming attention on one sibling and turn the others into the scapegoat?

If your answers are “yes, repeatedly” to more than a couple of these questions, your mother might have narcissistic personality disorder and/or histrionic personality disorder ( she also may be struggling with some painful traits of borderline personality disorder or have traits of sadistic personality disorder* or maybe even anti-social personality disorder or a combination of these).

You may feel blind with rage and at other times that life just isn’t worth living. In some cases fathers can be enablers or were abusers, too. It can be hard because sometimes people who hear a story like this, even therapists, and they either don’t believe it or think you are exaggerating.

When you have a mother (or father or other caregiver) like this, your sense of reality is never really sure. That’s why I call it a game. And it is a game to someone with Narcissistic or Histrionic PD. The game is “Me Against the World”. The goal is to get everyone to watch me, need me, focus on me, be kept off-balance by me, be controlled by me, be destroyed by me.

In a way, mother is like a black-hole, empty as eternity. She is also a vacuum (yes, nature abhors a vacuum and mother’s constantly trying to be filled). But I also pity her—more than that, actually. I feel such sorrow for her suffering, because I believe she must be suffering. And I see glimmers of hope. Sometimes, I sense a pause in her emptiness as if her soul is trying to infiltrate the emptiness. Sometimes I sense genuineness. These moments are precious to me and I try to encourage them now that I am strong enough to not feel the arrows she slings at me.

What really helped the daughter, above, on her healing journey was information and meeting others who’d been through what she had been through:

About NPD here at PsychCentral

About HPD here at PsychCentral

About Personality Disorders here at PsychCentral

A brief video about how parents with NPD often divorce, and how their children can be victims of abuse, parental alienation syndrome, and suffer from mental illness and/or addiction, co-dependency and personality disorders including NPD, HPD, BPD, and other problems.

We love these brief YouTube videos by Toronto therapist Victoria Lorient-Faibish. She really addresses so many of the problems that people with parents who have PDs face, including co-dependency and parental alienation syndrome.

Note: Yes, of course a father could also have one or more personality disorders. Some personality disorders are more prevalent in males, some in females but in no way is this post aligning with bias or prejudice. Please remember that we are sharing a specific person’s story at her request and we did not choose the sex of the people involved.

*The diagnosis of sadistic personality disorder is no longer in the DSM and the upcoming DSM is apparently going to eliminate more personality disorders. However, the umbrella “personality disorder not defined” might still be used when multiple traits from more than one personality disorder are found.

Detachment And Other Stuff

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I had a disappointing situation this weekend. I had wonderful plans that were thoughtlessly canceled.  That led me to spiral down the all too familiar slippery slopes of despair. The disappointment was a reminder of a  past belief that no one can be trusted. That is something that drives me crazy: someone you can”t trust. Say what you mean and mean what you say. But was that belief the truth?

I tried to find a way to cope with the situation. Especially since  I have a tendency to over react at times like these by turning my emotions viciously into gut wrenching personal attacks on myself.

I needed to stop. It took about half a day of ping ponging between being furious at not having control over the situation to remembering I need to detach to get perspective.

Detachment , to me, is allowing situations unfold or fold up in their own given time. I am reminded that it is not my timing that make things work out for the best. It is not my controlling or fussing that makes things go any faster.  However I find waiting  really frustrating. I want things my way and now. Well, that is the nasty co dependent, needy side of me speaking.

The nasty co dependent, needy side of me reeks havoc on my life and relationships and especially my thoughts. Co dependency is a product of my past but still alive and well living in the outskirts of my subconscious, waiting to destroy what ever I perceive as a hurt.

What is the truth behind all of this?

1. It is my beliefs and thoughts that are causing my own grief. Yes, I have the right to be disappointed but having my thoughts whirl around like a squirrel in a cage is maddening and extremely unhelpful.

2. Things don’t always go as planned. I forgot this one. Sometimes it’s just a matter of a misunderstanding and perhaps a readjustment. Or not the right time. Or not in my best interest.

3. I can’t control what others do. It is not the end of the world if someone disappoints me. Other peoples poor behavior is a reflection on them not on me.

4. People are not always loving all the time. This is an opportunity to say Ouch at the disappointment but remain open, peaceful and hopeful with the situation.

5. Time always reveals the truth behind what ever is going on, whether I  like it or not.

6. All situations are mirrors of what I need to take a look at. Interactions with others bring up feelings. Believe it or not people don’t cause feelings. The feelings that come up belong to me.

I ask these questions:

What would it be like if I made the effort not to think about these perceived offences?

What would it be like if I made the effort to stop the rushing negative thoughts?

What would it be like if I said yes to everything as a form of acceptance?

What would it be like if I practiced being really strong for myself for a change?

What would it be like  if I made the effort to improve only my life by examining my own behavior?

What would it be like if I remembered just how darn lucky I am to realize that all situations are unfolding as they need to?

What would it be like if I remembered just how lucky I am to change myself?

I know that as time passes my feelings will subside and clarity will come forward. I will learn what I need to learn and move on. If I have not learned the lesson a similar situation will come up and I will be given the chance to examine myself again.

It is my good fortune and luck to be awake and aware enough not to crawl under a rock and hide from life’s ups and downs.

It is my good fortune and luck to not hide behind any distraction and sit with the pain however uncomfortable it is.

It is compassionate and rewarding to experience suffering to understand what others might experience. Here is the miracle of connection.

From my suffering I can relate to another’s suffering. I know the comfort I need so I can comfort another.

How fortunate to get to the point of letting it go. That does not mean I am not disappointed. I am just not going to invest any more emotional energy on it. I am releasing my attention to what happened.

Here is the crux of the situation. The arduous climb, the crucial point. Here is my chance to mature and be a positive influence to the world at large.

I thank all that were involved in aggravating me. This is another chance for me to get to know who I am.

You are my teacher and I am truly grateful.