Month: August 2012

You Don’t Have to Dance for Them: The Beauty of Blogging

Upsi, who runs a blog about her experiences with her narcissistic family, ended up much in the same boat as I am when her family found her blog.  I find comfort in reading about this, as she tried to go no contact but her family kept trying to argue with her over how they were portrayed.

From You Don’t Have to Dance for Them: The Beauty of Blogging:

When I started this blog, I was a girl with a story.  I wanted to tell it for people who might be interested.  I wanted to be anonymous, to protect the “real lives” of all involved.

When NM found the blog, it changed.  It had to, because of the nature of the story.  She FOUND it…..

 

You Don’t Have to Dance for Them: Wrong Tree

Upsi, who runs a blog about her experiences with her narcissistic family, ended up much in the same boat as I am, when her family found her blog.  I find comfort in reading about this, as she tried to go no contact but her family kept trying to argue with her over how they were portrayed.

[Update 8/24/14: Upsi’s blog no longer exists.]

From Upsi’s blog You Don’t Have to Dance for Them, the post “Wrong Tree“:

Sent today, after hearing back from FF on my first response: Dear Family Friend, I find it presumptuous that you hold yourself out as …

You think I’m a dupe?  That I’m living in a victim role and should have moved on by now?  Is it time for me to shut up on my own blog and put on a happy face?

You’ve got all the answers, huh?  I’m the problem, I’ve got to change, everybody else is just fine and dandy?

Telling the truth does not mean that I am seeking revenge, and discovering myself is no more an intentional humiliation of my mother than needing distance from her is abandoning my family.

Did you two have a heated chat on Sunday and you just had to reach out to me to parrot her perspective?  My mother can stop reading my blog any day.  That’s her choice.

I am leaving her alone, it is she who won’t leave me alone.  It is she who wants me to change, wants me to accept her bad behavior.

 

You Don’t Have to Dance for Them: Lucky

Upsi, who runs a blog about her experiences with her narcissistic family, ended up much in the same boat as I am when her family found her blog.  I find comfort in reading about this, as she tried to go no contact but her family kept trying to argue with her over how they were portrayed.

From “You Don’t Have to Dance for Them: Lucky”:

Narcs drive many people underground – afraid to have any kind of online presence for fear of how the Ns in their lives will use it against them.

Everyday, another great blog shuts down, disappears, closes up shop.  There are many reasons for this, one of which may be acceptance and moving on, but my gut tells me it’s mostly fear….

I feel strong and truthful to keep blogging, keep telling it how I see it, keep breaking silences inside myself one by one, even knowing that my FOO can read anytime.  I will not dance for them….

The shock of knowing everything I wrote here was read by my family took a while to register….

I’ve grown comfortable with it. In the end, I am who I am, this blog is my place to talk and think out loud and be myself. Take it or leave it. Read it or dismiss it. Respect it or call it fiction –that’s not why I’m here. Everyone has a right to their opinion.

One commenter wrote that she “had a brief scare” when she thought her brother found her blog, but she decided to be like Upsi and say, “Screw you!” and not give up her confidence and true self.

Same here….When my narcs first found my blog, at first I hoped they would finally understand me and stop blaming me for the end of the friendship with them.

Then as silence reigned, but they kept checking (3-4 times a day), I began to fear.  Then they turned menacing, actually threatened to sue, thwarted all my attempts to block them, began reading it constantly.

I was scared for a while–but now I’ve thrown open the blockers and let them back in.  I know they’re still checking, and may try to use my words against me, yet I blog anyway.

It’s a chance to finally have my own voice, to say what I want to say, to them and about them.  If they don’t like it, then tough.  They can’t sue me over this!  There are no real names and there are no lies/deliberate falsehoods.

As another commenter put it in Upsi’s post “Proof“:

It’s amazing how your mom’s friend and her daughter continue to gloss over the fact that it was your mom who went out of her way to go online and find your blog – your own online diary.

She read your DIARY – your private thoughts and feelings–and then shared them with anyone and everyone! They keep accusing you of somehow ‘torturing’ your mom and yet if she wasn’t so intrusive, she wouldn’t even know your words were out there!

Needing to Feel Safe: Going to same church as abusers

Recent posts addressing my blog stalkers seem to have brought them back out of the woodwork, which was predictable.  Hopefully I will now be able to heal faster because I told them what I did, and because I have not allowed them to intimidate me into silence.

(No, I don’t want to end up like the lady in Sunday’s Hoarding: Buried Alive, who has spent my entire lifetime–39 years–still stuck in her abusive childhood, and began hoarding because of it.  The main reason I write memoirs/blogs, and put past experiences into fiction, is to deal with this stuff and get it out so I don’t end up like that.)

When your husband keeps encountering them at the store (and going the other way), and you keep seeing them driving past you, not just a few times during the two years since your breakup but twice in the few days since you wrote such messages, you start to wonder if they’re following you or if your city is just too dang small.

(The same thing happened with my ex Phil, too, constantly seeing him drive or walk past me, making me wonder how often it was just coincidence.  Wondering if he parked right next to my apartment building, which I believe was against the rules for commuters, on purpose to rub it in my face that he had a new girlfriend just a couple weeks after we broke up.  But this is no college campus, this is a city of some 40,000 or 50,000 people, with thousands of cars driving these city streets every day.)

But at least they behaved at church on Sunday.  At the very least, I have to feel safe at church.

That’s what all abuse/bullying victims need when they go to the same church as their abusers: to feel safe.  Otherwise, they will stop going there because the stress is too much, the chance of re-victimization too high.  This contract addresses this: When the Abuser Is Among Us: One Church’s Response to a Perpetrator

This particular article refers to a case of sexual abuse, but the idea can be adapted to the needs of an individual situation.  Some quotes:

I explained that there is always a desire to push for speedy forgiveness and reconciliation, but that the church’s goal must be to be a naming and healing congregation, to model living with integrity. I identified three choices they faced as a congregation.

1)  Naming versus denial. Naming creates the environment for providing support for both the victims and offenders, allowing the congregation to work more openly and effectively. It requires saying, “Sexual abuse is a sin. If sexual abuse has happened among us, it is our business.”

2)  Offering safety or doing nothing. Of central importance was comforting and protecting victims, as well as working to prevent further violation. To the victims, they needed to say, “It was not your fault,” and “We are sorry this happened.”

3) Accountability or collusion. I explained that in responding to the abuser it was essential to focus on behavior, not characteristics; otherwise we may succumb to the great temptation of identifying with the perpetrator and the perpetrator’s pain instead of being focused on the victim’s pain.

Identification with him can mean that we feel anxiety over his being called to accountability and may prevent us from doing what he most needs.

Within Christian communities there is often confusion about calling to accountability in that we think that being loving and Christ like is releasing someone from their sufferings, rather than saying, “I will be with you as you experience the consequences of your behavior.”

…..I then read these powerful lines from Judith Herman: “All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain.”

I suggested that churches that are bystanders will be seen as churches for abusers. In fact, it turned out that some congregational members were disconcerted by the lack of response by the church leadership.

I asked where has Jesus’ voice been heard in all this? Where does our faith call us?

The congregation could either welcome the abuser, ignoring his behavior and thinking it was nothing that they had to do anything about (especially since it had now been adjudicated in court), or they could address his behavior, saying,

“Abusive behavior is a choice and I hold you accountable for it. We care enough about you to hold you accountable for it. There is a part of you that desires a better life, a healthier relationship.

“We will be an ally of that part of you that gravitates toward change, but we will continue to judge that part of you that resists change and hurts another.”

…..Message to the Perpetrator:
Abusive behavior is a choice and we hold you accountable for it. We care enough about you to hold you accountable for it. There is a part of you that desires a better life and healthier relationships.

We are an ally of that part of you that gravitates toward change, but we will continue to judge that part of you that resists change and hurts others.

We care enough about all people who desire access to this Christian fellowship to establish these guidelines for your access so that everyone may reasonably expect freedom from direct and indirect hurt.

I found this one day while Googling for others’ accounts of what it is like to see your abuser again, whether at school, church, in your family, around town, whatever.  What I found is that it is perfectly normal to not want to see that person again who has hurt you, to feel rage, to want them to go away. 

And why should you feel otherwise?  This is natural instinct, to be wary and upset around your abuser, even to lash back like a cornered animal if they try to hurt you again.  They’ve hurt you before, so they’ll probably try to hurt you again.

We need to listen to that instinct rather than those who try to tell you that you need to reconcile with this person, relax, whatever.  It can take many years to heal from the repeated traumas of being abused or bullied, but even then, we still need to be watchful.

Childhood bullies may just need to grow up and mature, but oftentimes, bullies do not grow out of it, while abusers often continue justifying their actions for the rest of their lives.  If we forget our past with that person, we could be re-victimized and have even more issues to work through.

Another article on that website, Structures of Forgiveness in the New Testament, has an interesting view of forgiveness as it relates to abusers and the abused.  In fact, there are various resources on that website dealing with church responses to abuse.

Also see It’s Perfectly Normal to Dread Seeing Abusers Again, Seeing Abuser is Rough for Abuse Victims, Especially When Abusers & Enablers Blame the Victim: Annie’s Mailbox, Fighting the Darkness: Seeing the abuser again, and Fighting the Darkness: Mutual Friends.

Desperate Measures–When Abusers Sense They’re Losing Their Grip on You (About a Luke173 Ministries Article)

Once upon a time, I used to have a pleasant fantasy.  In it, I would tell my birth-mother that her behavior was upsetting to me.

She would apologize, tell me that she would never dream of continuing to hurt me because she cares for me a great deal, and promise to stop her offensive behavior immediately.

Then, true to her word, she would never do it again, enabling our relationship to be happily restored.  Boy, was I living in la-la land.

When that never worked, I had a slightly more complicated delusion.  After I complained about her mistreatment, she would continue hurting me anyway.

Since it stressed me out to be in her presence, I would begin to avoid placing myself in that position.  I would begin to feel distant from her.

I might even decide to take a break from the relationship for a few weeks or months, of which I might or might not choose to inform her, to get my thoughts together about what to do next.

Mom, sensing my withdrawal, would realize what she was doing and become concerned about losing the relationship.  Afraid that she might really be driving me away, she would come to her senses, immediately stop her hurtful behavior, and make every effort to be as pleasant to be with as possible.

Her turnabout would enable me to enjoy being with her, and our relationship would be happily restored.  Yeah, right.  What in the world was I thinking?

If we were talking about normal people who truly do love and care for those who love them, this would really happen.

In fact, the reason we try to talk things out with a loved one who is hurting us is that we are hoping against hope for such a happy ending.

But those of us who have had the misfortune to try and reason with a control freak or an abuser quickly learn that there is almost NO CHANCE that this will actually ever happen in our situations. –Rev. Renee, Desperate Measures–When They Sense They’re Losing Their Grip on You

This article from Luke173 Ministries sounds very familiar, and I should hold onto it.  After being bullied constantly and then told that I was the abuser and deserved what I got, that I had to change my behavior for the bullying to stop–This article sounds so much like dealing with Tracy.

Like, for example, “Abusers will not respect our request for a break or for time to think.”  (What was her response to my request for a break, after all the venom she’d spewed at me made me want to spend many months away from her?  “Have a nice life and let me know when you GROW UP and stop being hurt over the consequences of YOUR BEHAVIOR.”)

Refusing to make allowances for the fact that I was completely missing her cues to have conversations, and rather than helping me know she wanted one, continuously getting mad at me for breaking all sorts of rules without even knowing I was breaking a rule, or what rule I was breaking.

Me begging (through Richard, since Tracy scared me) that she be nice to me so I could relax and feel comfortable enough around her to break through my natural shyness and reserve.

Me explaining (to Richard, since she scared me) that my reserve with her came from her nastiness to me and her abuses of Richard and the children, that those things had to change for me to break through my natural reserve, but there never was a change in her nastiness to everyone.  Rather, I was treated like my legitimate problems and complaints with her were just “excuses,” like I had no idea what I was talking about, like I was being the stubborn one who wouldn’t comply.

Me feeling like I was supposed to just put up with and accept her bad temper, but I was not allowed to struggle with the constraints of my introverted and NVLD brain, which causes all sorts of social issues which I did not ask for and still have problems with, because that’s how my brain works–Basically, she’s allowed to be as nasty as she wants to people, but I’m not allowed to have trouble reading people’s social cues or thinking up things to talk about.

(Their common response when others were upset with their behavior: Deal with it.  But I was not allowed to respond in kind.  Also, I was expected to put up with her moods and nastiness and never return an angry word back, but they’ve treated my standing up for myself as some sort of crime.)

Being treated as if she’s perfect and doesn’t need to change a thing, while I need to change everything about myself, and be forced into friendship (and sharing secrets with) someone who struck me as being emotionally and physically dangerous.

Never being sure where I stood with her, thinking for months that she was perfectly fine with me now, even having confirmation from Richard that she was perfectly fine with me now, only to find that she still was finding all sorts of reasons why my behavior did not suit her.

Her refusing to honor my request that she not use cussing or nasty words with me.

Her using the slightest capitulation as a chance to vent all the things I supposedly had done over the years, mostly things that had long since stopped and been apologized for, and then say she had far more to say as well, leaving me baffled as to what on earth could be left.

Me feeling like all the complaints I had ever had about her behavior, were being ignored and tossed aside as nothing, while her complaints about me were the only ones worthy of notice.

No matter how calmly and politely we request a change, things will go south fast.  Any attempt we make to have a loving and rational discussion will quickly degenerate into a crazy-making, nasty argument.

We will be left scratching our heads and wondering what on earth went wrong, and why a simple plea for a little consideration had to be blown up into such a big deal.

On the surface, abusers seem to have absolutely no sensitivity to others at all. But in reality they are acutely sensitive to their victim becoming stronger, beginning to heal, or pulling away from their toxicity.

Control freaks sense instantly when they begin to lose their grip on their victim, which will mean losing their ability to control her.  They are desperate to prevent that from happening, and will pull out all the stops to keep her enmeshed with them.

It also gives me an idea of what I need to do.  Escalating the argument, putting me on the defensive, making me her toy to play with as she wishes by pushing my buttons and getting me upset–This is exactly what she wants.

The e-mail she sent in response to my telling her to leave me alone (“Now I’m Being Stalked“)–that fits right in with the above cited webpage.  Basically, not only will she not leave me alone, not only will she not honor my requests, but she will step up her attacks by doing everything I don’t want her to do and poking and prodding me into anger and irritation.

It’s all a game for her; she did the same thing to Todd.  She can do or say anything she wants to me, but when she finally reaps what she has sown in my anger and fighting back and finally getting the balls to stand up to her, she acts as if I’ve committed some horrible crime and am accusing an “innocent” person.

She can certainly come to me in peace and forgiveness/repentance if ever she wants to.  But I don’t expect her to ever do this.

The only thing I can do is disengage, refuse to let her pokes continue to bring a rise out of me.  And yes, I know she’s going to read this, since they’ve been reading everything.

But I don’t post it for them, I post it for other people who are going through this, and I know there are many of you.

We have followed the story of Margo and her particular brand of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) for several articles (see links below).

We have also looked at how Margo took out her deep sense of insecurity by tormenting her younger sister Leah, who at twelve years her junior was for many years not able to control the situation that she was being subjected to.

Today we will examine how Leah finally took the reigns and removed Margo’s power once and for all….

She next stated that she required Margo to make a choice. Either be civil to Leah or be silent….

This particular incident also shows that when Margo was faced with the reality of losing her only sibling forever, she made no attempt to try to rectify the situation and actually attempt to have a normal relationship.

This is because Margo and people like her cannot truly care for others, and Margo certainly never really loved her sister otherwise she would have been distressed at the possibility of losing her forever.

Such is the lack of feelings for others that Margo prefers to have no family as she does not possess the emotional skills to deal with the situation she found herself in.

And Leah is happy that she got rid of a sister who was nothing but a millstone around her neck. –Beth McHugh, The End of Margo’s Reign of Sadism