Wednesday, April 23, 2014

paradox

When you find yourself in stark disagreement with something someone says
you may ask yourself,
can what I believe
and
what they believe
both be true at the same time?


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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

not a punishment



I was telling a friend of mine the story of how my father married my mother because she looked good in his Chevy convertible. I said that I must be his punishment for marrying my mother based on her looks. My father is a likeable, working class, warm funny guy. Having such a weirdo for a daughter must have been karmic retribution of some kind. My weidness was his punishment.

Without missing a beat my friend said, "Lisa, you're not a punishment. You're nobody's punishment."

The look on my face must have shown that I was rejecting his kindness like it was bitter medicine. He started imitating me, or rather my facial expression, by saying in Lisa-voice "nope nope not letting that in, nope"

It was funny and cute but scary at the same time.
Do I really see myself as a "punishment"?
That's terribly sad. 

I've bought into the negative things people have said about me and let the positive things slide as if they were said out of politeness rather than sincerity.

Can this set of negative beliefs be changed?
Worse than believing I'm a punishment is the possibility that I'll be a self-fulfilling prophecy and become one.

That would be even sadder.


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Monday, April 21, 2014

get out and get help


"But as you probably have already guessed 
(or experienced firsthand), 
when you are as thin as you can ever imagine, 
the people who didn’t love you before
 will still not love you,
 and the people who did love you before 
will love you still. 
People will come, go, leave, and die,
 no matter how much you weigh. 
 Talk about busting childhood myths. 
As children, 
we all believed that it was in our power
 to make our parents happy. 
If our mother was depressed,
 if our father was absent, 
if our parents fought incessantly, 
we were convinced that it was in our power 
to make things better. 
It wasn’t. 
But how we self-medicated those hurts with food
 was, and still is. 
Listening to me say this, 
one woman in my workshop said, 
...Losing weight does bring a feeling of lightness; 
more freedom to move; 
it puts less pressure on your joints. 
But it doesn’t pay the bills, clean the house, 
or prevent people from getting sick or leaving or dying." 
- Thinness, Happiness and the Illusion of Control: 
Let Your Heart Break by Geneen Roth


I still think I can change people. I still believe that if I change myself people will treat me differently.

It must be left over angst from my childhood. I desperately wanted my mother to stop being cruel to me, to stop provoking my father, for my father to make my mother behave differently, for my parents to stop fighting, for the bullies at school to leave me alone,
and like a precursor to a warped version of The Secret (when misconstrued turns into victim-blaming) I thought that if I could be different they'd be different.

This started in grammar school with the bullies who verbally abused me. If I went to an authority figure for help I was called a tattletale. Nobody likes a stool pigeon, right? If I fought back I was an instigator. If I didn't fight back I was a wimp. It all blew back on me while peers and authority figures all seemed to accept the consistent verbal abuse as something that just happens. The fact that it was happening to me seemed right and just to them.

I was kinda weird socially.  Weird people need to be put in their place, right? They need to know that they're socially unacceptable. They have to be kept outside the center of the herd, on the margins. Even the authority figures who are supposed to protect kids from being bullied turned a blind eye to the systematic abuse I suffered. And because my mother was belligerent and unreasonable no one alerted her to my situation because she was too difficult to deal with, nor did anyone inquire as to what might be going on at home to have caused me to be so undersocialized.

The authority figures at school also used the classic line, "You must have done something to provoke them."
It's me.
It was always my fault.

So, naturally I grew up believing that I was the one to blame for all my suffering. And as psychologists are confirming, children take on the responsibility for the way the grown ups behave. We grow up believing that if only we were more loveable we'd be loved. If only we could comply with some demand our parents made on our school performance, athleticism, talents,  looks, eating, body size, etc. we'd be "good" and the suffering would stop.

That's a tough one to outgrow. Society doesn't help. There are about a thousand times more seminars on women's self defense and how to avoid date-rape than there are on MEN NOT RAPING WOMEN. We just assume that rape and relationship violence happen and are a normal part of humanity. We prepare women to cope with it as if it's inevitable.

Same with bullying.
Same with growing up with a narcissistic parent
or being in a relationship with a borderline.
There are abusers and victims and we think that's just how things are.

Books upon books on how to cope, survive, get out, and heal from these abusers, but where are the interventions to help the abusers take responsibility for themselves? Maybe, MAYBE when they break the law they get into a program. I guess the abusers don't go looking for help since they don't take responsibility or blame. The victims are so busy self-blaming they take on even more responsibility for the situation so the helping-industry steps up to meet them.

The copers are struggling to cope.

Part of that coping is the understanding that we deserve better treatment and we can't change other people. 
Taking the responsibility of changing ourselves is not to say we're to blame. 
We can't change others by changing our behaviors.
We CAN set boundaries and we can get out
and  once we're out,  then we can get help to stop taking on the burdens that don't belong to us.






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Sunday, April 20, 2014

back to Galilee




Galilee is the place where they were first called, where everything began! To return there, to return to the place where they were originally called. Jesus had walked along the shores of the lake as the fishermen were casting their nets. He had called them, and they left everything and followed him (cf. Mt 4:18-22).




It means reviving the memory of that moment
when his eyes met mine,
the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.
-Easter Homily of Pope Francis in 2014

Tonight in our priest's Easter homily
he quoted Pope Francis who asked us today to remember that first time when we knew the Lord Jesus loved us.

I do remember.
I remember singing "Jesus Loves me this I know, For the Bible tells me so, Little ones to Him belong, They are weak but he is strong, Yeeees Jesus loves me!"
at the age of four. I'm not sure I fully understood the words, but I sang them with gusto.

Then in Sunday school the pastor told us that Jesus loves us so much he knows the number of hairs on our heads. He said that even we don't know how many hairs we have on our head, imagine the Lord loves us so much that he knows even what we don't know about ourselves.

That made an impression on me. I couldn't imagine being loved like that. Jesus must love me very much to care enough to know the most miniscule details about me. I believed it, but I didn't know how to feel it.

Tonight at mass I was moved to think on that again. The Lord loves me so much, He knows the number of hairs on my head. He forgives my most minuscule sins and gives me the freedom to start over again, to be born again in the hope that I will be moved to righteousness.

Righteousness is His commandment as found in the Book of Matthew reads:
 
37And He said to him, "'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' 38"This is the great and foremost commandment. 39"The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'…

That is the righteousness that I strive for. To love all the way up to God, through others, and then back down to myself. It's an easy route. Jesus blazed the trail all the way up then back to me. I just have to follow.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

holy saturday 2014




 And there was Mary Magdalene,
 and the other Mary,
 sitting over against the sepulchre.
 - Matthew 27.61

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Friday, April 18, 2014

dream it


There is never a good desire in our hearts
that doesn't come with a built in way
to achieve it.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

speak up anyway

Not everyone will understand.
Not everyone will agree with your sharing your experiences publicly.
Not everyone will have sympathy.

You'll be accused of being ungrateful, of airing your dirty laundry, of exaggerating your suffering, or you're told to just get over it.

Nevertheless, don't stay silent.
Hear yourself speak out loud. You lived through something real. You can't get healing and support if you don't acknowledge the wound. Find a group online or one that meets live.

I blog and vlog. I need to externalize this pain so the wounds can heal. They need the air.

I will overcome the isolation and shame.

I'm not done speaking.

I am the daughter of a mother with NPD. At 49 years of age I am still piecing my heart and mind after an emotionally difficult childhood. Being the parent to one's parent is difficult. When that parent doesn't even know the pain they're causing the isolation, shame, and emotional burden can be devastating to the child.

Here is a video blog I made yesterday after a difficult time with my mother.
Click here
http://youtu.be/L0ZrH8HtVVU
or click below
 

For more information on mothers with NPD go to http://parrishmiller.com/narcissists.html

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