I have had some amazing experiences over the past few months. I must say that my stress level is a little high right now, but I know God has got me in His hands, yet again. Last night I had to re-apply lavender several times to get into a good, deep sleep. And I kept praying over and over again. It is amazing when you opt to pray over all the blessings in your life, leaving the rest of it to the side, and in God’s capable hands. And I needed some restorative sleep; I really did. And the peace, and sleep, came. It was nice. I was recently told that if you wake up and can remember everything you dreamt, and in detail, you are not getting enough REM, or that deep and restorative, sleep. I am happy to report this morning that I don’t recall any dreams, just the prayers of thanksgiving that sent me into that deep REM state. God is good.
Speed ahead another day…got side-tracked while blogging yesterday. So LAST night I took my usual immune supplements that contain melatonin, which usually help me sleep so soundly. Anyway, I slept like a log. No dreams. It was wonderful. We also had a snowy night, so it was very quiet (it is so quiet when it snows and I love it tremendously – snowfall brings great peace) and woke up to sunshine and about 2″ more of snow. We have had about 12 inches the past couple of days. A winter wonderland. I love living in a snow state!
But I am dealing with so many stresses and one of the main stresses is how I am affecting those around me, because of it. I listened to a You Tube video this morning that I normally would not listen to. But I thought the person who offered it to me wanted me to learn something. And so I listened. Boy, did I learn a lot. I have learned in recent years that I have narcissistic parents. Mysoginistic narcissists. Yeah. It was a total revelation to me, and it made all these little pieces in my life fall into place. But what I am discovering is that being raised in that sort of environment has made some of the attributes I dislike the most, rub off on me. When I react to things in my life I can be doing so using the tools of a narcissist. Because I learned at the feet of masters. And I am a good student. I have struggled breaking the chains of this inheritance with all my heart. I did not want this passed down to my kids, and their kids in turn. I wanted it to stop. The speaker in this video showed me that sometimes when (and how) I browbeat those I love the most, that I am treating them the exact way I was treated. And I am allowing, even perpetuating the sinful disease that narcissism is, continue on in insidious ways.
Gaslighting is a term I was unfamiliar with, until recently. It basically means someone manipulates you into altering your reality. Like when siblings get together and remember a past event and it is different for each of them? That is just a shared memory from different perspectives. Gaslighting is when people tell you that you remember something incorrectly and they tell you “what really happened.” Or people will tell you things they recall you saying, where you know you never would have or could have said that thing. Or people insist you promised them something and you know you would never promise anything like that. They are attempting to re-align your perceptions of reality. They are changing your brain, on purpose, to re-align your brain with their will. It is common to parents who are narcissists. And I was manipulated by professionals. And this gaslighting makes you question everything. The narcissist will make you question every, single, area of your life and can make all these areas crumble. Especially if you call them out or disagree with them. And if you choose to go against them, they can make your life a living hell. Trust me.
This speaker in the video has made me question how I behave. And I owe apologies to so many friends and family members, for when I have “acted out irrationally.” In truth, in those most loud moments, I was defending myself the only way I knew how. But I am learning there are other ways. I need to not be alone in the woods (the title of the photo above) with this pain from my childhood. I need not isolate myself from people because of a fear about how I might lash out. No. I need to confront those parts of me I really don’t like too much. Those parts, that when I hold a mirror to them, I see an image of one of my parents.
My mom and dad loved us, the best they could They did not have much to work with. One of the great ironies of discovering all this, is that I deeply loved my paternal grandparents. I was closer to them than my father, in so many ways. And they made him what he was. But they did not try any of that with me. They just loved me. My grandmother often lamented the way they tried to raise my dad, and it always made me sad. She wanted to live with me, and not her own son, in her last days. I was holding her hand when she died, and not her own son. She did not trust her own son, and he only wanted to remember the mom he had as a boy. How awful. And now my father and I are not speaking. At all. I chose to cut him out of my life because of all the pain he inflicts on me, whenever we converse. Like I told a friend, he and my mom both know exactly what buttons to push with me, because they sewed them on!
How do those of us, like me, who learn of these things late in life, go on? I certainly do not wish any ill will to either of my parents. I see my mom about once a week. Sometimes it is every two weeks. She only misses me when she sees me and realizes who I am. But her daily life in Alzheimer’s is a happy one. Living in Assisted Living with other ALZ patients is good for her. It is a good situation. Her living with me was not good. And I realized, especially when my mother-in-law passed away, that when my parents die, it will not change much in my life. And that makes me very sad. Because there is so much lost opportunity along the way. Hours and days and moments we will NEVER have. And we never had.
One of the things in my life that is profoundly different from my parents is that I have an authentic, active, vibrant love affair with God. My mom has no concept of God anymore. My father has said that when he gets to “heaven,” he will explain to God where all His mistakes were and how my dad would have done it better. Yeah. Typical narcissist – he thinks he is more knowledgeable than God. The creature telling the creator how to do it.
Another thing I have is a life-long love affair with my husband. A man who loves God, perhaps even more than I do. And a man who loves me, regardless of my brow-beating or snotty comment ways. God, do I thank you for this man. He is saving me. For the past 37 years, he has been saving me. I am beyond blessed. And we walk hand-in-hand, regardless of the state of our marriage at the moment. Even in our ugliest moments, I know in my heart he has got my back. Always. And I trust this man with my life. And I know that together, we can help me heal. I could not face these facts about my life and my parents without him. And it overwhelms me some days.
There is a religious/spiritual movement/knowledge/discussion about Jezebel Narcissists and the Spirit of Jezebel being at the heart of this personality disorder. I have not even tipped my toe into this subject, because it is so outside the realm of my comfort zone (you have no idea how far outside my comfort zone this is) but I listened to this speaker talk about the spiritual aspect of narcissism as a strong personality disorder that is fringed with evil. And I can see it. I can. Because I have been the subject of it. And because I listened with an open heart, I can see it in all sorts of places and people around me. My eyes were opened to looking at it in a different way. And I love adding the spiritual aspect to this. Because if we believe in God and His miracles, His stories, His Grace in our lives, we have to accept His stories about evil. And as Christians, part of accepting this reality goes a long way in doing something about it. And so I have decided that I will continue to leave my dad out of my life for now, but I will confront this spirit of narcissism in me. And I will work to rid myself of this so that I can move on. I may, some day, be ready to take on dear, old Dad. That day is not today. But I am one step closer. Today I was made aware. Today my eyes were opened. Today I begged the Lord for forgiveness and I cried, I wept as I recognized myself in the examples this speaker gave. And to me, that goes a long way towards healing a broken heart and warped spirit.