Welcome to October 2014! This year is a little different for me because I realised that today – 1 October 2014 – marks the first day of Mental Health Awareness Month and also the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
When I sat back and thought about that, all I could think was “What a great opportunity to share everything I’ve learned this year about narcissistic abuse!”
As many of you know from recent posts, last year I was involved in a relationship with someone who suffered Narcissistic Personality Disorder (diagnosed by psychologist and psychiatrist) and that relationship has left me traumatised. I’m not talking about narcissism the buzz word, I’m talking about it’s pure meaning and destruction – the very issue that still has me suffering symptoms resembling Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome … though it’s fading with time. It has taken all my strength to get through without medication, “It’s circumstantial – that won’t help!” I keep demanding to the doctors. This year has been a journey to reconnect with my soul and my self and every lesson I learn will filter into Relationship Free.
The picture accompanying this post is of me the first night I went out following my abuse. Four months after I was in court for a narcissist who was still contacting me. The man beside me is Chris. Chris is just one of the many beautiful strangers who I have met since my abuse who has stood by me, knowing my full story from the moment we first met (which was that evening), and loved me anyway. We’re at a masquerade party. The mask of a narcissist is often referred to as they try to portray something they are not.
My mission is not to expose my abuser for that would only help one or maybe two people understand, and I can promise it would do nothing for me. My mission is to expose the personality disorder, to assist people to recognise it early and to educate the dangers that such a personality disorder actually creates in a relationship which initially appears too good to be true. I’m not ripping the mask off one narcissist – I intend on ripping the mask off narcissist’s world wide, and I’m not alone in my mission. I want to thank Kim Saeed from Let Me Reach for her constant ongoing support. A lot of the information I have gained about narcissistic abuse, and a lot of my understanding comes from her page – so please check it out – www.letmereach.com, she’s an exceptionally talented writer and another wounded healer.
I want to thank everyone who takes the time to read these posts, for sharing them and for everyone who I’ve quoted throughout, because this information has also kept me strong over the past few months. There’s quite a bit of information that I’m about to share with you, and I hope you find it helpful and also feel comfortable sharing it with your family and friends to assist in educating them.
I also want to throw out a dedication to my girl, Susie, who has been my recovery buddy for the past year – I’ve never had a friend like her and I’m so grateful to have met her in my journey.
So everyone – welcome to October 2014 – and welcome to the Happiness Weekly mini post series about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Abuse.
The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall. Vince Lombardi
Today I’m celebrating! (And it’s not just because it’s Google’s birthday – although, wishing you a very happy birthday today, Google – you have been a fantastic source of information and a great friend to me!)
So … how’s your year going?
Are you still on track with your new years resolutions?
OK, so you probably forgot them by New Years Day … let me guess, too much alcohol? Great excuse!
Anyone who knows me knows my level of self-motivation and determination and this year I’m achieving everything I set out to achieve. I’m checking each and every one of my New Years Resolutions … it’s been one hell of a busy year, let me tell you!
As of this week Happiness Weekly has reached 100,000 people! I don’t advertise, I just blog and every now and then check in with a Facebook page. So I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who is reading Happiness Weekly, or has read Happiness Weekly, and particularly to those of you who stumbled across my page and stayed or the ones who return time and time again without signing up just to see what I’m saying. After almost two years of consistent blogging, this is a fantastic achievement and I couldn’t have done it without YOU! The truth is in the statistics!
Thank you for joining my journey, for accepting me exactly as I am and allowing me to speak my truth. I’m dedicated to Happiness Weekly in a way that you would don’t see – I’m either writing for a blog or I’m thinking what to write next, and it’s one of the best aspects of my life. Happiness Weekly allows me to take every situation that comes at me and turn it into that positive and then enables those sunshine light rays to bounce off me onto the universe and directly onto each of you who are following.
A couple of weeks ago, I did two surveys for Relationship Free, my new venture, as part of a major research assignment. This week I’m opening a survey for you – my dedicated Happiness Weekly readers and followers as I try to get this community a little more active and involved and it’ll help me to deliver more of what you want … and need!
The survey is available here – thank you to everyone who participates: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TR8TKN6
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. Marcus Aurelius
So there I was the other day at work and I run flustered into our IT department – our IT guy isn’t from Australia and speaks in broken English.
“I can’t send this link out, there’s lines all through it – it looks terrible!” I said.
“Send it through to me,” replied the IT guy calmly.
I ran back to my desk, clicked send on an email to him and raced back to his office.
He clicked just as I reached his door. “What are you talking about, it looks fine?”
I walked over and to my amazement, the link was fine. It looked exactly as it was meant to.
“Oh…” I said, surprised and at the same time confused.
“Just because it happens to you, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to everyone else,” he said.
That moment, right there was gold.
It was the first time since my traumatic events of last year that I stopped. I just stopped.
And for the first time I took a breathe. He was right!
Just because it happened to me, didn’t mean it would happen to everyone else. And although he had just been referring to a computer incident, the ripple affects his words had on my greater life were huge. He said, black and white, what many of my friends had been edging at but were too scared to say – which I appreciate, because I wouldn’t have listened anyway.
But you know, I’ve been so caught up in campaigning and advocating to ensure this never happens again, and so passionate because of the supporting statistics and so frustrated because nothing was changing that I went … “yeah … yeah, he’s right! And what’s that getting me?”
Going over it – gets me nowhere.
Do you know the worst kind of trauma you can ever experience? It’s called intentional human. Pretty self-explanatory. Do you know why that’s the worst possible form of trauma you can suffer from? Because that’s the one that keeps your mind clocking around, every second of every day, years down the track going over: “HOW could someone do that?” and “WHY would someone WANT to hurt someone like that?” There are no answers. Psychopaths exist, they get their lifeblood from hurting others. And sometimes, people are just fucked. There – I said it.
The trauma I suffer on a day-to-day basis is something I actually can’t hide and I think that’s where you can tell if someone’s faking it or not. I do really bizarre things sometimes – without thinking. It ranges from getting caught talking to myself in the bathroom mirror at work (and I’ve never taken drugs, I don’t have a mental illness – this is just how I’ve responded to the trauma), or I’ll get out of a car while it’s moving because I had a sudden thought and want to check something (and yes, I gave my colleagues a heart attack – sorry again!) – and this will sound weird but, a lot of the time, I think I’m dead. I’m convinced. Maybe it wasn’t such a conscious thought until the other day when I was watching a movie and the wife said “Why didn’t you call and tell me you were alive?” and he responds: “Because I thought I was dead”.
The trauma haze is significantly different to the haze you’ll experience with depression. When you’re depressed, the haze feels heavy. When you’re traumatised, it’s the opposite – it’s light and it feels as though you’re always surrounded by light. My senses are heightened. My concentration cuts in and out and I “zone out” often, but I feel like I’m walking through heaven. I feel like he successfully killed me and my mind flashes back to standing in front of his car as he drove into me three times and I wonder … did he actually kill me? Am I alive?
So what have I done to help myself?
Well, I did exposure therapy the other day and let me tell you about that … I recognised that I’d been intentionally avoiding places, which is unhealthy. So I went back. I go in with determination. My anxiety is high. I’m calm, trying to be positive. I’m focussed. I’m nauseous – bile sits at the top of my stomach the entire time. But “I’m ok, and I’m doing it” I tell myself. And then I look around … I’m 200m up the road from the place I was exposing myself to. I started at the other side. And I have no recollection of passing. I can’t tell you if I was on my phone, what song I was listening to at the time, what I saw … nothing. I blanked out. It was like I was picked up by a space ship and planted back down in that location. It was the weirdest thing that I’ve ever experienced in my life. So it didn’t take me long to realise my disassociation, caused by the traumatic events, was so strong that I actually can’t be there. And it’s to the point that my brain literally shuts off, so it won’t let me be there – even if that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. Maybe I didn’t do it right – but I’m not doing exposure therapy anymore because, well, it felt pointless given the outcome and secondly, I suffered through a hell of a lot of difficult feelings and emotions just to get myself there, only to blank out. That took weeks of psyching myself up to do it. Only to blank out – are you kidding me? So I accept it now – there are some places, I just can’t go anymore. There are also some places I can’t go alone, but I’ll still go so I keep living and generally have someone with me – like the supermarket. And then there are other places I’m ok by myself. So my life has fragmented with my shattered soul and it now has layers in it. That’s cool – I’ve adjusted.
That’s ok, because I have good news … because today was finally different…
I woke up after five hours sleep: and I felt alive! I was rejuvenated, as though the incident never occurred. I felt like I woke up into my old self again. The phoenix well and truly rose and flew out of sight today! I smiled again – and everyone noticed. For the first time since the incident, I was my regular self that’d gone missing for ten months. My light was glowing. I was excited. I couldn’t have been happier if I won lotto – I had my life back!
Ok, there were a couple of blunders where I stuttered and my words got tangled, which never used to happen and it’s so frustrating – but my colleagues are so patient with me. They know. They can see. I don’t think the person who hurt me realises the consequences of his actions – perhaps he’s desensitised to intentional human trauma from his own experiences, or maybe he really is just a psychopath and has no empathy. I guess he’s not around to see how it is now. And not many spend a lot of time with me, so it can be difficult to see. But I see … I know.
But you know what?
I’ve never had so many people tell me how proud of me they are in my whole life, as what I’ve heard this year! You guys may not know but I’ve kept up Happiness Weekly – I’ve even done the odd extra post (and I’ve got some great stuff coming up!), I’ve got new followers (and more followers) – welcome and there’s more ahead, not about me so much! And I’m thriving at work, I got a promotion – I’m studying and I’m acing it! And I’m just a few months off launching my business. So what nearly killed me, made me stronger … if I am still alive ;)
So today I thought about what the IT guy said: “Just because it happens to you, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to everyone else,” and I made a bit of a decision to let it go. I’m half way through writing my story but it drains so much energy, I actually can’t bring myself to come back to it – and that’s ok because I’ve got better things to write about that will help people more than probably what my story can.
I guess I just wanted to post something and say thank you to everyone for standing by me – for laughing with me – and for reminding me that I AM still alive. For treating me the same, although it’s like I’m suffering a massive brain injury at times with my zoning out, concentration wavering, bizarre behaviours etc.
Intentional-human trauma is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to overcome and it’s something I work on every day and I’m not giving up until I get through the other side completely and I’m a thriving role model. I’m happy to communicate my story and how it is for me right now, to raise awareness of the dangers a relationship trauma can cause … but it’s not always going to be like this for me. Fortunately this is the only damage he did and I know I’ll be better because I’ll move on in time.
As for the comment “just because it happens to you, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to everyone else” – that’s true … and while I’m going to let go a little bit, all I keep thinking is: BECAUSE it happened to me, it could happen to someone else – and that’s where my purpose, intent and motivation lie behind everything I do now. I will continue to try to stop this from happening to anyone else, each day, no matter what I do.
OK, so following recent posts and despite my business Relationship Free being my new focus, I made the decision to sign up for another two years with Happiness Weekly. And you may be asking yourself what makes me such a damn expert in happiness when I’ve been sharing some misery of late.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what makes you happy?
What has to happen for you to be happy?
What does your world look like when you’re happy? How does it feel?
Stay in that moment. How do you look? What are your wearing? What’s your face look like?
Are you perfect? Are you wrinkle-free, super skinny, flushed with money? Or are you seeing yourself just as you are now?
Imagine yourself in that picture, physically, exactly as you are at the moment.
Although there may be a few changes around you, the way you look is who you are today – what we did just then was paint a positive happy picture around your current being.
The message is – you, and the things in your life, don’t have to be perfect to be happy. A lot of people strive for perfection in their quest for happiness and in the process of striving to be completely outstanding, they lose all sense of happiness. They also become numb to the simple pleasures, because they become so fixated that they can’t be happy until they have X, Y and Z.
I am far from perfect. In fact, I’ve made tons of mistakes in my time, and I’ve been open about them! But I’m happy – and I’ve maintained my sense of self and a certain consistent level of happiness, peace and harmony along the way. Sure, I’m not sunshine and rainbows all the time, but majority of the time I am.
You’re probably wondering how this can be given the level of adversity I’ve been through. The answer is: acceptance and gratitude.
I accepted that I would feel scared for a while following domestic violence, so I look at what fear is bringing to my life that is positive. For example, fear is keeping me safe at the moment – so I am thankful.
I accept that I was abused. I hate thinking of myself as a victim – because that’s not who I am – but I accept what happened to me and how it affected me, and I’m thankful that I’m safe now.
I accept that I’m not perfect. I’m adventurous, I take risks, and in the process, I make mistakes. I’m thankful that I have the ability to clearly see and understand the lessons and I can learn from them, and I believe I’ve demonstrated that I have!
And the reason I can accept so readily, is that I can see if it is useful for me or not. If it doesn’t align with my values, then I eject it from my life quite quickly. Values are really important. When we act out, it’s generally because something isn’t aligning with our values and we don’t know what to do with it or how to express it.
The biggest thing I have come to accept – which enables a lot of my happiness – is me. I let myself make mistakes – so long as I find the lessons and learn from them. I love my body, after years of hating it. I laugh at myself, instead of getting embarrassed all the time. I accept myself completely and unconditionally – and I think that’s what people can learn from. In accepting myself completely, I’m able to open up a new world of self-trust and self-forgiveness for when I do fail at something or when crisis does strike.
So what makes me such an expert in happiness? The fact that I can take a positive out of every negative – even the most painful things. This sets me apart. I have developed so much from who I once was and I have a lot of lessons to share.
I know the whole purpose of Happiness Weekly is you guys come here to get help, but this week I was kind of hoping you may be able to assist me?
OK so here’s the thing…
As you know I’m trying to finish off my studies, with the goal in mind of having five positive certificates achieved by New Years Eve, and one of those is an entire new career direction and part of opening Relationship Free.
I have created a survey to form evidence for my Major Research Assessment. And I now just need as many people as I can to participate with their thoughts about relationships. I’m trying to establish if a life coach would be beneficial for someone suffering a relationship-related trauma or issue.
The survey is available here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Y8B7W3V
And it closes on Friday, 26 September at 5pm (Sydney, Australia time). Please share it with your Facebook friends and family etc. The more people who participate, the more people I will be able to assist ultimately.
It’ll take about two minutes of your time.
BIG thank you in advance to everyone who helps me. Love makes the world go around! xx