The Little Green Bag

George Baker – Little Green Bag

What’s my favourite toy?

I had too many toys as a child. I was the spoiled only child of two wealthy Narcissists who had many sycophants who paid homage to the child to curry favour with the parents. I did not want toys, I wanted love, but since love didn’t exist and toys did… I was a practical child, ashamed of having when others didn’t, and guilt ridden about not appreciating what I had by longing for what I didn’t have.

The little green bag…

It was not a bag, but it was little and green. It was a hard plastic suitcase which I bought… which my mother bought for me, as I was only about six years old… in Paris at a tiny hole in the wall travel shop. I think we were there to buy an umbrella, because the Paris sky has a je ne sais quoi nonchalance about it… it might rain, shrug, if you don’t want to get wet, then be prepared. Your problem, not the sky’s or Paris’.

I loved that suitcase. I slapped a few hippie flower stickers on it, it was the 70’s, and made it my own. It’s usual home was under my bed. It only was ‘played’ with when I had had enough of my parents and had decided that it was time for me to leave.

I would grab a couple of cans of Fanta Orangina, a few slices of pizza…

Not the kind which just popped into your head, not round, not topped with red and yellow gunk with green bits in it which is supposed to be tomato sauce and cheese with added herbs, but a version of focaccia which is flatter, saltier, herbier, oilier, and so delicious and addictive that I think it is now outlawed in Italy. It was oven cooked on huge square trays and cut into rectangular slices. You could get it with fresh tomato sauce topping, with a french fries topping, but my favourite was plain Pizza Bianca. I liked it fresh, but preferred it a few days stale and slightly hardened.

… and a couple of comic books.

I had a vast collection of comics books, all bought from a newsstand in Via Veneto in Rome which had international publications. I bought… again my mother bought them… a couple each time we visited the city, driving in from our villa along the very bumpy Appia Antica, past the Romanian gypsies begging and cursing drivers who stopped at the traffic lights near one of the old Roman gates.

Now I’m going to tell you something which may make you believe that I am, like the colour of my hair – red – would infer in folklore, the spawn of the Devil, if you are a comic book worshipper. I burned my entire collection of comics, which may have numbered in the thousands, in the buca – a furnace which was a hole in the ground with a rusted metal hatch where things got burned at high heat. Don’t worry though, most of the comic books were already damaged, eaten by mice in the attic where they were stored as my bedroom, which doubled as my mother’s walk-in closet… the clothes were there first, I came later… was too small for anything other than a bed, and they were read and reread until they fell apart, held together by stains from eating oily pizza while reading. And they were mostly Donald Duck, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Richie RIch and Archie comics… I wasn’t into Super Heroes.

Still think I’m the Devil’s spawn for burning the comics? My Barbie dolls would agree. They were tortured a lot. It was part of the very elaborate stories I cast them in. Blame Ken, he was a perverted sex maniac. My mother warned my father about leaving his collection of Playboy and Penthouse around for me to browse. He didn’t leave them for me to browse deliberately, I just knew where they were stored and chose to browse them. They apparently warped my mind, nothing to do with my parents and their Narcissism.

And so… the little green suitcase… how I loved it! It was my refuge and my saviour! I would pack it, then head out of the villa, up the long and roughly cobbled drive to the bespoke wrought iron gates. I would stand at the gates with my small sweaty hand clutching the handle of my suitcase looking out at the road beyond…

I never ran away. I was an old, wise enough, and cynical soul trapped inside a child. I knew that I would not get very far if I opened the gate and walked out and away. Sure it would take a while for my parents to notice I was missing, perhaps a few days, but I would be found, probably by a good interfering Samaritan before my parents knew what had happened, and returned to my hell on earth. You can’t escape your life.

I would stand at that gate for what seemed like eternity, fantasising about a life I would never have, never know, then I would turn away, back to hell, with a slight detour to my play area in the down below garden. Sit on my swing. That was a great swing! When you pushed it as high as it would go, it took you far away into kingdoms of the imagination. I would open my suitcase, eat some pizza, drink some Orangina, and read a comic book…

That little green suitcase… well it went the way of all of my toys during one of my mother’s many tantrums. She used to gather up my things and give them away to the local orphanage. Made sense to me, it was just a bit drastic the way it happened, but I got used to the drama.

It stayed with me though, I have a little green suitcase in my mind, where I keep treasures no one will ever find. It’s packed and ready to go…


  1. Dear Ursula,
    I haven’t been writing to you for a long while as I have been doubting about myself in a way that I felt I hadn’t got the right to be on your blog. I know you understand what I mean.
    IBS, migraine and these doubts are perhaps all linked thanks to our parents and we have to live with it; I have been reading you every day and there was a kind of synchronicity in our moods, we were dwelling in similar lands.
    I have been questioning myself a lot about all the N traits we absorb from our parents and actually it’s such a deep ache coming up from underneath, it’s like shaking from the foundations. Being a child of N means a lot in our inner world and in our relationships, although we have not NPD.
    I have just finished the gifted child by Alice Miller and I have seen myself there. I have always wondered why I couldn’t remember anything, why I thought I was the one who deserved to be guilty, and now I know.
    I don’t think I am reacting in a positive way though, I have lost all my energy and life at the moment is not giving me the chance to change anything in my scenario, everything is stuck, as I have always been while denying for four decades that both of my parents had NPD.
    I really love this post, I can relate to it in many ways, the hours spent alone reading, eating pizza (my first word! But I’m more of a tomato topping fan)) and the million times my mother used to throw away anything I loved…(and when I lived in Rome I wasn’t far from where you lived, but it was not a posh area).
    What I find impressive is that you had a true, authentic gut feeling about the solution-that was quitting the all thing; I was more of a compliant child lying to myself and longing for love which wasn’t there; a realist little girl with her green bag, I can picture you out…Also coming from a well off family doesn’t help, as the contrast is unbelievable, “what are you talking about? Your parents are giving you everything to be happy, you’re ungrateful- what is missing in your life? I don’t think you talk the truth…”, but my timid trials to report my prison and break my silence took place much later when I was a teenager, where my memory can back me, while the worst had already happened although buried in the unconscious.
    I have been wondering a lot about asking for your support and I felt as a burden, therefore I didn’t want to put on you all my dilemmas, but you have inspired me in many ways, most of all with your writing, as I have started writing on a more or less regular basis and if I succeed at starting, then I feel better, the reward being at ease with my creative part and also with a better understanding of life.
    For your presence and you encouragement I am forever grateful.
    It’s weird, you are somewhere behind the screen but you are real, sometimes we are physically surrounded by people who are not there and are emotionally unavailable. Thank you for being there and being yourself and being authentic.
    The red thread, so to speak, is learning back again and reset ourselves, I find myself unable at the moment and therapy is hard and I go on in spite of doubting if I will really succeed to get out of this rat hole that is my life. I have a lot of resistance, it’s like being in a mechanism which works in a certain way, a distorted way and if you touch it to have it right, it hurts like hell.
    I was reading in one of your posts that someone accused you of being a N and you said that for us this is a question which accompanies us and our lives.
    The person in question can’t imagine what this means to a child of Ns, this is our nightmare, our poison, the most terrible doubt, my daily fight for the rest of my days and I personally feel a certain disgust if I had to see my parents in myself, it’s like being alike to my murderers, to the ones who have robbed me of my life.
    I don’t know if people can understand to what resembles being a child of N, but I have learnt not to ask for understanding anymore.
    I was trying to explain the English expressions “born without skin”, which is how I can define myself and “being under your skin” (referred to Ns) to my shrink the other day and I don’t like the French equivalent. These expressions talk about boundaries, and this leads to the empathy and the feeling to be close to non- being as you lack them.
    Take care and thank you for your resilience and patience.
    Ti abbraccio forte, s xxx


    • You’re always welcome here, to express yourself freely and interact with me or with others. You’re a part of this community. The rest is up to you.

      Observe and get to know the stories which you tell yourself. Eric Berne and Transactional Analysis, and the Games People Play, is a really good way to get to know the programs which are playing in our psyches. Getting to know ourselves takes time, space and patience. Always treat yourself with compassion, especially in those moments when you’re being cruel to yourself or hard on yourself. You’re human, it is a very complex thing to understand and be, it is also rather wonderful. It is chaos and order all in one.

      I was discussing with olivebranch the concept that what people think of us is none of our business (which is a useful attitude to have since others seem to think that what they think of us is our problem and not theirs)… but knowing what they think of us does inform us of the business that they have with us, which is particularly informative when dealing with a narcissist as what they think of us is actually what they think about themselves.

      Being the child of narcissists feels like this:

      “Tu dis que tu aimes les fleurs et tu leur coupes la queue, tu dis que tu aimes les chiens et tu leur mets une laisse, tu dis que tu aimes les oiseaux et tu les mets en cage, tu dis que tu m’aimes alors moi j’ai peur.” ― Jean Cocteau

      Our relationship with the first humans in our lives, our narcissistic parents, teaches us that life is painful, that love hurts, that compliments are a prelude to the sort of criticism which destroys our sense of self. We are not allowed to have an ego because it threatens the fragile and very large egos of the narcissists who have complete dominion over us and our lives. We become the mirrors of them, and they constantly break us because they don’t like their reflections, their projections.

      “Les miroirs feraient bien de réfléchir un peu plus avant de renvoyer les images.” ― Jean Cocteau

      And so we grow up feeling like we are just mirrors for everyone else, and we suspect that everyone is a narcissist who doesn’t like what they see in us. We have no skin of our own because it is always being ripped off and replaced with the skin of others which does not fit us and which hurts us.

      However we are not mirrors and we do have our own skin. It’s up to us to see that and allow ourselves to be who we are, who we know we are underneath all the damage and crazy mess which has been dumped onto us. It takes us a long time to do that, but we can and do do it.

      That’s what you’re doing now. You are doing it in your own time in your own space, with courage and determination. Give yourself credit where credit is due. Learn to respect who you are as you are in all of your beauty. What you perceive as ugly in yourself is actually beauty you have not acknowledged because those in your life have made you think it is ugly for their own selfish reasons, they felt threatened by it so they convinced you to hide it from them and eventually from yourself. But you know it is there and is beautiful. Give yourself time to fully blossom.

      I was an only child, I think perhaps that helped me because I knew immediately how alone I was, that I only had myself to rely on. Having a sibling also dilutes the effects of narcissist parents because they split what they do between their children, they play the children off against each other, and it confuses things even more. It is a harder dynamic to deal with. Narcissist parents when they have more than one child create a very different kind of confusion, often choosing one child as the scapegoat and one as the perfect child, so each child has a different version and experience of the same parents, and this can cause an abyss of cognitive dissonance. Your reality of your parents is not confirmed by your sibling and thus you have more doubts about your perception.

      You are also more in touch with your emotions and sensitivity than I am. I can switch my emotions off and desensitise myself to myself. I can at times be completely detached from myself. It’s neither better nor worse. We are who we are, knowing ourselves and who we are and how we work and don’t work helps us understand ourselves and our world, and how we interact with those around us.

      So, learn to love who you are as you are. It is the essence of you, your gift, your burden, your way, your rhythm. You won’t always love you, you’ll sometimes hate you, but you can learn to love even when you hate, and that is being human and being you.

      Trust yourself, be gentle with yourself, let yourself be and become fully you.

      As for other people and what they think and feel about you… if you do not like people telling you what to think and feel, trying to control you, then you’ll know that no one likes that… others are free to have their opinions, those opinions may be right for them… they may be right or wrong for us… we don’t have to accept them for ourselves, but it helps to accept that others are free to think and feel what they think and feel, that is their business… our business is what we think and feel.

      So if someone thinks you’re a narcissist, that is their problem not yours. The important thing is what you think of yourself, and you know that you are not a narcissist, and the fact that you sometimes wonder if you are proves that you are not. It proves it to you for you. That’s that.

      Know yourself… you are very worth knowing 🙂


      • Dear Ursula,
        tomorrow I am coming to the UK for a fortnight and in a week I will have my interview- I am staying with dear friends, iI am very emotional about it all.
        Just wanted to tell you that what you wrote above ” let yourself be and become fully you” is the key for me at this very moment.
        i would have been able to face it all and make the effort without your words and your support, now I understand better all your words, they are not just words, there is an entiree world, a very long journey behind it.Doubting about oneself and then being scared to be as our parents, accepting our past and grief, deprogramming oneself, and suddenly a flicker of joy, feeling oneself alive.
        Thank you so much for oyur presence and your writing, this is the first time I face something with my new me.
        Ti abbraccio forte e ti rigrazio con tutto il cuore. S xxx


        • Buona fortuna!!! That’s great news!!!

          I hope you have a wonderful time in the UK 😀 Best wishes for the interview. And have a lovely get together with your dear friends. It sounds like a deeply rewarding kind of emotional.

          The risk we take in being ourselves seems very fearsome, but it is worth doing it. You’re a strong, personally powerful and beautifully fierce soul. This is when you get to see it in action, flowing through you, helping to wash away fear and doubt, leading you on the greatest adventure of your life – being fully you.

          Tantissimi baci e abbracci e bon viaggio! Auguri!!! 😀


          • Hi there ursula, we are under the same sky…I am very emotional at the sight of a real family, i mean what we hadn’t experienced. I have to be careful as i havean inner voice dragging me down in the meanwhile, not being good enough, but at least I know where it comes from. My interview is on 19th June, i wish i could give you good news. I will do my best as i am listening to you and to my friends and not to my parents’ voice.Thinking of you, take care and hope you are well, s xxx


            • Hi 😀

              We’ve got almost perfect weather at the moment, so that sky is beautiful (including the clouds)! La vita e bella!

              Whenever I get that – not good enough – feeling, I just remind myself that other people feel that way too which is why everyone tries so hard to impress. We all struggle with our inner demons, even those who look like they have it all and are in complete control (sometimes especially them).

              The secret is to not try but to just be. Difficult at times, but very possible. Think of your favourite animal and embody that ethos which the natural world knows instinctively. Tigre!

              Remember that whoever you are facing (like in an interview) they are as human as you, and they have a world inside like you do, and critical voices talking to them, which tells them all sorts of awful truths (even if they look calm and confident). they’re wondering what you think of them as much as you’re wondering what they think of you. If they feel good in your company, because you accept them, because you accept yourself, because you don’t need anything from them (even if they’re making an important decision about your life, such as hiring you), because you take care of your own needs (even when you wish you didn’t have to), and you want to work with them, support them (not in a co-dependent way but as a team member), then they will remember how they felt in your company.

              People tend to remember how they feel with us rather than what we said. They tend to recall more what they said and how they think it affected us. everyone wants to be loved.

              In other words, take deep calming breaths, relax as much as you can, be yourself as you are (not as you’d like to be or anything like that). You are beautiful and personally powerful as you are in all your messy glory (messy is the new tidy and is glorious especially in the UK).

              You know yourself very well. Focus on the beauty and let others appreciate it. Don’t worry about what you think is ugly or anything like that. Most people (unless they’re narcs) tend to see the best in us not the worst. That’s what they want to see.

              Best wishes… and don’t worry about the news, enjoy the experience and the moment! 🙂

              Buona fortuna!!! Love you ❤


              • hello Ursula
                thank you for your reply..true i am trying to think I might be in front of normal chaps, not necessarily they have to be alike my parents::)))).
                I have just finished “Trapped in the mirror” by E. Golomb, and it really helped me to focus on the difference between being N and a acon, from now on i will not doubt about myself anymore concerning the dreadful threatening thought of being a monster. But i have been pondering about the notion of being invaded in a violent way by my parents and being invaded in a “nice”way, that happens to me mainly with other people’s emotions- the issue being empathy. my connecting door and window to others is represented by feelings, if they open it up, i feel i cannot ignore it but there are many people who are not in control and they end up showing more not due to the intention of being close but due to a deep need as they are drowning and asking for help. You remember the man i mentioned at the end of last year, we met as i had to coach him for his presentation and he was asking me to be be continually reassured as he has such a bad image of himself. This led me to be deeply touched as i know this feeling very well and i felt very close to him at the same time, but i have to impression i was being appreciated for my support and in spite of the evidence that we like each other, i cannot find a good reason for him to like me. I guess there is a lot of projecting here, as this is my introject inner parental voice saying i am acceptable just if i am giving and not for being myself. So this is a good example of a vicious reading of reality when all i am doing is putting on my parents’ spectacles.
                Another issue of empathy which led me to think about its pathological form concerned my friend here who is a lovely, caring and sensitive person but suffers from anxiety and and subsequently he doesn’t appreciate himself in case he can’t sort things out for his offspring. i feel this emotional state very deeply and my mind delves into how he feels and suffers while it happens to him; my pathological side for me lies in this unavoidable pain and grief for the ones i love and when i listen to them i feel I would love to help and soothe, which maybe i eventually do, but for sure it makes me feel overwhelmed. being overwhelmed and enmeshed with others’ feeling might be related to my lack of boundaries, don’t you think?
                it is also quite a rewarding experience to see real, true, authentic parents, to see in front of you what real love is and how loving and caring parents embrace their daughters’ fears, shortcomings and lack of confidence- all this is alien to me and i am happy i don’t feel envious or jealous but just worried that my burden might be repulsive to an eventual partner. I am very happy to discover i am not envious or jealous as my mother used to be of me, I have room for others in my heart and mind..
                Do you see this from of empathy i mentioned above as a bit off the trolley as well? is feeling empathy for other people down to tears normal? What can i do with this kind of sensitivity to help others? if i had ten years less, i would love to become a psychologist to support acons. You do it too and your attitude has always inspired me since the very beginning, you really helped me to discover my real self.
                Lots of love to you my dear friend,
                take care, s xxx


                • You have a wonderful gift in your emotional nature, and I think others appreciate it more than you do because you know how much it can hurt you, and growing up with narcs you experienced the worst of it until it no longer felt like a gift. I think you’re beginning to see the beauty of it and appreciate it as others do. It is very important to find a way to protect yourself from being invaded by others, yet at the same time remain open. Trusting yourself to guide you to the way to do that is the best remedy.

                  You have deep empathy and sympathy. When you have empathy and sympathy you not only can see/feel how others see/feel, but you feel for them and your feeling for them reaches out to them wanting to make things better. The thing to be aware of is how much of what you are feeling for them, the tears which you may shed, is really for them rather than for you. We sometimes can only accept our own feelings when we are accepting them in someone else. We sometimes can only feel certain emotions when we feel them for someone else. ACoNs need to look at this and into it as we often can only acknowledge our needs or pain or other things when we’re doing it by acknowledging someone else’s because we’ve been conditioned to put how we feel aside in favour of someone else, let someone else’s needs, pain, feelings, etc, invade us. This is something to observe rather than do anything about. The observation is the action. What we observe helps us to create a way of dealing with it which respects us and the other. So give it time. For now, just observe yourself, get to know your own rhythms when you’re alone and when you’re with others.

                  I think in situations such as with your friend here. You just simply feel and understand without having to do anything about it. If you want to do something then maybe offer a word or two of gentle encouragement, from one friend to another, perhaps like pointing out how lovely it is to observe him with his family. This is something you appreciate in him and by sharing it you allow him to appreciate it too. That’s it. It’s up to him to decide what to do with what you share. If he doesn’t appreciate himself, that is his choice. Perhaps it’s his way and it is a part of what makes him so caring. Besides. We can’t help others if they do not directly ask for our help because otherwise we cross a boundary and invade them. They may not need help, it may just be our opinion that they do or a projection of ourselves. However most people like to hear good things about themselves, it makes them feel good naturally, especially when it is heartfelt and spontaneous. It’s simple and it feels good to do it without strings attached (like with a narc).

                  I’m so excited by all you are discovering, it’s wonderful. Every moment of seeing the beauty in yourself, however small it may seem, adds up, like collecting droplets of inner sunshine 🙂


                  • Thank you for your words. I am very careful no to invade other people’s boundaries.
                    i do love my friends very much, but i am struggling against my inner negative voice as i am figuring out what if I fail and i don’t get the job, you can’t imagine the darkest thought coming up to my mind, it was like being in company of my parents at the height of their hatred for me as a child and teenager. healing is a steep route and sometimes is discouraging as you fall again on the same steps. Thank you fro your voice and presence, with much affection, s xxx


                    • If you don’t get the job it isn’t because you failed, it’s because the job wasn’t the right one for you and this experience of doing the interview and coming to the UK, staying with friends, will be about the experience itself, what you are learning and discovering from it, it is a stepping stone in moving towards a job that is right for you. That way whatever the outcome, you’ll know it is the right outcome for you.

                      I’ve found that when I don’t get the things I desperately thought I needed to have and feel crushed because I didn’t achieve what I wanted, it always leads to something else and I’m relieved that I didn’t get whatever it was that seemed so vital at the time because it would have meant losing out on something which was better suited to me. And in retrospect I can see why each experience had to happen the way it did, there’s a flow to it, each thing prepares you for the next, like moving up levels and stages.

                      So the downside is not a downside, it’s an upside down upside. Seeing things that way leaves more room to focus on the upside rather than the downside. Such as what happens if you get the job.

                      Perhaps getting the job is a more daunting prospect than not getting it.

                      With myself I’ve always got to keep an eye on a certain reluctance to succeed and a perverse delight in failing. I wrote about it here – – when I was going through a major thing and had a flash of self insight.

                      This is the relevant bit of the post – I am not trying to avoid the humiliation of defeat… I am trying to avoid victory. I’m afraid of winning. Why. Easy. Because… I embrace failure. I made it my home. Why. Because… I used to be terrified of failing. So much so that I turned to stone. My cure was embracing and immersing myself in the very thing I feared. But then I became too comfortable there. There was a lot of room, it was breathtakingly spacious, because no one else wanted to live there. I became king of a desert. Ruler of a kingdom no one else wanted. And it was good for a while… change has arrived. It is time for me to face another fear, embrace and immerse myself in winning.

                      So what if you succeed and get the job?

                      Also, have you noticed that each time you fall on the same steps, you get up quicker and have fewer cuts and bruises. Those falls are one way to measure the progress of healing.

                      Trust yourself and be gentle with yourself 🙂


                    • Since I arrived my unconscious has decided to show that failure is going to be on the agenda, as I have been making mistakes in my English I don,t usually do, the interview being in a small university to teach English for Academic purposes makes it sound hilarious but i can assure it is not. Therefore in my mind horrible scenarios are a crowd parading in front of my eyes, being back to my misery where i live with no job, no security, no future and no project. If I fail i will end up doing menial work which i don,t think i want to do; i have spent nine years in Paris with no stable job and my cv has been ignored for years, i can tell you I have enough of failing, and it would be like saying my father is right about me. You know Ursula, I failed getting my parents’ love, i failed having a career, i failed having a partner and i failed having a family, children. i failed everything and you can see my life from whatever point of view you like, but it’s not a life-everybody pursues love and happiness, i have none. maybe you are right, i seek for failure, but this makes me die inside. Ok, I might not be a monster but my parents, but there is not much to rescue. I am really discouraged and desperate as my parents ruined me fro the rest of my days, i am a crippled, lame, hunchback poor wretch of a person, not even a woman.In five days i will know of my future.
                      I have been looked for change with all my strength and i committed to therapy which cost me a fortune and a relevant amount of stamina as i have been suffering like hell, but the results are poor and i feel doomed to be miserable, there is no reward for my efforts and grief. I know this is a negative perspective but i can define my situation otherwise. Maybe my parents have been so accurate and thorough in their destructive attitude that there is no way out and it’s too late for hope and a bit of happiness but i feel this is a turning point, if i fail again i will have no courage left to fight, i refuse to become a homeless person, i already have no home in my heart. It is hard to realize i never had it and what i have lived was a nightmare for a child with damaging consequences for all my life. Sorry for this rant, you see, I never progress, no matter what i do.


                    • It’s a good idea to articulate and express the fears rather than to try to suppress them, they’re less threatening when voiced… even if it doesn’t feel that way. Saying it out loud diminishes its power over you. When something is voiced it is no longer hidden within. By getting it out into the open, you allow room for other sides to emerge. The fear does not paralyse in the same way

                      I have a similar cycle of doom-filled self talk. I’ve tried many methods to stop it, get rid of it, etc, over the years that I’ve been working on myself. The only method which provides relief is to just acknowledge it. To not view it as an ‘enemy’ but to understand it. Everything within us has its place, it’s a part of who we are. Acknowledging the deep sense of being a failure is actually a positive. It’s very grounding. And it’s not just a personal voice, it’s a voice which resides within each human. It is a pain, a wound which connects us all. If you embrace it, it can connect you with others in a way which is remarkable. Because everyone fears failure, everyone is prone to self-sabotage, and everyone has a sneaking suspicion that they have failed at life.

                      When I voice these sort of thoughts to others, rather than be repulsed it usually creates a connection of sharing. I tend to get a ‘Me too, omg I thought I was the only one who felt this way!’. Everyone is struggling with it. Just as you observed with your friend and his fear of not being a good enough parent. And we’re all afraid of voicing it because we think we’re the only ones with this fear, we live under the impression that everyone else is perfect, knows what they’re doing, is successful and happy. So when someone does voice their fears of failure and not being good enough, there’s a collective sigh of relief. We can stop pretending we’re fine and start sharing our troubles and help each other.

                      We live in a very narcissistic society, and in some ways we’re all being abused by a narcissist. That narcissist is in the media and other collective places, constantly bombarding us with messages about unrealistic ideals that are supposed to be achievable but never are. The perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect family, the perfect spouse, perfect child, perfect education, perfect body, perfect health, perfect life, etc. These messages tend to make everyone feel shit about themselves, but we’re not allowed to admit it, we’re supposed to push harder to achieve perfection, even if we have to sacrifice being human, beign ourselves, being authentic, to do it.

                      Try to see this type of thinking and feeling beyond yourself, see it in the world around you. It doesn’t just belong to you, and one of the reasons it is so loud and hard to get rid of, to fix, is because it is a subliminal message which is bombarded at us through everything and everyone around us. It’s an universal fear which every human being has. That’s partly why we’re all so obsessed with success. And yet for all our obsession with success we’re more focused upon failure. We get a perverse delight when someone else fails, especially if we idolised them at some point. Why? Because it relieves the pressure we feel to be perfect. Consider how many people are encouraged to measure their level of success by comparing themselves to the failure of others. If our success depends on other people failing, that’s not success, it’s an illusion. It’s a narcissistic illusion.

                      A child of narcissists tends to be more aware of it, and takes it very personally because it is one of the motivating fears which compels a narcissist to be a narcissist. So the narcissistic parent dumps it into their child and makes the child the bearer of it. So the message you got from your parents about being such a failure – that is their failure, they tried to get rid of it by giving it to you and making it your problem, your burden. You have to keep being a failure and failing so that they can keep seeing themselves as being successful. You were made into a sacrificial lamb to save them from reality.

                      You don’t need to keep playing this role. You know it. But it takes time to rewrite your script. Don’t worry about the time it takes to do it, don’t use that as a means to hurt yourself or punish yourself for going against the family line.

                      Possible ways to approach the interview and include your fears in the process without letting them take over is to express them with humour. You could say that – I have been making mistakes in my English – in the interview, adding something like – because I’m nervous. This is a wonderful opportunity and I would love to be a part of this university. – that way the fear is out in the open, if you make any mistakes it is a sign of nerves as well as being a show of how much you care about this job and value the opportunity. Self-deprecating humour is much appreciated in the UK. It also shows self-awareness and your appreciation of the position for which you are being interviewed.

                      If you know who is conducting the interview, it’s a good idea to do some research on them. Just as you would have researched the university. Find out if they have a hobby or passion, a favourite subject, something which personalises them and which you can mention as an ice-breaker. If you can’t do that, but the interview is in their office, scan it for personal items, pictures, artwork, books, etc. Ask them a bit about themselves. Make the interviewer into a person, a human like you, rather than an awesome figure who is deciding your fate (unless of course they want to be seen as a god over you, which some people do, then let them know you respect their position but don’t let it overwhelm you).

                      Since the university is a small one, it probably participates in its local community. Find out if it does anything special, supports a charitable cause or a local group, has a festival, or event, or something like that. Show that you’ve done your homework on the place and are already planning to be a participating member in the things which matter to the university. Showing future planning is a sign of confidence and also one of interest in the organisation of which you want to be a part.

                      Focusing attention on others, the interviewer and the university, helps in many ways, one of which is as a distraction from getting too caught up in yourself and your self-talk. It helps to balance things, calm the nerves a tad. It’s similar to when photographers distract their subjects to get a picture which is more natural and less self-conscious because of the lens pointed at them.

                      It’s important to highlight your skills in ways which aren’t just listing them in a CV or otherwise. Don’t just tell them who you are, show them. You have a great personality, so let it shine. This way, even if they don’t think you’re right for this particular job, they may consider you for another job. Communities like universities tend to be close knit, so the interviewer may know of other positions at other universities which might be right for you, and they could put in a word for you. There are always options and other opportunities. Consider everything as a stepping stone, not just as a destination which is this or bust.

                      If you find yourself focused on the worst case scenario, balance it out with the best case scenario, and play around with optional scenarios which have a bit of both worst and best. Keep your mind open and flexible. Be compassionate towards yourself. You can do this no matter what this is. You are very strong and resilient.



                    • Thank you, i am reading you with tears in my eyes and now I have to be strong to hide it from my friends as one of the girls has an anxiety problem therefore I don’t want and i don’t feel like it to go for the big drama thing..You help me when you say you also live this. I’ll come back to you later. i am so lucky i have met you. xxx


                    • i love dedicating time to my beloved ones, for instance i have cooked lasagne for the whole bunch and it’s really rewarding. I think i am allergic to my massive doses of solitude as i wouldn’t have chosen myself to spend my whole life isolated.
                      I can open up my heart and grief to very few people, as it happened to me that who i considered a real sister, whose presence i enjoyed for thirty years, played games with me for a long time as i was stuck in my unhappy life and since she became a mother, she told common friends she didn’t want my “poisonous energy” for her child. if i consider it from a different perspective than my own, i find this weird, it’s like telling someone you are a loser and i need to be surrendered by brilliant people; it means she calls friendship only a shared condition of life.She loved to be needed and to impose her power on me, but i realized it only last year thanks to therapy. Now i have a bitter taste of it and i don’t trust people easily, i don’t think everybody is really interested in me opening up my heart and sorry if when i open it up you don’t find only a hunky-dory landscape of happiness.
                      i read somewhere on your blog you wrote we have to beware of people’s niceness, that’s exactly how i see it.
                      Now i feel better and more centered just simply because I didn’t focus on my inner hell, which dwells in the mind and hopefully it might go silent at one point. I am very worried our heritage will never go silent. these voices are like a crying spells but i realize there is a sort of stranger inside, as i don’t recognize as mine, i feel assaulted by them. i have been inhabited by them all my life but i am puzzled that in spite of all the work i do they are still there; a friend of mine told me she had it for a certain length of time but now they are gone.I have also a rational voice trying to object but its power is undeniable as it nails down my inner issues.
                      For instance, the fact i start being confused and making mistakes as i hear my voice speaking, is unacceptable to me, i am not compassionate towards myself and hate my weakness and it turns into tragic ending, no reward, you won’t be appreciated, you’ll be ashamed etc. this is pretty much familiar, isn’t it?? Therapy, reading, pondering, fighting cost a lot in terms of energy, it’s a great effort but it’s like i guess being kidnapped and being released after a very long time, we were used to being in jail, it’s part of ourselves. It’s very sad, as though we recorded in our brains a message from Hitler, something disgusting we wouldn’t chose to keep not even for a second, but it is engraved with a knife; this is a very violent action on a child.
                      When you talk about success, my acceptation i think is not narcissistic but i need to accomplish something and i definitely think life without love is not worth it for me; lack of love is lack of lymph, lack of life, it’s the most terrible punishment on earth-my own view. therefore i lack life in myself, sometimes i feel as though I had already died and all this was just a nightmare.
                      Just think that the university (where my English friend has been teaching for 20 years) called me “to discuss the opportunities of work within our department” which sounds encouraging as normally the interview is more prudent and they have to formally assess your skills before proposing anything- and i am a bloody idiot stuttering even hello, which i normally don’t do, as though the self hatred voice was becoming louder.
                      I have to pull myself together and concentrate on the fact i have something to offer. hard for somebody like me:)).
                      I am currently reading “Focusing” but i don’t know why i find it difficult to grasp through the examples.
                      A while ago i had a dream i was presenting my book which had been published and all my friends were in the audience, along with my shrink and suddenly i hear “Seashell!” and it was you!!! Thank you for your presence, even in the dream!
                      This week i will do my best to be myself without the voices(god it sounds psychotic!) but my way of self deprecating is not humorous by now, I have to make a huge effort.
                      ti abbraccio forte e grazie per il tuo tempo e le tue parole e i tuoi pensieri e il fatto di condividere le tue esperienze.
                      baci, s xxx


                    • Beware of comparing your journey, yourself, you life, with that of others. Sometimes the comparison is helpful as it shows that we are not alone, that others feel as we do and have had similar experiences. That’s the useful side of comparison because it offers connection and perspective. Sometimes comparison works against us, and hurts us, especially when we use it to make ourselves feel bad that we are not like someone else or have not achieved what they have.

                      Such as with your friend who said that her voices are gone. There is no way to know if this is true or not. If it is true then it lets you know that this is possible. That’s the important thing to take from it. Don’t compare her time with your time. She healed at her pace. You are healing at your own pace.

                      There are also other factors to take into account. Context, environment, life scenarios. You’re challenging your comfort zone at the moment, having an adventure of life and this can be thrilling, liberating, but can also provoke high anxiety. All your therapy, reading, self-explorations, and pondering is working, you’re discovering things every day, bit by bit, and progressing, healing. Such as today you discovered the joy of lasagne and friends. It may seem like a small thing compared to the huge shadow of your childhood and your parents, and the effect it has had on you, but the small things are powerful, they add up and gradually begin to outweigh the big things until slowly the big things become smaller over time. We may never get rid of those voices, but they lose their hold over us because we bring in new voices which are healthier and which support us.

                      The need to accomplish something is natural, to have, to be, to do. It motivates and animates. We all want to love and be loved, to create something which is ours and of value, to share, interact, stand out and be seen. Love is a wonderful goal to have. Start by giving yourself love, then let it flow out of you – such as loving yourself while you created the lasagna and letting that love flow from you to your friends by making the lasagna for them and sharing it with them. That’s real love, how we show it to ourselves, share it with others, and how others share it with us too. It’s in the simple everyday things, the pulse of life. And as we do more of those kinds of things, so more love flow to us and from us.

                      Love can also be found in stuttering, in nervousness, because it is something we all experience and when we allow it to be seen, it makes us more loveable, more human, more a part of the life around us. I’ve found that people tend to like me more when I let them see what a mess I am, rather than trying to hide it behind a cool and collected facade. I like myself more as a mess too. And I always feel a more satisfying connection with others when they see the mess and respond to it by sharing their own mess. All humans are messy, and we relax more around those who aren’t worried about it but embrace it. So, be yourself, who you are is beautiful to others, and they will help you to appreciate it too. Set your real self free, just be, see where the journey leads.

                      The friends whom you are staying with, let them show you how much you are loved just as you are. That’s love 🙂

                      For ‘Focusing’, try this –

                      Baci, abbracci and sogni d’oro 😀


                    • Thank you, I am off to London for the day, a treat to love myself and cut down my anxiety. Comparison is our parents’ method. And it’s true, it takes time and i am not patient at all. a plus, s xxx


                    • Have fun in London 😀 It’s lovely at this time of year!

                      That reminds me… that I haven’t been there in ages, as I don’t drive and the train route is complicated (a recluse’s excuses 😉 ).

                      I’m not particularly patient either, especially with myself, except where taking the time to heal is concerned, but that’s more due to experience and realising that being impatient with myself doesn’t make me go any faster, in fact it often slows me down to a crawl. Don’t worry about repeating mistakes or appearing to go backwards, life and healing tends to move in a spiral and not a circle, it just sometimes feels like it’s a circle.

                      Take care and have fun!


                    • We are in Hitchin, half an hour from London by train, I also wondered about you, but i have the impression you are in the middle of the countryside, your pictures how a wild scenery..I know it’the nature of the blog, but i have the habit to think of you as a friend in carne e ossa(!!), i wondered if you too are living not far from here.
                      Today London was tiring but reassuring, not as aggressive as paris, it soothed me. The weather conditions my thoughts so i sense my next future is overcast and my friends are saying it over and over again that the uni is o badly organized my chances are slim-I think they want to keep me down to earth but i am so scared because this triggers my usual reactions of shame and failure.
                      True, comparing myself is bad and i am inclined to do it to my own detriment;my friend has other issues i haven’t got but i have a special pair of spectacles which makes me feel peopel are perfect and i am flawed.
                      When i go to London i have a mind path and i fllow a track of my past, seeing the same places i used to go to, paintings and breathe the air i used to as a younger person; I know places are there but time has changed myself and the context, but all is within myself, it’s like living emotions i felt a long ago-and not everything is negative, I had some hope at that time…Will write more tomorrow. Grazie per starmi vicino ora. Buonanotte, s xxx


                    • I can’t say exactly where I live since this is a public blog, and that’s something I want to keep vague. I’m about 90 miles away from where you are. That’s about two hours away. This area is known for its farming, there’s a British TV icon who hails from these parts, and people like to make jokes about the ‘family relationships’ of this county 😉

                      Whatever happens with the job there is no shame and no failure. I imagine your friends may be warning you that your dream job has flaws, not that you may not get it, but that if you get the job you may realise it’s not as perfect as it seems. It’s also a very British thing to do. A Brit can cook you the most perfect meal ever and they’ll introduce it to you by telling you what a mess it is and what’s wrong with it.

                      Sounds like the trip to London was in some ways to reconnect with a part of you that perhaps never left the UK. To find that part and re-integrate it. There is indeed hope, and it is within you.

                      You will be fine. Take care of yourself, trust yourself, be kind to yourself. Tu sei preziosa!

                      Abbracci forte ❤


                    • Hi there Ursula,
                      i knew you wanted to keep it vague, it was just a spontaneous question. i respect your choice but somehow i see you as a real person although behind a screen. Two people an speak to each other telling the truth and being honest and yet there is distance, preserving us somehow, isn’t it? it’s a complex dimension.
                      I have just heard that my interview is going to be spit in two parts: an informal (so to speak) chat about my experience and academic interests and a short demo where i carry out the task in front of real students, explaining also a a grammar or style point in the text.Nothing scary really, but everyone has got expectations and they might have a special mindset, a model they are after, as in France, to which i don’t match at all(i am used to it, it happened with my parents when i was in the cradle:)). I feel better as i guess there is no more time to batter myself up and be utterly desperate and i have to switch to action. So fair enough, let’s see what happen.
                      i am a bit sad at the idea of not being able to live on my own and being forced to share a flat with a stranger-I did it fro nine years and i hate both alternatives:living in filthy and stinky conditions or becoming the unpaid maid; it’s a shame at my age i haven’t got even this right, but here there is no small loft culture as you can find in France.
                      What you say about the UK is true, i have a deep connection with the culture and the soil, i think you might be influenced by our surroundings, when ti comes to feeling and reacting to life.
                      I have also decided to be kind to myself and i will indulge to another trip to London although it’s not money-wise, i am tired to give up things, desires and dreams, the moment is such i need to soothe myself and i am fed up with being sensible and rigid and strict as a bad parent.
                      You are right, it shouldn’t be considered as a shame thing.Sometimes there is no merit in what happens to us.take this translation agency addressing me tests to provide my services, they picked the Spanish into Italian and disregarded the french and English into Italian where it was the only one made automatically and slightly checked while the turned down ones were carried out with accuracy and pondering. my standards of quality are not theirs, who cares if they are happy with rubbish.
                      I am right now talking to the killing voice putting questions to it, and rationalizing seems a better technique than being subdued to it.
                      if you have any other reading suggestions, they are very welcome as i found very useful all that you recommended. had a look at Pordes and Foyles yesterday for Andy White’s book, but no luck! Yet.
                      il tuo gatto (o e’ una gatta?) ha bel muso spiritoso, il mio e’ un diavolo dispettoso ma mi mancano i suoi agguati..
                      a presto e grazie, mi piace un sacco parlare con te. s xxxx


                    • If you were staying somewhere closer to my home, I’d email you and arrange a get-together as I’d love to meet you in person 🙂 I just meant I wasn’t going to share my exact location on my blog.

                      One of my favourite bookshops in London is Watkins Books in Cecil Court near Leicester Square. It’s like a treasure trove of books. Doubt if they’d have Andy White’s book. Did you read Alice Miller’s Drama of the Gifted Child? Other than that I can’t think of anything at the moment, I do most of my reading on the internet these days because it’s full of interesting information. I found this – – Selfishness and Narcissism in Family Relationships – recently which I thought was very good and this one – – The Drama Triangle – from the same site, which gives insight into dynamics in unhealthy families. Mostly when I look for books I find that wandering through a bookstore and letting a book call out to me is the best way of finding something special to read. That’s how I found Andy White’s book. That was in a great secondhand bookstore, Scarthin Books in Cromford in Derbyshire.

                      Let yourself guide you to your own healing 🙂

                      The interview sounds like fun. Nerve-wracking but fun. You get to be creative and really show who you are. The informal interview is a wonderful idea as it puts you at your ease and allows you to get a better feel for what they are looking for and they can get to know you. And doing a demo in front of students is nice because then you can get to know the type of students you’ll be working with. Remember that those who are interviewing you, including the students, want to like you and they also want to be liked by you. That’s the way people are, underneath everything else we all want to connect and be liked. And they’ll be just as nervous as you and they’ll know you’re nervous, so mentioning it will create a bond and ease tension. You come across as charming and thoughtful and kind, a beautiful soul. And you do not have to be perfect, perfection is not valued in the UK, being human is, being yourself with all your eccentricities – eccentricities are valued (which is why I love living here) 😀

                      The reason my partner and I chose to live in this area was partly because when we were looking at places to live here we stayed in a pub and a man walked in to have a pint and he had a hawk sitting on his arm, and no one batted an eyelid, it was absolutely normal 😉 Things like that… loverly!

                      As for the housing situation over here… we all know it’s difficult. There was a property boom a while ago which then crashed and it’s all a bit of a mess. The prices are very high for a flat the size of a postage stamp. But, who knows, maybe flat sharing may turn out differently from your previous experience and open up a new experience. Each thing in its own time.

                      When considering the worst case scenario, remember there are many other scenarios too in between the best and the worst, and things have a way of working out.

                      And yes, I chat with my ‘killing’ voice too. Chatting with the dark side means you get to know it and its not so oppressive. It also stimulates insight and can be liberating because that kind of voice slowly loses its hold and power, and you see that you have power to deal with it.

                      Take good care of yourself and always treat yourself with compassion, you’re worth it!

                      e una gatta dolce feroce. In questo momento non mi sta parlando perché non voglio lasciarla fuori. Certi giorni la lascio fuori, ma devo fare attenzione perché lei è avventurosa e c’è una strada con molto traffico vicino a casa mia.

                      Mi piace parlare con te moltissimo. Se abitassi più vicino alla tua posizione adesso, sarebbe stato meraviglioso incontrarsi di persona (sento che già abbiamo). Ugh, my Italian 😉 But you know what I mean!


                    • Wow!I’d love to meet you in person, and I can come by train, but of course you know better if that’s feasible as you do know where you live!!! I just have to be here on the 23rd as my friend is acting at the theatre and then I leave to join the French frogs the following day.If there is a chance, please let me know, it would be great!
                      I love second hand bookshops but the books we are after are not a common target. I loved The drama of the gifted child- to me it’s one of the best books on the subject. I find information on the internet very uneven as there is a lot of rubbish along with very deep and insightful articles and at the beginning it drove berserk as i identify to whatever i was reading, I realize now some of that information wasn’t as much detailed and accurate as i needed to as being a acon is a complex situation, being and showing traits of absorbed behaviour is not quite the same and it makes a great difference.
                      I read you have a difficult week ahead of you and I hope it will turn out well in the end. Foreboding you said…that’s exactly the hue and colour of how i tend to picture my future, it’s true it’s all in the mind and it makes life difficult as we try to anticipate in order to manage better without surprise, but we can’t>So today i spontaneously gave in, ok, let it be and that’s it.
                      I have been defined as an eccentric by several Britons and they way they said it was closer to a compliment than criticism, it helps to accept myself.that’s what happened at uni, they read my cv and thought, hey, an Italian living in Paris teaching English, what an eccentric, that’s interesting and instead of being put off by it, they gave me a chance (the rest is not written yet!). i love England for this gift at marveling at difference without scorn-french style. i understand you love the country and coming from an Italian and Fbrench experience and our off the trolley kind of parents this is sheer relief, isn’t it?
                      i am prone to catastrophe, i mean in the classic tragic ancient Greek acceptation, i get scared to death very easily and panic and I paint all black (one of my favorite hits) and then i wallow as an hippo, there is a secret masochistic pleasure in all this i guess.i am in a jolly mood, my sense of humor is back, hopefully my English speech as well! I am what i am, there is nothing i can do to change in these two days therefore i have to, i am bound to be me and i am avoiding my bred in the bone habit of wishful thinking around the mirage of being another person; no magic wand, no potion, just do with what you have.. i promise this is all home made and in no way due to alcohol assumption!
                      i reread today this post about the green bag, and the tragic and comic are walking together, the climax achieved with the green bag going to the orphanage without your consent (constant threat at home for me, with the variation of sending ME to the orphanage if i was..myself!!); luckily there was pizza and books, I mean literally and metaphorically- a world out there and somehow we have been able to reach it, we found more warmth in books and outside than with them, i think that was the survival instinct screaming from within, which translated into seeing beauty and loyalty in others, and every form of life, in my case with excess…


                    • It’s a long and complicated trip, there is no direct route so you’d have to change trains, so it will take several hours to get here and several more hours to then get back again, plus it’s not cheap. The difficult week I mentioned means my schedule is a bit jammed up, and thanks to yesterday, next week is now going to be as stressful as this week. I should be in a foul mood over this situation, especially as there is an element of mythological Cassandra to it as in I foresaw this and no one listened because they thought they knew better, I really wanted to be wrong and I’m not pleased that I was right, but I’m strangely optimistic in a serious way. Then again grim determination is a comfort zone for me. So I won’t be much fun to be around.

                      However since you may well be moving to the UK we’ll have lots of opportunities to meet in the near future, where we’ll both be more relaxed about life – told you I was optimistic 🙂

                      I agree that some of the information pertaining to NPD on the internet can be uneven, some people think that my posts about it are misleading and give misinformation, so there you go, but I find it all worth perusing as whether I think it’s right or wrong or whatever it’s still insightful one way or another. Sometimes, if I have a strong reaction to something, particularly a negative one, I’ll go back to it because it’s hit a nerve and I need to figure out what and why. I tend to prefer to delve into the dark and hidden rather than cling to the light, it has more satisfying results for me personally. Thus. It all helps us to find our own individual story and path to healing. I think part of the unevenness is due to the fact that each of our experiences of narcissists is different even if there are similarities. Such as children of narcissists have a very different experience from those who are only involved with narcissists in a romantic or friendship manner, or those who have to deal with narcissists in the workplace. There are so many variations, as many as there are people in the world. The shared perspectives from professionals and from personal angles all add insight and information to flesh out NPD and those who have it and how they affect us.

                      This life adventure which you’re having has definitely had a deep impact upon you. I feel a strong and glowing vibe emanating from your words. You’re really connecting with yourself, with all of you, not just the Greek tragedy side. This is wonderful because you’re glimpsing the whole of you, and also seeing what others love about you.

                      The UK’s influence is very different from France’s. There is a vibe in Paris which goes with the grisaille, and it’s always a bit deprimante. I remember really feeling the weight of the grey skies when I lived there, and finding out that it had to do with Paris being bowl-shaped and the clouds getting caught over it or something along those lines. And it reflected my moods when I lived there, and getting stuck in them. Whereas in London and most of the UK, the weather changes a lot because there is always a strong wind blowing it, changing it. And here I find that I don’t get stuck in my moods, which helps a lot. So places really affect us as does the weather, like you said.

                      There are many other things too. The Brits are more forgiving and easy going. That self-depracating humour shows an awareness and appreciation for the ups and downs of being human. It means that when you cock-up, it’s fine, as everyone does that, the important thing is to just admit it, have a laugh about it, and keep going, there’s no need to worry about it, no one is perfect and those who pretend to be perfect people are annoying 😉

                      So, enjoy being yourself, including the Italian side – the Brits like the Italian side 🙂 Let yourself out to play and don’t worry if you trip up, what people will be looking for is your ability to get back up and keep playing – which you are very good at doing. Siamo sempre forte di quanto ci diamo merito di essere.

                      Always look on the bright side of life –

                      Baci e abbracci ❤


                    • It’s comforting to hear you optimistic as you see we’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet up..i am a bit upset at the moment as my friend’s husband, a Brit bred in the bone, and a truly lovely person, was trying to help me to figure out the possible questions fro the interview and then suddenly suggested me to tell them my reason to come to the UK was to improve my spoken English. i don’t take it personally because i know him and he’s very good goodhearted and never demeaning, but I was stunned as i have always been told I had a perfect accent and actually it’s the only thing i am proud of about myself; I don’t think it was very good timing though and now i am left to my doubts again, doubts i hadn’t got an hour ago. he’s depicting the worst scenario possible, part time contract, misunderstanding and non commitment from the financial point of view of the dept, etc. i do understand all of it but maybe today i would have spared myself such an ordeal, not a very constructive one.
                      At least i can accept criticism without throwing myself under a running train but my self esteem is so low and fragile as if I were made of glass.
                      is your hell of your week linked to the legal theme of last year? i wish you to overcome all of it and put it in a box as soon as possible, possibly with a very positive outcome. i’ll try to focus on something positive other than i don’t speak as a native speaker and hopefully some wisdom will descend on me:))) as i have none of my own.
                      i had a bittersweet laugh at your youtube video.. the practical side of this situation is truly complicated and my first reaction is to quit and bugger off but there we go in the middle, as you would say, of a Gordian knot. Will our heroes be able to unravel it?
                      sense of humor is my only richness, it’s a pity it doesn’t pay the rent…a plus xxx


                    • It helps to keep in mind when discussing certain things with other people that their experiences of life always colour their words. Which is why it’s important not to take things personally even when the discussion revolves around something personal.

                      Men in particular like to solve problems – which often annoys women, because women prefer to discuss problems just for the sake of discussing them, they find it soothing to talk about whatever is on their mind without needing to do anything about it, it’s an anxiety relieving tactic – whereas men tend to discuss problems when they want a solution, so they apply that logic to women which often gets them into a pickle. Sounds to me like this is what he may have been doing with you. If you mentioned your concern to him about your nerves causing you to perhaps make mistakes which you would normally not make, then he perhaps was trying to help you deal with that scenario should it happen. He was fixing a possible problem. The problem he saw was not your accent and English, it was your fear that you might make a mistake. He was trying to help you.

                      And his points about the university may be due to his own issues with it – you mentioned that he worked there, right? he may be thinking about his own grumbles with the working conditions and stuff like that.

                      Always remember that human beings are obsessed with themselves even when they think they’re focusing on other people. We talk and think about ourselves all the time, our problems, our thoughts and feelings, etc, leak into everything we discuss and consider. Sometimes we’re aware of it, sometimes we’re not and we’d be surprised if someone pointed it out. That’s all a part of being human 🙂

                      There’s a film you might enjoy – Frances Ha (2012) – it’s a lovely story of a woman who is a bit lost and drifting but eventually begins to find her way and build her dream life in an individual and quirky way.

                      Take care of yourself 🙂


                    • I loved the movie you mentioned above, it gave me a sense of hope. I talked it through to my friend and actually it’s about his own worries, but strangely i could reason and be sensible about it, while usually i get very upset and overwhelmed; this is due to my inner progress or simply because it came from somebody i have no doubts about, i completely trust him.
                      the very good news (god i make myself important!) is that the killing voices are silent and far away, so weird, this is a juicy appointment they wouldn’t have missed for anything in the world.They might be tired of bugging me or i have found some quirky(I love this word) way to keep them at bay, they can’t reach me at the moment. Today i revised most of the day and then fell asleep as i needed to switch off and i feel alright. first time in my life.
                      It’s a pity though that you live in the heart of the country and it’s so complicated along with your difficult week, but i wanted to let you know that i really appreciated you would have enjoyed meeting me in person as much as i would have. Thank you!
                      Ti ringrazio tanto per essermi stata vicina in questi giorni e ti abbraccio forte, s xxx


                    • Cara amica,
                      i did my best both in my interview and the microteaching but my interviewer was not listening, i don’t want to say dismissive but not interested in me, all seasoned with a couple of lousy questions and tons of technical ones to which i replied accurately. Tomorrow they want to see me fro more questioning and giving feedback but i feel there is no chance. i am quite happy with myself as I liked the way i faced it and dealt with it- bought myself a dress afterwards which I shouldn’t have but as i see myself as a heap of mashed potatoes i was glad to see myself otherwise.
                      What a coincidence, people were not listening to us, even in different circumstances and contexts. Thinking of you and hope you will not have to pay for other people’s mistakes. ti abbraccio forte sei nei miei pensieri, s xxx


                    • It sounds like it went well. And I love the idea of a dress to celebrate, it’s wonderful to reward ourselves 🙂 It’s a way to say that you’re proud of yourself and love yourself!

                      Sometimes it is difficult to tell who is listening and who is not, as people have different listening faces and styles, and different situations bring out variations. The proof is really in what happens afterwards. Don’t count yourself out until you’re actually out, especially during the interview process, interviewers like to test people in subtle ways.

                      All in all you’re emanating a bouncy, positive and strong vibe. Mi fa sorridere 😀

                      Migliori auguri per tutto, baci e abbracci ❤

                      ps. Sono via dal Internet per un paio di giorni. And thank you for your thoughtfulness!


              • carissima
                i think I didn’t explain myself well but what i wanted to say is that i could face it but apparently they were looking for something else or perfection (i am not gifted at it) so I will be contacted for writing exams articles and maybe i don’t know what-it’s all very vague as niceness is to make up for yesterday dismissive behaviour. So no big change and back to my usual misery.Enough of this stupid talk, I am so sorry for you fro whatever happened as i am sure it has got to do with your parents, when it comes to them it’s always harsh. We didn’t choose that family but we’ll pay all our lives. Your partner, your friends and your cat will help you to be in touch with the world and real feelings, they will reassure you. Ti penso e ti ringrazio tanto. s xxx


                • No… not back to the usual misery. The usual misery will be viewed differently thanks to the new experience. Things change gradually, each little shift although at times small, adds up… have patience 🙂 especially with yourself!


                  • Well, I am going back to Paris tomorrow with no job and another failure, my father would really rejoice if he knew it. Being unemployed needs sorting but right now I haven’t got a clue about what and how.
                    The only different feature of this last shortcoming is that I wouldn’t be fair if i said I blew it, i just did my best and except craving a job in order to leave the country,I wouldn’t be honest if i said a job paid by the hour with whatever it implies is what i am after and it’s not enough in order to move, pack, leave my friends.
                    Still shame is at the core of my feelings as the first thought is to terminate therapy as I sucks all my energy and i am fed up with my past which can’t be changed, i will be crippled for the rest of my life. I read everywhere i have to change from within but my life conditions seem to support my parents’ view of myself, I am a misfit and I am not good enough in anything I do.
                    In your yesterday post you mentioned signs. I went to see King Lear last night in London and it did affect me more than before-it’s the way it is, it all went wrong in my family, there was a will to destroy a child and they found their own gratification and pleasure. Being blind to oneself or to one’s own child and projecting an image which doesn’t match reality is a choice, a thorough activity carried out for years; my shame has been instigated by their own way of seeing themselves and demanding a good performance to making them feel worthy but now i have to live with that. Shame translates into hiding as you are scared to be perceived as inadequate by others and I always feel people perceive me so and the only way to accept myself is to give fulfill others’s needs.This has led me once again to be attracted to another N man, the one i have always mentioned to you who sucked all my energy as he needed my N supply. I enjoy caring far too much but it’s devastating and it reminded me of my former shrink, as the feelings were bearing exactly the same features, effects and self destructive bitter taste.
                    It’s scary as I end up being convinced I cannot be of interest or loved as a person or as a woman unless I pay for it. These English friends of mine are extraordinary people with whom I feel safe and understood and being with them is a rescue remedy as far as my distorted view of the family dynamics is concerned. I do know love exists, it’s just not in my life, that’s all. People don’t look for crippled human beings, they want to be surrounded by successful and positive and always high spirited ones; reality is unforgiving and I am old, i feel almost rotten, and i have nothing to offer to a man that’s way i should give the idea of love, but there is an instinct which prevents me to do it unluckily and that’s why i do suffer and i can’t find a way out.
                    The most logical thought for me at the moment would be to take my life away, repetition confirms to me I fail and I am always in the same situation, this is reality and data but i can’t believe this is the only thing available for me and on the other hand, I have no access to a different way to get myself out of there. My family would say I nourished my mind with the illusion of succeeding for months but there is no way to change what i am.
                    I really admire how you came out of it and you allowed yourself to meet love in your life in spite of your dysfunctional family, while I seem to be stuck as they condition deeply how i perceive myself and i cannot make that leap towards freedom and mental sanity. I am not comparing myself to you, but reading all the stories here on your blog it’s clear that most of the people are able to get rid of this conditioning and succeed at living their own life.
                    Maybe it’s due to my nature which is not fit for fighting and and i am not very resilient as I should. the only thing i am sure of it’s i try very hard, or better i have tried very hard until now


                    • I want you to reread this comment of yours… only imagine that I’m the one who said these words to you as though I was speaking about myself and my life instead of you speaking to me about yours. Now. What would you say to me in reply?


                    • Difficult task i am not up to. But this is how I feel: i don’t find it dramatic for my usual range, but quite realistic. These days i am quite detached from my emotions but I can’t be happy of my life as i have no grasp in spite of my efforts. My efforts are a huge mountain of actions, thoughts, re-adjusting and pondering, which actually have been that effective until now, my attitude is at present a sort of giving up as I can’t see the end of it. I admire plenty of people here on the blog as there is a silver lining in their stories, taking the right decisions, seeing some sort of reward.. CHANGE.
                      i am very discouraged as this is not what I see for myself. I don’t know what else i could reply to myself. i hope you are not cross at me, I didn’t mean to.


                    • I was simply trying to show you a technique which I use when I spiral into old patterns. I perhaps should have explained it better, but I’m very tired at the moment – as I’ve mentioned things are a bit intense for me right now – so I’m keeping my replies brief.

                      Read your own words – therein lies wisdom. Then have a conversation with yourself as though you were someone else saying those things to yourself – we’re usually kinder to others than we are to ourselves, so this exercise helps us to be kinder with ourselves (and it can do other things to, like talk back to the negative self-talk).

                      You’ve got a good therapist… value the work you’ve been doing with him. This process takes time… don’t expect miracle cures.

                      And seriously, don’t do the – are you cross with me – thing with me. Really… just don’t. You should know me better by now.

                      Relax, let yourself unwind from this whole new experience you’ve had… it is not the same old thing, unless you want it to be. The choice is yours. You have more personal power than you are willing to admit. Pause. Review.

                      Sotto la panca la capra campa, sopra la panca la capra crepa. – I know it’s a tongue-twister, but I’ve heard it also used as a philosophy of going with the flow of sorts.


                    • seashell –
                      I have really appreciated you sharing your comments & insight with me. Knowing you have experienced some similar situations to mine & that you reached out has meant a lot to me.
                      I notice your comments are always brief. Please feel free to share more of your thoughts with me.

                      Not having gainful employment can be one of the most heart wrenching situations that people experience cause it effects us on so many levels. The monetary piece, the social connection piece, the accomplishment piece plus much more . It effects our security & self esteem on many many levels. We all go though periods of feeling how you feel now- like everything is falling apart. . When your family of origin dynamic is not supportive , it just amplifies the pain of it all. Alot.

                      If you find yourself being attracted to a N type person, try to slow it down to observe if this is making you feel better or worse , or both. Do you tend to keep things locked inside yourself? If so – these N personalities draw things out of you that you normally would not let out?

                      You state that you do know love exists. It does, you know that. Keep reaching, don’t give up.

                      Positive wishes to you.


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