My Sweet Tooth prefers Salt… but I call my Sugar, Candy

Candy — Big Maybelle

I don’t really have a sweet tooth.

Never have had one.

As a child… I used to do something very socially unacceptable but which was hardly noticed by adults (those authorities on socially acceptable stuff – do as I say and not as I do) when around a table in a restaurant, one of those restaurants which had a little bowl of salt next to a bowl of pepper with some toothpicks in between… I used to pick up a toothpick, lick it and dip it in the salt bowl, then suck it like a lollipop.

When I swam in the sea, I used to let my fingers dry out then lick them like a lollipop.

I liked the taste of salt.

I still like the taste of salt.

I prefer salt to sugar, salt is my sugar.

Sugar is nice, but salt… yummmm.

I used to think that being understood was important, vital… I sought it out like a treasure.

Then…

Understanding became more important than being understood.

Slowly… being understood lost its appeal, not important, doesn’t matter…

But understanding, using my mind to understand, using my feelings to understand… that became vital… and still is… the salt of life.

I don’t need anyone to understand me… I appreciate it… but… let me understand you, that is far more important to me…

Perhaps I can see, feel, think this way because… one person took the time to get to know me and understand me, and understands me.

My need to be understood has been met…

That’s all I needed and now it is my turn to stop thinking about me and think about you… understand you… all because of one person…

He’s my sugar in my salt loving world…

And I call my sugar, Candy… my understanding Candy…

 

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32 thoughts on “My Sweet Tooth prefers Salt… but I call my Sugar, Candy

  1. Bingo, Ursula. in this post you expressed your wish to understand people and replying to Simone you gave me the key to understand how I react and why, why I feel so often in a prison. Thank you. You have such an outstanding gift.

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    1. Thank you.

      In this case I just drew on my own understanding of myself, and on knowing that my version of reality is not the same as other people’s and on knowing how their reality clashes with mine, but it is similar to some, those who have similar realities as mine have similar experiences with those whose realities are different from ours and who want us to live in their reality without understanding that we can’t just as they can’t live in ours. We get it because it is a part of our reality, they have a harder time getting it because it is not a part of their reality.

      The world is made up of lots of alternative realities trying to connect somehow. When they do it is great, understanding is reached, when they don’t complications ensue and misunderstandings abound.

      You and I share similar realities. 🙂

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      1. if we really share similar realities, and we do, it can be sometimes so sad, as though the past came back emotionally, as though it had the power to attack us again. I happen to see myself as a little girl, outside of my mind, observing what was occurring to her, I see fear and despair and her feeling threatened by her parents, utterly unaware that she was going to carry it all her life. The story of this boy who asked not to be in contact again touched me, as there are so many feelings there, fear of being misunderstood and unaccepted and the perception of being different from what the others wanted from him, as inadequate. It’s a lot of work and i am not sure i have the stamina to go down to the bottom line. The experience of being a child of Ns leaves me with a feeeling of not being able to chhoose, to be passive and not to stand criticism in a balanced way, I still feel threatened. To meet someone who accepts me as I am is an impossible dream, but I am so happy to hear it does happen- and this means that if i am able to believe something which doesn’t concern my existence, I am an idealist, just for a change in a good sense.
        Thank you for yesterday, I understand why you have given to me this gift, it’s a token of friendship but also of your therapeutic attitude for me difficult to handle. And you never trespass boundaries because I understand your intentions. And if one day you do, there must be a good reason, a good hearted one for sure, I trust you.
        You told me I have a music inside myself, it’s the msot beautiful compliment I have ever received and the most difficult one, I am not equipped yet to experiencing it.
        Volevo dirti che ora ho letto che sei esausta e non ho il diritto di immischiarmi nella tua vita privata, spero solo che tu non ti senta male e che il fatto di dare così tanto sostegno agli altri non ti ritorni come un boomerang contro te stessa. Take care my friend, s xxx

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        1. Grazie. Sono solo esausta mentalmente non emozionalmente, e nulla a che fare con dare sostegno agli altri, e perché devo prendere delle decisioni concrete in questioni e materia separate l’uno dall’altro (and I’m not good at multi-tasking) – e non ho tutti i dettagli di cui ho bisogno per prendere quelle decisioni. Ma tutte queste cose separate si influenzano reciprocamente. Tale è la vita 🙂

          If I ever trespass your boundaries, I hope you will tell me to stop it 🙂 I respect that, and like it (even if I may get grumpy about it <– testa dura).

          You do have a very beautiful music within you, unique to you and of value to you and to those whom you let hear it. It is inspiring.

          There are certain experiences, themes and patterns of relationship which we seemed doomed to repeat, but there is something in that, the doomed bit, which can be turned into a positive, it just requires finding a different way of looking at it. It's taken me a long time to flip things around, to see the value in things which I did not think of as valuable. To see that within the pain lies the healing, the solution to it. You're far braver than you know because you've always been brave and therefore you expect more from yourself and it can be difficult to see what you have naturally.

          Tale è la vita 🙂

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          1. Sometimes our judgment is born and dies within the mind itself, we do enjoy worrying, and thinking you are not good at doing things, but we put so much energy that it left us exhausted. I am sure that soon you’ll have it sorted out, if you haven’t already.
            Just wanted to say I do admire the way you handle difficulties and tackle delicate issues with your writing as everything you say is pondered, rational, sensitive, considerate but you don’t forget yourself and you are never aggressive but firm. Wonderful, a true model for me. thank you xxx
            You can’t trespass boundaries as it’s something we havebeen forced to go through by our parents, it’s like murdering someone in our view, as it’s one of most horrid feature of Ns and as being invaded was so violent, we can’t reproduce it;on the other hand standing for ourselves it’s something we have to learn from scratch, a bit like cooking bechamel for non French people, and I always end up with tennis balls inside as I miss the foundations of the procedure.
            i am working hard on my pattern and i see people don’t like it but I can’t do otherwise. you know, a friend of mine was irritated about my poem on your post, i don’t understand and it’s not he first time it happens in my life;for me it’s hard to give value to what I do but for them it’s easy to give it a negative one, more of a personal reaction than an objective consideration of the thing itself.
            Thank you for saying I have a beautiful music inside, i hope at the end of this hellish journey i will be able to hear it too.
            take care, s xxx

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            1. Did you ask your friend why they were irritated? Are you sure they were irritated by it? I’m guessing this person is French, and the French have a certain way of expressing themselves which can come across as dismissive. Blase. When something like that happens, and you know you’re sensitive to such things, there comes a time when maybe you need to challenge those scenarios to see if perhaps there is a different way to deal with it – rather than internalise how it makes you feel which may become self-destructive, externalise it in a constructive way.

              When I find myself repeating a pattern or in a scenario where a theme is occurring again, I like to see if there is a perspective of it which is new. Try something different, break my own cycle. That’s partly what I was doing when I said I was taking a break from my blog… it changed my perspective on an old scenario. It gave me a new option.

              Life plays with us, we can join in 🙂

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              1. She’s eighty years old and an eccentric, she is very good hearted but not flexible:she wants things the way she decides them to be, without concession. She paints Francis Bacon style ( I loathe FB’s art ) but I always try to find a positive thing to say about it as it’s her way to give sense to her day.She didn’t like my poem or the fact that it was visible.So, I tested my impression telling of a concert I didn’t like although i do know she loves that violinist and I just expressed my point of view, not an absolute reality, I made it clear that that was my OWN way of perceiving:She grew angry and said:”C’est faux”. What the hell is false, my impression??? Then she canceled as we had to meet yesterday and she usually calls almost everyday as she’s alone and I like asking her how she spent the day, but no news. She is punishing me.
                You see, i am progressing as i speak up my mind but this is not appreciated and i feel there is something pathological in her way of looking for an ideal version of reality, as though she was disappointed each time things are not the way she imagined.But I have my own right to my own version of my feelings;she can’t stand if i am depressed or sad, i have to express it without feelings. Am I the usual magnet for…Ns?
                I try hard not to take it on me, but it is unpleasant and for sure I need a break from this as i am struggling to be balanced and i am tired of being aggressed. i really liked one of oyur statement, when you said out of the supermarket that that was enough socialising fro the week!!!!
                Indeed my boundaries aren’t good but there are people who can’t prevent themselves from invading another; the thing is the very first reaction inside myself is anger, but left unexpressed, it’s lingering and usuaally it sits on me:).My shrink doesn’t want me to read all the books on my parents’ disorder and the rest, but I need to know how it works and he argues it makes me feel worse-therapy with him as well is not a sugar candy.But truth is better than illusion to me, in spite of its price. Sometimes i am so worn out i would like to quit therapy too.
                You are more flexible than I am; I think my neurosis is due to the fact that i am not strong enough to welcome the whole thing with the history of my family, my loneliness and how i see myself. i am reading the Rubin’s book you recommended and it’s great, thank you! I have just seen he wrote something about anger, sounds interesting.
                A big issue concerning children of N is that they want to please and compliance is almost rooted in our dna, but I want to change that.

                take care and thank you for being there. s xxx

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                1. Have you seen the film – Tatie Danielle (1990) – It’s about an old French lady who is mean-spirited and enjoys causing pain in the lives of others. Then one day she meets her match in a young woman.

                  That’s what your story reminds me of.

                  There is an indomitable strength of character inside of you, but you’re so used to it you don’t notice how powerful you are. However now that you are exploring your own life story from its start to this point in your life, you’re beginning to see who you are and have always been underneath all those concepts of who you think you are, many of which are based on who others told you to be and told you that you are and were.

                  Those moments when you feel most afraid during this process and want to stop it and retreat, are the moments when your true power reveals itself very vividly and breaks through your old habit of feeling powerless. This can be disorienting, but you’ll always land on your feet, and each time it happens the ground beneath your feet will feel firmer. Your confidence in yourself is growing, and doing so quite rapidly.

                  How you handled the woman is good for you. It shows that you have good boundaries. Why should you put up with something which is unpleasant to you? For her sake? Why? Because she’s alone… maybe there is a reason she is alone and maybe it is her fault. If she does not allow others the freedom to share their views with her, and only her view is allowed expression, then she is creating the situation she is in and keeping it that way. She is the creator of her own suffering. Her behaviour is not something which makes others want to spend time with her or want to know how she is.

                  And she is not punishing you (she may intend it that way but that’s her problem as by punishing others she is actually punishing herself), she is doing you a favour by pushing you away as you do not have to spend time with her, cater to her, and absorb her negativity while she refuses to talk with you. So the time which you would have given to her, you can give it to yourself or to friends who appreciate your company and you expressing yourself as you are and not as they need you to be for them.

                  N’s or those who appear to be behaving in an N way towards us, challenge us to be ourselves boldly because that is the antidote to their nonsense.

                  For me, a huge part of my anger was protective, it was me telling myself to stop putting up with N’s and anyone else’s demands if they harmed me. The anger was me getting annoyed that I was allowing myself to be hurt, used or any number of other things. I was not doing, saying or being myself, I was pleasing those who did not deserve such a thing. Anger is a positive energy when you understand it and the message which it holds within it.

                  I wrote something along these lines – https://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/the-anger-games/

                  When you talk about your therapist, there is affection in your words in a way which says that you feel he is actually helping you. He offers you his view, but I don’t get the feeling from you that he is trying to impose his view on you, rather he tells you what he thinks based on what he observes and then leaves you to decide for yourself.

                  I think maybe in the case of reading books about NPD and such, he may just be concerned that you might end up using what you read to hurt yourself, and he is seeking to help you be kinder to yourself. I’m sure if you explain to him how you see it, he will understand. Also some of the books on NPD can be too clinical and intellectual, and because you have such a rich treasure of emotions, perhaps he is wary that you might intellectualise what you feel. Ask him to expand upon anything which he says which causes a conflict or question for you.

                  I don’t think compliance is rooted in our DNA, so much as it is a survival tactic we’ve used since when we were very young. It is superimposed upon our natural selves, but we know it is not who we are – hence anger.

                  Take care of yourself 🙂

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                2. Hi Seashell,

                  For those who need an ideal version of reality, they are indeed disappointed each time things are not the way they imagined. And angry and frustrated. All those around them are expected and required to play their part in upholding that ideal version. Our feelings, any of them, challenge that reality. It is just their way.

                  Children of narcissists are truth-seekers. We spent so long living in PretendLand in our childhoods that to do so another second feels insulting to us. As you say, truth is better than illusion, regardless of the price. I feel strongly the same. And that is good for us. However, if others want to live differently, so be it. I have no wish to fight that fight anymore.

                  I was also encouraged not to explore NPD in depth. Someone once told me “do you want all that on your mental hard drive?” She was trying to spare me any unnecessary, additional pain, because there is such ugliness in this disorder. But I needed to know. And with a little distance now, I can say I am better off for having the knowledge, even the ugly parts. It is better to know. As long as we don’t stay there. As long as we still live our lives. As long as we don’t lose our focus on our selves. What does this mean for me? Where will this take me? Where do I want to go? It can be very easy to lose ourselves in trying to understand the disorder. It’s a rabbit hole. We will understand pieces at different times, but are minds cannot really, truly know it.

                  I relate strongly to your feeling of being “worn out”. The exhaustion. At a certain point, I think our minds reach a satiation about NPD. We understand enough. We accept that we can’t understand it all, and we don’t need to. It’s not something that can be forced. It just happens on its own. It’s the road.

                  Please remember, you are allowed to feel your pain. And you are strong enough to welcome the whole thing. I don’t know how I know it, but I do. I feel a bond with the children of narcissists. I wish these things for all of us.

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                  1. thank you Hope!
                    my anger is due mainly to the fact it lied buried for all of my life and hence the frustration. We are so much used to love the unlovable, as ursula says, ten we accept naturally things we shouldn’t. I have an idealist approach to plenty of issues but i allow others to be themselves in my world, I like differences;with N, i feel I am in cage, a steel metal and mental rigid and invisible cage. i have a problem in letting people go, as I feel i am the one who loses their presence, I can’t think of the opposite due to my low self esteem, but that’s how i am a magnet for them.
                    i would like to end it with my pain as it makes me sick, it rubs out other tastebuds and other appetites for life, all my energy is sucked up by it, seeing things as they are is worth it but it is very sad and it implies that being a child of N is a condition that will make your lovve life very difficult all my life.
                    Good luck to you.

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                    1. With my recent narcissist, I had invisible duck tape over my mouth. That’s the image in my mind. With my parents, I can remember feeling as if my teeth were permanently clenched.

                      We are not cut out for love relationships with narcissists. But we are exactly the right people for this kind of relationship with the right people. Being a child of narcissists gave us many beautiful, relationship-worthy things: Honesty. Strength. Integrity. Loyalty. Depth. I’ll take that condition any day of the week 🙂

                      For me, the sadness is this: I am only understanding it all just now. I was loveable all along. I was never deficient. I just didn’t know it. The recent narcissist taught me this, as torturous as it was. All these years, I thought love was for other people and not for me. I was so wrong. But now, I feel the clock ticking. I am not young. The odds are not in my favor. And it enhances the sense of cruelty: to meet a narcissist who rips my heart to shreds, but in effect, teaches me I am lovable…. only for me to wind up alone anyway. I found out I was lovable. I found out I want someone to love, but I’ll likely still be alone. This all just happened too late in my life. It is my deep grief. I feel it often, like tonight. It’s so deep, it feels like it’s in every bone in my body. This is the condition I fear, to carry this grief with me for the rest of my life. I must find a way to heal it.

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                    2. Dear Hope,
                      when you feel like this turn to your inner world and nurture yourself of what you find beautiful, or dedicate time to cook for your friends.I struggle against this feeling all the time;I have learnt to accept help from my friends and I have been rummaging into my past relationships a great deal on my own and in therapy, but ultimately what allows me to survive is to cling on the presence of love in my life, namely my friends and my cat. Don’t spend too much time in the darkness, at night thoughts can be even heavier, keep your chin up!

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  2. I am so happy you have found the right someone you understand you, this help to recharge one’s batteries to give understanding to other people, and i do share Simone’s view above, “that’s all we need for healing our inner wounds … being looked at by a loving ‘eye”. he must be someone really special and i thank him for that!

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    1. Thank you 😀

      He taught me how to understand myself, how to accept myself because he liked me as I am… and I couldn’t understand why. So he showed me.

      He’s very human though just like me, so I return the favour he gave me 🙂

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  3. What a lovely post! 🙂 I get what you mean. It’s important to understand rather than to want understanding. I think the latter condition can be a result of immaturity – I really felt that I’d jumped a hurdle when I (finally) figured that out. That’s not to say that being understood is not important, but it somehow happens when one takes the time to understand. Of course, this also means that the people involved are on the same page – that one is not trying to manipulate or take advantage of the other.

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    1. Thank you 😀

      You’re right, when you take the time to understand someone else, see their point of view, see how they experience life and the world, and see it as just as valid as yours, there is a natural flow in return where they understand you too and feel more at ease with you and your point of view. Not always, but more often than not. People want to be understood, when you give them understanding they feel more inclined to return it because people also want to understand other people.

      I think a lot of people are on the defensive, certain that others are going to try and make them change their view, force them to dismiss their own point of view in favour of someone else’s, so when you don’t do that, they can relax and are more open to sharing.

      Manipulation requires a different kind of understanding, it’s a conditional understanding, one which is more about studying people and how they react to different stimuli. The manipulator understands the intellectual aspect of psychology, of cause and effect, of supply and demand as in what people want and how to use their want and need to the manipulator’s advantage. The understanding is not compassionate, empathic or for connection between beings, nor is it respectful. It’s the manipulator figuring out the best way to get what they want using the wants of others.

      Such as with narcissists, they understand how to use the needs of others to fulfill their own needs. They tell people what they need and want to hear, but they don’t actually understand why people need and want what they do. They don’t understand that others are real people, others are just a means to an end which is all about the narcissist.

      It’s a facinating subject and aspect of being human 🙂

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  4. Dear Ursula,

    These are such beautiful observations! I am glad you found the person you needed to understand you. I think, sometimes, that’s all we need for healing our inner wounds … being looked at by a loving ‘eye’. 🙂

    There is a personal matter on which I hope you could give me an advice. I hope you do not mind taking some of your time with this matter and please feel free not to answer if you do not have the time.

    It is about the interaction with a friend of mine who is a victim of narcissism but is unaware of the situation. This was my first contact with this type of suffering of which I knew nothing at the time. Here is shortly how the situation was about two years ago when I first encountered him.

    He thinks his mother is a wonderful and sensitive person while he is bad and blamable for everything is wrong in the relation with her and with himself. He has the tendency to keep her at distance, outwardly, and he blames himself for that, while having a strong and powerful connection with her inwardly and showing a kind of ‘hunger’ to the attention and praise he receives from her. (just to get an idea, here is what his mother sends him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqZuDkL4G3U , and he feels ‘guilty’ for not being able to respond to her. Soon after he received this from his mother, he sent it to me saying that it is fit for that moment). He is an only child and his parents were divorced when he was very young. Soon after her divorce, his mother remarried and so he was raised by a different father. Then his mother got divorced again about 5-6 years ago. And now she is remarried again for about 2 years. His mother idolizes him since he was the best in all he did in his life, in school and in his professional career. In his inner life, as you can imagine he is deeply unhappy, tired and lonely.

    Soon after we were acquainted he approached me and little by little started to unravel personal things to me in a quest to help him understand what is going on with him (this is how I found out the above things). What can I say, I was deeply touched by what I saw in his soul and as delicately as possible, whenever he would allow the space I would redefine to him in real terms the treatment she applied to him (which was a combination of high-down, hot-cold, you’re the best-you’re the worst, something like that…). When he asked my opinion about specific situations from his childhood I would say something like “it was not right for your mum to have that unrealistic expectation from you at that age since you were just a very small child and you could not have managed that. None of us would. She should have caressed and embraced you instead! But probably this is the best she could do in that given situation. etc.” I’ve met him exactly three times and the rest were phone but mostly email and messenger discussions. He seemed to prefer them. We do not live in the same city and it’s not easy to meet even by chance.
    Initially he would feel some tension around these issues from his childhood but in a very short time to his complete surprise he felt liberated. He could not believe it how it felt to be freed from the false guilt he carried on for so long, how it felt to be seen and accepted by someone. I was very happy for him and glad to share with him in these experiences. But these feelings lasted only a few days.

    One day he called me first thing in the morning to express his thanks for the freedom and joy our discussions brought on him saying that from now on he should offer me not only his tensioned inner states but also the joy of being. During that day our communication was very real and gentle. I have no idea how it happened but in this new kind of communion it came a moment when we would both ‘see’ ourselves, I saw myself and him seeing me, as he saw me and me seeing him! A vulnerable moment for both of us in which we found ourselves unexpectedly. Something like this never happened to me before. I think it was the same to him. A vulnerable but beautiful moment in my opinion! I did not know what to do, I was a bit scared but accepted the thing as such. That day we said goodbye in very good friendly terms. Then, after 2 days I received an email from him saying that is better not to have any contact with each other and that he asks me not to write or phone him ever again. I was so deeply hurt that for a few days I could not get out of bed. I knew something awful happened to him in the past and as a result he acts like this in the present while not being aware of what he actually does. I could not get angry on him but the situation was very serious. So, when I was able, I wrote him an email explaining what kind of impact did his email have on my soul. It was not written in any reproaching terms, just informative and explicative. I also told him that in the field of human relations you cannot ‘impose’ something like this on the another person, asking to respect your freedom while you prove you have no respect for the other’s freedom at all.

    Perhaps I should also mention that in the beginning of our acquaintance I had a permanent feeling of uneasiness and confusion (the first time in my life when I felt this related to someone, and which was a wonder for me as well), feelings which I openly addressed in relation to him. As I was very busy in my life at that time and could not manage this difficult situation, it seemed to me more honest to ‘postpone’ it somehow. He was asking me why do I feel like that and I honestly told him that: ‘I really don’t know’ . Also, at a certain moment during our ‘relation’ he proposed me something which I could not make sense of … a kind of relation but not in ‘normal’ terms, a relation without any connection (to be read engagement, responsibility etc.), a relation in a fantasy world where each of us should ‘get’ what we need not from the ‘real’ relation but from what we imagine the relation to be. (I tried to put in words what I understood from his ‘proposal’ as best as I can). He also added that if it’s too much for me, there is no problem. However, he was aware that something is ‘wrong’ with him, he knew that he hurt people, but he did not know how, and at least at that time he was honestly looking for answers. Since then, I had no news from him. In the meantime I would write to him on his birthday, or the similar. But there was no reply, ever. I also did not wait for one. He thinks that he ‘keeps his word’ behaving like this.

    And here we come to my actual problem. A few weeks ago, to my surprise I received an email from him in reply to a general email I sent to a group of friends of which he is part of. In his email he was first thanking me, and then reminding me not to write him again as he asked me. 2 lines, almost identical with the ones written 2 years ago. During these two years, if he is still on that emailing list, he received another couples of emails from me, about 3-4. The question is why did he respond to this one, which contained only some funny innocent jokes which I shared with my close friends? Why to this one and after so much time? At this moment I cannot make any sense of his behavior. What does he want? He would never admit that he wants something, but during these years I could feel that he is constantly ‘following’ me, whenever he had the chance (which were not many since we do not live in the same city, nor have professional interactions, only some common acquaintances). I feel he indeed wants something or expects me to do something but I do not know what it is or how could I be of help in this situation he created. His reply to my email seemed to me as being related to a new way to ‘punish’ me for what he thinks it means feeling well and relaxed enough in order to laugh at jokes (but perhaps I am wrong in thinking like this). Due to the very unexpected interaction between us, and the vulnerable situation we found ourselves in 2 years ago, I am myself bewildered in regard to what was the meaning of this occurrence in my life. I feel like he would like to feel and act differently but without having to go through the pain of ‘understanding’ and ‘accepting’ (but again, perhaps I am wrong here as well; perhaps he just does not know what to do)
    Despite of his behavior I consider him a friend but why does he keep treating me as I’m his most feared enemy? I have the feeling that he’s never going to stop. What does he want from me? And if he wants something why doesn’t he try to get it? Is it something I could do for him in this circumstance? Do you have any idea what is this all about?

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    1. Hi and thank you 🙂

      The first guideline for understanding someone else is to realise that they have the right to be who they are, just as you have the right to be who you are, they do not have to fit into who you are, and you do not have to fit into who they are. They are a whole person just like you, a world, a universe which revolves around them. They are a world of experience, their own experiences. Their world may never make sense to you and you may never understand it because it may not have anything in common with your world. Their world is still valid and real, even if it is unreal and seem invalid in your world.

      The way I would handle this is to go with your own words – I also told him that in the field of human relations you cannot ‘impose’ something like this on the another person, asking to respect your freedom while you prove you have no respect for the other’s freedom at all. – only apply those words to yourself and not to him in this situation.

      To your question – What does he want from me? – he has told you what he wants from you. He wants you to take his email address off your mailing list and not contact him again.

      What you say here – In his email he was first thanking me, and then reminding me not to write him again as he asked me. – is someone trying to be considerate and polite towards you so as not to annoy you, to not hurt you any more than you have told him that he already has, but also firmly stating that he does not want contact with you at all.

      He asked you to stop contacting him before – 2 lines, almost identical with the ones written 2 years ago – but you kept contacting him – During these two years, if he is still on that emailing list, he received another couples of emails from me, about 3-4. – He waited, hoping you would stop emailing him, take him off your email contact list, hoping that you would at some point actually listen to his request and hear him and respect his wishes.

      He realised that you have not heard and listened to him, so he decided to ask you again, politely and respectfully, to stop contacting him. He is doing exactly this – And if he wants something why doesn’t he try to get it? – he wants you to stop contacting him. He wants you to forget about him.

      In answer to what you can do – Respect his wishes. Forget about him. Leave him alone and let go, move on.

      In answer to – Do you have any idea what is this all about? – I can guess that if he is the only child of a narcissist then he is used to never being seen, heard, listened to or understood by others.

      He is aware that other people project onto him who they want him to be and for a while he tries to please other people and be who they want him to be, but then he feels drained by their needs as they want more and more, so he retreats into himself to be alone and recharge, but they pursue him demanding that he give them more of who they want him to be for them because for them this is who he is and they want more of it, more than he can give but they don’t care because their need needs and this supercedes anything which he needs including time alone away from the needful person.

      He tries to separate himself gently so as not to hurt them because he knows that they will react badly if that happens – people do not like to be cut off from the supply to the demands of their needs – they will blame him and accuse him of all sorts of injuries which they believe he has done to them without ever thinking that they are responsible in any way, because they do not see him as he is and for who he is, he has become a fantasy to them and they like their fantasy of him and they’re angry at him for taking that away from them and try to coax him into continuing it by bullying him in some way, using emotional blackmail of some sort, often of the gentle kind like telling him they love him, they see him, they understand him and want to help him… but he does not feel that from them at all.

      A child of narcissists, especially an only child, takes care of themselves and their own needs. They experience being alone in a very vivid and real way. They accept it and live with it. They often try to connect with others, but the pattern and themes of their childhood relationships keep repeating, and they feel more alone because of it.

      The worst thing you can do to and for a child of narcissists is try to save them from themselves. They do not want to be saved, they do not want a saviour, they want to save themselves, be their own saviour. Someone who tries to save them and be their saviour is experienced as yet another needy person who wants something from them, who wants them to be a certain way for them, to give up their identity and let someone else tell them who they are, something which they do not want to give but feel obliged to give to get the needy person to go away so they can have some time and peace for themselves where they can just be who they actually are without intrusion and demands.

      The last interaction, the meeting which you had with him and his subsequent request tells you everything you need to know. You did help him, he was grateful and thanked you for showing him the way to free himself from the burdens which have been placed upon him. He took what you showed him and applied it to you too. Something in your last meeting made him realise that he was repeating the same relationship pattern which he has with his mother with you. You had become in some way his mother to him. You were asking him to be someone for you, asking him to be perfect in some way, asking him to become someone he is not for your sake.

      His offer to you reflected that realisation. He saw that your view of him was a fantasy, and because you had helped him to free himself he felt he owed you a favour and offered to be your fantasy version of him, but to respect his own boundaries he chose to do this in a way which allowed him to maintain his freedom yet still pay his debt to you. You refused the offer which freed him from having to pay back his debt. He does not feel free with you. Your needs are a prison for him. More so because your needs demand that he forfeit his needs for yours. With you he feels that he has to become someone who he is not to please you, to give you what you need from him.

      Children of narcissists are trained to pick up on subtext, subtle clues and hints, the undercurrent of interactions, and to cater to the needs of others, what others want. A child of narcissists experiences every interaction as an onslaught of information about the person they are with. They can hear every need the other person has and they are trained to meet those needs. They do it without thinking, and this creates an unbalanced relationship because the other person may not be aware of how many needs they have and are emitting through every word and action.

      The child of narcissists instinctively meets these needs which affects the other person in a way that causes them to become addicted to the child of narcissists because needs of which they are unaware are being met, almost as if by magic. Someone is giving them things they did not even know they wanted.

      When the child of narcissists realises what they are doing and what has happened, they pull away and sever the connection. They stop meeting the demand with supply. They often do this suddenly and try to get as far away from the other person as possible, they know it’s their fault, it’s the fault of their training, and the only way they know how to make amends is to stop doing it the moment they catch themselves doing it. The other person was not aware of what was happening. They also know that the other person, because they are not aware, will not understand and will react badly. They try to do this severing more diplomatically, but it doesn’t matter how they do it, the reaction from the other person is not going to be pleasant and will lack understanding for the child of narcissists, but will demand understanding from them for the other person.

      Now I know you meant well, and you did help him greatly, he acknowledged that. And I know you have a very different version of events. And it will be difficult for you to understand his version of events because your version is the real one to you and his will seem wrong to you, unreal. And you want him to see things from your view, your reality, and unsee things from his view and his reality. If only you could make him see your version, then you would feel better about it. Trying to make him see your version of events makes him feel worse about it.

      The situation is basically two alternate realities clashing, and they will never meet, because both people believe their version is the real one. You want him to embrace your reality. He can’t do that because in his reality he is aware that you want him to deny his reality for yours. He is asking you to respect that you both have different realities which will never meet, and to allow him to have his as you have yours, and just move on. He does not want to take your reality away from you, he respects your right to have it and live in it, he would like you to do the same with him, let him live in his reality and respect his right to do so.

      Hope this helps,

      Take care of yourself.

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      1. Dear Ursula,

        Thank you for your answer. Yes, it helps in clarifying some issues.
        I wish you a lovely new week! 🙂

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        1. Dear Ursula,

          It’s done. I followed your advice and took his contact off any email list (took a bit as I am not a very good technician). If that is what he really wants and needs, it’s ok with me. I was indeed confused as he was saying one thing, while doing another. In the light of what you said I would like to ask you to delete the above conversation we had, as knowing it here it will permanently reconnect me to him and somehow makes me feel like not fully complying with his request, but in the same time I would like to keep following and conversing with you on your site and I do not want such a thing to prevent me from doing this.

          Thanks again and enjoy your day! 🙂

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          1. There is something about your request and the way it is expressed which doesn’t sit right with me. So before I comply with it, which I will in due course once I receive your confirmation, I’d like to point out a couple of things.

            If I understand you rightly, you want me to delete the entire conversation, which includes my reply. A reply which took time and effort to consider and write. Therefore you are asking me to delete and censor my own words on my blog. A blog I created to break my silence and express myself without others censoring me and telling me what I could and could not say because of their needs and their maintenance of their image.

            I do realise you have not considered your request from my viewpoint, but I have. And asking you to understand your request from my point of view kind of messes with what I said in the post on which you placed your comment. That I no longer focus my attention on my need to be understood, but have turned my attention to understanding instead. That does not mean that I do not want to be understood, it simply means that I do not expect it or wait for it. When someone does make the effort and dedicates time in their life to understanding me, to going beyond themselves to see someone else, I appreciate it more, especially on my blog.

            I know you do not mean to censor me, you just want to delete your own words for your own reasons and have not perhaps considered how it would impact anyone other than you because you are overwhelmed by strong emotions connected with this story. You want to forget this moment and pretend it never happened maybe.

            The story which you have shared is one which many people have experienced, not exactly the same but in similar ways. When relationships end we don’t always get closure, know why, and our version of the relationship may be different from the other person’s and we may not be able to see it from their viewpoint, or want to accept their view should they give it to us because it does not go with ours and it is not something we want to accept because it hurts us and we do not like to feel such pain. And your sharing of your story, allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable, showing your humanness, may be of help to those who come across it and read it. It is of value, and by deleting it you are erasing a valuable resource which offers understanding.

            Humans are not meant to be perfect, showing our flaws gives us freedom from the concept that flaws are bad. They are not bad at all, they are not something to be ashamed of, or embarrassed by, they are beautiful, they are rich, our fragility is a gift not a curse. When we express our humanness we inspire and encourage others to express theirs and accept it with compassion, to be compassionate with ourselves so we are able to offer compassion to others too.

            We’re all a part of this human experience and we can support each other and help each other, help each other to help ourselves.

            When we deny ourselves, it makes us want to deny others, and it has a ripple effect.

            And what you have shared is YOUR story, it belongs to you and does not belong to the other person, the man of whom you spoke. He does not have the right, nor would he ask for it, of that I am fairly certain, to ask you to erase your version of your relationship and your story of it. You are free to share it as it belongs to you. Just as his version belongs to him and you can’t ask him to erase that.

            We all have the right to be who we are and share our story.

            What he asked was for you to stop contacting him because this is something which he needs which is connected to his side of the story, not for you to erase your memory of him or your story of your relationship.

            If you confirm that you want this whole conversation erased, I will erase it, but actions have consequences which are often beyond our control, because we do not control other people and how our actions affect them, even if we try to do so. Thus if you confirm that you want to erase this conversation on my blog, it will affect how I view any further comments which you make and any further replies which you may request and which I make to your comments.

            I am very human. Just like you.

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            1. Dear Ursula,

              Thank you. You are so very kind. I did not intend to offend you in any way, so please forgive me for doing this out of hurry and for not choosing my words more carefully. My request was indeed associated with strong emotions, but it seemed to me that went only in line with his requests and your advices (when he does not get what he wants he prefers himself to be deleted from all the places where he exists, that is including in my mind or others, as he put it; and your advice was to move forward and let go, which I completely agree and I basically tried to do even until now, and I felt that reminding me periodically of him would prevent me from exactly letting go). However, I do perfectly understand your point and agree with it. As far as I’m concerned, I cannot forget about what happened as the wound and the pain in my heart is the proof of that and on the other hand when things happen they just happen you could perhaps only transform them but not ‘undo’ them or make them invisible to your consciousness. Or, anyway, this is not something I do.

              There are many things crossing to my mind but I did not feel very well these last days so I cannot find the strength to put all of them into the proper words…. However, there is only one point which I can say of which I had only a hint before but became clear through our discussion here. If you are raised by narcissistic parents but ‘disapprove’ of their behavior you are a child of narcissists having a specific and many times painful fight to give for your own self, but if you actually don’t ‘disapprove’ of them but instead worship them you just became a narcissist like them. When I think of it like this, now I understand why my friend was always seeing ‘through’ me, why it was always about him and what he wanted, why he would never comply to a desire another person had, however small it was, and he would even consider it a weakness and diminishing his self if he did this, why he was sending me messages during night at whatever hour he wanted, and later accusing me of doing that, why he was ignoring me when I was asking him to ‘postpone’ our phone conversations but he would continue calling me at whatever hour he wanted, why he was unable of ever feeling sorry for what he knew he did wrong, etc. etc. ; now it makes perfect sense why in relation to him, for the first time in my life, I felt being used, as an object, nothing more, and not a human being with a soul of herself.

              My heart was open towards him, as to any other human being that I come in contact with. But what was unexpected and never happened to me before was that moment of vulnerability and his reaction on the extreme that followed. In relation to him, it was never about my needs, but only about his. He was always initiating the contact and I would only be there for him, to help if I could. That was it. I would never contact him and the only request I had to ‘postpone’ our relation was completely ignored and I accepted that (probably a mistake). I continued talking to him because I felt that he needs this, but without having any expectation from him. So, I was just there for him. When he asked me not to contact him again, as explained in my first message from above, was actually the second time when he did this, just that the first time after one month he started to send me messages again, out of the blue, as if nothing happened. At that time I accepted this,( and I wasn’t expecting of course the cruel behavior that was about to follow as I thought the first time was only a mistake. I was unaware that it was actually a consistent pattern of behavior). So, the second time when he asked this it seemed the time to tell him what kind of impact this had on me, but again without asking something, just making my view known. Otherwise, his wishes always prevailed, when he first wanted no contact, I just did this, when he returned, I accepted, when he wanted no contact again, I just told him how I feel which I suppose is only normal as I am a human being too, however much understanding I would have for others. At present, even if for a few months i go regularly with my work in the town where he lives and as it happened is right near the place where he works (and he knows about this from our common acquaintances) i’m doing my best to avoid any kind of unexpected meeting between us (which is proven by facts). But what if, let’s say, at a certain point despite my efforts we just meet by chance or when we are in the company of our common acquaintances? What then? What should I do? Pretend that I do not know him as he asked me to, just pass by? And what to do if we are with others and they know we know each other? It seems to me, that in the position he put me he required me to give up my freedom completely. In this relation my freedom does not exist at all. And anyway, the general existential message he gave me is: ‘I do what I want, I go when I want, I come when I want. You do not exist, You are dead. And I become furious when you give me any sign that you are alive, so for my own sake I just want you to stay dead and I do everything is possible to keep you dead’.

              What I still don’t understand is how was it possible for him to have such an impact on my heart, given that we were just friends and our relation was very short, consisting mainly of phone conversations and massages? Since it happened, I still don’t have an answer to this.
              Anyway, I do not want to impoverish you with my stuff anymore. I am not used of putting my needs first, and that is why is unusual for me to find myself talking about my worries like this, not because they affect my image, as I prefer my image to reflect what I actually am, but because I do not expect understanding as I know from experience that other people want and probably need it more. I spent many years of my life trying to make myself understood, but this very rarely happened and on very small instances, so, I just gave up. Thank you again Ursula for being so kind and considerate.
              If you think others might find it useful I have no problem with leaving my messages here (I do hope you understood my initial motivation, and I have no problems in changing it if things prove is better otherwise).
              I thank you for your time and please, forgive me if I hurt your feelings in any way.

              Like

              1. I think your story should stay here, for many reasons, and I feel this more strongly now that you have shared more about this man, fleshing out the story, and how the relationship with him has impacted you. Your voice needs to be heard, your story needs to live.

                He does now sound more like he is a narcissist, whereas what you told me of him before showed him in a different light.

                What you’ve written most recently contains the problem and the solution within it. Perhaps when you are feeling better, you can reread it and find your own wisdom in your own words. That is one of the reasons why sharing our story benefits us as well as others. When we tell our story, we also reveal to ourselves our own understanding of it, of ourselves, of others. If we don’t tell our story, that inner understanding and knowledge remains silent too.

                He impacted your heart because the relationship hit deeply on a theme in your life, one which your heart cares about. It’s not about him, it is about you and how you relate to yourself, and how the way you relate to yourself affects your relationships. Within you words is your story, your heart wants you to hear it. It’s not about him. It is about you.

                I’m not going to give you my take on it, this one needs you to see it without someone else’s view influencing what you see.

                As for how to deal with him should you run into him in social situations. Base it on a case by case scenario, each situation may require a different approach because each situation is different – such as in the case of the email/contact request.

                As a rule, it is best to put your needs first. You’re considerate of others, so this is about being considerate towards yourself too.

                Ask yourself if you want to ignore him or acknowledge him. If you want to acknowledge him, there are many ways of doing so, find the one with which you are most comfortable and which meets your needs. His needs are his responsibility, not yours. If you say hello and he ignores it. You’ve done what you needed to do, and he has done what he needed to do. Don’t try and make him acknowledge you if he chooses not to, that is his problem and not yours.

                In situations where you and he are with other people who know both of you, there is no reason to pretend that you don’t know him, be polite with him but aloof.

                Focus your attention on those who enjoy your company, not on those who don’t because otherwise they will drag you into their drama, especially if they are a narcissist. If he wants to be miserable, that is his choice. Don’t join him in his misery.

                The ‘forget you exist’ problem is his not yours. He’s trying to make it yours because that’s what narcissists do. It’s his problem. In many ways. It is a part of the NPD wound. The thing you need to know is that those words were not about you, or even how he feels about you. They are about him and how he feels about himself. Narcissists only talk about themselves even when they talk about and to other people. Do not take anything he says personally – this is very important when dealing with someone with NPD.

                The only part of what he said which is relevant to you is the knowledge that someone who says that sort of thing to you is not someone you are ever going to have a healthy interaction with, the relationship will be damaging and unhealthy because he is damaged. You can’t cure someone with NPD, you can’t save him, your love no matter how strong, your friendship no matter how beautiful, can’t help him. Narcissists live in a place which can’t be reached. Only they can save themselves, and they rarely do. They see the world as their enemy, they seek a saviour to save them, but the saviour eventually turns into another enemy. It’s all in their mind and they make what is in their mind a reality for themselves. Don’t get sucked into their reality.

                Keep your boundaries clear, for yourself. Your task is to look after yourself.

                With a narcissist it is best to ignore them. If you can’t ignore them, it is best to be polite and disinterested. If they try to make their problems yours, refuse the offer. There are different tactics for different types of narcissist. You need to find one which suits you personally, which meets your needs and not what others need of you.

                Moving on and letting go is about making healthy decisions for you and your life. Life is lived moving forward, sometimes we get stuck, held back, pressure builds as the momentum wants us to flow with it, keep going.

                Ending your side of email contact with him is good for you. You have lots of friends who love being in email contact with you, don’t get stuck on the one person who doesn’t want that connection, focus on those who enjoy it and nurture it. If he contacts you, ignore him, or simply ask what he asked of you, to stop contacting you – you can use his exact words on him – if he does not respect it, mark his subsequent emails as spam. Your time and effort should be spent on those who appreciate it.

                Take care and thank you for sharing 🙂

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                1. There’s so much balance in your words, Ursula! I know that this relation touched upon a major theme in my life and this is what I’m struggling to find out for so long. Is just that I do not know what that theme is and I am sure, as you say, that the solution is there with the problem. I’ve been reading what I’ve written but I am still blind as to what the problem is. The only thing I could think of is related to the boundaries which in my case are mainly active at the cognitive level but not the emotional one and this explains the deep impact this short relation had on my heart. On the other hand I do indeed tend to prioritize mainly others people needs over mine but I feel I do not exclude mine completely. Somehow, I think though that only partially these matters are related to the main problem which I am still unaware of but which I would like so much to know about. If you feel you could share with me some of your observations I would be more than happy to know them.
                  I wish you have a lovely weekend!

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                  1. Thank you 🙂

                    You have a keen mind and insight, your words show that clearly.

                    This relationship impacted you on many levels and so it is worth exploring it deeply, seeking to find what message it has for you about yourself, and yourself in relation to others.

                    How we relate to ourselves influences how we relate to others. In some relationships we meet our shadow, and are given the opportunity to integrate it and to stop viewing it as a shadow, but as a part of us we need to understand. Needs which we need to know about.

                    If we push our needs aside for others, that is still a need of ours.

                    Our minds tend to separate us from others because of the way the mind works, our emotions and feelings connect us to others because of the way emotion and feeling works.

                    Clarify what troubles you about it, let the story speak to you and listen to it. Ask yourself questions and then let the answers surface when they are ready.

                    Have you ever come across the work of Eugene Gendlin – Focusing. It’s a technique used to understand what the parts of us outside of the realm of the mind have to tell us about ourselves, and about ourselves in relation to others. It’s a way to access information which is held within the more subtle parts of us which often communicate through sensation within the body.

                    Here – http://www.focusing.org/bios/gendlin_bio.html

                    And here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7PEC5Mh5FY

                    Remember negative experiences hold the positive within them. The problem is not a bad thing, it is the seed of a solution which is a good thing 🙂

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                    1. Thank you, Ursula.
                      I did not know about Eugene Gendlin but I’ll see what he talks about. Thanks for recommending him and for your kindness.
                      I wish you a lovely and blessed week! 🙂

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                    2. Thank you, and you too have a wonderful week 🙂

                      I read Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing book many years ago and the technique has been very useful in understanding myself and the dynamics within. It’s always more deeply satisfying and impacting when we figure things out for ourselves because a communion happens within between different aspects of ourselves, our mind learns to work with the other bodies within us, so when a problem, a puzzle of the self, presents itself, all of you can work as a team to figure it out and see where it leads. The doors of perception and wisdom need more than just the mind to open them, the heart, and the body are also keys.

                      And it is very true, to understand others we must first understand ourselves, to help others we need to help ourselves first. 🙂

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