Or do we share the same secret without knowing it?

Don Delillo

There are certain things about myself which I rarely if ever reveal to others. I suppose they could be loosely called facts.

Are they secrets?

I suppose they could be loosely called secrets. I don’t consider them secrets.

They’re simply things I don’t feel the need to divulge. Sometimes because they seem to me to be irrelevant to others. They are only relevant to me.

Some of these things are ones which I know will cause interference in an interaction. They’re the sort of things which when you say them in a conversation may interrupt the flow of it.

Like mentioning in the midst of a discussion about the other person’s personal life that you’ve always found the colour yellow too agitating to wear, but love it when it is used by nature to decorate a field of grass as then it is lively but not agitating.

You may feel a pause of awkwardness, and that feeling may haunt the rest of the conversation for you, even if it appears to continue as it had before the random blurt of irrelevance and the other person barely noticed it.

“Every sentence has a truth waiting at the end of it… …I’ve always seen myself in sentences. I begin to recognize myself, word by word, as I work through a sentence.” ― Don DeLillo

Why did I say that? You may ask yourself.

Do you feel foolish or just perplexed?

Does it go down on that list which you keep to remind yourself of all the stupid things you’ve said.

Are those things really stupid or just deemed stupid by your inner critic?

Or is there something else which you have not been able to label correctly so you apply whatever labels you have handy and in stock. A something else which is a sense that you’ve given something away, something which was precious to you… and now it is gone. Something which you didn’t realise how valuable it was until it was gone.


And why did you say it?

Did you want to disrupt the flow, hoping perhaps that it would cause a deviation which would lead discussion elsewhere?

Did something in the conversation make you think of this random tidbit which isn’t as random as it seems?

Were your eyes wandering and caught sight of something which inspired the need to share a thought?

“Sometimes I see something so moving I know I’m not supposed to linger. See it and leave. If you stay too long, you wear out the wordless shock. Love it and trust it and leave.” ― Don DeLillo

The things we say, be they thought out or impulsive, are all a part of who we are. As are the things which we don’t say.

Sometimes what we don’t say is more important than that which is said because we hold it back as though it is precious. A treasure which we do not want to share, at least not with those who may not appreciate that it is a treasure… and knowing the difference between those who would appreciate it and those who wouldn’t can be tricky. At times the only way to know who is who is by sharing the treasure and observing how it is received… but then the treasure is no longer the same and we feel different about it.

Sometimes we hold our words back because we are afraid to share them, and not because they are a treasure so much as a weapon. A weapon which might hurt others, or ricochet back and hurt us, and we’re not always sure which outcome is worse, if there is an outcome at all.

“How strange it is. We have these deep terrible lingering fears about ourselves and the people we love. Yet we walk around, talk to people, eat and drink. We manage to function. The feelings are deep and real. Shouldn’t they paralyze us? How is it we can survive them, at least for a little while? We drive a car, we teach a class. How is it no one sees how deeply afraid we were, last night, this morning? Is it something we all hide from each other, by mutual consent? Or do we share the same secret without knowing it? Wear the same disguise?” ― Don DeLillo

There are many reasons why we say what we say and don’t say what we don’t say, as many reasons as the mind can invent, some true, some perhaps not so true, yet within each untruth lies a kernel of truth, and within each truth lies a kernel of untruth.

And sometimes that is why we hold things in… they might become untrue if spoken, and this is something which we need to believe and be true for us.

The secret itself may not be of as great a value as the act of having a secret which belongs to us alone, and by holding a secret we hold in our inner hands our sense of self, of being an individual. That secret makes us unique… and as long as we don’t share it we won’t know how many others hold within their inner hands the exact same secret.

If we knew would it be a joyous morsel of knowledge or a melancholic one?

Sometimes we love to share, to be a part of others, to unite in all that is the same, familiar, which merges us.

And sometimes we need a place where we are separate and alone. A moment of existential solitude.

If I shared these loose facts and loose secrets about myself, I’d be giving myself away, not as in revealing who I really am behind who I pretend to be, not like that, but as in giving my sense of self away…

When I do reveal them… it is time to let them go.


Sometimes we change and that is when we let go of old treasures which held our sense of self…

We let them go often with a ceremonious reveal, which reveals to us how little these things which were once so precious mean to us now.

We empty our inner hands of what we no longer need to hold and…

…And replace them with new ones.

If you knew what these things are which I hold in my inner hands, you’d probably give me one of those looks which people give other people when they say something like – I don’t wear yellow because it smells like mustard and stings my nostrils.

It may be irrelevant to others, but to me it means everything.

There are certain things which are best kept in the treasure trove within.

“If you reveal everything, bare every feeling, ask for understanding, you lose something crucial to your sense of yourself. You need to know things that others don’t know. It’s what no one knows about you that allows you to know yourself.” ― Don DeLillo


49 thoughts on “Or do we share the same secret without knowing it?

  1. Hi Ursula, You said : “Narcissists are very adept at getting people to reveal their deepest and most closely held secrets, mostly because they are persistent in their quest to know everything about you. And we often reveal our most treasured secret because no one has ever looked at us in the way that they do, no one else has ever dared to trespass so far into our private fortress and knock on the door of our innermost self. It is a mesmerising experience to have someone want to know you so intimately, and it is nigh on impossible to resist the lure of being so known. It is only later that we realise they were a thief out to plunder our treasure, and we gave it up freely, this is the regret which hurts the most.
    My parents were always doing that to me, took me quite a while to stop falling for it. That repeated cause for deep regret due to betraying myself by giving away my secrets to people whom I knew were not trustworthy made me look at the scenario from other perspectives than the one where I berated myself for being an idiot and spent the next I don’t know how long hating myself and wishing I could undo my mistake.”

    This perfectly articulated by you.
    Now that I read this I am recognizing this dynamic with Narcs I have known. It feels so good & mesmerizing when they get to that level with you , but its addictive and deep inside you know it cant be healthy. But I seem to “give in” to the good feeling. Its like a drug for me. I want a hit of it and I’m like an addict for it. I simply feel like I cant resist.
    Its also self indulgent & its a narcissistic activity to be participating in, which is against my usual nature.
    Thats what i was trying to explain to you about “side” relationships.

    My Narcmom would be relentlessness in her enmeshment with me , coercing me or obligating me into telling her all my innermost thoughts constantly Also she would inflict her own will & thought & make me think they were mine. When she did it it though ,I felt the opposite felt violated.. I’m sure it must have to do with this on some level. but I cant exactly tie it together .


    1. What you need to figure out is why it acts like a ‘drug’ for you, why is it addictive. The answers to all your questions are within you – ask yourself and let yourself answer, and listen to your own answers.

      You mentioned a while ago about being very self-protective. There are various different types of self protection – one of which makes us vulnerable to people such as narcissists. That would be a good area to explore. Places where your protection is aggressively defensive and keeps genuinely good people out but lets people like narcs in.

      Keep digging into your story – beware of absorbing too much of someone else’s story or trying to make your story fit theirs or your narcs fit the ‘profile’ of other people’s experiences of narcs. Find your story, find your own words, find your unique voice – that’s where your healing and wisdom lies.


      1. http://mentalhealth.about.com/cs/traumaptsd/a/gazleyptsd404.htm

        Ok – GOT IT actually today. This article fully describes my N Magnet problem. It has to do with Repetition Compulsion. This is confusing to uncover bc it did not start at all until about age 35. when I met NBoss who was relentless in trespassing , which evoked something in me. Also, he idealized me the whole time with constant attention, and raises Nothing physical. He never hurt me at all but he only let me see one facet of him and that always let me know he was hiding so much. He loved the illusion. & power of this. .I played this game with him for over 5 years in a bubble world of our making until I decided to move on with my career & left him. Harmless, yet harmful on many levels.

        I think my Repetition Compulsion issues have to do more with the dynamic of abuse from my dad & his style of tricking me, the lies, and the confusion about it . I repressed this all until recently . I understand my whole story now & will need just need to work on how to heal it, now that I can FINALLY see it.

        Interestingly, a line in this article describes that this dilemma ” sets up a hot spot where increased psychic energy resides” – this relates to the psychic flash experiences that I had discussed with you.

        You helped me see some of the hidden and confusing N family of origin dynamics that I was not aware of consciously or could not make sense of. I have read plenty of articles on this ,and even studied it academically, and had not made meaningful connections to any of it.. I never even identified my Mom a N. I seem to have had a blind spot. or blindness to it for some reason. It was you who helped me make an actual connection to it – in a meaningful way. I may have not ever connected the dots , but I was able to see my own story as you shared your own personal story. I feel so untangled now . I’m so grateful to you!!! So glad Karma exists since I can’t personally repay you for all that you’ve given me. I hope I was able to help you in sharing my story as well. TY (:


        1. Also wanted to add that you have often mentioned the concept of “parent dumping their shit onto the kids” I just remembered that when my dad abused me,& trespassed onto me & disguised it as game it was in response/ retaliation to my N mom verbally berating him. I remember , then he would go after me instead of her. Sometimes he Indian Burned my wrist till it bled. I am thinking now that he probably fantasized that it was her neck!
          She denied my pain if I complained afterwards and if I sought medical treatment for my wound from him, he just smiled & said coyly to me – “well you wanted to play the Indian Burn Game” . He would not treat it. What a Sadistic A**Hole! (no wonder I had repressed this- isn’t it sickening?)
          Thx for listening.


          1. Bit by bit we see our story… question is, are we repeating our story with others. Not just are we repeating oru role as ‘victim’ of others but are we taking on the role which our abusers had over us with others.

            Sometimes to heal we must look at how we choose to heal instinctively and impulsively. When looking at what someone has done or does to you – we must also look at what we do and have done to others, if we want to see the whole picture.

            We sometimes repeat with ourselves what has been done to us… we sometimes repeat with others what has been done to us – are we giving someone a ‘burn’ and excusing it because we have been burned and it is our turn now to burn rather than be burned. Look at it all to see it all… that is what healing is about, amongst other things.

            All ACoNs need to be aware this:

            What Happens To The Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents?

            Growing up with all emotional needs unmet, becoming a “mini-adult,” being the product of so much emotional abuse takes a tremendous toll on a child of a Narcissistic Parent. If the Narcissistic Parent does not stop the abuse or the child does not receive adequate help, one of two scenarios happens to adult children of Narcissistic Parents.

            1) The child grows to have narcissistic traits, and becomes a Narcissistic Parent to his/her own children. This perpetuates the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse.

            2) The child becomes a “covert” or “inverted” narcissist who remains codependent and may actually seek out abusive relationships with other narcissists.

            via – http://www.bandbacktogether.com/adult-children-of-Narcissistic-parents-resources/

            – to move through it.


            1. i know for sure I truly can heal now that I see what is happening.Such an ugly stories & things to admit.
              .I get drawn into these unhealthy relationships about once every decade. I know I can stop it now that i am conscious of WHY.
              When it first happened I RAN to therapy, but each therapist I tried did not see what was happening cause I did not see it. They instead advised me to explore the relationship. I felt alot of growth from it. I think now it was really narcissism I was feeling from it. Something I did not ever felt before. I have never been a victim type of person but have been a very empathetic giving person who always puts others first. . Feeling narcissistic sometimes is not awful I guess, but it was something I never felt before Also. I saw more &more people being drawn to me when I was in that state of mind. I became powerful. . That is part of what keeps you addicted. . Finding my power with these dynamics has been interesting but it is not a good idea on any level. Its outright dangerous.Also, it IS awful when it is an addiction in a relationship dynamic. Especially when both parties are both addicted to the dynamics. I do not spend my life in this dynamic ( i have a normal life – this is only a facet) so I dont think I’m an Inverted N but I have an Inverted Tendency or Inverted Unresolved Conflict that leads me to act out. Thanks again for helping me find “words” to use. Now that I know what power feels like, i must get it another way. Now the time has finally come to listen to all the good advice that was given to me here in many posts along my journey – get out & get away from this.


              1. Sounds a lot like compartmentalisation.




                Consider this, if you open the doors between your healthy life and the part where you get caught up in the NPD dynamic, then the healthy energy which you have will flow into the other part and heal the areas where you get stuck in your wounding.

                You have everything you need within you.


                1. On “returning the burn” : Because i have been through that depth of abuse, it makes me ‘in the know’ about what people. can be capable of. People who did grow up with abuse tend to be less shocked about having to deal with dysfunctional/pathological/abusive people they encounter. I can look past alot in dealing with ,mean,selfish or insensitive ways people behave even if they hurt me. . I have very high threshold of tolerance. I’m not vindictive at all , but instead relentlessly forgiving —– unless someone has been malicious to me in an ongoing fashion for a long period of time. .In that case once I see what is happening I know how to bring out the “big guns” and how to get on their level -and return to them what they had been doing to me. Other than than scenario, I do not repeat what was done to me- ever.

                  On repletion compulsion : in this defense mechanism you are subconsciously attempting to return to that dynamic of suffered abuse & somehow resolve it , or master it on some level. Once you reach a situation that reminds you of that dynamic , that “place” mentally may feel very familiar to you , so much so , that you may find it very comfortable in the sense that it feels homey and this may produce a highly addictive sensation. A special comfort zone of being in familiar territory. Also, when RC occurs, the repetition is acted out upon a symbol This means its not a genuine interaction occurring between the two parties. The person who doing the RC is actually objectifying the other party subconsciously.

                  I have been doing alot of reading on RC. Now that came across this, it unlocks for me , what I have been trying to do with these encounters. Hopefully, seeing that will allow me to step back & detach and stop subconsciously participating in these pathological encounters. As you can see, I did not use the word ‘relationships”.

                  The familiarity aspect of it all is the drug addiction part. It feels like home, like a perfect fit. Like an alluring magnetic pull that you just cant stop. . Maybe these N type people that I am drawn to are shiny & special to me bc they help me grow since I tend to return to RC with them and progress with it. Trust me , I genuinely do progress. But now I am able to see that its not really “with them” that I am progressing. I am subconsciously objectifying them to represent my mom or dad and then stay busy plotting ways stop keep them from hurting me and mastering ways of dealing with their shenanigans..

                  WOW. Now thats progress I can be proud of!


            2. Thank you for the link, which comforted me a bit at the moment as I am living a very bleak and dark moment.


              1. You asked me earlier about a book recommendation, you might find the work of Caroline Myss interesting, you can check her out in the following links:

                http://www.myss.com/ – her website.

                http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/m/myss-heal.html – an article she wrote about healing – part of her book Why People Don’t Heal and How they Can.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nxaSDBfPvo – a series of videos of one of her workshops about the book on healing, this is part 3 in the series.

                It’s important to honour your wound, the bleak and the dark side of it, but it is also important not to get stuck in that side of it and to learn to see what other sides need honouring too. We are not the wound, the wound is a part of us as is the healing which comes with it.

                You might also find this interesting – http://www.psychedinsanfrancisco.com/energy-theft/

                Children of narcissists need to understand that we have the power within ourselves to change our stories, and we have to work hard to not perpetuate the patterns which keep us stuck in the NPD wound. We’re not narcissists, but we do have those behaviours and patterns because we absorbed them from our parents. However we do not need to repeat them, we also have the ability to break the cycle and break away from the influence of our NPD parents. We have to want to do it, and focus our minds, hearts and selves on following through on the want to heal.

                You are far more positive than you allow yourself to be, let the light in on the darkness, let growth happen in the bleakness.


                1. Thank you for replying to me, Ursula. reaching out is particularly hard right now and last night I had to ask for hel to a friend and fight against my guilt, i do not know where it comes from. As i read daily all your replies, I have already gone through all the link and videos you have just mentioned and found the 2nd and last one particularly useful.When i read your post on woundology I grasped i am really stuck in that phase and i feel so crippled by my past that normal life, normal emotions and love seems eons away from me, not because my grief and experience is worse that the others’, but because i feel unable to process it and utterly discouraged at my weakness as it’s true, I enabled my parents to do it, and all the other Ns.
                  Today for the first time though i had the guts to walk along my former N therapist’s office and saw him surrounded by the dim light, he was all “penché” forwards on his desk, all curved and bent towards the patient (I bet female) as to welcome the word, but if you look closer, he was sucking energy and what else.It gave me the creeps. i feel responsible for my behaviour in my last love relationship as i allowed my N to thread on me as i was boundaryless, but honestly it’s more complicated when an authority figure does it as it implies trust; I al also responsible when I allow ” friends” or people in general to invade me, but i do agree with Narcvic when she says everything is so familiar to us as we have a very high threshold of tolerance as we have been trained as children.
                  As you say I should honour other sides too.If i could write a bit yesterday it was thanks to you, as i always find your approach to creativity very inspirational. Thank you for reaching me.


                  1. Hi Seashell,
                    When I read your words about you walked past your former therapist’s office, I hear that you are healing well since what your instincts told you about what you were observing seem to be on target, and “warning you “. They sound like words from someone who is healing & making progress!
                    I used to allow everyone to invade me & i was not aware I was since did not know what “normal” boundaries looked like. One day a friend of mine told me that I told people too much & was like an open book. She advised me to tell people who were just acquaintances less about myself & my story. After that I really closed up to non friends. ( As you can see here on the blog, I have alot of feelings inside me to share) but I have lived most of my adult life not sharing alot of these feelings bc I try to keep my boundaries tighter. I think reading books on co dependence & boundaries also have helped me too as far as learning to set boundaries. If you have not read any , Seashell one that comes to mind is Melanie Beatie Codependent No More. Reading books helped me alot with getting rid of guilt & boundary issues.I found that problem could be managed to a better point with some self awareness which came from reading about it. I know the guilt is can be the worst. That is The Issue that constantly kept me going to therapy me whole life. For me , it had to do mostly wit the invisible strings my mom had to me , I was her proxy, extension,her property when when I finally tore my self away from her & my family of origin. The guilt that was inflicted on me at that point of my life was cranked up to a hellish level.A level a human cannot comprehend. I cant even articulate it to you. In turn, i made myself feel guilty, beat myself up constantly & it became a vicious cycle. It is a challenge to create a nice life for yourself when you are up against crap like that. I have to say , taking an honest inventory of who is your life is very helpful. One thing that helps is cutting out harmful people from your life and surrounding yourself with people who really care about you, the kind of people who encourage you to really grow & to be happy. The ” familiar” part I was talking about is a sign of unhealthy relationships BTW.
                    Glad to hear you’re feeling a bit better today!.


                    1. Thank you! It has taken me a year a of therapy to be able to see it and it’s thanks to my present shrink whom I tantalize with my doubts about being narcissistic and threaten to quit every five minutes; my lack of boundaries one of the main reason to live such a horrible experience and being an open book, as everybody calls me, especially my mother who used against me. We always need to explain ourselves to people, as though they couldn’t see who we are. I am almost no contact with my father but for me it means i have no family and never will, it is difficult to accept it because that’s what i cherished the most, as a navel gazing life is not what I find rewarding. I am reading all the time and sure it helps but to me it’s a different kind of understanding compared to reacting in a different way.It is still a big issue to me when i have to get rid of people who hurt me, as the first thought is that i am hurting them, it’s an automatic mechanism, so here we go, we feel guilty even when we have been used. Thank you for the book recommandation, i will check it. As i read your previous comment about compartmentalisation, there is a very clear book on defense mechanisms, “Why do i do that?” by Joseph Burgo.Thank you for your courage.


                    2. Seashell,-
                      You said: “We always need to explain ourselves to people, as though they couldn’t see who we are.” –
                      I was thinking about this problem today between me & someone I know. . This “explaining ourselves ” comes from the confusion of not knowing where we stand , and wanting to please. Just like we wanted to please our parents ( who we futilely tried to please) . We are not sure how to proceed. We start putting ourselves in our shoes ,PLUS we try to be ” polite & considerate” or even “contemplative ” and also put ourselves in the other persons shoes, before we speak. This does not work cause even though we think it good that we are so considerate, we end up giving mixed signals and not clearly stating our genuine feelings & perspective.
                      This confuses us cause we are trying so hard please. This may end up sending mixed messages to others & leave them confused as well. They may end up thinking we’re confusing,not genuine or even that we are screwed up. The truth is we really need to see how we are communicating with someone. Are we walking on eggshells like we did with our family of origin? Thats a red flag that we need to step back & try to change our communication patterns and be more direct. . Those who I can be direct with are the healthy people in my life . I don’t think about it- its natural. There are some of the others too who I have an ongoing “explaining of myself to” Its always a work in progress.

                      “I am almost no contact with my father but for me it means i have no family and never will, it is difficult to accept it because that’s what i cherished the most, as a navel gazing life is not what I find rewarding.”
                      I feel your pain. My mother annihilated me by her remote control for almost 20 years after I left her up until she died. I spend thousands of dollars on therapy which was no use . I suffered anxiety & depression all related to what she was inflicting on me. I tried everything but I was never successful in “not letting her control me” , I could not do it. Shes passed on about 6 years ago & there is freedom in the air!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My dad , my siblings and I do not speak, she viciously triangulated & ruined our relationships & , so I too am all alone in that sense. I know exactly what you mean about the emptiness. No matter what my life i is like, underneath it all I feel that emptiness too. I would feel complete if I had my family of origin in my life. Its very painful. I cherished having them too, and I feel its unnatural not to have them sharing my life with me. I look around at other families enjoying each other& it adds to the pain.

                      ” I am reading all the time and sure it helps but to me it’s a different kind of understanding compared to reacting in a different way.It is still a big issue to me when i have to get rid of people who hurt me, as the first thought is that i am hurting them, it’s an automatic mechanism, so here we go, we feel guilty even when we have been used.”
                      Yes, you have to personally make that connection & feel it. Intellectually knowing it is not he same. Ursula discussed this a few posts back. Letting go or getting rid of unhealthy people you feel close to is not a chopping process. It starts with a seed. You realize something and the seed grows and over time you start realizing more and more an done day the scale tips and you realize its time to end that relationship.

                      ,” There is a very clear book on defense mechanisms, “Why do i do that?” by Joseph Burgo. ”
                      This sounds perfect since it is what I am trying to work now. I am about to read the book Ursula recommenced The Drama of the Gifted Child. This book will be next. TY (:


                    3. Seashell, : Sometimes we feel stuck in a role. We feel we have to “be ” a certain way but it ends up making us feel unhappy on some level. .
                      This is a tricky on bc with admirable traits such as being a caring & giving person. It may make you think , if I am acting admirably why is it that I feel stuck? The answer can be best worded by something that I was taught by Ursula.: we all have many facets. One facet ( side to us or role we engage in ) doesn’t define us. If we are just showing that one side , it only means we are there on that side of us “for now” – -not for the future. Life brings twists & turns and we adapt & focus on other facets of ourselves. When we feel stuck – it is our soul trying to tell us something. I personally find that means is usually that it time for me make some changes or to begin something new in my life. I have been having that stuck feeling recently & I know I need to get focused & try to start some new things..
                      Therapy helped me alot when I was a teenager in becoming aware that my family issues were not what a normal average family was like. As an adult however it has not been too helpful I think mostly bc I did not have words to articulate the depths of what my mother inflicted on me . I don’t think the therapists could grasp the dynamics & gravity I did not identify her as NPD cause I had never connected the dots that she was NPD. Also, I had repressed alot of stuff ( which I very recently become conscious of after I had the traumatic experience) so I was carrying that around on buried level but of course could not communicate that to anyone. I diligently attended therapy but couldn’t communicate what was happening to me inside my mind & body. This left me in an anxiety or depression state most of the time. More recently, I just turned to distractions and just numbed myself out to avoid feeling these states.I am eager to to start new therapy now that I have consciously reached some of the dynamics of the abuse & can now name my moms NPD & see if it helps. I am pretty sure though that i will always suffer from PTSD ,anxiety & depression. I just live with it and manage it. I’d love to get rid of it but I think its part of me . I’ve lived that way my whole life. Its not right but it is what it is.


                    4. Hi there Narcvic,
                      about therapy-sure it’s not everybody’s cup of tea but what you describe points out a trust issue, due to our past as we children trusted our parents blindly and put our life in their hands. It makes me sad when you say you can’t articulate into words, it’s like giving up to be understood. In spite of all odds, of my dreadful experience last year, I do do trust my shrink and I make this huge effort as I need to try every way possible to suffer a little less and to feel more than identifying with my wound.
                      Depression can be a screen preventing you from seeing real colours and being in contact with your emotions. i know I can feel, I can sense and somehow i am alive but i have to fight against my “killing voices” and how I see myself, therefore my problem is more on how I link what i am to what i am perceived.If you feel you couldn’t communicate with your therapist, the bond wasn’t there and it’s not you being able to communicate but him or her. If you feel still anxious and depressed and you life is conditioned by it, give it a last go and i hope you’ll come across a good somebody who’s able to do his/her job and establish the right bond to allow you to feel better. You have got nothing to lose.
                      Just in case you’d like to know more about the nature of anxiety, Irvin Yalom wrote a lot about it, such as Love’s executioner, Momma and the Meaning of life and Staring at the sun. I’d really love to feel better one day, i do all i can, even what costs me a lot in terms of committment and tolerance, I don’t give in in spite of all my grief. If you are still suffering, it means there is still something to be done and maybe you can’t do it on your own.


                    5. Seashell,
                      I think we have to keep reaching , healing , growing & improving but at this point of my life after all the diligent work I put into healing, I would not believe its possible to completely heal all the damage done to me by my vicious, neglectful unnuturing NPD mom.
                      I mean that in a sincere authentic realistic way. I am grateful that I even survived growing up in that abusive house, and am I grateful for all the blessings I have received in my life. I try to focus more on my blessings than on trying to make myself healed. I’m fine ,really. The damage is my underpinning sure , but its it also just a facet of all the things I am. . I dont ever hide or deny the damage. I instead celebrate my achievements & blessings that I have in my life despite the damage. People who know me view me in that light. I view my self in that light. I’ve overcome alot. . I did not bother going to therapy after my mom passed since I was so relieved.she was gone . .I recently restarted due to the flashback traumatic reaction i had encountered. The therapist was unhelpful so I will try someone new shortly since I really want to work through that.

                      So glad to hear you’ve established trust with you new therapist. Especially since you had the prior bad experience which sounds like it must have been very violating. It is very brave of you to have gotten yourself to this point!.


                  2. Always reward yourself and focus upon your progress – don’t punish yourself for repeating patterns or slipping back into old habits. Celebrate your courage to face old fears, and your ability to look at things bravely. Trust your feet to guide you forward. You can do this because you are doing it. Encourage yourself and embrace who you are with love.


                    1. Thank you,that’s the hardest bit! today I have made up my mind about having a rest (yesterday i had an interview) so i won’t listen to my killing voices denying any progress, i am tired and knackered, too much pressure…definitely, this is the day!


                    2. Hello Narcvic,
                      do you really think we can become something different? True, I am not direct and i struggle not to be invaded; but on the flipside, my being considerate and tactful can help other people when they need help as they feel they can come to me and I won’t hurt them- this happens to me with my friends, kids at school, people at the bus stop:)).i think we are what we are and there is a core that can’t be changed, an essence, a way of existing.What i fight agaist is the pile of false beliefs my parents have sewn onto me, Alice Miller’s book is very shocking and accurate about it, although sometimes i would like to tear the whole thing off and being a different person, but I can’t.This is my problem. When i read your comments I feel you have a healthy N and you are solid, you can judge and discriminate, while I permanently live in confusion.My mother died 9 years ago and at least I have been able to ask for help as during my first 5years of therapy in my late 20’s i couldn’t even criticize my parents, I was the crazy one.
                      Why do you see therapy as of no use? And what kind of therapy did you choose? This is interesting to me, as although i find my psychoanalysis very painful i think i need it and i have found the strength to trust my shrink in spite of what occurred last year with the therapist i mentioned.
                      When you have finished Miller’s book, I’d like to hear what you think of shame issues.nice to talk with you, this blog is a spiritual place!


                    3. seashell – I do believe in spirituality Sometimes important changes in life seem strangely serendipitous. It makes you think if something happens for a reason.
                      It s healthy to want to improve , grow and strengthen ourselves . We;ll never be anyone different from who we are. The grass is always greener on the other side-that’s why you would not want to be anyone else. Everyone has their problems. Spiritual growth & mental healthiness involve regularly leaning new things , growing & improving yourself. . To grow, you must identify some of your own issues & curiosities then read alot and work on them. Also when you admire someone , see what it is about them that you admire .Try to be a student and study this trait about them . Notice that trait and you may even pick some it up by osmosis if spend time with that person & if you open yourself up and allow it. I used to be the one everyone went to with their problems. My friends would tell me I was born with a talent for having a special understanding & helping others. For many reasons , as the years went on, I realized I was in role that I did not want to be in. I spent many years pushing myself past my comfort zones . I did most of it through my occupational choices. I surrounded myself with people unlike myself who i could learn from not just career wise but about life. These were actually sharky people. So , i forced my shy self conscious kind natured self to swim with the sharks .If you hear confidence in me that why. I ‘ll talk about my therapy next post. Good talking to you too!


        2. The important thing is to find your own story, and bit by bit figure it all out. It’s quite unusual to understand your whole story, for most of us it unfolds as we do, day by day, the past unveiling itself in the present.

          I’m glad to hear you are untangled. Perhaps you may consider sharing your experience through your own blog, as sharing our journey helps others.

          Best wishes 🙂


          1. I don’t think just integrating these parts will work. If only it was that simple. Not sure what I will do now. I’ll update you in the future on how it resolves/ unfolds?? I still love my friend Narcs. I understand them & their pain, their childhood pain. They also understand me & my pain on a level noone else gets. Well none but you & some others here on the blog. But a blog is a blog.
            I spoke to my NArc girlfriend on the phone a few days ago. I had fresh eyes since I’ve discovered NPD and been blogging here. I was thinking that maybe I’ll finally “see her for who she really was” with my new eyes.
            Guess what happened? I saw how much she cared about me instead. I opened up to her even more & she was so reassuring & reminded me of all my achievements & all the good traits I have. She was so genuinely reassuring that it almost made me cry. She has known me for 30 years .She really knows me. I don’t care if she has quirky Narc traits.We get each other.She sees my strengths in ways other people don’t.
            Doing A Blog- I dont even know how to respond to that. You’re not just trying to get rid of me. I hope.


            1. Hi Narcvic,
              the caring role for me is the only one which redeems me from my shame of not being good enough for my parents. I feel acceptable when i give something, for me it’s hard to receive even a compliment, but actions are there in front of our eyes and i havethe feeling I have accomplished sth, gave a sense to my emptiness;even tending my cat is rewarding for me.Excuse me if i peep into your correspondence with Ursula, but she is not getting rid of you! it’s her way to push you to blossom as you have a lot to say which can be liberating and of help to other people.
              How much we cherish to be in contact, don,’t we? This is a special place where immaterial yet real bonds are formed out of authentic words..


            2. Children of narcissists have to be aware of their tendency to see NPD where NPD does not exist. We have to be careful of projecting our unresolved issues with the narcissists in our early life onto others, especially friends and those who love us.

              Your friend does not sound like she has NPD, but then again I only know of her through your eyes, and your view keeps changing.

              As for this – “Doing A Blog- I dont even know how to respond to that. You’re not just trying to get rid of me. I hope.” – Really!?! I recommend blogging regularly, especially to people who enjoy commenting on my blog but do not have blogs of their own. It’s a wonderful format and form of self-expression, it’s fun, many people find it therapeutic, and it seems a logical progression. People usually do not question my motives as those are self-explanatory. They usually respond by saying something along the lines of – Thanks, I’ll think about it – which is logical.


              1. Ursula, —I just meant that you’re so outstandingly talented in the format, content and your amazingly insightful commentary of your blog —
                that its a HUGE compliment coming from YOU!!

                Its like Meryl Streep telling me that I should consider taking up acting.
                Noone could come close to her God given talent.
                You’re not just any blogger.

                I have looked at other blogs and they all bore me.
                I’m not questioning your motives at all.
                On the contrary- I felt unworthy of you suggesting that .

                So yes I agree the first sentence of your response ,I respectfully ask that you please reread it as well.

                P.S. Please dont kick me off your blog 🙂

                your blog fan, Narcvic


                1. Now it’s my turn to not know how to respond to that 😉

                  Your compliment is a bit OTT in my view.

                  My blog is just my blog, it is neither better nor worse than anyone else’s. It’s impossible to really compare blogs, just as it is to compare people, we’re all different, doing our thing and sharing it. As far as I’m concerned every blog I have seen is fascinating as each one is an expression of a creative being who shares themselves and their style of self-expression. I have yet to come across a boring blog, but then again I’m not looking for what is boring, I’m looking for what is interesting about each blog I visit – we tend to find what we’re seeking.

                  Blogging is a great way to explore yourself and discover aspects of who you are which you may keep under wraps. It’s a way to surprise yourself with yourself. You can do whatever you want with a blog – you revealed that you enjoyed crafting and creating home decor, crafting/home decor is a popular blogging subject with people sharing what they create and how to do it, and sharing your creations is a good way to interact and meet others who have the same passions. You can have several blogs each one expressing something different, you can make it public or private or a bit of both. And it is an excellent way of challenging things such as feelings of unworthiness, sometimes simply because blogging keeps you busy in a fun way and you don’t have time to dwell on your negative self-talk, sometimes because people comment and interact with you and help you to change how you have chosen to view yourself. The blogosphere is a wonderfully supportive and encouraging community.


                  1. Sorry to jump in but I think too your blog is different from all the others I have visited and it’s a question of wavelength, we love your creativity and your personality and the intellectual, leaned side of your writing, it’s stunning.Please accept it as true, that’s how we see you, maybe not as you see yourself and compliments are hard to take in but believe me, from people like us you can trust us they are authentic. Accept who you are. xxx


                    1. Thank you 🙂

                      Certi complimenti… se sono rose, fioriranno.

                      Accepting who I am and accepting who others think I am is different – a difference which can make all the difference.


                    2. “Accepting who I am and accepting who others think I am is different – a difference which can make all the difference.”
                      This a very wise and smart statement, I didn’t express myself as i sohuld have, as what i meant to say is that sometimes it is easier for somebody else to see how we can shine and our qualities than it is for ourselves, as we see ourselves from an inside point of view. That’s closer to what I wanted to say!


                    3. I agree that sometimes others can point out to us things which we may miss about ourselves, and that is always worth hearing (as long as it is logical), and appreciated. It depends a lot on how it is done. There are many variations on the compliment theme.

                      There are certain types of compliments of which one should be wary. I read a really interesting post touching upon the less savoury side of compliments, how people use them and how they affect us – http://madelinescribes.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/feeling-important-being-manipulated/

                      And don’t worry, I understood what you were saying and are saying, makes a lot of sense 🙂


                    4. i hate compliments as i cannot or very rarely accept them, I hate flatteries but- if i utter one I always mean it, with my heart and my mind.


                  2. Ursula,

                    ” Your compliment is a bit OTT in my view.”

                    No —your talent for running this blog is what is OTT.
                    I thought I communicated that to you many times. I have have repeatedly pointed out to you that you are the only person in this entire world who had really listened to me talk about my family & truly understood what I went through.
                    Not only that but you were able to point out to me some of the dynamics that had occurred that had been allusive to me. You gave me words and concepts to use to identify & articulate so much of what had just been a big blob of knots in my stomach for decades. I tried repeatedly to make some people understand but they could not get the gravity of the situation. You did. Whether you run a blog or if I had met you along our paths it doesn’t matter.You have touched my life & helped me.
                    You did start a blog to help others right? Well you do. And the way you do it is OTT- way off the charts. Read your comments .you don’t get compliments & thanks from you r readers sporadically— you get them almost daily. And they sound very sincere to me.
                    I also let you know what I thought of your artistic talent , which is also lovely. That talent transfers to your blog which is layed out in a special interesting inviting way. . Other blogs hold my attention for 10 minutes . Why do I visit you every day? You’r e engaging , insightful, talented , knowledgeable & genuine.

                    Hugs to you,

                    P.S. Perhaps I’ve said too much. Please dont get a big head now.or this blog will be ruined for everybody. (:


                2. Seashell & Ursula,
                  I’m thinking about what you’re both saying regarding compliments.
                  When someone gives me an unexpected compliment sometimes I don’t know if its true. I usually wait a while to think it out the consider the source , the possible motives, the possibility that it is true . I think that both Ursula & I have the same mind frame in that regard I tend to wonder what the complimenter means by what they say or is getting at .Sometimes I do reach the wrong conclusion. I need alot of proof sometimes that the compliment is true or genuine . I had this problem in the workplace many times.
                  I do think my issues come from a fear of being manipulated It s good to be that way cause you protect yourself. I told you I am more skeptical than most people. And sometimes you do find that you are in fact being manipulated.
                  Seashell I am like you in that I am not one to use compliments to manipulate. Its just not me. I wouldn’t waste my time doing that . If I want to persuade someone in some way – I have other ways to do it. Using compliments would not be sophisticated enough. They can be shallow if not sincere.


  2. I had a secret. Just one. Just one thing that I’d never told anyone, my little shame. My vulnerability, my soft spot. I didn’t want to be judged or pitied, so I kept it to myself. And I told her. I told her my secret. I hate it. I hate that I told her. I’m sitting here trying to figure out why I hate it so much.

    I remember in that moment thinking, “How do I tell her? How do I not tell her? I tell her everything”. I remember exactly where I was, where we were. I remember distinctly feeling like I desperately needed to exhale.

    Maybe I just didn’t want to be alone in it anymore? But now she’s gone, and I told my secret to someone who is a stranger. There is a person out there, walking this earth, who doesn’t care about me, and knows my most private thing.

    If I had a magic wand and could change one thing about everything that happened, I would pluck the words from her mind.

    You said: “When I do reveal them… it’s time to let them go”.

    What do you mean by that?


    1. Narcissists are very adept at getting people to reveal their deepest and most closely held secrets, mostly because they are persistent in their quest to know everything about you. And we often reveal our most treasured secret because no one has ever looked at us in the way that they do, no one else has ever dared to trespass so far into our private fortress and knock on the door of our innermost self. It is a mesmerising experience to have someone want to know you so intimately, and it is nigh on impossible to resist the lure of being so known. It is only later that we realise they were a thief out to plunder our treasure, and we gave it up freely, this is the regret which hurts the most.

      My parents were always doing that to me, took me quite a while to stop falling for it. That repeated cause for deep regret due to betraying myself by giving away my secrets to people whom I knew were not trustworthy made me look at the scenario from other perspectives than the one where I berated myself for being an idiot and spent the next I don’t know how long hating myself and wishing I could undo my mistake. And the ripple effect which it had in my other relationships made a mess of those as I grew increasingly secretive and paranoid about things which were banal – such as not wanting to reveal my favourite film or book or colour.

      One of the perspectives I found which intrigued me was that where at first we own a secret, slowly the secret begins to own us, and the longer we keep it buried inside, the deeper it buries itself and its roots spread into everything gradually taking over. It does depend on the secret, on what type it is, but those which are connected to shame tend to do this. In some ways we become prisoners of the secret and long to be free of it, so when we reveal it, it a bid for freedom, we’ve had enough and it’s time to let the secret go so that it will let us go.

      Often all we need is to say it out loud to someone else and its power over us diminishes. Sometimes I think we deliberately choose to tell someone who is likely to be the wrong person to tell, this way the secret is not safe and this way it has even less power over us. Even fearing that the other person will tell others is not as bad as keeping it hidden within us. In fact knowing the other person may spread it challenges us to free ourselves even more from the burden of keeping it. We can’t take it back, it’s out, it’s time to let it go, it’s time to let ourselves off the hook.

      I’m a bit of an extremist at times in the way I handle certain things, especially when a narcissist is involved, so when I share a secret with someone like a narcissist and later regret it, I tend to share the secret with as many people as I can and that way the one person whom I told in the first place no longer holds anything worth having. I used to scare myself when I first started dealing with it that way, then I realised how liberating it is.

      Sometimes our secrets stop us from being ourselves. And by letting them out we let ourselves out.


      1. Yes. To everything you wrote.

        Yes, it is “mesmerizing” to interact with someone who wants to know everything about you, who can’t get enough of every little part of your interior. It’s almost indescribable. When you’ve experienced neglect, either by others or from within, it feels like light and warmth, lightness and brightness. We just don’t know, at the time, that it’s not magical at all. It’s about a pathological thief at the door.

        And yes, the secret eventually begins to own us. My secret? It grew tendrils in my mind. It rooted itself, all these years. I mistakenly viewed it as part of who I am, connected it to my identify, a reflection of my worth and value, a symbol of my success and failure, a statement of my lovability. And the truth? It’s none of that. It’s just an experience. And I think I did long to be free of my secret. I think I was tired of it. I think I just wanted it done. I think I wanted the shame done. And I thought that by telling the narcissist, I was unburdening myself. I was saying to the world “enough of it”.

        In the past, I would have said that releasing shame is an inside job. I would have said that nobody can absolve you of it, least of all a narcissist, who epitomizes poorly-handled shame. But now, I think it’s all about the telling. The solution is the telling. Shame withers away in the telling. It disintegrates in the light of day, when we speak our story.

        And yet again, for the hundredth time, I sit here thinking how bizarrely, freakishly inter-related my world is to that of narcissists. My acute awareness of my shame? Their denial of theirs? We are similar to them, and so opposite at the very same time. It’s a wonder we actually get any work done and live productive lives, while there are people on this planet who we are so captivated by, and who are so captivated by us. Heat-seeking missiles might be easier to avoid. And that is inevitable, until we heal the thing. It’s not cosmic punishment, the “drawing together of the two”. It’s just about the healing.

        And so, when there is something we believe about ourselves that is ugly, how do we change it? I’ve learned this recently: We keep looking it, and keep looking at it, and keep looking at, and keep looking at it, until it changes shape. And it will, if we look at it closely enough and long enough. It takes courage, but we must look at it. Shame is about turning away, about shriveling up in the face of the thing. It is about hiding. I realize this now: Shame has less to do with the content of what you’re hiding, than it does about the fact that there is something you believe about yourself that is deserving of the hiding.

        And here’s the thing. My secret? In reality, it’s not really a horrible, awful thing. It’s not criminal, not legally, ethically or morally. It’s not even about anyone else, really. It’s not about something I’ve done, or someone I’ve hurt. It’s just, in the end, a way I neglected myself. It originated in neglect from my childhood, and how I interpreted that neglect. The belief that I was unloveable grew tendrils. And my secret is the result of those tendrils.

        It’s interesting. I still call it my secret, even though it’s not a secret anymore. I’ve told two people, since I told her. The first after I told her? It was exactly as you wrote. I consciously did not want her to be the Keeper of the Secret, so to speak. I did not want her to have that power. I did not want her to hold something valuable, because she was not deserving of having something so dear from me. And I wanted it done. And she has told people also, at least two.

        So, here is my secret. I will not hide it. I am a virgin. I have never had sex. I have never been in a romantic relationship. I live in a time in history when our culture is obsessed with sex and romantic love, and views it as play and achievement and normalcy, and I am virgin. And I will be judged for it, probably even by people who read this blog. People will think me abnormal and unhealthy. I will be pitied. So be it. I choose to choose put truth and my health above my ego.

        So, how does the narcissist then relate to this? Here’s how: I had an emotional affair with my married, lesbian boss. Yup, swallow that. Read that one, one more time. My married, lesbian boss. I fell in love with her at her encouragement, due to her manipulation, and she toyed with me psychologically. She mind-fucked me. She created the dynamic for me to fall in love with her, encouraged my affection and dangled sex in front of my face for the sheer pleasure of it. She is a lesbian with a history of pursuing lonely, heterosexual women in the workplace, and bringing them out of the closet- and then dumping them when she bores. It’s her fix of power and control, her very special talent. And me? I would have been her crowning achievement, the virgin. For the first time in her life, she turned away from someone she supposedly wanted, because she was married. And honest? I’m not entirely sure it’s good that she did. It might have been better, if she had slept with me. I might have felt less toyed with.

        So, there you have it. The original shame: My parents didn’t love me… which led to my second shame: my virginity… which led to my third shame: I welcomed an affair with my married, lesbian boss. How’s that for a trifecta?

        This is my message to anyone out there who carries shame: Be done with it. Tell it. Learn something good from my story. Find someone good, a kind and decent person. Find someone capable of empathy and compassion, and tell your story. Get it out. And get it done. Don’t let it grow tendrils, like it did for me. All of this came as a result of my parents own wounds: narcissism and alcoholism, and with my interpretation of their neglect. My belief that I was unlovable led to all the rest.

        And remember this: Here’s the thing about the human brain and the mind. It is a sponge. It will believe whatever you tell it. If you tell your mind you are unloveable, you will believe it. So, tell your mind good things.


        1. Thank you so much for choosing to share that here. it is a bold, brave and beautiful show of personal power and empowerment.

          Makes me wonder though if perhaps sharing that secret with the narcissist was a bit like wielding a weapon which sliced through all her pretense and exposed her to herself for what she is underneath it all and she reacted by escaping. The discard which narcissists do to others is done most often when they are frightened, when the fabric of their reality unravels and they are confronted by the fear within.

          Your revelation showed you in a different light, one which made her realise that you were not like others, in a way she would not have been able to fathom, in a way which would have inspired the kind of respect and awe that makes narcissists run for cover.

          Society is something which narcissists study, they keep up with trends, follow them and try to win at them, they seek to be like the crowd, then be liked by the crowd for being like them and yet being better than them. When they meet someone who stands apart from the crowd, it both attracts and repels them. They want that which makes you stand apart because it is considered by them to be something special and valuable, a treasure which they want and need to have for themselves, but they are afraid of and unable to understand that which creates the strength to stand apart, especially when standing apart is done in a way which goes against the mainstream in some way and bucks trends.

          She was afraid, in awe, of you because you showed yourself to be a woman of substance, a being with the courage to be independent to the core. You are your own master.

          She probably hoped your secret would give her the ultimate hold over you, but instead it gave you the ultimate hold over her. Narcissists are very quick to know when they are going to lose and none of their tricks can turn the loss into a win, and they get away before anyone else realises it, especially before you, the winner, realises it.

          Your secret shame is actually an incredible personal power. It is rare and unusual, and it makes you a force to be reckoned with in many ways.

          I’m intrigued to know how you feel after revealing this here.

          Did you feel it? And by ‘it’ I mean… I’m guessing you know exactly what I mean.


          1. I truly appreciate you. I knew you wouldn’t give me platitudes. Thank you for that.

            How do I feel? I feel free. Is that the “it” you mean? Freedom? That’s what I feel. I feel free of the shame. Liberated.

            Why do I need to explain myself to others? I don’t. People can think whatever they choose. It is their right. However, it is my right to accept myself as I am, and to not explain myself to others.

            Why do I need to be like everybody else? I don’t.

            It’s like I’ve been carrying around this figurative ball and chain, dragging it behind me all these years and hoping nobody notices it. I’ve been covering that ball with all my accomplishments, camouflaging it with them, so that maybe, no one will notice. I thought, I’ll just be extra-successful in the other areas of my life and I’ll be kind to everyone, and it will compensate for my “failure” in this part of my life. It’s as if I were pleading, “Here, here…. Look here…. Don’t look there”. I thought of my virginity as failure, all these years. I cringe at that thought now.

            If my virginity and my lack of romantic experience makes someone else uncomfortable, it is their discomfort to solve. Not mine. And I feel at peace with telling her. What she knows is not something dangerous, or even particularly valuable. And it led me here.

            I am curious as to why you think this makes me powerful, a “a force to be reckoned with”.


            1. The ‘it’ is exactly that, the release and all that it brings with it. It’s wonderful, isn’t it. That is personal power at work 🙂

              As to why you’re a force to be reckoned with, just think about it, it’s in all of your words. You are doing exactly what the Emerson quote said – To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.


  3. I haven’t felt that I’ve really known myself until about the last five years or so. I kept surprising myself with unexpected reactions – some good, some bad. I eventually learned to slow down and actually take the time to let myself absorb and ruminate and mull. That process has been really good for me.

    You always have such great posts, Ursula. Much appreciated. 🙂


    1. Thank you 🙂

      It is a surprising thing to really take the time to get to know ourselves, because there is so much within which we often miss. It’s meeting a friend we never knew we had, but sort of knew we had all along, if that makes sense.

      I think we appreciate ourselves more as we get older, and as life encourages us (often by using things, relationships with others, which are unpleasant) to look within for what we thought could only be found outside of ourselves.


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