Grin and Bear it… Or is it Bare it?

smile

“You’re always smiling…” the delivery guy said to me this morning, stating a fact he had noticed rather than criticising or complimenting with his words, “…so many people on my route complain.”

I added a soft laugh to my smile, one of those laughs which fills in for words as I really couldn’t think of anything to say. I could have said – You’re always smiling too – which is true of this delivery guy, and of all the delivery guys and gals whose route I am on.

Actually there is one who doesn’t smile, but that’s because his humour is deadpan and requires that he keep a straight face. He has a very unique type of routine for a delivery guy, which when he first did it to me freaked me out a bit, not because it is scary but because it required more thinking from my brain than I usually do when around people I don’t know that well.

I tend to blank my mind when around people, I forget about myself so that I can focus on them. All thoughts go on pause so that I can pay attention to the here and now.

The best way to describe this guy’s routine is that he treats package delivery like a game show and you have to guess what’s in the package or who sent it to you before he’ll give it to you. He will give it to you anyway, this is just a bit of fun to make something ordinary a little less ordinary.

Perhaps it’s his way of ensuring that the packages get delivered to the right destination – the addresses around here are confusing. Or perhaps he does it to make you remember him. It humanises him, it makes him stand out, and in this world where we’re all moving at such a rapid pace, we often operate on automatic and sometimes treat others as automatons, because we’re automatons. So when someone reminds us that they’re human, they remind us that we’re human too. It snaps us out of the bubble which keeps us detached from life and reconnects us.

Or something like that.

The comment the delivery guy made this morning stuck with me long after he had gone. And gave me something to write about for a post.

At the moment I’m not feeling in a smiling frame of mind, nor am I feeling particularly communicative. My thinking is taking me places where I’m more likely to gnash my teeth, growl, groan or scream an angry rebel yell.

 

 

Karen Marie Moning -good,bad,evil

 

 

But my anger is an innie rather than an outie. It goes on inside and only occasionally escapes into the outside world, usually through my eyes or through a sharpness in my voice.

Mostly when I’m in this kind of a mood, I isolate myself to work things through, to let it pass. I’m not keen on baring and sharing it. I don’t want to pass it on or add to anyone else’s load, but more than that I don’t want anyone else to add to mine, which includes trying to cheer me up – what if I don’t want to cheer up? Now I have to be cheerful to make whoever is trying to cheer me up feel better, if I don’t cheer up then I have to add their disappointment at their failure to control my mood to my pile of things making me not happy and smiley.

 

 

empathy

 

If I wanted to be cheerful, I would be cheerful. Yes, it’s as simple as that. I have been controlling my moods since I was a child, so it’s child’s play. During my years of mood control, I’ve learned that sometimes it is best to let a mood be what it is and accept it, let it flow so it can go wherever it needs to go. Get to know it, get to know the weather inside and who knows what wisdom it will bring, what will grow after the rain, what the storm will uncover, reveal, release. Controlling the weather seems like a good idea, but humans have lots of good ideas which… in hindsight were rather bad ideas.

Just because I’m not smiling doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten how to do it. And just because I’m smiling…

 

 

Done smiling

 

Bringing my smile to my attention kicked up some memory dust. Since I had been exploring my memories this weekend, the door to access the old and ancient files was wide open, as were all the filing cabinets, with files strewn hither and thither.

It reminded me of a day many eons ago when I was a teenager at school. I had just been thrown out of an exam for cheating. I hadn’t been cheating, but the supervisor of the exam didn’t care. He had been itching to exercise his newly acquired authority, strutting back and forth around the classroom like a prison guard hoping to catch someone in an illegal act, and I acted as a lightning rod for a petty tyrant in the making.

I was sitting alone in the school yard afterwards, fuming. I was angry for many reasons, one of which was that I knew most of the other pupils had been cheating. No one really wanted to cheat, but it was one of the only ways to get a passing grade in the exams at this school, and pupils were often encouraged (and aided) by their parents to cheat. My parents didn’t care if I passed, they barely cared if I went to school at all, but it did get me out of the way during the day. So I was not encouraged in any way at all by anyone to do anything. I was left to my own devices, and so, like the idiot that I am, I refused to cheat… and then got thrown out of the exam for cheating. It didn’t really matter, I was going to fail the exam anyway, but it was the principle of the situation which bothered me.

As I was running through all of this in my mind, a casual friend appeared beside me and announced their presence to me with the words – Why aren’t you smiling, you always smile, what has happened? Their demeanour was both alarmed and concerned. I recall feeling guilty for not being my usual smiling self for them, and feeling even guiltier for not being able to tell them that the end of the world was nigh and we were all going to die. I knew that telling them what had happened would be seen as nothing worth getting upset about. It certainly wasn’t a smile stealer.

 

 

magical relationship mastery

 

Some years later something very similar to this happened. It was during one of the worst periods of my life, when each day was agonising and I was certain that I would not survive the year, and each year that I survived I was certain that I did not have the strength to make it through another year. I was miserable all the time, but I smiled when around other people. I wasn’t putting on a brave face, I just knew that other people had their own difficulties and they didn’t need me to add mine to theirs. I knew there was nothing that they could do for me even if I shared. I also knew that I was the designated happy person, who others expected to brighten their day with my carefree attitude and smiles.

One day I forgot to smile, and someone confronted me. They were a kind soul, who had struggled hard, had a difficult life, and when they compared their life to what they knew of mine, they thought that I was lucky and therefore didn’t have any reason to do anything other than smile all the time. They told me so that day. It was their way of telling me to cheer up, and I understood what they were doing, but…

It was just one more nail in a coffin of silence, a funeral of the truth where the mourners must smile and be merry.

 

 

truth

 

Many years later, while standing to one side on a not a particularly busy street, trying not to get in anyone’s way or draw attention to myself while waiting for a friend to pick me up. I was deep in contemplative thought, running through everything which had led up to that moment on that day. It was a day of culmination. I had made an important decision and was both elated and troubled. When a blast from a car horn shattered my focus. A stranger leaned out of his car window and told me to smile.

It’s a strange world in which we live.

 

 

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24 thoughts on “Grin and Bear it… Or is it Bare it?

  1. I identify with this so much. I am going through this period following my sisters death of reading letters my Mum wrote when I was four and her descriptions of and reactions to me and I am finding that I was not seen and everything I was expressing was not understood. She speaks a lot of how she expected me to be one way, but I would surprise her and be another and she would not understand it.. or me. I became someone who put on a false face. I turned to drugs when my father forced me away from my chosen career into one that was more suitable to me. I could not even feel my frustration and anger. Yesterday in my usual support group I had a massive melt down. All the frustration and angst, all the pain and confusion and sadness and frustration and confusion came bursting out… and I got heard and validated for it all…..I m sorry to be being narcissistic myself here and mentioning myself in relation to what you wrote and shared but I think it is criminal that we don’t allow people to actually be able to express what are so called “negative” emotions, because it disturbs their version of they are, what they feel, what is genuine and real. Why the fuck do we have to smile in the face of atrocity……Having said that .. it is the way it is… Saturn is showing me the most start reality of that at present as he grinds his message home a few days out of stationary Rx.

    You came out of this stronger and so much wiser but still I wish for that teenage self of yours to have found comfort, whilst knowing too, that maybe if she did you might not have become as strong and wise??? Not sure about that….. “seems to me humans are a bit confused”.. so true .. cyber hug… ❤

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    1. And still you are the beautiful person you are. You touched my heart; ….”.I m sorry to be being narcissistic myself “, i am so too. I have lived similar situation and i find myself saying the same thing, it’s criminal what they have done.My heart aches when my old father tries to stab my sister once again as she’s having a hard patch with her 16yrs old daughter saying:”I rejoice of your pain inflicted by her to you, s oyou can understand how i suffered when you disappointed me”. I am not smiling and i am not in contact, although he will make me pay for this.
      If you feel you had a false self it didn’t prevent from being authentic.
      Wishing you light and affection from the ones around you, seashell xxx

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    2. I just finished reading your post where you speak about this, it was very insightful and moving. It must be very strange to read your mother’s letters wherein she spoke of you and her view of her life and family. It gives a different perspective and also allows you to see how her mind worked and still works.

      I read an email from my mother to my lawyer, and she still relates to me as though I was about 6 years old. Narcissists never allow you to grow up, because they never grew up. She still considers me to be without a mind of my own, and easily brainwashed and influenced by ‘evil’ others. What that shows is how a narcissist views others – that others are to be brainwashed, influenced and manipulated, because others are stupid and only the narcissist has intelligence, and that others are to blame for everything, and if you go against what a narcissist wants you’re ‘evil’. And I’m still just a thing, a prop, a character in her story, her drama all about herself. Narcissists are always the heroes in their stories, and everyone else is there, used as they please, to highlight that.

      You’re not being narcissistic sharing yourself here as you have, that is what the comments are for and it is also an intrinsic part of blogging. My posts is all about me, so I’ve had my say, shared my view and stuff. The comments are all about you, to have your say, to share your thoughts, views, life. We meet in the middle, in a place of sharing. And we share what we need and choose to share. That is a natural and logical flow. Since what you’re sharing ties in with what I wrote in the post, everything is copacetic 🙂

      What my past selves went through, was what they went through. I can’t remember all of it… can you imagine what it would be like if we had total recall of every day, every hour in every day of every year of our lives. There’d be so much mundane stuff cluttering the memory banks. We recall of the past what is relevant in some way to the present, and it serves a purpose in the now.

      The now is all I’m interested in. Sorting stuff out for the here and now. I was reviewing memories because I have to make some decisions and I wanted to make sure my motives and intentions were in the present, focused on moving forward, rather than caught somewhere in the past. And one of the things I was doing was trying to recall a ‘good’ memory of my mother. I used to have loads of them which I used to maintain the illusion that I had a good mother, but each one I reviewed shows a memory altered for her benefit (partly for my benefit too since I needed to believe the illusion for my own reasons). When I first faced who she actually was, I went through several stages of memory review, one of which was to view everything which I had hidden from myself, all the snippets of memory which had been cut out to alter them to make the illusion true. After finally having faced and accepted who she actually is, those memories have become more realistic. I can’t find a ‘good’ memory of my mother, they’re all clear cut examples of a narcissist being a narcissist, of a covert narc at work building her version of reality and using others to do it. So even when she was being pleasant, it is still not a pleasant memory.

      However I do have loads of memories which don’t include my mother. So the past had its good moments – particularly when I was on my own doing my own thing 🙂

      See… I’ve balanced things out by talking more about myself. Your turn! 😀

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      1. I;m still not really sure my mother is a narcissist and I certainly didn’t suffer to the depths that you did. I could be confused about this. I just think our family was a zilch nurturance family and my parents just worked and worked. My mother was never nurtured and so didn’t really know how to nurture. She was used by the nuns as a cleaner and showed zero empathy as a young child. What came through from the letters was her inability to enter my world empathetically. Also since the pregnancy was a “mistake” I was not a really wanted child and so left to my own devices a lot. I have very few memories of childhood. I only know my eldest sister’s leaving left a huge absence for me.

        I am sure there is a self protective aspect to our painful memories being lost and not all retained…. I am a great believer in body memory/ awareness though… things held in the subconscious/unconscious. I was talking to my mother about this as one incident which occurred involved her pulling me by the arm and pulling my are out of its socket and dislocating it At night I spin in bed with the memory of my arm being twisted around. I think things like that can live really deep inside of us.

        Yes, doing our own things brings happiness. I really get that. I am doing some reading on Saturn transits and what is coming through to me is that life is a consciousness building process if we find a way to make meaning and sense of things that occur. Its a really interesting book by an astrologer called Marc Robertson and he talks about his consciousness building aspect of Saturn. And I really feel the need to honour Saturn as a very important influence as it has dogged me most of my life with painful events of limitation, disappointment and frustration. What I am coming to is that I have to honour this Saturnian aspect of myself rather than try to be someone who does not have that influence. I no longer care if others don’t get it, as long as I do that is the important thing. I guess that was what I was trying to say in my blog you read.

        What I got from the letters was a deeper understanding of my Mum. She couldn’t choose a lot of what happened to her. But both she and my father put work first. This fits exactly with what Liz Greene writes on Saturn Moon in her book on Saturn: A New Look At An Old Devil. It makes sense of my body symptoms. Saturn in Scorpio has been challenging and painful but I do feel that Saturn is about deepening into the reality of our souls journey. Hard as it can be lots of gifts are coming out of this Saturn in Scorpio transit in terms of deep insight. What do you think>

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        1. I don’t think it matters if your mother is a narcissist or not. The diagnosis is just a diagnosis, there to help you to understand something.

          Everyone is personality disordered when it comes down to it, including and perhaps especially those who create the categories of personality disorders because they are perhaps deluded (deceiving themselves and therefore others) by the illusion that there is such a thing as an ordered personality – and are those who diagnose and classify personality disorders, personality ordered? Who and what are those who judge who and what are others?

          It’s like an IQ test – who created it, and why do they think their criteria for intelligence is an actual criteria for intelligence? Because their minds tell them it is? Because they’ve done studies… but who is influencing the results of these studies? What is the intention and motivation behind it all?

          What matters is for you to understand the part that your mother has played in your story, and for you to understand yourself, know yourself and your story. Who knows who your mother is, does she? Your mother is a person, who has a whole story of her own. What matters is your version of her as it applies to you, because this is your life, your story. By understanding who others are to us, how who we perceive them to be due to who we are has affected us… that’s how we find what we need and what helps us to evolve and restore, heal and transform, and so on.

          Would you say that perhaps your eldest sister was more of a traditional mother to you than your own mother then? The roles we seem to have and the roles we actually perform… it can be varied and enmeshed.

          I think if you use astrology to look into this, perhaps you need to focus on the chart as a guide to a whole story. You have a chart with a stellium, a very condensed stellium. What does this say about your personal story? What is full and what is empty – empty houses have always fascinated me, more so because I’m never sure what to make of them.

          Were the experiences which you have had there to fill in the empty houses?

          I ask that because of something which I just noticed while skimming info on the transit of Jupiter and realising that my 11th house is an amalgamataion of the Sun signs of my parents… and that is very apt as to how I experience that part of life.

          When our focus is drawn to one planet… why?

          Why does Saturn draw your attention so much right now? What about all the other planets at work? What about Jupiter? Jupiter is sort of the antithesis of Saturn – one restricts, the other expands – and transit-wise Jupiter will, in 2015, be in a square with Saturn.

          Perhaps focusing on Jupiter will balance out the effect of Saturn. Is it perhaps time to see the expansion versus the restrictions, or the role of restriction in expansion… or something like that?

          There was something which you said recently which attracted my attention – how your father subverted your will with his will, how what you wanted to do as a career path was nixed in favour of the family business, so to speak. You had to give up on your dreams to do what was practical for the family.

          But what about now? Now that you’ve realised this? Is it perhaps your time to follow your dreams and nix the practical, family route. You did what they wanted you to do, you followed their will, and have learned what that entailed and the consequences of it. What about now?

          Perhaps the transit of Jupiter and its square with Saturn is reflective of… well… where will Jupiter transit in your natal chart while in Leo? The hidden (12th) and then the self (1st). Hmmmm.

          That’s what I think… and I know I sidetracked, but that’s Merc in Aqua for you plus Nep in 3rd… always seeing the perhaps overlooked, but often failing to see the obvious 😉

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          1. Its taken me a while to get back and read your comment, Ursula. I actually started to move away from what my father desired for me at my Saturn return and I do believe that when I began to recover from addiction I began to get to know my mother’s story from a different perspective than just her impact on me, as I know it is important to be aware of how others have impacted on us, but they too were impacted upon by a whole heap of factors so outside our limited perspective of how they affected our lives for good or ill. I may not be approaching it in the way you recommend but it is right for me I do believe. I do have a loaded seventh house. This makes sense to me in terms of what both parents DIDNT develop, rather than what they did. I do thing there is a multigenerational balancing out process going on in my own family. Since the family is developing and evolving through its own trajectory. And I do think we can carry the parents wound and our task, should we choose it is to make that wound conscious. While we have our own particular individual destiny to live as well.
            Thanks for reminding me of Jupiter. It is currently half way through my 12th house. I sense a strong multigenerational undercurrent to the NOW as soon all three personals will be transiting my 12th house. I can already feel the solar shift to Leo today… two babies died born in that sign. They never made it to one year old. My Mum’s north Node and Neptune are there and that makes so much sense to me knowing of the difficulties she went through in her own young life. And her strongest connection is with someone whose Sun conjoins that…

            Anyway, as you say Jupiter will bring some new blessings I am sure once it passes over the ascendant which is at 16 Leo in my chart.

            Thanks for your comments. 🙂

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            1. Also I think why Saturn is drawing my attention right now is because of the very powerful aspects it is making to my stellium. I seem to be getting insights I never had before, especially through those letters which are making sense of the part my mother played in my life and in forming me as an individual. Once we can become aware or conscious of something we are better placed, I do believe, rather than just acting out blindly in the only way we could because we were not conscious. Jupiter has been a very strong influence in my life too, as have all the planets.

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            2. I know that you do a lot of generational/family astrology, and that you do a lot with synastry and composite charts, have you ever overlayed all of your immediate family’s natal charts to see what it looks like, what houses are empty, full, what signs and elements dominate or are less dominant?

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              1. I have looked at the ties ups.. Its hard when you don’t have birth times to see that when you cant locate the ascendant and so place the planets in houses, unless you mean overlaying their charts on mine and seeing the houses there? But certainly looking at elements and cardinal, fixed or mutable connections brings a lot of insight into things. What I found really interesting was to see how a particular outer planet in an ancestors chart, became an inner planet in a descendants chart and how that then related to the transits going on to those planets when certain events passed. I wonder if there is some kind of energetic imprint that gets coded into out dna from certain experiences that then becomes a behaviour? I remember coming across a book on family systems therapy at a friends place in the UK and it made the point that emotional cutoffs going back in families manifested in things Iike Schizophrenia. I wish I had the reference now. Certainly key abandonments or traumas can be imprinted and carried; I saw that playing out in my sisters chart and she had strong mutable contacts with my maternal great great grandfather, who also died in an institution after having been exiled from his family due to addiction in response to the loss of two children and separation from his family.

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          2. Actually, current thought is that the opposite of character- disturbed /disordered is neurotic and that people tend to fall on a spectrum between the two. The pure, altruistic people like Budda deviate from the spectrum to self-actualization. Character-disturbed differ from neurotic in almost every way of interpersonal functioning. For example neurotics can suffer from anxiety in many ways – through depression, excessive worry, fear of abandonment but for CDs anxiety is practically minimal. Also, neurotics are considered to have a well-developed or overly developed conscience which leads to a huge sense of right and wrong and always wanting to do what is correct – this can lead to judging themselves harshly when they don’t live up to own expectations as well as taking on inordinate burdens. The CD’s conscience is under-developed and impaired- they don’t have the voices to do right or admonish for doing wrong, if they do have it they can silence it. Most neurotics have shame and guilt and can be hypersensitive to these feelings which makes it easy for them to feel bad about themselves. CDs lack sufficient pangs of guilt or shame, they don’t feel badly enough for the kind of person they are or the harmful things they do to keep from doing them over and over. I would guess that the readers here would fall under neurotic which means that we have a lot of unconscious conflicts that cause our emotional distress. While the CDs are fully aware of what they are doing and motivations for their actions.

            Anyone interested in learning more can read George Simon’s book: Character Disturbance The Phenomenon of Our Age.

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            1. If someone is studying those with a disorder but does not have the disorder themselves can they ever truly know what it is like to have that disorder, how that disorder really works and doesn’t work? Can they really assess something they can only experience from the outside looking in, and what is the psychological state of this person who is doing the assessment of others and their psychological states?

              Perhaps those whom we presume not to have shame or guilt, do indeed have shame and guilt, just not how we assume shame and guilt to be – they don’t express it and experience it as we do, therefore we have decided that they do not have it.

              It’s like saying that someone who chooses not to share their feelings, does not have feelings. Perhaps that person is expressing their feelings, but since they aren’t doing it the way that we do it, the way that ‘everyone else’ does it, we judge them based on ourselves, based on viewing what we do as being the right way to be and if they don’t do what we do, then their way must be wrong.

              If this theory is correct then the person who has created this theory must be on the spectrum, therefore their view is biased, unless they consider themselves to be one of those who has deviated from the spectrum, in which case they are neither and they are an outsider looking in and proposing possible theories of what goes on inside of others without actually experiencing first hand, on the inside, what it is like to be those others.

              Disorders such as NPD are still being studied as experts still do not know what causes it, and most experts admit that what they know is outweighed by what is still not known.

              Giancarlo Dimaggio, MD, recently wrote in Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Rethinking What We Know:

              “Surprisingly, to the eyes of many experts, DSM-5 better captures the essence of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) than previous versions did. Many clinicians (myself included) were dissatisfied with the descriptions of NPD in earlier versions of DSM. Persons with NPD are aggressive and boastful, overrate their performance, and blame others for their setbacks; current editions of DSM portray them as arrogant, entitled, exploitative, embedded in fantasies of grandeur, self-centered, and charming but emotionally unavailable. This portrayal of persons with NPD conveys only a minimal sense of their self-experience and misses their complexity.

              Prototypical persons with NPD present with many interpersonal problems and comorbid disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, with consequent increases in risk of suicide, alcohol and substance abuse, and eating disorders. Romantic relationships are typically shallow, and narcissistic persons build and maintain them with difficulty. Conflicts at work are the rule rather than the exception, as are problems with commitment when faced with negative feedback. As these persons get older, mood disorders can worsen because of dissatisfaction with their personal and professional lives.”

              It’s always interesting to explore the theories of the human psyche which people come up with, and when we find something which explains our own experiences and story to us, we feel a sense of relief, our confusion finds clarity. However we have to be careful not to impose our view on others, our new clarity is clarity for us… but it may be confusion for someone else.

              This bothered me a bit – “I would guess that the readers here would fall under neurotic” – that’s like saying all the readers must like vanilla ice cream, because we can only choose between chocolate or vanilla, and since narcissists like chocolate that leaves us with vanilla. But what about strawberry, or rocky road, or a million other flavours. What if we’re lactose intolerant, vegan or just don’t like ice cream?

              That’s my current thought… and I may have misunderstood what was said. It just felt as though there were two boxes and I was being told I had to fit into one or the other, and that other people had to do the same. That seems a bit restrictive. It also smacks of being told what to think which reminds me of NPD.

              Thank you for sharing!

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              1. You are right as understanding of the character disordered is a continuing process which is why I appreciate the sharing of information. I did not mean to imply people were boxed in to one side or the other but that the studies show people tend to fall somewhere on the spectrum. The most healthy well adjusted have a strong sense of self (ego) but not overbearing to the point of infringing on other people or when this does happen is able to take ownership. Same with guilt and shame – enough to know where to respect others boundaries w/o being controlled by these feelings. I find this information important in my journey to become a healthy person and understanding my family but of course take what is helpful and leave what isn’t.

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                1. Through sharing our story, our process of healing, our journey and what we find along the way, we help ourselves and others.

                  What you shared is excellent. Thought-provoking. Food for thought. Nourishment.

                  Above all else, we need to do what is right for us. Growing up with narcissists we tend to get side-tracked into only considering what is right for others, what the narcissists want from us, often and usually to our own detriment. Pushing ourselves, our needs, our thoughts aside and maybe never considering them, ourselves.

                  I love what you shared because it made me think and that is what we all need, to think for ourselves to make up our own minds and follow our hearts.

                  Keep sharing, keep doing what you are doing, discovering, uncovering, finding your solutions, and getting in touch with yourself and your personal power.

                  You rock! And so do all of us when we are being who we are as is… whatever and whoever that is. That’s our, path our gift! And that includes narcissists because they are who they are and they provoke us to be who we are even and perhaps especially because they try to direct and control who we are! 😀

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  2. Everyone used to call me “Smiley”, it was expected I would smile widely any time i was in someone’s company. Always “up” always positive no matter what was going on in my life. If someone asked “How are you today.’ I flashed them a huge smile and say”Fine thanks! How are you?” because I know people don’t really want to know how you are or they would stop to hear the answer.
    I still smile a lot, I have a lot to smile about and I have friends that laugh and smile no matter what is going on in their life, but I have friends that care for me enough and I them that it is ok to not smile and be sad and cry together if that is what we need to do and those friends make me smile.

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    1. Smiling is great, it’s a way of communicating which requires no words and so it crosses language barriers. But when it becomes a rule, when it is demanded of us, then it loses its natural expression and becomes something else entirely.

      It’s kind of an interesting coincidence that with the rise of narcissism in society, there has also been a rise in ‘fake’ smiles – people getting their teeth cosmetically covered up and fixed so that they have a perfect smile.

      I was watching the TV series ‘Magic City’ the other night and one of the characters, while watching a competition, pointed out that one of the contestants deserved to win because they were such a good person but that they would not win because their smile was not ‘nice’ enough and winners always had dazzling, perfect smiles which other people want to see and that if you have a dazzling smile it doesn’t matter if you’re a good person or not. I’m paraphrasing.

      It struck me as a good description of the effect a narcissist has on other people, they are aware of how much we tend to judge by appearances and don’t always bother to look beneath the surface veneer, so they give us what we like to see and we crown them as winners.

      Someone who asks you how you are but doesn’t stop to hear the answer because they don’t care and don’t want to know – is simply giving the appearance of being a caring person. They are asking the ‘right’ question to make themselves look good in their eyes, and in the eyes of others.

      It’s a funny old world. Luckily there are a lot of genuinely lovely people in it who give us reasons to genuinely smile 🙂

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  3. I loved every word you wrote and I share the same experience. Our lives have been punctuated by expectations, what our parents expected us to be, to become, to give and to perform. But when we meet someone who accepts us for what we are then we can breathe and give freely without fretting.And be ourselves with our qualities, flaws and just being human. I am experiencing it at the moment, and it makes a great difference to be in contact with someone who is not projecting, identifying, splitting, passing the wound..isn’t it? Take care and thank you for this beautiful post xxx

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      When others accept us as we are and encourage us to be ourselves, it helps us to accept ourselves, and it makes it easier for us to return the gift to them because they show us how valuable it is.

      Take care of yourself and do it with acceptance ❤

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  4. Exactly, why everyone seems so interested in that I should smile, and so alarmed when I’m not. It almost feels as if you are offending them with your non-smile, so you smile (for them) and then feel like you’re (again) doing something other people expect you to, but this time for no obvious reason and for a complete stranger. Crazy, really… 🙂

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    1. The smiling thing is a very bizarre one, especially if you look at it from an internet search for quotes about smiles angle. You’ll find all these quotes insisting that you smile no matter what, then a bunch expressing that the brightest smiles tend to hide the greatest sadness, then a bunch talking about fake smiles and how these are a bad thing, and so on. Seems to me humans are a bit confused, like usual then 😉

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