Going Off the Beaten Track

You’re walking along a road and suddenly you come to a crossroads,

okay, it wasn’t that sudden, you saw it long before you got to it and were probably thinking about the problems it posed before you had to actually deal with the problem it would confront you with when you finally reached it…

one path is similar to the road you are on, it’s made of the same substance, it feels the same underfoot,

yes, you’re on foot and your feet are a bit worse for wear because of it,

(no, you’re not wearing shoes because you’re carrying those in your left hand,

yup, the left one, the right one is holding the bottle of water you cleverly knew you might need on this journey,

the shoes started to chafe and at some point you decided that shoes which rubbed your sweaty feet raw were more of an issue than soles which burned on baked tarmac… or which felt the uneven surface of cobbles… I still haven’t decided of what substance this road is made)

but even though your feet are a bit sore and tired,

causing your mind to also feel as they do,

this crossroad fills you with enough anticipation, the fear and excitement, of things to come based on your choice that you’ve forgotten the physical pain, the nuisance and nuance, of it

(okay, you haven’t forgotten, you’re just less focused on that part of it which sometimes equates to forgetting it).

Where was I?

Where are you?

Where are you going to go?

.

hamster

.

I used to love to draw,

(yes, this has something to do with what came before)

but at some point I came to a crossroads and took the road which didn’t include continuing loving to draw.

I forgot about this love,

but then one day I remembered it and scribbled the pic you see above.

That was during a time when my partner brought home a Roborovski hamster,

(and then I sent him back to get the other one after he told me that there were two, they’d been together since birth, but he only took one because he was a bit worried about how I’d react.

I’d been enforcing a no-pets rule,

it was actually a no pets until we have a permanent home of our own because our constant moving was hard enough on us, and since we always rented it made it difficult to rent if you had pets with you, and many other reasons and excuses I painted with practical.

I reacted by worrying about the one left behind, you can’t separate them!!!, so we needed him too!)

and caused us to travel together down a path we hadn’t been before (not together).

The hamsters have since died,

they died within one week of each other,

first one fell asleep and never woke up, then the other one joined him

(perhaps the second one died of a broken heart, I know I almost did and so did my partner when the first one died… even though we had been repeatedly warned of their short life span).

Awhile after the hamsters abandoned us to go a separate path from us,

leaving us to go the human way which was very human…

we were never going to have pets again, not because of the no-pets rule but because… you know why, you’re human to,

(at least I’m assuming you are, my apologies if you’re not… I’m not apologising because you aren’t and that’s somehow a bad thing… ugh, you know what I mean, unless you’re not human…

how do I get out of this loop… hole!?!)

but then an injured wild rabbit baby took us down a path which led to adopting a feral kitten.

Some people are certain that they’re at the helm of themselves and that they’re excellent navigators always choosing each path they go down, that a crossroads is never really a crossroads, one road is good and the other is bad and you should knopw which is which and choose the best one for you…

to succeed where inefficient others fail

(because you messed with the sign at the crossroads…

you navigate like that…

you cut off the rungs so others can’t climb the ladder, not as easily as you did after someone before you kindly fixed those rungs which someone else like you broke…

oh, dear, I took a deviation there…

went off the beaten track…

as I always seem to do).

If this seems incomplete

 

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16 thoughts on “Going Off the Beaten Track

  1. Okay, I just need to know if anyone else does this. I on/off get obsessed with asking the narcissist questions Imknow she can’t answer. Q’s like: domyounever feel remorese foe discarding me like trash? Or, how could you say one day you are stuck with me for life, I Will NEVER throw you away again, Trust me, and ONLY 4 days later throw me away again.

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    1. Yes, other people do this, in fact it’s one of the reasons we get obsessed with the narcissist in our life, why we read the stories of others and the narcissist in their life, why we research narcissists.

      A relationship with a narcissist rarely if ever gets the kind of closure we’re hoping for, and it leaves us with more questions than answers, the kind of questions which chafe our hearts and minds because we can’t make sense of them.

      Narcissists tend to think more like we did when we were children than we do now that we’re adults, but because we’re adults and think like adults we expect them to think as we do too because they’re adults too and we apply ourselves, our values and perceptual ability to them.

      You’re thinking that if you ever treated anyone the way that the narcissist has treated you you’d feel remorse so your logic tells you that they should feel it too, but your experience of them is telling you that they don’t feel it. And if you told someone someone that you’d never leave them, you wouldn’t say it if you didn’t mean it, you’d be loyal to your word or have an incredibly hard time breaking it if you changed your mind, you wouldn’t yo-yo or play with someone’s life the way that the narcissist seems to be doing with yours.

      A narcissist is like a child who one minute sees you as their best friend in the entire world, no one else exists but you, they love you forever and ever, and in the next minute they don’t like you anymore, you said or did something which annoyed them, if you really loved them you wouldn’t have said or done that, they can’t be around a toxic person like you, your influence is bad for them, etc, or someone else comes along and they forget you exist and are chasing after that other person who now means everything to them. They’ll get bored of that person too. They might even come back to you because they remembered you and how great they felt when they were with you. But if they come back and don’t feel great about themselves when they’re with you, they’ll go away again – their relationship with others is all about them, how they’re feeling, how you make them feel.

      The longer that they know you the less good they feel about themselves in your company because they project the things they don’t like about themselves onto you. When they discard you they’re not discarding you (who you are) they’re getting rid of what they don’t like about themselves – so they don’t feel remorse because they’re relieved of all the parts of themselves they want to forget about.

      The closest a narcissist comes to remorse is when they feel sorry for themselves that you’re not around because they’re feeling nostalgic. They remember that time you made them feel so good about themselves that they surfed on that high for days. They need you and you’re not there for them. They might get back in touch, but then again they might not because they also remember that you hurt them. If they happen to have enough awareness that they might have treated you badly, they’ll feel sorry for themselves that you’re the type of person who doesn’t forgive and forget. They made a mistake why can’t you let it go.

      These days with so much attention being paid to narcissists, your narcissist might conclude that you’re a narcissist and that their discard was actually them going No Contact and they’re bravely sticking to it. They will confirm whatever version of events they’re telling themselves by finding others who support their view, others will support their view because the story they tell will be crafted to make them sound like the victim.

      When they’re with you they’ll tell you anything you want to hear which makes them sound good and makes you like them. They don’t tend to recall anything they’ve said because they don’t listen, not to you or themselves.

      And they lack the ability to empathise.

      It is very frustrating, and you will find yourself obsessing about these sort of things. You’ve got logical questions which are seeking answers that’ll give you closure. You’ll never get closure from the narcissist, but seeking answers may lead you to something far more valuable as a relationship with a narcissist tends to make us get to know ourselves better, and the relationship which we have with ourselves is one which influences the relationships we have with others.

      The pain a narcissist inspires in us often leads us to the kind of healing which answers questions which we didn’t even know we were asking, about ourselves and our own life.

      You’re going through a phase which everyone that has been in a relationship goes through, keep going through it and eventually you’ll come out of it stronger and wiser. 🙂

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      1. Carol Davis here – THANK YOU for your reply. I just have to tell you, I have studied Narcissism “forever” formally (M.S. psychology) and informally (life experience) and YOU and YOUR BLOG make the most sense of anything I have ever read. Every since I found your blog I thought you were a fly on the wall of my life. YOU ARE AMAZING and I thank you for doing these blogs and you gift of saying it like it REALLY is without all the psycho babble. Every word touches my heart. I realized from your writings that every “intimate” relationship (what I thought was ) was my effing mother and me. omg. will I e4ver be done with her. I thought when she died it would be over but it was only the beginning.

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        1. Thank you 🙂

          I’ve found my mother turning up in my relationships with other women. Being aware of it and analysing it has helped loosen up the pattern.

          I noticed that in my relationships with men I feel more comfortable being myself, I’m more outspoken and relaxed, whereas with women I tend to feel more uncomfortable, inhibited, and I hold myself back due to a sense of tension. I’m repeating what I did with my mother with them, which means I may end up being with people who are like her because I’m not being myself when in their company.

          When we aren’t being ourselves with others they don’t know that the person we’re presenting isn’t who we are, and so we may attract those who like this version of us, while those who might like who we actually are may be put off by the inhibited version of ourselves.

          I’m still trying to figure it out. It helps to write it out while doing it.

          If we have unfinished business with someone in our life, we may end up trying to finish what is unfinished with other people. Maybe that’s part of it. A narcissist mother always leaves us with a lot of unfinished business. It was all always all about them, we were all about them, and that’s a hard habit to break.

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          1. Hi,Ursula!
            It´s funny you mention this process- the attracting circumstances which bring the characters you were trying to avoid somewhere else. I´ve been thinking about this a lot.
            The mother showing up through other women. I´ve had that in the past 7 years. So it confused me, as to how useful is the no contact rule. But i´ve noticed that when i face them, i have a know-how i learnt dealing with my mother and other relatives, and i manage to let them be, just not let them be at my expense.
            It´s the ultimate cosmic irony, the original characters continue to interact with you through others, which is coherent with the whole narcissistic using-others-as-an-extension-of-themselves m.o.. So i think it is prudent to deal with them anyway, if for no other reason then you´re telling the universe “I get it, i´m aware of this gift (poo) you sent my way. I´m dealing with it. ”
            Lately the substitute characters are about my ex. At 1rst, post break up, a lot of his guy friends i ran into hit on me blatantly. Depressing, considering i wasn´t exactly in the seducing mode. So being authentic in my pain seemed to attract more predator types. I embarassed them while unmasking the real intentions behind the compassion facade. That was very effective at keeping them away. It felt like shit, but it´s been done. They must have spread the word, bc none of his friends have bothered me since.
            Then last week, i had a string of shitty events that lead me to call for an electrician or else i´d freeze. He came over,fixed the pb. We were talking about cold,i have frozen neck and shoulders,due to stress and cold, and he touches my back and tells me i have misalingned vertebrae. I thought “ok” and it turned out he was right, I had painful knots on my neck,between my shoulderblades(lots here), then middle back and lower back(i felt everything pop back into place). I thanked him, and for some reason he thinks…we´re having sex next? What a nightmare. I thought of all the options i had- my surprise was evident enough,but would i have to be aggressive?- but then i thought, very patiently,i must say, that things happen and you need to deal with them in order to overcome them, regardless of how unfair they seem.
            My obsession with responsibility kicks in. I feel tired, bruised in my heart…and that´s exactly what i used to scare him away. I told him “My back can be put back into shape, but then there´s this…”(and i made a circle with my index finger around his chest, without ever touching him). He was intrigued(face), so i repeated “this” and did the circle thing around my chest. There was a long silence during which he must have felt the pain in my heart,bc his eyes watered, and then went with the “oh,my gosh,look at the time…”. The irony. Why fight and scream, when all i have to do is make ppl aware of the energy in my heart area, a vast terrain ruthlessly destroyed…it scares the shit out of ppl. And it´s inside me. And i didn´t have to fake anything…what a legacy to leave in one´s heart.

            I´ve read a lot of Andy White these past six(?) weeks. His blog is…precious.

            “Our task is to tend to life´s situations, not to “improve” them. For if we fall fool to the fantasy that whatever doesn´t suit us can simply be pushed away or turned on its head then it will materialise into precisely those things we originally wished to avoid. “(A.White; post “Call it something else”)

            “Our suffering is as much created by resisting the circumstances, as by the circumstances themselves.”Martin Israel (post: “Suffering and equanimity”,A.W.)

            “The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.(…)when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.”C.Jung(post: “Round and round”, A.W.)

            I´m still not sure why this situation. Bc i don´t want relationships(aside from friendships), it´s like my heart exploded and died. But i don´t have any aversion to other ppl having such relationships. Being sexually harrassed isn´t flattering. It´s like i´m meat. And I didn´t treat my ex like meat. Yes, he tricked me into thinking we were on the same page emotionally and sexually, but when the betrayal took place, i didn´t beg or try to “convince” him. For some reason, choice does matter a lot to me. He betrayed me not by sleeping with s.o. else, but by encouraging me to trust him,and then turning on me. And that killed me. Now i don´t even have the courage to envision what a good relationship would be like anymore. Maybe i have to work on that.

            I´m sending my tree hug your way- at least you can be safe, i haven´t heard about trees humping humans/animals yet 😉 – and lots of mafia noisy kisses :* :* :*

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            1. I’ve had times in my life when I felt my heart died. Sometimes I was quite relieved that it had (after going through a bit of a drama because I felt nothing like I used to anymore), and felt more alive because it had. It’s as though my concept of having a heart was getting in the way of actually feeling being alive.

              If you’ve grown up with narcissists… it can be hard to tell the difference between real feeling and what is perceived as real feeling but is actually a mental construct that sometimes feels more real that what is actually real and felt in the moment.

              If your focus has shifted from the female to male narcissist, it may mean that you’ve dealt with the feminine side of the matter and now need to deal with the masculine aspects of it.

              All humans have a masculine and feminine side, so do things such as narcissism.

              Have you explored the anima/animus idea. Perhaps this is connected to that.

              Thank you, as always ❤

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  2. The organ for direction and orientation is the amigdala, I think it has been removed at birth..
    I am not very good at foreseeing things or mind reading or anticipating the future, i waste a lot of time to understand the past.!!
    here’s a poem I love (I hope I haven’t already invaded your cyberspace with this);

    Robert Frost

    The Road Not Taken

    TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing (and it’s not an invasion of my cyberspace at all, I love it when you share, it enriches my experience 🙂 )

      I once went to a chiropractor who pointed out that one of my legs was fractionally shorter than the other one (he said this was due to leaning on one leg more than the other and the effects that had on my muscles rather than one leg actually being shorter) and I blurted out that this must explain why I’m always bumping into things. My balance is always a little off when I walk.

      My balance is also a bit off when I make choices, especially about ways to go, I like the path which looks like it’s been forgotten, abandoned, rarely chosen by others. There’s often a good reason why others haven’t taken that path, but I don’t usually find that out until after I’ve committed to it.

      Understanding the past can help predict possible futures, because patterns tend to repeat, but there is always room for variation and sometimes those are impossible to see until after they’ve happened.

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  3. It’s interesting how we think we’re in control but are being controlled… by the inconsequential, the important, the mundane. I suppose we do control some things, up to a point, like choosing not to eat meat, or whatever. But it’s amazing how much goes by that we think we control but don’t.

    I love your drawing. 🙂

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      I always get a bit freaked when I realise that I’ve absorbed a trend or fad in which I wasn’t particularly interested but it still worked its way into my system and is influencing my choices. Then there are those times when you catch yourself behaving like someone else, such as a parent, and it makes you wonder who is at the helm of your ship. Is the choice we’re making which we think is ours, really ours. It’s one of those puzzles I love to explore… but why? 😉

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        1. I sometimes think I have cat DNA. There was an old pic of me as a tiny tot rolling on the floor, stretching in the sun next to the cats who I grew up with. I was mimicking their posture and attitude so well that when I first saw the pic I thought it was of three cats and I wondered who the third cat was until my mind realised it was me. 😉

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    1. That’s an excellent point! It reminds me of those scenes in films about people lost in the desert who end up walking in a circle even though they think they’re going in a straight line.

      Sometimes while looking back at a path we took we notice the small shifts which had a big influence. 🙂

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