In a World full of Words…

Lantern

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“I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.”
― Emily Dickinson

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With a little effort on my part I might be able to get the lantern in the photo above to work as it once perhaps did. It’s rusty, and bent in places where it should not be bent. It’s a bit broken but maybe not so broken that it will never work again. Maybe light can be restored to it.

In the meantime the only way to make light shine within it is to place it in front of the sun.

I think I like it this way…

In its present condition it has a certain poetic beauty. It’s useless as a lantern, but it still shines with a light that can’t be seen unless you look for it. It is a dark light.

It reminds me of myself…

It makes me think of other people…

a little bit rusty,

bent in certain places,

a bit broken but not so broken…

and maybe they are more beautiful because they have had to learn to shine with a deeper light, one which can only be found by exploring the dark.

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“Well, you know… experience is a muffled lantern that throws light only on the bearer…it’s incommunicable…”
― Louis-Ferdinand Céline

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12 thoughts on “In a World full of Words…

  1. I just found your blog while looking for ideas regarding dealing with a narcissist. I had a friend who tore me down and was such a heavy burden. I did not see it until I was in my 40’s. Now my 13 year old is despairing – that sounds like an exaggeration, but I thought about that word carefully – about a friend who is a narcissist. She is torn in two directions:
    1. if she ends the relationship (which she does not have the skills to do) her friend will make her life a living hell – and I believe she will try)
    2. my daughter feels sorry for her because she has no friends and she doesn’t want to be mean and make her feel bad (ARGH! – but she’s 13…)

    I have spent hours reading, searching for things to tell her, so I can prop her up, give her strength. Nothing I’ve read or heard is helpful. A lot of mumbo-jumbo from ‘experts’ or oddly angry and narcissistic people). My daughter does not know that she has the strength and power to ‘fight’ back. And there are some compelling reasons that she doesn’t want to. All of the reasons were mentioned in your post – blackmail, intimidation, etc. But then I read a post of yours and I almost laughed out loud. I think it was “how to win a game with a narcissist” or another one of our posts. Let her win. Agree with her. So radical, but it seems so simple. Can it be that simple? I’m going to coach my kiddo a bit and test this out. See how it works. It’s something.

    Here was today’s exchange: My daughter was stretching in the dressing room at her dance school. Nar-friend walked in and said, “Your foot is sickled and your just taking up space.”
    Effect: daughter got in car and started crying
    But maybe……
    If she had said, “You’re right. My foot is sickled. And you’re also right, I’m taking up space. Thanks, Nar-friend.” Mind blown.

    Also, you have a beautiful blog. Words. Pictures. Little treasures here and there. Thank you for sharing this little part of you with the rest of us.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I think that ‘despairing’ is an excellent word to use to describe what a 13 yr old is going through, as being that age is fraught with strong emotions, learning many tough lessons about life, especially about the social aspects of life, and it can feel very dramatic, everything is magnified.

      At her age what her peers think of her will be a big part of how she views herself, her self-image. Many tears may be shed over hurtful words said. I think that her reaction to her friend’s words was natural and healthy. Her friend was mean to her, and if someone hurts you why not show that you’re hurt if that’s what you are. Your daughter acknowledged how she felt and allowed herself to express it.

      It’s very hard to watch your daughter suffer, particularly as you can relate personally to the experience she is having with this friend of hers due to this scenario reminding you of a scenario with your own friend. You love her and want to protect her, and help her deal with the vicissitudes of life which include narcissists and other people who have a tendency to be mean. But before you start teaching her to deal with a narcissistic friend in an adult manner it’s important to remember that teenagers perceive and experience life differently from adults – in some ways they’re better at dealing with difficult people and difficult situations. They’re more adaptable and flexible, and recover more rapidly from hurt and pain.

      Going with your daughter’s view of the options she has in dealing with this problem with this friend, what stood out was the high level of personal intelligence which your daughter has. She may be despairing, but she has a clear understanding of her options and their consequences, she also has insight into her own power in the situation. To say that she feels sorry for this friend because this person has no friends and your daughter does not want to be mean and make her friend feel bad… yes, this can cause an adult to groan, especially if that adult has done something similar and learned the hard way that this can be a road to hell… but at 13 this is the sign of someone who has a strong set of values, personal responsibility, and keen empathic insight. It also shows that she’s aware that she has power in her relationship with her friend.

      This is an interesting article on personal intelligence – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-personality-analyst/201404/how-high-is-your-personal-intelligence

      I think perhaps the best method in this scenario would be to let your daughter talk things through, share her pain, her problems, and support her as she works things out for herself. Help her to build her personal confidence, especially in dealing with difficult people and situations as this will help her later on in life too. In other words keep doing what you are already doing as from what you’ve said your daughter shares her experiences with you and feels able to discuss things with you – this is valuable for her. Not all teenagers feel able to share their problems with their parents. Offer her options but if she prefers not to use those options because she wants to do things her way, then just be there for her through her exploration of life and relationships. Let her find her own method of dealing with narcissists.

      There is actually no ideal method for dealing with a narcissistic person other than the method which works in sync with us personally. Going off to cry when they hurt you can be effective.

      The best defense against a narcissist is our natural selves expressed freely, openly and confidently. When we accept ourselves as we are it makes us stronger against others who don’t accept us as we are, can’t accept us because they can’t accept themselves, feel the need to pick on us for things which are natural to us. Narcissists pick on people because they’re deeply miserable about themselves and their misery wants company – they want others to join them in feeling bad about themselves. When a narcissist is being mean, being a bully, it’s because they feel bad about themselves and in their mind picking on someone else is a quick fix to feel better. Those quick fixes only last for a short spurt. They often pick on people who have been nice to them because it’s safe for them, they know that person won’t tear them to pieces and lash out back at them. Narcissists are far more vulnerable than they may appear – your daughter has already spotted that about her friend.

      A part of ‘letting a narcissist win’ is about realising that the battle the narcissist is fighting is theirs and not yours. They’re fighting invisible foes which they’ve projected onto you. They’re trying to make their wounds yours. They want to upset you because they’re upset about something and they’re trying to pass their upset on to others. They need you to express how they feel for them. They have an issue with themselves and they want you to have one with yourself for their sake. Taking a pause to think through what they’re saying or doing and asking yourself if it’s their problem or yours is helpful. The pause allows you to disconnect from them and reconnect with yourself, and decide whether you want to react or not rather than being influenced by how they want you to react.

      Often what narcissists say is rather stupid, but because of the intention behind their words, the emotional impact of it, and because they often take us off guard as they tend to say mean things out of the blue without any warning or rhyme or reason for it, we react without thinking – that’s why taking a pause to think and think logically helps. It allows us to realise that they’ve said something stupid, that they’ve exposed themselves, that the problem is theirs and not ours.

      Best wishes to you and your daughter, take good care of yourselves!

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  2. My gracious, what a lovely expression. Bless you. I love how you made the old lantern light up. Indeed, via the sun. I have an old lantern like that and I will try placing it before the sun to light it up. Makes me think, this post and the sun lit lantern, and a challenge to put into words. It is how we do need the Light to fill our depths, hidden places, dark nooks, and soul so we may shine as well. Something like that. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

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    1. What a lovely picture and meaningful words, I love the poetics of little things, it makes me think of mono no aware and it rescues me from despair.xx

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