In Times of Change…

Lately I keep having these flashbacks of past life (as in the lives I’ve lived in this life) experiences, and how I reacted to them when I was that me then. They’ve all been uncomfortable and unpleasant memories of fear, pain, shame, and stuff like that.

The triggers for the flashbacks have been small incidents in the now.

For instance, a week ago, as my partner was pulling out of our driveway onto the road, I saw a speeding car headed straight towards the passenger side where I was located, and for a split second I felt exceedingly vulnerable as I had no control over the situation.

Our house is located next to a busy road. It’s one of those stretches of road where drivers speed along as though on a racetrack. Big trucks thunder by. There’s a blind corner just before the exit from our driveway. Coming from that direction drivers don’t expect there to be a cluster of houses with owners who might want to pull out onto the road.

“Far more crucial than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know.”

― Eric Hoffer

Usually my partner is careful, but a hedge had had a Spring growth spurt and I hadn’t cut it back (I have now), so his view towards the blind corner which was usually clear was partially blocked.

Nothing happened, but my mind went into flashback to a wounding of sorts which occurred when I was about 5 or 6 years old. Not a car accident or anything like that, but to a sudden intense feeling of vulnerability and a fearful realisation that I couldn’t trust others to keep me safe and not place me in harm’s way.

It was more than that – I couldn’t trust others to keep themselves safe and not put themselves in harm’s way, and therefore if I was with them I was at risk too.

I’m not sure exactly what happened when I was 5 or 6 (there were quite a few incidents during those years – like the ‘kidnapping’ which never happened, where all the adults had a total meltdown, and the uproar, blame games, etc, went on and on even after the misunderstanding was resolved), but I do recall that it had something to do with understanding in a hard-hitting manner (one of those painful aha punches to the gut of the psyche) that my mother was not equipped to care for and protect her child because she couldn’t look after herself.

It was at that point in my life when I decided that I’d have to learn as much as I could as quickly as possible about the world and all the big, medium, small, obvious and subtle dangers in it, and become my own parent, become an adult in a child’s body.

Of course the more you study and learn about the world and all the possible dangers in it, especially the human world where one person might kill another over a penny found on the ground, it increases the sense of vulnerability, powerlessness, and lack of control you have over your own safety.

And when you’re a child who sees just how much adults are not what they say they are, but they believe their own words and will destroy you if you don’t… nowhere is ever truly going to feel or be safe.

It was also at that time that I started to view my mother more and more as a child, my child.

She encouraged this flipping of the parent/child relationship dynamic by calling me ‘Mama’ on a regular basis, and by behaving in ways to support it. She was the cute playful child and I was the boring responsible parent.

Although when it suited her she’d suddenly become the parent – a scolding authoritarian parent.

“Your parents and teachers may have had anxious, tough childhoods, perhaps anxious by nature, with fragile senses of self-worth and unresolved hypersensitivity. Some people’s parents grew up in poverty or under oppressive conditions with people scolding them relentlessly, venting their frustration at their children’s expense. Scolding has its place but is often just a way for someone fragile to act as though they’re strong, confident, and in charge.

People often say what they need to hear. Children are often forced to suffer sermons that their parents wished they had heeded in their youth, a father who wished he had buckled down earlier insisting with uncommon urgency that his children buckle down. It’s more fun for the father to posture like he was a master of that life lesson than to feel like he failed to learn it.”

excerpt from Adult Children of Scoldaholics by Jeremy E. Sherman

My goal, purpose and mission in life became – I needed to protect my mother so that I could protect myself.

That became a full time stressful job. She was a rather stupid woman (this term refers to something Lord Peter Wimsey said about a character in The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers, a character which to me was similar to the sort of person my mother was and still is) who thought she was incredibly intelligent.

She was constantly getting herself into situations from which she needed rescuing (and which put my safety at risk too), and it was never her fault – it was usually blamed on others, particularly my father.

If it wasn’t for everyone else (If It Weren’t For You is one of the ‘marital games’ Eric Berne describes in his book – Games People Play) she’d be fine, successful, famous, rich, happy, healthy, etc…

“There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day; we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life.”

― Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind: And Other Aphorisms

My father was rarely around, and even when he was around I already knew I couldn’t count on him for protection. He, like my mother, was more of a child than an adult – I viewed him as a sibling, a younger brother.

He could be fun to play with, but I couldn’t rely on him unless it was relying on him to regularly push me under a bus to amuse or protect himself – him leaving me to be looked after mainly by my mother was him protecting himself by sacrificing me.

The story of my life and relationship with my parents is complicated and complex, and I’ve only figured out the structure of it in recent years.

Some bits I’m still in the process of figuring out.

Thus for many years I didn’t understand the real roots of why I was always hypervigilant, on the qui vive, on guard duty, anxious, afraid, and exhausted because of it.

In my most recent SYW post, SYW: Face To Face With Another You, I mentioned a pet peeve – of people not looking things up.

After I posted that, that part of the post, and other bits and pieces I’d said and shared in it, kept popping up in my mind.

As I pondered the pop ups and the peeve, I was reminded of that flashback in the car… and it dawned on me that the pet peeve was connected to that moment, the decision I made at that time and the karma it set in motion.

Karma is a Sanskrit word that means “action.” Sometimes you might see the Pali spelling, kamma, which means the same thing. In Buddhism, karma has a more specific meaning, which is volitional or willful action. Things we choose to do or say or think set karma into motion. The law of karma is therefore a law of cause and effect as defined in Buddhism.

excerpt from The Buddhist Understanding of Karma: An Introduction by Barbara O’Brien

My partner not being as careful as he usually is in that instance, that moment of watching the speeding car heading towards me, that feeling of intense vulnerability, lack of control, of powerlessness, being in danger thanks to me trusting someone else to at least not put themselves in danger and being unable to do anything about it…

The flashback to the very distant past when I first had that same feeling overwhelm me…

Memories of all the times in the past when I’ve felt that way even when the oncoming danger about to hit me wasn’t as real as that speeding car…

Remembering how I’d reacted afterwards, how coping mechanisms had been triggered… but they never solved the problem, they actually kept it going, around and around in a circle, here I go again on this merry-go-round, causing more issues along the way.

The solution being more of a problem than the problem which prompted the need for a solution.

After the moment passed, after I was safe again, I felt the fearful angry impulse to scold my partner for being careless and putting us in that kind of danger.

That’s what I would have done before, but this time I pressed pause on my reaction, it wasn’t useful or helpful… and would just make things which were now fine turn into a long drawn out not fine at all for more than just me.

So I just stayed silent as though nothing had happened.

In the silence I chose to explore the feeling, the original wound, rather than escape from the discomfort and unpleasantness of it by reacting outwardly and distracting myself from myself by focusing on my partner.

“Man staggers through life yapped at by his reason, pulled and shoved by his appetites, whispered to by fears, beckoned by hopes. Small wonder that what he craves most is self-forgetting.”

― Eric Hoffer

Choosing to go that way instead of the usual way I used to go is making a new decision which overrides the old decision and in many ways dismisses it.

That kind of change can cause problems within the self. Particularly if an entire identity and sense of ‘I Am’ has been built upon it.

Luckily for me my sense of who I am has never been written in stone – that’s a flip side benefit to never knowing for sure who you are, spending a lifetime having one existential crisis after another.

Both of my parents, and all of the adults around me as a child, believed that having a fixed identity, a guaranteed ‘who I am’ about themselves to tell everyone about, was a vital accessory in life with which to protect yourself against the dangers of living… but it was so often what got them into a dangerous situation and caused others to be at risk too.

They used to get frustrated with me and scold me for not having a fixed I Am identity, and would regularly assign me one or two or three which would often clash, conflict and cause problems for each other – such as my mother deciding that I was her ‘Mama’ but then needing me to not be that when it suited her to be the mother.

I used to cause problems for myself, with accompanying coping mechanism solutions which caused more issues, all due to thinking that I needed to find a fixed identity and who I am for myself, one which would never change… would I finally be safe then?

For a long time my sort of fixed identity became a complementary aspect of my mother’s If It Weren’t For You game. I was an – If It Wasn’t For Me – as in if it wasn’t for me you’d be happy, healthy, successful, free, and so on. That kind of ‘who I am’ can really mess up your sense of self and identity… especially as it relies on others and their identity status.

I had a flashback to that yesterday. A small incident occurred, funnily enough involving driving again. But once again I pressed pause on an old coping mechanism and just explored the flashback and accompanying feeling in silence.

Compassion for Yourself

After all this talk of selflessness, it may seem odd to end with by discussion compassion for oneself. But it’s important not to run away from our own suffering.

Pema Chodron said, “In order to have compassion for others, we have to have compassion for ourselves.” She writes that in Tibetan Buddhism there is a practice called tonglen which is a kind of meditation practice for helping us connect to our own suffering and the suffering of others.

excerpt from The Importance of Compassion by Barbara O’Brien

The recent flashbacks to my past lives and selves, old coping mechanism solutions and problems, and the decisions made then based on the experiences I had then have strangely coincided with certain aspects of a TV drama I’ve been watching.

It’s called – Hyde, Jekyll, Me (2015) – and is a very fanciful depiction of a person with DID. A lot of fans of the genre did not like this show at all. I’ve enjoyed it for the very reasons others disliked it. I liked that it has been very slow, and that it allowed characters to develop based on the experiences they had.

One character, the female lead, went from being feisty, bubbly, lively, to a shell of her former self – it was a logical progression considering everything that happened to her (murder attempts due to being the only witness to a crime, being hypnotised by the ‘baddie’, taken hostage, becoming the love interest of the male lead and his other identity, never getting any time for sleep, rest, recuperation from traumatic events, etc).

I related very much to her exhaustion and listlessness (I felt that way all the time when I interacted with my parents and lived in their version of reality) and wondered if others had viewed her story the way I had…. so I made the mistake of checking out a conversation thread about it, but it wasn’t a mistake really, it was enlightening.

“There would be no society if living together depended upon understanding each other.”

― Eric Hoffer

Many people completely ignored this character, as they were mostly caught up in discussing how disappointed they were in the writers, and in themselves for watching as many episodes as they had but they bravely stuck with it because they were either fans of the lead male or the male playing the ‘baddie’.

A few mentioned the female lead character, and remarked on how they’d wished that she would stop being so listless and become feisty, funny, smiley and fine again. They didn’t like this dull version of her, they wanted the other lively version of her.

While I could understand their perspective, especially since this is just a TV show made for entertainment purposes of viewers… their attitude bothered me. There was no compassion for the character and what she had been through – people just wanted that person to be who they wanted her to be for them to enjoy themselves, who cares what she’s been through and is going through. She’s not real anyway.

The theme of someone not being real was part of the DID storyline. I could relate to that too. Throughout my life as me, I’ve often felt as though I was a figment of someone else’s fictional tale, as though others couldn’t see me as a real person – I was simply there to fill a void for them and be whoever they needed me to be for them to be who they needed and wanted to be, and they’d disappear me when it suited them, when who I was for them no longer was necessary.

Its a one-sided relationship contract. The other person is allowed to have personality fluctuations because they’re them, they’re aware of their ups and downs due to life events, but somehow others, those around them, mustn’t have fluctuations, mustn’t be affected by life, must keep being the same person at all times. The fluctuations of others might disturb them, their stable I Am, their identity, their sense of safety in self.

We do that to ourselves too. We decide who we are and expect ourselves to stay that way to keep ourselves safe. We choose an identity for ourselves and scold ourselves when we don’t live up to it.

If we’ve decided that we’re supposed to be the happy one, when we’re unhappy we may see ourselves as letting ourselves down and threatening our status quo. Or if we’re the unhappy one and have a moment of happy… that can’t happen, can it?

“Language makes human life peculiar. With it, we’re more adaptive and maladaptive, flexible and stubborn, visionary and delusional, reliable and fickle, safer and scarier than other organisms. With language, we have more to cope and, as a consolation prize, the ability to cope by engaging in fantasy escapism.”

excerpt from How to Handle Self-Affirming Fictions by Jeremy E. Sherman

That’s it from me…

Feel free to share your own thoughts about whatever you would like… they might connect with a flashback of mine and give me an insight.

Over to you!


  1. I once had a nightmare about the ex-narcissist. It was one of those dreams that seem real when you awaken, and I eventually realised that the dream was related to an actual event that I had forgotten.

    The ex-N used to wake me up at night (he was usually up for most of the night) whenever he felt like it for the most trivial of reasons and would also do things like turn on all the lights, make a bunch of noise and then leave the house (he spent a lot of time in the garage). I developed a sort of insomnia that I still haven’t recovered from completely and of course at the time I was chronically tired and trying to work while he slept all day.

    The dream-connected turning point was my decision to lever him out of my life after a particularly calm night


  2. … The contrast made a huge impact, but in the mess of all of the other stuff, I forgot about it. In my nightmare, he was sitting on the edge of the bed, waking me up. It was a terrifying moment, awakening to thinking that he was there again, awakening me. Yes, he turned out to be a dream-fiction, and that’s all I was, too. I inhabited a dark stage, frozen in place until he drew the curtain and the lights came up. Like the character in Hyde, Jekyll and Me, I lost my feisty, both in the real world and his imagined world.

    I love Crushedcaramel’s comment – so true. 🙂


    • Thank you, Lynette 🙂

      Dreams/nightmares are great sources of information if we can figure out what they’re telling us. It’s as though your nightmare gave you a missing piece of your puzzle, and you put it into place, giving you a better understanding of the whole picture and thus releasing yourself further from the RL nightmare. The real release is internal.

      The repetitive behaviour of narcs can really seep into your system like a computer virus, and it can take ages to remove it and fix the glitches it created. Some of the things they install in you are done subconsciously and you end up thinking it’s a part of you rather than a reaction to them to protect yourself from them. It’s really wonderful to suddenly feel freed from it at last, like a coming home to the self.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the release is internal. The pathways they create through their repetition take a long time to grow over, and even then, you might move the long grass away and still find them there. Faint, but there nonetheless. Great comment. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What is or how is your experience with a Pisces in RL? I’m curious because I saw an image in a 2017 post of yours. The image was cut off near the end, I saw the original of that image before. the last part says ‘Never abandon a Pisces’, then your caption was ‘never forget a Pisces?’ I just find it interesting, i mean when I see a contrast in the word ‘abandon’ and ‘forget’. I also just finished a post that I’d like to share with you. Whenever you are free to read 🙂


    • So it was ‘never abandon a Pisces’, that’s interesting. I put ‘never forget a Pisces… ?’ under the image because Pisces had been forgotten in that particular version of it. I don’t remember if I tried to find a version of that image which included Pisces or not. I kind of liked that Pisces was missing from the list because it’s an elusive sign, and it doesn’t like to be tied to any particular notion of it.

      I have Venus and Chiron in Pisces. That part of me often feels ‘forgotten’ in relationships, and only remembered when someone needs something from me, needs my attention, needs me to be who they need someone to be for them. Once they get what they want from me, they forget about me again until the next time. If they don’t get what they want from me, then I’m no longer useful to them and they go elsewhere or they get annoyed with me for not providing the service (Virgo polarity coming into play) they’ve decided I should provide.

      I don’t usually ask people about their Sun sign or their birthday unless it comes up in conversation. So I’m not sure how many Pisceans I’ve interacted with in RL.

      My best friend at school in Paris was a Pisces, she was great fun to spend time with. She was a dreamer who used fantasy to escape from reality when reality was too grim or boring. She lied quite a bit about herself and her life, and about others. She wasn’t particularly loyal, she’d ‘abandon’ me to save herself whenever we got into trouble. Loyalty is very important for a Capricorn sun. She dated one of my best male friends (can’t remember his sun sign), and their relationship was a soap opera, with her creating most of the drama of it. He was completely wrapped up in his love for her. I’m not so sure she loved him, I think she loved the idea of being in love with him more than she was in love with him.

      My brother-in-law is a Pisces. I get along well with him, we clicked from the moment we met. He liked the fact that I could speak French because he speaks French but had no one around him with whom to talk to in French, and that my father was an artist – he bought a couple of my father’s pieces. He’s very different from my Paris friend. He’s very loyal. He doesn’t lie. He is a dreamer – he uses his dreams to motivate himself. When he was a young man, long before I met him, he had a near fatal motorcycle accident and ended up paralysed from the waist down. He’s made a very successful business modifying vehicles (including small planes because he wanted to fly – which he did, he has a pilot license) for those with physical disabilities. He is very kind and sweet, adores his family, the world revolves around his kids. He has a playful sense of humour. He does has a very fierce side, and is regularly getting into long drawn out arguments with people whom he views as putting obstacles between him and achieving a dream. He spent the last decade building his dream house – it took that long because he had to fight several battles to get it done. The dream house didn’t quite turn out the way it was supposed to and certain parts are being redone. He’s very determined.

      The only other Pisces I can think of whom I’ve met in RL is the previous owner of my house. His girlfriend was also a Pisces. I don’t know either of them that well, but he did come across as quite a bit of a fantasist.

      The sun sign is just one part of a greater whole, and when interacting with people we’re often meeting their other placements, rising sign, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Moon… and there’s a blending of our chart with theirs to consider too.

      Are you trying to figure out how you Cappy muse might perceive your Piscean self?


      • I did wonder a bit which facet of me she saw back then. And well, if she ever reads my recent post, I could imagine her disgusted or disapproving look, or on a lighter note shrug it off. Maybe none of the above. I don’t know. What did you perceive after reading my post If My Memory has an expiration…?

        I was more a Pisces when I was a teenager till young adult. I do lie but not about myself. Mine are more of excuses for being late, not doing homework or something like that. I thought myself to be a loyal friend, won’t leave you to die by yourself type but recall those incidents in my post, one would question what is my definition of loyalty?! Issues get complicated when women are involved… When I was a young adult, I often had problem with my good looks. Other than the Gemini, there was on a later occasion that his new girlfriend was attracted me, nothing happened though I fended it off. That was his girlfriend—I draw my line clear there. Never mind. I never bother to explain then. Not when I’m already condemned. I still don’t get what is it that made me elusive? 😉 A bitter smile here.


        • The incidents you related in your post about ending up with the girls your friends were interested in, more than anything show that you were a typical teenager exploring this new world opening up of flirting, attraction, romance. The girls in your stories were being jerks too as they probably knew your friends liked them. I did my fair share of being a teenage jerk, and most of my friends were jerks too, especially when it came to crushes, romantic relationships. It’s a time in life for trying things out, making lots of mistakes (there is no expiry date on making mistakes 😉 ) and for being caught up in self image, ego and stuff like that. We live, we learn from living.

          I really enjoyed your post. I didn’t comment because I had nothing to say. If we had been having a conversation in RL and you had said what you wrote, I’d have found it interesting to listen, nodded, hmmm-ed, and pondered some of the things you shared like the idea of everything having an expiration date. You have a wonderful talent for telling your life stories.

          I don’t think you shared anything which would make someone give you a disapproving or disgusted look, not to you anyway, definitely to your parents though. Then again some people do like to forget their own very human behaviour and pretend they’re morally superior, judging others and looking down on them – I doubt you’d have been attracted to your muse if she was like that.

          One thing to remember is that when people perceive us they do so through themselves, thus the question isn’t just – which facet of you did she see back then – but also which facet of her was doing the seeing of you.

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  4. Thank you for your train of thought 🙂 I appreciate that.

    I happened to be finding faults with myself these couple of days. It’s rare for me but the self condemn thing does happen once in a blue moon.

    As for the story telling part, I merely borrowed quotes and ideas which resonate with my thoughts/experience from WKW’s film.

    My muse is empathetic and have a perspective mind like yours 😉 Then being a teacher, there is a stem side to her too. I remembered once she briefly rolled eyes at me when commenting on my review, before that I had accidentally leaked in a text message that the review was written at last minute. On a later occasion, she’d gave me the kind of cold yet fiery stare like saying F off before I gouge out your eyes but I only looked back unfazed.

    Excuse me. I drifted off a bit. Btw, I get it about the comment thing, it’s okay, glad enough you read and like the posts 😉

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