You Can’t Actually See What Isn’t There

You can’t actually see what isn’t there… or can you?

The title of this post comes from words jotted down on a post-it note.

I can’t remember why I wrote that or what it meant to me when I scribbled it, what I was thinking about at the time which inspired the thought.

That’s not unusual. Sometimes as I’m thinking about something, a short thought pops into my mind and it will circle around in my head, repeating itself over and over until I agree to write it down, which releases it and me from the merry-go-round ride.

What is unusual is that the note is on my desk.

Usually the post-its end up stuck to the side of a shelving unit beside my desk – it’s a mess of notes at the moment and I do need to go through them, probably throw most of them away.

Except for the one which is a list… a list which could have been written by a novice serial killer, but is just DIY stuff, really it is. I gave up on my dream to become a serial killer decades ago because it just wasn’t practical. I know we’re not supposed to give up on our dreams, we’re supposed to turn impossible into I’m possible, but… it happens.

And I have to keep the one which has a rectangle roughly drawn on it with 52 X 40 above the shape. I still haven’t sorted out the window with the crack in it. Still crack-watching… it stopped growing. Maybe it’ll be okay until next year. I’ll deal with it when it tells me it’s done with being a pane in the window.

This house has taught me to do things when they’re ready to be done rather than make a list of everything which needs doing and try to do it all, getting overwhelmed, stressed out, anxiety levels hitting the roof and making a hole in it… which then has to be fixed. I can’t afford it! Why did I think I could do this!?! Ending up hating the place because of everything that needs being done… it’s not the fault of the place, it’s the mind making the eyes see the place as being full of faults.

The mind can make the eyes see people that way too. The people it may do that with the most is the me-people, ourselves.

In her latest installment of Melanie Asks (aka Share Your World), Melanie asks several questions which are rather philosophical… I love those kinds of questions.

I’m answering them from the perspective of a child of narcissists, so this isn’t light reading. It’s going to be heavy going, it’s going to be too long. I’m delving into darkness and shadow. It may trigger you. It might cause anxiety and depression. Cause your PTSD or C-PTSD symptoms to flare up.

Writing this kind of post has helped me over the years since I’ve been blogging like this to resolve a lot of my anxiety, depression and C-PTSD to an easier to live with degree. But I’m me… and you’re you, please take care of you.

a tiny butterfly by Didier Descouens

What is the meaning of true love?

I was taught the meaning of true love by narcissists…

And among the many rules of true love…

Rules which had two sets – one set for me and one set for the narcissists, who were my parents thus omnipotent gods ruling over my little life.

Was a fault-finding one or two.

Because the narcissists truly love you, they point out every fault, flaw, problem with you. You have so many, in fact you may only have those. The awful truth about you is good for you. It nourishes and nurtures. They only do it because they truly love you.

They wouldn’t do it if they didn’t truly love you… and if you weren’t so riddled with faults, flaws and problems.

The narcissists tear you apart, down, to pieces, crush the pieces underfoot just in case you were thinking about collecting them and putting them back together… that’s a no-no. They will rebuild you in their image of you… stop struggling, squirming, trying to get away, this is all being done for you, to make you better, perfect, because they truly love you.

They might replace you if you can’t be fixed after they’re broken you… it’s your fault they had to break you.

However you must never do that to the narcissists. Never do to narcissist what they do to you – it’s different even though it’s not. Get used to the hypocrisy, contradictions and cognitive dissonance.

If you truly love them, and you must, you have no choice in the matter of truly loving them, then you must never point out their faults, flaws, problems… they don’t have any of those, it’s everyone else, especially you, who has those and is that for them.

Never ever dare tell them the awful truth about them… there will be hell, hail, lightning, fire raining down on you if you do.

That went on ever day of my life from baby until I was thirty… yes, I know that’s rather late in life but the bonds of true love are hard to break… and finally realised once and for all that I wasn’t cut out for true love, at least not the narcissist version of it.

Do acts of kindness have a motive?

Yes, if you live with narcissists they do.

It would be completely crazy to do acts of kindness without a motive!?!

Narcissists love committing acts of kindness, especially if they’re trending and some guru tells them this is what humans are supposed to do to appear super duper in the eyes of others… however there has to be a reward in it for them. Otherwise… it’s all stupid!!!

If they don’t get what they want for being kind, they get very upset.

What’s the point of doing kind things for others if you get nothing out of it?

It’s exhausting to control yourself.

To keep all the rage and frustration inside, and the awful truth you want to tell quiet.

To maintain a pleasant smile plastered on your face while looking at ugly people full of flaws, faults and problems.

To tell people pretty things about themselves, tell them what they want to hear, flatter them while what you really want tell them is something else entirely.

It’s hard and stressful work to be deliberately kind to people because you want to be loved and liked, popular, get lots of attention and praise for being a kindness doing person, especially when no one deserves this kindness you’re doing.

My narcissist mother called it – Killing with kindness – and she’d get incensed if people did not show deep gratitude towards her for her killing of them with kindness.

My narcissist father used to regularly say – You should be kind to people, you never know when they might be useful – in other words, make sure to stockpile favours, get people to feel they owe you one or two or more. People like to feel wanted, needed, useful… they make themselves available to be used and abused that way, then if you use and abuse them it’s their fault and not yours.

Kindness is viewed as a weakness to be exploited in others by narcissists. If you’re kind to them – expect to be used and abused. They will mistake your kindness for weakness, and take advantage of your good nature. You’re an idiot for being patient, so you asked for it!

Kindness is viewed as a weapon, a tool used to manipulate, a way to get what you want by narcissists. When they’re being kind to you – be paranoid, it’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you and get what they want out of using you.

When a narcissist is being kind to you and doesn’t get what they want from you, they go from very very good to very very bad in a split second. They turn very nasty… you’ve let them down, disappointed them, betrayed them, cheated them, been a waste of time and effort, they didn’t have to be kind and certainly didn’t want to be kind, they found it degrading to have to be so kind.

It would have been worth it if they’d got what they wanted but since they didn’t… they’re going to give you everything they were holding back while forcing themselves to be kind.

Those of you who know that I have a bit of a bugbear about the way people sometimes use the “Like” button… I do realise the problem is mine, I mentioned a few posts ago that an old issue I have had attached itself to the button – what I’ve described above is the old issue.

If we live in a civilized world why do we see so many distinctions between rich and poor?

Because… narcissists.

Recently in the stats of my blog I spotted an interesting search term – Do narcissists have perfect homes

For a narcissist to have a perfect home they need others to have imperfect homes with which to compare and contrast and come out on top.

Narcissists live in a world split into two halves.

The two halves are opposites.

Versus.

Bad versus good. Right versus wrong. Hero versus villain. Ordinary versus special. Success versus failure. Winners versus losers. Rich versus poor.

One side is perfect and the other side is imperfect. One side is flawed, faulty, problematic, and the other side is flawless, never has faults, does not have problems.

The narcissist wants to live in the perfect side, and needs others to live in the imperfect side to make them feel as special as they believe they deserve and should feel at all times.

The narcissist wants to be rich, and they feel more rich if others are poor… they feel even better, richer, if their made themselves rich by taking treasures from others because they deserve them and others don’t, and made others poor, especially those others whom the narcissist felt had committed a crime against the narcissist (narcissists consider someone having something they don’t as a crime against the narcissist), took from the poor to make themselves rich. They’re Robin Hood only better because he was an idiot!

Enough is never enough for the narcissist, they always need, want more and more and more and more… they could have it all, be the richest person on the planet and still feel poor inside, so they need more poor on the outside to assuage their feeling of being poor which is fueled by a hungry greedy never satisfied or sated beast within them.

More bodies, irrelevant others need to be thrown into the volcano to appease it… the god… the thing inside the narcissist.

However…

While narcissists can be blamed for being part of the problem, they can’t be blamed for all of it – blaming them for everything would be narcissistic.

All or nothing.

All their fault or not their fault at all.

Victim versus victimiser – which is a favourite either/or split of covert narcissists in particular.

Those of us who believe that we aren’t narcissists need to own our part in the problem. It’s not easy to do, it’s difficult, hard work, and it can hurt like hell to do it so we may avoid seeing what is there and prefer to see what is not there.

From a personal experience perspective – my narcissist parents took whatever they wanted from me.

If I had something they wanted – they took it. If they couldn’t take it from me one way, they’d take it from me in another way – if they couldn’t have it then neither could I.

If I had an ability which they didn’t have but wished they did – it needed to be crushed out of me.

If I did something which got positive attention from others – they took credit for it.

If people liked me – those people had to be seduced away from me and turned against me.

If I felt good about myself – it had to be stopped. It was a threat to their safety and their own good feeling about themselves. Narcissists feel good about themselves when they put others down.

I have many memories, stories of how they did this. I’ve shared quite a few in my posts. I won’t share them here or this post will turn into a book, a memoire, a memento mori of times past and many me’s who were killed by my parents.

What they did to me, left me feeling poor. Poor me.

Money is not the only resource which defines wealth or poverty. In fact our attitude towards money is often a reflection of our attitude towards things which can’t be easily seen, things within our psyche.

The whole concept of think and grow rich isn’t entirely a get rich quick scheme invented by someone who wanted to make a lot of money from gullible greedy people who wanted to make a lot of money just by reading a short book and thinking – give me money.

It was however an issue over money which made me finally go No Contact with my mother – she called me on the phone to tell me I had to give her more money, which she was going to give to this conman (who was actually a woman) she had met on the street and who had told my mother that she was an heiress to a vast fortune. If my mother supported her through difficult financial times as she battled to get her inheritance, when she did finally get it my mother would get a significant return on her investment.

This is a true story… I wish it wasn’t.

I had already given my mother all the money I had because a child must constantly prove to their parent that they truly love them, so I had nothing more to give. My mother demanded that I give her my partner’s money – did he not truly love me, surely if he did then he would give me all of his hard earned savings to give to my mother. Did I not truly love her enough to take his money anyway and give it to her?

Here’s the thing – my partner did love me truly, he taught me all about true true love (which for me meant unlearning a whole load of bullshit about true love that I’d been fed for decades and forced to eat and live), and I knew he loved me truly enough to let me get away with the truly unlovable action of taking his money and giving it to my mother, and because he did I did not do it.

I told her no and, because she’d been so patient and kind with me to get what she wanted and didn’t get it, she had a tantrum and told me the awful truth about myself.

She called me evil.

She said that word and that one word set me free.

She had called me that before behind my back, while telling a sob story to her “friends” whom she was softening up to be used, about her being abused by her evil daughter. Her “friends” told me about it because they weren’t as weak due to being kind to my mother as she thought they were. I still stuck by her… then.

There’s a theory which has just made its grandiose debut in the psychological world recently – that narcissists are “happier” than non-narcissists.

The main science guy selling this snake oil wants to teach young people to be more narcissistic so they’ll be happier.

It’s bullshit… if you’ve spent significant time in the company of narcissists, day after day after day, excruciating hour after… you get it, right… they are the most miserable people in the world. Their kind of misery is the one which loves company, they will suck you in, drag you down, infect you…

But if the science guys who did tests and studies to prove their theory used narcissistic “happiness” to measure happiness levels (they used stress tests – so it wasn’t happiness but stress levels) then of course the narcissists are going to win that contest.

And if the non-narcissists they tested had to sit in a room with the narcissists while waiting to be tested and listen to the narcissists talk… no wonder their stress levels were high, and higher than the narcissist who’d released their stress by talking.

One of the greatest illusions which narcissists create is to make others feel helpless, powerless, unable to do anything other than what the narcissists wants.

You either beat them or you join them… join them, do to others what they did to you. Pass the wound on. Propagate the poisonous pedagogy (Alice Miller). Don’t fight back, you’ll be sorry, get punished, penalised.

Bit by bit they wear you down until you let go and let narcissist… ic behaviour rule the world.

This is a screenshot excerpt from a brilliant article:

excerpt from How Important Is It To Live Ethically? A debate by Marty Nemko, Ph.D.

Here’s the link – How Important Is It To Live Ethically ? A debate by Marty Nemko, Ph.D.

The question he poses is a thought-provoker of high calibre…

I made that distinction because there are a lot of thought-provoking questions in the humaniverse, especially online, and there are also quite a few bloggers on WordPress who use thought-provoking questions as writing prompts.

Some thought-provoking questions are low calibre, they’re good ones but you don’t feel truly provoked by them, maybe they tap into a pet peeve and they give you the okay to write and rant about the what everyone else does which drives you nuts, but of course you don’t do that thing, why would you do it to others if it drives you nuts when others do it to you, as it would logically probably drives others nuts too, right.

Low calibre thought-provoking questions are kind of fun… in a let off some steam and feel good afterwards way.

Narcissists do that when they have a tantrum – they let off steam. Flatten you in the process like a steam roller, but they feel so good, so much lighter, like a heaviness has been lifted, afterwards… what’s your problem, why are you so gloomy, doomy, negative now? You must be toxic, they’d better dump you, ditch, discard, ghost you or you’ll toxify them and ruin their positive vibes. Experts recommend that they do that with people like you!

Narcissists do something similar to what non-narcissists do… only bigger and better because they’re narcissists. We might get a bit angry, but they have a tantrum, a fit of rage. See… they’re better and bigger.

That’s one of the tricks which makes narcissists so successful at manipulating others, and tends to make us think they’re better manipulators than they really are.

A lot of what they do is something we do too, only we’re the low calibre version of them, so we don’t notice it when we do it… but they do and they use what they notice to lure us up the calibre ladder. They notice it because they’re looking for it.

They’re looking for our shadow and darkness, our shameful dirty little secrets… to exploit them.

We all cheat a little, lie a little to ourselves and others, steal a little and think it won’t do any harm, justify our stealing and lying a little… well others do it, everyone does it, and it’s been done to me, time for a little bit of balancing the scales of justice payback even if I’m not doing it to those who did it to me.

We all don’t give credit where credit is due and take credit for things we didn’t do a little. We all mimic, copy, plagiarise a little… and when big successful artists tell us it’s okay, then hey, it must be okay a little.

And we all tend to miss the little consequences of our little this and that and the other littles… until they accumulate, add up, gather together into something which isn’t little anymore.

Little by little bit after little bit we inadvertently support systems which we later on blame for why life sucks for us big time now… and we end up feeling powerless, helpless, unable to do anything about it because we’re little people, poor… poor us versus those huge rich mega-villains.

What would happen to those mega-villains if we didn’t give our power away to them by seeing in them more power than they actually have?

But it’s too late… the end of the world is nigh, so nigh we might as well not bother and just give up, or take what we can get, loot what’s left while we can, before it all goes boom or poof.

I’m not really talking about you… this is shit I did, and sometimes still do. Writing this down is how I own my own shit, and perhaps get a little bit more free of it.

Do we love ourselves more in the virtual world than in the real world?

When I first started using social media I didn’t love myself in RL.

I was going through what is often known as a midlife crisis.

I had just entered my 40’s.

I had tried so hard but not hard enough to not be a failure – I wasn’t aiming to be a success or for success since I knew that wasn’t in my wheelhouse…

And not just because it had been drummed into me by my narcissists parents and all their narcissistic friends and flying monkeys, and narcissistic society that even the slightest success on my part = getting shitloads of negative attention, turning me into a target for drones, missiles, and all sorts of stuff which wants to destroy you because how dare you.

Although that did play a significant part in my reluctance to aim for success of any sort. Any success I had was by accident… and it made me anxious, waiting for the almighty narcissists’ collective angry shoe to drop onto me and crush me anxious.

If you can’t relate to that kind of anxiety… that’s a good thing! Just because all the experts and everyone else goes on and on about how great and important empathy is… doesn’t mean it is always a good thing to feel empathy.

I’m am an empath of sorts…

I added the “of sorts” for two main reasons.

I hate admitting it because it’s like saying “Please use me”. I’d rather pretend I’m not and have people think I’m not empathic in any way at all.

I have some very weird ideas… sometimes people borrow those and pretend they had them. Sometimes, if I notice they’ve done that, I’ll say to myself, not to them: “Yeah, okay… I’ll let you get away with that, you need it more than I do”. At times I regret it, but that’s life and its learning curves.

The other reason is… why am I an empath? In my case it’s mainly because my parents were narcissists, and my covert narcissist mother encouraged me to develop empathy skills of high calibre for use by her… those were the only skills which I was allowed to have and keep for myself.

She didn’t want to have that because it “made you weak” but she’d often take credit for the insights I had since those made her impressive – how did she see so deeply into someone? And then they’d love her because she’d really seen and heard them, noticed what people rarely noticed. It made me a valuable asset for her. I was indispensable in a way… I’d rather not have been.

My father, unlike my mother, was actually very tuned into people’s feelings, emotions, didn’t need me to see and feel those for him… but he used them in Machiavellian ways. He indirectly and sometimes directly taught me to do that too.

When I said in a previous post that I could flay people alive with my mind… what I meant by that is that there is a portion of my mind which has been trained to use what my empath side finds out about people in ways which can hurt and cripple. I’ve disabled that ability to a degree…

My father taught me how to do that by doing it to me and then giving me a lesson on it as I lay there bleeding to death. Because narcissists, especially overt narcissists like my father, like to pass on certain skills. Asshole skills. Manipulative asshole skills. My father didn’t disguise his behind a friendly facade like some people do – that was a weirdly redeeming feature of my experience of him.

At least he didn’t write a – How to Win Friends and Influence People and Be Super Irresistibly Lovable… because of your manipulations which makes you loads of money – book or blog post.

I also said in that post when I said that, that people usually think I’m joking and bluffing if I say that to them because they haven’t experienced or witnessed it. I don’t mind if they think I’m bs-ing them, it’s good sometimes when people think you’re making stuff up, delusional or whatever. It means what you worked so hard to do is… working.

I succeeded in doing something which would probably be considered a fail by narcissistic society. If narcissist think I’m a failure who failed… I’m a success who succeeded in something they’ll never understand.

In another recent post I mentioned role models and mentors… I have no problem admitting that I had many of those throughout my life and still do. I chose ones who had a code of personal ethics which they lived by and were sometimes (because many of them were fictional) willing to die by rather than compromise them.

I needed people to inspire in me a sense of reality which wasn’t ruled by narcissists and the narcissistic way. What was the point of living if the world was basically just more of the shit I experienced as a child, later as a teen, and then a young adult, in my family?

I have a core code of personal ethics by which I live… some people really don’t like that about me – I prefer it if they hate me rather than hate myself because I betrayed myself and my code to win their like or love. It ain’t worth it… in the long run, when all the littles accumulate into a big.

Do I love my online self more than my offline self, do I love myself more in virtual world versus real world?

My online virtual self has been through many phases since I first entered the fray of social media… which I did kicking and screaming and refusing to do it… but… then I stopped struggling and I’m glad I did.

I’ve made many mistakes along the way, like the RL me has done in RL.

We’re basically the same person except for a few differences… online me is a bit crazier and wilder than offline me.

Online me has helped offline me love herself more… but that only happened when online me got real and raw about the real.

Like in this post…

You, online you, out there who may read this… you could hate me, feel upset, offended, triggered by what I say and share of myself, my life, my story…

You might even decide, because you’re in the virtual world and so it’s not real, right, no real consequences, maybe some little ones but you can wait those out… to destroy me because you don’t like me, something I said hit a pet peeve and… why not just let loose, no one is real here, take a chill pill everyone, just joking, whatever…

It only becomes something more than that, more real, when it happens to you, when someone does it to you…

This is an interesting post – Three Ways You Can Use Social Media to Cultivate Resilience Want to boost your well-being with social media? Try these tricks by Tchiki Davis, Ph.D.

That post has some good advice, cool advice from a person with a really cool first name!

I can be deep, but I can also enjoy the shallow side of me.

Are you grateful?

Yes, for many things, experiences, lessons, life, humans, people I’ve met, and so much more…

Not because I have to be… but because I enjoy feeling that way.

One of the myriad gratefuls I have is… I am very grateful I did disable certain skills, and can keep them that way, don’t need them, don’t care if people think I’m lying about them.

I’m grateful that I can be myself online…

That I don’t need to carefully stage-manage my virtual self and the virtual self’s performance…

There are those who do that who are impressively high calibre skilled at doing it… it must be exhausting, the fear of the facade cracking, of being found out, considered to be a fraud…

There are risks whichever path you choose to take, even if your path is one which others have told you is safe. Playing it safe is full of little risks which accumulate over time…

I take risks sharing myself like this… they’re risks worth taking, online me has helped offline me be more real and it’s weird how awesome being real is.

That’s it… real me has dinner to cook and it’s later than I thought it was.

Over to you!

Be you in the comments…

11 comments

  1. What strikes (well not really πŸ™„) is how ‘they’ ask for that one thing you can’t give them. Always. Not interested in something else (that was the case with me) but just that one thing that could make you crash and burn. And then it it your fault for not giving it to them. You can’t win. I appreciate this post, it was not all happy to read, but ok. So that tells me I processed some things of my life. I hope now that online me can help real life me to be ‘ just me’.

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    • Thank you for sharing, Kacha πŸ™‚

      Yes, good point about the one thing you can’t give them. It’s a fairytale quest. The kind where the hero of the story is told that they must get the magic flower which only grows on top of an impossible to climb mountain in a part of the world which may not even exist but if it does it is very dangerous to get there, everyone who has tried has not returned. If the magic flower is obtained and brought back, then the hero will not be killed by those who gave the quest, the hero will save the princess, the world, become rich and famous, and inherit the kingdom.

      Have you read Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, I found it very helpful.

      Noticing where you’ve made progress is a valuable moment, sometimes it can be a subtle shift which makes all the difference but it might not be visible because we tend to be focused on where we’re stuck and don’t see where we’ve freed ourselves a little. The little freedoms eventually gather together.

      Online me helped me to see that I could say what I wanted to say but always held back in silence. Just letting yourself express your self… powerful stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a huge red flag that I had to see earlier: everyone who has tried has not returned! That makes me silly for trying. It’s such a mindf*uck, excusez-moi the words. I don’t read about the subject because it doesn’t make me happy, because I know what I know and don’t need to know more misery. For me your blogpost was just enough πŸ™‚ I love you take on the little freedoms that is something I can be on the lookout for. Yes online me is more free, more me and till now recieved positive. Maybe I’ll share my story with my mom one day. We’ll see!

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  2. I tend to believe I AM the really real ‘me’ on line. No facade, no hidden agendas, what you see is what you get. And I KNOW that’s not true. There are things we all keep hidden, deep deep down where nobody but us can find them. Because we’re not ready to deal with those things, or we’re really ashamed (so not ready to deal with them) of them, or whatever. I absolutely LOVE your honesty about yourself and your deep insights. And the fact that you can admit you love your shallow side too. So many can’t admit they even have a shallow side….. Thank you sincerely Ursula for Sharing Your World and enriching us all with the sharing!

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    • Thank you very much, Melanie πŸ™‚

      You know I love your raw, real and rebellious self ❀ there's a tenderness to you, a gentle heart, which is palpable in your writing.

      That's true about the hidden things. I think some things need to be kept within because it is part of our sense of being an individual. It's the ballast of self. If we share everything we may lose ourselves in the collective, so we keep things hidden to keep the self. But if we keep too much hidden then we end up isolating ourselves, unable to connect with others. There's a balance, a sweet spot of sharing yourself with others, but also keeping some things just for you.

      One of the things which I found most intriguing when I started to explore the shadow and darkness within was that many of the things of which I was ashamed were actually the nicer, kinder, sweeter parts of me. I used to be so afraid of going there and looking at that, scared of what I would find, but then I did and was perplexed – why did I think that these were shameful secrets!? Of course I now know why, because… narcissists, they make the bad good and the good bad.

      The shallows are a relaxing place to be, it's nice to go deep but it's lovely to just float and sunbathe too πŸ™‚

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  3. Very interesting deep thoughts, here. The one that jumped out the most at me was this one, “Do acts of kindness have a motive?” Boy, did I ever see this in the 4 narcissists I’ve experienced. Not only that, but each used their acts of kindness in different ways. My mother-in-law used to say, “you get more bees with honey than vinegar.” And she gave out so much honey I almost became diabetic from the dramatic amount of sweetness. My dad’s wife is similar. I gag from her constant fake compliments. My dad cannot do anything for anyone without telling us he’s going to need a favor in return.

    The biggest way this affected me was that I had trouble trusting people, always questioning motives.

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