A Note To Female Survivors….

I wanted to bring this up GENTLY because I’ve received a few emails from female survivors who are very upset or triggered by the presence of male survivors on my blog, but in particular, in response to my reblog this morning, beautifully written by a male survivor.

While I wish to be very sensitive to everyone who comes to the blog, believe it or not, I can’t make everyone happy. While I know this, I’m going to stick to what I feel is right for me. While there are not many male survivors who make their presence known here and there are some who have also emailed me, taking offense to my descriptions of males only in the psychopathic role, I feel I need to fine tune my writing a little bit in that it is a little more inclusive. All too often I’m ‘lazy’ in my writing in that males are feeling excluded.

I’ve worked with male survivors too. There are some differences between the female and male psychopath for a variety of reasons, gender and cultural/societal differences being one of them and each has their own ‘unique’ way of engaging in their tactics. This doesn’t take into consideration that while the behaviors are extreme, psychopaths exhibit characteristics that reflect their own background with religious difference, minority status, class status, preferences in styles, borrowed, faked or unoriginal as they may be for the most part. One psychopath will style his hair different than another, as will female psychopaths.

There are male survivors that I’ve worked with that exhibit an extraordinary amount of empathy. This is quite different than the psychopath, I assure you, however when female survivors view the male survivors stories, it can often set them off. It can feel like the ‘victimization’ that their own psychopath’s displayed, right down to cliches, tactics phrases, sentences and what have you. Psychopaths present themselves as victims this is true, but there are differences. It takes discernment to look beyond the victimization. It takes looking beyond anger to see.

For female survivors, I highly recommend visiting ASHRINK4MEN.COM. This is a website built for male survivors. I forced myself to go there and to endure what felt like female bashing, rather than psychopath bashing. It gave me a very clear perspective on what men go through and how they feel when they’re victims of female psychopaths and what happens to them when they visit MY blog. What was different between they and the psychopath who was proclaiming victim status was an obvious high level of empathy. There are plenty of female survivors who come to this blog and ‘vent’ about their psychopathic men in extreme anger. The men on the AShrink4Men site, would be just as triggered here, as you would be listening to men ‘vent’ there. This was incredibly invaluable as an experience so that I am more MINDFUL and EMPATHIC toward men who have ALSO been wounded.  You would be astounded to see men describe their encounters with female psychopaths. There are horror shows that make the sistahood look pretty bleak. But I forced myself to go there and participate because I, in general, like men and have many male friendships that I cherish. Some of those men, have been victims of female psychopaths.

This blog is not a ‘female’ survivor only site. I include ALL who have been wounded. I do not limit my blog to other survivors either, because I have many survivors of pathological parents too. I have a few survivors here who have had the psychopathic experience from just about every angle. Including from their own children.

Having said that, I’m sensitive to those of you who may be triggered as you read the male experience. I’m very grateful that you find reading here to be of significant help to you and that’s what it’s for, but in good conscience, I can’t and won’t stop male survivors from posting or sharing here. I know some male survivors who have their own blogs and pages, but they are few. Men are far less likely to share their experiences, than women are, which is why I have more women than men who post here. It’s rare that I see men on this blog and I do understand their own distaste for women survivors who they feel are bashing the male lot as a whole. When I visited Shrink4Men I could easily see why they would feel that way.

For me personally, and because most of my psychopaths were men, I made it a sort of ‘mission’ not to exclude men from my life or become repulsed by men because of my experiences. Seeing men in pain and sharing was a major mind blower, and really hit home for me, the importance of including all survivors as we are all here for the same reasons. If this means that female survivors need to find another blog that feels more comfortable and ‘safe’ if they are triggered, I highly encourage that too. There are many blogs and facebook pages that are women only, “Christian’ based, LGBT only. And that’s GREAT with me. All of those recovery options are necessary to give survivors choices about where they will share their recoveries in what feels safest for them.

But I don’t intend to change the blog or eliminate males from contributing or reblogging their posts here. Some of them are fabulous writers, such as Dog Dharma this morning and I think we could learn a lot from every survivor providing we are willing to put EGO aside and utilize EMPATHY instead.

Just like not everyone is a psychopath, not all men are psychopaths either. I’ve met some pretty cool men on this journey. And for the guys that visit here, not all females are psychopaths. Although with all the venting, I’m sure it must feel that way at times. Some of the NICEST men have been screwed over by female psychopaths. And I can’t help but think, each time that I meet one, “Wow, now this is what it could’ve been like had I not been hellbent on being with an asshole.” Considering my background, assholes were a given in my life, but not anymore.

I hope this clarifies better where I stand on this issue and in fact, will include the link to AShrink4Men on the blog.

When and if you are ever ready, ladies, this blog will be a HUGE eye opener for you. Nice guys get hurt too. A lot.

Onward and Upward.

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A True Healer: A Post In Honor of my Dog, Hercules.

     The first say I saw my boy, was when my daughter brought him home from the local pet store. A love bombing gift by her first boyfriend, whom I’m certain was a psychopath. The love bombing out of this one was outrageous, as were the expense doled out in the gifts he purchased for her. She had wanted a ‘wiener dog’ for a long, long time and would often ‘hint’ regarding getting one. My boundaries in that we could not have one at the moment since the apartment we lived in did not allow pets, was superceded by a 6 lb, hyperactive, obsessive licking, uh, dog. “Isn’t he cuuuuuuuute, Mama?” She let him down and he ran immediately to me. I knew then, that life as I knew it, was over. He stole my heart immediately, but I couldn’t let my child know this. I had to have SOME ability to hold onto my boundaries. I told her he had to be gone within two weeks. Ultimately, two weeks was my biggest blunder, as I was attached to him. Not too long after she brought him home, he got sick. Very sick. She and her boyfriend rushed him to the vet, to find that his little intestine had been twisted by something he had eaten. They put him on doggie demerol and I spent the next 72 hours, with him in my bed, never leaving him, except to eat and go to the bathroom. OMG! He was the cutest, sweetest thing I ever laid eyes on and I felt an instant bond.

So much for my two week ‘notice’ that my empathic, yet boundary violating child, new I would not adhere too. So, reluctantly, I went down to ask the Manager if I could keep him. She didn’t say no, she just said, “Do you have any mental health issues that might allow a therapist to ‘assign’ him to you as a companion pet?” I didn’t even know about such a thing. At my next therapy appointment, I pleaded like a child. “Please sign a form for me. I need him, he needs me.” She signed.

After his intestine returned to normal, he was a vibrant, curious, energetic (extremely), sometimes naughty, but very loving and loyal pup. Potty training was a test of wills. His and mine. My daughter didn’t lose interest in Hercules, but she had a job and had to work and when off, she was with the boyfriend a lot, so he was left to me and the rest of the family, most of the time. He became quite the cuddler and would randomly select whom he was going to sleep with night to night. As the kids grew up and left home, that left me and he was quite alright with that. It was routine for him to jump up on to my bed and shove his way into the blankets and straight down to my feet, to lick them until he went to sleep. Weiners tend to burrow and he burrowed a lot, especially during winter time. There were many times I discovered him burrowed into my freshly dried, warm laundry, scaring the crap out of me. One time, I picked up a heavy blanket from the basket and nearly tossed him across the room! I couldn’t get it loose and thought it was just stuck among a huge pile of jeans. It shocked him, as much as I think it shocked me! My poor boy!

From then on, I had to be very careful to look for him in the laundry pile, but then there were other times that the pile was too big for him to burrow, so instead I’d see him lying right on top of it, hanging on for dear life.

I learned a lot from my boy. I loved him as much as I loved my children. I wasn’t afraid to love him as much as I was afraid to love people. He was incredibly loyal, barked at anything that he felt was a threat to the family, but when it was just he and I, he was extra vigilant. But I was incredibly loyal to him too. He always, like my children, came first in my life.

He was very loving to those he developed an attachment too. With the kids, it was endless. Whenever they were sick, my boy was right with them. He refused to leave them until they were better. He just instinctively knew that something wasn’t right. He was such a comfort when any of us were sick and he could make us all feel just a little bit better with his warmth and cuddliness.

I talked so much more about my boy when my kids left home. Some of my friends, even my online friends, whom I’ve never met in person, loved him too from afar. My friend, Claudia, most of all. The bed in the photo, as well as most of the toys, were bought for Herc from Claudia and he loved every one of them. She sent so many things, that I swear he knew when they were from her. As soon as that yellow envelope arrived, he was in the begging position, running in circles, smelling the envelope, excited for me to open it. My friends were very sad when my boy passed away and in the year prior to his passing were involved in extraordinary measures that I felt I needed to take to save his life. Without their love and donations, I would not have had as many days as I had with him that last year. I’m forever grateful for each and every day…

But what tied me to my boy most and made him so extra special to me, was a horrible incident that happened when he had just turned 3. It’s every doxie owners nightmare and I was facing it. I still had all of my children at home with me, all six of them, while going to school. I had very little money, as was most of the time while they were growing up, without child support from my ex husband. My boy became suddenly paralyzed while chasing a tennis ball in our backyard. He came to the back door with the tennis ball in his mouth, but while trying to get into the back yard, dropped right down on his hind end. I knew immediately, that something was so terribly wrong. As he got up to move again, he yelped in excruciating pain and it scared the hell out of me. I had no idea what was going on. I was terrified. Fast forward, my daughter and I got into the car and I had all of my bill money, about to be paid (I paid by money order, not bank accounts then) out with me in my wallet.

The first vet diagnosed him with a herniated disc. She had a serious look on her face and said we’d need to take him to a vet hospital or surgeon, because she could not perform the surgery. WHAT? The surgery was $5000.00. I was totally heartbroken, but I refused to let that be an answer. She did not offer him meds to comfort him and he never stopped yelping in pain. She turned cold as ice and we decided not to return to her for further care, obviously. Instead we went vet hospital to vet hospital, clinic to clinic. I desperately wanted to get my boy out of pain. The stress from his pain was taking a toll on all of us and yet the answers were all the same “A $5000.00 surgery or put him down”.

I could not bear to lose him. 48 hours later, nearly 1500 in debt, rent and bill money gone, I saw one more vet and had just enough money for the office visit. She offered something else that the other vets did not offer: crate rest and meds. No getting out of the crate for eight weeks. She gave him a shot of steroid, as well as pain meds. Very soon after, the yelping stopped and he went fast to sleep. She also managed to get meds for me, for free through their clinic. This was a huge relief. Having all we needed, I was bound and determined to do whatever I could for my boy. Six weeks of sitz baths, massage, changing diapers (literally), sleeping right next to him the whole time. We could not leave him and took turns taking care of him.

One day as I was going to the back of the house to get or do something real quick, I heard my youngest son suddenly start laughing/crying. . . “Mom! Hurry up, come here!”….I was scared to death, “Oh GOD…what?” As I came into the room, my boy was not in his crate. We had another doxie at the time, and my son was told that we do not throw the tennis balls in the house, because Herc would lose his MIND when he saw them. Well, when I left the room, he threw the damned ball and sure enough, while my boy was not in his crate and as my son sat on the floor in the living room, half crying, half laughing, there was my boy, under the dining room table. With that damned ball in his mouth, his ears totally flat in submission when he saw me and a slight wag of the tail…he didn’t drop the ball either…he had used his two front legs to move himself as fast as he could to get that ball. His back legs, dragging behind him. Still, I knew somehow that he would be okay..

And he was. The rest of his life,  he was left with a slight gimp in his back leg. And although we had some scary times where we had to give him steroids because two discs were fragile to rupture, we managed to keep him as healthy as possible. We had to train not to jump up on the furniture and despite doxie stubborness, he only managed to ‘outfox’ with the jumping once or twice. . .

We had eight more years with our boy. Who lived with me during the times of trauma with the psychopath and the break up, as well as empty nest as my children left home. My bond with him as a Senior doggie, grew even stronger.

January before last, he suddenly became very ill. Vomiting and diarrhea that became more than worrisome. At this point, I was terrified as I knew I did not have the money to vet him and my social security was already a year underway. I put it off as long as I could, but his suffering was way too much and way too long. I began to ask for help from friends, help from organizations. The local doxie rescue set me up with their vet for blood work and a check. It turned out that my boy had an enlarged prostate that was blocking his bowels and he would need emergency surgery or would die. I never had my boy neutered and had a conversation with my vet a long while before. A decision that was made together, taking into consideration his disc issues. The pros and cons. The cons to me with the information given were worse then the pros of not neutering. But in not doing so, future prostate problems were not uncommon, but I was not informed of that at the time. There was no one to blame, it just was what it was at the time.

I managed to get together enough donations for the surgery. Because he was older, he required additional assistance that would be costly, as all vet bills are often so. After surgery, we brought him home and he recovered nicely. But was sick again within three weeks. He had an infection that required care. Antibiotics were given. He stayed well for another five months, but was slower than usual. In June, he lost his eyesight. He began to bump into furniture and was frightened at night as he couldn’t see at all. The vet checked his eyes and they were completely black all the way to the retina. He was completely blind, but she assumed it was his age and nothing further was done, as blood work had been done just a few months before. But he began to decline slowly. And I knew.

I was so terrified of losing him, in retrospect, I was in denial. In the pictures that I look at now, it was clear he wasn’t well. He had lost his umph, except on occasion. He still loved his tennis ball, no matter what, but wore out much more quickly. He lumped around a lot and I spent that time just loving on him, cuddling and having a lot of down time. He had gained a substantial amount of weight at which the vet was angry with me. “But doesn’t it mean that something might be WRONG?” It wasn’t his usual vet that we’d been seeing the last couple of times he was there.

She put him on a ‘diet’ and we followed it, and he lost a couple of pounds, but something was still not right. The last two months of his life, his behavior began to change. I took him out to go potty one night and had the back porch light on as usual, standing there, waiting for him to finish so we could go in. Suddenly, he changed course and went straight to the fence and ran into it, then going in circles, crying as if he were lost. I was heartbroken for him. I called to him firmly and loudly, but he didn’t seem to hear me, lost in his inner confusion. I went and picked him up gently and started to gently talk with him and pet him. I took him straight to my room and sat him down on my lap. I did a little ‘test’ that would check hearing. I snapped my fingers, but he did not turn his head, instead he looked straight ahead, with an empty look. This happened twice more, as he vacillated between what was healthy for him at the time, to confused.

I noticed depression in him. He began to go into my son’s room and lie under the bed, with only his tail showing. I could not coax him out. He wanted to be left alone. I knew what this meant, but I could not bear to think about what was to come. One day, he was headed into my son’s room again. I called his name and asked, “Where ya goin, big man?” He looked at me out of the side of his eye, in my direction although I knew he would not see, but only hear me. He slowly put his head down and moved into the room. A few minutes later, I went in again. And there he was, under the bed, with his tail hanging out….

I pondered the loss that I knew was to come. There was so much pain involved in letting him go. I didn’t want too. I so wanted to hang on to him, he was my best friend, and often I told him everything…he seemed always to listen. No, I’m not crazy. I just knew he was listening. More then any other human being would.

But I didn’t have to ponder long. On March 26th, the evening before he passed, he got into my blankets as usual and crawled to the bottom, licking my feet as he did every night till he fell asleep. I had a huge pain develop in my chest. I knew it would be the last night I would ever see my boy alive again. I don’t know how I knew, or what it was, but it was such an intense feeling of impending doom, of loss, I couldn’t ignore it. I was especially aware of his presence and petted him whenever I was awake, which was a lot that night. Halfway through the night, he managed to crawl up to sleep cuddled up right next to me and my face. His head tucked under my chin and his body as close to me as he could get. I wondered if he knew too….

The next morning, he was desperate to go outside. He could not have a bowel movement, even though he wanted to really bad. But he would yelp in pain when he tried. I saw liquid coming out that wasn’t normal. It wasn’t diarrhea. And when he strained, there was a huge inflamed ball of something just beneath the ring of his bowel area. He became extremely anxious. I called the vet and took a shower as soon as I could. I had had an appointment scheduled for him that day to find out what might be going on as I knew it was more than ‘old age’ with his behavior. I wanted him in sooner.

All the way to the vet, I was working hard to see through my tears. He was on my lap and didn’t move. He hated the vet and normally, he sat in the seat next to me, clamoring to have the window open where his ears could flap in the wind. He loved that. But not this time. It was a rainy day that day. I took him in his favorite blanket so he’d stay warm. He was unnaturally calm. As soon as I got him inside, the vet took him back, and did a thorough exam. My boy was in pain because he was filled with lymphoma. All of his glands were completely swollen, most especially in his neck, but the rest of his body, including near the bowel area.

I wanted to die right there with him. When she said lymphoma, I burst into tears. It was like a searing hot knife  had been driven through my chest. I have never felt so much intense pain in my entire life like that. I was told that I would need to sign off on the euthanization and that if I needed to have a certain amount of money to cover the ‘catheter’ otherwise his death would not be ‘comfortable’. Who the hell SAYS that to someone they KNEW was living in abject poverty about to lose the most important thing to her in her life?? What in GOD’S NAME possessed this woman to tell me that without that catheter, my boy would not experience a ‘comfortable’ death, followed by a list of the shit they were going to utilize to off him??? I had received some donations for what was to be his visit that afternoon. I begged this woman to wait just a few more days, I promised that payment would be there, that more donations were on the way and that it would be taken care of. Facing the loss of my boy and the cold as ice demeanor of this woman was more than I could bear. They took him back and put the catheter in, for which I could hear him cry. I never forgot that cry and can still here it today. The devastation was all encompassing to me. I was alone and frightened, and my heart being torn into shreds. I wanted my boy out of pain, but yet there was still this feeling of not wanting to let him go.

I was not thinking straight. I could not stand it. It was an extremely traumatizing ordeal, just as the past year had been, fearing the next bout of illness. They asked me if I wanted time with him and I did, but something kicked in me. I had been holding him and bawling my eyes out for a good half an hour before they took him back to put the catheter in, while they were deciding whether or not my dog would get a good death or a bad death. I told him over and over how much I loved him. There weren’t enough I love you’s. Not enough tears. When they put the cath in and came back, I knew he was in pain and I didn’t want to prolong it anymore. He was calm and he looked….ready somehow. He gave me a huge lick on the face, while I held him very tight, to him how much I loved him and turned around and walked out the door, blanket in hand, empty without my boy. . .

The other day, it rained. I had been weepy all day but could not identify what was trying to come up. Just that morning, I was outside and observing the sounds of the rain on the trees. . and then a visual of him on his last day outside, sick…the rain…it’s a trigger now. It takes me right back to that day.

Other than my children, I didn’t know that love could hurt so bad. Not real and pure love. It was different than loving a psychopath, an addictive love, a loss of ego, of self in some ways, but that’s not what it is when there is a real and pure love. My boy taught me what that means, what it truly feels like, to have it, then to lose it.

I miss him more and more everyday. And were it not for the years I am most grateful to have had with him and the loving friends and pet lovers that made his one last year possible, I would not have the happy memories I do, or that one last night with him cuddled up real tight to me.

It is the first time that I see death as a comfort, a comfort in knowing that someday, I’ll see him again, waiting for me by a fridge at the Bridge, a tennis ball to throw, a snow to jump in and out of. The pain of his loss is still very new to me. And my other pets are blessings in helping to bring some salve to the pain, but underneath it all I know he can’t be replaced and never will be.

Thank you, my sweet boy, for all of the years of comfort and unconditional love you provided. I miss you with all of my heart.

Love, Grandma…

Maternal instinct....
me with hercules

Lick attacks from my boyHis favorite bed and toy that Auntie Claudia sent

Kisses galore!                                                        He loved his bed and toys from Aunt Claudia.

Always there for us when we were sick too.Quietly waiting for mommy and play time outside

comforting my sick son                                       waiting patiently for Grandma to play outside

He jumped up on the chair to prevent me from workingChristian with hercules while sick
I will not be ignored!                                          we were there when he was sick too

Busted with Top Ramen bowl in his faceBUSTED!
He loved trying to get into the cup o’noodles         waiting patiently for his hot dog containing med

I love grandma sweaterBenched Herc
His new I love Grandma sweater the kids bought at Christmas.    Sun bumming on my bench.

Herc's ashes

His ashes and foot print in clay from the vet. This meant the most to me.

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The Art of “Weaning” From the Psychopathic Parent

IMG_5213

I’ve been having an amazing time with the kittens as they grow. Watching them learn to walk without a wobble, bounding up to just a few inches before my feet and watching with great focus, my toes move for them. I often wonder what they’re thinking as they look up and see this ‘ginormous’ person in front of them.

It’s interesting to watch my cat interact with her kittens at this stage too. They take many cues from her. They’re close to being weaned now, and I love watching them watch their Mom as she eats, and they are very curious now as to how all of that works. Needless to say, I need to do a little cleaning of feet and faces, as they try to figure out how to do what Mom is doing, but not quite so well yet! They’re an awful lot of fun, I’ve named them all now and it’s really, really hard not to want to keep them. Each of the kittens are brimming with personality. I truly love my pets and want to give them the very best. And I’m hoping we’ll find good homes for the kittens too.

But as I’ve been watching Marley (my cat) ‘teach’ by example, what her kittens need to learn, I began to realize that maybe the weaning process won’t be so hard, as with everything else (even though I was concerned at first), Marley’s mother instincts inevitably kick in. It is an expensive venture and I’ve learned through the process and near disaster, uninformed of what her nutritional needs would be at first, that when left to be just a mama, she’s done pretty well. I keep tabs and make sure all are healthy and happy. And these kittens are a very healthy bunch and for that I’m very, very grateful.

I got to thinking about mothers and the instincts that come naturally to them as they take care of their newborn (in this case,’newborns’) and nurture them to adulthood. In the case of a disordered parent, this instinct is lost. I wondered what this adventure with the kittens would have been like, had Marley’s instincts not kicked in. . .

As children of pathological parents, we miss out on the instinctive nurturing that comes naturally to otherwise healthy human mothers. Sometimes, neither parent has this instinct. And when there is no ‘replacement’ for this lacking, the ‘weaning’ process is completely trumped. A child without a parent who can provide this basic instinct is extremely deprived and doesn’t develop properly, emotionally and sometimes physically too. The consequences to this are extreme and traumatic for the child. Just as it would be for my kittens, if she did not possess her own instinct and I was not there to provide it should she not be able to do so. They may well have died.

And while I love my pets (sometimes more than humans!), there seems to be much more concern in society, for a pet’s potential disastrous outcome, then there is for the child without appropriate nurturing, appropriate ‘weaning’ from a psychopathic parent. We expect that children will possess the life skills when they become adults, that other children with healthy parents do, when in reality, we spend the rest of our lives (if we become ‘aware’ of what our parent is) working to ‘wean’ ourselves. We spend our lives having to learn how to nurture, calm, communicate and learn other life skills that other healthy adults have had, because they had a parent with instinct.  There is no way to imagine what life was/is like for those of us who were not nurtured or ‘weaned’ properly, versus those who were and were never exposed to such peril.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons I’m so vigilant about Marley and her kittens right now. Maybe overly so, because I know what it’s like to live without that nurturing. Projecting my pain on to my cat!

In some ways I’m in my own process of ‘weaning’ from all of my psychopaths, in particular, my parents. But in some other ways, I’ll be forever intrinsically tied to them. Trauma bonded to them, subsequently, I write about them.

When I hear stories of friends that have had a positive, nurturing upbringing, there is a very heavy sadness within. While I can imagine it, I did not live it. I cannot say that what happened to me, did not happen. To erase psychopathy from my life, would be to erase me too. All of my choices and who I am, derive from a traumatic upbringing with psychopaths. My recovery will look much different than others who have not come from these homes and I’m very realistic now about what I can and cannot do, how they limited me, damaged me, but also how they made a huge contribution in growing my empathy, simply because they were without it. I feel a bit of grace was given in that I became aware of what they were at all. I have so much to heal from and at this point, I’m still in the baby step stages of recovery from all kinds of psychopaths.

I’ve been perplexed about which direction to take my blog and my writing. I read the Google searches to my blog and which articles are read most often, and all are about the psychopath and most from survivors just out of their relationships and in great pain. They have yet to discover that simply ‘knowing’ about the psychopath and what he/she does, is just one quarter, if that, of the healing process. The journey into self is one that few will take and I know this. But it’s one that I feel I need to focus more on now. While psychopaths are still a great part of the process and always will be because I cannot cancel them out, talking about them and their tactics endlessly is old news to me now, but in another way, I’m extremely drawn to it because it is familiar to me. I want to sit here and say that I don’t love my parents, my siblings or other psychopaths in my life, in my childhood, but I can’t, you see, because love is instinctual to me, for me.

When I write posts like this, I’m reduced to tears. I miss not having parents, a brother and sister, a healthy man and marriage and that void is there and will be the rest of my life. And I’m having to learn to fill it alone. The examples that I have set before me, lie in my cat and my dog, Sassy. They lie in my faith, upon an invisible being that is not present in the flesh. They lie in a DOG who is now passed to ‘the rainbow bridge’ and over which I’m still deeply grieving, as he was my very best friend.  Oh, GOD those things HURT. But they are very real to me. They are part of me.

And me is what I wish most to be.

(My boy, Hercules, asleep on the book of the teachings of Buddha and whom passed 3/27/14)
Herc asleep on book

Onward and Upward.

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Gratitude

theabilitytolove:

This blog is very well written, by a male survivor of a disordered one. For those of you who are male survivors with a high level of empathy, this blog is another great resource for recovery. But if you’re an Empath, you’ll feel a sense of kinship, as well as validation through his work. Give it a read sometime!

Originally posted on Dog Dharma's Blog:

gratitude

I have written a lot of “negative” things about my wife, and all of them are the truth as I know it and as I experienced it.  I’ve tried hard to document everything I’ve written with “hard proof,” not glorifying myself, but exposing my blemishes.  I had more disappointment, hurt, and heartbreak than I thought one person could bear, both in my past and especially in my marriage to my wife..  I have always thought that my hardships were intricately linked to my gentleness, to treading upon the earth like a feather blown by the wind, and touching my sorrow brought forth any goodness I had in me.

But being with my wife has given me the gift of unleashing my words and my story, and for that I’m grateful.  I see the world in a new and different way.  I’m now aware that not all people are kind, with…

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A No Contact Tip For Survivors To Get Through The Smear Campaign And Discard

Haters Gonna Hate

I’ve been seeing a lot of no contact issues with my supporting and I thought I’d write a little something that might help to create a little more determination in STAYING No Contact.

Psychopaths feed off of the energy of others. It doesn’t matter what that energy IS, but I swear they have a sixth sense when it comes to a survivor’s suffering when the relationship ends in that they know, without one doubt, that no contact is KILLING you. Some survivors want out of the relationship and no contact becomes difficult because the psychopaths constantly looks for reaction, has devious ways in hooking into it, and thrives off the survivors desire to be left alone. This is more the exception than the rule though.

If you were the one discarded and left, there is no doubt that the psychopath is well aware  that you are in pain and or anguish about him. He knows, instinctively, that even without any contact at all, you’re ruminating over the hurt caused to you.

He knows this because his tactics during the relationship are strategic. He knows he’s causing harm and each reaction to that harm, fuels his power over you, or perceived power over you. Just as he knows he causes pain in the relationship, he also knows that he causes pain out of it. This is why the smear campaign is so effective. If you have empathy, you will hurt.

One of the things that really created determination for me in staying no contact, is in understanding that every single reaction I gave, whether to him or to someone else that knew him and where I reacted in their presence, and where they told him about it, got him excited at the idea that he could hurt me more . The idea that he was getting off on my pain, that he felt empowered by it, that each contact meant an opportunity to hurt me more, subsequently giving him MORE power, was enough to change my thinking. It was just enough to empower myself. I really did have the ability to make this stop. No, I couldn’t stop the smear campaign, nor did I have any control over others believing what he said about me, but I did have control in altering my perceptions. I could stop giving him my power. I could stop feeding the monster. Even though I was No Contact, I still did not have to give him a reaction or tell others about my pain that knew him.

Whether aware or not, some survivors will keep in touch with the psychopath’s friends, family, coworkers, etc, because in discussing their hurt over the psychopath with these people, it gives them hope in some way, that the psychopath will ‘feel bad’ about what he’s done and perhaps come back if he knows how much pain the survivor is in. NO. NO. NO. This is not how it works with a disordered one, in fact, it is just the opposite, but this too, comes from a survivor’s disbelief in the ex’s psychopathy.

This change in my perception, does not mean that I didn’t hurt, that I wasn’t angry, or that I wasn’t thinking of him 24/7 and I knew he knew I was in pain, but I sure as hell didn’t have to GIVE him anymore of myself for him to exploit. He’d just have to feed off the smear campaign and others reactions to it. Eventually, that goes away too, because people don’t think of us 24/7 the way that the psychopath wants us to believe they do during a smear campaign. In reality, that is a projection for it’s the psychopath that believes people are thinking of HIM 24/7. But often survivors are in such pain, as well as fear, that the psychopath has a survivor convinced that his smear campaign is effective to the degree that it will be ongoing and amen. It has the survivor believing that those privvy to his smear campaign, go home and discuss this at dinner with their spouse and children, or at work, or at play. If you really think about this and how absurd it is, that unless those ‘listening’ or ‘believing’ the psychopath’s smearing are disordered too, they are NOT thinking about you 24/7 and you are not a topic of discussion at the dinner table! People, overall, are more immersed in their own lives. Ironically, this is where a shallow world works in a survivor’s favor. People in general, have more to worry about, then the psychopath’s projections of himself and what he thinks. And it is the psychopath that DOES think he IS the topic of discussion for everyone! Even at dinner!

Part of the problem with survivor’s and no contact, is the disbelief that this individual is not ‘human’ in some way. That there is no way anyone would or could hurt another like they do. Absorbing that information is very difficult in the beginning and often leads to contact until the survivor is certain that her/his continued involvement or contact will only lead to further pain. We’re projecting our empathy on to someone who is incapable of it and who sees us as pathetic victims, begging for more.

This change in perspective helps you to feel even more determined to stay away from him and to see him for what he is, while empowering and healing yourself. Keeping in mind that everything about the psychopath is distorted and very twisted, the idea of No Contact is to remove yourself from his distortions, his worldview that is completely contradictory to those with empathy.

Don’t feed Seymour! Try instead to use no contact to empower YOU.

**While I utilize ‘he’ as the psychopath in my writing, there are many men who are victims of female psychopaths too*

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Again, Thank You

Thanks to a few miracle workers this month, I’ve been able to keep my cat and dog fed, my kittens healthy and now my internet is paid too.

I’m very grateful for the donations sent to me that have helped tremendously in keeping my head above water this month. There aren’t words to describe my gratitude in being able to remain here and keep providing writing and survivor support that I love so much doing.

I think this is a good time to share that I’ve been terrified to finish my book and get it published. After much thought and consideration, pondering through my fear, intimidation and constantly devaluing my writing, I’ve decided to just do it. I have nothing to lose in doing so and it’s a fun project that keeps me hopeful about the future, helps me to feel very productive and that maybe I can offer something worthwhile to the others who may read it. I don’t have many talents and skill and it’s unfortunate (as well as ironic!) that writing does not pay well, particularly in pontificating about psychopaths and the journey we take into ourselves to heal, if at all.

I truly love writing and I’ve learned so much about myself, while working through my traumas, as well as trying to survive my circumstances. There is nothing more valuable in self discovery, then writing for catharsis, to educate and support. I know that’s it’s helped other survivors and this is where it is so rewarding  for me too.

But, unfortunately, it takes money to survive. Maybe my book will sell and maybe it won’t, but I do wish to have fun and enjoy doing what I love in trying to make a go of it. If it helps reach more survivors, even better. It gives me hope while waiting on an unforgivable system and society that does not care for, overall, the abuse survivors left disabled or in poverty due to their damage. We are more demonized, then uplifted. I hope more advocates will become voices for all of us who are living with the consequences of abuse. I hope I can do that with my own voice and in writing.

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know by now that I love animals and that my pets mean the world to me. It has troubled me greatly with the thought that they would suffer because of my circumstances. It’s hard not to feel angry at the guy that I rescued my cat from, in lying to me about her being spayed, but part of that comes from the frustration in cost to keep everyone healthy. Due to my lack of information and naivete when it comes to pregnant cats, nursing cats and kittens, my cat may well have died. Google is a fabulous tool. But admittedly, I was shocked, because my lack of knowledge and finances had my cat at death’s door. I was able to ‘fix’ the situation, but not without a lot of nursing her back to health and your help in getting the proper amount of nutrients, as she was literally being nursed to death. She was a very thin cat from the beginning and I just had no idea. I was not prepared to deal with the care, nor the cost. In not informing myself sooner, all of this could have been avoided. Not the cost, surely, but absolutely her health endangered. After having lost my boy last March to cancer, it was also a monumental trigger. I could not survive another pet death.

When they were born, I wrote a Face book post with a picture of the kittens and specifically asked my son to pass it on to his friend (the friend whom we rescued the cat from) with a big, “Thank you for your honesty!” applied to it. No, it probably wasn’t the nicest thing to do, but it’s wrong to not be completely honest about a pet’s fertility or lack thereof. I’m now a HUGE advocate for spaying and neutering and was quite angry that her ‘status’ given to me was not honest in order to avoid the cost of spaying for themselves, as well as knowing not many would take on a cat without being spayed FIRST.  My love and responsibility to my animals is a huge priority for me. She was mine now and because of that, I was not going to let her suffer, nor her babies.

It’s getting close to weaning now, another costly venture. They will go to good homes soon. But I’m very grateful for the few donations sent the last several weeks and that it has helped tremendously in keeping them healthy. I cannot have her spayed until a month after she has weaned the kittens, but you can be sure that I’m quite excited about it and it will be done as soon as it’s allowed.

And I’ll get to remain here, writing and supporting, which means the world to me, as well as working on my book project, something that keeps my spirits up.

Thank you so much, for giving us all here, a little bit of hope.  And a picture of what donations have done for this band of healthy and very, very curious creatures! Just like toddlers, they get into everything now!IMG_5213IMG_5223

Onward and Upward.

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No, Virginia, Not Everyone is A Narcissist, Sociopath or Psychopath. . .

I am a magnet for money

The above meme comes from one of the positive thinking tyranny pages on Face book that float through my news feed. Notice how ‘money’ is the first thing that you’re a magnet in abundance for? Then followed by health and happiness? Why is ‘money’ included in this perceived ‘abundance’ as primary, while the other two secondary? I can’t stand this stuff! The perceptions still stand in that if you have monetary success, only then can the rest follow.

Often, I’ve referenced ‘narcissism in society’ or ‘there is a prevalence of narcissism in society’, or ‘we live in a narcissistic society’, as a generalization regarding how I feel about where societal priorities are when talking about those most vulnerable among us. It’s ‘messages’ like the above, that are so subtle, yet clear in what our priorities should be and why we are SUCH a mess right now in this country.

I started to recognize this within myself too. This or that is narcissistic, she or he is a narcissist. It’s really annoying to hear it out of survivors too and all too often I’ve been accused of being a narcissist as well. If it’s annoying TO me, I can’t imagine how annoying it is to others.

I do not believe that current statistics regarding the population of psychopaths in society, is accurate. There is simply no way to calculate this with any accuracy, because most psychopaths, particularly those who are ‘successful’ in society, never see a jail cell, and rarely does one ever sit in front of a therapist or is subjected to a psychiatric evaluation, unless court ordered to do so. I think the only way to get some sort of ‘estimate’ is calculating the survivors who wind up in therapy as a consequence to the trauma suffered by one. But even with that, there are a myriad of problems because you simply cannot diagnose another human being without professional evaluation. And we know that psychopaths can fool a few therapists who are not well versed in spotting disorder. This often happens in ‘couples’ therapy. NOT a good place to take a psychopath along.

This puts most of us familiar with psychopaths in a ‘one down’ position sometimes. We can see the behaviors, but the only way to be ‘accurate’ is to have spent time with one and to have been exposed to the behaviors on a regular and consistent basis, because they are pervasive and entrenched. And although I believe this is how one can be most certain about someone close to them, how do we assess psychopathy/narcissism accurately in society, particularly when indirect contact can also have a wide and far reaching consequence to all of us?

When I’ve referenced psychopaths in power, I see behaviors that have been consistent in lack of empathy and conscience. Psychopaths tend to pander to others psychopaths. We are all ‘magnetized’ to people who believe and think like us. Psychopaths are no different. Since their ‘ideology’ is based in harm, we can see the tactics used, if we are familiar with them, that show us who they are, as these behaviors are extreme. Deprivation upon the masses is one of them. Exploitation of hate, intolerance and religious zealousness, are another. Manipulation, contempt, and targeting of the vulnerable are more. Triangulation that results in divisiveness and that encourage warring among the psychopaths targets is a monumental red flag. It’s one of their favorite games.

I came up with a mantra not too long ago that makes sense to me and helps me see them more clearly: Healthy minded people do not advocate for, nor engage in behaviors that harm other people. Healthy minded people want the best for all of us and are invested in our personal and professional growth. This bears out in opportunity and advocating for policies to make that happen. I’ll let the rest speak for itself here. . .

But sometimes there is a ‘suspension of conscience’ a phrase coined by Dr. Martha Stout in Her book, “The Sociopath Next Door.” In processing this a little bit more after reading the book, this makes sense to me too. Oftentimes when people are in pain, are struggling with addictions (it could be ANY addiction), involved in pathological love relationships, or some other painful issue, it can be appear that empathy is absent, when in fact, it is not.

For example, my ability to parent my children in healthy ways, to have healthy relationships with my friends, was severely altered while involved with my ex-psychopath. It was so all throughout my first and only marriage too. I knew that I deeply loved my children, but there is no doubt today, that my unhealthy parenting and exposure to my ex-psychopath played a significant role in their consequential trauma. But here is the difference between the psychopath whose conscience is FOREVER altered, and yours in suspension: INTENT. You did not harm your children with intent. Your relationship with the psychopath caused empathy to be temporarily suspended. But the beautiful thing about release from the pathological relationship, is that empathy can be fully restored to you and provide you with the awareness that you need to work with your children and the damage that is left behind to them too. A psychopath will never do this.

Survivors have pathologized themselves to death with the guilt they feel about the damage, not only to themselves but to others that they love. The guilt you have, the remorse and the powerful realization of the pain with the damage, means that you are NOT a Narcissist. Please remember that someone with a pathological disorder, does not in any way, experience what you have, what you are now and what you will into your future. In the near future, I’ll be writing about self forgiveness, but for now, if you have empathy, you can hang your hat on that.

But sometimes, something happens to survivors who have been deeply wounded, especially those of us who have grown up in pathological homes, or those who have had years of exposure to a psychopath in romantic relationships: Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, is a Narcissist. Been there, done that.

No, Virginia, not everyone is a narcissist. Just as I believe psychopathy is on a ‘spectrum’ I believe empathy to be the same. Often when we come out of our relationships, we have to fine tune and grow our empathy. A sort of ‘awakening’. We go through phases of recovery, some that aren’t so nice. Some that mean we have a suspension of empathy again, but that I think is more related to fear, if not outright paranoia.

I’ve done a lot of reflection about this. When I first came out of my relationship and was just discovering what psychopathy was, I was terrified that everyone was a Narcissist. What made this even more confusing to me, was that there really were some Narcissists in my life and on my path as I took baby steps forward. They showed up in my life as ‘friends’ and they showed up in my life as ‘supporters’. I assumed that the world of recovery was filled with those whose level of empathy was off the charts, and not that exploiters and predators can dominate this field as they do in others. Given my background and learning to be mindful of this. I had to learn how to assess others by observing and listening, rather than blurting out whatever was on my mind to anyone who would listen.

I learned that there are also a lot of really nice people that were within recovery circles. That really did care about survivors and this showed in how they handled their support. Ironically, the healthiest of these supporters, encouraged therapeutic access! Well, how dare you! It wasn’t ME with the problem! But it was, I was just too angry to admit that it takes two and this man got into my life for a reason. I was also extremely traumatized. Those that were nice to me and showed healthy behavior, were often accused by me of being Narcissists! It took me a really long time to understand why this was.

I was extremely hyper sensitive to suggestion. Suggestions regarding therapy, were met with accusation and anger. This is only one example, but there are many more regarding the friends I was making when I first started on this journey. Most of us were just out of our relationships, or no more than two years out at most. Still feeling the ‘sting’ of psychopathy, we would often trigger one another, without realizing or recognizing it for what it was. The number of survivors who, when perceiving any minor or perceived slight, any emotional trigger, any constructive criticism, even the dumbest things that you’d not think that would set someone off, DID and this was met with an instant accusation of narcissism and discard. Trying to assert personal boundaries, let alone not really knowing what that meant, if crossed even once, was instant narcissism accusation. Sometimes, when outlining my personal boundaries, it was perceived as ‘mean’ and therefore another instant discard. Sometimes, people who are healthy, with strong boundaries, can appear as Narcissists to those who are not healthy and do not have strong boundaries, even if they have loads of empathy.

Strong personalities, people with a healthy self confidence, intimidated me. But the most important piece of the puzzle I’d not considered with my accusations and discard, is that we are all human, bound to say and/or do the wrong thing sometimes. I was not allowing others to make mistakes, nor giving them the opportunity to explain themselves, let alone share with them why a certain comment or ‘deed’ felt hurtful to me. It was me acting as a Narcissist, yet justifying my accusations and discard as ‘self protection’.

I caused pain with my accusations and suffered a bit of ego doing it. I alienated potentially good people from my life, in doing so. And because I do know who I am now, or at least have a pretty good idea, and in setting my own boundaries, when accused of being a Narcissist, I will decline to support a survivor now. Likewise, when you do this for awhile, it gets much easier to see pathology in others, when there is no doubt about its validity to me because it presents itself to me that is completely and totally different than survivors who have empathy and are NOT disordered.

While the situation I’m currently in is a very terrifying one, I’ve learned a lot about myself and other people. Without stability, conscience can definitely be suspended and I can appear as though it’s ‘all about me’. When you’re fighting for your life, it’s hard not to be a little self absorbed. Seeing this very clearly lately, has me making changes and working through it in therapy. Terror, combined with instability and deprivation can make life extremely complicated and painful. I’m much more aware that in this state of mind, I can cross all kinds of boundaries. The reality for me, is that people have their own lives to deal with, their own problems, their own pain and life moves forward, whether I’m present or not, whether I live in terror or not.

No one enjoys being a ‘burden’ to others. And this gets me going on another tangent about psychopaths in power and deprivation, while also seeing a great need for growth of empathy in society, because it is not just me enduring my circumstances, but millions more. It’s created another force in me where I can deepen my empathy through advocacy, both for survivors and on a more global scale with education. The world can be a very cold place, the reality of that is very painful to me, but at the same time, there are good people in the world and they are not narcissists, even if they are enduring what appears to be a suspension of conscience or empathy. Ignorance can appear as suspension of conscience and empathy too, but often is a mask for other avenues of pain or trauma caused or an intellectual darkness that feels pervasive to me.

Most of the survivors I have supported, do have empathy and despite their PTSD triggers and depression or whatever issues involved (exception: pathological), they are respectful, kind and courteous, while sharing their pain and experiences. I have good friends in my life too that do love and support me and whose insurmountable patience with me, has paid off in learning how to communicate and connect on healthy levels and who have taught me what it is to learn to trust, much of that is their willingness to stick with the friendship, despite my limitations and triggers. The very best friends I have, are those that share when I’ve said something hurtful, or inappropriate during a trigger as yet unidentified to me. One friend of mine, who is also a fellow writer/survivor, has duked it out with me many, many times in the past. The ‘wars’ we have had in the past, have involved accusations of narcissism, “oh so you’re going to discard me, is that how it is?”….we even use the lingo! It makes me laugh today.

But we are still close friends because we worked through it. And of anyone I know, she has truck loads of empathy and enough to spare. She has taught me so many lessons about what it is to be human and that sometimes, being human can mean the ‘bad stuff’ that can make you appear very narcissistic!

So no, not everyone is a Narcissist. It’s important to remember that this is a very, very pervasive, unchanging, disorder of extremes.  A mistake made, a sentence uttered, a difference of opinion, does not make someone a Narcissist. It isn’t too difficult to discern whether or not someone wishes to hurt with INTENT. And this is the most important thing of all to remember when we communicate with others.

Onward and Upward.

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The Importance Of Therapeutic Services After The Pathological Relationship

Recently, a friend of mine sent me a video from someone who was training people how to be life coaches. Just a suggestion, nothing more.

I then had a discussion at length, with another friend who suggested the same to me. This turned into somewhat of a heated debate. Not an unfriendly or disrespectful one, just a strong difference of opinion.

This is not the first time that life coaching had been suggested to me as a way to make money and quickly. Since I’ve been mentoring and supporting, why not? Considering my ‘expertise’ in psychopathology. Well, I guess with the experiences I’ve had with psychopaths, one could consider the experiences themselves to be ‘expertise’!

But that’s not why I don’t feel comfortable doing it. What I’m about to share, is not meant to fire up the life coach crowd, nor to upset other ‘supporters’ who work hard with survivors. I think it’s a morals/values issue for each of us and pretty much what you’re okay with. I’m not okay with it. Particularly not with this segment of the population of abuse survivors that have weathered the damage of the extremes that are psychopaths.

In supporting survivors, I’ve learned a few things that are valuable to me, as well as for them too. When survivors write to me about their experiences, initially, if just out of the relationship, the emails can be quite long. They are filled with pain, PTSD and depression. Often there is stalking going on by the ex psychopath, as well as smear campaigns that are brutal for the survivor enduring them. Their search for answers are related to why someone would this, how someone could, and many, many more questions related to their most personal and unique situations.

But this is where it gets uncomfortable for me and what I’ll be doing another post about: Some survivors have pathological disorders of their own and no, I do not mean like PTSD. I mean psychopathology. It doesn’t take too long to determine the differences for me. My therapist works with some of them and described the experience of working with them as “their energy is unmistakable. They fill up a room.” In my experience, this is very accurate. But then there are survivors who have other mental health issues that are not those of PTSD or Depression, but it could be too. Some of them have Dissociative disorders, Bipolar disorder, Aspergers, and three that I’ve supported had Multiple Personality disorders. Some survivors are very suicidal. And more than a few have Borderline Personality Disorders too. I never assume that when a survivor presents to me that what I see is what I’m really seeing. It can take a while to see, or it can be seen right away if the survivor is pathological. These relationships, coined by Sandra Brown, M.A, are that of gasoline to fire relationships.

It’s safe for the most part, to say that we do not get into relationships with the most toxic people on the planet (psychopaths) because we are the epitome of mental health. Some of us, when we get into these relationships are quite familiar with the Psychopath, particularly if we grew up in pathological homes, but it can be other issues of abuse that a survivor has experienced in childhood too, not just from psychopaths. Some of us were not in a good place (but thought we were) when the predator targeted us. I can’t count how many survivors believed themselves to be happy and had everything going for them and them, “BAM!” he showed up. Oftentimes, once there is time away and reflection, survivors discover that things really weren’t all that rosy. Psychopaths have precision like targeting of survivors that are very vulnerable, whether it’s through a substantial loss like divorce, death, separation, even the loss of a pet! And a plethora of other reasons too.

I’ve also seen the damage done to survivors who were mentored or supported by those who were well-meaning (or not), but did not know what they were doing. I can’t emphasize enough, how important, no, critical it is to be extremely careful when selecting people who will offer support. This is not in any way meant to blow smoke up my own bum, but rather to underscore how important it is to seek therapeutic guidance when the relationship ends. And this does NOT include me.

We live in a world that is not only superficial, but careless about the needs of others, whether it’s supporting a victim of a psychopath, or other mental health services that would otherwise be critical in helping survivors deal with the aftermath. There are also other people in society who have mental illness but are treated in substandard ways. Much of this is due to budget cuts and at this time in our society, where it seems there is a deficit of empathy, coupled with an intellectual darkness, the needs of many, are passed off for the needs of a few.

Much like anything else, psychopathology has become a very lucrative business. And it’s important to recognize this when seeking support. Whether we like it or not, there are pathological individuals within the field of psychology, just as in any other field of practice. Psychology and medicine, can not only be lucrative for many, but are accompanied by positions of authority, where there are many potential victims. Psychopaths and other pathological people are attracted to positions that ‘feed’ their power addiction.

I’ve been angered more than once, about people in this ‘business’ who not only profit from it, but give out hurtful or wrong information or where a ‘transference’ happens, in that the survivor is ‘grateful’ or ‘loyal’ to the supporter who exploits  information about psychopaths, manipulating survivors. It can be very ‘ego boosting’ for a supporter to hear, “You saved my life!” This leads to the same dynamics that the survivor had with the psychopath in that they begin to idealize them for the ‘support’ or help that has been given. When recovery is not promoted beyond ruminating, it’s very, very dangerous. There is such a fine line in recovery with regards to process and pace, unique personalities of every survivor, other mental health issues, circumstances and situations, known only to the survivor and what an untrained supporter can do. “You saved my life!” can be an expression by a survivor in gratefulness for the supporter’s help and while it can feel wonderful to have been such a huge help to someone in crisis, in the wrong mind or hands who does not put this pronouncement into perspective, it can be power inducing to the pathological supporter.

The love bombing (manipulation), exploitation and later discard is a rinse and repeat pattern I’ve seen with far too many ‘supporters’. It’s sad to see a survivor who is so damaged, exploited more in a vulnerable state for the sake of profit. Keep in mind that ruminating about the psychopathic relationship is a normal part of the process, however, when this becomes the focus of ‘recovery’ and moving forward or therapeutic services are NOT heavily endorsed as part of recovery, that is a RED FLAG. In situations like this, the longer you are ‘stuck’ in the ruminating phase, the more profit and power the supporter has in your life.

One of the most important things to keep in mind as you seek support, most especially in a group setting (Facebook is notorious for this), is the meme’s and quotes that are shown. Oftentimes, the red flags show up early in that the same information ABOUT THE PSYCHOPATH and his tactics, are regurgitated over and over and over, with little else other than an occasional “you gotta love yourself” thrown in for good measure. This is called exploitation. It took me quite awhile to figure out why these meme’s from certain groups on Face book bothered me. One of the first thoughts I had was, “okay…”, “uh, yeah…” and “SO?” “So WHAT” about the psychopath? So what about HIM? You see, we can only learn so much about the psychopath in recovery. They are very predictable. Beyond that it’s about US. Our OWN recovery process, why we got involved, how it affects us, what we can and can’t do to manage it,. . . there are so many things we can learn about in recovery, which is about US anyway.

Life coaching is great, in my opinion, for those who need a personal ‘boost’. For those who need a little ‘fine tuning’ when it comes to personal growth. But I disagree that it belongs in a place where trauma has been done, unless the life coach or supporter has specific experience and background within the scope of trauma recovery. I am convinced an entanglement with a psychopath is one of the most traumatic and painful experiences we will ever have. And I believe that part of caring for ourselves, being extra gentle with ourselves, means we feed our psyche and take care of it, as we would our bodies. This includes the best care possible. We don’t go to a dentist when we need heart surgery!

I’ve worked with enough survivors now, that I have a pretty good idea what ‘coaching’ looks like, as well as the emotional output and energy required to do so. It is enormously draining work, if it is done correctly, but I think that my knowledge about psychopaths, while very vast, is not enough to build into a business where my own limitations would not cause me to decompensate and would cause damage to the survivor. I have permanent and lifetime damage as a consequence of my exposure to a lifetime of psychopaths. Having done enough mentoring and supporting, and seeing the assortment of survivors that I’ve had the pleasure of working with (or honestly not when they’re pathological too), my skills are very limited and my limitations mean I need to be responsible enough to acknowledge and accept that I could cause damage too if I were not very careful. One of the most beautiful things about having done this work, is that it’s taught me a lot about being realistic about what I can and cannot do. My circumstances are dire while I wait for social security, but I’m not ‘desperate’ enough to act irresponsibly with the lives of others. I feel confident in my ability to write, but it’s unfortunate that I cannot make a living with what I love doing here. But I am going to complete and publish my book. In this way, I feel I can be helpful, while still respecting my own limitations and support survivors in a responsible way.

I can walk a survivor through in helping him/her understand the tactics, behavior, motives, etc, but beyond that, I cannot because survivor reactions oftentimes mean that a therapist is needed. And I will not, under any circumstances, ‘pretend’ that I know how to deal with some of the extremes I have seen.

Now I know a lot of survivors have access to therapy and choose not to utilize them. I know many more, in this economy, who cannot afford to see a therapist because it is costly and they don’t have insurance. And I know a few who have been to one therapist and give up trying again. Keeping in mind that there are therapists who can do damage, or make things considerably worse, I understand this. But there really are some excellent and qualified therapists who care about their clients and are responsible in giving that care. If there is any way that utilizing therapeutic services can be done and in not giving up, you can find the right therapist. They are human too and just as with anyone else, sometimes you have to give it time to work. This is about a process, not an event and the same goes in establishing a therapeutic relationship.

I know I’ve shared before that I do see a therapist and have now for a little over three years. But what it took to find her, was an exasperating experience to say the least. Yet, I was very desperate and very determined, because I knew that it wasn’t just about ‘him’ but that there was something wrong with me too. I went through two therapists, one knowledgeable about the disorders, the other definitely not. The first one believed that psychopaths could ‘heal’. I knew that was crap, so we spent the majority of the time, debating the disorders. Time to move on. The second one, was new to the therapeutic environment. When she drew analogies on a black board for me, assuming me to be about age five, and was into the ‘new agey’ type, uh, type ‘stuff’, it was time to go again. I called my insurance company and asked to speak to an advocate. After I introduced myself, I blurted out that I needed to see a therapist that was trauma trained and knew about psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists!!! The response was really quite amusing, looking back, but I didn’t care at the time as I was a big ball of mess!

So when I met my therapist, who is of the positive thinking tyranny, I was impressed. And when I realized I was intimidated by her, I knew we’d be a perfect fit. She immediately shared what she knew about the disorders, which was enough to get my attention, as well as sharing that she also provided therapeutic services to them. All of her Cluster B clients are Borderline however, and not predominantly narcissistic but empathic. She has had a few narcissists and two sociopaths. A few court ordered. One guy, a Narcissist, that she immediately diagnosed as NPD on the first visit with a resounding,”So what can I do for YOU? You do realize that I may not be a good fit for you because your disorder doesn’t change, right?” He never came back either.

These kinds of therapists can be found but it doesn’t come without a lot of perseverance, determination and a lot of effort and time. But it’s so well worth it in doing so. There are also therapists in my own community, who work out of our County domestic violence program who ARE familiar with the disorders too. These therapists are provided to domestic violence survivors for FREE or low cost. They ARE out there. I realize there are situations where they may not be, no matter what you do, but I can’t emphasize enough how important this is and that you deserve to have someone trained and knowledgeable to help you process your trauma. Unless a supporter possesses some specific training, you are taking your need for a heart surgeon to a dentist.

Support groups and/or individual one-on-one support, are a vital part of the recovery process. There is much need for this and the numbers now providing this have grown exponentially in the last few years. But please be mindful in that support is just that, support and nothing more. And not all of them are pathological. Interactive support is a Godsend in processing these relationships, but are not a replacement for professional help and support.

Onward and Upward.

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Developing Personal Boundaries in the Aftermath of Psychopathy

This is such a slippery slope for me, but I think it’s very important to express how I feel about personal boundaries and how that is changing in my life now. For those of us who grew up in pathological environments, personal boundaries may never have been allowed. Admittedly, I had none at all. This deficit in me, made it easy to justify trampling all over the boundaries of others, and through assumptions I would make about others, without even thinking about it, developed quite the attitude (and where ego was also very present), in that I was right in my assumptions placed upon someone, therefore, I could walk all over their boundaries and subsequently, when I pissed someone off in doing this, would attack the person who was angry for not adhering to what amounted to nothing more than a projection.

One of the things that absolutely drives my therapist INSANE is when I pathologize myself. I do it A LOT. When I was first in therapy, I was convinced I was a Narcissist. Then I was convinced that I’m probably BPD. Because of my over exposure to psychopaths, I began to fear that my human failings, were in fact underlying a personality disorder. In the world I grew up in, I learned to confuse mistakes in behavior or choices, as disorder. I think I believed that psychopathy was somehow contagious. I struggle with this every single day. I tend to scrutinize my words, beat the hell out of myself for even the most minor of mistakes. When I bring these to my therapist, I get the rolling of the eyes and ‘that look’ of, “You’re doing it again!…”

There is noting like having a blog in helping me to work through my stuff, but also to see whee I NEED work. It also helps me in learning to discern where I need to apply personal boundaries and to be extra mindful of the boundaries of others. I see how incredibly easy it is to make assumptions about people. I see how incredibly easy it is to assume that what is best for me, might be best for someone else, followed by a torrent of advice, recommendations, and ‘demands’.

Once this evil little cat is out of the bag, if the individual rejects my ‘advice’, ‘recommendations’, basically my projections of what I would do, how I would respond if “I were in your shoes”,  and in assuming everyone else should or does too, I feel angry and frustrated at them. This is further followed up with justifiable (in my mind only) invalidation of not only the person’s personal boundaries already crossed, but feelings and thoughts that whatever I ‘suggest’ is not met with some serious ass kissing and verbal worship for all of that ‘advice’ given.

I began to understand how I was behaving and coming off, violating boundaries, by scrutinizing, hence, pathologizing my own behavior. There are benefits to being highly empathic and insightful, because it allows me to be honest with myself about my own behavior and my own dark side. No, pathologizing probably isn’t a good thing, but it too, has benefits. When I get a sense that my behavior is annoying, uncomfortable or otherwise potentially crossing boundaries, I become very, very upset with myself. I don’t like these behaviors in me. And because I’m human, I will make mistakes, repetitively sometimes, no matter how ‘enlightened’ and ‘mindful’ I am about it, until a very bad habit is changed. I don’t give up in constantly working on myself, especially the bad stuff. . .it’s important to me so that the morals and values I want to adhere too, feel more honest, rather than an ego pontificating in a contradictory way.

In being mindful of my own behavior, when I act out in a way that is hurtful, while unintentional, I try to imagine how someone else might feel and how they might be impacted by me. When I see or feel these behaviors directed at me, or at others, I become even more mindful of my own personal boundaries and that of others. I would not want done to me, what I’ve done to others.This has helped me enormously, observing myself here, in interactions with other survivors, as well as their interactions with me.

Psychopaths do not have boundaries. They are the kings and queens of boundary violations. From the beginning of the relationship, during the manipulation phase, all the way to the smear campaign, boundaries are not in the cards for these individuals. They could not have so many victims, were it not for the boundaries that are violated on both sides. Because we do not have personal boundaries of our own, it’s nigh easy for the psychopath to walk all over ours from the start. We tend to ignore those nagging red flags that say our boundaries are being violated in some way, but we often cannot pinpoint HOW OR WHERE they are being violated. If we never had them to begin with, discerning what, in particular is being violated, is nearly impossible and psychopaths, during the manipulation phase of abuse, are violating boundaries at lightning speed, never giving you the TIME to discern, let alone pinpoint how your boundaries are being crossed.

Once I began to see this, via feeling it through crossing of my own boundaries, and pathologizing my own behavior, I began to see how few really have personal boundaries. So this is something I’ve been working on a lot very recently. I’d like to share with you, what that looks like now, for me, and on the blog and that maybe it will help some of you who are struggling with this too.

In recent posts I’ve been writing, I’ve been noticing some things about myself that has me pathologizing again. The things I’m noticing aren’t necessarily bad things, but good things in me, but that arise out of the bad. If that makes sense!

The things I feel most strongly about and that hit me the hardest, that get my advocacy ‘feelers’ going, tell me something about myself, my past and how it works into my future. For example, I’m very upset by the injustices I perceive at psychopaths in power and how deprivation policies and exploitation of  hatred and intolerance in society, hurt and harm others. I’m incredibly sensitive to tactics I see because I’ve lived them. I’ve felt them. I’ve seen these same tactics delivered upon survivors in their relationships with psychopaths. I’m incredibly sensitive to hatred, intolerance but also religious zealousness. I feel that the zealousness is pathological and that it is another ‘vehicle’ with which to deliver judgment and hatred onto those who are viewed as ‘different’ in some way. Not only have I seen harm and damage delivered upon the innocent and vulnerable, but I too have had my boundaries crossed, assumptions made, and attacks upon my character because I absolutely love and adore my gay son.

I do not see my son as a ‘sinner’ in need of therapeutic measures in order to change who he is. That’s like saying because I had an affair for ten years with a psychopath, I should be taken out and stoned to death. The truth is that we all SIN and for me personally to judge another and their salvation or to violate boundaries further in making assumptions about them, is morally WRONG for me. When I say these things to those whose faith is zealous, I’m usually met with accusations, more assumptions and that I’m ‘condoning’ my son’s sin. He who is without sin, shall cast the first stone and other such scriptural ‘literalness’ that I could cite text and verse to contradict, but after having a lifetime filled with evil, hatred, intolerance and other vile, it has deepened my empathy for everyone, and that is not limited to those who suffer from zealousness.

My point here being, that religious dogma, followed by the perspective that I somehow need to be ‘saved’ (just in sharing personally here, I bought this line of BS out of the zealous when I was part of that community and was baptized repeatedly). When it violates someone’s boundaries, it is no longer care and concern for the individual at which it is directed it is about the person doing the violating. I have endured extremes in spiritual abuse out of my ex psychopath, who was a professed “Christian’ in deed and in image, but no more. That relationship nearly destroyed my faith and a large part of the manipulation and exploitation was using my ‘role’ in his life to cast me as ‘whore’. It was me who needed ‘saving’ and not he. So not only was this an extreme violation of my personal and spiritual boundaries, it was also a projection. And this is where personal boundaries become very important to me. And to others who may wish to interact with me or me with them.

I do not discuss religion here. I will not discuss the faith of others, unless they choose to do so. I don’t do this because I dearly want to respect the faith of everyone who visits this blog. I have a wide variation of religious beliefs here and I have many who are atheists too. I have survivors here with gay or lesbian children, parents and past partners. I have survivors here who are black, brown, white, yellow. I have survivors here who are from other parts of the world, who practice their faith in a completely different way and to which their culture is completely different than our own. I want to honor and respect all who come here because they do for the same reasons: to heal from psychopathic abuse. Psychopaths do not discriminate when it comes to their victims and I shall not make it a practice to discriminate against them. They’ve had enough of that. I’m not at issue with anyone who discusses their faith here and where discussion is in relevance to them only, without undertones or implications that others practice what they do.

This has become a personal boundary with me now.

I remember once, I got into a spat with another page owner because she announced that she allowed only Christians onto her page. She has the right to do that, but I was offended by it, because I saw a harmful comment she made to someone who had used an expletive in describing her experience with her ex psychopath. I think it’s safe to say we can all become very angry, triggered and upset when discussing what this individual has done to us. I’m personally not offended by it and I know that the expressions, particularly when expletives are used, are not a reflection of someone’s heart. That stuff to me, is superficial. And this was what was attacked. I felt so much pain for this survivor, who suffered humiliation and a violation of her personal boundaries with the way the ‘correction’ of her expletive was done by the page owner.

Having said that, she had the right to run her own page as she saw fit and I had the right to leave it, which I did. I know that expletives can be a personal boundary violation for many people. I’ve been known to drop a few F-bombs in my life and have written some expletives in my post too, so in honoring personal boundaries, I’ll say that I will use expletives from time to time and I understand if someone is offended, therefore, there are other blogs where Christianity and clean language is a boundary for the owner and that is exactly what their blogs are for. I truly respect a blog owner or page owner that is clear in their blog policies about what behavior they will or will not accept and what their boundaries are. It is my preference to keep my blog open to everyone, exception psychopaths. I am of the belief that people of differing beliefs, cultures, color, etc, offer a diversity and learning experience of other people that are ‘different’ from ourselves. I highly believe that after my own lifetime of psychopaths, where diversity was offensive and where intolerance reigned supreme, it was incredibly important to me to reflect a spirit of love, an opportunity to deepen empathy and to learn from others. No matter what their background, color or gender might be.

I plan to adhere to this belief on my blog and in my personal interactions too. It’s important to ask questions and not assume about others. This is a habit that needs to be broken. I’ve also had the tendency to be assumptive myself and I know this is a direct result of my background too. Because of my situation, I have been very upset, not just because of the situation, but because of the stigma, stereotyping and assumptions made about me personally that mean I’m character flawed due to my poverty and disability. In my anger, I’ve painted those who have done this, as ‘everyone’ who is ignorant or hateful. I’ve lived among the ‘elite’ in society because of my father’s position and financial success. And while more often than not, I saw others of the ‘elite’ doing and saying the same things about those who were vulnerable, it is not fair to pain this broad brush for everyone who has experienced financial success and blessing for hard work in their lives as lacking in empathy. Not all are this way. My apologies to any readers enjoying the fruits of their hard labor via financial success, for offending you.

I’m learning to define my personal boundaries more and I wish to reflect this accurately and with love and respect for other people. The truth is we will not make everyone happy and not everyone is going to like us and I accept that. But I do wish for the blog to reflect respect for all views, for all faiths, for all situations and circumstances and as a platform, not for hate, but for love and compassion, because we are all here for the same reasons and in that way, no matter how ‘different’ we might be and feel from one another, we have all experienced the hell that is the psychopath.

I’m going to work very hard on my own assumptions about others and be very careful not to project what I feel is best for me, onto other survivors as being what should be best for them too. The best part of recovery, even if it’s somewhat painful, is to learn to discover ourselves, good and bad, and to experience the freedom we now have to learn to love and respect ourselves and others too. You know the cliche about assuming, right? When you assume, you make an ass-outta-u- and-me. I love that cliche.

Whether we like it or not, particularly those of us from pathological homes and/or in relationships with psychopaths for many years, we walk out ‘slimed’. We have behaviors, attitudes and perceptions that may well be a bit twisted. This is where we tend to beat ourselves up a little bit. But we are not pathological (I hope!) and so when we leave and the clouds of darkness start to lift, we discover we have a lot of work to do on ourselves. It’s very frustrating to realize that some of the psychopath’s attitudes, behaviors and perceptions can be our own too. But this is where empathy is a blessing. Our ability to love, a tremendous gift to us. Because we can change all of that. Psychopaths never will.

Love one another, care about a heart, your own and others. Learn and grow. Really, we are all in this together.

Peace , onward and upward.

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Making Meaning Of The Psychopathic ‘Experience’

I seem to be the bearer of ‘bad news’ and ‘negativity’. Psychopaths in power…

Today has been filled with clarity, if not anger, frustration and pain. Much of what I’m going to share is  repetitive I’m sure, but today is different for me. Very different. I’ve loved coming here and just writing and writing about it. It is catharsis and in doing so, I’ve had a few revelations that have had a big impact on me. I want you to know, those of you who have commented, I’ve learned a lot in the last few days and your contributions have been a major blessing to me. I thank you for that. I’m thankful for my ability to love, and to receive love, even if we’ve never met. I’m most grateful for the ability to write. . .and that my therapist assigned writing in my blog, as my ‘homework’ for me this week. I have a lot to share with her tomorrow.

Today I learned that I live in the ‘wrong’ city. I took matters into my own hands and called the ODAR office myself. They have no hearing scheduled for me and cannot say ‘when’ because “There are 8500 cases in this office waiting to be heard, with only TEN judges! We’re doing the best we can to get you guys taken care of, but I simply can’t give you any definitive answers right now!”

The lady was so nice, really, and I could sense her exasperation with her own job. “They cut funding to us in 2008, ya know, and we’ve not been able to hire anyone since, oh the stories I could tell you!” So I listened to her vent, because sometimes that venting can be informative. Psychopaths in power always deprive…and deprivation affects all of us.

I really don’t know how to express how I’m feeling right now. I thank God above for a car. Despite the many mechanical needs it has, it still runs. The homeless shelters here are all full and that does not at all surprise me because many more live in the forested areas in our county. Families living in deprivation. Psychopaths in power. . .

I know what the end result here for me will be. I know that expecting anything is morally wrong for me, but the anger at the deprivation is overwhelming, the sadness even more.

I wish someone needed a writer to educate about psychopaths. I suck at freelance. If I write about psychopaths somewhere else on another site that isn’t mine, it’s no longer my property. Advocacy pays in a measure of feeling a sense of gratefulness that another soul might find awareness and a measure of peace. It does not offer financial stability or sustenance.

So much of my life has been spent in some sort of survival mode. From physical to emotional. I’m so very, very tired. I wonder why some lives are blessed with opportunity and luck, while others are not. We do not live in an environment of ample opportunity, but increasing good fortune for the wealthy and pain in poverty.

I’m terrified to live on the streets. It’s different than it was years ago now when I experienced homelessness. I was a lot younger then, and my illnesses were not as overwhelming to me as they are now. I could scream to the mountaintops about how unfair and unjust all of this is, but that sounds ‘victimy’ right? Just as psychopaths in power want you to feel, dispensable, a burden, worthless, a waste of oxygen. . .

There have been times in my life when I had no idea what morals and values really meant. I knew what was right and wrong, but life with psychopaths meant no morals, no values, they weren’t allowed. I think it’s miraculous that I’ve even been able to figure that out. The things we tend to take for granted, when we have the freedom to make the choices that honor ourselves, are things that are now missing in my own life, but want so very, very much for myself. Those things cannot happen without a measure of financial stability and I know that. It takes money to live. People are distrusting and skeptical and in being honest with myself, I do understand why, as this has been fueled in society by psychopaths in power who have painted a broad brush for people like me as parasitic, unmotivated, and lazy.

Society’s morals and values are twisted. When a black child can be murdered and left on the street for hours and when his family puts flowers on the ground where his body laid,  in mourning and grieving the child they lost, it is demolished immediately. When young mothers leave their babies in cars to die in the heat.  When a nine year old is encouraged to use an UZI that kills her instructor, yet we wouldn’t allow her the keys to a car. When a violent psychopath walks into a school and freely murders 25 children, and a year later it is forgotten, but the violence and killing continues. When a friend of mine, whose 20 year old son puts a bullet in his chest because he was a vet honorably discharged for medical problems, leaving him to believe that he’s disappointed his ‘comrades’. He wanted to be a Marine so bad. . .where is mental health when you need them? Psychopaths in power and deprivation. . .and undiagnosed PTSD. A neighbor’s son who is clearly over medicated on psychiatric medications, while his mother screams for help and no one listens,  yet the pathological prescriber cares not for her son’s life and calls her ‘crazy’ for wanting more (or rather less) for her son. Those monthly visits for med refills, benefit the prescriber, and Big Pharma. Did I mention there was no referral for therapy?

When a close friend dies from cancer, and social security did not start his payments until the month before he died, a year after he was diagnosed. He worked hard all of his life and still they made him wait an entire year and he was terminal. Isn’t that the point though, of psychopaths in power? To deprive you and make you wait, hoping that you DIE before you experience much needed relief? So much for ‘compassionate’ allowance. . .I loved my friend very much and miss his random messages to me of love and cheer. His ‘stickers’ sent through Facebook messaging of Snoopy holding a heart. I love you dearly, RD and know that you’re in a happier place, full of joy and laughter now. . .the true essence of who you were, while loved by many.

It’s hard not to feel punished because of my disability, my past, my trauma. It’s hard not to feel so angry when I want the very best for my life, where finally, my values and morals line up emotionally with only an imagined pittance of stability. I could be so very happy with that. Throughout this last year, I’ve had to sell everything of value from my home. Whatever is left, is worthless to a potential buyer, so here is stays. I have many things of sentimental value saved for my children. I saved everything they ever made for me. Each of those things is in a box especially for them. As things were sold, right down to old cellphones, I began to realize how little any of those things really mattered to me. I loved my old log bed that was custom built. That was my favorite of the things that are now gone. My mattress is 10 years old, an old pillow top that has ‘lost its luster’ and is now sitting on the floor on top of my equally aged box spring. I got a memory foam mattress a few years back to put on the degraded pillow top. I am so grateful for that one thing, because with back problems it prevents a daily flare. And what’s funny to me is that all I worry about now, regarding the bed lost, are spiders that are moving in and they are huge and I swear packing suitcases with them, ready for a winter respite in their personal phoenix. It’s warm in here for them.

I can’t bear to look at my girl, who is lying on the floor in the sun next to me. I am her everything. She looks at me with such love. I feel a sense of betrayal at the idea of placing her in another home. I blew it for her too. She doesn’t deserve to live in a car with me. I want more for my Fuffies, who deserve to spend their lives in a splendor rich with love, food, bones and treats in abundance (healthy though, mind you, grain free!).

Aside from twisted morals and values in society, there are equally as many ‘gotchas’ in my life now too. Catch 22’s. The list for housing subsidy is very long, six years last I heard. I’m very, very fortunate to have this. Yet at the same time, while my rent is paid while enduring this process of waiting, it does not take care of my bills. And if my utilities are not paid, I lose my home. I receive a $24.00 ‘utility allowance’ from housing that goes to this ‘nickle and dime me now’ duplex I live in. That covers the water and sewer, but does not cover my electric, or my internet, which of course, is considered a ‘luxury’ for those of us in poverty, as we are not ‘deserving’ of such things.

I’m floored at the ignorance in society as to those of us who live in poverty and are disabled, or of color, or that are elderly. . .times have changed and continue to do so at lightning speed. I do not know one individual who is not carrying a ‘smart’ phone. I’m behind the times these days with my little “Obama phone.” I laughed one day (yes and out loud), at some guy behind me in the grocery check out line who was bashing the poor to his wife. The conversation started as he was looking at the pay-as you-go phone cards that are next to the conveyor. He started to bitch about how he ‘knows’ the ‘parasites’ with the free Obama phones and that they’re better than even his. He ‘knew’ what they looked like and how to spot one.  Now, I’m not a mean spirited person, but this conversation was, admittedly, getting to me. He went on to complain about how hard he worked and therefore earned his phone. ‘How DARE the parasites get a phone as nice as his, for free!’, I thought in my mind, putting the finishing touches to his diatribe. He described in detail how they all have the Samsung Galaxy S5 phones. Now, I couldn’t tell you what his phone was, although it was very nice, but it wasn’t a Galaxy because my son HAS one and he’s a low wage worker, does that count? My son got it on some deal he got suckered into in maintaining his contract through one of the WORST cellphone providers on the planet, which will remain nameless here.

So I did the unthinkable for me. His last ‘bash’ had me laughing so hard, I thought I’d pee my pants, but I was also very, very angry.  I scrambled through my purse and pulled out my Obama phone. “Do you recognize this???” I asked sarcastically. He just looked at me, and I think he was a bit stunned because he moved his head slowly side to side, meaning NO. “Well this, SIR, is my OBAMA PHONE, NOW do you ‘recognize’ it?” I was so angry, that I felt like I was floating and any ‘audience’ that might have been there to see this twist of events, were as if there were no one, just he and I. I threw the phone back in my purse and turned to put my groceries from the cart to the conveyor. In trying to calm myself and stay focused on the task at hand, I didn’t bother to look at his face the rest of the time in line, but you could have heard a pin drop because all that could be heard, was the noise and bustle from the clerk stacking groceries into the cart of the woman in front of me, as well as the noise from inside the store itself, which seemed louder to me than usual. . .

This is not the first time I’ve been exposed to such ignorance, whether it was direct or indirect. And while there is anger, there is also frustration and then sadness. I cannot control ignorance or what other people feel about ‘people like me’. But these stigmas are nevertheless, very painful to endure because when you’re a target of it, it violates boundaries and assumes the individual targeted as lacking in values and morals. Poverty is a character flaw in the minds of many.

Anyway, I’ve also looked for a place to move to that would help monumentally in keeping my costs down to very little. And while housing covers all of my rent and this is appealing to some owners, there is a stigma attached to those who have housing, as well as I can’t move into a place without income because….the rent is paid but how do you pay your bills? Another ‘gotcha’ and feeling incredlibly stuck with costs I don’t need where I live now. At one complex, I was told by management that if I could find someone to ‘cosign’ for me, they’d let me move in. Well nobody in their RIGHT MIND is going to do that for me, even though I’ve had help from my foster parents, friends, donations from time to time, an occasional sell from crystal jewelry that I have and social service a couple of times in making my bills. My children are all struggling themselves, with families of their own or just trying to make their own rent and feed my grandchildren. With the exclusion of two of my children, the rest have had their hours at work reduced.

And because I’m not ‘legally’ disabled yet, social service is extremely limited to me.

Losing my home and my housing is inevitable now. The crushing pressure I feel in constantly compromising my morals and values in begging and desperation to survive has worn me. I know that if I lose my housing, should I win my case, it will be even more difficult to find a place to live at $710.00 a month. Aside from the occasional studio that can go from 500-up here (we live in a state with high property taxes because we have no sales tax here), the average rent for a one bedroom, is 600-700 a month. Even at 500 there would not be enough left to pay my bills. The focus has been to pull this off as long as I can so I can keep my housing and exist doing it, after my hearing.

My bills are not all that high, my electric being the most expensive, but could be lowered substantially in a one bedroom place. But another catch 22 in that I don’t have the money to do anymore. It’s so frustrating when you know that everything seems to be within reach, that you’re doing all you can, thinking day in and day out how to do cut corners here or there, while being mindful of a huge gaping vulnerability with desperation and constant fear of deprivation, fear of exploitation. With that in mind, I’m already decorating the walls of my car.

I’ve endured countless losses this last year. From the sickness and subsequent loss to lymphoma of my boy, whom I miss with every fiber of my being, to my values and morals, to my integrity and dignity, to exploitation in desperation, resulting in loss of two people I truly loved and the loss of my close friend to cancer last month. I’m losing my health more everyday and feel on the verge of insanity, where only nature and my companion pets, my children and my grandchildren, my consistent and true friends who feel helpless to help me, yet are wells of undying support and love, spare me of a Robin Williams demise, an actor I believe was also highly empathic, gifted and whose death and the potential reasons we can only imagine, have been very powerful for me, someone who was perceived to have everything.  The loss of my material items to sale, isn’t even comparable to the loss of all the rest.

My faith, which I do not discuss much, out of respect to others who do not believe the same, or who do not believe at all, or somewhere in between,  has been tested time and time again. I pray with diligence, yet feel uncertain as to whether or not the God I worship is a loving, merciful one or a narcissistic one. Why is there so much suffering in the world that goes unrecognized, uncared for? Why, when praying for help and a door to open, when my prayers are about doing what’s right, within the scope of healthy values, morals and guidance in recovery, do they go unanswered? This very question perplexes the hell out of me. It complicates my relationship with God, that has already sustained much damage from a lifetime of evil and depravity, and in a personal, spiritual war inside that is fighting to see God as the father and not God as the psychopath. Psychopathy has literally poisoned every aspect of my life and I feel I’ve spent my life as some unwitting warrior in a battle I never asked for. I sense there is a light within trying to escape, but  evil, pervasive and darker forces in the form of human free will, are working to snuff it out.

When I was actively involved in the Four Square church( that I would never dare step foot in today) people were constantly telling me that God works through people. But the other shoe was never dropped in that if one believes that, then one also has to consider that SATAN works through people too. That for every good, there is just as much evil. And I’ve been exposed to mega doses of it in the world. Even when I try to get away, try to do good, want to do good, want my life to be filled with peace, love, and joy and giving back, I can never, ever expect this because the darkness of psychopathy looms, whether it’s infested in my personal relationships, society, government or any other important part of what it is to live life.

And if I’d never known what psychopathy was in the first place, or highly sensitive to it, I’d probably not recognize it around me. Perhaps there is something to be said for the ‘blissfulness’ of ignorance. My life would be vastly different. . .

It’s so damned hard to hear and feel ‘good’ when psychopathy taunts me. I can tell myself a thousand times, “Wish for good, think positive thoughts, be grateful, give thanks, expect a miracle”. It’s hard to describe that I’ve learned you cannot expect those things and that life for those of us with damage and in poverty does not work that way. We need more help then there is access too. It’s far easier to deliver one liners or to blame others for their circumstances, then it is to DO something about it. And I mean this in society as a whole, collectively for those who are most vulnerable among us.

I’ve been told over and over, “Don’t over think things”, “don’t be so sensitive about things”. . . but that is BULLSHIT because I’m being asked NOT TO BE ME. I ‘get it’ about ‘tempering’, ‘detachment’, or whatever ‘spin’ is put on to me with learning to live with my sensitivities and ‘over analyzing’, but no matter what I do, it is THERE. It’s how I’ve coped or survived. I’ve lived as a child this way. My ‘sensitivities’ are my limitations in many ways because I can’t turn down the volume! Wherever I go or with whatever I do, I hear the pain in others. And it’s internalized as PAIN within ME. This is why I’m so isolated and why writing works for me. It takes so much energy to be ‘on’ for people. My nervous system is on overload constantly. I do not do stress or crisis well anymore. It fills me with a constant hyper vigilance. These requests to ‘damper’ these things in me are why I’m disabled in the first place because I CAN’T. My reaction to that guy in the grocery store are automatic, spontaneous reactions for me, because I hear hatred in them. It is a HUGE trigger for me. Chronic anger, unkindness, exploitation of not just me, but OTHERS, even on a grander scale, gets my ‘advocacy’ feelers out. I would be an absolute MESS for an employer and a major distraction for coworkers. I would react to ‘demands’ and ‘criticism’, not because I don’t recognize it for what it is, but because it’s a trigger for me. If I hear gossip, it’s a major trigger for me and I’ll leave the scene asap. For every feeling I have that is ‘sensitive’ it is coupled by physical pain and messes with my health in monumental ways. I can feel it when the stress or anxiety is really coming on, because the pain I live with everyday, is intensified. Stress alone has caused my thyroid to go whack and for me to be very, very sick. I have to be very, very careful. And while I recognize and am totally aware of my limitations, of what I truly can and cannot do, it’s other people who are not and when told, dismiss, invalidate or further hurt me.

I know that the majority of the working world is ‘corrupt’ to say the least. I hear the stories my children and some of my friends share in their struggles to remain silent, when they are ABUSED by management and by customers who, thanks to a little exploitation fueled by psychopaths in power upon the low wage worker, experience hate and intolerance DAILY. I love my children dearly and to hear that they are HURT in some way, that they live with suppression and oppression at their JOBS, is more than I can BEAR. This is not what is megaphoned to American’s. But it is very, very REAL. It is so real that the STRESS of my eldest son’s job caused him to have a small stroke this last year. He is highly sensitive and empathic too! I pray constantly for God’s protection over his life. He works his butt off, as many American’s DO and who go unappreciated, underpaid and scapegoated all at the same time.

PLEASE tell me where is the empathy in all of this? If it can’t be said that people are not busting their asses off, with an excellent work ethic, then lets kick em to the curb because they’re stupid and can’t attain or achieve more than a low wage job? I wouldn’t DO my son’s job if my life depended on it, nor would the naysayers who see my children on their jobs as no more than worthless SLAVES to the powerful and elite. And my children are FAR from stupid and in fact, somewhat WISE in not attending college at this time. They know what the outcome might be, as witnessed in their eldest sister and with their friends who have graduated, only to find themselves unable to attain employment in their fields, and in low wage jobs, trying to pay off student loan debt. That’s damned hard to do when you’re pumping gas at Chevron.

And I endlessly worry for my beautiful grandchildren and the world in which they will live if things don’t begin to turn around and quickly in this country. My eldest granddaughter, I believe, is also highly empathic. When we had our last family dinner, she discovered my last remaining fish, dead in the small tank I have sitting in the living room.I was horrified as I had just ‘visited’ with him the night before, fed him and watched him swim around in the tank. He too was a source of comfort for me.

She announced this and had a sadness in her eyes that looked like she was going to cry on the spot and I saw and felt this sorrow immediately and began to talk with her about it. I tried to avoid making a huge deal out of it, because my other two grandchildren are much younger and have not been taught the concept of death, so I didn’t want to frighten them, yet wanted my granddaughter to feel what she was feeling. We talked about it in another room. This conversation led to her sorrow at the loss of my boy (he was the family dog for nearly ten years and all of her eight), and tears flowed. Admittedly, it wasn’t long before I was joining her in that. I worry about what life will be like for this beautiful child who will face many hardships with life in general, if psychopaths stay in power, as well as in knowing that she will be hurt, because she is highly sensitive. I want to teach her how to honor her sensitivities and not to hide them. But what will her life be like in a world that clearly has an empathy deficit?

That same day, she walked up to me in the kitchen, after the fish passing away incident and stared at me for a long time, just watching me help with dinner (I can’t do it all by myself anymore), and suddenly, she gently pulled my hand and said, “Grandma, you are so special. YOU are very special”. And that came from a loving, pure heart. It also brought me to tears and I hugged her so tight and told her how much she meant to me, that she is ‘special’ too and how very, very much I loved her. That moment is one I will always cherish, because it was a moment I never had with any of my pathologicals. My Grandmother was the biggest of pathological and was responsible for my earliest memory of abuse, abuse that was to come. I want my grandchildren to remember me in knowing without a doubt how much they were loved by me and that maybe with that love, along with the love of their parents and auntie’s and uncle’s, their lives, even if psychopathy is in the air, will fare much better than mine. To think that perhaps, JUST MAYBE I may have altered psychopathy for the next generation, makes all these painful and horrendous experiences worth it to me. In trying to find meaning amidst so much heartache, stress, loss and pain, this just has to be it. It just has to be, because I’m facing the reality of more loss, more stress and more pain.

So many times in the last year, I’ve been one shut off notice from living in the streets. But time has run out for me. I no longer wish to burden the people I love the most, who no longer have anything left to give and when it’s me who wants to be the one giving. I no longer wish to be so desperate that I overlook that voice inside that knows that evil is taking advantage of my pain for another round of manipulation, exploitation and to be painted in that familiar place of ‘scapegoat’, for an ego boost. One more month of living in the same place, only to be terrorized by what next month will bring. My desperation, terror and triggers have been nothing but trouble for me in making choices as to ‘hey do I hang out with psychopaths because they’re helping me, yet ‘using’ me and try to tell myself that this is okay?” Because it isn’t okay. It’s so, so far from okay. Psychopaths are good at knowing what you want, but leaving you ultimately deprived when it really matters, emotionally. I sacrificed all I know that is good of me, to survive. Just to exist.

I’m going to lose my internet now because I cannot keep it on this month, I am not disappearing on purpose and I won’t privatize the blog so that it’s open to everyone for reading. I will return comments and emails for as long as I can. But if I do not answer, please know it’s because I can’t.

I need to find a place for my things. I’m not sure what to do about that yet, but I don’t have a lot of time to ‘think’ about it now. I have the rest of this month to do that.

In thinking about this, while I know the roller coaster of emotions I’m about to face, what is the most unbearable to me is letting go of my pets. I know it’s better for them and I know the right thing to do, but this will be especially painful to me. I love them with all of my heart and sometimes that means letting them go so they can have continued good care, and a lot of love. It’s a good thing that they are so good natured as it won’t be difficult to place them. It will be far more difficult to place my Marley, but my Sassy will not be hard to place.

I never wanted to believe that living within my morals and values would mean homelessness. I never wanted to believe that living with my values and morals would mean that I love my friends and my children enough not to continue to burden them. They have enough worries of their own and there are lots and lots of people out there like me. In that way, I don’t feel so alone.

What scares me is the psychopaths I will face in the unknown. And as long as they are in power, deprivation for those of us living in poverty, living with unbearable stress and disability, many living in fear of their lives because of the color of their skin, many living in hopelessness and despair, voiceless and viewed as worthless, are at the mercy of those who do not know us, but hate us. I wish I could get pictures of the looks of contempt and disgust every time I pull out my SNAP card in a checkout line. It’s not safe to be in poverty, to be disabled, to be black or brown, to be old, to be ‘weak’, to be LBGT, to be ‘different’, to be vulnerable in this society.

But in some twisted way, I can live in my car and I will live because the people who love me, don’t deserve suicide from me. And I’ll live free of going against my values and morals. It’s repulsive to me that in order to do so, means even more deprivation and loss. . .

But if I can’t sleep at night, it won’t be because I’m going against my values and morals to survive, it won’t be the stress of obligation and indebtedness that keeps me awake at night, it won’t be the next move of desperation and terror that has me begging, manipulating and pleading for help. It won’t be a result of a pathological in my life that I’m kissing ass to, to survive. I absolutely loathe myself for what I was willing to do, sacrificing myself at the alter of psychopathy for help. I’m disgusted with myself. Everything I felt I had to do, made me hate myself more. And that is contradictory to my healing and what I want and see for myself. If someone was willing to give out of kindness of heart and compassion due to my circumstances, that’s far, far different, then psychopaths who offer because it’s an opportunity to hurt.

I’ll be living, but I’ll be true to myself doing it. No matter what that means for me now. And at this point, it’s not looking so good.

To those of you who have sent donations to me in the last week, I am incredibly grateful. Every single dime has mattered. I didn’t realize, nor was I prepared to deal with the expense and energy required to ‘vet’ my own pets out of illness or ‘cat birth’, nor that my cat is now eating more than my dog and I combined. In the last 48 hours, she has literally blown through a 1 lb. bag of cat food and six cans of kitten food. I’ve never seen a cat eat so much in my life!  Never mind the daily cleaning of the litter box two times a day.  It also allowed me to get a few things that I had not had for a very long time related to very necessary hygiene items, but I’ll spare you TMI about that. But it’s my pets that mean the very, very most to me and their comfort and care is always a major priority for me. I love them more than I can ever express.

I’m very grateful for all the help I’ve received along the way, even to those who are not in my life anymore. All have had a role in my survival and all have taught me many valuable lessons.

But the greatest of all clarity of self has come here in my writing and interacting with other survivors. I want you to know how very much it means to me that you’ve not judged, stigmatized, stereotyped me. That you’ve not criticized, that you’ve not harmed me, while allowing myself the opportunity to be so incredibly vulnerable here. With each post I wrote, I wondered if I should delete it, the fear of exploitation and harm is that great for me. I knew by sharing and being real about myself and my life, that I was opening the door to be hurt. I know that possibility still exists, and it will wherever I go and am being me. It will exist because psychopaths and evil exist. It isn’t that I don’t expect to be hurt in those ways, because I have been and often. I can have disagreements and rather strong opinions shared without disrespect or crossing boundaries. It’s those conversations that I learn the most, grow the most. There is a huge difference between constructive and destructive criticism and I think that society is lost, that there is so much hatred, intolerance and divisiveness, thanks to psychopathic exploitation, that constructive criticism and disagreement has turned into chronic anger and an ever present, underlying irritation and often, rage. And it’s this that I can’t respond too. It’s this that is an endless trigger, a limitation for me.

It’s true that I’ve been a people pleaser and I thought a lot about that today. While I’m a people pleaser and it isn’t a healthy thing, I know that it derives from a deep desire for peace, to exhibit kindness, empathy and seeing the best, and not the worst in people as I’ve seen the worst, out of others and out of myself too. I want to believe that, innately, people are good, but I often discount the bad. I don’t necessarily miss red flags, they are there, but I ignore them. I ignore them and try instead to implement understanding. My mantra being, “I’ve got damage too, and people react differently, what underlies these behaviors?”

I do this because I know what it feels like to feel misunderstood, to be rejected, to be hated, to be unloved. What I’ve ignored is that even though people will be human, there are many who are inhuman. You’d think I’d know that by now. . .

So now, I  ask for your prayers. And that whatever happens, I will be safe out there. I do believe that miracles or ‘luck’ happen, but I also know you have to be in the right place at the right time and most of us won’t be. But I can be, if nothing else, hopeful.
My life has been a very painful and traumatic one. My greatest hope is to live in stability and in peace, to give back. To love and help more survivors who are struggling with this massive pariah called psychopathy.

But most of all, I want to be free,  so that I can learn to love and live with me.

Onward and upward.IMG_3826

*Me at 18 months*

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