Lies! Lies! ….Or why you can’t remain in a Narcissist’s Life

Mask

Mask

A friend recently commented that my blog and art are really where I tell my truth. I liked that sentiment. (Her comment also made me feel good about myself and my work. It’s the primary reason I keep this friend in my life…so I feel good about myself :) ).

Have you recently felt a certain energy of awareness in your life? I wonder if so many of us are in the middle of a spiritual awakening or something. The resonance I have felt with reading many of your blogs and your comments on mine has been amazing.

Recently, there was a blog written about the Parents of Narcissists. This blog is excellent and has helped me a great deal.

The author commented to me that the blog topic may have meaning to me given my situation ( I see my stepkids mother has narcissistic behaviors (in my mind)). I have often refrained from commenting on my stepkids in relation to this issue out of respect for them.

However, I am seeing a dynamic develop that very much applies to narcissistic relationships in general.

My stepson has always struggled in school. Accordingly, he is enrolled in summer school this year. He was with his mother during the first two weeks of it and then was at our home while I was traveling.

When I returned, I saw his summer school folder. A reading log was in the folder. For the first week, nothing was filled out. The teacher, ever hopeful, was not deterred however.

The second week nothing was filled out prompting the teacher to make such comments on the log such as “Where are you?” “Could you please catch up?” “Time to catch up.”

I said to my stepson, “Looks like the ball was being dropped a bit here.”

He became very angry and started screaming at me. I will spare the details, but the issue confronting him is that really neither he nor his parents are participating in his schooling any more.

However, to admit that is too painful, hence the onslaught of lies. I would never say my stepson is a narcissist, so please don’t misread this. But, what I learned is this:

At a certain point, unless you are willing to lie as your only form of engagement, you will be required to exit the narcissist’s life.

It really is as simple as that. Because the narcissist crafts so many lies, lives in such denial, and with a vengeance and rage that is truly frightening, will defend these lies, there is simply no place for you in the narcissist’s life unless you are willing to lie.

For example, in his current state, I can not help my stepson with homework. The homework is not real to him. He has crafted so many lies around it (along with his parents’ consent) that there is no homework issue in which to engage.
The only way I could work with him is to first believe his lies that he has been working hard and so on.

I only share this story, not to point fingers at my stepson, but to perhaps help others.

In some cases, we truly have loved someone with narcissistic tendencies (again, I am not saying this about my stepson, just a general comment) and we have wanted to make it “work”.

We have believed our love would triumph all. We believed in our strategies and our compassion to overcome the narcissistic behaviors. We thought with awareness we could limit their impact and “work around” them.

And in doing this, we have lied to ourselves.

When a narcissist is full-bent on spinning a web of lies, there is no space for you unless you are willing to lie.

YOu may think with your growing awareness that you will be able to provide the light and you only fool yourself.

If you are to commit to a narcissist, you commit to the lies. There is no other way.

And if you awareness grows to the point in which you can not buy the lies, then you will come to place of knowing there is no space for you in the relationship and you will leave- either symbolically or literally.

You have not failed your relationship with a narcissist. There simply was not a space for you amongst the lies and you, in your wisdom, chose to live life otherwise.

One of the Most Important Things I Learned about Narcissism

One of the most significant roles we can fulfill in our own lives is that of aware witness.
We can not always control and change everything to our liking, of course.
Often, it is not our place to do so.
But, what we can always do is watch and observe with awareness.
This is a gift we give ourselves, because our awareness is our route to understanding ourselves and the dynamics in which we exist.

I have the opportunity to witness narcissistic behavior in a specific dynamic that affects my life.
One of the most startling observations that has emerged for me is simply this:

You are a part of the narcissist’s life. The narcissist has no interest in being part of yours.

This is likely to seem shockingly obvious, but I have missed this for years.

It was not until I saw some examples of my stepchildren and their mother that I thought “Oh my gosh. They are expected to be a part of her life. She feels no true responsibility to be a part of their lives (beyond normal care- clothing, food, some basic engagement, etc.) “

These children are expected to embrace their Mother’s life. They are to understand what she is thinking, feeling, and why her expectations are what they are. They are to participate in her events and her agendas.

She feels no true obligation to do likewise for them. Sure, she “mothers” to a point. But, she would never think to go out of her way to get to know their friends or extend herself in that way.

Although I do not know her well, I believe this behavior extends beyond her children and I have seen examples in how she treats me.

Never once would it occur to her that I “mother” these children for 1/2 of their lives, that I am busy professional, who also must balance work/”motherhood” and all that being a woman entails.

In a different context, we could maybe bond over our similarities and the difficulties/joys inherent in the dynamic. However, that would require her to engage and participate in an understanding of my life.

This is impossible for someone with narcissistic behaviors.

You exist to be a part of their life. The symbiosis most of us experience in relationships is completely lacking in them.

They see no need to be a part of your life. They don’t even see you have a life, apart from serving them.

Please save yourself the time and energy of trying to get a narcissist to engage in your life and understand you and your perspective.

Other than your engagement in their life, you simply do not exist to them.

In Praise of Girlfriends

Galaxy

Galaxy

Let me never forget that your Heart is made from the Stars.
—-
Every woman, I think, needs in her corner one or two good girlfriends.

Unbound by any “official” relationship beyond the weight of friendship, girlfriends serve as our champions.

They will fight for us, sooth us, support us, cajole us, humor us and stand on the firm belief that we are worth it.

They take our hearts and hold its Light.

Even when, and this is important, we forget that we, too, are born from the stars – they remind us that we are a piece of Heaven.

Be Brave: What the Erect Penis showed Me about Creative Expression

***This post is written with the awareness of the role of the penis in the act of creation. I am aware that the “power” contained within the penis has also been used to dominate, attack, and abuse. I do not want this post to serve as a trigger or source of harm for anyone. I am writing this so you may decide to read further or not.***

I can not Be Hidden

I can not Be Hidden

If you are to embrace life
If you are to live
If you are to leave a mark
If you are to hold
If you are to be held

You must be brave enough to stand out.

You can not hide. You can not deny. You can not hope to be invisible.
And consider yourself living.

What if all the world needed, all that your God expected,

was for your to live your life as an expression of all that is

inside you?

What if that was all that was needed?

How would you live?

—–
So, obviously, we are back to penis pictures.

To support and further understand my current interest in phallic symbols, I am reading Susan Bordo’s The Male Body.

At least the point I have read, she is looking at the male body from a cultural perspective.

I tend to look at it more symbolically- as in, what is contained in this form? What is it trying to tell me and show the world?

And in the male form, especially when sexually aroused, I see a sentinel of power and a willingness (pun intended) to stand up and proclaim a manifestation of one’s inner world into an outer expression.

There is no denying the space and attention an erect penis almost seems to demand.

In its state of arousal, it is an overt symbol (to a point) of the inner workings of the man.

And I guess where this is leading me, in the symbolic sense, is the bravery we all need to allow the overt expression of our inner worlds.

I like the penis because it stands there, a lone sentry proclaiming “This is me. I am aroused and I am aware and I will not hide. I will not bury within me that which I find arousing so no one knows I am here.

I will stand- firm and erect. I will proclaim my presence without apology and I will demand my share of attention, for I am the inner world in outward manifestation.

I am the route for the creative form to find its expression.”

I know I am heading off into a weird area here. “Tangent” seems to be too weak of a word to cover this deviation. But one thing I have always admired about myself as an artist is that I do not hide and I do not try to limit.

If I need to see the message of expressing one’s inner world in outward manifestation and an erect penis is the only way to “get it”, then so be it.

You have to admit the penis is a powerful symbol of expression without protection. And, I think the play of this energy is something many creative types struggle with.

How can I put myself out there…how can I truly live and express myself without additional protection?

May we all be brave enough to continue to put ourselves out there. To proclaim our inner workings in outward manifestations, contributing to the creative expression in the world.

Back to My Husband

How I Came to Love You

How I Came to Love You

I have been traveling for a bit and returned home last evening.
I seldom travel without my husband and I realized why last evening.

Most people scare me- a lot.

I am one of these who never feels relaxed around others. I feel like most everyone else has a playbook, or at least a well-written pamphlet, on how to engage seamlessly with energy, humor and grace in social interactions.

While this occurs, I stand for the most part silently calculating in my head the number of hours/minutes I must engage and converting such numbers to fractions and percentages because I find math soothing.

During my travels, we began to speak about the best trips we have taken and where we would like to go and so on. I blurted out, “My favorite places are where I go with my husband. He is the only one I really feel comfortable around.”

I thought in that moment how often I reach for my husband in social situations. How I grab onto his hand or arm to feel his solidity and his peace in talking with others. THere is a reason he is in customer service and I am not. (Well, there are several reasons, the fact he is so good with people is one of the primary ones. I have instead been told throughout my life that I should not work with the general public. I would have to agree.)

Some days I do not know if I truly understand marriage and why our society and culture holds this institution in such esteem.

But then I look at my husband and what he means to me and the connection/commitment that marriage both requires and fosters and I come to the realization that, as with many things in life, that there is magic in this institution.

It is not a simple as two people coming together to share a life. There is alchemy in this union. And like all great alchemical processes, the sum ends up being so much greater than the parts.

SO, there is my husband, holder of my heart and so much more.

It feels good to be back in his arms.

What happens when your fear is true?

It’s so strange what emerges for us in the midst of life.

Sometimes we spend a tremendous amount of time “hiding”, “denying”, “covering” and “hoping” something we fear is not true, only later to learn that our fear was, in fact, not unfounded.

We may fear a spouse is having an affair and then learn it is true.
We may worry about our job in downsizing and then later lose it.
We may fear we have an addictive personality and only to hit bottom at some point and realize “Yep, that was a sure sign of addiction.”
We may fear a body health issue or injury, playing out different scenarios in our minds ad infinitum while wasting hours on internet “medical research”, only to get the diagnosis or medical report that “Yep, in fact our instincts were right.”
We may worry our family is not functioning as it should be. And there are plenty of signs that it is not.
We may fear we are not the person, spouse, employee that we present to the world and our greatest fear is being discovered that we are not.

When we deny, hide, and cover a fear that is real, we keep it (with a LOT of energy) out in the atmosphere, away from us. This is our innate response to a fear.

We build walls of denial, we push it out into the stratosphere- far, far away from where we think it can damage us.

But what happens when the fear pushes through the walls and lands from the stratosphere upon our front porch?

It takes a tremendous amount of energy to live in denial and keep our fears at bay. When they finally come home to roost, the energy of denial is transformed.

I am learning that this is the point, when it all feels as if it is crashing through the door, that we in fact gain some of our power back.

What was only a nebulous idea in our minds, suddenly has symbolic weight and matter when it lands in our living room.

And this is where our power engages (after the tears). Rather than some distant, amorphous idea of a fear, that we are trying to keep at bay with an inordinate amount of energy, we finally have something real and tangible to which to put our energy.

I am not saying it is pleasant when our fears are revealed as truths. In fact, I would not wish this on anyone. However, most of us have lived long enough to have experienced this.

When the moment of truth arrives and a fearful thought reveals its substance, we are given the opportunity to finally work on something real that can transform us.

Where we once lived in denial, we can now see what is real. It may not be pretty (most likely it will be pretty ugly), but when we get real, we get our power.

Weigh Your Heart Gently

Weigh the Heart

Weigh the Heart

And well, I guess we are back to animal totem/heart pictures for now :)

Baboons figured prominently in the symbolism of Ancient Egypt. Often associated with the god Thoth, who played a role in the judgment of the dead, the Baboon was sometimes shown as sitting upon the scales that weighed the heart of the dead against a feather.

The heart was to be so unburdened and true it was to weigh less than a feather.

I am playing with that image here. To me, the Baboon represents our wild, baser self and I am wanting each of us to weigh our hearts in kindness in regards to some of aspects of ourselves.

None of us are perfect. We make mistakes, we err, we suffer, we hurt. We can be flippant. We can be mean. We can be self-serving and we can also be self-sacrificing.

If we can learn to be compassionate with all that comprises us, we may just find our hearts to be a little lighter. It does not mean that we don’t keep striving to become more aware. It simply means we do not place additional weight upon our hearts when we mess up.

If we could hold our hearts in kindness as we weigh them against perfection, which can never be attained, we may find that our hearts are lighter than we expected.

Balls Deep in Life Changes

Enter or Exit

Enter or Exit

Strange little picture here.

It’s a slightly distorted view of a male figure entering …or is he exiting from… water?

It is a play on the duality of life.

The male is the active principle entering or exiting the water, the female principle.

Whether we biologically (or psychologically) identify with being male or female, we actually contain both aspects within us.

It is the interplay between male and female that produces life.

I made the image, however, to primarily speak to changes in life and how each change brings us into contact with two points- the exit and the entrance.

During any life change, we are at once both exiting from an old way and entering into a new way.

Both are contained in the same act and can not be separated.

For some reason, we tend to fixate on one aspect of this duality.

If one focuses too much on the portion being exited, one clings too strongly to the past.

If one focuses too much on the entrance of a new state, one loses the connection and lessons associated with the past.

When we engage with a life change by only looking at one aspect, we lose the other half of the story.

During any transition, you are both exiting and entering. If you can remember this, it can become your balance point by which to weather the change more smoothly.


On a sidenote, I don’t know how this came up, but we were having dinner at another couple’s home. The husband began talking about keeping cool, which caused him to speak to my husband about swimming and getting into cold water.

He said to my husband, “You know how it is. Once you get the guys in the water, you are committed. You know, when you are balls-deep, it isn’t going to get any colder, so you are going in.”

I found this to be a strange coincidence considering the art I had just completed.

And I thought about how this reflects the energy in the image and speaks to changes in life.

Maybe whether we are male or female, we can think about committing if we are “balls deep” in a life change. Once we are “balls deep” it’s not going to get any worse, so we might as well step all the way into to the deep water.

Likewise, if we are emerging from a situation, and we are now “balls free” of the water, let’s not head back in to something we are trying to leave behind.

The Practice of Our Lives

Sliver

Sliver

This image arose from several experiences. I was meditating and saw a sliver of light representing my true form, and I realized this is all God needs to change the world- just a sliver of our truest, most sincere self. Not the Self of agenda, proposals, and expectations.

I think this came to me because I was recently reading Chi Running and Chi Walking by Danny Dreyer.

I had been pushed towards these books as the result of some chronic pain while running and walking.

In the book, Dreyer discusses a metaphor about movement – that we are to be a needle in cotton.

That is, we have a core of energy (the needle) while our limbs should be light and flexible enough as if to be moving through cotton.

We should not rely on muscular strength to power our way through things, but rather, engage our core and allow the energy to manifest freely from there, and not to force it.

This produced within me a sense that perhaps this is how we should engage with God (however you define that to be) and our purpose in the world.

Maybe, we could imagine ourselves as needles or slivers of light and allow manifestation to emerge naturally from this core of True-ness and Light, rather than sporadically and wildly flinging our energy about.

A brief update on how this is affecting my running and walking.

I do think my pain is lessening, however, I am learning that being able to apply this thinking is not always easy.

My dear friend, who has the longest legs ever and a power stride and Type A personality to match, asked me to go for a walk.

Because I am on the shorter side, I have a difficult time keeping up.

I do ask her to slow down which lasts for approximately 12 seconds before she is off striding and I am off on some awkward half-run/half-walk gait.

Chi walking went out the window.
In my attempt to keep up, I clomped along like a Clysedale.

And my overly-dramatic mind engaged with:

“I am not supposed to be doing this.” Clomp! Clomp!
“I am a needle in cotton!” Clomp! Clomp!
“A needle in cotton! ” Clomp…

So I was reminded again- as our insights and awareness arise, our ability to integrate them into daily living is the practice of our lives.