‘some professionals feel that little is to be gained by going back over past experiences and delving into them. others believe that telling your story relieves the burden of carrying your history around, as though it is the sum total of who you are. your abuse is not your whole story. talking externalises those past experiences, and disentangles the issues they invoke from who you are, making it possible to separate yourself from the experiences.’
(van loon & kralik, 2005c)
part one: stories and mites
i have been trawling the internet, like the crazy woman i clearly am trying to make sense of it all. trying to find some truth, some sanity. pages and pages, words and words forever rolling past my screen like the opening of a star wars film. they just keep rolling and i can’t seem to find anything that resonates in the professional sphere, what i can find are voices. womens voices. voices sharing their stories. lived experience. experience that the medical and legal system has not yet caught up with. it is days like this that i am glad for the internet, glad for social media and so fucking glad there are platforms for our voices to be heard, for our stories to be shared.
all of these little, tiny little moments- like mites. moments that give way to reactions and responses that just are. moments that confirm it is all me. i must be a mess, my god look at you. it was just a text. a mite. a small moment in my day. a small moment that gave way to all kinds of black. i can feel my heart knocking in my chest, rapid thuds begging to be released. words in my mind- triggered motion, motion that swirls and spirals, inertia, like a circle pit at a metal gig. emotions released into a pool, thoughts caught in the inertia. physical response, disconnection, like watching a train wreck from a window, i can see it all happening but i can’t reach out. release. tears cascade when the intensity subsides. then shame. oh the shame. it is all me. stay away, keep away, its all in my head. i am. i am just crazy. stay away. it will be ok, it was just a text, just words, he can’t hurt me, i am safe, i am safe. it is all me. irrational behavior= i am just crazy.
triggers, triggers. like little stings, just little moments. mites. it all comes flooding back. those little mites. she is just blowing it all out of proportion. is she?
research and words, words have power. words have so much power. just one phrase. just one. a phrase that has triggered this wading, wading through words and voices and psychological papers, and forums and youtube clips and stories not her own.
one phrase. and like cogs all slotting into place, something just clicked. it all makes sense. wait, its not me, i am not crazy. validation. it is actually a vital part of our human experience. validation. you are not crazy. you are responding to stimuli based on these past experiences. it is all ok. you are ok. a rush of faces, all washing over me, voices, so many voices. stories. common threads. my god, look! can’t you see?
voices matter. stories matter. your story, it has mattered to me, it is all i have done during my time this week. listened and read and absorbed your story. and somehow it all feels ok. clarity. clarity and hindsight. your moment of truth became mine and i felt validated. i stopped minimizing. i understood. i was aware. awareness is powerful. stories and voices are powerful. right now in this moment i am grateful.
it wasn’t that bad, it isn’t that bad. i am ok, i am safe. he never hit me. it actually wasn’t as bad as a lot of the stories i have read. but the thing is this- understanding that each of our paths are different does not need to minimize our experiences, my experiences. the past should stay in the past, move on, get over it. sheesh. mites. moments like mites. little moments that significantly impact my moments, my moments now. we can not separate ourselves or the people around us from our background or our context. it is all just a beautifully black dichotomy that creates who we are and impacts our present moments. the past and the present. they are deeply and directly connected.
just get over it. trauma, specifically childhood trauma impacts our physiology. those moments directly impact how we develop; those moments govern how a child’s neural pathways develop. past and present, physical and mental- it is all connected.
just a collection of letters. a word. a key, a phrase recently highlighted- complex ptsd. oh, really? another mental disorder *rolls eyes, another crutch for society to make excuses for bad behavior? no. not at all. another example of the dysfunction of our mental health system, of the stigma still associated with all emotion based issues and the slow moving developments in understanding.
a phone call. just now. i feel like i might vomit. my head is racing and my heart is so loud. a call about mediation. mediation. custody of our children. the last time this happened 5 years ago was horrendous. i want to run, to hide, to escape. i feel like i can’t breathe, like some invisible, unknown thing is slowly stealing my breath. with similar triggers my internal dialogue runs on a loop of crazy confirmation- look at you, why are you responding like this to such a little thing. a physical response i seem to have no control over. clarity- this response is not crazy, at all, it is a fear driven response to triggers, a trigger that sends your body into flight or fight mode. complex-ptsd.
sometimes people really do just need to find a way to let go. to move on. to ‘get over it’. sometimes when you say that to someone you have no fucking idea what you are talking about, you have no idea of the layered and painful moments that have created such a reaction when so much time has passed, you have no idea of the insidious ongoing little intrusive moments that continue each year, each moth, each week.
people have said this lots to me, i have just taken that on board, internalized it all, my god it is me! i am just a broken mental case who can’t let go. there is something wrong with me. i am such a dick head. why the fuck am i responding so intensely to him, still?! still! i am a failure, even all this time later i can’t let go. it is all me, i feel embarrassed and shameful that i am still responding like this. my god.
you know what? time alone does not heal a fucking thing. it doesn’t. awareness, understanding, education, specific tools, support and shared experiences do. but sometimes you are injured, or isolated, or embarrassed. sometimes you don’t know where to look for help or information, you don’t know how to authentically speak with others or ask for help or even what the fuck to goggle because you don’t understand what the fuck is wrong. sometimes it is all we have ever known, sometimes it is the standard we have always lived by, sometimes we don’t know any different and it just feels ‘normal’. we each have our own timelines, our own path. what was yours is not mine. and it is all ok. i honestly believe that we do the best with the knowledge and awareness we have at that moment and as we move through this life we pick up further understanding and awareness and are able to move past things from there.
so, this moment of awareness for me has been huge. huge. i don’t know where to start. there are so many moments. moments that make no sense. none at all.
ok, perhaps i will start with this one- a moment that occurred not long after b (my current partner) and i started dating. (i hate that word, dating, what does that even mean?! i feel like its an american thing. dating. we weren’t really ‘dating’ we just were, but i digress.) we were spending the night together and through a set of circumstances we happened to be exposed to another couple having a horrible argument, like screaming and abusive horrible. i was just sitting there within all this noise starting to freak out, my heart started racing, my palms got sweaty, i felt like i couldn’t breathe, i could feel my heart beating in my throat. my mind started racing and screaming to get out. i was never in any danger, the argument had nothing to do with me. at all. i quietly got up from my seat and slowly walked to the bathroom. my heart and head racing. just walk, just walk. i closed the door. sat on the tiles in the corner. tried to calm my heart down but instead i stared shaking. and crying.
b came to see where i had gone, he slid open the door, and found me crying and shaking in the corner of the bathroom floor. he sat on the floor next to me, scooped me in his arms and just held me, concerned and not sure what he should do. at this point in our story i am just so fucking glad he did not head for the hills and drop me like the crazy hot potato i thought i was.
that was not the first and certainly not the last time that type of reaction would happen to me, but one of the first anyone else ever witnessed. during the first two years after separation from my husband of 9 years these types of reactions were regular and severe each time there was a confrontation with him, or even any contact at all. often after a severe high conflict situation with him my body would be in such emotional distress i would be shaking, crying and be vomiting or have diarrhea. or both. i lost a lot of weight those first two years after separation, it was great.
a fortnight ago i received a text message from family relationships australia notifying me that he (my ex-husband) had instigated family mediation concerning the care and custody of our children. i got off the phone after making the initial appointment and just gave over to all the reactions i was tightly holding in while on the phone. i started shaking and crying and screaming and tore up the paper i was holding. i couldn’t breathe, my head and my heart were racing and all i could think of was how to escape, how to make it all stop. the relentless, constant confrontation and disruption. it has been 6 years since we separated. 6. i have spent most of my time since that mediation message in a black mess of sticky tar i can’t seem to wash off, black sticky tar that is stealing my breath, that is filling my head with numb prickles.
what a crazy lady right? so much cray. what an irrational ott reaction to a simple message. is it? i am loosing my mind. am i? it was a few months ago after a similarly crazy reaction to my ex-husband showing up at our home, without being given the address and being told he is not welcome here, that b said, i think perhaps you are experiencing ptsd. what? pffft. that only happens to war veterans or people who have been in really bad domestic violence situations. he never hit me, it was never that bad. most of it was me and my issues. was it? him showing up here really freaked me out, i cried and cried, like ugly snot entangling cries until i couldn’t breathe. inhale. inhale. it is ok, you are safe, you are safe. in the fetal position on our bed b just stroked my hair until my little storm passed. that storm included deleting all my social media accounts, obsessively checking there was nothing online about me that he didn’t already know, asking b to block on fb anyone, anyone at all that could get information back to him that he could use to hurt us. i felt scared, so many thought i had overreacted, and the truth i suppose is that i did. but i was afraid, actually terrified he would hurt us, hurt b, hurt our time with my children, or hurt them. not physical hurt, but destroy. he has done it before, he tries to do it every other fucking week. you have no idea. no idea.
i had tried to explain it to others before. badly. because i didn’t really understand it. i was just handling it poorly, wasn’t it?! not moving on. living in the past. allowing them to still hurt me. it is all my fault. i did just think it is just me and my cray ways, so much silly. you are so silly.
i had been reading things about ptsd and really thought that seems like how i respond but that can’t be it because it wasn’t as bad as all those things i have been reading. he never hit me. its all in my head. it was never that bad. there were good times. as i have been reminded by those within his circle, numerous times. don’t forget, there were good times. i could not pin point one singular incident or event. there was just a million little things that in isolation don’t seem a big deal. insidious.
words and stories have power. like little connecting threads that bind us all together and validate our own experiences and our own stories. there is no ‘just get over it already and move on’. i have moved on, my life is good, i am grateful, my experiences are different than others, i am loved, i am safe, i am well fed. i have the internet and today i am so damn grateful for that.
there are just little moments, little threads that pull me back to black and that slowly steal the inhale, moments like an arrow that hit my core and i fall to the ground before i can draw a breath. our past, my past, it all matters. little fucking mites. mites that prickle all over my skin, arresting my breath. mites. mites- triggers and threads i just cant seem to get free of, threads i just can’t seem to cut.
release. it all ends. separation. i am free. free. a moment of solitude to catch my breath. ground zero. a moment to dare to hope and dream. dream- a window; like a fine transparent glassy sheet of life showing a glorious path stretching out before me, trigger, and the image cracks, trigger, and it cracks some more, one more step, keep going, i can see past the crack, i can see the colour and the light, trigger, and the sheer is slowly crackled, trigger and holes appear in the dream, in the path, get up, keep going you can do this, he doesn’t matter any more you can do it, trigger, and large shards fall from the view, trigger, and the blackness behind starts to seep into the colour, trigger, black pain; little colour and dreams remain, trigger, more black than white, trigger, i can’t breathe, trigger, the colour disappears, trigger, black, trigger, empty. trigger. trigger. trigger. there is just silence. there is nothing, you are empty and ashamed. ashamed that you’ve lost all the colour, shame and guilt. just take it all, just keep it, i can’t fight anymore you fuck head, why, why can’t you just leave me alone. trigger, there is nothing left to respond. oh but you can’t give him that power, you are fine now, get over it- trigger, shut your fucking mouth you have no idea, trigger, your experience has been invalidated and minimalized. trigger. isolation to avoid invalidation, alone, trigger. nothing but the empty black remains. silence. it’s quiet. sit up, sit up, i know you can, i love you, look what you have come through, breathe, breathe, see there? there is colour, just a tiny fragment- a little seed, breathe. stand, pick up the pieces, start lacing them together, trigger. it is ok, it is just this, we can work through it, you are not actually alone. i love you. i love you. i have empathy for you and the child that was- i see you. trigger. there is pain, there is physical response. clarity. trigger. just breathe. trigger. it stings, i can breathe, trigger. it is ok. keep going- i love you. trigger.
all just tiny little moments, just little triggers. over time i have intuitively learnt to remove the triggers, no contact, reduced contact. as much as i can. i have learn’t to give my self space to just be, to be kind and gentle. but sometimes the triggers make no sense, why am i responding like this to that stimuli? my god i am just fucking crazy, just a fucking waste of space. shame.
i honestly believe, or choose to believe that everything happens for a reason, for us to learn and grow. life, currently has given me space, safety and a significant trigger. time and space in the way it has been given to me now is not something i have ever had. love and safety and support. also something i have only recently had in the way i do now. and another trigger (thank you for not ever just leaving us alone and letting us get on with life, thank you for this moment).
complex-ptsd. b had been googling. you’re not crazy, you are the most logical person i know. pfft, that’s a lie i have met your dad! well besides him. not crazy? are you sure? here look at this article, and this one, and this one…see! it is all ok, it will all be ok. just this last piece, now you know.
empathy. understanding and patience. three powerful actions. validation
impossible to locate through the wading actual medical articles or information, but a few little sparkles in the dust. clarity. there were however stories, so many personal stories. my god. wait. it’s not me, i am not mad. look b, look at this one and her here. it was like reading stories of my own path. hearing about my own pain through her words. validation. words flashing across my screen like golden ah-ha, oprah style moments. childhood trauma. narcissistic abuse. flash. internalised shame. distorted sense of self. flash. trauma bonding. triangulation, mimimisation of experiences. flash. flying monkeys. flash. covert narc. flash. flash. stop and breathe.
all of the words and all of the stories. awareness. information. words, words, words. so many beautiful words.
and i come to this moment. this moment, right now with you. thank you. complex-ptsd.
he actually wasn’t that bad. i don’t mean that in a minimising of experiences way. at all. he was a narcissistic, emotionally abusive, physically intimidating, manipulative, demeaning, cheating (insert all manner of creative insults here) man. he continues to relentlessly behave in this manner, displaying categorically narcissistic behavioral traits. our past has had a significant impact on me, yesterday and today. but what i have come to understand is that it was not as bad as it could have been, it was not all me and my ‘crazy head’ and it was not all him. at all.
there is power in this realisation. for a long time i have believed and felt like it was all me, that notion of ‘crazy’ and ‘it is all in your head’ was something i truly believed. it is all in your fucking head angel, god you need help. but actually i have come to understand that is a part of their systematic deconstruction of self, if they project all that black onto you they don’t have to take responsibility for any of their behavior. every, single story i have come across regarding this has had this as a common thread- being told you are crazy.
he was not as bad as some of the stories i have heard. not a minimization, but truth. this does not change the impact he has had on me, nor the impact he continues to have on our family unit. i feel afraid of him, actual physical fear, a fear at the moment i can not control. but he is nothing. the worst he could do is hurt our children and destroy my life as i have come to know it. i honestly don’t think he would do anything to directly harm our children. and he has completely fucking destroyed my life once before and i kept fucking moving. and if it all explodes in a court situation (which right now i am terrified of) i know i am doing my best and being the best i can be for my children and if he lies and manipulates and i lose time with our children then it is our fucked up court system that has failed my children. i would be broken and again find a darkness and a pain i have lived through once before. i will continue to fight and in the end they will find their own truth.
and the last little piece of this puzzle is that is was not all him. this is where the ‘complex’ part of the ptsd comes into play. they are drawn to your broken vulnerabilities and empathy, but what i have found to be common in this type of emotional abuse is that in most cases there was also a history or childhood abuse or childhood trauma. all the broken little pieces. the little gaps in your porcelain. the little shards of pain. the damaged neural pathways. the broken sense of self. it did not start with him.
for me there has been something liberating in that thought. fuck you, you are not that scary. these debilitating moments are not all due to you, so i don’t need to be as terrified of you as i have been, does that make sense? it is that layering of prolonged, consistent emotional abuse- the little insidious moments that chip away at who you are that create these responses. moments that trigger complex-ptsd
awareness and understanding = empowerment.the most nourishing thing for me has been to look back. often looking back is painted as negative- oh stop rehashing the past, it was what it was, get over it. but when your sense of self worth has been annihilated you see your past through a very distorted lens. you minimize your own achievements along with everything else. looking back has been important for me to reframe those stories, to redefine those moments- to try to alter the negative internal dialogue.
what you do need is space and safety to be able to even understand that you need to do that. triggers. triggers are the things that have it all come unstuck, that keep you in the loop. so many of us intuitively remove those triggers, go ‘no contact’ with the abuser. with this space you heal and grow. except some of the triggers you didn’t expect, or sometimes you have shared custody with the trigger.
reframing my past- outside of triggered responses i am actually awesome; i don’t meant ‘awesome’ in a ‘high’ kind of way, it is challenging and banal at times such as life is; i mean awesome in an authentic way, in a way that resonates in my core. life is full of so many things to be grateful for. i have done well. i left that 9 year marriage with basically nothing; with old mattresses on the floor, a rusty shed fridge an $85,000.00 joint debt and a very fragile support structure and have since consistently dealt with ongoing (fucking relentless) emotional abuse, economic abuse and disruptive intrusions to my life from him. i am not a victim, i am not whining or rehashing the past or ‘not getting over it’; this has been my truth. just holding all that in my mind. look what i have achieved. i am resilient. i am strong. and i honestly feel proud of myself. proud- not like a poorly designed inspirational poster, with a stock image and woeful typography screaming to be proud and love yourself!! i mean like a quiet and still relisation, look how i handled that, look what i have achieved here- internally, in a quiet dark place that rests within my core i am proud of myself. that suspended thought prickles my eyes wet. i am proud of me.
if i remove all of the triggers all is well. it is just that i can’t. so many advise to go ‘no contact’ well i can’t do that, i have as much as i can removed verbal and face to face contact. but as i am coming to understand there are also, other triggers. things that are only just starting to make any sense. little moments that seem to come out of no where and my body, without my consent, goes into full fight or flight mode. any kind of confrontation that i am a part of or exposed to (basically any conflict, yelling, raised voices or abusive language), overtly dominant or aggressive behavior, large social situations with lots of unknown people, any kind of public speaking. that last one- i used to just think i was nervous, like everyone and that it was just something i was not getting past, but from what i understand from reading other stories, it is a common thing in complex-ptsd. it is more than just being nervous. it is complete body-take-over-fear. it is shit and annoying and often quite debilitating. it has impacted my moments, at times my professional development and my capacity to move forward with life. networking events, fucking networking. all kinds of pain. the thing in these situations is that i have just felt like i am introverted and nervous, and if i have felt like the event, or my performance at the event was a failure i feel shame and from there it feeds into the whole spiral- seriously why can’t you just get your shit together etc etc.
it is complex. so many layers and moments.
part two: shared voices, specifics and common threads
clarity and awareness- this means finding ways of healing and reducing these responses.
what i have found is very little actual medical research on the specific issue of how to treat complex-ptsd after narcissistic/emotional abuse. as yet, as i understand it, (and i could be wrong) complex-ptsd is not an official diagnostic word, it is however threaded into regular medical discussions on ptsd when related to cases that have a specific traumatic incident in addition to a history of childhood abuse. it is noted that these together create an additional dimension not previously covered by a ptsd diagnosis. complex. it is also discussed in cases of prolonged emotional abuse in domestic relationships- specifically where there is not physical violence. it is a thing. trust me.
i have also found each of the stories to be vastly different within their commonalities. what i mean by that is there are indeed common threads or events or moments or incidents- for example childhood physical abuse. the commonality is the child hood physical abuse (or any of the other things) but so much around that abuse is different, ie. the conditions around it, the people around it, the people that perpetuated it, the ages of all involved, the type of abuse, the intensity of abuse and the number of times the abuse occurred. each experience occurs through different cultural, economic, geographic and religious constructs. each experience is threaded through a different family structure and values. what is the same is the base outcome; injured adults. not at all a new or original concept but the formal metric for what constitutes ‘emotionally damaging behavior’ is widening.
a lot is damaging and a little bit is damaging. just a few moments, a few little mites are enough to impact your path forever. ‘soft’ forms of abuse, like gaslighting, belittling, triangulation, manipulation, love bombing, smear campaigns and orchestration of ‘flying monkeys’- general narcissistic behavior, behavior void of physical or sexual abuse can be just as damaging to a child’s development and how they interact in their world as an adult as much as physical and sexual abuse. to my understanding, in a mainstream sense this is only very recently being accepted. these behaviors, characteristic of a narcissist, do not always accompany physical and/or sexual abuse. i have found that this can play a massive role in why they can be so damaging- there is no physical proof, no actual way of externally validating your experience, no way to prove it to others, sometimes no way of proving it to your self.
based on researching those with lived experience and the minimal medical papers and discussions that i could find (my disclaimer here is that i have absolutely no professional experience in the mental health industry except my own lived experiences within it.) these are some of the common threads in childhood experiences, in this context what i have found is that ‘childhood’ extends to teenage years. i suppose these are risk factors? or commonalities in the stories. i can pretty much tick every box, in varying degrees and with varying frequency of occurrences. from others accounts it can be just one of the below, all of the below or any numbered combination of the below and i suspect there are other things not covered in the below list:
- a parent or other adult in the household swore at them, insulted them, put down, or humiliated them or caregivers acted in a way that made them afraid that they might be physically hurt- emotional abuse.
- one or more caregivers was physically violent with the child and/or the child was exposed to violence within the caregiver relationship.
- child experienced sexual abuse, from fondling and inappropriate touching through to sexual intercourse.
- child exposed to substance abuse.
- child exposed to parental depression or mental instability.
- child experienced feelings of abandonment and felt unloved.
- religious instruction (indoctrination) either within the home, extended family or education system.
- often experienced feeling they were invisible or like they don’t have a voice or a any right to express emotions.
throughout their adult path they have at one time or another- commonly:
- had a previous diagnosis of depression, anxiety or bi-polar affective disorder.
- experienced panic attacks.
- have self harmed (non-fatal) or self medicated- substance abuse.
- self doubt- don’t trust your own instincts. This is really important one, well they all are, but this for me has been a big part of feeling like I am loosing my mind. My instincts, my intuition was making me feel something, ie. he is being unloving and aggressive, but everything else is telling you the opposite, he really does love you. I have written about this further below.
- experience feelings of ‘brain fog’, forgetting moments from the past or feeling foggy in general.
- re-victimised: have entered into a relationship or situation with an abuser, ie. entered a relationship with a physically abusive partner, married an emotionally abusive, covert narcissist. (they are ‘covert’, so it was not on purpose!)- i will unpack this further in the next section- this is significant.
- have felt isolated and alone and felt like they have an inability to just build healthy relationships with others. have felt socially inept, just want to be isolated as no one will like them anyway etc. ie. i just can’t people. choose to be isolated and struggle to make new friends or keep people at arms length.
- have an insecure, inconsistent or dysfunctional family support system as an adult. in a lot of the stories i came across lots were completely isolated from their family- not always but often by their own choice, ie. no contact with toxic influences and triggers.
- at times felt like every one will hurt them, struggle to trust people.
- experienced severe anxiety with any kind of public speaking- hearing about this from others has been huge. Huge. I don’t just mean normal nerves. I mean severe, body take over anxiety- I think it’s a trigger, I don’t really understand why yet. I just used to think I was super nervous like every one else, but actually no. It is a full flight or fight mode I am meaning and it is common in Complex ptsd. I used to then shame my self, my god Aj, stop being a dick head, everyone else moves past their nerves. You are so pathetic. Etc etc. you are never going to achieve what you want because you can’t do this one little thing; public speaking.
- experienced anxiety in large social settings.
- experience body-dysmorphia. see your self as much, much fatter (uglier, thinner, viler) than is truth.
- experience periods of nothing- feeling disconnected or empty. this seems to be an unconscious method of self protection- the emotions are so intense you shut down to protect yourself from feeling them? dissociation.
- acute feelings of shame and guilt- toxic shame
- low self esteem, low self worth, self loathing- self identity is consistently negative= identity disturbance – a term used to describe a distorted or inconsistent self-view. i am not worthy, i am worthless- this gives way to negative self talk. (you just need to learn to love yourself aj, *insert patronizing shoulder pat here, no shit! if i fucking understood what that actually meant or how to do that i would!!! ugh. this is also a big one, i think i will do a whole separate post about this.)
- ‘overreacting’ to confrontations once free from ongoing emotional abuse- righteous anger, become super protective of self once free from the abuse- i will never, ever let anyone treat me like that again! etc. emotional dysregulation= this is where the response to the action does not match the action. it is completely normal and common for anyone coming out of an emotionally abusive situation to behave this way – you go into protective mode, or in another way fight or flight, in situations you feel you can you go into fight mode to protect your safety?
- feeling really aware of everything and everyone around you, ie. in a public space or social situation you are aware of everyone, their body language, what they are doing who else they are interacting with- it has been described as- i can feel everyone. this is often exhausting and sometimes overwhelming- and so there is some avoidance that follows. ie. i am never going to a big mall at christmas. = hypervigilance.
with space and time free from the abuse most children grow into adults that heal and manage their injuries. often though they re-victimise. they unconsciously seek out behaviors that are familiar- abusive behaviors and traits. for me and for many of the stories i have read this is where the significant injuries occur, as an adult or indeed young adult. all of the holes and gaps are sought out and stretched and filled and your cracks and scars are used as weak points to break you. i just realised that a few years ago i wrote a poem and made an artwork that was intuitively about this. it caused massive issues with him, i wrote about that too. externalising the story. it helps me make sense of it and release it. porcelain and childish notions.
re-victimisation. this is significant. for me this is the big bit. i found a few studies and discussion papers that looked at, specifically women, who experienced ‘extreme’ childhood trauma and then re-victimised. in the discussed case studies the second phase of victimization was extreme sexual and/or physical violence, often running in conjunction with severe substance abuse. i am not sure, but i think these would be considered cases at one end of the scale, and very important cases to study and help these people move forward. but, i have not come across any formal studies or discussion papers that look at people at the other end, i suppose like me, who have not been a victim of physical or sexual violence, i couldn’t find anything that looked at the impacts of emotional abuse in a spousal relationship when coupled with a history of childhood trauma, or even just the psychological impacts of a long term emotionally abusive domestic partner. the studies looking at extreme cases are really important, but i have found it frustrating, i don’t know, yet, how to fix all the things. i can’t find information that relates to my experience or even validates my things that i would like to overcome.
as i have mentioned, what i did find were youtube channels, blog posts, forums and online community groups, often set up by people with lived experience, that deal with the ongoing impacts of emotional abuse. all regarding complex-ptsd, narcissistic abuse, gaslighting, the narccissit and the empath connection, codependency, flying monkeys, out of the fog- healing from emotional abuse, elephant journal- so many amazing, powerful and healing words.
each new word or phrase lead me to another word and another key and further understanding. threads. beautiful connected threads. through time, through stories, through voices and shared experiences. threads.
something i have found common is that these stories have only been shared after significant time away from the abuser, or the narcissist. only once they, or we, have come to a safe place and been able to be ‘of the fog’ of emotional abuse have they been able to start making sense of it all, to reframe their past, to understand what really went on. to grieve for their past. to understand, to speak and to share. awareness and clarity seems to only come with space and time. i think that is because the deconstruction of self is so systemic. it is complex. it threads through to our deepest notions of self. that shit takes a fucking long time to heal and undo. just let it go. fuck you and your ‘let it go’.
covert narcissist: emotional abuse: complex-ptsd
‘we lived in fucking squalor angel!!!! i could get them (our children) for 8 nights angel if you want to push it, everyone knows you can’t keep the fucking house clean!!! you’re fucking pathetic!! you need help, you need to go back to the doctor and get this shit under control, go and get some tablets, look at you angel, you’re pathetic’
i recently found a collection of words i had written a few months after separating from my husband of 9 years. these were words he spewed out at me the day before, i think, i wrote it all out. honestly, i think- oh that’s not that bad, i have forgotten about it all really. but here is the thing i am only just coming to learn- it is complex. it is not just about these words in isolation. if someone said this to you, you would most likely be like- fuck off dick head. but for me, and others, these words carry 9 years of pain and seeds. 9 years of a systemic deconstruction of self. those few words for me at the time triggered a wave of debilitating shame, shame and guilt and fear that i would indeed loose contact with my children forever because of my ‘mental health issues’. this is exactly why when you try to explain how hurtful this moment was people don’t get it. oh they are just words, get over it already. but those words are just the tip and below the surface is a complex, layered history of seeds and threads all leading to this moment. an orchestrated attack on who you are.
it is this fear and shame that has bought me back to this moment. family fucking mediation. the trigger. right now. in this moment. so many moments and mites and ongoing abuse has happened from then to now. so many little words inferring i am a bad mother, which i know is crap, but i can’t seem to stop those words taking me back to those moments all that time ago when i believed i was a failure, when i thought i was a bad mother. so much self doubt.
i was just going back and adding some additional words into the ‘self doubt’ bullet point above and i just had this massive relisation. oprah style light bulb moment. b is very logical, sometimes painfully so! and he will often try to help by offering really logical advice, of course, that’s logical. i have often responded with- i know that. i understand that. i get that. but the problem is not my logic. i know i am worthy. i know i am of value. i know i am safe and he can’t hurt me. that is not the issue. the problem is that i just can’t seem to ‘feel’ it. i tell myself over and over again ‘you are worthy’ but i just cant feel it as truth, my head and my heart- or in other words my emotions and my logic just don’t seem to align. i have written about that before. there is just the massive disparity between what my head knows to be truth and what i feel as truth. it is so fucking annoying. just now i was updating the bullet point on self doubt. i was typing out words describing why this one is very significant. self doubt.
and here was my light bulb moment. for my whole life what i have thought or felt or seen as truth i have been told i was wrong. you are wrong, it was not like that at all. self doubt that actually originates externally, not from ‘self’, but external doubt planted. example- a screaming abusive step father, my child’s inner voice is saying ‘this is not love, this is not safe, this is not ok’ but everything external is saying, sometimes literally, in these actual words ‘it is because i love you (or her- mother), it is because i am trying to teach her so she is safe etc’. another example- my logic/instincts/feelings are telling me you are cheating, that there is something wrong with our relationship, he says ‘it is all in your head angel- you are just like your dad, you are crazy, i love you, i would never do that, i come from a good christian family’ others say ‘oh but look how loving he is, he would never do that, it must be your insecurities’. to protect them you are conditioned to not trust your logical intuition, you are conditioned to not believe your own emotions or thoughts. you are conditioned to believe only on external version of the truth. you are conditioned to self doubt. fuck. fucking light bulb for me. it is not really self-doubt, it is trained doubt of self that becomes internalized.
and this is why going back through your past i actually think is really important, when you are in a safe space to do so. all of those little moments i have seen through my conditioned lens- i need to redefine them. my thoughts and feeling about those events or moments or mites were spot on- spot on. i have always had a powerfully strong intuition and logic. it is the conditioning not to trust that, that has left me with this massive disparity between what i know and what i feel.
in a broader societal context, as women, we are often told our emotions are irrational, we are conditioned to filter our reactions and responses to something socially acceptable and ‘lady like’. these societal constructs, in my opinion, perpetuated by middle/upper class, religious, conservative, privileged, white males- feeds into these negative, domestic frameworks. but really, that is a whole other rabbit hole of thought and discussion. apologies if you do fit into the aforementioned stereotype and are not a racist, sexist, abusive arsehole- i have come to know there are many of you who actually aren’t and are kind and caring and sensitive. the notion that ‘all men’ are something to fear, is an additional layer of conditioning that i think needs further analysis, constantly threaded into my thoughts as a child was that all men want sex or to hurt you and sex leads to pregnancy and them wanting to hurt you. all kinds of messed up conditioning.
i think the other big factor in self-doubt is the tactics used by a covert narcissist. often, it does not start out as one big, obvious thing. it is not obvious, at all. if you tried to talk to someone about a particular moment they would be like- what’s the big deal? that’s nothing! i know a girl who used to get hit by her husband! (invalidation). but everything in your core just screams that something is wrong, something is out of step, but you just can’t put your finger on it. those words he uttered, that moment, those mites- in isolation they are not a big deal, pfft, seriously that is not a big deal. but your whole being is screaming that something is not right. so you think you are crazy, and your body is just fucked and so you train your self not to listen to it. silly body- why are you freaking out like that?! shhhh. it is all ok. look, see, he said it is all ok. and so another layer of self doubt rests on your soul. it is complex.
his words. disbursed in just a moment. just a mite. but all along your body was right! all along your instincts were detecting something awry. all along they were anchoring little threads, little moments of doubt and pain and abuse- moments so small they are not seen by the unconscious mind. little moments that thread through time, threading all your pain in a single line. and at the optimum moment they pull that thread, it comes ripping to the surface pulling with it, like a gather of fabric, all of those seemingly insignificant little anchor points. it all comes crashing through your self worth. just like the straw that broke the camels back. the single thread that had been carefully anchored through every negative version of yourself, over months and over years. until that thread is violently pulled through destroying all other versions of ‘self’ and the only story of you that remains is told through all those anchor points and his thread. it is all so layered and complex.
for me and what has been characteristic of so many of the other stories is that this next part of the journey- the re-victimisation has been painfully debilitating. and debilitating in a way only really visible and understood once out of the relationship, or they are ‘out of the fog’.
below are my experiences and some of the commonalities in the stories:
- the intimate relationship started in early 20’s or earlier in teenage years.
- the relationship felt very intense and spontaneous. there were constant messages and actions of love, hearing lots from them. = lovebombing.
- the abuser has a very close, very protective family. you confide in them and become very ‘close’ to their family, they empathise with you when the abuser is aggressive or cruel, they make you feel safe and understood. you think they are helpful and loving. after separation they use all of this trust to hurt you, they use all of this information to harden the abusers smear campaign against you. they are the ‘flying monkeys’ or in some cases the original narcissist. in looking back you hear their words and see how they fed into the negative versions of yourself and the threads- this house is such a mess- i don’t know how you live like this, well it’s just that i couldn’t live like this, but its fine if you are ok with it. etc etc or after separation regarding the custody of our children: oh, he will never let you have them. what you are doing, going for more time is just not right and it doesn’t look good. etc etc. guilt, guilt, guilt.
- in a lot of the stories religion has had a part to play in the relationship in some capacity.
- sex. sex has a very significant role in the relationship. it is often reported to be intense and very frequent in the beginning- it plays a part of the early love bombing, you just feel like this is like every new couple, this is awesome and exciting: but it is more than that. porn plays a large role in the sexual relationship and often becomes an addiction, for me this was true and had an added layer of complexity in that i had been taught that porn is evil and that i would go to hell if i watched it. complex. for me there was an added level of shame and guilt when we watched porn. all of that is another discussion. as the relationship progresses sex is used as a currency for control and value. it is often withheld and you are made to feel like you are unworthy of his (or her) sexual attention, you are encouraged to breakdown your own sexual boundaries to please him, to keep him wanting you. my first experiences with anal sex were within my marriage; they were painful and scary, but i felt like i had to, i felt like if i didn’t he wouldn’t want me. you worth becomes so deteriorated that your value as a woman becomes directly connected to how much he (or she) wants to have sex with you. every inch of my body’s flesh had to be shaved clean before he would even touch me. you (me) become obsessed with sex, become obsessed with learning new ways of pleasing him. i lost count of the evenings i cried myself to sleep, all shaved and dressed up in my corset and pvc thigh high boots, because he didn’t ‘want me tonight’ or wasn’t in the mood. rolling around my head would be- i wasn’t good enough, i didn’t do a good job, i failed him, i must do better next time. sex between us continued after separation, i couldn’t say no, i didn’t know how to set that boundary. each time i would think- oh he does still love me. it will all be ok. it sounds so pathetic writing that out. but it is the truth.
- in all of the cases i came across there was infidelity on the abusers side. in my case more than 13 women he met over the internet, spanning over 6 years, with short and long term sexual relationships with those 13 women. whenever i tried to approach the subject i was just told i was crazy and it was all in my head.
- they are very affectionate, lots of hugging and loving and grand gestures of love- when everyone else is looking. behind closed doors that affection is withdrawn. another complex layer in the story, people are constantly saying how in love you both are, what a wonderful relationship you must have, other women constantly tell you they are jealous. as there are so many external influences telling you this you again doubt your instincts that are telling you otherwise.
- financial instability is common- this again is another complex layer that seems common with these situations and when coming out of the relationship often you leave with nothing.
- in a lot of the cases the women while in the relationship go through a period of depression. as a lot choose to seek help this is documented and almost always used against you after separation. in my case i was accused of not being a fit mother because of my ‘mental issues’, this line was reported in every, single case i came across. every single one. it also seems to be common that women within or just coming out of a narcissistically abusive relationship are accused of, or actually diagnosed with bi-polar, specifically. i think there is something in that. not sure. i found some reports stating people with complex-ptsd are commonly mis-diagnosed with bi-polar and or depression. i have heard in some accounts that the usual narcissistic cycle within a relationship follows a pattern of idealist, or idealise- then a period of consistent devaluing and then discard, this cycle places the victim on a roller-coaster of emotional highs and lows. this cycle reflects my experience within our marriage. i honestly feel like there is a massive correlation between this abusive behavior cycle and the victims diagnosis of bi-polar.
- over time the abuse becomes less and less covert. this usually happens at the end stages of the relationship or after it has ended. you are pathetic, this house is a mess-look at it, look at you, your tits are saggy, you need help etc, etc fucking-etc. for me the abusive yelling screaming, pointing and physical intimidation became more and more common in the last two years of the relationship. these behaviors amped up significantly after separation and in the direct manner they had been disbursed have only really stopped in the last twelve months since i remove verbal and face-to-face contact with my ex-husband, in a face to face way they have predominantly stopped since b. he never even comes near me when b is with me, his beard looks intimidating, he is the kindest man i know, but he can look intimidating. in my particular case, abuse has not occurred in a written format, he is not that stupid as to leave proof, but i have read several other stories where women have received hundreds of abusive words via email and text, a constant barrage of written abuse. it has been commonly reported that if you ever try to address the abuse you are accused of being the actual abuser- it is all your fault, you made me angry, you are the one causing all of this, you are yelling too, you are not without fault etc etc. when these behaviors first present in the relationship you do start to believe that it is your fault. it is all you. you made them angry, you lost your temper too, you feel ashamed as well as feeling hurt and scared from the actual abuse. all of your body and intuition is sending mixed messages. another layer of internalized crazy. complex.
- who leaves or ends the relationship does not seem to be consistent in the stories i came across, it seemed to be a 50/50 split. in my case, he left. i was trying to be a good christian woman keeping my relationship together. i also felt like i was unworthy of leaving, like i would be nothing without him. i was, i think, 100% co-dependent.
ok, just reviewing the last few dot-points it is starting to feel like i am just a complain’y pity party over here. i am starting to feel a bit silly, why am i doing all this, what am i writing it all out for? do you want attention? is that it aj? you just want people to give you love and attention for your hard life? well i’ve got news for you it wasn’t that hard. you weren’t raped or bashed, sheesh, you should be grateful. why are you doing all this?? minimisation. when i started i was looking for answers for this stupid body reaction that is impacting my life and my path and that i just can’t seem to control, i didn’t question it at all i just stated, looking and researching and writing, and writing and writing. and i started feeling ok, i started feeling empowered. i started feeling like i understand, oh my god it was just this or that all along. i am not crazy. i am ok. externalising and releasing. it kind of feels like emotional diarrhea in written form and i cant stop until it is all gone, whenever that may be.
if no one reads it or those who do think i am a dickhead, well i just have to be ok with that. i feel like i need to do this for some reason. i just do, ok. take what you want and think what you like. i will say those few words over and over until i know them to be my truth. back to noting down the commonalities…
- struggle to trust people and build healthy relationships after the relationships ends- self isolation. this goes for friendships as much as intimate relationships. this seems to be for a few reasons, the first being you just don’t feel worthy. you just don’t, you think no one will like you, look at you, you are pathetic. all internal dialogue that you know is nonsense, but you still struggle to build relationships in any case. the other reason is trust. once separated and you start to open your eyes, or ‘come out of the fog’ as it has been termed, you start to realise how many ‘narcs’ are around you, how many people are actually ‘flying monkeys’, you start to feel paranoid that everyone is out to get you. this is not crazy, at all. every story i have come across has reported the same, all those ‘flying monkeys’ whether consciously or not were. the hard thing to work past is not seeing everyone through your lens from the past, not every one is out to get you, but it is hard to let people close to find that out because you are so afraid of being hurt again.
- something i am still investigating but something i am positive there is a link with is the constant headaches and unexplained bowl issues, ibs stuff. there just seems to be a connection with prolonged trauma and physical dis-ease. this is something i think needs a separate discussion.
- after separation the abuser sets in motion a smear-campaign. in almost all of the reported stories this revolved around the mental heal issues of the mother. she is crazy, she was a depressive, she never kept our house clean, she put on weight etc etc.
- severe economic abuse and distress after separation. the self entitled narcissists believe everything in the home is theirs and they have a right to it, women leave with nothing, often because just letting him have his way is easier than the anger and conflict it will cause. i have previously written about my experience with this during separation. additionally i have been paying child support while he has run a business for two years with an undeclared income, i am still paying off a debt remaining from our mortgage. this was also reported in other cases.
- custody fights- this is the big one. they have a right to their children and you as the mentally unstable mother should be grateful for any time you have with them at all. in one of the stories the mother lost custody all together. this again is a much, much broader topic. our court system and society in general in dysfunctional when dealing with these issues. it has been 6 years of 50/50 shared care- since removing contact over the phone and face to face he has amped up other behaviors that cause distress. he has been pushing for an additional night for the last 12 months, inferring i am a bad mother for not supporting our children’s sporting endeavors. this is another long nonsense story. it is all so stupid. another consciously, orchestrated situation. one i have been trying to stand my ground on and we are now at the beginnings of another custody battle, 6 years after separation. ffs!!
- self abuse and self sabotage. this has been commonly told through the voices of others and a big thing for me I am struggling to overcome. the negative internal dialogue. it feels like the ultimate abuse, once the abuser is no longer in your space you keep playing, over and over the tapes of negativity and abuse. often people will say to me oh, you just need to love your self more. i honestly don’t know what that means. i don’t understand. conceptually i understand, but i have never had that as my base, ever.
abuse and enduring impacts: why can’t she just move on, she is just a bit mental. you know what, our actual brain has been impacted- the matter, the pathways are impacted.
the first thing with the ‘get over it and move on’ statement is that we are, we are all fucking trying, trust me. they are relentless. they continue on with their little threads, constantly trying to pulling at your life. when you remove one contact point they try with another, when i stopped verbally talking to him our children became increasingly put in the middle and used as pawns. when i removed verbal and face-to-face contact his spies and flying monkeys amped up their attacks and behaviors. doesn’t that sound paranoid and mildly delusional? but look, he is getting on with his life, new partner and family, look at all the happy pictures they are posting on facebook, i suspect you are just imagining it, imagining it all.
actually i am not, you aren’t. you are not crazy, neither am i. that is why every single person who has lived experience with this says to go no contact, and not just with them, but every one connected to them. you are in a very hard situation if you can’t remove contact, for example with shared custody like we have. i am constantly being shamed by external sources: well can’t you just peacefully co-parent for the sake of the children? that is what the courts want, it will look bad the high conflict and that you wont speak to him on the phone, you should at least talk to him. will somebody please think of the children!. it has been 6 fucking years. don’t you think if i could navigate this path in a peaceful, collaborative way i fucking would?! you have no idea. i have tried everything, every possible method, i have tried.
dealing with him regarding needs and care for the children in the few years before b coming along, was always two extremes. he was super helpful and easy going and ‘oh whatever works’, often he was actually sweet, in the next call he would switch to being aggressive and demanding and abusive, in the end i would yell back trying to assert myself and then always end up hanging up on him. i would just cry and shake, sometimes scream if i was alone. i never knew which version of him i would get. any time i started seeing his name on my phone screen my body would just start freaking out, anxiety to the max- full flight or fight mode. and now i cant seem to stop my body responding that way to any conflict based stimuli.
after being around another abusive call and seeing me subsequently crash, b was like, just don’t speak with him on the phone. it seems so obvious, but for some reason i had in my head that i had to speak with him if he called. that has reduced the high conflict situations, mostly. but as i mentioned, what it has meant is that he has been using other tactics, been increasingly using our children and attempting to annihilate my relationship with them, i have received overwhelmingly large emails from his current partner and texts from her inferring i am a bad mother. i have had his mother attempt to lace in negative thoughts and doubts with b’s mother at a grandparents day. no phone contact has not stopped him. he just doesn’t stop. so when you say to someone, let him go, let it go, get over it you are actually being really fucking insensitive.
i have not even broached the subject of the impact all of this is having on our children. i am not sure this is the right channel to write about that in a personal manner, so i haven’t directly. i am not sure. that is their story, and one i am constantly trying to have a positive impact on.
it all sounds so very petty. it all just sounds like little mites that we are making into mountains. a big part of me still feels silly right now. i feel childish. what are you doing? i have no idea, i just am. trying not to question it and just let it be whatever it is to be.
something i have found so very exciting, being excited about it all seems a bit morbid, is that they have relatively recently been doing studies on the brain in trauma cases. they are coming to prove that your brain is physiologically injured due to prolonged trauma. ongoing abuse, whether emotional or physical or sexual, has an actual impact on you brain. bam. google it. you can find actual brain scans and the differences! i am sure any professional in the mental health field is shuddering at that statement to just ‘google’ it! but you know what, today i am very, very thankful for google. for me it is exciting because they are coming to understand, because there seems to be more information and more awareness which theoretically means less suffering, that is exciting.
they have reported that your brain matter is different than those who grew up without trauma, there are studies being done that show your neural pathways don’t develop as they should if you have been exposed to prolonged abuse. studies are showing decreased cortex activity, increased limbic system sensitivity, decreased hippocampal volume and a smaller corpus callosum- this bit is the pathway that connects the two hemispheres. i don’t have a great understanding of this amazing organ and how it all impacts our health and wellbeing and emotional self. i am still learning. below i have just put some links to some great articles on how trauma impacts the brain.
for me this feels validating, while the brain is something i have very little understanding of, on a surface understanding this is telling me- you have been impacted, physiologically, you are not crazy, it is all in your head, but not in the way narcs like you to believe it is. they have injured you. that is an exciting revelation as much as it is a terrifying admission.
we can’t just ‘get over it’. it doesn’t work that way. there is an injury, an actual, physiological injury that needs to mend. which can’t be done until we are aware, until there is space and time and safety and support and that love and support and awareness is different for every story.
this is my story, the ‘line in the sand’ moment for me. awareness and understanding. i am aware and i am thankful.
for me, being immersed in the voices of others has been so very empowering and healing. their words have reframed so many negative moments for me. coming to the realization that he is not actually as scary as my body is trying to tell me he is, has also been huge. right now i need to focus on ways of reducing the severity and frequency of the flight or fight responses. these debilitating responses seem to be the last remaining strong hold from all of the past black that i need to find a way to annihilate.
i have been researching behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, taping therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (emdr), all therapies that have been reported as helpful with complex-ptsd cases. i have been googling and googling and finding it really tricky to find any therapists locally that specialize in complex-ptsd or any of these therapies. i found an online discussion from australian therapists that i might see if i can email one to ask if they can recommend someone local, or i might even see if i can contact a really helpful psychologist i had been seeing years ago, i vaguely remember some eye thing the last time i saw her… wish me luck!
thank you. for your time and the space in your life you have given to read this far. it is appreciated. now that i have started all this i don’t think i can stop. there are so many more things, so many more stories and voices to absorb, so many more words and threads and mites…
thank you, ever so.
i have found some amazing youtube channels: specifically regarding healing from narcissistic abuse. these have been tear inducing’ly affirming, it builds a sense of community around shared experiences. as is characteristic of people coming out of narcissistic abuse they feel isolated; platforms like this provide a safe space to talk, to share stories and make sense of their experiences. it is affirming and validating and there is something so fucking healing in this. i have never felt so ‘not crazy’ listening to all of these stories. i have tried to explain the moments to others, often to be met with a ‘get over it’, ‘move on’ or ‘you just need to love your self’, which makes you feel invalidated, like you are just making a big deal out of, just going on about things etc etc, you start minimizing and these words become a trigger. from here it all becomes internalized, because you have learnt that externalizing does not help. but here, these people have chosen to push past that. i have found words their words explain why what my logic knows to be truth i just can’t feel as truth. these stories are amazing and i am so grateful for all of their stories and for their bravery. today, i love the fucking internet.
something powerful that I have only recently come to know is that I am not alone. I am not alone. This has been a really fucking important moment in my path. I am not alone and I am not fucking crazy. Their voices. Those women. Annabel Lee, the show boundaries woman, the comedian from escape from Narcissism and the lips from battle hymn of the empath- I want to tell them that I feel like you have altered my path and the way I have viewed my own story, you have taken my own words and shared them through yours. But we have never met. We are not even on the same continents. Thank you for your voices. Thank you so fucking much.
these are the channels i have stumbled across and the stories i have been immersed in the last few weeks: there are so many more, it is wonderful, these are just the voices that resonated with me the most:
below i have just pasted a list of the sites, papers or discussions i have found were really useful. i have taken information from these and regurgitated some of the information and terminology absorbed from these words, mr google was very helpful with all of the words and phrases i had never heard of!:
- Blueknot Foundation: Finding Care and Support
finishing off all of these words with another collection of words not my own- tonight i found the last few sentences to finish all my babble. this part is done. in this moment the below words crossed my pixelated path- they were meant for me in this moment. thank you.
‘when we heal ourselves, others are healed. when we nurture our dreams, we give birth to the dreams of humankind. when we walk as loving aspects of the earth mother, we become the fertile, life-giving mothers of the creative force.’
‘when we honor our bodies, our health, and our emotional needs, we make space for our dreams to come into being. when we speak the truth from our healed hearts, we allow life abundant to continue on our mother planet.’
‘as women, we are continually writing the history of the legacy of women. we cannot point a finger at men or each other without owning the pain of past generations who forgot how to give or teach human compassion.’
‘our own family trees are filled with teaching situations and with tragic examples that may have blinded our own ancestors to the values of truth as it is found in love. now, the destiny of wholeness of the human race falls to the sisterhood because all things are born of woman.’
“when each woman honors her self, more raw, creative energy is available to be used by the whole to effect changes in the way humankind reacts to life.
‘when women are no longer lost, asking others to tell them what they should do or how they should live, there will be great changes in our world. this is not to say that the friendships and bonds of women are not to be used; on the contrary, the support of other women who have walked the same path is paramount.
“this kind of support is based on truth and delivered with caring-without projections or judging another. that kind of support is healthy and productive, when other women create a safe place in which to share personal thoughts and offer alternatives in a respectful way. the sisterhood always supports every woman who is willing to surmount her own challenges in order to grow.’
‘the legacy of woman does not have to include the former hurts that have set woman against woman, women against men, or caused women to destroy themselves through sabotage….there is no need to get involved with the high drama and pettiness that has kept us from achieving human harmony when we are busy working on becoming our personal visions.”
“self-esteem is reclaimed when the feminine principle of nurturing the self is practiced, instead of expecting our sense of wholeness to come from our relationship to another person. when we care enough for ourselves to take the time we need to give to the self, we will feel complete.’
‘in every instance, no matter how the situation presents itself, each individual is responsible for seeing her or his own hurt and for finding a way to heal it without making the other person responsible for that pain.
“this is the way of the feminine nurturing principle: going within, finding the problem, and remedying it through nurturing the self.’
~jami sams from her book the thirteen original clan mothers