Sunday, February 21, 2016
No Longer Allowing Bad Treatment in my Life
When one is an ACON and enters a healing phase, it can bring upheaval to your entire life. I have ended several friendships in the last two and half years. The number of people I have walked away from is rather high. I even shocked my own self in walking away from some people. What can I say but that going NC changed me? For ACONs that go NC from their narcissistic families, why would we put up with other negative "friendships" and relationships?
There's some things I'm pondering lately about regarding my interactions with other people. Some relationships went so badly. Sometimes yes, I have asked if it was me? On one ACON support board I go to, today they were talking about how people don't believe that a scapegoat or ACON can be surrounded by so many narcissists. "There must be something wrong with you, to have so many troubled relationships with people or with an entire family" is the whole message. The problem is that narcissists attract narcissists. One poster pointed out how if you are abused by your parents and turned into the scapegoat, healthy and nice adults won't want to get close to you and chances are your narcissist parents are bonding with other enablers and narcissists so your life will be more full of would be abusers, with certainly very few allies. It's one reason scapegoats can be disbelieved or deemed as the PROBLEM.
I realized with such severe emotional and other abuse it is like I was SET UP FOR LIFE. It brought abusers right into the door.
I am happily married and have good friendships, but more I have pondered how so many negative relationships occurred in my life. And yes during times of self-doubt I have asked "Is it me?" My personality I know is too intense for some people. The side of me that is driven to activism and even writing a blog like this one, is the good part of that personality trait but others may find it too intense and wearing and wonder why I am in "warrior" mode so often?
I even worried the other day after a friend did something really nice for me, that I wish I had the resources to do more for others. Trying to work through being a normal person or contending with one's fleas, can be difficult work. Us Scapegoats have our work cut out for us.
I have walked away from something like 30 people when you include all the number of relatives I went no contact with. It's scary because it's like my dance card got totally erased outside of husband and a few close friends.
It is hard to explain how in some ways my eyes were opened. I thought about old conversations like I posted today. I have thought, "Why did I allow people to speak to me this way?" "Why did I find this acceptable?" Why didn't I tell my brother to take a flying leap into the nearest lake? He deserved nothing else. For some reason my personality trait of "trying so hard to be loved" really did me in. I sat there eating the poo sandwiches being served by too many people and it extended far out beyond the family sphere.
If there is any damage a hateful evil narcissists does to a young child, it's this training to not even establish boundaries or stand up for themselves. There is this FEAR developed where we are trained to SUPPRESS our own thoughts, feelings, and emotions to please others and it affects relationships badly and brings in the toxics. It gives too much insecurity to otherwise good relationships and it allows the predators right in the door who see you as prey. I have had to train myself not to be afraid anymore. Fearing not being liked only leads to bad ends. Fearing the endless rejection your narcissistic family set you up leads to more interpersonal difficulties. The narcissistic families lead us to deny ourselves our own SELF RESPECT.
By my 30s, and when I had become a Christian, I started paying attention to people who had the traits I found desirable. Who was kind and good? Who treated others like human beings? Who had empathy and sympathy? Who valued what I valued? During this period of life is when I was beginning to break through my family's set up and in some ways it was the good and decent people who started opening my eyes for me later to go no contact and start "departing from the wicked" and toxic people.
From a spiritual stand-point this was necessary, I had been surrounded by such wicked people growing up.
Looking at old pictures, I saw the smug eyes of my relatives surrounding me and there I was aiming to please with a smile, it made me mad. Inside for years with some of the negative relationships, I would have bad thoughts I pushed aside, "So and so always puts you last", This person does nothing but correct me as if she is judge and jury over my entire life", Why doesn't she value what I value? Why has she sold her soul to the system"?
But inside the main thought for every relationship I walked away from was....
"They treat you like your family did"
I even ended a thirty year old friendship recently. And yes that was my main thought. She treated me just like my family with that core disrespect and seeing me as a lesser among other people. I am not the same person she knew in college.
Two college-era friendships I ended, they were all about their careers.
I ended up with workaholics. Wasn't that the formula I had been given by my parents? Why did laid back ex-art teacher me end up with career obsessed women? What did we really have in common? Not much. My family had taught me work and "What you did for a living" is everything that counted about a person. This is a belief I am done with. Some of the workaholics would shame me over being disabled. Work was everything to them. Unlike me who had to apply for hundreds of jobs for every one I got, these women had family and other connections that made the workplace a far different place. They were rewarded for their efforts in other words and made near 6 figures. They made real wages not joke ones. Most likely they had narcissistic traits that gave them success in the work-world. They sold out to the system and defended its injustice.
With one ex-college friend who was married, until I learned about narcissism, her behaviors and actions made no sense to me. Now they do. She shoved people aside. She always pushed people to the last of the line. She even complained to me, that she had no friends left and I told her, "Well you have to actually pay attention to friends once in a while to keep them in your life." It is sad how I hung in there far longer then her other friends who were smart enough to walk away far sooner.
When I walked away, and I ended my "friendship" with her within days of my no contact from the family, it occurred to me, I had been there begging for crumbs for far too long.
One ex-friend from college, treated me like a reflecting mirror. When I learned about narcissism, this opened my eyes as to the dynamics I was trapped in. I cared about her but she didn't care about me as a person, she had no interest in my actual life or seeing me in person even after thirty years, I was there to counsel and give her supply. She saw me as someone to feel superior to. This was less obvious when our relationship existed in a vacuum where it was just us on long distance phone calls for years, but when we entered the social world of social media, she treated me like a worm. She betrayed me and mocked me to others. She had absolutely no loyalty putting the feelings of internet strangers first.
I also have learned to avoid and remove myself from the Mrs. Fix Its. Here I had to pay attention to some of my own negative traits, in seeking "mothering" figures and talking about too many of my problems. Being freed from condemnation that my family gave me, I believe will allow me to give to others more and no longer approach the world, in a deferential and people pleasing way that allowed those type of abusers to enter my life.
One thing I have faced in my life, is I tried to replace the mother I never had. I'm too old for this crap now. People my age have grandchildren. In one way this served me in a positive fashion, in that one very loving and kind friend was a "mother" to me. She was 25 years older and we would joke, that she was like my Mom. She provided 20-30 something me with loving guidance and we talked about life. Sometimes people can heal finding positive role models and heal in this way. She died in 2010 and I still miss her. We were friends for almost 20 years.
However this allowed the Project Friends and Mrs. Fix Its to come in. I am avoiding Mrs. Fix Its and Project friends now, knowing as a disabled person this left me more vulnerable to relationships like this. Disabled people when we talk among ourselves, we know that these kind of things happen. It is one of those facts about being disabled and this can include all sorts of conditions. People see us as charity projects, to take on, instead of equal and valid human beings. We have to be even more vigilant in keeping friends who see us as equal human beings. We may still need help from time to time, but receiving help from people who see us not as "others" but as real human beings, is help that won't hurt. When I did charity or volunteer work in my life, my approach was never this, I saw the people I helped as equals, so why should I put up with this? I don't anymore.
I know because my family treated me like a "broken throwaway" that coming out into the world, with this stance that I was defective set me up for relationships like this. This really brought to fruition for me how horrible and bad their treatment of me really was and evil on an insidious spiritual level, and the extreme extent I had been scapegoated. Here too, I have to be careful of the fear and feelings of rejection they gave me, I struggle with socially related to my Aspergers and "doing things wrong".
Scapegoats are often set up like they have to prove themselves to others, that they are "broken beyond repair" and that they are in need of "fixing" and that brings in people who may be using us for their own agendas or see us as people to use to elevate themselves. This makes for dangerous codependency. When we approach others with shame, it puts us in a very weak position. It brings in religious narcissists and others who can spiritually abuse us and act like they are superior, and who will tell us, just like our families, "Yes you are broken" and now "Now let me fix you."
I run like hell now when someone promises me religious miracles. An equal friend praying for me is one thing, but here recovering scapegoats need to be very careful in churches. Many churches have replaced the gospel with human potential movement nonsense that focuses on self improvement and "winning" in this world, and that sets up spiritual disasters and more condemnation based in the narcissism of our day and age.
Starting to demand decent treatment and respect will change one's life. The early years of doing this will be difficult. You will wonder at times, "Am I going to be all alone?" after this clean out is done or you are in the process of doing it.
You will start paying attention to what you value you in people. I value my friends who treat people with honesty and respect and see other human beings as equals. They love learning and art, they care about other people. They don't sell out to "win" or stab people in the back. They emulate kindness, caring and compassion. When you are around them, you feel good. You feel you can be yourself. You aren't scared or worried about pleasing them or "saying the wrong thing". They have vulnerabilities, they admit faults. They care about justice and question the system.
You can feel that you are loved and cared about. These true friendships will grow stronger as you get away from the negative and toxic people and there will be more room for your life for loving people. I know getting away from my family made my marriage even better. Our love grew. So you will see these changes in yourself and in life. It can be a process. It's not easy but it's important to do.