Narcissism: What’s Next?

Hey All!

Ending the Narcissism series, that was never intended to be a series. I went where I was led.

Examining and researching narcissism brought me back to an old reality of which I often peer back on with nostalgia. I romanticize the good times and forgive and forg- (chaos is a mode I understand and often mistake it for comfort, so the “bad” never really factors into my nostalgia).

In examining ME and my relationships through a scientific psychological lens – everything is less rosy because the relationships are examined without my heart or nostalgiac bias. There was nothing romantic or smooth about how I functioned in those relationships or how those people functioned with me. None of it could really be defined as love. Trauma bonds, for damn sure.

However, I am grateful that it has thrust upon me evolution. Reflection. Self-awareness. Forgiveness. Grace. Humanity.

These relationships were terrific lessons, and that is how I peer back on them now.

I often share that what I hope anyone can take away from my experience is to save yourself the time I gave up so easily; however, the most I can offer you is information to make the best decision for yourself.

The hope you have in a “toxic” relationship, the hope that gets you through each day, is a fucking noose that you are slowly but surely tightening around your neck. And the narcissist you are engaged with isn’t going to ask you why you’re tightening it. They aren’t going to cut you free – they don’t even notice the rope. Your “lucky” if they even notice you.

We are taught not to quit. Not to give up on others. To have empathy for others. To lift each other up. To give. To love. To forgive. However, there must be a balance. There must be keen awareness. There must be reciprocity. We must nourish ourselves, so we can aid in nourishing others.

Once the bell has been rung, there is nothing we can do to undo our trauma. We know that. We know that we are responsible for our choices and our actions. So make a choice for yourself. You can do it. And if it’s difficult for you to leave, try to unpack what part of you needs this, wants it, accepts it? Therapy is fantastic for this. Understanding what compels you to stay can help you understand what YOU bring to the relationship. If the relationship ends and is left unexamined, you’ll only recreate the same relationship again and again.

Being in a narcissitic “toxic” relationship is a solemn place to be. However, it can change. Things can be different for you. The life and the relationship which you envision can be a reality. While in these “toxic” relationships, I had the capacity and strength to do the work, but I instead fixated all my resources on the other instead of myself. We cannot do the work for anyone else. We can only do it for ourselves. You can move through all of this and create peace. I am an example of that. It came from a lot of internal work and therapy, and from that, I am happily married to a true partner. I hope the same for you when it’s your time.

All love.
Ashley

 

Narcissism: Should I Leave Part IV

Good Morning All!

This is the final post on Leaving a Narcissistic Relationship and it’s centered all around you and healing (which I will share more about next week).

Being honest with yourself and having awareness surrounding the relationship is crucial.

All the hope we’ve blinded ourselves with and the investment can make this very difficult. Focus on taking care of yourself and loving yourself the way that you did them. Offer yourself the forgiveness you consistently offered them.

If you have any healing tips, please feel free to share them in the comments below.

All love.

Ashley

Narcissism: Should I Leave Part III

Good Morning!

Digging a bit deeper today on the topic of Leaving a Narcissistic Relationship.

One thing I want to add to this post is that in no way should anyone feel pressured to leave a narcissistic relationship before you/they are ready. When it is ENOUGH you will know. When it becomes too painful to stay – it’ll be your time.

On Friday, I’ll be sharing the final part of leaving.

If you have any tips to add or anything that I left out, please feel free to leave it in the comments.

All love.

Ashley

Narcissism: Should I Leave?

Happy Friday, y’all!
 
Today starts the final push into the end of talking about narcissism in relationships, and what better way to do that than to talk about leaving the narcissistic relationship?!?!
 
I am breaking this down into a few posts because there is a lot that goes into leaving this type of relationship. It’s complicated for sure.
 
If there is anything within this series of being in a relationship with a narcissist that I missed that you would like more information about, please drop it in the comments or shoot me a DM. I am not an expert on narcissism, but I can do the research.
 
The labor on this topic originated from healing from my own personal experiences with narcissistic relationships, and I found the information to be illuminating and healing, so that’s why I am sharing it!
 
Per usu, feel free to share, comment, and like!
 
Have a great weekend!
 
All love.
Ashley

Narcissism: If You Stay With A Narcissist Part II

This is the final post for this subtopic. If this topic resonates with you, I strongly encourage you to pick up Dr. Ramani’s book. She goes into waaaaaay more detail than I can possibly sum up on such a nuanced and personal topic.

I have found myself staying with a narcissist before and it’s exhausting. Plus your self-esteem is shot sooooo yeah, good times. It all feels bad because it is bad.

If this resonates with you and you haven’t read, “Sweet Creatures” (link in bio), read it over. It’s a personal essay about me seeking the apology, recognition, and redemption I had always sought out when it came to my narcissistic relationship with Jerry.

Looking back, the most valuable lesson I can share, take care of yourself, the way you take care of them. Love yourself, the way you love them endlessly. They sure sure as fuck won’t do it for you.

Please feel free to share, like, and comment! I know it’s heavy, but it can be helpful to someone.

Next week, I’ll be sharing: Narcissism: If You Leave A Relationship With A Narcissist

All love.

Ashley

Codependency and Empathy

So today obviously is a post about Codependency and Empathy. Yay!!! 

Personally, it took me a long time to understand what codependency meant, how I interacted with it, and how it affected my thinking/feelings, and thus my actions. I unknowingly enmeshed codependency and empathy with love and caring. This entanglement often kept me repeating suffering patterns and wondering what the hell I was missing? All I was doing was “loving.” 

In the past, I would enact the famous, “They had a really rough childhood” or whatever other fill in the blank. Which served to justify the behavior or treatment I was receiving from them. In turn, it stunted their growth because it avoided them from being responsible or accountable for their actions. It kept me from being responsible or accountable for allowing the behavior. All for love, am I right? Spoiler alert, it never worked out. 

 Possessing empathy is never a fault. (Quite frankly, I think it is needed now more than ever because we stank of division.) Only when we choose to sacrifice ourselves for it, and that is usually where codependency eeks in. BALANCE!!

It’s something I still work with today but to a much lesser degree. Codependency and empathy are a very interesting duo that can make things very confusing if we are unaware of our behavior. The combo can leave us as doormats for other people’s behavior, and then we victimize ourselves when we are actually full-on participating. 

Identifying my behaviors is helpful to me, so I know how to move with them, so I hope this sheds some light for you. 

All love. 
Ashley

Cocktails and Garth Brooks: A Brief on Resiliency

Resiliency is learning and making meaning from what happened

While in my earlier relationships, my therapists, friends, parents; shit, most everyone, but my earlier partners would always tell me how “resilient” I was.

It was a little hit of dopamine because it was internalized validation that I was doing something right.   

My resiliency, combined with endless well-shots of hope, was a blessing and a curse. If you’ve seen the Garth Brooks documentary (mockumentary??), you’ll know what I am talking about, if not, grab a drink and go watch it!

My well cocktail of resiliency and hope carried me through A LOT of traumas.  Buuuuuut, to a degree it also kept me in those situations. My hope that one day, his words and actions would line up. My hope that he would follow through on promises made. My hope that one day love would reign supreme and there would be no more lying, cheating, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, verbal abuse, mental abuse, and of course the punch heard ‘round the world abuse. My hope that one day I would be worthy of the love I felt I gave. Man, was I resilient.  

It was during my relationship with Jerry when I began writing seriously. I was trying to make meaning out of what happened between Jerry and me in our relationship and trying to learn from it  (hey-o still do). I needed to pour my heart out, even if it was into a void, it was better than either Jerry or Cameron because they were more incapable than a void. I needed to understand the role I played in those relationships so I didn’t continue to recreate the same shit sandwich.

Later (after massive depression and hella therapy) this same hope and resiliency, lead me to my husband. 

Resiliency isn’t something which merely applies to relationships which reek; although it’s the experience I am talking about. We see resiliency shine through massive amounts of trauma. Fill in the blank: war, abuse, neglect, injustice, all of the shit happening in our world right now, etc. Things of which I am privileged and fortunate enough not to endure personally. 

I recently read an article from the NY Times, “What Makes Some People More Resilient Than Others,” by Eilene Zimmerman. She interviewed Dr. Southwick who co-wrote a book on resilience and he stated, “Many resilient people learn to carefully accept what they can’t change about a situation and then ask themselves what they can change.”

I write because I have to. Whether or not it’s absorbed. I write because it is my way of trying to make sense of my past and often failing (Sweet Creatures plug – Link in Bio) but I am learning A LOT! I’ve learned while in a relationship I co-create a reality with another person. Meaning if they suck, well, I have to accept that because I cannot change it (Lord knows I have tried. I have tried) and I must instead draw my attention inward to change what I can control and that’s me. 

Each person is unique. We all need to find our way and at our time. Resiliency allows us to challenge ourselves to go within and learn about ourselves. To question. Which leads to more questions. We then use community and resources to advance our knowledge and then we share it because at the end of it, were all transmitters of what we possess within.

As per usu – I hope you find a nugget in this. If you do or know someone who will share it. I ain’t making shit off of it. We’re human. Life is tough. Whatever we can do to help each other out – fuck it, let’s do it!

All love.

Ashley

8-15-2020 Post

 

 

My daughter is currently obsessed with shadows. We often play a game, when we’re outside, in which I make her shadow “disappear” simply by casting my obviously larger shadow over hers.

In my twenties, I unknowingly played this game all the time. I dated people who casted larger more complicated shadows and I constantly disappeared into their shadows. Now, it took YEEEEEEARS of work to identify while I disappeared in those casted shadows, it also became an uncomfortably comfortable spot to hid. Top that with feeling unseen and man, what a casserole of irony, huh? 

This all was an unintentional creation. I didn’t consciously scheme to have this be my plight. I dated people with large wounds and I wanted to love them so much that they started loving themselves and seeing in themselves what I saw in them. And y’all can guess exactly how that turned out. Or you can read anything I write about because I talk about it all the damn time. I was lost in the sauce. Searching for love and some sort of completion external of me; through my boyfriends. With the beauty of hindsight, I was giving all the love I was seeking a way to people I felt needed it more. Never factoring in that they wouldn’t be capable of reciprocating love because they didn’t even have it for themselves. So I eventually found myself out of gas with no one to help me out. DISAPPOINTED.

Coming out of the shadows, means casting light which exposes EVERYTHING. It means dusting yourself off, getting burned, and finally seeing yourself, for better and for worse. While I was definitely on the receiving end of a lot of terrible crap, being in the shadow didn’t allow me to see myself as anything other than a victim. Someone who was at the mercy of another person’s actions. I never fully realized that I could move out of the shadows – I literally had to be forced out. 

And it’s the best thing that has ever happened. I am grateful every day for the opportunity to see myself more clearly. I’m grateful to all the boyfriends who unknowingly taught me more about myself than I could’ve ever imagined knowing. 

If this resonates with you, let me know. As always, feel free to share – it helps according to marketing people. 

All love. 

Ashley