Saturday, April 28, 2012

Leaping and Looking

I've been thinking about the crux, the point of no return, the straw that breaks the Scapegoat's back, the Stand; the Jumping Off Point that we all seem to come to in our own ways and by our own paths.

It seems to me that we as ACoNs are raised from our earliest moments in the stew of dysfunction that a Narc Parent brews. It waxes and wanes, thins and thickens at times, but we're steeped in some version of it in some form... always. I hear ACoNs and survivors of abusive relationships talk about the 'good times' a lot, and we seem to need to state - whether we're convincing ourselves or others I'm not sure - that there were good times.

 I think that this is at least partially an extended function of our defense mechanisms; no one wants to believe that their primary caretakers or chosen partner, the people who taught us about 'love' and helped us to define (for better or worse) our definition of the face that greets us in the mirror could be outright mean or evil. We, taken as a whole, want to believe that there's good out there.

 I learned at my NM and ENF's knees to make excuses for the poor and hurtful and malicious behavior of those around me. It's what they taught me was right. They sculpted me to meet their needs, just like the clay and putty that I was in their hands. What else could I possibly have been as a dependent child? Water truly does rise to its own level, you know? And they had the benefit of setting the slope and degree of the pool.

 But then I went and did something that they hadn't counted on; I acted of my own will and accord and contrary to what they wanted and planned for me to do. Narcs in general are unable to do any long term planning of consequences when there are other free thinking participants involved in the action. They're like six-year olds with a chess board - they can only win as long as you make the moves they want you to. Make an un-predicted move and all hell breaks loose in their psyches; suddenly it's YOUR fault for not playing their game right! How dare you! The nerve!

 What did I do? What was the real cliff-hanging moment that started my awakening to their true natures? I'd like to think that I. Made. A. Stand. That I turned around one day and knew what was right and took action, that I was the catalyst for change. And that's right in part, because I WAS the reason that change happened. I DID do the work I needed to in order to grow, to change, to strengthen my self and to remove myself from their carefully crafted water table. But what was my jumping off point, really?

I don't remember the first Aha! moment that I had, but I do remember a three week period where, in my confusion about how to handle the ever increasing demands of the NFOO and how to get help for my mother who was spiraling further and further into serious prescription drug abuse, I committed the ultimate NFOO sin repeatedly.

I sought help from outside the Clan.

In my desperation to do something, anything, I talked to people about things that I'd never talked about before - and I told the truth, the real truth, not the Crazymaker version of the truth. That was it for me, the beginning of the end of the way things had been. Alice Miller wrote some version of this premise and I say it all the time and I'll say it again; the truth - once known - cannot be unknown. (I love the AAism for this: A head full of program and a belly full of whiskey just don't mix! True that.)

I stayed in that truth by continuing to talk, continuing to listen, continuing to find and use new resources and continuing to act in ways that felt both like freedom and betrayal at the same time. In getting and staying honest, in drawing and holding reasonable boundaries I was setting myself and my FOC free from the tyranny of the NParents and some slowly evolving part of me knew this at the time. But I also felt like I was betraying every tenet of belonging to the Clan that had been laid out - because I was breaking those rules of silence and isolation and control - and there was a lot of shame and confusion and drama in my heart at the time because I felt bad... for being good. I'd been inundated with the belief that good for Vanci was equal to Vanci being bad.

 I stuck to my new path to freedom by continuing to seek new knowledge, striving over and over again to change my perceptions and behaviors and most importantly by continuing to reach out and open up to other people in my life outside of the NFOO in whom I could trust (or at least in whom I hoped I could trust.) Before I knew it, those helping hands - true friends, counselors, new confidantes, cyber friends like you, self-help books and every other resource I could lay my hands on - had helped me to lift myself out of the rabbit hole and I could see my path clearly.

My path took me to No Contact so that's what I know the most about, but I'm not suffering under any delusion that NC is the only path. What seems to be important for us to heal is that we see our path and stick to it, whatever it is. So, no matter where you are on your path to freedom, here's my little tidbit of advice and comfort: The fact that you're here, that you're on your path, is enough. Keep searching, keep reading, keep writing, keep learning, keep reaching, keep stretching. Keep looking, keep leaping - and the order of those actions isn't necessarily important so long as we keep moving forward.

 Martin Luther King Jr. put this concept very eloquently: "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase; just take the first step."


Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Hello my cyber friends and fellow ACoNs!
I didn't expect to be out of commission quite as long as I have, so thought I'd pop in and let you all know that I'm still here but haven't have any time lately to post.

I'm recovering from major oral surgery (went well, did fine with the pills, etc.) and that's necessitated much, much, much more rest and sleep than I typically need, so sleep has taken priority over posting (I'm a late at night writer girl.) 

Also, the sun has finally started to peek out and my gardens are caaaaaaaalling me. 

I'll be back to posting as soon as I can stay awake at night long enough to do so, but in the meantime, know that you're loved, lovable and worth whatever it takes for you to feel safe.