There are two ways to handle life. The first is to compartmentalise everything. Work stays at work. Home stays at home. Logic and professionalism should never be polluted by emotion and creativity. That's our standard format in the Western world. It's also the standard format of patriarchy. It has its place. Work gets done. Things look good on the surface. Connection gets shelved. Suicide rates go up.
There is another way. It's messy.
You create a work-life smoothie. Things are mixed up. They aren't neatly separated into pretty boxes, all the same. Neither are people. And in the process of mixing it up comes the acknowledgement that we are ALL mixed up. Our truth is not shiny and Instagram-ready. We are broken, and it is our brokenness that allows us to re-invent and evolve. If we are fully fixed in place, with fixed mindsets and never changing ideologies, we can never grow. Sometimes, parts of our lives shatter, so that we can rebuild.
That happened to me at the weekend.
My boyfriend finished with me. It was Valentine's weekend. He's done this before.
I am mid book-launch for a book about the ego, which addresses narcissism. He is a recovering narcissist. Part of the concept for the book is that narcissists are not necessarily monsters, and that we can all learn from each other by having empathy for each other. Could he have picked a worst moment to do something monstrous? Nope. But if narcissists never did monstrous things, there would be no reason for me to write a book that challenges the belief that they are monsters, would there?
And... since I have written this book... and I believe in the message, it's necessary for me to be fully honest about these challenges. Otherwise, how much integrity would there be in the message of the book? None. You need to know that I'm not writing from an (elephant-friendly, of course) ivory tower when I tell you to view those with challenging personalities from a position of empathy. I understand that they can be jerks. That's WHY I'm urging you to have empathy.
Should you tolerate abuse? No. As I say multiple times through the book. However, if you have decided to work through something with a partner (whether that's a personality disorder or mental illness or addiction, or something else) you need to understand that the path of doing so will not be easy. There will be many times when you have the absolute right to bail on that decision. It's up to you what you do. You can say 'f*** this' and walk, or you can spot patterns, set boundaries, be patient, and work through it together.
Below is the audio I made the day this happened. *TRIGGER WARNING* I was dealing with C-PTSD symptoms when I made this audio, so if you also have PTSD/C-PTSD this may be triggering for you. However, I believe it is valuable because although I am openly vulnerable and there are some tears, I still manage to get across some important logical points in this. The pain I was in was intense and overwhelming in a way that only people with something like PTSD can fully understand, but it is important to realise that I was past that stage by the following day, even though Korey's stance had not changed. It's not ultimately external events that effect you, but your own reaction to those events.
I am a work in progress. I am developing my egon. My biggest block in doing so completely is C-PTSD. After having been tortured by a military doctor for weeks, locked up by a high functioning sociopath for years, then subjected to narcissistic abuse... it's a journey. But it's one for which I take personal responsibility. And, just because I'm on the journey with you, rather than sitting cross-legged and guru-worthy at the top of the mountain, does not prevent me from helping you. It just means I'm right there in the trenches with you if you're going through this.
My personal challenge is to reduce the time between events that trigger me to react and the time that I can think rationally again. I'm fortunate that only very specific events trigger me, which makes it easier to handle, and I have found that going as fast as possible into 'what is this meant to teach me?' mode helps me to move forward faster.
Below my audio is a video Korey made about things from a narcissist's perspective.
I know of plenty of people who've put out content about anonymous former partners, but I haven't experienced any couple being bold enough to share while going through these trials. This post is published with Korey's consent.
I hope that the courage we have in being open with you through our own pain can help in some way with your own, or can help you to have a deeper understanding of your own psyche and those of other people.
— Rebecca Bardess ✍︎ (@rebeccabardess) February 16, 2019
Confessions of a Narcissist https://t.co/pqJjP9WtQr— Korey Niese 🗣 (@CoachKorey3) December 17, 2018
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