After five decades of admonishment from family members to contain my larger-than-life personality, my existence had become a chronically failed attempt to make myself smaller and quieter than God made me, the outward effect of my efforts coming across as awkward, self absorbed, and potentially bipolar. And now I’m launching a blog that purposely spotlights my face, my talents, my struggles, and my story?!
The Universe has made clear that not until I’ve learned to fully love myself, all of myself (even and especially those parts I’ve spent a lifetime shamefully stuffing into a box), will I shine bright enough to light a path for others on their way to personal authenticity.
One year ago I experienced a much different kind of cognitive dissonance. Turned out the boyfriend I brought from Salt Lake City to LA to help launch my channel and blog was using me for personal gain, all while he had another full time girlfriend. It was the final straw in a year of betrayals that shook my most deeply held spiritual beliefs and sent me on a yearlong sabbatical, a journey within, which proved divinely timed to coincide with CoVid lockdowns.
It’s so people-y out there
During the long months in isolated quarantine, I was, for the first time in 50 years, experiencing life free of social triggers. Through focused observation, journalling, yoga, music, dance, and meditation, I was finally able to identify and heal the parts of my personality that are CPTSD coping mechanisms – a critical step in becoming my Self as opposed to a living, breathing, mutating collection of trauma responses.
Recovery from trauma induced personality disorder is a process, a jagged one at that. Just when you think you’ve fully recovered, another layer of stigmata is revealed. I’ve learned this may be a bottomless bucket, but I’m starting to be okay with that. The deeper you go, the clearer it gets. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that pain is relative and my journey (although I abhor a cliche) is my destination. And without the armor that has kept me alive and alone, I’m traveling naked and must learn to survive without it or die trying. Isolation has ceased to be an option but I won’t survive another betrayal.
Finally realizing that in the terror and glory of emancipation I had made myself a defenseless target to predators, I severed nearly every connection made since the divorce. Covid making this a simple task of passivity, I found it a blessedly simple thing to spend six months with virtually no human contact. Along with most of the world I ordered my groceries online, I sunbathed nude on my private balcony, I took the trash out at midnight, I attended my favorite barre classes virtually from the privacy of my home. It was no longer peculiar to go weeks without leaving the house. All the energy coopted for basic survival in a world full of triggers was now available for creative work. This quarantined world catered directly to my CPTSD related agoraphobia, which was suddenly an asset rather than a disability. I was transmogrified.
While getting to know my true self free of compounding CPTSD triggers, I came to understand that at my core what makes me happiest in this world, what puts me in flow, is deep, authentic connection. I never had it with my family. I had it once with my ex husband, then I had it with my children. I’ve spent four years dissecting how and why I lost it with each of them, and more importantly why that connection is so important to my well being, and how to have it without giving all of myself away. I believe the things I’ve learned will be helpful to other empathic victims of chronic narcissistic abuse, so I will be blogging about these epiphanies both On the Couch and in the Forum. Subscribe if you don’t want to miss them.
Reluctantly accepting that I could not live indefinitely in complete isolation, it was with more apprehension than excitement that I took steps to forge new connections. In October of 2020 I downloaded the Quilt app and found myself instantly welcomed into a heart-centered community of women and men with whom I felt seen, heard, and spiritually connected. People who had fought their own battles to escape the prison of a trauma induced personality and emerged heavily and beautifully scarred, with deep rivers of empathy running through their veins. It was these men and women who prepared me to reenter society, and in November I did just that.
I argued with my Spirit Guides over the sagacity of plunging back into the dating pool, particularly in the midst of a pandemic. How was that going to work anyway? I reminded them that I had NEVER known an honest man, had been stolen from and lied to countless times by friends, lovers and family members alike, that I had no RL experience in successfully keeping my energy separate and protected from the energy fields around me, and that I would not survive another betrayal. The last one nearly killed me. My Guides responded, “Honey, this is a door you can kick open with your toe from the floor. Just nudge it open and we’ll take care of the rest.”
So I did. I reopened my Bumble account. And miraculously I met Sherlock, in whom I’ve found a capable, kind, wise, charming, ruggedly handsome, virile, and witty Eagle Scout (and editor) who wants me to be nothing less than my true Self. He has demonstrated his commitment to the focused self reflection necessary to an empowered relationship, and in this safe cocoon of vulnerable authenticity I have reached levels of healing that eluded me since my world dissolved into gaslighting and insanity six years ago, when I made the fatal mistake of inviting my narcissistic mother back into my world, costing me my marriage, my children, my sanity, and almost my life.
Your Own Personal Justice League
As I prepare to launch my blog in this vulnerable state, it occurs to me that this is how a lone zebra must feel when she crosses the open plain to reach an oasis. She knows the plain is populated with hungry lions and vicious wild boars; she has the scars to prove it. But she also needs to find a new herd and she won’t find one by staying put, so cross the savannah she must. You, dear readers, are my oasis. This blog is my savannah.
Brené Brown reminds us that most of the stories we tell ourselves are figments of our shame-filled imaginations. But when you know monsters do exist; when you’ve seen their hungry eyes glowing in the dark, their claws and teeth ripping at your flesh; when you’ve been attacked and left to die, braving the plain requires a new kind of courage. The type found in the safety of authentic relationship and vulnerable connection, which is what I am working to build for myself and others with this blog: a community of Superheroes fighting the monsters together. Our own personal Justice League.