War Zone

WAR-ZONE

 

There is a stretch of land. You know this stretch of land. You have seen this stretch of land many times. You are looking at it now. It is on the side of a hill; the angle is steep meaning that each step you take as you push forward requires considerable effort as the unceasing force of gravity tries to pull you back down the hill. This stretch of land is territory which is churned up mud, thick and cloying mud which sucks at you, intent on grinding your advance to a halt. You know you need to get across this stretch of land however and you summon up your strength, gird your loins and set off.

The wire set across this stretch of land snags at your clothing, the barbed comments set along this coiled and bundled piece of wire rip into your clothing and you wince as one pierces your skin. You try to lift your leg over this wire as you feel your standing foot sinking into the mud. You hear the rat-a-tat-tat of the vicious volley of bilious bullets which are being shot in your direction. The malice machine gun spewing forth lies and insults which pepper the ground around you, whistling past your head and spraying all around in a scattergun approach. You are used to this but it does not make it any easier because you know this machine gun seems to have a limitless supply of those bullets. In order to avoid being hit you hurl yourself forward, feeling another barb from the wire scratch you through your clothing as you hit the ground with a hard slap. The wind is knocked from your lungs as you are sprawled in the mud, the machine gun still spewing forth its angry accusations. You hear the whistle of some incoming ordnance, perhaps one of those conversational hand-grenades that we love to lob at you from different angles. You cannot see it but you know that it is coming and you clamp your tin hat down on your head, hoping it misses as you try to sink into the mud to evade injury. There is a boom to your right and you brace yourself but the savage shrapnel of untruths misses you this time. You scramble up, cold and damp from the mud that now clings to you, eyes darting left and right in the fashion to which you have become accustomed. Your senses are in overdrive as your hypervigilance increases. You donโ€™t know how long you can keep this up as you look out for a sniper on the ridge who might pick you off with a well-placed shot from his rifle of random repercussions. Your ears strain listening for the sound of another hateful hand-grenade or the caustic chatter of the malevolent machine gun. There is a roaring in your ears. Is it the sound of the blood racing around your body, driven by your thundering heart or is it the bellow of your aggressor? It has become so difficult to discern these days.

You race forward adopting your customary zig zag in order to avoid the attempts to cut you down. You charge, head down, legs pounding the mud, each step seeming to take longer and longer as you feel you are moving in slow motion. The air is alive with the smell of cordite, venom and vitriol. There is a billowing sound off to your right and instinctively you hurl yourself to the ground again, smashing into the mud as you feel the heat overhead as a flaming cloud of fury burns, churning and billowing from the flamethrower wielded by your aggressor. The air is super-heated and you can feel the heat across your neck and back as stay down. You cannot remain here for long though as you know you will be a sitting target for the mortar which will rain down its brutal bombs upon you. You start to crawl, the heat still gripping the air, the bullets pinging and whizzing past you, plopping into the mud as you crawl, breath ragged, lungs burning. You havenโ€™t noticed how much you are shaking since you are too engaged seeking to avoid the volleys being hurled towards you.

The heat has gone and you scramble to your feet as you hear the ack-ack-ack of a larger weapon discharging its abusive ammunition towards you. You realise that there are three of these pieces of onerous ordnance as the enemy is triangulating you in an attempt to bring you down. You head to the left and back to the right as you wonder where your allies are, where have they gone? You can dimly remember that there were others once upon a time who supported you and helped you up this slope, encouraging you and urging you on but their voices have gone. One by one the enemy has picked them off leaving you isolated and alone.

This slope that now threatens to halt you advance was once a beautiful hillside adorned with verdant grass which swayed in the warm, gentle breeze. Flowers festooned it beneath a blazing golden sun as you ran down the slope each day with ease and in such a care-free manner. Your recollection of that time vanishes when you hear the rumbling noise and see the barrel of a tank coming into view. You know what is coming from this terror tank, a salvo of scathing shells, designed to send you flying through the air, dizzy and disorientated. The barrel is swinging around as your tormentor takes aim and with considerable effort you continue your advance. It feels like you are running through hell. The noise, the sudden explosions of furious fire and blinding light against the grim grey sky, the booms, the thuds, the sharp ping of bullets, the whump of the negative energy from bombs, shells and grenades being absorbed by the mud. You are under attack from all sides as you pelt forward and hurdle another set of barbed comments, avoiding being caught on them. You land and see ahead the ridge which signifies the end of this stretch of land. The end of the slope. You just need to reach there and you will be shielded from this assault, out of range and able surely then to rest and muster your strength. You notice for the first time that your teeth are chattering through fear, almost mimicking the chatter of the machine gun nests which are blazing their poison-tipped bullets towards you. The earth groans in protest as a line of bullets slaps into the earth and you take this as your cue to go forward again. You hear the throb of aircraft engine as a pain plane draws near ready to drop some incendiary device on you to have you burn or a fearsome bomb to blast you into smithereens with the force of its vitriol. Your breath is ragged and you can feel your legs shaking, the toll of this advance now exacting itself on your body which has endured so much. Five more steps and then surely you will have reached safety. The roar of battle reaches a crescendo, malicious metal rending the air apart as the aircraft draws closer, the tank twists, the barrel trying to keep pace with you. Four steps. The bullets whizz and another hand grenade explodes behind you. Three steps. There is the whine of a falling bomb which supersedes all the other clamour of battle. Two steps. Your heart is going to explode. One step. Everything is now being launched against you to stop you getting to the ridge. A massive explosion erupts behind you, furious and fearsome as you are hurled through the air, over the ridge and mud-smeared, ragged, bleeding and battered you crash to the ground and roll over, once, twice and a third time.

The world eventually stops wheeling about you. The spinning recedes and the frenzied sounds of battle have become muffled and distant. You hear your own heart still pounding, the sound of your heavy breathing as you mentally check yourself and realise you are intact. Just.

You open your eyes and turn to see where it is you have arrived and that is providing you with some kind of respite. You are in a ditch or perhaps a trench and you can see nothing but two earthen walls either side of you providing you with protection. You have made it. You got through the war zone. You crossed that stretch of land and succeeded. Elation soars through you as you tentatively sit up. Over the ridge to your right is where you have just come from, but what lies to the left. Carefully you peek over the edge of the trench.

There is a slope ahead of you. A stretch of land. You know this stretch of land. You know it well. It is churned mud with machine gun nests lining the sides of the slope as this steep section of land leads up to a ridge.

Yes, you know this stretch of land.

58 thoughts on “War Zone

  1. lickemtomorrow says:

    Oh my, I think you are reading my mind, HG.

    I came across some reading today, related to children growing up in a narcissistic household, and there was a link to an article headed “Violent homes have the same affect on brains of children as combat does on soldiers.'” This was backed up by scientific evidence in the form of MRI’s done on a number of children coming from violent homes and suggested “in both cases the brain becomes increasingly wary of potential threats.” There is no doubt children growing up in narcissistic households are not only subject to potential physical violence but also a form of psychological warfare. And your article describes it perfectly. The constant uncertainty and bombardment, coupled with the fear and trepidation, that accompanies narcissistic abuse. Imagine as a child being subject to this daily diet when you are vulnerable and in many ways unable to protect yourself. It provides an explanation for the ongoing creation of narcissistic individuals as well as those who suffer from the after effects in terms of mental health problems, including PTSD. I think I’m only beginning to come to terms with the enormity of what I have been through, and not just one cycle of abuse.

    1. A Victor says:

      LET, same.

      1. lickemtomorrow says:

        Haha, AV. I’ve had two incidences of “mind reading” in the last 24hrs – one here and one elsewhere, but it always takes me by surprise when things synchronize in that way.

        Coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidences.

        1. A Victor says:

          I don’t believe in coincidences either. Everything happens for a reason.

      2. lickemtomorrow says:

        Hi, AV, I’m hoping HG can remove my previous comment to you as I misinterpreted your comment to mean you felt HG had been reading your mind! Apologies for any misunderstanding around that as now I realize you mean it’s not the first cycle of abuse you have been through ๐Ÿ™

        Sadly, I think a few of us can relate to that, especially after walking into the combat zone again … and again. Familiar territory, I guess.

        Because I came here dealing with a more recent relationship I wasn’t thinking about the previous one and the one before that, and see now how it reaches all the way back to that original combat zone I experienced as a child. It’s an absolute ongoing saga in that sense. Always bringing me back to ground zero.

        After reading that article combined with HG’s excellent description of the narcissistic battlefield, I realize I’ve never fully comprehended the level of trauma I experienced as a child.

        And I’m going to end on that sentence to allow that to sink in again.

        1. A Victor says:

          LET, no problem! After sending that comment, I realized it wasn’t very clear, that’s on me! I do think HG is knowledgeable enough about us for it to SEEM like he can read our minds, but, I don’t give him QUITE that much credit. Almost though.

          I am also just coming to understand the amount of trauma I experienced as a child and how it formed me and brought me to make choices regarding my ex. It is mind-boggling. Renarde brought up PTSD once, I had never looked at it, the second trauma listed that can cause it is child abuse. That shook me a bit but also explained a whole lot.

          1. lickemtomorrow says:

            Thanks, AV. I just had a synchronicitous moment between clicking off the article and seeing HG’s post on the War Zone. The two came together perfectly. I definitely read the article with different eyes considering from a child’s perspective.

            And the word trauma is the one to let sink in. We often just soldier on thinking that is the way things are and we have to put up with it. Not realizing we have been through battle and are suffering from all the effects of that.

            I think there are many victims of narcissistic abuse who are unaware that part of the fallout from it can be PTSD or CPTSD and I know HG has mentioned it in some of his articles. It seems obvious when you understand more.

    2. WhoCares says:

      If HG would be so kind as to allow it – LET, would you be able to provide a link (or a title) to the article you referenced? I know a friend who has been attempting to describe, to professionals, that her child’s poor behaviour is born out of the trauma of her relationship with the child’s father.

      1. lickemtomorrow says:

        Hi, WC, please see two linked articles which date back to 2011. There may be more updated information, but I came across this by chance today:

        https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2011/dec/maltreated-children-show-same-pattern-brain-activity-combat-soldiers

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2070226/Violent-homes-effect-brains-children-combat-does-soldiers.html

        1. WhoCares says:

          Thank-you very much, LET.

          1. lickemtomorrow says:

            No problem, WC ๐Ÿ™‚

        2. A Victor says:

          These made me teary.

          1. lickemtomorrow says:

            <3 Understandable, AV. It's very confronting.

            They made me grateful. Now I know why I live in a perpetual combat zone in my head and in my heart.

          2. A Victor says:

            LET,
            I didn’t take it as confronting but rather relieving, as in, there is a real reason for my sometimes difficult to understand (to myself) behaviors. This is a point I can work from, to improve, tears of happiness maybe. Right now they happen a lot and I don’t always know why. Thank you for sharing them!

          3. lickemtomorrow says:

            <3 Tears of relief are so precious, AV.

            The articles finally lend some understanding to what has baffled us and kept us in the dark in so many ways.

            And it's stuff we beat ourselves up about, too. "Why do I keep fucking things up?" "Why can't I get it right?" "What the fuck is wrong with me?" Those would be some of my embattled thoughts at times. Because I didn't know I have been living under severe stress for the majority of my life. And it has taken a toll on me. And now I can be relieved of the responsibility of thinking somehow it was my fault and that I should be living as though I had never undergone any of it. The truth is this happened to me. And I am a true survivor.

            Those tears are cleansing, AV. They are a gift. I'm so glad you have been able to shed them as part of your recovery <3 xox

          4. A Victor says:

            LET!! I just used the term “abuse survivor” on another thread to WhoCares! Great minds think alike!! We are survivors!

            Not sure how I feel about the tears part yet, I’ll get back to you on that one! ๐Ÿ™‚

          5. lickemtomorrow says:

            ๐Ÿ™‚ We are survivors, AV, and it can take a while to comprehend that. Partly because it can be such an insidious thing when related to narcissism, and often because narcissism is not on anyone’s radar, including our own. We’ve just sucked it up and tried to get on with things thinking somehow that’s just life and that’s what we need to do. It can be hard to get that acknowledgement from anyone else which makes it harder to acknowledge ourselves. People might empathize with our circumstances at times, but still not recognize it as abuse or call it that. Even I find it hard as we so often relate abuse to physical abuse. And that can be part of it. But we know now abuse encompasses so much more in terms of other people’s treatment of us. A silent treatment is abusive. There are no physical signs to indicate we are likely in acute psychological and emotional pain. But the pain is very real. And it is being applied to bring us under control. The notion of coercive control is gaining more traction as we begin to see the insidious nature of abuse. That’s just one example. And it is for the most part completely hidden.

            In the past I would have overlooked such things and never considered them as abuse. I would have just ‘manned up’ and while I might have stood my ground against it I would never have thought “You are abusing me.” Which makes it much harder to escape. If I’d put it into the context of abuse I would have been much more likely to turn the tables sooner. To get the acknowledgement from others would definitely have aided in that as well. For people to say or think “Well, you must have done something to upset them” or give some other paltry excuse rather than say “You are being abused” allows the abuse to continue as we second guess ourselves about motivations.

            There is so much here to continue to contemplate and evaluate, but being able to claim the title of “abuse survivor” and not just “victim of a narcissist” is a huge step in the right direction for recovery. It gets to the bottom of what happened to us, gives us the acknowledgement we need for what we have been through, and allows us to stand tall in light of everything we have suffered.

            Happy for you to get back to me on the tears, AV <3 I'll always see them as a precious gift x

          6. A Victor says:

            LET, thank you for this comment, I believe you have unlocked a door for me. I think I can now read Black Flag. I had already been feeling that part of the way for me to feel safe eventually is to understand the forms that abuse can take, something I have not understood at all. Once I know it’s abuse, I will not be able to overlook it, such is my personality. This is a bit of a break-thru, I am most grateful.

            Tears are a gift, I was being a bit tongue in cheek as all this emotion is not my norm and it actually gets annoying sometimes! Haha! But, the tears are cathartic!

          7. lickemtomorrow says:

            AV, I’m glad my comment has helped you and you feel more able to read Black Flag now. It is on my “to do” list as well, but I’ve put it on the long finger while I’m no longer in a relationship. It’s a good idea to become more aware before getting into another relationship, though, so I’ll keep it in mind as a way to make sure I don’t overlook future abuse either. It can take so many forms.

            I had a conversation with my eldest daughter yesterday around a couple of things. One was describing a movie which I was able to use to unpack how a narcissist operates (seduction, devaluation, gaslighting, etc.), and the other was giving her some insight into how we made our final escape from her father. She won’t necessarily have seen that as an escape before now. A work colleague had opened up a conversation with her about how her sister was stuck in another country with her two children as the father would not let them leave. My daughter said she felt awkward and didn’t know how to respond because she recognized that as the situation I/we had been in. I think she knew that to respond in a sympathetic way would have meant speaking out against her father.

            I explained her father had also tried to prevent me leaving initially by saying “you can go, but you’re not taking them with you.” I was never going to leave my children, and told her that this then forced me to remain in a situation under his control even though he had limited access. I went on to explain that her father’s behaviour and treatment of them, particularly her younger brother and sister, motivated me to eventually call his bluff eight years later. In my situation, I had left him when I was pregnant with our third child, was convinced by him to return a year later, and once he had us in his clutches again he left me a year after that. Where was I going to go and what was I going to do with three children aged five and under? He had me right where he wanted me.

            There’s a lot more to the second period of separation and eventual divorce, but I had already secured the paperwork I needed for my children to travel and had it locked in a bank vault. Eight years post that second separation I prepared myself to do the most difficult thing I had ever done, which was to tell him I was leaving regardless of whether the children came with me or not. I knew I was taking a risk, but it was almost a guarantee he would not be prepared to do the parenting I had done and take over the children’s care. Thankfully, I turned out to be right. He didn’t put up a fight. Just cried a few crocodile tears. At the same time, I couldn’t take any chances he wouldn’t change his mind at some point leading up to or during the journey. I told my daughter this, too.

            I had accessed information about refuges and called one about the possibility of staying there. They were reluctant, likely due to the international nature of the situation. I was afraid, but had to hope for the best. In the end, he did not try to prevent our departure, but it wasn’t until we were two flights, several countries and many hours away that I finally knew that we had broken free. I also told my daughter that … when we had reached a certain destination I knew we were safe and I knew I was free.

            That is a hard thing to tell your own child who for the most part has not had to confront the reality of her father’s behaviours for over a decade. I was able to overlay the fact of the control he applied in the situation in terms of how he prevented me leaving, and share with her, as an adult now, how that made me feel. She could clearly see the element of control being applied in her colleagues sister’s situation.

            She remembers me crying when we reached the point where I knew we were free. She wouldn’t have understood it then and I would have applied a different explanation to those tears knowing my children would not understand. But they were tears of relief <3

            And LOL to the tears getting annoying! That tap can be hard to turn off sometimes once the faucet has been opened. But as you say, they are cathartic and usually a guarantee you are releasing a lot of past pain and anger. At the same time, I hope they dry up soon as a sign of your continuing recovery ๐Ÿ™‚ xox

          8. A Victor says:

            LET, thank you for sharing your interaction with your daughter. What a blessing that it went so well, she sounds like a mature, level-headed young woman. And it sounds like you had much wisdom in how to discuss a very difficult thing in a sensitive manner, well done! She is blessed to have you!

            Your story is most tragic, it made me so sad to think of you and your children going through this. I am glad you had the wisdom, strength and help to do what needs to be done and get you all to safety. And you’ve come far since also. I believe your story, put on here now like this, and also told to your daughter now, will help people who come through here, as well as your daughter, there is hope, we have choices, people can triumph over seemingly impossible odds, you are a testament to that. I am improved for reading this and understanding more of your situation and also how you expressed it to her. Thank you very much! โ™ฅ๏ธ

          9. A Victor says:

            Your past* situation.

          10. lickemtomorrow says:

            Thank you for your kind words once again, AV <3 My daughter is a beautiful, intelligent and caring young woman, and I am lucky to have her. Ultimately we all came through it together – they were my strength and we continue to be eachother's strength. Much like your own children, I'm sure.

            I thought the odds were against me until someone shared a similar situation to mine with me and the idea of calling his bluff materialized. But it took eight years for me to do it and it was predicated on his selfishness. I would not have considered such an action if had been a loving father as so many men are. He wasn't, he was traumatizing our children in the little time he had them and I knew something had to be done. I'm not sure where my courage comes from, but it tops the list of my personality traits while humility finds itself all the way at the bottom! Ha! I always thought I was humble before I took that test.

            Thanks for sharing your thoughts, AV. Everyone's situation is different and mine just had some added complexities which thankfully I was able to navigate around.

            I did know one woman during the time of my marriage who left her four children with her husband because that was the only way she could escape. I remember when I met her and she told me her story I couldn't imagine how anyone could do that. I think I'd die before I'd leave my kids. But, understanding abuse much better now, I can see how some find it impossible to leave and others leave to save their lives but have to leave their children behind in order to do that. It's traumatizing no matter what way you go at it.

            I think him leaving me after our return was a blessing (although it didn't feel like that at the time). No doubt I would have left him sooner or later again otherwise! But he was happy to leave the children for me to raise. It meant he could go and do his own thing, and he did. While it kept me even more bound due to the fact of the children's ages, my isolation, and lack of any supports. Still I was rid of him for the most part and for that I can be thankful.

            Ultimately it gave me the opportunity to affect our final escape.

          11. A Victor says:

            LET, I have been so thankful that my ex left and I didn’t have to make those decisions. You are a brave lady.

            Your comment about humility made me laugh! If I had been honest, I would have had to acknowledge a significant level of pride myself, and I was impressed that the TDC picked up on that!

            I think we do whatever we have to in order to survive the best we can. And it sometimes results in hard choices that others may not understand. You are correct, being here I have seen a broader picture of that and honestly, it makes my compassion grow as understanding comes. I was so caught up with your story of fleeing that I missed a chunk, I am happy for you that he left also, I often wonder if I would still be with mine had he not left.

            Yes, our children are a blessing and your story gives me hope with regard to my oldest daughter, thank you again for sharing!

          12. NarcAngel says:

            LET
            Only if you’re comfortable…..what was your daughter’s response to your telling her of the details surrounding her father’s control and your leaving?

          13. lickemtomorrow says:

            She took it all in. Didn’t try to argue with me or defend her father. Probably the backdrop of the conversation she had with her work colleague opened her eyes to situation in a way she wouldn’t have seen it before. That I wanted to escape, but couldn’t. While I had ended the formal relationship with her father he still held many of the strings in terms of our welfare. Having lived and grown up with me for the most part she will have seen both her parent’s imperfections. But this goes beyond an imperfection and the most important thing for me is that she understands that element of manipulative control and how destructive it can be. To be able to relate it to our own situation hopefully will help with that. I don’t expect it to turn the tables on her relationship with her father as she has gained enough distance not to be overly influenced by him anyway and is a very independent thinker. She will also likely think that is something between him and I, and in part I would agree with that. For her to know how things came to be the way they are is important to me. Not in defense of my position, but in knowing the dangers that lurk which are often unseen.

          14. A Victor says:

            LET, this was my thought also, hopefully she can learn and be better prepared for her own future.

          15. NarcAngel says:

            LET
            Thank you for responding. A good approach in using the movie and the situation with her work colleague to open up. You provided an example a little closer to home that she was not fully aware of, and it sounds you were able to present how manipulative control can present in different ways she may not have thought about and in a non-threatening way to her relationship with her father. You never know going in how conversations like this will end up, so credit to you for seizing the opportunity to present your side and for a successful outcome for you both.

          16. lickemtomorrow says:

            Thank, NA. I was very surprised when she mentioned the story of her work colleague, but it gave me the ideal opportunity to present the facts, or the side of the story as a child she had no need to contemplate. At the time, I presented it as a move to improve circumstances and opportunities for us all, and with their father’s limited contact it did not come as such a shock to their system. Unfortunately, they had been exposed to his bad behaviours, so I’m sure there was relief for them, too. At the same time I did not try to deny contact to any of them once we out of physical proximity. He would have wanted to have them ‘on side’ rather than ‘off side’ as it would have been easy to cut communications otherwise. For the time being, we were all out from under his control, at least until our second Christmas, but that is a story for another day.

        3. WhoCares says:

          LET,

          I just read your story below of escape and the opportunity you had to speak openly with your daughter.
          So brave on both accounts.
          I cannot imagine doing what you did, with three children.
          And I both anticipate and dread the day that I can talk that frankly, with my son, about his father’s behaviour.

          1. lickemtomorrow says:

            Thanks, WC, and to be honest, the day presented itself <3 I'm truly thankful for that. They might not be open to hearing about it otherwise. I can understand your sense of anticipation and dread, but often there's a path prepared for us before we even get there which will make the telling easier xox

          2. WhoCares says:

            LET,
            The day may have presented itself, but it took you being sensitive to the moment and choosing to proceed as you did.
            “often there’s a path prepared for us before we even get there which will make the telling easier xox”
            This is good to hear!

          3. lickemtomorrow says:

            Thanks again for your kind words, WC. I know you will be just as sensitive and proceed in a way that will be supportive of your son <3 You are a fierce mama and protecting him will be at the heart of everything you do, I'm sure x I trust the path will open up at the right time for both of you.

          4. WhoCares says:

            LET: โ™ฅ๏ธ

          5. A Victor says:

            LET,
            Seeing the best time and acting to make use of it are a talent, or sometimes a learned skill, that not all possess, you were wise to see the opportunity and use it. And used it well, that’s so exciting!

          6. lickemtomorrow says:

            Thanks, AV. I never thought about it that way. From your comments I see you are doing the same, and we all learn from eachother <3 It is exciting when we get a chance to open those doors to understanding for our children as well. Some will understand instinctively and it's great when that happens. Others take more time depending on the circumstances. Either way we've got their backs xox

          7. A Victor says:

            I agree with everything you said here, especially that last sentence! ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. Asp Emp says:

      Wow LET. I follow somebody on Twitter who shares info on CPTSD and it is rather interesting that more people are ‘talking’ about this. Maybe it is partly because of the lockdowns in the UK that has widened the ‘awareness’ of such abuse & goings on coming to the fore. What is more, when it is broadcast on the news about the increasing level of ‘domestic violence / abuse / mental health issues etc’ – not ONCE has narcissism been mentioned!!!

      I was really impressed with this programme aired by BBC yet narcissism is not mentioned…..

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08v5pwj

      Yes, you last sentence in your comment – is why learning about narcissism via KTN is not just about learning about narcissists themselves – it is (in my view) also a way of being able to look into yourself and recognise how narcissism has also impacted on you.

      1. lickemtomorrow says:

        I’m going to check that programme out, AspEmp and thank you for linking it. It seems so obvious to us now what is at the bottom of so many of these things and hard to believe the somehow it is still not being associated with narcissism. Why is it such a difficult bridge to cross? I might have some more thoughts on that later, but at least raising awareness of some of the issues associated with it (e.g. family violence, etc.) is a place to start.

        And we are definitely learning about ourselves here, too. It’s a huge bonus that HG is focused very much on empaths and targeting of the same when it comes to the narcissist in a way that we can develop an appreciation of our empathy.

        1. Asp Emp says:

          LET, RE: the programme โ€“ I felt it was one way of ‘introducing’ the subject of narcissism to start the ‘conversation’ but using the programme as an indirect way. I agree with your second paragraph. Yes, HG is also educating us to recognise our empath strengths as well as the weaknesses – so that we can use his resources to see where and how we use them, whether intended / unintentionally. Yes, our empathy should be embraced.

          1. lickemtomorrow says:

            Definitely a way to introduce the subject and it’s gaining air time which is a good thing.

            I think you put my second paragraph much better than me:

            “Yes, HG is also educating us to recognise our empath strengths as well as the weaknesses โ€“ so that we can use his resources to see where and how we use them, whether intended / unintentionally.”

            Exactly!

            And: “Yes, our empathy should be embraced.”

            Always <3

          2. Asp Emp says:

            Thank you LET x

          3. lickemtomorrow says:

            You are welcome, AspEmp xox

          4. A Victor says:

            Asp Emp, this is a good expansion on LET’s thought, thank you!

        2. A Victor says:

          LET,
          “Itโ€™s a huge bonus that HG is focused very much on empaths and targeting of the same when it comes to the narcissist in a way that we can develop an appreciation of our empathy.” This is a perfectly worded sentence! I agree 100%!

          1. lickemtomorrow says:

            Thanks, AV <3 I appreciate that xox

    4. Fiddleress says:

      Same her, LET.
      And to think my ‘father’ used to tell us kids that we were having it too easy, and what we needed was a war to teach us how to live! (He’d been in a war as a soldier.)

      Thank you so much for the links you gave to the articles, in your post below.
      My MatriNarc has just died, less than 3 months after her husband. My brother and I had never spoken so much to each other, we’d never confided so much in each other. We each tried to survive through that war zone growing up, as best we could. The extremely violent atmosphere we grew up in even divided us somehow, we did not support each other as kids. We were not subjected to exactly the same things either. He told me a few days ago that the reason he saw me only once or twice a year was because seeing me reminded him of our childhood too much, and his way of coping was to not think about it at all.
      He has been battling high anxiety. But is realising that speaking is good for him.
      My bet is that the death of our genitors, once we have finished dealing with the red tape (here in the Kingdom of red tape!), means the beginning of a new life for me and my brother, even though we had stopped seeing them over 10 years ago.

      I think I have said this before, so apologies about the repeat: a study has shown that children who live in times of war with loving parents are less traumatised than children who experience/witness domestic violence.

      Hugs to all children of parental narcissists. We are here, so we are on the right path to a better life!

      1. Asp Emp says:

        Hi Fiddleress, reading your words rang true – 3 months before ‘mother’ died my sister & I spent the first Xmas Day without matrinarc (it was FAB) and talked. We were not necessarily skipping around with excitement yet we both knew once she has ‘passed on’ – we would be free of her – my sister says “She will be at peace” and my response was more or less that we will be able to breathe. Yet the narcissistic ‘residue’ remained until recently (learning about narcissism & understanding the impact / myself).

        Enjoy the beginnings of your new life.

      2. lickemtomorrow says:

        There are tears in my eyes for all you have been through, Fiddleress … I know you don’t want to hear me say I am sorry, but I am sorry for everything you’ve had to endure. Sometimes it seems beyond our ability to cope, yet here you are and I’m glad you’re here. Also that you feel able to share that news, and so much more. You and your brother will now be eachother’s strength and it seems while some things appear to fall apart, other things come together. I truly hope that this can be a healing moment for you both. You deserve it <3

        I did not know about that other study and thank you for sharing it. While your father may have seen war and suffered its impact, he had so sympathy for the war he was waging in his own home along with your mother. Our parent's demons often become our own. I'm glad that you can finally be free of so many of those now with the understanding you have gained and the people here to support you, too.

        Wishing you grace and peace and everything you need right now to rise out of the ashes … much love is being sent your way again today xox

        1. Fiddleress says:

          Thank you so much for everything you said, LET. I know that you and the other ACONS can relate. I do believe that my brother and me can really support each other now. He knows that I am on this blog, I have told him about HG’s work. My brother is probably not ready just yet, but at least he knows where to find the best information, assistance, and support: here.
          I also forwarded to him the links to the articles you posted, and I want to thank you on his behalf, LET: he said that reading the articles helped him get rid of the shame he felt at sometimes feeling so vulnerable, as he put it. This is a big step for him.

          Your support and your words are much appreciated. I know that you have had your share of abuse, and you, LET, are always graceful (whereas as far as I’m concerned, I think I am sometimes abrupt, but I’m working on it, haha!) xoxo

          1. lickemtomorrow says:

            Fiddleress, I’m over the moon that you were able to share those articles with your brother who has responded so positively to them <3 My thanks also go to WhoCares who requested them and of course to HG who was kind enough to allow them to be posted. HG your article was the inspiration for all of this. Thank you!

            I'm not sure all my recent comments have been so graceful (I try!), but thank you so much for your kind words again, Fiddleress <3 I don't think you are abrupt at all, and I take great encouragement from your sharing here. You have come such a long way and been through so much. I know your experiences and contributions will help to shore me up as I continue on my journey of healing, too.

            Sending hope of better things to come for you and your brother, my friend xox

          2. Fiddleress says:

            LET, I just wanted to say your words are extremely kind. Thank you.
            I am humbled by what you wrote.
            Big hugs to you xx

      3. A Victor says:

        Fiddleress,

        I will not say sorry for your loss, in fact, in honesty, I am a bit jealous, and now I feel like a terrible human being. Enjoy your freedom and your brother.

        Thank you for the info from the study, I had not seen that before and it is affirming.

        Thank you for the hug and here’s one back to you! ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Fiddleress says:

          AV, I can understand *in theory* why you “feel like a terrible human being” in your ‘jealousy’ of my loss (sorry, I am half laughing typing this, but not in a mocking way; it just makes me laugh – the fatigue of the past week/10 days, I think!). But really, I totally understand. Going no contact is an emergency measure, and I am glad that I did, it is and was life-saving; but the passing away of those people brings an extra feeling of peace. So I understand. And that day comes at some point ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Thanks for the hug! Take care, AV.

          1. A Victor says:

            Fiddleress, if you were laughing, you took it in the way intended, I am glad. I hope you can get some rest soon. ๐Ÿ˜ด Take care also.

      4. WhoCares says:

        Fiddleress,

        I am happy to hear that you get an opportunity to rekindle your relationship with your brother.
        Take good care โค๏ธ

        1. Fiddleress says:

          WhoCares, thank you! I was relieved to hear that the reason my brother didn’t want to see me more often was not, as I believed, because he thought I was mad or something like that (given my tendency to date and then escape narcissists).

          I take this opportunity to thank you for asking LET to post the links of the articles. It is amazing when you think about it, to see the unexpected but very positive repercussions of things we speak about here – it always seems to benefit more people than we can imagine.

          You take care too xx

          1. WhoCares says:

            Fiddleress,

            That must have felt good, clearing the air with your brother.
            And I am glad that LET’s articles and my simple request were beneficial.
            I have had several instances, on my time on the blog, where something similar happened – just a very simple gesture on the part of another commenter helped me significantly in a way they couldn’t have perceived when they shared it.

    5. MP says:

      LET,

      Thank you for bringing this up. Sadly, PTSD and CPTSD is not just damage or alteration to the brain. It is trauma that is stored in the personโ€™s whole nervous system. When a person with CPTSD gets triggered (I know that word gets used a lot in a less meaningful ways) it is not just their brain that reacts but their whole body. The fight or flight sensation is felt in the whole body and you are taken back to the feelings of past trauma. You feel it in your skin, the way your blood flows inside you, your heartbeat etc. I found it interesting that HG described his sensation when he gets wounded and it sounds like there is also a physical sensation felt similar although maybe coming from different roots. I think that a person with CPTSD doesnโ€™t feel that they are ceasing to exist. They donโ€™t have a construct that might cease to exist. However it is their existence that is being shamed when they feel that sensation. It is very illogical and because it is in the whole nervous system and not just in the brain, it is very difficult to control.

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