Inside Out: 2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Thank you to each and every person who took the time to be curious about my blog. Thank you for reading, commenting & following. Without you, I’d just be talking to myself ūüôā

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Don’t Talk, Don’t Trust Don’t Feel

god sharkWhile I love delving into a variety of psychology topics, I seem to have developed an acute interest in researching, understanding, and explaining Narcissistic behavior. ¬†Perhaps it is because I grew up with an abusive, alcoholic “N” father and was left with a lifetime of questions I’ve been working¬†to answer. I also seem to meet a lot of narcissists and even date them (Freud. Is that you?). ¬†As time has gone on I’ve gotten far better at recognizing the red flags and have healed so I walk away a lot faster and minimize the damage done to myself.

Recently I was reading an FAQ on Sam Vankin’s website,¬†who is a narcissist himself and writes extensively on what it is like from a 1st person perspective. ¬†For whatever reason, his description about the two different “geneotypes” of narcissism; somatic and cerebral struck a different cord for me.

It made me think about religion and its long standing relationship to misogyny and narcissism.

First and foremost, narcissistic men hate women. ¬†So do most religions. It is hatred of an irrational and passionate kind. Narcissistic¬†men despise women who are independently minded‚ÄĒthose they cannot fool¬†and know instantly who they really are. ¬†So they hate women in general and independent women especially.¬†¬†¬†Keep in mind, that they are aware enough to realize that this is not appropriate, so they have learned to repress it. ¬†But it is always lurking beneath ready to burst out with the right irresistible trigger. ¬†In religion the hatred¬†is couched as acceptable simply by saying it is “tradition”.math codependents

The second thing that it important to know is the definition of the two genotypes and that if you stick around long enough you’ll witnesss both. One is default or dominant,¬†but both will show depending on circumstances:

Cerebral narcissists – basically trying to impress you with their brains, intellectual accomplishments, “the know-it-alls” define this dominant type.

Somatic narcissists –¬†these are the ones that are into their bodies, sex as conquest, the philanderers. They treat women as objects to get off. If you ever felt like you were having sex with a man that felt like he was basically using your body to masturbate, you may have been with this dominant type.

In an excerpt regarding Narcissists, Sex and Fidelity, Sam Vankin, a dominantly cerebral narcissist writes,¬†The somatic narcissist uses sex to “conquer” and “secure” new sources of narcissistic supply. Consequently, the somatic rarely gets emotionally-involved with his “targets”. His is a mechanical act, devoid of intimacy and commitment. The cerebral narcissist feels that sex is demeaning and degrading. Acting on one’s sex drive is a primitive, basic, and common impulse. The cerebral narcissist convinces himself that he is above all that, endowed as he is with superior intelligence and superhuman self-control.”

god narcissistThis made me think about¬†about religion. ¬†Let’s take a look at what St. Paul has to say in¬†1 Timothy 2:12: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent.”

Then I remember that at the core narcissists hate women.  Finally, I went back once more and thought about why religion remains a pervasive part of our society even though we supposedly have equality. How could parents bring their children to a mass that condones this kind of sexism? I thought about the horrors women still face and the very real danger they are often in.

There is a clear endorsement of female subservience in Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit to you husbands as to the Lord”; and similar advice for slaves in 1 Peter 2:18: “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” One truly cannot discern a difference between being a woman or a slave.

narcissist impress strangerAnother blood-curdling tale from the Book of Judges, where an Israelite man is trapped in a house by a hostile crowd, and sends out his concubine to placate them:

‚ÄúSo the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, ‚ÄėGet up; let‚Äôs go.‚Äô But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.‚ÄĚ (Judges 19:25-28)

Fundamentally at the core of religion is the degradation of women. The fact that both genders still participate is an act of consent to the precepts both written and preached. 

As I consider narcissism and the misogyny that exists at its core, I cannot help but be convinced by the overwhelming evidence that the very founders of most world religions were themselves narcissists. I imagine two types of narcissist priests Рthe somatic who has urges he tries to repress (they are the ones we eventually hear stories about) and the cerebral narcissists who find sex disgusting anyway so it is not that hard to abstain.  These are the ones making the sexist, degrading laws.  All because they have a dysfunctional relationship to their bodies, women and sexuality.

The more traditional the country, the more easily it is bound by religion. The worse it is for women. But even here in the USA where we are in the land of the free and we supposedly have equality,¬†day after day women continue to support religion as a front for their own degradation simply because they show¬†up and self-identify! ¬†And puuuhlease, even though I hear this all the time, NO! You cannot¬†pick and choose the parts of religion that you’ll support or not support either.¬†Every time you show up and keep quiet, every time you donate your time or your money, you condone it all – part and parcel.

3 rulesDo you know that there are 3 rules to keep a dysfunctional family intact:¬†Don‚Äôt Talk, Don‚Äôt Trust and Don‚Äôt Feel. As long as you feel¬†that you are being treated badly and don’t say anything, you are complicit. ¬†You are enabling the behavior to continue. ¬†And when it comes to religion, if you are woman supporting a religion in any way that categorically degrades women into a lesser position, then you are saying “it is ok” to treat me like less, my daughter like less. ¬†It is ok to expect less. It is ok to be dominated and silent. And as a man you are also agreeing to treat your wife, daughter, sister in this unequal manner and to teach them that this is what it is to be a man.

stood up for self bitchIf we had any kind of real equality, religion either wouldn’t exist or it wouldn’t put the genders in a one-up, one-down position. But in the competitive society in which we live, we can’t even imagine a world where both people are equal. ¬†There has to be a dominant and submissive model in play. ¬†Do you realize that research shows that only 1 in 4 relationships have women in the one-up or dominant position? ¬†That mean 75% of our “romantic” relationships have men dominating women and women in the “one-down or devalued position”. ¬†And of course the culture punishes the men by calling them “wimps” and the women “bitches” in hopes that it will get them back in line.

Do you see that all of this perpetuates the idea that narcissism and misogyny is ok? Do you see that religion sticks around because our society keeps generationally reinforcing¬†that this model works even when it doesn’t. The social pressure to conform feels like too much. So we stay quiet in public and dissent in private.

Don’t talk, ¬†don’t trust, don’t feel. It masks reality. ¬†It gives way to learned helplessness, drama, and victimhood. Instead of empowering yourself, you become “the one who survived” each life event¬†and think that measures your¬†success.

Woman or Man – If you want to change how you’re being treated… If you want to leave the Narcissist in your life/dysfunctional relationship… ¬†If you want to live in a healthy society and have healthy relationships between and among genders….

… Then do 3 things:¬†TALK, TRUST, FEEL.¬†

– with love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

 

Just Leave Already

mighty-fine-ladies-sex-and-the-city-martini-t-shirt-by-mighty-fine-black-p279-371_imageHow many times have you sat next to your girlfriend while she sobs pitifully into her Cosmo (a la Sex and¬†the City) about the latest guy? You still refused to give her a much needed wake up call. Didn’t you? This goes waaaay beyond – He’s Just Not that Into You! It’s about gathering up your self respect enough that you can tell your girl to opt-out before she loses her own self-respect.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that it can feel good to get at least some of the things you want from a relationship,especially if you’ve been alone for a while. But that doesn’t mean you’re getting what you need to make it last.

I’m all for letting the guy know if you don’t like something or what your preferences are. That’s just good communication. But here’s the thing, if he agreed to make the adjustment and you don’t see any improvement over a reasonable period of time, you’re probably not going to get further by telling him the same thing more often. Unless disappointment and empty promises are¬†what you’re after.

Unless you’re dating a complete moron (which begs the question of why you’d be interested in him to begin with), he is capable of understanding the words that are coming out of your mouth. He would WANT to listen and make you happy if he were¬†able and if he gave a flying fancy about you.

You don’t have to resort to scare tactics – threaten him, get all passive aggressive or break up to make your point. In fact if you are doing any of these things for that reason, please get real and¬†understand that it is not sustainable or healthy to keep going on like this. If he suddenly promises to change when you make these threats but not when things are “normal”, then you know you’ve got a solid reason to opt-out. There is nothing to “FIX”. Nothing better to look forward to. Just honor the waving red¬†flags, gather up your self-respect and get out of Dodge.

buh byeopt-out
noun
an instance of choosing not to participate in something.

Here’s the clincher – it doesn’t matter WHY!?! It doesn’t matter if he’s into you, not into you, has a tough day, week, year, life, childhood or is just not able to give you what you need. What matters is that YOU¬†know what YOU¬†need and you say buh-bye to someone who doesn’t meet those needs. Boom! Ta-Da! Done! There’s the magic! The Rabbit has left the hat!

–<3 with love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Failure Guaranteed. Success Optional.

I would say my biggest struggle throughout my life has been not feeling like I was good enough. ¬†I plugged along anyway and got things done, but I always wondered what it would feel like to accomplish those things without that crippling handicap.¬†There is some part of me that still is not sure if I’m worth the trust I place in myself. I’ve been knocked around a lot and it gets harder to get up each time. ¬†I always do, but I never quite heal fully.

There are times when I’ve held on to relationships longer than I should have just because I felt safer having a second person as a back up plan to myself.

I’ve pretended not to feel bad to my “support network” because I learned that I couldn’t count on people to stick around when the going got tough.¬†

I believed that there was something so flawed about me that I couldn’t even correct it. ¬†I imagined that others found it so repulsive that eventually, they’d stop liking me (if they ever really did), stop wanting to be around me, and finally leave me.

I realize now that I had learned not to trust myself or others.  Instead, I taught myself to be self-sufficient to a fault. I taught myself to rely on no one. To hide myself and quietly toll along.

A¬†part of me hoped I would¬†arrive at some destination where everything would fall into place – I’d be successful and people would really like me, hear me, and stay for a change.

I realize now that I had taught myself to believe that no matter what I accomplished in life, it was because of a force outside of myself and it had nothing to do with me. Yet I was always responsible for the failures.  Interesting how that works!

When you don’t know how it works, it all seems like magic!

You hope that success in one area equals success in all areas by proxy. Sort of like believing that if you get¬†that promotion you’ve been working for, you’ll also magically lose weight, get in shape, get great friends, and find the someone of your dreams. When only one of those things happen because it was the only one you were putting effort into, it can feel disappointing if you believe that mainly outside forces control the outcomes in your life. It can seem like with all the good energy being put into the universe, all your wishes should come true even if you didn’t do anything more than wish.

I think one of the hardest things to give up is a fear of your own success.

Yes! You heard me right. ¬†Fear of Success. We can actually become comfortable with our lives and our ingrained thought processes even when they do us no good. ¬†If you’re afraid of succeeding you can often sabotage your efforts to keep yourself stuck in place. It’s a bit like an addiction. You do it compulsively even though you know better. Giving it up is a major stressor. It forces you to rethink everything in your life.

That’s just hard because the brain likes predictable things to work with. ¬†It likes to think as little as possible. So, you’re literally messing with your own head when you force it to change the message based on how you look at your accomplishments.

You can’t keep reasonably telling yourself you’re a worthless, no good, failure when you keep succeeding. And especially because¬†despite that awful voice in your head, you’ve succeeded! That’s really a feat to be proud of!

Letting yourself be proud means letting go of the tapes in your head that trained you to believe otherwise about yourself.

When it all boils down it sometimes helps me to remember that failure is guaranteed. Success is optional.

I’ll write more in future blogs about the fear of failure vs. the fear of success so it can be a more expanded discussion. I just wanted to get this out.

with love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Invisible Widget

In a world that moves too fast for dreams to take root, no wonder you’re disappointed.¬† Where is the safe place in your socially networked mind that you go to get some peace? Who are YOU? A profile, a mask, an image, a task, a job, a role, an invisible widget in something¬†that feels like life? ¬†I ask you WHERE are YOU? ¬†What would you call yourself if you didn’t have a name?

I’m filled with many unanswered questions too! ¬†I walk out into the big wide world and think,¬†what the fuck am I going to do? Success may be fleeting, but what else makes living worthwhile? So we figure out where we’ve failed in the first part of life and then spend the second half¬†making a self-improvement plan and celebrating the little victories. ¬†The hope is that maybe everything we do will make just a little bit of sense. Just enough to keep us waking, working, striving, rinsing, and repeating.

Do you have a dream? Remember when it felt like you had time to dream? ¬†You took that for granted didn’t you. And now you wish for naps in the middle of the day where your mind could just float away and nobody snapped you back to anything that was more important – called REALITY.

Recently, I’ve started dreaming again and now it looks like the first step of one of my dreams is about to come true. Nothing could both excite and terrify me more. I wasn’t sure I could allow myself to dream after years of shutting them down. And here I am again, almost 40 and about to start school again en route to¬†a new career (middle school science teacher!). It feels different that it did when I was in my 20’s in grad school. Sometimes I wonder if I can make it through!

I think acting on your dreams is scary business especially when you stopped even daring to dream for so long. When we take the next step into action, we make it real. We bet the house on ourselves. Sometimes, that bet doesn’t feel like a sure thing. It is an act of faith towards ourselves. Sometimes we need time to prove to ourselves that our faith is well placed.

One step at a time.

–<3 with love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ