Intermission –

This will not transform itself to go into the story, no matter how many times I sift it, no matter how many facets I carve into it, or angles I observe it from.

There are some wounds that are too fresh to be made into fiction. They have to heal somewhat before they can be molded into a new thing that can give healing to others.

So hopefully, if I write it here, I will neutralize the thing that still brings me to tears, and burns my heart with the searing brand “betrayal.”

Truth is the current – currency? – I swim in. It’s my medium. I don’t mean “The” truth (If such a thing even exists)-

I mean my truth. Honesty. A bit raw, sometimes.

I had a group of friends here in Southern California that were the only safe place I had , in a town where I felt backstabbed everywhere I went. Judged. Criticized. My ex partner made sure of that. But more of that later; it’s another story.

I felt accepted, “as is,”with these friends.

I was myself with them – completely.

I expanded. I had one place, one slice of time, where I didn’t have to stifle my spirit. Or so I thought.

I am grateful the illusion lasted as long as it did,

Because they had no idea how much that was a lifeline to me,

The idea that somewhere there were people who accepted me as I am and wanted me around –

It got me through years of grudging “Christian charity,” holidays in a home where I was NOT welcome and not wanted, where everything I said and did was sifted through a filter of disdain,

where I was called “emotionally unstable,”

“Negative” and fragile.

Of course I was fragile. I had no home, I had no one, and the one person I thought I had , the person I had moved for, attacked my self worth and poisoned me subtly over a long period of time.

So overhearing these friends continue what seemed like a long-term perception and criticism with “consider the source,”

Killed something in me.

Trust.

Listen: you can win love back. But trust is fragile, and once broken, there’s no going back to the pure, beautiful thing that you had.

I still love these friends. I accept them as they are. I always did.

I do not trust the ones I heard backstabbing me, at a time when I was so shattered, it was a wonder I was spending time with people at all.

They clearly didn’t know the value of my time spent with them.

They clearly didn’t know the value of my trust.

Perhaps they didn’t lose anything they ever really valued at all.

“Consider the source” are three words that, when used in a disparaging manner to throw doubt on my word and my truth, are the worst possible thing anyone could show me.

That’s what it is: it sheds no light on who I am- it just shows me who someone is. How they choose to perceive me, and what they subsequently deserve of my words, truth, time, and heart, in order of my own personal value system.

My word is the most valuable thing I have to give.

More valuable than my heart.

Growing up with a narcissist who told all the kids in highschool that I was crazy and that my word was a joke, scarred me for life. Before I could even go to highschool, and be judged on my own actions or choices, my older brother had created a hell for me.

Anyone who slights my word now shows me that they’re a person who doesn’t deserve me.

It hurts. It hurts deeply to see it.

And I force my eyes to look, even though it burns.

I choose my companions more carefully now, after throwing myself away for years, diving in the trash bin of people who told me I had no value.

I savor alone – so those who deserve my time and trust, need to be better than alone, and that’s a high bar.

(Once again: raw and unedited. I just needed to get these words OUT, so I can un-stick the fiction. These words were causing a traffic jam. Thank you for reading and receiving them.)

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12 thoughts on “Intermission –

  1. Pingback: Intermission – — When a Raven is like a Writing Desk | When a Raven is like a Writing Desk

  2. During this time of lockdown, I have lost some people I thought were friends. I see now that not valuing myself led me to give chance after chance to people who never deserved a chance in the first place. I am pickier about who I want around me. I am finally sick of toxicity. I am free now. And it feels so good.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yes! I am so glad you are valuing yourself, and loving yourself. I think that once we finally heal enough to understand what that means, and how it feels in action, we do have to shed people, or they naturally detox out of our world on their own.
      It still can hurt.
      But, like you, I am finding the ability to breathe freely is worth it.
      Giving up people-pleasing at my own expense was a rough thing to learn…
      but I am grateful.
      So happy for you. ❤

      Like

    • I don’t think they lost anything that mattered to them, as I am still their friend. Some people only WANT to be surface friends. They likely will not notice a difference at all, or may even like things better, when I do not bring much of myself to our connection.
      I’m learning. This post, as you know, was really just for me to sew up some wounds – I normally would “clear the list” with friends privately, and let things go, but there is no way to clear a list when people don’t really care how their words affect someone else.
      it’s a friendship based on fun only, and that is valid. I was making it into something more because I needed something more.

      But thank God, change happens. ❤ there are more people in my life now.

      Like

    • People-pleasing is very hard to give up. I find I constantly have to check myself. It’s a trap I can easily fall back into. I remind myself that I’m not here to please people. All I can do is please myself and be kind to others. People pleasing isn’t kind. I tell myself that frequently.

      I’m glad you are seeing your value and worth. Joy comes from seeing that we have much value.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It IS. I think it’s just ongoing work. I’m working on pausing, breathing, and checking how I really feel, before I commit to something, or feel overly responsible for something that isn’t mine.

        I guess we just need to be patient with ourselves ❤️

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  3. I am so sorry that these words have hurt you so, that their choice has cut through your faith.
    I would like to say, though, my first thought was “but we should ALWAYS consider the source.” With many things (not in math!… & much good science!) there are many truths and many perspectives. I would hope we all always consider the source.
    Love and hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh; I completely agree. But when I’ve shared something shocking and painful, and I hear a friend later, standing near me, asking another friend if they think it’s true,
      And the friend says “consider the source” in a mutter, and the first friend laughs in a sneering way, well – that’s my context here.

      Later, one of them explained to me that they had assumed I was “the dramatic one” and the other party in question was “the sensible one,” but events proved me to have spoken truth. So they didn’t apologize, but kind of admitted they’d been wrong about “the source.” And I said “what. Because i went to drama school, and can’t wear a fake social mask?”
      And oh, because the partner had also gaslit the community for years … his emergencies, and tendency to big upsets and dramas, were placed on my canvas, when I wasn’t the one wielding that paintbrush. But people see now.

      But from now on, if people judge me on my emotional availability and honesty, and further invalidate my experience, words or feelings simply because I went to Juilliard, I’ve got a good fence they’ll be on the outside of.

      It’s just a kindness to myself. I deserve to value myself in this way.

      And also, fuck that, is all I can say… from friends I hung out with so often, and he showed up grudgingly a few times, backstabbing them almost within earshot the entire time.

      Or maybe like attracts like, and my healing is just showing me I can’t be easy in my body around gossip and fake behavior. It’s so toxic. It’s so L.A.

      Like

    • nope…I’ve got to rewid and re-do. I just realized, at 4 am, why this doesn’t sit right in my gut, and why I wrote a thousand replies to it, re-explaining what I said in the blog, and then retracting and somewhat mocking what i said in the blog.

      I can tell by this response that you’ve likely never been a victim of gaslighting. and for that, I am so grateful.
      It is one of the most insidious forms of emotional abuse.

      consider this extreme example of it: in the past, when a man wanted to get rid of his wife, he could have her committed to an insane asylum.
      Well. Do you think she was unemotional, when she realized she was being cast off, taken away, locked up?
      The man of the house would stand there in his authority, and tell them she was insane.
      Thereafter, of course, anything she did or said would simply reinforce that; he had, you see, stripped her of her voice. He had impeached her word.

      this is what gaslighting does. When the latest perpetrator wove their web around me, naive me, in this community, telling me shocking things, for example – “confessing” to a porn addiction the moment before coworkers walked into the room, then reacting in a huge, theatrical way to my attempt to stifle my emotions, putting on a show for them as if there was something wrong with ME;
      when this person amplified and reacted to a simple statement by me on facebook, as if it was world war III, and then told my friends he “knew how to handle her upsets and temper,” … so many instances of weaving the manipulative web. I was puzzled, at the time, and thrown off-balance by their behavior, and so i said nothing. This is another reason they do this… it destabilizes the target.

      This evil human being was gaslighting. weaving a web of illusion that would allow them to create any sick scenario they wanted (remind. me to tell you about the butchered squirrel, sometime…luckily, I had learned by then not to react at all, or give this evil vampire ANY reaction) push me to get any kind of reaction at all out of me, then broadcast it to break down my good name.

      and why would someone do this? because they’re a narcissist, and they want power above all things. They want to separate people from any other friends or family.

      So i understand that your “we should always consider the source,” comes from a very sweet place – a place that has not experienced the lifetime I have of twisted emotional abuse.

      Sometimes, people should consider the source behind their perceptions of the source.

      because they’ll simply lose out on a solid, loyal friend like me, if they trust the shadow puppet show of an evil narcissist.

      That’s my new conviction. I know myself to be an incredible “source,” and not everyone deserves me. If they go sneering at something I have shared, they’ve lost me.

      I make light of this, and say “oh, I still love them,” but my truth is, I will never trust these particular people in that way again. I won’t trust that they won’t backstab, and I won’t ever share anything personal with them again. it’s just the way it is.

      They had, in me, someone who accepted them without judgment. Someone who believed in their good nature. They no longer have that. Our actions do have consequences.
      I had a therapist once tell me “Becky, STOP being so understanding of other people.” and I finally know what she meant.
      Pema Chodron says it like this : “beware the idiot compassion.” what she is teaching is that when someone has shown us they have damage that they’re putting onto our luggage load as if it belongs to us, we harm ourselves by continuing to bring compassion first. There needs to be a fence. WE, ourselves, deserve our own compassion and protection first.
      I got that wrong for 46 years. I brought compassion and understanding to people who reflected back to me that I had little value in their eyes.
      I have ZERO space for that anymore.

      “Poison goes where Poison’s welcome,” as the quote from Terry Pratchett goes. That they couldn’t see me for who I am does not diminish my solidity, my value as a trustworthy human being at all. I was the only truly honorable one in this past entanglement/mistake. That they couldn’t see “the source,” tells me they’re wired for poison.

      Others of this friend group didn’t buy any of the lies for a moment. Those people, I consider family.

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  4. yet another thought. gah, So many thoughts about this one:

    I’m learning that healing means (to me) that I can let go of the need to be “understood.”
    that being understood by others, the attachment to that, is a function of ego.
    it’s fear-based, for me, because back when i was younger, my sibling’s gaslighting caused me actual harm: near-rape, in fact. painting someone innocent as “knowing more than she lets on,” can be a dangerous thing to young girls.

    But now, I am an adult. being misunderstood can’t cause me harm.

    What it does, however, is show me about the person. If someone is committed to misunderstanding me, or committed to keeping me in what is called “the drama triangle,” by painting my words and actions in a certain light,

    I get to put that person outside a fence.

    It protects me, and hurts no one.

    I will no longer be a willing participant in my own emotional abuse. I will no longer apologize to abusers, and agree with them that I have done something wrong to earn their cruelty. I will no longer share myself with those who have shown me that they do not respect my integrity.

    they can have my shallow, laughing, “snow white” self. they won’t even notice that most of me is shielded. it’s all good.
    (this is why my therapist believes I should focus on helping women heal from narcissistic abuse. I have enough years of experience to have several doctorates in it. Love-Bombing, Devaluing, Discard, Hoover. they are sick, twisted sociopaths… and some of them have had me re-examine my beliefs, and consider that pure evil might actually be possible. )

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