Whenever something good happens to me, I always assume that there’s a Catch. Most of the time I am absolutely correct – there’s always something.
Thanks to the wonders of artwork sites and mutual interests, what started as some back and forth communication and chit-chat about all things relating to art and nerd shit, with a fellow nerd with similar views/interests, soon developed into a friendship that has lasted a little over a year now. We grew as close as you can get to someone you have never – and will never – meet in person, though her tendency to be so open, and to share really personal, and HEAVY, stuff led me to perpetually think I was being trolled. Nevertheless, she was still my friend. We talked about so much shit via email and instant messaging, and we were “there” for one another.
Over time, she started displaying some behaviours that were a bit erratic. Like fear of abandonment, extreme depression, shit like that. I always had a far-off feeling that something wasn’t quite “right.” There was something keeping me from trusting her a full 100%, but I thought that perhaps it was my imagination. I have a tendency to be paranoid because of my own issues (I have some epic social anxiety, and I’m Bipolar II as fuck), but I shook it off because she proved time and again that she wasn’t Catfishing or trolling. Even when she was being really weird, I continued to be there for her because that’s what friends do. She’s my friend, and it would suck if I just bounced whenever she was having a shitty day. I know I would feel horrible if someone did that to me.
After a series of erratic events that spanned the winter, she decided to hospitalize herself because it was clear that there was something very wrong.
So, remember that Catch I mentioned? Yeah, it’s Borderline Personality Disorder. We shared short emails here and there while she was hospitalized, and she finished her three-month stint just last week.
I started to feel like something was up. Something wasn’t right, and I couldn’t place it. I’m extremely perceptive, so I asked point-blank via email if there was anything wrong.
Here’s where The Catch comes back into play because, well …it’s a goddamn catch.
You know how people with BPD will idealize people, and shit like that? Well, she admitted that she had become obsessed with me. Like, to a creepy extent. To the extent where she and her wife decided that one of the best options is for her to limit contact with me as she continues to get sorted out. She told me all of this because she wanted to be 100% honest with me. I knew something was up, and I would have kept asking until she told me because …Spidey-Sense.
Her treatment has helped her a LOT; this is something that I can feel, and she is a million percent sincere in her apology. She has stated that she no longer thinks of me as “some ÜBER-human” (her words), and will understand if I decide to cut off all contact with her, since, apparently, friendships with BPD-folks are basically impossible to maintain.
In light of all of it all, I have blocked her access to my Twitter stream and I switched her Facebook access to “Restricted.” The less she knows about what I’m up to, the better, right? But I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to block her out. I don’t want to lose her. I absolutely adore her, and I want her in my life, but again, every piece of literature that I have read, as well as what her doctors say is that this friendship is doomed. Plus, you know, that whole idealization thing in the first place (which has left me with a lot of questions that I fully intend to ask her). I know that’s part of the disorder, but I’m still trying to process it.
And now I sit, at a proverbial crossroads because there’s always a goddamn catch.
Have you ever had a dream or well nightmare that’s so vivid you can feel it happening to you as it’s going on. I’ve been having the same nightmare for as long as I can remember. It starts the same way and the outcome never changes. When I try to talk to people about it I can’t explain the vividness of the dream. The only people who understand are just like me; trying to deal with the fact that someone they are supposed to love and trust just took advantage of them. Let me clear somethings up so you aren’t confused I am a 17 year old girl, my attacker is a 25 year old female. We are both the same sex. My attacker was my aunt she was 13 I was 5 when it started.
The nightmare won’t stop it’s exactly what she did 12 years ago.
She took me to her room like we did forever because she was my aunt and we hung out in her room instead of dealing with the family during the gatherings because I have anxiety really bad. I sat on her bed and we started to play with dolls. She then pushes the dolls off the bed and tells me to come here. Me only being 5 I didn’t know if I was in trouble or if she just got bored from playing with the dolls. I crawled over to her and she started to undress me. I asked her if it was bath time and she told me it was something like that. Once she got me naked she started to undress too. The minute she was undressed she went to her closet and pulled out a couple of sex toys. I asked her what they were and she just told me they were toys. She got on top of me and put her fingers inside me, and she said that they would be a tight fit but she would make them work. I told her I didn’t like this new game and I didn’t want to play anymore. She told me to shut up and them continued. She started to put the toy in me but with me only being 5 it wouldn’t fit. She kept pushing harder until I started to cry and she stopped. She told me this is what people do to each other when they love one another. I told her that’s not how my mom and dad show me that they love me. She got mad and slapped my face really hard and told me that if I talked back to her she would hit me even harder. I just sat there and nodded my head. Once I was quiet and quit crying she started to feel me up again but this time she was biting all over my chest and said she couldn’t wait till I had boobs for her to go at. I started to cry again and she shoved her fingers inside me again and told me to quit crying or it will hurt worse. I nodded my head and just gave up trying. I gave up trying to make her stop. I gave up on everything after that.
After I get to here in my nightmare I just wake up screaming. I told my mom after I had nightmares for about a year. She tried to press charges on her sister for everything she had done because it wasn’t just one or two attacks it was many. But the state police wouldn’t do anything about it because we were both minors. They told my mom and I to forget anything even happened. She got away with a slap on her wrist. My mom, dad, and brother know about it all and act like it never happened. My grandparents also know and I’m pretty sure that they are just trying to buy back my love and trust with clothes and shoes. I don’t blame them for it and I don’t blame myself. I wish I had told someone sooner than when I did, but I was 5 when it happened and 6 when I told. I know how hard it is to explain to my friends when I spend the night and I have nightmares. The story gets easier to tell over the years, but when I do tell it I’m scared people won’t look at me the same. I’m scared people will think I can’t handle social events, or I can’t do crowds, or that they have to baby me and protect me from the world. I can handle events and crowds, and I prefer to dive head first into the pool of life. I act like nothing happened by day but at night it’s like it never stopped.
I’ve never spoken about any of this. I’ve always been afraid that my secrets, the ones I knew I’d take to the grave would get out and tear my world apart. But as I get older I’m starting to see that my world is falling apart anyway, so here goes nothing.
I think there’s something wrong with me (I’m so annoyed that it sounds cliche). What I mean is that, while growing up, things happened, things that I was never helped with and things that I didn’t deal with. Now that I’m older, I feel like my walls are closing in on me and I don’t know what to do. I come from a family of 12. I’ve never been the one to give my parents any trouble. This means that they don’t have the time to know whats going on in my life and I’m so glad I’m not a burden to them. Sometimes though I wish I had a bit of guidance on the more trivial things.
When I was younger my older brother used me to masturbate. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I know I felt sick writing that sentence, but I think I’m just scared that people will know. I don’t talk about it, I’ve never told anyone. I’m not really sure if that’s abuse or not. I’ve heard stories far worse then that and I don’t think it would be fair to say that I’ve been through the same thing.
I guess I’m a little angry at my family. I know they all knew. I remember telling my older sisters and watching them giggle. (they were young so I don’t blame them). The problem is life went on like nothing happened. To this day. That wont change because if I tore my family apart like that, I don’t think they would ever forgive me, I would never forgive me. In spite of everything I still love my brother and I think that’s enough.
Next was primary school. I didn’t have a single friend, I remember trying to hide from the girls who used to hunt me down for fun. They were always coming up with new names and new games, they picked on the way I looked mostly. At home it was the same, I have four sisters and for some reason I didn’t fit in, when I was home they used to play tricks on me like tying me up in our bedroom and leaving me there for hours or pretending to make me a drink when I was sick only to spit and put detergents in it. They would tease me about my weight a lot, about how I was getting bullied at school, about how I was different, odd and disgusting. What I never understood is why. I would always try to be so nice, why was that the thing that made me so vulnerable. These were the worst years of my life.
High school was pretty much the same right up to year 9. I was the outsider. In year 10 I thought “Screw it!” I’d rather not have friends then surround myself with people that would bring me down. Ironically, while alone, I made some pretty wonderful friends that year.
Now I’m 22, still living at home and I feel riddled with insecurity. I’m embarrassed to be seen in public, I try not to be noticed, when I do get out and socialize, I’m awkward, nervous and my words get jumbled up.
I’ve been dieting since primary school and in spite of all my good and bad choices I’ve only ever gained weight. I’m a size 12 now. I don’t wear clothes that show my figure or skin above my fore arm or even my legs. That is something that has gotten worse in the last year. I used to at the very least wear dresses. It was over 40 degrees yesterday and I couldn’t take off my jumper because I didn’t want people to notice me. I don’t go swimming anymore and I tend to avoid parties. I have the most wonderful friends in the world but I find it hard to get close to them, or to feel entirely comfortable around them.
I study Architecture at university. Its a grueling course that requires me to present my work to people who will exploit my weaknesses. I should be getting stronger and developing a thicker skin shouldn’t I? Instead I feel like my confidence in presenting is getting worse. I’ve developed a stutter and I always go blank.
I’m scared that I’m spiraling, I’ve researched psychologists but the ones I’ve found are expensive and I’m worried someone will find out. I don’t wont to be the girl with “emotional baggage”, but I don’t want to be completely shut out either. This is all I think about now.
I’m sure I’ll work it out but if you have read this, thanks, and I wish you so much happiness and healing on your own journey. God bless.
Thanks to Band Back Together posts, I’ve found many links about other adult children of narcissistic parents (ACONs). I’m learning a lot about who I am and what I need to do heal from the emotional abuse I lived through.
I now understand that through emotional abuse as a child, a person develops many challenges in his or her adult relationships. ACONs are unable to judge people (especially when it comes to protecting oneself), lack understanding what is bad and wrong, instead believing everyone is good. This is what emotional abuse does – it makes us magnets for abusers in our adult relationships.
Lacking the ability to act assertively and set healthy emotional boundaries is big deal of for ACONs. Since I’ve been to the clinic, I read about narcissistic personality disorder. I now understand that I need to put myself first, to respect myself, and set emotional boundaries. This is new for me: I couldn’t tell when it was too much until was too late. I still struggle but I believe that a part of me is learning to respect myself.
I made a huge step: a friend of mine was celebrating her birthday and was pushing me to go to a disco to party with her. It was far too much for me. I have panic disorder,depression, and struggle interacting in social situations.
I explained to her how I felt, but she continued insisting – she told me she wouldn’t come to my birthday party if I didn’t go to hers. I was about to go. I’d picked out an outfit when it hit me: I knew I’d feel distressed and exhausted. I decided to call her and tell her I wasn’t coming. This was incredibly difficult for me but I did it.
For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel guilty or fear punishment – I felt I needed to respect myself. If she is my friend, she needs to respect my feelings. She doesn’t need to understand them, but she needs to respect them. I’m so proud of myself.
I’m starting to understand what being emotionally abused by a very manipulative malignant narcissistic mother has done to me. I’ve had to learn that it’s okay to say no when one feels like it. I can do that without feeling guilty. This is self-respect, not failing with someone else’s expectations. I’m not hurting anyone by saying I’m sorry, I can’t – I don’t want to do that.
I know it’s a long road I’m facing to learn to say, “No! Don’t touch me!” To put a really angry face when I feel disrespected, and to develop positive aggression to protect myself from abuse. For that, I need to be able to understand my emotional boundaries.
Still can’t. But I’m learning every day.
I now feel comfortable about cutting ties with my ex-boyfriend. I can see that he’s a crazy narcissistic abuser and that the best thing to do was to cut him off. I’d been feeling very insecure about dealing with him as he keeps sending me kind messages. I ignored them, but I was very insecure that cutting him off. Now I know that’s the right thing to do.
I’m loving this new found freedom. I can easily cut out all the abusers in my life. It’s been tough, though. I now see how many narcissistic people I’ve had around me my whole life. How I’ve been abused by friends and that all my ex-boyfriends – without exception – are narcissists. How I let them abuse me without realizing it. I’d get hurt and try to tell them, but they would never hear, I couldn’t see why they’d hurt me. I’d used to think it was because they didn’t realize it. I struggled, trying to make sense of their abuse. So naïve.
Of course they knew it! They just didn’t care.
I’ve got to protect myself.
I am lost.
There’s so much that is going on in my head and I use all my energy to appear “okay” around people. I don’t know why I do it – it’s not fair to me.
I have this world I’ve lost control over; it is in a war, and it isn’t nice. They want me to lead it so I’m leading a war in which the kingdom has no leaders. They want me to deal with that too, which I’m working on.
But that isn’t the real world.
In the real world, I’m too scared to open my curtains because I believe there are two invisible, flying men watching me. I’m scared of people. I’m just scared. There are other things that affect the way I do things; it annoys me because I have no control over it.
There’s a goose that runs around – he does make me laugh, but at the wrong times. There are monsters that try and attack me – sometimes they can succeed. There are two men I see that are complete opposites; it’s very rare that they agree on anything. There are other things too.
I have anxiety and depression.
It can take half an hour for me to get from one side of the door to the outside because I check my bag millions of times, my shoes and socks, and all the doors of the house.
Odd numbers are important.
I feel alone so much, even when I am with people. I feel like I’m a robot with people.
I have panic attacks; I don’t feel relaxed very often.
Sometimes I hear children singing nursery rhymes, but it sounds creepy. Sometimes I hear people scream from the war. Sometimes I hear them cry.
I self-harm, sometimes because the voices tell me to; they won’t shut up – sometimes I self-harm because I can’t cope with the emotional pain.
My family hasn’t helped helped me. They’re religious and my dad doesn’t like other people’s opinions, so I can’t share mine except occasionally to my friends. My family doesn’t understand what I’m going through. I always find myself comparing my struggles to my sister’s cancer diagnosis; at least she had something wrong that people could see and get out of her. My dad blames demons for my problems.
Nothing has happened to trigger this, I’m just really unlucky.
I just wanted to get it all out.
The veil of loneliness can taint us all, leaving us gasping for breath and wondering how to survive.
This is her story:
I’ve never admitted aloud how lonely I actually am. Of course, that has a lot to do with the fact that there’s no one to admit it to.
A few months ago, my therapist told me that I was in denial about being almost completely socially isolated without any friends. At the time, I thought he was full of shit. I didn’t feel lonely because I wasn’t lonely in the first place. I preferred to be by myself – it was comfortable.
Of course, he chalked this up to my preexisting depressive and anxiety disorders. Typically, I argued that I wasn’t depressed and that my social anxiety had nothing to do with my isolation. (See: Denial.)
Turns out, he was right.
I think therapists tend to be correct about these sorts of things the majority of the time, anyway.
Since May of this year, the dark cloud of apathy and despair that has permeated my entire life has gradually dissipated. As a result, I find myself wanting to do some of the things that before held no interest or pleasure: reading, watching movies, even exercising when I can muster up the energy. The more the veil lifts, the more acutely aware I become regarding my situation and my life. The loneliness, ironically postponed by my depression, has finally hit. And it is more painful than I could have ever imagined.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not completely socially isolated. I always have my mom to discuss our favorite books and watch TV shows with. When my sister has friends over that I’m comfortable with (usually ones that I’ve known my entire life), I can count on some decent conversation. Oh, and I run a blog. Not like anyone views it, but it makes me feel some sense of connection to the waking world.
Granted, none of these things are typical for a seventeen-year-old girl, although I’m only now realizing that. The more I type, the more I feel it’s as though I’m defending some sort of losing argument.
In many ways, I suppose that I am. It’s like starting off a sentence with, “Yes Officer, I was speeding, but…” I’m just digging myself into a deeper hole.
A huge part of the problem is that I don’t have any confidence when it comes to talking to people my age. I have a hard time connecting with others. Even as a child, I was somewhat of a loner. In elementary school, I got by with a small group of friends that I had known (get this) most of my life – and there’s nothing wrong with that – but when middle school started and everyone got sent off to different districts, I was up the creek.
Never having developed the same social abilities as everyone else, I spent 2/3 grades struggling to swim. I had/have several nervous habits, such as picking at the skin on my lips and fidgeting when I talked to someone; couldn’t hold eye contact with others. People pointed this out to me on multiple occasions, and I’m still consciously aware of them to this day.
Basically, communicating with others has never come easily to me. There’s always been a definite block there. Eventually, I learned to make friends, and have had a couple of good ones over the years, but when my depression hit for the first time when I was fourteen, certain aspects of my life got markedly worse – such as my anxiety, which has been prevalent for as long as I can remember.
Both took a serious turn for the worse my junior year, resulting in the social isolation I’m experiencing today. I alienated every single one of my friends, and when I was hospitalized six months ago, I was pulled out for the remainder of the year. When my senior year starts in September, I’ll be finishing up high school online. It’ll be better for my anxiety and depression, but it’ll lay absolutely nothing on my loneliness.
The boredom might be the worst part. I have nothing to look forward to during the day, so thus I spend a lot of time sleeping as much and as long as I can, just so I don’t have to deal with the tedium of being awake. My schedule is achingly dull: I wake up. I blog. I fill the empty hours with television shows and video games. If I can concentrate, I might read a book. Otherwise, it rarely deviates.
The loneliness itself is potentially the only thing worse than the boredom. I find myself wondering about the few people who were once in my life, and how they’re doing. Sometimes, I hopefully check my phone (I keep it turned off for precisely this reason) for messages, expecting none. After months and months of alienation, everyone has written me off. I don’t blame them for not wanting to deal with me – I don’t even want to deal with me.
Every couple of months or so, I have a conversation with an estranged friend, although they’re usually brief and unfulfilling. Despite how starved I am for company, I have walls that are made of concrete and insurmountably high. I push everyone away; I keep everything to myself. If I’m suffering, I don’t say a word about it. Even when I did have friends, I very rarely came across a person that I could open up to.
I know that I should reach out. Complaining about my situation isn’t going to fix it, and I fully acknowledge my role in perpetuating the problem. But on top of being closed off and introverted, I’m socially anxious, complete with debilitating physical symptoms and the occasional situational-bound panic attack.
I’m too scared to attempt to cultivate any relationships with others. When I interact with anyone outside my family, I spend hours, sometimes days afterwards ruminating over potential error and how I humiliated myself in conversation. Isolation has only made this worse, of course.
About a month ago, I hung out with someone for the first time in over eight months, and he hasn’t contacted me since. I’ve taken this as a slight, and I’m still going through what I might have done wrong over in my head. Which is pretty sad, because to feel slighted requires some sort of expectation. I had none.
I know that things could be worse. Much worse. My life thankfully has not been a tragic one. I’ve had the good grace to know friendship and what it means to be loved. I have supportive parents who have stood by my side, albeit at a distance, throughout my struggle with mental illness. Loneliness by far is not the worst thing that I have experienced. But it’s still hard.
I am seventeen years old.
I am mentally ill.
I am graduating next year by the skin of my teeth.
I am completely friendless.
I am lonely.
And it hurts.