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By November 1, 2011 30 Comments Read More →

This Little Light Of Mine

Today’s article was inspired by a post by Respite From Sociopathic Behaviour. Stating a fact I believe to be absolutely true, the post says:

“After narcissistic abuse there is light, life and love. Do not live in fear of the past — it didn’t last. YOU did!”

It made me smile — because these days I absolutely know this to be true. Believe me, there have been countless times when I could never even have imagined I would be able to experience any of those things again. The dark times have been overwhelming — not only after I escaped and realised the truth about my relationship, but also, as I now recognize, during the times I thought I was happy living with my ex.

In those days, though, I had no idea what I was dealing with. Then again, as I now realize, in those days I also had no idea who I was myself. In those days I saw myself as a caring soul whose job it was to put others before myself. To fight their battles. To rescue them. To care for them. To nurture them in the way that I would so like to have been nurtured myself. Don’t get me wrong, I think that in may ways I still am that sort of a person. But there’s a difference now. And that difference is that I now know how to look after me first.

The Perfect Target

When I was first introduced to that concept my instant reaction was to pooh-pooh it as a self-centered approach to life. It was back in 1997 when I was studying to become a Louise Hay Trainer. The main theme of her work is to teach us to love ourselves — exactly as we are. Yes, including the wrinkles, dimples, failings, and bad stuff”¦ all of it. Despite my immediate recoil about the idea, I came to understand that far from it being a selfish way of thinking, once we truly focus first on loving ourselves, then we can be even more loving and authentic with others. So, OK Louise, I agreed back then, and I still agree today.

Those were the days before my ex had even entered my life. Those were the days when I felt I was on top of my emotional and spiritual game. I was confident. I was grounded. I believed that I’d worked through all of my issues. I liked myself and I was proud of who I had become. The thing was, though, I reckon I still hadn’t quite “got it” when it came to putting myself first. Still driven by the overriding notion that I could give more to others by loving myself more, you see I was still placing my goal externally.

“I’ll be nice to myself so that”¦” Yes, the whole concept made perfect sense to me, but somehow (as I have only come to realize over the past couple of years) I had managed to skew it to fit my still not wholly resolved perspective about my own self-worth. Hmmm”¦ yes, just as my ex used a text-book sociopathic approach with me, I was also the text-book perfect target.

Carry On Regardless

You see, in the process of loving myself only so that I could give more to others, I had no real notion of how to measure my own well-being. So I didn’t heed the signs when my energy levels were depleted — instead I would just keep going regardless. I didn’t notice when my needs were no longer met — instead I would just keep going regardless. I had no idea that my chains were tightening in a deadly cycle of emotional abuse — instead I would just keep going regardless.

Having the strength to keep going regardless of the situation is, I believe, a great skill to have in your toolbox. But as with any tool, it must be used with care and intention. Yes, with intention. Because it’s our focus that will determine the result of our efforts — no matter how finely tuned the instrument we use to achieve it.

What I’ve learned since becoming free from my ex, is that the place to focus — in actual fact the only place to focus — is on what is happening within myself at any given moment, and how it aligns with the core of my being. What do I mean by the core? Well, in a nutshell, it’s the very essence of who I am — it’s the good stuff that makes me tick. It’s what drives me. It’s my soul, if you like, and despite all my years of training, it’s only recently that I’ve fully understood what that means.

For me, my soul’s ambition is all about experiencing more joy in my life. It’s about growing my internal “joy bubble of light” and thereby achieving every other goal that is important to me. Giving and receiving love, sharing with others, playing my part, adding to the greater good of us and the planet. These are all “sub-goals” that must, by default, be achieved if I focus on my own core driver.

It still means that I gain huge satisfaction from helping others. It still means that I am focused on developing my skills so that I can continue to work with other people. It still means that I am devoted to caring for others. None of that has changed. But the manner in which I approach these areas has most certainly changed — and the results have, interestingly, improved ten-fold.

Because the more I focus on growing my own light from within, the more able I am to shine for others. The more I check whether my joy-bubble is growing or shrinking in any situation, the more I can choose healthful circumstances that are authentic both to me and other people. The more I tune in to what is happening for me, the more I have to offer to the world. And now, finally, I believe I understand on a cellular level exactly what Louise Hay was teaching me all those years ago.

Just Because I Can

Finally I have woken up to the idea that I have an internal guidance system — an emotional and spiritual Sat Nav if you like. And you know what? It’s been there all the time — I just hadn’t noticed it and I certainly hadn’t switched it on! The more I tune in to it, the better I’m able to guide myself through everyday living. If my joy is shrinking, it is a sign that I need to do something different — move away from a person or situation, stop doing something, or start doing something. It doesn’t tell me what to do, it just warns me that there is something else I can do to improve my experience.

My internal Sat Nav has also resulted in a much more freedom — because I’ve taken off the restrictions that used to bind me. Restrictions or negative thinking, I’ve found, are just one of the things that can cause my internal light to diminish.

So these days I allow myself to choose to do things for no other reason other than “just because I can”. If I fancy going for a walk in the middle of the afternoon, then I will do it — just because I can. It means I come back to my work happier, refreshed, and of course more able to perform. If I fancy a long bath of an evening, I’ll shut out the world by locking the front door and turning off the phone — just because I can. It means that when I’m done, I can give my full, happily relaxed focus to anyone who may have called while I was soaking in the tub.

I’ve learned that there doesn’t even have to be a good excuse for doing things that make me feel good. I don’t have to “earn” something that enhances my feelings of joy. Neither does there need to be any nagging feelings of guilt.

I thoroughly believe that every single one of us has this light within us — we just may not have noticed. I also believe that our light, our joy, our sunshine, our soul — whatever you want to call it — is so pure and so filled with love and kindness, that by nurturing our light we can only ever achieve loving results. For ourselves and for others.

Just yesterday, my great friend Judi sent me an email that made me giggle. She’d just received some good news out of the blue and decided she’d do something to celebrate.

“So I opened a bottle of wine” she wrote “and I never do that at lunchtime! But today I have — because I can. And what’s more, I have a glass beside me right now!”

Cheers! Here’s to all of us. Here’s to healing. Here’s to freedom. Here’s to life. Let’s grab all of it with both hands — Just because we can!

 


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30 Comments on "This Little Light Of Mine"

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QUOTE MEL: “You see, in the process of loving myself only so that I could give more to others, I had no real notion of how to measure my own well-being. So I didn’t heed the signs when my energy levels were depleted ”“ instead I would just keep going regardless. I didn’t notice when my needs were no longer met ”“ instead I would just keep going regardless. I had no idea that my chains were tightening in a deadly cycle of emotional abuse ”“ instead I would just keep going regardless.

Having the strength to keep going regardless of the situation is, I believe, a great skill to have in your toolbox. But as with any tool, it must be used with care and intention. Yes, with intention. Because it’s our focus that will determine the result of our efforts ”“ no matter how finely tuned the instrument we use to achieve it.”

Mel, the above quote from your article sums up my entire life in a couple of short paragraphs. I also think it sums up many of us who have “kept on going” when we were depleted of all strength by giving and giving and giving to others….”pathological altruism” to the max. (That phrase was from Dr. Barbara Oakley)

Like you, I thought I had it “together” when in fact, I was just doing more “pathologically altruistic” giving to others who were sucking me dry like a vampire.

Thanks for this great article. I think I will not be the only one here on Love Fraud who sees themselves in this article. Thanks for sharing you articles with the rest of us. Healing I think is a journey, not a destination, and I will never again feel that I have “arrived” at “healing” but see each day as a new learning experience.

Mel,
I too can really relate to those paragraphs which Oxy quoted. I think that is exactly the kind of person the spaths target: the pathological givers.

Thank you for helping to put me on the right path, Mel.

Mel, I love your article and it totally resonates with me. I had prepared my lessons Thursday night for the next day to make it into good lessons which would be fun for both the teens and myself, but I already felt depleted and edgy when I started doing it. I actually needed to do my routines and some me time. While the preparation was also a choice for making it myself more easy the next day, I felt incredibly resentful when the teens didn’t cooperate the next day. My routines remain priority, because eventually prepping lessons becomes also a planned routine far ahead than the evening before.

But then I can’t blame myself for not yet being attuned to making the right priority for myself, because up until Saturday I haven’t felt happy and joyful for a long time. But since Saturday I’ve found just plain enjoyment in being for no reason. It’s just there again. By having that again, it will be easier to identify the largeness of the joy bubble you were talking about.

And then it resonates in another way too. 3 weeks ago I started the babystep program again of Flylady (routines). Friday night I ordered a book to help me deal with the financial issues (which includes changing my own spending behaviour and my thinking) and it’s called InnerKiddies. The author has this concept of a 9-year-old part of us living inside of all of us, who is behind all of our impulsive behaviour, but also keeps us in touch with doing fun stuff. And essentially the intention is to get in touch with that 9 year old to both say no to our impulses when they are harmful to us and require a time-out as well as let the child in us come out to have fun.

Anyway, I did a meditation to connect with my own inner child, and I asked her her name… she introduced herself as “Joy”. hehe

Mel

Thankyou. Good article. I am really trying to be more aware of my own state – my happiness – my health.

Before I found LF, I wrote an email to my spath saying I felt like I had been sucked dry by him. And I kept plowing through it.

Little did I know.

Mel,
This is exactly what I needed to read. What a beautiful message but not just a messege. A reminder, I seem to forget were i put my tools. Using the right bit or paint brush makes a huge difference in the out come of the project.

It was Monday morning that I woke up singing hymns. (umm). I was still grateful , that I had joy left in my heart. I wasn’t depleted of my goodness after all. Even though sometimes, I feel so crippled and I am not even able to get up. Sometimes, I cut my own nose to spite my face. Other times I am so flipping mad, joy would not able to penetrate my heart if it was a bullet. I had been convince my self I had been stripped of all my faith in man kind. I was never, ever going to trust again. I had become so miserable. It did force me to start posting on LF.
I keep going back and reading the blog, each time gaining more strength from it. Thank you Mel.
It had been a long weekend, I worked hard on Monday, by Monday night my body, mind was so tired, it was telling me to rest.
I been running these past few months. I had to keep busy from going insane. Meanwhile not taking any time to enjoy.

I always relied on the gift I have, of forgiveness. ( how I required that gift is another story) There is only one human being I am unable to forgive, that would be me.
How I am able to pardon other’s ?” cause I am not God!!
Why do I think I am so different that i do not deserve forgiveness?
nameste’
Me

hahahaha, your inner child name is joy.
Nice to meet you Joy!
BTW…Hi Athena, Good to see you.
Darwin, we are so hard on ourselves.
Well I am going to say that you are a winner Dar.

Sky,
I had to come back, because I could not get what you wrote out of my mind. “the pathological givers”.
That hit a nerve with me boy, three words so powerful.
Only to the people who are willing to identify and change.
I had to more or less defrag my brain, how it operated and how it related to other’s.
This is very serious to me, I was a the pathological giver. When I put my hand up and started to say No. Every one in my life gave me an argument, they couldn’t handle me not giving.
It was at the point that people were expecting from me what I would never expect from another, Also they expected me to do what they would not be willing to do.
When I realized this. I had to ask myself many questions?
1. Was I less worthy then others? 2. Did I not deserve, what I give to others?……..You get it………………
Something had to be done, i was selling my self out. Every phatho vulture out there smelled it off me.
I was WTF, Do I have a sign on my head?
The sad part is we are natural givers because we want too.
Only these shitheads had to suck us dry………….O.k… Learn………..

I had to stop drawing my lines in the sand. I had to make sure i was being realistic an aware that these lines were now rules. There would be no more caving no matter what.
lol oo, many people were upset with this new me. Which validated that I was an free feast.

I had to stand watch for a time and just observe other people, all people and I had to stay in tune with how I approached others.
It was me that had to change….. I swear, it never ends, there it always something that I need to change about me.
Sighs.
Thank you, I had no idea there was a name for my defect of character, pathological givers.
When all I was trying to be is a loving ,kind human.

Leave it to the sociopath to take the goodness and make it into a shortcoming.
Me!
have a wonderful day!

Hehe, it is funny, tobeme! What a coincidence! Friday night my inner child introduces herself as Joy. Saturday I feel happy for the first time since ages without a reason. And Thuesday Mel writes an article about the Joy bubble.

Tobeme… there’s nothing wrong with being a high investor in relationships. It is in our temperament and it gives us joy. But it should not deplete us and cost us our own health and joy, let alone finances. And pathological takers we need to avoid. Our giving is not our shortcoming, it’s their taking that is their shortcoming. Thuesday night at the party a fellow tourleader gave me a great practical tip: he did not give his reply to any ‘opportunity’ or ‘question’ before waiting 2 days. It gave him time enough to be sure it would be something that pleases him as much as the others.

I honestly think I will go fix myself a fresh garden salad. Would you care to join me, Darwinsmom?

Hmmmmmm, I love salads!

My stepmom actually has a rock garden.

Althea, I had one until I had to cut down the trees that shaded it, and the shade loving plants I had transplanted out of the woodland were exposed to sun and died….weeds grew up there among my rocks and covered them completely. I just finished pulling them out, and piling the rocks because now I am going to have to completely re-do the garden. I think I will plant some sun loving herbs and spices, perennials I hope will grow there. I did plant some sages along the edge this summer but with it being so dry and the PLAGUE of grasshoppers that ate everything, none of them lived.

Weeding our gardens so that the good plants can flourish is always a good idea. Weeding out our Rolodexes is also a good idea and culling out those people who are toxic to our lives frees up more space for people who are positive influences in our lives.

I’m glad you are doing better Althea—keep working on learning and growing! KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! There is a wealth of knowledge here at LF!

>>So I didn’t heed the signs when my energy levels were depleted ”“ instead I would just keep going regardless. I didn’t notice when my needs were no longer met ”“ instead I would just keep going regardless. I had no idea that my chains were tightening in a deadly cycle of emotional abuse ”“ instead I would just keep going regardless.<<

I have been there, down that road and have the whole wardrobe- not just the t-shirt!

I finally gave up. Called it all off, put a stop to everything and looked at spath… sitting on his duff as usual, maybe even asleep. I told him I quit. I'm not doing anything anymore, washed my hands of it and walked away.

The backpedaling began. I never said this, I don't remember saying that, I can't afford ______, nothing I do pleases you (Because NOTHING is ALL you do!) and on and on and on…. I'm starting to enjoy watching him squirm like that…

Phoenix,

Yea, we do enjoy watching them back pedal and squirm….and when they have pushed us past the point of NO RETURN and we rebel they sure do try to “make it all go away.” I remember when my egg donor said “well, let’s just pretend none of this happened and START OVER.” She did this when her slaves were in prison and she was all alone and no longer had anyone to dance to her tune, so wanted to have me come back around to the previous position.

NOPE, not gonna happen. I’m done dancing. My shoes are worn out, my feet are bare and my toes are bleeding. She didn’t realize that the NC was FOREVER either….she blew her LAST “last chance” to show some remorse for the devaluation and discarding, the lying and the abuse, she wasn’t even willing to put on a show of FALSE remorse. But now, a couple of years down the road she is still trying to worm her way back in, to find some discussion point and get me to give up, or give her information and hope that my dancing shoes are repaired or replaced. NOPE, NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Can’t happen. Won’t happen. I no longer CARE. That is the wonder of it all, I no longer want to please her. Her approval is no longer important to me any more.

Oxy – more analogies there than just one.

Thanks. I am doing better, I guess. Skylar said something the other day – or, maybe I said it and she reinforced it – that the spath is just a coward.

It’s about 8 weeks of NC for me now. I am sure my spath is gone, permanently gone. His specialty is sending emails and he can’t send them to me any more.

I feel better today in that I’m not searing with pain.
I just feel sad.

I’ve recovered from other relationships.
I know I will move on, and I will forget.
I wanted him to be real.

Dear Athena, for some reason I keep wanting to call you A-L-thea, not sure why! LOL anyway, I’m glad you are feeling better, but keep in mind that we must NEVER FORGET THE LESSONs we learned from the psychopathic experience.

Unfortunately, I had to take REMEDIAL PSYCHOPATHY 101 multiple times before I got the lessons from the classes. I kept thinking I was “healed” from the bad experience, but in reality, I had only put a BAND AID on the wounds, not really healed, and they kept festering and I became weaker and weaker for the next attack.

NOW I am realizing that healing is not a “destination” but a JOURNEY, a learning experience and is a life-long process. I think that is the BIGGEST and BEST lesson I have gotten from all this. (((hugs))))

Athena,

Glad to read you’e gotten through the worst you felt this week. I’m sorry that the man you loved was not real. People who’ve never experienced this have a hard time realizing how deeply disturbing such a reality is. It is incredibly hard to see “everythig was a lie from start to end” even if you accept it. It had me reeling for several weeks. Gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, like a black hole, and I’d get vertigo and motion sickness feelings just thinking of it.

But that too goes away with time. It DOES get BETTER!

OX

No problem on the name. Nobody could be less greek than me! lol.

Yeah. I know you are right about it being a journey. I’ve been going to therapy every damn week, without fail, taking notes, crying, working on my self, and understanding my spath and N- mother. I’ve removed two “friends” from my life in recent weeks because it was unhealthy.

But old habits die hard, don’t they?

I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself when i’m done suffering this bout of depression.

Maybe I’ll get my pre-spath, old, happy self back, but a stronger version of who I was.

Wouldn’t that be amazing.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself when i’m done suffering this bout of depression.

Maybe I’ll get my pre-spath, old, happy self back, but a stronger version of who I was.”

NOT maybe, but SURELY!

Athena,

I agree 110% with Darwin’smom about that, SURELY but it takes TIME so be patient and tender with yourself.

Athena,

Me again. Your voice of sadness impels me to write to you. I completely remember this place of pain you now occupy. I thought I would die of a broken heart and mind.

You won’t be the same, ever again. But if you’ve come this far, and wakened to the truth of these maladjusted individuals, you will come out this experience closer to your personal potential than you might believe right now.

If you keep at this: reading, searching, feeling, seeing, intuiting, integrating, expressing, and NOT running away from these dreadful feelings and all the horrible pain….you will come out healed and SO much wiser and able. Truly.

The early part is sooooo hard. The days are just intervals to mark the seemingly endless nights. Endure. You can do it.

Whenever you can , try to access a part of yourself that can feel his ‘essential’ and ‘personal’ unimportance. And, at the same time, keep in mind that understanding his ‘type’ is infinitely important. He is a character for you to learn by.

These thieves are hardwired and immutable. They don’t ‘really’ have anything personal against us. They are hardwired to act out of a basic and undeveloped need to survive and win. They cannot see us in our fullness, as they are so thin in their beingness.

At one point we are seen as a tool they can use to survive and win. At another, probably rather arbitrary point, we are seen as an obstacle to the very same goals. And in actuality ‘seen’ is the wrong word. I think they operate from a much more undeveloped place. It is like pure reptilian instinct. They sense when their manipulations are gaining them minimal returns, and they run.

None of this has anything to do with us. None of it. It is the same story over and over and over for them. Remember this. It wasn’t you. He wasn’t a regular guy. He wasn’t a special amazing guy. He wasn’t a conscious guy. He wasn’t disappointed in you. He wasn’t in love with you.

He was acting out his biology and his warped and irreparable psychology. You are now free.

It is a horrible awakening we go through, via these fucked up people.

But to my way of thinking awakening is what I am here for.

Love and healing to you, Slim…..

Slim,
I love what you wrote. You have such insight!

Edit:
no that was not a love bomb. Sorry if it sounded like it.
I hate love bombs…

Slimone It’s nice to see your positive comment, you speak from experience, you get a TOWANDA button..nice to see you again stranger.

What does TOWANDA mean? 😀

Oh so beautiful! Thanks for writing this!

You know, I wandered back into LF after many days on the fringe cause I was needing some spiritual nurturing of the kind that only LF seems to give me. I had nightmares the past couple of nights and spent the whole day in re-occurring fantasies about going commando in Istanbul to rescue my cat and castrate my ex….and then I thought I NEED to get my butt into LF and read some articles, cause ONLY IN LF do people actually understand. I have talked with my beau about this, and he does his best, but doesn’t fully “get it” bless his earnest heart. I don’t assume he ever will get it, and he’s lucky for that.

But I am SO GLAD I came in here today and read this article, because after posting this comment, I am turning off my phone and taking a bath!!!!!

THANK YOU MEL for reminding me about the lesson that I learned recently, on a cellular level. Oh, I SOOOOO get you right now, every single word you wrote!!!! Home run!

😀

Oh, purewaters3, TOWANDA is the spathinator battle cry. If I remember correctly, it came from Fried Green Tomatoes, right ladies? Correct me if I’m wrong.

That’s like when we ladies get all Xena Warrior Princess and bust out kung fu on a spath. Or Hercules (for Constantine, Hens, BBE, etc :))

Towanda towanda towanda ……go towards the light. Trust your light and let it shine

Panther and Strongawoman! TOWANDA and good for you both! Good for us ALL!

Sky,

Since you are definitely NOT a spath, I will take that as a compliment, and not love-bombing! Thanks….Me thinks the same about you.

Hens,

xo. I read a lot, but don’t always have the energy/time to post. But I am here, in the background.

Thank you for another uplifting article from this author, Mel Pledger.

Just a quick note: The quote at the beginning that’s attributed to the Respite Facebook page was actually taken from a different page.

The original post by “After Narcissistic Abuse – There is Light, Life & Love” is at http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=181186661966310&id=114835348601442
“Do not live in fear of the past…it didn’t last. YOU did!”

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