Posted by: Judy | February 18, 2015

Still chained…

Even as I feel myself moving forward, I still sense the shackles imprisoning me, weighting my wrists and ankles, dragging me down, holding me back, or attempting to anyway.

I’m tired, all the time.

I shouldn’t complain. I have a roof over my head. I have food to eat. I have clothes to wear. I have amazing, wonderful people in my life.

What is this battle, then?

The temptation to give up.

This is not where I planned to be at this point in my life. Nowhere near. I visualized. I educated myself through college classes, books, workshops, every opportunity that came my way. No amount of visualizing could overcome the lies I held to like a lifeline.

I endeavor to remember that I only recognized the lies, for the first time, less than ten years ago. I’m still new at this. Even knowing this, sometimes, I’m too tired to fight anymore. So I plop down in the muck and the mire, covered in filth, and I cry.

I think about the past, the horrors, the insanity. I’m able to see how it still interferes in my life, every day. The decisions and mistakes I make, over and over, because I’ve failed to grasp basic lessons healthy people learn as children.

Then I dredge up the courage to crawl forward another inch.

NM sent another email, keeping in mind we live in the same house, this time to my sister and me. She apologized for putting other things before her children. It sounds like she’s trying to change. Here’s the problem: She is still focusing on the surface stuff. Yes, she talks about putting her work first. It wasn’t only the work, it was everything. EF also put other things first, work and church.

Here’s the difference: It wasn’t simply that she put it first, it was that my sister and I were deliberately belittled, shredded, blamed for things we hadn’t done. I was often blamed for things NM had done. It wasn’t so long ago that she told everyone I’d done something that made me look bad, except it wasn’t me who had done it; it was her. She never apologized, never told anyone I hadn’t done anything, never owned it. It was the first time I realized she truly laid everything bad at my door in order to clear herself. To be honest, EF allowed one of my brothers to be blamed for something EF had done. However, EF did eventually come clean. NM never comes clean.

I want to believe that if I lived somewhere else all the ugliness would go away. However, having read the accounts of others and knowing myself, remembering past experiences, the problems are on the inside and go with you. I’m determined to clean the problems out regardless of where I am. If it’s on the inside, then it shouldn’t matter where I am.

Nowhere in my story will you ever find the words, “I quit.”



  1. Totally, I feel the inching forward and the pull back. It is true, a lot of the battle is from the inside – living abroad has shown me that. I think that the external environment (and the repetitiveness of it) can make it more challenging to work through the inside. xx

    • That makes sense. The repetitiveness… no matter how much I change, nothing around me changes, so I feel like I haven’t changed at all… never looked at it that way, hadn’t realized it was an expectation… I want my outside to show how much my inside has changed… which is why I’m working at creating order in my room… why my weight bothers me so much. I’ve worked so hard on the inside, and yet things are only worse on the outside… This is going to require some careful sorting. Thanks ((TR))

      • ((Judy)) I hear ya, I want too the outside to reflect the inner changes. I struggle with that. But we both have made changes in the way that matters – the inside. xx

        • Go us! 🙂

          • Go us! 🙂 In reference to the part about feeling the shackles pull, I coincidentally saw this over at Lady Blue Rose, a meme: “Those who do not not notice their chains.” Link to post.

            • Love it!

  2. She’s still pushing for you and your sister to tell her she’s fine, that she did a good parenting job, blah, blah, blah. It’s not a sincere apology in my opinion. She’s fishing for absolution. Like I said the other day, gross.

    I know you’re in a tough financial situation and can’t get away from the insanity, so be kind to yourself for not being able to shake free of those shackles the way you want to. Hugs to you.

    • You’re right, Judith. Still wanting absolution… NM is changing the outward appearance… what I’ve been working toward… maybe this is a lesson that changing the outward appearance isn’t the goal because it’s easy to change that… but the outward change without the inward change is meaningless… so my work needs to be focused on the inward changes, as difficult as those are to measure, exactly like I’m doing. Wow. The encouragement and clarity I needed. Thanks ((Judith))

  3. I’m cheering. Hugs.

    • ((Ruth))

  4. Love your last line. Never quit. 😉

    • Thanks, lori!

  5. The thing about path. narcissists is this: they lie. All the time. The rewrite history…which is absolutely crazy making. LOL! And IF we buy into their lies as truth, or are ‘confused’ by what we KNOW happened….they continue on to victory. I have faced this stuff with my ‘mother’ for 5 decades. No kidding. Finally, I realized that I was dealing with a person who was unable to recognize truth: she would continue to rewrite history and blame me of all her perceptions. So, we can either be worn down by this….or we can fly above it.

    Do you know the story (Biblical ) about the Eagle and the Crow? The Eagle is harried by the crow. It flies higher and higher. Atomically, the eagle is able to process a lower oxygen content of air. Crows can’t to that extent. So the Eagle ignores the crow(s) harassment by flying to greater heights, where the crow can’t follow. And IF the crow does, he falls to his death.

    I think about my mother and other narcissists in this way: they are the annoying crows. I am the Eagle. How? I have endured their debasement for decades, but instead of destroying me, (and that was the point of their harassment) it has made me tougher and stronger. But not without research and a lot of self-contemplation. Also, I didn’t sit and stroke my wounds….I found those things that would rebuild my self-confidence and self-worth. Because you won’t get them from foos or narcissists. And don’t expect them to change, even in the face of your victories and progress. They have too much at stake in your continuing defeat.

    Love, Jane (Lady Nyo)

    • Thank you, Jane (Lady Nyo). Another important reminder (they always lie and rewrite history) and a fantastic eye-opening perspective. They even sound like crows. I’m working on re-building the self-worth.

  6. Not sure that this will help, but wanted to share something about my own journey with my mom. All my life, the thing that crushed my spirit the most about her wasn’t that she physically abused me in horrific ways, which was hard enough to get past, especially since some of the physical scars are still present today. No, the thing that hurt me the most, as it pertained to her, was that she had failed to protect me from my father. When we started trying to work things out and find some peace, what I wanted the most was for her to take responsibility for that one thing —- for failing to protect me from my father.

    She died having never taken responsibility for that one thing. She swore until the day she died that she never knew what was happening, even though I absolutely knew this wasn’t true. She went above and beyond in asking for forgiveness about the physical harm she did to me, but she could never accept responsibility for knowing that my father was hurting me, and didn’t do anything to protect me (like leave him, or call the police).

    You already know me well enough to know that I eventually got very close with my mom, and our healing was complete and honest and true, long before she died. What changed for me was the need to hear her accept responsibility for her actions (or lack of action). I once believed there could be no healing between us if she didn’t accept responsibility for that one thing, but eventually, after years of working through all the different chapters of healing, I learned that maybe she was truly incapable of giving me what I so desperately needed from her, so I decided to work at not needing it instead. I didn’t think it was going to be possible, but after some time, I finally got to a place where I truly accepted that she was simply incapable.

    It didn’t mean she didn’t love me, and it didn’t me she wasn’t trying to help me heal. It simply meant she was unable to cross over that line in the sand. It took a lot of time and effort, but eventually, I was able to let go of the need to hear her say those words, and when I finally got there, it ended up giving me an immense amount of strength to know that I had quit needing something that was never going to happen anyway. It made me feel like I was capable of almost anything at all, if I could let go of the need to hear her speak what we knew to be absolutely true.

    So we ended up becoming the best of friends, truly, and had a very deep love for one another. Because I finally found a way to let go of that empty waiting, where my heart and soul were clenched in pain. I deserved to be free of that pain, so I found a way to not need to have that affirmation of my truth. I knew what was true, and that was enough. I was able to not let that barrier stand in the way of us having healing between us.

    Right now, my guess is that your brain is boiling over with thoughts about how our situations are not at all the same, and you’re right, they are not the same. You are in a family dynamic that is continuing the same pattern, even while you are working towards healing, so the situation is very different. In my case, the abuse(s) had stopped, (other than the underlying layer of emotional distress that permeated everything), so I was able to have some distance from the abusive actions that had happened. In your case, you still have to deal with the various ongoing actions that are unacceptable.

    But what we have in common is that you are reaching towards something that very likely will never happen. It is highly unlikely (although not impossible) that your NM or EF will suddenly become enlightened enough to meet you in your healing, exactly where you need them to be, which is to take full responsibility for their actions. And then that they will cease and desist from all future behaviors that continue the same pattern.

    So maybe what you need is to find something similar to what I ended up experiencing, which is to find your way to not needing any sort of validation at all from them, in any way, shape, or form. As long as that empty waiting is keeping your heart clenched in pain, you will have that standing as a barrier between you and finding true peace and healing.

    Obviously I wish I could tell you the magic path to finding that place where you are truly able to let go of the need to have them take responsibility for their actions, but I don’t pretend to have a clue. I only know that in my case, I eventually realized that I needed personal healing more than I needed validation, and so I had to let go of my expectations, and find a way through without receiving the one thing I thought I needed more than any other. When I finally reached that place, then the real healing began.

    You also know me well enough to know that there are still times the pain jumps up and surprises me, when least expected, but for the most part, I think you trust that my healing journey with my mom was authentic. What I ask you to consider is that I was able to reach that place of healing without ever hearing any sort of acknowledgement of the one thing that once mattered to me more than any other. She was never able to bring herself to accept responsibility for failing to keep me safe from my father, but somehow, with time and effort, we still managed to find peace anyway.

    Like I said earlier, I know our journeys are very different, but I can’t help wondering if maybe our common thread might be that the success of our healing journey hinged on something that might never happen. I’m asking you to consider whether or not you don’t deserve to know true peace, with or without the necessary acknowledgement or validation, and whether you might be unintentionally waiting for something that will never come to pass.

    I know you’re intelligent and knowledgeable enough to take this in the true spirit it is being offered – not as a judgement or a statement of fact, but rather, as a question to be pondered. If some part of it rings true, then perhaps it deserves some additional thought. If not, it can be discarded.

    Wishing you continued healing as you move through this journey. We are all looking for the way that brings us some measure of peace, and my hope is you find the way that works for you, so you might experience how to live with a lighter heart, and a happier breath of air filling your lungs.

    • after you’ve read my comment, and had some time to let it absorb into your consciousness, go back and look at the title of this post

      my comment is meant for only one thing – to try to help you find freedom – because every one of us deserves to be free

      • I thought I’d given up expectations. In a way I have. The trouble steps in when I’m expected to believe the lies. A part of me wants to… wants to stop fighting… but there is no peace in lies. The chains are the lies I haven’t yet learned to shed, like I’m worthless, I’m ugly, I’m stupid. I’m working on it, but I’m not there yet.

  7. Thinking about this…the scars are there for a life time. But we don’t have to feel the pain. We can work to recovery, and then the scars there are just reminders what we have gone through. I agree with this beautiful post by ntexas: some times we have to come to peace with what we can’t force in change. We want others to take responsibility for what they have done, or have ignored/denied. what others have done. but it’s just impossible for them. That ntexas was able to forgive and go on to a different relationship with her mother is wonderful. And rare, frankly, but I don’t know the full circumstances, and am just impressed with the wisdom of her journey.

    We all want to give up fighting, it certainly roils up our souls, but perhaps we can change where the majorities of our energies go? To succor ourselves and to walk away from the jeers and baiting of others? Their insistence that we buy into their lies? They won’t change but we can change ourselves. We have control of ourselves, and realizing this is the greatest power we can have. we have to dismiss their control over us and it’s a process.

    Love, Jane

    • I’ve been thinking about how what I hate in others is usually a reflection of something I hate in myself. I’ve been struggling to figure out what it is with NM. I think I’ve figured it out: NM’s lies remind me of the lies I still tell myself. I need to stop the lies I tell myself. I know I’ve talked about this before, probably ad nauseum. However, this is the first time I’ve been able to frame the problem in a completely different context.

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