How many of you out there read self help books?
I do, but only on the occasion that it’s not something I can solve on my own, with the help of friends or can find some reputable experts online to read. I’m reading one now and it has been quite surprising. Here’s a little of what has been going on in my thought bubble as I read…
Um, okay, yeah I totally get that.
Yeah! That happens!
Oh! Ew, that’s scary to think about.
Omigod these people are a pain in the ass!
Well, that doesn’t help!
I am totally NOT doing that!
Oh shit! I do that too!
And I do that!
Oh, but I don’t do that.
Whew, that was a close one.
Why do I suddenly feel about as fucked up as the people I’m reading about?!
I can’t decide if this particular book has been self help or self discovery, but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The book is called Emotional Vampires, Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, by Albert J. Bernstein, Phd.
When I read the caveat about each of us having a little bit of these horrible people he writes about in us too, I scoffed. Um, yeah right. I am nothing like these freaking psychos. But it turns out that I actually do have some of those traits myself and having them doesn’t make me a freak, it just means I’m human.
For instance, one of my friends, who actually has a Masters in Child Psychology, described me as a Crusader. I like the truth and I seek out the truth. I expect people to behave in loving and kind ways. I refuse to lower my expectations, therefore I am constantly in a battle with the bottom of the barrel types that disgust most of society. I am now having to teach myself to look away, instead of trying to assist them in being nicer people. In most cases, it is a total waste of my time, and unfortunately, they think I’m wasting their time too because they never take my advice.
The book describes most of these same traits as the Paranoid Vampire. Brahahahahahahahaha!! Admittedly, I am not that far gone, but I do carry quite a few of those disabilities. The difference is that I stopped looking for other people’s truths a long time ago and now only seek my own truth. In finding my own truth I have realized that the bullies seem to fade into the background a lot easier now and become white noise, rather than the only thing I hear.
The OCD Vampire is also one that I can identify with. There’s even a True or False test you can take to see just how far gone you are. I took the test and was brutally honest about my answers. I survived being pigeonholed as an OCD Vampire, but not by much.
In some of the sections he has even provided self help!
That was surprising to me, especially the self help he provided for the Narcissist. I have always thought there wasn’t a cure for a narc and there probably isn’t, but trying some of the exercises he suggests might make them less narc-y. Ya never know!! One of the suggestions was to look around the room and try to imagine what each person must be feeling, or thinking about. It is an exercise in empathy. He wrote that if the only thing you can come up with is that they are thinking about you, then you need to start all over again.
I found that fascinating because this is something I do on a regular basis and it never occurs to me that anyone in the room is ever thinking about me. But in a narcs brain, they must be, evidently. How in the world do they ever make friends, or even get anything constructive accomplished with that kind of thinking?
If you’re a narc, you really should buy this book and keep it with you like it’s a Bible.
This is one of the first times I have ever read a self help book and realized that some of the problems I have with narcissists, liars and sociopaths, are ones I create myself.
And isn’t that true with almost all problems we have with others?
Some folks want to tell you that what you dislike in someone are traits you see in yourself and I can go along with that to a certain point. It makes my skin shiver to think I could be anything at all like some of the nasty ones I’ve encountered, but I am healthy enough to realize that in order to heal from the damages they cause, I have to face those truths about myself first. These are traits I have been willing to work on to correct.
I have been working on most of them for the last few years by creating healthy boundaries. My boundaries have been met with much resentment and retaliation though. I have been cyberbullied, maligned and attacked on a regular basis as I systematically cut out the people in my life that were the most twisted and unhealthy. It was a disappointing validation I didn’t expect and one that has been difficult for me to process, but I accept that they are not people I need to associate with any longer. Their obvious hatred for me has forced me to admit the number of unhealthy people I allowed into my personal space and the number was huge. I attracted them and most likely sought them out.
I invited them in, so uninviting them is hurtful.
I get that.
I don’t relish hurting anyone. This is not part of my routine, therefore dealing with their backlash has been a struggle for me. It’s why I’m seeking self help books. It’s why I am doing my own bit of self discovery and it’s why I know that soon I will be in a better place and more capable of dealing with my own emotional vampires. It takes a little time and a lot of patience, but in the end it is totally worth it.
Hang in there and remember, people aren’t disposable, but you don’t need to keep all of them if they make you unhappy. Moving on doesn’t mean the person goes away. They still exist. What moving on means is that you find a new way of dealing with their toxic behavior and often that means not dealing with them directly at all.
There are many things the book suggests that I will not do, like rolling over, or letting the narc think they have control, when they don’t. I won’t even entertain those ideas and for me that means there will have to be a different solution. My road might be a little harder to pave when it comes to dealing with my past vampires, but the best part of that is that I don’t have to go backwards if I don’t choose to. I can simply pave the road that lies ahead of me.
The road ahead sure is starting to look a lot smoother. Maybe now I can get this baby up to the speed it was made to run, instead of constantly having to stop to change a flat because I hit a bad patch. Here’s wishing each of you safe travels paved with good intentions and happier times. This is Madeline Laughs and I am riding off into the sunset of another gorgeous day!!