Monday, 29 October 2012

Suicidal Ideation in ACoNs

by Quercus

A serious post today, but one of importance. I'd like to recommend Jessie's post on Suicide and the follow-up Choosing Life as well.

Suicidal ideation is a common occurrence amongst ACoNs. And one could assume that the motivations behind self-harm would be similar among us. But after reading Jessie's post, I realise that there are important differences. (It also makes me think twice about trying to describe the 'path' that ACoNs follow - outlining a general path for all might prove to be impractical).

First things first, suicide is almost never about dying - it's about ending the pain. Not seeing any other way out, the normally frightening prospect of terminating one's own existence suddenly seems a viable (and lone) option.

Suicidal ideation typically accompanies feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and haplessness (citation). And so it's no surprise that many times, "pre-red pill*" ACoNs who haven't realised the narcissistic truth of their parents and families, are suicidal. They're trapped, they're helpless, they're miserable, and very often hopeless after a lifetime of abuse they feel obligated to endure.

*(Confused about the "red pill" references? It's from the movie The Matrix. The 'red pill' undoes the current illusion of life and shows what the reality is. The 'blue pill', in contrast, allows one to reinstate the delusion, returning one to the fantasy world from whence they came. Mulderfan's and Ruth's blogs have both made reference to 'the red pill' in the ACoN context - the links go to the relevant posts).

But this wasn't my experience. I was horribly depressed all through my teenage years, and yes, I did occasionally think of suicide in the "pre-red pill" days. Life was hard, it was confusing, and it was abjectly lonely despite constant companionship. I never truly understood why I wasn't happy, but I was keenly aware of my misery. Fleeting thoughts of suicide occurred, but in retrospect I could hardly describe them as serious.

Is Reality Unbearable? Or is Psychological Transformation Life-Threatening?

For me, the suicidal tendencies developed "post-red pill". Like Jessie, the discovery that my NM was an "N" was a huge turning point in my life. It happened after I had sought therapy; a huge fight with my FOO finally drove me to seek professional help (I blamed myself for that fight, and in many ways rightly so. But I knew my mother had somehow instigated it, though my DH couldn't see how, and I couldn't explain it. I can now, of course (and DH can, too). And this document articulates the methods my NM employs better than I could ever hope to!).

I shopped around for therapists (a highly recommended activity, and a rather interesting one, too), found the one I felt would be most capable of helping me, and started sessions. It must have been very early on into therapy, maybe just a month, when I was searching online for answers in my free time. One of the therapists I had interviewed, but not teamed up with, previously mentioned that my mother's behaviour was likely 'diagnosable'. "Diagnosable? Diagnosable of what, exactly?" I thought. So I went looking and found out all about NPD.

I found the red pill and I swallowed it. I went running to my therapist, excited to tell him my discovery. Not surprisingly, he was way ahead of me on the "NPD" suspicions. I read blogs, books, websites, scientific publications, everything I could, and I continued on with therapy. I was happy with my new-found knowledge. It all made sense! I found other people who not only understood what I was going through and who were also making progress and discoveries, but people who had survived the journey and had happily moved on with their lives! Taking the red pill sucked because I had to accept that my mother never loved me and never would, but it was also a huge relief. The validation of hearing that it wasn't me who was the cause of all this misery but them, the FOO who has never once made an ounce of sense to me emotionally, was so sweet and something that I, like Jessie, saw as Divine Intervention (thank you, Lord!).

About six months or so into therapy is when my periodic moments of despair, which had been happening since my teenage years, ramped up into full-blown, suicidal ideation. I am currently over one year into therapy (weekly visits), and I'd say for the past six months I've been dealing with serious thoughts of suicide and some weak self-harming behaviour (turns out I'm not big on physical pain no matter how upset I am). At nine months into therapy, about 3 months ago, the real risk of suicide became tangible. I very nearly had to admit myself into the hospital on two occasions as a preventative measure. The most recent breakdown was last week.

My Subconscious Seismic Upheavals are Drowning Me

I've read that in Jungian psychology, the 'conscious' part of the mind is best represented by a small island in the middle of a large ocean. The ocean signifies the portion of the mind that is subconscious. In actuality, the conscious mind that we typically operate in is but a tiny part of what's really going on in all that grey matter.

This analogy works very well for my understanding of where my suicidal thoughts come from (and interestingly, I heard another ACoN blogger use a similar turn of phrase, only they likened it to waves of human excrement repeatedly crashing down on them and preventing them from catching a breath).

Enormous seismic upheavals and landslides are going on in my subconscious mind during the course of my therapy. The entire landscape, hidden to me, is reforming in violent undersea eruptions and generating, as would happen in a real ocean, tsunamis. My poor little island nation called "Consciousness" is getting swamped and drowned over and over and over again by tsunamis triggered by subconscious terraforming, and I have no way to predict their arrival.

I take the analogy one step further and add 'storms' into the picture as well. Storms are crises I can see brewing on the horizon, and typically they come in the form of emails from the FOO in my inbox (or text messages, which bother me the most - so invasive!). I can board up the windows and batten down the hatches before the storm rolls over. And I can usually get a little warning, even if it's just minutes. But the cataclysmic tsunamis I simply cannot predict (if only I could prosecute someone over that! Sorry, scientific-community sarcasm - what a crock of bull!)

Subconscious 'tsunamis' flood me and very nearly drown me with guilt, remorse, self-loathing and hopelessness. I literally struggle to breathe, and I generally cry so hard I spend hours choking on my own tears. My eyes swell half shut. It's ugly. And it's unavoidable. Thankfully it only rarely starts in public (it's all I can do to get home as fast as possible!).

This is the despair that drives me to desperation. It lasts for hours, only abating when I've wailed myself to a pitiful exhaustion (and it really only stops because I've run out of the energy to fuel it). If it happens at night and I can sleep it off, I don't wake up feeling better at all. I usually have a terrible headache and body aches and fatigue for a day or two afterwards. It really feels as though I've just barely survived a natural disaster. I begin to fear the next one, because I don't feel as though I ever fully recover. Each time this happens, I genuinely believe I won't survive this 'attack', and that my heart arrhythmia is going to land me in cardiac arrest from sustained tachycardia. Sometimes I just hope my heart's going to give out. I'm sure I'd instantly regret that wish if it did, but that's the pathetic truth. It's just that overwhelming.

I read about some sensationalized, sentimental news item about how one really can 'die from a broken heart' (which is Takosubo cardiomyopathy, seen in The Guardian, which was less annoying than the first article I had read on it), and I start to wonder just what damage I'm doing to a ticker that's already got a couple of issues. And then I think about how I'm "breaking my mother's heart", a phrase my father used on a daily basis with me in all the years I lived under their roof, and which he still uses in every fricking email and text message he sends me.

Transference of Property to the 'Silent Partner'

For the first time in my memory, my mother actually used the all-too-familiar phrase herself - "You are breaking my heart." That was a couple of weeks ago now. I haven't wanted to discuss it 'til now.

Something must've changed for her to actually say that in the first person - traditionally, she's only ever sent her henchman (the EF) to psychologically abuse me with that specific accusation. Maybe he wasn't getting the results she wanted and she fired him. I don't know. What I do know is that this is a significant turn of events; I've always known my mother would have me know that I'm 'breaking her heart', but she's rarely, if ever, had to utter that sentiment herself. Her puppet, my gutless EF, did her dirty work in the 'heart-breaker' accusation department. Actually, he's always been the 'messenger' of most of her missile-like missives. I mentioned before that EF appears to bear the brunt of my NM's aggression when me, the-human-punching-bag, isn't there to take it. Maybe she's hurting him by finally pink-slipping the middle man. Who knows, and I'm trying not to care. Either way, the game has clearly changed.

I vowed I wouldn't respond to my parents until October 29th, which is today. Q was right - I don't really want to call off my recent foray into the "No Contact" zone now that the campaign is coming to a close. It's nice out here.

So that's my story on my own struggles with suicide. I've never come close enough to a serious attempt thankfully, but the despair really feels like it's going to kill me. I wish it would stop.

But if the 'suicidal tsunamis' are merely a symptom of an overall beneficial process, the changing terrain of my subconscious mind, I'll try to adopt the "whatever doesn't kill you will only make you stronger" view. It's just really hard to do it when you feel as though you won't survive another breakdown.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

I think of people like Jessie, and Jessie's sister, and all the horrors they've been through. And how despite all of it, both of them are still here today. It's a triumph of the spirit - I now know what incredible strength they must have to continue on despite that degree of despair. It takes real resilience to carry on with that weight upon the shoulders. There's another Scripture verse that comes to mind for me, and it's from Psalm 56:8 - "Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll. Are they not in your record?".

The Bible has all sorts of verses that apply to my situation. Matthew 10:35 is a good one - "For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law...". Some people are on the side of truth, and some aren't, I suppose. It's nice to know that God gets that. We're not all "cut from the same cloth" as our parents where it matters (in our character!).

Let us glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

And let us pray for the strength to overcome! (An article on Resilience in Psychology Today - "Finding Strength: How to Overcome Anything"). The Scripture above (Romans 5:3-4) refers to the prosecution of the early Christians, but it can also apply to the struggles of the righteous on the side of truth (and I say this, because it is also written that "The Lord is righteous, He loves justice; the virtuous will see his face." - Psalm 11:7). It's also nice to know that "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed." - Psalm 34:18.

Hope can be a tall order for the ACoN to muster. Hope is not personally one of my strengths. I'm actually an optimist on most fronts, but in terms of my own life . . . well, it's hard to be optimistic when you struggle to think for yourself. I really mean that, too - so much of my thought processes seem to have been put there by my meddlesome, malevolent mother. They don't function in my favour but in hers. Thinking for myself, for my own purposes that is, is a real challenge.

It's hard to be hopeful on behalf of someone you barely know. My dreams are full of manifestations of "the real me", and it's always highly symbolic and surreal. Slowly, I'm starting to realise 'who I am'. I think when I've come into myself more, I'll have more character, and perhaps, more hope, too.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, reach out to someone. You can do so confidentially and in private by calling 1 800 SUICIDE from your phone, or chat online here. These services will also be able to direct you to local help if desired.

The ACoN Society is inclusive and supportive of all faiths and beliefs. If you have a different spiritual or cultural perspective that would be helpful to others, please share it!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Hypocrisy and Me: Punishment or Boundary Enforcement?

by Quercus

Therapist Michelle Piper of the blog Narcissistic Mother often gives much food for thought, and her recent post really touched a raw nerve for me, highlighting a moral dilemma I continually face inside my head.

I routinely worry that I'm being hypocritical. Before I launch right into the crux of that issue, let me set the scene a little.

One of the many things I was denied as a child was "fair treatment". Equity was not something that was afforded to me, and ironically, through the process of parentification, I was also simultaneously cast as the emotional provider. There was no justice, only unattainable expectations. In short, it sucked the big one.

As an adult, I feel the need to be very fair. I worry about being unfair to my parents, however abusive and poorly behaved they are. My psychologist questions me on this all the time - "Yes, but is it unfair of you to ______?!" (fill in the blank with the setting of a healthy boundary, or with feelings of intense anger and resentment). My answer is always yes, and I see that he is suggesting otherwise. I just can't always see it for myself. I am so concerned with being reasonable and 'fair'.

Michelle Piper's post hit a nerve because it suggests, correctly, that the 'silent treatment' by a narcissistic parent is tantamount to passive-aggressive abuse. So is my enforcement of "No Contact" similarly abusive in turn? Am I not, as Michelle illustrates, punishing my parents for their poor behaviour?

I examine my motivations for "No Contact" and hope, sincerely, that they are prudent defensive measures implemented to assist me and are not, so I hope, to punish my parents.

I hope I'm not punishing my parents. I can't be sure if I am or not. Am I, in part, trying to correct their behaviour? Am I then 'parenting', something my psychologist has repeatedly warned me against engaging in (as it keeps me trapped in the parentified child role)?

Am I attempting to change them?

No. I now know that it is, for all intents and purposes, impossible to change them. The spiteful part of me wants to prove to them, and perhaps even to vestigial parts of myself that harbour some doubt, that they cannot change.

I want to prove conclusively that they are incapable of being anything than what they are. I am a scientist - I like experiments. I consider this one a proof of concept; I already know with some certainty the likely outcome, but it's ridiculous to draw conclusions without testing a hypothesis.

Again, fairness is factoring in. I came, I hypothesized, I tested, I proved. Irrefutable*. Logical. Fair.
*(for the sake of any other scientifically-minded readers, I realise that there is nothing here that is 'irrefutable'. This study has several major limitations, not limited to gross observer bias, and though my work and methods have been practically peer-reviewed a priori, the study design itself is seriously flawed and arbitrary. However, as both the researcher and the subject, I feel satisfied that valuable, potentially life-saving information can still be gleaned by this endeavour, and as the sole granting agency, I am confident that this research comprises an appropriate use of resources. I declare that my involvement in this study constitutes several major conflicts of interest, but since I'm also publishing my own work, I don't really care...! BAZINGA!).

My parents have of course already accused me of 'punishing them' by "cutting (them) out of (my) life". And I struggle with this, morally. Is it fair to treat them the way they treated me?

Some people say yes. I say no. No, emphatically and rigidly. If I do as they do, I can hardly claim that I've been wronged. If you engage in the same behaviour, you are no better than they are. Regardless of your motivations, you are functionally a malignant narcissist. And if you're anything like me, you'd sincerely rather die than become what you detest. I can't justify being an abuser. Even to those that hurt me. 

One of the other factors I consider here is that, in order for my "No Contact" boundary setting to be 'abusive', I have to assume that my parents and I represent two equal but opposite parties, or maybe even that I have some sort of advantage over them. As a child, my parents giving me the silent treatment was abusive, because of the innate imbalance of power in the parent-child relationship.

Does that still apply now, as an adult? Am I still at a disadvantage? I could make an argument that yes, I am. And therefore, my "No Contact" does not constitute abusive behaviour.

But I could also argue that since my parents have cast me as the parentified emotional provider, that my 'cutting them out' can also be viewed as abusive.

Oh. I just got it. (Wow, you can WATCH personal growth happening on this blog! Ha ha ha!).

In order for my "No Contact" boundary setting to be considered 'abusive', one must accept that I am still the emotional provider or 'parent' of my parents. So long as I still accept that 'role', I am not free to make my own decisions without first thinking about how it will affect my, and I cannot believe I'm going to say this, my 'wards'.

Eureka! I have to resign my position first! Tear up the contract I don't ever remember signing!

Now I don't have to worry myself sick about being 'fair'! I'm a free agent - what I do should have no consequence to my family unless they choose to view it differently. (I'm not going to get into the 'blood is thicker than water' familial obligation argument today - I made progress, and I want to go and celebrate!).

Actually, I don't feel like celebrating - this kind of pisses me off. I've been a wonderful, fair, self-sacrificing parent to my parents all these years! And did I ever receive anything like that in a turn, when I truly needed it? When I was a helpless child?! No! I realise now that parenting isn't all that difficult, at least it's not so difficult that a well-meaning and sensitive child can't approximate the role, and I'm even more pissed that my parents didn't even make an attempt at it! I gave up my childhood to do their jobs for them!


Saturday, 27 October 2012

The ACoN Society's First Online Survey

by Quercus

Alright, maybe curiosity is a weakness of mine. Or I just really like making surveys and polls - probably a bit of both!

A population of acorns. What does a population of ACoNs look like?

ACoNs like you and me tend to be a private bunch (and for very, very good reasons!), and so I am going to guess that not everyone would like to fill out an anonymous survey no matter what privacy measures are taken. But please do consider doing so - it will give us all a valuable glimpse into what we as a community represent! Think "Census of the ACoN World" - wouldn't you like to know what the 'norm' is or which aspects are highly variable?

There was only room for 10 free questions on Survey Monkey, so I put in some general questions about you, your FOO and your experiences. At least one of the questions could be upsetting or 'triggering', and I labelled it as such (it's "check all that apply - forms of abuse you have received").

This survey was structured so that no questions are mandatory (you can skip those you don't wish to answer), that your IP address won't be linked to your responses (and I can't see your IP address at all - which interestingly isn't the default setting!), and that you can go back and change your answers anytime (which probably means Survey Monkey will store a 'cookie' on your computer (?), but I'm no expert on that. If you're worried, just delete all cookies after you're done - you won't be able to change your answers after the fact, however.).

I also selected "don't show results" at the end of the survey because I was worried that somehow that might identify someone (probably overkill, but the simpler, the better). I'll share all the combined anonymous results in a subsequent post on The ACoN Society anyway.

Click on link to start survey: 

The survey is set to run until December 31st, 2012 at midnight (PST), mostly because I figure that stats and a 'census' is a nice way to ring in the New Year! Not that I'm sure there won't be plenty to talk about during the holidays - those narcs can't help but ruin every Christmas, can they?!

If enough responses are received, I can run statistics on them (putting my education to use!) which will tell us how 'legitimate' the results are. For example, if only four people answer, then "90% of respondents were the youngest child in their FOO" is a relatively useless statement. If 40 people take the quiz, this might be 'statistically significant', and we can actually say that there is a real correlation between ACoNs and birth order. (Statistics are important but so often misused by the media!).

So please consider taking this quiz. It's only 10 questions, all multiple choice, and its designed to be completely anonymous. Stand up and be counted - let's find out what we ACoNs collectively represent.

Have a burning question that was left out of the survey? Let me know, another survey can be generated.

Please direct any questions or concerns either below (via comment form) or by email to: acon(DOT)anon(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Bugger - I lost the data on the poll

a regretful admission by Quercus

So apparently when you fill in a stop date for those Blogger-based 'quizzes', like the one I had on whether or not as an ACoN you had chosen to go no contact or not, the quiz ends, and the data just disappears.

(If anyone knows where I can find it, let me know! I think it evaporated into the ether!).

Here's the 'rough' data that I'm remembering from the last time I checked the score - there were ABOUT 19 ACoNs who had gone "No Contact" with the FOO, ABOUT 17 ACoNs who were "Low Contact", 3-5ish ACoNs who still lived with their FOO, and 1-2ish loving supporters of an ACoN who voted on The ACoN Society.

I was really, really looking forward to doing some nerdy calculations and statistics on that, so I've really shot myself in the foot. Lesson learned. Sorry if anyone else is as disappointed as I am. Grrr.

What does this sort of tell us (again, really pissed about the lack of data retention!)? It tells us that, very roughly, there's an almost equal number of ACoNs who went No Contact to those who chose Low Contact. And that some of us, whom the rest of us should remember in our prayers, are still stuck living with their FOOs for the time being.

That's the rough, rough estimate of The ACoN Society's readership!

Can you help other ACoNs? Yes! I would very much like to read an article written by a younger person still living with their NFOO. You are welcome to have it posted here if you don't want to do so elsewhere.

Coming soon - a BETTER survey that actually retains data!

Meanwhile, this is for Vicarious Rising and Jessie regarding our conversation on the last post (comment threads) - a look at my internal 'dashboard' in dealing with the  FOO!

Zero patience, reading 100% BS and off the chart on Apathy? Welcome to the turning point in your relationship with your narcissistic parents and family of origin. It's GO time!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Doxing and the ACoN - an opinion

by Quercus

"Doxing" - if you haven't heard the term prior to now, chances are you will. We all know how much "The Media" likes to get its sensationalizing hands on new terms and trends!

Please have a gander at the following CBC news article on doxing if you'd like a more thorough description. An excerpt from "Online vigilantes: Is 'doxing' a neighbourhood watch or dangerous witch hunt?" by Janet Davidson of CBC News:
Hackers and others who "dox" — or poke through internet documents to try to reveal real-life names behind anonymous identities — have been rooting around on the internet for a while.
'At its worst, it could be a kind of vigilantism.'—David Murakami Wood
If you follow Mulderfan's blog, you'll have seen that last week she had a former student of hers 'help her' by being ever so concerned about Mulderfan's supposed internet security. Whether it was well-intentioned, some sort of bizarre opportunity to battle for supremacy over an authority figure, a mixture of both, or simply a 'troll' being rotten for the sake of some good ol' fashioned negative attention (hey, if you can't get positive attention...! Us ACoNs can certainly relate to having less than supportive FOOs ourselves!), it still caused dear Mulderfan some anxiety and confusion, no doubt.

I had several points I wanted to make on this subject.

1. Is there really anything wrong with remaining anonymous on a personal blog?

No, there isn't. For starters, there were an estimated 156 000 000 (that's 156 million!) blogs in existence in February of 2011 (reference). I don't know about you, and maybe this is my latent narcissism speaking, but of the 156 million personal blogs out there, there are probably only 100 or so that I could care enough to read once, let alone to add to my blogger reader list.

I don't care if my neighbour blogs, or what they blog about. I can think of 40 people right this instant whose personal thoughts would interest me less than a book of 'for fun' calculus problems. Are they anonymous? Could they be talking about me? I don't know, I honestly don't care (unless it becomes a criminal or legal issue), and my time on earth is too short and too precious to waste on such an endeavour. I would rather nap out of boredom than try to 'dox' some former teacher's personal blog, myself. Maybe my teachers weren't as enigmatic as Mulderfan was, and are therefore so terribly tedious that I could not waste a single second trying to track them down. Onwards and upwards instead, to bigger and more important issues!

2. Is there really anything wrong with 'doxing'?

Yes, there is, if it's done outside of the legal system. The legal system exists for a reason - it's to protect us. It's something WE as a PEOPLE have collectively supported, developed and rely upon to keep our societies functional. It is NOT a group of adults that needs to be challenged - it's something we all accept as an essential construct to keep the world turning. If the walls of civilization come crashing down, you can bet your ass that your ISO will be one of the first things to go. It isn't free or cheap to keep the internet running, you know!
Hacking the identity of child pornographers, criminals, even cyber bullies in order to protect and serve the public is the domain of the POLICE. The police should, and probably do, snap up the skilled 'doxers' out there and put them to good use. We all know that the internet is mostly porn, and that the porn industry is lucrative and exploitative, and that vulnerable people and children are preyed upon for the benefit of organized crime. Here is a scenario where 'doxing' suddenly becomes important and relevant.
If you want to go vigilante and flex your coding muscle (and you're looking for my blessing, which I don't see why you would), then go after the child predators. Please. And then present your findings to the FBI or RCMP or whomever. And ask for a job. I'd love your skills to be put to use on ANYTHING other than hacking the identity of another everyday citizen with a personal blog! Seriously - priorities, people! If you've got skills, change our world for the better! Enlist in the justice system - I'll happily pay taxes to keep you employed, provided you've been thoroughly trained and educated and are overseen by trustworthy civil servants.

3. Do any of us ACoNs actually need to know Mulderfan's, or any other anonymous ACoN's, identity?

This is an important consideration - the answer is an EMPHATIC no! Again, unless there is a criminal investigation underway by the sort of people trained, educated and trusted to do rigourous and legal investigation (i.e. the FUZZ), Mulderfan's real name, address, shoe size, favourite meal, eye colour and bathroom habits are entirely IRRELEVANT! She's a prolific blogger on the subject of familial narcissism who has contributed greatly to the knowledge and support of other like-minded somewhat-secretive individuals who self-identify as ACoNs. She is a valued and respected member of a society, digital or otherwise, who I personally hold in high regard. Knowing Mulderfan exists makes my existence better. I don't have the privilege of knowing Mulderfan in 'real life', but I don't really need to. I would sincerely like the pupil who was 'helping' her to know that a person can be of real value and benefit solely for the writings they provide.

Take, for example, this list of "Anonymously Published Works" on Wikipedia. Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are two famous, nay, pivotal and momentous works of literature that have shaped the collective fabric of Western society, written anonymously. Note that this list does NOT include famous works published under pseudonyms or pen names (that list is here, and is by no means exhaustive - it doesn't even include Mark Twain!).

Do we care who wrote these famous works? Sure, a few people are very curious and would like to know. But they're not common, and they hide out in the dusty recesses of university art history departments.

Do the vast majority of people care? Of course not! What is of value is not WHO but WHAT. This is an important point - is it important to be able to look up old photos of Bill Gates and find out what gifts he was given for his 5th birthday? Or is it more important to speak on what Bill Gates has contributed to society? In 100 years, will people even remember his name? I can guarantee that no one will care what he did before computers. And with all due respect to Mulderfan and my fellow ACoNs, we're not as interesting. No one cares who we are except us, and we're happy with the status quo of pseudonyms as they serve our purposes rather well.

4. Is anonymity a good thing?

YES! Good heavens, if people couldn't remain anonymous, the entire justice system would grind to a halt! Witness Protection Program, anyone? Whistle-blowers standing up for the rights of the exploited? How about in the cases of benevolent giving - is it okay to be an anonymous donor? What about if you gave a kidney and wished to remain anonymous? There are so many instances where anonymity is a brilliant or essential option. Here's another example - Mulderfan's anonymous student. How would they enjoy being outed? Obviously they wouldn't for some reason or another, or they'd have used their real name. Note that none of us ACoNs have gone vigilante on their butt and hacked them (no, that's not a threat - it's a point: we value anonymity and would like to prove it by not destroying someone else's). Mulderfan's anonymous student's points are every bit as valid as they would be if she or he had used their real name. Chew on that. Why out Mulderfan?

5. Do ACoNs fear having to stand to public account for their blogs?

Probably not! We're not making up stories or lying - we're telling the stories of our lives, anonymously, to other people with similar backgrounds as a means to bring about healing! In many cases, the very act of blogging was recommended to us by health care professionals.
In fact, the details of our lives ARE available. Our mental health records can be subpoenaed by any number of government agencies for the good of our society, if needed. The people who can have legal access to that information are again accredited, educated, appointed or elected officials who have proven themselves to be trustworthy to society as a whole. No system is perfect, but it is infinitely better than the lack of a system. (All of us sitting on our butts blogging, hacking, typing are not as fit or strong as your average muscle-bound gym monkey; when the walls of society come tumbling down, the folks with the real advantage will NOT be the computer savvy! Be careful not to collapse the system that feeds, friends!).

6. So why do I blog under the name of "Quercus" and not my real name?

Easy. I never got ANY privacy as a child. Not physically, but most importantly, not emotionally or mentally. My thoughts were policed (this is easy to do on a child - they have simplistic thoughts that can readily be 'read' right off their faces). My emotions were controlled; much like a puppy getting a spritz of water to the face every time it pees on the carpet, an expression of ANYTHING other than a smile (yes, that includes a NEUTRAL affect! Always had to be radiating happiness for the world to attribute to my parent's skill at raising a child!) resulted in punishment.
Can you imagine what it was like to be a teenager?! All young people need to 'rebel' to some extent (some against their former teachers, apparently!), and if I so much as thought about it, I was hurt in ways I can't begin to describe. My psyche is royally screwed. I have to spend a large proportion of my cash not saving for a car or a vacation or for a home or even shoe shopping (which would be nice!) but paying to see a shrink to help me not want to kill myself. I spend my earnings battling depression. This is not a preferred state of affairs, let me just say. I'd rather spend that money on something else.
But now I can blog. This means that for once I can have privacy AND experience life honestly AND share my thoughts with others for the first time, free of reproach! Anonymous blogging works for me to exercise my right to self-expression.
Currently, anonymity on the internet is not a crime. Yes, I could be hacked. I know that, and so does Mulderfan, and so do all ACoNs. The internet is not secure.
But there IS security in numbers. One in 156 million is a very small percentage. And I'm not a remarkable person, either, so why on earth would anyone care enough to bother to 'out' me? I'll take my chances, and I'll keep speaking the truth knowing that at any point in time the whole world could read it. What do I care? What does the world care? I have no illusions as to my relative importance, and I'm sure Mulderfan doesn't either.
The only person who had cared enough to find out who Mulderfan really is so far has been that anonymous student. Anonymous student has a point - her abilities aren't particularly special, and there are many people who could hack Mulderfan's site.
The real question is: Who would bother? Can you get money out of knowing who she is? Is her credit card or social insurance number tied to the name Mulderfan? No? Then very likely no one aside from Anonymous Student is going to BOTHER to dox her. Duh.
And what if her FOO finds out? What are they going to do? Mulderfan did not identify them - the doxer did. Mulderfan isn't lying, she's discussing her own life. It's HER LIFE TO DISCUSS after all.

I refer you to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. If you value the ability to anonymously blog online, please consider a donation to the EFF and their team of lawyers who are looking to protect the rights of individuals. 

Back to me and my choice to write under a pseudonym...

The people who NEED to know who I really am and where I live already know. Again, my records can be legally subpoenaed. There is no secrecy here that prevents justice from being done or which allows me to hurt others. I speak of my own thoughts, experiences, trials and triumphs. For the first time, I can converse openly and safely (yes, I realise that's relative safety, but it's safety nevertheless) with other people who understand my situation!

If it weren't for blogs like Mulderfan's, I'm not sure how well I'd be. I think I'd still be alive, but I can't even say that for sure.

An online anonymous community of people blogging about their experiences was a lifeline! Here were stories just like mine! Perspectives I hadn't considered (and varied perspectives - there was no shortage)!

There were new ACoNs with fresh minds, independent philosophies, and different experiences with invaluable insight. There were seasoned veterans very much entrenched in their ways, but as a result they stood as firm pillars of the community, holding rigidly to the truth as they saw it and defending the Adult Child of Narcissists to the hilt. There were people in the middle of this with differing views. There were males (okay, only a few - q and Evan, God bless them!), and there were females. There were mothers and there were those without children. There were grandmothers. There were people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. There are people with different religions. There were cranky people, friendly people, bubbly people. There are quiet people, loud people, gentle people, abrasive people. Some people went No Contact, some didn't, some hadn't yet. Some people had Narcissistic Fathers, some had Narcissistic Mothers, some had Narcissistic Siblings, and we all had different stories.

And all of them, ALL of them, go by assumed or incomplete names. And that doesn't matter in the slightest.

What did matter what that all of them had something important to contribute. 

And I don't want any of them to disappear because they were bullied into silence, by proud doxers or even by fellow ACoNs.

If it wasn't for the richness and variety of 'ACoNs' out there, the benefits to other grown children of abusive parents wouldn't be so great. It would be a few polar or even mild-mannered blogs scattered throughout those 156 million personal blogs. There would be no safe haven for us.

So a plea to those looking to 'dox' out the identity of an ACoN - please don't. If ACoNs can't share their experiences in a way that feels safe and equitable to them, then people like me who were desperately seeking their thoughts and opinions won't find them.

These blogs may have quite literally saved my life. And I'm sure I'm not alone.

Friday, 12 October 2012

True Crime - Today's Headlines

by Quercus

I don't have much to say about these stories in the news today, but I felt compelled to share them and let them speak for themselves.

I am sad that these sorts of people exist, but you and I know that they do. A part of me is very grateful that stories like these get publicity. Maybe news items and tragedies like these will erode away the "Mother on a Pedestal" mentality of our society. Not all mothers are good. Not all old ladies are sweet. 

Mother in Texas gets 99 years for beating 2 year-old daughter and super-gluing her hands to the wall:

Internet Black Widow bail hearing postponed for a third time:
and The Fifth Estate's documentary on her, prior to the death of Fred Weeks:


What do these stories have in common, other than that both women are mothers? Both of these women claim that they were abused, and perhaps they were. But regardless, it isn't an excuse. It will never be a sufficient excuse to me. In fact, if you were abused, you ought to know best of all not to abuse in turn.

Saturday, 6 October 2012


by Quercus

It's Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. There are more things that I am thankful for than I can hope to express. I think that's true of anyone, actually - it's next to impossible for our minds to encompass all the positives in our lives. The negatives are what stand out.

In my last post (On Upside-down Charity), I got across much of the thought process I had in my mind, but I missed a few key thoughts somehow. I wish I could have better articulated one particular aspect, and so I'm going to try to do so bluntly here. I hope it comes out right:

The key difference, maybe the only one, between my NM and myself is that she turns her aggression and anger outwards, and I am mostly able to confine my own inwards, towards myself. I thereby keep my own ego in check - I'm seeing myself as clearly as I can (perhaps even unfavourably). She's looking at others, feeling insecure, and is attacking - there's nothing to keep her self-image to account.

I don't know why that's the case. Luck, maybe. God's hand at work in my life. I really couldn't say. I am blessed, in my mind, to not need to drag others down with me. This is not because of my own strength - this is really a blessing/fluke/sheer luck (depending on what you believe). I am introspective, not comparing. I don't feel nearly any envy of anyone in any position. This used to bother me - I thought it suggested weird repression or something. And who knows - it might!

If we can keep our attention focused on our own problems and fight to improve ourselves, we won't have the energy to focus on other people and tear them down.

Maybe the reason why people turn their aggression outwards was already pointed out by Caliban's Sister (comment on On Upside-down Charity) in Charity's life:

She's been struggling with meds, as had loss after loss after loss, feels severely guilty about her own son.

Guilt could do it. I believe that my NParents feel enormous guilt, too much for them to handle. Rather than address it (because they can't? Won't? Starting to lean towards can't!), they project it, on to me. I cause the feeling of guilt, ergo, I'm the problem. Flawed logic, but something I now believe they truly cling to. I think the guilt is too massive for them to deal with, so they stop looking 'inwards' and start looking 'outwards'. (Weird that 'self-centredness' in this context is a outward view!).

Maybe we're all just a set of too-difficult circumstances away from turning into what we despise. I suppose everyone has their breaking points.

So I remind myself, daily, to "let go and let God". I find this saying too cute, but it really is a useful mantra. I trust that my God, He who can do anything, can help me to manage something that is infinitely too much for me to bear but nothing at all to Him. He has a plan for me and for everyone and everything, and so if I am just honest with Him (and at the same time, myself), my shortcomings won't get the better of me.

"Humility" is a parallel thought here. If I can truly accept that I can't handle whatever crisis is upon me, but trust that He will sort it out, I don't have to panic and attack others. I don't have to drag them down with me to stop me from being alone in my pit of despair. I can rely upon God and just release that guilt. If I did something horribly wrong, I can confess it: I f*cked up, big time. It's more than I can fix. It's my fault, and I can't undo it - HELP!

"Letting go" is difficult, but if you don't do it, you risk getting swept away to 'the dark side' (cue 'The Empire Strikes Back' theme). Maybe it's Divine intervention that allows us to 'let go', or maybe the choice to let go is ours and ours alone. I don't have any of these answers. I have a lot of questions though. For example,
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • Why can I avoid (so far!) becoming a malignant narcissist like my mother and her father before her? What is the difference(s)? (And I want the truth, not to simply hear what would flatter me).
  • What are our choices, and what is predetermined?
  • What do we actually have control over in our lives, if anything at all? Which is illusion, which is real?
  • What does "free will" extend to?
All these questions and more - it's easy to get caught up in them and fail to see the wonder and beauty and amazing gift that life is! In my suicidal thoughts, I fail to see anything but darkness. I am blind. When I'm not 'in the pit of despair', I can see more of my life and the world I live in. But I know I never see it all - there is an infinite number of things I take for granted.

Having a thankful heart is to have a happy heart - that has even been shown to be true scientifically (religious/spiritual people are more happy, and studies concluded it was gratitude that did it). If you'd like to up your 'happiness quotient', list five things at the end of each day that you are thankful for, big, small and trivial.

Here are my five things I'm thankful for today:
  • The Divine in my life, and the ability for Him to know me and vice versa.
  • The ACoN community - so many people on a similar scary path; so many lovely, interesting, strong people facing such adversity with grace and compassion for others!
  • Pumpkin pie (and having plenty to eat, something so few people experience).
  • My support network. Without them, I'd have no resistance to not slip into the dark side. It would be a little slip here, a nasty vengeful comment there, and I'd be sliding down a very slippery slope into a place no ACoN probably chooses to go (sociopaths aside).
  • Opportunities to learn and grow . . . which includes 'suffering'. It's hard to be thankful for suffering, but it probably is a necessary side-effect of personal growth (like growing pains in the knees of a teenager).
Thank you for being here for me, and for other ACoNs, too. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Friday, 5 October 2012

On Upside-down Charity

by Quercus

There's a lot of buzz in the ACoN community tonight, if you haven't already stumbled across it.

Upsi posted a nasty 'hate' letter she received on her blog: "You Don't Have to Dance for Them - Well, Allow Me to Retort".

I guess I lost the "$20" I bet when I said it was probably written by her NM. I wasn't the only person who thought so, either (see the comment thread here). It was so personal, so cruel and so angry towards Upsi. I reasoned that no one would be so angry at Upsi unless they were a disordered member of her FOO. Upsi's a real sweetheart, very kind and open-minded (to the point where she'll even give Trolls a voice! I won't!). It's next to impossible to imagine anyone, besides her crazy FOO, having an issue with her.

If you read through all the comments, you will have noticed that Charity, of the blog "Healing from Broken", commented supportively and in Upsi's favour about half way down the thread.

She also commented right towards the end, but under a new name - Broken Blogger, formerly misnamed Charity. In this comment, she admits to writing the anonymous comment that attacked Upsi so openly.

I don't/didn't know Charity, but it seems to me that her envy of Upsi and Upsi's blog drove her to the offensive. In the original anonymous attack, she wrote:
She apparently cannot allow herself to grow up out of that awkward unbecoming stage, because if she does, she will lose all of this AcoN blog victim glory.
Glory? Hmm. Seems an odd word choice. I don't think I'd see any ACoN's blog as a gleeful basking in the limelight. ACoN blogs are stories of terribly painful personal journeys - they are probably the sort of blogs that no one in their right mind would sit down to 'enjoy'. We ACoNs read the blogs of others to help us make sense of our twisted worlds. 'Glory' is just not the right term.

This comment sounded awfully jealous as well:
because so many of the AcoN bloggers I respect were singing upsi's praises in their comments on her recent posts.
There are much more upsetting things said about Upsi, but I don't want to post them here. They shouldn't have been said at all in the first place.

The majority of the letter spoke of the author's own experiences, comparing them to Upsi's to show that she had suffered more (again, competition and envy).

I also read Charity's post in which she comes clean. You can read it here, assuming the blog stays up. I get the feeling that it will. After reading her post, I have to say that I agree with her in that she is "a dangerous person".

What she said to Upsi was inexcusable. It was mercilessly cruel. It was very malignantly narcissistic. Charity was correct to apologise and excuse herself from the ACoN online community, I'll give her that.

One of the things I struggle with is accepting her apology as legitimate. Is she truly remorseful? I hope so. But we as ACoNs know that someone who can be so hateful and who can apologise so readily and easily is someone to be suspicious of. I don't want to judge her, so I'll leave it at that. There is a nagging part of me that wonders if all she really wanted was attention. And if this stunt - cruel letter, public confession and all - is simply an attention-getting scheme. Perhaps even 'narcissistic supply'. I don't know. But it could be.

I think there's a silver lining to the cruel attack on Upsi, if it's not to soon to point it out. This whole fiasco sheds light into unseen dark corners of the ACoN community. So much pain, so much anger - and throw in legitimate mental disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar or general psychotic tendencies. . . I don't know. It's hard to be overly sympathetic, but clearly Charity is in a really bad place. She says she has a husband, and an observant one by the sound of it, which settles my mind. She's not alone or isolated, and if her remorse is genuine, she's aware that she's in some mental distress.

Let's discuss these 'dark corners' of the ACoN community that we fear to tread (and for good reason). Virtually all of us are aware of our 'dark sides', and most of us have this aspect of our psyche under control for the most part. Some of us have either darker dark corners, or more of them, or they have more of a pull on us. Some of us walk in the light and can actively resist the darkness. But the shadows remain, and in them the latent narcissism lurks. So does vindictiveness. Envy. Spite. Maliciousness. In the darkness, there is evil.

It's worth remembering that even my NM qualifies as an "ACoN". Not all "ACoNs" resist the pull to the dark side (malignant narcissism). Perhaps some are pulled more strongly, others have little traction with which to resist, and I think the few of the ACoNs who qualify as sociopathic don't feel the need to resist the pull. (From a Christian viewpoint, we all have 'sin' in us. All people can be ruled by sin, not just ACoNs. It is right to fight against the darkness).

I also suppose it's entirely possible that an ACoN can join the online community and start out with good intentions, only to slip into the darkness. (Star Wars always comes to mind when I think about these things - look what became of cute little Anakin SkyWalker; he grew into the evil Darth Vader).

Think of the struggle you are going through currently (and if it's been going on for awhile, reflect on the early days). I wrote a metaphorical post about what that process feels like to me (read it here). In order to break free, you have to endure even more pain. Maybe some of us legitimately break under that additional pressure, I don't know. I still believe it is worth the fight, though. Your psyche/soul is always worth fighting for!

I hope it's not a permanent change for Charity, but I do applaud her decision to remove herself from our 'community'. I don't like to think she's isolating herself (she very clearly needs serious professional help, pronto!), but I do think that leaving is a good idea. Trust is broken, and someone was hurt.

In fact, I'd even say I was hurt - I know the message was for Upsi, but I felt like the same could have been said to me. Hateful comments like Charity's hurt all ACoNs alike. As if we need any more doubt in our minds that our parents were cruel to us! Charity gaslit all of us with her hateful message. I really do want to have sympathy for her, but I also fear becoming prey as 'narcissistic supply'. She is a danger, as sad as that is.

Do we shun a fellow ACoN from our community? Her decision to step away was the right one, and it saved us having to make a difficult decision. In Charity's own words:

Now that I know I am not sane enough to be safe in a community of wounded people, I will stop posting on this blog, and I will also stop commenting on other ACoN blogs. I am not a fake, I am truly an Adult Child of two viciously malignant narcissists. But I now have to face the horrible reality that I have some really bad Narcissistic Fleas of my own that I did not consciously know I had, until now.

Who am I? What am I? Where do I fit, in a mostly black-and-white world of Us against Them, Compassion versus Narcissism? Right now, I don't seem to fit in anywhere. I am a stranger to myself. I have too many faults of my own, to judge anyone. I no longer trust my own mind. I no longer trust my own judgment.
We must support each other. We must not tear each other down. We must be tolerant, compassionate, kind - all the things our NParents were not. We must take care of our own selves, though, and exercise good and healthy boundaries. Self-care comes first, always. It's not selfish to do so. It's only selfish to not help someone when you have care to spare.

Charity made a grievous error in assuming that the written words of Upsi's parents represented their true nature. I could post a message from my NM on here that would make me sound like a spoiled brat, too. But only I know the context in which to judge the message. Be careful not to judge, dear ACoNs. You may judge incorrectly. And who knows - maybe that's all the 'evil one' needs to pull you to the dark side forever.

Maybe it was just such a thought that turned our ACoN parents into full-blown malignant narcissists.

I have some hope for Charity - she was able to admit to her guilt and apologise for it. I don't believe she's completely free of the danger, however. The dark side will keep pulling, as it does in all of us.

Let this horrible day stand in our memories. The darkness is ever-present; we must continually resist it.


by Quercus

There are 26 days left to vote on The ACoN Society's poll on Parental Contact (see side bar).

At time of posting, it's an even split between "Low Contact ACoNs" and "No Contact ACoNs".

There have been just 28 anonymous votes so far - I would like encourage you to vote! These stats are obviously more for interest's sake than for research purposes (results of all polls will be posted on The ACoN Society for the benefit of our community).

This really does fall under the category of "Just for Fun", so if you aren't comfortable clicking on a circle, no worries on our end! But choosing your category does help others to know what the readership of ACoN blogs are like (for example: at present, around 11% of viewers (extrapolated from voters) are still living with their NParents. Therefore, articles on how to stay safe and survive the tempest are relevant. Half of ACoNs who have moved out from under their NParents still have some contact with them - from reading just the comments, I would have guessed that they would have constituted a small minority (maybe 20%), certainly not 50% of ACoN readers!).

Again, it's all "Just for Fun", but I wanted to do a post to remind folks just in case the opportunity had passed them by (the poll isn't exactly the most visible aspect of The ACoN Society blog!).

For the next poll, I'd like to ask one of the following questions:

As an ACoN, are you currently receiving cognitive/psychotherapy, or have you received therapy in the past?

Do you have a narcissistic friend (or friends)?

Is your parent "engulfing" or "ignoring" (or a little of both or neither)?
Do you believe your parent also suffers from an additional personality disorder (Borderline, Antisocial, Histrionic, etc.)?

Will you plan to attend your NParent's funeral?

Have medications helped you to manage your ACoN-associated anxiety or depression?

Thoughts on those? Let me know if you've got a poll question you'd like to see answered - I know there are so many things I'm curious about regarding the ACoN community as a whole.

Free online surveys (like those from Survey Monkey) allow for longer quizzes - it would be great to have a comprehensive ACoN Experience Survey available in the future. Maybe it's just me, but I'm always interested in facts like "90% of respondents said....". 

(I'm sure the American ACoNs are getting their fill of "polls" these days with the upcoming presidential elections, so apologies for yet another "Go Vote" reminder!) And that reminds me - Narcissists in Politics! What an interesting post that would be! Any takers? Send it in for inclusion here, or let us know if you post your own!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Verbal Poison

by Quercus

Here are some general symptoms of poisoning:

- tachycardia (or bradycardia) - a dramatic change in the heart rate
- nausea
- vomiting
- diarrhea
- confusion & panic
- pain

Verbal poison can do all of this too. When my NM sends me an email, I experience:

- pain
- heart palpitations and tachycardia
- nausea
- vomiting
- diarrhea (takes roughly 15-60 minutes after reading the offending message)
- confusion & panic

Did she mean to poison me? I have two separate thoughts on that:

1. You betcha. Like Upsi's diseased and dastardly mother's letters, every word is carefully calculated to inflict harm. Nothing is held back - it's a full assault, hastily disguised as a 'caring' message from a 'loving' mother. Sometimes they don't even bother gift-wrapping it and send the crock of bull to you naked and unvarnished. You can be sure what the underlying motivation was when they don't even bother to try to construct a facade for the noxious message - REVENGE. You hurt her, she's gonna hurt you real bad in return.

2. Yes. (This sounds a lot like point #1, but hear me out!). If she hurt me, bonus. Perhaps this time her motivation wasn't purely malignant (although it is always, always a component - it's too habitual for her to not be cruel!). Maybe she really was just claiming her innocence and venerating her role as martyr-mother. She sacrificed so much. She's hurting so much . . . and if I am made to feel badly about that, good! But really the message is that she's so wonderful, so sacrificing, a paragon of holy motherhood - she's vindicating herself from the awful lies I believe about her (bonus jab with the insinuation of my 'lying'). As another bonus jab for her, it's generally implied (read between the lines) that only a retard would need to have this spelled out - my mother's holiness and selflessness should be readily apparent to everyone, myself especially. Not only is she a saint and me a demon, but I'm also a simpleton.

Whether the message is purely revenge-driven or mostly motivated by vindication (typically it has aspects of both), the effect on your body is the same. It's poisonous. Poison not only to your soul, but to your very body. The 'mind-body connection' is a gross understatement; they're completely integrated and symbiotic. You can't have one without the other. Want proof that negative thoughts promote negative results in your body? Wait 15-60 minutes after reading a message from your dear NParent - you can then reflect upon it in the privacy of your own washroom!

The moral of today's post, dear ACoNs: Good parents don't induce stress-related illnesses* in their offspring!
*(i.e. IBS, anxiety-disorders, self-harming coping mechanisms like cutting or substance abuse, peptic ulcers, chronic pain, insomnia and sleep disorders, asthma attacks, chronic migraines, depressed immunity (always getting colds), metabolic disorders, unhealthy eating patterns and diseases (obesity, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa), serious depression, PTSD, eczema, perhaps even some rather scary auto-immune diseases . . . the list is potentially endless!).

On a side note, I've had a few medical issues in my day. Many, actually, some of which are or were quite scary. All are considered 'stress-related illnesses'. Every last one of them. Am I sick? Yes, but.... Am I stressed? Quite obviously!

If I finally mitigate my chronic stress, it seems that my health problems could potentially evaporate. That is, if the chronic stress of my 30 some-odd years hasn't caused irreversible damage to my body and mind. Still, I have hope - with "No Contact", I could stop the poisoning.

Anyone else physically 'poisoned' by the words of their parents? Anyone else suffering from stress-related illnesses? Life's short - let's not suffer for stupid reasons!

Monday, 1 October 2012

A Gift from a friend - "JADE"

by Quercus, via Kara, via Dee, from whomever first coined the term

JADE is an acronym for four things one must never engage in during a conversation (most likely an argument) with a narcissistically-disordered person.

 is for "Justify". Justifying our actions, our boundaries, our decisions will not bring us any good. All the information given to the Narcissist during our kind and generous attempts to justify our standpoints will be catalogued in their minds for future use. Factoids none of us would think important will be spin-doctored into weapons to be used against us.
Perhaps worst of all, justification is really an appeal to them. We're appealing to them for their understanding, which, as we all know, they'll gleefully deny us! Justification makes us look weak, not thoughtful and open. Just weak. And weakness is something the Narcissist loves to exploit. "Because I said so" might seem like a rotten thing to say, but it's really your only option other than silence. Don't justify anything - your decisions are yours. You don't need to show your paper-trail. The decision is final.

is for "Argue". I'm not sure if Narcissists qualify automatically as the world's best debaters (in fact, I'm sure they'd almost all get chucked out of formal debates for over-stepping the bounds and going straight into personal attacks!), but I challenge you to think of a Malignant Narcissist who wasn't argumentative . . . and good at it.
As for the Narcissists in my family, I know I can't beat them at an argument. At least, even when I think I've really hammered a point home eloquently and brilliantly (and I'm waiting for the resounding applause from the imaginary courtroom of supporters to echo loudly in my ears!), I find that, somehow, my cunning bit of logic and air-tight reasoning has been circumvented. And typically it wasn't countered or disproved - it was mocked and ridiculed. You could be the world's greatest debater, you could even be a seasoned defense attorney and have rousing speeches flowing out of you like molasses in august, and you will 'lose' to the Narcissist. It's because 'they're never wrong', even when you can prove it. So don't argue.

is for "Defend". Just like "Argue" above, you can construct such an air-tight case and deliver it, real tears and all, expecting their human heart to melt and their hard-line to waver, even ever so slightly, in response to your logical, honest case and your emotional plea. While this would probably work out as expected in the society of normal human beings, the Narcissist isn't a normal human being. They are closer to a monster, a psychopath (indeed, some of them are legitimately sociopathic!), than your average Joe. There's no point in making your case, there's no point in standing up for yourself and defending your cause in their presence - they'll jump all over you like kids in an inflatable bouncy castle! Start back-peddling, begin to reach a 'compromise', or react to a feeling of guilt, and they'll pounce. Your defensiveness is their gain; once you start making concessions or you panic and get 'defensive', they'll go in for the kill. Don't get defensive - let them accuse you of what they will. There's a reason the Bible calls Satan "The Accuser". Let the Divine defend you - just don't try it yourself!

is for "Explain". Are you starting to see a pattern here? Anytime you try to appeal to a Narcissist, you will lose. Monsters don't care if you're hurting (in fact, they like it!). They don't want to hear your case, they won't agree with it no matter what you say, and the more information you give them, the more ammunition they have to throw back in your face. And I wouldn't even say that - not all of their attacks are face-to-face: we're talking proximity mines, IED's, flying monkeys that serve (in this analogy) as 'suicide bombers'. All the ammo here will generally be harvested from your carefully-worded, thoughtful explanations. "I" statements, arguably the most useful conversation skill anyone could ever master, are completely lost on them. They don't care about anything, and your deliberate, thoughtful explanations to get them to understand and accept your position are only going to end up hurting you later in the form of figurative incendiary devices. They probably already know your position, so don't bother trying to explain it - they'll never, ever accept it, out of principle. Even if you're 100% right and they know it, they will not accept it. Save your breath and provide them no new ammunition in the war.

Dear ACoN friends - I started this blog thinking that I would help to centralize the resources for ACoNs searching for answers and understanding. I never thought my life and journey would end up being posted here for others to watch over (though I am infinitely grateful for the loving support and guidance I have received!).

I hope you will see from my (Quercus's) posts that I have not implemented "JADE"! Hopefully you will see the consequences of my actions (the post "Instant Denial" and the many wonderful and thoughtful comments on it illustrates well my missteps and the fall-out of those poor decisions).

I justify, I argue, I defend and I explain with my NParents. And I suffer for it!

With anyone else in any other situation "JADE" may not apply. But with Narcissists, it's a necessary tactic.

What options does enacting "JADE" leave you with? Not many. And that's no coincidence - Narcissists will exploit anyone and any circumstance. There is little interaction you can have with them that won't back-fire on you.

What you can do is:
  • remain silent
  • use strong body language (watch that they don't become violent, though - putting my chin up and crossing my arms always bought me a smack or two as a kid! Remember - never sit while they stand. Always be on their 'level' or a little higher, if possible. It 'gives you a leg up' psychologically and physically!)
  • use the "BROKEN RECORD" technique if you can't just leave
  • leave (walk away, shut the door, hang up the phone, ignore the email, close the text thread, etc.)

The Broken Record technique is simply 'repetition'. It's a SUPER annoying thing to do to someone (it will piss them off, no matter who you pull it on, so be wise about its use!). Say no, then continue to repeat, "I said no. That's enough of an answer." to whatever they say (this includes when they insult you, guilt you into an explanation, attack you to try to put you on the defensive, pretend that they want to 'understand' what's in your head, etc.). Repetition, just straight-up repetition of "No." You can't argue against "No" for very long!

It's not impossible for the Narcissist to work out the 'explanation' for your behaviour for themselves! It is very possible, actually, with just a little thought on their part. And chances are that you've been giving explanations and justifications for a lifetime already - they already have all the information necessary with which to construct a plausible motive for your current actions!

Why are they demanding an explanation from you, then? Control. That's all it is. They want to refute everything you say. They want to get you on the defensive.

They aren't asking you for information because there's a lack of it. (I forget this all the time!).

The best option, always, is to simply walk away, close the door, hang up the phone.

One word - "No."

"No." is a complete sentence. If you don't believe me, write it in Microsoft Word. There won't be a green squiggly grammar-warning line underneath it!

A very big thank you to Kara for teaching me about "JADE". Let's see if I can actually successfully implement this strategy!

As Anna Valerious's blog says, "No life is ever a complete failure; it can always serve as a bad example." She uses it in the context of a Narcissistic life, but I could as easily apply it to my own.

I hope everyone reading can learn from my mistakes and avoid them for themselves. I believe this is the hope of any ACoN with a blog. But we all have to make mistakes to learn. I just hope you can avoid some of the bigger ones - remember JADE!

Best of luck in your next 'confrontation', dear ACoN! Remember - we're all in this together!