In my post about ACONs and NPD I didn’t get terribly far on where this all leads, or how it has led me to KM. As with my other posts this may be a little splurgey but is to help me get my thoughts straight on this, and because when I see it written down inside my brain something goes “that is as true as I know it to be” and my mind accepts this. And acceptance of any condition is incredibly important to it’s remedy, as I’m sure many of you know.
The two after-effects of my upbringing which I try to see as positives are an enhanced sense of empathy and a constant state of hyper-vigilence. So what are these and what do they mean:
Empathy is that part of us which sympathises with others allowing us to sympathise and relate. For a child of a narcissist this sense gets manipulated and forced into an enhanced state. The reason for this is the narcissist can never feel any real emotions. They can only feed vicariously off others – their narcissistic supply. So they train the child to emote for them.
So the narcissist will pretend happiness because they want to be cheered up, and the child will have to display a huge display of happiness for the narcissist to feed off. The same with sadness. The narcissist wants to weep and wail because they have been denied something they want, so the child has to cry and sob on their behalf, while their outpouring is absorbed.
There is a huge amount more I could say on this – the technical term is enmeshment, where the child becomes (for the sake of emotional expression) an extension of the narcissistic adult.
It is more the end result – once the ACON has realised their situation, has cut ties with the narcissist, and is left with a hair-trigger emotional response, that I want to explore here.
As long as I can remember I have been extraordinarily aware of emotional states surrounding me. I assume this as a result of the programming to enhance the state of my parents, although maybe it was an innate ability anyway. It is clearest with animals as they cannot lie. I have sudden flashes, a clear feeling throughout me, as to what the emotional state of the animal is. This isn’t about reading their minds, and if I could do it on purpose and send the same feeling back I’d probably be making a lot of money as a horse whisperer or something right now. This is purely about receiving, absorbing, understanding.
It’s happened with horses, dogs, especially cats and other animals. With cats – and this is the most common for me as I live with five – it can be triggered by a touch or close proximity. There is such a sense of calm about a sleepy cat. They feel totally present in the world. They have such a sense of entitlement. If they want to sit on your lap, or curl up next to your cheek, that is where they will be, and the sense of outrage if you deny them is palpable.
It usually starts with my own emotions tuning out completely. Everything goes exceptionally calm. Sometimes my ears do that silent thing – you know those seconds before tinnitus kicks in where all the sounds of the world die away slowly. Then suddenly I can feel what it’s like to have a tail, to run, to chase, to play, to have fur. The state of the animal can be freaky sometimes. I once received a full on emotional onslaught from a startled horse, and I never want to feel that again!
It’s definitely something received. It can last a while after breaking contact, warm fuzzy feelings, a desire to chase a moth, a sudden desire to go running, but it never lasts long. This is why I use the phrase hearted. This feeling is not from within, not some latent memory. I am not becoming a cat or whatever. I am just feeling what they feel for a while. Empathising in a very acute way.
Sometimes this happens with humans, and sometimes I get it very, very wrong. I think with humans we don’t always act how we feel, and my own feeling get intertwined – especially when I’m being screwed up by internal programming or depression at the time. But with animals its usually a pretty amazing experience.
Now onto hyper-vigilence, and time for the sceptics to anythign other than this universe, this reality, this dimension and these four walls to stop reading.
Simply put, hyper-vigilence is constantly being in a state of fight-or-flight. That basic animal instinct that suddenly hits our adrenal glands into gear. Our pupils dilate, our heart beats faster. If you’ve seen the bit in “Over the Hedge” where they give the squirrel an energy drink – like that! It’s the instinctual reaction preparing our body either to start a scrap, or to run for the hills.
The child of the narcissist is not allowed to fight and not allowed to run, but they have no idea how they should be reacting from moment to moment, and no idea what the parent’s reaction will be. This constant state of insecurity (rather than even a minute of stable loving home) leads to a constantly repressed fight or flight response.
By the time the child reaches full adulthood this has mutated into hyper-vigilence. The ACON is constantly looking around, checking their periphery, always aware there are threats in every direction. Even writing this my hands have started shaking minutely and I am aware I am ytping faster than the keyboard can cope with. This is a state I am aware of all too well. I feel given the right impetus I could punch a hole in a wall right now. My pupils probably also look like I just did a few lines. In reality nothing could be further from the truth, and I have cut down my beloved coffee consumption to just one cup a day to aid things even more.
So what? I hear you ask. Well, I have found before that in this hyper state barriers start to look thinner. Solutions to problems I haven’t seen before present themselves, oblique ways of thinking. I’ve learnt to stop trying to crack jokes in this state as they tend to be so off-the-wall with so many mind-shift-jumps required to get to the punchline, that people just look at me like they are considering calling the funny farm.
It is on more than one occasion that I have felt other possibilities to this existence pushing at the corners of my vision. Objects, walls, floors fade and there is an incredible sense that our reality is touched on by so many other existences – other worlds, parallel dimensions, mutliple universes, every decision triggering off a new spiral of reality where you or I turned left rather than right, looked up rather than down. Every choice, and every chance, taken or missed rippling through the fabric of everything. It is in this state I feel most strongly that all we perceive through our usual senses is like the light of a torch shining on a wall. Existing in that pool of light we cannot even see the darkness, let alone the source of the light. And we have no notion of what is behind the wall or moving in the vast spaces between us and the light.
I’m diverting into a whole world of critical pain here I know, so I’ll stop there for now and happily invite comments. Some questions or criticism would probably help me get this straight(er) in my head. So LLAP for now, until the next splurge of randomisity.
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