“The opposite of love is not, as we many times or almost always think, hatred, but the fear to love, and fear to love is the fear of being free.” Love softens you, fear hardens you. One doesn't usually love or hate someone “a little.” - Paulo Reglus Neves Freire
There’s no greater character for a movie villain than a narcissist. At times, I feel that I had to live countless stories with different breeds of narcissists to have what to write about on my new Quora space "Becoming a filmmaker at 40" and on my upcoming film scripts.
I was a 27 naive imbecile with an arrogant attitude when I fell for a fully developed narcissist, the most seductive human being I’ve ever met, a decade older vampire with a one thousand years old soul, a cocktail Molotov that blew in my face leaving nothing behind.
I didn’t survive it. And the worst part of this story is that I did not want to survive it.
Surviving this tale was not an option because everything it showed me about myself was true. The weaknesses, the character deviations, my hidden thoughts, my confusions, my unsorted intentions and motivations, the roots of my anger, the sources of my lacks, every bit of me that was not pure enough to grow into something worth living for.
It was an instant attraction, I wanted it and I claimed it. It’s as simple as that.
If I didn’t attract its attention with my courtship ”assault”, my narcissist would have never noticed me. It was above my league and I was way under its radar. I simply provoked love by approaching someone I didn’t know anything about.
When you provoke love, you choose to live the minus infinity side of your life story. It’s how consciousness expansion begins. With a new life that starts with hell.
I was about to find out that a life in hell is still a life. My case was deep burried in the underground. My hypnotic narcissist showed me that I was already dead, that my life began with death.
This was the most painful realization about myself. It left me totally hopeless and speechless in a blink of an eye.
Since that awareness I waited to either die or go officially crazy or deadly ill. I awaited actively, doing a lot of things to hurry that up and put an end to that unbearable agony.
I knew that story was a hard hit on my psychic after the signs of my body. It began to disintegrate and to deform. I began to look like someone else. Years older, burned out, totally depleted of energy, motivation and love for life. Because this story came on the background of another set of stories about "narcissists at work" and "narcissists in business".
It was a perfect completition. Torn apart from all sides. The apocalypse. My apocalypse.
A legion came to take me. Looking at it from the underground I ended up in, I wondered: if this legion came, someone sent it ...Who? Or...worse, I called it. I’m nobody, why should hell bother for my soul? Why is my soul so important for an entire legion to come? Who am I if one devil is not enough?
When you deal with narcissists, the magnitude of pain that you feel pushes you into many unknown spaces of this reality. Some call them esoteric, others the unseen, other madness, other transcendentalism, but the truth is that only God knows what this is all about.
Fast forward in time I read in Bible something that Jesus told to a young man willing to follow Him but asking Him to wait until he burries his father: "Let the dead bury their dead". These words echoed deeply in my soul because I felt their meaning to the core. I was not the only dead elephant in the room.
Rewind to my narcissist love story, to my spider's ways.
Being such a toast, I was an unaware addict. Now, I am an aware addict. Still, I am not less than a toast. An aware toast, how does that sound?
I was addicted to feeling alive more than most people I know. Something that made many to label me as "too intense".
It was not love that I needed. It was life. A difference I realized later. Love was only a part of the solution, not everything. Or at least, not expecting love from someone else.
My addiction to feeling alive manifests as pain addiction. I was raised by violent predators, I didn't naturally recognize danger or knew that I don't set boundaries when it comes to unbalanced behaviour, so I organically attracted pain in my life. Pain was the only life I knew. I had no reference of love or life outside pain. Even the people giving me life lessons about things like love, grace and kindness hit hard with the hammer, their copping and defending mechanisms.
Because I am a complex trauma survivor and come from the depths of experiencing anihilation since very early in life, pain made me feel alive. At least the part I was aware of.
From the very beginning until adolecence the pain that was physically, mentally and emotionally inflicted in me was so much that my entire body began to suffer on-off paralysis at the age of 6. It's hard for people like me to feel naturally alive. My resilience and survival is a miracle, a mystery of life. All odds were against such outcome. I still wonder when thinking about it.
The pain my narcissist inflicted in me triggered an overwhelming and unimaginable amount of pain, terror and fears. Its act had the effect of a samurai sword. By the next narcissist, it took me 10 years to hack my own system and to test my findings by switching the smoking mirrors towards myself, by taking all in, so I can dive deep where my most unhealed and bleeding wounds were and to start releasing that pain that almost petrified my body.
To dive deeper than ever before I needed higher pressure and higher intensity that no "normal" person can stand and no therapy can offer with the speed of light. And I need the speed of light because I spent my first 40 years of life in chains that no conventional approach could break. So, I needed to find my own shortcuts to better places, to leave behind once and for all the blocking energy of pain.
My narcissist was the drug of life. Not any drug, but one with a very high degree of purity. I was given a luxury I couldn’t afford.
It gave me an overdose of its purity in the beginning to activate all my weaknesses and it did not stop until I was fully and completely addicted and depleted. Unfortunatelly, I was "blessed" with a malignant narcissist knowing very well the truth of its actions and intentions.
The need to feel alive = the need to ressurect.
We say ”I need to feel alive” but we never think at the words, that they might mean we’re dead inside and therefore we need ressurection.
We’d say anything but that: anesthetized, burned out, exhausted, bored, unloved, traumatized, anything to avoid this potential truth that in my case was perfectly accurate.
It's hard to look such truth in the face because noone knows the answer to the question "How to live?" in this case. There's no point of refference for a way of living outside depression and other mental health issues in such a case.
The fear of feeling good because you are not feeling bad or pain and not because you do feel good for real sets in silently. A new kind of fear.
This is how the most people I know set for controlable and "good looking" relationships, including me for a while until I asked myself one day: "What kind of good is this that I feel? Why does it numb me?" Something was not right while everything seemed and felt somehow right. I couldn't put my finger on it for quite a time.
It never crossed my mind that ressurection comes with an unbearable amount of pain. New pain. Different pain than any familiar and known pain.
My narcissist gave me the drug of life and then took it away brutally (the typical manipulation and control stuff narcissists do, but I won’t focus on their story in my story).
So, I wondered:
Somewhere on the pathway I died. This vitriolic narcissist came and ressurected me for one moment. Then, once I was down, it took it all away. Here I am dead again in a much colder place than any I can remember. But because I don’t ask for more, it can’t stop itself from coming back, it becomes more and more aggressive. Why? Why could you possibly want for such a dark creature that you showed me I am? From such a toast? What is here left to take? Why am I not asking for more? Why do I push it away? Why do I reject it now? What do I reject actually? Why did it rejected me? Why did it ghost me? Who feels rejected and ghosted, what part of me? Millions of sudden questions landed like helicopters in my mind.
What am I not seeing?
In the saga of my life narcissists are protagonists and I am the antagonist.
The roles reverse only when and if I manage to outgrow them. They always showed me where I am not healed and at what chapters I am not intelligent and resilient enough.
This one was the most deadly narcissist I’ve ever met. None that I met after could even scratch me. I have this thing of seeing through things and people with the power of the laser from time to time. It's a predator and survivor skill. Remember? I was raised by a pack.
This "seeing" capacity I never trusted until some point led me to believe that we are all narcissists to some degree and that’s why no narcissist feels as such and don’t feel something is wrong with it or that it needs therapy or at least a way to live life in a less painful way.
No evil person think about themselves as being evil. We fear to think we are evil. It implies we made a choice, a bargain with the devil, a wish fulfilment with the devil. That’s too scary to consider due to our religious perceptions and halucinations about the evil realm and its creatures, so when we horrify and hurt others with our behaviours, we prefer to say it’s a mistake, an error, normal imperfections of being human or that our good deeds will counter balance our less honorable actions in the mathematics of life.
Seldom we go back and repair those mistakes, imperfections and errors, seldom we consider other people feelings in our way out from the stories we consume. We rush in, we rush out and we don’t care too much about the consequences. We don’t even ask.
When was the last time someone asked you with the real intention to hear you "How do you feel? How are you really doing"? When was the last time you asked?
Giving X something instead of repairing a situation with Y or giving X something else than its needed to repair a relationship will never counterbalance anything in the mathematics of life, world’s mechanics doesn’t work that way.
Each soul matters, they cannot be substituted. Devil taught me that. Hell fights for each soul individually and doesn’t trade one for another. God taught me that. Heaven fights for each soul individually and doesn’t trade one for another.
When my narcissist hacked my system, I felt there is no way out. The filmmaker side of me chose to approach this story like a psycho-thriller movie where the casting of life gave me the role of a pathetic and ego inflated protagonist who needed to go beyond its condition to survive.
The truth is there wasn’t any way out. Checkmate.
Checkmate was something my ego found impossible to admit and digest. That’s why narcissists experiences cut so deep, hurt so much and the recovery lasts so long, if any. They torn your ego apart. They ripp you off your last drop of self-worth. They simply assasinate it in the most sadistic ways.
And the fact that the ego-killing happens in such painful ways tells the stories of your lacks: lack of self love, lack of boundaries, lack of self worth and many others lacks and of low vibration states of being: negativity, complaining, victim mentality and many more others. You can't offer anything good to anybody from such places.
These stories hurt so much because they show you the true story of how who you are not lives this life and triggers pains you never knew you carried inside. Stories blocked in locked memories.
The narcissist opens your Pandora box and leaves you alone in the cold to deal with it while watching from distance how that turns out for you. The worst of them love putting gas on fire to see how much can you take. Your energy feeds them. That’s why their "victims" are called "narcissist supply".
The one who opens your Pandora box and accompanies and guides you with generosity when it comes to its time and energy, with compassion and empathy along this scary process is not a narcissist. Most probably is a person who loves you deeply, more than you love yourself. Someone who've made this trip already. And someone who most probably scares the shit out of you.
I found they like to stay close to their "victims" because we hurt other people the way we’ve been hurt. It's always the known and the familiar we do. They never hacked their own Pandora when a similar story happened to them. They are 99% sure you’ll fail. And they'll "test" you until you fail over and over and over again. Because people usually think you’ll do what they’ll do if they were in your shoes. An ego blinding thing. Especially when it comes to cronic narcissists. They watch you the same way a scientist watches his cute soon-to-be-crucified rats in his experimenting lab. What this one would do? They wonder.
1% is doubt and fear that fast turns into terror and anxiety if you survive and thrive, if you become imune to their "testing". Fear that there’s something more beyond the nothingness they believe in, fear they failed to see it or to have faith in it, fear there's something worth living and fighting for in this world and life, that not everything is doomed. Fear of good in essence. The 1% is their hope. Hope there is love. Hope they’re worth of love.
I found the ego is immortal.
It’s like a weed. My first raising from the dead was ego based in the beginnings. I had no motivation for life, I was not in love with life anymore and still...I needed to prove myself I can raise above my condition. While I began surprising myself, it turned into a sort of curiosity wrapped in one question that survived all questions: how far can I go?
Curiosity for life changed my relationship with my ego. We started to work together and not one against each other like an autoimune disease or like a virus.
This happening changed my entire perception on life.
If it weren’t for my narcissist’s existence I would have spent years, if not a life, in total darkness and pain. It was a necessary evil to reach and heal greater evils. It was a cheap ticket out of hell.
I say cheap ticket because if this major encounter happened later in life, the loss of time, great people and opportunities would have been impossible to measure. I wouldn’t have had the possibility to grow exponentially so fast, to reinvent myself so fast, to live so much from this life.
I see no difference between me, my narcissist and the other smaller but still lethal narcissists I met in this life, starting with the ones in my family, except for one small difference: the continuous daily choice to believe in good and to act and react in relation with others as if they are me. To not do to them what I don't want to happen to me. To help as if I am asking for help and not a stranger. A choice that at times makes me feel delusional in this world.
"Don’t give up" is an unfinished sentence.
The "don’t give up" saying is an unfinished sentence. For me the full sentence is: don’t give up in trusting my star, my worth, my share of good, my self. The worse it gets, the better I must become.
On this paradigm, narcissists are only cheap tickets out of hells. At times, healing venues for parts of me still unhealed if I choose to see their existence and effect on me as laser mirrors that can help me see in places and roots too deep to reach on my own. Other times, smoking mirrors to sharp and train my clarity though the fog and gaslight of life, a life that’s quite brutal and complicated too often than not.
Dangers, pain and hurt are part of life’s mechanics. We either learn to navigate through them and turn them into samurai swords or live a life of frustration, fear and isolation, a life in captivity at its core.
The number of narcissists we choose to free ourselves.
I suspect people get in life a certain number of narcissists, each for every deadly wound made on their soul. How they choose to approach each encounter makes it or breaks it, as these are dangerous creatures who don't take accountability for anything. Nevertheless, once you’re in, you chose the experience, so you have to own it. You have to man up, to woman up, and own the dark place you end up in. I haven't found out yet a more rewarding way out by now.
"If it wasn’t for that (piece of) shit, I wouldn’t be who I am today". That's the statement of a confused human who tries to make sense of a painful reality he can't escape from. Who essentially still hangs on from the familiar.
I am not grateful for who I am to my narcissist, to life, to God or to the devil or to the universe for meeting this individual. These things have nothing to do with this encounter. Nobody put the gun to my head to say "hi!" or to accept the invitation. That was a clear choice. The choice of not taking the time to know a person before jumping in. It's like not carefully checking all papers of a property or business before investing your savings or money in it.
I am not a fan of the saying "if it wasn’t for that shit, I wouldn’t be who I am today". That’s so fucked up. It’s upside down.
No. I am grateful to myself for chosing to confront myself and for choosing and crafting a different pathway. I am grateful to the devil for showing me the truth when I was looking for it. I am grateful to life, to the world and to the Universe for making space for all of us regardless of how far from any ray of light life finds us in one time or another. I am grateful to God for helping me survive my own truths and life’s truths. That’s the hierarchy of my gratefulness. That’s the hierarchy that my prayers follow.
The addiction for feeling alive will never leave people like me while we are still walking and breathing. That has become crystal clear for me.
Like any respectable addict, I’ll always be vulnerable to taking my feeling alive dose from the wrong people and places. What’s different now comparing to my very long and twisted cycle of pain is my faith in me, in the human that I am.
It’s the first time in 25 years of life as adult on its own when I trust myself. It took a legion to outgrow and over a decade of life hacking the shadowland. My own legion, my own shadows. It’s how I learned that in any hell I end up being to own the fucking place. In other words, to unplugged myself from the victim system.
Addicts live in a constant withdrawal mode. It’s their condition. They either choose to "carpe diem" by taking their life dose from whoever and wherever, manifest their addiction to feeling alive through drug, sex, games, alcohol or other types of substance and behaviour abuse, refrain or isolate themselves, create, more or all of the above...or, by chosing the plus infinity side of their being and keep looking for a better balances between the alternatives at hand.
As a sport person in my youth, I solved that through taking myself to high peaks through martial arts. As an entrepreneur I solved that through playing the business game. As an innovator I solved that through playing the solution design game. As a filmmaker I create out of thin air.
I keep myself busy aware this is not an escapism, but a conscious choice. I have a lot of self and life to (re)design to build a stronger foundation, more healing to do. Carpe diem is nonsense for me if I am not 100% authentic in the moment. It only cracks open the void and makes it bigger and hungrier.
Until I hit a new breaking point in my endurance journey, I can only pray that my narcissists series ended and that I healed my past. My past years of life here on Earth, my past lives, my past debts that my ancestors left on my shoulders. Any kind of past.
If not, a new narcissist will most probably open a new season. Another cheap ticket out of a new level of hell. One that will catapult me out of life or to new hights I’ve never been before... if I survive it. Because each time my kind of death feels irreversible and each time I doubt I'll be able to come back to the surface of life.
If I were to have a piece of advice in winning the "fight" with a narcissist or dealing with the aftermath of such a painful and debilitating encounter, that is: respect it and respect its form of intelligence. It's irrelevant why they act like they do and what their issues, intentions and motivations are, what's relevant is why, what and how you act. If you are here, you already lost your ground. For this round, s/he is the master. Learn from the best one, from the winner of this episode of the game. It's a cheap flight out of hell. S/he knows the whole place. You'll be surprised how fast the wheel of fortune will turn.