My 10 Great Gratitudes

Welcome dear reader.

Welcome to a wild psychology-turned-spirituality ride with a VERY happy ending! I offer you my story and my process.

Beginning around mid-September of 2014 I started to develop an awareness of my narcissistic tendencies.  There were several factors at work, but I dug in and started to research the disorder.  The more I dug in, the more of myself I saw.  Eventually I reached a point where it became CLEAR to me that THIS is what I was!

I’d always known that something wasn’t ‘quite right’ about me.  But I could never grab hold of a firm root!  I found myself chasing symptoms instead.  At one point I was even treated for Pathological Perfectionism.  I played a very easy game of hide and seek with the world for a period of 35 years.

But inside I was rotting away! I was enduring intense internal personal AGONY!

Once I understood what was happening, I KNEW that I had to take ACTION!  Unfortunately I’d already made a few very very poor decisions that sent me down a very dark road.  However, I made a FIRM AND ABSOLUTE commitment to myself that I was going to BE something different than the monster I saw myself as!

There was a bit of fumbling and stumbling in the very beginning.  Being stupid I got lucky – and came to discover that my 2nd wife.  My 2nd EX wife.  Was an absolutely marvelous friend.  I’d underestimated her in EVERY way.  And it is to her that I offer the first and most favored of my Ten Great Gratitude’s.

I also discovered a wonderful collection of lost souls and beautiful minds in an open on-line forum community and took the name of ‘livinginmyhead’.  This is where I started to push myself into the deep dark territory of radical self-honesty.  This is not an easy task for a narcissist, and it took digging through many many layers to find the actual nuggets of truth that were there – but I found what I needed by sharing with and learning from these divine beings.  To them I offer the second of my Ten Great Gratitude’s.

My first act of personal bravery (and that is exactly what it was) took me to see a therapist that I believed would be able to aid me in my efforts.  Dr. Patrick Hart welcomed me warmly and gave me a safe place to explore my truth.  Again – FORCING myself into the continued practice of radical self-honesty, I opened to that same level of honesty with him.  We shared some wonderful personal moments – and I’m sure we’ll continue to have many more.  To him I offer the third of my Ten Great Gratitude’s..

My second act of personal bravery was a bit more muddled at first – again, I was working from a place of absolute personal pain and terror.  I wasn’t exactly at my best.  I’d spent a couple of days INTENSLY dissecting and digging into my disorder.  I was CONVINCED that my root lie in an NPD break at the age of seven(ish) years old due to perceived abandonment issues concerning my mother and father.  Thankfully I still have my mother in my life.  I fully revealed myself to her and shared my darkness.  She embraced me and gave me the clarity that I needed to begin my healing process.  To her I offer the fourth of my Ten Great Gratitude’s.

My third and final act of personal bravery was also my hardest.  It was last for a reason.  She is my significant other.  The woman that my false self used, but that my true self has come to love in a new and more fully formed way.  I revealed everything about myself, my darkness, and all that I’d done to her.  This has not been easy on us.  We are splitting up, but it is not because of what happened.  Not anymore.  We are both on our own paths now – and neither of us can be of much use to the other until our own paths have been followed to the point that they are done.  She has been my mentor, my savior, my friend and confidant – and I will always cherish her no matter where our paths take us.  To her I offer the fifth and most shining of my Ten Great Gratitude’s.

By this point I had been working DILIGENTLY to cultivate mindful awareness using Buddhist Vipassana meditation techniques.  I’d been an intellectual Buddhist for ten years.  Nothing ever really sunk in for me, but I saw the truth of the path and I knew that it was right!  I’d taken classes and sat with the local branch of the Insight Meditation Society a few times.  I’d even done the first few days of an S.N. Goenka, but I made up a story and left.  That was back in the OLD days…  Like 8 years ago.  As part of my current treatment plan my therapist had recommended I read Mindsight by Dr. Dan Siegel.  This refreshed my memory on a number of fronts and became a POWERFUL tool by the second chapter.  It also helped me shape my own mental healing practice – all based on the words of the Buddha.  To him, and to all of the teachers that I have and will ever follow, I offer the sixth of my Ten Great Gratitude’s.

Now for the two final pieces of the puzzle.  These two go hand in hand together because of what they finally led me to.  First, there was my rage.  I have written extensively about narcissistic rage and my own personal experience with it.  My rage had been so significant that it was actually the ONLY one of my behavioral traits that I really spent any time on in its own separate and specific article.  My rage is my friend now.  The second part of this equation is the first CD in Byron Katie’s “Your Inner Awakening” six CD set.  All I can say about this experience has already been said and written here.  It was her voice, telling her story – and that story being my story…  every part of it.  And to hear her tell of her own spiritual awakening…  It touched me deeply, as I’d just had a similar experience with something similar but not the same as what she’d described a couple of days before.  I framed it as meeting myself for the very first time – and considered it a natural part of the healing process.   Later that night things were made quite clear to me.  To both my rage and the story of Byron Katie, I offer the seventh of my Ten Great Gratitude’s.

And then there was a bit of a shift in perspectives.  In a matter of moment the blog that you are reading went from being about a personal exploration of self in the psychological sense, to being an absolute understanding of self in the spiritual sense.  Or rather, my eyes were opened and I was awakened to the world – only to find that there was no I.  Within this awakening, I was also greeted by love!  Love for myself and love for the world.  To the me that is not I, I offer the eighth of my Ten Great Gratitude’s.

I began this blog in October of 2014 as a way to work out my problems, understand and accept my diagnosis, identify the root cause of my mental illness, analyze the factors that influenced the course of my behavioral shifts, etc. I took myself apart from the inside out and began rebuilding myself from the ground up.  Every part of that journey was being documented here.  Somewhere along the way I stumbled into something truly amazing.  Something that I myself would NEVER have believed before!  To this blog and to all of the readers who visit it, I offer the ninth of my Ten Great Gratitude’s.

My original goal was just to move towards a more authentic me.  I wanted to shed my masks and figure out who I really was underneath them all.  I pushed myself beyond belief in order to break free of my disorder.  It would appear that I overshot my goal.  This has left me in a rather confused state and there’s a lot going on for me right now.  I have no idea where any of this will lead – but I know that I am only at the very beginning of my path now – and in truth, I always will be.  But I need guidance and instruction…  I have had none.  There is only the me that is not I, the emptiness, and the awareness of that emptiness.  Plus everything else that goes along with diving head first into the deepest stream when you never learned how to swim!  Wherever this journey takes me though I am so immensely grateful for it!  To the loving of all life in all it’s beauty as both friend and teacher, I offer the tenth of my Ten Great Gratitude’s and see within this gift the first step on a VERY different path.

So where does this leave us?  What does this mean for you?  I don’t have a clue – well, that’s not accurate.  I do have a clue.  I have a LOT of clues.  Because I was actively blogging this entire journey, from narcissism to nirvana, there is a standing record of my entire experience.  It shows where I started, what my thinking process was, how I came to certain conclusions and realizations.  It talks about a popcorn popper that started going off in my head and just kept going faster.  It gives a detailed account of every breakthrough moment and every stunning aspect of understanding that began to form.  It is a journey of absolute beauty!  It was painful beyond belief (and still has its moments), but the fruit never sought is so much sweeter than the dirt that I was once so insistent in chewing upon.

Link: The True Journey of the Healing Narcissist (my complete story of awakening told via daily blog posts).

And it is now my joy to continue exploring every aspect of my own mind in a new manner, resembling the same manner that took me to this place to begin with.  My awakening was a heart opening.  This means that my truth is ‘love for myself and love for the world’.  In the beginning I wanted to solve this thing call narcissistic personality disorder.  I wanted to be the guy who found a cure because I was so bright and capable – I wanted to believe in the delusion.  NPD no longer really matters to me.  It is simply one of many labels used to described a perception of mental illness amongst the mentally ill.  Now I wish to fully explore this amazing gift that I have stumbled upon.  I intend to continue to apply my same process – and adapt as necessary – in order to document THIS part of my journey as well.  If it were possible to share this joy with another because of something found useful here, it will make my heart sing…  and the ripples of love would continue to cascade further and further out into time and space.

Link: Potential Roadmap for Narcissism to Nirvana  (While I believe there is significance in my investigation, it has become apparent to me that the techniques that I used to break down the walls of my own mind and escape the grand delusion will not work for trying to deconstruct and evaluate universal truth.  I’ve places this line of inquiry on hold while I focus on deepening my own understanding of the world).


Timeline of My Unfolding:


 

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