The quiet after the storm

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I haven’t written an update in awhile in regards to the situation with my father, so decided to let you know what has been happening whilst I have a lazy day in bed..

So far, so good..No more contact, no more phonecalls and no more letters.

Maybe my father has finally got the message that I no longer want a relationship with him..

This is very good..It’s good for my sanity, it’s good for my healing and it’s good for my grieving..

I am hoping that the current quiet time stays that way..

At the end of the month I am bravely heading to Edinburgh to stay with my mother, after almost 2 years of not visiting her at her home. She has just recently moved there from West Sussex, so I thought it could be a new opportunity to be civil but mostly to see my grandmother and the rest of my family..

Through therapy, I decided that I was strong enough and wise enough to continue a relationship with my narcissistic mother, mainly because I didn’t want to lose contact with the rest of my family, especially my cousins.

With my mother, although things aren’t ideal as she still remains a covert narcissist with histrionic traits, I am better equipped to put up with her dysfunction..I am very good at just observing her and don’t allow what she says anymore to affect me..I don’t need her..I don’t value what she says and I see her as this lost child..I have good boundaries and keep repeating the same words when she starts pushing..

If she were to die tomorrow, I wouldn’t be devastasted..This probably may sound harsh to some of you but I have already spent years grieving the mother I didn’t have..

I have already grieved the lack of a healthy mother and I have already grieved the fact that I wasn’t able to find true comfort & empathy in her.

Through my life, I have found warmth in other older women: great aunts, mothers of certain friends etc. I have felt true warmth and empathy in women I unfortunately don’t see very often, due to circumstance and distance. I have found real empathy and love in my hubby and in my friends..

My mother feels more like a needy acquaintance, like a dysfunctional therapy project, which I observe and just write notes on..When you are dealing with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder, you have to learn to distance yourself emotionally..I have definetely managed to do this very well.

It is sad to say this, but unfortunately it is the reality of how I feel..

My brother on the other hand doesn’t want to see her or speak to her at all..He is happiest away from her..It is more complicated for him to speak to her in a careful way, due to his special needs..He thinks like a child in so many ways but understands very deeply that she is dangerous for him..He hasn’t grieved her, as he doesn’t have the capacity to understand his need to grieve for her. He is mostly just angry and very protective of himself which is ok..

I am grateful I have gone through so much recovery and have come out the other side..

Although things have been tough, I am definetely feeling a lot more comfortable in my life..

When I fly to Edinburgh it is actually on Mother’s day! I had no idea when I booked the flights and it is kinda ironic really!

The good thing when I arrive is that I will go straight to my Grandmother’s house and that makes me feel much more comfortable. I don’t get to see her very often but she definetely bears no resemblance to my mother’s ways. My grandmother is cuddly and affectionate and very giving whenever I am with her..It has always made me wonder how on earth my mother turned out so sick. My Grandmother is 92 this year so it has been on my mind to visit her for awhile.

Now that I will no longer be going to Athens as much, due to the situation with my father, trips to Scotland will hopefully become a little more frequent.

Yesterday was a suprisingly good day for me. I had my first day as a part-time nanny for a Greek/German family that live reasonably close to me and it was such a joy to be helping out a truly wonderful mum. Her empathy & love for her children radiated. Her 3 kids were so well behaved and happy. Her husband was supportive and loving.

A new part-time job is just what I need at the moment, to keep me busy when I am not coaching or making youtube videos..I do love kids and always feel so protective towards them due to my background..Even though hubby and I have said we don’t want kids due to my CPTSD, I will always very much enjoy looking after them and protecting them. Maybe one day we can foster children. That is definetely something that I could see myself doing.

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥

 

 

My narcissistic father’s reply

Unexpectedly, I received a reply letter from my father on Saturday. It took 1 day and a half to get from Greece to Germany, which is incredibly fast, especially because he only paid 0.90 cent to send it. I guess the world is trying to tell me how urgently I must cut ties with him once and for all.

His letter was full of guilt-tripping, lies, fabrications and talk about money.

Malignant narcissists are excruciatingly worse when they age but in all honesty, his reply is pretty much what I expected (minus the last glimmer of hope that I had, for him to say something like ‘forget about the money, I love you, lets talk’)

This is what he wrote after 1 year and a half of not speaking to me:

I can’t say I am happy to have received your letter because you hurt me very much with your words, although I am glad you are ok.

If you really love me, as you say you do, you would have made contact with me to see how I was doing, as you left me in a really bad state when you left Greece, without knowing if I was going to live or die.

A lot of what you said in your letter is right however you had absolutely no right to take my money that I worked so hard to make. I made a stupid mistake recently to buy a new piece of land without selling the house I am currently still living in and I am currently in desperate need of money.

You tell me that you never want to talk about money again, yet you still haven’t returned the money you took.

The reason I removed your photograph at my office is because you hurt me, however I have never seen a photograph of me in your things.

I am not able to write more due to my deep distress however you shouldn’t have let go of the flat you were staying in. I never told you you had to let it go!Now, all you have done is add more stress to my life because I now have to once again pay the maintenance costs etc. It seems you want to cut all ties with me and for this I am sorry.

When I was in the psychiatric clinic and my wife was telling you she had no money to pay it, you never offered to pay with the money you had already taken.

Unfortunately, my depression continues and I am in a very bad way and you have just made we feel a whole lot worse. Thanks a lot!

Can you please return the money?I will appreciate it and then things can go back to how they used to be with us.

I also love you a lot but you hurt me way more than I ever hurt you!

After I read the letter, I took a deep breath and then cried. I cried for the fact that he once again tried to guilt-trip me into returning his money. I cried because he said I never called him after I left Greece and that I left him in a state of life or death, which is ridiculous! I called, left messages and even sent him a birthday card, to which he ignored completely. I visited his place of work, for him to ignore me, as if I was a nobody.He explained why he had removed my photo and then made up the ridiculus fabrication that he has never seen a photo of himself in my things!!! How could he?!He hasn’t visisted my home for 8 years and in the holiday flat in Greece there were 2 photos of him and me when I was younger, which he obviously never noticed. I had also sent him wedding photos of all of us from 2014 which I never saw anywhere in his things.

It is incredible to what lengths a narcissistic parent will fabricate stuff just to achieve the purpose of manipulating and guilt-tripping their child into compliance.

He then accussed me of adding more stress to his life because I let go of the holiday flat that HE had set up in the first place! A flat that he had set up because I could not live in his home of 5 bedrooms, due to his ridiculous dysfunction and his controlling wife.

He also thanked me for making him feel worse! What a childish way to speak to your child?!

and the ‘I love you’ he said at the end, means absolutely nothing when he then says ‘I hurt him more than he ever hurt me’…

The only thing he seems to be sorry about is that he realises that I want to cut all ties with him.

He is probably more sorry about this due to the fact that he won’t get his money back, not due to the fact that he has just lost his daughter.

After this weekend, I realise how deeply I hoped that he might show me a normal human emotion as a parent..That he would realise that he has lost me and that it would matter more to him to re-connect than to talk about his money..

My father has left me nothing..No relationship, no love, no feeling of acceptance, no feeling of gratitude and I am actually disgusted that I am half of this person..I have been fighting a feeling of nauseating emotional pain all weekend and I don’t know what to do with this feeling..I have also been battling a terrifying fear of sending my last letter to him ever, which from an outsider’s point of view is ridiculous. It is ridiculous, because I know that if this was someone else’s blog post I was reading, I would say ‘No contact is essential with this person and you don’t have to be afraid, as you have already been dealing with the loss of this parent anyway.

In my last letter, I will state exclusively that I no longer want any contact and that he no longer has a daughter from this day forward. I will be cancelling my mobile phone number and will return any future letters to him. I have to make sure ‘he really gets it’, that he understands that this is the end of our relationship.

My hubby even offered to call my father at his office and let him know that after I received his letter, I am no longer wanting to talk to him and that it is for good. My hubby would warn him and say, that ”you have one last chance to save your relationship with your daughter and that if you want, you can fly to Germany in a few days and make amends”.If then my father doesn’t do it, then we will both know it is truly over.

I have been feeling extremely low, guilty, torn, worried about his mental health and worried about my own current state of mind. Last night I wanted to end my emotional pain..Knowing that your parent doesn’t love you is the worst pain you will ever know.I also realised how much stronger the trauma bonding is with my father than it was with my mother. When there are so many good memories with your abuser, as well as bad, the trauma bonding is even harder to break. This is why it has been extremely hard for me to completely let go and cut all ties with my father.

I am prepared now however, as I no longer have anything to lose.

I never had a healthy father (or mother), so I have always been an emotional orphan.

This is it!

I will send my last letter to him this week..My phone is on air-flight mode so he cannot call me…Luckily, here in Germany I don’t receive any calls from anyone, as I use Viber and Whatsapp so it isn’t a huge loss to have my phone off.

My sanity comes first and to anybody else out there who has a malignant narcissist for a parent, then ‘No Contact’ is the only way to restore your sanity!

I am soon to find out what this truly feels like.

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Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥

The desperation of a father who never learnt from his mistakes

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My half brother and my Dad playing at his home

My Dad always enjoyed spending time with his children. We softened up his heart..He told my mother once that he always had trouble feeling genuine love for anyone but with us children, he could feel it more..

We did all sorts of nice things such as playing ball, going to the park, fishing, going to the funfair and he always brought endless kittens home to us over the years, which were found in the various building sites he would visit when his architecture business was still booming.

He laughed at a lot..He made jokes a lot..

That side of him started disappearing a long time ago unfortunately..

I have a lot of good memories with my Dad when I was younger.He tried to give me more attention when I was still in primary school, because my mother always gave my brother 90% of her attention, due to his epilepsy and learning difficulties. The older I got however, the less attention I had and the lonelier and emptier I felt.

When I look at these photos, I see and remember my Dad’s kind side. I see the love for his kids, even if it wasn’t the kind of love that was enough or healthy.

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My Dad and I when I was 3- 1985

Yesterday, my farewell letter to my dad arrived.

The timing was perfect because my friend also dropped off the key to the flat as well. Before I even got round to checking the tracking number, my mobile started ringing. That’s how I knew my Dad had received the letter. He panicked..

In the afternoon when he was in his offce alone, he made 3 phonecalls and left 4 voicemails begging me to talk to him. He told me I was being too harsh to him.

The desperation in his voice was terribly difficult to hear. The empathetic, loving side of me aches with sadness. I can feel his desperation, his disbelief..

The logical, protective side of me knows it was the right thing to do..

The emotional side of me however is struggling..

If only I didn’t feel the emotional pain ..

His secretary told me this morning that he was already writing a reply letter to me. I feel more comfortable receiving a letter rather than speaking on the phone or hearing his voice in the voicemail messages. With his reply I am still in control of whether I respond or not. I have time to react. I have time to reflect.

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My Dad tickling my older brother and his wife (step-mother who is only 5 years older than me)-2006

All I can say right now is that my grief is strong..The longing for the kinder side of my father is strong. I can’t forget all the bad stuff, all the dysfunction however.My love for him isn’t enough when I have been constantly hurt. My kindness and my ‘heart of gold’ as my dad once described, isn’t enough to put up with the constant dissappointment. He didn’t value me enough in the last years.

I was always the one who was there for my Dad emotionally. The sensitive sucker of a daughter, who was easily manipulated, who was told to act differently, who wasn’t welcome anymore in her father’s home, who wasn’t allowed to see her half brother, all because his wife didn’t want me to..He allowed all of it for his own selfish needs.Yet I still longed for the connection with him.

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I treasured this summer evening-Fishing with my Dad and half brother when he was 6 years old)-

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May 2012-My brother’s birthday in Greece with my Dad joking around with him

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Spring 2010-Dad, I and my half brother

The waiting now is going to be uncomfortable but I am prepared..I will keep busy, see friends, use distractions and hold onto the love in my home with my hubby..

He is my best friend and we always talk everything through so well..

I am so lucky to have him in my life, otherwise I probably would never have had the strength to cope with everything in the last couple of years.

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ❤

Ritual abuse survivors are heroes

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Before starting this blog and my own journey of healing from child abuse, I had never come across Ritual abuse..I never knew there was such evil in this world..I knew about psychopaths and narcissists..I knew about some of the awful things that have happened to children who have suffered abuse.I know there are many paedophiles out there who live out their sick fantasies without any care for the long-lasting, life-altering effects on their victims.

The physical, emotional & sexual suffering that a lot of child abuse survivors have endured are known to many. Unfortunately, amongst those many people that have knowledge of this, nothing has been done..This is sad & unfair..

I actually felt guilty that I never knew about ritual abuse..This is something that people need to know about..It is despicable and incomprehensible to me that there are so many sick people out there that cause so much harm. No matter what someone feels or what perversions they may have, they are ultimately the ones that can stop their impulses to harm.

I have met many incredibly brave & awe inspiring survivors of this sort of abuse, who I have the privilege of calling my friends.I will soon be reading their memoirs and although it is very tough to read details of this sort of abuse, it is important to allow these brave survivors to tell their story. It is healing & it is necessary.

For those of you out there, who have experienced this sort of abuse, you are always welcome here. You an inspiration to me.

Much Love Athina ♥♥

 

The orphans of abuse

It took me such a long time through my journey of healing, to realise that I was always an orphan growing up..Yes, I had parents..Yes I was fed and clothed and had a roof over my head..Yes I went on holidays from the age of 3 until I was 16 with my family..Yes I had an education..It is more than most ‘genuine orphans’ had..Those who didn’t have their own home and were abandoned by their parents or lost their parents to death..who didn’t have their basic needs met due to poverty & illness..who were neglected severely..who changed foster homes time and time again..

I don’t claim to compare myself to those children and adult children..

When I talk about orphans of abuse, I mean the orphans who never felt loved by their parents..Who never felt supported or safe in their home..Who were never able to be true to themselves..Who were never able to grow up with confidence and inner stability..Who were never able to express their thoughts or feelings, due to fear of punishment or being ignored..

I talk about the emotional orphan..I am an emotional orphan..

This blog post is dedicated to all you emotional orphans out there, who never felt loved, who still feel that you can’t trust others or be loved..who still struggle with mental health problems..who never got the chance to choose your parents..who never had the opportunity to live without trauma..

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With the appropriate healing & support, you can find that love within yourself..Self-compassion is key to filling that emptiness..Grieving the lack of emotional comfort & love, is also crucial to healing..

Intolerance to vulnerability shows you that there are so many emotionally insensitive or incapable people out there, that refuse to talk about difficult emotions..

This isn’t healthy..It is dysfunctional..

Prevent emotional orphanhood…

Love Athina ♥♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by My child within-Healing from trauma and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Home sweet home

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Hello dear followers,

I made it back safely to Germany last night and although London was a lovely break away, home is my favourite place in the world..When I say home, I mean my actual flat where all my comforts are..The little bubble of a love nest hubby and I have created, that keeps us safe and loved. I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere!

The reason I am so grateful for our home is because the minute I arrived in London, I was flooded with a wave of anxiety. I felt awful with bad stomach cramps, frequent trips to the toilet, sweating, clammy hands, rapid heart beat, etc.You get the picture!

As much as I was looking forward to seeing my cousin after so many years and finally getting to see their new London flat, I was out of my comfort zone and my body & mind kept reminding me of this.

The fact that it was very humid and warm made matters worst. Heat always exacerbates my anxiety symptoms, as I am sure a lot of you anxiety sufferers can relate to.

In addition to this, the fact that I was staying with someone who I know wouldn’t have compassion for my mental illness, made me feel even more on edge. My aunt is the sort of person who lives by the quotes ‘I live life to the full’ and ‘I never dwell on sad things’. She is also the type of person who doesn’t like being dragged down by other people’s troubles and who loves showing off all the time..Lets just say, we are worlds apart!She is living a lifestyle of luxury, constantly jetting off around the world and doesn’t seem to understand that others around her, don’t have it as good.

Despite this, I managed to enjoy parts of my trip, even though my body was tense 80% of the time..I was annoyed at my inability to relax but then again reminded myself that this is what life is like living with CPTSD.

On my first day there I went to visit my mum and brother. It was lovely to see my brother face to face and see him in his home town. Unfortunately our time together was cut short, as my mother decided to show up an hour early, even though SHE had arranged the time that suited her and somehow seemed to have conveniently forgotten (as narcs do). This was completely unexpected for my brother, so he got up and left immediately when my mother arrived. He hates spending time with her, as he is now also aware of all the abuse he has endured. I  ended up spending 3 hours with my mother which was bearable but I would have much preferred to spend longer with my brother.

In the evening when I returned back to London I went to dinner with my aunt & cousins which was in a lovely part of London I had never been to before, called St Katharine Docks.

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It had many restaurants and pubs scattered around the mini marina and it was very romantic at night when all lit up. We had dinner in a rather posh restaurant and I must admit, this was the biggest challenge of my day, as my anxiety was through the roof and I was exhausted from the heat & travelling of the morning. I don’t particularly like posh restaurants as I was brought up eating at tavernas in Greece, where everyone shares tapas and things are very laid back.The good thing is, I survived without any escalating anxiety and eventually made it home by 11pm.

My last day of my trip was spent doing what I wanted, which was lovely. No stress, no early starts, less travelling round London and a tiny bit of shopping. My anxiety levels were much more bearable and I also went out for dinner with some close friends, so the day ended perfectly.

How do you feel when leaving your comfort zone? Do you get anxious? Or are you someone who loves adventure and never feels stressed?

I’d love to hear your thoughts

Love Athina ♥♥

 

Hello Anxiety my worried friend..

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I am nearly ready for my trip to London and an unexpected wave of anxiety just hit me, making my hands clammy, my head feel lightheaded and my breathing shallow, as you would naturally expect.

Usually the first thought when anxiety hits us is ‘Oh no!!’, it’s back again…

I won’t lie to you..It’s never fun at the beginning but I know better than to let it overcome me…I know myself..I know my triggers..Travelling (especially flying), leaving my comfort zone (home) and the fact that I will be meeting my mother tomorrow, for the first time since December..Things are generally easier with her, as I no longer miss her or need her..I grieved my losses..I just think of her as visiting a needy, overly-dramatic friend..I know how to set boundaries..I have always managed our conversations over the phone, mostly with ease..Face to face is different however..She is observing me, my sensitivities, my reactions etc..as she always did…seeing whether I will be affected by her manipulations..her drama..We are luckily only meeting for a couple of hours for lunch, after I have seen my brother..He will be escaping the minute she arrives.. 🙂 Good for him!

When we meet, she will be bringing one of our much loved paintings with her, which I am really looking forward to. Hubby and I bought it when we lived in Cornwall before we moved away..We ended up leaving it with her before moving to Germany, as we didn’t want it to get damaged. Now I will have to figure out a way to bring it home!

 

In general I know how to manage my anxiety..breathe and accept it..don’t fight it..So I talk to it..Like it is a worried friend..I say ‘Hey Anxiety, I see you are back..that’s ok..it makes sense you are here..but we will deal with this together..’

I also know that any bilateral stimulation also helps..Walking, typing whilst I write this blog post..and tapping..

My flight isn’t boarding until 19:15 and I have to get a tram, then bus to the airport..Once I manage the first part of the journey, I will definetely feel more relaxed. I always do.

Then it’s just waiting around..

I am looking forward to seeing my cousin who is in her early twenties and seeing her family’s flat in London, with a beautiful view of the Thames..It’s been so many years!

Since the topic of this post is about anxiety, how do you cope with it?

Do you have soothing skills in place? Do you observe your thinking and try to think more positively? Do you have things with you that comfort you?For me, I always have a bottle of water(for my dry mouth), my mp3 player (to block out noise) and chewing gum.

Lots of love Athina ♥♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Run.Rabbit.Run.Ptsd award

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My dearest friend Lottie started this Run.Rabbit.Run.PTSD award

The wonderful https://theblackwallblog.wordpress.com/ nominated me for this award and I am really grateful. Both bloggers are remarkable writers in their own right.

Please check out their blogs as listed above.

Thank you  for considering me for this award, that previously was known as the Blogger Recognition Award.


The rules:

Thank the blog who nominated you, share the link and award on your blog.

Write a brief story on how you started blogging and

any advice you would give to a new blogger.

Select nominees (max 15)

Advise nominees.

I started blogging over a year ago now, as a way to heal from the discovery that both my parents have narcissistic personality disorder. It was a very painful time for me, as my father had just attempted suicide, so I was suffering with really bad ptsd. Since then I have shared my experiences, courage & hope in my journey of grieving the healthy parents I never had and growing in confidence & self-compassion.

I have since qualified as a life coach, specialising in supporting others in their journey of healing from narcissistic abuse and try to be a mental health advocate for Complex PTSD in particular and reducing the stigma associated with recovery.

The advice I would give new bloggers is to give your fellow bloggers a chance. It is mostly a loving & supportive community. Be supportive to others as well as writing your own posts. Take the time to acknowledge what others have written and leave comments when you can. Friendships can be formed through the blogging world and healing is a huge part of it for those with mental illness.

I would like to nominate the following bloggers:

https://dbestmentalhealthblog.wordpress.com/

https://justbreathe826.wordpress.com/

https://thesecretdance.wordpress.com/

https://outloudkaren.com/

They have all had struggles with mental health, so as a mental health advocate I would like to give them the attention they deserve.

Love Athina ♥

 

 

 

Parental narcissism-Maternal narcissism is the deepest wound

The bond between a mother and her child is such a special one, that people wonder how it is possible for a mother to be abusive towards her child.How can a mother want her child to suffer? How can a mother feel so envious of her daughter’s happiness, that she tries to sabotage it? How can a mother dismiss her child’s successes? This is something that unfortunately happens all the time and more and more survivors of maternal narcissistic abuse are coming to terms with the reality of who their mother really was and unfortunately still is.

In this video, I go through the traits of a narcissistic mother which are identified in a very useful book written by Karyl McBride, a renowned psychologist who has extensively researched narcissistic abuse.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.