ACON: What Is My Truth?

Since learning about narcissistic personality disorder, the journey I’ve taken has been enlightening, painful, and freeing.

I’ve written about how your comments and emails touch me. Also, I’m happy that I might have touched people and made them feel less alone.

And that is true.

Except it doesn’t always feel completely true. I mean, I’m certainly not unhappy that people have found enlightenment and comfort from my discoveries, but…does it really matter that much to me?

I don’t trust my feelings and I have a difficult time feeling anything deep. It doesn’t mean that I don’t, it just means that it’s hard. It’s possible I’m a little guarded.


Perhaps not a little.

I had a horrific, anxiety filled afternoon Friday; more so than a usual day at work. That evening as I sat in front of a fire on my deck, I nursed sore back and ribs due to the overwhelming stress. Every tense midsection muscle ached.

Just before I got to the exit to get back to work after lunch, traffic on the expressway came to a standstill. I texted Priscilla, Queen of the Cubicle to ask her if she could check online for accidents in the area. She texted back and said that they were reporting an ‘unusual incident’.

I didn’t like the fucking sound of ‘unusual incident’ as I moved at a snail’s pace. When I got up to the exit, I saw that a cop had his cruiser across the expressway and there were cops standing on the road, blocking all traffic. I was just thinking ‘fuckity fuck, they don’t do that for accidents’, when Priscilla texted and said, ‘Lock your doors and get back here. There’s a shooting incident and the SWAT team has been called’.

No more than 10 minutes after that text,  I made it back to our parking lot, but y’all, those were a long 10 minutes.

Then, when I got out of my car, I heard gun fire. I did that combination fast walk/run into the building because if there is anyone who is going to fucking catch a stray bullet, it’s going to be me.

The story behind the shooting is horrific. A man abducted a 34 year old woman, but not before killing her 17 year old son. The police were chasing him and he stopped on I-75 and shot and killed the woman before shooting himself in the head. He didn’t die. I heard it happen. That is so fucked up.

I didn’t want to work the rest of the day. I just wanted to get home.

When I did get home, I read this comment that someone left on my last narcissism blog post. The blog post included a poem that a reader had written.

Michelle, this…spoke to my heart. I’ve been reading your stuff, pondering about this idea of being a child of a narcissist and just wondering. I see myself as passionless and without identity, I’ve studied psychology, philosophy, theology I think in an attempt to figure me out…and I think the slow dawning (with your snark and grace) is that this is what explains me the most. Such a beautifully haunting and insightful poem, it really nailed some stuff for me. Thanks. Respect REDdog

I have been trying to live my life from a place of truth. I try to be genuine and honest and I am finding that is a peaceful realm to live in. Sure, there are moments of discomfort, but overall, it’s more comfortable. Except I don’t completely trust that. Part of me believes that I am not living in a place of truth, but that this is just a new mask. It’s a new mask that hides my unwillingness to discover what is underneath the facade. Am I living a mostly truthful life? I have spent so many years not trusting my own feelings.

I read Red’s comment and I wondered again if I cared, I mean as much as I profess to care about the people who have been touched by what I write about narcissism. I thought about that poor woman who lost her son and then her life.

Do I care?

You bet your goddamn ass I do.

I am so inspired and touched and grateful for all of your stories. I am beyond honored if I’ve touched any of you and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and listening to me figure this bullshit out over the past year.

That is all.

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  • I find your stories and your attitude to be completely real. You write in a conversational style which makes your blog easy to read. I can also tell that you’re learning along with your readers. Keep up the good writing and I’ll keep up the good reading.

  • You honour me, Mich, though I am only one of many you have touched. Deepest respect, kindest regards and, write on, I say, write on.

  • I didn’t live with a narcissist but my husband did. Reading your stuff and that poem, oh my god, the poem. They helped me understand him better. I forwarded the poem to him and it was HUGE. I mean, like, a huge thing for him. He doesn’t read blogs (he barely reads mine.) He’s not a big reader in general. So he doesn’t see the inner workings of people’s minds like I do. Thank you for sharing all of this. I love love love your hilarious sense of humor. But this is so incredibly important and helpful and you talk about it in such a real way that is relatable. Thank you for that. *and I’m sorry you had to go through that Friday. That is so awful and so scary*

  • “It’s possible I’m a little guarded.” HAHAHA!!!

    I need to be guarded. Otherwise I feel like everything will just swarm out and contaminate the world. I feel TOO much. So I try not to feel deeply. That hurts too much. I would have cried most of the weekend after going through something like that. But, as we’ve discussed, not in front of anyone. That wouldn’t be acceptable. 😛

    I remember asking Hubs, “What if when I find out who I am that you don’t like me? What if I don’t like me?!?” And he said this (which I thought was pretty profound) – “You are more you than you realize.” It’s a little bit of a riddle, but mostly I took it that I’m not really wearing a mask. At least at home with my family.

    Reading your posts has definitely helped me. And I hope that some of my comments have been helpful as well!

    • Sister, I always look forward to your comments. And I have had those same fears…what if I discover who I really am and I am just a real shit head? And I think your husband’s comment was very profound and probably accurate.

      I did cry off and on over the weekend. The whole situation made me so sad and it was just horrible to think about.

    • Dude, it was really scary because I didn’t know what was going on. I work in Monroe and they had JUST closed 75 when I was about 1/4 mile from the exit. I ended up sitting there about 30 – 40 minutes and it happened between Monroe and Middletown. Hearing the gun shots was terrifying and when I heard them, I still didn’t know what the story was.

  • I find that I’m so thrilled when someone takes the time to tell me that I’ve written something that’s meaningful to them or developed a recipe their family enjoyed that it keeps me going on those days when I wonder why I go through all the trouble of maintaining a blog. Turns out it’s the connections that count the most to me. And I treasure them all.

    • Yes! It does mean a lot. I don’t know how I managed before I started blogging. It feels really good to make these connections. I even believe that to be true. More and more every day.

  • I am very grateful that you share your stories and allow us to work through ours too. If we have to deal with what life threw at us in terms of families and other challenges, it’s good to know we are not alone for all or part of it.

  • I wish I had something better to write here but it’s still kind of a public forum. Maybe you’ll have to wait for a dm.

    Til.then, thanks for writing.

  • Every day I am doubting myself, afraid that I am being unfair to my parents. I have done everything I can to raise my kids to be strong and confident, but my oldest still has self-esteem issues. I remember thinking that my parents didn’t understand me at all, because they were treating me as an extension of themselves, and assumed to be identical to my older siblings. On the other hand, I say to my kid, “There isn’t anyone in your life who has been trying as hard to understand you, or paying attention to your needs, as I have.” Maybe that is what my parents were thinking , too.
    I enjoy your writing enormously, but you really only have to fix yourself. We all have our own work to do.

    • self doubt is so horrible. I know that I’ve improved a lot over the past few years, but I still have a long way to go.

      I’m sure all of our parents were doing the best they’s just that sometimes their ‘best’ still really really sucks.

  • That’s just awful. I’d have felt the same. That kind of thing is terrifying and stays with you.
    I had no idea there were so many of us out there until this last few horrible years, but I’m very glad I’ve found some good people out there who have helped me make sense of it. You speak my language though, no BS and no damn rainbows!
    Being an empath, as many that have been tortured by Narcs usually are, caring too much about people and things going on in the world are my downfall. I need to block it out sometimes and that’s becoming a lot harder these days where it’s all so in your face.

    • You know what, though? Even with all the shit, I think we gain a lot by having the empathy that we do. I wouldn’t change it. And yes, it was terrifying and upsetting. It took most of the weekend to shake it off.

      • I agree, I wouldn’t wish to have the lack of empathy I see around me all the time, I guess I wish I had better armour though. The world would be a nicer place if more people cared about others.
        I bet it did, I’m trying to avoid the news at the moment as it’s like some bad horror movie! I can’t comprehend the kind of evil that I see going on, but it keeps ending up on my feed on FB.

  • Hi Michelle,

    I’m new to your blog and found you by way of @opticynicism, Foxy Wine Pocket, @qwertygirl, Sarah (est. 1975) and Kate Whine Hall. I haven’t had much of a chance to poke around on your blog yet, but I’m looking forward to it because (a) you come highly recommended by the aforementioned bloggers, (b) I’m already impressed by this very post, and (c) I am also an adult child of a narcissist.

    First off: Oh my fuckity fucking God! That’s some fucked up shit that happened to you on Friday, and I’m glad to hear you are OK (ish). Secondly, I’m finding that the blogs I enjoy and relate to most are often written by people who’ve gone through some kind of hell in their childhoods, are still struggling with their demons, and have some perspective and a good sense of humor. And people like us REALLY need each other. So, thank you for sharing your stuff. Think of yourself as providing a much needed public service, if that helps, because you truly do.

    I’m gonna go find that poem everyone here’s talking about now.

    P.S. I don’t have my own blog yet because my particular damage is freakishly low self-esteem and I’m a giant chicken. You clearly aren’t, so there’s that. But, just to orient you, I was part of opticynicism’s “song of the day to see how old you are” twitter loop last night. I’m @mccapers on twitter and have been commenting as “Smargie” on some blogs you follow, but am gonna stop using that nickname.

    • Hi Margot! Yes, I know who you are! I am so glad you are here!

      The poem is amazing..I tear up when I read it.

      Hmmm…giant chicken. I don’t know..I’m a chicken, too. Trust me, there have been many times I have AGONIZED over posting a particularly difficult post..especially ones where I expose my own flaws. That shit is hard. This is what I come back to every time: If it’s too horrible, then I will just quit the whole internet. HAHAHAHA. So far, I haven’t had to.

      I’m sorry you had to deal with narcissism…it seems there are a lot of us and you’re right..we DO need each other. I so badly could have used this tribe when I was in my teens or early 20s which is when I was in the greatest pain and I truly didn’t understand what was going on and why I felt so bad all the time..but looking back does nothing for me. I am just grateful that I have y’all now.

  • You and I have had very different paths, but we’ve both seen some bad, bad shit in our lives. And you’ve touched me. And made me think. And made me laugh. I thank you for that and look forward to reading your words. xoxo

    P.S. I’m terribly sorry for your Friday and for the woman and her son–and all of those impacted by that tragedy.

    • Thank you gorgeous, and right back at you! I love reading your blog!

      Yeah, I struggled with how sad that was all weekend. All I could think that for the last hour or so of her life, all she knew was that her child was dead.

  • First let me say I’m sorry about the Random Act Of Violence you encountered. These kinds of stories make me wonder why I ever had kids with all of the unpredictable crazy chaos all over the world Sigh. I’m going to eat some Oreos. But I always enjoy you.

  • Holy s**t, Michelle that is a scary story! You heard the gunshot? Frightening. now I want to know the whole story…did he know the woman? I know that’s not the point of the post but I can’t help but wonder.

    I’m like you in that touching people with my writing is the ultimate reward and makes my heart sing. Hope your day is better today!

    • Today was much better. Other than a headache…I believe he was her ex boyfriend…I don’t think it was random or anything. And thank really is rewarding, isn’t it> 🙂

  • I don’t know, Michelle, you always seem genuine to me. All I have to go by is your writing on this blog, but you know, it’s good writing, and I enjoy it. If doing the blog is helping you, that’s good. If my participation somehow helps, all the better. I do wish you the best.
    As for the shooting incident, I can really relate. Having lived in (all the worst parts of) Oakland for thirty years, I have witnessed my share of murders. Four at once, one time while driving into a parking lot on High St. trying to cash my paycheck. It’s always a while before that shaky feeling in the very middle of you goes away, and you always wonder “Do I really want it to?” But the answer is always yes, you do want things to go back to normal, and yes it is OK to want that. The last thing the victims would want would be for their tragedy to also disrupt the lives of those who had nothing to do with it.

    • Oh man…that’s terrible Doug. I only heard gun shots, I didn’t see anything.

      And thank you, I do try to be genuine. I just don’t always trust who I am…but I am getting better at it. 🙂

  • The thing is that you’re not only touching us, you’re also touching people we know. Your thoughts have given me insight into others and anything that can help us have more compassion for others is awesome. 🙂

  • As always, Michelle, your posts on this subject always hit the nail on the head for me. When I started out doing my blog 3 years ago, I just wanted to do it to make people laugh and give them a break in their otherwise bleak day. It wasn’t until I started to share the hard shit that agonizes me that I realized what therapy the writing really is, and what incredible therapy the readers are that keep coming back for more, and commenting to let me know that I’m not alone. I still try to be funny more than serious, or try damn hard to mix the two together, but in the end, it’s all just a dumping of the psyche in order to recharge, and it’s worth more than anything you could ever pay a therapist.

    You are absolutely right. I wish I had had this outlet when I was in my teens and early 20’s as well. Things in my life may have gone considerably differently. It kinda sucks not to sober up and realize what and who you are before reaching the age of 40.

    Keep it up, girl. You’ve got yet another loyal fan here.

    • Thank you, Eric! I didn’t really have any plans for this blog. I wrote a different one until about a year ago, but found it was too confining. I had no idea then that I would be writing so much about narcissism as at the time, I didn’t understand what it really is or what a role it’s played in my life.

  • *like* cuz often I just like your posts but don’t have anything to say about them and wish you had a *like* button so you could know I liked it even though I didn’t comment on it. 🙂

  • Gurl… I feel you. I will never forget the day I was chillin’ at home in the projects ( and watching TV. Suddenly, through the living room window, I see a man in all black looks like SWAT regalia, and he is slowly inching toward the tree in our front yard. Then when I opened the door in response to a soft tap, I found out that it was, in fact, SWAT! And we had to vacate our home because the woman next door in our townhome unit had a disagreement with her boyfriend and as a result, the boyfriend had taken her son hostage by gunpoint. As you can see in the recent article of my old hood, it was essential to evacuate the whole townhome so as not to have any collateral damage if the boyfriend were to actually fire his weapon. So much for our lazy day… we headed to grandma & grandpa’s house. The saddest part of the story is that because of the culture of the neighborhood, I wasn’t even phased by the situation. I responded even deep within my being as if it was just another day in which we decided to head to the grandparent’s house.

    I won’t even tell you about the day my step-mother got her life threatened and amongst the ol’ biker gang family we were blessed by the presence of a member of the Italian mafia. He was not born into it, but rather when his father attempted to screw over the mafia and they executed him, they took the boy in and raised him as their own.

    I think the thing I adore most about you is your ability to say (for example), “Oh, wow, my life isn’t so bad seeing as how the next person is going through something a million times worse! AND at the same time, you don’t dismiss or belittle yourself for the reality of the pain that you have. It is an aquired skill!

    My former Weight Watchers leader had lost his position within the Marines as a Drill Seargent because of weight issues. He went out of control when one of his young granddaughters lost her fight with cancer. While he led us as his own Weight Watchers Marine unit… he also had compassionate meetings in which he tried to tell us that in the grand scheme of life and all it encompasses… it is JUST weight loss. One day he even shared a story he read on the Caring Bridge website. A woman was at the hospital in labor with her third child. Her husband, two children, babysitter, and either mother-in-law or mother all settled into the minivan to head to the hospital. On the way to the hospital, there was a terrible accident and every person in the vehicle died. So, on what should have been a celebratory day where the family increases and welcomes a new member… every other person in the family dies in one swoop! In light of that, I had the resolve to say “No” to a TON of unnecessary food!!

    I just want you to know it is an honor to know you and see that with all you went through – you went THROUGH it! Congratulations! Please continue to be you – you are awesome!

    • Runa, I am so touched by this. Thank you so much…and thank you for the stories and the perspective. I am always appreciative of some good perspective. YOU are awesome. 🙂

  • That is such a scary experience! And heartbreaking for the victims. Damn. And I see a lot of wonderful and heartfelt comments here but I’ll just add my brief 2 cents; I didn’t read any posts for about a week as I had to ramp up some other “responsibilities” but I saw your posts stacking up in my email like flower petals or fall leaves or something beautiful like that. I saw all those posts I hadn’t had a chance to read yet and I knew when I finally had the chance I would; smile, laugh, grimace, wonder, and relate. That is a lot to expect from someone’s blog and you filled that tall order beautifully. It’s a strange digital community and I understand what you are saying about depth and caring and yet…and yet – I really DO care what you have to say and it does add meaning to my day. Even if it is only a smile. Especially if it is only a smile. Got some more reading to do – I’m always reading, just not always commenting.

    • Thank you Eva…like you, I am ALWAYS reading..I try to comment, but my attention span doesn’t always allow for that.

      And thank you for reading, I really do appreciate it and I’m so glad that you enjoy it.

      Petals. I like that. I can be petals. 🙂

By Michelle


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