The Habit of Self Reflection


In rereading Mansfield Park recently, I noticed how strongly Jane Austen emphasizes the need for self evaluation and self improvement to ensure the proper development of one’s character. How different from life today. People engage in improvement of their physical selves through diet and exercise and of their financial selves, but how often in contemporary life do you hear anyone discussing the habit of self reflection and self improvement?

What I Lost


English: This is the title screen from the ABC...

English: This is the title screen from the ABC series Lost. Español: Este es el título principal de la serie Lost. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thirty months have passed since I ended a  relationship with a pathological liar with sociopath tendencies. For the most part, I am far removed from the relationship now. I can go a few days in a row without thinking about it. I remember when it was impossible to even get through a minute without thinking about it, back in the first few weeks, and of training myself to not think about him or his betrayal for five minutes, then an hour at a time. It took a long time and a lot of slow painful, draining emotional work. It has taken its toll on my spirit.

I think back upon that time as a traumatic event in my life from which I am still recovering. The term ‘soul damage’ repeatedly comes to mind. I am finding that similar to most traumatic events, I get triggered into thinking about it again when certain things happen in my current life. Last week, the sudden death of a friend triggered the feelings of trauma. I began to feel re- traumatized and began reliving parts of it again. The feeling of initial shock, of denial, that it was happening.

In reviewing the event this past week, I realized that the experience had made me aware, thirty months into the future, of things, mostly within myself, which I had lost through living through his betrayal. These are all things which I possessed prior to hearing from him back in 2007. Some of these things I have partially recovered and others I am still working on. Some just are gone from me, and I don’t know how to go about getting them back:

What I Lost

Self Esteem

Faith in Life

Sense of Direction

Hope for the Future

Belief in Love

Belief in my worthiness

Belief in my dreams

Faith in my Intuition

Faith in myself

Ability to Trust Intimately

Sense of Worth

Beauty

Youth

Health Physique

Sense of Personal Power

Belief that I was special

Belief in my Sexuality

Faith in following my heart

Sobriety

Peace of Mind.

Belief in Soul Mates.

The magical feeling that my life had come full circle.

Belief in sexual partnership/sexual union between two people as being meaningful

Sense of self

Feelings of magic and wonder in the world

Sense of having my feet solidly on the ground.

Faith  in myself to make the right decisions.

Namaste,

Ixchel

Pathological Relationships in the Media: Harry’s Law ‘After the Lovin’


I was quite appalled on Sunday night after watching the episode, ‘After the Lovin’ on NBC’sHarry’s Law‘. One of the episode’s story lines featured a narcissistic man, Tommy,  who was in a relationship with several women at once and lying to all of them.  When the story line began, one of his girlfriends was suing him.

Tommy, the narcissist, got caught because he had bought several pairs of the same style shoes for his five girlfriends for Valentines‘ Day gifts. As it turned out, two of the women ran into each other and figured out what was going on. In addition, under questioning by counsel, Tommy admitted to telling each of girlfriends at the onset of each relationship that he was impotent and subsequently could only  offer companionship and cuddling.

The plot thickened. Next, Tommy told each girlfriend that her own unique love  had revived his dormant penis, which resulted in each of the relationships becoming sexual.

While telling this story to counsel, Tommy appeared like a slimy jackass. The woman who had brought suit asked him how many other women he had told the same story to and was visually hurt when he told her that he’d been sleeping with four other women at the same time. She then explained how special Tommy had  made her feel, by spinning his lies about her love curing his impotence. I was really hopeful at this point in the narrative that we were going to see a narcissist shamed on national television for lying to and cheating on women.

However, to my utter dismay, the narcissist then turned the tables. Tommy convinced the woman and the lawyers that the only reason he had lied and cheated was because of his own low self esteem. Tommy justified his behavior by painting himself as the poor guy whom all women broke up with. “You would have left me too, ” Tommy told the woman. And then the whole scene changed, with everyone looking sad and sympathetic for the sexual predator. And that’s how it ended! No settlement to the victim, no shaming for the perpetrator!

Shame on you, NBC. With all the public awareness growing about pathological relationships, your writers should have done the right thing and not let this slimebag wriggle off the hook.

I visited the ‘Harry’s Law’ webpage to see what, if anything, was written about the episode. I found a quiz about the episode called “You Be the Judge” and took it.

The quiz consisted of one question about each of the story lines. The one about Tommy’s treatment of the women was, “Tommy deserved to be sued by his scorned lover” (http://www.nbc.com/harrys-law/games/you-be-the-judge-211/a8e125c2417d65ba72dc01f5bfd5a0ef)

How infuriating. Tommy didn’t scorn his lover. Tommy systemically lied to and cheated on five women at once, and then was made to look like he was the victim.  What if Tommy was HIV positive or had syphilis and infected all of his lovers? There is nothing funny or socially acceptable about lying to and deceiving multiple sex partners.

Television set for Wikipedia userbox icons, or...

Image via Wikipedia

Maybe we should boycott NBC until their writers revisit this story hold Tommy accountable for his actions.

Namaste,

Ixchel