When primary supply is no longer useful

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To discard is to get rid of something that is useless and unwanted. In the context of a relationship, it is the ultimate form of degradation. A break-up with a malignant narcissist is characterized as a discard, because like a piece of unwanted garbage the victim of narcissistic abuse has lost their value, and the narcissist with absolutely no compunction will simply ditch the relationship like expendable trash. It’s at this point the horrifying truth that the victim has denied, minimized, rationalized or bargained with, reveals itself with full devastating force.

Indeed, at the discard stage of the relationship any illusions that one mattered in any real significant way beyond being a source of sadistic gratification and supply, are shattered.


A prescriptive that always pissed me off

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I was fourteen when I was kicked out of a high school summer school class for wearing cut off denim shorts and a midriff top. The science teacher was frothing at the mouth with rage over my daring to be enticing. I was both stunned and humiliated, albeit in hindsight it’s clear who the inappropriate one was. Nevertheless the onus was on me for arousing desire in a lecherous adult male, regardless of my age or my intention.

I learned early on that dressing in a way that evokes salacious comments is both something to be desired and shunned. …


Opening up to the desire to receive

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“We come here (literally) reaching for intimacy and love. But it seems soon after our arrival, we’re made to believe that they’re luxuries not necessities.”
~ Rashod Ollison

I used to be so ashamed of my loneliness and my insatiable hunger for love. I believed my emotional deprivation was an anathema to desirability. Contemptuous of my longings, I convinced myself that being aloof and self sufficient was what others valued, especially men. So I would pretend to not require tenderness, affection and adoration. I broadcasted that I was independent (which I was) and fine being alone (which I wasn’t).

It’s not surprising that pretending failed me time and time again. After all, we can’t be what we’re not, and denying oneself is both painful and disingenuous. It simply doesn’t work. …


How One Becomes the Narcissist’s Ultimate Supply

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For those who are desperate to break away from the surreal malevolence of a malignant narcissist, it may seem all the more disorienting to consider that there are pathologically codependent folks who adore and latch on exclusively to narcissists. Yet they do indeed exist. As a complex trauma therapist and survivor, I have both treated others and recovered from what is referred to as inverted narcissism. Understood as a form of dependent personality disorder, and coined by Dr. …


A traumatizing relational wound results

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“Abandonment doesn’t have the sharp but dissipating sting of a slap. It’s like a punch to the gut, bruising your skin and driving the precious air from your body.” ~Tayari Jones, Silver Sparrow

Prior to covid and the inception of lockdown measures and the normalization of telehealth, I rendered ‘live’ psychotherapy sessions at my midtown office in Manhattan. Facilitating dynamic treatment for complex trauma often spanned years. A critical requisite to the healing process was the establishment of a trusting therapeutic bond that could sustain myself and the client through an often dark and painful journey.

After years of tireless effort culminating in substantial healing and growth, each therapeutic collaboration would eventually run its course. Ideally what occurs at this final juncture is a purposeful honoring of the therapeutic bond along with the celebration of milestones achieved. This unique parting is known as termination.


Bracing myself for 2021

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Recalling where I was in NYC the day Biden won the presidency, pretty much sums up my frame of reference. I was making a difficult journey to a Manhattan art gallery from my home in Brooklyn to show support to an artist I met a few days prior. As per usual I twiddled my thumbs for a half hour waiting for a train that never came. Since there was no garbled overhead message alerting passengers to what was happening, my only recourse was to check out the MTA website in the hope of clarity. It was there I discovered that nebulous mechanical problems signified there was no F train service. …


My need to shed light on harsh realities

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“Man is a mystery. It needs to be unravelled, and if you spend your whole life unravelling it, don’t say that you’ve wasted time. I am studying that mystery because I want to be a human being.” ~ Fyodr Dostoevsky

As a trauma therapist in the public and private sectors of NYC for over three decades, I’ve served as a witness to thousands of stories replete with human atrocity. As a complex trauma survivor, I am also personally aware of the decimation caused by the sadistic cruelty of morally depraved caregivers. The crippling symptoms and destructive behavior of those seeking treatment evidence the devastation incurred. …


How we generate condemnation

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“Blame doesn’t empower you. It keeps you stuck in a place you don’t want to be because you don’t want to make the temporary, but painful decision, to be responsible for the outcome of your own life’s happiness.”
Shannon L. Alder

It’s all your fault! She was asking for it! You made me do it! If you were good I wouldn’t have to hit you! Those damn Republicans/liberals/commies! If not for those Jews…! Russia is evil! All men are rapists! All white people are racist!

Let’s face it. We all, individually and collectively blame. As much as we may know intellectually that staying stuck in blame hinders growth and understanding, that it limits us, it’s very enticing to deflect from the underlying issues and feelings that fuel disparagement. After all, culpability is a complex issue requiring humility and the willingness to expand perception and curtail reflexive self-protective impulses. It’s hard work! It simply feels better to assign fault to a designated culprit than to examine oneself and the intricacies of a given situation. …


I’m no longer considered a ‘nice’ woman

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I’ve written about the benefits of reclaiming my moxie. Yet what can be a blessing can also be a curse. As we all know, especially us women, being comfortable with one’s power is not always received well. Consequently, people have become much more scarce. I hold others accountable and frankly I don’t care for many people these days, especially in NYC where I currently reside. Fear and anger are making people increasingly righteous and hostile. My refusal to placate and overlook shitty behavior doesn’t make me popular. Truth be told, it seems to me the world is populated by people more invested in deriding others than bettering themselves. …


Understanding the Mean Girl

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Evil is unspectacular and always human and shares our bed and eats at our own table. ~ W.H. Auden, Herman Melville

Randy made my life a living hell. She was a few years older than me and possessed the beauty of a pre-teen Snow White, with her alabaster skin and lustrous black hair. I, on the other hand, was a nerd, a frumpy outcast with an extensive history of childhood trauma. Trapped against the concrete wall where kids played handball during school recess, she’d poke her sharp nail into my chest and mutter threats. With her angelic face contorted into a demonic visage she mirrored all the loathing and contempt I felt towards myself. That my family was the designated crazies in the building where we both resided, made me an easy mark. …

About

Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW

NYC Therapist & Author. Complex Trauma & Addiction. Dual citizen, traveler, lover of art and nature. I appreciate the absurd. Sheritherapist.com

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