Sheri

I met you at Deb’s and Maddi’s. Early 80’s. I was fresh out of a narcissist du jour, Betty, who had dumped me, a serial dumper, a psych nurse, for an abusive angry engineer. She wanted to marry her father and finally gain his approval, and live happily ever after.
Being in such pain and vulnerable, when you bombed me with love, I was smitten. I couldn’t believe one as beautiful and talented as you could love me, sleep with me. Instantly. The fairy princess.
I didn’t know that it was all an act of your needing approval, any approval, in a storm of self hate and then hating the ring bearer of your addiction.
Convinced, I thought you liked me, I mean I believed you, a passable actress, but it was a script learned well to gain only applause…the usual temporary transient sordid solution; the love junkies delema.
Good until the next fix. Serial installments in a storm of instant love.
Overvalue, undervalue, dump, rinse, repeat.
Any poet in a storm, baby.

Dog Town

I live in a very conservative, orderly, and authoritarian city. I make art about it, and have studied it all my life. The residents are typical fascists, who like dogs because they are predictable, obey commands and are orderly, friendly and are ‘good for something’.
Friendly fascists who are stone cold killers, who start wars, they like wars, and the orderly authoritarian military in charge. In other words they suffer from a deep anxiety, as all bullies do and the cognitive distortion, “others must do the right thing or they deserve to be punished” like the dogs mentioned previously. More consequences of that notion here: http://www.rebtnetwork.org/library/musts.html
I paint the world around me that has been stripped of life and colour by folks like this and notions they suffer from, and impose on others.

I Sleep With Monsters

Recently I have met two women who have criticized my writing for being too hard on narcissists.
It’s true I don’t find the humanity in me rising up.
When I mentioned that I had one visit from narcissistic family to my hospital room, in 6 months, including Christmas, where I am the kind of guy that would go every night, I mean I have, the woman I spoke to couldn’t seem to feel what I felt.
I was doing something wrong by expressing this she thought.
I wasn’t being nice.
Oh.
Wait till she hears about being prey for the monsters without empathy that lurk on dating sites…

Proposal for Empathy Week

Hello,
I am a fine artist and critical writer on social issues from a personal perspective. My first career was in drug dependence counselling, and I have a background as a professional, teaching and exhibiting art, and also as a volunteer doing art as therapy, using the creative model in long term care facilities. My clients have been primarily those with neurological disorders, as my now deceased partner suffered with Huntington’s Disease, and I was Huntington’s Society volunteer coordinator, art facilitator and art fundraiser.
Last year I suffered a stroke and spent 6 months in hospital, on a neuro-recovery ward. I now live on my own, continuing to recover. My home was an apartment up 4 flights of stairs, and I couldn’t return. I was homeless and my possessions in storage, my cat in a new home.
While in hospital I started a gofundme, on the net, raising 1700.00 so that I could no longer be homeless, first months rent and damage deposit. I have family in Calgary, and across the country, but they are very conservative and totally lacking empathy. One member, my military brother, posted on my gofundme: go on welfare. So most of the contributors were Facebook friends and colleagues that I have never met. People with empathy.
So I wrote about my experience with empathy, it’s opposite narcissism, and my psychological recovery tools, Cognitive therapy in the form of REBT, daily on a blog. All the  while meeting weekly with a psychotherapist, dealing primarily with issues of empathy and how it can be faked as a recruitment tool for various cults, religions, new age marketers and similar predators of the vulnerable.
I have created a  portfolio, of primarily street photography but I refuse to create images of the homeless because on the street, I am in their home, and going into someone’s home uninvited taking photos is an invasion and intrusive. Other folks though don’t have an expectation of privacy in a public place, by law, the idea being they shouldn’t be doing private things in a public place. We are photographed and videoed  hundreds of times a day without permission or knowledge. My work challenges concepts on both sides of the issue of empathy towards the unsuspecting subject.
The blog which I started in hospital and the ongoing photojournalism are located on my website. www.jeraldblackstock.ca  Feel free to contact me around possible uses for either, in a separate venue or just leaving it on my site and publicizing it (my preference due to my current mobility issues). 
I am a member of Carfac and request use of their contract guidelines, for copyright and exhibition fees.
I became aware of this opportunity through the Carfac newsletter.
Kind regards

Jerald Blackstock dip.(ACAD), BFA, CPF
www.jeraldblackstock.ca

the narcissists stare
Blackstock ’16
digital various sizes

Pimps for Parents and Lovers

Having a narcissist for a parent or a romantic partner is exactly the same as having a pimp.
You are prostituted into a fear based, (as well as guilt and obligation) slavery, which means you are brainwashed into thinking your normal self-helping behaviours are not as important as taking care of  some adult 4 year old, who can turn emotionally or physically violent at any moment. 
Walking on eggshells in a no-win life sentence scenario.
They need you. It’s wonderful to be needed, when actually it’s an icky con-job.
Mine was a ten year sentence with a woman with the gene for Huntington’s disease. I discovered later at the family therapists that I was hunted, a nurturing man who had successfully sought professional help and extricated himself from a narcissist single parent by age 14, I knew what to look for.
But just as cults and religions and pimps target intelligent educated people in transition who are suffering the pain of loneliness and rejection, offering the soothing pain relief of instant relationship,  I was vulnerable due to suffering from the cognitive distortion of ‘Life must be convenient and comfortable or I can’t stand it’. I was ripe for the picking. 
I was approached in a coffee shop, while reading Robert Bly and commenting in my journal. She was beautiful, sexy, well dressed and interested in me; she found me fascinating. A coffee date led to dinner led to incredible uninhibited sex, led to relationship to a planned cohabitation. Art school, a lifelong dream, was also planned, as her father, a retired millionaire farmer, would buy the house we would live in. I applied and my portfolio was accepted. The hook was well set.
One day she announced the results of genetic testing (2 years previous to meeting me as it turned out), a 95% chance of a degenerative brain disorder, for which she would need constant care, after onset, until she died, usually about 10 years of decline of motor and cognitive function.
In the meantime, our free time, quality lifetime, would be spent fundraising for research for Huntington’s Disease. I and my art colleagues and professors donated half a million bucks in art to the cause which was sold for a pittance at auctions to conservative rich Rotarians, sucking off the disease and looking good doing it. I volunteered doing art as therapy with Huntington’s sufferers in long term care facilities.
During this time I not only did not meet my own emotional needs, my relationship had gone into the usual withholding sex mode of manipulation.
Later the therapist talked about this typical narcissist scenario describing my relationship before I even told him. A relationship is unconditional he said, this was a business deal, a contract that I broke by being self helping. 
I had gained 50 lbs was depressed and anxious, panicked all the time on eggshells waiting for that other shoe of emotional abuse to drop, typically at Christmas time and Sundays. My sweetheart, a woman that I genuinely loved and cared for was in horrendous emotional pain and lashing out at me and it was all my doing. Not bringing in enough money, not fund raising enough, not volunteering enough; a pimp tuning up her ho, essentially.
So I did some things for me. Quit smoking. Eating better. Bought a bicycle and rode constantly. Built a digital studio and learned how to use it, creating a living and relationships and art practice in secret on the net.
One day the shoe finally dropped, the eggshells no longer avoided as the love of my life announced that I was to move out of my home and studio. Fred, her minister at the new age church, Science of Mind, was to replace me. There had been ongoing fucking for years, as it turned out, her and this family friend that had come with her as part of the package. Turns out that as an industrial psychologist he was providing the cult recruiting training for the church members recruiting their vulnerable partners.
The family therapist I sought out as the hospital, as well as the social worker for the Huntington’s Society, both had similar advice: run.
Non contact, find nicer friends, learn REBT.
Talk to strangers, ask for what I want, which is the real protection against the future inevitable narcissist attacks. When you ask for relationship deepening, they leave or fire you, simply because they have nothing to offer relationship, only a business deal.
I was taught to seek my ‘value and worth’ by appreciating that I have value and worth simply because I exist and am able to create some sort of interesting and satisfactory life for myself.
Here I am 20 years later recovering from a stroke, vulnerable to narcissist pimp-contracts on all sides, from caretakers at the hospital recruiting for their religion to recovery gurus at the gym selling their pyramid products, to women (?) in far away lands on the net sending naked pics of someone, for some reason. As long as I stick with knowing that life is rarely comfortable, it doesn’t have to be, others likes and dislikes only describe them and others probably aren’t going to do the ‘right thing’ because I don’t rule the universe, I’ll be reasonably ok.
Shitty things happen to nice people and nice things to shitty people. Accept, accept, accept.



You Have the Right to Hurt People by Invoking Your Rights

You have the right to judge your own behavior, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.
You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior.
You have the right to judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
You have the right to make mistakes–and be responsible for them.
You have the right to say, “I don’t know.”
You have the right to be illogical in making decisions.
You have the right to say, “I don’t understand.”
You have the right to say, “That is unacceptable to me.”
You have the right to say, “I don’t care.”
We have the right to have needs and to have those needs be as important as other people’s needs.
We have the right to ask other people to respond to our needs.
We have the right to have feelings–and to express these feelings in ways which do not violate the dignity of other people.
We have the right to decide whether we’ll meet other people’s expectations or whether we’ll act in ways which fit us, as long as we act in ways which don’t violate other people’s rights.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY NO, WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY!

Having A Narcissist For A Parent

Well, the first thing is, you tend to marry someone exactly like your parent. Trying to get back that feeling of being loved and cared for that they continually took away as they groomed you to be their slave.
My Dad, who died at 40, had married a copy of his mom, whom uncle Charlie, medicating being a slave with booze and AA, lived with their mom till she died at 90 or so. I was the youngest and destined to take care of my mom, but I left ‘home’ and got help at 14 with the advice of strict non contact. Family has scorned me ever since for dumping the burden of this adult 4 year old ‘parent’ on them.
It’s addicting, love addiction essentially. The need ever present. Like crack.  I must be liked and accepted and do well, or else I am a worthless inadequate human being is the programming. The craving never goes away, it is accompanied by waves of panic, those of a child forced to care for itself, emotionally, and often physically, living on the street, vulnerable, robbed and beaten.
So later in life, when I meet the new love-bomber, feeding my addiction, then withholding love, affection, sex I feel right at home. Then they get bored with the game and seek a new adventure and I am devastated. You fucked John!!? Or they stay and manipulate with guilt if you try to leave, threatening self harm with FOG: fear, obligation and guilt.
Dwayne Johnston, the family therapist I sought out in desperation and loneliness, said ‘Well, you were essentially an orphan, might as well accept that.
You lived in the library, learned to read way above your age group, and discovered a different normal. The normal at home began to look crazy to you because it was. Essentially you deprogrammed yourself.’ Oh.
Much has been written about getting rid of crazy, how they send you messages continually, guilting you with their pain, or else they dump you and start a smear campaign. 
I recently had the former, basically reliving my mother,  I was hooked when vulnerable during stroke recovery, lonely and abandoned by family, and I ended it when I saw what I had on my hands. It’s hard to spot, at first, but as soon as the evidence of their needs not your becomes, well, evidently the priority, I find it’s pretty obvious pretty fast. Talk to strangers and ask for what you want, is healthy but the narcs panic when you express you preferences, bereft of any empathy, only seeming to care, they tend to fuck off, or bomb you with guilt.
So I set up the blocks on the net, and this supposedly unsophisticated computer user found a way around most of them, fake accounts, strange ip.’s, all the usuals. The naked pics were interesting and if they weren’t sent with manipulation in mind, they might have been fun.
The rational response to the programmed demand that I must have love or I am worthless is of course: I have love because I self care, besides, others likes and dislikes only describe them. Some folks have lovable traits, and that’s fun to hang out with and build intimacy and trust over time, but I don’t need it like heroin, I just prefer it, highly prefer it with some.
In the meantime I have hobbies and other enjoyable pursuits with which I am happy and when I meet a love, I am doubly happy, especially when she sends pics.
*wink* 

images from Designer and artist April Soetarman has been producing and anonymously hanging custom street signs around her hometown of Seattle since 2016.

Time to Start Trusting the Good News

I live in a town of a million people. Last Sunday, I felt an increased numbness on the right side of my skull. I mentioned it to stroke survivor at the gym, a geologist suffering with M.S. He diagnosed it as a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or basically a small stroke, typically a precursor to a big one. Fuck. Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, were my immediate thoughts.
A sleepless night.
Waves of panic in the morning.
Did an REBT self help form

REBT Self-Help Form

What is the situation that you are upset about?
     Answer: possibly had a tia stroke on sunday

What are the unhealthy negative emotions that you are experiencing?
     Answer: anxiety

What self-defeating behaviors would you like to change?
     Answer: withdrawal avoiding social contact

What demand are you making about the situation?
     Answer: life must be comfortable and safe or I can’t stand it; I must perform well or I am worthless
     Dispute: is there any evidence that I can’t handle this? is this a definition of my value or worth?
     Rational Belief: It’s obvious that I can handle this because I am handling it there is no evidence that this is a definition of my value or worth. I have value and worth simply because I exist

What are your new healthy negative emotions?
     Answer: concern disappointment

What are your new self-helping behaviors?
     Answer: talked to a experienced stroke recovery person – answer very common; looked at the web-MD saw the likelihood of having a major stroke as smallish and getting smaller; exercising; taking meds; testing cognitive function (rebuilding my Apache and Mysql servers), going to the doctor…

Return to www.rebtnetwork.org

So. Using my vast medical experience and that of a quite possibly brain damaged stroke survivor with M.S., I got myself cleaned up and walked with my cane the 2 blocks to my doctor. Waited for 2 hours to get in, but they got me in, to find out after a 40 minute very thorough exam, that 1 symptom does not a TIA make. Neuroplasticity is way more complicated. He is very rational, going over the evidence and then corroborated it. What did your neurologist say? He said I don’t need a neurologist. What did your physiatrist say? He said I was cleared to drive. Would they say these things if they thought the risk of stroke was anything but minute? Ummmm no.
So my future was restored and with it hope in my life, of satisfactions of choice. 
Driving, relationship, creating and showing my work: mobility, sex and empathy, art: the things I love, were all back on my radar, getting closer with each step.

While I was waiting at the doctor, a woman came in, who had been the daily visitor to my hospital roomy. What are the chances in a town of a million people. The hospital roomy, a charming car salesman narcissist had moved out of their home, overvalue undervalue dump smear, the narsissist m.o.

I mean this was inevitable, and I spoke to her for some time about how they hunt for our types with empathy, then dump us when we ask for what we want in relationship, a relationship building exercise. They have nothing to give but charm and manipulation love-bombing and raw need that they can’t fill themselves in a healthy way.
He had had recently 2 grand mal seizures, and another roomy had had a subsequent stroke and died. 
These guys were destroying relationships and themselves, and I am making friends, talking to strangers, asking for what I want.
Experts are telling me I can drive and have a normal life on baby aspirin and exercise as my life rebuilding strategy from my brain injury.
Time to start trusting that.

When you find yourself apologising to inanimate objects…

So. My wonderful, cheap French Roast coffee beans were sold out. I grabbed something called German breakfast roast. Unfortunately Pre-Ground. Bitter, highly caffeinated, thin, insipid brew, tea on steroids. So much promise. So much disappointment. So little sleep.
My regular beans returned to the shelf after thoughts were seconded and complaints were laid.
Now I have all this stimulation I don’t prefer, but a commitment has been made, I bought it after all.
It’s like it owns me and I risk offending it by dumping it.
I have fear obligation guilt towards a bag of low satisfaction.
Narcissist beverage.
I have the right to change my mind.
I have the right not to explain.
My cup of tea.
Or not.

The Problem Isn’t Their Narcissism

The problem isn’t the narc. The problem happens when I believe, without evidence, that I must have love. Then I can be recruited by love bombing, then manipulated by guilt fear obligation. If it’s a religion or a cult or a relationship of any kind, it doesn’t matter, because when I say I highly prefer to have love, but I don’t HAVE to, then I am loving me, and not dependent on others. It’s nice to have, but it’s not fatal, even though uncomfortable to not have it at (trigger) times. I can seek others to love me (healthily), I can focus on hobbies and other pleasurable pursuits, I can work on accepting myself without condition. I am in an adult with adult responsibilities relationship with myself. This is really helpful when the inevitable smear campaign makes for a quieter social life.