Ok The Center Will Not Hold
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
In “The Second Coming” by poet William Butler Yeats, he asserts that chaos is descending upon the world; the forces that should bring order are failing to do so. His message is that the present world is falling apart, and a new ominous reality is going to emerge. When he says, “Everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned,” it implies that we are all complicit.
Creatives like writers and artists are the conscience, heart, and soul of a culture. Not only do they serve as a mouthpiece to reflect the collective consciousness, but they also bring prescient warnings.
One of the most prolific writers of the 20th century was Joan Didion, and I have always hoped to channel her voice when I write. I am not merely providing information and recovery assistance from the perspective of a life coach or victim of narcopathic abuse. I am first and foremost a writer, thus the way I craft my words and construct my narrative is equally if not more important than the content itself.
“I don’t know what I think until I write it down.”
― Joan Didion
Didion conveyed a brand of fatalism and a foreboding tone that enabled her to forecast the disintegration of our society at the hands of those without vision or remorse. During the mid to late 20th century, words like narcissist and psychopath were not the popular culture trending terms they are today. But the writing was on the wall nonetheless.
At the heart and soul of the crumbling cultures throughout the globe lies a pervasive theme of ego gone wild, greed, corruption, deception, manipulation, denial, unaccountability, indulgence, decadence, perversion, immorality, entitlement, and cruelty. Sound like anyone you know?
Just tune in to the news for a week, and you will witness appalling atrocities beyond belief that reveal the reality that the moral fabric of our nation has unraveled to the point of no return. How do you wake up a world that has been so desensitized to bad behavior that no one is shocked and appalled by the crimes against humanity?
The readers of my articles and listeners of my podcasts are typically people who are recovering from a toxic relationship with a partner who suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder, anti-social personality disorder, or psychopathy; therefore, they reside somewhere on the learning curve and road to awareness of these types of mental disorders. We are all seekers trying to obtain a deeper understanding of both the etymology of our pairings with such impaired individuals and at the same time learning new ways to heal ourselves so that we become immune and impervious to future disordered predators.
In the spirit of speaking to that, let me go on to qualify my idea that much of the current chaos is caused by people who are mentally destabilized or impaired in a significant way. Normal, healthy people simply do have the capacity for such callous actions and a complete lack of compassion or mercy. It is easy to notice that our mentally and morally deficient partner was only one of many who wield power and position in the world around us. The qualities of no conscience, ruthless ambition, inflated ego, greed and hunger, and a lust for power create monsters who are often successful monsters who are captains of industry or the influential leaders who run the country. The Covid virus is not the only pandemic; narcissism and psychopathy are the new epidemics. There are manifestations of surrendering to life without spiritual convictions or moral virtue.
Depending on your religious views, these hollow souls are either metaphorically or literally possessed with demonic entities that have taken up residence inside the empty chambers of their hearts. Evil is known to be the grand deceiver, and what could be more wicked than a lack of remorse, a selfish indulgence, denial of sin and virtue, or the predatory exploitation and destruction of other people?
We live in a world filled with countless numbers of people who have a character deficit and a complete lack of empathy. And unfortunately, in many cases, dysregulated people are in positions of power.
Narcissism and psychopathy are signs of the time, a more virulent contagion of the spirit and the soul than any virus or pandemic could ever be. All are invisible destroyers. And the masses, through their ignorance, distraction, and enabling, allow the moral decay and crimes against humanity to continue and grow. And while we are not looking, we are pillaged and plundered. And then we are abandoned and left to die.
There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.”
― Joan Didion, Where I Was From
In your relationship with your disordered partner, how did they show up for you? Was it cyclical intermittent reinforced ups and downs that hooked your brain on the hits of dopamine from the good times? Or was it something else? A paralysis of fear and abandonment that turned your feet to stone?
One thing is for certain, you don’t get to keep them forever. There is no happy ending. Ever. And when they are gone, you will grieve like it was a death. And it was. You suddenly realize that your partner is dead and that they murdered you, too.
“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be ‘literally’ crazy, cool customers who believe their husband is about to return and need his shoes.”
― Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
It’s not your fault. You did everything you could, but it was not enough. It was always destined to fail in the end, you just didn’t know it. And after they are gone, you grieve them as if they died and eventually put them to rest.
“I know why we try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us. I also know that if we are to live ourselves there comes a point at which we must relinquish the dead, let them go, keep them dead. ”
― Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
So if the dynamic is similar to the chaos in the world today, is there a way to stop the inevitable conclusion? What I am about to tell you applies to both the recovery from the relationship abuse you have experienced and to the steps you can take to craft an impactful and meaningful plan of action to make a positive difference in our current society.
- One of the first things to consider is that we must wake up and acknowledge the reality and gravity of the situation. This is no joke, and things will not repair themselves.
- Next, fortify yourself, grow your power, stabilize, and work on achieving wholeness. You are of no use to anyone if you don’t first take care of yourself.
- Do selfless acts of generosity, benevolence, charity, and sacrifice. These deeds will grow your heart and strengthen it like nothing else.
- Practice gratitude and dig deep for enough hope to fuel you through the dark days that are invariably ahead.
- * Be kind and love your fellow man the way you love yourself. Treat them as equals and actually see the beauty in each living soul regardless of the barriers that separate you.
- Forgive those who have done harm. Then create the necessary boundaries to protect yourself from any future violations against you.
- And finally, “Do not whine… Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.”
― Joan Didion, Blue Nights
We live in a world where ego is God. The narcissist or psychopath has constructed a magnificent tower of ego that has become his/her prison. He/she will be captive there until the day he/she dies.
The world we live in a not really that different. We are walled away in our sequestered rooms filled with technology, trinkets, and meaningless diversions. A significant number of the population lives somewhere on the spectrum of personality disorders and many cross over into the pathological realms.
The root cause of all destruction is ego. Two types of ego are the most destructive: (1) the ego of power, wealth, and greed, and (2) the ego of arrogance, entitlement, and vanity. As long as such egoism persists, peace and contentment will be impossible.
One idea that is gaining traction is the concept of quiet ego. The volume of the ego is turned down so that it might listen to others as well as to itself in an effort to approach life more humanely and compassionately. The quiet ego approach focuses on balancing the interests of the self and others. Novel idea. The disordered person is simply incapable of turning down the volume on their shattered ego that has been replaced by the false self. But what about the world? Can we step back and reimagine a society that works together without fierce competition, envy, or greed? I guess time will tell.
Life changes fast. Life changes in an instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”
― Joan Didion
We live in a time of transition as we as survivors of disordered relationships struggle to transition without our abuser. We are all fighting for our lives. It is nice to have a common goal. Failure is unacceptable. We must push through to the other side to discover a new world.
“The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
Yeats speaks of a coming apocalypse moving slowly, inevitably approaching. World events seem to be escalating and moving toward such a conclusion. Didion speaks of Bethlehem as the counter-cultural revolution of the 60’s as a tipping point when America lost its way.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Those of us who are trying to piece back the fragments of a life shattered by the narcopath understand the parallels to the way the world is fragmenting and going up in smoke. You want to hold on, in terror of the prospect of losing your grip on the glittery golden moments that bound you to your tormentor and ultimately your destroyer.
But you can’t go back. There’s nothing for you back there.
And why would you want to try to hold on to a past that was so flawed and broken?
We all need to let go of the past.
For those of us in recovery, we must stay present in the now and begin to build a new and better future. And the same applies to everyone these days. All of us should let go of the imperfect broken past, rife with racism, inequity, corruption, and vice. . . and reach for new and improved ways to live as a community, as a country, as global citizens.
Maybe we all lingered too long in the shared fantasy. La La Land is a lovely place, but is was never real. It’s time to get real. Maybe we can’t save our narcopath and maybe we can’t save the world, but it starts by accepting that the past is gone and it was never what we really thought it was. It was all an illusion, a deception, a mirage, denial. All we can do is heal ourselves and try to be healthy and whole. If we can just do that, we can build resilience, accept change, and set sails to a brighter future.
Prajinta Pesqueda is a veteran of a war against trauma-induced C-PTSD caused by a lengthy marriage to a somatic mid-range narcissistic-psychopath and compounded by a lifetime of dysfunctional patterns and relationships. Most often, long-term partners of disordered people have their own mental health issues beginning in early childhood. Her journey to wholeness and health can guide others to succeed in their own quest to achieve wellness.
Ms. Pesqueda’s writing does not just consist of articles that provide information and experiences with the recovery from disordered partners but also serves as an evocative bit of professional writing in the spirit of authors like Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, and Sylvia Plath. She does more than teach or guide. She writes evocative, hauntingly tragic yet beautiful non-fiction that combines enlightening research and personal examples alongside compelling narratives that bring the reader a compelling snapshot of relationship trauma.
Ms. Pesqueda is a recovery coach and also holds a Master’s degree with an emphasis on guidance and counseling. Check out her podcast channel on all major platforms at https://anchor.fm/pesqueda
Follow her writing at www.pesqueda.medium.com
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