Here are some beautiful paintings from a client – let’s call her ‘Janoo’. I am always excited when a client decides to express themselves creatively – this indicates to me that their energy is now flowing freely towards the throat chakra. This is a great blessing indeed.
offered lotus flowers to
young prince Siddhartha
This offer in past lives arranged
an eternal love affair
prophesied and destined
Two babes both auspicious,
from royal castes
with mixed destinies
Siddhartha won her
through compassion, not with brawn
she chose him to love
Married at just 16, she joined his family
they enjoyed loving, dreaming
challenging their caste system
laughter and companionship
13 years later, a son Rahula was born
She had a family
She awoke alone
He sought the answer to death
And left them behind
Yasodhara, despite many luxurious proposals
lives simply, eating just one meal a day, adorned in saffron robes
raises Rahula, with the love of her elders
and honors them as well as
Prince Siddhartha’s journey, his quest for enlightenment.
Transforming being left
into the gift of staying
She seeks peace within
7 years later Buddha returns
Rahula, per Yasodhara’s wishes seeks him out
requested his inheritance
Rahula chooses the hermitage; joining the family of monks instead
realized spiritual enlightenments by the age of 18
Peace over politics
She waited, Buddha
arrived; she wept at his sight
He expressed thanks
for her lifetimes of loving; lotus flowers
exchanged, laughter, passion, exposing castes
for selflessly assisting his enlightenment over many lifetimes
for staying with his family
She joins a nunnery; becomes one of 13
great Bhikkuni disciples
She became a nun
gained paranormal gifts
Her life an example
of blooming in any circumstance
through shallow, murky waters
she emerged like a
His parents to Nirvana
as the lotus seed,
a reminder of impermanence.
Before her impending departure
Yasodhara said goodbye to Buddha
She left as the lotus blossom
entering Nirvana at age 78 with
beauty, generosity, forbearance, patience
kindness, strength and acceptance
A living lotus
transforms sorrows into joy
eons of love, complete.
Will they be reunited in eternity?
6/14/17 Lisa A. Ratnavira
*Padparadscha refers to a peachish pink lotus flower and color of a sapphire found in Sri Lanka and India.
More about the author :
LISA RATNAVIRA resides in Fallbrook, CA with her husband, wildlife artist,
GAMINI RATNAVIRA. Their art and poetry connect in her books: Maiden,
Mother & Crone (written with RAE ROSE and PENNY PERRY), Traveling with
Pen and Brush, and Grief’s Labyrinth and other Poems (Garden Oak Press),
available online at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
LIS is a regular contributor to the San Diego Poetry Annual and holds an
MA from Concordia University in Irvine, Ca. She has traveled to more than
16 countries, including Singapore, Sri Lanka, England, Africa, Bermuda,
Bahamas, Bali, Trinidad, Panama, Costa Rica, Spain, Canary Islands, the
Maldives, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and throughout the USA.
Her sons BEAU and BROOKS reside in Japan and Fallbrook, respectively.
Her daughter, NATALIE, is free from an earthly address. She often visits in
the form of a dragonfly.
This is a question I think about often because I have clients who struggle with addictions and I can really relate to some of the experiences that have been shared with me in my office. In my humble opinion as a therapist there actually are quite a bit of similarities between us survivors and individuals suffering from addictions. At the very least I have seen them in myself. Let me try to explain what I mean here. If you have ever been with an addict when they need their next hit or are in withdrawal you can almost feel their panic, anxiety, and sense of urgency. Depending on their level of dependency and what their addiction is, certain addicts would do almost anything to find their next fix. Once they take that drink or drug, the addict feels a sense of calm and relief and temporarily all is good in their world; however, this calm and peaceful state doesn’t last too long and before they know it, they are desperate for that next high when the substance leaves their system.
If you are a survivor or still in a narcissistic relationship you probably know all too well the power of trauma bonding and the confusion that is caused by the cycle of love bombing, idealize, devalue and discard. Many narcissists like for us to be dependent on them either emotionally or financially so they can control, manipulate and abuse us. They are masters at creating this dependency without their victims understanding or knowing that is their goal. The prince or princess charming act sweeps us off our feet and that mask that they showed us during the love bombing phase becomes the drug that we crave.
I know that when my narcissist would play push-pull games I would feel so confused, panicked, and anxious. I would rack my brain trying to figure out what was going on and how I could make it better. I was willing to do anything to make the relationship work and felt so dysregulated when he would suddenly disappear. This caused such disruption in my eating, sleeping and even my ability to go to work. I just didn’t feel like me! Eventually he would come back, show me attention, give me just enough affection and I would feel that sense of relief, just like the addict does when he/she takes a hit. I would then feel hopeful that my wonderful romantic thoughtful most perfect partner (who never really existed) was back or at least on his way back…… but then the cycle would start all over again. Before I knew it, I was in another state of panic and urgency trying to get him to come back and make things better.
The more times that you go through this cycle and the more extreme differences you see from the love bombing to the discard phase, the more you are going to feel confused, panicked, and anxious or the more you may present like an addict looking for that fix. Just like how your body can develop a dependency on a substance, unfortunately the way the central nervous system works and the chemicals that your body releases during the cycles of narcissistic abuse, you can feel the same way about a person. Cognitively I knew that my relationship was unhealthy and that this was a self-destructive pattern but I was so deep into the trauma bond and so desperate for love and that “fix”, I kept engaging in behaviors that were bad for me again and again.
Also, similarly to some individuals struggling with addictions I was in denial. I focused and put too much weight on how I felt when I had my narcissist and decided to ignore the chaos, pain, and problems he was causing in my life when he would disappear. My friends and family would try to intervene and tell me I needed to “quit” him but their words went in one ear and out the other. I wanted what I wanted and unfortunately that was a toxic relationship. I just wasn’t able to think clearly because both my brain and central nervous system were offline!
Going no contact, just like quitting a substance cold turkey, is hard work and sometimes depending on your circumstances, not realistic right away. But just like with drinking or drugs, you need to quit and not use the substance anymore to kick the habit. You also need to distance yourself from people and things associated with your old “addict lifestyle”. Just like with addictions, there is so much temptation “to use” and many people relapse, just like us survivors can during hovering.
The good news is that addictions and narcissistic abuse recovery also have something important in common; these are two very treatable conditions. You do not have to stay stuck here. You can break free, get treatment, figure out the patterns and get healthy. Even if you relapse and fall off the “narcissistic survivor wagon”, you can start over and get back on. Remember to be kind to yourself if this happens. Your central nervous system and other centres of your brain have been altered and impacted by toxic love but you can heal and become healthy……. And you will!
Jenny Tamasi, Survivor and Author of The Psychologist & Her Narcissists A Guide to Surviving Toxic Relationships
Radical Acceptance is a concept that emerged from Dialectical Behavior Therapy and it is a very useful skill to apply when dealing with current or past relationships with Narcissists. Radical Acceptance is a concept that can be applied to narcissistic coworkers, neighbors, friends, supervisors, family, or romantic partners. Radical Acceptance is a technique that you can use when you feel frustrated, betrayed, hurt, or let down by someone and you get stuck in that emotional state. This is a great skill to learn if you have a Narcissist in your life, and they really are everywhere! Unfortunately, you probably have more than one to deal with.
You can voluntarily end some relationships but some are tricky to leave, like your relationship with your mother, your grumpy neighbor, or your boss. If you are in a romantic relationship with a Narcissist, due to financial obligations, children, or cultural norms, you may decide to stay in that relationship. You always need to do what is right for you and what makes sense. No judgement here! Sometimes we have to interact with people who are not good for our emotional wellbeing and this can take a toll on our mental health. You often cannot control whom you will see and interact with, but you can always control how you think about and how you react to Narcissists.
When you radically accept something, you are accepting the facts and the reality of the situation, including all the positives and the negatives. Radical acceptance is the opposite of living in denial. You also let go of control or judging what happened when you decide to practice Radical Acceptance. When you practice Radical Acceptance, you do not try to fix or change the situation. You accept that “It is what it is” and you set realistic expectations.
Emotionally, when you radically accept something, you name and honor your feelings around the person or event. You are honest with yourself and you do not deny your feelings or the truth. You do not live in denial, make excuses, justify, rationalize or try to change your feelings, you just recognize and accept them.
Radical Acceptance is not justifying or condoning bad behavior and it does not mean that you let people walk all over you or take advantage of you. It also does not mean that you are ignoring bad behavior. It means that you are honest and realistic about what and who is in your environment and your role in these relationships.
When you practice Radical Acceptance, difficult people, situations, and memories have less power over you. You also feel disappointed less. When you radically accept something, you will decrease the amount you suffer and likely prevent yourself from continued cycles of hurt. As I state multiple times in my book, The Psychologist & Her Narcissists, A Guide to Surviving Toxic Relationships, Narcissists do not change and their behaviors tend to turn into patterns, and often very predictable patterns.
You do not need stay awake all night ruminating when your Narcissist ruins a party, lies, tantrums, or does not show up. You can acknowledge you are disappointed and that the behavior is wrong and then get your rest. Your job is not to cover things up, make excuses, or waste time trying to figure out why your Narcissist does awful things. Sometimes when we are in relationships with Narcissists we tend to look the other way or push feelings down to get through a situation. This is not Radical Acceptance! When you radically accept you are brutally honest with yourself and you take things and deal with them as they come.
Here is an example of how to apply Radical Acceptance:
Situation: My mother is such a drama queen and has a meltdown ever holiday. She screams and says the most hurtful things. I really wish I could skip Christmas, but I want to see my dad, sisters, and nieces and nephews. I get so mad and upset after the holidays that I do not sleep well for weeks and all I can think about is my mother’s bad behavior and how to get her to stop acting like a toddler.
Radically Accepting the Situation: My mother will probably scream and say hurtful things at Christmas and this makes me feel angry and sad. This behavior is inappropriate and I am comfortable saying that. My mother does not control her emotions well and it has nothing to do with me. I am not responsible for making that situation better. I am going to go and focus on enjoying Christmas with the other members of my family. I am going to focus on my values of being kind and loving to others. I am going to engage with my mother as little as possible when she is screaming because I do not want to interact with her when she is acting like that.
Best of luck practicing Radical Acceptance and much love
Jenny Tamasi, Survivor and Author of The Psychologist & Her Narcissists, A Guide to Surviving Toxic Relationships
Being in a relationship with a Narcissist is so confusing. I remember talking on the phone for hours with my best friend trying to put the pieces together. “So he told my parents and me yesterday that he wanted us to get married and today he said he didn’t love me and was just acting for three years”… “What the heck just happened?” I was so convinced that my Narcissist had a brain tumor or some rare type of Bipolar Disorder, how could he just flip a switch a change like that? Now I know the answer is, well because he is a Narcissist and unfortunately, that is just what they do. Ouch!
It was the worst feeling… how could things change so drastically so quickly? In my book, The Psychologist & Her Narcissists, A Guide To Surviving Toxic Relationships, one of my tips is not to waste your valuable time trying to decipher the “whys, hows, or whats” of your toxic partner. Crazy just does not make sense; try to work on accepting that. I know, much easier said than done.
It takes people in some narcisistic relationships years to figure out the patterns and to understand the cycle. It really is super confusing and hard to accept and I spent many years in school studying and then training to be a psychologist and it still makes me scratch my head. Do not beat yourself up for being caught in their trap or wanting to stick around to see if things could change. It is so easy to be temporarily stuck.
One day you are their prince or princess and then all of a sudden, they hate you. This drastic change in emotions and behaviors creates that yucky feeling caused by cognitive dissonance, or two competing ideas in the brain. Of course, you want that loving, charming, romantic, fun version of your partner back. Who wouldn’t? Now you have to accept they have another side, a cold, hurtful, unreliable, abusive side. This is very painful.
So if you are like me, you asked yourself the “whys, hows and whats” over and over again. I spent hours ruminating and trying to figure out these questions:
“Why did he do those things?”
“What does this mean?”
“What is going on here?”
“How could he abandon me like that?”
“How could he say that? “
“What did I do wrong?”
And here is the worst one I think, “HOW CAN I FIX THIS?”
Let’s start with the worst one, “How can I fix this?” I know this hurts and if you are a problem solver, giver, and hard worker like many targets of supply are, then you may feel like you have a chance at changing your partner. I am sorry to say that you do not. Change comes from within and you can only change yourself if you want to change, and you cannot change anyone else. Moreover, personality traits like pathological narcissism are extremely difficult to modify. Do not waste your precious time attempting to fix such a broken person, you deserve better! Healthy people do not abandon, humiliate, manipulate, and hurt their loved ones repeatedly. Remember Narcissists are creatures of habit and these behaviors are patterns. If you were discarded once, you will be discarded again. If they cheated once, they will cheat again. If they lied once, they will lie again.
If you have discovered that you had the misfortune of being in a relationship with a Narcissist that is the answer to all of your “why, what and how” questions…. It’s because they are a Narcissist. If you want to work on something more therapeutic to heal yourself, turn those questions into something useful and look at your behavior. Ask yourself these questions, maybe try journaling your responses:
“How am I feeling right now?”
“How can I heal from this relationship?”
“How can I show myself compassion?”
“What will help me move on?”
“What red flags did I miss?”
As you approach recovery, please gently work on analyzing your behavior, motives, and feelings. Do not waste your time trying to figure out your Narcissist. It will not change their behavior and it will not make you feel better. They are disordered individuals and their hurtful ways are patterns. Remember when your wheels start spinning to tell yourself that you already know the answer to all those questions, it’s because they are a Narcissist. Invest your energy and thinking skills into your recovery and wellbeing. Be well and take good care. I know you can do this!
Much love and support,
Survivor and Author of the Psychologist & Her Narcissists, A Guide To Surviving Toxic Relationships