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the mountain or—changing perspective
written in Chicago, January 2001
By: Barbara Rogers 

I am looking at a mountain—it reminds me of my mother
for most of my life I have looked at my mother
as if I was cursed to remain at the bottom of a mountain
with a confined, limited perspective
from the bottom, the mountain is domineering
blocking out the view of the world and life around me
getting to know my Self has become like climbing a mountain
from the bottom I look up
I look at my mother with compassion
I look at her in the way she wants me to
I look at her as if I were her therapist
at the bottom of the mountain
I feel and have always felt forced to forgive my mother
to pity her
to ignore how she was—and is—treating me
to numb and deaden the suffering she causes me
to deny my own pain—to ignore reality and the truth
at the top of the mountain I have a wider view
I can see further
I see my mother from a different perspective
as I experience for the first time compassion for myself
I have to recognize the truth
I see a woman who does not love me
who does not take joy in my being
who does not care about my existence
who has no interest in my life
who does not desire to get together with me
after she has not seen me for thirteen years
I have to see the truth—although I don't want to
my mother does not love me
my mother cannot love who I am
because I am the living proof
that life is about other things than those
that she believes in, lives by and practices
I am crushed by the truth
I feel the ground crumble beneath my feet
and my existence threatened
the truth hurts—but liberates me
I have escaped her jail
freed from the gravest impediment that kept me from being alive
I become the bird and fly away from the mountain
from now on my own welfare matters
my needs count
I cannot be alive without love
just as air gives life to my body—love is the breath for my soul
my soul would die if I stayed near this mountain
now that I know and can bear the truth
I leave the mountain
I am free to be Barbara
to be my Self

© Barbara Rogers
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This is an article I'm reading as I delve into deeper healing with reference to idealization of others.

The vital need of each child is to be valued, seen and appreciated. When children are responded to with respect, love and joy, their sense of self and self-worth flourish. If this need is crushed, its unfulfilled anguish drives us into the fog of admiration. Either we turn into self-obsessed admiration-addicts that cannot tolerate in others thoughts and feelings that deviate from what we expect of them. Or we become devoted servants who believe that their life has meaning only when they bestow admiration upon those that crave it. Children's self-worth is crushed and their strength perverted into the coercion to please if they do not receive joyous appreciation. Parts, soaked with the anguish of being unwelcome and rejected since life's beginning, were silenced by other parts that want to protect us from this pain and buy into the corruption that admiration sustains relationships and grants a sense of worth. The experience of love is replaced by the compulsion to admire and the illusion that admiration endows us with love.

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BELIEF IN YOURSELF is your perceived level of worthiness to get what you want. Fear is resistance to what is wanted and the focus upon what is unwanted. Fear is the mental practice of doubt and unbelief--anti-belief. When you feel unworthy or undeserving, fear fills in the gap between the truth of who you are and the lies you've accepted. Fear keeps you in a holding pattern by limiting the belief you need to manifest what you want. The good news is, fear points directly to the false belief that holds you back, so it can be used as a guide. Transform your fear into FAITH by realizing the truth of who you are. You are the powerful creator of your own experience. 
I wrote this on May 17, 2014 as a Facebook Post. Found it in memories and decided to post it here.
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When you realize that you can't change other people, and you accept that they are who they are and it's not your job, or your place to change them, you can learn to let go of people who are not giving you what you need; or requiring you to do all the work; or are causing you to be less-than. You can let go of these people and begin to embrace new relationships that are more healthy. New relationships where you are valued, validated and respected.

 It's a great indicator of your path. When you're able to determine what is good for you and what is not, your path lights up and you get out of old negative patterns of relating onto new nourishing experiences. You are no longer stuck. You build new neural pathways in your mind towards your own betterment. It's a beautiful process of learning to love yourself by saying no to the bad stuff and yes to the good stuff.

 This will feel uncomfortable at first. It will feel "off" because maybe you've been habituated to following patterns of self loathing and self harm. But if you trust your path, and persevere towards the good, then you will say goodbye to that old identity (in a loving way) and hello to the new, true identity which was yours all along.

You may be afraid to walk away from your old way of relating because you may be afraid of the unknown--also, your brain may be trained to go towards your current comfort zone. You have to retrain your brain. You have to learn to listen to your intuition which will tell you when you feel mistreated, and even if that mistreatment feels most comfortable, you listen to your truth. You take a leap of faith--trusting yourself.

You can also learn to love others who are close to you for who they are... especially those you must deal with in life, like parents. When you know what's right and wrong for you, you can set boundaries externally and emotional limits internally in a way that lets you stay safe and meet them where they are. You only do this with close family--new relationships need to adhere to your new levels--or remain acquaintances. The key is you stay neutral, not clinging to or pushing away negative people.

There are so many mental and emotional processes that can get in the way of this healing, but it's worth it to learn about everything. It's worth the effort to pull yourself out of the pit and to heal. You deserve a happy life.
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The Narcissist Wants You to Feel Worthless, Less Than, Inferior - YouTube
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The reason you feel like you're not good enough is because you were conditioned to feel that way in childhood and you have continued to wear that false identity to this day. Someone who raised you needed you not to feel good enough because it made him/her/them feel a sense of self esteem. The path to healing is to detach yourself from your identification with this original negative programming. You have to externalize the reason why you feel that way, and internalize the truth by being there for your inner child. You are good enough, but only you can realize that. No one can tell you. You have to realize it for yourself as you realize the truth about the intentions of the people who raised you--whether intentional or not.

Sometimes it's safer to feel less than than it is to face the truth that the people who raised you were wrong. You are good enough. They were wrong, not you.

In fact, you're so damn good, you've been holding their projections all your life! You're not just good enough--you're more than good enough. You've been doing ALL THE WORK. Let it go! Become identified with your true self. The pain of not feeling good enough is the indication that your soul is believing a lie. You're punching yourself inside. Stop it. See that it's learned feelings. It's not the real you. It's not your truth. Your truth is that you're good enough. When you know that, the pain will stop. And you will soar.
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Watch the cunning ways of the Mind! Eckhart Tolle - YouTube
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Disconnection. What is it? I know it feels awful. I know it feels awkward. I know it feels off. I just had a difficult time figuring out exactly what it is. Until now.

What rule does it break? Something that hurt me so many times from different people throughout my life needed to have a rule... but there was nothing, so for years I suffered in silence through the neglectful disconnection I received from countless others without being able to put my finger on what was wrong.

Whenever you are neglected emotionally as a child, you become an adult who is missing a lot of things. You are missing key components of relationship interactions. A neglected child is a child who didn't have the back-and-forth interaction that a normal healthy child gets to have, so he or she doesn't learn what is good, bad, right or wrong, upside down or right side up. So much is confusing. Neglect causes an adult to be clueless in relationships, not knowing what is good and/or bad treatment. Such a deficient upbringing causes one to lean towards maltreatment. It's like an airplane with a GPS out of whack. Inevitably you end up crashing into an abusive relationship and feeling the pain of being burned alive inside.

And, if you are like I was, you blame yourself for the crash which makes it hurt even worse. You take all the blame and feel shamed for what? You don't really know. All you know is that you are upside down, feeling bad from a situation or interaction and you don't know what this person did to cause such devastation. You can't name it, so you figure the problem is with you. You don't for a moment think that there is something disrespectful about the engagement. Something that the other person should or should not be doing that you need him or her to do. You don't know what you need or what they didn't do that you need so you blame/shame yourself.

Even trying to explain this--disconnection--in relationship is devilishly hard, but I'm trying. I feel it, but have to blog around it to express the core of how it's wrong. 

It could be something as small as an unanswered text, a rejecting comment, a misunderstanding that was never made straight. A yawn. Selective memory. Here's a list of disconnections that I've noticed:

Friend who doesn't track you 

Have you ever had a friend who pops into your life, once a week, once a month, once a year and acts like your best buddy, but doesn't bother to ask how you're doing any other time?  Or fails to ask about that death in your family, or the new job you just landed? There is no continuation with this friend and you feel it, but you can't put your finger on it. Like a movie that has big chunks of the story line missing. You're close enough to warrant tracking. After all, when you are with this friend, you feel love and happiness, but when you part ways to live your life, it's like you disappear from their lives.  A text to them gets a nil response, as if they want you to go away. This hurts, but you may feel like you're too needy--or maybe this is the way relationships are supposed to go? No, that doesn't work for me.

Tracking is a respectful way to show that you respect and love another person. It is a skill that can be learned, and when it is not used, it can leave the receiver feeling badly and disconnected. This is not okay. It's not okay to engage continually with someone who fails to track you. I understand some people may have their own issues--but still, it's important for your own psychological well being to be around people who connect with you in a healthy way, and don't drop you like it's hot in between your face-to-face interactions. Does that make sense?

The therapist who doesn't remember that a dog bit you a few weeks ago

Yes, this actually happened to me. I was going to this therapist and she kept forgetting every day information that I was sharing during session. Like the time I went to list a house and the chiuahuah bit me and drew blood. I was sharing how happy I was to have set a boundary and stayed in the bathroom until they picked the dog up--but that's another story...

This therapist! She had great credentials. She went to Columbia University for Freud's sake! She wasn't tracking me by remembering my life. I didn't realize this was happening at the time. I didn't realize that this process of her forgetting things, and me reminding her, and me not being offended by this behavior--because it wasn't on my radar-- I didn't realize that this is VERY RUDE. It is a huge sign of disrespect. It was a covert way for her to establish superiority over me.

Instead of calling her out, setting a boundary and showing her that I have a right to exist, I went along meekly, while helping her out by repeating myself each session to catch up her memory. I actually went out of my way to MEET HER NEED TO forget about my life for which I was paying her healthily to help me process. My point is, if someone doesn't remember things about you, set a boundary or as in my case, get the hell out before things get worse.

Texts that say, "Hope you're having a good day!!!" 

Someone who texts you every day things like, "Hope you're having a good day!!!" is not someone interested in really getting to know you. That sentence is so vague. It would be wonderful if a close friend sent it to you, knowing that you will get together and talk more soon... but for someone to  randomly send these types of texts without asking you how you're doing, what you're doing and what's important to you--this is disconnection. This is a disconnected transaction. It doesn't work and it doesn't feel good. When people do this to you, notice it. It's not a good sign. Maybe they have their own issues, but you don't have time to disconnect with someone all the time.

You have a life threatening accident and they don't nurture you afterwards.

Let's say you have a life or death situation in which you are left recovering. Let's say that this person that you love and adore never bothers to call or ask you about your health ever again past day one. This is disconnecting behavior. It's as though you don't exist. It's as though your needs for nurture, care, concern, understanding, acceptance, affection, appreciation don't exist. And if you were neglected as a child, you don't even notice this behavior in others because it fits along with how you were raised. You know you hurt for some reason, but you don't know who did it--and you don't address the error with the loved one because you don't even know it occurred.

But then you grow and heal and learn that YOU MATTER and YOU HAVE RIGHTS in relationships!!!  You are supposed to expect to get your needs met equally. Whew! You realize that your loved one has been overlooking your needs for years, all the while you've been the servant without complaint; paying a debt you thought you owed. That's when you have to set a big boundary and remind your loved ones that you have a right to exist and that you have new expectations for your relationship. Respect or walk is what I say.

The friend who won't validate you.

Have you ever had a friend or family member, or spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend who refuses to validate you, give you compliments or affirm you? Like you'll be going through a hard time and start talking yourself into a frenzy, pumping yourself up saying, "but I can do this!!!" and they're sitting right next to you and their body language says they disagree. Their message to you is... "I don't support you." It's the worst feeling ever.

I didn't realize that this is disrespectful towards me. Invalidation. When someone fails to back me up, verify what I'm saying, support me with kindness. This is disrespect and unacceptable. It's covert abuse because you can't put your finger on what they're doing to you. They're abusing you by what they're NOT saying, not by what they are saying, so you can't effectively set a boundary without giving them a lesson in psychology. "Invalidation is when you don't nod your head yes when I make a positive statement about myself or my situation or my future." They will totally feign ignorance and you feel like a fool.

And you feel like a fool. Less than. That's what happens when someone fails to back-you-up in those times. This is disconnection. You feel like you're doing something wrong, without realizing that it is the other person's issue. THEY ARE THE ONES who cannot stand to see your need for validation to be met. They won't give you one drop--especially the little drops in between where you can't catch them not giving it to you.

Why? Because if your friend were to validate you, stay connected with you, respect you, call you for a few days a little extra when you're sick, reach out to you in between times of being with you, answering your texts in a respectful and timely manner... if your friend would do this for you, it would meet your needs. Loving behavior and connecting is what meets our needs. They don't want to meet your needs because they don't want to give one drop. Some may not know how. Others are literally holding back in order to cripple you.

If your needs are met, and you feel connected, you feel safe, free, loved, happy and content. That's how we are supposed to feel in relationships. It's not supposed to be about power plays, superiority, less than, one-up, disconnection. It's supposed to be about LOVE AND RESPECT. And now that I've healed and I understand my own worth and value more fully, I can protect myself from people who do things that are disconnecting towards me. I can back-off the relationship, I can tend to myself, I can set boundaries and make choices as to where I will put my energy and concern. I can nurture relationships that are full of connection and protect myself from taking the blame for what I now can clearly see.

And day by day, month by month, year by year, I see a little clearly what I missed. I can fill in the spaces with self love and self respect, and ease my own pain. I can recognize disconnection for what it is, a form of rejection--no matter how sick or inept the person doing the harming. I can connect with others who are present enough to connect with me. I hope this helps.

You are worthy of acceptance, connection and protection.

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It's important to set boundaries for yourself against all people--especially toxic people. Boundaries draw the line between you and another person. Toxic people are difficult to be around because their desire is to take you over. Toxic people want to control you and destroy your "I am." They sadistically want to control you and exploit your weak sense of self. If you were programmed during childhood to please toxic people, then you need to re-program your mind to set boundaries to protect yourself now.

You need boundaries that are quick and to-the-point. Clear, one sentence boundaries without explaining yourself. You need to practice these phrases so they'll be readily available when you're ready to use it. Remember to be clear. Don't feel you are being rude. You're not being rude when you take up for yourself and reserve space for yourself in a relationship / conversation.

Unlike with healthy people, when you set a boundary with a toxic person, DO NOT SHARE YOUR FEELINGS. They are incapable of registering feelings and have no empathy. Telling them your feelings only gives them more ammo. They want you to feel badly, upset, hurt. Just state clearly, and automatically what you are thinking in order to get them to back-off.  These people are bullies. They only respond to one-liners. It will shock them if they're used to you being submissive and non-existent. These boundaries will give you the space you need in the interaction, and will also help to strengthen your own position internally.

Don't say "I'm sorry." These are not nice people; but rather, they are secretly plotting and conniving to take you down. Be assertive, not sorry. Don't explain. Speak with confidence and clarity. Practice over and over in advance. These quips -- one liners help strengthen your sense of self, and keep you level in the playing field of toxic people in your life.

100 Boundaries for Toxic People
  1. Why are you belittling me? (Use this for covert abuse such as giving unwarranted advice).
  2. Don't minimize my needs.
  3. I don't need to hear that.
  4. That doesn't work for me.
  5. We can agree to disagree.
  6. I didn't ask for advice. 
  7. I hear that you don't like the red dress on me, however, it is the dress I choose.
  8. Why are you gaslighting me?
  9. Are you trying to triangulate me?
  10. Why are you looking at me like you just farted? 
  11. What business is it of yours?
  12. Stop changing the subject.
  13. Allow me to speak my turn.
  14. It's my turn to share.
  15. I don't need cliches.
  16. Stop telling me how to be. 
  17. No, I can't do it.
  18. Your expectations of me are higher than I am able to give.
  19. No, I don't see it that way.
  20. That's not the way I see it. 
  21. I disagree on that point.
  22. That has nothing to do with me.
  23. That's your opinion, not mine. 
  24. That is not a priority for me. (When they're trying to hijack your agenda)
  25. Are you bragging or sharing good news with me? 
  26. Why are you bragging so much?
  27. That sounds like a lie.
  28. Why are you telling me this? (When they're bragging non-stop)
  29. I don't talk about that. (Private issue of your own they try to bring up)
  30. Stop interrogating me.
  31. What's with all the questions?
  32. I don't share that.
  33. I don't want to talk about it.
  34. Stop bringing that issue up.
  35. Stop bossing me around.
  36. Stop talking about yourself and listen to me.
  37. No, I won't do it.
  38. Let's go if you can't act right.
  39. Are you implying that I'm ____? (When they're using covert manipulation)
  40. I am done with this conversation.
  41. I have a right to ____. (speak, share, be heard, be understood, etc... Don't explain it though)
  42. That's incorrect. 
  43. That's not true.
  44. We are two different people, each with our own ideas.
  45. Stop controlling the conversation.
  46. Don't talk behind my back in front of my face.
  47. Was that a back-handed compliment?
  48. You've got it wrong. 
  49. I know what's best for me.
  50. That is your opinion, not mine.
  51. I am competent enough to decide for myself what to do, buy, wear, say.
  52. Why are you baiting me to prove myself? 
  53. Why are you comparing yourself to me?
  54. If you don't like it, don't listen. (When Hitler tries to control conversation with another)
  55. How does that effect you?
  56. Why does that matter to you?
  57. That is my preference.
  58. This is my story, let me finish. 
  59. I have a right to share what is on my mind.
  60. Stop. I don't play that game.
  61. Stop. I don't like that.
  62. Keep your opinions to yourself. 
  63. Don't cross that line.
  64. No. I won't discuss this with you.
  65. I did not ask for advice.
  66. Your opinion of the situation doesn't match mine.
  67. That doesn't work for me. 
  68. I don't work that way. 
  69. You're expecting more than I can give.
  70. Stop changing the subject back to yourself.
  71. That was a rude comment. (Backhanded compliment)
  72. We are two different people.
  73. No, I don't want a hug, kiss, date, sexual advance. 
  74. No, I don't hug strangers. 
  75. I don't discuss that with strangers. 
  76. That's lewd. 
  77. I have my own ideas about what happened. 
  78. Why are you telling me all these personal details when we just met? 
  79. Does this story have an ending?
  80. I don't need to prove myself to you.
  81. I don't care about that. 
  82. That doesn't matter to me.
  83. That has nothing to do with me.
  84. That's your issue, not mine.  
  85. Are you trying to hijack my agenda?
  86. Stop trying to hijack my agenda.
  87. Stop trying to control me.
  88. No. You cannot do that to me.
  89. No. That's more than I will allow. 
  90. No. I won't play that role. 
  91. Stop repeating the same stories over and over. 
  92. I get it. You're ___. Please just move on. (tall, rich, handsome, beautiful, lovely, talented)
  93. I disagree.
  94. Why did you promise me __ and end up doing just ___?
  95. Are you love bombing me?
  96. I will no longer fawn over you.
  97. No can do. You're 30 minutes late!
  98. Stop minimizing what I say.
  99. Stop interrupting me.
  100. Are you trying to create an illusion / mirage?

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Sometimes it is necessary to set boundaries for the things a person does NOT do. Boundaries aren't always just for people who do bad things to you, you may also need to set limits for the things that people do not do that they should be doing. Here are a few examples:
  • Silent treatment
  • Ignoring you
  • Withdrawing
  • Dismissing
  • Devaluing 
  • Discounting
  • Disconnection
  • Minimizing your issues/requests
  • Not being there for you in important times.
  • Not affirming you when you need and request it.
  • Not working out issues that are bothering you.
  • Not giving you credit where credit is due.
  • Failing to give direction when in a position to do so.
  • Withholding information.
  • Not taking your side repeatedly.
  • Not encouraging you in your passions.
  • Not trying to understand your point of view.
  • Not going out of their way to be there for you.
This is a different type of boundary. When someone is not doing the things you need them to do. When they're not returning the love and respect that you're giving them, but instead, allowing you to do all of the giving, and leaving big gaps in the relationship. You are being normal, naive, open and empathetic. They are taking what you're giving and running away with it, not returning in like kind.

Unfortunately, I have found that people who do these things above are toxic people who are envious, who wish to manipulate and control you. They could also be codependent people who are so wrapped up in their other codependent relationships, that your needs are unimportant to them.

The important thing to realize is that YOUR NEEDS MATTER.
  • You deserve to be responded to.
  • You deserve to be understood.
  • You deserve to be heard.
  • You deserve to be given credit.
  • You deserve to have a friend/family member on your side.
  • You deserve to have people who are there for you.
  • You deserve to have people who go out of their way for you.
You deserve to have your needs met by the people in your life with whom you are in relationship. There is nothing wrong with you for feeling hurt that a friend is never there for you when you need him or her. There is nothing wrong with you, but there is something unequal in the relationship--and it's up to you to set a boundary against it. You've got to set boundaries against people who are harming you by neglectful behaviors.

This could happen during the abuse cycle of sweet/mean or the devaluation discard phase of love bombing. No matter who it is, it is your responsibility to yourself to take care of YOU. 

These people only do things on their terms. They will only meet your needs on a very slim level, at their convenience--only if it involves meeting their needs as well. Anything that falls out of bounds of their ease in meeting your needs will have to be taken care of elsewhere, outside the relationship. Meanwhile, you're behaving normally, giving real empathy down the drain. Basically you're keeping the whole relationship alive.

Consider your current relationships. Are you feeling a weird gap in how your being attended to? Do you feel hurt by the disconnection? Are you frustrated when they don't call you for weeks, then pop up wanting to connect without addressing all that has gone on in your life? Are you going overboard keeping a relationship alive that has an essence of neglect?

This article could be an entire book! I have so much to say on the topic. The important thing is that you set boundaries. This can be difficult, because if you're used to be neglected, you may not even realize it is happening. You will have to get super-in-touch with your gut feelings, your intuition to even know there is an issue. Your feelings tell you when a boundary needs to be set.

A boundary can be speaking up for yourself. Saying, hey, I've noticed that you're not there for me when I need you. That's not working out for me. Can you try giving more to this relationship?

Or, I don't like it when you give me the silent treatment by not reaching out to me or returning my calls/texts. Please stop doing that because it makes me feel uncomfortable. I can't be around you if you're giving me the silent treatment.

The hard part is walking away from neglectful people. People who you thought loved you. When you set boundaries and walk away, you realize that the love was very one-sided. You were the one doing all the work, and settling for brokenness and disconnection and unfulfilled needs. That's when you discover that the neglectful person didn't really care enough about you to meet your needs... and that's when you have to ask yourself, have I really lost anything?

I think not. You gain self respect when you walk away from people who are unwilling to engage in an equal, respectful way towards you. Yes, it hurts to lose people in your life, but setting boundaries keeps you safe. It is beneficial and loving to yourself to stop giving, giving, giving and getting nothing (or crumbs) in return. You are a special being. You deserve equal treatment.

Use the energy that you used to use for feeling like a victim of this person's behaviors to empower yourself to find and open up to more reciprocal relationships. They are out there, you just have to stop putting up with neglect.

Much love. You can do it.
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