I first met CZ almost nine years ago in an internet forum for survivors of abuse and encounters of the narcissistic and psychopathic kind. She was witty, wise, articulate and oh so real. Her generosity of spirit helped hundreds and hundreds of men and women heal from the wounds of battle in relationships of the not so very nice kind.
When MSN changed its forum template and CZ set off to explore the world of building her own sites. She knew how vital and important these sharing and caring spaces were for people coming out from under the web of deceit psychopaths and narcissists wove into their lives. She knew she needed to keep making a difference if people were to find healing and peace in the past.
Her efforts gave birth to her website: The Narcissistic Continuum and several blogs including the Web of Narcissism (WON) Forum. Her efforts and generosity of spirit have also given birth to a friendship that I value and treasure, even though we’ve never met, in person. After 9 years of online sharing and emails, I know CZ is an amazing Woman of Worth. A real WOW!
Thank you CZ for sharing your brilliance here and thank you for all you to do make a difference in the world everyday. Your difference shines!
Making a Difference: Cyber-communities
Feigning remorse he said, “Sorry to steal your best years by leaving when you’re old.” Feigning dignity I replied, “Don’t even kid yourself. You didn’t get my best years. You got my worst.”
It was a turning point for me, this brief exchange between two people who had married at nineteen…divorcing at fifty. I had been skydiving black holes for months, free falling into hopelessness. That is how it felt being disconnected from the comfort of a thirty-four year marriage, the reassurance of family ties, the grace of worth transferred, even in the pretense of love.
In case I didn’t hear him the first time, he repeated, “Stealing…best years…you’re old,” and I don’t know what happened to me! I don’t. Something deep inside myself refused to believe his words. Something inside myself said, “You are a daughter of God!” I know this sounds dramatic, even romantic; yet to me, it was divine intervention. A grounding realization that no one is replaceable, not even a housewife. No one is worthless, not even an unemployed, replaced housewife. My life had value and meaning, perhaps even more so with age. This sure knowledge affirmed that each of us has a purpose to serve in the web of life. And our service to others needn’t be spectacular or newsworthy. In fact, anonymity might serve me well.
My soon-to-be-x-husband left for his self-determined future, fame and fortune sure to be his claim. Instead of focusing on him, I focused on me, connecting the repetitive themes of my life from one maturing decade to another. I hadn’t placed much value on my traditional skills, my community-building-and-serving-others skills. I didn’t even think of my self as having skills. Building intimate relationships is what I learned as a girl. Ho-hum, who cares, don’t all women do that? I had matured into a woman with an open door for teen-agers in need of a surrogate mom (just as goodly women provided for my rebel teens); a woman with casseroles and jell-o, cushy armchairs and china teacups, less worried about my hair than community welfare.
An older woman with an eye out for people in trouble, people in need. A woman who listened. A woman who cared. I had done my preparatory work creating a meaningful, connected life. It was time to put my skills to greater use organizing a healing community. I needed a website, a living room, and a keyboard.
Each morning (I won’t add “at the crack of dawn” because sometimes I get up at the “crack of noon”), I log in to the Web of Narcissism and connect with people who are suffering, people who have lost everything including self-respect. They feel broken and powerless, humiliated and vulnerable. But I know they are stronger than they feel, more valuable than they realize, more worthy than they believe.
I trust in the power of human connections to heal our wounds simply by listening and talking with one another. Chit-chatting. Tete-a-tete-ing. Being honest about our lives. Keeping it real. So, I serve cyber-tea in china cups in lovely chintz-covered cyber-living rooms and wait for the healing to begin—a most natural process, indeed.
Shhhhhhh…listen. Do you hear the chattering of an Internet message board? If you do, look carefully. You are witnessing the mystery of lives unfolding. Their best is yet to be.