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Replay: The Velveteen Rabbit


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The Velveteen Rabbit or How Toys Become Real is a children's novel written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson. It chronicles the story of a stuffed rabbit and his quest to become real through the love of his owner. The book was first published in 1922 and has been republished many times since.

Excerpt from "The Velveteen Rabbit"

"Of what use was it to be loved and lose one's beauty and become Real if it all ended like this? And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his little shabby velvet nose and fell to the ground.

And then a strange thing happened. For where the tear had fallen a flower grew out of the ground, a mysterious flower, not at all like any that grew in the garden. It had slender green leaves the colour of emeralds, and in the centre of the leaves a blossom like a golden cup. It was so beautiful that the little Rabbit forgot to cry, and just lay there watching it. And presently the blossom opened, and out of it there stepped a fairy.

She was quite the loveliest fairy in the whole world. Her dress was of pearl and dew-drops, and there were flowers round her neck and in her hair, and her face was like the most perfect flower of all. And she came close to the little Rabbit and gathered him up in her arms and kissed him on his velveteen nose that was all damp from crying.

"Little Rabbit," she said, "don't you know who I am?"

The Rabbit looked up at her, and it seemed to him that he had seen her face before, but he couldn't think where.

"I am the nursery magic Fairy," she said. "I take care of all the playthings that the children have loved. When they are old and worn out and the children don't need them any more, then I come and take them away with me and turn them into Real."

"Wasn't I Real before?" asked the little Rabbit.

"You were Real to the Boy," the Fairy said, "because he loved you. Now you shall be Real to every one."

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What follows is a letter based on a post I once wrote. It is for any survivor who may be recreating or reexperiencing the wounds of an abusive childhood through engaging in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable partner. This pattern of repeating relationship dynamics learned in childhood in order to correct them and 'fix' what has already happened is called 'replay' or 'repetition compulsion'. Though it's written to the female gender, it is intended for all who have may have experienced a 'replay' of old wounds through a new relationship.
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Survivor: "I can't recall a time when I ever felt this way as a result of the end of an intimate relationship."

Dear Survivor--I think maybe you can recall a time if you really look closely. Is it the N you're angry at when it comes down to it? Or are you angry at your father, some other man from your childhood or youth, and all the men in your life who were in a position of power to validate you, validated your inappropriately or just outright failed to validate you at all? Were these not the men who taught you that you were not worthy? They validated someone else in a different way, a way that caused you shame because you weren't worthy of that kind of love and someone else was.
 
I would think that what happened to you as a child has to have left you with perceptions of yourself and men in general that are still in play and getting reinforced. It seems that there is a pattern with these kind of men in your life. They all appeared one way to the rest of the world, but how they really 'felt' and acted and what they wanted was different. As a child you lived it and as an adult, I'm sure it became something you just knew and accepted because it was all you had ever known.

They had no right, no right at all to treat you that way, and it isn't love. That's using and that's abusing. It's anything but love. I know you know that, though it's probably hard to feel otherwise if you loved the people who were abusing you. It is not your purpose in this world to fulfill that role for anyone, not then and not now, either.
 
This N is the same. He's just the same. Let me propose a possible scenario here. This man, this 'prize', had chosen an upstanding life and had a wife or girlfriend but under it, he wanted more. You got that, you knew how it worked because you've been here before, and though you may try to see it differently because he wasn't quite the same in personality as those other men, and you told yourself you loved him, still the whole dynamic felt very familiar to you. Maybe you invested a lot in this man because you thought finally a man like this would for once choose you, would finally fix all that pain from men like him who didn't validate you with real love, real empathy, and did not value you as a person in the past. But he didn't. And that was the fear that you knew would come to pass because it has always ended up this way.
 
So, here's that old familiar pain again, and now? Now you're at a crossroads. It all culminates right here, right now with this man. However, it's not just about this man. He was a recipe for repeating the [sign in to see URL] correcting [sign in to see URL] it. It makes you feel crazy and I know you want the craziness to stop. The craziness does need to stop, but it doesn't stop when this man and men like him stop toying with you. Yes, you were the child who could not stop it, but now you are an adult who can. It begins to stop the minute you abandon the image you may have of yourself as the fantasy or plaything and ultimately, the victim, of powerful men who discard you. To continue to choose otherwise, to continue to see yourself as you feel you have been seen, will always result in a replay of the old pain.
 
The script you're writing for yourself seems to be that what men really want is not what they have, but somebody who will fulfill whatever thing they think they're missing out on and if you become that somebody, you will finally win the prize. If that's the script, burn it. Stop the story. It will never have a fairy tale ending. Never. It's a story with a tragic ending and it is not all you deserve.
 
The story stops being written the minute you decide to stop putting yourself into a situation where you are trying to earn the love of a man who has no business and no right to be 'choosing' in the first place since he's already made another [sign in to see URL] he likes the choice he's made or not.
 
It stops the minute you decide that the answer is not to be found in finally winning the affections of an unavailable man and that to do so will not relieve the pain from the wounds inflicted in your past, but only open them again.
 
You didn't have a choice when you were little, although you may have shame from those situations that you need to work through, and come to a place where you know that the shame belongs to those who abused you and not you. You can't unchoose what they did. However, you do have a choice now.
 
For some reason I'm thinking about the Velveteen Rabbit as I write this. The Velveteen Rabbit thought that the love of the little boy who owned him could make him real, but in the end when he was going to be discarded and destroyed, it was his own ability to love and value himself and others which freed him and made him real.
 
You're real because you are, not because someone will choose you and love you into existence and worth. So, perhaps I have it all wrong here and this doesn't describe your exact situation, but even if I do, I will say one more thing that I know applies, no matter whether the rest of it does or not.
Choose to"be'...not to 'be for'.

Choose otherwise than you have. You're the only one who can. It isn't in anyone else's hands. The time is now and yes, it can start right now with every small choice you make to value yourself more than you value the familiarity and security of who you thought you were or needed to be in order to be loved. I know it's familiar, I know it's scary to let it go, but you can and there will be and is a self under all the pain who is not who you think you are or can't escape being. You can. It's waiting for you to discover.
 
You are more than what happened to you and more than you know. Choose to love that little girl inside who didn't know love as a child. She's worth it and she always was. Be her parent now, because you're the only one can be. It isn't up to anyone else. You're the adult in her life now and she needs you. Love her.

Lynn
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"The best way out is always through."--Robert Frost
Oct/28/2008, 9:15 am Link to this post  
 
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Re: Replay: The Velveteen Rabbit


Resources

Inner Child Bonding

There are several Inner Child Bonding sites on the net. I am particularly fond of Margaret Paul's writings on this topic. She has a site on Inner Child Bonding at [sign in to see URL]. To access her course on Inner Bonding, I believe there is now a fee required. However, many of her well-written articles can be accessed online. For example, her article entitled Healing From Childhood Abuse [url][sign in to see URL] contains the following passage on Inner Child Bonding:


quote:

Healing from childhood abuse is about developing your loving Adult self so that you can learn to treat your inner child or inner children the way you always wanted to be treated."



Several other Margaret Paul articles can be found here, at Ezine [url][sign in to see URL]

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Repetition Compulsion:

From Richard Grossman's website on Voicelessness:

Why Do Some People Choose One Bad Relationship After Another?
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quote:

"If only I had been different or better--then I would have been valued," is the usual refrain. Once the old relationship is sufficiently grieved, the person immediately resumes their search for another partner/lover with the qualifications and authority to again secure him or her a "place" in the world.

Ironically, this "repetition compulsion" is hardly masochistic. Instead, it represents an ongoing attempt to heal the self, albeit one with disastrous results. The cycle repeats itself because the person knows no other way of preventing themselves from feeling tiny or immaterial."


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Other Websites of Interest:

Healing Your Inner Core Issues can be found on Bill Ferguson's Mastery of Life Website:
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You Carry The Cure In Your Own Heart
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"The best way out is always through."--Robert Frost
Oct/28/2008, 9:19 am Link to this post  
 




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