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The emptiness, darkness, or void

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The emptiness, darkness, or void

Postby whichway » Wed May 16, 2018 8:12 pm

I think that's how it's been described here before. If not, how would you describe it?

What I'm curious about is: How do you interact with the feeling of it?

Do you try to push it away? Ignore it? Run from it? Destroy it? How would you describe what you do when the feeling of the void shows up?
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Re: The emptiness, darkness, or void

Postby Kimera » Thu May 17, 2018 5:18 pm

Those are the words I would use. Maybe hollow, too. It grows and will suck you in if you let it.

whichway wrote:What I'm curious about is: How do you interact with the feeling of it?

Do you try to push it away? Ignore it? Run from it? Destroy it? How would you describe what you do when the feeling of the void shows up?

The need to make that feeling go away is all-consuming. I don’t do drugs but I imagine it’s how an addict feels. I cannot focus on anything else, anxiety skyrockets, I’ll even start pacing like a caged animal. I’ve made some bad choices to get rid of that hollowness, without understanding why I was compelled to act that way. Tailspin. Now that I’m aware I try and make better choices and catch myself before I cause too much damage. It’s hard to control, though.
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Re: The emptiness, darkness, or void

Postby whichway » Thu May 17, 2018 7:04 pm

Kimera wrote:I’ve made some bad choices to get rid of that hollowness, without understanding why I was compelled to act that way. Tailspin.


Everything you said makes total sense. Would you say "attempt to get rid of" is the right way to describe how you interact with it then?

I brought it up because it occurred to me that I might still be experiencing this "emptiness". I've mentioned before that I believe I had BPD in the past (along with PTSD) and I remember the utter despair of the empty feeling.

But I think since it's been years and time has passed I learned to relate to it in a different way, maybe without even realizing it. So I don't think of it as "emptiness" anymore, simply a form of anxiety. I saw a video of someone with BPD talking about the emptiness and it must have caught me at the right moment that I thought to myself, "Is what I experience sometimes still 'the emptiness?'"

I think it is. And for me it still catches me without me being mindful of it right away and takes me out of the moment into a sort of panic. That's what I believe it actually is neurologically - the panic/grief system firing off. It's not as intense as it used to be. But I thought it was gone and yet maybe I just changed how I think about it.

And when it's going off the way I interact with it is to feel anxious and my thoughts start to race. I would say I try to "run from" it.

But I'd like to hear how others (including you!) conceptualize this "hollowness".

(Also, does simply mentioning it make it appear for you? I'm hoping not.. :? )



edit:

I've also noticed that when I talk with people who haven't experienced trauma or a personality disorder they don't seem to understand when I try to describe this feeling. It's like no matter how much information or description you give it doesn't quite click.

I suspect this is that panic/grief system again, perhaps part of the vagus nerve... I believe people who have never experienced something life-threatening or who experienced it but had the resilience/resources/coping skills to get past it quickly ... I believe they don't understand what it's like to feel that feeling for a longer amount of time. (And this is what I believe "the darkness" is.)
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Re: The emptiness, darkness, or void

Postby Kimera » Thu May 17, 2018 8:18 pm

whichway wrote:Everything you said makes total sense. Would you say "attempt to get rid of" is the right way to describe how you interact with it then?

Good grief, whichway. So damn picky with the wording. If you’re going to back me into a corner, I’d say it’s about replacing the dark void with good feelings.

whichway wrote:brought it up because it occurred to me that I might still be experiencing this "emptiness". I've mentioned before that I believe I had BPD in the past (along with PTSD) and I remember the utter despair of the empty feeling.

But I think since it's been years and time has passed I learned to relate to it in a different way, maybe without even realizing it. So I don't think of it as "emptiness" anymore, simply a form of anxiety. I saw a video of someone with BPD talking about the emptiness and it must have caught me at the right moment that I thought to myself, "Is what I experience sometimes still 'the emptiness?'"

So this is more of a BPD thing? I think anxiety is part of it. But it’s not the whole picture. I’ve experienced anxiety that didn’t have the craving component - that compulsive need to generate good feelings. It’s the two paired together, I think.

whichway wrote:And for me it still catches me without me being mindful of it right away and takes me out of the moment into a sort of panic. That's what I believe it actually is neurologically - the panic/grief system firing off. It's not as intense as it used to be. But I thought it was gone and yet maybe I just changed how I think about it.

I don’t experience panic. It’s more turbulent than that. Smoldering rage.

whichway wrote:(Also, does simply mentioning it make it appear for you? I'm hoping not.. :? )

Nope. That doesn’t do it.

edit:

whichway wrote:I've also noticed that when I talk with people who haven't experienced trauma or a personality disorder they don't seem to understand when I try to describe this feeling. It's like no matter how much information or description you give it doesn't quite click.

I suspect this is that panic/grief system again, perhaps part of the vagus nerve... I believe people who have never experienced something life-threatening or who experienced it but had the resilience/resources/coping skills to get past it quickly ... I believe they don't understand what it's like to feel that feeling for a longer amount of time. (And this is what I believe "the darkness" is.)

I only talk about it here. I haven’t even gotten around to sharing this with my therapist. I tried once, but felt too exposed and changed the topic. Like you said, people can’t relate.

So if you and I are both experiencing this, does that mean I’m a non?
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Re: The emptiness, darkness, or void

Postby Kimera » Thu May 17, 2018 8:38 pm

Reflecting further in anticipation of the “well, then, what does trigger it....it’s threats to my external defenses. Not little ones, although they can add up on a bad day. Major threats - the kind that send me into attack mode.

Worst feeling in the world if it happens and I’m surrounded by people - like at work. If I don’t exit the situation, I will end up behaving in a way I’ll regret at some point.
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Re: The emptiness, darkness, or void

Postby Akuma » Wed May 23, 2018 3:55 am

whichway wrote:I think that's how it's been described here before. If not, how would you describe it?

What I'm curious about is: How do you interact with the feeling of it?

Do you try to push it away? Ignore it? Run from it? Destroy it? How would you describe what you do when the feeling of the void shows up?


Well theres two problems for me, one of which might seem a bit philosophical.

The first is that there is an emptiness that is probably part of the more borderlinish part of me; so if there is emptiness then it is experienced but if it is not experienced it is as if it has never been there. I do know f.e. that I have sitten on the couch a few days ago complaining about emptiness, but its a syntactic (semantic? lingual?) memory, there is no experience or memory of an actual inner state called "emptiness".

The 2nd thing, maybe connected witht he first, is what probably every buddhist with a bit of knowledge in his religion would jump on, namely that emptiness is not a presence but an absence. So in a way it is not an actual object, but it is an absence which's "presence" can merely be inferred. Which of course raises the interesting question which emotions (?) - albeit possibly subconscious ones - trigger the idea of there being emptiness.

So the second one for me shows that its nothing one can interact with, you cant shove nothing away. If we stay with buddhism, the idea is in Theravada that when the person raches Arahanthood, there he looses among tother things the capacity for intentional action. One of the curious side-effects is that in the pali canon the arahant dies when he is not part of a sangha, because he stops eating. So in a way such an emptiness is also the lack of a core and it brings with it a certain amount of dissociation towards the world and a "want-nothing" mentality. I think this also reduces the wish to push it away.
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Re: The emptiness, darkness, or void

Postby ShowJumpingRabbit » Wed May 23, 2018 6:02 am

Feelings of emptiness result from lacking the skills and habits to have recourse to your emotions to compel yourself to act in a way that procures well being.

If you don't exercise, your muscles shrink, if your muscles are too weak, you experience fatigue and body aches. So similarly, there is a payback, so to speak, to ignoring one's feelings. That's all there is to feelings of emptiness.
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