Broken Hearts Can Surrender

Broken hearts can surrender: to a beat that is tender

Throughout the life of this website, a theme has been materializing within the comments section. Whether you came here while in a place of of dark despair or were further along on your journey, many of you chose to step through the veil of cyberspace to share your pain, your stories, your encouragement and your wisdom. You put your thoughts and feelings into writing, and out of each word, each comment, a song was composed. Your words quietly joined with the words of others and assembled into lyrics and a melody, until your voices–each one unique–sang together in one common song. It is a soulful, poignant and heart-achingly beautiful song about the human spirit.

Having heard this song, I can tell you with confidence that what happened to you wasn’t because there was something “wrong” with you, some weakness or gullibility or inherent defect of character or lack of common sense. In fact, I have very often been in awe of those of you who have come here and shared something of yourselves, and of those who I’ve had the privilege of getting to know better. It turns out that the members of this club, if you will–one that none of us chose to join–are actually outstanding people who are able to love deeply, share thoughts and feelings openly, connect meaningfully, care tenderly, and work courageously gaining self-insight. Many of you have had a great deal of success in terms of educational and career achievement, and many are genuinely talented poets, writers, sculptors, painters and musicians… and it is one such musician who inspired me to write this post.

Geoff was inspired to contact me by the Soul Songs page (which contains a collection of a reader’s poetry about her experience of being involved with a psychopathic man). Geoff sent me two of his songs, and I was truly astounded when I listened to them. Their honesty and tenderness touched me deeply. One song is about awakening after his ordeal with a psychopathic woman, and the other about a chance encounter with a woman of a different kind. I thought, “Wow, this is a very talented man.” And then I realized he fits right in with the rest of you, and that I wanted to share not only his music, but my thoughts about you.

Geoff’s note to me:

I have returned to your website after a year or so for various reasons, but mainly because your words resonate deeply within my soul.

I happen to have a couple of ‘Soul Songs’ I wrote last year so I thought I might share them. One is called called ‘Metamorphosis,’ and it describes the excruciating awakening one experiences in the aftermath of a relationship with a psychopath. The other is called ‘Little Soul Sister,’ which describes a chance meeting with a soulful human whilst *busking, who provided a much needed antidote to the poison administered by my psychopathic abuser.

[*Busking is playing music or otherwise performing for voluntary donations in the street or in subways]

And now Geoff’s songs.

When I wrote Metamorphosis, I read and re-read Ovid’s story of Echo and Narcissus. Echo experienced her own devastating aftermath as Ovid describes so beautifully below:
‘Now spurned, she conceals herself in forests, and, in her shame, covers her face with leaves.

From that time on, she lives in lonely caves.
But still her love is there and even grows from the pain of her rejection.
Worries and lack of sleep waste her wretched body.
Poverty shrinks her skin, and all the juices in her body move out into the air.
Only her voice and bones are left.
Her voice still lives.
The story goes her bones were changed to shapes of stone.
Since that time, she hides out in the woods.
No one has ever seen her in the mountains but she is heard by all.
It is the sound which still lives on in her’.
Book III, Metamorphoses, Ovid, 8AD

Metamorphosis

Well I’ve been told, oh I’ve been told
There’s a hole in the centre of my soul
I’m growing old oh I’m growing old
With a hole in the centre of my soul

Chorus
Now I would rather be
Rather be a soulful man
But I don’t really know
Really know who I am
Yes I would rather be
Rather be a soulful man
But I don’t really know
Really know who I am

I’m striking out though hope is lost
It’s time to risk no matter what the cost
Hoodwinked by grief. Swindled by fear
I‘m easily fooled ‘cos they’ve been my friends for years

Chorus
Now I would rather be
Rather be a soulful man
But I don’t really know
Really know who I am
Yes I would rather be
Rather be a soulful man
But I don’t really know
Really know who I am

Narcissus calls when I ignore
My body’s voice, so my body keeps the score
But woken by her soft lament
Nymph Echo bids farewell to my contempt

Chorus
Now I would rather be
Rather be a soulful man
And now I really know
Really know who I am
Yes I would rather be
Rather be a soulful man
And now I really know
Really know who I am

Words and Music: Geoff S., November 2017

Listen:

Little Soul Sister

Hey, little soul sister: (I) could’ve easily have missed you
I was just passing by
Hey, little soul sister: we could’ve missed by a whisker
For the rest of our lives

Chorus
I have known you once before
Maybe a thousand years before

And hey, there’ll come a time for singing: it’s a fine way of bringing
Healing into the light

And hey, broken hearts can surrender: to a beat that is tender
In the blink of an eye

Chorus
I have known you once before
Maybe a thousand years before

So hey, I am your soul brother: hope there will be many others’
You can meet by and by

Music and words: Geoff S., August 2017

Another lovely and meaningful song from Geoff. This one, about us being a part of something universal, is played using only two chords and is meant to be a meditation:

Quantum of Loneliness

When you look into the Universe
The Universe looks back
You’re not alone in the Universe
Quite the reverse in fact

Because the contents of any distant star
Are the contents of any broken heart

The pieces of a star
Are hidden in our hearts
The pieces of a star
Are hidden in our hearts

When you look into the Universe
Even the sky is black
You’re not alone in the Universe
The Universe looks back

Because the contents of any distant star
Are the contents of any broken heart

The pieces of a star
Are hidden in our hearts
The pieces of a star
Are hidden in our hearts

Words and music: Geoff S., February 2015

To hear more of Geoff’s music, visit soundcloud

♥ Never doubt your resilience or your ability to overcome adversity. Embrace and cherish the tenderness of your heart and the depth of your soul, precious human qualities at the very core of who you are. Remember, broken hearts can surrender to a beat that is tender. Give yourself the tender loving kindness you need. It is quite possibly the most healing thing you can do.

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26 thoughts on “Broken Hearts Can Surrender”

  1. Totallybel

    Just beautiful Adelyn ? So enjoyed Geoff. Wishing you and all here a very Happy St Patrick’s Day ??☘??☘?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Totallybel! Thank you. Isn’t Geoff’s music wonderful?! So glad you enjoyed it. Happy St Patrick’s Day to you too ♥

    2. Seeker

      So pleased to have found your website after reading your brilliant book on Boundaries. Drawn to the ROAD MAP but could not find a way to comment. So important because dreams are providing guidance. I go into a Labyrinth and have to take note of landmarks to find my way out. I find my cat, sleeping next to a black labrador, gently take him in my arms and find my way out. I have not found a way yet. Involved in what I now know is pathological relationship with a narcissistic neighbour whose agenda is to abuse and harm both myself and cat.The experience has also triggered past trauma. I sleep so I am not conscious and unable to function to the same extent and have neglected myself, so self care has become an issue. I hope this reaches you as I would appreciate your thoughts and advice. Valued thanks

      1. Adelyn Birch

        Hi, Seeker. I’m sorry for the delay in responding to you. It’s not surprising that you’re having trouble functioning and are neglecting self-care; these people take center stage in our minds, exhausting us mentally and depleting our energy. I think the term “energy vampire” is accurate in describing them. He or she is draining you while at the same time is being energized by your reactions, emotions, and the control he has over you.

        If there is a positive aspect to your situation, it’s that you’re aware of what’s happening and you’re trying to find a way out. You didn’t tell me what keeps you attached to this person, so I can only assume that your relationship follows the usual pattern of being emotionally and physically intense and alternating between extreme highs and lows. That dynamic causes an actual addiction, which is a big part of why it’s so hard to walk away even when you know you should. Please read this excellent article by neuropsychologist Rhonda Freeman: The Spellbinding Bond to Narcissists and Psychopaths – What’s Happening in the Brain? There’s no easy way to do it, Seeker. You have to make a decision to save yourself, and be determined to do it even though you know it’ll be difficult and painful. You’re worth it, Seeker. It can be hard to see it after having your worth beaten down through manipulation and abuse, but it’s the truth. The bond (trauma bond) will eventually break. If possible, please consider getting assistance from a therapist who specializes in abusive relationships. Do whatever it takes to separate yourself from this person and stay separated. If something doesn’t work, try something else. Once you’re out, “no contact” is necessary, and that includes not checking their social media accounts. Doing that only keeps the attachment going.

        You will find your way out of the labyrinth. Have faith in that, and in your ability to get through the pain and heal after it’s over. I wrote about that in my very first blog post, when that faith is all I had (Faith That You Will Heal is the Key to Healing). I really felt as if I’d been destroyed, but making the decision to have that faith anyway gave me the hope and strength I needed to get through the darkest time.

        Have compassion for yourself. I can’t begin to tell you how vital it is. It was a game-changer for me. You deserve compassion, and it happens to be the antidote to having been treated without any. It makes no sense to do the same thing to ourselves, especially when there’s no real reason for it.

        Please keep your cat safe. Others have had beloved pets abused and even killed, and I don’t want that to happen to you. Best of luck to you, Seeker.

  2. a reader

    Long time no post! Its nice to get one now. We miss good old days of weekly or so posts;)

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I miss those too, and I hope I’ll be inspired to write more in the near future. Good to hear from you.

  3. Sweetescape

    Hi Adelyn,
    It was good to receive a new post. Beautiful stuff. I came here in my darkest hours 2/3 years ago and thankfully have come a long, long way. You gave me hope and I’m thankful beyond words for making me see that it was possible to come into the light again and see the good in others. It still hurts, but nothing, nothing like it did.
    Wishing the best to all.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi Sweetscape! It’s good to see you again. I’m very happy to hear how far you’ve come! It makes my heart glad to know I gave you hope. I wish the best to you, too, and to ALL of you, who I miss and cherish ♥ ♥ ♥ You helped me as much as I helped you. Thank you.

  4. Sweetescape

    That’s good to know Adelyn. This was my safety blanket. Forever grateful for your incredible contribution.
    Take care ❤️??

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Sweetscape, I’m grateful for your contribution too, for being a vital part of this endeavor and bringing it to life. We are soul sisters brothers, all of us. Be well and happy ♥

  5. JoanaS.

    I found this site today, and it`s really great!! Thank you for all the articles!

    I have one question if you or someone want to answer. It is bothering me for a long, long time.

    I was in a relationship with one P. It was tough to forgot him… I didn`t succeed actually :( Not just because he was mimicking me. Than because he is REALLY similar to me! I know that because I have the RELIABLE information (from the other sources) about his previous life and life after our relationship.

    It`s so confusing to me that person who I should look at as only mimicry to become healed and psychologically free isn`t similar to me just because of mimicry than because we are REALLY very similar. (for example – we both go on horse racing all our life, and MANY other very specific things! The similarity of two of us is so creepy and horrible!) I never read about such case and I don`t know how to handle it. Yes, he is P, he IS mimicking me (and other persons), but in the same time he IS truly similar to me. I`m absolutely confused. Any advice appreciated!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Joana. I’m glad to hear you like the website. Thank you very much.

      You may not have succeeded yet, but you will. Give yourself time. I don’t know where you heard that knowing he mimicked you should be all you need to heal; please just forget that. It’s not so easy, as you know. While it’s true that psychopaths often pretend to enjoy the things we do, it’s also possible for a psychopath to actually enjoy horse racing, or anything else. The one I knew liked swing dancing and boating and good food. None of this is important. What’s important is their inability to connect emotionally with another human being, which is necessary for a relationship. What’s important is a conscience, and empathy, and the ability to love. Without those things, there is nothing, except heartbreak and emotional trauma.

      I wish you all the best, Joana

      1. JoanaS.

        Dear Adelyn,
        Thank you for your valuable advice. I really appreciate it.

        I wonder (another question now) – if some P. enjoys e.g. swing, horse racing, boating… how is that even possible if he doesn`t have the soul? Which part of his personality is responsible for that enjoying? Does he enjoy via his intellect? Or via some adrenaline rush bounded to that intellectual preference? How is possible someone to have preference for something if he doesn`t have emotions/soul? When he can`t LIKE anything? And, how is possible P-s to have preferences for something when they don`t have real personality, when their personality is completely fluid? What do you think?

        All the best.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          I think you might be mistaking these preferences as things that mean they have depth and substance. Horse racing and swing dancing have nothing to do with character or having a conscience, for example. Loving pizza is much different than loving another human being. Psychopaths do have very limited emotions, but they can feel exhilaration when something ignites their dopamine–be it winning a horse race or sex or cocaine or successfully manipulating someone, so they will repeat those activities. I hope that helps to explain it.

          1. JoanaS.

            Yea, that makes sense – that it`s just dopamine rush.

            But, what about next thing. There are many e.g. famous actors, writers, sportsmen who are P-s. So – maybe their feelings for acting, writing, sports are not deep in human sense of that word. But, what about the consistency? They are consistent for sure in their preferences. Doesn`t that mean there is some kind of character in that? E.g. Hitler loved to paint. Why to paint, and paint… Why not to play guitar? Hmmm… maybe the answer is – talent? That P-s don`t have personality but they DO have talents? I mean that`s highly the case. But now, we can ask ourselves also – aren`t talents parts of one`s PERSONALITY also? Does that mean P-s DO have the personality/character because they have talents? And, in the same time, are the talents of one P. ALL that one P. possesses of his personality?

            1. Adelyn Birch

              Hitler painted pictures.
              Hitler was a monster.

              Personality is not the same as character. “Character” is precisely what psychopaths are missing. Psychopathy is a character disturbance that rises to the level of being a disorder. According to Dr. George Simon, character disorder expert,

              “Personality and character are related but nonetheless different concepts. Although both of these terms have been used quite loosely and often synonymously (even by professionals) they are very different constructs. Character is an important aspect of one’s personality – the aspect that reflects one’s ethics and integrity, but it is not synonymous with personality.”

              Psychopaths have no ethics or integrity. Nor do they have morals, a conscience, or the ability to love, empathize or feel compassion. These things are important, NOT shallow enthusiasm for horse racing or for swing dancing or for thinking they’re clever for presenting a false agenda meant to undermine traumatized people on a website meant to give them support. They’re not clever. They’re predictable and boring. When you get to the core of what they do, it is this: They waste our time.

              1. JoanaS.

                I read Dr.Simon`s text. He defines character as “aspect of personality that reflects one`s moral integrity”. Yes, P-s don`t have it. But I think that`s not the only thing they don`t have. They`re morphing all the time and they are not sure who they are. That`s not just because of the lack of moral integrity. Something else is missing also. Something BIG. But, at the same time, that all-the-time morphing individuals who aren`t sure for about 90% of their preferences and personality traits, DO have their 10% consistent personality traits/preferences. Dr. Simon mentioned as consistent “heredity, socio-cultural influences, trauma…”. For sure, that are the factors that are constant in one P`s personality. But, does one P. prefers swing dance or horse racing because of that factors? I don`t think that`s the answer. So, for me it remains the mystery why one P. who 90% time doesn`t know what he prefers or not because the part of his personality just isn`t there/is missing… it remains the mystery how he knows the rest 10% part of the time that he prefers, REALLY PREFERS e.g. swing dance… Via which part of himself he PREFERS that (not just random choose, than prefers)?! Something`s not clear in all that.

                “presenting the false agenda (…)” – why you`re mentioning that?

              2. Adelyn Birch

                The first thing to remember is that psychopathy is considered a spectrum disorder, so there will be variations from one individual to another. (None of them are safe for a relationship, though, since none has enough emotional empathy, all are manipulative, and all are out for personal gain, no matter the cost to anyone else.) But there are some generalities.

                Psychopaths don’t morph because they “don’t know” what they prefer; they morph very purposely, as a tactic of manipulation. If we pretended to be something we’re not, we would feel we weren’t being authentic. It would feel very uncomfortable, because we’re very attached to our identities, which include things like our beliefs, morals, family, friends, culture, gender role, group belonging, and also our interests and hobbies.

                But psychopaths can morph when they choose to, and when they do, what are they morphing from? Who is the psychopath, really, when not pretending to be someone they’re not?

                Psychopaths aren’t attached to a sense of identity (a sense of an “authentic self”). That’s why they can morph into whoever or whatever they need to be in order to manipulate another person. If you think of them as “intraspecies predators,” as Robert Hare does, it makes sense. Their ability to morph is a vital part of capturing prey. One way to manipulate someone is to pretend to like the same things they do. We want to be with others who enjoy the same things and have the same beliefs and the same goals, etc.

                But I don’t think any of this precludes having preferences. When they go to a restaurant they choose an item from the menu they think they’d enjoy eating, right? Why do some psychopaths become orthopedic surgeons instead of bankers or chefs? Maybe they had a parent who had that profession (socio-cultural influence) or they naturally excelled in science and math (heredity) or they find it thrilling to use power tools on people (dopamine). It doesn’t make anything else about them less true. A predator who likes horse racing is still a predator. His affinity for horse racing doesn’t indicate a firm sense of identity or the ability to empathize or to love another person, and being a predator doesn’t mean he can’t have preferences.

                This is the best I explanation I can give based on my knowledge and experience. Let me know if your research turns up anything interesting.

  6. Betty

    Beautiful! thanks for sharing :)

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You’re welcome, Betty. Glad that you enjoyed it.

  7. M.B.

    Hello Adelyn and everyone. I do not really know how to ask, how to put it… But I am in a desperate need of sharing my unfinished story, full of plots and twists, a story of the last 24 years (I am 38), with someone who could explain to me what is happening and tell me whether I am a seriously damaged person or I am just paranoid or my own worst enemy. I do not know how to do it, how to share, seek help. Im terrified and maybe on the verge of destroying the lives of my kids and my own. I have tried seeing a therapist a year ago, it did not help, mainly my fault probably. I know it is a huge request and I am sorry to ask, is there any way I could share with you this terribly long story of mine?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, M.B. I’m truly sorry that you’re feeling such anguish and confusion. You are wise to reach out for someone to help you make sense of things. From what you describe, it’s too much to deal with on your own. To be honest, I’m not the right person to give you the help and support you need, especially with the fate of your children hanging in the balance. It’s beyond my ability as a layperson. I’m sorry about that. Everything I know and that I believe might help others is written on this website. My advice to you is to try therapy again. Please make sure to find a therapist with expertise in abusive relationships, especially with a personality-disordered partner, if possible.

      You say you’re trying to figure out if you’re a seriously damaged person or just paranoid or your own worst enemy. Maybe it’s none of those, although it’s very common to feel that way during or after an abusive relationship because the person being victimized is usually blamed for the problems. But here you are on this website, meaning that you believe your partner may have some kind of personality disorder. If that’s the case, then that would be the real problem. It isn’t possible to have a relationship that meets your normal emotional needs, or that’s based on genuine intimacy, with someone who lacks empathy and is manipulative. That doesn’t mean we’ll recognize what’s missing while it’s happening; it’s far more likely for us to try and to keep trying, for months or years or even decades, to get what we need from them–but only end up frustrated instead. It’s important that you figure out what was really going on in your relationship. Was it you? Was it him? Once you clear that confusion, you can move forward in whatever direction you need to in order to heal. I wish you and your children all the best, M.B., and the best of luck to you in finding the help you’re looking for.

      1. M.B.

        Thank you for a very reasonable and honest reply. I do finally understand the necessity of finding a good therapist and I will most certainly do so. I happen to live in a place , where it is not that easy though, and when I do, it will still take some time before I actually manage to utter anything that will make sense. It is not as much the situation I am currently in that causes anguish as the past and fear of repeating the patterns and dynamics. There is no one objective around who could tell me whether I am obsessing about issues that should have been resolved a long time ago, whether I am the only one responsible for my state of mind and obsessed , whether the boat will sink if I let it sail or is it going to rotten if I keep it away from the water, so to speak. I am a mother and I am totally confused, mistrust my own judgment, which is not a safe thing in itself. Thank you once again for your kind words, I will try to find a therapist and will write the story anyway with the hope that the process itself will help me some. Thank you once again for your invaluable work, Adelyn.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          I’m glad to hear you’ll find another therapist, M.B. I remember well going through a time of fear of repeating the past, like you describe. I didn’t trust anyone and doubted my ability to protect myself. Upon learning how he manipulated me, it wasn’t a big mystery anymore. They use the same basic techniques to hijack our vulnerabilities, which are usually normal things like wanting a relationship and the ability to love. And then our cognitive biases play a big part, for example, once we form an image of someone as loving and trustworthy, it’s hard to shake no matter what they do; we explain things away, give them the benefit of the doubt, etc. That’s all it takes. And then there’s our neurochemistry that plays a huge role in the whole thing, too, that creates the bond to an abuser that is very strong, and very hard to break when it’s over. As I learned all of these things, I began to trust myself to be able to protect myself. Self-trust = self-confidence. I also had to accept the possibility that I might be duped again anyway, and learning to live with that.

          The Spellbinding Bond To Narcissists And Psychopaths – What’s Happening In The Brain?

          I remember the anguish, too, and unfortunately that trauma doesn’t heal from logic or facts. I’m sorry you’re going through that dark time. I discovered that self-compassion was key to begin healing. Make a point to cultivate it. When you truly feel it, you’ll know it. You really do deserve to have compassion for yourself. It didn’t happen because of some terrible flaw that you have. It can happen to anyone. The Self-Compassion Effect

          Good luck to you, M.B. Come back and let me know how you’re doing, OK?

  8. Geoff

    We are entering a time when so many of the worlds’ leaders are desiring to be deified. Here are some music lyrics that can provide a momentary antidote to the insanity of their dangerous psychopathology.

    Listen to the Hummingbird

    Listen to the hummingbird
    Whose wings you cannot see
    Listen to the hummingbird
    Don’t listen to me

    Listen to the butterfly
    Whose days but number three
    Listen to the butterfly
    Don’t listen to me

    Listen to the mind of God
    Which doesn’t need to be
    Listen to the mind of God
    Don’t listen to me

    Listen to the hummingbird
    Whose wings you cannot see
    Listen to the hummingbird
    Don’t listen to me

    Leonard Cohen

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi Geoff. Thank you for sharing these beautiful lyrics (from Cohen’s recently released posthumous album,‘Thanks For The Dance.’) Listen to ‘Listen to the Hummingbird.’

      So true, and not only do many leaders want to be deified, but many people are willing to deify them. It’s easier to “believe” in a leader than it is to do the hard work of thinking for yourself demanded by democracy. The world is in a period of repeating the past, of going backwards into darkness. Leonard Cohen’s song “Puppets,’ from the same album, hits hard and stands in stark contrast to Hummingbird, a timely rumination on evil and control.

      Peace

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