Loss of Creative Passion (Covert Attacks)

Written by on April 10, 2012 in The Healing Journey with 34 Comments

So what does it look like when your creative passion is covertly attacked?

Covert abusers are cautious about being obvious with their intent, especially at first. They want to win your trust, or more accurately, lower your defenses. True to their covert nature, when they do start withdrawing their support, it will be indirectly.

They can become miserable, sullen, or pouty when you attempt to tend to your creativity. They may become resentful, slam a door or two or become moody and silent. Their behavior and attitude slowly replaces the joy you feel for your creativity with guilt.

They may sabotage you with cheap shots or irresponsibility. A covert abuser may not come out and forbid you from following your passion, but they can make the journey fraught with more potholes and mishaps than necessary.

They’ll pick a fight the night before or day of your performance, book reading or art show. Or they’ll wait to say something mean or shocking just as you’re about to go up front to sing or speak or engage with the public in some way. It might be a valid topic for discussion — under different circumstances. But the timing is horrible, yet calculated. You are thrown off balance just when you need to be centered and focused the most. That’s the point.

Or perhaps they neglect to do what they say they will, and you find when you walk up to the stage to perform that the PA system hasn’t been completely set up, or just as you grab the microphone you realize the music tracks were left behind, or the display stands for your art pieces were never packed, or parts of the tent for your booth were misplaced. Things you had entrusted to the covert abuser to take care of are not.

And you’re left to scramble at the very last moment to make things work, to remember your lyrics when you’re unnerved, to compose yourself and look like a professional when it appears you’re not, to improvise and make do with what should have been an easy set up or smooth performance.

Or they can suddenly become helpless or just interrupt the hell out of you.

Try writing a book when your partner suddenly becomes the most incompetent person in the world and needs to ask you how to do things they’ve always been able to do before, like changing the baby’s diaper (it’s been peed in), locating various kitchen utensils (when they love to cook), needing to share news trivia or feeling compelled to visit you with the kids, dog, cat and anything else they can drag into your tiny workspace, because they “miss you”.

And you haven’t even been there for an hour yet.

They can drive the creative into distraction with interruptions to rival that of a toddler. They may inundate you with so many interruptions that you begin to feel it’s better to not start at all than to face such maddening frustration.

If you have the good fortune to go to a recording, writing or art studio they may call you before your session is up asking if you’re done yet. Or they may show up unannounced a half hour or so before you’re scheduled to leave, and wait not so patiently for you to finish.

Or you’re at the potter’s wheel, or at the writer’s desk, or the painter’s easel and they walk by and kiss you. That’s sweet, right? So you respond in kind, and they leave. And then they come by again, and then they come by again, and then again. And each time they expect you to stop and give your full appreciative attention to them.

Meanwhile your pottery languishes, your creative flow is thwarted and you lose momentum. Ideas and inspiration slip away, escaping your pen or brush. You get frustrated, annoyed even. You tactfully try to tell them you need to focus, and then BAM, you have a fight on your hands.

How can you be so selfish when they just want to love you? Excuse me for offending you with a kiss.

It takes discipline, time and effort to bring what you envision to fruition. When you follow your passion, you truly are carried on a current of creative energy, that synergy of toil and joy bringing ideas into color, form, shape and sound. Without these ingredients of discipline, time and effort, creative ideas remain ideas.

And when the artistic ideas don’t come together,
the collection of songs never get recorded, the landscapes never painted and poetry never written, the pottery never fired, or the book never published, the covert abuser can use that against you. It becomes a perfect opportunity.

They don’t call you fat. They don’t say you’re ugly. That’s not the form this covert abuse takes.

No, they just say you were never really that serious, never that good. They say you never complete anything. They say I told you so. They say you’re involved in too many things, (namely your creative endeavors).

They tell you to get realistic. They say it’s just a hobby or a waste of time. Get a real job or stick with your real job, and spend the rest of your time with them…unless they don’t want you to, like when they have something better to do, which they will always make time for.

********

POINTS TO PONDER
So what are the things in your life that sabotage your creativity? How do they specifically play out in your life?

Loss of Passion Series
Loss of Sexual Passion (Hypo-Sexuality
Loss of Sexual Passion (Hyper-Sexuality)
Loss of Creative Passion (Deliberate Intention)

Support the Work of Love

Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

About the Author: Greetings, fellow dreamer, and welcome! I’m Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist. Some of my creative projects are a CD of healing music, “For the Sake of Love” and a children’s book on the interconnectedness of life, “Little Yellow Pear Tomatoes” published by Illumination Arts. Currently, I’m in the process of creating podcasts for my book series on covert abuse. My commitment is to the creative process especially as it relates to the healing journey. Whether I’m singing at a vigil for asylum seekers, memorial for political activists or sitting around a table sharing tea and conversation with friends who just want to talk heart to heart, I am always deeply moved by the human spirit to love and live with authentic beauty. Thank you for being here, for reading my posts and/or listening to my podcast. There’s much to share, much to create and the journey has just begun! Meet you on the path. .

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

34 Reader Comments

Trackback URL Comments RSS Feed

  1. AGB says:

    They (men in my life) didn’t care what I did. Receiving any satisfaction or desire to be creative died out no matter who else was noticing or involved after a time. It seemed so empty doing anything, without the ones you love being there or even care enough to know whats going on. Just waiting for the next time they had time for me, and feeling invisible just added to lower esteem. So it was the indifference, I was always came last or felt selfish when I wanted more. But when they had the time for me I forgot the world and just wanted to be positive and not wreck the wonderful way I was treated away from it all. I never realized it (the idea, the problems, the feelings) was about them. Funny though, it always seemed like they cared about others but in the end all was about when it was good for them. It takes a lot of work to create something, or make something work and very crushing when others push you away because they want it too… and this is what the other women usually did. I totally hate competition and when others feel intimidated so I will step back rather than get into the game. Only creative attention I got from men was the things they imagined I could create in bed. And even that was easily replaced. Writing has been in the works for me, seems reading others words are like reading my own. And reading others words permits me to be OK, not criticized for venting, nor afraid to speak out and feel. But my being creative any further in my own writing made me realize I’m still doing this alone. For all the small things I do, it would be nice to be acknowledged from someone I love, that they know how hard it was for me or how others made it difficult for me, rather than see someone else get the attention. I know its selfish, but I was like a dry sponge soaking up any drip when I should be full enough not to need any water in my bucket. Got to look for those small holes causing the slow leaks, so no more emptiness has me thirsty for small drips. Working on that.
     

  2. The Path To Peace-Recovery From Psychopathic Manip says:

    My good friend Demian runs the Covert Bullying page and has her own blog. This is another great article! I would like to ask of favor of all of you on her behalf in the form of a question for feedback. HOw did your abuser interfere with your attempts at creativity? Please feel free to post your thoughts! Your feedback helps her with her own creative gifts for writing that are so helpful to all in learning how to get back what we lost, and why the abuser wanted to take it away! Thank you ahead of time for your thoughts and feedback!

  3. Demian Yumei says:

    Wow! Thank you so much Keli! Sending you sweet dream wishes. I’ll talk to you in the morning and hope for a gentle rising of the sun on a brand new day.

  4. April Bond says:

    They didn’t care what I did. Receiving any satisfaction or desire to be creative died out no matter who else was noticing or involved after a time. It seemed so empty doing anything, without the ones you love being there or even care enough to know whats going on. Just waiting for the next time they had time for me, and feeling invisible just added to lower esteem. So it was the indifference, I was always came last or felt selfish when I wanted more. Until it (the idea, the problems, the feelings) was about them. Funny though, it always seemed like they cared about others but in the end all was about when it was good for them. It takes a lot of work to create something, or make something work and very crushing when others push you away because they want it too… and this is what the women usually did. I totally hate competition and when others feel intimidated so I will step back rather than get into the game. Only creative attention I got from men was the things they imagined I could create in bed. And even that was easily replaced. Writing has been in the works for me, seems reading others words are like reading my own. And reading others words permits me to be OK, not criticized for venting, nor afraid to. But my being creative any further in my own writing made me realize I’m doing it alone. For all the small things I do, it would be nice to be acknowledged from someone I love, that they know how hard it was for me or how others made it difficult, rather than see someone else get the attention. I know its selfish, but I was like a dry sponge soaking up any drip when I should be full enough not to need any water in my bucket. Got to look for those small holes causing the slow leaks, so no more emptiness has me thirsty for small drips.Working on that.

  5. Cecelia Ryan says:

    this page is not loading

  6. Mary Malouf Dallas says:

    My experience has been more like Tricia’s. Anything I said needed doing was intentionally not done. However, he conveniently found ways to ruin my plans by starting an argument right before we were to leave, find ridiculous delays to leaving on time, or not show up at all. After 10 years of this, I always had to have a Plan B, and when I employed it, he would act as if I were the shrew and get even for a week. I learned to ignore it, but really, this was no real partnership. Still doing all the work and making all the plans, I find that I’m much happier without his inconvenient manipulations interrupting them.

  7. DemianYumei says:

    Hi AGB, and welcome! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and making some very good points. I think rendering someone invisible has got to be one of the most debilitating things to do to a person. That is an assault, just one that you don’t see coming like a swinging fist, but just as destructive if not more so. A black eye you can see, but a bruise on a person’s spirit, though it goes deeper, is not visible to the eye.
     
    I think being creative is so closely linked to who we are, to our very essence that when not having that part of us recognized by those we love the most is like not being seen at all. It does make you feel small, does affect your sense of self worth and esteem.
     
    My family did acknowledge my creative talents – when it reflected on them. When they could put me on display and have me recite my latest poem (usually glorifying my dad) or bask in the light of how wonderful *they* were as parents for having such a precocious child. And yet, when it came down to actually providing me with any real support to develop those talents there was none. Precocious was fine. Trained in the arts, well, not worth investing in.
     
    So, my creativity wasn’t invisible, just useful. And that set up some real obstacles for me that I still deal with today.
     
    I don’t think it’s selfish to want to be acknowledged for the work you do. It’s wonderful to have your work appreciated, your effort appreciated. I know that for myself though, I won’t get that from my family of origin for a number of reasons.
     
    But I think, the creative energy is so strong that it will find its expression no matter what…or make us very miserable with its absence and neglect in our life to get OUR attention. So maybe, it’s not a matter of getting those people we deem important in our lives to give us the acknowledgment we need, but for us to give our creativity the acknowledgment it needs from us.
     
    In a way, when we write we are alone, but I have found that in just doing it and then sharing it I am always pleasantly surprised to see how not alone I really am, and how well traveled this road is that I am walking. There are people beside you now, perhaps not with names that you know, but if you walk it, if you allow yourself to write I think you will find some good companions. They may not be who you think they should be, but they will be enough. 🙂
     
    Good luck and deep satisfaction on your creative endeavors, and again, thanks for allowing me to listen to your thoughts.

  8. Demian E Yumei (Miyasan's Daughter) says:

    This is a test comment to see if this comment gets migrated to my blog through livefyre.

  9. Demian Yumei says:

    @April Bond, I just posted a reply to your comment on my blog where you had made a comment there as well. I would just encourage you to embrace your creativity no matter what kind of support you have. I know it’s wonderful to have it, but if you don’t, then what’s most important is that you give it to yourself. Ideally, the ones who we love or who are supposed to love us will be the ones who acknowledge us. We know how that works! For a lot of us it just doesn’t!

    So pick up your pen, and be fearless in sharing your ideas and thoughts, because they ARE important and what you have to offer through any creative venue is just what this world needs.

    I believe we all have that gift, and though it may look different for each of us and may not even appear to fit in the categories that we call art, I believe being our authentic selves is an incredibly creative and valuable thing to do. 🙂

  10. Connie Sue Jackson says:

    I remember one specific instance early on in our relationship when I was helping out on a newsletter for a fan forum, and I had to work on it that weekend – he would whine around and say things like, you care more about that than me. I remember him romancing me to keep me distracted. It was probably one of the few times he was ever that way. I just started saving the weekends for him because that was basically when we were together. I did my stuff during the week – and saved all my time for him during the weekends. And, yes, if they need time to do something, they will let you know – no compromise on their part. If he was ever at the computer doing anything, and I missed him, I would be all affectionate, put my arm around him, give him a kiss (of course he told me later he disliked kisses), and I would be given the cold shoulder, yelled at or, worse yet, pushed away.

    I did feel drained (like pps leave ya). After he would go, I felt so confused and would cry around. I eventually gave up creative pursuits and other projects. When we broke up, I first felt a weight lifted, and I DID think of all the projects I would have time for now. But frankly I still haven’t accomplished much. I do think this is part of recovery – perhaps depression and feeling unmotivated.

  11. Demian Yumei says:

    @Tricia Green, oh my goodness! I can see how being in that situation is not conducive to creativity. It’s not conducive to anything except having the life sucked out of you.

    Tricia, it sounds like getting that schooling or doing whatever you can to empower yourself and not be financially dependent on him is your first practical priority. Just remember that this type of situation can slowly debilitate you so that even if you were to get into school, you might not have the energy to do your classes.

    And I have to wonder, if he would “allow” you to go or to succeed, because if you realize being financially dependent would empower you, then he must realize that too, and I wonder if he would let that happen.

    Just be careful that you don’t lose so much of yourself in the interim that when your opportunity comes you can’t take it.

  12. Demian Yumei says:

    @Cecelia, are you talking about the blog? I think it is now. If not, let me know. Thanks! 🙂

  13. Demian Yumei says:

    @Mary, their timing is just incredible isn’t it? Plan B is important to have in these situations. Sometimes it just can’t happen though, but learning not to depend on them to get anything important done or doing a follow up check yourself is a good idea. But you’re right…that’s no partnership.

  14. The Path To Peace-Recovery From Psychopathic Manip says:

    Wow!! So nice to see great feedback! I just love the discussions. They are so enlightening for me. Demian, I hope this helps with feedback! Thanks everyone for participating! I always learn something from your stories!

  15. Demian Yumei says:

    @Connie Sue Jackson, “you care more about that than me” Oh, is that ever classic! Yes, and romancing you as a distraction, just amazing…

    Give yourself some time. It took me a long, long time to begin recovering my creativity, which was and is so much a part of me! So much of our energy goes into surviving, and then when we finally do escape, there’s the trauma that we have to contend with. Healing is a creative act. Just give yourself time for that, and allow yourself to play. You don’t even have to do any “projects” as such, just play. That will be a fabulous start.

  16. Connie Sue Jackson says:

    Also, when I thought about how my ex disrupted my creativity and the time I helped out on a fan forum, I thought it worthy to mention my online friend who ran the forum. I am still friendly with her, but I think about our past working relationship. She was bossy and controlling….she often wrote me complaining or gossiping about other moderators on the forum and even about the band members she had started the forum about. If I agreed with her about her complaints about others – she would immediately call me on it and tell me I was wrong to say that (projection, anyone?). At one hurtful time, after being friendly with her and talking about personal things, she informed me that she didn’t want to talk about anything, but the forum. She also likes to offer unsolicited advice and enjoys being brutally honest (why is it pathologicals can lie about everything, but cannot tell a little white lie to spare someone’s feelings?!). I ended up writing her an email explaining how a person can’t go around telling other people how to live their lives. After those, I left it up to her to apologize and stay in contact – and she did. I have kept our communication friendly, but superficial. She told me last year that she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome which makes sense in her lack of social boundaries, but she still seems toxic to me. Right now I remember how she would praise my skills and say that I would have never thought to do that, but then I would submit something to her, and she would change it around to her liking. She never wanted anyone to be more knowledgeable than she was. So I don’t know…perhaps I need to do some weeding out.

  17. Demian Yumei says:

    The Path To Peace-Recovery From Psychopathic Manipulation and Abuse, thank you so much. Yes, it is VERY helpful…and where it counts the most for me. It’s inspiring.

    It’s hard to write about this, to do the kind of soul searching and digging and analyzing. I wind up writing and editing out at least 50% of everything I publish, because I process in my writing and have to remove a lot of too personal info to get to the idea and concepts.

    So anyway, thanks for the encouragement and incentive to continue.

  18. Demian Yumei says:

    @Connie Sue Jackson, That’s part of the healing process, definitely. Assessing your environment, the people you have contact with and defining your boundaries. Sometimes that means letting people go, but it also means letting people in – those who uplift you. 🙂

  19. Jill Eisnaugle says:

    Kelli, get ready for this. I have been a semi-pro writer for 9 years, so this topic is near and dear to my heart. For many years, I wrote in chaos – due to psychopathic breeds but due to family health obligations. My Dad was a renal/dialysis patient and I wrote two books around fetching ham sandwiches, bottles of Coke, and packages of crackers. (Dad and I were really close and it was a huge help to my Mom that I was here.) I met psychojock in 2007 and after he stalked the internet to locate me, hours after we exchanged 15 words at a corporate function, he said “I’ve never known a writer before and it’s cool.” (Read: I plan to weaken you to where you don’t write anymore.”) As the years progressed and his unhappy life of his personal losses, his arrest (unrelated to me), his mother’s passing, his job loss, and his generalized unhappiness went forth, he turned more and more to e-mailing me multiple (as in more than 10) times a day; texting me in between times (from his job interviews even) and multiple times a day; leaving voicemails when I was busy with my job and didn’t pick up (or wanted to ignore him); calling from his home phone when I finally – later on – blocked his cell number. If I didn’t answer an e-mail within an hour, he’d ask if he ticked me off and if I admitted that I was annoyed, he apologized, made me feel safe and kept right on playing his game. His game made me as miserable as he was/is. As I write (And I’ve done this since I was a kid), I’ve keep folders for each year of writing; I date everything so I remember, years from now, when I wrote something. In 2006, the year before I met this man, I wrote 182 poems among other things; in 2007, the year I met him, 87; in 2008 (which was messed up for many reasons, not just him — Dad’s death, Hurricane damage, etc.), 42; in 2009, 27; in 2010; 5 poems. Last year, 2 – the whole year (and none after the psychojock lost his job and had all the time in the world to bother me). On my birthday, last year – which is later in the year – PJ (as I’ll shorten it), called me. He asked me if I was still writing. I said “No” then paused and said “There’s no time.” I realize now the reason there was no time is because ALL of my time was spent fielding e-mails, phone calls, texts, and thinking it was my problem to fix his crazy. When I woke up in mid-March (Last month’s Spring Break week here) and said, I am going to take 2 weeks and finish writing my novel (I’d previously told my boss I just needed 2 weeks), I wrote 30,000 words in those two weeks. I’ve now had publishing companies tell me that the character development is strong, the flow is good, and the book, with pro editing, is ready to roll in print. THIS is what EACH of us has in within us if we pause, say “I am strong, I am better than you think and I’m going to show your weak self how strong I am, not that I’m free of you” and pursue our creative endeavors for ourselves. By doing that, we heal and expose just how messed up the psychotic really are. The fact I wrote two books in the chaos of my Dad’s health proved that I can thrive despite chaos, but I realize now chaos comes in many forms and mental chaos is way worse than making three trips to the kitchen in 15 minutes! 🙂

  20. Jill Eisnaugle says:

    Dang typos…. of course, that should read now that I’m free, not that you’re not. 🙂

  21. The Path To Peace-Recovery From Psychopathic Manip says:

    Demian, you are a true gift. I learn so much from your patience and willingness to reflect. It’s a gift to watch survivors sharing and helping one another. I just love this. This is what the page is for.

  22. Demian Yumei says:

    @Jill Eisnaugle, Wow! I just dropped in for a quick look before having to go out the door, but I HAD to make a comment. What an incredible expose of how draining an emotional abuser can be and how strong and resilient the human spirit is. 30,000 words in two weeks is amazing! I’ve done NaNoWriMo and just made 50,000 words in one month, and it was a real challenge for me. Please let us know when your book is published. I’d love to read it.

    And it’s wonderful how you documented your writing life in that way. Often when we’re in the midst of such dysfunctional dynamics, it’s hard to assess exactly what’s going on. Seeing it written down, seeing the actual record of *what you’re losing* can be a real eye opener, and in your beautiful case a real life changer.

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s wonderful to be inspired by the best in people after you’ve been run over by the worst.

  23. Demian Yumei says:

    Path to Peace,

  24. The Path To Peace-Recovery From Psychopathic Manip says:

    ((((( CB ))))))

  25. Martha Moore says:

    @ Mary Malouf Dallas, you have described my ex’s behavior, they’re not very original are they? the big alarm bell for me was when he made a comment one day about how he could do my job. he reckoned he’d been around me long enough to become me, very weird!!

  26. Martha Moore says:

    just realised, that my passion is my job and someone like him could case untold damage to those i’m involved with, i work in special needs. one thing i’d like to ask you Demian, have you ever come across a situation where the covert abuser takes on the persona of the person they are abusing?

  27. Jill Eisnaugle says:

    @Demian, Well, documenting the dates in specific folders, etc. was just a filing system for me until I used it to go back and see. It was amazing to see the drop off though. Obviously, my family has always been first and foremost and I willingly sacrificed a lot for them. But, writing in that chaos was healthy for me because I was caring for my family as my #1 priority. The rest was not healthy at all.

  28. Demian Yumei says:

    @Martha Moore, I’ll have to think on that a while…just at this moment, no, I don’t think I’m familiar with that…and haven’t really thought about it from that angle. But I do think it’s an interesting dynamic…I wonder if anyone else have come across this either in experience or in their reading and research. I can see how it could manifest as a further twist of someone not being able to tell where they end and you begin and vice versa. Boundaries — being able to recognize or respect them have never been a strong suit of abusers, covert or otherwise.

  29. Demian Yumei says:

    @Jill Eisnaugle, no, it wasn’t. What’s interesting to me is that sacrifice to an abuser though is always seen as an entitlement – on their behalf, never on them for others.

  30. Demian Yumei says:

    Just want to thank, Path to Peace, again for allowing me to post this link on her page, and for everyone who had the consideration and thoughtfulness to share their thoughts. I am always amazed at the generosity and courage of others to share so beautifully. I have been truly blessed today and I thank you all – both those who posted and those who read. Every person’s energy and presence was felt and much appreciated.

  31. The Path To Peace-Recovery From Psychopathic Manip says:

    test comment 2! lol! Love you!

  32. Covert Bullying (Abuse) says:

    Ha! Yes, as opposed to a real one! lol! I guess I didn’t realize how funny it sounded! Yup…and…I…guess…it…worked! love you!

  33. The Path To Peace-Recovery From Psychopathic Manip says:

    Martha… I think they borrow from each victim that they have targeted and captured. I can share that my ex adopted one of his targets speech patterns. It was W.I.E.R.D. It struck me because after he tried contacting me several months after it was over, he used HER way of speaking. For example, using initials instead of first names. **shiver** that’s just an example. I think they add to their stories as well from those they’ve been involved with, pity plays and such. All of this makes sense to me, given that with each person in their life, they have adopt a persona for THAT person in particular. That too, is bizarre. I watched my ex switch persona with lightning speed, from friends, to coworkers, to family. BIZARRE. It was like an actor playing a different part for each situation and individual…….

  34. The Path To Peace-Recovery From Psychopathic Manip says:

    ((( Demian ))) You are so welcome and anytime! The feedback was helpful to me too and I appreciate your wisdom and sharing your work here. I think discussion is so helpful in sorting through our experiences as well as ourselves and in connection with one another. Thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Top
%d bloggers like this: