From the moment we are born, not our actual physical birth, but the moment our existence enters the conscious mind of others, the moment our birth mother realises that she is pregnant and our birth father realises that his sperm has created a being, people start giving us gifts.
Those gifts are a part of themselves, not a part of us, yet they become a part of us. We absorb them. Our growing self is nurtured as much by the thoughts and feelings of the world outside the womb as it is by the nutrients fed to us inside the womb by the umbilical cord.
If those gifts are positive they give us light. We feel welcome on Earth, safe, loved, wanted, good, and we look forward to being born. If those gifts are negative they give us darkness. We feel frightened, unsafe, unwanted, unloved, bad, and we dread the day of our birth because the world waiting for us is hostile.
When we are born people immediately start seeing themselves in us. Our eyes belong to one person, our smile to another, a dimple on a cheek was given to us by someone else, and so on. People sometimes fight over which bits of us belongs to who. We gaze at the world and the world gazes back, but they don’t realise how much we can see, how much we feel and know. They see us as an empty vessel into which they can pour all their unfulfilled dreams, their hopes, their desires, their ambitions, their identity, the parts of themselves they don’t want, the parts they want but can’t claim or express, their fears, their wounds.
Sometimes the wounds others give us, give us wounds of our own. And sometimes our own wounds are caused by other gifts which we are given. Sometimes the positive gifts give us darkness, and the negative gifts give us light.
A parent who projects too much of their un-lived life into us as a child, who sees in us the potential to fulfill the dreams which they did not, can make us feel at once very special, a messiah with a mission, and a nonentity, a beast of burden carrying the weight of another. Our dreams get pushed aside, perhaps they don’t even get the chance to form because they are buried under the dreams we are given by others.
Sometimes we are driven by the dreams others have given us, compelled to make them a reality. We push ourselves to complete our mission, and if we succeed… the success often feels empty. The person who gave us the dream may be very proud of our accomplishment. They feel vindicated and proud of themselves. Finally they can rest. But we… what about us? Is this what we really wanted? Is this life we are living really ours? What do we really want? What is our dream? Who are we?
This moment of self questioning is a fork in the road. We can either go in search of our true self, to discover who we really are, what we really want, what our dreams are… and perhaps fulfill them once we find them. Or we can do what our parents did and pass our un-lived self on to the next generation. Keep the cycle going. After all this is what we were taught is the done thing to do, and perhaps this is what life is all about. We live the life of those who made us, and those we make live our life for us. And so on. But what happens if we can’t for some reason have children… then who will live our life for us. The person we truly are will die without ever having lived.
I was thinking about the wounds people give us, which are not our own, but which we come to believe are our own. Which we try to heal, perhaps spend all our lives trying to heal, in vain, because they are not ours to heal. We don’t know what caused them, so we can’t cure them. We just carry them.
I was thinking about some of my wounds… about one in particular. Rage. Intense rage. Which I had as a child. Which I had as a teenager. Which I had as an adult. Which I still have. There have been moments of clarity which showed me that I had too much rage for one person to have, that this rage was too big for me… and I wondered if it was all mine. But my answers to those moments were never really answers. Because I took upon myself a mission of sorts… a gift was given to me of being responsible. If I tried to sort through the rage to divide it up between mine and not mine… what would I do with the rage which was not mine? I couldn’t return it to those to whom it belonged because they gave it to me and made me responsible for it and because the reason they gave it to me was because they did not want to be responsible for it or for healing it.
As I was thinking about this, thinking about my Narcissist parents to whom this excess rage belongs, thinking about the rage I see expressed on blogs created by victims of Narcissists, thinking about the rage I’ve expressed on my blogs against the Narcissists with whom I’ve had relationships, my parents and others, thinking about how difficult it is for a victim of a Narcissist to move beyond the rage against the Narcissist and everything they have done… a penny dropped… the rage which the victim of a Narcissist feels, although some of it does belong to the victim, most of it belongs to the Narcissist. It is Narcissistic rage.
And then I saw more… I saw one of the crucial elements which I had missed… that in each interaction with a Narcissist, the Narcissist gives a piece of their wound to the other person to carry. Because the wound which creates a Narcissist is too big for the Narcissist to carry and too painful for them to bear and they do not know how to heal it, so they cut it into segments and hand those segments out to others to heal for them.
The wound which creates a Narcissist was not inflicted by the Narcissist on themselves, it was inflicted by someone else in their formative years as they were passing through the Narcissistic phase of human development. They had their insides scooped out, their true self was extracted and thrown out, it was denied the right to exist, and the empty space was filled up with the ambition, desires and dreams of the person who created the wound. They poured themselves into the empty child. And this is why Narcissists don’t know who they are, because they were never given the chance to be who they are, to know who they are, they were forced to be someone else and live someone else’s life for them.
The Narcissist repeats and reenacts this wounding with everyone they meet, especially with those with whom they have relationships. This is the only way they know how to relate to others. The way they were taught to relate to others. They are doing to others what was done to them. They deny their victims the right to exist, they try to scoop out the victims’ insides and fill the empty space with their wound, with what was put inside of them. The ultimate goal of this is to empty themselves of the person who is inside of them, who is not their real self but someone else, and hopefully once they achieve this, they can reinstate their true self and give it the breath of life. But this is all done subconsciously… and it lacks the awareness needed to bring real, satisfying healing… and simply causes more pain, and the wound festers and grows.
So what do you do when, as a victim of a Narcissist, you realise that you are carrying their wound inside of you. How do you give it back? Can it be returned like lost property to its owner with a note saying – I think this belongs to you.
No, not with a Narcissist… because their wound does not belong to them either… and it may well not belong to the person who gave it to them. It is permanently lost property.
So, what is the answer… the cure for a wound which belongs to no one. Does possession is 9/10ths of the law apply? Is the person left holding the wound the owner of the wound? Can they pass it on to someone else like a hot potato? Is that ethical, especially as the victim of a Narcissist knows how painful it is to carry a wound which does not belong to them, a wound which causes such grief and rage and endless suffering.
Or can the wound be laid down, left in the sunlight for all to see and perhaps it will be healed by being exposed, unwanted, unclaimed… a wound which belongs to no one and everyone.
And perhaps it will help heal us all a bit.
Because the gift the Narcissistic wound offers to us is the opportunity to claim our real self, warts, wonders and all, get to know who we are, what really moves us, the beat of our drum, what makes our hearts beat faster, and our souls sing. Find our true voice and share it.
Because what belongs to one of us, belongs to all of us… what we see in others, is within us too… the darkness and the light… And if you find your true self and share it, you share the freedom and inspiration with others to find their true selves and share it too.