This is a post inspired by those very negative muses known as Narcissists.
I keep referring to the gift in the curse of being in a relationship with a Narcissist. What exactly is the gift in the curse?
Simply put – You take something very negative and find the positive in it. Something which will inspire the fire within you and will encourage you to burn brightly as yourself. All of you. Let yourself shine! Because all negatives have a positive side of equal strength. You just have to dig through the shit to find the treasure buried within it.
Overly optimistic? You have to be when life keeps challenging you by throwing Narcissists at you like speed bumps in the road of your life. I wish life would give me lemons! I like lemons and have spent a lot of money buying them! Narcissists on the other hand… well I have more than I need of them in my life and decided to make lemonade out of them. I like lemonade.
If you attract Narcissists the way I do, you might as well make use out of them, give them a positive purpose.
If you’ve ever been abused, by a Narcissist or anyone else, then you know that one of the first things which an abuser does after they’ve finished that particular incident of abuse is to cover their tracks. They often resort to the regret-filled apology tactic – I’m very sorry, I don’t know what came over me, I will never do this again, please forgive me.
In that moment they need you more than you need them. You have all of the power in the relationship, what are you going to do with it?
They need you to forgive them. So they can move on and eventually do the same thing again. You forgave them, thus you forgot that it ever happened, so… if they do it again, it’s your fault.
Don’t even bother trying to understand what the fuck is going on in their mind. You can try, but the chances of your being able to understand it are slim, and you’re wasting precious time on them which you should be giving to yourself. This is your life you’re living. You’ll never get them, just as they will never get you, and how hurt you are by everything they say and do. They won’t even try, they’ll pretend to try for about five seconds then tell you you’re too crazy, damaged and fucked up for them to understand, but at least they now know why they are right to treat you the way they do. You asked for it, no, you made them do it to you. They’re the victim, not you.
And that’s just it. Your abuser sees themselves as the real victim. You’re faking it, you’re the real abuser.
Every time you try to make them see it the other way around, you confirm to them that their version of themselves, of you and of reality is the true version. They are so wrapped up in a big comforter of self-pity and how wounded they are that that is all they will ever see. They live in the land of poor poor me, and there is no room for you there.
What you do need to spend time understanding is what the fuck is going on in your mind. You know what it is. You’re a good person, who is trying to be a better person every day in every way. So you practice the art of being human, and relating to the human side of other humans. One of the skills involved in this is to be understanding, compassionate, and to give that which you wish to receive.
We all make mistakes, say and do things which we don’t mean. We all can be abusive to others, but most of us don’t mean to be. A moment of pain surges up, takes over and we lash out, allowing our pain to speak and act. We regret it and are genuinely sorry, and we hope whoever we hurt will understand, will accept our heartfelt apology, will forgive us, and will forget and allow the relationship to move on and progress.
We give forgiveness, and forget the wrongs others do to us, because we hope they will do the same with us, we give what we seek, we share and share alike. This is an essential part of relationships, and as long as the relationship is with another human like you, this actually deepens the intimate connection you have, as one human to another, who has beauty and ugliness inside, perfection and imperfection blended to make a whole.
However when dealing with a Narcissist or another type of abuser, you are not in a relationship with a human like you. They do not see themselves as equal to you. They never will. They are superior and you are inferior. Thus when you turn the other cheek after you have been slapped, they will slap the cheek which isn’t burning red from their hard hand. You gave it to them and they did what they always do.
But you need to forgive them and forget so you can move on, right?
There is another way to do it. One which will release you from feeling bad about holding a grudge, from the guilt of not being able to move on from the pain they have inflicted on you and the silent anger it inspires. Because forgive and forget is not about them, it is about you. They don’t need your forgiveness and forgetfulness, not really because they’ll just keep doing their thing whether you forgive and forget or not, but you do need it. You want to stop feeling what you are feeling, you want to heal the pain.
So, forgive yourself, and forget the hate you feel towards yourself for the mistakes you have made. Mistakes are just life experiments, methods of learning and evolving from what you have learned. Move on by showing yourself love, respect, compassion and patience. Be gentle with yourself, give to yourself all those things which you so freely gave to someone who does not appreciate it, is not grateful for it or deserving of it. They did not earn it, they earned the exact opposite of it.
You can’t forgive them or forget what they did to you. If you do, you’re just giving them the opportunity to do it all over again and again and again. They think you’re stupid… but you know that you are not.
My parents were both Narcissists. When I tell the stories of my childhood, some, most, are hard to believe. Even I have had trouble believing them, although I know I lived them. My parents, supported by others, by society, told me to forgive and forget. I did as I was told. Over and over and over again. The pain got worse. So I eventually stopped suffering from amnesia and an overly patient, self-sacrificing heart, and decided to embrace my memory and my grudges. It was the best thing I have ever done. For myself. Not for my abusers. I returned their blame to them. Sure, I share some of the blame, but I am not responsible for their part in what happened.
It’s a long process, and I am far from healed, some of the damage done to me is now a part of who I am, so healing it may not be the thing to do, however allowing it to inspire me, and share that inspiration with others, well, it’s a different kind of healing.
I am never going to forgive or forget. I don’t need to. I have taken the negative and started to transform it into a positive energy in my life. I am turning what seemed to be a curse into a gift. Perhaps the greatest gift is showing others who have suffered as I have that they have the power they need to also transform the curses in their lives into gifts which are healing and empowering.
Take care of yourself. First. Trust yourself. Always. Be gentle and kind with yourself. You deserve it. And give yourself a gift this Christmas which will be of lasting value. Love yourself.
And if you’re a Narcissist, Merry Effing X-mas, and please be aware that lowly ordinary humans have figured out what you’re all about and so when biting them this holiday season and trying to drain their Christmas Spirit, you might want to pause as they may have taken the antidote which is poison to you.
Some interesting posts and links about Narcissists – Help is out there, you are not alone:
The Narcissist at Christmas – Does exactly what it says in the title and walks you through how Narcissists behave at Christmas
Confessions of a Narcissist… – A beautiful post by someone who is not a Narcissist but had an encounter with someone (a Narcissist) who made her doubt herself.
One Thing that Sufferers of Abuse Need – Wonderful advice from someone who has lived it, so it is from the heart and the head.
The Concise Dictionary of Narcissists and Sociopaths – YES! Just absolutely YES! Very true and a great post! Narcissists do indeed have a very different dictionary from the rest of us, and they use the method known as Say Anything, then Say the exact opposite and confuse everyone in the process!
First Christmas Without the Narcissistic Ex? – Kim is in top form in this post, as always, and she is open to answering questions you may have, just be respectful, she is also recovering from being in a relationship with a Narcissist. She has turned a curse into a powerful gift!
Narcissism – Living Without Feelings – an excellent article which goes into depth and length about Narcissism, the various types of NPD and explores the possible causes of the disorder.
And for those on Facebook:
After Narcissistic Abuse – I only found and browsed it last night, but it seems to have a lot of very good information. And it’s a community, so if you’re recovering from Narcissistic abuse you may find it a safe haven offering support.
Narcissism and the Fruit of Suffering – the blog of my favourite author, whose book Going Mad to Stay Sane helped me to figure out and explain many aspects of my own experience with narcissistic parents, especially my tendency to be self destructive.
The Narcissistic Continuum – a very comprehensive site and resource for information about NPD.
Have a link you want to add? Pop it in the comments!