Talking about Narcissists… and Woundology

Caroline Myss

 

When I first started blogging about my experience of Narcissists, I was hesitant in what I said. There were many reasons for my hesitancy, all of which were part of my personal wound. The major one being that I had spent so long trapped in silence that I wasn’t sure if I could speak out about it, I was doubtful that I had the voice, the words, to express myself.

In the past when I had tried to discuss these things I was shoved back into myself, told to shut up in one form or another by the world outside of me.

Sometimes those who wanted to silence me were Narcissists. Sometimes they were those who were not Narcissists but they were supporters of the Narcissists, fooled by them as I had once been fooled, buying into the neat and palatable reality which Narcissists know how to weave for their audience. Sometimes they were people who, like me, were wounded and my wounds triggered theirs, to avoid their own pain they needed me to keep quiet about mine, or their pain competed with mine, overwhelmed it aggressively or passive-aggressively, and I ended up listening to them while I kept silent. And sometimes they were well-meaning people who felt powerless to do anything for me and that included listening to me because by listening they would become aware of their powerlessness to do anything about it.

 

 

woundology_4_by_zaimless-d6z84hbWoundology 4 by AmyinWonderlandofOz

 

 

These experiences of being told to shut up affected me in different ways.

Part of me agreed that talking about such things was kind of pointless. I wanted to move on from them, let go and leave it all behind me. I did not want to wallow in self-pity. But somehow I just could not get past my wounds. Each time I tried and thought I had succeeded… it was more just me running away from things which hunted me down and caught me, demanding that I face them.

I decided that I had to face them, face my wounds and deal with them properly, but I didn’t know how, and my lack of knowledge lead me to do some very stupid things… all of which taught me lessons which have since been useful.

 

 

Edison

 

In my journey to heal myself, I have tried a plethora of methods, and explored many different subjects. It’s been very interesting, informative and has lead to much understanding of myself and others. It has all been worth it one way or another.

But the most effective form of healing which I have found has been through blogging about my experiences and life.

I’ve never been very keen on talking about myself, if I can deflect a personal question, I will – Let’s not talk about me, let’s talk about you instead, you’re far more interesting than I am. So, for me, writing about myself, talking about myself, has been in some ways more painful than discussing and exposing my wounds… yet all of it has been tremendously healing.

I finally felt free from the prison in which I had been, in which I had placed myself – sure other people helped to put me in my private jail cell, but I aided and abetted them, and I kept myself in there, I was the main culprit – thus I am also the only person who could set myself free.

And that is just it – if we want to heal, then we have to heal ourselves, no one else can do it for us.

Writing about my experiences, my wounds, my Narcissists, was liberating. It freed up other forms of self-expression and inner creativity, which has been exhilarating. I have the energy and courage now to say and do things which I was always fearful of, nothing was ever good enough, I couldn’t do it, say it, etc. Now I can and do.

It’s like I’m a different person… I am more myself, my genuine, authentic self than I ever was before. Why? Because I didn’t let myself be me and now I do.

Sounds simple, I know… the simplest things are at times the hardest ones to do.

But this new freedom of self-expression also presented me with a trap – it’s extremely addictive, especially once you start getting validation for what you have been through after years of being invalidated. People,  strangers, the public, respond to what you’ve shared and… it’s wonderful, bonds are formed, you’re suddenly a member of a community who understands and accepts you, and there are so many positives that you don’t notice the negatives which always go hand in hand with positives (because the two form part of a whole and intertwine).

 

 

Angel:devil

 

 

Then I had an epiphany of sorts – a shock which jolted me out of reveling in my wound, in my victim of Narcissists’ status. I caught a glimpse of who I was becoming… and it looked an awful lot like a Narcissist to me. I was enjoying being wounded, intoxicated by my hostility towards Narcissists I was becoming an activist, which could lead to being an extremist. I was creating a version of reality and selling it to myself and others. I could even, perhaps, make a career out of my victimhood – people kept asking me if I was going to write a book and told me that they’d buy it if I did.

 

“Meeting this woman the day after the incident with Mary was not a coincidence. I believe I was being directed to pay attention to the ways we expect to heal our lives–through therapy and support groups. So many people in the midst of a “process” of healing, I saw, are at the same time feeling stuck. They are striving to confront their wounds, valiantly working to bring meaning to terrible past experiences and traumas, and exercising compassionate understanding of others who share their wounds. But they are not healing. They have redefined their lives around their wounds and the process of accepting them. They are not working to get beyond their wounds. In fact, they are stuck in their wounds. Now primed to hear people speak woundology, I believe I was meant to challenge the assumptions that I and many others then held dear–especially the assumption that everyone who is wounded or ill wants the full recovery of their health.

I felt as if I had been given a pair of magical glasses with which to see beneath the behavior of my workshop students. I soon found that the language of woundology was also spoken outside Findhorn. People around the world are confusing the therapeutic value of self-expression with permission to manipulate others with their wounds. Instead of viewing the uncovering of their wounds as an early stage of the healing process, they are using their wounds as a flag and their groups as families and nations.” – Caroline Myss – Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can

 

People have a slight tendency to become what we hate, our hate (our wound) is almost like a magic spell which attracts to us the very thing we want to avoid. And I had spent so long hating Narcissists, hating the way they behaved, the way they treated people, (especially me, my wound), everything about them and their versions of reality. I had spent huge amounts of energy pushing and rebelling against that kind of behaviour and thinking – if I even spotted the slightest evidence of it in myself, I crushed it, crushing the good side of it (there is such a thing as healthy narcissism) with the bad (NPD type of narcissism) to the point where I was willing to destroy the healthy part of ego so as not to have the unhealthy part of it.

It was easy to be humble and reasonable and things like that while I saw myself as being powerless… but once I saw the power of my powerlessness, once I had a whiff of my personal power, once I began to feel powerful…

 

Castaneda

 

 

The most shocking insight which I had, and there was more than one, was that as a victim of Narcissists and an ACoN (Adult Child of Narcissists), my status required that I spend a lot of time and energy talking about Narcissists.

That.

Was.

Horrifying.

That had always been my main reason for not wanting to ever write a book – I saw writing a book about my experience of Narcissists as being the ultimate victory for the Narcissists in my life, because once again my life would be all about them (they really don’t care if what you’re saying about them is negative or positive as long as it is all about them). My attention would once again be completely focused on them. And not on myself and what is healthy and healing for me.

So endlessly talking about Narcissists… is still being caught in their web, whether they’re the victim, the villain or whatever other role we give them. We’re still playing their game, still stuck in their version of reality.

We do need to inform ourselves, learn and understand NPD, but not to the point of losing ourselves in it. Or we become like Narcissists by proxy.

 

Covert Narcissists playing the victim

 

I’m probably not explaining this well, but… I’ll keep going anyway.

Here’s my view – It is an essential part of healing from the abuse of a Narcissist to talk things through, to explain the relationship, to clear the confusion and figure out what really was going on, what happened, etc. A Narcissist controls and censors you when you are with them – so speaking out about your experience breaks that censorship and control. We need to talk it all through to release our repressed and suppressed voice, to understand NPD and how it affects the person who has it, and how they affect us and others.

It’s like a very messed up puzzle with pieces scattered all over the place. We gather up all the pieces and then put it all together to see the entire picture.

So, during this time we talk about the Narcissist. We rant, we rage, we cry, we vent, we discuss every interaction, what they said and what they didn’t say, what we said and what we didn’t say, what they did or didn’t do, what we did and didn’t do, and so on.

But.

At some point the focus has to shift away from the Narcissist and onto ourselves. We have to figure out our part in the relationship.

Yes, they did all of this stuff to us and hurt us deeply. They are the victimiser and you are the victim.

But.

And this is the hardest part to face – for a Narcissist to victimise you, you have to help them do it. They need us more than we need them, they don’t exist without us (their identity depends upon us giving them one) and they use us against ourselves – but we helped them do it. We refused to see through their illusions, we ignored our instincts and intuition, our gut feeling, we closed our eyes to the red flags or chose to see them as green, we forgave them, we made excuses for them , we handed our hearts to them on a platter, sharpened the knife and gave that to them too.

This is not about blaming yourself for what they did to you. This is about owning your part in what happened so that you can access your personal power to heal yourself, and so that you can inoculate yourself against Narcissistic abuse. If you don’t face the part you played in what happened to you… the pattern could repeat. I’m not saying it will, but it might. You are a strong and powerful being, you need to own it.

 

good guy

 

There is also another point which needs to be dealt with – Narcissists dump their wound into and onto others. This is a large part of why they need us, and why they seek us out. They want to get rid of what they don’t want… so they can be lighter and perfect. They also expect us to heal their wounds for them… and we sometimes unwittingly accept to do this.

 

“Sometimes people don’t understand
the promises they’re making when they make them,” I said.
Isaac shot me a look. “Right, of course.
But you keep the promise anyway. That’s
what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway. Don’t you believe in true love?” ― John Green

 

So, you have to check to see if the wound which you believe is yours, is actually yours and not the Narcissist’s wound which you have absorbed and come to believe is your own.

If the wound you are trying to heal actually belongs to the Narcissist, then it will never be healed and you will be stuck with it.

If your attempts to heal are focused on talking about the Narcissist and not yourself, then you may be focusing on the wound they dumped into you, rather than on your own wound.

Focus your attention on yourself, find your wound… that is the one which needs healing, that is the one which wants to be healed, which can be healed by recognising it and passing through it, not getting stuck it in, but recovering and finding power through healing it.

 

For more about this subject:

Narcissism and the Fruit of Suffering

Narcissism – Living Without Feelings

Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can

What is Woundology?

Don’t Play the Victim Game

Regaining Your Intuition After Sociopath Abuse

How The Trauma of Narcissistic Abuse Changes Our World Views

How to Stop Attracting Narcissists

Energy Theft: Toxic Forms of Shame and Guilt

Self-Loathing and Narcissism: Are You the Eternal Victim?

Narcissists Who Cry: The Other Side of the Ego

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57 thoughts on “Talking about Narcissists… and Woundology

  1. This is precisely why I do not like the term narcissist. It gives them power they have no right to own. At the end of the day they are people who were abused, like us. And at some point they made the wrong decision, they made it all about them and became the abuser. Because they know how abusers work, they have seen that all our lives, we have seen it all our lives. We are exactly where they were, personally I’m so confused and lost i can’t see any of the option I have as the right one. As you say the positive always brings negative and I don’t trust anything. Everyone always says trust your instinct, trust your feelings, trust your gut. It’s not like the problem I’m dealing with is that I cooperated with my usual effectiveness with my abuser to kill any sensation of my own. I can not trust any of the things people want me to trust because they are not my emotions, my gut, my instincts, but the abusers emotions, toxic instinct designed to destroy me further, a poisoned gut which sees death as a much more viable option than becoming healthy. So I stand and stare aimlessly. If I trust I can trust I will make it worse, I learnt that already. But that is not very constructive. It’s only not destructive…

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      The term narcissist is more for the benefit of others than it is for the narcissist, although like with everything they can use it and abuse it. For many people being able to give a name, a label, to an experience in a relationship makes a lot of confusing separate pieces fall into place and form a picture. Being able to identify someone as a narcissist helps to understand the relationship, them and us, their side of it and ours, and allows us to research, gather information, using that term, allows others to share with us using that term, and hopefully help ourselves deal with the dynamic, and heal ourselves.

      There is a flip side to everything, and what helps one person positively may help someone else negatively. Such as when people tell you to trust yourself, your instincts, your gut. This is good advice, which works for those who advise doing it, but if you’ve lost touch with that part of you – which is something that does happen in a relationship with a narcissist – then that good advice becomes a hindrance rather than helpful.

      It’s similar to people telling you to get over it, let go, move on, forgive and forget. People often say that because it worked for them, but what worked for them doesn’t necessarily work for us. Sometimes it does indeed make things worse.

      I used to follow the advice of ‘forgive and forget’ with my parents, which allowed them to do to me what they always did, again and again, because I basically kept giving them carte blanche, another ‘get out of jail’ and consequences card by forgiving and forgetting.

      You might find this post interesting, it relates to the loss of self trust caused by an abusive relationship, and how difficult it is to get it back – https://paularenee.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/regaining-your-intuition-after-sociopath-abuse/

      This is also worth reading and sharing with those who may be pressuring you to trust yourself, listen to your gut, they may not understand what you’ve been through and how deeply it has changed your experience of yourself and the world around you – https://afternarcissisticabuse.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/how-the-trauma-of-narcissistic-abuse-changes-our-world-views/

      I am guilty of telling people to trust themselves, their instincts and intuition. It took me ages to connect to that part of me, but once I did, it made all the difference, and makes a big difference now. I used to be unable to trust myself, and I really didn’t know what instinct or intuition was, I recall saying that often out loud and wondering what on earth such things felt like. How do I recognise them? I’d switched that part of myself off, cut ties with it to live in the world of narcissists where my instincts couldn’t exist because they screamed against everything that was happening. My narcissists were my parents, and my instincts told me they didn’t love me, amongst other things…. but you can’t say that or act on it without unleashing hell upon yourself in that kind of a situation. Not just hell from them, but hell from the world outside which insists parents always love their children and if a child says otherwise, that child is bad.

      I have also stood and stared aimlessly. It’s the void, you staring into it and it into you. Who are you, it asks, what do you really feel, think, want… and you just don’t know, you don’t even know if you are real, if you exist or if you’re just a figment of the narcissist’s imagination.

      But if you stand and stare aimlessly for long enough, if you just let yourself be completely empty for a while, sometimes you can hear a tiny squeak inside of you, feel a movement deep within, in that place where you’ve hidden who you are, and all that you feel, think, experience as you, not as anyone else. It’s like a tiny child hiding in a dark corner of a cupboard to get away from a raging parent seeking it out. Follow the sound of that squeak until you find its source – that’s you, and that’s where everything you can trust is hiding to protect itself.

      This helped me a lot in reconnecting – http://www.focusing.org/newcomers.htm#what – it’s kind of weird, but it is surprisingly effective. In some ways what is effective is just trying to do it, rather than actually doing it. It kind of introduces you to yourself in a less thinky way and more feely, sensory.

      I tried a lot of things out on my quest to heal and find myself, etc, many of them did not work, some made things worse, a few made things a bit better. What works for one person may not work for another. Probably the most common thing which helps everyone is telling their story, even if you only tell it to yourself (because sometimes sharing it with others is a bad idea).

      This is a beautiful book – When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams

      If you think about it, you are trusting yourself, sort of, you trust in not trusting yourself. You trust in having learned not to do that. That is a place to start, what other trusts are hidden within the not trusting?

      Just an idea… I’ve found they sometimes help where nothing else does. Start where you are (that’s a good book too, by Pema Chodron)

      Take good care of yourself, in whatever way that you can and want to, don’t worry about what others say or do, you’ve done enough of that. Stick with doing things your way (and don’t listen to me either).

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      1. Thank you for that long and insightful comment. I agree that labels can be a blessing and a curse. Two labels that have helped me tremendously are academically gifted and autistic. I have recovered that part of myself already and both are easy to abuse. The former by assuming an arrogant stance how everyone does not get it because they are too stupid, how no one else is as superior as the gifted (both riddled with logical turns to the wrong conclusion of course, chiefly among them that intelligence has some inherent positive moral value). The latter as an excuse for any and all kinds of behaviour under the guise of not knowing any better and as an excuse to not learn any better.

        When it comes to labelling abusers it is much more difficult for me. Like many cPTSD sufferers I have extreme amnesia. Try to categorise all your puzzle pieces blind and robbed of your sense of touch as well. The things I do remember I constantly question as well, is it denial, has it been that bad, what else have I forgotten… So far I found no label that properly fits my “parents”. Many narc traits are there and when I read about the inner landscape of narc survivors I see overlaps with my own but there also is a sense of differentness. The alienation you feel when you did not experience it yourself – or denial/lack of memory. Reading about autism and giftedness spoke to me. In such an extreme way that it became my bible, the teachings more important than anything my family had to offer, as I was still living with them. The same does not happen here. Nor do I remember my parent regularly competing with me, assigning us children scapegoat/golden child roles. They have been very good at ignoring us until we did something wrong as far as I can remember (which may or may not be around 10% of what happened and which may or may not be skewed towards one end of the positive-negative spectrum).

        I do however remember my mother constantly going on about her self hatred, expecting me to lessen her pain, cater to her when she needed it while not offering emotional support for me under any circumstances whatsoever. She did believe herself to be trash, erratically she would act the extreme opposite but her core belief is very obvious to herself and those spending a lot of time with her. I guess she was caught in feeling like a victim. And its quite hard to argue against cancer treatment at the ripe old age of 14, a distant and divorced father, two selfish elder sisters, systematic state bullying for her and her families religious orientation, societal shunning for being a child with divorced parents and being constantly on the move. Her mother also has rather narcissistic traits and uses fundamentalist religious teachings to guilt trip people heavily. She had children because that’s what normal people do. And she didn’t know what to do with them. Her medication did make her emotionally unstable and she did use us children as emotional punching bags. She used negative methods and no explanations to attempt to teach us right from wrong. Personally this left nothing but confusion, I never understood what was wrong and what was right, eventually I stopped doing anything in her presence because chances where she does not approve.

        Father has inherited autism and ADHD from his parents who seem to be a typical narc/enabler duo. He simply does not know how to connect with people emotionally. He is physically present if he makes an effort. Distiguishing between his silent treatment and his normal behaviour was not always a given. Both my parents think love is conditional and made us work for it. Hard. They did and do not understand other peoples emotions, often used us as little slaves if they surfaced from their own world of demons. The demand was always we become an extention of them, never an own personality. Emotions in general and ones own in particular where heavily punished, ridiculed and invalidated. By not trusting myself I may as well simply become their perfect little clone.

        Growing up under such circumstances I resent the idea of having “chosen” to “let them” hurt me. I was a child and like all children dependent on my parents for survival. We are hard wired to accept any and all treatment our parents give us as safe and acceptable. I did make two choices regarding my parents abuse. My fathers abuse/neglect was easier to spot. At the age of 3 I decided to never ever open up again to him and leave me vulnerable if I can help it. I went LC then and there and I never looked back. If my father decides to engage he comes with all the boundary violations and unaccountability you would expect from an abuser. Later in my early school years I decided to stay at my parents house. As I said children depend on their parents for survival. Running away or going to a shelter would have meant many new potential dangers while giving the ones already present only a new face. Life in foster families or orphanages isn’t rainbows and unicorns either as far as I know.

        I was a very clever kid, I knew reporting anything would not lead to anything but ridicule and potentially draconic punishment by my parents. There were no physical wounds and I did not dare to explore my inner life much. I knew something was wrong but the overwhelming message I got was that my knowledge is faulty. And I’m not just talking my two parents here. Like you described there are grandparents involved, aunts, uncles, elder cousins, teachers, priests, doctors, therapists, parents friends, parents of classmates, people in the villages I lived. The gaslighting when there are no physical wounds involved is far more pervasive than what I frequently read about. You are the first person I read any acknowledgement from about this. How can you expect to trust your gut when there is such a uniform attack on you orchestrated whenever you do? What “decision” do you really have? Mind you the one deciding here is also a young child who should by no means be required to have the maturity to make such decisions nor does the child have the options available to make good choices. I resent how this is presented frequently as letting people hurt me. It was not an option back then, people were going to hurt me. As I grew up these experiences became labeled as “safe” and “acceptable” much the same way food becomes labeled as “edible”. I refuse to accept the blame society at large should accept in order to sanctify their ignorance. And I do not see that as revelling in the victim role either.

        By now I am grown up. I try to get help and get gaslit again. They see my frail body and label me a drug addict despite any and all probes I freely give coming back clean. I have nothing to hide, I do not even consume alcohol, nicotine or coffeine. Still where ever I go people work very very hard on discarding my perspective and experiences. That I learnt to trust now. The problem is this trust leaves you alone. There is literally nowhere left to go because even reading about it I see self serving statements everywhere, people laying blame at my feet, people asking me to understand my parents just a little better, expecting me to just know how to do things better just as my “parents” expected me to be the adult. Bullshit, all of it. But knowing what is Bullshit does not heal me. It keeps me trapped where I am. I am still alone, I do not feel much kinship with fellow survivors like I feel kinship with fellow gifted and/or autistic people.

        I do feel that if society as a whole actually were ready to truly help us much could be done. First of all there need to be laws and law enforcement for emotional abuse. People came to my school and screened for blindness, hearing deficits, physical bruises. Why did they not take inventory of our emotional health? Why do people uniformly discount the victims tales and defend the abuser? (My favoured theory is that they are protecting their own abusers that way, living in their denial, thus putting their interest in denial above yours to heal, which is when sharing your story becomes a toxic act as you said. They command us to get over it because their own discomfort at hearing it outweighs our discomfort telling it and having lived through it in first place. That this is something that is not looked upon akin to cursing someone has me baffled.)
        By now evidences pile up that adverse childhood experiences significantly impact ones health and life quality and yet next to no action is being taken. Instead of listening to the stories, classifying them, looking for patterns and connecting what is already there we want silence. We do not start to identify abusers issues and look for ways to either support them or relocate the children like we do with alcoholism. We pervasively and pointedly do NOT address the issue.

        Chances are with the motivation of keeping her children my “mother” may have learnt to manage herself and her relationships in a healthier way, become accountable and express emotions properly, provide support and maybe even nurturing. You know, become a mother without parenthesis. With enough support she may have divorced my “father”, but with things being as they are I fully understand her wish to not have us repeat her childhood. This isn’t just an issue You and I go through this does impact societies productivity at large. And we are alone. There may be the odd therapist out there that gets it but after being through 10 therapists I have a growing body of evidence just through my own experiences alone these are the minority. It slowly starts to descent bad luck and starts to look systematic and this is something that is accepted in society. We are systematically kept apart from other survivors, silenced and sedated. Personally I am rather fed up with this self serving attitude and I am growing extremely bitter over it. The ones who lie on the ground, beaten, broken, bloody and bruised are expected to go the extra mile to have understanding and empathy for everyone just passing by saying “Gee, that’s an unbecoming spot on the pavement!”

        On a more positive note I may have already started what the last article you linked suggests. In the end sitting around doing nothing may literally be the thing I need to do and it’s much harder than it sounds. Funny thing is around animals I ace this. Haven’t met many doggies and kitties who do not love me within hours. I know how to connect to animals, they appreciate my efforts to meet them on eye level. Here codependency works. If you really are all empty they will know. And even the “selfish” cats, will come then and hang around to lift your spirits, dial down their otherwise incessant demand for attention, food, affection and whatever else holds their fancy. They never take too much.

        Wow this turned into a rather long and ranting post. I do not apologise for it anymore. I am beginning to understand that I have a right to express myself even if no one likes it and I never saw the point in apologising for length, it’s everyones decision to bear with me or not. I am not entitled to other peoples attention and am ready to live with either choice 🙂 And in that vein thank you again for your first post. Despite me raving and ranting it was very nice and thought provoking reading your insights. Who knows maybe they will even be helpful! :O 😉 I just am not as able to express positives. I am trying to learn but again hard work…

        Take good care as much as you can and think is right as well! Let’s work on not listening to each other more 😛

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        1. One of the things I have found with blogging and writing very long posts is that letting yourself say what you want to say can have a rather magical effect. Practical magic, as in you get stuff out of your system and doing it in writing allows you to read it and hear yourself. Listening to yourself when you speak is important to your relationship with yourself, which is the most important relationship in your life and is something that affects how you relate to others and how they relate to you, and when you write it down your whole being is involved in listening.

          Rants in particular are charged with emotion and in your words your emotion communicates itself to you, within the words are what you really think and feel, and sometimes it can surprise you with its message. When you really listen to yourself it can be a shocking experience, one which can have the effect of releasing you from ties which bind, and from the wounds of others which they dumped onto you. Understanding what is inside of you can free you from what others have put upon you.

          I used to keep everything to myself, because, like you, I found that sharing what I really thought or felt was pointless, and often had a backlash which made things worse. People want to hear what they want to hear not what you want to say, especially if what you want to say involves a truth no one wants to be true. Society wants its members to maintain the illusion that all parents love their children, and children are trained early on to pretend this is true otherwise we will be punished and we don’t want to be punished, do we. Alienation is often how Society punishes those who refuse to join in. So everyone eventually does what Society wants them to do and becomes a participant in a collective illusion. If you refuse to join in, you threaten that fragile reality which has been created, and that sends shivers of intense fear through people, so they push you away, exile you, ostracise you until you accept to live a lie. But even then they may not allow you to be a member because a group always needs people outside of the group to keep it together and to use as a warning for anyone else who wants to break free or rebel. The threads which keep people tied together are often ones of avoiding pain, of being miserable together rather than being miserable all alone.

          Yet everyone is intrinsically very much alone because they have to live a lie to belong. Who they really are is not allowed to exist, so they have to pretend to be who they are not to fit in – everyone is doing that to a degree. When someone within the group decides not to do that, stops living the lie, it sends a tremor through the group. What if it causes everyone to wake up from their pretense? Then what? The lie keeps chaos at bay, keeps everything tidy, everyone in line. The truth sets people free, yes, but that kind of freedom is frightening for many reasons. One of which is being responsible for yourself and owning your shit. Doing that can be very difficult because it opens us up to some unpleasant realities about ourselves and others.

          Things like empathy and understanding when used in a certain manner can be useful, but they need to be used logically. It’s not about forgiving, forgetting, feeling sympathy for the abuser and blaming the victim for what was done to them. It’s about figuring out the patterns, motives and intent behind the facade. Human nature is very complicated, especially when humans mess with it to try to ‘fix’ it, we mess with it in part because we find it hard to accept it as it is, and seek to transcend it, escape from being who we are to become who we would rather be. Humans are weird, hence all the nonsense in the human created world.

          Have you ever read – This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178055) – he sums humans up rather well.

          It’s difficult for a human to help another, for Society to sort out human created problems, when we try to help, fix things, we often make a much worse mess. A child taken out of an abusive family environment may end up in another abusive environment, one in which they may be even more powerless and helpless, because anywhere that humans are, abuse happens. Particularly abuses of power. Give anyone power over another and all the issues which that human has will come out. Like with therapy, if a therapist became a therapist due to their own issues, and if they haven’t sorted those issues out, but have hidden them from themselves, they’ll come out in what they do with their patients.

          One of the members of my family was a child psychologist, my mother often asked him to help her sort me out when she didn’t like something about me or when she was bored. He really did not have any understanding of children. His method of sorting me out was telling me what was wrong with me and that I could make it better by not being myself. He once witnessed an almighty drama created by my parents over nothing, where both of them had massive tantrums. He helped to absolve them and himself (he could have stopped the drama from escalating as he had a major role in it) of all blame and shift that onto me (I was about 6 at the time) and his partner. His loyalty lay with my parents because in some ways he was still a child trying to win the approval and love of his parents who had rejected him. My parents used him the same way they used everyone else, by making their love a prize for others to work hard at winning.

          And so it goes.

          Animals are great teachers of how to relate healthily to others. Respect them and their nature, and they return the respect, they are also very accepting of us as we are. They ask of us to feed them, care for them, because that’s part of the relationship which has come from domestication of animals by humans. If they could feed and care for themselves, they would do that, and they often do. We make them dependent upon us, and sometimes resent them for what we’ve done to them. Parents do that too. It’s a human thing. We want people to love us, depend on us, but when they do, we sometimes feel that it’s a burden, and we chase after those who don’t love us or depend on us.

          Okay I’m just going off on a rambling tangent, better stop here 🙂

          I love what you shared. I have no problem with you sharing as much as you would like here, but please be aware it is a public blog (sometimes people share too much of their private story and then ask me to delete comments – I don’t like deleting people’s words). And you need never apologise to me for being yourself, saying what you want to say, etc, I’ve done that too often, apologised for being myself and it’s a really annoying habit which I’ve been attempting to stop doing 😉

          Take good care of yourself!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. As I read this post, I’m amazed that you can write what I can’t describe! It’s just like a 1000 piece puzzle is dummped out on a table and you just gave me the clues to pull it all together!
    Pre-narcissit, I was a strong & Independent woman. Single mom, moving up the ladder in my career. Opinionated , I admit.
    He comes in like a knight on a white horse, rescues me from what? A pretty great life! He was exciting, worldly. As he put it equally intelligent and goal oriented. It was a great relationship for about 18 months . Then the abuse began….He accused me of being too sensitive, argumentative, I didn’t listen to him. I began to question my judgements & abilities. This was my fault the relationship has issues, my baggage. 20 yrs after it began he abandoned me for his BF wife. Not even a good bye!
    I then and still am learning about narcissitic a abuse. His tearing me down was projection & gas lighting.
    Fast forward 20 months, my friends and family’s eyes roll and glass over if I mention him. They say let it go. Quit obessing and I feel like I did when my a husband accused me of holding onto things when he wounded me.
    Then part you wrote about moving past the wound is correct, the injury is still there, the wound raw. I just move through my day zombie like. My grandson asked if zombies were real, I felt like I was lying when I said “no”.
    I want to return to the pre-narcissit abuse woman I was!
    Do you have any type of exercises you’d suggest to help me discover whether this wound is mine on one he dumped on me?
    I’ve wasted over 1/3 of my life on this Narcissit’s swamp of a life.
    Thanks for sharing !
    You’re words have served as a life preserver to me.
    Marci

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      I don’t have a pre-narcissist experience and self as both my parents were narcissists and I grew up in the nightmare of NPD. However there is a very interesting post which might help you with this aspect of dealing with the aftermath of a relationship with a narcissist.

      http://afternarcissisticabuse.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/how-the-trauma-of-narcissistic-abuse-changes-our-world-views/

      That strong and independent woman you were before you had a relationship with a narcissist is still very much a part of you, however she has evolved due to the experience of questioning your judgement and abilities. Before your were strong, now you know just how strong you are. Your strength has been tested to its limits, and proven to be stronger than it was before, than you knew it to be.

      In some ways you are a new and improved version of yourself, you just can’t feel the full effect yet. It will come as you keep moving through the healing process. Healing from a relationship with a narcissist is similar to going through the stages of grief. It can take a long time to heal, and respecting the time it takes often tests the patience of others, especially if they have never been through a similar experience and do not know what it is like to be affected deeply by someone with NPD.

      Your friends and family care for you and are trying to be supportive. Their love and support is valuable – narcissists often completely isolate their victims from others – so appreciate what they can give and let their prompts to ‘move on’ ‘let go’ and ‘quit obsessing’ roll off your back. They just don’t get it, but they do care for you.

      Being obsessed about your narcissist, and your relationship and all the elements of it, reviewing what happened over and over again, etc, is actually an important part of the healing process. Because a relationship with a narcissist is very confusing and to work through the confusion to clear things up requires a lot of investigation.

      Have you joined a support group or online forum for victims of narcissists. That may be a way to go if you feel unable to discuss things and go over your story with your friends and family. It’s important to talk things through until they are clear for you. That is one way of finding out what wound is actually yours and what wound belongs to him.

      Telling your story is a powerful act. It allows you to break the silence. Acknowledge your needs. And hear yourself express yourself, your pain, your sorrow, and your wound. By hearing your wound in your own words you come to know what is authentically yours and what is not, what is his but which you took on as yours, because the way you feel and think and speak about it has a different quality to it. When it is yours you can sense it in a way that goes deeper than when it is not yours.

      When we spend a lot of time with someone else, especially when we are in love with them, we absorb a part of them, mimic them – it’s a natural social skill – and sometimes what we absorb becomes a part of us unconsciously.

      For instance if you spend a lot of time with someone who is afraid of heights, you will gradually come to have a certain fear of heights yourself and will avoid high places. The fear is not yours but it becomes a part of you because you spend time with a person who has this fear. After they leave your life you may still unconsciously avoid high places without thinking about it. Then maybe one day you’ll get an opportunity to go somewhere high and you’ll decline perhaps saying that you are afraid of heights. Maybe someone will ask you why you are afraid of heights… and on trying to answer the question – that’s when you become aware that you’ve taken on someone else’s wound/fear. You were never afraid of heights before… you knew this person. That’s a wound that has been dumped into you which does not belong to you.

      There’s a book – Focusing by Eugene Gendlin (you can find videos of his Focusing work on the internet) – which helped me to find an exercise to determine what was mine and what was not. Being aware and discussing things with yourself is key. Tuning into your sensory awareness is very useful, because our bodies hold memory within them – when something is really ours, such as a wound, we feel it throughout our system. Usually when something is not ours, we tend to only feel it in our minds, in a more superficial manner – yet without investigating it further it can feel very real to us as though it is ours.

      Hope this helps a bit.

      You might also like:

      http://letmereach.com/

      &

      http://outofthefog.net/Disorders/NPD.html – which has a forum – http://outofthefog.net/forum/

      Always remember to be gentle with yourself. Take care of yourself, treat yourself with kindness and compassion.

      Best wishes.

      Like

  3. I like that you do not let the Narcissist off the hook. They are responsible for the hurt that they inflict on others. Yet, I agree that true core healing happens from examining my situation, as well. Thank you for sharing your balanced opinion.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      The narcissist should not be let off the hook, as letting the narcissist off the hook gives them carte blanche to do it all over again, which they will do as they are creatures of habit. And they’ll view themselves as being very clever for having gotten away with it (rather than realising that we’re being generous and compassionate with our benefit of the doubt and such) and it will confirm their contempt for other people. How can you respect people who let you off the hook for hurting them.

      They are responsible for what they say and do, and the hurt it causes… however at some point we have to realise that we’re responsible for continuing to allow it to hurt us.

      It’s a fine and delicate balance. One we need to work with, within ourselves, for our own benefit. We tell our story, we listen to it, hear and understand what we are saying. Acknowledge our pain and let our pain become our ally to healing.

      We didn’t do this to ourselves, someone else did, but if that someone else is a narcissist, waiting for them to take responsibility, be accountable, make amends is waiting for something which is never going to happen to happen. Which leaves us powerless in so many ways. We can’t move on and heal because we’re still stuck in their story. So we have to take the reins, take our personal power which we are giving to them back into ourselves… but in a gentle way. Not blaming ourselves for what was done to us, but saying something along the lines of – the buck stops here. We had a part in this pain and hurt, in what came after the initial pain and hurt which was inflicted upon us. We don’t have to keep hurting, not like this.

      We can use the experience to move us forward in a strong, compassionate and rewarding manner. For ourselves, taking care of ourselves, seeing our strength and our ability to weather the storms of life.

      So we don’t pass on the wound, we pass on the healing and wisdom which the wound revealed.

      Something like that… I’m still learning.

      Best wishes!

      Like

  4. Reblogged on The Narcissist’s Son.

    Excellent post!

    I often feel that when I’m truly healed from abuse, I will have no desire to discuss narcissism any longer. That being said, my history of abuse is part of who I am, and not something I can change. The scars will always be there, but the wounds can be healed.

    Admitting my complicity in my entanglements was probably the biggest step in my healing. It is very easy to stay in the victim state, blaming our abusers for our troubles.

    An analogy I like to use is this: If my abuser and I were standing on a bridge and my abuser told me to jump and I proceed to jump from the bridge to my demise, who’s fault is it that I jumped? It’s mine. My abuser didn’t physically throw me off the bridge, I jumped of my own accord.

    Stephen Bach

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      I think healing is similar to learning any other skill in life. Like learning to play a musical instrument. We can learn the basics fairly quickly once we have a passion for it, motivation which focuses us, but the basics are just the beginning of a long relationship with something which develops as we develop with it and within ourselves.

      We go through myriad stages of healing, because it takes time for our story, our personal piece of music and style, to emerge. It’s like a shy soul who tests our waters to see if we’re listening and really hearing.

      And each stage of healing has a different piece of music to accompany it, as though we’re learning all the tunes which we have within us.

      The scars are the strings we play, the notes, the wounds are the inspiration for the sound.

      And at times we just want silence, to allow one sound, one movement to pause, awaiting for the next to emerge and reveal itself.

      Being a child of narcissists is a part of who we are, it has helped to tune the notes and shape the sound, but it isn’t all of us, it’s a part of the whole, and the person who composes the music and plays it… that’s us, all of us.

      Our abusers do deserve blame, but giving all of the blame to them gives them too much power and leaves us as powerless as we were when we were their children. There’s a fine balance to be reached, one which favours us in our path to heal – yet at the same time not heal completely, because that’s idealistic and takes us into N territory… some wounds are perhaps not meant to be completely healed, just understood… our blood needs to flow out of us sometimes.

      I love your analogy… I would add though, that some abusers grab you, but make it look like you grabbed them, then they jump, but make it look like you pushed them, and then when they survive (they’re wearing a harness, but since it happened at night the harness was not noticed by your or their carefully placed witnesses) they accuse you of doing to them what they did to you.

      Sometimes the lines are blurred… it’s up to us to un-blur them.

      Thank you very much for sharing!

      Best wishes.

      Like

  5. Reblogged this on The Narcissist's Son and commented:
    Excellent post from fellow blogger, An Upturned Soul, about dealing with narcissistic wounds and how to understand and separate the wounds that we truly own versus the wounds that were assigned to us by our abusers.

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  6. “We refused to see through their illusions, we ignored our instincts and intuition, our gut feeling, we closed our eyes to the red flags or chose to see them as green, we forgave them, we made excuses for them , we handed our hearts to them on a platter, sharpened the knife and gave that to them too.”

    Yes, yes, and a thousand times yes. I thought I was being a loving, committed wife when I endlessly forgave the emotional cruelty and psychological control. I thought it was the right thing to do spiritually to have compassion for his pain – I always understood that he was acting from his own woundedness and believed, as we are taught, that love, understanding and patience were the keys to unlocking and releasing that pain. Church teachings aided and abetted him, with their instructions to ‘submit’, to follow his lead as the head of the household, and to show him respect no matter how disgusting were the words that came out of his mouth. I now know that tough love would have been the better option; if used early in our marriage, while he was still so much ‘in love’ with me, it may have pulled him up short and given him pause for thought. (He doesn’t have NPD, but like all abusers, has some unhealthy narcissistic traits). I know, too, that self-love is just as important as love for others, but while caught in his web, I slowly forgot how to care for myself. It’s true that I gave him my heart on a platter, sharpened the knife and gave that to him too. The way you’ve expressed that incredibly salient point is just brilliant.

    By the end of our marriage, my hold on my own sanity was extremely tenuous. He’d spent years crazy-making, gaslighting, lying, invalidating, confusing and … well, the whole abusive repertoire seemed to come naturally to him. It happened slowly; bit by bit he let his true nature show through. I think of it as ‘boiling frog syndrome’. In the beginning, our abusers are overwhelmingly kind, loving, passionate and considerate…but over time the cruelty seeps in like a slow turning tide. Before we know it we’re drowning. If you put a frog into boiling water (if you’re a sadist, that is!), it will immediately leap out to save its life. But if you put it in a pot of cold water and very, very slowly turn up the heat until the water is boiling, the frog will stay in the pot until it boils to death. That’s what happened to me…and to many thousands like me. And yet…we do need to be accountable. We’re not frogs…and once we’re past the months needed to process the extreme pain we’ve been through, and have had a chance to understand it thoroughly, we need to make sure it never, ever happens to us again.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Abusers use our goodwill against us. They see our strengths as weaknesses and then use them to perpetrate whatever they do, knowing that we will excuse them, forgive them, forget and give them another chance. They never understand why we choose to do that, they can’t understand what it is to be human and cut other humans slack, because they hate being human, it terrifies them to be so open to vulnerability. This is a part of what drives them in their abusive behaviour. They can’t understand it but they are fascinated by it – why would anyone put up with what they do to us, how could anyone love someone who is so horrible.

      It is a very complicated and confusing situation. For us. And for them. But for them it is exactly as you said – a science experiment – let’s see what happens if I put this frog in water and then slowly boil it. For us it is our lives, our hearts, our souls.

      What we need to understand about ourselves in the situation is that our strength kept us in the relationship. Everything that is good about us, that we try to make better, our empathy, our generous hearts, etc, kept us in the relationship because we chose to see the best, chose to believe that others also have a heart… but sometimes others are too far gone to reach, no matter what. That sometimes we have to give up, let go, to save ourselves because they can’t be saved, not by us, not by our love, not by anyone or anything. They have to save themselves… but they choose not to, and they have to deal with the consequences of their choices, we can’t keep protecting them from their actions.

      The important part is that you saved yourself, that you held onto your sanity and escaped. You tried. You know you did, you went way beyond that and were willing to sacrifice yourself to help another. But at some point you have to do what is right for you.

      Unfortunately abusers will use anything to support their version of reality and their abusive behaviour. They prefer to use things which trap their victims in an impossible scenario to escape. So they often use what is ‘good’ to cover up their ‘bad’. They are very conscious of image, of how things appear, and of using appearances to hide their deeds. So the Church and religion gets twisted to serve them rather than the other way around. If you look at History you will find many cases of people manipulating the teachings of a belief system to suit their greed and need which is anything but altruistic and for the greater good. They see themselves as the very clever wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      There was an article which I came across recently about the games Narcissists’ play – it works for those who are not narcissists but who are manipulators and abusers:

      #4 Death by a Thousand Cuts: This is a really fun game that all narcissists like to play! It involves destroying your soul, your ego, your accomplishments and any belief system you have that does not agree with their beliefs. The way the game is won is for them to try to turn everything about you, and everything you do, into a complete failure. Extra points are given when they can take all the credit for anything good that has ever happened and put it all in their own pot. Double points are earned when they manage to put all blame for anything bad onto the other player.

      via – http://thenarcissisticlife.com/games-narcissists-play/

      This is also a good article to read – http://afternarcissisticabuse.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/how-the-trauma-of-narcissistic-abuse-changes-our-world-views/

      Trust yourself, take care of yourself, be gentle with yourself. Best wishes ❤

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  7. Ursula,

    once again, very interesting and thought-provoking article. Scary to truly look “in there,” but I think fruitful in the long-run. Can’t be much more painful than the experience with the disordered ex-boyfriend and family of origin. You’re right, this is a wake up call, and I hope I don’t have to get involved in another abusive relationship before I do the work I need to do. So, thank you.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      Many years ago I recall coming across the concept of pain versus pleasure, and how they work within our psyche. How humans tend to put up with a lot of pain before they admit to themselves that it is painful and do something to move through the pain into pleasure. It was pointing out that pleasure is not as strong a motivator as it may seem, and that pain is not the sort of motivator to get out of pain and into pleasure that we think it should be. Especially if you grow up in an environment which makes being in pain seem ‘normal’.

      This insight came for me from the work of Anthony Robbins. Who shouts a lot (I tend to switch off when people shout) and I didn’t really gel with most of his spiel, or him, but it was intriguing.

      It took me a long time to investigate how the pleasure/pain concept worked within me. It’s been intriguing and I’ve had to face my own ‘hidden’ aspects. Such as that I am in some ways more comfortable with worst case scenarios than best case ones, because I’m used to ‘shit hitting the fan’ and have coping mechanisms for that, but when things go well, I feel very vulnerable.

      We need to understand our wounds, our pain, because they have information to impart to us, and until we look ‘in there’ we can’t quite release ourselves. Looking in there, as frightening as it can be, also unites us with some wonderful parts of ourselves which went into hiding and want us to find them so we can be who we truly are.

      It’s a strange process, it takes time, and above all, it requires that we be gentle and compassionate with ourselves. Which should be simple, but sometimes it is the hardest challenge of all.

      Best wishes to you, trust yourself, acknowledge your strength, allow yourself to stumble, you will catch and cradle yourself 🙂

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      1. Ursula, your reply made me think…

        If I am used to pain from growing up in it, why not embrace the pain of healing? I am beginning to have faith that facing those wounded parts and integrating them will actually improve the quality of my life. Why not healing pain instead of pain that destroys and lays me low? Pain that works FOR me. I’m thinking through this while writing. LOL I know you do that too, and I love that. Thanks for your reply! 🙂 Raven

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  8. Hi Ursula,

    I have one small suggestion: Can we get rid of the phrase “move on”?

    I ask this for a few reasons. First, very shallow people are fond of using this phrase to bully wounded people into ignoring their emotions. Second, the idea of “moving on” suggests that by merely moving into the future – deliberately, willfully – we will hasten our own healing.

    The spirit of this post is impossible to disagree with. You are, in other words, absolutely correct that there is a point where talking about the narc/socio’s crimes becomes an emotional singularity, that is, something that completely consumes you. But I think that some of the metaphors in your comments – especially the idea of extricating oneself from a sticky web – provides the wide emotional frame for conceptualizing how heal after falling prey to a vampire.

    Logan

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    1. Thank you, Logan! 🙂

      This – Can we get rid of the phrase “move on”? – made me chuckle and nod my head. Can we also get rid of – “Get over it”. Unfortunately once something enters the collective consciousness and becomes ‘popular’ we can’t get rid of it because the collective ‘we’ can’t ‘get over it’ or ‘move on’ from it. So we’re all stuck using terms such as ‘move on’ and ‘get over it’, yet we don’t ‘move on’ or ‘get over it’ – thus we’re trapped in a human style paradox.

      Have you ever noticed that those who use those terms like a motto (and almost use it in an OCD manner) tend to be those who are the most stuck. What are they really saying when they use those terms? In some cases what they mean is – Get over yourself, you and your issues bore me, I’m only interested in myself, I want to discuss my obsessions and not yours. Or they’re saying – I’m in denial, I’m binging on positive thinking hoping that the same thing over and over again will have different results, in a magical cure kind of manner, and you’re interrupting my illusion. It’s kind of interesting that such phrases have risen in prominence and popularity during a phase of societal narcissism.

      Some of the narcissists I have known are very pro-forgive and forget. Get over and move on from what I did to you – so I can do it again. In which case moving on from the wound they have inflicted creates circumstances favourable for the wound being repeated and inflicted again.

      There is much wisdom in our wounds and we need to explore them. Get to know them, what they mean for us, what they reveal. So we do need to get stuck into them. We need to understand them, and that includes focusing upon the person, the narcissist or otherwise, who did what they did to us. How did we allow this to happen, how did we give away our personal power to someone else, etc. So part of the healing process involves being a bit obsessed with them.

      What I was trying to communicate was that if we give too much of our attention to them and what they did to us, in some ways they keep getting what they want – our attention – and they still do what they did – control our lives and hurt us. And worse still, we run the risk of becoming like them because we’re stuck in our wound like they are, feeling the sort of things which they feel, and we may lash out at others the way that they do – but we are not like they are, what has happened to us is that somehow we have absorbed their wound and somehow believe it is ours.

      An example – Recently I saw in my blog stats that I was getting several referrals to my blog from one site. I like to check those out. It was from a forum for victims of narcissists. I found that someone had recommended one of my posts, and had said in their recommendation that reading it had clarified some things for them. They were a regular member of this forum and other forum members knew that they had a painful and difficult story. Yet some of the reactions to their recommendation were people entrenched in their wounds dehumanising everyone except themselves. I was shocked, not by these people’s attitude to my post and to me – which was invalidating, but such is the internet and I can see their point of view and it has validity (the post is quite messy as are all of my posts when I’m working through my thoughts on my experiences of those with NPD) – but by how they responded to this forum member. This forum member found themselves in an awkward position due to these other members’ wound-based reactions – they apologised for recommending a site which upset these other members and felt obliged to further explain why they had recommended my post and blog. Surely they should not have needed to do so within a community who knew their story and should have been considerate of others and their wounds and stories. The scenario brought to mind ana interaction with a narcissist – they attack you but you have to apologise to them. Which made me consider how narcissitic our wounds can be and can make us behave even though we are not narcissists. It got me thinking and reviewing.

      Our wounds, our stuckness in them, can make us repeat what was done to us by doing it to others. Our wounds give us a valid excuse for doing that. This has a certain logic and justification, but is it not similar to the logic and justification which certain types of narcissists (especially covert narcissists) use to excuse their behaviour. They hurt us because someone else hurt them, so we have to accept and forgive and forget. But do we – is that what our wound wants us to do and have taught us? Is there not another option? One which helps us and others who have similar wounds and experiences to us.

      At some point we need to focus our attention on ourselves, on the area where we can actively make a difference. We can’t change what happened, we can’t change the narcissist (the person who abused us), but we can change how what happened and what they did (and want to keep doing) affects us and influences our present and future through our pasts.

      We have a choice. Sometimes it takes us a while to figure that out because we have lived in the land of other people censoring, controlling and limiting our choices to an either/or of their own choosing and not ours. We can make our own options and choices.

      Thank you for sharing 🙂

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  9. I loved what you wrote cause for me the healing and freedom from my ex began the day I decided to no longer think about him obsessively, look at his Facebook page and engage in fruitless emails to address something that he had no desire to resolve. We do get set up for this kind of relationship due to a lack of self love and self care… a longing inside for some attention from someone in the absence of feeling we can give ourselves the love, attention and validation we need. In this way the narcissist is our healer as his or her place and purpose in our world is to send us home to ourselves and look to what is missing in us that made us so susceptible to them in the first place. Its the wound that attracts them to us and us to them and then they can dump their own wounded shadow into us.

    As a friend said of my ex … he used you like a bar of soap to scrub himself clean and rub off all his shit onto you. But I WAS COMPLICIT IN THAT…. As you know with all my planets on the relationship side of the chart I think I have always had this feeling that I needed someone or something outside of myself to complete me. This has led me to many therapists and to groups where the wounds could be discussed over and over again, There came a point where this became really uncomfortable for me…..

    I had come across Carolyn Myss idea of woundology, too and it made a lot of sense, especially being involved in 12 step groups. As victims we give away our personal power.

    Some days I can still feel really sad and old hurts rear their painful heads. I have been finding that especially over these past few weeks with Chiron stationing backwards…. all the hurts, all the injuries,, all the incidents of giving myself away of needing support and not getting it came up.. especially in the wee small hours. I even developed a huge lump and scab on my head around the site of an old head injury.

    It seems really spot on that you have written this now… Sun’s inching its way towards opposition with Pluto and square to Uranus in Aries so its a really timely message. I cant say I’m always free of feeling like a victim as we are victimised and it seems at times victim can seem like a dirty word. The most important thing seems to me that we don’t take it on as a identity and can free ourselves to know we do have power to change things for the better. Your blog helps to reinforce that message.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      I like to review myself, especially when I get a bit too cocksure about something – a sign of my own blinkered-ness which ties in with NPD. That doesn’t mean I’m wrong it just doesn’t mean I’m right either. Staying flexible means there is more room for perspective and more chances of seeing a bigger picture to it all, and moving on from places of stuck-ness.

      I wrote this during a Sun/Chiron transit. In fact this was inspired by exploring Chiron anew – I received quite a few comments just before this post on a post which I wrote about my natal Chiron, and those comments prompted me to do some new exploring which coincided with NPD. And I’m dealing in RL with narc fallout and I needed a new view to shift myself from the position I was in into one which was useful to progression in the here and now.

      The journey we have taken is of value, but we must realise its value as being relative to the journey we are on in the present. To free ourselves from the past we must understand what the past has to teach us. Being a victim and admitting it to ourselves leads to empowerment through seeing how we have enabled what has happened… and how we can change, shift, the dynamic.

      Thank you for sharing 🙂

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  10. I love the honesty with which you write, Ursula. 🙂

    It took me a long time to internalize what I needed to learn from my experience with my ex-narcissist. And as you have said, one eventually needs to stop focusing on oneself, otherwise one is flirting with becoming a self-centered toolbox oneself. I am working on not always dwelling on what my ex “did” to me; when I think of him now, I recognize his issues, set them aside, and then I send him good wishes. He needs good wishes more than most of us, and if I were to wish him ill, all I would be doing is poisoning myself and eventually, those I love, too.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      Very well said. I have often flirted with being a toolbox, and have been one on many occasions. There are times when it is necessary and times when it isn’t, still trying to figure out which is which 😉

      I’m not quite able to do the wishing them well thing, but I don’t wish them ill, I just wish they’d stop bothering me and go elsewhere. Mind you, I wouldn’t wish them on anyone else either (unless it’s on another narcissist, then maybe).

      I think that it’s important to work things through, get whatever is in our system jamming it up out of our system and understand it. It is also important to see the positive in the negative experience. To appreciate the healthy, kind and loving people in our lives, and not lose sight of all we have which inspires us. There is so much more to us than our wounds, sometimes our wounds help us to see that.

      Life is a work in progress 😉

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  11. This was wonderful. I especially liked the thought that you put into adding pictures with messages. I am just now healing from codependency. I have been wounded by several narcissists. It is a very complex process, but it’s well worth the effort. Writing about it helped me too. I found your blog through someone that I follow. So now you have a new follower, lol.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      Growing up with narcissists, one of the hardest challenges I’ve had is figuring out what a healthy relationship is like, and how to relate in a healthy way. I’m still learning, which is a part of the natural flow of life. It’s kind of like learning to walk, we fall over and scrape our knees, but we get back up again and keep going, then fall over again, then get up again, sometimes we lie on the floor for a while, maybe we crawl a bit, the important thing is to keep at it. We get better at it, and it becomes less painful and more fun.

      Writing is a great way to connect with ourselves and get to know ourselves and our story better. What always surprises me is how much I know and understand, especially when I think I don’t. We have so much within us. In some ways being wounded allows us to find ourselves and opens us up to more than just pain.

      Welcome to my blog-home and thank you for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I think I am stuck in many ways right now because I feel helpless. I feel helpless not because I can’t heal myself (I’m attempting to do that) but that I feel almost obligated to make this wrong… a right. But I can’t make it a right. It’s hard to accept that & that justice has not been served to the abuser who continues with their same “song and dance” and gets off the hook. By speaking up and being apart of a group that has also experienced this, you feel validated in your frustrations. That in and of itself is very helpful. Just not being alone.

    The line should be drawn at some point though, and you must go on it alone and decide how you will proceed. I think people who get stuck for years & years and make it their primary story, are attempting to take the control back. The story is who they are. Rightfully so for many. They could never have their own story and now they can be the author instead of someone else. I think that is OK really and I don’t think some of us are meant to heal completely. Some wounds never go away & we rely on them for various reasons. But is that so bad really? I think healing does not equate to full recovery for most. It is a process that requires a level of maintenance and work. It’s a personal journey. It’s sometimes the process that defines it and not the end result. We all do it differently I guess. What works for someone may not work for you, so be it.

    Ursula, I love your personal power. It’s OK to enjoy positive attention and validation. I have trouble accepting it too. It does not make you a narcissist, it makes you human. Don’t need to over think that, it just is. Be happy about it. I am being kinder to myself lately and if I have days where I lose myself in this stuff, I’m Ok with it because I also have days where I don’t. There is no right way to do this healing stuff.

    Interesting article on the stages of grief after abuse. http://www.psychopathfree.com/showthread.php?…

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    1. opps…that link above doesn’t work. Goggle Article: stages of grief after psychopath abuse- it’s on the psychopath free website. They broke it down nicely.

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    2. Thank you 🙂

      It is difficult to work through all the aspects which come into play when you’ve been involved with a narcissist. The issue of right and wrong is can be a sticking point, which is why I added the link on the post to this article – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-experience/200909/dont-play-the-victim-game – because it gives a good overview of how we can get stuck when we feel that a wrong has been committed.

      With a narcissist the right/wrong justice/injustice issue can be a stumbling block which can keep us tied to them, reliving the pain they have caused to us. With us bearing the brunt of it and them carrying on as usual, which aggravates our pain.

      There is another side to the right/wrong issue where narcissists are concerned, and that is that this is a big part of their thinking. Their minds split everything into black or white. So a narcissist views everything they do as being right, and everything everyone else does as being wrong. So while you’re thinking that you’d like to see justice done and have the narcissist pay in some way for what they did to you – they are thinking exactly the same thing about you, and they are much more stubborn about it. That is why the most recommended tactic is to get the narcissist out of your life if you can do so and to focus on yourself. It is rare to get satisfactory closure with a narcissist. Getting them out of your life, focusing on yourself and living well is the easiest method to right a wrong and get justice. Try to do it any other way and you’d better settle in for the long haul and a very strenuous battle which will deplete your energy and cast a darkness over everything else in your life, making even the good seem bad.

      In healing I think it is important to see the benefits of the wound, such as that by having the wound it opens up a dialogue within us wherein we get to know ourselves better. Sometimes through the process of healing one wound we heal other wounded parts of ourselves, things come together and things ripple into other things – when you suppress one part of you it affects other parts, sometimes in ways that are so subtle they go unnoticed. A wound can open us up and allow us to free what has been suppressed, giving us new energy and perspectives which can have beneficial effects.

      I think one of the greatest gifts which comes from a relationship with a narcissist is that they give us a very stark personal reference point of how not to relate to other people, and they shine a beautiful light for us on the good and respectful relationships which we have. Sometimes we take the good people in our life for granted, we get caught up in the little problems we have with them and lose sight of the things we love, or we just stop noticing how much they do for us, the small everyday acts of showing us their love and support… a narcissist can remind us of how lucky we are to have healthy and nourishing relationships.

      A narcissist, through what they do to us and our life, can actually give us the incentive to reconnect with ourselves and with others in our life whom we love.

      There’s a series of videos of Caroline Myss discussing healing and woundology. This is #3 in the series – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nxaSDBfPvo

      Be gentle with yourself, trust yourself.

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      1. Thanks Ursula…you have a way of explaining things that helps to lift the fog and propel me forward. I hate being the victim and my self pity bugs me the more than anything. I think it’s a part of the process. I will let go. Having a better day today. I appreciate you & your insight:)

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        1. We have to realise that we are a victim of a narcissist so that we can shift out of the role into a position of strength and use that strength to heal. Self-pity helps us along the way as it shows us where we need to work on ourselves, as does being stuck. Don’t judge yourself, be gentle with yourself and ease yourself forwards through each stage of the process. Learning, understanding and growing. You have great instincts, trust them, trust yourself.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      It is very challenging to move beyond abuse. It’s important to honour our wound as it is a part of us and our experience of life, it shapes us to a degree, but it is not everything there is to us, and it is not what defines us. We need to also honour the strength in ourselves which keeps us going, growing.

      For me I’ve found that the way to gradually move on is through integrating what has happened, facing the negative but also finding the positive inspiration in it. It took me a long time to do that, and to learn to be gentle with myself.

      Thank you for sharing, best wishes and blessings!

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  13. I loved the term “Narcissist by Proxy”. I have written oodles of articles about narcs, but one day I realized that I needed to start talking more about me. I realized that in sharing my story I did find myself and my own power again and my life is not all about the narc. I have a good life and I love being alive. So now, I pepper in those moments of ME and it has been liberating.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      I have learned a lot from reading your posts, and I’ve noticed that you’ve been focusing more on yourself and I love the vibe of what you’re doing, it’s positive and inspiring.

      Blogging about our experiences and relationships adds something extra to what we share, because sometimes what we share resonates with others. It can draw us in a certain direction and we may be tempted to stay there. Discussing the same thing over and over, and where narcissists are concerned there is so much frustration that it’s like an insect bite which is permanently itchy and we can’t resist scratching it until we bleed.

      We sort of have to find a balance between ourselves and others. I kind of see it a bit like a seesaw. We also need to remember just how much there is to us which needs celebrating. Who we are, all the facets, that’s our gift!

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  14. Nice post! Self-exploration is far more difficult than outer-exploration, though the latter is in some cases (as in narcissism) necessary to do the inner right. But it doesn’t heal, it just points the direction. So instead of staring at the finger we should divert our gaze and look at the moon! 

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    1. Auren, you just reminded me of something I once heard in a 12 step group. It’s okay to take someone else’s inventory, seriously have at it!! As long as when you’re done, you cross out their name at the top and write your own. All about projection and shadow self! I forgot that! Thanks!!

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      1. Heh, I guess it was awakened by the finger-pointing part 😀 The basic concept is the same, getting stuck in (staring at) words/concepts and not looking at what they are pointing at. I think It’s important not to fall in love with words. Listen to them and then release them. Whatever they were meant to teach us it’s already there, even if we are not conscious of it. Allan Watts said “the menu is not the meal” 😉

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  15. Thank you for this post. As a member of ACA, I sometimes am stuck in reliving my role as the victim and going to meetings and sharing my stories with a group who validates my role can make things worse. I am trying to heal and move on from a horrendous break-up and looking for ways to see my active role in it all, rather than vilifying my narcissistic ex. I love the part regarding sharpening the knife, and handing it to a narcissist. Understanding that narcissist can’t exist without someone to feed off of is essential. Victims need to stop being host to these emotional parasites.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      It is a complicated process to heal, and we do have to relive our wound as a way to work through it to understand what we have been through and to release ourselves from the hold it has over our lives. Sometimes we have to relive it over and over again, each time gaining a bit more clarity and understanding. It’s better to get it out into the open than to deny it as within the wound lies our healing, therein is strength and wisdom. Trying to move on when we’re not ready to do so can sometimes delay healing. We just have to watch out that we don’t get stuck there because it offers us a seeming safety, that we don’t come to define ourselves by our wound. We need to see that what lies beyond it is worth moving towards.

      It can be difficult to extricate ourselves from all the ties which bind us to a narcissist because being in a relationship with one is like getting caught in a spider’s web. It’s very sticky and there are many fine threads, it’s designed to keep us tied to them forever (even if they discard us, they never let us go). They know how to get under our skin, into our head and in our psyche. The way to get them out is to figure out how and why we let them in, that way we will not let another one in, and if we do, we know how to get them out.

      I think the five stages of grief, are quite useful for understanding the healing process involved in recovering from being the victim of a narcissist. It’s particularly important to go through the anger stage because it releases all of the pent up feelings which were suppressed and invalidated by the narcissist.

      You’re right, we do need to stop feeding them, but we need to also understand why we agreed to do so.

      Thank you for sharing!

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