[Please note: This is a repost of a post published in June 2014.
I chose to repost this because it sort of goes with the previous repost – When Narcissists Claim to be Victims of Narcissists – Who is the Narcissist?.
When I wrote this post, and the previous one, I was going through an experience which had brought my past life with my narcissist parents very much into the present for me. What was past… wasn’t in the past anymore. Everything I thought I’d left behind, moved on from, gotten away from, let go, etc, came flooding back with a vengeance.
It was a time of intense stress, blood-curdling fear, violent fury, and so much more, but most of all it was an opportunity to confront what I had avoided and finally deal with it.
Did I finally deal with it? Did I deal with it well?
Let’s just say that it now seems to be over and done. This time my moving on, letting go, etc, seems to have more substance to it, seems to be more genuinely authentic. I’m using the word ‘seems’ simply because when I thought it was done before… it wasn’t quite done done. When dealing with narcissists… is it ever really done done. You may be done done with it, but if they’re not… and they’re often never done done with it regardless of how many times they say they are (their talk is rarely in tune with their walk).
(I haven’t seen the Kdrama pictured and memed above , so I don’t know what’s actually going on in the scene or what the story is, but this quote is a classic narcissistic stance and relationship expectation of the other, especially when they discard you)
While going through that time every wound I had was ripped open again, and… I bled profusely in my blog posts. I bled myself dry more than once.
Lately I’ve been watching Korean dramas (which I may have mentioned repeatedly, such is momentary passionate obsession and the quest to figure out the meaning of that momentary passionate obsession).
I think that part of the appeal Kdrama for me is that they tap into my wounds, and the ways I sought to heal them in the past, and the ways I dealt with them when I was younger (mostly by being stoic – Koreans in Kdramas do stoic a lot, it sometimes becomes what is known as Noble Idiocy – “A person who ‘sacrifices’ their own happiness with the assumption that they are bringing happiness to the person they are sacrificing for, when in fact, this sacrifice makes the other person even more unhappy.” I did Noble Idiocy a lot for most of my life – these days not so much).
I think I also really relate deeply to the concept of Han:
even though as a non-Korean I’m not supposed to ever understand it, but (when has being told that I can never understand something ever stopped me from trying to understand it) as a child of two Narcissist parents… is that a bell I hear ringing off in the murky distance?
The storylines involving chaebols (A chaebol is a large industrial conglomerate that is run and controlled by an owner or family in South Korea – def by WIki), while the reality of it is nothing near my own reality, the social rules and regulations, the family as a business, and the suffocating atmosphere of sacrificing yourself for all of that – image and appearance is everything, family must be obeyed (even if they’re psychos), all must be minutely controlled, all must be censored, anything human must be killed off – and the absence of anything even resembling love, affection, caring emotion. The world dominated by a tyrannical and paranoid mind… that’s very familiar, it’s a perfect rendition of the narcissist family.
In a Kdrama I’ve just started watching (The Strongest Deliveryman), one of the characters (the second male lead) is a family member of a chaebol. After a ‘scandal’ (the Kdrama concept of a scandal can be confusing for Westerners – but a quick look at a not so long ago Western history shows that such things used to be scandalous for us too) involving this character which could have damaged the reputation of the family and business had the father and business CEO not squashed it ASAP by using and abusing his power and powerful position, the father and CEO calls his son in for a meeting which is actually a beating (with a golf club), and then the father pats his son on the (golf-club beaten) back while he’s lying on the floor in pain (which he’s trying to not show) and tells him to do the ‘noble’ thing and kill himself – daddy CEO means it. So the son decides to do exactly that to, for once, be a good son and not a loser. AISH!!!
That reminded me of an interaction I had with my mother when I selfishly survived a medical emergency and surgical operation – while she was relieved that I didn’t die because it would have made her look bad, embarrassed her, if I had, she was also annoyed that I didn’t die because my death would have given her more to work with to manipulate her audience and improve the powerful impact of her ‘damsel in permanent distress’ role. My death could have been used to further her own goals while my life… that could be used too, but it didn’t pay off as well, and was often disappointing due to how much it wasn’t worth to her or anyone else.
If you find it odd that I can discuss such matters in such a perhaps seemingly detached manner – you get used to this kind of dynamic when you’re a child of narcissists. Children of Narcissists tend to get caught between life and death, stuck in an in-between never really knowing (if they’re actually alive or just a figment of someone’s imagination) which side of the equation to choose to be on.
In my own life there was always the rather openly expressed message that my existence was a burden, and my non-existence would be a relief and release for my parents. My mother regularly told me how much her life was great until I was born (while also telling me that she went to great lengths to create me to improve the shit her life had become – I was supposed to be a miracle cure but I failed = I owed her big time). Before my existence everything was peachy for her, after my existence everything was rotten (yet I was born to make my parents ‘less selfish’ according to one version of my creation story – ha…ha…ha… han!). My father didn’t want children because his siblings were his children and he was fed up with the responsibility of caring for people who always wanted more from him, were never grateful or appreciative, what he gave them was never enough, and were always after what he hadn’t given them yet (which was always better than what they’d been given) – or at least that was one of the stories. Unraveling the ‘truth’ in a Kdrama is similar to trying to find the ‘truth’ in a narcissist family.
In the Kdrama, Oh My Venus, one character (played by So Ji-Sub) points out that we all suffer, we all have our traumas, our wounds… pain is universal, even if when we’re in pain we may feel and believe that we’re the only one who has ever known suffering.
Our individual wounds can helps us to become more aware and considerate of the wounds of others, it can show us how those wounds can cause more damage to us and to others (Narcissists are, underneath it all, the walking and talking wounded passing on the wound), and how these wounds can inspire healing solutions for us and for others.
Or something like that…
We are not our wounds and our wounds are not who we are – they’re a question which sends us on a search, that search helps us to discover ourselves bit by bit.
Take care of yourselves!]
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.
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.
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).
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…
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[Just as with my previous repost, I’ve removed the links which were with this post ,at the bottom of it, in the repost as some of them no longer work and lead to dead ends online. One link in particular to a post I thought was excellent kept changing every time I blinked because the site it belonged to kept fiddling with their site. I tried to keep up with their changes, updating the link, but eventually I gave up (let go, moved on, etc)
If you would like to check them out, please go to the original post – Talking about Narcissists… and Woundology ]