My books have helped thousands to step back, and away, from the damaging effects of a narcissistic person, whether it’s a present-day relationship or one that has haunted them from the past. Now, they may help you, too.
Narcissist ruining your life?
Maybe you love one. Or work for one. Maybe you’re related to one. Or were raised by one. Whatever the relationship, you’ve likely been hurt by the narcissist in your life.
“As I change my outlook, the world around me will shift because I will have new clarity. Perhaps the other person—the narcissist—will change, perhaps not. I need not focus on that any longer. The fact that I have gotten a new perspective on an old problem is what brings me a sense of well-being, calmness, and hope. My job is to take that new perspective and apply it only to better myself and care for myself.”
In an excellent piece from Noteworthy – The Journal Blog, “Healing From This” depicts her experience being married to a narcissist. She writes:
If I loved something, he would hate it. If I hated something, he would love it. Everything I stood for — he stood for the opposite — and it got worse with time. Of course, in the beginning, to lure me in, he pretended that he was into all the things that I was into… I thought he was authentic and often I would think to myself how lucky I was that I found someone who I had so much in common with. But, it turns out, all the things that we had “in common” were not really true. He just pretended to like them so that he can make me think that I was his soulmate.
Read “I was married to a narcissist for 12 years — and I had NO idea” here
An article featured in The New York Times explores the role of resilience after difficult experiences. Eilene Zimmerman writes:
“… The most resilient among us are people who generally don’t dwell on the negative, who look for opportunities that might exist even in the darkest times. During a quarantine, for example, a resilient person might decide it is a good time to start a meditation practice, take an online course or learn to play guitar…Research has shown that dedication to a worthy cause or a belief in something greater than oneself — religiously or spiritually — has a resilience-enhancing effect, as does the ability to be flexible in your thinking.”
Read “What Makes Some People More Resilient Than Others” from the Resilience series here
When I listen to my deeper self, it is often enough to satisfy my need to be “heard.” This might sound funny, but I understand the power that comes from listening and, by proxy, trusting my deeper self. That’s what I’ve been missing all along, anyway: a connection to me.
The child’s development and behavior become about the narcissist—because everything eventually becomes about the narcissist. The child, at the earliest stages, learns to acquiesce to keep their n parent from emotionally abandoning them. Nothing the child does can prevent the abandonment. Once you understand this, your own fear of abandonment may lessen, and you will see your parent more clearly.
An interesting idea featured on NPR ponders the concept of nostalgia, especially in these tumultuous times. Shankar Vedantam of Hidden Brain says:
“One thing many of us have realized these past few months is how much we value the people in our lives. Maybe you’ve had a Zoom happy hour with friends you haven’t seen in years. Maybe you’ve taken long walks with family, and noticed new things about your community. Maybe you’ve found yourself just sitting and doing nothing, and connecting with yourself. For those of us who lead frenetic lives, that can be a novel experience.
One useful exercise to practice in these times is to close your eyes and ask yourself what you will feel nostalgic about when you look back on the early months of 2020. What will you smile about? What will you miss? Thinking about the present through the eyes of your future self can tell you what is important and beautiful in your life right now.”
Listen to the podcast episode and read “The Time Machine: How Nostalgia Prepares Us For The Future” here
Letting go can trigger feelings of loss and abandonment…perhaps the fear of the abandonment you’ll feel, an echo of the abandonment you’ve already felt most of your life but suppressed. These are the thoughts of a child in an adult’s body, of old wounds that are resurfacing. They are resurfacing in order to be examined, cleansed, and healed—by you. Only you can heal them now.
I have an internal North Star and today I am learning how to look for and follow it. I trust that my North Star appears to me in myriad ways. It might be an emotion—a pristine calm or a flow of unexpected tears. As I continue to practice focusing on myself, I’ll connect more easily and readily to my North Star and the seamless union of my heart and mind will feel more natural and less like work.
When the dynamic is operative, both the narcissistic parent and their child believe it is they who are internally, irreparably flawed. But it is the child, having become the depository of the parent’s disowned traits, who may consciously ask, “What is wrong with me?”
The parent may say, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but something is wrong with you.” The child is carrying something they are unable to control, and the parent is fearful that the child will stop carrying it. What must be understood, however, is that the child cannot heal this “thing” himself because…this “thing” does not belong to them.
A very helpful article from the New York Times describes the differences between worry, stress, and anxiety and how to successfully handle them all. Emma Pattee explains:
“Here’s the takeaway: Worry happens in your mind, stress happens in your body, and anxiety happens in your mind and your body. In small doses, worry, stress and anxiety can be positive forces in our lives.”
Read “The Difference Between Worry, Stress and Anxiety” here
Photo by Claudia Barbosa
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Today I take small steps to educate myself about narcissism. To try to be objective about what I learn. I give myself time to absorb what’s new and do not rush to act. My goal will not be changing the entire world, or even changing my relationship. Rather, I commit to changing myself—my expectations and my view of myself and my role in the relationship. I trust that, as I change my own world and outlook, the world around me also will shift in my eyes because I will have new clarity, a new faith in myself.
Visitation to this site and the content of these books do not construe mental health or healthcare services, or suggest any action or direction an individual should or should not take. Please seek appropriate help and guidance for your particular situation. This site offers suggestions for healing and information for education purposes only.