I have been rather scarce around here lately. I have started many posts but never completed them, it’s not that I was so busy with other things, just not motivated to do much of anything. My doctor quadrupled my meds which have lousy side effects, there are physical side effects of not too pleasant IBS which make it impossible for me to leave the house some days, itching skin and rashes, lack of motivation, lack of energy and dizziness, plus depression. As if everything else wouldn’t make a person depressed anyway! On top of all that I was recently rear ended and my neck injury from years ago has flared up. So I have not been on here posting or replying to comments much.
I needed to take some time to myself, regroup, and come back fresh, or fresher any way.
Being told by the doctor I could die at any second kinda threw me for a loop also. We all know we are going to die and most of us have no idea when that will be. I could step out the door and be hit by a truck, struck by lightning, fall in the shower but to be told you shouldn’t be alive or functioning at the level you are makes everything very tentative and uncertain. Then to be denied disability yet again leaves you feeling helpless and totally frustrated. No way you can work without asking to drop dead yet not able to get enough money to live. WTF??!!
I was sent to a counselor to help deal with everything and she said the same thing the last counselor said, “I have every right to be depressed, I don’t need a counselor, I need help financially, I need the government to implement the changes to the welfare system that were recommended in 2009!
Both counselors were surprised at how self aware I am and impressed with my positive and realistic views about life. They both expressed surprise that I was able to accomplish this level of awareness without help of a therapist. I have always had a desire to grow as a person and I have taken several courses on effective communication mainly because I found it difficult to express my feelings without crying or getting angry, I often bottled up my emotions, finally exploding and then regret things I said.
Not everyone is self aware nor wants to be but I credit my own quest for self awareness for my being able to heal myself. Some people swear they healed through yoga and others find inner peace through meditation, but they also require self awareness. I want to share my steps to healing but it may not be for everyone, you have to do what works for you.
It is easy to get stuck in victimhood. No one wants to admit they had anything to do with their own abuse and they cling to their victimhood like a life raft. It becomes their identity, like being a mother or wife can become a person’s identity. As long as they are a victim they don’t have to take responsibility for their hurt. “It’s not MY fault, he lied”. There was a benefit to me to continue being a victim, I don’t have to make any decisions, I didn’t have to face facts, I didn’t have to leave, I didn’t have to stand up for myself and risk being called selfish or having someone not like me. Even people seeing me as a victim was ok because a victim has no fault, after all they are a victim. The only thing about viewing yourself as a victim is that means you are helpless to stop it from ever happening again.
As a victim you can study up on the traits of a narcissist and console yourself by reading them over and over again, that is why it happened, it wasn’t my fault, he is evil, he sucked me in I was helpless. Don’t get me wrong, no one knew what they were getting into and we all were victims in the beginning and we suffered horrible emotional if not physical abuse. But we all ignored a little inner voice that was telling us something was not right.
I know that I was terribly offended if anyone even hinted at the possibility that I had any responsibility for what happened to me. BUT I also was terribly afraid of everything, how could I ever trust the world again, trust myself to keep myself safe. It seemed I was surrounded by narcissists at every turn when in fact they were opportunists and I was in a weakened state. I knew that being able to identify all the narcissists that may come into my life would be impossible because they can morph into exactly what I think I need and I seemed to be surrounded by them at every turn. I was in need of help and understanding so much after my ex and I split and it seemed my weakness attracted them like vultures to a carcass. Narcissists and their flying monkeys are like vultures. There are people in the world who move in to pick the bones after the narcissist is done with you. They will take advantage of your vulnerability and neediness, they are wanna be narcissists, they admire the narcissist and see him as powerful, they don’t know how he does what he does because they aren’t as intelligent, good looking or confident, so they will take his leftovers. When you are bruised and battered they can do as much damage as the narcissist. That is why getting involved with someone too soon after the narcissist is so dangerous; any damage inflicted will be devastating because you are far too fragile to not take it personally. You are not strong enough, you will either fall for another narcissist because he will make you feel like the most beautiful sexy woman on the face of the earth or you will hook up with someone who abuses you right from day one.
So how do you go from victim to survivor? Well first you accept you were a victim, now that you know what he is and you have left him, you stay a victim by choice if you stay in contact. Yes he has fucked with your head, yes you are beaten down and shattered in a million pieces, yes you feel like you can’t live without him but you also know that he is not going to change and any contact with him leaves you feeling further victimized. You DO have control over whether you continue to be hurt by him, he is never going to leave you alone, you must do this for yourself. Once you end all contact you become a survivor, he may occasionally victimize you again with slander etc but you can not control him, you can only control how you handle your reaction. (More on protecting yourself from slander and dealing with his flying monkeys in another post.)
Even though I had gone no contact I still had his voice in my head and vision of him treating the new woman so much better than he treated me, I couldn’t help but wonder if she knew something I didn’t, she was dealing with him so much better than I did and had found the secret to keeping him happy and in love with her. I was driving myself crazy so decided to take an honest look at how I dealt with things and what I could have done differently. When I did this I could see that under the circumstances I reacted the only way I could aside from dumping his ass a lot sooner.
Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of putting myself back together I made another choice; I was not going to do anything I was not totally comfortable with. In the past I would agree to do something and later regret it simply because I didn’t know how to say no, I wanted people to like me, whatever. I found I was terribly sensitive which is normal when you are going through a breakup with a narcissist, I was short tempered (I read somewhere that anger is rarely based in anger, it is usually comes from fear, embarrassment, jealousy, insecurity, or some other emotion we may not even know we are feeling). I refused to allow myself to react to anything immediately. There is rarely a need for an immediate response to anything. With every single reaction or action I analyzed why I felt the way I did, why was I angry? why was I hurt? I am sure if you really examine why you feel the way you do you will find an underlying reason or you don’t have the full picture. I found that when I felt pressured to make a decision and waited many times the situation fixed itself or an answer became crystal clear. A narcissist pressures you to make a decision now, he doesn’t want you thinking about things; he is like a spoiled 3 yr old, badgering you until you give in and you make lousy decisions and then you lose faith in your ability to make sound choices; take a deep breath and don’t allow yourself to be rushed.
I also chose to be totally honest about my feelings and not worry so much about expressing myself and offending someone. I would analyze my feelings first and when I was sure what I was feeling, if I still felt the need to discuss the situation I would do so from this new position of honesty.
Let me give you an example of what I mean;
A few years ago Christmas was approaching and my son was trying to make things work with the mother of his child. I was looking forward to my son, granddaughter and her mom coming for Christmas. I assumed they would stay with me Christmas Eve because my son had never been close to his father and I had earned the premo position of Christmas morning gift opening, I had always been the one to make a big deal about Santa etc and I was looking forward to my son and I doing it for my granddaughter together. My mother was having the Christmas Day dinner and as far as I was concerned his father could see him on Boxing Day. Well, you can imagine my disappointment when my son informed me he was going to his dad’s Christmas Eve and he would see me on Boxing Day. I am sure he felt the ice run through my veins through the phone lines. I felt immediately angry, I said I had to go and I would talk to him later. I was furious. I imagined all kinds of reasons why he would choose to do things that way, I took it very personal, extremely personal. I wrote a letter, long letter I did not send. I analyzed why I was so angry. I felt entitled to Christmas Eve, I had always made Christmas so special for my son, I felt it was a slap in the face, I was hurt, not angry. After a few days (there was no need to rush it and I wanted to be calm and rational when I talked to him) I called and asked him why he was choosing to go to his dad’s and not stay at my house, I said that I felt hurt and had really hoped they would spend Christmas Eve at my place.
He explained, they were driving from Kelowna with a 4 and 1/2 year old after work. They would reach his dad’s at 7:30 ish, to come to my house would add another hour and 1/2 to their travel time. His dad has a 2 story home with a set up guest room and I lived in a one bedroom cabin, which would mean two adults, a child and a dog sleeping in a double bed and me on the couch. My mom lives 15 minutes from his father’s house and that is where Christmas dinner was going to be. He also had to pack up his stuff off his boat so he was going to do that on Boxing Day and come for dinner at my place after he was done.
Listening to how and why he had planned things the way he did I became increasingly grateful I had not gotten angry and I felt selfish and silly for having hurt feelings. I offered to not cook a big dinner and help him move instead, suggesting we grab a burger or pizza when we were done. I could hear the relief in his voice. Christmas was wonderful, we opened gifts at my mother’s, it was absolutely perfect, on Boxing Day I helped him pack and we had the whole day to ourselves and laughed and cried, reminisced, he opened up about stuff he could only talk to me about without anyone else there. I was SO happy I had not gotten angry. If I had left things and carried my resentment with me it would not have been a good day. Once again proving to me that trying to guess what other people are thinking, burying my feelings and anger got me nowhere and the only way was to be honest.
When you are in victim mode it is easy to think it’s all about you. Someone can be having a bad day and you will take it personally, someone can honestly not mean to hurt you but you take it as them rejecting you or using you or whatever. If you are honest about what you are feeling and not have an angry knee jerk reaction you may be surprised at the outcome. You are not responsible for everyone’s happiness nor their anger.
Another thing you have to remember is, you may be sad, miserable even but it is not because you are in love with the narcissist. You are sad because of what the narcissist did to you. It is very easy for you and the people around you to think it is all about you still loving the narcissist. Learning to identify what you are feeling and why you are feeling that way will help you realize that you are not hurting because you still love him. You may be sad because your hopes and dreams died, you may be depressed because he left you destitute, you may be lonely, but that does not mean you still love him. Your situation warrants you being sad, you don’t need a psychiatrist, anti-depressants, the narcissist back in your life, someone to love you; what you are feeling is normal, you have every right to feel the way you do and the sooner you accept that the faster you can heal. Thinking you should be further along in healing is going to make you feel worse about yourself and make the feelings of needing him back even stronger. Stop thinking there is something wrong with you.
People are so uncomfortable with feeling sad, with other people feeling sad, a person feels there is something wrong with them when they aren’t over the N in a month or two. If they are still hurting after 6 months they think there must be something wrong with them. When it is perfectly normal to take a couple of years to get over the abuse of a narcissist. Sadness is not unhealthy!! it is a normal reaction to being abused. Everyone is so used to quick fixes for everything that they feel they should be able to heal in a week or two. THAT is NOT normal! You see the narcissist go off and fall in love and so happy within weeks or days of the break up and you think there is something wrong with you when it is HIM that is not normal!
If it is normal to be able to go from loving a person one day to being madly in love with someone else a few days later then I will stay dysfunctional than you very much!
People are supposed to care, to hurt, to love. The narcissist imitates romance movies, he gave you a fantasy and it is going to take time to sort through all the feelings and get your feet firmly planted in reality again or maybe for the first time in your life.
Inner peace doesn’t come from material possessions, from a good job, from being loved by the right person. It comes from knowing you are being true to yourself and living honestly. Never doing anything because you feel pressured to do it.
You will feel selfish and people (who are used to manipulating you with guilt and believe me you have them in your life and they aren’t all narcissists)in your life may tell you are being selfish at first because you and they are not accustomed to you saying no. People are used to you being a certain way, your children, parents, siblings, friends and they will want you to get tougher with everyone but them, they won’t like the change. But you don’t have to stop doing nice things for people, quite the contrary; when you do things from the heart you do it happily, with no expectations and people will appreciate when you offer to do something you mean it. You will no longer do things because you are a push over or feel guilty. You may lose some people from your life, unhealthy people who don’t like that they lost control of you but when you are living true to yourself you can see how unhealthy those people were in your life and you don’t need everyone to like you.
Some of you may not even realize you have an inner voice, or you may not recognize when your gut instinct is telling you something. You have to become aware of these things, what your stomach is doing, what your body is doing, your body is telling you things all the time, learn to listen to it. We are all born with a natural gut instinct. Some people may say it is God talking to them, some call it intuition, some people say, “Something told me to not go in there” but you have to start focussing on yourself and your feelings and stop listening to your brain.
Some related posts from the post
5 Lessons I Learned
Retraining Your Brain