Just for a while, a day even, or longer if you really want to learn something about yourself, remove yourself from the action and look at yourself as an observer instead of a participant in your life.
What I mean is instead of reacting to the things going on in your life, just sit back and observe what is going on. If your ex N is trying to get a reaction from you, instead of going with your first reaction which will more than likely either be anger or hurt; don’t react. Remove yourself and observe what your body is telling you?, what is your mind telling you?, what is your gut telling you? Now listen to the narcissist from an intellectual stand point not an emotional one, look at him without the rose-colored glasses, without any self talk or excuses, just from the facts you have about him, not how your heart feels but by what your brain knows. You don’t have to do anything, ever, without taking the time to think about the decision you are making.
So many times the victim of the narcissist feels pressured to make hasty decisions, he wants you back and you are afraid that if you don’t say yes, he will walk out of your life. That is your heart, your fears, your insecurities talking; that is not intellectual, what your brain knows, or what your gut is telling you. Intellectually you should know that if this is true love and he is sincere, you taking a day or two to think about it; or a month or two for that matter, is not going to send him flying into another woman’s arms. If that is your fear and that is why you want to say yes; then you really have to figure out why you want to stay with a man you know does not love you enough to wait until you are sure of your decision. No normal human being is in love with one person one day and finds their soul mate the next. It/ Just/ Does/ Not/ Happen/
Take it farther than just the narcissist, be an observer in every aspect of your life. If you get pissed off at your kids, instead of immediately reacting, do nothing. Think about what you are feeling, are you angry or are you disappointed, or afraid? So many times a person’s “go-to” reaction to a situation is anger; but rarely is anger the emotion they are feeling. most times when a person reacts in anger they are hurt or fearful of something; if they take the time to analyze what they are feeling. To react in anger practically never has a positive outcome in any situation and if you are anything like me, after you fly off the handle and calm down, you feel guilty and apologize.
Not very productive and a total waste of emotional energy. By removing yourself from the situation figuratively and if need be physically (the more you do this the faster you can process your thoughts and won’t have to physically remove yourself, but if you feel you can not stay in the immediate vicinity of the other person, just say you need to take time to process what you are feeling and you will be back in say an hour.) I have taken days on occasion in the beginning.
Once you are alone with your thoughts get quiet and take a few deep breaths because you have to relax, at first you will be all pumped up with adrenaline because your fight or flight reflex kicked into high gear. It is really hard to walk away when someone hurts you or angers you, you want to defend yourself, attack back, respond! But that is part of what got you in so deep with the narcissist. Him pushing your buttons, you having a knee jerk reaction, him making you feel guilty, and he is still in control. See how that works?
What this exercise is doing is teaching you to identify exactly what you are feeling and then deciding on an appropriate response that you will not regret later. It is much easier to make a logical and rational decision if you are not in a state of heightened emotions. You have to learn to shut off your emotions for a minute, yes it can be done!! If a hot head like me can learn to control my temper so can you! and take deep breaths, clear your head and look at it as an observer.
– What am I feeling, fear? hurt? jealousy?
– Am I justified? (some times we aren’t)
– What can I do to feel better?
– What would make it ok for me?
See how you are in control of how you feel and making yourself feel better? Once you know what you are feeling and you know that those feelings are justified, you can identify what will make you feel better. i have found that many times I will be upset about something but when I take time to name what I am feeling, just the time away from the heat of the moment to clear my head and calm down, is all I needed, because my anger had nothing to do with the incident at hand but more to do with something else that happened that day, or it was triggered by some memory from the past.
If you can identify why you are feeling the way you are and express it like:
I am feeling very hurt because I asked you to be home for dinner and you weren’t and you didn’t call. (you are talking to your teenagers now 🙂 I feel disrespected because you didn’t feel you should call and let me know.
Do you see how that is so much more productive than screaming at them that they are inconsiderate slobs who never show you any respect and you are tired of working all day and coming home to a mess, cooking supper and they can’t even take the time to give you a call. Well they are grounded now!!
By getting in touch with what you are really feeling and discussing what you are feeling you are living true to yourself, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and giving the other person the opportunity to deal with the REAL issue and alter their behavior. Of course this does not work with the narcissist, but it does make all of your other relationships more pleasant and brings you much closer.
Let’s look at another scenario, you are have gone no contact and are doing very well but tonight you are fighting with the phone. You are ready to dial that number, you can’t stop yourself. Stop! step away and be an observer for a few minutes. What are you feeling? you are not allowed to say “I love him” “I miss him”, those are not complete answers. Ask yourself;
– What do I hope to accomplish by phoning him?
– What can I say I haven’t said a hundred times before?
– How often do you call and get off the phone feeling better?
– Is this phone call going to fix your problem?
– What will fix my problem? anything?
– What can I do to make myself feel better?
What you are doing when you do this, is learning to self sooth, realize that the other person can not fix you or make you feel better about yourself, only you can do that.
I think it was Eckert Tolle that said in order for a person to have a peaceful life they have to live true to themselves. Part of the control the narcissist has and part of the reason the victim has such a hard time breaking away is; the victim starts to compromise their core beliefs, they have allowed someone (the N) to cross boundaries and they are not at peace with themselves inside. In order to have true peace in your life you must have all areas of your life reflect your core beliefs and morals. I thought I could stay true to my core values turn a blind eye to the fact that James did not value my beliefs or live by them. But a person can’t, it eats away at them, at their self-worth, they don’t like themselves and soon they rely on the N for their self-worth because they are living in his value system not their own.
The narcissist knows that if he can get you to compromise your principles he is going to be able to break you.
Allowing the abuse to continue is one of the biggest boundaries you allowed him to cross, you need him to approve of you, love you, to justify breaking one of your core values.
When a person makes decisions rashly, in the heat of anger, fear or anxiety they rarely make wise choices or if they do make good choices they second guess them once they calm down; that is why it is so important to learn to name what you are truly feeling and make decisions from a calm centered place. The last thing you want to do is feel guilty because the narc will zero in on that guilt and manipulate you with it, sure as shooting. I know, I have been there!
That’s why it is never a good idea to try to beat the N at his own game, tit for tat never works with a narcissist because we feel guilty and he doesn’t. If your N was anything like James, the neighbors only ever heard your voice during fights, James would almost whisper his insults, I would try to walk away and he would have one more zinger to lay on me as I walked away. something like <“You know I am right, that’s why you walk away, you can’t face the truth.”
Invariably I would bite the bait and have to defend myself, my voice getting louder and higher pitched with every one of his attacks, until I sounded like the psycho bitch he told everyone I was and then I would hate myself for losing control. So what do you do when the narc just won’t leave you alone and keeps badgering you until you break? You leave the relationship is what you do. Because a loving partner would not bait you like that, a healthy person would respect your right to walk away and collect your thoughts, a loving partner would not be accusing you of things you are not doing. If this is going on in your relationship, it is toxic. Get out.
I have an interesting realization the other day, that kinda pertains to this sort of thing. I am sure you all remember they moved my boat back 2 slips because someone complained about Stella barking. Then my neighbor called me over and confessed it was his wife and that she works graveyard shift and that is why she had complained. He was very apologetic and I thanked him for his honesty. But he said something else that I didn’t may much attention to at the time.
He said “In all honesty, I don’t think it had much to do with the dog and more to do with you.”
I took it to mean that I had been more annoying trying to coax stella into the boat than stella. But now that my boat has been moved I have been paying more attention to what is going on around me. When I moved into the boat everyone was very welcoming and friendly, introduced themselves etc including the husband that talked to me about the complaint, but his wife never was friendly. I hardly ever saw her and if she did leave the boat when I was outside she never said hi or even looked at me. I assumed she was shy or just not a friendly person. Her husband always said hi or made small talk for a few minutes when we were both outside but if she walked up he immediately went in their boat.
But now that I am back two spots and the guy who was behind me is now in front of me I hear her chatting with him all the time, laughing etc. Then it dawned on me what her husband meant. She was jealous of me, afraid that her husband and I would be boinking while she is away working. Which is rather ridiculous, I know she doesn’t know me but it is a marina, we are all only a few feet away from each other, I am sure if there was any kind of hanky panky going on everyone would know about it.
But you see, she reacted to the situation instead of sitting back and thinking logically about it. I don’t know if she has reason to not trust him, but even if she does have just cause, moving my boat is not going to stop him. i am sure he has plenty of opportunity to cheat every day, she can’t be there to intercept every woman who might cross his path, she will drive herself crazy. The problem is not that there are other women in the world besides her, the problem is her husband can’t be faithful. She needs to decide, live with it or not. He is not going to change and she will drive herself crazy trying to prevent something that might or might not happen but is totally out of her control. She can not control what he does, she can voice her need for him to be monogamous, but it is totally up to him whether he respects that or not; then it is on her to decide whether she can live with it or not.
What she has done by over reacting and placing a false complaint against me is make everyone feel sorry for me because I thought it was James, she has made herself look insecure and paranoid to her husband and to me and anyone else who has figured it out, she more than likely is feeling guilty about what she did and perhaps a little foolish and it did no good!! she didn’t fix the problem, she is still jealous and he is still her husband and I am only two boats away.
When you live true to your values and express yourself honestly and are honest with yourself, you can’t help but live a more peaceful life.