I was going through old posts for the book and trying to organize the blog a bit, pull posts over to the new site etc; when I came across one of my favorite posts, I have edited it and am reposting it because I think there are a few new members to the blog who can use it right now. (So if this sounds familiar, you are not having deja vu, you have read it before, here.)
Also it is also going to be the first post on my new site “No Reim’er Reason” which is more focussed on healing ourselves than on the narcissist and would have been the first part of my workshop on finding inner peace and setting boundaries.
So gather round kiddies, here is lesson #1 on finding inner peace!
Finding Inner Peace – Lessons Learned From Humpty Dumpty
If you have been coming here any length of time you know that I love analogies. I always find it easier to digest something if I have an analogy and my mind always seems to go there; I guess it’s because I’m always looking for the message in everything that happens in my life or around me. Many children’s nursery rhymes have very deep messages in them. I avoided reading many children nursery rhymes to my son for that reason, I didn’t like the message they sent.
I am sure not many people would think of the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty and think it is a profound message for victims of narcissistic abuse.
The narcissist puts you up on the “wall” the pedestal, and when he decides to discard you, you “Take a great fall” and are left in a million pieces; broken, without any idea how to put yourself back together again. Many victim’s frantically look for a man to make them feel loved and “OK” again. But all the kings horses and all the kings men, can’t put you back together again.
Only you can do that.
I love this song and the way Alex and Sierra sing this, I think most victims of a narc can relate.
The odds are that if you rush to get involved again with another man you will find yourself smack dab in the middle of another narcissistic relationship because you are too needy and they are so enthralled with you, you soak up the attention and it feels so good after the horrible discard of the N. Now, not only has he found the love of his life, you have also; but what you forget is that the N’s don’t love; so it is easy for them to “fall in love” quickly. You on the other hand need time, it is not normal to be able to fall in love that quickly, it is normal to hurt and need time to recover. You meet someone new and in typical narcissist fashion they play your knight in shining armor, doing anything they can to make you feel special and loved. The hurt from the past narc evaporates in the heat of your new passionate love relationship and you think you are healed. The trouble with that is; all you have done is transfer your self worth from one man to another. You are now relying on a different man to provide you with value. You still don’t know your own worth or believe you are lovable and worthy. The new guy puts you back up on the wall but you are teetering, unsteady from the first narc so it doesn’t take as much to send you crashing off the edge again. As with anything fragile that breaks, the next time it breaks even easier and into more pieces.
History repeats itself, you are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over until you learn from the experience and he is going to keep treating women like he treated you because there is pay off in it for him, he always wins, the victim loses.
The only way to make sure you do not become an N magnet is to get to know yourself and become a person you like, until you do you will continue to base your self-worth on the views of others. Until a person is truly broken they don’t have the opportunity to look at all the pieces that make them who they are and decide who they really are.
Victims often describe themselves as “broken” , it seems inadequate but I don’t think there are words that can describe it. Can one person be more broken than another person? I don’t know, I can’t imagine feeling anymore broken than I did when JC and I split.
Many victims who take the time to heal properly and completely and do all the inner work necessary, describe the experience as a “rebirth” and they actually would not change the past because they have attained such a peace and serenity they wouldn’t want to lose it.
As far as my experience with JC, if given the choice of erasing him out of my life, I would not do it. Although the journey getting here was the most painful thing I have ever endured and I have no idea where my future will lead I would not change anything. It is so hard to put into words and I wish I could tell you how you can fast track yourself to this kind of peace and serenity, but the whole painful process, the pain, the tears, the self doubt, battling the need to call him, the sleepless nights all work to bring you here. The more people I talk to about it the more I hear of people who are rewarded for their pain and suffering with an inner peace they have never known before. It is a peace that is not reliant on anyone else’s moods or approval, it is not a fragile thing, it will not break in a million pieces if someone disapproves of you, it is as if you have a secret, a special gift that is given to a chosen few. The ones willing to do the hard work. I believe some people never attain this kind of inner peace because unless you have severe trauma and loss in your life you are never broken enough that you are challenged with putting yourself back together. I believe that true deep personal growth is born out of deep emotional pain and loss. No one does a deep analysis of themselves if life is going along rosie.
How do you get it? Well, when you are broken, when you have no self-confidence and don’t even know who you are anymore, you have no identity because it was so wrapped up in what the N told you about yourself and you were so busy trying to be everything he seemed to want, yet he kept changing his mind. Mixed in are the things you were told you were or should be by everyone else you have ever known, your parents, siblings, bosses, teachers, boyfriends, friends.
All of a sudden you are sitting there, an empty shell of a person, barely able to breathe, unable to put two intelligent thoughts together or decide what to eat for lunch and all around you are tiny pieces of you scattered at your feet.
You have no choice, you have to start putting yourself back together, so you pick up a piece, on it is written “too sensitive” you hold it, look at it and study it. Are you too sensitive? Or were you perceptive and he was trying to throw you off track? have you been told before in your life that you were too sensitive? Who told you that? What were they doing, were you too sensitive or were you being perceptive? Ok maybe you are a sensitive person, do you want to be different? can you be different and eventually you take that piece and put it back in the empty shell that is you. It may be modified to some degree but now you are willing to own it, it is part of you.
You pic up another piece, maybe it says ” stupid” so you look at that, study it, are you stupid? you did well in school, who told you that you were stupid? and you decide whether you are going to own that one. You have no proof that you are stupid, you don’t even know why you have packed that for years, you realize you were packing it before you even met the N, so you throw it away, you don’t own that one, and you go on to the next piece and so on.
it takes a long time, it won’t take place in a day or a week, it is a totally personal thing because only you know the lies you have been told about yourself, the lies you tell yourself. It is hard work, it takes you back to childhood hurts and stuff you have had buried in your sub-conscience for years, a life time.
I am not saying that i don’t still have moments of self-doubt, those voices in your head are persistent but now I am so aware of them that the minute they start chattering in my head I stop myself and think about what they are saying. Are they correct? or are they old issues that I have resolved and my mind is falling back into old ways of thinking.
For example, while with James I always had this fear that if I am myself with people they will eventually see the part of me that JC saw and not like me. JC never identified what it was that he could not live with, what views of mine were so dysfunctional that he could not live with them, just that he could not live with “my dysfunctional views of the world” and my “warped reality”. I can look back and throughout my whole life I was given the message that, the real me was flawed. I never understood why my family thought I was such a loser and I never asked because I really didn’t want to hear it, I didn’t know how to be anything different. I could fake it, but when you are a fake you always worry about people finding out the truth and not liking you. You always feel you are a failure. Most parents don’t purposely say cruel things and my mother probably doesn’t even remember the day she was standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes and I was standing beside her drying, excitedly tell her about the handsome man at the bank who had asked me out. She stopped washing dishes for a minute and deep in thought she said, “I wonder why on earth he asked YOU out?” and then continued doing the dishes. Or when I heard that my dad had called me a “flake” to his friends, (I know now it was because I knew he was having an affair and he was afraid I was going to blow his cover). Or when my dad searched my room and found my poetry and called a family meeting and read it out loud and laughed and the family all sat there while I was mocked and belittled. I WAS sensitive and shy, from my first memories. It was when I took a personality test at 16 Personalities that I realized, I am a personality type, there are others like me, I am not flawed, I am actually a rare and much needed personality in this world.
My whole adult life I have had self doubt, I learned to live with it and was able to put a front up. Everyone thought I was confident and self assured and as far as work and my intelligence I was confidence but when it came to my personal relationships and whether I felt attractive or not; I went through hell. If I entertained I would put on a lavish spread of food, the house would be perfect, I would be the perfect host and then once everyone was gone I would pick the whole night apart. “Why did I say that?” “What did they mean by that?” “The meal could have been better.” I would get myself to the point of tears thinking about all the areas I failed and fearing that I did or said something that revealed to everyone that I am a “flake”. No one in my family ever told me exactly what it was about me that made me a flake, my dad started it and my brother picked it up, calling Carrie a flake became a joke; for everyone but me.
So it was perfectly natural when James started saying I was flawed and he couldn’t handle my dysfunctional views; for me to believe him.
Through the healing process I have learned the voices in my head are not always right, I have to stop myself and analyze what the voices were saying to see if there is any truth there. I also have to ask myself, “so what if they did get to know you better and don’t like you? What will happen if they don’t like you?” Nothing!! Life will go on and it’s not that I am unlikable or a bad person, not everyone is going to like me, I don’t like everyone so why do I think everyone should like me? I have peace about it. I like me and I don’t want to change anything about me, I don’t need the approval of any one, I may like people to like me but it is not a need.
Does that make sense?
I have a peace about the future, yes I stress about money, that is the big thing right now, but it is something I can not do a lot about right now either. I do what I can and I am doing the things I need to do to make more money but these things take time. I can only do my best and I am at peace with that. I know in the long run I am going to be ok, I just have to make it through these tough times. That is a peace I have never felt before in my life. A peace that comes from facing a challenge you never thought you would survive and making it through.
It is being so thankful for the calm and peace of not having JC in my life causing drama and trauma every chance he gets. It is coming home and knowing what is behind the door. There is still uncertainty in life, challenges, disappointments, there always is….. we don’t need an N in our life creating more. There is nothing more soul-destroying than having the person you love sabotaging your happiness. A person that loves you should rejoice in your happiness not take pleasure from your pain but some of us may have been raised in a family where the people who are supposed to love you actually try to keep you down. People can be selfish that way, many people don’t like to see someone grow, succeed, have confidence; it is as if it diminishes them in some way or they feel by putting you down it makes them look better. We don’t have to own that, we can choose to not take it.
The narcissist never “owns” his shit, he blames everyone else for everything that goes wrong and he won’t even own his own personality, he steals others. There is a huge relief and peace about owning your own shit and knowing when it is not yours to own. When the narcissist tells you that you are too whatever, look at him and tell him, “I refuse to own what you are saying about me.”There is nothing more they can say, how can you argue with someone who refuses to own what you are telling them?
I find it really interesting that a year ago I had my eyes checked, it had been a few years, probably just before JC and I splitting. MY eyesight had not changed in 20 years. But last time I had them checked my eyesight had improved! who’s eye sight improves with age? Co-incidence? a rather interesting one, seeing as everything in my world seems so much clearer since I left James and embarked on this journey of self discovery.
So before I get on with my day, (it is noon and I still have not showered or dressed) I want you to think about it; if you are lying there broken, don’t expect someone to put you back together again, not the king’s men, not the men on Plenty of Fish or the men on Match.com, just pick up a piece of you and decide if it is yours to own or not and if it isn’t; throw it in the garbage or burn it. Only keep the pieces of you that truly make you who you are and who you are comfortable being; you can’t help but like yourself. Then you won’t need a man and when you do meet a man who loves you, you will be able to enjoy it and not fear losing it because your self-worth won’t be wrapped up in his love.