I love a good pity party, don’t you?
I hate to brag but I have to say, I am a bit of an expert on them. Perhaps a few of you have even been to one of them; you brought the cheese and I supplied the whine.
The problem with pity parties is; the guest list keeps shrinking, friends all of a sudden are “too busy to attend” and those who have attended a few start to roll their eyes and say things like, “OH for God’s sake! Get over it already!!!”
You start to resent your friends who just don’t understand and you may have gotten angry with people like me who suggest you do some soul searching and personal growth. Why should you have to do all the work of healing and improving; you didn’t do anything wrong! The victim’s mantra becomes, “It’s not fair!”
Why do I have to suffer, work on myself and face the ugly truth when the narcissist hippity hops into the sunset arm in arm with “his” new love of his life?
I’ll let you in on a little secret; 99% of the population don’t ask to be hurt, physically, financially or emotionally. Shocking I know! But a fact none the less.
Another truth is; No pain no gain.
Years ago I joined a gym and started weight training. I had been bulimic for years, endlessly dieting and bindging and I was looking for an alternative way to keep my weight down. I had no idea how much it was going to hurt!! I hurt in places I didn’t know could hurt. There were days brushing my hair brought tears to my eyes. Days I walked like I had a broom stick up my butt because my glutts were so sore from doing lunges and to top it all off! I GAINED WEIGHT!! because muscle weigh’s more than fat. I wanted to quit numerous times but something else I wasn’t expecting started to happen; my confidence started to grow and as my body got used to exercising the pain grew less intense and became an indication my muscles were building. I started to look forward to a little discomfort because I knew I was improving. Another amazing thing happened, instead of my scale being my crutch and best friend, I started trusting my own body and how it felt. Instead of gauging my self worth on the numbers on a scale; I drop kicked the scale out the back door and started relying on how I felt, how my clothes fit and how great my ass looked in jeans. The added bonuses to working out far surpassed any pain. Although I don’t go to the gym any more I never brought another scale into my house. With my heart condition I am supposed to weigh myself daily to monitor whether I am retaining water or not and I refused to ever have another scale in my house. I was afraid that if I started weighing myself everyday I would once again start obsessing about my weight and letting the scale determine my mood.
Where am I going with this??
I found the same sort of thing happened to me when I started to actively participate in my own healing. Don’t get me wrong; I can still throw a damn good pity party and when I do I am all in!! I can throw temper tantrums, scream and cry “It’s not fair!!” better than any 3 year old. Then I take a nap.
The theme of my pity parties are no longer the narcissist but life provides amble opportunity for self pity. After leaving the narcissist it is easy to blame all your tribulations on the N. You get sick, if your ex hadn’t been such aN asshole you would have someone there to make you chicken soup.
The car breaks down; if your ex hadn’t left with his secretary you wouldn’t have to call the tow truck yourself.
You would have a wonderful life if you hadn’t dedicated how ever long a time to the narcissist. You would have a successful career if you hadn’t moved to be with the N ……. etc etc
No one knows what would have happened if you had not met the narcissist. But, unfortunately, in life, we don’t get to yell “DO OVER!” As much as wishing you could change history makes for a great pity party, it doesn’t change anything.
I am almost 60 and you would look at my life and think there are many things I wish I could change in my past. But whenever I look at my life honestly, if I were to change anything I would have to give up something good in my life.
So in answer to your question; “Why do I have to improve myself and learn a lesson from my relationship with a narcissist when he gets off scot-free?”
Because you can.
The narcissist can’t grow a conscience, he doesn’t want to change, he can’t feel, he will never know what it feels like to love someone unconditionally. He is doomed to live a life filled with paranoia, plotting, strategizing, living a lie, always afraid of being found out.
You do have a choice though. You don’t have to do the inner work or self improvement. You don’t have to take control of your mind, your happiness, your life. You don’t have to live true to your core self, set boundaries, or be the best version of you that you can be.
There are many ways of coping with the devastation left behind by the narcissist. You can dull the pain with booze or drugs. You can find a new man and “fall in love”, you can stay bitter and dwell on what the narcissist did to you or is doing now.
My ex had one of his victims drink herself to death. After they split she made outing him her life purpose. For 15 years she obsessed about him, until she died a bitter drunk. I vowed I was NOT going to end up like her. There was no way I wanted my ex to think he had that much power over me.
Victims of narcissistic abuse credit all sorts of things for their healing, God and prayer, meditation, yoga ……… you name it, and whatever works for you is great and totally a personal choice.
As with weight training; I discovered there were bonuses to self analysis and self improvement that I had not anticipated. When I stopped looking for a bandaid solution or quick fix and started doing the hard lifting, I started to notice that the discomfort I felt upon disecting myself was well worth the inner peace I was gaining.
It seemed every time I brought up the most pain or had an “Aha” moment I would feel lighter, more at peace. Then one day I had this incredible feeling of inner peace come over me. It was a rebirth, a feeling I had never experienced before, I couldn’t help smiling, like I had a secret no one else was privy to. I have never lost that inner peace, my health may be failing, I might not have a dome to my name, I may not like where I live but I have inner peace.
I am not the only one to experience this sense of well-being, I have heard from many survivors they also had it hit them out of the blue when they started working on being their best self.
It is what separates the victims from the survivors.
A victim gets stuck in their brokenness and being a victim becomes their identity. They take no responsibility for their happiness and pain.
A survivor takes what happened to them and uses it as a catalyst for personal growth. They own their pain and take control of their lives again.
I continue on my quest to become the best me I can be, not because I feel broken any more but because I know no one is ever completely their best self. We all are flawed, “becoming” is a life long journey and it includes learning from others, adjusting your belief system, examining your prejudices and judgements. It means living your life as a person who you are proud of.
I love Ted Talks because you can usually find a few talks on any topic you can imagine, especially self improvement.
Here is a link to a few you might want to start with.