Category Archives: Narcissism

Learning The Lessons of Life

My last post was about friends and family missing the “old you”.
This post is about taking a negative experience, learning from it, growing, and becoming a better person because of it.
I have always searched for the lesson in everything I go through because nothing is a waste if you learn something from it, if you can grow as a person. I also feel we all have at least one purpose for being here. The one thing that bothered me the most after I left my ex was, thinking I had wasted 10 years of my life; I couldn’t live with that. If I could figure out what happened to me, share what I learned and saved one woman from going through the same thing; it would all be worth it.
Friends who insist you need to go back to your old self are being selfish and holding you back from becoming the best you can be.
Of course you have changed, it’s ridiculous to expect you to go back to your old self and if your friends don’t realize this; you need better friends.
I was determined to find the lesson in the experience because they say you will keep repeating the same mistakes until you learn the lesson. God knows I didn’t want to go through that again! But lots of women do, over and over again; and they are so busy blaming the narcissist and being the victim, they never stop long enough to learn the lesson; figure out what THEY are doing to bring this into their life.
The friends who want the old you back are probably the same friends who are encouraging you to “just find a nice guy”, like you purposely picked an abusive guy. The friends who think you just need to “get over it” and “move on” are lazy. They want to have fun, they don’t want to deal with your emotions and your pain.
Not all friends are good for us or want what is best for us. If you got involved with a narcissist, you more than likely are a “people pleaser” and once you start to heal grow and change, you are going to realize you are surrounded by narcissistic people. Being narcissistic does not mean a person is a narcissist, it just means they can’t relate, can’t understand, or don’t want to make the effort to understand, at this time. Some people are naturally more empathetic than others. It takes all kinds to make up this world.
We do a dance with everyone in our life. We develop a way of interacting with people. They know how to manipulate us to get what they want and we them. They may not even realize they do it, they may think they have your best interests at heart; but, the worst decisions I have ever made in my life were made because someone pressured me into it. I have never regretted a decision my gut agreed with.

Think about it; you usually know exactly how someone will respond in a certain situation, how an argument will go. You had a dance you did with the narcissist. After years of him breaking up with me and then coming back, I got used to the dance and accepted it was “just the way we were” and we would keep doing this dance forever more. But he changed the dance and found someone new and left us standing alone on the dance floor. We felt helpless, didn’t know the next step, we have to learn a new dance.
People don’t like change, period.
They want to know, if I do this, they will do that. When you change the steps, don’t respond the way they expect, they have to learn a new dance. Some people always want to be the leader and refuse to follow. Men can relate to a dancing with a woman who refuses to follow his lead on the dance floor. Someone’s toes inevitably get stepped on.
You are changing the dance, some people aren’t going to follow. You can just follow their lead and keep doing the same dance or you can change the dance and if they don’t follow; you walk away and leave them standing alone on the dance floor.
Embrace the lesson, grow from it, become all you are destined to be, as you grow and change; old friends will fall away and you will meet new friends. There will be a handful, or maybe just one friend who is willing to learn a new dance with you.
Victims of a narcissist view everything in a negative light, the death of a relationship, death of friendships, life will never be good again, they are losing everything. That’s what the narcissist wants you to think.
The narcissist doesn’t ever grow from an experience because they don’t care about personal growth, they are shallow, empty, and that is why they are able to immediately “fall in love” with someone new.
No matter what anyone tells you; it is NOT normal to be able to just move on from a love relationship.

Embrace this opportunity to grow and learn from life, to step out of your comfort zone and be a better you. Your true friends will learn the steps to your new dance.

How Do I Get The Old Me Back?

On another site I belong to, someone asked, what do you do about the family and friends who say you’ve changed, aren’t fun any more, and want the “old” you back?

My answer would be this;

You and everyone who knows you has to face the fact that you will never be the old you again. You, are the same person you always were but life gives us experiences that change how we see and function in the world.

Sure, there are a few people who float through life and never have a life altering experience but true character is built by adversity and over-coming life challenges. Without challenges and overcoming things we didn’t think we could; we never know how strong and capable we are.

Alot of how people view us is directly connected to how we view ourselves. We used to live up to others expectations of us. The opinions of others mattered to us, we were people pleasers.

In the past we presented ourselves as we thought others wanted us to be. I know for myself, I often felt like an impostor, or failure because I was trying so hard to be all things to all people. Victims of a narcissist are often over achievers and usually put other’s needs before their own.

After leaving the narcissist we are drained, depleted and unable to be the person we used to be. People don’t like change, they liked the way you were because they knew how to talk to you, what you liked, needed, and now they don’t know this person and they don’t know how to relate to you.

Think about this; if you or any one of your friends were violently raped, would anyone complain that they weren’t “fun” any more? Well, you have been raped at a soul level. That is going to change a person. It’s a fact and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be an opportunity for personal growth, in fact, it should change a person. If someone can bounce right back after being in an abusive relationship, they are not dealing with their emotions and pain and will more than likely end up in another abusive relationship. You had better learn from the experience now or risk repeating history over and over again.

Being all things to all people is exhausting work and you are drained. I didn’t have the energy to be “my old self”, nor the desire. Whereas I used to be a clean freak, I often didn’t do dishes for a week. I actually threw dishes away instead of washing them. My mother would be agast when she saw my dirty house. I used to be a wonderful hostess, cooking and entertaining, the life of the party, and I had no desire now. I felt broken, and had no idea how to put myself back together when nothing felt natural and everything was an effort. A sign of depression is a lack of desire, energy, and motivation. You could take meds to mask the depression or you can accept you have every right to be depressed and to need time to heal. Give yourself a fucking break!

I felt I was always disappointing people, I hadn’t been able to make my ex happy, now friends and family was unhappy with me. I decided the only thing I could do was to be myself come what may. I was too tired to be anything else. I stopped trying to please everyone else and focussed on pleasing myself. I would not do anything out of obligation or pressure. I would not let anyone make me feel bad for not living up to their expectations of me. I was going to live true to my core self and if they didn’t like me, so be it. I was tired of feeling resentful, taken advantage of and like an impostor.

It is not selfish to live true to yourself, to say no when you can’t do something. When you do say yes, people will know you are sincere and you won’t feel resentful.

The “old you” wasn’t working for you or you wouldn’t have gotten in so deep with the narcissist. You went through the experience to learn a lesson, you can learn from it or not; it’s your choice. You will never be your old self again, you will be the new and improved you. You probably WILL lose some friends and you will make different friends.

Life is like that, things change, friends change, we grow, sometimes we leave people behind. As long as you live true to yourself you can never be wrong. Do you want friends who like you for you or friends who only like you when you are the person they want you to be?

It’s OK, I’m Just Sad

I start most of my days the same way.

I wake up about 6 am, make myself a coffee, sit on the couch and turn on the tv, Stella comes and snuggles up with her head on my lap or tucked behind my back; and I cry.

Now, don’t feel bad for me, it’s ok, I’ve been doing it for years, and I have accepted that it’s just the way I am.

I don’t think everyone experiences such a deep sadness that it just becomes a piece of you, but I wanted to write about it because I think some of you can relate. It’s not pain any more, it’s a deep sadness that comes with acceptance. It doesn’t follow me all day long, and it’s not that I am unhappy with my life. I am thankful for every day, in fact, I am filled with intense gratitude most days.

For most of my life I viewed sadness as weakness, something to be avoided; no one likes sadness. Friends and family want you to be happy, get over it, move on, you are away from the abuser, you should be happy. They tell you to “find a nice guy”, go out and have fun; and you can barely drag yourself out of bed. Friends give the worst advice because they don’t want to deal with your sadness, they feel helpless to fix it. They don’t have to fix it, they just need to listen, be there with a box of Kleenex and to assure you, this will pass.

When my step dad died after 30 years being married to my mother and she was apologizing for still crying after 2 weeks. I told her, “I would wonder if you weren’t crying”. There has been many times my mother suggested I get “something” from the doctor to help me “get over” my ex, or deal with my life situation. That is the way society is these days, be happy and if you aren’t, take something that will make you happy.

I know that there are people who are helped with meds when they have suicidal thoughts, are depressed for no reason, have post partum depression, or a chemical imbalance; but I had every reason in the world to be sad and depressed. I had lost everything and was starting over from zero at 51 years old. My life had been shattered. I had every right to be fucking sad. To medicate myself into being happy was like putting a bandaid on a wound without cleaning it.

I did that as a child, I had skinned my knee badly doing something I shouldn’t have been doing so I put a bandaid on it and didn’t tell my parents. I didn’t clean the wound, I didn’t put antiseptic on it, I just left the bandaid on and pretended it never happened. Until one day it started to really hurt so I took the bandaid off and it was an oozing ugly mess of infection. What did I do? I changed the bandage and left it a while longer, until it got so painful I had to say something.  By that time the size of the wound had gotten bigger, deeper and more painful. You know, I fought that infection for months, and I have the scar to this day.

If you don’t deal with your feelings now and mask them with meds, the feelings don’t go away, they sit under the surface festering, growing, and someday, maybe years from now, after having another abusive relationship, or when you blow up over something stupid and unrelated, those feelings WILL come back at the most inopportune time. The scars of emotional abuse only deepen when they are ignored.

Did you know that tears are cleansing? It’s your body’s way of clearing toxins from your body. Crying is good for you! Why else do people say they had a “good cry”. No one ever says they had a “bad cry” because 9 out of 10 times, we feel better after having a “good cry”.

After leaving my ex I cried so many tears I was amazed I had any more tears to cry. I couldn’t stop crying. I mean, we have to be able to function, go to work, deal with the kids, we have to eventually get control of our tears. I decided to give myself an allotment of time every morning before I put my makeup on, to have a full body, pity party, good cry. Then I would get ready for my day and get things done. Then at the end of the day, often times while driving home; I let myself cry again.

It never failed to make me feel better. It was a release.

I enjoy a good cry. I can make myself cry over all kinds of things, but you know what? I never cry over the ex narc any more. I will cry out of gratitude, because I am happy my son is happy, or I might cry because I feel guilty about something I need to forgive myself for, or because I think about my old dog Kato, sometimes I am so filled with gratitude I have to cry or there was the time I used the wrong chemicals on the fairways at the golf course and killed the grass; I felt so bad I took Stella for a walk in the forest and cried.

It’s ok to cry. Give in to it, deal with it, analyze why you are crying, feel it, really let yourself enjoy your tears, feel the stress leaving your body, know you are cleansing yourself of all the toxins left behind by the narcissist. Let all the pain and sadness out and then wash your face and get in with your day.

Have a great day!!