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?