The Moment Narcissistic Abuse Finally “Broke” My Codependency

March 30, 2016

I’m posting this here for future reference, and for others who wish to know more about healing from core trauma and releasing emotional baggage from past painful experience, which we all have.

I have a lot of experience doing this, and I’ve written much from the aftermath of these healing releases, but not a whole lot from within them. 

This was the first time that I wrote publicly, IMMEDIATELY before and after having one.  (In case you’re wondering, this just felt right, genuine, and authentic to do.)

As I felt it coming, I wrote the following as a status update.  This was January 12, 2014:

I look to the near future with trembling and anticipation,

for I feel that a great reckoning is about to transpire

as the deep past wells up within, seeking release

and, in the process, granting freedom at last

from yet one more barricade to the Soul.

I had the feeling all day that I needed a song to take me back in memory/feeling to my earliest childhood, before the toddler years, to “contact” what I was feeling near the surface, but I couldn’t think of a song early enough and meaningful enough to do so.  A few minutes after posting the status update above, I was walking in the yard when the song suddenly hit me:

“Kumbaya”, the song my teenage mother used to sing to me as I slept in her arms as a baby.

I stopped in my tracks, giving this thought my attention, and feeling around inside myself.  The thought immediately brought tears and grimacing, so I knew the moment was close.  I dropped to my knees right there and waited for it to come.  (In these moments, nothing is more important.)  It didn’t come all the way out–didn’t go deep enough–so I got up, put my dog in his pen, and took the next step.

I went inside and looked on YouTube for a woman’s voice singing “Kumbaya” without music.  NO LUCK.  So I thought of my grandmother–my mom’s mom–singing it in her sweet voice.  That started to “poke the bubble,” bringing more tears, but it wasn’t enough to pop the bubble.  I thought of calling her and asking her to sing it (since my mom is dead), but that wasn’t really an option.

So the thought came to me: You’ll have to sing it to yourself. 

I didn’t like the idea, but I accepted it and decided to do it.  I never got to the words, though.  Having to sing a lullaby to myself brought an extremely pitiful, lonely feeling and that in itself popped the bubble.  The pain bubbled up immediately.

I surrendered and gave myself over to it, and it had its way with me.  For about 20 minutes I became, emotionally, myself as a baby again.

Mentally, I was still my adult self, and from the vantage point of my present adult mind I watched and managed the experience–as I had not done, and could not have done, when I “acquired” the pain as a small child.  This is key to understanding the experience.

Deep release occurred here.  As it subsided, I wrote these comments:

For some things, the only cure is to feel deep inner anguish–your own, not somebody else’s.

Do not ever stop your baby from crying.  Or your child, or your sweetheart…or yourself.

[Here, my friend Alice posted: Yes. Sit with it. Lean into it. Feel it. Acknowledge it. Give it regard. Then, let it go.  And cry a river! I continued:]

And cough, yell, scream, vomit, grimace, clench, grit, growl, snot, and run completely out of breath getting it out.

Ever see an infant cry so hard you think they’ve stopped breathing, and then they inhale and cry even harder, shaking uncontrollably?

Like that. Cry to the heavens for cursing you, feel regret for being born in this dirty, corrupt, filthy, broken place, only to suffer.

FEEL this, don’t think it! Surrender to it, let it topple you, let it bring you to your knees! Claw the earth, the floor, grab the carpet in your fists, beat the ground with rage for the injustice life has dealt you.

None of this is NOW, but it’s happening NOW. It’s happening NOW because it didn’t happen THEN, years ago, decades ago, when then was NOW and your mama was still a girl singing “Kumbaya” to you as you slept in her arms, when the whole cruel world could–and DID–do to you whatever it wished.

THAT is how to cry. THAT is the way to freedom. THAT is how to break free from the past, from pain, from heartbreak, from addiction, from regret, from depression.

THAT is what I want the world to know. On the other side of THAT…is freedom, the only freedom that matters–freedom to be yourself again.

Weeping like a pansy has done me very little good in my life. Regurgitating evil from within my core has done wonders…

and when laughter comes afterward,

it comes from a deeper well than before,

and it echoes mightier within.

 

(Originally written in January 2014 and titled “Notes on an Experience of Deep Emotional Release and Healing”)

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The Barest and Most General Advice on How to Deal with a Narcissist

March 20, 2016

1) No Contact. These people feed on emotional energy, attention, getting a rise out of people, and even just being acknowledged. Cut it off–simply, swiftly, cleanly, and completely.

2) Lie low. Let the storm pass by. A closed restaurant brings no hungry customers. Nobody will knock forever. Solicitors move on from an (apparently) empty house.

3) Accept being seen as the “bad guy”. You’ve already stepped in it. The smear campaign will occur, no matter what you do. You can’t control what is said or believed about you. Suck it up and roll on anyway. It will separate your friends from mere acquaintances. Let it. It will wear off of your shoe eventually.

4) Document everything. Delete nothing. Get receipts for everything. The law can be your friend. Use it, if necessary.

5) Beware the Hoover. Once crazy, always crazy. Anyone can hold their breath. Anyone can pretend to be nice. Soon, they have to breathe. Don’t believe them when they try to suck you back in. In my experience, it only gets WORSE after each and every Hoover.

6) Know your boundaries. Decide what you will and won’t accept in your life. (This experience should have defined some of these for you.) Dig in. Defend. Never surrender your Holy Ground…once you find it.

7) Oh, and breathe. Breathe in the new, breathe out the old. Breathe in strength, breathe out weakness. Breathe in the good, breathe out the bad. Feel yourself being lighter.

This, too, shall pass.


7 Signs That “Radical Acceptance” May Be the Next Step in Your Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse

March 11, 2016

According to many therapists and psychologists, a healthy, functional long-term relationship just isn’t possible when one partner suffers from a “Cluster-B” personality disorder.

In other words, you cannot have a healthy, functional relationship with someone who is incapable of having a healthy, functional relationship. If you’re the partner of a disordered person, it’s not even up to you!

It’s not within your power to change another adult’s personality.

Narcissistic abuse is a freqent outcome of trying to have a healthy, functional relationship with a personality-disordered person over a long time. It’s a disordered person’s reaction to having a close relationship.

One of the first steps in recovery is “radical acceptance” of the reality of the situation.

Unfortunately, “radical acceptance” is often misunderstood—and, therefore, misapplied. This confusion can hinder recovery and unnecessarily prolong or even worsen the abuse.

Before someone else’s apparent inner condition can be “radically accepted,” though, the nature of that condition has to be understood to some degree. While a professional diagnosis is probably the most reliable and accurate way to identify a personality disorder, studies show that the vast majority of disordered people are never diagnosed.

In the absence of a diagnosis, then, a relationship partner is frequently left to his or her own judgment. Here are a few signs that I’ve identified as indicators that a relationship partner might have a personality disorder.

1. You find yourself explaining their own behavior to them. You might say, “Why in the world would you think that’s okay?” They seem not to understand why what they’re doing doesn’t work, why it’s hurtful, or why grown-ups don’t act that way. You feel like a parent with an overgrown, disobedient, rageful child who never seems to learn how to “act right”—or even why it matters.

2. You find yourself explaining logical reasoning to them. You might say, “No, this isn’t true. If this isn’t true, then that can’t be true, either!” They accuse you of wrongdoing, based on how they feel or because of some unrelated event. They ask questions out of the blue about your whereabouts or activities, which seem to have no bearing on your actual life. Then they might condemn your truthful explanation as suspicious. In an argument, they form illogical or emotion-based conclusions that end the conversation—defying rational debate, leaving you frustrated and speechless.

3. You find yourself arguing with them about what really happened. You might say, “No, that’s not at all how it went. I was there!” Even if you were present to see some event, their recollection of it is wildly different from yours. When challenged on their memory of it, they may react defensively and accuse you of lying about it. They might even accuse you of making them doubt their own memory, as if you were deliberately trying to brainwash them. (This is projection, since it’s what they actually do to you on a daily basis.)

4. You find yourself defending your own character or intentions. You might say, “How do you not know me better than that?” You find yourself being questioned when you do something completely innocent, or with the best intentions. You might even be accused of some sinister ulterior motive for, let’s say, moving the salt shaker to the other side of the table. It’s as if you were being observed constantly under a microscope with a cracked lens. It feels like continually being painted in the worst light possible, suspected for anything and everything, for reasons you don’t understand.

5. You find yourself re-hashing the same argument…again. You might say, “Why are we still talking about this? Didn’t we resolve it months ago?” Disordered people never seem to forget, move on, let go, or forgive (someone else’s) past mistakes. It’s as if wrongs (or perceived wrongs) that were (supposedly) done to them are done not just once. They’re done continually—on and on, over and over again, forever…in their minds. Their “suffering” never ends. There is no moving on. The past never recedes for long. It continually becomes the present, and it gets resurrected repeatedly during arguments. On the other hand…

6. They immediately forget wrongs that THEY have done. They might say (about something that happened literally yesterday), “Why are you bringing that up? That’s the past! I thought we were moving forward!” Then you’re made out as if you hold every little mistake over his or her head. Double standards rule with disordered people. What applies to others and what applies to them are two different realms…and they’re the ones who decide.

7. They do even ONE horrible thing that “normal” people just don’t do. These actions are deal-breakers. They are definite signs that someone is just not worth being close to, and may be dangerous:

Killing your pet. Calling your workplace to sabotage your job. Calling the police on you for no reason. Accusing you publicly of something criminal, wrong, or embarrassing that you didn’t do. Lying about you in court. Telling your family that you abuse your (or your partner’s) children. Destroying, damaging, or dismantling your vehicle. Threatening to do any of these.

If this list sounds familiar, it may be time for some radical acceptance. This doesn’t mean “radically accepting” that you will forever be someone else’s emotional punching bag or toxic waste dump. It doesn’t mean “radically accepting” that you need to get better at walking on eggshells.

It means “radically accepting” that the person you’re close to IS the way that he or she is; that he or she may have a practically incurable personality disorder; that he or she likely will never change; that the relationship probably will never improve (and may get worse over time); and that it’s up to YOU to decide what YOU will do in (or out of) the relationship.

“Radically accepting” the reality of your situation may be the first step in ending and recovering from Narcissistic abuse. What you choose to do afterward is YOUR choice—and knowing this may be the most important healing step of all.


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