Sideways on the recovery path from narcissistic abuse
Recovering from narcissistic abuse is a difficult and challenging ordeal. Along the way, many people wish they could leave their painful past behind as soon as possible and live a life worthy of a human being. To be able to wake up to a new bright reality in which there is no emotional pain, no confusion, anxiety and depression. A reality where there is a feeling of helplessness, apathy and constant questioning: “Why me?”, just an echo from a distance.
Due to the complexity of the topic, the lack of and often misleading information that recovery is not possible, that it takes many years and that it is shameful to talk about this kind of abuse, which is still intangible and difficult to prove, I write today about "mistakes" and "strays". The term error is meant more than a mistaken belief, as I don’t really believe in error. It is merely an experience that brings us certain insights about ourselves and the world around us.
I am writing in the hope that this record will save someone a turn or two on the way to the finish line.
Mistake no. 1 - Exploring narcissism and narcissistic abuse indefinitely
One of the most common mistakes when tackling recovery from narcissistic abuse is extensive and lengthy research and reading of literature on the subject of narcissism. It is right that after the abuse, we take the time to research the subject matter, discover the causes and consequences of the phenomenon itself, and truly understand what happened to us. However, for recovery itself, it is imperative that research does not turn into an obsession and search for an external culprit.
The recovery process can begin when we focus the attention and energy we previously focused on the other person, their needs and desires, on ourselves.
Constantly obsessively gathering and accumulating information on the subject of narcissism is like shaking salt on an open wound. It means not letting our wound heal, but rather enlarging it and not allowing the healing process to begin.
Mistake no. 2 - Believing that repeating the story will help in recovery This assumption is wrong.
Constantly repeating the same theme with the desire to release the trauma causes the trauma to cement over time. In doing so, we cause our subconscious emotional programs and neurons to be wired into a network that supports the victim’s identity alive. Recovery does not happen by repeating the story over and over again. Moving in the direction of healing and changing harmful beliefs about ourselves and the world with those who serve us requires a decision followed by action. Unfortunately, many people tackle the problem by talking about trauma for years and even decades and contributing to its degenerative effects by reliving the trauma. As a result, they never really recover. Which means they never really live out their talents, potentials and creativity, which is a source of joy, happiness and a fulfilled life.
Mistake no. 3 - I will get distracted and recover You can imagine inner trauma with a metaphor for a bunch of everyday household chores waiting for you to tackle.
The longer you procrastinate with them, the more of them there are, and the dirt gets more and more stubborn. The more you dodge them, the more distracting they become. A mountain of unwashed laundry, piles of dirty dishes, mold, finger dust on furniture, dirty windows, a musty stench,… This is a picture of your unprocessed emotions and unhealed wounds waiting to be addressed. No matter how many different ways you avoid the inner painful feelings of abuse, the result is always the same. Emotional pain, fatigue, meaningless life, lethargy, depression, anxiety, feelings of helplessness. Distractions can include food, work, drinking alcohol, spending time with friends, ... You may be doing pleasant things to get rid of the symptoms of abuse. Regardless of the choice and duration of the disorder, the painful symptoms of abuse unfortunately remain.
Mistake no. 4 - Addressing symptoms only
Post-traumatic syndrome, fibromyalgia, adrenal gland damage, anxiety, depression, and many other illnesses can occur as a result of prolonged narcissistic abuse.
Dealing only with the symptoms does not eliminate the problems, it only numbs them and hides their true cause. Not only is this type of behavior ineffective, it additionally causes negative side effects.
The path to recovery from devastating mental, emotional, and mental breakdowns are appropriate steps by which wounded parts of the inner space heal and strengthen.
Mistake No. 5 - Attempts to deal with the daffodil and the desire to change it
Many people, in a desire for relief and completion, descend into intense struggles with daffodils. Property, child custody, an unfinished emotional story, and a series of injustices seem like horrific, long-lasting mental rape. After struggles that bring stress, restlessness, and agony, they want immediate relief. They want an interlocutor with whom the common story will gain validity, meaning, and perhaps a respectful end for once.
Something holds like a nail. If you want the story to end, the agony to end, recovery, and a new life in a way that you expect responsibility and maturity from the narcissist, it’s more than certain you won’t get it!
Only appropriate inner movements, awareness of your own wounds and steps to regain your inner strength will strengthen you to such an extent that narcissistic words and actions will no longer touch you.
You will have to make such a long-awaited end to the story on your own.
Mistake number 6 - Trying to convince people to believe your story
It is very painful when our immediate surroundings do not believe us.
How only when we were the subject of a narcissistic campaign of slander and gossip! How can it be, when the people close to us love them, mean a lot to us and their opinion means a lot to us, they have not experienced narcissistic abuse! In our desire to tell our truth, we very often come across deaf ears. What’s worse is when we look weird, unbalanced, emotionally unstable, and a bad person in their eyes.
We forget that Narcissus had previously done his "homework" and laid the foundations that confirm his side of the story as the only credible one!
That’s why it’s so very important to replace the belief that what others think of us is important with the belief that the only thing that really matters is what we think of ourselves. Only YOU know your truth. Only YOU know what you are experiencing.
When you make this shift inside yourself, the effect of narcissus mudsliding wears off, and some people approach you with new understanding and awareness.
We need to be aware that through the narcissist story, we are also refining many other relationships. It is no coincidence that we recognize true and sincere friends at key moments in life!
Those who leave our lives leave for a reason. Let them go and create room for new relationships!
Mistake no. 7 - Try to get on with life
Although for many at this time an indescribably painful realization, a toxic relationship with a narcissist is a huge opportunity for spiritual growth. The narcissistic person came into our lives in the form of a person who seemingly represents to us a source of love, confirmation, security, and survival.
Our mistaken belief is that this is a person who has only the best intentions in his heart.
In fact, it reflects and shows us all that we have not yet been able to process inside of ourselves. It is the personification of our unhealed particles. Particles that need care, love, and the ability to self-generate in order for me to function as a whole adult being.
If you don’t do the work, move on with life, and push unpleasant emotions aside, feelings of emptiness, despair, and lack of meaning will become more and more intense, more and more painful.
Mistake no. 8 - With a new partner, my wounds will heal
One of the major mistakes that makes the path to the goal significantly longer than any of the above is trying to heal wounds with a new partner in our lives.
It may seem like a tempting solution at first glance, but it carries at least two possible complications.
The first is that after an unprocessed relationship with a narcissist, there is a very high probability that you will attract a narcissist back to life.
And second, that unprocessed emotions and traumas remain like smoldering embers beneath the surface. Everything that remains in us unprocessed and unplaced in the healthy tissue of the psyche, sooner or later erupts in the form of disease states and harmful behavioral patterns in us or our offspring.