If you have grown up with narcissistic parents, or met a narcissist later in life then you will know just how devastating the experience can be. It took me many years to heal from narcissistic abuse, and during the process looking for the lessons in each situation helped me to change my perspective. I no longer felt like a victim, I was able to gain wisdom and understanding. Life is full of lessons and if we do not learn from them they will need to be repeated. This does not excuse the way that narcissists treat others, but moreover if you are observant of the lessons that can be taken from different situations then you gain wisdom and understanding.
- My Primary Concern is How I Feel. Being in a relationship with a narcissist meant that I got used to putting someone else’s feelings ahead of my own. I also felt like I was constantly treading on eggshells in the hope that I would not annoy partner. I always failed at this because he was determined to find fault. This is no way to live and if a relationship requires this of you then this will be detrimental to your mental and physical health eventually. You should aim to be considerate of the feelings of others and act out of integrity but the majority of your loyalty needs to be with yourself. As I began to nurture the habit of putting myself first, it became more natural to me and I formed a habit. At first you may feel as though you are being selfish but you need to remind yourself that you are not.
“Narcissists will destroy your life, erode your self-esteem, and do it with such stealth as to make you feel that you are the one that’s letting them down.”Unknown
2. If I am not in the wrong I do not apologise. Growing up in a narcissistic household can mean that you develop toxic and harmful habits. One of my habits was apologizing, even when I knew that I was not in the wrong, just to keep the peace. This may seem strange to some, but when your self-esteem is rock bottom and you have a narcissist manipulating the situation so that it is your fault, it can trigger unhealed abandonment issues and be hurtful. Offering an apology, which is what they are usually searching for just seemed like the easiest option. However this habit is toxic because it takes you away from your authentic self.
I believe that physical ailments are often a manifestation of something that is taking place on a spiritual level. As a child I used to get tonsillitis frequently, no matter how many different cures the doctor tried, it always came back. Looking back now, I know that we are energy beings and issues in the throat area are often a reflection of the throat chakra being imbalanced. My opinions were not welcomed as a child and as a result my throat chakra was underdeveloped and closing down. As an adult I also found relationships where my opinion was not welcome.
An apology without change is just manipulation.Unknown
3. No is a complete sentence. If you have not grown up in a home where your boundaries were respected and encouraged, then this may almost seem foreign to you, as it once did to me. However narcissists have shown me that they unapologetically use the word “no” as a complete sentence whenever they want to. I had to ask myself why it filled me with dread to do the same, and I found that again it was because I was not allowed to exercise this muscle as a child. I struggled with saying no to anything for years, I thought I had made tremendous progress when I began to accept invitations or requests, and then cancel nearer to the time. This was not sustainable because it made me feel like an unreliable and dishonest person.
I am at the stage of saying “No” and offering no explanation, and maybe I never will be, and that is fine because everyone is different. However I now tell people that I will have to check what I have going on and get back to them. This saves me feeling anxious and awkward, and ultimately giving the response that I believe the person wants to hear. If the request or invitation cannot wait then the person will have to accept “no”. I have learned that saying “yes” to things because I feel pressured or obligated usually does not end up well.
No is a complete sentence.
4. I Love myself and I will Put Myself First. Many narcissists appear to love themselves, but as you delve deeper into the personality disorder you see that their grandiose behaviour and acts of self importance are often hiding a deep self-loathing
along with shame. This is why narcissists identify with their false self so much and cannot admit to being in the wrong because it gets too close to the truth. Others may apologise for their action being wrong but narcissists believe that they are fundamentally wrong at the core so they stay away from this subject completely, the truth is too painful. This is why it is a waste of time to try and make a narcissist see what they have done wrong in order to get an apology.
If you do not know your worth and you have low self -esteem then you will constantly look for validation outside of yourself. I did not feel worthy of self love and I busied myself with taking care of others and always being busy to avoid having to sit and check in with myself and what I needed. Narcissists need a partner who lacks self-love because this is the perfect breeding ground for an abusive relationship. If you do not know your worth then you accept things that should be unacceptable. Learning to love myself was a process that took months, but I found that journaling and meditation were very helpful. Reading self help books, going to therapists, watching videos on youtube can all become addictive if you do not apply the knowledge to yourself. Ultimately all of the answers are inside of you and the tools that you use should be guiding you within. This is why I found meditation and journaling so helpful.
“Narcissists will never tell you the truth. They live with the fear of abandonment and can’t deal with facing their own shame. Therefore, they will twist the truth, downplay their behavior, blame others and say what ever it takes to remain the victim. They are master manipulators and conartists that don’t believe you are smart enough to figure out the depth of their disloyalty. Their needs will always be more important than telling you any truth that isn’t in their favor..Shannon L. Alder
5. Become a Boundary Boss Boundaries are not selfish, they are necessary. You need to be firm when you put boundaries in place, There will be people who do not appreciate the changes, but they will probably be the people who took advantage of you not having boundaries in place. There is no one size fits all with putting boundaries in place, it is trial and error.For more help with setting effective boundaries (click here to read my previous post on boundaries).
“Boundaries are guidelines, rules and limits we all must set to protect our time, heart, finances, etc. Without strong defined boundaries we expose ourselves to being abused by narcissists.”Tracy Malone
I hope that this post has inspired you to look out for opportunities to learn lessons no matter how small they are. They all work together towards becoming the greatest version of ourselves.