It’s good to be back! I had a lovely break over the holiday period full of excitement and inspiration. I spent quite a bit of time getting out into life and meeting new people. I also spent time relaxing, rejuvenating and working on how I need to expand to meet my goals in 2015. Many of us are now ready to love with an open heart, to come together to share expansive and interdependent relationships, without the neediness, fear and other behaviours that attracted narcissists into our lives in the past. On the topic of love - last week I posted on Facebook, inviting people to share what their definition of love was … There were many incredible answers that came forth that inspired this article … Often people ask me, “What constitutes a healthy relationship?”, and “How do I know when it’s real love?” I truly believe that real love is “a state”, it’s not an acquisition, and in many cases...
It’s good to be back!
I had a lovely break over the holiday period full of excitement and inspiration. I spent quite a bit of time getting out into life and meeting new people.
I also spent time relaxing, rejuvenating and working on how I need to expand to meet my goals in 2015.
Many of us are now ready to love with an open heart, to come together to share expansive and interdependent relationships, without the neediness, fear and other behaviours that attracted narcissists into our lives in the past.
On the topic of love – last week I posted on Facebook, inviting people to share what their definition of love was …
There were many incredible answers that came forth that inspired this article …
Often people ask me, “What constitutes a healthy relationship?”, and “How do I know when it’s real love?”
I truly believe that real love is “a state”, it’s not an acquisition, and in many cases we may feel devastated about the “lack of love” we have in our lives, yet we need to open our eyes to the beauty, and be receptive to hearing the evidence all around us, and open our hearts to truly experience it.
As one Facebook member posted: “Love is all giving, to self and to others. It is unconditional, it is the air we breathe, it is compassion, thoughtfulness, encompassing. It is the tingle on our skin during a thunderstorm, it is the butterfly who lands on us, the dawn kissing a new day, the moon hugging a cold night, a child being born, a kind word, a hug, a warm smile, a hot cup of tea – it is many things.”
The truth is … we can’t “get” love, we can only “be” it, and then we become a vessel generating and receiving more of its magnificence.
Everyone wants to share their life with someone, but it can be incredibly scary to even think about another relationship when your life has been shattered to pieces by a narcissist.
When we can understand how narcissistic love operates, and how we were, or are participating in this model, we can realise that our life’s work is about exorcizing ourselves from the delusions that we were taught about love, in order to become an authentic vessel for it instead.
I’d love to share with you what constitutes authentic love and how narcissistic love is miles away from it.
If you would like to listen to this week’s article on Empowered Love Radio click here.
The Delusions of Narcissistic Love
It’s not just narcissists who try to create love unconsciously. Unconscious love is the state of feeling “loveless” and trying to get attention, approval, energy or significance from outside of ourselves in order to feel more lovable and worthy.
It’s an easy state to be in, and it’s an unconsciousness that we can be very unconscious about – meaning not knowing we are stuck in that painful pattern, or realising how self-defeating it is. These unconscious patterns of trying to “get love are often perpetuated by the societal view of peers and parents that we “should” be coupled, and there is something “wrong” and “defective” about us if we aren’t.
This takes the wanting to have a love relationship beyond a healthy desire, to a level of neediness, the requirement: “life will not be okay until I have someone special loving me.”
When people feel “empty” it means that they have not achieved the vital first step of loving and approving of self.
Our role models and conditioning did not make this a straightforward process. As little ones, many people were brought up to believe that “imperfection” is not okay.
A simple example is that we may have been scolded at three years of age because we spilt or broke something. The message we received from this was personalised, because we did not have the adult maturity to separate the scolding from our own inherent self-esteem.
We grew up believing it is not okay to be “imperfect”, and that if we were not “perfect” (an impossible ideal) that somehow we were flawed and defective. Children are gloriously imperfect – it’s the innocence, purity and raw expression of children that makes them imperfect. If they are not taught unconditional love “you are lovable and worthy because you just ‘are’”, and this is not separated out from the guidance and discipline required with development and understanding – then damage to the inner identity occurs.
It is age appropriate for a three year old to spill and break things and be “clumsy” and “imperfect”. Yet this wasn’t recognised in the eyes of adults who demanded the “perfection” of children needing to behave like adults.
Ironically it was these adults who couldn’t accept their own flaws, because they were brought up to be “perfect” also.
It was these same parents who could not admit their own perfections, and display humility and fallibility to their children, and instead took the righteous “being right’ highroad – creating even more emotional damage to everyone concerned.
Sadly, only lately, is it understood that arresting the child’s self-worth with shame creates maladapted thoughts, feelings and behaviour that makes establishing and maintaining healthy relationships with self and others extremely difficult as an adult.
People suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder are not the same as people who are codependents, in that narcissistic people have completely submerged their True Self and assigned a False Self in its place. This has become so front and centre in the narcissist’s life (in order to emotionally survive) that the fundaments of humanity, integrity and conscience have shrivelled up and become non-existent. The core of narcissistic love is deep shame and the resulting maladaptive ways of relating to self and others.
Codependents still have access to humanity and integrity.
Until any of us have accepted our glorious imperfections and that we are worth loving with these imperfections, and chose to love ourselves with these imperfections, there is a regular trigger detonated from others and life which brings “evidence” of not being lovable and worthy – as well as the likelihood to be attracted to and attractive to other people who also have a deep core of shame.
In the case of the narcissist, there is an unreal, “childish” expectation that the partner (or family member) be the “perfect version” of what the narcissist’s False Self needs to receive in order to feel whole.
But what happens when this person has their own issues, or is unwell, or consumed, or brings things up about the narcissist that require confronting, or simply cannot be “perfect” enough to mirror back to the False Self exactly what it requires?
The answer is obvious, a toxic relationship mess – there is no growth, solutions, or true connection generated. The narcissistic relationship is a deadly game of attempting to control, “giving to get”, “stringent conditions”, and “the bad focused on rather than the good” with accompanying unhealthy, malicious punishment.
This version of love is a bottomless pit of agonising “conditional love”.
Painful Love Beginnings and Programming
We are all human, we all carry stuff. We have all had painful things happen to us which have undermined our sense of self, our development of self-esteem, inner worth, and compromised the knowing that we are worthy and lovable simply because we exist.
For many of us, these patterns were established in childhood, by role models who themselves did not have the upbringings, tools and awareness to know or do any better.
This was tragic … however as adults we can make the choice to develop ourselves, and grow past the fear, pain and restriction of “love hurt” to become authentic loving beings.
Many people may dismiss this potential to heal with the stories of “why they can’t”, yet I promise you I have seen the overwhelming evidence of people “who do heal” despite absolutely devastating and painful past experiences.
Many of the beliefs we are fighting to break free from come from the brainwashing through romantic movies, books, and fairy tales, and even advertising to believe that our lives can be transformed and rescued by “a lover” – a magical figure who will sweep into our lives, and wash away all of our pain, emptiness, loneliness and depression for us.
This is the greatest delusional fantasy, because even if we could attract a conscious lover, from our own levels of disconnection with ourselves, what happens when this love, that we have become so reliant on, disappears … even temporarily?
We are back to square, empty one again.
We have to ask ourselves, “Are we going to be able to meet the higher calling of relationship, if we have fragile self-esteems, cores of shame, and the inherent self-rejection of believing “we are never good enough?”
For the narcissist, and people who are determined to hang on to the victim model, the greatest stumbling block for achieving love is lack of consciousness – the belief that he or she is not the generator of his or her own experience.
How this translates is: “I don’t need to work on me, I will try to manipulate (the narcissist’s view) or shame (the victim’s view) this person to grant me what would make me feel better.”
The corresponding manifestation is disastrous in the long term, regardless of the short term fixes it may grant. From this fragile sense of self, which cannot embrace and love imperfections in self or others, is the resulting perceptions and behaviours: “What I am not getting from the other in order to feel whole”.
This means, in a relationship sense, dismissing positive feedback, negating love and support, focusing on looking for negatives, raising the bar higher and higher, generating agenda based “loving”, looking to offload internal pain rather than working and healing through it, and zero accountability to creating the inner foundations to become an authentic loving partner generating real healthy love with another.
This means unresolved childhood shame based wounds erupting, which trigger panic, immaturity, aggression, desertion, handing power over, assigning people as “our God” (instead of establishing a true relationship with a Higher Power), and the expectation that someone else is responsible for creating the solutions.
Investigating What is Authentic and Inauthentic Love?
Authentic love is conscious love. It begins with the essential consciousness of realising that we are a generative source of our own experience.
This changes everything about how we view relationship, and leads us to these questions:
Is relationship supposed to be a model of two people filling up each other’s cups in order to maintain love? Or would it be healthier for these two people to already have full cups and then share the overflow?
Is it true that relationships with our true soul mates are just supposed to be “perfect”, and that we should just expect consistent great times without issues? Or is it true that we will be challenged to be vulnerable, reveal and work on our “blindspots” that are not truly “loving” yet, and be humble enough to seek solutions within ourselves and together, to grow ourselves and the relationship to greater heights?
This is what some Facebook members shared regarding their interpretation of “love”.
“Love is unconditional and free when you’re whole and free.”
“Love is a kind of coming-home heart feeling, with an overwhelming and undeniable sense of acceptance and belonging.”
“(Love is) A two-way street of caring, compassion, teamwork and dedication to the relationship. Love is a decision made by two people.”
“(Love is) Giving up of yourself unconditionally with no boundaries, being completely vulnerable with your soul in someone, and letting go and fully trusting.”
“Love is acceptance.”
I think we can all agree that love is a feeling. This may be experienced by an opening of our heart that produces feelings of gratitude, warmth, happiness and expansion.
Many people can get confused when experiencing these feelings, and really need to understand how these feelings can be produced.
If we have not yet healed our own inner foundations of “not being enough to love” we can easily project “love” outside of ourselves – we assign these feelings onto another person and childishly and magically create a version of them in our head as the “perfect person loving us”.
This creates powerful emotions that bombard us without taking the time to get to know this person or their life, their values and whether or not they are a potential person who we could have a healthy, mature relationship with. It also ensures that we will miss any evidence that this relationship is not healthy, and we will not have clarity or healthy boundaries or apply self-honest navigation.
As one Facebook Member wisely wrote:
“I used to think that love was a feeling. But as I’ve gotten older and learned more about love and compatibility (not just having things in common!), I’ve found that healthy love is a CHOICE. You choose to love and be in love with a person.
Feelings and emotions are so fickle. They ebb and flow based on situations, actions, doings. Do not choose a mate solely based on your feelings because your emotions can betray you. Choose a mate based on how the two of you spiritually, emotionally, and physically add to one another’s lives overall.”
There is only one thing more dangerous than not getting to know another person before committing your heart, body and soul.
Not knowing yourself.
We can’t and don’t know ourselves until we have been honest and accepting with ourselves. We can’t understand who we are, and how we can grow until we have taken a personal inventory, let go of the shame and blame about our disappointments and hurt, and realised that we are on a grand journey of personally evolving from pain and fear into love and truth.
If we can’t be truthful with ourselves, we can’t establish real and true relationships.
We need to understand and really “own” that “water finds its own level”. Love match ups don’t happen as a random roll of a dice. Our “level” has nothing to do with whether or not we are “good” people; it has to do with whether or not we are “conscious” people.
It’s the understanding that a love partner can only know, see, accept and love us at the identical levels that we have established and applied this to ourselves.
Actions Matching the Words
One of the common responses on my Facebook Page went like these:
“I think love is a choice and defined through action.”
“Love is actionable by caring, touching, listening, respecting, supporting and loyalty to yourself and the other persons or beings needs, desires and growth.”
“Love is the wonderful byproduct of Trust, Loving Kindness, Honesty, Openness, Truth Laughter and Gratitude that is consistently, reliably demonstrated.”
One of the clearest ways to define authentic love is noticing if the actions match the words. This is always the measure of a person’s character. A solid, healthy character of integrity is synonymous with someone who has the capacity to authentically love.
I believe that this gets expressed in everyday life, but even more so we need to consider – do the actions state “love”, not just when times are good, but especially when the pressure is on.
Is the love relationship one where the participants take action based on “What would love do now?” rather than take action unconsciously resulting from unhealed childhood wounds?
In relationships which have two people evolving, co-creating solutions and growth together, this means putting aside egos, doing the inner work so as not to continue “popping off” into emotion based reactions, and staying in heart centred compassion and love for one another. It’s also about the willingness to validate and accept perceptions from your partner’s point of view, as well as their imperfections.
We know that narcissistic relationships don’t allow for this level of growth and solution creating, and this is where we need to become conscious enough that we don’t put all of the onus on the perpetrator. We have no ability to change his or her level of consciousness or behaviour, but we do have the power to take 100% responsibility for our own.
When we answer the question “What would love do now?” when dealing with a narcissist, the answer certainly wouldn’t include regressing to powerless emotional states, handing our energy over, and trying to force “an angry five year old” (the narcissist) into accepting basic human fundamentals regarding “behaviour”.
Doing these things only keeps us chained to and participating in abuse.
“Love” always begins with self-love, and it is never self-damaging or about martyrdom. And it is NEVER about trying to force other people to change against their own will.
Not only is this tactic completely ineffectual, doing so only lines you up as the perfect target for someone to continue abusing you.
Neale Donald Walsch states, “To allow an abuser to abuse is an act of abuse.” What this means is: this person is never learning the consequence of their actions. They know they can be and do abusive and unconscious acts and STILL get copious amounts of energy and attention from you – good or bad attention, it makes no difference.
“What would love do now?” is about the authentic self-loving truth that provides the highest possible “loving” outcome for all connected.
I loved this comment from one Facebook Member …
“Love is the ability to relate with life and other people without betraying yourself. What is best for you is best for others as well.”
It is so true that the truth, which is “love”, has the highest potential to create everything as wholesome and true – which is such a powerful reason why we need to take the personal responsibility to become it and walk it.
Could you imagine a world where there were so many people in personal integrity (having healed their childhood shame core) that narcissists couldn’t hook them up, extract energy and abuse them?
The result would be, the dis-ease of narcissism would die out …
That is the new world that nothing short of massive shifts of consciousness can create.
But how can we take appropriate calm “action” without being sabotaged by our own emotions. How can anybody take action to “show up differently” from a place of love instead of fear when triggered?
Evolving – Realizing and Healing the Triggers
Showing up differently is not something people can just logically decide to do.
If you were to imagine a science experiment that when heated to a certain temperature has the right composition to explode, and consistently will every time these “conditions” are applied, you can begin to understand we have the same inner emotional propensity.
When granted the right friction, our inner childhood wounds are ignited; panic and fear floods through our systems and we react in maladapted ways that reflect these previous unresolved childhood states.
These states are the greatest saboteurs of real authentic love. Unresolved, (and intensely disowned) inner wounds are the exact reasons why narcissists have a hairline trigger, and are capable of such incredibly insane, malicious acts. These are his or her unconscious survival triggers erupting, fuelled with the compounded, ever-festered wounds of long ago.
Our unresolved inner wounds identically are the exact reasons we hand our power over, regress back to our childhood states and cling to abusers, assigning them as our “God” (the dispensers of our survival and worth) rather than having healed and matured to the level of knowing we have the power to generate these commodities (and so much more) directly with life.
From our side of the fence, we cannot expect to be or generate real love when we are heavily triggered from these wounds of our yesteryears.
If we remain unconscious, we will blame these triggers on other people’s behaviours – without realising the grandest purpose of love relationships – which is: to create the most powerful arena for ourselves in which to heal and evolve.
What this inevitably means is, by the design of our own soul, we will continue to get involved in, attract and be attracted to the exact match of our unhealed wounds, until we heal them. If we remain unconscious we miss that fact, and this can match the serial unconsciousness of the narcissist – who refuses to learn from repeat patterns and outcomes.
It we were to say, “Becoming an authentic empowered loving being generating ‘more of the same’ is my graduation goal”, there would be very little point in taking Grade 2 over and over again.
To change our volcanic inner science experiment we need to take it from “unconscious” to conscious”.
We need to deeply accept that the compositions of the ingredients (the wounds of abandonment, unworthiness, shame and powerlessness) lie within us and therefore fall into the territory of “our responsibility”. No-one else can reach inside us on our behalf to research, look at and change these ingredients.
Additionally, we need to accept that none of the abusers in our life, including the primary ones, can or will do the healing for us. If we rely on these people changing in order for us to get well – we are stuck in the realm of total helplessness.
We need to deeply accept Law of Attraction (so within so without), meaning that if we don’t start taking responsibility to accept, love and heal ourselves beyond our previous childhood traumas, then no-one else outside us can help us either.
We all know through dealing with narcissists, this absolute truth:”You can’t help someone who has no desire to be CONSCIOUS and help themselves.”
The absolute identical truth applies to ourselves.
The great news is, we are now living in a world that thankfully is waking up, and now more than ever has evolutionary shifts of consciousness taking place with the supporting information and tools to facilitate it.
Now, in this golden time of emerging and growing consciousness, we can heal.
We can realise that we unconsciously attracted and allowed and participated, and handed our power over to non-authentic love – and the major reason was that we had not, as yet, been able to anchor into authentic love for ourselves.
The abusers life, issues and possibility of healing is not our business. So much of our healing is the evolutionary understanding that breaks us free from codependence (being enmeshed in toxic relationships of “reliance”) to know our life and state is not dependent on any specific person providing it for us.
So exactly what are we healing?
We are healing the “true origin” of our painful experience. We are moving beyond simply trying to battle with the symptoms to deal with the true root cause – the original wounds of fear and pain that up until now had remained unresolved.
We can then find, face and heal the wounds that are causing our panic and powerlessness, and we can grow these parts up from the shattered child, into the mature adult who is solid, self-loving, calm and empowered.
That is when abusers no longer trigger you, and you can detach and be the generator of a life that is outside the abuse, which becomes more and more of a reality in your life, as the abuse energy becomes starved of energy and fades away.
This exactly what I teach in the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program.
From that inner healed space we are then ready to start generating, attracting and creating genuine love.
Reflections About Real Love
I truly believe that real love comes down to this one word – “value”.
If we truly authentically value ourselves flaws and all, we realise a very vital thing.
We are all of equal value.
I am not inferior or superior to anyone, and neither are you.
We also realise that we are all valued by a Higher Power simply because we exist.
When we value ourselves enough, we show up in integrity and share the truth in our heart. We allow people to really “see” us, and we are able to “see” them.
When we know our own value, we no longer try to force other people to give it to us, and we no longer make love conditional on certain requirements in order to feel “more valuable”.
When we know our value, we no longer accept being devalued by trying to argue, fix or make someone else’s version of us different in order to feel valuable.
When we have inner value we no longer give with the agenda of having to receive back.
Until we recognise and anchor into our own value, we cannot value others, or value our relationships, and we cannot be valued by others.
When we recognise ours and other’s value, we can connect, we can be authentic, and we can authentically love.
To finish off, I would love to share with you some of these lovely messages shared by Facebook Members …
“Love is acceptance, strength, vulnerability, valuing yourself, the person or other being.”
“Love is the essence of that moment of gratitude. It is golden. It is the cheer of a heart, the light up of a soul, the spur of an action or the let go off a hurt or just a laugh or just a cry. It is in the silence, it is the stillness and that spark within, it is a spark in others, it is the absorption of life it is just in those moments. And we can connect or disconnect on so many different levels of love.”
“(Love is) Unconditional acceptance and compassion for another or for the self.”
“Love is holding the space to be exactly what you (and those you choose to share it with) need to be.”
“(Love is) Absence of ego, complete acceptance.”
“(Love is) acceptance of the other’s “flaws,” and mutual appreciation to an unconditional point that each soul feels free, yet supported, cared for and more whole.”
“Quite simply, WE ARE LOVE. Love, just is. There are actually no words to describe love, and when we begin to, we immediately move away from LOVE and what it really is, and instead are actually back to mind concepts again.”
Also please find this inspirational share from a lady who has experienced new, true love after 25 years in an abusive marriage.
I now know what it (love) is.
I am free to be me.
I am respected.
I am heard.
I am supported.
I am encouraged.
I am cuddled.
He holds my hand.
He talks to me.
He smiles at me.
He kisses my forehead.
He strokes my hair.
He strokes me all over gently.
I’m not yelled at.
I’m not mocked.
I’m not put down
I’m not manipulated.
I’m not abused.
I’m not given silent treatment.
I’m not given filthy looks.
I don’t walk on eggshells.
We cook together.
We clean together.
We enjoy each other’s company.
We don’t have to go places or do things, we
We communicate through mind, body and soul.
It is gentle. It is kind. It is trust. It is respect.
I’ve never known or felt anything like this before. When we have to part, we have tears in our eyes and we miss each other.
I’m truly blessed and grateful to have been able to experience this in this lifetime.
This lady stated on Facebook, “I never thought I was worthy of ever experiencing this. But once I was brave to be free and then accepting of myself, fate stepped in.”
I LOVE what she shared …
The key here truly is this: “accepting of myself”.
This is where love, begins and IS …
And will always be …
So what about you? What does real love mean to you? I would love to hear your answer in the comments below.