To start recovering from narcissistic abuse effectively you must start granting yourself unconditional love, support and attention.
But to most of you this may seem very difficult.
You might believe that putting yourself first is selfish, or feels wrong in some way.
You might even be confused with what self-love is!
No doubt throughout your narcissistic relationship you experienced many times where your needs were neglected and seen as unimportant.
To make matters worse the narcissist’s efforts to continually derail you, using any available or fabricated ammunition against you, and projecting his or her behaviour on to you (making it all out to be your fault), will have succeeded in smashing your self-esteem to pieces.
You want to get better and heal after this tragic event in your life, but when faced with the task of providing yourself with unconditional love and encouragement it might seem like climbing Mount Everest would be easier.
You might have been doing the exact opposite for so long. You may have a history of putting everyone else’s needs before yourself. And most certainly your relationship with the narcissist has been all about him or her, rather than you. It is usual that due to the narcissist blaming you, and because your emotions have felt so tormented, you have become critical of yourself rather than supportive.
I want you to know that this difficulty is normal (and was certainly experienced by me) before I started making the effort to give myself the love and encouragement that I needed to recover.
When you first change your behaviour it can feel very unnatural, but if you commit, you can drastically alter your life in ways you couldn’t imagine.
Today I want to help you start moving forward in your recovery by showing you how to start providing yourself with genuine love and support. This is achieved by moving forward into acceptance, and taking responsibility for what you have been through.
There are two types of healing I consistently see in relation to narcissistic abuse – and they are truly polar opposites – one being non-healing, where the ability to thrive let alone basically recover is stunted, and true-healing whereby the individuals thrives and creates a much more empowered self as a result of being narcissistically abused.
The difference comes down to this:
Growing through the experience, or
just trying to go through the experience.
So how do we grow through the experience?
We grow by using our narcissistic experience to heal and change our life for the better.
This has to be done by (after initially discovering what ‘narcissism’ is) getting our focus off the narcissist, and firmly on to ourself, so that we can heal our pain, fear and insecurities.
This is very hard to do if we choose to stay in pain. This is what occurs if we are not committed to healing and changing ourself.
If we don’t commit to healing ourself we are in resistance to getting better – and we are not even at first base in regard to getting well.
We stay separated from ourself.
Shifting Through Resentment and into Acceptance
As soon as we start judging ourself in relation to how bad our life has ended up, the emotional pain becomes unbearable.
Statements such as:
How could I have stayed so long?
How could I have been tricked so easily?
I’m so stupid!
I have wasted (however many) years of my life.
My life has become everything terrible that I never imagined it becoming.
We may try and reduce the emotional pain by shifting the blame onto something outside of ourself (usually the narcissist), which of course renders us as more powerless….
When we understand why and how we can accept what happened to us without judgement – we start recovering.
This means we need to face, embrace and support our unhealed parts without pain and without self-judgment. It is about accepting and embracing them unconditionally with self-acceptance.
You are your most powerful force. You are the key person who can heal, love, and support yourself and create your change. Everything you need is within you.
I now understand this so well. It was fundamental to my healing, and has been to many other people’s recovery as well.
Healing starts with taking responsibility.
Yes he or she is a narcissist who is impossible to have a healthy relationship with – BUT if you make this healing journey about you, and healing your unhealed parts that created you as susceptible to narcissist abuse, you will create a healing experience that truly defies one you believed was possible.
I often find that the people who are stuck in non-recovery are not just blaming the narcissist, they are also deeply ashamed of themselves for being ‘so stupid’, ‘wasting my life’ ‘losing everything I put in’ ‘trusting this person only to get destroyed, discarded etc. etc.’ and the list goes on and on.
Please know I understand these normal human painful emotions, and all the way up until my breakdown I was doing all of these things myself.
When I ask people the question “Were you ‘full and happy before they met the narcissist?” the question means within yourself, within your own soul.…because you may need to accept (in order to get well) that the system of life is ‘energetic’ it is not ‘practical’.
Many of us were ‘independent’ and even ‘successful’. In fact many, many people who were narc abused are very capable and independent people, yet not emotionally ‘whole’.
It is also common for people to meet narcs after years of being single. But again it comes back to ‘Was I whole?’, and ‘Did I have beliefs about myself and life that allowed me to be whole?” or ‘Do I even know what being whole is?’
Taking on the shame and blame is a choice – and is a long way from ‘I accept I have unhealed parts, and this is why I was in a narcissistic relationship, and NOW I CAN accept and heal them’.
Shame and blame only comes when we can’t accept this about ourself, and make our recovery all about ourself.
When we let go of the focus on shame and blame – and move forward into the pro-active energy of creating what we do want – instead of staying stuck in what we don’t want – everything changes.
The Two Vital Questions You Must Ask Yourself
If you are having difficulty shifting into acceptance and moving forward in your recovery, ask yourself these questions:
“Why would I keep hanging on to resentment when it is only going to bring me more emotional pain and more of the behaviours of love partners and people that I resent?” and
“Why did I attract and sustain a relationship with a narcissist?”
When we are ready to honestly confront and take responsibility (not make it about anyone else but ourself) for these questions from a true soul level, we are in a position to start getting well.
If you are not able to embrace and honestly start working with these questions, it is because you are stuck in your ego. Which is perfectly understandable, when you have been hurt and you are still in pain and fear.
Your ego wants justice, revenge, accountability – and the ego needs to be ‘right’ and make someone else ‘wrong’. Even if you got ‘justice’ (and you won’t if trying to force justice and accountability from a space of pain) your ego would get a feed momentarily and then you would STILL be feeling terrible after it wore off.
Nothing we achieve through our ego holds, feels durably good or is sustainable – ever!
We can let our ego kick, scream and condemn for as long as we like- and the result will be the same – we keep hitting brick walls, and keep experiencing pain until we FINALLY accept true healing is all about dissolving our ego, realising it is our internal enemy, and that blame and shame are all products of our ego that take us away from your liberation and not toward it.
Why do we need self-accountability? We need it in order to become conscious and to grow. Without it we believe ‘it’s everyone else’s fault and problem’ and we don’t change ourself.
Self-accountability is not about accepting ‘blame’ – it is about making the decision to heal and grow and become better as a result of the pain.
It is the model of knowing:
‘I realize and embrace that there are parts of me that contributed to being susceptible and powerless to narcissistic abuse’. By accepting this I can focus on healing these unhealed parts. By doing so I can create true change and solutions in my life.
Recognising Your Unhealed Parts
Even before you can begin recovery, you need to be aligned with true recovery and this is realising that pain, blame and shame are not aligned with getting well.
Recently on the NARC Facebook Group I showed an example of recognising my unhealed parts that allowed my abuse to take place.
I started with my own list of reasons as to why I got hooked in a narcissistic relationship.
These reasons were integral parts of my personality which existed before my narcissistic relationship:
- I was not whole or happy within myself
- I always needed some accomplishment or someone ‘loving me’ to feel okay about myself
- I was unresolved over previous relationships and had not accepted or healed my unhealed parts that showed up within these painful relationships
- I had never learnt how to love and accept myself unconditionally ‘just for being me’
- I believed I was only lovable for what I could produce
- I was never able to just ‘be’ without being obsessive / compulsive and thinking about ‘what I should be doing’
- I found it very hard to treat myself nicely, nurture or value myself
- I was my own worst critic rather than knowing how to speak to myself lovingly and supportively
- I could not accept compliments easily and believe I deserved them
- I could not let people into my life without fearing they had agendas or would control me
- I was suspicious of other people, I didn’t know if I could trust myself to honour me and lay boundaries and walk away rather than relying on someone else to ‘love me’
The list goes on and on and the truth was I could write 10 pages.
The truth is I was NOT real with myself (unconditional love and support) and I gravitated into a relationship with ANOTHER false person!
I have no shame in admitting these things, and in fact I have incredible relief in doing so.
I am still not perfect – but my life now is about taking self- responsibility, instead of blaming life and other people for what I choose and create. And now I can and do heal these aspects of me instead of careering into more pain and blame and shame with NO way out.
And that is the difference now.
The Magical 55 Point of Self-Accountability and Healing
An incredible thing then happened on the NARC Page, as another member deeply felt into herself and came up with a list of 55 points as to what she recognized about herself (her belief systems) that had led her into a very painful narcissistic marriage.
These were magical.
They described so many of the reasons why we get narcissistically abused.
I related to so many of these points.
What was totally consistent was that many people in the Group who are having big and powerful healing breakthroughs (working NARP) also did and posted as such.
These 55 points were:
1. The more I do for people the more people will love/like and accept me
2. If I do what people want they will love me
3. People won’t love me for being me
4. If I don’t agree with people and what they say they will not like me
5. My happiness depends on what other people are or are not doing
6. I am obsessive about other people’s bad behaviour and let it control and dictate my life and how I feel. I need them to recognise their behaviour, admit to it in order for me to feel OK
7. If I am right and they are wrong I need to know people ‘get this’ in order for me to feel OK and move on
8. I sometimes let people take control because that means I don’t have to make decisions in fear of failure and that makes me feel safe
9. People have hidden agendas and if they say something nice it’s because they want something from me
10. If people do something for me, they want something in return
11. I find it hard to treat and nurture myself because I do not deserve it and people will view me as being selfish and leave
12. The less I ask for the more I will get
13. If I voice my needs people will leave me and that is not OK
14. Just being me is not enough, I must be more in accordance to what everyone else deems enough
15. I did not lay clear boundaries and allowed people to walk all over me and convince me my boundaries were wrong, needy, over the top and unacceptable
16. I am easily swayed by what other people feel is acceptable or not and do not honour my own feelings and beliefs and speak my truth
17. I must achieve to other people’s standards in order to be accepted and be deemed acceptable
18. I alone am not enough
19. I must achieve stuff in order to succeed and feel whole, confident, at peace and OK and to be accepted
20. I do/did not love my self unconditionally
21. I did not back myself and needed other people to have my back in order to feel ok and safe
22. I do/did not trust myself and my gut instincts
23. I was too scared to leave in fear of failure and stayed to prove my worthiness and needed others to love me, recognise this, and acknowledge this in order for me to feel this
24. I am not enough, so I must prove this to people at all costs even if it means going against what and who I really am, and as a result I lost myself
25. I felt/feel worthless and need people to remind me of my worthiness in order to feel it myself
26. If I don’t have control I will lose control
27. I was petrified of being abandoned and being replaced so I stayed to avoid this
28. I stayed regardless of everything I knew was wrong in fear of someone else replacing me and being better than me
29. If I dismissed what I really felt and allowed him the freedom he would want, he would want me more and things would be OK
30. I constantly forgave people for unforgivable behaviour and allowed myself to be abused over and over again
31. I did not have enough self-respect for myself and needed this from the outside in order to feel respected
32. I need to feel needed in order to feel worthy and ok
33. I get jealous/territorial/competitive/unsure of myself in regards to some of the relationships other people have with other people in fear of them liking them better and abandoning me. This would mean I am not enough
34. I do not have self-confidence unless I feel amazing, look amazing and everything is going well in my life
35. I easily lose self-confidence and become very jealous of other people and or what they have instead of knowing, loving and being content in who I am and what I have
36. People’s opinions of me rule and dictate my life and how I feel
37. I wasted allot of time trying to please everyone else in an effort to feel pleased within and about myself
38. I forfeited my dreams and goals thinking that someone else could provide them for me and they would be better
39. I have never really known what I want to in my life and have relied/hoped that someone else could fill this hole for me
40. I am scared of failure and not being good enough and have made excuses and waited for the outside world to fix this for me because I am scared of failure and making the wrong mistake again
41. I need other people to agree with me for me to agree with me – trust myself unconditionally and feel ok
42. I constantly over analyse thoughts and situations and make excuses for others behaviour and second guess myself
43. I am far too hard on myself and am my own worst critic
44. I allowed someone to control me, my thoughts, my values and beliefs and as a result I lost myself
45. I don’t think I have ever been authentic. I must be the person people want me to be in order to be loved and accepted
46. I was obsessive about being accepted as an equal by both the outside world and with my ex narc in order to feel accepted, equal and good enough for him
47. I have relied on other people’s point of view in order to trust my own
48. I must prove myself and self-worth to feel self-worth
49. I need to prove myself and am obsessive/compulsive about it
50. I allowed myself to be treated continuously in ways that were unacceptable because I did not lay firm enough boundaries, follow through and have the guts to walk away and feel whole on my own
51. The kinder I am, the kinder people will be to me
52. If I did so much and was so much I would never be replaced and abandoned
53. Being replaceable and abandoned and someone else being better, prettier, more intelligent, ‘more this more that’ petrifies me and has always been a huge issue in my life and I fight it at all costs
54. I don’t love myself, I am not enough and need someone to remind me of this, accomplish stuff, have stuff, do stuff in order to feel good about myself and be accepted by other people
55. I was not enough for my husband and someone else was
Unconditionally Loving and Accepting Yourself
During the same day in the NARC Group another member put up a post in regard to ‘what is loving myself?’ and ‘I have no frame of reference to do this’.
My response to her was:
“Self-love is: we acknowledge our inner dysfunctions and what has not been working for us.
The 55 points are a magnificent list that can allow us to embrace and realise so much. THEN we look at this wounded, hurt part of ourself as our inner child, and we say to this part of ourself ‘You precious, darling, lovable soul, I adore you with all of my heart, and because I love you so much I am going to do everything in my power to help you, heal you, support you and help you get better’.
THAT is what loving ourself is.
It is a dedication, it a devotion, it is a commitment and then we already immediately are ‘self-love’ and we get to create more and more and more of and more of it.
And THEN we get to attract the REAL deal from life – as an inevitable match of who we are being to ourself.
Our inner child has been screaming out in pain for help, devotion and love and was unfortunately trying to get that from ‘outside of us’ because we didn’t go to her ourself. She could never get this from ‘the outside’ it HAD TO come from us – and that is why until now she was not getting better.
This is why it is ALWAYS about healing self with unconditional love and focus. There is nothing else to change or fix! “
The member answered with another post, amazed at how ‘simple’ the concept of ‘loving herself’ was.
My next response was:
“It is incredible how the ‘truth’ is always so simple. It is our egos, our mind and the human condition that has caused us to complicate everything to the extreme! That is great news that you understand and can commit to the simple true formula now! Now you are on your way ‘home’ – absolutely Now all you need to do is ‘do’ this, the ‘being’ of loving you.”
I would love you to join in on the self-accountability exercise by listing the reasons why you got hooked into a narcissistic relationship. You can use your own examples or ones from the magical 55 point list. If you would like, please share your answers in the comments below. However, if you would to keep it private just write the list for yourself.
This exercise will allow you to recognise your unhealed parts that require healing so that you can start accepting, embracing and healing them unconditionally.
Once you recognize your insecure broken parts and step up with love you become the loving, supportive, healing source to yourself you may have never been before this point.
This is the key to change your life – forever. This is the absolute formula to come out of narcissistic abuse, and finally love yourself without exception.
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