Recently I was asked via ThriverTv comments to explain what self-partnering is. It is a term I use a lot, as the foundation of healing from narcissistic abuse.
It would seem that this term is self-explanatory – but is it really?
And why would it be when we have not been living in a world that has explained, encouraged or taught self-partnering?
In this article you will learn how not being self-partnered was the number one reason why we were narcissistically abuse, as well as why it is impossible to heal from narcissistic abuse if we don’t come home to “meeting ourselves”.
You will also discover exactly what self-partnering is, what the results of doing it achieve, and how it is a template to not only heal ourselves but heal our world.
Truly, this is one of the most important recovery articles I have ever written, and I hope that it inspires you to know there is a way out of the hellish pain and into love, freedom and a healthy life.
What Does Self-Partnering Mean?
In Western developed society self-partnering is barely recognised.
And even if we have some kind of idea what it might be, do we know how to do it?
Possibly not …
Self-partnering is the biggest determinant within this Thriver Community, because to have a true recovery after narcissistic abuse depends on one essential ingredient, “Am I willing to self-partner myself or not?”
Also is the willingness to understand this: “My relationship with narcissists reflects back to me how I am not as yet self-partnered, and how I can be affected in terrible ways because of this.”
Our unfortunate programming – the turning away from self-partnering – is the biggest reason why we were narcissistically abused … truly.
Therefore, it is time for this article, as this topic is too big to address in a video …. and I really hope it can help you if you are feeling confused about self-partnering.
I also deeply wish that you will be inspired to understand how everything in your life is determined by how self-partnered you are or aren’t.
The Irony of Partnering
The truth is virtually every adult wants to love and be loved; desiring the companionship of someone as a “partner” is a normal and healthy life goal.
This only becomes an issue when we believe that a partner can make us happy, or feel fulfilled, or feel worthy of being loved.
This is the grand illusion, which has not only made people very unhappy to spend time and be by themselves, but has also caused them to put a great deal of strain on any prospective partner, assuming that it is their job to provide them with the relationship and happiness that they have not yet established within themselves.
This is the standard “outside in” orientation that sadly most relationships are based on.
I used to live it terribly, as most co-dependents at some stage of their journey do …
What this means is expectations. We believe that people are supposed to behave and do certain things in order for us to feel “happy”, “loved” and “whole”. This is exactly the dynamic that co-dependents play out with other co-dependents and / or narcissists.
It means two people can’t exist healthily with “space” in-between them. Two people are looking at each other needing some type of attention to continually confirm “this person loves me”, “I am worthy of love”, “I can feel okay about my life now” … or “this person is not going to do the wrong thing by me”.
Past the honeymoon period there is trouble. Real life demands start taking people’s attention away and off each other. The mask cracks for all concerned and the real person starts to show up – not the “Hollywood version” on their very best behaviour.
There is enmeshment. If someone does not do “enough” for the other to feel whole and healthy, there will be reactions, passive aggressive behaviour, sulking, “tit for tat” behaviour, or anxious clinging, pleading, “giving to get” or demanding. None of this generates “healthy relationship”.
Why does this happen?
For a very simple reason – this is the profile of a relationship of two wounded children in adult bodies trying to have an adult relationship.
These people have never self-partnered and healed their own wounds … they are looking to the other person to do it for them.
Reading this may be a huge shock to you and very confronting. But I promise you that if you are not as yet self-partnered this is exactly what you have been doing. I did it too.
We all did it and thought it was “normal” because we knew nothing better. I promise you it may be “normal”, sadly because of the wounds we have all been unconsciously carrying, but it is far from “natural” or “healthy”.
When we are not self-partnered, “awake” and healing our own wounds we are still emotionally regressing back to the wounds of our childhood seeking a “parent” to take away our emotional pain.
The people we unconsciously seek are representatives of our emotional young gaps … where we felt that we weren’t loved, approved of and secure. These people present as the healer of these gaps … “finally I have met a person who genuinely loves and accepts me!” … yet this person turns out to be the messenger of these gaps – the person who shows up for you more pain regarding not feeling loved, approved of and secure.
The unconscious plight of being attracted and attractive to people who represent our original wounds and the unconscious hope that “this time Mum / Dad you will do it better” is doomed to fail.
It is only when we self-partner, and grow our own wounds up, that we can enter relationship as a whole adult able to partner with a partner who is also a whole adult.
You Can’t “Have” Love if You Are Not Love to Yourself
How does someone who is not happy within themselves behave?
The answer is simple – not happy with others.
They will struggle to be grateful for what someone else does for them, they will have difficulty believing acts of love are genuine, and they will be giving to get and keeping score rather than being authentically generous themselves.
This person will also be on the lookout for “bad” behaviour – hyper-vigilant to it. And this is because their inner belief systems are “I am not lovable”.
Their relationships either don’t last, or are very unhappy when they do. And when single, because society tells them this is the “remedy”, they will frantically search for an outer relationship rather than creating the most essential one of their life.
The ONLY one that will set up a future healthy relationship – the inner one with themselves.
In fact they may feel like a social leper and worthless without a relationship – as if they don’t have any identity as a single person. And at this point maybe they don’t.
I totally relate, I used to feel like this and maybe if you are single and honest with yourself you can admit you feel like this too.
We can blame our disastrous narcissistic relationships for unhappy singledom if we want to stay a victim, or we can start understanding deeper, wider truths – that we have been the common denominator in our painful relationships and that they are teaching us something.
If we are needy for relationships yet don’t feel happy in our own bodies, emotions and life, then we need to understand seeking False Substitutes equals “how to lose”. We will not find people that will take our pain away. Rather we will connect with people who represent where and how we are not yet self-partnered and loving ourselves.
Generally the people who want a relationship the most are the least self-partnered people, because they want someone else to do the job of loving them that only they can do.
A relationship is an addition to the love you already have for yourself and are being.
It cannot and will never give love, happiness and wholeness to you.
The Reflection Back as a Result of Lacking Self-Partnering
If we don’t know ourselves, love ourselves and accept ourselves we will seek and take up with False Substitutes who will treat us identically to the way we treat ourselves.
The following is about the profound realisation I had after being narcissistically abused … finally … when I had my “awakening” to the truth of why, unconsciously, I had set myself up for abuse.
It was a realisation that led to saving my life, because it handed the power back to me to make the only changes that were ever possible – the ones within myself.
This began an incredible journey of intense self-partnering which to this day is firmly in place and continues as my total life orientation. This not only prevented my almost self-demise, it granted me the most incredible, expansive life I could ever imagine.
At this time of awakening, when the lampshade was metaphorically ripped off my head, I saw what the narcissist was reflecting back to me.
Such as the way I thought about myself – that I was never good enough, the way I demanded more and more self-perfection, and the way I spoke to myself were identical to the way the narcissist had treated me.
I realised the harsh conditional love I treated myself with, “I will like you Melanie (not even love me that was too great a stretch) if you get this done or achieve that” … EXACTLY matched the relentless conditional demands I experienced with the narcissist.
I realised the lack of time spent getting to deeply know, connect, soothe, heal or build trust and love with myself COMPLETELY matched the absolute emotional abandonment and insane allegations I experienced with the narcissist … which had me screaming at him SO many times “You don’t even KNOW who I am!”
WHO really didn’t know who I was?
The narcissist was in all cases treating me identically to the way I had been treating myself, but he had, at least, given me some reprieve … whereas I had given myself none.
At least at times he left the house, whereas I was with myself 24/7 saying disparaging remarks, placing insane demands on and attacking myself with loathsome comments.
I was the most abusive person in my life!
It didn’t matter which realisation exploded up into my awareness after my “awakening”, it all led to the same truth, “People can only love, connect to and treat us at the level we love, connect to and treat ourselves”.
This doesn’t mean we are BAD people – it means we can be really BAD to ourselves.
And why are we? The answer is simple, because our world and role models have taught us that we are the LAST person we should give our own love, devotion and attention to.
This journey taught me profoundly how totally screwed up that is.
What is Self-Partnering?
I’ll give you the simplest most straightforward answer I can:
Being with ourselves (our emotions) unconditionally … warts and all.
That answer could start rattling you – and understandably so.
You have been taught that negative emotions need to be turned away from.
Because they are just horrible …
Or they could take you out …
And somehow if you go to and get stuck in your negative emotions it will mean that you are defective and unlovable, and you won’t be able to fight to survive, or whatever other nonsense has been programmed into us by our world – the ridiculous falsities that have caused us to be so disconnected from ourselves, incredibly sick, totally outer seeking and very dysfunctional at relationship.
And so it has been passed on from generation to generation.
Our parents bought these lies from their parents who themselves didn’t know they were lies. The system was set to “practical survival”, and “emotional health” was a very low consideration.
Also, the world was being positioned to be a consumerist society where the elite and pharmaceutical and war industries could benefit.
This is how those set ups went:
“Let’s keep people in inner pain (because they don’t know how to self-partner) needing the next lover and the newest car or home, or dress, or suit (to attract the next lover) to try to get relief.”
“Let’s also keep them disconnected from their own ability to heal themselves (because they don’t know how to self-partner) and alive and sick needing the dependency of medication.”
“While we are at it, let’s also keep them at war with their own emotions (because they don’t know how to self-partner) which will cause them to blame others for the way they feel and want to declare war on each other, rather than pursuing resolution, sharing and harmony.”
That in a nutshell is the human experience of egoic sickness and madness; ignore one’s own emotional state, not go to it to self-partner and heal, and then look outwards to try to get all sorts of things to take away the emotional anxiety and depression that stays trapped inside – unattended to.
And if that doesn’t work, then try to force things and people to change hoping that will take away the pain.
And yet, no matter what is acquired or battled for, the relief is only temporary and “something else” is always needed again.
Getting or trying to change stuff and people became the norm to “get self-relief” … but it’s always only the self-medication of temporary relief.
It’s all about attempts to make the symptoms go away without ever addressing the true cause.
The true cause could only ever be addressed at its core, which is within, with the use of self-partnering.
Our Inner Being is a Wounded Child Needing Our Love – It is Not a Dragon!
It is really important to understand the following …
The topics in our life where we are solid, healthy and sound are where we are showing up emotionally as a whole and healthy adult.
And … the topics in our life where we get triggered, derailed and hand our power away are where we are showing up emotionally as a wounded, unhealed, underdeveloped child.
Let me give you a personal example.
One of my greatest wounds in relationship used to be “fear of abandonment”.
When narcissists used to hit that trigger I would panic and act out in the most childish out of control ways. Such as plead, beg and throw myself on car bonnets. I would even hyperventilate and vomit.
Was this an adult woman in charge of myself emotionally? No!
Was this a three-year-old unhealed wounded child inside me at the helm? Yes!
Was I self-partnered and taking care of myself on that topic of being “left”? No!
Was I completely self-abandoning in these times and trying to force someone else to take care of that unhealed trauma for me? Yes!
Since self-partnering myself and healing that trauma, as well as countless others that used to attract and co-generate incredible repeat trauma (the matches for the wounds) my life has changed beyond recognition – as yours will too – if you take up self-partnering.
There is no other way …
Self-partnering is NOT for the faint-hearted, and most people don’t do it because it means meeting yourself. It means no longer avoiding your painful emotional and inner traumas and going directly to them.
Why is this such an issue?
Because negative emotions have been demonised. We were taught to avoid them at all costs. That’s the insanity!
We were taught to believe, “Why on earth would we want to look at our painful emotions as the signals of our defects? Surely that would mean we have them, and in NO way do we want to admit that!”
Imagine if we treated our cars or our homes like that. “I don’t want to listen to that weird noise in the engine as a pointer to a defect” … “I don’t want to hear the water dripping through the ceiling as a possible defect in the roof!”
Ignorance is not bliss … of course the engine is going to cease, and the roof will cave in – and then HOPEFULLY the “defects” have our attention enough to fix them!
There have also been systems such as “Law of Attraction” regarding ignoring your painful inner emotions and simply getting “positive” and overriding them that way.
I want you to really get this – imagine if you had a young daughter or son (somewhere between 3 and 7 years of age) who was feeling the age appropriate insecurities of not being good enough, not worthy, feeling abandoned or criticised and he or she came up and said “Mum, Dad I feel really stupid, ugly and dumb”, and you said, “Shut up I’m not listening to you – this cigarette, piece of chocolate cake, facebook, TV or hooking up with this abusive person again is so much more important than you.”
Or if you went all “Law of Attraction” with this child and simply ignored how they were feeling and said words that equalled, “No your negative feelings are not okay, let’s just think the right thoughts instead!”
This is exactly what we have been doing to the inner wounded parts of ourselves. We have been ignoring them and trying to self-medicate them away with additions and distractions … or trying to whip them into line with “positivity”.
How do you think a child would end up emotionally as a result of this treatment? Manic of course!
And then this manic child is going to keep screaming out for us.
The pain gets worse, physical symptoms may need to manifest to get our attention – and in amongst it all we just take another “pill” (self-medication choice) to try to shut up the screams, or ignore the traumas with “positivity” where the Child Within feels totally invalidated and not heard or held and not loved back to solidness on these topics.
This is exactly what we have been doing to our Inner Beings and wondering why we have turned out so sick and traumatised.
Then because we are not showing up for ourselves, our Child Within needs to manifest people to come to us to show us these wounds that we are ignoring.
And … if we stay unconscious we still don’t get it, and then we blame and focus on other people “doing this to us” and get more damaged trying to force them to do it better.
See the mess? It’s a cycle of self-destruction with no way out!
Wouldn’t going inwards to our wounds and healing them be a much better choice?
People say to me often, “I am having this or that drug, treatment or supplement to try to deal with the C-PTSD that narcissistic abuse caused.”
Yet that is NOT the truth.
We think the inner anxiety, depression and adrenal malfunction is a “dragon” – something horrible that happened to us via someone else.
Yet it ISN’T – what these symptoms are is our Inner Child screaming to us for us to come and love and hold and heal her or him, and the screams WON’T stop until we do.
Do you realise that all the choices we make to self-medicate, ignore and numb out our inner pain, made our Inner Child more and more panicked, more and more abandoned and more and more unhealthy?
Hello C-PTSD – that is what it is … not what someone did to you! It’s really about us not self-partnering and attending to our own inner wounds.
I promise you I had “untreatable, apparently never to be healed C-PTSD” which is now NOT there in any shape of form.
Universes apart from that diagnosis, I live the exact opposite experience because of profound self-partnering. I am more extended in life, free and radiant and fearless than I could ever imagine being in my wildest dreams, and this is because I met and attended to all of my original wounding regarding “I am not safe in life”.
These terrified beliefs had origins and original traumas that were in existence LONG before the narcissist. It was wounding that the narcissist ignited for me in order to look at and heal.
He was ONLY a catalyst providing more of it! He was a “symptom”, not the “cause”.
So what is the true cause of inner anxiety, fear, emptiness and depression? The answer is this – NOT being self-partnered. Not having come home to love and heal one’s own Inner Being (emotional self).
How did the inner anxiety, emptiness and depression get there in the first place? A lack of emotional intelligence and unhealthy parenting. Also, and this is a profound reason, because of the trauma in our generational DNAs.
Look at human history – it is brutal. Epigenetics is now proving that trauma victims give birth to trauma victims even if there is no longer any trauma in the environment.
The damage of trauma is passed on generation to generation until someone in the family line heals it – then future generations are spared of those inherited legacies.
If you are furious with your parents because of the damage they did to you, I would like you to consider this. This was not our parent’s fault – they had no training or healthy role models regarding emotional intelligence, and they were carrying their own unresolved emotional wounds.
Hurt people hurt people because they are unconscious and truly don’t have the resources to do any better.
We are all in this together … world unconsciousness … perpetrators and victims alike.
This lack of healthy emotional parenting meant that the average child did not feel loved simply because they existed.
Love was conditional, and therefore the child felt “as themselves” they were unlovable, and therefore approval and love had to be earned.
Additionally, a child may have been brought up with criticism as a motivator, which shamed and damaged their Inner Being. Or the child may have suffered abuse, neglect or engulfment that severely triggered a child’s fears of life, others and survival.
If a child’s Inner Self became fractured and was under-developed, this meant continued issues as an adult, simply because this person was not able to progress successfully through the stages of co-dependency and being reliant on an adult, to become an independent healthy sense of self.
What this meant was in times of emotional distress this person would not be self-partnered, not be able to self-soothe and would instead self-abandon and try to precariously rely on something or someone outside for emotional relief.
This, in itself, was the recipe for all of us who suffered narcissistic abuse.
And there is only one remedy for it – coming how to self-partner to heal these fractures and develop our Inner Being to solidness. So that we can grow ourselves up to show up in life as a healthy, mature emotional self.
The Danger of Not Being Self-Partnered
There is a beautiful story that Don Miguez writes about in The Mastery Of Love which comes to mind …
It’s one of my favourite stories which is so accurate regarding the deadly dance between the narcissist and the co-dependent.
People will argue it isn’t because they say “It did not start off this way” … but I promise you I have met umpteen people who did walk away the minute the mask dropped.
These people were not carrying the young inner wounds that we had which hooked us hard into abuse. They were able to show up authentically, stand their ground and speak up, and they saw the narcissist unravel before their eyes and then left.
Ok … so here is this wonderful story …
“Imagine that you have a magical kitchen in your home. In that magical kitchen, you can have any food that you want from any place in the world in any quantity. You never worry about what to eat; whatever you wish for. You are very generous with your food; you give your food unconditionally to others, not because you want something in return from them. Whoever comes to your home, you feed just for the pleasure of sharing your food, and your house is always full of people who come to eat the food from your magical kitchen.
Then one day someone knocks at your door, and it’s a person with a pizza. You open the door, and the person looks at you and says, ‘Hey, do you see this pizza? I’ll give you this pizza I you let me control your life, if you do whatever I want you to do. You are never going to starve because I can bring pizza every day. You just have to be good to me.’
Can you imagine your reaction? In your kitchen you can have the same pizza even better. Yet this person comes to you and offers you food, if you just do whatever he wants you to. You are going to laugh and say, ‘No thank you! I don’t need your food, I have plenty of food!’
Now imagine the exact opposite. Several weeks have gone by and you haven’t eaten. You are starving and you have no money in your pocket to buy food. The person comes with the pizza and says, ‘Hey, there’s food here. You can have this food if you just do what I want you to.’ You can smell the food, and you are starving. You decide to accept the food and do whatever the person asks of you. You eat some food, and he says, ‘If you want more, you can have more, but you have to keep doing what I want you to do.’
You have food today, but tomorrow you may not have food, so you agree to do whatever you can for food. You can become a slave because of food, because you need food because you don’t have it.”
Don Miguez’s story has a profound message for all of us when we substitute the word “food” for “love”.
If you haven’t as yet self-partnered and come home to loving yourself, and you do not know how to connect with love to others and life healthily – then you are going to be a “love junkie” paying a horrible price in order to try to get some love.
That is the terrible process we played out in narcissistic abuse.
How Do We Self-Partner and Love Ourselves?
Now here is the BIG question … How do we love ourselves?”
I created a YouTube ThirverTv episode on this topic called: “What Is Self Love” which may help you understand what Self Love really is.
Let’s have a look at the goal of Self Love and what it would look like.
- Love spending time with yourself
- Be capable of fun and enjoyment on your own
- Love being in life and be extended and radiant in life
- Be your own greatest supporter
- Speak to yourself lovingly
- Validate and be with your own feelings in times of need
- Dedicate time to being with and listening to yourself
- Step up and be your own soother and healer when necessary
- Be your own best friend, companion and lover
- Make yourself a high priority with devotion
None of these states are possible if you are not prepared to self-partner.
In stark contrast you will:
- Dislike spending time alone
- Not feel joyful when alone
- Feel scared to connect to and be out in life
- Demand more of yourself
- Criticise and shame yourself
- Seek self-medication choices to avoid painful feelings
- Seek outer stimulation and people to try to feel better
- Self-abandon in times of emotional distress
- Be your own worst enemy
- Dismiss and not take care of your own wellbeing
We can see these life orientations are worlds apart. The first is a life that not only starts to feel sane, whole and healthy, but also starts to generate the identical results in your environment with healthy choices and alignments.
The second orientation is a life of chasing your tail – trying to escape inner unresolved trauma and only adding more to them with poor choices and alignments – leading to greater and more exhausting efforts of trying to survive yourself and thinking that it is everything and everyone else going on around you.
Sadly, our world is modelled on making people avoid themselves. Even some structured religions demonised “people loving themselves” stating that self-partnering is unholy and sinful.
Which is complete and utter insanity.
How are self-partnered and whole people apt to behave and what would they create?
Healthier partnering and wholeness with others and Life!
This is the truth – you will never accept levels of love less than the love you have for yourself – period … and this is why there is only ever one solution to a painful life trajectory.
Self-partner – come home and meet yourself and clean up the original traumas which have been unconsciously generating more of the same pain … So that finally you can love yourself.
So … the bottom, bottom line is we have to meet our wounds. We have to walk up to the “dragon in the cave” with full humility, ownership, love and openness and be prepared to meet our vulnerable, wounded inner child who needs our love and healing.
We have to face all the parts of ourselves that we have been taught to avoid.
Naturally narcissists, who would rather die than lay down their defenses and be genuinely vulnerable, as well as perpetual victims who are totally invested in the story “Someone else is to blame for the way I am” are never going to do this.
Self-partnering to heal and be whole necessitates this understanding, “If the wounds are inside me they are mine. Only I can heal them REGARDLESS of how they got there. As a child I was powerless, and as an adult I am not and if I want to get out of hell and start living my birthright of ‘heaven on earth’ that’s what I need to do”.
To hold someone else responsible and refuse to do this work means only one thing – the wounds will continue to live inside you, play out and hurt you whilst you wait for a “repentance” from someone else that is never coming.
Self-partnering is the ONLY orientation that delivers individuals from a living hell, and then will create a ripple effect that will heal our world … one person at a time.
How we self-partner is this: we stop looking outside ourselves for answers. In regards to narcissistic abuse we stop researching and blaming narcissists, and we come inside our body to find and heal the original traumas that unconsciously allowed the narcissist into our life and has kept us hooked up in the pain of what they deliver.
If you were born into a narcissistic family you also choose to do this if you want to heal. Having a narcissistic parent was not something you consciously chose any more than anyone, as a wounded child in an adult’s body, chose in regard to hooking up with narcissistic partners.
Powerlessness and trauma happens from an inner unhealed emotional child container – as children AND as adults.
As adults, determined to become conscious, all of us can heal this pattern … even if abuse is all you have ever known.
We evolve ourselves, we up-level and heal one wound at a time. We organically start to become less and less of our wounded self, and start emerging from who we were being into our True Self.
Our True Self knows organically how to do life in a conscious, self-loving, connected, flowing that love, healthy and radiant way. In a way that is authentic, shows up honesty, speaks up lovingly and directly and is no longer snagged by young insecurities and defenses that were causing a maladapted self.
This is lifetime work … truly … it is not a quick fix.
People who start this journey often say, “When will I arrive?” I used to do the same thing … until I realised that self-love is NOT a destination – it is an ongoing joyous growth process.
What is an absolute NOW process, however, is self-partnering – and if you are prepared to self-partner and take up the life orientation of meeting, being with yourself and becoming your own profound healer … then you are self-partnered – regardless of how many wounds you still have to shift out of your being.
This means no longer will you hand power away whilst trying to force other people to be responsible for your painful triggers. No longer will you dangerously self-abandon yourself in times of need, and no longer will you cling to people and situations that hurt you rather than letting go and taking essential emotional care for yourself.
It also means that your life incrementally is going to get happier, healthier, more filled with joy, and will start generating love, growth and inspiration.
And you will be freed piece by piece from trying to cope with yourself (being stuck in Survival) into the interests, loves and life missions that you truly desire (activating Creation).
These states are all the good stuff that is “life” when we start living it free of the traumas that were blocking this organic state of Lifeforce and wellbeing.
Self-partnering is the MOST essential path for any abuse victim to take, and it is the only one that provides true freedom and healing. It is the exact Thriver Model that has created unprecedented, healing within this Community, because NO outer substitute can ever make up for your Inner Being’s screams for you.
Yes, you the person that no-one else was ever meant to replace or could ever replace.
It has to be you that goes inwards.
Then you will start to see how life and other healthy people start reflecting True Life and Love back to you.
I truly hope this article has helped clarify exactly what self-partnering is, why it is one of the most essential parts of your recovery and how you can start self-partnering to start making leaps and bounds towards your Thriver Recovery.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article or any questions you have in the comments below, I respond to all them.
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