It’s a great question – and one that if we could answer truthfully could help inoculate ourselves against another narcissist, as well as provide the remedy for others so that they never have to experience one.
There are two trains of thought in regard to the answer of this.
The most obvious answer in standard abuse communities is … because a narcissist is a consummate actor who is a con-man or con-woman.
And the second, which is the healing premise of the Thriver Community, is … because I had unfinished business. There are some emotional gaps within me that the narcissist was able to infiltrate my boundaries with and hook me with.
I believe to an extent that both answers are true.
But … there is a very important distinction and truth that also needs to be acknowledged here.
The Difference Between Staying and Leaving and Saying “Yes” and Saying “No”
Narcissists are experts at knowing how to win people’s confidence.
And, there are many good people in the world, who may have had healthy childhoods, who can initially have a run-in with a narcissist in love relationships and business dealings.
However, these are NOT the people which this Thriver Community works with, and they are not the people who need serious healing solutions.
Because people with healthy self-esteems and solid Inner Identities don’t tolerate and stay with the behaviour when the mask drops – they pull away.
This is the truth … and they do not have the need to fight back and change the narcissist and try to restore that person’s “previous glory” in order to try to secure self love, approval, survival or security.
People who have healthy self-love and self-esteem do NOT confuse abuse as love or possible successful business deals … truly.
(Initially I was NOT one of these people, and if you are reading this article there is every chance that you may have struggled with this too.)
People who have healthy Inner Identities also do not suffer the sense of agonising loss, like myself and so many other people felt, when having to disconnect from a narcissist.
These people, in stark contrast, feel relieved that they had “dodged a bullet.”
Another truth is this: the people who do get deceived in business or in a relationship (even if momentarily) if honest with themselves acknowledge they had some sort of “off feeling” in regard to the unwholesomeness of the love or business deal.
Something didn’t quite add up, or there was the gut feeling that a contract or agreement should be drawn up … but the person rationalised the need to do so away.
I hope that you can be honest with yourself, and that you relate.
These days I am incredibly honest with myself (because I know we need to be real to heal) that there were sooooo many times in my past when I ignored that gnawing feeling, DIDN’T step up to the plate and as a result paid a horrible price.
Not just in love … but in many different areas of my life.
And … my previous co-dependent, unawakened self used to blame other people for not having integrity.
Now as a recovered self who takes 100% personal responsibility – I know that my own boundaries are not anyone else’s responsibility … they are mine, and my soul is ALWAYS giving me the cues I need.
Our Soul is an incredible mechanism which is always trying to look out for us and guide us, but sometimes we don’t listen to it because we have already made up our mind that we DON’T want to be warned off something or someone.
When we do start awakening and healing, we recognise this:
Underneath us ignoring our inner alarm bells was a difficulty in trusting these feelings as “valid”, and scarcity fears … the fear of losing the deal, or pushing the narcissist away … as well as the fear of “something better may never turn up.”
As well, of course, the terror of our unhealed parts from our childhood fearing criticism, punishment, rejection and abandonment if we speak up or try to assert our rights.
The Difference Between Taking the FALL as a Lesson – or Not
Non co-dependent people – who have solid Inner identities, when they slip up and make a poor judgement (not trusting their inner cues and don’t assert a boundary), tend to take it as “a lesson”.
They realise what happened, they know being deceived was an oversight they could have avoided, and they don’t blame others.
They may be astounded at how people can have such lack of integrity, but they have the positive outlook to be grateful that it didn’t go any further and that they woke up when they did, and most importantly …
They KNOW they have the resources to continue on, recover, and generate a great Life.
THAT is the most massive difference.
The co-dependent (just as I originally horrifically was) does not, as yet, know that they can.
When we have pinned our life, existence, happiness and ability to feel “whole” within our Inner Being conditionally on another person or situation (ranging from a relationship to an event to a job deal) … and that is not turning out as we NEEDED it to in order to feel “okay” … then we are devastated.
Then things get extremely dangerous …
Because we can try to squeeze crumbs out of carnage.
Then our Soul and Life – which is always providing us exactly what we need to evolve toward our Highest and most Fulfilling state (God-self) – show us EXACTLY the results of this horrendous “wrong-town”.
If we don’t get the lesson, the crumbs get less and less and the carnage amplifies.
If we don’t get the lesson, our blaming and victimisation increases.
However, if we do get it and we do the work to heal the reasons why we were taken by a narcissist, then we become the people who grow and evolve as a result of what happened to us.
And … most of all “what happened” becomes the grist to develop, heal and become a more solid non co-dependent people generating a great life DIRECTLY with Life, instead of traumatically assigning False Substitutes for our love, approval, security and survival.
We grow up and become effective, empowered, happy adults … instead of powerless, needy broken inner children.
The difference in how people recover from being taken by a narcissist, and how quickly they let go, is NOT about WHO the narcissist was or WHAT the narcissist did.
Rather … it is ALL to do with how healthy our Inner Being is during and after the event.
How a Solid Inner Identity Changes Everything
If you are in the throes of narcissistic abuse, and / or agonising with No Contact and the regret, pain, addiction and obsessions after narcissistic abuse, then this section is definitely for you.
Just as it was for me.
When we don’t have a solid Inner Identify, it is not until we start healing and establishing one that we even really know the difference (our normal was our normal way of operating) and we did not realise just how much NOT having a solid Inner Identity caused us to hand our power away.
And in this mode, it was very easy to point our finger outwards, claiming people were terrible for not doing the right thing.
Because WE do the right thing.
But in this childish way of operating (we hadn’t grown up yet) we did not realise that people do not treat us in relation to how we would treat them … they treat us in accordance to how well we treat and value ourselves.
And just as we would never leave our cars, bank accounts and homes unlocked, it is unhealthy to assign other people as our “parents” to look after our emotions, success, survival and happiness.
As children we were powerless, but as adults other adults are not responsible for taking care of us.
Personal development and empowerment is all about healing from our childhood wounds, so that we can step up and become an adult to ourselves.
And then we start meeting other adults who also have the ability to be responsible to themselves and others, and we stop dancing with other wounded children in adult’s bodies.
And that is when we start to experience the beautiful results … the sharing of all the good stuff with other healthy adults.
Which is a far cry from being in toxic power struggles battling for it.
When we heal beyond our childhood wounds, we speak up without fear and with truth and directness.
We qualify our concerns; we make deals that protect our rights and interests and we no longer do handshakes on “whims”.
Boundaries work like this: This is the level at where I value me – would you like to meet me there?
And this is VITAL for all impactful life decisions ranging from, “Let’s create a contract for this deal” to “Sex only with a condom” to “Let’s establish a relationship and see how that goes before moving in together” and everything in-between.
We STATE it, we STAND in it, and we COMMAND it.
And we stop allowing people into our homes, bodies and hearts without evaluating their worthiness to be there.
When we have the Inner Development to speak up and command being valued at that level, we know that if people are not willing to meet us there, at this present moment of time, they don’t have the resources to be in our life at that level.
Which means NO DEAL.
Being our own authentic truth is the ultimate qualifier … because healthy people appreciate, admire and value people who love and value themselves and are direct and honest without fear.
Because it grants everyone solidness, protection, greater connection, safety and success – whether it be in business or personal relationship.
These people can strike healthy deals with us.
When no deal eventuates it’s NO loss, it’s in fact a powerful YES … because this is a clearer affirmation of what our truth would look like, and the freedom to create it.
A narcissist will take off … because what he or she wants – a person who will provide the goodies whilst having no voice, rights or the power to generate their own life independently is NOT presenting.
When we have done the inner work on our original wounds which were not allowing us to:
1) Know we were worthy of having rights
2) Speak up about these rights
3) Let go of people who could not honour our True Self, and …
4) Know we have an entire “Universe” (literally) to generate more of ourselves with …
… then (and only then) do we have the True Power to truly start creating our Real Life.
And the ever-mighty mechanics of all of Life and our Soul align and say, “Yes – thank you for clarifying WHO you are. Now let us deliver THAT.”
Before this level of development beyond our original wounds, we are still susceptible to being taken in and down by narcissists and pathological people who will NOT save us and grant us our salvation, but instead will reflect our unresolved wounds which are not AS YET allowing us to be our True Self.
The Difference Between Trust and Paranoia
When we have our own development, boundaries, sensibility and solidness in hand – then there is no need for fear and suspicion of other people.
Because it is never about trusting others, it is always about trying things on while we trust ourselves.
If something feels off, we speak up, we create boundaries without excuses, whining, finger pointing, demanding or feeling guilty.
We just calmly and solidly state what we need and how things go for us.
And we stop “playing it safe” or “playing games” or “trying to work out how to strategise and manipulate things in response to who our opponent is”.
This all gets simplified into this straight forward formula … we are honest, we are not afraid of hurting people’s feeling (which often really is a fear of them “not liking us”) and we don’t fear what their knee jerk reaction may be and what they could do to us, and we just be REAL!
No-one can “take us down” unless we let them into areas of our life, psyche and heart willingly.
And we have NO need to, unless we decide that it would be mutually expansive, wholesome, loving and beneficial to do so.
What happens to vampires metaphorically when you shine a light on them?
The same happens to all darkness, duplicities and manipulation when a direct honest whopping great light of authenticity is shone.
People who lack integrity and inner healthy resources unravel – they show up as unstable and unwholesome.
Then our decision to non-participate is simple.
The darkness cannot hold up. It will leave the Light.
But this Light has to be REAL … meaning there is no neediness, there is no agenda, there is no manipulation – just honesty within exploring opportunities … with fearlessness.
The fearlessness of unashamedly claiming, This is my True Self, and what I would like … SO do we have game on together or not?
But here is the clincher … YOU have to be pure Light yourself to command this with no guilt, no fear and no pain. A still wounded self can’t fake it.
Because what is really underneath a wounded self is …
I am pretending to be authentic, honour me and value me and believe I deserve what is wholesome, successful, mutually beneficial and loving – but I don’t BELIEVE it.
I promise you that doesn’t work … no matter what mask you try to wear.
There is NO fooling the mechanics of all of Life.
You will unravel. You will not command the value of you that you want and it is really likely that you will accept dealings from people at the level that you REALLY value yourself.
I hope you are starting to get it – that NO amount of paranoia and fear and finding out about narcissists is EVER going to help you heal from or escape narcissists in the future.
In fact having this focus, which means you are ignoring the necessity or your own inner development, makes you highly susceptible to them and more pain again.
Because this was never about “them”, they are only a symptom. This is always about ourselves, and that is a good thing, because that is the only TRUE power we ever have –working within our own Beings.
The ONLY effective inoculation is: developing yourself into True Authenticity.
The Warning Signs Matter
I remember vividly with N number 1 and 2, the warning signs, and that I didn’t have the development to show up as authentic in response to them.
I buried the warning bells within, because I was still an underdeveloped, unhealed inner child.
I didn’t want to rock the boat. I didn’t want to risk abandonment and I did not want to feel guilty, attacked or ridiculed.
The truth was I SUCKED at honest confrontation.
Most people who enter interrelationships with narcissists are well aware that this person has some traits that are not pleasant.
And if we WERE in our power as soon as this started and confronted it to the point that would have been necessary for us to feel genuinely resolved, the narcissist would have unravelled right before our eyes … absolutely.
This is the place where healthy people with solid Inner Identities dodge that bullet, and co-dependents don’t.
I remember the narcissists in my life used to say “I am very hard on people” …and that was definitely my experience … they had insecurities and knee jerk reactions that normal people certainly wouldn’t have.
Such as an ability to misconstrue, jump to conclusions, dish out tit for tat behaviour that did not match the perceived punishment (except in their own heads) and other assorted issues and ways of conducting business and personal matters that were loose and unwholesome.
As well as dishevelled areas of their life that were highly indicative of a fractured self.
But I believed I could either live with these things or change them, or I would rationalise that there were so many other “great things” that it really didn’t matter.
When these behaviours escalated to pathological lying, physical, mental and financial abuse, insane adulterous behaviour and criminal acts … of course it mattered … it BRUTALLY mattered …
… and the warning signs had ALWAYS been there.
What mattered more devastatingly is that I was not letting go to look after my own wellbeing.
I had learnt to with N number 1, but devastatingly here I was hanging on trying to turn N number 2 again from a monster into a person who would love me safely.
Zac, my son, and I went for a walk Christmas Day 2012.
I was devastated.
I was a global narcissistic abuse recovery expert helping other people heal and here I was, taken down and hooked by a narcissist AGAIN.
I felt like a total fraud …
Zac looked me square in the eye, through my tears, and said this …
“Mum there is something seriously wrong with trying to have a relationship with a person who can’t be a normal, stable, honest adult. And you need to get to WHY you are trying to do that. You’ll do it … there is a huge gift in this not just for you, but for the entire Community. I believe in you and I know you will heal yourself again and help others even BETTER than before.”
I was gobsmacked …
Zac was right …
Trying to change “them” doesn’t work. There couldn’t be a more fruitless task than trying to force someone to love you and honour you when they just don’t have the inner emotional composition to do so.
Narcissists do not act like jerks just to hurt us – they do it because they are severely emotionally damaged beings who can’t genuinely act any other way WHEN their terrifying childhood wounds erupt from within.
Which is often …
When they feel like threatened children, meaning when their precariously fragile False Self gets triggered, they have no other resources to choose from other than … I’ll get you before you can get me.
And when we have our own unresolved childhood business going on inside US, we are more likely to cling on.
We are terrified of losing the relationship – the image that we have created in our head which was really a projection of who we wanted this person to be – rather than acknowledging who this person REALLY is.
Whereas, when we are healthy we have the ability to feel solid, loved and whole as ourselves. And then we can let go and move on from people when their true colours appear WITHOUT the pain.
Zac’s words hit me like a thunder-bolt. I dried my eyes, got off from the grass strip we were both sitting on and broke off all contact with N number 2 for EVER that night.
Then I took ALL of my focus off trying to work him out and negotiate with him, and got to work on myself instead.
Zac and his magical words of reason. (The MOST profound words of wisdom often come from our children – our teachers.)
Within two days of Quanta Freedom Healing shifts (specifically the shifts in Module Number 2 in NARP) I had found the exact reasons WHY I was still clinging and hooked, and up-levelled them.
I never craved N number 2 again.
I was free, and very determined about my continual development to become a person who would heal to even greater versions of myself.
Similarly, a gorgeous friend of mine has been battling with the warning signs that she is feeling in business.
She is connected in business with a person who’s acting in unstable, non remorseful and abusive ways, yet her inclination was to tread water, play it safe and try to retain a business relationship with this person.
I said this to her, “What happens when we know someone or something is unhealthy and tip toe around them, don’t show up honestly about our concerns and don’t want to risk losing the relationship? Think back …” (This was not her first dealing with a narcissist.)
She countered with, “Remind me.”
I said, “It always blows up in our face, and we end up losing more. Tell me when that has NOT happened in either business or relationships every time?”
She agreed with me and that the only solution was to show up with absolute truth and then if necessary severe ties, despite loses and move on and be free to create in ways that were wholesome and a match for her energy and truth.
I asked, “What is stopping you from doing that?”
She acknowledged that her fears of making it without this person was what was causing her to cling and fear losing the connection.
Before this “ah-ha” moment, she had been convincing herself about a whole lot of other “excuses” as to WHY to retain the connection.
Reasons that were NOT the truth.
When we focus within instead of outwards … and STOP trying to resolve the disappointing other … we stop making the excuses about WHY we should be involved and we deal with the true reasons as to why we are continuing to hurt ourselves.
Which is always about our young and powerless wounds within – the parts of ourselves which haven’t grown up and healed yet.
And it’s not until we do this that we CAN break out of disappointing patterns – including abusive people – and change our Life for REAL.
The truth is this:
We will only ever tolerate relationships that reflect our own level of relationship health with ourselves.
Our relationship health with ourselves is this: How comfortable do we feel about generating love, approval, survival and security within our Own Being and with Life itself?
If your answer is “Not at all” then you are highly susceptible to falling for and remaining hooked to narcissists, and there is a lot of work to do.
Healing our Inner Identity health – which is the True Recovery work –is what I LOVE doing with people.
This work happens intensively in my 3 Keys Webinar Group, and if you know you need help in this area, then I would love you to join me.
Please note: This Webinar and Private Facebook experience is all FREE and you are under no further obligation whatsoever.
And … in Part 2 next week, I look forward to sharing with you EXACTLY what the Inner Reasons are, that were set up in our childhoods, regarding WHY we fell for narcissists.
As always I look forward to answering your comments and questions!