Last week we did a deep dive into why narcissists do not have the ability to genuinely care when we are in times of need.
And why they switch off, detach, get angry, act weird or diminish the people they are supposed to care about the most, when they’re ill or in challenging times.
This week, Part 2, is about the realisation that we can’t force the narcissist to care.
And how we can learn to care for ourselves in the face of this.
Our Anger and Disbelief
This is tough, not to get emotionally derailed … it is tough to not expect someone to do the right thing.
After all, we have been brought up to believe that care and compassion for others are normal human components, and we can truly be forgiven for thinking that being available for others in need is “normal”, decent” and a “baseline requirement”.
It comes as a shock when we discover, as far as certain people are concerned, it isn’t.
Or, for those who have grown up in families with narcissists, it may be a devastating reality to accept that the people who are supposed to care don’t – or only did when it suited them.
As children we were totally unable to be a healthy level of love, approval, security and survival to ourselves … we were totally reliant on our role models for these commodities.
For those who did suffer narcissistic abuse as children, or parents parenting in unconscious ways that compromised our Inner Identities, the wounds of not being cared for healthily may be a legacy that has extended as childhood into adulthood – having experienced more of the same from other people – unavailable others.
And maybe as a child, the deficient emotional care you received wasn’t necessarily because your role models were self-absorbed and narcissistic …
Maybe they were too busy trying to survive and provide. Maybe there were other family members who had special needs who took the attention away. Maybe your role model was suffering an illness themselves and simply did not have the resources, energy or strength to provide essential emotional care and availability to you.
Maybe your caretakers had been brought up with the tough “get up and get on with it model” and thought that the best they could do was instil this within you as well.
We can get all snagged up in trying to hold others responsible for “not caring”, but the truth is the only way now to change the levels of care we receive in our life is to STOP trying to hold unavailable others responsible.
Hurt people hurt people.
Sick people make people sick.
And … if they had the resources to do better and “care”, they would.
When we understand that we have no power to change or fix anyone who is NOT us, in order to try to create a different life, then there is only one way to get “cared for” – develop and up-level ourselves to become a generative force of authenticity – a person who knows how to ask for, create and receive healthy care, and can leave alone those who can’t meet us at this level.
As a child we were powerless to do this, as an adult we are not.
And our freedom and power involves letting go of the anger and disbelief about people who can’t and don’t care.
Because when we are still playing that stuff out – it is always because we are still holding others responsible, rather than being responsible for ourselves.
For all of us who come across someone who does not care, does not have the resources to, and who can literally kick you when you are down or abandon you in times of need, there is two ways this can go.
The first version is … we get all righteous and indignant.
We lecture, we prescribe and we try to force this person to “get it” whilst being deeply in anguish, despair and often RAGE that this person is not providing for us what any NORMAL human being should or could.
The second version is we are orientated toward and goal-driven to heal and develop our own Inner Identity, and become a solid and calm generative force to ourselves – not precariously positioned on any specific person providing that for us – and we are determined to stay true to our values and we walk away.
Our Righteousness About How Caring We Are and How They Aren’t
It is such a common thing to be in the throes of righteousness, and what we did for them and what they didn’t or don’t do for us.
I know all about this … I used to be there too!
This is what some Facebook members wrote about this …
“I gave support, friendship, loyalty, love, compassion etc. and changed my ways to fit what my friend told me would make her more comfortable. In return I got contempt, indifference, devalued, the silent treatment and told I take things personally, I’m too intense and demanding etc. And she turned her back on me when my mum passed away last April. Yet she is so supportive and caring to others. I’m the friend that came through for her and I’m the one she treats like rubbish.”
“I waited while mine was in prison .. did everything for him … the list is endless. He got out and abused me and cheated on me and left me. I have no support and no care when I was the glue that was holding him together when he breached parole and went to prison.”
Righteousness is truly one the most destructive emotions we can experience, and it only serves to keep us stuck in pain, as well as makes us targets to receive more pain and suffering from non-caring others.
Righteousness, sadly is promoted as a human value that serves us, yet it doesn’t. It keeps us emotionally bonded to abusers, handing power away and only serves to hold someone accountable for the emotional state that we are not providing for ourselves.
This is INCREDIBLY fruitless when we are dealing with a narcissist – because we are trying to get a wounded adult child, who is never going to face and heal their wounds and therefore change their beliefs and behaviour, become a healthy person who can respect and treat us healthily.
And WE stay stuck in our wounded inner child trying to force the narcissist to be “a parent” to us who will “this time” do it differently.
The only parent to us is now ourselves, and this is where we need to grow ourselves up to move past dangerous and self-destructive co-dependent reliance and powerlessness. And we need to stop programming our children to believe in “righteousness”, and trying to hold incapable, unavailable others accountable.
Clearly if we are trying to hold the narcissist accountable to care about ourselves or our children we are in totally precarious and uncontrollable situations.
We are trying to control the uncontrollable. And the more we have the conditional living focus of: “Unless I hold you accountable my and my children’s lives can’t change”, the more we and our children end up emotionally controlled by the situation.
Then what happens regarding our care for ourselves and our children when we are stuck in the anger and resentment of righteousness?
This … every moment we spend fixated on the narcissist having to do it differently in order to feel okay, means we are not going to be okay.
And if we are not okay, our children are not okay.
And … every moment of that is emotional fuel burnt and wasted with no result other than more suffering … where instead we could be deeply self-partnering, healing and caring about ourselves and our children and becoming a healthy force who can generate an amazing life.
Which is actually the only solution and way back to health for us and our children.
When we try to hold other people responsible for the love, healing and care that we are not granting ourselves – we are handing our power over, and stuck in the personal stories of “you define me”.
No people do NOT define us – we define ourselves.
And when we realise this truth, we don’t claim our power angrily (that is still holding others responsible and being angry that they didn’t step up) … rather it is an evolved wisdom to realise this …
This is not personal – you are simply so wounded that you do NOT have the resources to and I don’t need you to – because I can develop myself to have the resources to generate what I need and want with life.
Seeking Self Substitutes
So many human programs and beliefs and conditioning have not served us. Such as …
“A good woman stands by her man.”
“A good man stands by his woman.”
When is love not only blind but also intensely self-destructive?
Where is our education regarding the essential deal of needing to love ourselves, and realising that allowing abusers to continue abuse is NOT loving them either?
Why weren’t we educated to realise this has been happening … “It’s okay to be an abuser because whilst you do, I will stick around and take your abuse.”
Neale Donald Walsh takes this one step further … “To allow an abuser to abuse is an act of abuse toward the abuser.”
This might be a really hard pill to swallow. But truly, I see the results of true love with addicts in programs when their loved ones state, “I love you so much I will not stay to see this anymore.”
When people left them and stop enabling them – THAT is when (and only when) certain addicts chose to take responsibility and got clean and sober.
I thoroughly believe that the entire narcissistic community left to their own devices with no-one left to be their source of narcissistic supply (energy) or punching bags when trying to offload woundedness, would either finally face themselves and take responsibility for their inner wounding , or they would die out without spreading their psychic dis-ease further onto others.
The only way narcissism is going to end is NOT by trying to force them to be accountable (we can see the world-wide results of that futile exercise in human history) … rather it is going to happen when people stop STICKING AROUND for it.
And we stop sticking around for it when we develop ourselves enough to be our own Source of love, approval, security and survival.
Now please know sticking around means sticking around – no matter how much you are complained, fighting back or whatever you are doing – sticking around point blank enables the abuse.
And, in fact, fighting back provides the abuser a copious amount of narcissistic supply, which certainly does not allow them to be with themselves with no-one to project onto in order to avoid facing their inner wounds.
It would be a very different world if our curriculum HAD been about healthy boundaries, detaching and leaving people alone with their wounds that cause them to be abusive … because then some awakenings and genuine reform may actually have the space to take place.
Logically we think fighting back is the way to go. Emotionally nothing could be further from the truth.
In a world where people have been taught to disconnect from emotions and live in logic – we live in “potential” and “what we want”, but fail to recognise the reality of what is happening now.
Our emotions are always our GPS letting us know if we are in healthy situations or not, but our head jumps in to dismiss this, and makes excuses and justifications to match the reality it wants to produce, such as “this person was so caring at the start”.
(Regardless of the fact I was sobbing for hours last night because I was so devastated by their behaviour.)
And the truth is, we are invested in the reality that we want to believe – that this person is going to grant us the love, approval, security and safety that we so desire – ironically and tragically the love, approval, security and safety we are NOT granting ourselves by staying with them.
The very love, approval, security and safety that we do not know that we are capable of co-generating with life yet – in healthy, empowered, expansive and even exciting ways.
Until we heal those inner parts of ourselves, who are clinging on like a dependent child, we are HIGHLY susceptible to hang on whilst being abused.
If I Care About Me Fully – Then I Will Never Have Anyone Else Who Will
When we have assigned a False Substitute as our Source of Self (which means anyone other than ourselves as adults) we hand our power away. We will cling and we will not seek to self-partner ourselves.
We may even feel that if we self-partner this means we will never love another or connect to another – that we will become “an island” or “a hermit” – self-sufficient emotionally, yet lonely and disconnected from others.
This is NOT true … genuine love is too big to keep to yourself, and when you are genuinely filled with love, approval and feelings of healthy expansiveness and confidence in life – you EXTEND outwards in empowered, genuine and healthy ways.
You stop people pleasing and fitting in with others people’s identities and agendas trying to earn love.
You stop dismissing red flags because of neediness, and you feel whole and healthy with or without a partner.
And then you become a magnet for love, because you share genuine love and joy which generates more love and joy, and you easily attract people who are also full and healthy.
Because you have a well-stocked healthy resource of love inside of you, false love and non-caring love is NO longer acceptable to you.
Why would you buy and eat poor quality food when you are a wonderful cook of top notch cuisine.
The truth is you don’t.
I want to share with you a breakthrough that one of the 3 Key Members experienced in the last Webinar Group – which is all about what we are discussing in this section …
“Wow … when doing Workshop Number One I met my one year old little me. Since I am doing these workshops here, when I ask what is this about sweetheart? I get feelings and direct answers, instead of only feelings.
Now the little me is talking to me. This time he told me: ‘I am sad that you are not here for me. You look somewhere else but I am right HERE. Why don’t you see me? I am here. I miss you so much. I love you so much but you don’t see me no more. Please come back to me and love me again….’
This brought me to tears. I realized that I was looking outside for something I only can give myself. And this came up when following the wound of the desire to reconnect with the N. I WAS looking in the wrong places and the desire to connect with the N. was in truth the longing to connect with my inner child again….wow, blown away……I apologized, cuddled and held the little me. It feels so good to be reunited again….this work is magical. Thank you Melanie and everybody else here!”
How to Release the Agony of Not Being Cared For
This Member wrote these requests on Facebook …
“ … More about having the presence of mind to stop/pause in the middle of a situation, and reflect why we’d feel that common tug or pull and have the presence of mind to take a different course of action …
… equipping us thrivers with the right to feel our feelings, and then let our conscious mind decide what to do about it. What would really be helpful is a combination of goal setting and suggested things to say in situations where an N is doing their best to manipulate. Maybe not an exact script, but maybe so …
… Words that let an N know what our boundaries are and consequences. How to say those things, in the heat of the moment, backed up with consequences …
… I’m now ready for some real tactical things to say to reflect I’m honoring me, and giving them the option to choose their path, and we may not be a fit. But, I’m finding the words coming to my mind clunky …
I want to break this down, the key parts – a part at a time …
More about having the presence of mind to stop/pause in the middle of a situation, and reflect why we’d feel that common tug or pull and have the presence of mind to take a different course of action.
The stopping and pausing part before responding is so important – because it gets us into our power and into our bodies, and I will address that later in this article …
Equipping us thrivers with the right to feel our feelings, and then let our conscious mind decide what to do about it. What would really be helpful is a combination of goal setting and suggested things to say in situations where an N is doing their best to manipulate. Maybe not an exact script, but maybe so.
It is very true that if we do the inner development work with ourselves that it is much easier to be able to show up and SAY what you need to in the moment. Because then you will NOT be triggered and derailed intensely – which naturally causes all maturity and power to be forfeited.
Words that let an N know what our boundaries are and consequences. How to say those things, in the heat of the moment, backed up with consequences.
The truth is boundaries and an understanding of “where I stop and you start” and “what is necessary for you to meet me at my level of truth” works with people who do have the resources to recognise and work with boundaries.
People suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder don’t, because their very survival (the necessity of narcissistic supply) depends on violating boundaries, enmeshment and fusing with you in order to extract narcissistic supply.
An insistence of boundaries will only cause a narcissist to use more tactics to get you to take your boundary down, or if you have shored up all those gaps to prevent that happening, the narcissist will devalue and discard you or detach from you and get narcissistic supply elsewhere.
He or she CAN’T be in the game with you anymore.
It would be much easier for you to simply detach and leave, or plan your departure after the first bout of the narcissistic defences.
Because why on earth would you bother with the emotional, psychic, mental gymnastics of having to always be SO in your power, whilst walking on broken glass and having to reinforce more and more boundaries with someone who just does NOT have the resources to care for you?
It is by laying healthy boundaries that you see the clear cut evidence of who can up-level with you and who can’t.
People – even those that may have been unconscious, selfish and underdeveloped – when a healthy boundary is laid can sense the truth for you and the knowing you are solid in it, and that you inherently are allowed to claim emotional rights for yourself.
Narcissists will simply do the “three-ring circus” that narcissists are famous for – they will blame, attack, play tit for tat, guilt you, shame you, have a childish tantrum, abandon you … anything and everything that has no respect for your feelings, boundaries or emotional rights and takes no accountability and has no understanding or remorse for the behaviour that caused you to state your boundary in the first place.
How do you get a narcissist to behave?
You CAN’T – that is the answer!
Narcissists only “behave” (stop acting out) in your life experience when there is total detachment, you no longer care about them, and you’ve starved them of narcissistic supply.
They stop hurting you when you no longer exist to them as their drug dealer and they have got another source elsewhere.
That is when there is NO payoff for them to play up and try to twist and turn you.
Silence speaks volumes, as does generating your own life healthily without them. You want a narcissist to detach, NOT attach, in order for you to get well and your life to open up into well-being.
Be what you want to receive … detach fully, heal yourself and generate a life that is in no way reliant or dependent on what the narcissist is or is not doing – in other words become a full source to yourself who no longer CARES about the narcissist’s antics and is capable of speaking up honestly in life, generating your needs and living an authentic life connected to other authentic people (with you leading the way by being authentic) and firmly letting go and moving on from those who cant and don’t.
I’m now ready for some real tactical things to say to reflect I’m honoring me, and giving them the option to choose their path, and we may not be a fit. But, I’m finding the words coming to my mind clunky.
I cover this in my latest video – Boundaries Part 2, also in this video is information regarding the first point … More about having the presence of mind to stop/pause in the middle of a situation, and reflect why we’d feel that common tug or pull and have the presence of mind to take a different course of action.
The Practical Responses
I addition to what I wrote above, and my video, I do want to help you out with some statements that can be very empowering in the moment …
(These work with people who have got the resources to honour boundaries.)
Let’s get our understanding of boundaries straight first …
In order to set boundaries we need to be able to say “No” to things.
There are benefits in saying “No”, and if we can’t say “No” and have an opinion, value or decision that disagrees with what someone else has – then we are not setting healthy boundaries.
We need to get past the guilt and the fears of self-assertion if we want a healthy life.
These are some clear cut benefits of being able to say “No”.
- By letting go of our involvement in negativity we have the time and the energy to participate in productivity.
- By releasing the need for others to validate us, we have the space and the energy to focus on ourselves and our own unique personal missions.
- We attract positive situations and people, by not including negativity into our vibrational field.
- We experience greater self-esteem and self-worth.
- We gain greater confidence and trust in ourselves and we break through into frontiers that we didn’t previously expand out into.
- We find other people start to love and respect us.
- We allow others to step up to the plate which means they will have the resources to be supportive in our lives.
Healthy Ways to Say “No”
Okay, so now that we have realised it is imperative to lay boundaries and say “No”, we can start practicing how we can do this!
A “No” does not have to be disrespectful and feel uncomfortable. In fact when you get good at saying “No” it feels wonderful and empowering!
These are some great ways to say “No”.
- I’m not comfortable with that
This is a great way to say “No”, because you are applying emotional honesty by honouring and expressing the truth of what your body is telling you.
- I have another commitment
It doesn’t matter what the commitment is, it may simply be time with your family, sitting in front of the television or time in the bath! You have no need to justify or explain what this commitment is! (This is a personal favourite of mine!) This technique creates much healthier self-esteem than lying to get out of something.
- Some things have come up that need my attention
Don’t feel guilty that you are letting people down if unexpected things happen which throw your schedule off. It’s ridiculous to offer help when your life requires urgent attention. Know that individuals will find another source of support if you choose not to be available.
- I am not qualified for that job
If you don’t feel that you have adequate skills, it is better to admit your limitations up front, which if you don’t, could potentially turn into a lose / lose situation.
- I need to focus on myself / my personal life / my career
You are perfectly entitled to focus your energy onto any area of your life that you wish to. Don’t feel guilty! It is a healthy self-practice to treat your personal time like any other appointment, block it off and make sure you create the time, respect and the space to take it.
- I know you will do a wonderful job yourself
People often ask for help because they doubt their own abilities. Let them know that you have the confidence that they will succeed. You may be empowering them rather than disabling them by making this statement.
- I know of someone who could help you
Connecting people is a valuable service to offer.
- Not right now, but I can do it later
If you really want to help but don’t have time, say so. Offer to help at a later time or date, and if they can’t wait for you, they will find someone else.
Sooo … I hope this list helps you and gives you some inspiration to honour yourself more!
Not Being Cared For is Not Personal
It’s a very happy day when we break free from those agonising feelings of … “Someone not caring for me must mean I am unlovable and not worthy of love.”
That belief is NOT true … and we only make it true IF we don’t heal our young parts that felt like that in childhood, and grow them up to become our own Source of self-love and self-value.
When we feel emotionally full and whole as ourselves then other people’s choices do NOT define us.
(Breath THAT in, because it’s TRUE!)
Finally … I love what this Facebook Member wrote …
“The question I started asking myself was …….why didn’t I care about me? Why did I care so little that I allowed others to treat me so badly? And of course, the answer was – I had been conditioned not to care about myself, but to feel consumed with a need to take inappropriate responsibility for others. It always comes back to us in the end. The abusers were merely the manifestation of all our false beliefs and unhealed wounds. All of our pain and old programmes showing up in living, breathing physical form. I still have a lot of work to do, but the focus is 100% on me now. It has to be…..”
Amen to that – and that is when we come up and out and beyond the pain.
And I’d love to help you achieve that – because that is the work I ADORE doing with people!
I look forward to answering your comments and questions.