Many people who have suffered narcissistic abuse fall into the trap of Focusing ALL (or almost all) of their attention on learning about narcissism. This includes learning about how a narcissist thinks, how they tick, how they use techniques such as manipulation and gaslighting, and learning the red flags and warning signs.
Logically, this may seem like a sound plan. “If I can learn all there is to know about narcissism I won’t fall into the trap of falling for another one.”
Today I want to talk to you about this common mistake and why it does little to help people wishing to recover avoid a future narcissistic relationship and move forward in their recovery, when they do not have the vital focus on healing themselves.
I am going to share a story about a client of mine named Mary to explain why this is, and teach you about a rule I call “The 90/10 rule” which if applied will make drastic improvement and speed up your recovery process more than you could imagine.
Mary had been in a relationship with a narcissist, and like so many was severely abused. After being devalued and discarded she remained strong and was able to hold “No Contact.”
She knew that she had to stay away in order to have any chance of creating a happy and peaceful narcissistic free life.
Mary became very interested in understanding all there was to know about “how” narcissists tick. She spent hours researching narcissism, and she spent a lot of time on narcissistic abuse forums learning about gaslighting, modes of manipulation, how the narcissist really thinks and the reasons why the narcissist devalued and discarded her, and why he moved on to another source of narcissistic supply.
Mary expanded her information journey into learning all she could about the warning signs of narcissists, and how to identify a narcissist in the future.
On the surface it would seem like Mary had a powerful and solid base to never experience narcissistic abuse again.
Mary was an intelligent, capable and attractive lady. She had always experienced men admiring her. After feeling confident that she knew all she could and did about narcissists, Mary started accepting dates.
There was one particular man she was attracted to. He seemed like a nice guy, he had good credentials and he was very attentive and loving towards her.
Before long Mary started a relationship with him, and was amazed how she could again feel “in love.” She was very happy.
Two months into the relationship she arrived at David’s house and his energy seemed “off” … She asked what was wrong, and he stated “nothing,” but she could definitely feel there was “something.”
His “strange” mood continued. Later in the evening David asked her something cryptic, “Why is it that when your children are around, it is like I don’t exist?”
This felt weird to Mary and incredibly non-factual – she stated that he certainly did exist to her. She also justified her attention to her children.
From that night onwards Mary found herself regularly justifying her actions in regard to the accusations he made about her time with her friends, family and interests.
Then David’s accusations escalated into her granting attention to other men.
Twelve months into the relationship Mary had lost her confidence, self-esteem and was at rock bottom. She painfully extracted herself from the relationship and realised that again she had been in a relationship with a narcissist.
What went wrong?
Our Life Does Not Play Out in Accordance With the Mind
Mary had not realised it is not her mind that dictates or even creates her destiny.
She had not understood that her life was playing out in accordance to something much deeper and more powerful than her mind.
Mary was yet to understand it was her unhealed inner self – her Inner Identity – which was running her life.
When Mary first contacted me, she exclaimed, “How could this happen to me? I knew all the warning signs!”
I explained this ….
“Mary your mind has flaws, all of our minds do! Our minds can be full of stories, excuses, justifications and rationalisations that take us away from our truth, regardless of what we THINK we know.”
Then I asked her, “When David started making accusations regarding your time spent with your children or other people, and other men – what did you think about this?”
She said, “I believed it would stop. I believed it would get better. I believed if I could just help him feel secure – so many other things about our relationship were SO good – it would be fine.”
I replied, “But it wasn’t improving. It got worse.”
She said, “I know, but I didn’t want to let go until there was no choice other than to have to get out.”
I continued, “You knew from your previous research and understanding about narcissists that what he was doing was a definitive warning sign?”
She said, “Yes I did. My last narcissist was also possessive, insecure, controlling and paranoid. It was the same stuff, I should have known better.”
I replied, “You thought ‘better’ – but you didn’t know better.”
She asked, “What do you MEAN by that?”
The Difference Between Thinking and Knowing
I explained to Mary that thinking we know “what to look out for” is not the complete answer.
All of us have unhealed parts, we have Inner Identity associations to “love and relationships” that are our already formed belief systems established in our past and seeded deep within our subconscious.
Whatever your belief systems are, is exactly what you will continually seek out in regard to love and relationships.
Think of it as this – it’s like getting into a car that is pre-programmed to arrive at a destination. It is already “locked into where it is going.” It will make all the choices to arrive at the destination.
This pre-programmed car is your Inner Identity Program.
If we have the Inner Identity Programs of “Love and relationships equals abuse” … ”Love and relationships have hurt me and I am still feeling the pain of abuse” … “My parents and / or love partners abused me and I am still carrying the pain of the abuse” … ”I suffered abuse through love and relationships and I fear the pain of abuse happening again” … (and many more), then your Inner Identity program will do everything it can to realise these beliefs as reality.
Your mind is not the tool which can disable the Inner Identity programs, and take control of the wheel and start steering.
Your mind is actually working FOR the Inner Identity program; it is controlled by it.
This is why we look back and shake our head, and state, “I should have known better”….
We thought better – and believed that would safeguard us – but we did NOT know better … we had tried to address the pain and the patterns in our life from a logical level rather than working on the painful abuse programs that were running our life at the Inner Identity level.
We didn’t know that our “logic” was always going to default to being in alignment with the direction that our Inner Identity program was taking us.
The mind always finds a way to come up with excuses, rationalisations and justifications – all of the “reasons” to keep playing out the existing program. Our mind is an expert at doing this.
Why Mary Had Not Found the Answer
Mary had been looking at her life from a surface level – which is, “I was narcissistically abused, and if I know how to avoid a narcissist in the future I will be safe.”
She had not gone deeper, she had not done the work to heal deep within herself.
From operating at the surface level of, “I will learn all I can about avoiding narcissists” without addressing the Inner Identity programs of abuse, there are only four outcomes anyone can really achieve.
1) Holding on to the fear of being abused again, which means staying single for extended periods of time (no eligible people turning up), and / or believing “my bar is too high” to allow anyone in.
2) The attraction of an abusive person who is quickly dismissed due to the warning signs (without connecting to this person) and still feeling unfulfilled, disappointed and “unsafe” as a result of attracting abusive people.
3) The attraction to an abusive person, followed by the mind creating stories, justifications and excuses that allows the abuse to continue until the abuse reaches a climax that cannot be ignored. By this time the emotions and sense of self is decimated and results in the recoverer being back at square one.
4) The attraction and possible connection to a non-abusive person, which will be dismissed (I’m not attracted to this person), or sabotaged by projecting the fear of abuse on to this person.
Mary’s Inner Identity tracking device, as we know, led her to option 3.
I work with many people who fit all of these categories regularly.
The truth is, if we have experienced unfulfilling or hurtful relationships in our lives, there are unhealed parts within our Inner Identity that require attention – especially if we have suffered pain and abuse.
Fortunately Mary, by the time her and I connected, had had enough ….
She wanted desperately to find a way out of her pain and the love patterns that weren’t serving her. At 43 years of age Mary didn’t want to ever have to go through a narcissistic relationship again. She didn’t want to be alone for the rest of her life, and she wanted to find an authentic, honest and real love partner before it was too late.
She realised the damage that it was not just doing to herself, but to her two children as well.
Through working on her Inner Identity with the Quanta Freedom Healing Modules in the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program, and with my guidance, Mary discovered, released and healed many Inner Identity programs that had been steering her in the direction of more pain, abuse and unhappiness for a great part of her life.
Some of these included:
1) Her mother had always been in relationships with men who were “demanding,” and her mother had foregone her own interests to be available to men’s demands constantly.
2) In order for Mary to feel loved by her father, she tried to win approval by granting him attention and being “worthy” in his eyes.
3) Mary had believed that intense attention, and even control, were displays of “love” from men. (Even though she found control, jealousies and insecurities unbearable and painful.)
4) Mary had grave fears of not being “good enough,” and believed that if she focused more on, and was able to be “herself,” she would be abandoned by others, because she needed to earn love.
These are only some of the Inner Identity Programs that Mary was running that against all logic could only deliver her into the arms of men who would play out these painful beliefs with her.
Additionally Mary was still carrying the pain – not just from the previous narcissistic relationship – but also from her husband and her father.
As far as Mary’s Inner Identity Programs were concerned – love equals abuse and pain.
Fortunately Mary “got it.”
She realised the answers and true solution were not about learning all she could about narcissists – it was about healing these unhealed parts that were attracting and allowing the abuse and pain into her life.
The 90/10 Rule
If you are someone who has made the mistake of spending too much time researching about narcissism, I have good news. If you can make this vital change, and apply this rule, it will make a drastic impact on your recovery and your ability to create new Inner Identity Programs that direct you toward authenticity, love, freedom, happiness and abundance.
What is the 90/10 rule?
90% of your energy needs to be committed and focused on healing your unhealed parts and working on yourself – and 10% (which can then get less and less and truly non-existent) can be allotted to researching about narcissism.
Please note that 10% is the maximum time to spend researching narcissism, not the minimum. If you are satisfied with your knowledge of NPD it can be less (even 0%).
By making this change you will start putting in the necessary work on yourself. This is when the true healing begins.
It is very true narcissists exist in the world, as do wonderful people.
The real questions is not, “Who are they?” …. The real question is, “Who are you?”
What this means is not the logical answer – “I am a person who knows how to avoid and not get taken by a narcissist” ….
Your answer needs to be – “I am a person who does not have an Inner Identity which matches narcissism or abuse.”
That is your true and only real solution.
I promise you as soon as I read a blog post, facebook thread or email about “the narcissist,” I know that the Inner Identity is still locked onto abuse, the pain is still continuing and the inner unhealed programs are not being addressed.
These are the same people who I see weeks, months and even years later, still struggling and who have not broken free into incredible lives.
And these are the people who email me like Mary did with, “Why did this happen to me again? I knew all the warning signs!”
The people who I see make the second choice, create the exact opposite, and very soon within sometimes weeks or months, are happier, more confident and fulfilled than they ever were even before being narcissistically abuse.
They have finally put their attention and effort into healing what their Inner Identity always needed, rather than just believing “their mind” could create the answer and change.
To change your life you need to change you.
“Am I going to make it about them and try to achieve my results logically?,” or
“Am I going to make it all about me, and achieve my results from the inside out?”
I would love to hear your answers in the comments below.
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