When one enters the dark night of the soul, there is often a preceding Fall from Grace. It could be the loss or death of a loved one, an illness, a loss of a job, or all of the above. One may also get to a place where what has previously served to numb or minimize emotional pain isn’t working anymore.
In the case of narcissistic abuse, the fall from grace is when one is yanked from his/her pedestal and loses her place in the narcissist’s life.
Emotional trauma will often spiral one into such a dark night of the soul. There is usually an emotional break-down of sorts that renders one “out of control” and unable to cope. Where you may have coped pretty well with life up until now, this traumatic event pushes you over the edge. Once pushed over the edge you begin to fall. There is no going back. Life as you know it is over. Now the ground is fast approaching and it seems you are staring your own doom in the face.
In each one of my three dark nights of the soul, each one was very different and experienced from different levels of conscious awareness. I would have thought that with all the experience traversing the dark night combined with the knowledge that I had the strength and the power to get through it, would make it easier. It was this last experience of going through such a dark night that I came to understand this was a death and undergoing our own death is never easy. This is the time when we are forced to face our deepest fears, our deepest sense of inadequacy and our own feelings of worthiness and purpose for being here.
A dark night will be different at twenty years of age than it is at fifty. My three dark nights were at the age of nineteen when I entered therapy for a life threatening eating disorder, the age of thirty nine when I walked away from a narcissistic relationship and the age of fifty when my husband disappeared from my life.
Each dark night was a different kind of passageway. Each one peeled away what was no longer working in my life and forced me to go through a rebirth. The person who has entered into the womb of transformation is not the same person who emerges months or years later.
Perhaps our soul calls us to the dark night because it calls us to face the illusions that have kept us stuck in a life that is not authentic.
The soul longs to be expressed through the living of your life. Your life is a gift. And if you give up pieces and parts of your soul in your quest for survival or to be accepted, approved of or loved; your soul may mastermind an event in which you must face the dragon of your own self deception.
Not every soul enters a dark night just as not every caterpillar becomes a butterfly. But it is the destiny of the caterpillar to become the butterfly. Many never make it. Some are eaten by predators or fall victim to parasitic influence.
There are actually four stages of life for the caterpillar/butterfly. The egg is the first stage and then the caterpillar is the second. It is the job of the caterpillar to eat. It eats twice its weight in plant food each day and grows and grows. This is the “consumption” stage of life.
The caterpillar goes through an average of three moltings, or periods where it becomes too large for its skin and sheds it.
The third stage is the metamorphosis stage and the fourth stage is the butterfly.
In the human race, it is also our destiny to become butterflies or rather fully actualized beings but many people get lost in the consumption stage created by our robotic, soulless society. If you have been called into the womb of transformation, consider yourself “chosen.” Your own soul has successfully created the circumstances for your metamorphosis.
Trusting the process of metamorphosis is important. To see that you are evolving into something greater than what you are leaving behind is crucial to forming a positive attitude about your process.
When we are facing death it is easy to feel lost, hopeless and discouraged. These are typical feelings one will experience during the dark night. Our hope comes in developing an understanding that a major transformation is underway. We are dying to the old and being reborn to the new.
(This is an excerpt from my book “Rebirth; Traversing the Dark Night of the Soul”)