Emergence of the True Self in the Face of Narcissism

woman_facingsunAfter what seems a lifetime of struggle I am finally finding success in my life! It is not the kind of success that comes with a lot of money, expensive houses and cars. I don’t have any of that right now. Material wealth has never been my goal or my definition of success. To me success is to be “self ruled!” It is to make it through the obstacle course of life and with each obstacle find more of your true self. In the end, when all is said and done that is all we have! It is our true self we take with us. It is what is ancient and eternal. Everything else is just an illusion.

As the years role by I am noticing signs of aging. Like most women I would love to stop the clock but I must surrender to the process. I must surrender that last piece of attachment to the physical. “I am not my body!”

Youth and beauty is worshipped in our culture and I learned at a very early age if I wasn’t pretty I wasn’t valued. As a chubby kid with braces and glasses I was the target for everyone’s repressed self hatred. I was the one they threw stones at! I hated being so loathed and rejected! I didn’t understand. Why was I such an ugly duckling? If only I could be beautiful people would love me, right?

So my quest became beauty! I starved myself to an enviable thinness; I lost the glasses and the braces and grew to be five foot eight inches tall. I was, in my day, fashion model material. I was accepted by an agency in the City and learned how to make up and adorn myself to fit with societies ideal. But something was missing. Where was the happiness that seemed to be the promise of beauty? Instead I suffered endless bad relationships, a life threatening eating disorder, extreme lack of self worth and struggle to succeed in anything I did.

My adult life was about peeling away all those layers of who I was not to find out who I really was. I had to embrace that lost, rejected inner child who I myself had learned to loath. I had two marriages, a child from the first marriage, and four long term relationships.  I learned that men were not the answer. They did not bring me happily ever after as all the magazines and movies suggested. They were just reflections of where I was in the moment! If deep down I hated myself I would attract someone who hated me. If I felt I was unworthy I would attract someone who also felt I was unworthy. If I disrespected myself I would attract someone who disrespected me. If I didn’t feel I had anything significant to offer the world I would attract someone who would only confirm for me my inadequacy.

Through two narcissistic relationships I had to confront my own deep feelings of inadequacy. Just like the narcissist, I had a shadow that contained deep shame, inadequacy and worthlessness. Deep down I feared I was no good. These feelings were part of that horrific rejection I experienced in childhood. If people saw who I really was under the pretty façade they wouldn’t like me. Well these are the feelings at the root of narcissism, but a pathological narcissist has turned off all channels to the awareness of those feelings. I could relate to the narcissist.

There was a time in my early twenties where I had a lot of narcissistic qualities. I did have a very deep sense of compassion and empathy for others. I always cared about people. It was the abuse in my own childhood that made me sensitive to what others felt. In many ways I felt I was too sensitive. I cared more about what others felt than I did about myself. I cared more about what others thought of me than I did of what I thought of myself. I had based my worth and value on others opinions of me.

What I discovered was that the more I looked to others for validation of my worth the more of my personal power I gave away. The narcissists in my life were very attracted to my image. They wanted to be near me. They loved me for my beauty, for my talent, my intelligence and also for my attention and affection towards them. But did they ever really know me? When they discovered I was not invincible they found my weaknesses and targeted them. They were able to find their way past my armor and my false front and see the wounded child beneath the surface. The more they poked at my wounds the more my wounds would fester and threaten to consume me. With time I became that child again, crumbled and broken, rejected and unloved. My worse fears were visited upon me. What I had spent my life running from had finally caught up with me.

When I found myself a crumbled heap of bones on the floor there was no place left to go but inward. I had to go to the source of my rejection. It wasn’t them! It was within me! They were only poking at my armor, weakening the barriers until finally the shell containing my illusions cracked and fell apart.

I had built my identity and value on physical beauty, accomplishment, material gain, and sexual attractiveness. But I was none of that!

The dark night of the soul I went through was the exploration of the space within. It was finding myself in the shadows! I had to rescue that little girl, who I had myself rejected and cast into the dungeon of my psyche, abandoning her to an meager existence of bread and water. I had to make peace with the pain of my childhood and realize that it was never that I was unworthy! The child within me was not unworthy! She was only reflecting to others their own sense of inadequacy and they attacked her for it. I understood this now. I had gained insight and awareness into who I was. I was not an ugly duckling. I was a sensitive child who could empathically see through the false illusions of others. People didn’t want to be seen! They wanted to hide! And my only recourse at that time was to go into hiding myself. I hid behind an illusion that physical beauty would bring me happiness and acceptance. It didn’t!

The process of finding myself was a long one. As I said before it involved peeling away many layers of who I was not to get to who I was. I was finally able to touch my spirit, the part of me that is ancient and eternal. I was truly a compassionate being who was very creative and artistic. I carried the gift of song. I had to learn to see myself as special and yet not as “more special” than others.

We are all “special!” But those who stand out above others have simply accessed their divine gifts. It is the shroud of darkness on our planet that keeps us living in this material illusion. It prevents us from knowing how great and powerful we really are. It keeps us conforming to an outer ideal rather than searching for our true self.

Jesus brought a message to the world that we are these powerful beings capable of greatness, each and every one of us. But in the shroud of darkness we put Jesus upon a pedestal, worshipped him and made ourselves lowly, worthless creatures dependent on another for our salvation. Traditional Christianity teaches us to be followers of a Messiah rather than leaders who follow our own divine purpose in life. Religion often teaches us to give our power away! What Jesus wanted us to know is that God is the source of our power. He was able to perform miracles as a result of his awareness that if he aligned with the Godforce he was capable of greatness! He tried to tell us that WE would do these things and greater! But his teachings were sadly misunderstood.

Pathological narcissism is when a person says “I am greatness and YOU should bow down to me!” Where Self Realization says “I am greatness and so are YOU!”

In my journey towards self realization I recently had to confront my fear of narcissism. I feared that if I owned my greatness that I would be narcissistic. If I put myself first, promoted myself, loved myself and acknowledged these powerful gifts that are coming through me, that I would appear narcissistic to myself and others.  I came to realize that owning our greatness may have a measure of “healthy narcissism” but is not pathological by any means. When you pursue your own path of greatness you do step away from the crowd. You stop playing follow the leader and realize you are the leader and the creator of your own reality. The more you step onto your own path the more you may feel isolated from others who are still “playing the game” as defined by society.

Pathological narcissists are often loners. They are self appointed Kings and Queens who expect royal treatment from others, but they do not feel they should have to provide the same treatment to others that they demand for themselves. There is a sense of superiority. A pathological narcissist gains his sense of superiority by deeming others as inferior.

True spiritual leaders see the greatness in all beings and acknowledge that each and every one of us have the capacity to step into that greatness at any time. We feel loved and empowered in the presence of greatness because true greatness comes from God. It is that light-force energy radiating through us and all who come in touch with that light-force energy feel its power and magnificence.

It is the patriarchal God that has made itself superior to the humble, lowly creatures of the earth. It has put itself as King over the planet, the creatures, women and children. The false God is judging, condemning and shows no mercy but the true God does not do this! It is in the true God that our real power lies. It is in the light of this powerful universal force that we know our true selves. It is here that we discover we are the light! We are love! We are ancient and eternal! And once we discover the truth of who we are nobody can take that from us.

Once we awaken to the truth of who we are we can see others poor treatment of us as coming from their own wounded ego and its illusions. We can have compassion for those who treat us poorly but we don’t have to subject ourselves to their treatment.

In our self love we dismiss ourselves from those who are cruel, unkind and disempowering. Compassion does not mean we have to “be kind” to those who are cruel. We don’t have to tolerate people who are intolerable. We don’t have to make sense of people who are impossible. We can simply excuse ourselves and let them have their own experience of life.

Our work is not to rehabilitate or fix others. It is to become self realized. If others are hurting you and pushing your buttons it is showing you the work you still have to do on yourself. But the first step is to remove your hand from the fire that is burning you. You cannot heal while your hand is still in the fire!

Once you remove your hand from the fire you don’t need to constantly subject yourself to more burns in order to remember how painful it was. Make a “no fire” rule for yourself and go about the process of healing your wounds. Do it with love, tenderness and compassion for yourself.

If a person has made you feel worthless it is important to realize he is only triggering what has been lying dormant within you. Do not seek him out to validate your worth and value. Seek instead within to find that part of you that needs validation. And then give it to yourself!

Remember narcissistic people gain their feelings of superiority by making others feel inferior. It is all illusion! You are not really inferior! You are a beautiful being of light who has come here to fulfill a purpose. Your job now is to remember what that purpose is. Remember who you really are! Get up off that floor, brush yourself off and step fully into the truth of who you were born to be.

About Kaleah LaRoche

Kaleah LaRoche is the Founder of Narcissism Free and has been working to support others in their recovery of narcissistic abuse since 2006. She has authored four books on the topic of narcissistic abuse, recovery, and traversing the dark night of the soul. A Clinical Hypnotherapist and Holistic Counselor since 1988, Kaleah brings her compassionate counseling skill and Hypnotherapy to assist in healing and recovery. Kaleah also has a popular podcast "Pandora's Box." You can go to pandoras-box-radio.com to listen.