If you have gone through narcissistic abuse you probably have experienced some of the worst pain you’ve ever had in your life. It is a time of great confusion and complex conflicting emotions. Although there may be a part of you that knows being away from the narcissist in your life is the best thing, there is also that part of you that desperately misses that connection and wants to reconnect. So you find yourself torn and not knowing what to do to get out of this turmoil.
I’ve offered a lot of tools on my Website and through my e-books to help cope with the pain, to validate you and deal with the psychic connection, but some will still find themselves suffering greatly and at a loss as to what to do.
In our society we have been taught that pain is bad and something to avoid. This is because it doesn’t feel good. We don’t like pain! Whether it is emotional pain or physical we find ways to escape it including pain medication and addictions. But just as physical pain is an indicator of something that needs healing within our body, emotional pain is an indicator of healing that needs to happen within our emotional body.
I often talk about how narcissistic abuse can be the catalyst for inner transformation. This is because it takes us to the place of our deepest wounding. We collapse into the wounded ego. We feel all those feelings we have spend our life running from on some level. In order to face our deepest wounding and come out the other side we must go through a dark night of the soul. If we don’t enter the dark tunnel we can spend an eternity at the gateway to the tunnel, afraid to go in but unable to go back to where we were. This is why so many people feel stuck and unable to move forward.
Going back to where you once were isn’t really an option for most. Because the trauma of the abuse has awakened something within you that won’t go back to sleep. Some will try to go back to the illusion with the narcissist in their lives and some will get involved with another dysfunctional relationship. Some will try and get back to the life they had before they met the narcissist. This is nearly impossible. Because all of these options involve “going backward.”
The only way to get through this is to go through the pain rather than try and escape it. This means walking right into that dark tunnel, even if you don’t have a clue where it is taking you. Yes it is frightening! Yes you don’t know where you are going! But you must develop a trust in the process of transformation and also develop your spiritual side which requires you to trust in a power greater than yourself.
Sometimes we make the narcissist in our lives our GOD! We come to see him/her as the supreme being, or superior entity in our lives. If we grow up believing in a condemning, judgmental God we can easily transfer this energy to the narcissist. We can give him/her the power to judge us and determine our worth and value.
It is also common that we project our Father or Mother onto God giving this Universal Power a parent like quality. If our parent was over controlling, judgmental or abusive in any way we may come to expect that of our God. We are then set up to project God onto the Narcissist in our lives because the narcissist often perceives himself as a God or as someone who is superior, all knowing, and above humanity in his needs and abilities.
As we begin our spiritual exploration and develop a new, more powerful relationship with God we can begin to see this force in our lives as neither masculine or feminine, and a presence that is loving, caring and supportive of our needs, aspirations and growth. This force is neither judgmental or condemning. It is not God who condemns us but we condemn ourselves and allow others to condemn us. As we grow spiritually we no longer allow this. We begin to see ourselves worthy in the eyes of God and it no longer matters what others think of us. In fact we come to realize that others opinions of us are more likely projections of their own issues.
These kinds of realizations are the jewels we find in our journey through the dark night of the soul. We get to meet not only the true God in the darkness but also our true selves. We learn that we are not our fears, our insecurities and our weaknesses. Those are just aspects of our wounded ego. But part of healing the wounded ego and stepping into a healthier ego state is to actually confront those feelings that we have kept in the dark. “I am afraid I’m not good enough!” “I’m afraid if people know who I really am they won’t like me!” “I’m afraid I’m not lovable.” ‘I’m angry at myself!” “I’m angry at so and so!” I’m angry at God!” “I am sad that I lost someone I loved to this disorder!” “I feel helpless!” “I feel out of control!” “I’m afraid of death!” “I’m afraid I have no value as a person!”
When we allow ourselves to go into the pain we get to find these fears and other feelings that tell us where we need to grow. We can realize that most of our fears are simply aspects of the wounded ego and have no basis in reality. It isn’t true that you are worthless, but it might be true that you have allowed yourself to follow a path you felt others wanted you to follow rather than the one you felt guided by your spirit to follow. You may discover that you haven’t been honest with yourself about who you are and what you want out of life. You may discover that you have a really powerful intuitive sense but haven’t trusted it. You may see how you have allowed others to take charge of your life because you haven’t trusted yourself to do so. You may discover that you never really allowed yourself to be angry because it wasn’t acceptable in your family or in your relationship with the narcissist. You may also realize that you have developed a pattern of being depressed rather than allowing yourself to feel your true feelings. Depression is often the result of suppression. We get depressed when we don’t allow our feelings to come to the surface and be expressed. What we don’t express in a healthy manner is repressed.
What many people discover after coming out of an abusive relationship is just how much has been repressed in order to keep the peace or avoid confrontation. You may discover the part of you that would rather stuff your emotions or sweep issues under the rug rather than deal with confrontation.
With a narcissist confrontation is very difficult. It is usually a convoluted, crazy making, confusing experience that leaves us wondering what just happened. So it is easy to want to avoid such a mess. It is a form of self preservation. You can’t have healthy conflict with a narcissist! In order to have healthy conflict and deal with issues in a relationship both parties have to be open to listening to each other and really hearing what the other is saying. This doesn’t happen with a narcissist. He only hears his own voice as he attempts to gain control of the conversation. You may feel like you are talking in circles or being completely misinterpreted. You probably are! So over time, you may simply give it up and stop trying to resolve issues. You may hope they just resolve themselves or go away. But they don’t!
You can’t have a real relationship with someone who is unable to resolve conflict in a healthy manner. It doesn’t work! So if you are unable to resolve issues in your relationship as a result of the other person refusing to listen to your experience and consider your point of view, then you will have to find healthy ways of resolving those conflicts within yourself.
Most people I have worked with choose to leave the narcissistic relationship because it is impossible. But leaving is only the first step. Now you are left dealing with all those feelings that the relationship has brought up for you. And the longer the relationship the more feelings have been suppressed.
There is no way to just take a pill and make these feelings go away! It doesn’t work like that! There is no quick fix. You have to commit to the journey! You have to be willing to walk through the dark night and find yourself in the tunnel.
We often get side tracked in obsessing about the narcissist. A certain amount of obsessing is normal in this situation. Because if we believe that the narcissist has taken something of great value from us we want to get it back. If we feel the narcissist has our power we will focus on him/her in effort to get it back.
The idea that the narcissist has our power is just another illusion. On an energetic level he very well may have our power, because we have given it to him. But when dealing with energy you can call back what has been taken without ever interacting with the physical person. I talk about this process in my e-book “Spiritual Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse.”
After you do what is necessary to take back your power in the situation which often involves establishing a firm ‘No Contact” rule, you can then begin to do the work necessary to heal and recover.
Realize that you are not just recovering from narcissistic abuse in this one situation. You are dealing with a lifetime of dysfunction. The narcissist has opened Pandora’s Box and everything you spend your life suppressing is now flooding to the surface. It can seem painfully overwhelming at first but the gift is, once everything hidden is exposed, there is nothing left to hide. You then have the great opportunity to be real for the first time. You no longer have to pretend. You no longer need to hide those parts of yourself you have judged as inadequate or unlovable.
You may see the narcissist continuing on with the illusion of perfection somehow convincing yourself that he/she is living the charmed life while you are destined to a life of suffering. But you must understand that this is all part of the grand facade. It isn’t the truth! Narcissists are more cut off from their true self than anyone! They are truly lost souls. They would be lucky to be where you are because you are so much closer to being real, which is something most narcissists will never have the opportunity to experience. They live a lie and they suck those close to them right into the lie with them.
When we are in the process of awakening to the truth of who we are we have the opportunity to feel more alive than we have ever felt. Sometimes being alive can feel painful, because we are no longer numb. But there is nothing sweeter than the experience of being fully alive!
Sometimes we misinterpret the life force energy pulsing through our veins as anxiety. This can actually be the first stages of awakening. You can feel an intense anxiety and believe something is wrong. When really something is right. You are starting to wake up and feel. When someone first comes out of dental surgery and has been drugged he may not feel anything when he first leaves the dentist. He may even be in a state of euphoria. But as the drugs begin to wear off he feels the pain more and more intensely. This is because the Novocain has worn off. Now he may have a throbbing pain that is so intense he needs to take more medication. As his healing process takes place he will feel less and less pain and finally he won’t feel any at all. This is the process of healing.
Gaining a solid understanding of the process you are undergoing is one of the most important parts of your healing. But if you surrender your healing to a higher power, as described in the twelve step program, and trust in this power to guide your journey, you will be taken to the place where man meets God. You will be taken into the deepest part of yourself where you will discover who you truly are. And although the journey is painful, at times, it is also the most rewarding journey you will ever take. So take a deep breath, surrender, and embrace the path before you.