Im So Sorry You’re Hurting
As a moderator of a very active page, I receive alot of email from hurting targets, that are at their wits end, as to how to cope, what to do next, and simply how to SURVIVE in the aftermath of a narcissist.
I feel horrible that I fail you if I can’t respond right away, as I relate to your feelings of being lost & not getting the response you need. (and deserve) Ive been on the receiving end of being put on hold, or not having the support I needed when I reached out for it. It’s a sad, lonely spot to be in. I am in the process of putting together a type of crisis response team – and to make resources available to provide an immediate band-aid to triage our wounded. Please know in advance, I send up an open and infinite prayer to God that you receive hope & protection immediately – that you feel his presence and loving arms around you – so that you know you are not invisible, ignored, nor alone.
This all being said, Let’s discuss your hurt and some things you can do to right away to start feeling better.
You’re fresh off the narcissist boat, whether you were discarded or you were the one that jumped ship, the pain’s the same. You dont know who you were dealing with yet. You dont have a name for it, you only have the pain. The pain, is EXCRUCIATING; I liken it to a kind of “psychic flu; on steroids”.
It is very typical for a target to feel the following feelings:
NOT BEING ABLE TO DISTINGUISH WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT (Severe boundary issues)
LIED TO, CHEATED & BETRAYED
CRIPPLED EMOTIONALLY (as an injury)
SUFFERING FROM PTSD (which in itself has a whole host of symptoms: intense fear, nightmares, reliving the pain, great sense of having no future, impending doom)
TOXICALLY DUMPED UPON
NOT BEING ABLE TO TRUST – NOT KNOWING WHO CAN BE TRUSTED – NOT TRUSTING YOURSELF
CRISIS LIKE NEED FOR RELIEF, UNDERSTANDING, VALIDATION AND SUPPORT
Something in you, makes you sit down at your computer and type the word….”narcissist”. Possibly you typed, abuser, confused, crazy, passive-aggressive, arrogant,etc. All words that when put together – add up to the psychological condition of a person who is clinically defined by the DSM – The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – as an NPD; Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In lay terms, that stands for “Your Worst Nightmare”. As you begin to pour over the plethora of information available on the web about narcissists – you suddenly realize that not only does this beast have a name, you also see that left in the wake of a narcissist, there is a TRAIL of wounded victims (targets) that are speaking out about their devastating experience with a person that drove them to their breaking point.
As you begin to identify the behaviors you experienced with someone half the world over that describes the same mental anguish and set of behaviors, you realize, that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. That validation is HUGE for a target. Narcissistic abusers isolate their victims and pipe their propaganda (brainwashing) into their targets minds OBSESSIVELY. Because narcissists are incapable of being responsible for themselves, they BLAME the partner and project onto them – all the heinous faults they find in but are UNABLE to accept about themselves. (denial / delusion) A target, therefore leaves this union with non-existent boundaries and the inability to validate themselves and their own experience.
It is imperative that the target of a narcissist immediately turns off the part of their routine that catered to the narcissist, and TURN THE ATTENTION TO THEMSELVES. Because I was so brainwashed to meet the narcissist’s needs instead of my own, when I broke free, I would take every time his name, face, etc popped in my head – and used that for a trigger to begin thinking of ME instead. Id say, ME ME ME or Stop! Then say ME ME ME. Once I got the focus back on myself, I’d then say, Ok…”What do I need?”
We become so accustomed to putting the narc before ourselves that we feel guilty or that we’ll be ugly narcissists like them if we focus on ourselves or say, “me me me”. But that’s what we NEED to do. Me Me me is not a bad thing for someone who wouldnt in their entire lifetime behave that way on a regular basis; plus, we as targets – arent the one with a mental disorder that harms others.
I define boundaries in this way.
I am responsible for 4 things:
My thinking My actions
My feelings My words
Others are responsible for:
Their thinking Their actions
Their feelings and their words
By owning our own responsibility and asserting our boundaries as they exist between ourselves and the narcissist, we cast back to the narcissist the huge amount of shame and responsibility they laid on us for the duration of our time with them. We dont try to ACTUALLY get the narc to see or do ANYTHING, because we tried that enough when we were with them, to no avail. We know a losing prospect by now, so we dont waste our time trying to get them to see ANYTHING. At this point, targets should be under STRICT NO CONTACT terms – even if we’re co parenting – as leaving ourselves off limits as a topic of conversation is still NO CONTACT in spirit. Instead, we cast off the shame by either holding them accountable for crimes they committed against us, which means, obtaining that restraining order, filing police reports and telling the truth about their abusive and stalking behavior. We no longer remain silent and keep the narcs dirty little secrets. If they dont mind, BEING BAD, then we dont mind telling everyone just how bad they are.
EXPLORE OUR OWN VULNERABILITIES AND FIRM THEM UP
In being responsible for ourselves, we begin to figure out what it is that allowed us to be vulnerable to a narc. Was it that there flattery got somewhere with us? Were we lonely? Did we not trust ourselves? Are we “too nice”? Do we believe the best in people but not jump ship fast enough when we realize they’re harming us? Do we not love ourselves enough to walk away from mistreatment? Whatever it is, is not as important as WHAT WE DO WITH THE INFORMATION. We MUST be prepared for the daunting task of shoring up our vulnerabilities and facing ourselves with true grit and unabashed honesty. We only hurt ourselves by not getting this honest. Whatever it is we learn about us, BE THANKFUL that you are the type of person who is open to understanding your not so healthy traits. At least you CAN! Remember someone with a personality disorder would NEVER be able nor want to do this. They can PRETEND they are self depracating or “willing to change” but narcissists dont mean what they say. When they speak, they are GAINING ADVANTAGE of whatever they’ve marked as their “take”. Theyll do and say anything.
DONT LET THE RESURGENCE OF HIS CRAZINESS, SEND YOUR REELING
They’ll come at you again, when you least expect it. Dont be surprised, be PREPARED! Stare them down, and let them know that the day you left was the day you decided you were no longer their victim. Their inability to face reality or let go of control, is part and parcel with the fact that you dated someone with a disorder in the first place. These people dont go away, just because we WANT them to. FIGHT THEM every step of the way, even though youre not a fighter. You know the truth. You know that their behavior has a criminal and diagnostic criteria to it, each and every time they act out, report it, and then follow the report all the way up the chain of command until someone takes his actions against you seriously. We as targets dont want to keep things going, we dont like to fight. We want this done and over with. PEACE is our goal.
CONTINUE WITH YOUR GOALS FOR HEALING AND SEEK SUPPORT
Finally, be relentless in your pursuit of freedom and healing from narcissistic abuse. Dont ever give up, get tired, rest, but get back up. Be gentle and easy with yourself, forgive yourself, learn to trust yourself and above all else, LOVE YOURSELF as much as you thought you loved the disordered one. Seek counsel, group therapy, read books, get massages, do yoga, meditate, pray, eat well, exercise, generally take care of YOU. You deserve it!!!