Michelangelo is noted for saying “Ancora Imparo” which means Still I am learning. What a great reminder, that mistakes are simply a point on the learning curve! Every attempt gives a chance for continued improvement, that you are always ancora imparo! Mastering the experiences of continued learning… “now that’s amore”!! Lol One of the best things that came out of my childhood revisited narcissist business was, and is the opportunity to claim and examine my own vulnerabilities. It has given me hope that if I do the work, I may have an opportunity for a better future. So what I am trying to say is that for each of us left in the fetal position, sucking our thumbs and rocking in the post narcissist dark…this a new day! The supports and insights of today give real insight to both the narcissist and the codependent. I wonder if had these resources been available to me as a young girls, what direction my life might have gone! Luckily, for all of us, it is not too late as we are all still able to embrace the ideal of “still I am learning…”
Day 53 Your assignment
Imagine you had no real clue or insights into narcissism. Imagine no support in a place where others were too embarrassed to share their stories. Think about all the people who went on for years believing they were miserable failures and it was ALL their fault when it wasn’t! It is important for me, and I invite each of you to learn as much as you can to protect yourself!! Search the web, read multiple posts, in order to get a new insight from different perspectives, because this is our time to learn, not burn!!
As I have said many times, I am NOT a psychologist, or licensed diagnostician of any sort. However, as I began to understand the underpinnings of my narcissist, I began to understand my own bad choices (by means of therapy and research) I discovered all psyches are not equally wired. While I cannot answer with any certainty if the motivations of the narcissist are conscious or unconscious, I can with confidence identify the outcomes of his personality hurt all the same. Some argue, “Psychology “or trying to understand the narcissist is a worthless endeavor however, in the words of Chinese general and military strategist, author of the “The Art Of War”-Sun Tzu- “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle”. Part of understanding my narcissist, was in discovering the vulnerable drive I have inside myself that draws me time and again to this kind of personality. The ego’s capacity to negotiate with the outside world, requires accurately perceiving and understanding stimuli. This remains a challenge NOT just for the narcissist, but also for those who become trapped in his wake.
Try and imagine yourself as someone outside of yourself, what are your characteristic. What are your strengths? What are your weakness? Take time to reflect on yourself, what are the things that really make you happy and or sad. Make a small character diagram of yourself celebrating your strengths, as well as examining some of the areas of your life that may need improvement. Things take time, this may not be an easy one day exercise.
I have spent an enormous amount of time attempting to understand my past relationships. As it turned out getting to know MY PAST, and embracing the power of self-love was really the turning point in this process! If I am honest with myself, I began my search to better understand myself after my childhood narcissistic revisited experience. Perhaps somewhere, still and always my sixteen year old brain will remain forever hooked on the fantasy of my “perfect” childhood love revisited. In an ironic twist, as my past relationship spilled into understanding my past, my sixteen year old brain begin mentoring my six year old brain that also remains hooked on the idea of parents that both love and cherish their only daughter. Both of these fantasies were just that…fantasies! Like going to the gym or flossing my teeth, I have to remain disciplined about working on self-love and self-understanding while keeping true to REALITY. Reality is not fantasy. Reality tells me regardless of the diagnostic label, the man I loved will NEVER love me in kind. MY parents will NEVER be loving and adoring. My desire of wanting love will only skew my perceptions if I allow it. This does not mean I am not worth love and adoration, it simply means I will NEVER get it from these sources. However, if I am disciplined and willing to move away from the “addiction” to the fantasy of love and acceptance, from my parents and first love, it is my firm belief I will discover it! This is a cumbersome and arduous task. It is a constant and vigilant re-tooling of my mental process. However difficult it is, this up-hill path that will eventually lead to a place outside the narcissistic space, a destination worth the discipline required to pay the freight!
Day 51 Your Assignment
While difficult, try to embrace your own reality. Weed out the fact vs the fiction that has taken root inside your own person narrative.
In denying my needs, my narcissist was in an indirect way also denying his own, and HE LIKED IT! Imagine all the evenings HE spent alone, punishing me for wanting to be with him! Evidently, this was not just my problem, he would tell me, a gleam of pride in his eye that he NEVER stayed the course for any full family vacation. Imagine the energy it must have took to create excuses (real or imagined) to get out of a family vacation, not to mention every family vacation; more importantly, the satisfaction he took in this impeccable record of non-attendance. Research shows that narcissists presents with sadistic as well as masochistic tendencies. In other words, he gets off on disappointing me, and for an added bonus hurts himself. Also, denying himself, supports the notion that HE is ABOVE the human condition! In his mind, he does not have HUMAN NEEDS!
Day 50 Your Assignment
Think about all the disappointments that were an inevitable and integral part of your relationship. Now ask yourself what was the pay off? In other words, was your narcissist inflicting disappointment unto himself as well as you? If the answer is yes, then ask yourself the bigger question why did all of this seem NORMAL to you? As you move away from the dark narcissistic space, you will be surprised as to how your perspective will change.
Sam Vaknin, (a real life narcissist revealed) recently released a new video “Narcissist’s Grandiosity as Cognitive Bias (Kruger-Dunning Effect.)” What I found most interesting about this video, is the idea that narcissist undeniably believes what he believes! In other words, the narcissist IS his own reality tester. The narcissist looks to himself, NOT REALITY, as the ultimate measure of reality. He, NOT REALITY is the unwavering authority. Imagine the strength of conviction that comes from that kind of resolve! I am reminded that the most benign and inconsequential conversations I shared with my narcissist that inevitably ended up in some kind of argument because I did not understand rules! Apparently here is the rule; HE, the narcissist, not reality, remain the measure of reality. My narcissist would rage over the slightest disagreement; attempting to shame me if EVEN my taste ran in a different direction. How could liking one color over another or one drink over another be a problem? Yet it was! (Here is where it gets interesting!) In pop-psychology the mantra of “Act as if!” helps people change behaviors. “Act as if” you are confident, and eventually your brain somehow begins to accept you as confident. “Act as if” you are happy, and eventually your brain begins somehow begins to accept you are happy. You get the idea! Imagine the POWER that comes from not having to “ACT AS IF,” rather to simply “BE AS IF!” The narcissist’s is so twisted, his condition so bizarre, that He thinks HE, not reality, is the measure of reality (Here is where it gets even weirder)! Most narcissist maintain an island of stability. They might be very successful in the workplace, and have dramatic relationship issues. Other narcissist have a stable long term marriages, however are not able to hold a job. So imagine the power of the “N-factor,” if you will, that comes with such a “BE AS IF” position from a person who is able to maintain a measure of success and a kind of stability in their world. The narcissist’s crazy is compelling because it works for them!
Day 49 Your Assignment
Reflect on the notion of reality. Was your relation measured out in the narcissistic reality or real reality? In other words, how much of your relationship life was simply trying to understand the rules? Then ask yourself why would anyone want to go be part of such a twisted game where only ONE person knows the rules…?
Despite my resolve to remain narcissist free, I long for, and at times want desperately to go back to the known and the familiar. It is a deep, almost primordial disposition yearning to somehow make good on the narcissist’s promise of “true love.” Through therapy and research, I discovered my “longing” behavior goes way back into a long ignored, but not forgotten family history of similar broken promises. In order to survive my family dynamics (born into crazy) I learned to reframe the chaos. This was part of me surviving the “crazy-love” of my mother and father. I would say things to myself (now dismissing these same thoughts as a false promise) like “they loved me in their own way…they do the best they can” these phrases are a kind of learned narcissist code. Translated, it means the narcissist can make others feel bad about themselves, so they can feel good about themselves and call it LOVE! More importantly, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I do will ever change that experience! Narcissist NEVER Change! Once I understood, accepting the REALITY of what was really HAPPENING, I could not allow myself to use the same excuses with my “Love relationship” or expect any other outcome! You cannot unring this narcissist bell!!
I am not suggesting the world is a perfect place. People are fallible, not everyone who hurts us is a narcissist. People hurt and disappoint us, as we in turn hurt and disappoint others…however the non-narcissist NEVER enjoys the suffering of others. The non-narcissist does not feed off the pain and frustration of the people they love. The non-narcissist can self-reflect, make adjustments and CHANGE!
Day 48 You Assignment
Ask yourself this question…what are you really missing? Why are you longing to go back? If you do not trust your own judgment, trust the research NOTHING WILL CHANGE! Revisit your relationship in this light of NOTHING WILL CHANGE and really ask yourself do you want to be back with your soul mate in hell?
Narcissist do not let go of people easily, they are COLLECTORS! I remember times when my narcissist would talk about all his ex-girlfriends, and how he prided himself on these “good” relationships he maintained with his “loyal fans”. Some of course he bragged he maintained while he was married…opps! He needed to work hard to reframe that one to others however, I am sure his wife would have been very proud! The HOOVER, which is a nickname given to narcissists because similar to the vacuum by design they continually try to sucks you back into the narcissistic space. The technique is a well known strategy of the narcissist. Remember, as we spoke about in other blogs; the narcissist has limited energy. He is an adrenaline junkie looking to score. His score, narcissistic supply is attention, adulation, applause any and all kinds of attention negative or positive. It is a far more efficient use of their time to try and recycle a known supply then to have to work at new supplies (BTW he is still doing both while “re-courting” you anyways!) Like many of you, I have experienced the “HOOVER.” I will tell you first hand there is nothing more exhilarating than a narcissist returning, hat in hand begging for the love of his life to give him one more chance. It is a beautiful thing to think he has come to his senses and now recognizes my value and worth. However even as you are turning your world inside out to accommodate his “epiphany” deep inside you know it will always be the same, and you are right! It will be a very sweet and quick ride back into an emotionally charged black hole. Keep your nose Narcissists clean!
Day 47 Your assignment
Try not to romanticize the narcissistic home-coming, rather think about all the dynamics that pushed you towards the known abusive ugly relationship outcome. Remember it is unlikely things will change on the side of the narcissist, you are the one that should be motivated to change. While the thought of him pining for you is sweet, remember the truth will be bitter!
In the understanding of Narcissism there are several labels such as, codependent, cluster B personality disorders, codependency, abuse, projection, ego, and so many more words and phrases… and throughout my research these labels helped me to make sense and organize my world post narcissist break-up. You may not understand or have seen all these terms however if you further research this topic you will across them time and again. For me there was (and still is) a comfort that comes from learning about such terms that do not apply in the world of “Get over it, he is just another guy! Or, what is wrong with you? This is just a bad break-up.” All families are not created equal! If you come from a place, like I did filled with uncertainty and hostile resolve, then falling in love with a narcissist is like going home. However, understood or not, for those outside of the narcissistic zone, breaking up with a narcissist is several times more difficult than just ending a “normal relationship.” First, there is a merging phenomenon, a kind of infection rooting itself deep into the psychological flesh of forgotten and unnoticeable childhood wounds. This merging, coupled with a conditioning that begins on the onset of such unions is familiar ground for those of us mired in an abusive perceptive of the world. The subtle and not so subtle abuse that is SURE to follow once hooked and floundering inside the deceitful ever changing and unmerciful heavy handed clutches of a narcissist…is known to those of raised in it. Trying to collect on this false and empty promise of unconditional love from these people is depleting, damaging, and thankless. However, unattainable we are somehow unconsciously aware of this drive that pushes us towards the narcissist. The voices inside our heads chant; if this narcissist (the iconic representation of mother or father or combination of both) can love me, then I can find peace in the world. The entire relationship is a mix of frustration, self- doubt, self-loathing and punitive resolve that is so familiar you have to live it to know it! So now what? What promise is kept safe in the wake of abuse? The answer…NONE! Life is not fair, but what YOU can level the playing field. It is difficult to imagine, but each of us has the power to protect and hold ourselves dear.
Day 46 Your Assignment
Think about: Why is your relationship so hard to get over? What are the promises held inside of this hollow trust? Whose love are you trying so desperately to earn?
As I have said before, this is my own internal dialogue. My observations and insights are a combination of therapy, research. In a weird way my journal is a dialogue outside my own head.