There is always that tipping point in any relationship, this was mine! It was this time last year, when I asked my narcissist about plans for Thanksgiving. I asked “so…what are we doing?” Keep in mind this is a week prior to Thanksgiving, we have been dating now for two and a half years and this was going to be our third Thanksgiving holiday together. He responded with “Just because you don’t have a family that doesn’t make me responsible for your holiday needs!” Who could say such a cruel thing to a woman that had spent over the last two years somehow in his care? It was a shattering moment. It was a moment of complete disbelief. Yet however terrible, it was also a moment of self-reckoning. It was that day that I came to realize this man, regardless of what he said, did not truly love me. With the help of therapy and research I came to understand that narcissist are particularly cruel around the holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. It is the idea of creating disappointment for their partners that really turns these people on! To be honest with myself there were many occasions that I somehow did not make the A list. There were always excuses and justifications, but it hurt all the same. This was my life, pretending that exclusionary behaviors were normal and that it was ok not to have plans… He enjoyed keeping me on pins a needles. One New Year’s Eve, he walked out of my house and 10 pm because he had to go check on his ex-wife. He went overboard for our first two anniversaries, and then completely forget the third. He threw himself a birthday party and forgot to invite me. He had a party at his home and forgot to include me. He let me sit home alone on the fourth of July to punish me for making him feel guilty. Any chance he had to ruin or hurt me around the most special days became a way of life… But it was that day, prior to thanksgiving that really made me see him and how he saw me, and while it was painful especially in the moment and taken time to learn, heal and grow, I am truly grateful wake up call!!
Day 66 Your Assignment
Narcissist are particularly cruel around the holidays. As the holiday season approaches keep your eyes and mind open. Notice ways in which your narcissist works. Is he making the holidays nice or is he making them a misery??
In this past year, I have discovered many things about myself, my choices, as well as those of you equally committed to exiting narcissistic space. Thank you! The shared experiences, struggles and insights from each person has helped me to understand that I am not alone, and I find that there is power in that understanding. Still with all this company, one of the most ironic things I have come to really see it that no one is going to do if for me! Healing is a very individual experience. Sometimes I think it is almost a choice. Let me clarify, healing is more like an opportunity. Hurt, while I wish I never had the experience, offers opportunity for growth, it a catalyst for change. I would never wish ill, misfortune, or heartbreak unto myself or anyone else, yet these things are all part of the human experience. I have come to realize that even under siege the mind has the ability adapts. The mind says…I am not satisfied here and so I need to move on in another direction. The healthy mind does not cling to broken promises or broken people, the mind is always evolving into the best version of itself! This is the power of self-love and self-preservation!
Think about an “ideal” way that you see yourself making some kind of a positive change in your life. Say for example I want to read a book a week, imagine yourself at the end of the month with the four best sellers you just read. Now go to the local library and find one book that you think you could finish in one week. See the end result and work back from the end!
These are touchy and controversial thoughts. First, let me begin by saying to myself and anyone reading, along, I am so sorry for the pain you suffered in the name of something as natural as simply wanting to be loved. There is no one more sympathetic to your pain! It feels like love, should just be a birth right, and yet by now we have all learned it is not. A friend of mine describes what I am about to say as blaming the rape victim for being raped… I say this is not about blaming the victim for her own rape, rather about learning how to defend herself the best she can against violation! However painful this topic, it is worth my own personal exploration; moving forward (from a place that feels safe, I suggest you feel yourself in safe emotional head space before reading on) I ask myself this; if I can take the credit when things are going well in my relationship, don’t I also need to take some of the blame when things go bad…well NOT with a narcissist I might answer! Still, while a con artist, is a con artist, is a con artist, the truth is each day shouldn’t I fortify my own resolve so that I am not easily duped! If I blame myself for not allowing myself to be abused and as a result the relationship ends, then do I still have ownership in the demise of the relationship? Let me stop right now and say that I am in no way trying to assign blame just trying to start an internal dialog in in order to help you reflect on how to better future relationships. If I began a relationship with good intentions and somewhere along the way things went bad regardless of the underlying deception of the partnership, didn’t I still had choices all along the way?? Ok … I am afraid of abandonment, codependent, emotional drawn to abuse…these things may not be my fault in and of themselves. However, allowing myself to be taken advantage of time and again doesn’t this fall on me?? If I don’t take ownership of some of my behaviors, then won’t I continue to be drawn into the same circular abuse? If the mantra is I am drawn to abuse, I am always in an abusive situations, I am not happy in my relationships, if I am always in this same place should I be willing to accept part of the blame for my own unhappiness?? With the exception of blame for my situation will this also empower me for meaningful change?? The painful right answer for me feels like it should be yes! However, I am not suggesting that my yes is the correct yes for anyone else or that you should ever take all the blame. I invite you only to think about the dynamic as together we keep moving farther away from the narcissistic space.
Day 64 Your Assignment
If nothing else know this…there will be a time that you feel better! Hang on to that though! Work towards that end! Think about your patterns, if it is too difficult for now, move on to something else. There is always time!
When I first joined the local boxing gym almost a year ago, I was overwhelmed by the investment of sweat equity required to make it through a class. How was I going to manage the twice a day work outs that I had just committed myself to do for the next 90 days?? I had always worked out in the morning, and continue to this day to working out with my morning workout buddies, but the idea of NIGHT TIME- had its own internal stigma for me as I was almost paranoid about leaving my house in the evenings. It was as if waiting at home was my job, some might ask waiting for what …and in truth I am not sure of the answer. What I do know is that it took a Herculean effort on my part to leave my home five nights week! The boxing gym was one of those old school gyms, rock music far loader than would ever fly in my local gyms. Replete with hanging bags; big and small, a boxing ring, ropes and myriad of strange equipment all very intimidating for a girl who thought spinning class was a challenge. One bag, in particular, was the speed bag. For anyone who has ever watched any kind of boxing movie, the speed bag is that little bag that boxers with a poetic ease seem to be able to rhythmically hit while chatting about the local news! NOT for me, the speed bag was one of those challenges that reminded me that learning a new skill set, can SUCK! Time and again my hits were met with an unresponsive almost clumsy resolve. There were times I avoided the bag altogether. Then one day… (almost a year later) I began to find a rhythm, at first slow, and then little by little I became stronger! It seemed, the better I felt about myself, the easier that speed bag became. I am not suggesting that there is any magic in the speed bag, but learning something new is charmed!! So there is a magic in learning something new even though it may not be easy, takes time and sticking with at least for me broadens your life and replaces old bad habits with more positive self image.
Day 63 Your assignment
The world is filled with unique and interesting options. The library has an array of books well outside of each of our comfort zones. Challenge yourself! Make this a time to discover new things! Push yourself, there are local book clubs, knitting groups, gyms, garden clubs, quilting circles, volunteering at a local museum, hospital, place of worship. Find ways to make your narrative interesting and fun!!
The notion that my experience matters, drives me to finish these 90 days. To be sure, that same notion of “my experience matters” resonates with some measure of narcissism, however a small amount of Narcissism expressed in the form of taking pride in yourself I don’t believe is a bad thing. Narcissistically motivated or not, I guess what really matters, is not just what happened… but what later happened as a result of the experience! Almost a year ago, on the tails of ending the seemingly endless relationship with my childhood narcissist revisited, I decided to take on some new more productive ways to heal. At some point, a light goes on and you say “hey it is on me to make better choices and get myself into a place that feels better”! I began with 90 day increment. I said I was going to start therapy and see where I was in three month, I join a local boxing gym, attending five nights a week with same intent to reevaluate after 90 days. I began writing my blog with the intention I would actually finish within the 90 days, lol. I also began a series of what might seem like insignificant pattern changes, that now closing unto a year have helped me to some measure redirect my internal narrative. Most of the patterns were simple, some more challenging. It was/is things like not watching TV, parking in a different parking space, reading things outside of my interest, planning vacations (regardless of taking them). One year later, I am still boxing five night a week. The satisfying work of therapy continues, however, is coming to a close. The awareness of patterns and changing them, even ever so slightly remind me that I have the power to make changes. The detour to the 90 day finish has been a really beautiful trip. It is not unfair or bad to take the time to really recalibrate if you need it! Allow yourself the time and the opportunity to rediscover yourself!!
Day 62 Your assignment
What is one thing you can commit to change or commit to trying for the next 90 days? Make a list of ten things and pick one and do it.