Anyone struggling to recover from emotional abuse has probably been told, “Oh, just forgive, forget and get over it!” What a slap to the face! As I chronicle my own journey of healing from narcissistic abuse on Narcissism Meets Normalcy and the Huffington Post, pissed-off readers post comments like this frequently! I bet you’ve heard it a lot too. So let’s chat about it, shall we?
Get Over It!
Let’s say a drunk driver hits you head-on and you’re in hospital recovering from multiple injuries. A family member waltzes into your hospital room, hands on hips, sportin’ a ‘tude, a perturbed impatient expression on their face. “Snap out of it!” they say. “Chop, chop. Out of that hospital bed! Forgive, forget and get over it!”
How cruel, you say! That’s inhumane!
Yeah, it is. So why is it okay to say it to victims of emotional abuse?
The Heart is Slow to Heal
Frankly, I’d forgotten the (thankfully!) few times I experienced physical abuse. The punch. A few slaps across the face. A yank to my hair. Fingers digging and pinching into my arms. Feet and thighs being slapped…hard.
Although hurtful, the pain from these events can’t hold a candle to the agony caused by the lash of my narcissists’ vitriolic tongues. Those wounds remain raw for decades, especially as I humbly and stupidly believed their crapolla. The wound may form a crusty layer of protection, but just underneath is the oozing wound.
If you’ve benefited from this blog, your financial help and prayers as I carry on my legal battle against those who seek to stifle my voice and strangle my truth would be greatly appreciated. Any donations are greatly appreciated!
I Can Only Live as Far As I Can Think
I dunno about you, but I can’t heal from what I don’t understand. That’s why I often say, “I can only live as far as I can think.” Oh sure, there are people who appear to successfully shrug off verbal abuse, toss it in the shit can labeled “Nonsense” and get on with their life. In my personal experience, these people are the most wounded of all. By not doing their “internal work” and choosing instead of brush the abuses they suffered under the rug, they’re simply passing the dysfunction and rage down to the next generation. I know. I lived it.
That’s why you and I study narcissism day-in and day-out. To reverse engineer it. To understand it.
When we do, we find it’s utterly invalid and illogical. Only then can we shit-can the nonsense and start building a correct self-image for ourselves. That’s when we can truly say, “The buck stops here!” and raise a happy, healthy family.
The Devil is in the Details
Details, details, details! One of the most healing exercises for me was to read real-life stories of narcissistic abuse. Sometimes I found myself cheering when some small, weird, seemingly insignificant detail jogged a memory from my own life. It was details that convinced me that I had indeed grown up in a multi-generational narcissistic family.
And that’s why I share the smallest, weirdest, real-life details in my articles. And guess what!? Those are the articles that get the most hits, the most comments and trigger the most “Aha!” moments for you, my dear readers.
Funny or Furious?
Some readers find my articles hysterical. “ROTFLMAO” is a familiar comment.
But then there are the other readers who rip me a new one…like the gal you said, “Lenora, your style of writing suggests that you are still very angry at your parents.”
Guess What!?! Anger is okay! Yeah, it’s okay! It’s the warning siren of the heart signaling that something is wrong…very wrong. Psychologists differ, but many consider anger a secondary emotion masking pain. So, so true! Tears are never far behind when I get mad.
Hey! I figure if it was okay for Jesus to be pissed off (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; John 2:13-22), then it’s okay for you and me to get mad too…within reason.
What About Forgiveness?
I’ll let you know when I get there. I ain’t there yet. Don’t push! If I skip a step in this healing journey, I’m well and truly screwed. So don’t rush me! And don’t rush yourself either.
The truth is, if I don’t understand what I’m forgiving, I’ll never, ever heal from it.
Remember the five stages of grief that Dr. Karyl McBride detailed in her wonderful book, Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.
Forget? Not on your Tintype
Fool me 1,389,626 times shame on you, narcissists. Fool me 1,389,627 times…shame on me!
I ain’t forgettin’ shit! And I’ve got the spreadsheet with 432 dated, logged and categorized events, statements and abuses to prove it.
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It’s What I Do
I write about narcissism. It’s what I do. It’s my hobby, my passion and my career.
In 2001, I started studying psychology because I wasn’t happy. I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea what it was. I tried to feel happiness. I was ordered to act happy, so I did. I emoted happy, talked happy and smiled happy. But I wasn’t happy!!
It wasn’t until 2013 that my wonderful husband helped guide me in my quest for understanding. Together, we discovered narcissism. And for the next two years I studied it for eight, ten, twelve hours a day, taking copious notes, writing endless journals. This is my dream-come-true. To write about narcissism, and all its rotten bedfellows, so you and I can heal together.
Haters Gonna Hate
I bet even blogs about sunshine, clouds and bunny rabbits get nasty comments, so why should this one be any different!?
My favorite comment, and I get this one a lot, is that I am a narcissist. That one always makes me smile. It’s just the ol’ fliparoo! If you dare to point out a narcissist’s narcissism to them…get ready for it! It’s just a grown-up version of the ol’ kids game, “I know you are but what am I?”. Real mature, huh!
Hold to the Course
You’ve charted a course for healing. Don’t stray from that path.
Don’t rush to forgive. You’ll hijack your own healing.
You probably won’t ever “get over it” completely and that’s okay! Some of our best virtues, strength, humility and love, are the very reasons narcissists targeted us and also the virtues that got us through their mire.
And definitely, never ever forget!