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A Message of Hope and Happiness for Narcissism Survivors

Today’s article is simply a message of hope and happiness for my fellow narcissism survivors. There is hope. Sooner or later, happiness will find you. I sh*t you not!

So often articles on the topic of narcissism are so negative. Narc-bashing. Trying to figure out how they think. Trying to figure out how we can recover.

Well, this one’s different. I’m writing it from my heart…just for you. To let you know that it does get better. I’m not jokin’ nor jestin’. Not feeding you a line of blarney. Just telling the simple truth from my own experience.

Feeling better kinda’ crept up on me. On tiptoe. I wasn’t looking for it nor striving for it. No mind games. No wishful thinking.

To tell the truth, for the past few months I’ve kinda’ neglected my recovery. Which isn’t always a bad thing. Many of my Facebook friends and fellow narcissism survivors have contacted me to say, “Lenora, I’m leaving all the narcissism groups. I need to take a break for awhile.”

The truth is, you do need to find balance between regular living and recovery. When you first discover narcissism, the lights go on and bells ring, it’s an obsession. You read everything about narcissism that you can find. Books, articles, blogs. That’s normal and healthy. It may go on for years.

Think of narcissistic abuse as the One Ring in Lord of the Rings forged in the fires of Mount Doom by the Dark Lord Sauron. Like Frodo said, “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.” Well, we wish narcissism had never entered our lives and none of this had ever happened.

But the great wizard Gandalf responds, “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us…and that is an encouraging thought.”

Then you hit a plateau. Get frustrated. Strike a roadblock. Figure you need a boost to get recovery moving again. So you find a therapist, hopefully one who believes that you suffered from narcissistic abuse…and will counsel you along those lines. He/she helps you get the recovery juggernaut rolling again.

But after a year or two of this, you get a little bit tired. Mind you! You’re not recovered or anything. Just a little fatigued of being mono-focused on narcissism.

That’s when you take a break. Give it a rest. Focus on other things for awhile.

You may find yourself thinking that you’re okey-dokey. Recovered!

Only you’re not. In a moment of frustration, stress, anger or a situation that reminds you of the past, you snap. Get mad! And it all comes rushing back. The brainwashing. Mind control. “Damn!”  you think. “I’m not recovered after all.”

So back you go. Back to the books, the blogs, the therapist.

Wash, rinse, repeat. Over and over again.

Then one day you wake up and realize, “Hmmmph, y’know what? I’m feeling kinda’ okay. Brighter. Maybe even happy.” You didn’t grit your teeth and try to force it. Didn’t play mind games. Didn’t even realize it was happening.

That’s what’s happened for me. Recently. “Y’know what, Michael,” said I to my husband one day. “I think I’m feeling better lately.”

“I know you are,” he replied.

Now don’t get me wrong. Am I recovered? Hell no! Given the right (or rather, wrong) impetus and it’ll all come rushing back. The wrong beliefs. The perfectionism. The brainwashing. The narcissistic mind control.

But let’s take a closer look at “recovery.” Doesn’t the word itself imply that we are sick and must be cured? I can agree that our ways of thinking need to be examined and re-programmed. But “cured”? That implies that our so-called sickness must be completely eradicated, wiped out. That we must throw out ourselves, wipe the slate utterly clean and re-parent ourselves from infancy, wiping out everything we ever learned, thought, felt and decided while under the sway of narcissism.

That’s bullshit, if you ask me. Invalidation at its finest! Looking at recovering in this perfectionistic way makes recovery itself an insurmountable burden. (And where did we learn our perfectionism? Oh yes. At the knee of our narcissist.)

I would submit to you that semantics matter. Words matter. And we need to revise our expectations for “recovery” if we are ever to attain peace and happiness.

Don’t let recovery become a burden in itself. Don’t turn it into an unobtainable goal. Don’t demand that you recover “perfectly” because the narcissists expected you to do everything perfectly.

Take hope. Accept joy. And peace will sneak in too.

My ever-wise husband said it best: “What am I s’posed to do? Erase my whole life just because I was raised by an alcoholic father? Those memories are never going to go away. The past is what it is. I can’t change it now. All I have is the present and the future.”

I love that. The pain never totally goes away. It can’t. The anger never totally goes away. It shouldn’t. They’re valid, just emotions. But we can accept that the shit happened. We didn’t cause it. We didn’t deserve it. But it is our truth. Time softens the pain and we can put it in a box. But the box isn’t a box. It’s a laundry basket. It has holes. The memories and pain keep leaking out.

But at some point, peace and happiness sneak in too. Like love, you can’t demand them or chase them. They sneak up on you, when you’re not looking.

Does that mean you won’t be triggered again? Hell no! I’ve come to accept that, to the end of my life, those well-trod mental pathways learned from narcissists will exist. I hope they become lost in the over-growth as I meander down new mental sidewalks, but I’m not holding my breath. To the end of my days, I may be triggered.

But now, I have the knowledge to avoid triggery situations and triggery people. It’s called freedom. Choices. Y’know, those things we didn’t have before. Well, now we do. We own our own lives now. And life is made of time. Precious time. We can decided what to do with every moment of the time we have left on this cockeyed planet.

But that does not mean I’ve given up on “recovery.” Far from it! Since realizing that books on cults are more informative about narcissism and recovery than books merely about narcissism, I have more hope than ever before. But the books tell me to be patient with myself. Gentle. Easy-going.

Think of narcissistic abuse as the One Ring in Lord of the Rings forged in the fires of Mount Doom by the Dark Lord Sauron. Like Frodo said, “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.” Well, we wish narcissism had never entered our lives and none of this had ever happened.

But the great wizard Gandalf responds, “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us…and that is an encouraging thought.”

One day, happiness will creep into your life. I shit you not.

That’s all I wanted to say. Hope is always there for the taking. It is the most powerful force in the world. And close on the coattails of hope comes happiness. But inherent in that is acceptance that the past can never be changed. When you realize that, you’ve broken its power over you.

Don’t let recovery become a burden in itself. Don’t turn it into an unobtainable goal. Don’t demand that you recover “perfectly” because the narcissists expected you to do everything perfectly.

Take hope. Accept joy. And peace will sneak in too.

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A Message of Hope and Happiness for Narcissism Survivors


Lenora Thompson

Lenora Thompson is a syndicated Huffington Post and YourTango freelance writer and entrepreneur. Her readers call her the "Edward Snowden" and "Wikileaks" of narcissism because of her no-holds-barred-take-no-prisoners approach to writing about narcissism. “Narcissism Meets Normalcy” is the real-life, ongoing story of her healing journey from being held “hostage” by a multi-generational, cult-like narcissistic family. It's gritty and real, bloody and bruised, humorous and sarcastic. Lenora Thompson considers herself a “whistleblower,” shining a spotlight on narcissistic abuse so others can also claim their freedom and experience healing. To learn more about Lenora, subscribe to her bi-weekly e-newsletter, contribute to help her husband fight his extremely rare lung disease, Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis and shop her e-store, please visit www.lenorathompsonwriter.com.


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APA Reference
Thompson, L. (2017). A Message of Hope and Happiness for Narcissism Survivors. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 19, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism/2017/02/a-message-of-hope-and-happiness-for-narcissism-survivors/

 

Last updated: 19 Feb 2017
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.