Todays’ article is a flow-of-consciousness ramble on a topic that’s long simmered on the back burner of my brain. It’s like an itch I can’t scratch.
Did my narcissists every truly know me..me…the real me.
Not the person they projected themselves on to. Not the person they imagined I was. Not the collection of vices they assumed I had. Not the ever-smiley, non-entity persona I cultivated to keep the peace.
Did they really know me? Did your narcissists really know you!?
I don’t think so.
But then again, did we know ourselves? Our true selves?
In my former life with narcissists, I didn’t even know me. To some extent, I didn’t exist before I escaped their crushing grasp.
Discovering yourself, which sounds so cliché, is the most fun part of recovery from narcissistic abuse. At first, it’s daunting and scary. How many times have I wailed, “I don’t know who I am!” to my patient husband.
I was scared. Frightened that when the real me emerged, she might be a monster, a whackjob or even worse, someone incompatible with the man I’d married before discovering and escaping from narcissistic abuse.
If you have the same fears, rest easy. You won’t go flying out of control when you discover yourself. If you’re down-to-earth now, you’ll still be down-to-earth after recovery, but perhaps with a more whimsical, artistic, poetic side to your basic personality.
What I discovered when my true self emerged was that, I wasn’t “that bad” after all. Very logical. Very methodical. Hard-working. Practical. Eccentric, according to my husband (and he should talk!) With a real passion for beauty, art and creativity. But not so smiley anymore. And more than happy to splutter, “That’s bullshit!” if something really is “bullshit.”
Part of the problem was a simple as a glitch in communication between me and my narcissists. Miscommunication.
At times, I can be shockingly literal. So when the narcissists accused me of any vice, I always confessed. After all, “sinner” was ingrained in my head a la my Dr. Dobson upbringing.
Now I realize, some vices I actually don’t have. Or maybe just a soupçon in one particular area. Thought but not action. But back then, I didn’t have the courage nor independence of thought to judge myself honestly, daring to come to a different, a better conclusion than my narcissists had come to about me.
The glitch in communication extended to that most emotion-ridden of subjects: religion. But here’s the problem: I can’t feel my emotions very well. Or rather, they feel differently than how my narcissists describe. So when they tried to describe faith in God, I just couldn’t relate. I couldn’t feel faith. I still can’t. That basically got me branded as an unrepentant, prideful, unbelieving heathen by my narcissists.
But that too, was not true.
I cling to God with all my strength, all my desperation and, if need be, my teeth and fingernails. And He never, ever lets me down.
Going off on a rabbit trail, let me tell you a little story. A few months ago, my husband was having terrible leg pain. I mean, it was bad. And inexplicable. As I walked the dogs amongst snow drifts, I looked up at the magnificent Milky Way and prayed “God, please heal that pain.” But I’ll be honest with y’all. I did not have any faith behind that prayer.
About half an hour later, my husband mentioned that he was taking a new medication. On a whim, I Googled the med and there it was, in black-and-white: leg pain was a side effect. No faith and yet that prayer was answered. He replaced the medication with a natural supplement, all the benefits and none of the side effects. Leg pain…gone.
But I digress.
We can’t flower, bloom and blossom under narcissism. It’s like a block of lead crushing our personality.
Under narcissism, I didn’t know what I thought. I didn’t know what I believed. I didn’t know my opinions. Well, not much.
I knew what they thought and what I was supposed to think, i.e. what they thought. I knew what they believed and wanted me to believe. And I knew their opinions encyclopediacly. Ask me. Go ahead, ask me. I’ll tell you exactly what they believe on absolutely everything. UFO’s: Nope. “If UFOs existed, God would’ve mentioned them in the Bible.”
You have to get away, have an environment that is safe to think things through freely before you discover what you believe. Narcissism isn’t a safe place for authenticity, for entertaining another point of view, even just trying it on for size without actually adopting it permanently.
Which leads me back to the original question: Did my narcissists every really know me? Did your narcissists ever really know you?
No, no. I don’t believe they did.
They sure missed a lot.