When Narcissism Meets Normalcy was launched in January of 2016, I was a different person. I’d been in recovery (oh! how I hate that word!) for two years but I was still a hot mess. I was angry, hurt and pissed off no end. Even worse, I was mired to the armpits in denial and false guilt. Every day was a struggle and at nightfall it all got worse. It was like living in my own personal Gotham.
Narcissism Meets Normalcy reflected it all. Twice a week, I wrote from exactly where I was on this crazy journey. If I was thinking it, you knew it. If I’d remembered some weird-ass thing my narcissists said or did, you heard about it. My aim was to put the too-vague-to-label-too-hurtful-to-ignore into words. To talk about the unspeakable. To blow it all wide open honestly and authentically…with as much humor as I could muster to make it palatable and not just rant-rant-rant.
Within two months, all Hell broke loose. From trying to get PsychCentral to fire me, to hacking attempts, to vile comments, to threats to sue…my “family” (in fact, in law, or in the past) all attempted it within sixty days of NmN being launched on an unsuspecting world. Sometimes I look back at 2016 in wonder and ask myself, “How did you survive, Lenora? How did you never miss a deadline? The stress was so bad.” I guess, like the character of Harold Abrahams in Chariots of Fire, I run on nerves. Like Sam Mussabini says, “[She’s] a gut runner, digs deep! But a short sprint is run on nerves.”
And I seem to remember walking to the park and swinging, focusing on the beautiful cumulonimbus clouds in a perfect blue sky and trying to make that more real than my problems.
With Michael’s unstinting support and your donations to my legal costs, I weathered the storm. Waited ’em out. Showed strength when necessary. Mostly just ignored the dramatics and here we all are! Three years older, a bit grayer round the temples but much, much wiser.
NmN is NOT the same blog it was in 2016. I’m not the same person who began writing it in 2016 and I hope you, the readers of NmN are also happier and healthier than when you first began reading it. I’d like to think we’ve made this journey, hand-in-hand, together.
So where are we now? Hopefully on a little island called Peace in a blue lagoon called Happiness.
Oh, life isn’t perfect. It never will be. It doesn’t have to be for you to be peaceful and happy.
And yes! I do have spectacular relapses into really impressive bouts of self-loathing, codependent self-blame and false guilt. But, surprisingly even to me, I’m more peaceful and more happy now than I ever thought I could be. If you’d told me this three years ago, you would’ve been treated to an eyeroll so big you could hear it!
Healing from narcissistic abuse, for me, has never been a steady, slow process. No! It’s been all fits-and-starts. Lurches of progress interspersed with months and months of being plateaued and stale-mated. Mired! Stuck!
Then, sometimes out of nowhere, a Thought occurs. A very en pointe Thought that, as C.S. Lews said in That Hideous Strength, “goes right to the heart of the matter.”
The Thought du jour functions like a trebuchet. Suddenly, I’m catapulted out of Stucksville to the next level of recovery (oh! how I still hate that word!).
What’s the catalyst or catalysts for progress?
- Constantly thinking
- Reading and research
- Your comments…thank you!
Prayer is a huge part of recovery. Pray for yourself. Pray for insight. Pray for healing. Pray for peace.Pray for deliverance from your current plateau. If I’ve never said it before, I’ve been remiss. Don’t neglect prayer in your healing journey.
But there’s something else and I’m not quite sure how to put it into words. So I’ll tell you an anecdote instead.
My husband’s been going on (and on and on!) about making homemade sauerkraut for, like, years. Every time he broached the subject, I internally rolled my eyes. Just another thing to do. No! I don’t want to make freaking sauerkraut! I don’t even like it.
Then, a fortnight ago, I was at my local library. It’s just a tiny room in a City Hall but it’s unlike any big impersonal library system in a big town. The librarian has become my friend. If I can’t get to town, she’ll perform all kinds of librarian magic to re-reserve or re-re-renew my books so I can keep them. When I return my books, she reads them! And, to add to her other charms, she’s a Book Pusher!
“This one is really good,” she’ll say. “I think you’d like it.” Rather than say, “Seriously! I don’t want to read Fermentation on Wheels. I don’t want to ferment food! I don’t like fermented food. I’d rather sit in my closet and apply thumbscrews rather than make sauerkraut! You can take that book and shove….” No, no, no. Call it codependence if you will, but I just check out the books she pushes at me to shut her up!
Two weeks later I returned Fermentation on Wheels with the words, “I did not want that book but you were right. It was really good! I’ve got sourdough starter and sauerkraut going. I hate you!” Oh how she laughed!!
Sometimes, all it takes is the right trigger. The book on fermentation was the right trigger at the right time to catapult me to the next level of culinary experience. Recovery is like that too. You cannot be pushed faster than the Right Pace for your Recovery. Sometimes all it takes is the perfect trigger at the perfect time and whoop-holler-halloo! You just made massive progress in healing. But the same trigger wouldn’t have worked six months previously.
Back in 2013, I was not ready to interview family acquaintances to get their perspective on my narcissists. It would’ve helped in my healing journey, but it just wasn’t the right time.
Suddenly in 2019, it was the right time. I found myself doing it one day without much forethought but with my heart in my mouth and butterflies in my stomach. Running on nerves and chocolate, like usual.
And that was the turning point. That’s when this peace and happiness thing really got its hooks into me. Their testimony about my family was the final validation that clinched the deal. “They weren’t the wonderful people they claimed to be. Everyone saw it! You’re not crazy, Lenora. You’re just the last one to realize how screwed up they were. Everyone was wondering when, not if, you’d rebel.”
That was two months ago now. Have I been zen-like, tie-dyed, peace-sign flashing, chai tea drinking, sprouted alfalfa eating dreamer since then?
Yeah….no. No! I’m not unshakeable now but I don’t get as upset about things as I used to.
Since then I’ve been told a family member died…but they didn’t. Michael’s had two surgeries within two weeks. The A/C seized up and we ran out of money. The IRS informed me that I suck at math (no surprise there, Mr. House!), miscalculated my EIC or something and owe them another $70.83. (How come we round to the nearest dollar on Form 1040 but the IRS doesn’t round?!) My levothyroxine prescription needs tweaking. And something in the garden is eating holes in all my bean and morning glory leaves while ants have discovered that my clothelines make the best Skyways to get from tree to tree without ever touching the ground.
Did I get upset? Yep…but not as much as I would’ve before. Now I know “This too shall pass” and everything will be okay in the end. Nothing is as big a deal as it seems in the moment. I’m not willing to let my chain get yanked anymore.
I’ve weathered enough storms to know how to sail my ship.
I know that prayer works.
And I believe that we are extraordinarily blessed!
Best of all, I’ve discovered that I’m actually really happy! Like truly happy. Happy in my life, happy in our marriage, happy in our home. Happy enough for narcissism to become a back-burner topic while I focus on really live-live-living…not just being a narcissism-obsessed workaholic!
All that to say, yeah, it is possible to feel better. I was a mess back in 2016. A cute mess but still a mess. 😉 Michael will be the first person to tell you that in no uncertain terms. “You’ll feel better in about ten years,” he’d say.
Three million NmN pageviews later, I’d just like to say: If I, of all people, can feel peaceful and happy, Honey, so can you! Just hang in there!
Thank you for reading my stuff. Thank you for sticking with me for the past 3+ years. It’s been a bumpy ride but we made it.
Here’s to many more happy years together!