Two weeks ago, a well-meaning friend posted a comment on my Facebook that was so thought provoking, I’ve been quietly cogitating on it ever since. She said:
Lorena, you have had it very rough in your life to say the very least. I am so very sorry you have had to live through this hell.
Since you now have a wonderful life and husband, one would ask, don’t you want to move forward ? There seems to be so much you go back to, so much unsolved in these postings. Your deserve the happiness you know is there for you. Why not shut the door on the unhappiness and leave it behind. Be free and enjoy your new found life. Note: Not in any way trying to be disrespectful to your thoughts or views just looking at it with a different set of eye’s.
After I got over the shock of being told I’d had “a very rough life” (really? have I?), I assured her that I’ve moved forward more than Narcissism Meets Normalcy reflects simply because it’s my job to write about narcissism. If I don’t write about narcissism, I don’t eat.
But she brings up a good point. Why do we narcissism survivors talk about it so much? Belong to Facebook groups about narcissism? Post the same stories of narcissistic abuse over and over again?
To outsiders, it may look like a pity party. Like we’re stuck. Mired in the past. Not enjoying our present.
That’s NOT true at all.
We repeat the same stories ad nauseum for three reasons.
- To challenge the “Normal” we learned from narcissists by soliciting other people’s opinions about events in our lives.
- To learn from their reactions to our tales what is Normal and what is not.
- To shock ourselves into having pity for ourselves via other people’s shock, horror and empathy.
You see, we’re not having a pity party at all. We should be having one. The magnitude of the abuse…and suffering it caused…certainly merit a honey of a pity party. But I never had one whilst in the midst of narcissistic abuse (i.e. it wasn’t allowed) and I’m not having one now. (But my narcissists certainly threw pity parties for themselves when they didn’t get their way!)
To throw a pity party, you must know that you’re being abused. I didn’t.
To throw a pity party, you must know your life is abnormal and wrong. I didn’t.
To throw a pity party, you must have empathy for yourself and narcissists won’t allow that. According to mine, I was so blessed. I should’ve been grateful for everything.
My narcissists weren’t the type to lay down the law without explanation. Oh, they were “my way or the highway” like all narcissists but they were unique in that they spent untold hours brainwashing me into pseudomutuality. They had very “logical” reasons for everything they said and everything they did to me. And if I “kicked against the pricks,” as St. Paul said, it was because I was immature, foolish, risking my safety, unChristian, etc.
That leaves no room for a pity party nor tears nor drama of any kind. More narcissists would spend the time on compelling pseudomutuality if they knew how easy it’d make their lives. You can say anything and do anything with no upset, no rebellion, no emotion from your victim if you take the time to brainwash them first.
It also leaves no room for normalcy…or even understanding what normalcy is!
Oh sure, I saw the fun and freedoms my peer group was enjoying…but my narcissists assured me I couldn’t do those things because “we love you more than those parents love their grown-up daughters.” Only an ungrateful “snot-nosed brat,” (one of Mom’s favorite sayings), would pout over having more love and my mama didn’t raise no snot-nosed brat!
Normal was bad. Normal was dangerous. Normal was ungodly. Normal was not be envied.
So you better believe I share the stories of thirty-six years of narcissistic abuse not because it shocks me…but because it does NOT.
I need your perspectives, your opinions, your outrage to shock me out of laadeedaa and into the shock, outrage and self-empathy I should feel for myself.
Take for example a comment a schoolmate posted on my last article, Narcissists: Stealing Your Hobbies, Appropriating Your Interests:
This makes me want to sob. This is pure evil.
Thank you for sharing your story.
I want to put my fist through the wall for you.
I gasped aloud when I read her comment. Until I looked at the article through her eyes, I never saw my narcissists actions as “evil.”
I liked hearing that! I’m trusting her perspective. But I never would have had that short, sharp shock into normalcy if I hadn’t “gone back” and opened the door on the past unhappiness.
In closing, here’s what my friend “Molly” had to say about the subject.
I think it’s important for you to go back and re-examine the “reality” your narcs tried to instill in you. That faulty thinking of theirs was to advance their own agenda, and warped your perceptions of the world and yourself. You would have a hard time moving forward if you don’t understand your past. And I think some traumas need to be outed over and over again until you are able to reset the tapes in your brain. You are doing the right thing, in my eyes. (emphasis mine)
So go ahead and tell your stories of narcissistic abuse…again and again and again…until you’re as disgusted, enraged and sympathetic on your own behalf as I am for you!