So many are peeling themselves out of marriages, relationships and friendships with narcissistic people these days, trying to heal and put themselves back together, and make sense of what they endured. Awareness and understanding are the first steps to healing.
There is a difference between a self-centered person and a narcissist. Most human beings are quite self-centered, barely able to see another’s perspective and anything outside of their limited grasp of reality. A narcissist, however, is someone who pulls you into a game of control, manipulation, blame, and deceit in which you will eventually give them your power, and lose your sense of self and free will.
Narcissists usually project a larger than life fantasy of themselves, are ever so charming, and can portrait being sensitive, empathic, thoughtful and caring, and may appear awakened. They are master manipulators, and can seem to be the person you’ve always dreamed of being with. They give lavish compliments, build you up, are helpful and just seem to love you like no one else ever has before. Being excellent actors, they can make you believe anything about them. But there is a glaring inconsistency that comes out the longer you are with them. A narcissist will inevitably project their negative and unhealed emotions onto you, and blame and shame you for their issues. They will never admit that they are wrong, unless this is useful to them in manipulating you into staying, or into further submission. They will increasingly stifle you and control your every move, your every breath, thinking it relates to them and that you are merely an extension of themselves, and not your own person with valid boundaries and a life of your own to live. There is an unquestioned entitlement that you owe them your life, and that everything you do relates to them. From their perspective your purpose is to give them your energy and light, your support and love, and to be there for them emotionally, mentally, physically, and often financially to be exploited as they see fit.
People are not born narcissists – they are molded as children through severe traumas and fragmenting of their spirits into becoming masters of manipulation and deception. Through breaking and fragmenting as children, they barely have enough of themselves left to survive, and so they learned to take from others what they cannot give to themselves. They are in an extreme form of survival-mode, in which they have lost all trust in themselves and are completely outward oriented. Many were taught to be narcissistic bullies by their own narcissistic parents, school teachers, coaches, pastors and other role models. They learned to manipulate and charm for what they wanted and the more it worked, the more they perfected their con-games for their own gain, living in fantasy world of their own making into which they pull everyone who lets them… They don’t usually know that they are a narcissist. Over the course of their lifetime, they have become so adept to their game that it has become their identity. They have become a god in their own mind, and thus no matter how spiritual or awakened they say they are, they are not capable of a real relationship with Mother & Father God or their own divine spirit.
Unfortunately, while spiritual narcissists may pretend to be on a healing or awakening journey, they will always shy away from doing the actual emotional healing work. They will have a thousand excuses, and project their issues onto you, taking what is supposedly your inventory, shaming you for their projected darkness that they see in you. Being a megalomaniac in nature, they may set themselves up as your teacher or healer, convincing you that they are advanced and far beyond your level of awareness and spiritual understanding, which puts them in an excellent position to control you even further.
Any attempts to push back, stand up for yourself, or help them actually heal and face their emotions, will be met with an arsenal of raging accusations and masterfully disguised projections that will make you feel shamed, diminished, confused and maybe even suicidal by the end of the conversation, and them standing tall and towering over you, fully justified in the punishment and abuse they exerted for your breaking out of the box they appointed for you. But they may go even further, and now that you feel small and in pieces, pretend to be there for you and make themselves out to be your comforter and confidant, while you give in and silently hate yourself for losing your power so completely to them.
A narcissist is not inherently a bad person, but they have placed themselves through extreme arrogance in a position where they cannot accept help, and cannot be healed. They live in fear and won’t let go. Healing the narcissist is not your job, and not your responsibility. It is theirs and theirs alone. It is not for us to save them, nor to enable them and protect them from the consequences of their actions and behaviors. They can heal, just like anyone else, when they give themselves permission to do so, and when they can find the honesty and humility that it takes to let go of their fantasies, projections and toxic control, and face the pain they caused as well as the devastation of their own emotional traumas that have facilitated their development into these glamorous perpetrators.
Whether you have already removed yourself from the relationship with the narcissist, or are still struggling to break out, you must forgive yourself for getting pulled into their games, and for feeling like you were enabling your own soul-theft. It was not your fault that you fell into their trap. But it is yours to do the necessary healing so that this doesn’t happen again.
Most women and men who were or are in relationships with narcissists, also had a traumatic upbringing. Many grew up with at least one narcissistic parent, and we were so used to this type of emotional, and maybe also physical abuse, and attracted those people to them because of the familiarity of their particular dysfunctional patters and behaviors. We saw ourselves as inferior, unworthy, and in need of other people to fill the hole in our lives, and validate us, and they saw us coming from miles away… We didn’t trust ourselves and our intuition, and manipulated our perception of the narcissist to fit our own fantasy of what we wanted to see, versus the reality of the abuse that kept shining through the veil that was pulled over our eyes.
As part of our healing, we must leave behind the bliss-bunny syndrome, the spiritual concept of everything being love and light, because it doesn’t allow us to see reality. When we focus on seeing ourselves, the world, and other people only in a certain positive way, we miss out on the reality of what is really going on all around and within us. It is a form of denial that can easily put us in the path of narcissists, and while we are focused on seeing the love and light in them, they are taking us for everything we’ve got. And we let them with a smile on our face because we feel that we owe the world our happiness, fake or not…
With compassion and love for ourselves we must allow the full reality of the relationship to come into awareness, and of our own emotional devastation. In looking back, we can see that we often did have impulses to speak up and even to walk away, but for a variety of reasons, we suppressed them. Forgive yourself for staying. Forgive yourself for standing by as you and your resources were being exploited and you became smaller and smaller. Forgive yourself for now having to heal and put yourself back together. It is not all their fault, nor is it all yours. It takes two to tango, but in the case of a relationship with a narcissist, you were the one being played and damaged.
Find your inner child and make amends for not being able to protect it. Cry and grieve the loss of self that occurred, and know that you will be okay. You can heal from this experience, and grow, and learn not only discernment and trust in yourself, but also allow this to be the rock bottom that permits you to fully step into your awakening. Use this as an opportunity to heal the childhood traumas that you were not able to heal before, so that you can step into the power of your authentic self, rather than being tossed about like a feather in the wind. Build the foundation of trust, honesty and discernment within yourself that will give you the courage and strength to stand your ground at all times and in all circumstances, and allows you to see what is really in front of you, rather than a fantasy. If you want to heal and awaken, you must allow your authentic self to come out. Through your own authenticity you will be able to recognize that of others, and be able to see and chose your relationships with discernment and self-love, knowing that you are deserving of real love.
I have written a 2nd article on this topic that goes all the deeper into healing ourselves from narcissistic relationships. Click here to read.