Once you’ve identified the narcissist in your life, almost all that you thought you knew and would have bet your life on knowing for sure goes out the window. And if that’s not enough of a bitter pill to swallow, there’s more. You have to rearrange your thinking in order to process the relationship and heal from it. You may even have to continue a relationship with the narcissist on top of your newfound knowledge and that makes for a bit of chaos in your heart, mind and soul until you come out the other side of the dilemma.
But what I can tell you is that you will be more at peace when you do get to the other side. Crossing that seemingly large divide is the key to success.
If it feels like it matters more significantly that the narcissist is family – a parent, child, spouse, sibling – perhaps that does makes a little difference in how they are related to you. If the narcissist is a friend, work colleague or boss, that may change things as well. But the bottom line is this:
It’s up to you to heal with your newfound knowledge.
What worked for me is this:
- I stepped out of the relationship. What I mean is that when I was interacting with the narcissist, I didn’t come from my point of view. I looked at the situation as a whole from an observer point of view. I watched how s/he acted and how I reacted in the first few meetings after I learned about narcissism. This way I could notice what was happening in our relationship without being actively engaged in the sometimes hurtful things that happened between us. I still acted the same, but I didn’t let it get under my skin as I had before because I was thinking in a different way.
- I realized that it wasn’t about me. Not the way they spoke to me, treated me or acted with me. I didn’t have to defend myself when I was right. I didn’t have to make them see the logic in whatever they were thinking.
- S/he does what they do because they need a narcissistic supply to feed them. You happen to be a supplier. End of story. That’s it folks. You are not more than that to them. It’s not about you with the narcissist. So don’t take the relationship as more than that.
- I analyzed how I looked at love and how that type of thinking got me into the situation. I began to see how I put up with certain situations and behaviors because I loved them.
- I began to make boundaries which I stuck with no matter how hard it was. I didn’t start fight with the narcissists, but I did stand my ground peacefully without emotion.
- Slowly our relationships evolved into almost business-like communications. I stopped mourning what I thought I had with them and faced what I did. Knowing more about the narcissist energy, I understood more about what was behind the mask that they wore and was able to be kinder in certain situations (while standing my ground) which was very healing for me.
- I let go – huge step in the right direction – and chose to be alone rather than to be controlled by people who took, but didn’t give without a reason (narcissist supply).
- I went back and looked at certain situations with a new outlook and saw how I lost myself by trying to please them and I slowly began to not make the same mistakes.
- I made a conscious effort to act and not react to their provocations which slowly transferred my power back to me because I had given it away in order to keep peace. I realized that I am important too and while peace is important to me, so is being authentically me.
- I forgave myself and them for all that had happened between us. That was a big one because I feel like we are all doing the best we can with what we know and what we are comfortable with because we all have different needs. It’s not really their fault that I was narc bait. It was a combination of both of us at that time.
- Finally, I came to terms in my heart, mind and soul that I am blessed because I can feel love freely, give and take love which is healthy and that I deserve it. While I understand through research that narcissists do not love in the same way (due to their brains needing narcissistic supplied fuel more than actual love as we know it), I believe I will always have a sadness for those who find healthy love impossible.
We can’t go back to change the past. We can only look at our present relationships and move forward. So drop the guilt, anger, resentment, sadness from the experiences in your past with them and choose to be present now with all that you know. Keep learning so that you better understand yourself and those people around you. Find forgiveness and the blessings that may have come from your relationship. (Example – your kids).
I hope this little list helps you to find your authentic self again. You deserve to be happy.