Most times when we read about narcissists, it’s a bad thing. They are portrayed as bad people because of their innate neediness to be better, to be praised, to be in control and all the other traits that I’m sure you’ve read about in other articles.
But having emerged from being a narcissist’s pawn for many years, I am able to see them in a clearer light and to even love them. How the heck did I get into this place of peace with the family of narcissism that I’ve been in for so long? Well, it’s taken me a lifetime, but here’s what I’ve learned and maybe it will help you too.
Narcissists aren’t bad people. They just live in a fear controlled mindset that they can’t help. Perhaps it was how they were raised? Perhaps it stemmed from experiences that they’ve had in life? Perhaps it’s innate and it’s just how they function? Perhaps it’s just what happens over time for some people? The causes may be a myriad of reasons that we probably won’t ever know and really, we don’t need to know. We just need to acknowledge that their ways of loving are different from ours.
I love my family of narcissists from afar. Yup, I do. I can see that they really do love me too in their own way, even though for years, I couldn’t understand their ways. Perhaps I don’t really understand their ways now either, but I am at peace with them. Finally. I may waver on this for a bit longer though, but the glimpse of peace has settled in me recently, the letting go of trying to be and prove my love when theirs was conditional. I see them in a different light.
At heart, they want what we all want which is love. But they have to have love shown in their way and their need for control isn’t something they can turn off because it’s powerful to them and very necessary. And the funny thing is, most of them aren’t even aware of it. It’s only healthy people that can really see it and I was unhealthy for a long time. I bought into the whole have to do as I say mentality in order to be given love. But I’ve learned that I am enough with or without their love and that they do love me in their own way, but not in mine. And that’s ok for me. Narcissists lack emotional empathy so they just don’t understand what you’re talking about when you say something about your feelings. There’s simply no core connection in the narcissist mind. Narcissists are disconnected, to themselves and to those whom they have in their lives. Any connection is superficial, even though in their minds, it is a love connection. But we know what healthy love is – it’s unconditional – and the fact is that they don’t.
Love them from afar. Allow their cold mood swings to not affect you because they don’t even know why they are doing it. They just know that in order to put you down, they feel better and that’s what they are craving. They are superior and they must tell it to you. It’s like air to them. And when you don’t supply that love in their particular way, they are angry. But they don’t know why so they blame it on you. When really, they are angry with that part of themselves. They can’t be vulnerable and they hate you for wearing your heart on your sleeve. They may even dislike you for being so readily available to meet their needs. It’s a strange dance with a narcissist. They are unpredictable. They jump to conclusions. They make up stories in their heads about you and situations that aren’t true because the truth, in the bare bones truth, can’t be tolerated. They can’t be wrong. They can’t be blamed, so they blame you. It’s a wild ride in loving a narcissist. For me, I didn’t fight back. I just took it and thought it was that I wasn’t enough. But my eyes have been opened and I realize that I am enough and they, in their heart of hearts, don’t think they are enough so they lash out because their view of love is skewed. There may be glimpses of knowledge that comes to them, but they can’t handle it so they push those bits of awareness away from them quickly. They can’t go there. So they prey on your vulnerability in order to make themselves feel better. It’s sad that they are so messed up. Don’t be angry with them. Feel sorry for them because they don’t understand healthy love and the give and take that comes with it.
I’m in a place of forgiveness lately and of acceptance. Not acceptance of bad treatment, but in an understanding place of acceptance. While I hate the following phrase, it is what it is, it suits the situation well. Because you can’t change them. You can only change your perception. You can remove yourself from engaging with them or you can limit the time spent with them. What you need to keep in mind is that you need to protect yourself from their toxicity and you will never be able to make them understand even if you explained yourself for a thousand years. It would spin a huge fight to call them a narcissist and it would do irreparable damage to the relationship. Now if you don’t want any part of the toxic relationship, then distance yourself cold turkey style. But if you are like me, and have to keep some semblance of a relationship because of outside factors, (you still have to deal with them because they are family etc), then allow distance to build up and yet stay barely connected. Because narcissists are smart cookies. If you stop feeding their egos, they will notice. They may move onto someone else, but when that supply runs out, they may be back to you with more neediness.
Do you understand what I’m saying? How do you feel about narcissists in your life? Sometimes to be with them in like being in a den of snakes so I get it if you have completely removed them from your life. But I guess I’m a glutton for punishment because I won’t do that as of now. I’ve got my eyes wide open, but for the sake of my children, for many different reasons, I keep a loose connection to the narcissists in my life.