I’ve had a lifetime of dealing with the narcissistic spectrum from my own family of origin, to romantic relationships/marriages, co-workers, colleagues, neighbors, “friends” and current family members, but I didn’t realize what I was dealing with until I was forty-six years old.
I had no idea there was a name for the lifetime of confusion I felt and the feeling of something not being right — until I stumbled upon the book by Dr. Karyl McBride called Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.
If you’ve read many books about narcissistic abuse, you’ll see they insinuate that as a result of having been abused, we are somehow damaged mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Forever. They teach learned helplessness. —No thanks.
Well-meaning programs sold to help us heal tell us we can’t or shouldn’t be high-functioning or successful, and if we are, we are somehow not being authentic, so therefore we need this program. This is to instill doubt in yourself and the hard work you’e already done. So, you need the program they are selling… for only $297 or $500! YIKES!
Almost every single solitary thing I’ve seen created for healing, tell the survivors of abuse the same thing: We didn’t love ourselves. Bullshit. These people don’t speak for me. I’ve been doing this work since I was a teenager. We had to love ourselves or we would have died. As someone who is actually doing the deep work of healing, we not only heal in layers, we also love ourselves in layers. I love myself much more today, than I did then, but I still loved myself.
Although I am not a life coach, therapist or counselor, I am a nurse. Many times throughout my life, I’ve been told I should have been a counselor. I will share here what I’ve learned in my lifetime of dealing with this, and what I’ve learned from my own counseling and life experiences.
I see some of this spectrum the same way the experts do and although many would like for you to believe that the reasons for narcissism are cut and dried, they are not.
I see many people out there trying to profit off our pain by selling expensive programs to those of seeking healing. If they work for you, great. They didn’t work for me. I already have what I need inside me to heal. Determination and grit. As a empath with boundaries, I see many healers, life coaches and experts that have become as narcissistic as the people they call narcissists.
This blog is my healing place.
I know we can get through to the other side of this pain if we dig deep, which is what I did in my memoir Steel Town Girl.
But, that’s only the beginning.
As survivors of immense abuse and neglect in childhood, we have to continue to undo the damage that’s been done to us. We have to heal that— while holding firm to boundaries to prevent further abuse now.
Boundaries can feel like a discard, but they are not, and healing can make you feel narcissistic— but you’re not. It’s all so disorienting to our brains and confuses the empathic heart you’re trying to keep open in the midst of what feels like hell.
It can feel like trying to get your footing on a rocking boat in a stormy sea.
Welcome to the ride of my life.