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  • Writer's pictureBeauty X Bloom

Overcoming: Narcissistic Abuse

What is a Narcissist?

The Mayo Clinic defines Narcissistic personality disorders as a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.”

“In the process of removing toxic people from your life, do not give in to guilt. You have nothing to feel guilty about! You’re not cutting off that person, you’re cutting off the toxic behavior they’re currently operating in. For example; your mother is your mother but right now she is operating in pain. Your father is your father but he is operating in addiction. You’re cutting off the ability to project pain and the cycle of addiction as that is what has overpowered those two individuals. Disassociate the individual from the addiction and/or abuse and the process of cutting off will be placed into perspective. This is a form of self-care, nothing to feel guilty about.”
-A very wise counselor

I tried this and I must say it is the most freeing experience I’ve ever had! It literally felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt an intense sense of relief, like the feeling you get after explosive waste has been released from your body. This mental depiction may be vulgar but I know you know the relief of having a large bowel movement. There’s a buildup of pressure, you feel uncomfortable, you may even experience pain but then it comes out and you take that huge sigh of relief because it’s gone! Mentally and emotionally, that’s how I felt.

During the process of cutting off, I realized how many emotions and negative memories I’d suppressed, along with my self-respect. I had convinced myself that I had a high sense of self respect, to an extent I did. However this experience brought out so many epiphanies and I realized that when you respect yourself, you don’t allow people to treat you any kind of way. This statement seems like a no brainer but it's taboo my situation because the person that I experienced the most disrespect from was my mother. Often when I thought of cutting off communication for the sake of my sanity, people would always say things like “well that’s still your mom you have to deal with her, you only get one mother, you’ll regret it if she dies in this process, when shit hits the fan for you your mother will always be there”. Previously those statements would guilt me back into an interaction with her but as of late, my eyes are wide open.

Now, my response to the previous statements are; I’m well aware that she is my mother, I love and respect her. However her sacrifices as my mother are no justification for her mistreatment. So, if I feel the need to take space, I’m going to give myself space. Truthfully, we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. Motherhood is a gift from God and a privilege. By no means should a child’s life be thrown in his/her face anytime there’s an attempt to hold their mother accountable for her toxic behavior. Nor is this a disrespectful approach, narcissists often see any form of disagreement or criticism as an attack or disrespect-it’s not!

Over the years I’ve learned that people can only give advice from the confines of their own experiences. They tell you, “you only get one mother” as if there is another YOU in the world. These same people are likely to make excuses for narcissistic parents when toxic behavior is displayed. When this happens they’re less likely to tell the mother, “you only get one (insert child’s name here), you’ll feel guilty if he or she dies during this process”. People often give parents passes for toxic behavior simply because they are parents. I’m not one for rewarding or excusing toxic behavior without acknowledgement and an apology simply because of a title. You chose to have children, the children didn’t choose to be here.

Mothers are supposed to display unconditional love, unfortunately that’s not always the case. Love should never be given or withheld based on her approval or disapproval of her child’s feelings. I really wish people would stop guilt tripping adult children back into toxic cycles because they don’t understand the need to establish healthy boundaries. In my experience cutting off all forms of communication for the time being is something that has to be done, not out of anger, vindictiveness, pettiness or disrespect but solely for the self-care of the individual who is constantly traumatized by such negative behaviors. I choose me. You can’t control others, especially your mother. ESPECIALLY, when she doesn’t see anything wrong with her behavior. So what do you do? Do you continue the same cycle? Or do you step away? I chose to step away, pray for my mother to heal and allow myself to heal.

As an adult child of a narcissistic parent I’ve struggled with insecurity, perfectionism, over thinking, depression, lack of healthy boundaries, second guessing myself, being overly sensitive, hypervigilance, constantly expecting the worse and feeling selfish for choosing to do what’s best for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s experiencing one or more of these “side effects”. In the process of cutting off or taking space I found myself feeling guilty. During that time I journaled often. I still journal daily in order to get through the series of emotions I feel on a daily basis. I remind myself over and over again- I have nothing to feel guilty about! It’s not selfish to put myself first. Freedom and peace are invaluable.

It's been about three years now. The situation is unfortunate. It does hurt but I’ve grown around the pain. If you’re experiencing anything like what I’ve mentioned, I encourage you to do what’s best for you. Let it go, no matter the relationship. Toxic is toxic. Stop poisoning yourself. I suggest the following steps to an autonomous life. These steps don't have to be completed in any specific order.

Accept it for what it is- Hope for the best but learn to accept the fact that you may never get the ideal relationship you’ve been longing for. Don’t compare your relationship to anyone else’s, it’s not the same.

Learn to identify your emotions- I googled an emotion list, took a screenshot and saved it to my photos. Whenever I noticed that I was not feeling like myself, I look at that picture and identify what I'm feeling. Oftentimes we think we feel angry but if we dig deep enough we’ll recognize that we actually feel hurt, betrayed, disrespected, tossed aside, unvalued, manipulated, enraged, disappointed and so on.

Allow yourself to FEEL- Typically when we feel pain or negative emotions we make ourselves busy, ignore the feelings and tell ourselves we’re not feeling them. This is because anytime we’ve made an attempt to tell the narcissist in our life what we’re feeling, they manipulate us into thinking that we feel something completely different. This has happened for so long, we’ve internalized it. In this moment allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come to you-don’t suppress them!

Release- Once you’ve allowed yourself to feel your emotions, release them. When you suppress your emotions they stick with you and show themselves in other relationships. They can also affect your health. Releasing your emotions can be done through journaling, dancing, screaming, crying, talking to someone about it (close friend or counselor), any form of artistic expression, working out or simply taking a walk. You have to get that negative energy out of your body!

I understand that some people drink, smoke or engage in other drug use as an outlet. This is not a healthy way to cope, this will cause more pain and can lead to an addiction. I used to use sex as a form of release. Don’t do that either. If you’re single you’ll find yourself having more sexual partners than usual because you are mindlessly sleeping with people as a means to trick yourself into thinking that you’ve escaped your emotions. You're seeking temporary pleasure or "a high" to escape from the pain you feel. If you’re in a relationship your partner may feel used or disconnected because you’re not truly allowing yourself to enjoy intimate moments. Intimacy and sex are completely different. You are typically distracted by emotions you’re pretending not to have. If you choose to engage in the unhealthy mechanisms, just remember, those emotions will still be there when you’re done. If you choose to identify, accept and release them, you’ll free yourself over time. This is not an overnight process, it takes a lot of work but it’s worth it.

Be self-sufficient – Take care of yourself, get and maintain a decent job, get your own place, pay all of your own bills, be wise with your finances. Once you are self-sufficient, you cut off an opportunity to be manipulated. The narcissist can no longer throw anything in your face, you bought it all for yourself. You won’t be made to feel as though you owe this person anything because you’re taking care of yourself.

Don’t get it twisted, you can accept help from others but be careful not to accept help from other narcissists or manipulative people. If you believe in God, pray for ability to discern spirits. Meaning, the ability to see a person's true intentions before engaging too deeply with them. Also, evaluate everyone in your life. Make sure you’re not continuing this toxic cycle with a different person, otherwise you’ll constantly be manipulated. You have to learn to discern the help. Some people have ulterior motives for helping you while others are very genuine in gestures of generosity. In any case, never let anyone make you feel like you owe them anything more than a thank you for what they chose to do for you. You should be appreciative but you don’t have to turn around and make sacrifices for that person solely because they helped you out. Do what you can when you can. You are not obligated to do anything just as they aren’t obligated to do anything for you. This is a tough process because you’ll constantly question whether or not you’re being prideful or if you’re operating in your discernment. Practice makes perfect, keep at it.

Disconnect/Detox – Disconnect from all interactions with the narcissist. Ensure that your motive in disconnecting is for your own healing, not to get back at the person who’s displayed such negative behavior towards you. During the time of disconnecting get to know yourself-flaws and all. Love yourself, look in the mirror and speak positive affirmations over yourself. Go shopping, see a movie, hang out with friends, workout, take a yoga class (or look up free yoga videos on YouTube), get in tune with your inner voice and let the pain go.

Engage in Self-care- Get your nails/hair done or cut, get a massage, go for a walk near some really beautiful scenery or go see a show. Go to counseling, this is a form of self-care believe or not. Get some sleep! This process is exhausting but worth it. Doing the inner work can be very exhausting, you will need to rest.

Forgive yourself- Often times when we step outside of toxicity, we look back on it feel stupid, guilty and angry with ourselves. We feel like we were naïve, we should have known better etc. The truth is we weren’t; we were being optimistic and trusting, two things we should feel comfortable doing with our parents. This is not your fault. Now that you know better, you can do better. Don’t pull yourself into a thought pit of depression and negative self-talk because you’re dwelling on a time when you didn’t know better.

Stand firm in your decision- A result of a narcissistic parental relationship is insecurity. We feel insecure about many things, our voice being one of the most influential. We question our ability to make decisions, engage in negative self-talk which leads to insecurities about our bodies, ability to achieve goals and so on. Remind yourself that your voice matters especially in YOUR life. Your decisions are yours just as your mistakes are yours to make. Do not get caught up in the notion that the bad things that may happen during the time of disconnection are karma or “God’s punishment” for your decision to disconnect. IT IS NOT! Life is life and things happen, role with it.

Your narcissistic parent will accuse you of betrayal and will tell you that bad karma will come to you as a result of your decision to disconnect from their toxicity. Be strong, stand firm in your decision and let go. You can’t change anyone but yourself. Changing yourself means strengthening your mind so that you’re not emotionally reactive but logical and tactful if you decide to engage in any future interactions. If you decide to engage in future interactions, perfect responding versus reacting and be assertive about your boundaries. Do not engage in any interactions until you are confident that you’re ready.

FORGIVE the Narcissist- Forgive your mother and/or father, even if no apology is given. During this time you will think A LOT. You’ll reflect on past experiences, think about the future and this will bring up a ton of emotions. As you think about your experiences and how various situations made you feel, accept those feelings, feel them, then let them go and FORGIVE. This way, you’re not holding a grudge and blocking your own blessings. If you’re holding grudges your hands aren’t open to receive blessings. In other words, if you’re allowing your vibrational frequency to be held down by negativity you won’t attract the high vibrations you desire.

Allow yourself to sit in the discomfort of happiness- Once you do all of this, you’re going to feel a sense of joy and peace like never before. It will feel foreign to you and make you uncomfortable because you’re so used to negative things happening to you. You’ve taught yourself not to get comfortable in happiness because you’re tired of the devastation that typically comes after that high. You are now living outside of a toxic reality so this cycle is broken! At this point, feel that happiness, embrace it, love it, expect it and constantly remind yourself that you deserve to be happy. Good things are SUPPOSED to happen to you. Own it and continue to bloom.



Mayo Clinic Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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