Sound familiar? So, this is my modified version of the Narcissists Prayer. I have re-evaluated my need to label others as addicts or narcissists. In my attempt to recover, I found myself needing to know “but whyyyyy???” And the singular answer of “because I suck” is no longer acceptable to me. My upbringing taught me over decades of collective attitudes and actions, that any harsh treatment of me was either →imagined →fabricated, or →well earned. And that is 100% deranged and untrue. AND–It stands to reason that if I am willing to believe I can earn abuse or cause someone else to mistreat me, you know what else I believe…that another person may earn abuse or cause me to mistreat them.
What a fucken mess. That cycle stops here and NOW. I work daily to unlearn and overcome that programming- to create a better life and experience for my children, who are required to participate in arrangements that are hurtful to me, their mother. They are being groomed as abusers and silent bystanders to things to which they object. Not only does this conflict with their need to feel loyal and protective of me. It is a breech to our family values. We do not stand by while anyone gets compromised, abused, excluded, mistreated…whatever you need to call it. That is not the way we intend to be in the world.
The behaviors that naturally accompany the sick thinking and believing have been destructive beyond words. I will no longer abide. So, in my quest to understand and disengage completely from something I could not effectively name, I found myself consistently relating to the stories of survivors of similar experiences which had been designated as narcissistic abuse. What a relief, to finally have a word for IT– and to exchange that for my previously held belief that the only real issue or cause, was how much I sucked– how unlovable and unworthy of connection and protection I was. Deeply entangled in the sick system, I was unconsciously willing to participate in my own abuse and failing to learn to care for myself and protect myself in healthy and sane ways. Because, who cares for and protects a piece of shit???.…My only real responsibility, was to be grateful to be allowed to come around and to learn to say ouch in less upsetting ways. I was to show gratitude in the form of becoming someone other than myself. Hopeless. Honestly, I saw my options as 1) Have an abuser OR 2) Have nobody. My spiritual striving left me unable and unwilling to accept these as my only options. And if they were—OPTION 2, for sure.
I don’t cause others to do anything. Especially people older than me who have been doing and saying as they have since before I was able to even walk or talk. I disagree. I object. I refuse to accept any of it. I now humbly, if not eagerly accept responsibility for the things which I say and do. Sometimes I offer reasons for why I have behaved poorly and those are not excuses. I need to understand for myself why I do as I do, so that I may adjust. Like, “So, I got too hungry and you were upsetting me and asking more of me than I could handle and I lost my shit before I could say, ” I need food and a lil space before I may be able to participate in a healthy way. Let me get back to you.”
While the behaviors “THEY” choose with regularity, to me, bear striking similarity to the descriptions of narcissists and addicts, I acknowledge that I am, unqualified to diagnose or determine their mental states. It feels more wholesome, accurate, and truthful for me, to use the word ABUSER. Some behaviors are abusive and damaging. I will no longer claim to know what is behind those behaviors, only that they do damage and that I object and choose to be vocal about those who speak and act in ways which are diminishing and harmful.
Taking steps to violate the humanity of another is abuse. Abuse is not subjective. A beating is a beating. One who suffers less or copes more effectively is no less abused than the one who crumbles. It is true that the one who crumbles will be more likely to seek healing, relief, validation, connection, affirmation. The one who is resilient is more likely to consider themselves stronger and better, and to never heal and reconcile–and then to carry on the legacy of abuse. Seeking and sharing my truths helps me to develop resilience and self-esteem; previously foreign to me.
FYI—-Abuse: to use or treat in such a way as to cause damage or harm. ? OH! AND An abuser does not get to decide how or how much others are affected by their behaviors…like cutting someone and dictating/judging how much they bleed.
Hearing my experience told by someone else helps me to feel less alone, more connected– So-It is to the others who have not yet found their words and voices, to whom I share my healing. Healing from experiences which seem directed at erasing me and killing my spirit. Sharing and connecting in this way have been the balm!
Without the experience, strength and hope of those who have gone before me, I would still be begging for better treatment in the most pathetic and draining ways, from those incapable of hearing or caring. I would be telling people about themselves in ways that would compromise my own sense of well being and self-respect. And I would be providing a healthy supply of material that might allow THEM to say: “See, she deserves it, she is impossible.” Maybe I am impossible, but that gives nobody the right to hurt me. No fucken body. And without recovery, I might roll up to my sister’s work and tell her things about herself that are factually accurate and deeply wounding, things she would do anything to not think or hear. And I would certainly tell my ex-husband a thing or two. But– I get to co-parent with him for the rest of our lives, so I do what I can to elevate that relationship in spite of everything. Our children matter more to me than how I feel about the negative impact of his choices on us, as a family.Much Love,
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