Is there hope?

It’s Narcissist Friday!

Is there a future for those who have been abused by a narcissist?  What does that future look like when you are afraid of relationships, drained of initiative and joy, and left feeling so broken and betrayed?  How could the future be bright when the pain won’t go away?

I am convinced that there is not only a hope for victims of narcissism, but there is life and victory and joy even for those still in narcissistic relationships.  The answer lies in accepting yourself.

Narcissism feeds on the energy of others.  When the narcissist has had access to a person over time, the victim begins to feel confused, drained, hopeless, worthless, and weak.  We have talked about the reasons for this, but it has to do with the narcissist’s systematic destruction of anything that might stand in his or her way.  The narcissist tears down defenses much like the cat plays with its food before killing it.

But when you begin to accept the emotions you feel and begin to understand that the confusion is not your fault; then you begin to heal.  Anger may motivate you to action.  Resolve moves each foot forward, no matter how much your weakness argues.  Believing that you are acceptable and that you have purpose and promise will begin to cultivate a sense of wellness, no matter how small it begins.  Seeing and speaking the truth brings strength.

You are not what the narcissist has taught you that you are.  You are not stupid.  You are not hopeless.  You are not needy.  You are not dependent on him or her.  The narcissist is not what he told you he was.  He is not your savior.  He is not your brain.  He is not the only one who will “put up” with you.  He is not your answer.  Your friends are not what the narcissist has said about them.  Authorities in your life are not what the narcissist says they are.  Life is not the way the narcissist says it is.  The narcissist lies.

You see, you can reject the lie that has been planted in your heart.  Even if you are still in the relationship.  Even if your narcissist is your spouse or your parent.  You don’t have to agree with the lie.  You can begin to live by the truth.

So here are some practical ideas:

  • Tell yourself: I am I and he is only he.  She is not me.  I am not her and I am not a reflection of her.  He does not think for me and I do not agree with him.  We are different people and that’s good.
  • Think: I may not like my emotions, but I can use them.  I don’t want to be an angry person, but I will let my anger move me to do what I need to do.  I will not be a sad person, but my sense of loss will remind me that I was able to love.  My feelings of betrayal and confusion and even fear will help me to build boundaries in my life that I can use to protect myself.  When I feel humiliated, embarrassed, or foolish, I will remember that others have felt the same way because of the same kinds of things and I will be kind and helpful and accepting.  My emotions will not control me, but I can use them to move forward and/or to stand strong.
  • Build a new life.  You may or may not be able to leave the narcissistic relationship, but you never again have to be trapped by it.  Because you accept yourself, more and more, you will find others who accept you and you will grow stronger.  Your narcissist won’t like it, but that’s his problem.  There are things and people you like, ideas you hold, and these are just as valid as his.  He is not allowed to define you.
  • Accept love.  There is love for you.  Jesus loves you.  I believe that with all my heart and more.  I believe it as historical, experiential, and internal truth.  Find the love He offers you and accept it.  (Please feel free to write to me directly.  I would be happy to explain this further.)

These are, perhaps, more words of encouragement than of real help.  I have met many people who have successfully moved on with their lives after their relationship with a narcissist.  Some of them are still in the relationship (Mom is still Mom) but they are no longer controlled by it.  All of them went through the same basic process.

And they found themselves again.

8 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

8 responses to “Is there hope?

  1. SueM

    Is there hope? Yes, there is. Everything you write here is what I have experienced and learned over the past year. I am healing and finding myself and my self-confidence. I am still with him and probably will be until I have the strength to stand and move forward.

    I’m getting ready to start blogging again even!

    Thank you Dave.

    • Kelly

      All of this is true. This was my story from the last 14 months. The truth shall set you free. When I dis-entangled myself from my ex husband through the divorce process , I began to weave the truth into my heart and it changed my life. To this day people say even my physical appearance has changed. My skin no longer looks like I am under accute stress (which I was). I have a peaceful countenance because the fight is over. I can tell you, I would have never left my husband. I was committed to death do us part despite his narcissism. He left me, by God’s providence, and it set me free. Not only can a person heal from this, but you can be better than you ever were before. I am getting re-married this fall to a man who has a complete heart for Christ and has no trace of NPD. Our relationship is so refreshing, lovely, fragrant and tranquil. I have to give Jesus Christ all the glory for not only healing a wounded heart but giving me a treasure in my soon to be husband. With God ALL things are possible.

  2. Kelly

    I have a narcissistic parent who is actively in my life. What I have found here is that like Dave said, I MUST maintain my separateness from her. I know when she plays the same old messages to me that she always has, I deliberately head them off at the pass with the truth in my mind. Her behavior toward me is motivated by her own misery and un-personhood. She is jealous of any joy in my life and seeks to find ways to discount or dismantle anything good with a bunch of negativity. Ironically, she had a very difficult time with my divorce because as she saw me starting to “fly” on my own and grow it really threatened her and she started up verbal abuse. At a time when I could’ve used parental support I got more narcissism. The knowledge of how NPD works and the knowledge that being of victim of them does not make me ONE OF THEM, I believe I broke free. I can still have my mom in my life…I do love her because I understand her and I get “why” she does what she does…it’s just now, she can’t “reach” me anymore and that is a very good thing.

  3. Sue and Kelly, your words of personal experience mean so much more than anything I could say through teaching. Thank you!

  4. This post is particularly encouraging to me. It brings hope and it has brought clarity to a situation that was so painful. I literally thought I was going nuts but what has been written here is exactly what I experienced. The pain no longer holds me hostage. What still hurts though is that the love I felt for this person I had to let go. I loved him so intensely and deep into my heart, I literally thought I was going to die when the relationship ended. Thats what pains me the most. I wouldve loved him into eternity with all my heart. He broke my spirit, he broke me, until I could no longer recognize who I was. I was becoming someone I did not like. How can someone do this to you? And how could I allow this to be done to me. It seemed things were easier when I stopped arguing with him. That is when my self esteem fell apart, when I let the lies about myself seep in. I am a good person……..I am not bad. I had to constantly tell myself this. The stress from this relationship caused an injury that took 8 months to recover from. When I looked in the mirror I saw an old, tired, ugly person. I am recovered from the physical ailments now. I just wonder how long my heart will hurt for all the injustice I endured. I really do hesitate to view him as a monster because there were pieces to him that were lovely and I adored and admired. But I must keep my shield up.

  5. nada

    thnq u really encourge me , its my first time to know about narcsssm

  6. True…my kids and I are the walking wounded. Trying to put our lives back together. We are in a better place now, but we have healing ahead of us, and lots of stability to build. I’m lonely but am not sure I can trust anyone, again. My kids are trying to catch up with school, and hopefully have a normal life someday. I hope my daughter’s don’t subconsciously pick boyfriend or husbands like their narc..father. I hope they have learned from their mother’s mistake.

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