Narcissistic abuse: an afterword

Please enjoy this beautiful music.

The topic came up recently when I renewed contact with one of my friends from years ago, and I went through the post I’ve made 2 years ago: I’ve been a best friend of a pathological narcissist. As my friend mentioned there is a lot of general information, but also then it goes to unloading all the emotional burden that the whole situation has caused me, and displaying nearly unbelievable situations that have been happening.

Having a fresh perspective after few years of not having toxic people in my life is now making me react with disbelief to all what I’ve read in my post. It truly is hard to accept that this has been happening, and now I am kind of angry with myself that I didn’t end things earlier.

The level of toxicity, the poison, the negativity, when I try to remember it now it is taking a toll on my entire being. I cannot believe this has been happening for 7 years of my life. After letting go of the anger I feel like now it is time to mourn the 7 precious years of my youth. Luckily, at that time I have also been looking for normality outside of this toxic relationship so not all of it was lost, and I managed to direct my focus to things worthwhile, that I try to justify the lost time with. At least there was something, at least I was not completely consumed by it.

Still, I do feel sad about it. I probably will be mourning for a while, but in general I perceive this as a sign that the process of healing has started, and my mind is moving forward. All the steps are needed for a healthy ending. I’ve never liked the faux positivity, saying “it’s over, do not be sad or angry anymore, why waste any more feelings on it”, and while rationally it does make sense if you ignore the fact that we are humans and we are led by our emotions, no matter how rational you think you are, but in practice surpressing the emotional impact something has had on us is unhealthy and can even end up with physical consequences.

I’ve been reading a lot on psychosomatic illness recently, since I am dealing with fibromyalgia. I do not like this diagnosis in the sense that I feel like it’s an empty umbrella term for a set of symptoms that are poorly understood. The medication borders on placebo when it comes to effectiveness, and all our knowledge is just a set of hypotheses, and no solid information that would explain everything is known.

One hypothesis got me thinking the most, and that’s dr Sarno‘s approach. He points out what should be obvious, that the link between the mind and body is so strong that we should consider them one. Unfortunately religious dogma prevents people from accepting this as a fact (since it goes against the idea that body is just a vessel, and what truly is you is your soul, aka mind), and we are behind the scientific progress. As usual, so nothing new here.

Dr Sarno believes that fibromyalgia is purely a psychosomatic illness. What it means is that we experience the symptoms of real illness, but the physical cause is nonexistent. For example with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) the cause is unknown and people usually just refer to it as ‘too much stress’, ‘hypersensitivity’, etc., but physically there is nothing wrong with the bowels themselves. No obstructions, no signs of cancer or other causes.

The mechanism behind it is that the brain is protecting itself from danger. In this case the danger is all the repressed emotion. Be it caused by trauma or as he says, the rage of the inner child. The brain considers the magnitude of the emotion, and becomes afraid of what if it gets out. Some people, me included, feel the rage inside that could end up with violent outbursts, to the point where if you tried to imagine your own rage, it feels like if you let it out you are just going to be the bomb that destroys the world.

The causes of the rage are irrelevant, what is important is the subjectively perceived magnitude of them. The brain doesn’t want this dangerous situation to appear, it doesn’t want you to feel that rage. So what does it to?

Hey, hey, here, look, we are hurting, something must be wrong here, maybe we are ill, let’s focus on that now.

Besides the fact that repressed trauma and repressed rage take a toll on our nervous system, causing an overload, the brain also tries to protect us from it by manifesting painful symptoms of illnesses to redirect our focus elsewhere, it actually prefers us to believe we are going to die from cancer, because it seems safer than letting us feel the repressed emotions.

I digress a bit from the main topic, but I feel this is important to point out when we consider emotions in general and how we should deal with them. Repression is not the way. It also does not make us weak. If you allow yourself to feel and work through the emotions, that is a sign of a real strength. Consider this – your brain truly prefers to think it’s dying, than to face them.

I am very happy I chose those 2 years ago to write down the truth of what has been happening. Right now I am in way better place, and not only letting it out in the first place has allowed me to reach this point, nowadays if I were to document the events perhaps I myself would not be able to do it. Eventually you start forgetting things, and doubting yourself – has this really happened? Maybe I misunderstood. I have those moments quite often, and I over-analyze everything each time, going back to all those events, and trying to make sense of them, and check myself if I could have been wrong. Each time I also reach the same conclusion, that could have been summed up by the original post. I was not wrong, I wrote all of that in the hightened moment of clarity. I’ve also been writing in over some time to keep checking the facts, to check my emotions, to check my judgement. I’ve discussed it with my Love to make sure I do not allow my personal feelings to cloud my judgement over what was the truth. I might dislike someone, but what I do not want to do is to misjudge them. Credit needs to be given where it is due, and injustice needs to be pointed out.

Also please do forgive me for the grammar and chaos of it. My mind is a chaotic place, and after all this entire blog is just my ramblings that I attempt to put in a digestible form for others, with varying success.

At this point, the dominant feeling is regret and sadness. But it is only the feeling regarding the entire situation. In general in life right now I couldn’t be happier. I have everything I’ve ever wanted, my only concern is what will I lose first and when, because life is never a constant. Despite that, I am focusing on appreciating everything as it is, while it lasts.

I would prefer to not feel regrets in life, but it cannot be fully avoided. I would like to take the opportunity to just leave the original post and this one, as a sort of warning for others. If at least one person reading this, or knowing about my situation, will remove themselves from a toxic situation and have a new perspective on those things, make the conscious decision to start their lives anew, changing the narratives for the authentic ones, and look for the healthy and positive relationship, then it has been worth it.

We really do need more awareness about narcisstic abuse and toxic relationships. I can see that this is being popularized strongly, more and more people are sharing their experiences, letting go of the past and removing themselves from toxic situations. We no longer have an issue when a wife needs to stay with an alcoholic husband who beats her. People used to force them to stay together ‘for better or worse’, while now we know better than that and tend to offer help, in general as a society.

I still cannot believe what has been happening. I thought I was smarter than that, but also coming the latest news that I’m an autist it makes sense to me. I did a lot of bad things that I do regret, but most of all I regret allowing myself to be manipulated into doing them. I have this savior complex where I ride in my shining armor to the help of anyone who is bullied, hurt, and it’s easy to fake these things for attention, to exploit those protectors of the underdogs. But now I know better at least, and it is way easier for me to recognize these things.

I’ve noticed also that this is the main way people approach me to get something out of me. The savior complex is really a big weak spot for me that I need to work on better. And I do believe that I can allow myself to become ruthless in a way. If someone tries to manipulate you, you need to be firm and call them out on their bullshit. Will they feel shame, humiliation even, anger? Sure, but you cannot coddle the world. Also if you avoid confrontation at all cost, you will protect only yourself. What about the others? What about those who do not have those defensive skills yet, and are vulnerable? The core of the problem are the manipulators, not the victims not being strong enough. I do believe that one bad encounter will not teach a manipulator a lesson, but they will at least think twice next time. Maybe. If they’re any smart.

Anyways, the life moves on and most of all I feel relief. The difference in life quality is night and day. There is no longer anyone to try to convince me that everyone hates me, no more directing my focus towards meaningless drama, I also no longer need to pretend or confirm lies to people in order to protect someone’s feelings. I can live my authentic life, and while some people may have a problem with my truth, none of us are forced to be in each other’s circles. I no longer accept in my circle people who are close-minded, who lack awareness, and inquisitiveness towards not only others but also themselves. I no longer accept people who first will take offense at suggestions, create drama, and only then think about them. I no longer want to be associated with people who are still blinded by their egos. I say this as if I was some superhuman who overcame their ego, no, I’m just an autist who didn’t experience the issue in the first place. I know for most people it is difficult, but the more I want to appreciate those who did their homework and opened themselves to their vulnerabilities. The interactions with those people are so much different than the normal ones, it is unreal. Once they see their own blind spots, they accept their vulnerabilities and they check their egos, how they view other people changes dramatically.

They are so insightful, open and honest. Lately I talk a lot to people like that and my eyes tear up because of how much I appreciate their beauty, it’s overwhelming. It makes me feel so positive about the world, about the people, it gives me hope and brings meaning to communication, to not closing myself from the world, and hiding in my lair and just living an isolated life. Isolated life is a great comfort to me, and something I do desire, but I like it when it’s not a necessity but my own choice and need.

Your home, same as your mind, is your sanctuary only when it is not a retreat.

Things are moving forward, and so do I. Next week I will attend my first ever voluntary meditation session with other people. I am terrified but excited at the same time. I’m afraid what if I have a meltdown. But I also feel like now I do have the space and mindset to overcome the fear, and just heal. Heal the now, heal the past, heal the stress of every day life in the world that is so alien to me.

Meeting people from the past has also been healing in a way. I feel like it gave me the opportunity to clarify, and confront the past events, and close certain chapters. It is wonderful to see how people have changed over the years, and the growth of some of them is so beautiful I am out of words. And I am grateful to be now surrounded with people who are supportive, and interested in growing together.

Right now I am just hoping this process will continue, and I am ultimately happy with how everything turned out, despite the road being rocky and painful.

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