It is terribly annoying to me when someone pretends to know my mind better than I do. Likely, the level of annoyance I feel when that happens is due to a heightened sensitivity borne of years of enduring this very thing. I took it uncomplainingly for much of my life. I would either submit to mother's or sister's analysis or quietly reject it without saying much of anything. It didn't do to contradict them because no one is more right than they are when they make a pronouncement. As for my heightened sensitivity. That isn't a bad thing. When someone has clobbered you really good and left a nice big bruise, if someone lightly presses on that bruise you are going to react. Your reaction isn't about you being too sensitive. It is about you having a sore spot pressed on. Just because you react sooner than someone else may to having that spot poked at doesn't mean there is something wrong with you. It means they need to lay off.
It turns out that the two people who knew me least were the ones telling me how I felt and how I thought. Isn't that the way it usually goes? It is ridiculous how often even a stranger will presume to tell you your own mind. I finally caught on to the fact that these two women didn't know me as I approached my forties. It became more and more clear to me that these two women knew so little about me as a person that it was completely laughable that they could think to tell me my own mind.
With narcissists, what suffices as knowledge of you is that they have learned a few of your buttons. With a little trial and error they have divined how to get you to jump when they say jump. This is what they use to pretend to themselves, and to you, that they know you better than you know yourself. They have summarily decided that because they can manipulate you with a few of your fears, or with your decency, they know who you are as a person. Unless you are simply a construct of a few base fears...this can't possibly be true.
Humans tend toward considerable complexity. Well, at least, normal humans do. Narcissists are different in this regard. In case you haven't already noticed it, narcissists are very predictable and basic. Nevertheless, each narcissist believes they are supremely unique and, therefore, just supreme. Part of what makes them 'supreme' in their opinion is that they reject the feeling side of themselves. Feelings are 'weak'. Thus begins the process of pretending away their feelings. Denying their existence. To reject the feeling side of one's humanity is going to render you a two-dimensional being. We see this in narcissists. No depth. No humanity. Any complexity they have achieved is simply due to all the lies they construct around themselves.
People too often agree with the narcissist that we are "weak" when we show our emotions, or when we let ourselves feel our emotions. This is a very significant thing that separates us from the narcissist: allowing ourselves to feel our emotions--especially the really big scary emotions. It is because the narcissist refuses to feel his emotions that he has to start pretending his way through life. He pretends to NOT feel what he feels. In pushing away his feelings he loses track of why he behaves like he does. He doesn't see cause and effect. Much of the time he ends up projecting onto you what he is feeling. This allows him to pretend those feelings are outside of himself...and then he attacks those feelings after he lays them onto you. It is safe that way. Introspection and accountability must be avoided at all costs because he is desperately fearful of really knowing who he is. I don't blame him for that...he is a vile creature by now and would have a terribly costly price to pay to own up for what he has done throughout his life.
Feelings are not good or bad in a moral sense. They just are. It is what we do with them that enters the moral sphere. We are accountable for our behaviors. What I have noticed after having lived this long is how often people are ready to instantly condemn you if you feel angry. Anger is one of those emotions considered to be always wrong in many people's estimation. They don't say this outright, but it comes out in how they address you and your anger. You need to get past it. You need to forgive. You need to forget about it. Move on. Etcetera ad nauseum. Never mind that your anger is an appropriate reaction to a gross injustice. Get over it. Why? Because they are uncomfortable with it? How narcissistic of them.
I've talked before about emotions vs. behaviors and how, no matter what our emotions are, we must behave in a moral way. Being angry is not justification for doing wrong by someone else. I am trying to get to something else so I won't go into more detail on this aspect.
What I want to get to is how do you know if you are in a healthy place in your head? How do you know, for yourself, that you are not letting your anger ruin your life?
You have the psychobabblers and do-gooder Christian types clucking their tongues if you happen to show a flash of anger when talking about the narcissist. They immediately assume that you are not progressed yet to a place of 'healing' if, when talking about the evil narcissist and her evil acts perpetrated on your own life (which likely has ongoing effects on your life and is therefore a crime in progress), you dare display your outrage. People are afraid of our anger. Why? One reason is because they are sloppy thinkers. They think that our anger is the problem when the real problem is the monster who inflicts pain every chance they get. Our anger is an appropriate response to their inappropriate behavior. If the tongue-cluckers insist we should not let ourselves feel an appropriate emotion then they are, in reality, insisting we become like the narcissist--pretending our way through life and denying what we feel. I'm not going there for anyone.
What is a much more accurate measurement of your emotional health than whether or not the outrageous acts of a narcissist can cause you to feel appropriate outrage? Ready?
How do you know if you have come to a place of acceptance?
Acceptance means you have stopped fighting a situation. You have stopped holding to any other alternatives as options.
As for me. I came to a total acceptance of who my mother is going on six years ago now. And, later, of who my sister is and who my father is. I stopped fighting the situation. I stopped believing that they would ever change and treat me fairly. I stopped believing they would stop abusing me. With my acceptance of who they are and what the situation was I was enabled to make better choices. I stopped making decisions based on baseless hope and their faithless promises. I have proven that I've completely accepted reality...which includes the reality of who these people are...by the fact that I've stopped fighting the situation. Nothing proves my acceptance of who they are more than going no contact and maintaining that no contact with no exceptions. I have proven by my behavior where my head is at. I recognize who these people are and that by staying in their lives they could continue to use and abuse me and my family. I therefore resolved on the only course that remained. Removing me and mine from their influence.
If you can allow yourself to admit when another person is dangerous or destructive...then accepting they are what they are is essential if you are going to ever be able to protect yourself from them.
The content of this blog is designed to highlight and underscore what the narcissist is...and what they always will be. If you can come to the point where you see that what is will always be...then you will stop fighting. The savior complex is a demonstration of the non-acceptance of whom the narcissist chooses to be. It is a form of fighting for the reality you want rather than what is. Staying in the 'mob family' with the narcissist as mob boss is another way we refuse to accept what is really going on. Pretending the narcissist can't cause you material as well as emotional and mental harm is a denial of truth. A non-acceptance of what is. I can accurately sum up this blog as my attempt to help others come to the same place of acceptance that I have come to regarding NPD. I outline the various ways I got there in my head.
Accepting reality is the touchstone of mental health.
Consider this. How easy would it be for me to portray myself here as having reached a place of perfect equanimity? How easy would it be for me to not punctuate my writing with words that betray my outrage at evil? Really easy.
I have always been aware that by expressing my anger and hatred toward people with 'evil personality disorder' I would be condemning myself in the eyes of those who choose to think that reaching a zen-like space is proof of having healed. I am willing to be seen as not having progressed to perfect equanimity with evil people. I'll explain why as I go.
It would have been such a simple thing for me to talk about malignant narcissists completely dispassionately. Kind of like the droning of the boring professor in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" where, regardless of the subject matter, I would speak in one tone endlessly. I'm sure many would be impressed with how strong I am to have gotten to where nothing rattles me. I could receive much praise for having perfectly 'healed' from my past. I'm not going for any silly little awards like that because I don't believe perfect calm in the face of evil is a goal to strive for. No matter how many people may praise me for it...I'm all about being real here.
Here's how I see it. If I were to be completely dispassionate in the discussion of destructive narcissism it would send the message to you that I would not be provoked into defending you if I were to witness the injustices of the narcissist you've endured. When you read my justified anger at the bad acts of the narcissist as it has affected me it gives you good reason to believe I would be just as outraged at what you've endured. You sense my empathy when you read my outrage. To display only perfect calmness in the face of overt evil would not convince you that I give a rat's ass about you. I do give a rat's ass. Which most of you 'get' when you read what I have to say. You sense I am one of your champions. You believe I would defend you against the indefensible acts of the narcissist if I were witness to them. You believe that I would not condemn your own justifiable anger at the total injustice of the evil acts of the narcissist. If I give myself permission to express my anger at injustice...surely I would give you the same latitude.
You get to hold onto some of your anger when you hang out here at my blog. I tell you that the anger can be good and constructive if you allow it to motivate you to make smart changes in your life. Anger is just a feeling. It can be destructive or constructive. It all depends on what you do with it. Anger is pain. It indicates that something is wrong in your environment. It is a powerful catalyst. It can either catalyze you to correct the problem...or to compound it. It is the emotional equivalent to resting your hand on a burning hot stove. Your reaction to your hand getting incinerated causes you to react immediately by pulling your hand from the source of the pain. You yelp and pull back. An appropriate reaction to getting burned. Your anger is a useful tool to help you stay away from the burning flame.
What if you have leprosy? What will your reaction to that hot stove be? Non existent. You won't feel a thing. Therefore, you'll lose your hand because you didn't have the ability to know you're getting burned. Think of the leper when someone tells you to get over your anger. Don't let someone convince you must turn yourself into an emotional leper in order to consider yourself "healed" from the abuses of the narcissist. It is important to let yourself feel your anger so you can keep from further injury. Your anger, if recognized and acknowledged, can inform you that you're in some kind of danger or some circumstance that must be corrected. If you remove the feeling part of yourself you will be guaranteed to start losing important parts of yourself. Children born with congenital analgia can't feel pain. The terrible injuries to their little bodies start occurring very early. Their tongues get chewed into hamburger because they can't feel it. They often lose one or both eyes. It is a terrible thing to never feel pain. Don't anesthetize yourself. It is never healthy.
Some memories will always be associated with a feeling of anger. I think that is a good thing. It is what helps us remember that the stove is hot. To have to burn ones hand once is bad enough. What a tragedy it would be if we couldn't allow ourselves to remember the pain of touching a hot stove. To have to touch it again and again...re-injuring ourselves again and again...how sad would that be? The scar tissue would build up and up until our hand was deformed. Retaining at least some level of outrage at the outrageousness of the narcissist can help us remember to stay away, to protect ourselves and those we love. Narcissists would love nothing more than that we erase our feelings of anger and outrage so they can re-perpetrate their crimes against us. In fact, the narcissists I know demand their victims forget the past. What they are really demanding is that we forget our appropriately negative reactions to being used and abused. So, hang onto a bit of that anger so you'll remember to leave these persons alone. Otherwise, you will get burned. Again. To stick around for continual burns by these people only scars you more; it deforms you. If you want to guarantee that you'll never truly heal...then lose your anger and keep the monsters close.
Am I advocating stewing in your anger? No, not at all. Do I stew in anger? Not at all. I have used my anger constructively to make very positive changes in my life. Because I've gone no contact with the family narcissists and their accomplices I have stopped them from continuing their crimes. Without the continual assaults--fresh memories are not being made. (Fresh memories revive old ones.) No contact has allowed the past to fade from my view. My feelings are calm; I have peace. Most of the time I don't think about these people at all. I have a full and rewarding life that occupies my mental, emotional and physical energies. The exception to not thinking about my family of origin is when I blog. For the sake of others who don't know yet how to escape from the predations of family narcissists I will sit down and remember. I will relive past experiences. I will, as I write, sometimes feel anger. Is it the white hot hate and flames of rage that engulf me? Oh, no. Nothing that dramatic. Mostly I feel outrage at the injustice. I have lived most of my life not allowing myself to be outraged at the gross injustices and abuses I have endured. So I let myself feel that outrage when I remember. And because I'm not afraid of that feeling...I feel it...and it passes. In the meantime, I use that feeling constructively by trying to frame words here on my blog for others to read and hopefully be helped by.
Don't condemn yourself for your anger unless you are using your anger to justify hurting someone else. Then damn yourself all to hell. That is always wrong. But to feel anger at the predatory, evil and cruel acts of the narcissist is healthy if you use it to catalyze yourself to make smart decisions for the future. Occasionally being reminded of your anger at these things helps keep you safe. And it helps keep you smart.
Should I ever be perfectly calm when I am staring into the face of evil and injustice? Not if I give a flying fig about humanity. Because I care about others I will never completely relinquish my outrage and anger at evil.
The day I give up my passionate hatred of evil, the day I quit feeling outrage at the outrageous, is the day I quit caring about my fellow man. So be thankful when you sense my anger and outrage. It proves I give a damn.