This past week, I read something that discussed how to never be taken in by a narcissist again.
You may be thinking, as do I, that you need to turn your heart to stone and not let any person into your trust zone in order to get by in life. But according to this article I read, it has more to do with what we went back to last week….the old “what is it that I can control?” point of view.
There are so many bad things going on in this world. Right now, we are waiting to see if Governor Cuomo will be held accountable for what many are calling a toxic work place and things that went on that many people were aware of but said and did nothing about.
While I know that some of the things I write about in this blog may be upsetting, I think I write about what I know and what I feel that I can control. I could write more about man’s inhumanity to man and comment on what is in the news, but in truth, that makes me feel anxious and small and helpless. To come forward with accusations of misconduct and sexual harassment…..that is extremely brave. Because we all know how hard it is to do alone. Without backup, it is so easy to be told you have misinterpreted someone’s intention and that you are weak and looking for attention or for love and that you are the real danger in the situation, not the predator. It’s scary as hell….
I have read that nobody can make you feel bad about yourself. If someone says you are such and such, and it hurts you, that is because you already feel that way about yourself.
If anything in this lifetime, I would like to see truth rise to the top. I would like for emotional and psychological abuse to be seen as the real thing that it is. More than it is at this time. Because it is a huge issue in this world.
So back to what we can do right now. What do we have control of in order to protect our hearts and our souls and our minds?
Well…..and this is me saying this….stop looking for narcissists. And by that I mean, we are all capable of hurting each other.
Being mislead and hurt by a priest may have been one of the best things that ever happened to me along with one of the worst things that ever happened to me.
I learned that even the “best of the best” could hurt me. That there could be evil lurking in the shadows of the light. So that meant that anyone could be suspect. It was horrible to go through the experience and yet the experience taught me a great many things.
But I find that I still look for that “good” person. That person who is honest and trustworthy and kind. But I still make mistakes in doing so. Because as long as what we are looking for and what we need remains outside of ourselves, we will never live on solid ground.
We need to begin to look inside and to keep the focus there. And that is a scary thought. Because it means we are all alone and nobody loves us. And that is what we are so afraid of.
But if the focus remains inside, we can ask ourselves if someone is providing what we need. We can stop putting ourselves second. We can ask ourselves if something seems off without making an excuse for someone else. We can stop focusing on what someone else needs or how someone else feels and we can see someone for who they really are and how their actions reveal their intentions.
The article I read mentions how we can never be taken advantage of again by focusing on our feelings and intuition and by enforcing boundaries.
Boundaries are different for everyone but we need to be aware of certain kinds of boundaries and ways people may try to breach them.
Be aware of your feelings not being respected. Of someone coming into your physical space or into contact with your things without permission. Be aware of your feelings if you feel obligated or pressured into doing something you are not comfortable in doing. Or if someone wants you to discuss intimate details of your life. Does someone belittle your thoughts or ideas or tell you that you don’t know what you are talking about? That is a boundary pushing issue as well.
You control your time and who you want to spend it with. Pressure to ditch people you like or a guilt trip about spending time with someone is not something that makes anyone happy. Neither is being last on anyone’s list for that matter. Time is a gift to give and to receive.
Your material things should be respected. There is an obvious red flag when someone destroys your stuff, but what about also when they use your stuff without asking, touch your things without asking, “clean up” in the guise of being helpful but in reality it is to go through your stuff?
I once lived with my son and his girlfriend. She didn’t work so she was in my house alone all day. I remember the first day back to work after Christmas, I looked forward to coming home and relaxing and turning on the tree lights and getting back into the holiday spirit for that time between Christmas and New Year’s. When I got home, it was like the Grinch had been there. Everything was boxed up and put away. I got a bit upset because nobody had asked me before anything was done and my son turned it around on me and said that I was hurting his girlfriend’s feelings because she thought she was being helpful.
That was not the first or the only time it happened. She liked to clean by picking up everything and anything that was lying around and stick it in a box….just randomly grouping things together….and putting the box somewhere. I ended up finding one of her boxes in my basement after it had gotten wet down there and I lost some photographs.
But my main point here is that when you look for a villain, it’s not always obvious.
People get upset sometimes when you say a priest did something wrong because a priest represents goodness. So, therefore, there must be something wrong with you. Because priests wear collars….they don’t usually wear villain costumes. They wear sheep’s clothing. And people generally do as well. They show their good side to people. Not always. But usually people want to have a job and friends or at least companions or those who support them.
So if you’re looking to avoid the bad guys, you can go around carrying your Narcissist detector everywhere you go or stay home where you feel safe. Neither will bring you much happiness.
But think for a moment…we are all a bit Narcissistic. We all have egos. We all want to be loved. Many of us enjoy getting “likes” on our Facebook posts. We all started out egocentric in life and had to learn to share and to be nice to others. And we all have a survival instinct.
So it is not easy to judge from looking at someone “how much” of a Narcissist they are. Do they want to destroy you? Well, how will you know until you have trusted them enough to get close to them before they begin to crush you? That may be what a textbook Narc is, but do you really want to live waiting for the other shoe to drop with everyone you know?
So for now, let’s lose that term, “Narcissist” because that is outside of you. And I think there are many other things and people who can hurt you who don’t hold the title.
Yes, of course notice someone else’s actions, but staying safe involves more than that. Until you can fully trust yourself, you will always be vulnerable.
For me, I know that I need to stop feeling the need to take care of people. I need to stop helping when I know that people need to save themselves. (Because there is a boundary between helping and HELPING). I need to stop making excuses for people’s behavior. If their behavior harms me in any way, then it doesn’t matter if they are acting that way because they are trying to deliberately destroy me or because they are struggling with emotional issues. Point is, it’s not good for me.
When something feels disrespectful, or when an alarm goes off in my head, I need to listen and hold up the stop sign. No debate. Boundary. Done. There is no….well, it’s my fault because…..no.
I need to stop trying to protect people or care about their well-being before my own. (again helping VS HELPING)
As I was saying tonight at the meeting, it’s really hard to carry through with these behaviors. To change. We hold onto them for a reason. If I don’t take care of someone or if I make them angry or unhappy, I will be alone and unloved. More about that at another time. For now, realizing how we sabotage ourselves is the first step.
Thing is, it’s scary because if we let everything go that is unhealthy and unhealthy is all we’ve ever known, all that is left is healthy…..and that is the unknown. And a place where we don’t know how to fit in.
It’s not easy to see things as they are or to attempt to “get healthy”. It begins to open up the floodgates. Tonight I was cradling my rescue dog in my arms. She had been shaking as something had scared her. I wrapped a blanket around her…she is about 8 pounds….and I held her until she stopped shaking.
I said to her, “Nobody ever held you before when you got scared, did they?” All of a sudden out of nowhere, I was crying like a fool. I realized that I was talking to myself as much as I was talking to my dog. I had never said those words to myself before.
We have another survey this week. Last week we found out that most people like to sit down and relax with a cup of hot or iced coffee. Countries who visited this blog last week: United States, Canada, United Kingdom Denmark, Ecuador, Japan and Sweden.
Suggested book of the week: Dangerous Personalities by Joe Navarro.