"Oh my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent…" Jeremiah 4:19

Healing from Parental Narcissistic Abuse

Okay, so those of us who come from abusive homes with one narcissistic parent…or both for the REALLY unlucky ones…know that our family LOOKED normal on the outside to most other people. Our private hell was just that…private. We are trained VERY early not to share family secrets. We learn to stuff emotions, to deny everything about ourselves, deny our want and needs…indeed to deny our very humanity at times…just to survive.  So we learned that there is no such thing as normal and we glibly say, “What’s normal?  Heck, every family has it’s problems!” once we become adult survivors of narcissistic abuse.  It’s a coping statement.  It’s a shame filled statement…it’s our equivalent to whistling in the dark.

What IS a normal family anyway?

But we’re not interested in covering the definitions again…we’re interested in healing.  We wounded children want to know STEPS TO TAKE to heal!  When I first got on the various forums, blogs and websites about narcissism, I ended up getting frustrated.  I didn’t want to JUST dump, I wanted SOLUTIONS.  I’ve been dumping for years, I’ve looked for solutions and tried pretty much everything out there in the way of recovery and therapy (I ended up using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain so I have more than one issue…as many of us do.) What truly helped me was KNOWLEDGE of the truth that my mother is the one with the problems.  Yes, I learned well and yippee skippee, in so many ways I am just like dear old mom!

BUT I am NOT a narcissist.  I do have many learned behaviors but the difference between her and me is that I CAN unlearn — and AM unlearning — narcissistic behaviors.  I’m not stuck, she is.  I can get healthy because I know I’ve got problems.  She cannot see she has problems so she just keeps burning through people, always on the constant search for narcissistic supply like a vampire driven to find fresh blood.  How awful for her. The plain fact is that if YOU are on this site, you are NOT a narcissist either.  Narcs don’t go searching for truth, healing, answers or anything else because they cannot, will not, admit they have any problems.  You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want to change; didn’t want help and healing.

Okay, so there are stages we need to go through in order to get on with the healing.  1)  Admit that yes, one or both parents are narcissists and that they have damaged our lives.  2)  Recognize that a lot of the thoughts in our heads are NOT our thoughts but brainwashing and programming.  3)  Grieve for the fact that we do not have, nor will likely EVER have, normal, loving parents.  4)  Recognize that the more we learn, the more likely we are to start experiencing emotions that we do NOT know how to cope with.  5)  Learn the wide variety of emotions that are available instead of the limited ones we were “allowed.”  In most dysfunctional families, the big three are “sad, mad, happy.”  No room for ecstatic, doubtful, fearful, hopeful, aggravated, mellow or whatever deeper “shades” of emotions because emotions simply were not / are not SAFE.

By the way, this is NOT a tried and true “12 step method” but instead what I’ve gleaned from personal experience and LOTS and lots of reading on the subject.  6)  Find a group that deals with family dysfunctions (there are no “Narcissists Anonymous” groups yet but there are some where you can find help.  Celebrate Recovery is one (Christian based) and Adult Children of Alcoholics (spiritual but not religious) deals with many of the same issues that children of narcs face…indeed, most alcoholics exhibit many NPD tendencies and some are true narcs…but some are not and the behavior may change along with many other things in their life if they get into alcohol recovery.

Thriving Recovery is also Christian based and what I like about it is it combines secular AND Christian recovery principles but with an important twist…it goes into the latest research and knowledge about the human brain, it’s structure, it’s needs and how to re-wire the neural pathways and literally change our thinking patterns and brain’s reactions.

Okay, more tomorrow, going to bed for now!

4 responses

  1. c4t2001

    Just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to post so much stuff about this one subject in the one place :-). My husband is having trouble with his mum right now (well he always has but is noticing it right now) and through counselling has identified that his mum has narcisisstic tendancies. We kind of saw poor behaviour but it almost feels a relief to put a name to it. Like you say – things are said and done that you can’t quite put your finger on and the rot is planted from the inside out. Actually the shock has come also because I have a very difficult relationship with my own mother and my sister (the golden child). Some of your examples could have been written by me. I guess me and hubby are lucky to have found one another because it takes someone else with experience to fully understand. Best of luck to you xxx

    April 26, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    • You’re welcome and sorry this has taken so long to reply to…been crazy busy and did enough dumping that I found I didn’t need to much anymore. I figure it will help those who are looking for the help that I found on other blogs. I think the children of narcs DO find each other and I suspect they have good marriages…you both understand how words can wound and hopefully don’t “go there” with each other as easily as some might. Best of luck to both of you as well!

      July 12, 2012 at 8:12 AM

  2. I just came across your page. I’m in the middle of the whole recovery process from growing up and still dealing with a narcissistic mother (and alcoholic, mildly narcissistic faster) I always thought and was made to believe that I was the crazy one for seeing past the lies, etc. Anyway, I’m really grateful for your site focusing on the SOLUTION. Part of that solution is education and awareness but those aren’t the only parts. I have been going to al-anon for almost a year and have gained SO much from that program as well as a great therapist. Still, it is not something that has enough attention or is easily explainably to friends. So just a BIG thank you and sending you prayers for your journey alone with the appreciation for your validation. Take good care -

    July 16, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    • Thank you…and thank God that we have begun the journey of healing and wholeness. I love “stubborn courage”…says a lot. I went through all the things that you did but without the missing piece of the narcissism, nothing ever “stuck” and I kept going back to the poisoned well of my family to drink again, getting sick all over again and ever more discouraged. Once you know you’re dealing with a narcissist (and in your case, two PLUS alcoholism…a lovely dysfunction with an entire sets of emotional problems all on it’s own…) then you can deal with some of their insanity. You can dump their baggage that resides inside YOU and refuse to carry it, claim it or listen to the lies any more. It’s not an easy journey but one well worth the effort. Blessings to you and hugs too. You’re worth every bit of the battle…stay strong, stubborn and courageous…especially for yourself and your right to have a good life!

      July 22, 2012 at 11:33 AM

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