Healing from Narcissistic Abuse
What if the worst thing that ever happened to you is the best thing that ever happened to you? What would it mean for your life? How do you live differently?
You stop hiding.
Healing from narcissistic abuse is brutal, relentless, emotionally back-breaking work. Narcissistic abuse is a form of psychological abuse that involves manipulation, gaslighting, invalidation, and exploitation by someone who has narcissistic traits or narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissistic abusers often target people who are empathic, compassionate, and vulnerable. In my family, that was me and my little brother.
I find that when I recover a memory from my childhood, a particularly horrific one, I need about four days on the couch bingeing some low-stakes sci-fi or fantasy show to help me integrate and reset.
Everyone’s healing looks unique.
Recovering memories may be misleading if not a somewhat inaccurate way to describe what happens in these moments. To be sure, when your brain doesn’t encode the memory because it’s too horrific because you were too young to understand what was happening, the only thing your brain can do to protect you is not to allow it in. You go black, which is to say, yes, you disassociate, but if you want to understand it better, you void the transaction. The result, at least for me, left me with a bleary, blurry childhood filled with holes where I ceased to exist. It’s like dying, yes, but when you die, you don’t continue to breathe and walk around.
Disassociation was a gift, but now, when I need to reclaim the voided transactions to become whole, I have to look at the moments before and after the voids. In those shards, those splintered images and fractured terrors, I find the answers I’ve long needed to understand what happened to me, yes, but also to evolve past it. Because as long as I am running from it, I can only imagine a limited life and manifest the same traumas repeatedly through work, financial matters, friendships and love.
One has to unwind the traumas carefully because, tangled up with them is your loyalty to your abusers and all the betrayal blindness when you looked the…