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Comfort

There might be a reader who needs this message this evening:

saying 1

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You may recall my post a while back telling you that I thought it was time (past time) for me to shred all those documents that I had printed out and highlighted while consuming blackberry Merlot.  I didn’t get 1/4 of the way through the stacks before I found the following article.  It was one of many that was too good to send through the metal teeth.

The author of the article is “Lynn” – she has some very good thoughts to share –

“Getting emotional closure means that you can “close the book” on your situation and its associated pain.  You can put that book of pain on the shelf and you will no longer have to take it down and read from it on a daily basis.” 
Dr. Phil

Tha elusive closure that survivors almost universally seek is most likely not ever going to be found by looking to the Narcissist.  There are a couple of reasons for that. First, a mature resolution to a relationship requires both people to respect each other and validate the other’s feelings leaving each person’s dignity in tact.  In other words, it usually consists of an empathetic exchange that includes validation.  That isn’t the Narcissist’s forte.
Secondly, a Narcissist generally doesn’t want to provide closure in the sense of closing a door on a relationship.  How then could he /she come back and seek out supply again someday in the event that he/she needs it?  So, clearly, that’s not the direction one ought to be looking for closure.

Rather than looking to him / her or even to what you can do immediately to find it for yourself then, perhaps the first step is to try identifying what the feeling is you envisioned getting from that closure.  It could be a number of things.  For me, I wanted validation that it wasn’t all me.  I wanted recognition that I had made some kind of difference in the Narcissist’s life.  I wanted recognition of my hurt.  Of course, none of that ever happened.

In terms of satisfying the need for closure then, while it may seek logical to go to the person causing your pain for some recognition of it, asking the Narcissist to recognize his/her role in your pain is like asking a mosquito to apologize for biting you.  It’s just what Narcissists do. They generally don’t apologize because they don’t admit they’ve done anything wrong.

I think we all have a need for resolution, for feeling like we’ve assigned a satisfying meaning to our experiences, regardless of how painful and make sense of it before we can close the book on that  chapter of our lives.  I think we naturally yearn for a beginning, middle and end – a moral to the story.  In my opinion there is no inherent meaning to be found in the suffering we experience at the hands of a Narcissist.  It’s just what it is.  It’s pain inflicted through interacting with a disordered person and there is not amount of reasoning in the world that makes sense of that or their thinking, or of their “feeling” about us in retrospect.  The meaning is going to come from what we each assign to the experience ourselves and that doesn’t come from making sense out the Narcissist and what he/she  felt or what he/she  thinks.  It comes from what we decide to do with the experience; what we find out about ourselves that may have led us here; and what meaning we individually assign to the suffering going forward, not looking back.  I choose to use the experience to in retrospect, to grow, to give back, and to alleviate suffering if I can.  At least that’s my goal.

Closure for me was a journey to acceptance, a realization that even though my life had changed irrevocably because of this experience in some ways, it need not define me and it never truly did.  I did not ever deserve to be treated as if I had no meaning, not by anyone.  I refuse to let it change me though, or harden me, or make me into what he would have me be.  I can dress this wound myself.  I can figure out how to dig down and find the resilience I need to rise up again.  It’s up to me to decided whether I’m going to use this experience as an excuse or rather, as a way to live a better life.  The N has nothing to do with that and he/she gets no credit for it either.  If I tried to give that relationship meaning it would diminish all the true and wonderful relationships in my life.

The following few lines may be simple, but may be of some help:

You loved him/her and he/she hurt you without remorse.
There is no sense to that.
It was wrong.
You didn’t deserve it.
That choice was never about you.
It was about him/her.

That’s the closure most survivors would want could they have it, I would guess:  to hear that very thing.  You won’t hear it from him/her, you may not get anyone else to recognize it who know him/her…but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.  You can tell yourself the truth even when nobody else can.  When you believe it, that’s when you can begin working on you.

Someday, you will see him/her for what he/she was and is: nothing more than a shadow.  His/Her significance in your life will diminish and yours will blossom as you will realize that you are so much more that anything that has happened to you, including the unnecessary pain and devastation you’ve felt at his/her hands.  Make your own meaning from this.  He doesn’t get to define this for you. You have so much to give and many people who would welcome whatever that is will do so with open arms and grateful hearts.  That’s what you deserve.  We all do.

Lynn

My thanks to “Lynn” whoever and wherever she is.
Thank you for sharing your insight.
I hope you have blossomed where ever you are.

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I was cleaning out my desk and I came across this bookmark from AA.  Not sure if it came from a convention or some seminar I went to for work – but in any case the AA advice is good for those of us recovering from the torment of being in a so-called “relatioNship” with a narcissist.

“Detachment”

Detachment is neither kind nor unkind. It does not imply judgement or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching.  Separating ourselves from the adverse effects of another person’s alcoholism (mental illness/narcissism) can be a means of detaching: this does not necessarily require physical separation (From the N, it does require NC/Physical Distance).  Detachment can help us look at our situation realistically and objectively.
Alcoholism is a family disease.  Living with the effects of someone else’s drinking is too devastating for most people to bear without help. In Al-Anon we lean nothing we say or do can cause or stop someone else’s drinking.  We are not responsible for another person’s disease or recovery from it.  (We are not responsible for another person’s narcissistic behavior.  It is about them, not us.)

Detachment allows us to let go of our obsession with another’s behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights, lives guided by a Power greater than ourselves.  We can still love the person without liking the behavior.  (With the N, however, we need to renounce him or her from our lives – we might love the person we thought we knew, but we must realize that they are “dead to us.”)

In Al-Anon they learn:
Not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people.
Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of another’s recovery.
Not to do for others what they can do for themselves.
Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink, or behave as we see fit.
Not to cover up for another’s mistakes or misdeeds.
Not to create a crisis.
Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events.

Very good advice for those in the early stages of detaching from a Narcissist.

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