As some of you already know, I have great insight into narcissistic abuse, after a tumultuous life with 2 narcissistic parents, many narcissistic ex-partners and narcissistic ex friends. Before my father discarded my mother in 2000 and filed for divorce, he had already met his second narcissistic wife. He had already lined her up to fill his emptiness and later had a child with her. The cycle of abuse unfortunately continued and there was nothing I could do to prevent it.He has been married to her for 16 years now and it has been the most destructive, soul destroying relationship I have ever witnessed.
My histrionic/covert narcissistic mother, on the other hand, luckily didn’t re-marry. She just had 2 relationships which didn’t work out.She has remained irritable, negative and critical. She still blames everything & everyone else for her misery and struggles to cope with her own depression.
My childhood in general was always hot & cold.One minute things were relatively normal and my parents would be kind & thoughtful and the next they would be extremely hurtful & abusive. This almost made coping with the abuse harder, as the kind moments would give me hope as a child and then when the abusive moments would come around, I was utterly devastated and confused. I then learnt that whenever my parents were kind, there were always strings attached to this kindness. I was told many times as a child ‘After everything I have done for you, this is how you treat me?’. I felt guilty and ashamed. I felt worthless and no good.
The one thing I know for certain is that for those of you who have also been affected by narcissistic abuse, you have developed a deep sense of self-awareness, a sense of gratefulness for the tiny moments of kindness that others have shown you and a high level of empathy from a young age. Most of you sought out therapy and have always helped and be-friended the shy or needy. Yes you have made many mistakes along the way, by getting involved with people who resembled your family of origin, however this is a logical result of growing up in an abusive or neglectful home.
The thing that helped me the most in my recovery was forgiving myself for struggling so much in my life. Self-compassion is the best gift you can give yourself as an abuse survivor.Recovering from narcissistic abuse means that you have to dig deep to reveal the many layers of trauma. You have to acknowledge that it isn’t going to be easy to go through all the painful realisations of your past but that is extremely important to work through each layer and grieve your losses. Trusting that others won’t hurt you is a huge struggle for those who have been abused. If your primary caregivers let you down so badly, why on earth would you trust complete strangers?
The most important thing to remember is that there is no time frame on healing and that everyone copes and heals differently.
My advice will always be to ask yourself ‘What do I need’? ‘What am I scared of’? ‘How can I look after myself’?
For those of you who can relate and understand, just remind yourselves daily that you survived an unfair childhood and that from now on you can give yourself the unconditional love your parents weren’t able to give you. In every low moment, remind yourself that you are brave and resilient.
Now in my 30’s I have already been through the darkest moments of despair and have healed extensively through many years of trauma therapy. I am now armed with knowledge,coping skills and the most important thing: the knowledge that healing is possible and that you ARE able to live a more fulfilling life. If you had asked me this same question 2 years ago, I wouldn’t be feeling so optimistic.
Now I am putting all my knowledge into helping others and it feels good! It feels good to see that others feel validated & comforted, because this is a feeling I missed out on a lot! It feels good to be there and pass on information, even if it only helps one other person. Free advice is so valuable and we can all do it! So many of us are already doing it!
Love Athina ♥
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