I Am Grateful for the Narcissists in My Life
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism. ~Mayo Clinic
To help understand how I can possibly have gratitude for some of the worst times in my life dealing with narcissistic people, let’s begin by introducing you to the way I have taught myself to think differently and what I use as the foundation for my conclusions about things that happen in life.
I question everything!
I do this with the goal of finding new and different answers that will bring more peace and less stress to my relationships. With that as my intention, I frame every terrible awful frustrating hurtful crazy thing that happens in my world through the lens of No Judgment. Just Love.® This doesn’t mean I don’t judge, of course I do! Making judgments about other people’s behavior is normal; especially those who are arrogant and act like they know it all. The judgments you make are not the problem. It’s what you do after the judgment that keeps you stuck in a narcissist’s clutches or shows you a way out.
In my efforts to set myself free from continuing to do battle with someone whose main goal in life was to be right, prove me wrong and win conversations at all costs, I began with a truth that was hard to face – the only person’s behavior I have complete control over is mine. Yep, the more I corrected them, disagreed with them or flat out told them they were wrong, the intensity of the conflict rose to unimaginable heights and left me drained, befuddled and worst of all feeling helpless. I even had physical reactions to the stress overload each time I had to interact with them. It became so twisted I thought something was wrong with me. Well, there was nothing wrong with me, but if I were truthful, there were some things I could take control of that would change the dynamics of this dysfunctional relationship.
“True self-love is the opposite of narcissism, where one can’t take their eyes off themselves and feels superior to another. Self-love is wholeness. It allows one to say, I am perfect just the way I am and so are you.” ~Colleen Laukka
With No Judgment Just Love as my guide for dealing with narcissistic behavior before, during and after divorce, I chose to see both of us with new eyes.
Change your “Why”
As tempting as it is to want to get even with that uncooperative former spouse for all the pain they caused, that reason will keep the battles going and feed directly into the narcissist’s wheelhouse. Consider this instead, both of you are “forever parents” to your children. Children will thrive as adults and everyone benefits when parents stop fighting and start working together, respecting each other’s unique strengths and talents as parents. Make that your new “Why.”
* I AM grateful for new reasons to work effectively as co-parents.
Honor Your Feelings
Don’t let anyone, including that voice inside your head, tell you not to feel what you are feeling. When you ignore or stuff your feelings, they have a funny way of pushing back to the surface in angry and unproductive ways. Make it a habit through the divorce process and after as you co-parent to acknowledge how you feel. From there you are better equipped to make decision out of desire instead of desperation.
* I AM grateful to communicate honestly from how I feel.
When the Student is Ready, the Teacher will Appear.
Think of life happening “for” you instead of “to” you. This is a first step to move from victim to victorious in dealing with a narcissist. In other words, what can you learn about yourself from this frustrating situation? As soon as you concede you have something to learn about your behavior, everything shifts. The narcissist becomes your professor in a required class. They teach you by giving no easy road; their style is lecture and dumping information. Would you prefer a teacher who was more understanding and supportive, absolutely! But this lesson is big and important for your personal growth; otherwise this person would not be in your face. Your behavior fuels the fire and contributes to the problem just as much as theirs. Blaming everything on them keeps you stuck. Self-awareness helps you get clear about what you can change in your thoughts and actions to create more successful relationships. Now it’s graduation time!
* I am grateful to have gained more confidence and personal power.
Find the Fun and Snap this Job’s a Game
Divorce is no laughing matter. Many decisions you make, will seriously impact you and your children’s future. But as often as you can, lighten up and laugh! Humor is a quick remedy that relieves stress. Your body immediately releases endorphins when you smile, even when you force it. Laugh out loud or chuckle to yourself. Have more fun!
* I am grateful for big belly laughs where my sides hurt. LOL
Everyone is Worthy
Stick with me for a minute. Even the most disagreeable people want to be appreciated, treated kindly and ultimately loved unconditionally. We all have something that happened in our past that hurts so bad we protect our hearts at all costs. When you can look past the narcissistic behavior and treat your former spouse with respect while maintaining healthy boundaries for yourself, peace is possible.
I am the optimist’s optimist, living in the reality that everything is possible through The Power of YET. Placing the word yet at the end of statements gives you hope. Hope lets you believe in possibilities. Possibilities create choices. Choices make way for different outcomes. As long as you believe a different outcome is possible, then by golly it is! That’s the power of YET.
In the end, freedom from the narcissists in my world did not come immediately, but every small victory built a foundation for me to walk upon, lift myself up out of these abusive relationships and confidently move forward with No Judgment Just Love for everyone. For this new life – I AM Grateful!
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