The beginning of healing is recognizing that you are worthy and that you have unique value as an individual. This can be difficult for those who not only married narcissists but grew up with a narcissistic mother or father. From the beginning of life you were treated like an object or less. No one gave you the special attention you needed, even as a small child. Your basic physical needs may have been taken care of (or not) but there was no emotional contact or understanding with the narcissistic parent. This person was so preoccupied to himself/herself that you were invisible to them. In other cases you were the punching bag. The narcissistic parent was constantly enraged and you were conveniently there to receive the blows--the humiliations, criticisms, threats, intimidations. You can still remember the primal sounds of your narcissistic mother's screams; the way she looked at you with pure hatred. You felt yourself grow cold. Your intestines roiled inside. You thought you were going to die on the spot. Some children become emotionally frozen and feel numb. They learn to go into this state to protect themselves. Some narcissists parents have special sadistic punishments--putting you in a locked closet most of the day. There you sat and cried, unable to breathe, not knowing when you would be released. You felt terror roar throughout your body and mind. Finally you whimpered yourself to sleep. Some narcissistic parents treat their children like servants. Small children must clean the house, wash the clothing and wait on the narcissistic mother or father. There is no mercy behind the walls of this house. Those on the outside never know that this malevolent treatment is taking place.
You can and will heal from your narcissistic mother, father, spouse, sibling. One of the most significant roles here is in putting your healing first--make it a priority. You have been living in the fight or flight mode most of your life. It is essential that you begin to have experiences within your self that feel safe and calm. Each person finds his own pathway to healing. We take from different disciplines and practices. One that helps many people is the use of the breath to calm the body/mind. This can work through the practice of gentle hatha yoga poses with emphasis on the breath moving in and out of the nostrils. When we do a pose we are gentle with ourselves. There is no need to strain or push. There is nothing to attain. Be present with yourself and pay attention to your breath. If you are unfamiliar with yoga it might be helpful to find a class with a teacher who is skilled but also highly empathic and calm. True yoga is uncompetitive. It is a practice that has developed over thousands of years and is very effective for many in achieving greater calmness within the body and mind. Another method of treatment is acupuncture. This is not for everyone. Some people are afraid of needles (although they are very thin). Finding the right practitioner is very important. This is someone who is highly skilled and experienced and whose ego is dropped. Besides this, you want to see an acupuncturist who does not have a money motive but a healing motive in treating patients. Acupuncture treatments lead the patient to experience the parasympathetic nervous system, that part of us that is very calm and feels safe and protected. We rest in a deep security as we let go and ground with the experience.
Writing regularly for yourself alone is another form of healing from the narcissist. It frees up your mind and emotions. You are expressing feelings as you release them. There are no judgments to make as you write. It flows from you. Spending time with Nature is also very healing. We see the intricacies and beauty of the natural world and are amazed by them. Some people have small gardens and find that focusing in the present on their plants and flowers is part of their healing process. Meditation for some of those who are recovering can be a source of comfort, quieting the mind and focus. Do not be judgmental when you meditate. Meditation is not the absence of thought. It is the effort that matters the most, not the time you put in. One minute of meditation or prayer is invaluable. Some form of exercise releases body tensions and calms obsessive thinking. Choose what works for you. Find your own ways of healing. Trust yourself. You know so much about how to find you way back. The body/mind is always moving naturally toward healing. Visit my website: thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life