Thursday, February 25, 2010

Understanding Your Part In The Dance

When I wrote about taking responsibility for our part in the narcissistic relationship the article pushed a lot of buttons with readers and some didn't fully understand what I meant.  I realize this is a hugely important topic because taking responsibility, where we need to, can be the difference between getting past the relationship or not.

In narcissistic relationships it is easy for us to fall into a pattern of taking responsibility for the stuff that belongs to the narcissist in our lives.  Since he or she doesn't take responsibility the narcissist projects blame onto you!  We often end up feeling it is our fault and that the end of the relationship is our fault.  It is difficult to move past the relationship when you continue to blame yourself for the failure of the relationship.

Responsibility can be a tricky thing.  A narcissist has a personality disorder which means he comes from left field and doesn't often make sense.  The mistake we often make is thinking that he knows he isn't making sense.  To the narcissist he is making perfect sense!  For example lets say you took out the garbage last night only the narcissist insists that he took out the garbage and their must be something wrong with your memory.  Crazy making, right?  But this is a typical type of scenario in a narcissistic relationship.  The narcissist confuses reality and then blames you for it.  Is this your fault?  Of course not!  Your responsibility in that situation is to stick to your version of reality.  "I know I took out the garbage!"  Where you lose energy is trying to convince the narcissist of your version of reality.  It is an energy drain!  Even if he remembers that "yes you did take out the garbage" he won't admit it because then he would have to be wrong!  And a narcissist doesn't admit wrong doing!  At least not often!

When the relationship is over you are left with so many unanswered questions.  Perhaps the narcissist blamed you for the ending of the relationship and why he/she found someone else to replace you with.  Since the narcissist may have appeared to have moved on without the normal emotional reaction that comes with the break up of a relationship, you may be left wondering what was so bad about you that he can just walk away without any emotion.

As you sort through the ruble of the broken relationship it is normal to look for clues as to what went wrong.  In the narcissistic relationship so many people get stuck in this stage because there are no real answers.  Learning that a previous mate was a narcissist or had all the characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be a great relief but it only helps us on the level of the intellect, not the emotions.  It is on the emotional level we get stuck!

When in a relationship with the narcissist there is a lot of emotional chaos created and the painful memories are embedded in this emotional chaos.  Telling yourself the guy is nuts doesn't seem to have the power to reverse the embedded emotional impact.  You can know on an intellectual level he is nuts but emotionally you still seek his approval and validation.  This is because this pattern of seeking approval and acceptance was a large part of the relationship.  "Please tell me you know that I took out the garbage!  I need for you to validate my sense of reality!"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Can’t I Get Over It?

Taking Responsibility!

Learning that your partner is a narcissist can bring a great deal of relief as you realize the source of the crazy making behavior you have been living with. However enlightening this information may be it doesn’t seem to have the power to stop the incessant dwelling on thoughts of the narcissist and how that person has effected your life.

As much as learning about narcissism can bring a sense of awareness and even relief I have found that taking responsibility for ourselves and our own part in the relationship brings the greatest amount of healing. 

Although we are not responsible for the behavior of the narcissist, we are responsible for our own emotional reaction to that person and also for learning the life lessons that are brought to us through this experience.

Life has a way of putting us in situations that force us to grow beyond our self imposed limitations. Whether we are struggling with fear of abandonment, low self esteem, lack of confidence, dependency, neediness, powerlessness, or all of the above, the narcissistic relationship will bring our deepest wounds to our attention.

The mistake most of us make is believing that the narcissist is causing our pain. He is merely triggering the pain that is already lying dormant within us. We can so easily be attracted to the narcissist on an unconscious level in order to grow past our previous limitations in the quickest amount of time. Although it may take years to fully embrace the lessons brought to us by a narcissistic relationship, if you truly embrace these lessons you can come out years ahead of where you might have been otherwise. I’m not talking about where you were materially but rather emotionally and spiritually. Material status comes and goes, but our emotional and spiritual state is the foundation for who we are in the world.