Let us start the first exercise: Find a secure mode of expressing whatever emotions you have bottled up. For example, take pen to paper and write about your emotions. Emotions such as intense anger, pain, sadness, fear, grief, longing, etc., ? are some manifestations of having been subject to a relationship that is, or was, belittling to you ? an insult to your soul. Once you have appropriately and sufficiently expressed your emotions (not necessarily in just one sitting), you may have cleared some of the way for trusting in your own basic goodness and worth. This starts by taking a spiritual look at your value, through a practical and spiritual lens. It is said that we human beings are spiritual beings having a human experience. We are different than non-human forms of life, with a consciousness and ability to reason, among other characteristics. We are not just our mind, our intellect, our body: we have a spiritual aspect to us, which remains a mystery to a great degree.
This spiritual aspect, referred to by different names and concepts depending on person and affiliation, is part of a power greater than our human selves. It is that mysterious component that sets us apart, that can be understood as ‘a power greater than ourselves’. Having a power greater than yourself, and greater than your narcissist, is a fantastic consideration given the level of subservience, feelings or the need to ‘worship’ him/her, or repulsion and rage towards them. Such a reflection can begin to loosen the cords that ensnare you to such a person. Pause now to consider what your inherent worth would feel like to you, if it were based on strong spiritual truths, and NOT on the beliefs and lies that the narcissist hopes you will continue to believe in about yourself, your power, your worth, your role in their life and life in general. If you believe in a higher power, consider this higher power as being: a) greater than your wounds, and b) has the perfect capability to help in your healing no matter what you suffered.
Since the dawn of time, people have been searching to answer the question of why there is human suffering, and more specifically, what is the role of a higher power in ‘bad things happening to good people’. Those who suffer in the hands of the narcissistic despotic rulers, have offered up many cries towards the heavens, begging for a “why?!”
For survivors, this is an even more burning question, usually with intense pain and anger attached to it. Going through life blocked from trusting, loving, reciprocal relationships, is a tough call, with denial being the warm blanket of protection. Naturally, these strong emotions are directed towards the concept of a higher power, with many people denying the existence of one altogether. Included in this approach, can be for some people, a fear of such a ‘power’ that includes distrust that is cemented at the core of their psyche. If you apply this to your circumstance, and are seeking a spiritual connection, understanding impact of victimization can be of great aid to you. It is typical for survivors to be well-defended against pain, as this defense, at the core, is necessary self-protection. Naturally, you want to prevent yourself from being hurt again. This desire is especially urgent, when you feel life cheated you out of your birthright for true emotional freedom. If you have been betrayed by other people, let alone if caregivers were the perpetrators, your need for this self-protection, may also provide you with an illusion of control.
When you go about your life this way, you are left with a life that is more difficult and empty because you have a deep sense of isolation. Mistrust takes away the very search for meaning. You need someone or something in life that you can believe in, trust in, and rely upon.
In my work with survivors, I have observed the following emotional conditions that have their origins in traumatic experiences. Such conditions will pose as a great challenge for the survivor wanting to take a close look at their inner wounds, external life situations, and perhaps an outlook that incudes useful tools for reparation to the Self.
- Belief that I am to blame for what happened, so why would anyone, including a ‘higher power’ do anything good for me? (I am undeserving.)
- Belief that I am as powerless as I was when traumatized (so how will trust help if I am powerless and I cannot ‘see’ this spiritual entity?)
- Loss and betrayal is doomed to be repeated, so why try? I don’t need the heartache! (Anticipation that all relationships will ultimately end up in disappointment.)
- Having a sense of deep shame and alienation from others because of my experiences, which no one can ever find out about! (I am doomed to be shamed and rejected.)
- Acting on destructive tendencies which may include addictive behaviors and other destructive coping mechanisms. (If I am bad, which I must be since no one rescued me, who cares what I do to myself?)
- Attachment and/or sexual disorders (a genuine block to experiencing long-lasting trust and intimacy).
- Abandoning myself to support, please, placate, or rebel against others; instead of being firmly on my own side.
Take time to reflect and consider the questions/points, because by doing so, you may initiate the process of transferring power from the narcissist in your life, to a power greater than yourself. This restorative process can occur by examining your hidden internal messages to yourself, and bringing them into consciousness for authentic evaluation. Most often, we think, act, believe and perpetuate unexamined internal messages, put there by the narcissist to maintain their own agenda, so laying all the subconscious cards out on the table, so to speak, is a critical component of authentic recovery.
Consider your higher power as a spiritual entity that is a constant, loving presence, whether you feel you deserve it, understand this power, love this power in return, feel it, accept it, or can explain it. It always exists as a safe, gentle, and unconditional love, demanding nothing in return. According to Kabbala (Jewish mysticism), God chooses to be right here with our human experiences: our suffering, tragedy, joy, and everything in between. These are the attributes of a highly personal and compassionate Creator, who desires closeness with all of creation. Continue reading “Self Help”