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How to Free Yourself from a Narcissist

A proud man has disdain for other people, he undervalues them. The Narcissus overvalues them, because in every person’s eyes he sees his own image, and wants to embellish it. So he takes care of all his mirrors.
Milan Kundera The Festival of Insignificance

In the beginning, I thought about him endlessly, night and day, over and over again. I didn’t think the thoughts would ever stop. They were constant, circular and exhausting, and the crushing pain of the descending reality had me questioning everything about my life. I wondered what he was thinking, if he missed me, if he had realised what he had done or if knowing that he’d never get me back would mean there would be no self-reflection. If so, now he would despise me with even more conviction than he had before. It was a limb amputation, an exorcism I didn’t want but knew I needed, an offering of my very cells back to the universe.

I yearned for him because I didn’t know the truth. How could I? I had believed him, believed who he was pretending to be. Who could intentionally deceive another like that? It couldn’t be so. We had played together, laughed together, cried in each other’s arms. Protected each other. Championed each other. Loved each other.

It took forever to see past the act. To understand that my baby didn’t care about me, that he wasn’t able to. That my darling didn’t see me, just the things that he could manipulate to draw me in. Everything I gave him, every way I depleted myself, every single thing I sacrificed for him, for us, was invisible to him. Instead, he branded me an ungrateful, unloving, pathological, pathetic joke. And this is what he believed.

The hardest part for me in the aftermath of my discovery that my love was a narcissist, was accepting that there was nothing I could do to change him. It was the injustice of knowing that despite everything he promised me, he could close himself off to my pain, and move himself on with no remorse. He could convince himself that I was bad, and shred my heart to pieces without a dent to his conscience. And I could never get him to see otherwise because you cannot reason with somebody that depends upon delusion for survival.

The abandonment hits you like a freight train. There is no way to soften this collision. You may fear that the impact will kill you, or that you will dissolve in desolate depression – your forgotten, worthless, ragged body strewn upon the tracks. Worthless, because nobody could treat another this way, unless it was somehow deserved.

You find that it takes more strength to stay still than to chase after the train, with all its precious cargo. You desperately want to lasso your ropes to the back of the carriage as it thunderously speeds past you, but you know that if you do so, you will be dragged along those haunted rails toward a phantom promise, forever. And so you wait, but for what you do not know.

This is not the end. It’s the beginning. Change is coming and this change is going to teach you how to free yourself. Because you are a survivor, and survivors have a deep and powerful instinct to keep on moving, no matter how torn your skin and battered your bones, no matter how much your swollen heart might weigh you down. You survive without becoming like them because despite the pain of choosing someone that manipulated and abused your sacred, trusting offering of love, you do not close yourself to it.

Slowly, you begin to understand, and later to believe, that none of this was your fault. And that you are not the person your narcissist convinced you that you were. That the world is full of bruised and damaged people that are not as strong as you. People that inflict pain, to feel pleasure in their power, while you and your loving heart absorb their abuse to lighten their load. It’s easy to be like them. They are weak.

You are here because you have been tough enough to take what they have given you, tough for far too long. You are here because you were chosen for your gorgeous light and your beautiful soul. If you did not shine so brightly, you would not have been valuable to them. They may have learned to drain this light but they did not deplete you. You will regenerate. Because this is who you are.

Your narcissist fed off you because they cannot create their own goodness. With a closed heart and a suffocated soul they have no true power at all. None. You do. Love, the most powerful energy source on earth is what kept you with your abuser, what caused you to shoulder burdens that were not yours. And love is what will set you free.

But first, you need to learn to direct it at the person that really deserves it – yourself. Learn to parent yourself with love and see how strong you become. Practice the art of supporting yourself, and refusing to self-abandon and you will never be caught again. Feel the nourishment of your own love and kindness and watch the joy that will spring forth from your powerful heart.

Float confidently away from those heavy iron tracks. You’ve got something so much better than the train now. You’ve got wings.

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