I got a comment on my previous post, which made me wonder if people in general who reads here (it’s just starting up, so not too many as of yet) understand where I’m coming from, and what my general point is. I thought I’d give it a go, trying to explain my point of view and some of the differences between this and that. Let’s see if I make it – let me know if there’s something you don’t understand.
So we grew up with a narcissistic parent – a covert narcissist, in my case. I find it highly unlikely that we as children, knew or understood what was wrong. We learned unhealthy patterns from our parent (or other closely related adult), and we’ve probably spent most of our lives in various degrees of depression, anxiety or other less pleasant mental states.
As adults ourselves, especially if we’ve learned what actually is wrong with our parent, hopefully we have learned that – they’ll never change. We can’t change them, and they won’t change by themselves. It just won’t happen.
And that’s when we have to start asking ourselves – if we want to feel better, if we want to have a better life – who has to change? Them, or us?
And my short answer to that is – we have to change.
I have met a few narcissists in my life, aside from my mother. What they do have in common, even if they haven’t been the same kind of narcissist, is that they are children in an adult body. They never grew up, they never learned to grow out of their childish behaviour. Because that’s what they are – children. Young children, onto that. And children in adult bodies are – not healthy. People are supposed to grow up and become mature and responsible. When they don’t, in my opinion, they become extremely dangerous.
We can’t change that. Not the fact, not the individual. There’s no point in even trying.
What we can do, is change ourselves. Unfortunately, we’ve learned those unhealthy patterns too. But instead of convincing a narcissist to change, we need to unlearn those patterns and learn something new. This include some serious hard work on our part, it requires that we take a long, deep look at ourselves, and that we do the work. If we don’t, we’ll either end up being victims our entire lives, or we’ll become that which we resent the most – a narcissist.
I don’t want to be either.
To grow, evolve, expand, we have to look at ourselves. Like we cannot change the narcissist, our own growth cannot be done by someone else. We have to do it ourselves, no matter how hard it is, no matter how much it hurts. And we are the only one that needs to change. Noone else has to change for us. That’s asking too much from others.
I won’t lie to you. Focusing on yourself like this can be very unflattering. The patterns we learn from our parents do settle deeply, and it becomes part of who we are. Changing these are extremely difficult. But where our parents didn’t manage to grow up and become proper adults, we have to in their place. And quite frankly, having gone through a childhood with a narcissist – if and when we manage to do the work, we can be really amazing people. The experiences we have – hopefully, they’ll give us empathy to degrees normal people could only dream of.
I’ll never ask that you try and change your narcissist. It’s not possible. What I do encourage and invite you to do, is to start looking at yourself and see how you can change in order to feel better, to heal and recover from your childhood trauma. How and what you choose to do with your relationship to your narcissist is your own business. But if you are ready to actually recover, not only survive, you actually do need to look at yourself. It is hard work, and quite unpleasant most of the time, but it’s worth it.
The point with recovery, at least for me, is to change the way I relate to myself first of all, and secondly, to the people and the world around me. And quite frankly, that could change your entire relationship with your narcissist – to the better, on your part. It won’t change the narcissist, but it could change how you relate to, what you allow from the narcissist, et cetera. And the more value you give yourself, the better it’ll be.
We can only be responsible for ourselves. We cannot put that responsibility on someone else. That’s not fair. That makes us exactly what we don’t want to be. Irresponsible children. Own your trauma. Own your person. Own your life.