When it comes to how we feel about ourselves, I tend to struggle with the extremes of this. I’ve spent my entire life up til I was about 40 years old (46 now) with loathing and hating myself to degrees that no normal person would consider anything but their worst nightmares. Now that I am on the other side of my pit, I find myself wondering – what happens if I go to the extremes on the other side?

Do I become a narcissist?

I have always been extreme in where I am emotionally located. There’s a reason why I am diagnosed with bipolar disorder (type II, for anyone who wants to know). I’m prone to depression, but for perhaps three years or so, I went between hypomania for about two weeks, then straight into extremely deep depression for about three months – then back to hypomania. Back and forth between those extremes.

I’m not there anymore. I’m not even sure that I actually do have bipolar disorder. I’m fairly certain that my mental health has been affected by the narcissistic abuse I was subjected to as a child, and my dad’s lack of understanding of how to handle it.

So I am well versed in dealing with my own depressions, my anxiety and so on.

What I find difficult these days, now that I am on the other side of that pit, and actually on the verge of creating a sense of ME and a life that I like, is – is there a line over which it is easy to step, that’ll transform me into a narcissist?

When it comes to feeling good about oneself, to actually liking oneself, to feeling one has value, that one is worthy of respect – all those things that normal people take for granted… can any of these things go overboard and become too much?

And this whole idea of liking oneself and actually thinking that damn, I am good. Can that too go overboard and become something unhealthy, such as thinking – I am worthy of so much more than everyone else, because I suffered this and that, I got through it, and I deserve it!?

I am really struggling with this. Because I find myself in a position where I do like myself. I do think I have value – and so much more than I ever would have thought possible. Why do I feel like this? Should I be worried? Because sometimes I feel like people tend to undervalue me. I usually feel like there is so much more of ME than most people ever realize.

Is this common? Do you feel like this too? Do I need to worry? Where do these feelings come from?

And at the same time, I’m thinking that – having been where I’ve been, perhaps I need to go to the other extreme before I level out and find balance in my selfimage.

It is very confusing, in many ways, to change your way of thinking about yourself. I don’t think I can recall just how many people who have told me I am such a humid person, over the years. I think I may still be that, but at the same time thinking very differently about myself.

How is it possible?

Or is it just that I found my own worth, but still recognizing my own faults, all the things where I am lacking? I mean, I’m a human – I’m not perfect.

In Sweden, we have something called Jantelagen. Jantelagen is one of those unexpressed things we learn from the moment we are borne – and it means that we should never consider ourselves better than another. It is a very effective way to surpress how we think and feel about ourselves, and probably one of the most swedish attitudes there is.

I think I’m struggling with these things because I never learned the difference. Perhaps I don’t need to worry at all. Perhaps I’m perfectly normal regarding the levels of pride I have of myself. In my world, it’s always been either/or. And I’ve always lost the battle between these two extremes.

Until now. And I do admit to bathing myself in my own glory, now that I found it. I also do admit to taking enormous pride in not being like my mother, because I really think I evolved way beyond her capability a long time ago. And this is where I feel the conflict between the extreme opposites. Do you understand what I mean, and see my point? When does this sense of personal glory and pride become too much?

Because I do think that at some level, everyone should feel glorious, amazing and proud – and much, much more.

If or when I come up with a good answer to all of these questions, I promise I’ll tell you. I’m not there quite yet, but I’ll get there. Because let me tell you something – if there’s anything I happen to be good at, it’s to expand my way of thinking. My inner world is gigantic, and I am very, very good at connecting dots, see patterns and evolve where I see fit. Eventually, I will come to peace with this, and then I’ll let you know how I got there.

With love.

 

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Eye C : recovery from childhood trauma (narcissistic abuse by a parent)

I grew up with a covert narcissistic mother and a father who overcompensated in a rigid manner.

 

My mother died back in 2001 and I have spent too many years being a survivor. This is where it’s time to recover and be the best version of myself that I can be.

 

It’s important to me to let this be a space where we are creative and positive in our ways to recover from the narcissistic abuse we’ve been subjected to in our childhood. It’s no easy task, but I’ll be damned if I can’t do it.

 

Until then.

 

With love.
Malinka P.