I think this one is among the most difficult posts (and videos) I’ve wrote, so far. Not because it’s extra difficult for me personally, but rather because it’s so bloody hard to describe and explain to someone who hasn’t been in a situation like this.
And of course, how do you describe having a narcissistic parent, when you have nothing to compare with? It’s no easy task, especially since I really do believe that most people would drop their jaws and not believe a word. That’s how ridiculous it sounds, trying to put words on what a narcissist does.
But – let’s get back to topic; namely, the lack of a sense of Self.
I do find this extremely difficult to write or talk about, because how do I describe what it feels like, not understanding the concept of personal boundaries, of the idea that merging with other people is natural, and to not understand the difference between you and I? How do I explain all the damage that’s done by these things alone, without sounding like I’m lying through my teeth in hope for sympathy?
I mean, bloody hell. To all of us who grew up with an adult narcissist in our family, these are no news. We all know how these things affect us, how broken we become, how difficult it is to recover and heal from it. But to a “normal” person, it really must sound like jibberisch.
Perhaps I overthink the level of understanding in other people. Perhaps they are capable of understanding how I never knew that I wasn’t the same person as my mother. There were no boundaries between her and I, and naturally, I thought that that’s how these things work. I thought that there were no boundaries between anyone. I really did think that merging and adapting to what other people expected from and of me, was natural – that everybody does that. I was forty years old when I realized this is not the case.
All these things, combined with my travelling back and forth between mom and dad, made me a chameleon. I was constantly changing, if not between my parents, then between friends. I struggled for a very long time to feel like I belonged somewhere, but I never really found a place where I could settle down, mentally and emotionally. It also made me mimic and pretend that I was alive, that I existed, that I was someone, rather than actually being someone. But I had no idea how to actually live, since I constantly existed for the benefit of someone else.
These things are incredibly difficult to go through. I have struggled with my sense of Self, my identity, my independence, for my entire life. I will say this; I am very, very good at working at and with myself. I’ve done so conciously since I was about twenty years old. I have a lot of practise, and I try to be as honest with myself as I can.
But this one, I needed therapy to understand and change. I had a great therapist, who unfortunately quit to work with another employer – but during our time together, I did learn about this.
I don’t know how things are with you guys, but for me – everything takes such a long time. I am fortyfive, soon to be fortysix years old, and while I am way on the other side of the pit, I still wouldn’t consider myself “done”. I do regret that all those years have been wasted on such hard work, when I could have spent them being truly alive, but I am also incredibly happy that I have come this far. That I do have a sense of Self – and trust me, I am never, ever letting that go.
One of the hardest things for me has been, and to a degree still is, forgiving myself for not being human from the start. Now, I can hear you think all the way to over here, that of course I’m human, don’t be ridiculous. 😀 And yes, of course I am human. But I have felt like an outsider for my entire life – for so many reasons. I have felt like I was born to suffer, and for that purpose alone. And the levels of suffering I’ve been through – they have not been human. I have been absolutely nothing, not even a scrap of sand on the floor. I have been a shell, not even that. The emptiness, the hollowness and the darkness that have filled my pit, has been beyond what anyone should ever have to live with. Forgiving myself for not having been what I should and could have been from start, is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done (I’m not done with that yet – just saying).
Obviously, it is possible to find our sense of Self. I have, and I never thought I would. To my surprise, I am still me – just more sure of who and what I am, what I need, the boundaries and limits I have – not to mention; why I have them, and the knowledge of what happens if I let anyone cross them (or cross them myself). I pride myself in the fact that I know myself better than most people know themselves combined. There are lots of things that needs improvement, lots of things that needs to be tested with other people – and I am slowly getting there.
And before I forget – if you haven’t subscribed to my Youtube channel yet – please, do. I’d be ever so grateful if you like my videos – and even happier if you share them. I really do believe it’s important to share, but I need all the help I can get. Thank you sooo much in advance. ♥