(116) Narcistic relationships

Keep focus on yourself in a narcistic relation. Find you own empowerment again because then narcists loose their power and control.

Narcistic relationships

I got the question; how do you recognize a narcissist? That question is not so easy to answer, but I can describe the process, because how does a strong, independent woman who owns two companies end up in such a relationship?

How narcistic relationships start

Looking back, I can say that it starts with red roses, many conversations (this is the basis for the narcissist to get to know you well, to analyse your strengths and weaknesses, to absorb your fears and your wishes) . In the beginning you think that you have come to know someone who understands you, meets you and gives you exactly the things you were hoping for. They present themselves as what they have seen your need. Hence, trust is created.

How narcistic relationships further develop

In the next phase, this trust is exactly what they will abuse. Because in the first phase of the relationship they have built up a kind of “credit”, created a certain form of dependence (because they do everything for you). Without you noticing, the relationship will change. They are increasingly determining what the “rules” within the relationship are. How you want to dress, what you eat, who you interact with, etc. They are also very manipulative and jealous.

You will notice that the longer the relationship lasts, the more rules are created unnoticed and the smaller the circle around you becomes. This is very gradual, so in the beginning you don’t even notice that people are slowly disappearing from your life, you think contacts are watering down or just not working anymore.

What happened to me

In my case it became a problem at some point to meet with customers, because the jealousy was everywhere, and this obviously has major consequences for your companies. For me it started with a kind of emotional abuse. Your limits are being crossed little by little … and from that point onward it goes further and further downhill. Because I remember the first time, I got it into my head to go against it … that was punished because he literally flew at me and pulled the hair out of my head … totally unexpected and out of nowhere. Then I hear people think, dear, why don’t you immediately leave such a person? But no, you don’t. Because fifteen minutes later they are crying in front of you, they also didn’t understand what happened … so bad … come on, we go out to dinner, I want to make it up to you. Despite the fright, you put the incident aside. Until the next one, a few months later … just when you think it was a real one-off and a little bit of confidence started building again … the next outburst comes.

What people around me only saw

The difficulty with narcissists is that they will never do this in front of other people. So, to the outside world they only see a partner who has always everything for you. Not the manipulative, jealous, controlling demon that the person really is. It’s getting worse and worse … and the abuses are also getting worse. In my case, one day I felt such a strong sense of “I don’t want to grow old this way” that I found the strength to confront and break the relationship.

Terminating a relationship with a narcissist is easier said than done. Because you are now (almost) completely isolated from your environment, so you can’t count on support from your environment. And the people who are left after such a relationship don’t believe you. They only see you upset and the narcissist always loving and helpful, so it will be up to you. Because yes, if you react angry, sad and frustrated if someone always does everything for you, then it’s your fault.

Braking narcistic relationships is difficult … but not impossible
Lonelyness within a narcistic relationship
Lonelyness

The problem is that narcissists have an incredibly large ego. Hence, it is unthinkable for them for you to leave them. After the relationship was over, it still took me 7 months before it was really over. They really come up with everything to keep control over you and fuel your fear (which you have already built up). You must be damn strong in your shoes to push through, but it’s worth it! In my case it went so far that he was inside my house with the keys he had made, when after a night out I came home with a girlfriend (after 6 months apart) I found him sleeping in my bed … you don’t feel safe anymore. With me it finally escalated so much that the last time he was in my house, I became so terribly angry that he was literally knocking on me with his fists … I couldn’t go outside for a week and as a result I’ve a hearing damage. The only advantage of that last experience was that the abuse was now visible to the environment, because my whole face was bright and blue. This was the moment where I finally received help and support from my environment. So, 7 months after the relationship ended, it was finally over.

Therefore, I understand women who are in a toxic relationship. I understand the fear of leaving such a person, because it has consequences because they simply don’t accept it. Narcissists don’t think like healthy people and are just not susceptible to reason.

What I hope to accomplish with this post

I write this because I hope that my example, my story, gives other women the strength to choose for themselves. Because yes, even though it is a long way to break free from such a person, even if it has very unpleasant consequences, everything is better than the alternative. That is, stay with such a person and terrorize your life.

I hope that all women who find themselves in such a situation find the strength to choose for themselves. When you find your own power, they lose power and control over you and your life. Keep your focus on your ultimate goal: choosing for your happiness and your life, although it is something that is only rewarded in the long term.

You are worthy to be happy!!

(115) Thriving after narcistic abuse

A narcissistic parent is the perfect parent for the outside world. The reality is that when no one is there, there is only criticism … of who you are, what you do or don’t do. No opportunity is wasted to belittle you, humiliate you and make you feel guilty.

I grew up in a situation where one parent was not there since I was six (after my parents’ divorce) and that parent died when I was sixteen. The other parent is what they call narcissistic. I think the consequences of this are enormously underestimated.

To the outside world a narcissistic parent is the perfect parent. You will always be well dressed, well cared for, nice family outings and in company you will always be treated “lovingly”.

Narcissists are master of hiding the other side. The reality is that when no one is there, there is only criticism. On whom you are, what you do (or don’t do). They leave no opportunity to degrade you, humiliate you and make you feel guilty (because it is always up to you). To the point where your self-confidence and self-image are still a shadow of the person you really are. And this has serious consequences for the following years. After all, you are used to seeing it as ‘normal’ that you are treated that way, so that you also attract partners in your life who exhibit the same behaviour.

You have been taught that you are worthless, so that you unconsciously attract the people in your life who confirm this. In my life it has resulted in relationships full of abuse. Emotional and psychological abuse, physical abuse, etc. These are relationships in which you are completely isolated, because the moment people in your environment counterbalance, they lose control over you and that is of course not the intention …

Narcissists want control over your thinking, your feeling and being complete. They want to determine how you live and have the gift to achieve this very gradually. Because the moment you resist, you immediately bear the consequences, so you are adjusting more and more to the wishes of the narcissist, after all you really want to keep the peace. You get further and further away from yourself, until a moment comes when you literally hit the bottom.

In my case apparently, that was necessary. Because it wasn’t until that moment only that I realized that I no longer knew who I was, what I liked. All I knew was that I wanted to break through the negative spiral of agony, sadness and continuously being hurt. But how do you do so after so many years of living in pain and always walking on your toes? I got a burnout and afterwards that’s probably the best thing that happened to me.

I chose to withdraw completely, to break the contact and to unwind. My starting point during that period was my work, because business contacts went well for me … these didn’t affect me on a personal level. It’s been quite a process, slowly building energy again from the pleasure in my work and, there was opportunity to remember who I am, what I like and what makes me happy. And from that peace, that basic point in which I found a hold, I very slowly re-discovered myself again.

To the outside world a narcissistic parent is the perfect parent.  The reality is that they leave no opportunity to degrade or humiliate you.

And then finally growth starts. Because you slowly start to feel better, you’re also willing to go on a personal level to gently admit people who do see you for who you are and what you are worth.

It is the first step upward, to rebuilding your confidence and restoring your self-image. And when you see who you are again, you break the circle. Because that’s the moment when you’re going to choose relationships in your life (in all areas) that positively contribute to your well-being and happiness.

(114) I want to be like I used to be …

Mila had set a goal for learning how to cope with her grief; she wanted to be the woman she used to be. In my experience, that goal is subjective. How could you measure that? How could that goal be met in a for her acceptable way?

I want to be like I used to be …

I met both, busy talking to each other, in a cafe somewhere in a village along the Belgian coast. Mila, a fictitious name, was about to burst into tears, her friend had put an arm around her comfortingly. Mila’s friend turned out to have left her, after for her happy years, for another, a younger and wealthier woman. It just wasn’t fair. It turned out she had accepted that he wouldn’t return. Her grief was no less about it. She was deeply unhappy and that was obvious when you looked at her. It seemed like the light had disappeared from her eyes. She wanted to be that woman again she used to be, happy, with a rich smile, sparkling and enjoying everything that life gave her.

I want to be like I used to be
It seemed like the light had disappeared from her eyes
It’s about more than just accepting the loss

Mila had in fact set a goal for learning how to deal with her grief; she wanted to be that that woman again she used to be. In my opinion that is a subjective goal. Because how could you measure that? What if she only achieved a little of the desired result. Is that acceptable to her or not? To what extent should that goal be met for her to be acceptable at all?

Mila made her mourning unnecessarily complex by setting that goal. Why not start processing your grief and see where you end up? And then, depending on the course of the process itself, adjust here and there somewhat. Maybe she even discovers life paths and results that are much more attractive afterwards than what she had initially conceived.

It’s about making choices

To move forward in life and at the same time achieve her goal, Mila will have to make choices. Which choices? That’s not for me to decide, that’s up to Mila! If she does not make a choice however, she literally stands still and does get any further in her life. And you know, you never get absolute certainty for making your choices. After all, once you have taken the first steps after a choice, everything changes because things that were previously hidden from you now become visible. In short, it makes no sense to consider in detail which choice you should make. Mainly focus on your feelings.

You change yourself through the choices you make in your life. Similarly, you change because of the choices loved ones make in your life. All those choices changed the person you were to the person you are today! Some choices leave scars. The scars that you feel or see in the beginning eventually become less tangible or visible, but they never disappear.

Conclusion

Mila may want to become she used to be again, and maybe come a long way, but what is today will never be the way it used to be. And just as Mila had accepted that her ex-partner would not return to her, she also could accept that she had changed by learning to cope with that loss.

Can Mila then never the one she used to be, happy, with a bright smile, sparkling and enjoying everything that life gives? Paradoxical as it sounds, and especially when she is open to it, of course you can. But then different. Different because emotions go deeper through the experiences she has gained; more understanding has emerged; experiences that have made her emotionally richer; perhaps even a warmer personality; and maybe even doing things that she had never thought possible in her wildest dreams. And maybe, just maybe, she does thank her ex-partner at some point in time in the future because she ended up on a path of life that feels she should have walked on from the beginning. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

(113) Let your sun, shine again

There will always be a small black edge visible, but if you can shine your sun again, even with help from others, yellow will dominate again in your life. A golden yellow sun brings beautiful new sparkles in your life.

Divorcing twice from the same man, didn’t I learn my lesson? Was going through that deep valley full of tears once with intense pain and hellish conflicts to divide our possessions not enough?

No, apparently, I wasn’t ready after my first divorce and I had to give our family another chance. At the time I put a line through our past, and bravely stepped into our relationship again with a clean slate. After all, wouldn’t it be great if we were to grow old together. I had to do it for our family, for our relatives and for our surroundings who always saw us as the perfect family. I myself wanted to give my dream of growing old together with our little family another chance and bring it back to life.

To my sense I fought and fought for our marriage until I almost collapsed. My head told me every day … come on you can do it, and you belong together, right? But more and more my body started to protest, and again I had health problems. My body had been telling me for quite some time that daily stress, tensions and quarrels weren’t good for me. After all, your brain, body and soul work together and they send signals. When I realized where my health problems came from, and that I pulled our children into our daily tensions and disagreements, this awakened me from my dream, and I had to choose for myself. It was the hardest choice in my life. A sense of having failed as a mother, and as a partner, but also having to deal with fears and uncertainties, and how to proceed on my own.  Because the financial de-entanglement was very complex, the separation process took a long time and that made my grieving process even more raw. Living in uncertainty, high costs hanging over your head, and not knowing what to expect in the divorce process, means that you will hardly be able to process your grief, because after I made my choice I ended up in a mourning process.

Awareness that you are in a mourning process is very important for processing your grief. Awareness ensures that you dare to admit your grief and pain, and that you don’t run away from it. The fears and uncertainties that look around the corner, create doubts that make you falter to run back to the old familiar life. This is because your brains are so used to your old life and have been programmed in such a way that they think that that old life suits you best. Don’t sit in resentment and anger either, because that can also hinder you and prevent you from seeing anymore the beautiful things in your life. In order to proceed, to persevere and to stay with your choice, it is good to regularly ask yourself the following question in your grieving process:

What positive points have emerged from my divorce so far? My answers to this question show me that I am not only concerned with what I have lost. Insight into the positive developments strengthens you to see your future in a sunny way.

I am still sad sometimes and I still must deal with uncertainties, and fears, but I also notice that I have grown enormously as a person after the breakup of our family. The entire divorce process has made me stronger as a person, and the development process has made me grow. Dealing with setbacks in your life will strengthen you if you can give it a positive twist. It helps you to move on.

Grief may be there, but don’t let grief be the predominant factor for the rest of your life. Seek help if you find yourself getting stuck. As a Mental Coach myself, I have not walked this path alone. I too have enlisted help from others to vent and organize my thoughts. It is so important not to get stuck in your own processes and to allow yourself to be broken by your grieving process.

There will always be a small black edge visible, but if you can shine your sunshine again with any help from others, yellow will dominate again in your life. Yellow stands for optimism, growth and energy. Being able to see joy again and zest for life. And a golden yellow sun in your life even brings beautiful new sparkles in your life.

(112) Her world stopped turning

No matter how great your loss and sadness are, how you react to it, no matter how long ago it was, what one thinks of it, there is usually a way to get out that deep valley, the valley if that great loss and sorrow. Of course, you don’t have to find the way out alone. You can get support, that is, if you allow it.

Her world stopped turning

Her world stopped turning. One of Monica’s breasts was removed because of breast cancer. For clarity, Monica is a fictitious name. About a year later she also lost her son to cancer, just before his 8th birthday. How harsh life can be. It’s so unfair.

How harsh can life be!

In the meantime, again a year has passed in Monica’s life.  She is still struggling with that great loss and sorrow. Yeah, who doesn’t? She’s still getting tired quickly and still can’t concentrate. Everything in life seems totally insignificant to her … especially when you compare that to that huge loss.

“Yes,” she says, “I can’t get anything out of my hands. I would really like to continue my life … but … I just can’t get it done. “

Panic

Panic strikes when the company doctor thinks Monica should be able to work again. Doesn’t he understand I’m getting tired quickly, that I can’t concentrate?

Panic strikes when people around her have an opinion about just everything. The death of her son is almost a year ago … the removal of her breast even longer. Why would you still have such an immense sadness? Shouldn’t you have processed your grief by now, right?

Panic strikes when Monica wonders how to respond to all those reactions. To her it seems that there are two worlds … the world in which she lives … and … the world in which everyone else is living. At times she can feel so lonely.

Lonelyness

It has been a while that managers and colleagues from the company she works for, regularly contacted her or stopped by. It seems as if Monica no longer exists for them. Apart from the occasional contacts with the company doctor and human resources, nobody contacts her anymore. She must find out everything by herself and even resolve it.

Why don’t they see me?

“Don’t they understand what’s going on with me?” says Monica. “Can no one give me a helping hand? Is that so much to ask? Is there no one who even understands how gruelling times are now for me? The question ‘how I’m doing,’ they ask out of social courtesy rather then they really do want to know the answer. Can no one even produce any empathy? “

“I’m struggling more than enough in coping with my loss and sorrow. Why do I have to consider someone else? Why don’t they have any consideration for me? Is that too much to ask?” Monica asks herself. “There’s no one who hears me. No one who really listens to me. Help! “

Cry for help

On the one hand, everything in Monica’s life seems utterly insignificant when you compare that to her huge loss. But on the other hand, she’s too proud to ask for help.

And yet … Monica wants, as she said before, to continue her life … but … she just can’t get it done. Her cry for help is loud and clear! A cry that should never be ignored! By nobody!

Monica’s cry is finally heard, and people have gone along with her step by step. Her world that stopped turning, got into motion again slowly but surely. The way things look now, Monica will be fine in some point in time. However, the “scars” of her loss and sorrow will never go away, with as result that Monica will look at the world differently than before. It’s just the way it is.

Conclusion
Hope glimmers on the horizon!

No matter how big your loss and grief is … no matter how harsh and emotional you respond to this … no matter how long ago it happened … whatever people in your area think about it or their opinions are … and how you respond to this (complex) entirely … there is usually a way to get out of that deep valley … the valley of that great loss and sorrow.

Of course, you don’t have to find that road alone. There are countless people who can help you with this. People like family members, dear friends, experiential experts, professional caregivers or people from your immediate environment. Central to this is that you are willing to ask for and accept their help. It is also central that they can and want to give you that help … and continue to give that to you if you indicate you need it.

However, before that happens, it must be clear that help is needed. That could be because your world is starting slowly to move again and you, the grieving person, eventually start to realize that you can’t handle your loss or grieving on your own. That it is also possible for all of us to assure that we do not leave the grieving, you, alone in processing the loss or grief.

In a nutshell, no matter what happens or how long it takes, all of us should, without exception, stay in touch with each other … if only to help each other when one of us needs help.