by Catalyst Katherine
Dealing with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, referred to as an “NPD”, can make you question your sanity, your judgement, your overall self and truly just about everything. It can make you question it all to the point where it can rob you of any shred of self esteem or self love you may have in you and leave with nothing but self doubt.
When I was in the midst of the darkness of living surrounded by NPD’s, I had lost any belief in myself at all and hit rock bottom before I was able to start my journey of healing and ultimately a new life. I was married to one, my mother was the queen of NPD’s, and I just kept on attracting more and more of them in my life. I hit my bottom hard and it was dark, lonely and seemed like that was the only way to live.
But today I’m grateful for that darkness — it woke me up and made me want to do whatever I could to change it. I had to try what seemed like the impossible and work hard at it, not only for me, but also for the sake of my children and their future. One of my extreme turning points was when someone asked me “Would you want your children to live like this when they grow up?” That was my cold water. I couldn’t have reacted more intensely with the most absolute NO I’ve ever felt in my life.
But even with that, it still took me some time to not only wake up from it all and see the darkness and abusive patterns I was surrounded by, but to slowly seek help, see a light and believe that there was another side to that life.
Today, I live on the other side of that life. It’s not always smooth sailing, but it is very, very far from that old dark life full of doubt and self hatred because I could never do anything right and it was always my fault somehow. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifices to get away from that life and believe that I could live in a different way — and it was all very well worth it!
These are 3 tips that helped me get through that path, deal with my NPD’s and survive and heal one day at a time to get to where I am today …a life full of boundaries, self care, saying “No,” and having it feel natural to say so.
- Repeat after me — It’s not you, it’s them.
The manipulation and emotional roller coaster of life with a NPD will leave you feeling like it’s you, all you, nothing but you and not them at all. Actually, you may even wonder what else could you possibly do to make it all better and make that NPD happy. Even in those moments or situations where you are certain no matter what they say or do you are so sure you are not to blame, it’s not your fault, you did your best, and so on — NPD’s have a way of twisting anything around to make it all your fault and whatever you did just wasn’t good enough.
My advice here is to find and develop a support group, your own Tribe, that will hear you out. Talking those moments out with supportive others helps bring reality to the situation. Before I started healing I never had anyone supportive to hear out my situations, I kept them all inside — a very dangerous place for them. As I started to build my support network, it helped me strip away the belief that I was crazy, that I didn’t do enough, and that it always wasn’t me to blame for it all.
It’s very important to have supportive others remind you and to get to a place where you can remind yourself — It’s not you, it’s them.
A crucial thing to consistently remind yourself of on an everyday, and sometimes hourly basis.
2. Remind yourself regularly — you’re never going to get them to see or hear your side of it.
NPD’s have a very narrow and simple belief system — they’re right, and everyone else is wrong. They are not capable of hearing what others have to say, nor do they care. But it’s very easy to get caught up in the cycle of trying to convince a NPD to see something from your point of view or that maybe something isn’t your fault. That I learned the very hard way — they just can’t see it or hear you.
I spent years trying to convince my NPD ex that so many things weren’t my fault or that I did really try hard to do my best even though he never thought so. Even when I did things to perfection to meet his criteria and he would still tell me it wasn’t good enough and then just set the bar higher. I not only would engage in soul sucking, life draining conversations and debates to get him to see my side of it …but I spent a lot time having that same conversation over and over and over again before finally one day it hit home after much work in my recovery, that he was never ever going to see it or hear what I was saying. That he simply wasn’t capable. This also applied severely to my relationship with my mother.
Today, I reserve all that energy for me and those loved ones close to me that I can actually engage in healthy conversations with — even when we don’t agree. That took some getting use to and lots of constant reminders that — I was never going to get them to see or hear my side of it and I needed to save all that energy for what was really important.
3. Believe and know — there is another side to life that’s far from the chaos of living with a NPD
…and it’s really peaceful.
Believe that! It’s possible. It exists. It’s hard work to get there and involves stepping outside of your comfort zone time and time again and can be really scary sometimes, but it’s possible. I often didn’t believe this when I started my process of working through the wounds left behind from the emotional abuse of living with a NPD, but with a combination of time, support, therapy, more support, research, and not giving up even when I wanted to — I got there. Like I said earlier, it isn’t always smooth sailing, I still have to work at it but what seemed impossible is today very possible and very real.
Living a more peaceful, healthier life full of boundaries and self care is like something I would only dream of once upon a time and thought was truly make believe.
Now, it can still feel uncomfortable sometimes and those old feelings of how I don’t deserve anything remotely good, I how must be wrong and not doing good enough can come flooding back — but today I am much stronger, I have a network of people to turn to when I need support or just need to be heard and those feelings don’t last long at all.
Join our Resilience Tribe on How to Deal with a Narcissist —For those of you out there with NPD’s in your life and feeling alone and in need to be heard and loved, I know you can find the support and a network that will be a life changing stepping stone in your path to healing, surviving and thriving in life when dealing with a NPD.