Hello everyone. Take a deep breath, drop your shoulders if needed, grab coffee, tea, water, and let’s chat. I’d like to discuss how ‘ACCEPTANCE’ can indeed free you from Narcissistic Abuse, even though I know some of you reading this feel you will NEVER be free. I firmly believe that acceptance is key here; through acceptance of the truth, of reality, of personality disorders (particularly narcissistic personality disorder here) and the nature therein, we can indeed bring freedom our way. Freedom from abuse. Freedom from our own faulty thoughts. Freedom from false hope, freedom from clinging to dreams that just won’t come true. This is NOT an easy task as by and large we are sensitive, caring, supportive, and loving people. It is NOT our nature to ‘leave people high and dry’, or to dismiss others out of hand. In the case of a narcissist (narc) however, we must fully accept the truth and reality in the here and now, in order to save ourselves from further abuse. In fact, fully accepting the truth and reality can bring us freedom.
“It is supremely uncomfortable for us to deny our own basic care-giving personalities; to actually turn our backs on those that are abusing us. It goes against our very characters to leave others who we may interpret as needing us, or needing help, or needing supportive care. In the case of a narcissist however, this ‘turning our backs’ in fact is the VERY thing that will save our hearts, and our souls. Acceptance of who the narcissist truly IS will be key to the creation of your healthy and happy future.” L.A. Gilliam
This might be a good time to take a self-inventory, assessing your own thought patterns, your own behavior, and your own hopes and dreams. In a ‘normal’ and healthy relationship, even one that did not work out, it is likely your thoughts, behaviors, hopes and dreams were appropriate, even if not placed within the ‘right’ relationship or with the ‘right person’. In a normal and healthy relationship we are REWARDED, supported, and uplifted through shared thoughts, behaviors, hopes, and dreams with our partners and loved ones…. and we START the narc abuse relationship in much the SAME WAY. This is because in the beginning we have NO idea of who we have become involved with; we were only shown the ‘good sides’ or the ‘false persona’ of the narcissist in the early days/weeks/months of the relationship. Of course we had thoughts, behaviors, hopes, and dreams surrounding the relationship and person! That is so normal! But again, we didn’t know what we DIDN’T know, and what we DIDN’T know was that we were with a narcissist. So, let me ask a few questions:
- Do you, or did you, continue thinking you could ‘help’ the narcissist by being even MORE understanding than you usually are, or MORE supportive than you have/had already been?
- Did you continue to think that if you would ‘just work harder’ at making the narc happy, the relationship had a chance of working out?
- Did you think, or do you think, that if you could somehow just CHANGE yourself that perhaps over time, things would return to the good times that you had with this person in the beginning of the relationship?
- Are you hoping, or have you hoped that things WOULD return to their once ‘happy’, fun, loving, and caring state?
- Do you, or have you, given reasons for the narc’s bad behavior consistently and ongoing? Telling yourself things like “I really should be more understanding, I know they had a hard day”, or “I really need to be more supportive through this difficult time”? Is this, or has this been a repeated pattern of YOURS?
- Do you dread, or have feelings of fear or anxiety, over ‘what might happen today’?
- Do you fear what the narcissist may do in the future?
- Do you or have you stayed quiet, when in truth, you really wanted to ask a question or speak out and up about something?
I literally could keep going, but I am hoping you will see where I am going with these points. When WE change, when we work so hard, over and over day in and day out, to adjust our OWN authentic selves for the sake of another person, or to keep the peace or keep them happy, SOMETHING IS WRONG. Seriously wrong. In an abusive relationship with a narcissist, over time we will be CONDITIONED through various punishment techniques to do just what I have listed above. Conditioning is a VERY powerful mental and emotional abuse tactic that a narc / toxic person will use to positively reward you for keeping them happy, and punish you (see previous articles on the punishment tactics used by a narcissist) when you DARE to question them, go against their wishes (which are actually demands), have a differing opinion that you stand up for, or speak up about something. CONDITIONING over time can literally change our brain chemistry, our autonomic response systems, our subconscious functioning, as we react to perceived or literal threats to our safety and well being. This is no joke everyone, and something to think about VERY carefully. If you have been victim of conditioning for any length of time whatsoever, I can guarantee you, you are suffering mightily.
Now, let’s take a look at the concept of ‘ACCEPTANCE’. Simply stated, acceptance is the ability to see, realize, understand and ADOPT into our lives the truth and reality AS IS in this very moment, not as we WANT or hoped them to be. There is a huge mental and emotional barrier to cross here; we MUST cross the barrier into acceptance to FREE ourselves from the above described thoughts and behaviors KEEPING us in toxic relationships. We MUST let go of what we WANT reality to be and see, realize, understand and ADOPT into our lives WHAT IS. If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above bullet points, you are misplacing your precious time, emotional and mental energy, as well as effort into a no-win relationship; and in fact, possibly an abusive relationship. I can assure you if you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you are being emotionally and mentally (and sometimes physically) abused. There is no mincing words here; there is no need to sugar coat the truth. When you deny yourself REALITY and live in the above described ways, you are modifying your authentic self, giving up so much of who you are in order to maintain a toxic / abusive relationship.
Let’s take a closer look at the awakening of ‘acceptance’, and what it might look like in your daily life with your relationship with the toxic person:
- You recognize the person treating you poorly has the ONLY responsibility for such treatment; you know YOU are not responsible for this treatment or abuse. The responsibility rests solely on the shoulders of the abuser.
- You understand the toxic person / abuser is not emotionally nor mentally healthy, and you will not make excuses for them nor their behavior toward you or others.
- You begin to understand and SEE that the relationship in the beginning was good or even great, but that it has changed, become unstable, yet YOU are the same. You realize it is not YOU who is now becoming abusive; you see these things in your partner, friend, or family member.
- You allow yourself the GRACE and honor of feeling your feelings, and feel strength building as you recognize you have a RIGHT to those feelings, and the abuser’s admonishment and denying you this very right starts feeling even more ‘wrong’.
- You are no longer trying to ‘stuff’ your feelings, or push them away. Similarly to the above point, you are allowing them to surface, gaining knowledge and strength in the power of knowing deep in your heart that something is seriously wrong. YOU ARE NO LONGER MAKING EXCUSES FOR THE ABUSE.
- You are able to recognize more and more words or actions that don’t feel right; more and more moves to the forefront. What you once overlooked is now behavior that is becoming unacceptable to you.
- You may feel a DEEPLY CONFUSING battle between your head and heart. You are starting to KNOW in your head logically that this is a toxic relationship yet, you still DO have love for the person. This tug-of-war between your heart and head has a name: Cognitive Dissonance, and it is very hard to reconcile, but we must. YOU ARE STARTING TO AWAKEN. As terrifying as this is, this is a wonderful place to be, for from here – your exiting of the toxic abusive relationship will follow.
- Perhaps you are starting to do research into the ‘symptoms’ of your relationship, maybe reading articles, blogs, and finding out information that is all quite new to you, but also seems to FIT your relationship. This is also part of the awakening, and education is KEY.
- You are beginning to understand that all your hard work is for nothing, nothing is changing (no matter what promises are made), the abuse continues, you seem to be working harder, and somehow – even with all your effort – the relationship is still toxic, harmful, and abusive.
- You start to ACCEPT that your partner, friend, or family member may be deeply troubled, disturbed, or disordered.
Now, here is the MONUMENTALLY important piece: You MUST accept this person for WHO THEY ARE in the HERE AND NOW, and understand that in the case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there will BE NO LASTING PERMANENT POSITIVE CHANGE, and the abuse will ALWAYS return. Look back over the relationship through the months and years; is this true for you? Do you find that even after some good times, or a pleasant, loving stretch of the relationship, the ABUSE again returns? That is because the abusive side of the narcissist NEVER goes away. IT IS WHO THEY ARE. IT IS THEIR CHARACTER; not a quirk, not a ‘bad day’, not stress-related, not because of ANYTHING else. It is their CHARACTER. Let that sink in. CHARACTER. Their inner being. Their TRUE selves. Understanding that this is the truth, this is reality, can bring the ultimate ACCEPTANCE which can lead to your FREEDOM from abuse.
As we finish here today, a few considerations for you. How long have you already lived in an abusive relationship? Has anything YOU’VE done made a lasting difference to the relationship? Has there been LASTING, positive change with no instances of abuse? If the answer is ‘no’ to the last two questions, you may indeed be involved with a narcissist, or another Cluster B Personality Disordered individual. You MUST accept the truth and the reality of this very day, this very relationship – AS IT STANDS here and now. You must accept the very nature of the person, friend, family member for WHO THEY ARE. Only then, can you make a quality decision for your own life, letting this acceptance lead the way to positive choices that will ensure your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health, safety, and stability. You have this ONE life. Just ONE! Let acceptance of what we’ve discussed here today lead all your future decisions, knowing that last positive change will not happen with a narcissist. It just won’t. How much longer do you want to invest in an abusive relationship, with an abusive person, when there is truly no chance of lasting positive change? Only you know the answer, and I hope your answer is NOT ONE MORE DAY. Please, please. Let acceptance settle in your heart and soul. I know this is a lot to digest. A lot to understand. A lot to ACCEPT. Accept you must however, because to do otherwise is to continue to invest your heart and soul and effort, energy, emotion, and time into thoughts, behaviors, hopes, and dreams into a relationship and person that just have no way of providing you loving care, respect, understanding, support, and positive regard. Don’t you deserve those things? Of course you do! Ultimately, it is OUR responsibility to create the life we desire, regardless of others who are in it, regardless of what it TAKES to ensure a healthy, happy, and safe life. It is OUR responsibility. Make a decision today that you will not live ONE MORE day in abuse. You can do this. Best, L.A.