Dealing with a narcissist you still care about. Tough, right? Well, I want to explain how to 'untoughen' the process!
How does one do this? You still care about the person. You may even be caught up in your emotions so much that you want to cater to his every move.
The first step is AWARENESS. Realize that you are a high-value woman. That you need not cater to a blaming, toxic individual.
This process is often the hardest one to achieve and solidify. Once you have established the knowledge, you will be that much more resistant and aware of narcissists in the future, whether in your personal or professional life.
Next, comes DEFINING THE BOUNDARIES. What would you like to establish?
This really depends with the maturity of the woman involved. I have personally found that the more purified physically I became, the more flexible my boundaries could be. When I was heavily polluted with toxic candida and bacterial overgrowth, I found more of a 'black and white' mentality was necessary. This came from the fact that I could not deal with the sight of the person without having an emotional upheaval all over again.
I mentioned the narcissist I had dealt with on an intimate level, up until August 2015. When he moved to another area, it was a chance to 'detox' from the relation. The good side of him even seemed to recognize that and said to me 'You need to heal'.
That was good. I really did. The part of him that truly cared about me inspired me to find the truth, and not only that, but to narcissist-proof me against future targeteers.
If you hear from your former lover who was a narcissist, what does one do? Well, one needs to decide what is right for them at that time. If you are less healed from your narcissist experience, you may indeed choose to block the person, because you are not ready yet. And, if that's what you need to do, you need to do it!
And that leads us to the third step: HEALING.
What inspired you to gravitate towards this person in the first place?
In my case, I had traced the origins back to my father, whom I am currently still estranged from. My friend 'R', the narcissistic friend I am referring to, had shared a lot of characteristics with him, and the two had even met. They had both taken engineering classes and in fact shared the same subtype interests in mechanical and electrical engineering. In addition, 'R' was seven years younger than I was. My own father, despite being the more genuinely loving of the two parents I had, was also the more unstable financially. 'R' was very unstable when I first met him, barely scraping by as a puppet manager in a computer store. In rectifying this, I realized it was a chance to reparent my own father.
When one processes the story in a healing way like this, rather than judging oneself, or labeling it as a 'codependent relationship', one can realize what it truly was and grow from the experience. It is from this growth, that one can go forward, and help others.
Staying in the shame of the event is not helpful, but it is important to realize that processing shame, guilt, and other emotions take TIME. That time should not be rushed by any well-meaning friends or family who wish to see you happy again for their own sakes.
Seek out objective, but not harsh friends who will help you and be a witness to your grief about your relationship.
The fourth step: FORGIVENESS
When we realize that we are no longer in power to the narcissist anymore, it is time to release, let go, and forgive.
Forgiveness does not mean that we've forgotten about what the person who wronged us did. What forgiveness means, is letting go of the slight, realizing the big picture and also having compassion for the one who did us harm.
This process, like healing, cannot be rushed. Oftentimes, I like to call it 'a circular direction' that the heart travels in during this process. We may have good days and bad days where as human beings, we wish to 'retract' our forgiveness and bring resentment back to stay! However, the process gets easier and easier with time.
I do know for a fact, from knowing my friend 'R', (we still officially remain friends today), that even as a narcissist, he does struggle with feelings of loneliness. Seeking to understand and remembering the struggles of the forgiven can help the former victim to gain peace with what happened.
In going through my own body healing journey, I also realized that parts of my brain literally 'rewired' as the toxins left me. I was able to extrapolate that 'R' had a chip so stubbornly wired, and that he did not have the benefit of a similar experience. In realizing this, I felt a sense of gratitude, in the place of resentment.
I hope this helps anyone who is struggling with forgiving a narcissist. You can indeed have compassion and empathy for these people. You can also pray for change. With God, all things are possible!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.