I spend some time almost every day reveling in the view of the mountains. Their power is so immense you can almost feel the healing properties they possess tingling down the length of your body. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to call the mountains my new home.
When I first announced my move out west I received much praise for my “brave” choice. I felt very much loved for the support I was given by those close by and far away. Yet, at the same I couldn’t help but think that I did not consider this a brave move at all. After all I grew up, and still am, fiercely independent. There is a lot to be said about the allure of adventure. But, there is equally as much to be said about the allure of longing to just run away.
I spent half of my formidable years dreaming of escape and the other half mentally suppressing the situation I was in. My father was a narcissistic…monster. My wonderful mother passed when I was only 13 and unfortunately I was stuck with the bad half. I spent my years with someone who only knew how to form and maintain relationships with control tactics, manipulation, and abuse. I was not only the only one in his life, but also his outlet. I just remember feeling very isolated. I didn’t know how to form good relationships, and what’s worse I didn’t think I deserved them. Humans are social creatures; loneliness has been proven to produce the same negative health effects as obesity. In an article posted on EverydayHealth Dr. Sanjay Gupta states “According to University of Chicago social neuroscientist John Cacioppo, the effects of social isolation or rejection are as real as thirst, hunger, or pain” (August 4, 2015). Wow.
I was recently spending some time on the interwebs when I came across a Facebook post with pictures of my old narcissistic friend and her new fiancé. I didn’t feel anger really, or sadness or any of those other emotions that I thought I was going to feel. I started to sense a sort of discomfort, though, a real uneasiness. This made me curious as to why.
The history that this old friend and I share is a tragic one. We started off as friends due to similar interests and came to realize as we got closer, family backgrounds. She had a very unstable upbringing, as did I. We connected on this commonality. The feeling to be able to share something so deep and painful from your life, and have someone understand, was…unparalleled. Our bond was incredible.
And so were our fights.
I recall the last straw for me. I was at the point of starting to grow up, build awareness, and take serious action for the emotional instability that I have been feeling my whole life. I had just began to wake up that there was a constant type of personality that reappeared in my life as I was, at this point, surrounded by narcissists from a few very prominent areas in my life. It was also hard to swallow that I might be responsible for magnetizing those people into my life.
We had a terrific fight, one full of the typical narcissistic tactics and harmful words. After a couple of nauseating emails, I was too tired to respond. I let go. My healing began. But it took a long time. Many things changed. I felt the same sort of isolation from our mutual friends, I felt like I was in the wrong. Going through a big change internally also made my question my other relationships, people in general, as well as myself. It was an incredibly lonely time…again.
At the end of day, I hope to thank her. Thank her for being in life so that I could see this personality disorder more clearly and for bringing awareness. And I also let go of what I could not change from that hard time.
I’m proud of how far I come, literally and figuratively. I know better now that it is not my fault nor in my control. That discomfort that I felt after seeing the Facebook post I now know deep inside is fear. Fear. Fear that they succeeded. Fear of that biting isolation. The isolation that I felt merely as a result from the narcissist’s projections, their judgments…my distorted sense of compassion where I thought I was helping by internalizing what others wanted to discard of themselves onto me.
I’ve had my share of adventures so far and know there is much more to come. They never succeeded, no matter what Facebook says, knowing what I know now that a narcissist is still the same and will find any vehicle for them to uphold their grandiose image.
At the same time, I’m trying to cultivate this sense of home. There are many tools that are my disposal to discard the bullshit that I carried from the narcissists that have inhabited my life. The intentionality and practice to heal remains.
I stop typing and listen as the coyotes begin to howl. The crisp mountain air blows their presence in through my window. Their calls are much louder in a pack. They call together as their sense of community is as secure as their sense of place.
Each day I’m cultivating strength through my sense of self and community. A new strength; one that can move mountains.
Written by: Anna (Creator of Echo’s Corner)