Many of us who are healing from narcissistic abuse are more focused on how far we have to go instead of how far we have come in our healing journey. I think this is because when raised by a narcissistic parent (or two), we learned early on to focus on our flaws. Being harshly criticized constantly will do that to a person.
This is a bad habit though & needs to end!
I realized how guilty I am of this behavior just recently.
My father called one evening to let me know one of my favorite movies was coming on TV, “Christine.” He’s never done this before, which struck me odd. My mother has always been the one to do that. After only a few moments of conversation, he said “Did you hear that? The call waiting beeped. I have to go.” We said our good byes & hung up. I realized that he lied about his call waiting- I know because when it’s beeped before when we were on the phone, I always heard a second or two of silence each time it beeped. This time? Nothing.
I thought about this call after hanging up. Obviously he’s angry with me. He’ll never say that since he wants to look like the good parent at all times. He avoids me instead. Not a full fledged silent treatment, but when we speak, it’s less frequently & the conversations are much shorter. That’s why he lied about the call waiting- to get rid of me without blatantly stating he wanted to get rid of me.
As for him calling about the movie, that was a first. Usually my mother calls to let me know when it’s coming on. She loves to tell me how “crazy”, “weird” or other nasty things I am for liking it & other Stephen King movies. “Christine” is a bonus for her because Christine is a ’58 Plymouth Fury. Since I drive a ’69 Fury, this opens the door for her to insult my car. They’re too big, ugly, destroy the roads, no one needs a car that big, etc. For her to pass up all that nastiness, she must still be very angry with me due to our argument on May 5.
Rather than being upset like I once would’ve been with my revelations, I found this situation funny (probably inappropriately so). My parents would rather be wrong, pretend to be right, & act like I’m messed up for not tolerating them being hateful with me than admit they were cruel to me. And, they’re so passive/aggressive, they won’t try to work things out. Instead they use immature, silly ways to punish me. The ridiculousness of the situation struck me funny.
God also used this situation to show me something very valuable. Not so long ago, I would’ve been upset. I would’ve been enjoying the silent treatment, yet wondering if I should do something. Should I apologize? Should I “be the bigger person” & try to work things out? This time though, those thoughts never even crossed my mind! Realizing that as well as that I could laugh at the ridiculousness of it all made me see just how far I’ve come. I’m quite proud of myself! I’ve come a long way!
I also saw clearly how little I usually celebrate such victories. Instead, I tend to focus way more on how far I have to go, which is depressing. That isn’t happening anymore. I realized the value of having balance, & am working on doing that.
Looking at how far you have to go is necessary. It shows you what you need to work on, & when you get frustrated with being a certain way, you get motivated to change. However, looking at how far you’ve come is equally valuable. It helps to encourage you. You realize that if you could improve that much, then you can continue to improve. Only looking at how far you have to go discourages you, & only looking at how far you’ve come can make you stagnant. Maintaining a balance & looking at both is vital to your healing journey being successful, I believe.
I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to start focusing just as much on how far you’ve come as you do on how far you have to go. Try to maintain that healthy balance. It will bring you more peace & joy, & you deserve that!! xoxo