Recently, my birthday passed. The first one since having a huge argument with my parents in May of 2016. My mother didn’t send a card. My father sent a card though, & as soon as I saw it, I felt so much guilt for the way my relationship with my parents is, or lack of relationship I should say. The old dysfunctional way of thinking kicked back in. I should forgive & forget, pretend all is ok no matter how much it hurts me, & I overreacted because they should be able to do & say anything.
At the same time, I was remembering why I need to stay no contact with my parents. A lifetime of abuse flowed through my mind. The cruelty, the belittling, the manipulation, the control, the parentalizing, the guilt trips, the putting everyone else ahead of me, the invalidation. The two very conflicting thoughts & feelings were utterly miserable. Cognitive dissonance always is miserable!
Those of us raised with narcissistic parents know this well.
Growing up, we were trained to think & believe certain ways, such as the narcissistic parent always comes first, & our thoughts & feelings mean nothing. Eventually, we learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & realize that all we grew up believing is wrong.
Unfortunately that is only the beginning. It takes a long time to unlearn old thoughts & replace them with new, healthy thoughts. As you learn, you experience very uncomfortable feelings because of these conflicting beliefs, which is known as cognitive dissonance.
When my experiences happened recently, I mentioned what was happening in my Facebook group. I am very blessed, because the members were incredibly helpful. They reminded me why I need to be no contact with my parents, & the guilt & conflict I felt wasn’t from God.
I also spent plenty of time in prayer. I asked God what to do, was I overreacting with my parents, was I wrong, should I ask them back into my life? God did the same thing those in my group did- gently remind me why I’m no contact & that He didn’t want me feeling guilty.
Dear Reader, when you face similar moments of awful cognitive dissonance, I urge you to do what I did- pray. God is your Father & friend- you can talk to Him openly about everything you feel. Do it! He’ll help you get through! Also, open up to those close to you who understand your situation, preferably those who have been through similar. They can be of great encouragement too!
I know experiencing cognitive dissonance is difficult & painful, but you will get through it! I did. The day of my birthday was rough, I won’t lie. It was a struggle, even with the help of God & friends, but I made it through. The day after was easier & the one after, still easier. It just took a little time for the healthy thoughts to beat down the unhealthy ones is all. When this happens to you, remember that you WILL get through & be just fine. Be patient, understanding & gentle with yourself, knowing that it will pass. xoxo