There is one thing I’ve noticed that sometimes happens with people who write about narcissistic abuse. They become smug.
As an example, I’ve seen conversations online where someone has recently learned their mother is a narcissist. She’s naturally overwhelmed & relieved, as all of us in that position have been. She finds someone who writes on the topic & follows them on social media. This author responds to her comments by telling her “Just go no contact. I don’t know why you’re dragging your feet about it. I did 8 years ago & it worked fine for me.”
Thankfully, I haven’t seen this scenario often, but I have seen it. No one in this position needs shaming, especially at this time. She needs understanding, compassion & information! She also needs time to let this newfound knowledge sink in before she can even think about making such a huge decision as no contact. Learning your mother is the abuser & you’re the victim rather than the other way around is a shock. It takes time to accept, & that is the first step in healing from narcissistic abuse.
If you write about narcissistic abuse, there are times it can be frustrating when you’re speaking with someone in an abusive situation who isn’t making moves to protect themselves. Once you’ve been there, done that & found freedom from your abuser, you often can see what would be the best course of action for other people in similar situations to take. It can be very frustrating that they either can’t or won’t see it too.
If you get angry or smug in those situations, you may be dealing with burnout or compassion fatigue. When you write about narcissistic abuse, you pretty much live & breathe narcissism. People tell you their stories, you do research, & you work on your own emotional healing. Chances are good you also have C-PTSD. Narcissism is a huge part of your life & you get tired of it. Although you want to help people, sometimes you want to never think of this topic again. When people tell you their stories, you can feel indifferent to their suffering & their need for good information. That is a big sign of compassion fatigue. It isn’t that you don’t care. You do. You’re simply burned out & need a break.
Compassion fatigue is common in helping professions such as those in the medical field, caregivers, counselors/therapists, or law enforcement. It’s very evident by how they interact with people. Have you been to a doctor who acts like you’re bothering him with your health concern or seen a caregiver in a nursing home who is testy with the patients? That is compassion fatigue. Thankfully, it’s fixable.
When you realize that you feel burned out & even indifferent to people’s problems, it’s time to take action immediately. Take a break. I don’t mean 15 minutes away from what you do. I mean as much time as you can. If you run an online forum, find someone who you know you can trust who can watch it for a few days. If you write a blog, I highly recommend writing many blog posts that you can schedule to publish so if you need a break, your blog continues on as normal in your absence. If you’re working on a book, stop. Take time away from it.
Once you’ve decided to take a break, spend your time doing things that nurture you. Pray, spend time in nature, snuggle your furkids, watch funny movies or listen to music. And, do NOT think about narcissism! If you have flashbacks, nightmares or intrusive thoughts, I know this is a challenge since those things have a mind of their own. If they happen, deal with them as usual & once that is done, resume not thinking about narcissism.
Also, reevaluate your boundaries. You can’t help everyone- you aren’t God! That’s ok! Instead of trying to help everyone, pray with or for them. Remind them that they need to pray as well as read their Bible.
Reevaluate how you spend your time. Find where you can cut back on obligations, & do it. This will give you more free time which is so vital to your mental health.
Pray. Ask God to show you what changes you should make & how to make them. Ask Him to weed out the people in your life that aren’t good for you & that you’re not good for, so you have more time for those that are good for you.
Writing about narcissistic abuse can be incredibly difficult, I know. It is possible though when you don’t neglect yourself. Good self care will make you a better writer as well as a happier person.