So many of us who have suffered narcissistic abuse are simply tired. Tired after years of walking on eggshells & trying to please the unpleasable. Tired because the experience gave us C-PTSD or PTSD, which are both exhausting disorders for many reasons. Tired of working so hard, trying to heal & feel normal for once. It’d be so nice if we could just forget what has happened. Put it away like an unloved Christmas present from the mother in-law somewhere in the back of a closet where it wouldn’t see the light of day again.
Unfortunately though, that is completely unrealistic.
If you want to heal from any traumatic situation, you have to deal with it completely. This means to heal, you have to feel. Feel what, you ask? Feel the anger or the hurt. Get angry. Cry. Scream. Cuss.
Sounds wrong, doesn’t it? That is partly because narcissistic mothers shame their children for having any emotions, society shames victims for not “getting over it” immediately & the church often shames people for not “forgiving & forgetting.”
Dear Reader, I’ve been working on healing from narcissistic abuse since 2000. I bought into those lies for too long. I ignored the gentle promptings in my heart from God saying it’s OK to feel my emotions. I tried forgiving & forgetting. I tried getting angry & just couldn’t do it- I was afraid of getting angry & losing control. I also could hear my mother’s voice in my head scolding me for having “that Bailey temper.” I couldn’t even cry or grieve because I thought I was feeling sorry for myself & needed to pick myself up by my bootstraps & get over it. And, I was miserable.
I ignored God’s promptings for years until early last year. After nearly dying from carbon monoxide poisoning & suffering a concussion when I passed out from the CMP, I changed. Both of these things can change one’s personality, so it’s not a surprise that happened to me. I was surprised how I changed though. I suddenly was less able to control my emotions. I had no choice but to feel angry or sad or happy or whatever. And you know what? It’s been a blessing!!
I have been able to heal more since that happened than in the many years prior. Feeling things has enabled me to release those emotions. It’s enabled me to purge myself of the yukky emotions buried inside of me & heal. It’s much like healing an infected wound. You can slap a bandage on it, but that won’t heal it. The wound has to bleed to get the germs & infection out first, then it can heal.
Another bonus of feeling my emotions has been I’ve learned how to make anger work in my favor. My mother couldn’t stand me to be angry, even simple frustration was a problem for her, so she would shame me if I displayed even mild irritation. As a result, I learned early to stuff anger deep down inside, & carried this dysfunctional behavior into my adulthood. Now, I no longer do that. I feel the anger, & when it is a righteous anger (such as when she is hateful to me), I let it give me the strength to set boundaries, walk away or even call her out on her bad behavior. Righteous anger truly is a good thing for giving you strength & motivation to make changes!
Dear Reader, don’t wait until something life altering happens- decide today that you are going to feel your feelings so you can heal. Give yourself permission to do so. Talk to someone safe & trusted about how you feel. Also, you can try the chair technique, where you place an empty chair in front of you, pretend your abuser is in it, & yell, scream, cry or whatever you want to do to vent your feelings. If you don’t feel comfortable verbalizing them, then write them down somewhere safe from prying eyes. You can pray silently too- God certainly will listen!
And, when you’re feeling your feelings, get it all out! Don’t worry if your language is bad. Do you think God’s never heard those words before?! He gets that you are that hurt, angry or frustrated! It’s much better to get that ugliness out of you than let it fester inside of you.
Please remember, to heal it, you have to feel it. You can do this! I know it’s scary at first, but do it anyway. Ask God to give you the strength & courage to face those ugly, scary, traumatic things head on so you can heal from them. Once you do this, those awful memories will feel more like a bad dream than something you’ve actually lived through. That is how you know that event has lost its hold over you.