Like so many other victims of narcissistic abuse, I spent most of my life trying to be less me to please other people. I think of it like I was trying to shrink myself to please other people. I became less opinionated. I turned away from things that I liked that they didn’t approve of in favor of things they thought I should. I tried changing my appearance too, dressing differently, coloring my hair & losing weight.
Eventually I realized just how ridiculous this was. Changing to please people who demand you change never works. The one demanding the changes is never pleased, & the one doing the changing is miserable because they aren’t being true to themselves. I could see no good reason to continue this behavior, so I stopped it. I figured let people be mad at me for it. They would be anyway! This was a good decision of course, but it also was only half the battle for me. I knew who I wasn’t, but I didn’t know who I was.
Over the years I did get to know myself, but still something was lacking. I wasn’t sure what that something was. It finally hit me. I lost my passion, my zest for life. I certainly can’t be the only person in this position, so I thought sharing what I have learned would be a good idea.
After enduring narcissistic abuse, it can be overwhelming to realize just how much damage has been done to you. Healing is absolutely possible, but it takes a lot of work & time. Often, I think it’s a life long process. It can be easy to get caught up in healing work & not even notice you haven’t got that zest for life you once had. Or maybe you never had it. Either way, this should change. You deserve to enjoy life!
As vital as healing is, it’s also a lot of work! You need to take time frequent breaks. They are good for your mental health. Thinking too much about such intense topics can wear you down, & that is never good. Take times where you flatly refuse to think about the abuse or focus on your healing. Instead, do things you enjoy.
Remember times in your life when you had that zest for life. Think about them in as much detail as you can. What were you doing? What was so enjoyable about the situation? How exactly did you feel? Meditate on those times. Remind yourself that this was you! You were capable of being that person before, so you can be like that again.
Consider things that ignite your zest for life & indulge in them often. If it’s reading a certain genre of books, read all you can find. If it’s a certain type of music, listen to it often & dance around your home. If it’s supporting a certain cause, give your best to supporting it in every way you can.
Get creative. I believe creative outlets to be absolutely vital to enjoying life. Whatever you enjoy doing, make time to do it often. I have learned if I don’t set aside time in the evenings to knit, crochet or cross stitch, it doesn’t take long before I become anxious & irritable. Participating in these creative hobbies I love helps me to enjoy life more while helping my mental health.
The most helpful thing I have found though is the value of maintaining a close relationship to God. Psalm 16:11 says that in His presence is fullness of joy, & this is so true! Pray often & remember, God isn’t just God but your father as well. You can talk to Him familiarly. I know when your earthly father isn’t good it can be hard to relate to God in this way but it is possible. Ask Him to help you & remember, He is nothing like your earthly father at all. He is so much better!