It’s a common question posed by victims of NPD abuse as they struggle with their recovery. How on earth will they ever trust someone again? The answer is simple and straightforward. By trusting yourself.[/
That’s the short, simple answer. The longer one is rather more complicated.
There are reasons that we are attracted to narcissists and vice versa. It stems from being an Empath – people-pleasers who sense inner wounds in others and who take it upon themselves to fix damaged people. It is why they fall for the love-bombing of the Idealisation Phase. And the reason they stay and endure the abuse synonymous with the Devaluation.
What makes an Empath this way? Invariably it stems from early childhood experiences – for example and overbearing parent who must be obeyed, or warring parents the create in the child someone who just wants to maintain the peace. In both instances, the child learns to put their own needs second. This is the root of being the empath whose weak personal boundaries permits their own abuse later on in life. So the foundations for finding happiness later on in life, and in particular as part of the journey of recovery following NPD-abuse, is to identify and heal one’s inner wounds. Work out what it was that caused you to become the empath. And, having done this, actively go about trying to counter that effect. Stop taking responsibility for other people’s issues or opinions. If it’s an overbearing parent, consider finding some sensible issue to disagree about and noticeably ignore their advice to do your own thing. Ignore the ensuing wrath and tell it to sod off. If it’s warring parents, tell them both that they are no longer your problem, that you are not going to be a piggy-in-the-middle peacemaker, and that they need to resolve their own shit. You get the drift…..
Self first, self-love
Another very important aim is start really looking after yourself – both mentally and physically. Do exercise, plenty of it. Do meditation. Take care of your appearance. Start doing hobbies and pass-times that make you happy. Surround yourself with positive people who build you up and boost your confidence. Do jobs – paid or voluntary – that make you feel important and that you are making a valuable contribution to people in particular, or society in general. Your aim with all of these things is to boost your self-esteem. To put a spring in your step. A smile on your face. A twinkle in your eye. A fun-loving tone in your voice. An aura of happiness and optimism around you.
All of this has two very significant effects:
- To fill the void within you with you. The objective is to find joy and contentedness yourself whilst being alone. Being able to do a load of things in life unencumbered by the wishes, needs and time-demands of someone else. You start to take responsibility for your own happiness. You look less to anyone else to make you fill complete and contented. You will find your sense of identity once again, your self-respect and a sense of purpose.
- The second effect is that life will start to come to you once again. Opportunities present themselves. You meet people. And members of the opposite sex start to notice you. Interact with you. Flirt with you. Not only is this good for your own self-esteem, but you learn to flirt back. It boosts your confidence. It allows you to practice interpersonal skills with the specific purpose of attracting, vetting and declining.
Making a mistake by partnering with a narcissist is one should only ever allow yourself to do once. If you remain vulnerable from all of the damage done in that first relationship, you will remain a target for another. The trick here is to use all of that pain and chaos to forge a new, stronger and more informed you. Use the experience of your that narc, and all the abuse they served, to learn about NPD. Your own history plays the perfect counterpart to the theories proposed by the professionals that allow you to learn effectively. Validate your experiences with these theories and the wealth of information now on the Net about NPD, and with the stories of other victims. Learn the red flags. Understanding the need for narcissistic supply that drives the narcissist in everything they do. Figure out the two roles of real vs false self, the Jekyll & Hyde split personalities. With this combination of knowledge and first-hand experience, you will be fine-tuning your narc / Cluster B spotting radar. And your confidence in yourself will be allowing you to actively play them, test them, validate your gut feelings, and diagnose them. And then walk away from them without a second thought.
Trusting the Lies
The vast majority of people try to avoid lying. Narcissists aren’t the majority of people. Not only do they lie, frequently, convincingly, and without remorse or the slightest bit of guilt, their whole life is one big lie. Consider their Jekyll & Hyde personalities, where the apparently benevolent “false self” camouflages a highly toxic “real self”. It’s one long charade. It is absolutely core to their very existence.
As humans we are hard-coded to trust people and take them at face-value. It should be possible to trust most people – to a reasonable degree, at least. Narcissists can also be trusted – sort of, at least. Perhaps trust is the wrong word. They can be relied upon to be false and untrustworthy. Semantics? Maybe – but the point is an unimportant one. If you can un-hardwire your brain to trust everybody, if you can rewire it to alter your perception and the way you think about narcs, and if you can understand instinctively that narcs will forever be up to games to nail narcissistic supply and protect their charade, you will have measure of them. Take very single word they say with a pinch of salt. Look at their actions always, and their words second. Their deeds inform, their words mislead. Put everything in the context of a dire need for narcissistic supply (whether now or in the future). Understand that it is the “real self” who really wears the trousers in their partnership with their “false selves”. Be disciplined about applying the logic of talking with two very separate characters, and decide who it is who presents themselves at any one time.
The real self controls. Demands. Criticises. Humiliates. Gas lights. Abuses.
The false self charms. Flirts. Praises. Thanks. Manipulates. And lies convincingly a lot.
Put all of these life lessons and tricks together, and you will become an Awakened Empath. You will retain and be happy to share all of aspects about you which make you so wonderful – your kindness, your superhuman talent of sensing people’s moods, your optimism, your vigour and lust for life. But you’ll be smarter. Stronger. Self-confident. Self-reliant. Independent. Someone who will always love, respect and honour yourself first and foremost. You will never allow yourself to be taken advantage of, or abused by, someone else ever again.
In short you will be ready to meet someone truly special who reciprocates the love and support you give them. Where the two of you will retain your own identities and self-respect, but join together in a partnership of mutual love and support where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
It will happen – you just have some work to do first.