I wrote this May 4th 2017 and have come a LONG way since. It’s my hope someone, anyone, gets something out of it.
I was laying in my bed last night thinking about my past relationship I had with a narcissist for 27+ years. Reminiscing about how toxic it was but the reminiscing was not in an unhealthy way. I wasn’t focused on the bad, I didn’t start going back down that mental rabbit hole and it didn’t, thank God, elicit any I’ll feelings, anger or hurt like it once upon a time did. After thinking for a little while about this now dead interaction, it seemed like all the names that were “third parties” to our so-called relationship started coming to mind. I imagined that I was having somewhat of a fictitious conversation with him and found myself starting to point out to him how many superficial relationships he’s had since I’ve known him – superficial because they were based on material things, sex and how he could benefit from them – and that he must be the one at fault because he’s the common denominator but even within this make believe conversation, I automatically caught myself cleaning it up and telling him that I could easily say that but it wouldn’t be entirely accurate. See, the truth is, and I’m not sure if I’m going to phrase this right, but the truth is….it’s not 100% his fault! Yes, the behaviors are unjustified and inexcusable but the reality is that we, the narcissist’s “victims” or “targets”, allow ourselves to be treated in such a deplorable manner because of issues that still need to be addressed. The narcissist executes the behaviors because of his or her own deep rooted dysfunctions, but we allow it to continue. To happen in the first place.
Anyway, after thinking about all this, I was blown away by how many others that he’s gone thru since I’ve known him, that most likely have or have had at the point in time they dealt with him, various unaddressed issues just like myself. I felt a sense of sadness and a sense of ‘wow’! People, we have to heal. Whether our trauma/issues/dysfunctions are no longer able to be ignored and brought to us on a silver platter by a sociopath or be it some other messenger….we have to become more self aware, be willing to go into uncomfortable territory, love ourselves and ultimately HEAL. Spring clean the negative in order to bring in the positive!
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines self-pity as: a feeling of pity for yourself because you believe you have suffered more than is fair or reasonable. Well, I present to you that it’s more than that. Not only is it more than that, but it’s also not that black and white. I personally have a problem when someone tells another person to stop feeling sorry for themselves. It’s been in my experience that when a person feels sorry for themselves, aka self pity, that usually means that they are expressing how they are feeling about an unfair situation that has happened to them BUT with the intention of illiciting a particular reaction from their listening audience: sympathy, sorrow, etc. To me, that’s what self-pity is. I say this because for me, the fact of the matter is that while I take responsibility for my choices and behaviors in my life, I can also trace back to a point of why I do the things that I do and where my faulty mindset all began. Unfortunately there are those that will mistake this as placing blame and wallowing in self-pity. No. These are just facts about myself and when I talk about them, I’m not expecting others to feel sorry for me or to cut me any slack. There is a difference between expecting a reaction that will support the wallowing vs a person truly believing that as their reality due to issues, dysfunctions, etc.
I’m a logical, rational, connect the dots type of thinker. A lot of people have dysfunctional mindsets and for some you can’t just tell them to stop feeling sorry for themselves or simply tell them that they have a choice and that they have to take responsibility for their own behavior. That may be ultimately true to some extent but not only is it not that simple, but there’s a process in getting to that point. For some, this mindset, this way of thinking, is all that they know. To tell somebody to stop feeling sorry for themselves and in the same sentence also tell them what they need to start doing as a solution to stopping this “self pity” is a little passive aggressive in my opinion and can definitely bring on a defense mechanism, which is counterproductive and not a good motivator at all! People shut down when they think you’re attacking them. Everyone is unique. Those who meet the criteria I just talked about and who really do feel sorry for themselves because they blame others, constantly paint themselves as a victim and rarely look at the part they play in their misfortune are the ones who really do need to hear “stop it! take responsibility and change what’s within your power!” but those who come from a place of truly internalizing and/or personalizing every negative thing that happens to them because of faulty belief systems from a young age, well I believe they need to hear something different other than “stop feeling sorry for yourself”.
So I present to you, that self-pity is not just black and white. It’s your mindset, it’s your beliefs, it’s your expectations, and it’s your come from in addition to the words that you speak.
Self reflection is awesome. Awareness is even better. Once you get it. Most of us know, at least those of us with half a brain or who have experienced it first hand, that being in an unhealthy relationship is emotionally,
psychologically, physiologically and even physically draining. So when chaos breaks out and we go thru it with our significant other, the one we care about, that person that knows how to push the right button or buttons and then walks out, why do we instantly wish that they would come back? Well, there’s obviously many answers to that question depending on a lot of factors, but what I’ve come to realize was that it wasn’t the actual person I was wanting back – after all, why would I want someone whom I just argued and fought with, who just shifted blame in my direction and took no responsibility for their behavior, deflected, lied and attempted to manipulate me and the entire situation to his advantage, to come back into my presence? Shouldn’t I feel relieved that he just left? Shouldn’t I see that as an opportunity to gather my thoughts and regroup? Yes. Well, let me add a disclaimer right after that answer: if you’re even remotely emotionally stable you SHOULD see it from that perspective, but obviously, when dealing with a malignant Narcissist or any other person with some element of a or actual severe personality disorder, it doesn’t work that way. If indeed you ARE dealing with someone like this, then chances are you yourself have some unhealed emotional wounds that need to be addressed. So with that said, seeing it from that perspective will probably be the furthest from your reality in that moment, for hours or even days to come and a lot of times until that other person comes back. Back to ultimately end up going thru it again and again with you. So what is it really that we feel if we’re at least smart enough to know in the moment of that conflict we wish this person gone, the fight to be over and things to calm down and then when they leave, want them to come back?
In my own personal experience, it took me a while to realize that it really wasn’t the person that I wished would stay and not walk out the door, but rather it was me trying to avoid the feelings and mental scenarios that I knew would automatically come as a result of them not being there. Feelings I didn’t want to deal with because they were too overwhelming and draining. Scenarios that I would create, whether real or speculated, that were too painful, such as WHERE he was going, WHO he was going TO and WHAT he was doing. All of those things were the driving force behind why I thought I wanted him to come back – or not leave in the first place. Once I connected the dots about this, I was able to stop beating myself up about having such a stupid desire and finally address the real issue. I was able to take another step forward on my journey to heal my issues and dysfunctions.