"We must always hold truth, as we can best determine it, to be more important, more vital to our self-interest than our comfort. Conversely, we must always consider our personal discomfort relatively unimportant, and indeed, even welcome it in the service for truth. Mental health is an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs." ~M. Scott Peck
Access to information about the Narcissistic Continuum is fundamental to the creation of strong families, loving relationships, and positive social interactions in the workplace. This learning process improves the lives of everyone dealing with partners, children, parents, co-workers, neighbors, and friends exhibiting destructive patterns of unhealthy narcissism.
Throughout each person's lifetime, a maturation process authenticates the True Self. We mature by taking responsibility for our mistakes and recognizing limitations. Suffering legitimate grief for our shortcomings liberates us from self obsession while rewarding us with a deeper compassion for other people and ourselves. We peel back the layers of ego defenses becoming authentically true to ourselves.
However, the narcissist is isolated in a personality structure that is not healed by "peeling back layers of the proverbial onion." Narcissism penetrates every layer leading to the inner core of the self. Many narcissists will never be willing to examine personal mistakes; many narcissists will never realize the limited quality of their lives; many narcissists will never empathize with the pain they have inflicted on others.
Why not? Because Narcissists are alloplastic: they believe their problems are caused by others, not themselves.
While learning to separate ourselves from the narcissist, we are frequently surprised to discover how courageous and strong we are. And always were. Each of us has to take personal responsibility for new choices, no matter how limited or miserable those choices may be.
Step One: Educate yourself about narcissistic relatioNships. Examine your family-of-origin and the family you may have created with the narcissist. No one escapes a narcissistic relationship without wounding, but our wounds need not be permanent. Thousands of people can testify to the fact.
Step Two: Build healthy boundaries. Separate yourself from enmeshmeNt with the narcissist: emotionally, psychologically and physically (if this is your decision). No Contact is suggested for anyone in a life-threatening situation or suffering physical abuse
Step Three: Reclaim your True Self. Allow the Narcissist to do the same. The journey of self-discovery is a rewarding experience, but the only person who can take this journey is the one who pays the price. (Pack your bags for one. You'll be traveling without the narcissist.)
Authentic Healing requires re-connecting ourselves to others who have similar experiences and challenges. Finding a safe place will faciliate our healing process. The Web of Narcissism is that safe place: we are a gentle community taking responsibility for our happiness by learning, unlearning and relearning what it means to be mentally healthy and authentically true to ourselves.
Internet support is a viable option for breaking isolation and rebuilding our lives. In subsequent postings, I'll be discussing: How to find safe Internet support; How to use message boards to rebuild self-confidence and trust; What to look or in a healthy group or community; How to prevent re-victimization by unempathic members.
Until then...take exquisite care of yourself. In fact, treat yourself as well as you treat the narcissist and you'll be just fine. Just fine.