The whole crowd bet on the horses and nobody bet on the hare. Why'd the little boy pick the rabbit and not the red-white-and-blue stallion, or the mare with a garland of roses around her neck? Everybody knows horses outrun rabbits! The odds are against bunny rabbits---especially when the only person racing is the horse jockey whipping the flanks of his steed because he’s determined to win! “I’ll beat you, you wimpy wabbit! Move aside and let ME show YOU a real Winner!”
How long does it take get over a narcissist?
The first question on everybody’s mind when they find my blog OR they discover the WoN Forum is this: “how long before this stinking merry-go-round stops and I start feeling good again?”
As my father said, “It'll feel better when it stops hurting.” In other words, it hurts as long as it must and after that, you’ll feel better. Feeling better might take six months and it might take the rest of our lives, intermittently working through all the crazy shit we picked up when we grew up. If you’ve had a string of narcissists messin’ with your mind over the years, well, you’ll likely be confronted with unconscious bits-and-pieces of yourself that need conscious effort for a very l-o-n-g time to come. Don’t fret though. It’s not all bad. Hang out with bunny rabbits and think carrots. this is not a race.
Patterns: the Narcissists and Yours
One reason healing is protracted is because we need experience in order to notice our behavioral patterns. To see destructive/unhealthy patterns, we need time. We can’t read a book or watch ‘Kernberg Live’ and suddenly recognize unconscious patterns, learned from family and society. We learn about our patterns when we catch ourselves in the act which requires time, experience, and insight. If we lack the capacity for insight, we’ll repeat unconscious patterns until we decide everyone in the world is rotten to the core and our best defense is a Machiavellian offense. That is the narcissist's fate---continually racing on a merry-go-round going nowhere. For the rest of us non-misanthropists, the healing process connects us to other people and opens our hearts…even towards ourselves.
The positive thing about admitting we were in a narcissistic family and/or relationship is that we can’t lie about being unaffected. Like people who blissfully say, “My life is perfect. I’m not like YOU thank god, there but for the grace of God go I.” To which I reply, “It must be nice being so normal!” And then they go home and on the way, drive over stray cats and smash a few straggling pedestrians then sneak anti-freeze in their spouse’s meatloaf.
Seriously though, my issues won’t be resolved in a week since it took fifty years to grow my issues big enough to steal attention away from my iphone and Netflix. It’s a relief knowing imperfection is okay and that good-hearted people have issues--which IS what makes me lovable and human and an easy person for narcissists to feel comfortable around.
Narcissists like it so very much when they can be superior to other people. If you know you’ve got issues and you’re not prone to pretense about your flaws, you’ll probably have plenty of narcissists in your life to put your principles into practice. That’s how I look at my healing process: one narcissist after another (decreasing in severity) while building flexible boundaries, not rigid ones. The kind of boundaries that move and bend and grow in resiliency and this, of course, takes time.
Some people assume they are in race when they first learn about narcissism and embark on a ‘healing journey’. Their desire to feel better is tempting in a recovery group because everyone wants to keep up appearances as a sane and strong person (mostly to ourselves). They may boost their self-esteem by comparing themselves to others which is normal, by the way. When the comparison becomes dysfunctional however, is when people lift themselves up by putting others down. “O good laws! That person’s been crying for THREE years and it only took ME six days to complete all five stages of Kubler-Ross, the eighth stage of Eric Erickson’s human development and sitting on the peak of Maslow’s Hierarchy. Aren’t I amazing! lemme sell my secret!”
Their secret most likely is narcissism (self-deception) ---an easy and gratifying elixir with pathological side-effects. Beware of anyone selling secrets to suffering people. They know you will do (pay) anything to feel better, even if the relief lasts five s-h-o-r-t minutes. There is no secret to healing but telling you that won’t make you feel better and it won’t help me pay the light bill either. But we will both know what I’m saying is the truth and as crappy as it feels, this truth will set you free.
Self-deception is tempting because the emotional and psychological relief is immediate. We want to feel better, who can fault themselves for that?
A warning about entering Races
The ability to empathize with suffering people might lead to disconnection---not wanting to see ourselves in their shoes, nor feel what they are feeling. So we demean the other person, fault them; find a reason why they are different from ourselves. Why they deserve their fate. We aren’t harmlessly comparing ourselves to others when we do that---we are viewing ourselves as superior which is absolutely a narcissistic maneuver. Spotting our unhealthy narcissism is another important aspect of healing and before you write me hate mail, remember: everyone has narcissistic traits that need conscious attention. When it comes to healing, deep and miraculous healing unveiling layer upon layer of the self, s-l-o-w is fast.
“How do you feel about the race now?” the interviewer asked the little boy in the video. “Good,’ he said. “Why do you pick the bunny?” he asked and the boy replied, “Because I wanted to.”
Set your intentions on authenticity, clear-hearted living, and intimate trustworthy connections. Pick the rabbit.