I am a survivor of verbal and emotional abuse. So when confronted with an overbearing narcissist, even though I know I am not being unreasonable, if pushed enough I can begin to question myself. This was the cause of the depression this morning. Having no choice but having to deal with this narcissist can be very overwhelming at the least. At the most, I find myself sitting in a very dark hole that seemingly has no way out.
For years my self-esteem was chipped away at. For years I second guessed my sanity. For years very bad behavior was projected onto me as my own. For years I over-analyzed everything I said in hopes that one day he might "hear" me. But one day I got brave and I chose me. I chose to love myself so much that I built up the courage to leave this relationship. I was so empowered by this, but I soon found this was not enough.
Because I didn't do the work, I ended up in yet another narcissistic relationship. But it was very hard to detect it at first. You see this time the narcissist was covert. He pretended to have my best interests at heart, always saying the right thing, but after some time he couldn't keep his predatory behavior a secret any longer and I started experiencing reruns from my previous relationship.
Once again, I put on my big girl panties and left this relationship as well, but I did something very different this time. I started doing the work. The work of uncovering what lead me to be in these relationships. What thought patterns I had on automatic loop that made me think I was not worthy of something better. I took responsibility. Not for their behavior, but for how I ended up there.
The work is not for the faint hearted, but I can promise you it is worth it! The work I am referencing is building Emotional Intelligence. EI is the ability to recognize, evaluate and regulate your own emotions, emotions of those around you and in groups of people. I learned how to build my self-confidence. I learned how to manage my expectations. I learned how to use discernment over judgement to decide who gets the privilege of being in my life.
This was the lifeline that was thrown to me this morning. That soft voice whispering to me in meditation. Come back. Do the work. That is all. No, you did nothing wrong. You just stood up for yourself. Your request was not irrational. You just triggered a narcissist. Nothing more. Nothing less. You can choose. You get to let his visceral reaction go in one ear and out the other. And being a sensitive, empathic person, this is like winning the gold at the Olympics. But I did. I won it, and I will keep on winning it one choice at a time.
I am so very passionate about this work that I want to share what I have learned with other survivors. You can just as easily do what I did. It is a choice. Mind you, not one that doesn't come with work, but one that is very worth it. As Amanda Gorman so eloquently said at the inauguration, "There is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it."
Be Brave, Be You - Learn the Power of EQ!
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For more information, check out my blogs: Expectations & Emotions, You Achieve What You Believe, Self-care is Not Selfish, From Setbacks to Setups, Heal Your Inner Child