“Narcissists are insecure.”
“Toxic people are insecure.”
“Hurt people, hurt people”
And so on and on go the social media memes. And they are toxic in themselves.
Too many people are now believing we need to have compassion for narcissistic type people. We need to give them grace, we need to forgive them, we need to … as I said, on and on and on. Always mistakenly believing after a narcissistic type person has stripped everything from us, we still need to keep on giving.
And it’s just not the truth.
Especially when we have Complex Trauma.
So, what does drive a narcissistic type person?
The underlying, unseen, root cause of narcissistic type people is a wound of bitterness.
They then bury their wound of bitterness so far deep inside of themselves that they disconnect from it. Literally.
Complex Trauma is a series of internal and external disconnections. Narcissistic type people don’t want to connect, or touch/feel, this internal wound. It’s way too painful. It becomes like a sore festering inside of them. A rancid, infected, puss pouring wound. And they do everything to dissociate from the incredible pain of this wound. They don’t want to remember what caused it, not do they want to admit it’s there or that they are in deep pain. Quite literally they lose connection to this wound through a variety of trauma responses like numbing and dissociation.
Let’s can a picture of what this wound is like. Imagine you fell over and grazed your leg. You had an open wound and for weeks you ignored it. No medical help. The wound festers and becomes infected. The longer you ignore the wound the worse the infection gets. The pain is so bad you disconnect from it but the longer you disconnect from the pain the worse your symptoms get and you can only maintain the illusion of the disconnection from this wound provided everyone around you behaves in a way that soothes your long buried wound.
In order to have others behave in a way that is soothing to you means you treat them in a controlling way because it makes you feel good to have control externally when your internal world contains a long ago buried wound of bitterness. Now, as an adult, the narcissistic type people have disconnections internally in a variety of places ie psychologically, socially, neurologically, spiritually and soul. To maintain their disconnections they need people who treat them as “god.” The problems begin the moment they don’t get these needs met.
Now, in the beginning, we with Complex Trauma, think these people are the bees knees because they pay such close attention to our needs, to making us happy, to painting a picture of a beautiful life together. We begin to think “oh wow, someone understands me, agrees with me, with my values, and what I want for my life.” And life is good. Until it’s not good.
The “life is good until it’s not good” moment is different for all of us. For me, I married twice, believing I married men who appreciated my independence and honesty. Only to find out AFTER we were married this wasn’t the case at all. Both times, both men changed in front of my eyes, after we were married. Always behind closed doors, and always changed to wanting to control me. The first time I truly believed it was just me and if I just changed, altered, adapted me everything would be okay. I would have stayed in the marriage too, but I couldn’t tolerate the example the kids were getting and knew I needed to be the change. The second time I just drew a line in the sand because I knew no matter what I said, what I did, how I approached things, I couldn’t change who this person was. And both times broke my heart.
Here’s what I know for us. We have to be prepared to accept there are people like this and to choose personal boundaries. To choose to recognise where we need to connect internally so we can have compassion for them AND walk away from people like this. It is not my job to sit with you as you do or don’t heal your trauma because with Complex Trauma I don’t have the bandwidth to do both your recovery work and my recovery work. I don’t have the bandwidth to deal with your need to tear strips off me because I’m not being the person you want me to be. This has too often decreased my health, and I will not do this again.
“The things narcissistic type people do creates ill health in us because it keeps us disconnected from our inner strength, our internal power. In fact, they want that strength and power for themselves. It’s what first attracted them to us.”
We genuinely need to heal first, to recover, to connect all of our parts that need connecting. To heal from the psychological wound, the brain and body need time to heal, and so much more. For those around my age we had zero clue back in the day we even had a wound/s to heal. We may have had an inkling something was not right, but there was definitely no major tell tale signs until our health went downhill.
Over the years I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching, learning, becoming educated in complex trauma before it even had a name. Now, having lived through it I can say with all honesty until we do our own internal work we never see these people coming AND IT IS NOT OUR FAULT. There can be no blame as we grew up in the same environment where these people thrived and where we learned how to adapt to their ways. When they enter our lives it’s a normal part of our psychological wound where we automatically (without any thought at all) adapt to them. It’s not until we begin exploring to find answers as to why a relationship isn’t working, no matter how hard we tried, that we begin to uncover what we need to know.
Breaking free, healing, is all possible. However, we need to change the narrative from “they’re a narcissistic type person” to “how can I heal what I can’t see inside of me?” And right after we ask the question comes the fear from asking this question, quickly followed by the shame of “there’s something wrong with me.” The shame began in childhood, we buried it all, because it was safer to believe we were unlovable than to believe our caregivers didn’t love us as we needed. Once you as an adult can wrap your mind around this concept, and it’s a challenge, then you can move into the phase of “okay, let’s work through this and heal.”
Why is it so hard to work through this stage? I know, for me, it was hard because I aimed to be perfect to help stay small and avoid being seen. To admit there were unseen things inside of me I needed to heal I had to be able to process all of what it meant for me. Part of it meant how can I be vulnerable and open up to someone when I’ve never known what that looked like plus never felt safe to do so? In the early years it took so much courage to seek out someone for help. I understand if you’re working through this stage but want to get on and do the work too. When you’re ready the Heart of Recovery Membership is waiting for you. With courses to guide you into your unique recovery journey so you can stop wasting time and create the healthy life you desire.
Recovery is no small journey. It is, however, worth every single step you take for your health, and the health of your family.