I’m the face that you have to face, mirrorin’ your stare
I’m what’s left, I’m what’s right,
I’m the enemy I’m the hand that’ll take you down, bring you to your knees…” —Foo Fighters - The Pretender
When I read I tend to do it from several different places within me. My eyes scan the words, my gut scans the feelings within the words, my ears listen to the voice and tone I give to the words, I monitor my body for physical and other reactions, while my mind processes the information which my senses are relaying to it. There is nothing unusual about this, in fact we all do it which is why different people saying exactly the same thing can affect us in a multitude of ways. I do it when I reread my own posts, and I glean added information about myself by doing that. It can reveal to me secrets which I may be keeping from myself, especially if I repeat something. Repetition is a sign pointing to something which is determined to be heard and noticed.
I was reading posts on blogs written by Adult Children of Narcissists, or ACONs as we are now dubbed, and the thing which struck me the most, the overwhelming feeling which came across was rage. I know that rage well, which is why I tuned in to it. It is a symptom of being in a relationship with a Narcissist, and the level of rage is in direct proportion to the length of that relationship.
If you read any of my posts where I discuss my parents or my childhood you will find the rage bubbling and boiling within my words. It is also there when I discuss any other people I have interacted with who I have come to realise are Narcissists. Because when you are in a relationship with a Narcissist it feels like you are trapped in a glass box, nothing you say or do can be heard or seen. You bang repeatedly on the glass, but the sound only reverberates inside, echoing within you and driving you crazy. The levels of frustration are akin to the levels of radiation in a nuclear power plant reactor. Thus when a victim of a Narcissist finally manages to break the glass box and express themselves, the impact of their words can be toxic. Which is why many victims of Narcissists find that other people, such as therapists and friends, reject their words in what seems like a similar way to Narcissists. This fuels the rage. Why won’t anyone listen to me! Believe me! Acknowledge my words!
Victims of Narcissists have certain traits which define them. They have been shamed into silence for so long, the few times they try to seek help they have found that they are not believed and they have retreated back into shamed silence. Shame creates an anger which is so strong that it can eat its bearer alive from the inside out. Which is why many victims of Narcissists feel compelled to break their silence and voice their agony. Yet this agony often gets dismissed, and the vicious cycle goes on and on.
Now I’m going to say something which may alienate me from other ACONs and victims of Narcissists. The constant repetition that Narcissists are monsters is a Narcissistic trap. Narcissists feed as much on our rage against them as they do on the endless praise they desire. In fact some Narcissists prefer to be seen as monsters. Monsters are also superhuman, and since there is an innate fear of monsters in all humans, being a monster, a supervillain, gives you greater power than being a superhero.
If you are stuck in the rage you feel against a Narcissist, to a Narcissist this means they have you in their thrall as much, maybe more so, as they do when you are in love with them. To them as long as you are feeling an emotion towards them, then they are the centre of your universe and you belong to them. To Narcissists, who don’t experience emotions the way that we do, all emotions are the same, they are energy for them to feed on, thus whether we love them or hate them, as long as we are feeling something for them we are feeding them. The one thing they absolutely can’t deal with at all is being ignored because then they can’t confirm to themselves that not only do they exist but they are the most important being in the universe. Thus feeling nothing towards a Narcissist cuts them off from their main food supply. No contact is the correct tactic, but if they know that you still feel emotions towards them, even if you no longer communicate with them or are in their life, that knowledge is power to them, they still own your soul.
This has spurred me on to do more than just release my silent shame-filled rage, to move beyond the phase where I point my finger at Narcissists calling them monsters. My goal, for myself, is to unmask the monster and see it for what it actually is, a terrified, lonely little child who never grew up because it was afraid of growing up. Being an adult and a human with all that that entails is the most horrific thing to a Narcissist. It represents all the vulnerability from which they seek to escape and disassociate. They see growing up as growing old and dying. They see human emotion as kryptonite which weakens them, makes them vulnerable, prone to pain and hurt, and disappointment. Everything which ordinary mortals embrace about being human is everything the immortal Narcissist fears with a terror that threatens them every second of every moment that they are alive.
Now those who have been victims of Narcissists may view my words as a form of sympathy towards Narcissists, excusing their behaviour, but this is not my intention. My intention is to turn Narcissists into humans. Not to actually go around trying to humanise the Narcissists themselves, that would be a vain quest. No, just point at them and say - They are not superheroes, nor are they monsters, they’re just really fucked-up humans, and their only power, superhuman or supernatural, is the one which we give them. Narcissists are very vulnerable because they need others to exist, and they feed on the energy we give them, if we cut off that supply, they shrink into insignificance. But to do that we have to see them for who they actually are, warped children in an adult body. Not heroes, not monsters.
It is necessary for victims of Narcissists to pass through several stages, just as those who grieve pass through the stages of grief, to heal the wounds caused by Narcissists. First we have to see that the beautiful enchanted mythical mermaid singing her hypnotic song, is actually an envious and evil siren hell bent on luring us onto a sharp and deadly reef, then drag us down into the watery depths of her deluded confusion, but to truly escape the grip of a Narcissist we then need to realise the evil siren is just a fish, and a small one at that.
I sound slightly crazy, don’t I? Most victims of Narcissists know that feeling. Being trapped in a glass box for a long time will indeed drive you nuts, and that insanity is the very thing which helps to break the box open. We do need time to release years of fury, frustration, rage, and shame. To break our silence. But after that, we have to heal ourselves, move on to the world which lies outside of the box, and that means letting go of all myths. Because the world of myth is the home of the Narcissist. So whether you are saving them from their endless damsel in distress routine, or fighting them as a hero fighting monsters, you’re still stuck in their territory, their game, still feeding them. Get out. It doesn’t matter if no one else believes what you know about the Narcissist in your life, they’ll find out for themselves, maybe, one day. Your job isn’t to save others, it is to save yourself, and that you can do. Believe yourself, know your truth and stick by it. Because doubting your truth is one way that Narcissists keep you stuck in their trap.
You are not a Narcissist, therefore you do not need others to confirm your existence or your version of reality, nor do you need to be a hero saving others from Narcissists, you are human, mortal, and the key to freeing yourself forever from the glass box is to stop shaming and blaming yourself for being the victim of a Narcissist. Break the glass, express yourself, heal your wounds, and live your life… for you.
In truth, the only reason I’m writing this and posting it is because I’m hoping that I will listen to and hear my own words. That’s another side effect of long exposure to a Narcissist, when others don’t listen to you… you sometimes stop listening to yourself. And that is a wound which causes so many other wounds… within the self, and within others.
Mania is a pleasure circus with no windows and no exits. It cannot sleep and cannot stop running, performing the same thrills it always has until its limbs rot from neglect and it is forced to crawl. Like a dreamer, it never questions the absurdity of its surroundings. It knows no words of sincerity, never makes eye contact, speaks only in uncontrollable laughter, and all such laughter is born of fear.