It’s really incredible what starts to happen when you get away from your narc abusers, and yes, narcissists can have their own abusers, especially low-spectrum and covert narcissists. cNPDs and malignant overt narcissists seem to have an almost supernatural attraction to each other, with the cNPD almost always serving as supply to the “stronger” narc and becoming codependent. The same thing applies to BPDs. Though BPDs can be more aggressive and rage more than a cNPD, they are emotionally unstable and therefore easily used and abused. BPDs can easily become codependent or “under the thrall” of a malignant overt narcissist.
If you’re not turned into a malignant narcissist yourself (and this is one of the only psychiatric disorders that’s actually contagious), then you are probably going to have some type of personality disorder, and I believe all personality disorders are actually severe forms of Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) that started in early childhood. Disordered people can improve when removed from the malignant narcissists who keep them from knowing who they are or what they can do. They’ve usually been victimized to the point where they feel like they can do nothing anymore. Their interest in life disappears and they stop doing things because they don’t believe they can succeed in anything. They begin to believe the lies they are told: they are crazy, ugly, talentless, stupid, or bad.
I was under the thrall of malignant narcissists my entire life, until February 2014, when I finally had enough of my parasitic ASPD/MN leech of an abuser (which I won’t go into here–for just one example of what I had to put up with, see my article How My ASPD Control Freak Ex Used a Dog to Gaslight Me). The first few months I spent just getting my bearings as a person not being controlled anymore. It was liberating, but scary too. I wasn’t used to not always being under someone’s thumb all the time.
When I began to blog in September 2014 and my entire life began to change. No, my external circumstances haven’t changed all that much (I still live in the same house, I’m still dirt poor, and I still am very shy and socially awkward) but inside I’m very different. I’m less afraid. I have moments of what I think is true happiness. Writing was the one thing I always knew I was good at, but I was absolutely convinced I’d forgotten how. I was afraid to even try to write a creative sentence and confirm my worst fears.
But one day, out of the blue, I decided to start a blog, so I opened up WordPress and got busy. I didn’t even have to think about it–it was almost out of my control. It was as if another person was telling me to do it. I think that “other person” was my True Self.
There was a learning curve, but within a week or two I was no longer fumbling around and actually knew what I was doing. The blog grew, faster than I could imagine, and now it has a sibling–this blog.
But blogging is just a tool to look deeper into myself, and some of the insights I’ve had have been hard to wrap my little pea brain around. Of course the most mindblowing insight of all (and the first one that caused me a lot of pain) was discovering I’m a covert narcissist. But it’s also the best thing that could have happened because before I knew what my real problem was, I felt like I was stagnating–as if something were holding me back from going any further on this journey of self discovery. It was frustrating and I began to lose interest in writing.
My realization still fills me with wonder because I have a whole new perspective on myself and others and know what I need to do to heal from my disorders. It will take time. It’s tempting to rush things but to be too hasty is not as effective and could be dangerous. I need time to decompress and process new realizations before digging in deep to find the next. Bigger epiphanies require more decompression time and there is more to process.
Not only am I finding out that the things I was good at when I was young I’m even better at now (you never forget how to ride a bike–although I have doubts about this and wouldn’t want to try!), I’m also finding out I can do things I never thought I could do before. People who have heard me sing tell me I have a nice voice but for some reason I’ve always been terrified of singing in public. The idea of attending a karaoke event filled me with horror. I only sang in the car, but it’s something I dearly love to do. I always wanted to be able to sing in public though, and today I did, sort of. I posted this video of me singing today on Facebook (yes, I am trying to get supply here even though I know I’m not that good! 😛 ), so that’s another fear I’ve jettisoned. It reminds me of when I used to be terrified of posting articles that were too personal. But I decided to run naked in public anyway. I have not once regretted it, even though I still experience the initial discomfort and squirmy embarrassment of making myself so vulnerable to complete strangers (who could include trolls and bullies, oh my!), after I hit “Publish” on such a post. So that’s another fear gone.
Doing things that make you vulnerable–writing a personal journal for public consumption (as in blogging), publishing something so personal it embarrasses you, making a video of yourself singing, writing poetry, and just about anything else that taps into your creativity and sensitivity (and all narcissists are super-sensitive which is why they had to construct such a huge protective barrier) also taps into your True Self. It’s scary to do these things when you’re not used to it, but they force you to become vulnerable, and it isn’t until you become vulnerable that your fears and defenses begin to disappear. Being vulnerable has nothing at all to do with weakness; it’s the ultimate act of bravery and courage. When the shame and fear passes, the feeling of freedom is indescribable. Like the first time you jumped into the deep end of a pool. Or running naked in public.
My many fears are dropping like dead flies and I think I feel my true self shyly beginning to emerge from the depths of my mind as she hears me call to her.
I think I’m seeing brief glimpses of the woman I would have become had my true self never been submerged–and she’s someone I like a lot better than the self pitying, painfully shy, paranoid, yet envious and entitled person I always thought I was. But that person isn’t the real me. I already am my True Self, and always have been. But I didn’t know this. So what if she’s emerging late? Every day I feel in my bones that reconciliation and integration is closer than the day before.
I think narcissism is an elaborate defensive structure built out of fear (or fear of abandonment for the BPD, but that’s a form of fear too). Narcissism is fear masked as false bravado and other lies that you even begin to believe yourself. Narcissism is anything but courage–it’s cowardice.
Let go of your fears and the narcissism will go with it.