Obviously, I’d prefer to have a psychodynamic therapist who specializes in reparenting people with NPD/BPD, but without insurance or easy access to such a therapist (volunteering as a “guinea pig” in a university psychology department would require me to travel outside my area, but if you live in a large city this may be an option), I decided to take on the work of healing myself of my disorders.
It is possible, no matter what anyone tells you. After the wonderful thing that happened to me this morning (I felt warm, emotional empathy for someone), I really think I can heal myself, and I don’t think I’m being grandiose when I say that either.
A sort of programme for healing my NPD and BPD has gelled together. Your own self-healing programme may differ, but for me, these 6 things seem to be working so far. It’s my hope that this article can help someone else too.
This requires time alone, with no interruptions. Usually I play soft music that stirs my emotions, which work as an icebreaker for maximum vulnerability. For me, nakedness doesn’t just mean emotional nakedness, but actual physical nakedness, because somehow the freedom from the restrictions imposed by clothing seems to make me more emotionally open as well. This can mean either taking a long warm bath with fragrant essences, or in my room with a cotton sheet covering me and soft music playing and a scented candle burning. I spend a few minutes meditating and trying to clear my mind of worries, then begin a dialogue with my inner child (true self). I tell her she is loved and didn’t deserve to be treated the way she was and there was never a need to go into hiding. I tell her I was sorry for rejecting her too. I imagine myself as her parent and hold myself the way I would have wanted to be held. I imagine her talking back to me, telling me about the hurts she has suffered and I find I can empathize with her (because she is me). This exercise is VERY emotional and usually results in tears. That’s perfectly fine; in fact it’s desireable. I can feel something hard and cold melting away and I feel my TS becoming more courageous and she’s coming out more and more frequently than she ever did before.
Before undertaking any kind of self-reparenting, I recommend reading James F. Masterson’s books on treating people with borderline and narcissistic disorders. There are quite a few; they can be ordered through Amazon.
If possible, talk to a mental health professional before undertaking this sort of self-therapy, because it can be very emotionally intense.
2. Blogging and writing.
Healing requires me to write about my emotional experiences and important things I have found out about my disorders every day. Just as I did with my first blog, which helped me to cope with the aftermath of narcissistic abuse, once the dust settled from my shattering discovery of myself as cNPD, ultimately I was inspired to start this blog, which is meant as a platform for my own self-healing and therapy and hopefully, a place where other people like myself–self aware borderlines and narcissists–can come to get support and find some inspiration or ideas. That’s my hope anyway.
I learned mindfulness skills from my DBT training for BPD when I was hospitalized in 1996. About 6 months ago I pulled out my Marsha Linehan’s DBT skills training manual and have been practicing the exercises. It’s not hard for me anymore to practice mindfulness to avoid jumping to wrong conclusions, acting out, “going off” on someone, and creating unnecessary drama. I find that handling small tangible objects, especially when I feel stressed, are very soothing and help me center myself. I have a collection of such objects I really like and that help remind me to stay mindful at all times. DBT skills, while developed for people with BPD, seem to be working on my narcissistic traits as well. We can choose not to act out in ways that hurt others by being conscious of our own actions. For more information, see my article, Simple Mindfulness Tools That Really Help.
Since I became self-aware, it’s gotten easier for me to be mindful because self-awareness gives you the ability to see yourself as others see you, so it’s almost second nature to monitor myself. I don’t have to think about it too much.
4. Chakra balancing.
I wrote about this about a week ago, so I won’t go into too much detail in this article. Basically, I meditate to a CD called “Light Music” which focuses on each of the seven chakras, in order from lowest to highest. I focus on my breathing, and imagine each intake of air pulling in unconditional love, and each exhale expelling envy, hate, and other toxic emotions that have always held me back. I pay particularly close attention to the third (solar plexus) chakra (power and competence), because that’s the weakest chakra for people with narcissism (overt narcissists overcompensate for its weakness by acting grandiose and arrogant). The heart (4th) chakra gets a good workout too, since we’re so disconnected from our true feelings. As you might expect, I have the most intense emotional reaction to the solar plexus chakra segment, and always feel wonderful when my sessions are over.
I believe narcissism is at least in part a spiritual disorder, so whenever I have a chance I spend some time talking to God, asking him to remove my BPD and cNPD, and help me to be the person he meant for me to be. I’ve found two things are important when in prayer: always ask how to be of service to God (you are not trying to be a God yourself–that’s part of our problem!); and always thank him for the insights you’ve already received. Whatever God has planned for you, is the best thing for you. Trust him. All my life I wondered what my purpose was (I seriously thought it was to be an example to everyone else of how NOT to be!) and now a picture is forming of what my purpose in this world is. It’s not at ALL what I expected, but is more wonderful than I could have imagined. I’m not ready to talk about it yet though, but in time I will.
If you don’t believe in God, that’s okay. Pray (or talk to) a Higher Power, or the Universe if you wish. This isn’t a religious exercise; it’s simply an acknowledgement that there is something more powerful than ourselves in the universe who can guide us to be everything we were meant to be.
6. Embracing vulnerability.
This will be the hardest part and at first you may not be able to do it. But after awhile of doing the first five things (you don’t have to do them exactly the way I do–or you may find your own techniques for healing) it gets easier. I’ve discussed vulnerability a lot, so I won’t talk about it too much here. But for a narcissist, vulnerability is what we rejected when we rejected the True Self. The irony is it’s also the key to unlocking the prison of our narcissism. To get started, I recommend watching Brene Brown’s “Power of Vulnerability” (and all her other videos about shame and vulnerability). I linked to it in my last article.
I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the fact this stuff is actually working! But why question it?