I just emailed this to my therapist. I don’t think there’s any need for an introduction to it; everything is said right here. It’s long. Today blew my mind. I think I experienced some sort of breakthrough.
I hope you are having a good weekend. When I left our last session, I felt very confused and had a lot of doubts about ever knowing who the real Me is and what it is she really wants out of life, what she loves and what she is passionate about and feels happy doing.
You know I’ve made a lot of false starts and a lot of mistakes, and many times it turned out I was going down the wrong path, following the desires of the person inside me who is not the real me (I hesitate to call this a “false self” as I apparently don’t have NPD–but really, it is a false self and I think we all have them). Sometimes this “false self” was my mother, sometimes some amorphous “person” I thought I should be because it would get me approval.
I never could stick to anything (this is my mother’s biggest beef with me),, all my life I keep changing my mind. I’ll think I want something so badly, then it turns out I didn’t want that at all (“be careful what you wish for”…) I’ve always had trouble focusing on a clear goal and until recently (almost two years ago), I had no real hobbies or interests outside of passive activities like watching TV, movies, reading a book, or whatever. I wasn’t interested in anything that required more from me than my passive attention.
But two years ago, things began to change. Blogging, as you know, brought me so much clarity and insight into myself. it taught me about my abusers and narcissism and why everything happened. Things began to have meaning, things happened for a reason. This knowledge and insight brought me to a point where I was ready for real therapy instead of the nutty potpourri of different things i was trying on myself, believing real therapy was beyond my financial ability (it wasn’t).
I told you last week I couldn’t motivate myself to write or blog. This happens when I’m very depressed or sinking back into my self-defeating thought patterns. But right now I’m back on a roll, writing like there’s no tomorrow, and loving every minute of it.
I think I told you that I feel like this is heading in some direction, that everything that happened to me with the narcissists in my family and my ex, brought me to where I am now, and it’s a place of great insight and understanding, not just understanding myself but a need to understand them. Over the past year, I’ve developed an inexplicable empathy for people with narcissistic personality disorder — at first I thought it was because I was one myself but I’m realizing the real reason I have so much empathy for them (in spite of all the anger I have at them too) is because I have an emotional need to understand my narcissistic parents, whose mindfuckery seemed so inexplicable. We never healed our relationship; my father’s dead and my mother is incapable of changing now. She’s way too far gone and way too old.
I run a blog about abuse and trauma that is intentionally not narcissist-free. That’s because I recognize them as just another kind of victim. I feel sad for the things that happened to my parents, especially my mother, things that forced her to bury her emotions and deny or dismiss the emotions of those close to her. I feel sad that she could never awaken to the person she probably could have been, that she became a shell of herself and will probably die that way. I feel sad that the estrangement between us will probably never be mended.
Since our session, I’ve been praying a lot, for clarity about my own wants and motives, and what my goals may really be. I don’t know if I told you this–I hesitate to talk about spiritual matters or God too much in session–but for a while now I’ve felt that I’m being led in a certain direction, a direction I never would have expected in a million years, and it’s a direction that makes me shake with terror…and yet, and yet…it’s becoming something I feel driven to do before I die.
I have a second blog that I started when I thought I had covert NPD. I also posted on a npd forum and found some of the narcissists there very welcoming and supportive. The blog I started (about two months before I met you) has become a general “therapy” blog, where I describe the way I’m evolving in therapy and my self discovery, and over time, people diagnosed with NPD have found their way to that blog and there have been more than a few who told me their story and want support. Of course, all I can do is try to point them in the right direction, but I find myself empathizing so much with them, with their real self, which for some reason I’m able to see….as I told you, I can see through their false self to the child within…ironic, since it’s so hard for me to see the lost child inside myself sometimes.
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. This weekend, I’ve had some wonderful conversations both with victims of narcissistic abuse (who are my primary audience), and with narcissists themselves (also victims of abuse, as I see it). I feel strongly that I have a gift for understanding them and that they come to me for support (all I can give them are resources). Some people have issues with my need to understand them and ability to see through the mask, in spite of all my rage toward the ones who abused me. I don’t really understand it all myself. But I do think this need stems from a need for closure with my own abusers in my family and to be able to help a narcissist heal would somehow fulfill my emotional need to “fix my parents” which of course was always impossible.
I’m rambling here but let me get to the point. You wanted me to get to know who “me” really is, and I think I know: The real me wants to become a therapist who works with people with narcissistic personality disorder and with trauma victims in general. Both you (and my therapist I had in my 20’s) were huge inspirations to me. I went and majored in psychology because of him, and now I feel inspired by you. It’s not to impress you or make you feel good, but I feel like this is something i not only want, but need to do, even though it terrifies me like you would not believe. What sort of craziness is this? But it feels right to me. The solution to the problem of narcissism must begin at its source–with the narcissists, helping them awaken to who they could be, just as I’m awakening to who I can be. All trauma victims must be helped, but that shouldn’t exclude the narcissists–especially not them, for if they do not abuse, there would be no abuse victims. I feel like I’m a person who has been called to do this, as crazy as it sounds.
I felt so strongly about this today, realizing this is WHAT I WAS MEANT FOR (and my entire life thus far has been preparation, a kind of training for this) that I just burst into tears and sobbed and sobbed. These weren’t sad tears, these were tears of …I don’t even know what. Not sadness. Relief? Longing? Overwhelming desire to help people with this disorder? Wanting so badly to fulfill the purpose I was always meant for? I feel like I’ve been going in this direction for awhile now, posting controversial articles explaining why narcissists are victims too. Do I sound deluded and grandiose to you for wanting to be a therapist who works with these people? I hope not, because this is what I want, so much. I knew this for awhile but dismissed it because it seemed so silly and unrealistic. But that’s my Judge voice telling me it’s stupid and silly. Without that annoying Judge breathing down my neck all the time (who is really just the internalized voice of my mother and others who passed judgment on me and scapegoated me), I know this is who I am, it’s what I need to do. Even though it’s terrifying to me, especially due to my social awkwardness and dislike of confrontation with difficult people, it feels almost like a religious calling.
I heard this beautiful song by the Decemberists that for some reason makes me incredibly emotional (mostly for its melody and arrangement, not the words). Because I’m listening to it on repeat this weekend and thinking about what I’ve realized about myself and what the real me wants, I’m associating the lyrics, “Make you better,” with “making someone better” as a therapist. And for some reason every time I hear those lyrics and think of myself making someone better, I start crying again, but in a good sort of way. I actually full on cried several times today, not just tearing up like I usually do. That’s how I know something huge has happened and this song for some reason is resonating with my real self.
Here is the Youtube link:
There are a number of practical problems in fulfilling this dream though. .1. Money is a huge issue for me. I have none as you know. 2. I have to work, I am way too old now to go to school and work at the same time, even if money wasn’t a factor. I feel like I might just be too old now. Finally, 3. I’m not that good in face to face social interactions. I clam up, I’m awkward. But I know this is something we can work on.
I’m saying prayers that somehow an avenue will open for me where I can start to traverse and explore that path and actually become a trauma therapist sometime before I die. I know prayer does work, God does listen, and this is what I desire. This time I think it’s an actual desire coming from my real self, not a “wish” planted there by someone else that really isn’t mine at all, or something I think I “should” do, or something I’m doing to impress or please someone else. Obviously I want to talk about this much more.
Thank you for everything you do, ____.