Category Archives: Life

Friendships that Damage

Part 1 of 5 – NPD series

 

Unguarded

It felt like my flesh had been shaken from my very bones… Yes, at the time, I was hurt that much. The price I paid for this relationship was far too high.

Last year, I entered a relationship that I severely misjudged as being beneficial. What ended up happening was not good. This person’s game play damaged me.

I saw Narcissism’s ugly head up close, smelt it’s acrid breath and fell for all its dazzling charms.

I was emotionally abused. I was called names, had judgement statements fired upon me, and was ignored. I was treated like no friend should ever be treated.

Please understand, I’m not the sort of person who harbours a victim mentality. I’m not the stereotypical drama queen. The last thing I want to do is belittle anyone – online or in real life – regardless of how badly I’ve been treated.

Having a Narcissist in my life was a tough, confusing time.

I began to understand what really happened (and why) only after extensive research, talking about the friendship with a psychiatrist a few times over, and listening to some wise, trustworthy friends (who resisted the urge to tell me they ‘told me so’).

 

Narcissists are real, with a capital N.

Sure, I knew about narcissism (most people do) but I didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t think narcissists actually existed. Like psychopaths, such characters were too incredible to be considered true in my mind. How could someone think like that, act like that? This is real life after all, not fiction!

Many people (statistics show mostly women) across the world have encountered someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Even today, someone is suffering at the hands of someone with NPD (statistics suggest, it’s most likely a man with NPD). This epidemic weighs heavy on my heart because I know what it feels like to be hurt by it – to be that unsuspecting ‘victim’.

 

So what?!

Why should you care? I’m glad you asked. I’m asking you to care because this friendship was one where NPD, and its insipid by-products, ruled.

I hope that this five part series will do at least one of the following for you:

a) Raise your awareness of NPD so you can recognise it
b) Increase your understanding of NPD relationships
c) Help you choose against becoming a victim
d) Motivate you to end a current NPD relationship
e) Help you heal from past NPD damage

A good friend reminded me that even wise men fall for flattery and lies. So don’t beat yourself up like I did. Please save yourself the pain.

 

Light at the end of the tunnel

You’ll be glad to know that since this relationship ended, I’ve redeemed all the vital parts of myself and regained happiness. You can too.

Healing from the ordeal has taken many months for me, considering it was a short-lived friendship. It will take longer, the closer you are to a person with NPD, because greater damage is caused. But I promise you this; you will heal.

 

Survey like a meerkat

Are you judging your relationships wisely by stopping contact, taking a step back and having a good look at what’s going on? Or are you like I was, drifting on the ebb and flow of your friend’s agenda?

Have you felt like you’ve been locked in a cage with no way out? You can break free.

How can you pick a narcissist?

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Fear

I recently read Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Within it’s pages, I found an insightful description of what fear is. I want to share it with you.

‘I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread.

‘Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear.

‘Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you’ve defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you.

‘The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hardtop shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.’

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

 

Am I the only one who can identify with this, or can you too?

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We are Winged

Wind whipped past my face, cooling damp skin from the cloying heat. The country air smelt clean, laced with incense. I sped along on my hired mountain bike as I descended the hills of Ubud, Indonesia.

Tentatively, I took my hands from the handlebars and tried to balance with only the tips of forefingers. That mastered, I raised my arms up and out to my sides; closed my eyes, breathed deeply and immersed myself in the ‘rush’.

I smiled broadly; euphoric. I felt free. Nothing mattered; I was in the moment, physically, mentally and spiritually. I had truly let go and was soaring.

I’m thirty-two years old and that was the first time in my life I felt I had wings.

Wings? Yes, I have them. Here’s an epiphany – so do you! Cool, right?

Even though I’m in my thirties, mine are still small and weak; they’ve barely been used. But now that I’ve found them, nothing’s going to stop me from exercising them. I can’t wait till they’re big and strong enough to soar high with them, at length!

The reason I’m only now discovering my wings is that for most of my life I’ve felt trapped.

Severe illness caged me for the greater portion of my growing-up years. Depression and anxiety nailed me to the floor from age eighteen. And more recently, people’s expectations, marriage and a three-year-old son have felt like ties holding me back from living my dreams.

I don’t mean for that to sound so horrible. I love my husband and my beautiful son. I am blessed beyond measure; truly. It’s just that I’ve not experienced much of what I’ve wanted to in this life… yet.

So when I went to Bali, on my own, to a heavenly retreat for a week, it was a huge step to discover I had wings! And I got to test them out. At the time I thought I was just on a much needed break; I didn’t know I was discovering my wings. But my trip was significant.

And that no-hands-riding experience? That summed everything up for me. This is what I need. Leonardo Davinci’s words suddenly make sense; ‘For once, you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.’

So the question is not, do you have wings. It is have you used them lately? I hope you’ll unfurl your beautiful feathers soon.

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