Boundaries – The Great Wall

Image of the Great Wall

One of the best way to hold your boundaries with the narcissist in your life is to go No Contact. However, when you have children with the this beast, as I do, No Contact is not really an option. I have found that establishing boundaries with the Narcissist is not building one great wall; like the Chinese states used to protect themselves from the nomads. But rather it is more like building a fortification, with multiple smaller defenses.

Before I went to get counselling specialized in narcissist recovery, which I highly recommend, I was working tirelessly on keeping the Narcissist out. I did everything I could to keep everything in my life from my X-wife, and I would go out of my way to avoid her. When she would break a boundary, whether it was via email, via text, or in person, I would crumble. I found myself completely reverting back to the day she walked out on me. Asking myself why I was not good enough, what did I do wrong. Moments later I would become angry with myself for letting my boundary be broken. Each time it happened the depression afterwards was shorter than the time before. However, it was still there each time.

This went on for the first couple years, until I finally got tired of it and said something has to change. I sought out a therapist specializing in working with those with N.P.D. and victims of narcissistic abuse. At my first meeting I told him my goal was to no longer be emotionally effected by this person. I was determined to not let the narcissist enter my world anymore. To build a great boundary wall that was impenetrable to her ways. Over the coarse of many sessions the therapist helped me realize that the very want to hold my boundaries was causing the majority of my angst. It was something I had to work at so hard, that I would loose myself when it was broken. 

The result of that discovery was to build little boundary walls, instead of one great one. Let the narcissist past one or two boundaries, but maybe not the third. I had to define boundaries in my mind that are absolutely not to be crossed and then surround those with ones that are not as important and could be ignored now and then. In doing so the Narc gets supply from crossing a boundary, but I was able to stay indifferent, knowing my most prized boundary was secure. For instance, I am holding a boundary of no contact while I have my children, because there is no need for her to contact me. If I get contact from her, I do not read it at that moment. I wait until a time I feel I want to review the contact, and maybe respond to it. If no response is warranted,  I file it away, and provide no response. My minor boundary of no contact may have been broken, but my major boundary of not interacting, or returning contact stays maintained. This little exercise has prevented most, if not all, of my episodes of depression after an encounter with my X-wife. 

Build little walls, not grand ones. Let the minor things be, protect the major boundaries! This little epiphany, along with setting the stage, which I will get to in another article, has done wonders for me. 

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What If I’m Wrong

1+1=3 (Wrong Answer)

What if your wrong? What if this person that hurt you, or is hurting you, is not a narcissist? What if he/she is correct and you are the one with a problem? What if your the narcissist? What if?

It does not matter! Your feelings are all that matters. Own them. Whether you were with this person for a long time, as I was, or this was a short encounter; whether they left you, or you walked out, all that matters are your feelings. If you are here reading this, you are feeling something that brought you here. Some confusion that you can’t make sense of. How can this person I loved be so harsh? I don’t recognize them. Where is the person I loved? You are asking these questions because your partner built up this false image of themselves. An image you believed in, and fell in love with. Suddenly that person you loved is gone. I not speaking in the physical sense, but rather psychologically. You have been discarded in the narc’s mind like a used tissue. So now you are going to be treated differently by them, but he/she will continue to use the same tools that made you fall in love with him/her.

The narcissist always told you what to believe, correct? Think about it for a moment. Is he/she trying to do that now? Is the narc telling you what to believe again, but this time in a directly negative and derogatory manner. Are you still believing what the narc is telling you? You want to understand, and since that person won’t explain to you what honestly went wrong in the relationship, you begin to blame yourself as the narc has trained you to do. There is no one else left to blame.

Stop. Stop blaming yourself. You would not feel this way if this person was honest throughout your relationship. You are dealing with someone who will never give you the answers you are looking for. That lack of closure is causing you to doubt yourself. This is normal and healthy. You are not the narcissist. A narcissist would not try to understand. Because he/she is superior, he/she does not need to understand someone’s feelings. The narc has none. If you were the Narcissist you would not be doubting yourself. You would not have the ability to look in on yourself, you would not possess the empathy needed to truly love someone. The want to understand why is normal. 

You are not wrong. If you feel a certain way, no one can tell you your wrong to feel that way. These are your feelings. You also can not make a person feel a certain way. How someone feels is completely controlled by that person. Everything the Narcissist tells you about how you ‘make him/her feel’ is just another level of inability to own their feelings; therefore he/she attempts to control yours. In doing so, they make you doubt yourself. It works. It worked on me for a long time. Until one day the masked was removed and I saw her true colors. Those colors scared me.

The narc will tell you that you are wrong, they will continue to slander you to others, gaslight you, and hoover back at times professing the want to speak with you. It is all part of the game they play. They play it day in and day out. It really doesn’t matter if he/she is actually diagnosed as someone with Narcissistic Personalty Disorder. If you want to label this person that so you can find tools to deal with them, that is your free will. You are not wrong.

At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. It matters to choose to live a happy life, to rise above the pain and the past. The sooner you can realize that, the sooner you can begin to heal. You may not do it overnight, but it will come. Don’t hate yourself with doubt. Love yourself by embracing your feelings. Trust yourself.

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Lucy Rising

One of the best resources I found early on to my path to recovery was LucyRising.com. If your just finding out that you were with a Narcissist or want to know more about your confusion with your partner, this is an great place to start. It stabilized me and guided me when I was completely lost.

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Where to Start

Confused Man

As I write this first blog entry, I take the years of experience in my life and reflect back to where I was the day my wife left me and our kids. It has been years since I was discarded but I will always remember how those first endless days after felt. The total confusion, the terrible pain, and the relentless anxiety that filled my days and nights. It was almost too intense to function in day to day life; it consumed me. It was not until someone suggested my partner may be a Narcissist that I begin to discover answers. The road to full recovery was long and I did not know where to start. In fact I am not completely there, but I can see the finish line. I offer 5 key elements to recovery that worked for me; that I wish to share with you as I start this blog to help everyone out there dealing with Narcissism.

Read

Read everything you can find on the subject of Cluster B Personality Disorders, specifically, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Knowledge is the key to understanding what you are feeling and what your partner is not feeling. I have read more books and articles since the narcissist left me than in the entire two decades I was with her. I have opened up a part of my mind that I did not know was there.

Support

Find a NPD victim support group. This could be through social media, forums, or in person. Conversing with others who are dealing with similar issues can be very helpful. Talking to a friend who does not understand what you are dealing with can only take you so far. In fact those who love you and care for you will tell you it’s time to move on too early in your recovery. Further, keep what you discuss with this group quite, as depending on the level of NPD your former partner has, the information shared could be detrimental to your recovery. The member’s of these groups understand the need for anonymity.

Exercise

Working on your physical health is not only good in dealing with the anxiety and depression you will face, it boosts your self-image. Anything you can do to give yourself a boost of confidence will help you tremendously in dealing with everything you will face on this long road to ultimate recovery. I did not choose to begin working out; I had a family member drag me into it. It was the best change to me after I was discarded, and one you will never regret.

Seek Help

Seek professional help. Don’t just find a therapist or a doctor, find one who specializes in working with victims of abuse from persons with cluster B disorders such as NPD. While my first year in therapy was grounding and helped me deal with anxiety issues, it did not address the root cause. It was not until I found a specialist working with persons with NPD and victims of NPD that I started making real prog

Love Yourself

Loving yourself does not mean that you choose not to love others. Loving yourself is about finding out what you want in life. You did not have that option when you were with the Narcissist. Get back to what makes you happy. Do not worry about what others think of your choices. Live how you want to. Don’t judge yourself. Live in the moment a bit, until you find yourself again. Personally, I turned to sex after I was discarded. It was withheld from me for so much during my marriage that I thought that was what was missing. (More on that for another post.) While it was missing, I quickly learned it was not the end game. But none the less I lived that; it was part of learning me and loving me. Don’t doubt, just do, keeping your physical and mental safety in mind as you do.

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