Validation

I miss the Narcs validation. Years later I find myself wanting to say to her, look what I have done. Like a kid who cleaned his room. A dog who retrieved the stick. I am looking for my reward; my validation. Obviousness a sign of my own insecurities, or is it.

I was never a confident person growing up. I am not talking about just the sort of lack of confidence that would make talking in front of thousands of people or performing on stage a nightmare. I am talking about confidence in the choice of clothing I wore, or what I ate, or what friends I had. Growing up I constantly questioned my own thoughts to guide me through life. I kept to myself and created my own little great world were everything was right. When I was put in a social situation I was always searching for someone to validate that what I was doing was right. Some of that still lingers.

My own insecurities I believe is one of the things that drew me towards her originally, and her to me. That validation she provided me in life in the love-bombing stage. She made me feel like a hero, like everyone else was against me, but she was in my corner. The more she did it, the more I sought it out from her. In effect I was giving her all the attention in order to receive that validation. When she stopped validating me, I gave her even more attention seeking that validation. Because, she was now my only source of it; everyone else was against me. She had me relying on her and isolating me from others and myself.

I slowly forgot to respect myself in the process as well. This made me even more insecure; as I doubted my view as unimportant. If I did not respect myself, how would she ever respect me. But I didn’t care, as long as she validated me, all was OK. So I accepted it as normal. I was now on a slippery slope. One that I do not like to think about how it would have ended up if it was not for an unexpected turn.

That turn? I was becoming successful in my career. I was getting promotions and more responsibility. I could slam dunk any project or responsibility handed to me. I had the respect of my colleges, and those business connections I was making. I was gaining confidence in myself. I ultimately believe it was this confidence that caused the narc to make her next move. The move that would finally let me begin to break free from her death grip. She became disinterested in me, because I did not need her validation all the time anymore, so she started having an affair; which led to divorce.

The crazy thing is, there are still times I want her to say, “boy, your looking good”, or “that’s a nice car”, of “wow, you really got the house looking good”. Worthless, empty, validation. I have to try hard to remember to love, respect, and validate myself. I need to demand respect from others. Not seek their validation. I need to focus on the process, rather than the outcome. No more look what I have built. Look what I have accomplished. Rather let the activity itself be self-satisfying. Self loving. Self respecting.

This is something, that to this day, years after freedom from the narc, I still need to work on. It’s not automatic, I have to work at it. Someday, after many years of a practicing self respect I know it will become automatic. So if you struggle as well with the damage the narc does to one’s soul, your not alone. These things take time.

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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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