When we made vows to the narcissist, we promised to cherish and honour him. And we did. While he proceeded to do exactly the opposite for us. Undervalued, undermined, plundered, discarded and destroyed by our most loved and trusted other? Betrayed in every possible way? It’s crazy making.
So as we work on the seemingly insurmountable task of letting that story go, it is time, right from the moment of abandonment, to cherish and honour ourselves. We have been neglected and psychologically abused for a long time. Now, it is time for intensive self-care. We are embarking on the Hero’s Journey, and we will need every ounce of energy we can muster.
Honour the wounds, and prioritise our healing. Starting with simple practical self-care. And progressing to deep spiritual healing for the moral injury that the narcopath inflicted. Cherish the ideal of complete recovery from victimisation and the goal of a completely fulfilled life. Honour our own ability to recover and find ways to stand on our own two feet again, even though this seems like Mission Impossible in the Aftermath. Cherish our own integrity, honesty, and good heart. Honour our right to self-compassion, self-regeneration, self-sufficiency and healthy mutually satisfying relationships. Our right to put ourselves back together differently, construct a whole new life, a whole new Self.
And to cherish and honour the kindness and generosity of those who step forward to encourage our journey out of the abyss.
Feeling sadness, grief, loss and compassion for our own suffering is not the same thing as wallowing in self-pity. Most of us know the difference, and can cross the bridge between self-pity and self-compassion once we know how. We can judge ourselves unfairly for our own extreme emotional pain. Our stoic culture, harsh inner critics, or scapegoating friends and family might tell us to “stop feeling sorry for ourselves”. This can add another layer of shame to our suffering.
Instead of cutting our own suffering off at the knees with culturally imposed thoughts like those, we honour our right to grieve, to feel sadness, to listen to sad country songs! “I lost ma job, ma dog, ma wife, ma kids, and ma house burnt down.” Just go with it. It won’t last. Cry until there are no more tears to cry. And then cry some more. We wouldn’t scold a child for crying a bit longer than a grazed knee really warrants, so we can refrain from scolding ourselves for grieving. We can be kind to ourselves. When we can be our own kind compassionate witness, the pain will pass.
Our first commitment in healing trauma is to be kind to ourselves.