Therapy can help narcissists put on the brakes if they go to therapy and the therapists are skilled in their covert aggressive personalities and know how to deal with their perverted thinking including their manipulation, lack of compassion, aggression, combativeness and need to win. However, based on my decades of research and the collective opinions of real experts on character disturbances who have treated thousands of narcs and their victims, I believe there is no cure. Read more at http://drgeorgesimon.com.
Can they have redeeming character traits? Intelligence?
Of course they can.
But they permanently lack the qualities we as humans need to build and sustain integrity of character and building meaningful healthy relationships.
Let’s explore this.
Our characters are built through life experiences and mistakes and successes and are chiseled permanently like sculpture. Our characters, whether they be characters of integrity just like disturbed…
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ~ Albert Einstein
Let’s look at traditional medicine and ask the same question that Doctor Phil frequently asks:
“Is it working for you.”
Well, it is very obviously not working for the patients who continue to suffer but a lot of people are benefitting from treating symptoms of disease, autoimmune illnesses (hugely on the rise), emotional fatigue and trauma, or whatever.
The functional approach is a long overdue new direction in medicine that focuses on root causes to disease and ailments and promotes our bodies’ natural defense mechanisms to prevent and heal illness and disease related to our physical and emotional health.
However, functional medicine is not based on a new concept – not in the least. I have used this for over 35 years and it is pretty basic. It goes like this:
“It is impossible to heal and prevent a problem if you do not address what causes it…pure and simple.”
It is impossible to effectively heal a problem and sustain healing if you label it with something after going through a checklist of SYMPTOMS and do not investigate to identify and then address the root causes. Addressing what happened does not address why it happened or the events or series of events leading up to the mishap.
Albert Einstein said it eloquently in his statement (and my favorite quote):
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
The same applies to illness or sadness or whatever we know “needs fixing.”
We also need to acknowledge it needs fixing because if we don’t, our human nature as creatures of habit takes over and we revert back to what we are comfortable doing even if is doing us harm or brings us angst. Why? Because, if we were abused, neglected, invalidated as children, we can have so many fears we are accustomed to living with that we choose the one or ones we are most comfortable with and deny the others.
Let’s see…should I stay with the abuser because my fear of abandonment overrides my fear of emotional pain or should I select abandonment over shame? Sound silly? Maybe. But this is exactly how the human mind reacts, how it copes after it has been overly taxed, traumatized. The brain is capable of so much but it is not capable of spontaneous healing.
Now these beliefs and immature coping mechanisms may have served us in the short term when we were defenseless to our heartless uncompassionate caregivers and caretakers, but they do not and will not serve us in the long term because they are just bandaiding symptoms. They will sustain your happiness because pain and the sources of pain DO NOT EVER GO AWAY. Just because you cannot access them does not mean they do not exist. Believe me. They are there ready to raise their heads when you least expect it and most likely when you are emotionally challenged such as during an illness, death, divorce, or after some major loss.
This example demonstrates the damage that is done to our belief systems and to our mechanisms for self-regulating our pain-based emotions. So abuse survivors’ emotions become toxic to themselves.
This is why traditional therapies frequently do not work for narcissistic abuse survivors and this is why millions of people worldwide are on Facebook and the Internet looking for answers. They are in emotional pain. They are emotionally fatigued. Their souls need emotional nourishment. They need truth.
You cannot treat trauma from abuse by prescribing a pill and treating symptoms and not accessing the trauma back to its source – childhood. It is as simple as that.
Gregg Zaffuto told me that reach at his groundbreaking healing page on Facebook, “After Narcissistic Abuse” reached over one million people worldwide last week and that is just one of many legitimate and credible healing pages.
Healing is all about truth! This is why I focus on the truth and your healing. This is what I am committed to share with you at Yourlifelifter and what I documented in Take Your Power Back along with a step-by-step program and the tools to help you in your healing journeys.
Take Your Power Back is the product of my decades long search for truth into the root causes of pain addictions in abuse victims.
I wrote it to help you find yours, stop believing lies, break your pain addictions, become the joy-based people you were all put on this earth to be and THRIVE!
May your spiritual source guide and protect you in your search for truth!
You may live and work in environments where these dysfunctions continue, the boundaries of personal respect are habitually violated, and personal rights are not honored. Your self-esteem suffers, and you live to avoid pain rather than pursue and seek joy. Perhaps you do not even know what brings you joy. The distorted thinking and skewed beliefs that create invisible barriers to your happiness can also create barriers to your healing.
So, here are five fundamental truths to help you challenge what I believe are the biggest falsehoods in your thinking that have hindered and will continue to create obstacles in your healing journey.
Believing lies does not make them true and not believing the truth does not make it a lie. Truth IS truth. Lies are lies. This is indisputable!
We manifest in life what we believe to be true!
We live to provide the evidence that our beliefs are true – even if in reality they are not!
Read this again!
We manifest in life what we believe to be true (even if our beliefs are really lies).
The human brain cannot process two opposing thoughts.
Let’s break this down a bit more.
If we believe we are the source of our pain, must suffer to be lovable, deserve pain rather than joy and we are powerless to the pain (all lies we were taught to believe in childhood), then when we become adults, we create the lies we believe and become attracted to relationships and people that continue to bring us pain.
This is how and why abuse spreads from our caretakers to us and from us to our children and is perpetuated from generation to generation. Yes, the broken ones before us taught us to believe their lies; we became pain-based inauthentic versions of ourselves who teach the same lies to our children. We attract those who prey on vulnerabilities we developed because we did not and do not live authentic lives based on our personal truth and divinely provided human design.
Read “What You Don’t Know About Dysfunctional Families and Intergenerational Abuse” here to learn more.
In addition, emotional vampires like narcissists and psychopaths who cannot generate their own power, bank on our vulnerabilities and the false beliefs that we are deserving of pain and are powerless to those who trigger it.
Abusers find us. We do not find them!!
Sorry to disappoint you, but abusers do not have some magical power over us and no, we are not the source of our pain and we do not deserve to be in relationships with weak, spineless, aggressive, uncompassionate, lazy people who steal our energy from us and who want all the benefits we can provide without any of the work.
Listen and learn more on the “Toxic Tango of Empaths and Narcissists” here.
They are aggressive but the truly weak ones who cannot generate their own power so they steal ours from us. Aggression is not power, folks. Abusers hunt for and prey for those with our vulnerabilities, the false beliefs and fears we were taught in childhood. In fact, they bank on our vulnerabilities so they can feed off of our compassion and benefit from us, like a parasite feeds off of its host, for a very long time. Read more here on the differences between harm, fear and real danger.
We can heal. Our abusers cannot.
The good, and really not so surprising news, is that with hard work, self-compassion, and self-care, our brains can rewire. Absolutely they can. We have the divine ability to release the pain and replace these false beliefs (the lies we were taught to believe) with truth, build our self-worth back up to their true levels, take our power back, and then find others whose truth aligns with ours in power balanced mutually respectful relationships we truly are deserving of.
This is how we heal! This is how we thrive! This is how we become the deserving joy-based authentic versions of ourselves we were put on this earth to be!
I explore these truths and share many more lessons, tips, and tools that will facilitate your healing in Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors. You can read more about the book and purchase a copy here.
May your spiritual source guide and protect you in your healing and in your search for truth!
You can read an excerpt and purchase a copy of this groundbreaking book here!
Thanks to Dr. Patrick Gannon, PhD, Co-Founder of the ASCA (Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse) Self-Help Recovery Program for this great review!!
Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips and Tools for Abuse Survivorsis a practical and inspirational guide that focuses on key issues faced by adult survivors. Evelyn Ryan’s words of support and encouragement will be a source of emotional nourishment for adult survivors as they go through recovery. The book gets inside the emotional consequences of abuse. In particular, it shows how abuse impacts self-esteem and how survivors are inclined to unconsciously seek power-imbalanced relationships with narcissistic partners. The 7 Healing Lessons are cogently described dynamics tied to one’s past and the corrective thinking that is necessary for recovery. The focus on the ASCA Self-Help Program (Adult Survivors of Child Abuse) in the chapter on the Healing and Recovery Journey dovetails perfectly with the central message of this inspirational book: you can recover your authentic self by committing to make specific changes that are essential to life success but it will take hard work, persistence and most importantly, a COMMITMENT TO YOURSELF. I can see that survivors will want to read and re-read sections of this book for on-going support and inspiration – THE WORDS ARE THAT POWERFUL! Full of helpful lists, psychological insights and practical suggestions on how to take charge of one’s inner life to facilitate recovery, this book is an undiscovered gem!
Patrick Gannon, PhD
ASCA Self-Help Recovery Program
“We all have inalienable rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Absolutely we do. However, if we are prevented from pursuing them because we have damaged the only vessel that we have to travel in that journey, we are sabotaging not only our own health and happiness but also our children’s by teaching them the same maladaptive unhealthy thinking patterns and beliefs. And, frankly, we and our children all deserve so much better.”
Because abuse survivors were punished in youth whenever their authentic selves emerged to protect and care for themselves and they were rewarded for being who their abusers wanted them to be to serve none other than the abusers.
We learned, as a result, at that moment in time when we were defenseless dependent children and our brains were in critical stages of development, to become inauthentic versions of ourselves in order to cope and respond to pain. We disconnected rather than integrated with ourselves emotionally, did not learn self-care and self-compassion, and learned to maladapt and rely on others who cause the pain (we think we deserve) to soothe the pain. As we took in too much pain and trauma, our bodies defensively repressed it, temporarily stored it away in our memory banks until we were more mature and better equipped to handle it.
As is described so eloquently in Tracy Crossley’s article, as we go out into the world and live our lives and develop relationships, go to school, and pursue our passions, we make decisions based on false perceptions and beliefs about the world and ourselves along with our unhealed trauma wounds. In the process, we never learn what the real things are that nurture OUR souls and OUR self-worth and that make US happy and how to pursue them. We end up neglecting our own needs and become overly dependent on other people to tell us what we are doing is worthy and we use, by default, their happiness to bring us happiness rather than sourcing that from within our own selves.
Let’s explore this not so obvious point a bit more.
Living Lies Cannot Sustain Us
Living lies just like physically abusing or neglecting our bodies cannot sustain us because our bodies were not designed to work that way. We are fighting nature by fooling ourselves and what will nature do? It will rebel and when it does, the consequences can be severe and for some irreversible. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So when you do not supply the body what it needs to function properly, it will attempt to take from somewhere else.
So if you do not provide the body the proper nourishment it needs to survive and sustain itself or you take in too many toxic substances or stress your body above what it was designed to do, the body cannot develop normally and visually, you look bad and physically and emotionally, you feel bad. You become physically and emotionally unfit.
Now for a while, the liver or body systems that are being taxed will filter out the crap and your natural defenses will take over until..wham! You have overtaxed them and they no longer are able to filter out the garbage faster than it is coming in or you have strained that vertebrae or ligament or muscle as far as it can be stretched. You experience emotional and physical pain. These are the cues that what you have been putting in the body is not sufficient to nourish and sustain it and you need to stop doing what you are doing and course correct.
So you could take an aspirin or an antacid or put on makeup or get false teeth or take high blood pressure medicine or cholesterol medicine that will mask the damage and temporarily relieve and sustain yourself, nevertheless until you provide your body the proper nutrition to care for it and ensure its works as it was designed, something will continue to give and you will continue to risk being at some level of pain and suffering.
How Overtaxing the Mind Starves Us of Emotional Nourishment
Equally, when you do not provide the mind what it needs to flourish or you overtax it and take in too much emotional toxicity or pain, the spirit will starve for nourishment and you will exceed the pain threshold your brain was designed to handle. Read more on nourishing our souls. The brain has remarkable plasticity but it is not good at spontaneous healing. The mind and spirit will become traumatized and malnourished and you will become emotionally fatigued, exhausted, stressed, or depressed. Sustained emotional stress also results in more physical damage to the body because the human body is comprised of integrated systems. Stress hormone levels rise for longer periods than the body is designed for leading to inflammation. The body responds with recognizing the inflammation as disease that the body’s immune system attacks. The neurological system is connected and interrelated to all the body’s systems, hence, healthy body, healthy mind and vice versa.
In essence, when you mess with nature, you mess with your own divine AUTHENTIC and integrated design. To be happy we have to learn and embrace a healthy life style that includes not only our emotional fitness but also our fitness related to our achievements and relationships and our physical health. Read more here.
Masking Pain Will Not Address It
And like an aspirin that provides temporary relief from physical pain, we can bandaid our emotional pain. Absolutely, we can. Doctors can label us with this condition or that and prescribe antidepressants or mood elevators or we can self-medicate with alcohol or illegal drugs or food or people and find many other creative ways to mask the pain and continue to be someone we are not and look to others, even abusers and manipulators, or things to define our worth and for instant relief and gratification. We can even deny it. The body when the trauma is too much for the mind to bear, even represses it. However, wounds that cannot be accessed cannot be healed. Some of us may even believe this works for us. That is until we get older and our liver or kidneys or heart or soul become stressed to capacity or until we face some major emotional catastrophe that tests our self-reliance, self-assurance, and coping skills. Then and for some, only then, do they experience the perfect storm and are faced with reality and like Dr. Phil says learn in the hardest and worst way that what they have done has not worked for them and has resulted in immeasurable and, for some, irreparable damage.
We all have inalienable rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Absolutely we do. However, if we are prevented from pursuing them because we have damaged the only vessel that we have to travel in that journey, we are sabotaging not only our own health and happiness but also our children’s by teaching them the same maladaptive unhealthy thinking patterns and beliefs. And, frankly, we and our children all deserve so much better.
How Abuse Makes Our Emotions Toxic
Let’s now look at abuse and how it impacts our abilities to regulate our emotions and engage in healthy relationships. Everyone who is abused is most likely not able to recognize the “good” in a healthy relationship because they never learned to relate good treatment to love and to defining their worthiness. The belief filters in abuse survivors become skewed. The magnitude of the damage depends on what “fears” are driving you as well. Read more in “Why Did I Get Involved with a Jerk and What Can I Do About It.”
Part of healing and building self-worth is learning what self-love is and what healthy loving relationships of reciprocity are. We are all born lovable however loving relationships are not an entitlement. They are worked for and earned based on honoring each other’s wants and needs in sickness and health and in good times and bad in a respectful manner beneficial to both parties. Emotionally intelligent and healthy individuals know this and live it. They are clear on their personal worth and lovability and the rules of healthy respectful human interactions.
When we are abused, our pain-based emotions become faulty and lose their intended design functions of being reliable protective safety measures and providing depth and color to our lives. They go haywire and rather than protect us, do us and our children more harm as we teach the same distorted thinking patterns to them as well. We and our children become vulnerable targets of energy and power vampires. Read more in How Emotions Go Haywire in Abuse Survivors.
Abuse victims can develop an exaggerated anger response due to suppressed emotions from routine invalidation and learned emotional helplessness. This can trigger a knee jerk aggressive anger response that can do us and others immense harm and cause us to sabotage our own recovery as we blame others for the discomfort we experience from our uncontrolled emotions. The response can be covertly or overtly aggressive rather than constructive. this does not mean we suppress our anger or our feelings. To the contrary, it means we can learn to recognize the emotional root causes that trigger the discomfort and the steps proactively and effectively communicate our discomfort, problem solve a solution to address it, and benefit from the experience rather than repetitively continue to harm ourselves and others and sabotage our recovery.
Don’t forget that in life, we move in the direction of, create in reality, and do what we believe to be true even if it is a lie and even if it does not serve us and harms us. That is what makes us get involved with abusers and not leave them on the spot. Our filters for screening out narcissistic jerks were damaged in childhood and most likely many other abusive power imbalanced relationships we have had in our lives.
The problem is that if we meet someone who is authentically a good person and who is NOT inflicting emotional pain on us and NOT pushing our fear and pain buttons, we are at risk of feeling unloved, unfulfilled and unworthy and then proceed to sabotage the “good” relationship to keep ourselves in our comfortable and familiar state of shame that, of course, while painful, we nevertheless “believe” we can handle better, say, than our fear of being betrayed and abandoned and do not believe we are worthy of anything better.
This is an excellent example of how abusive childhoods cause pain addictions and skewed beliefs in personal power that rule our lives that become “pain-seeking” and “pain-avoiding” rather than “joy-seeking” and “joy-filled” (e.g. joyful). While we do this unconsciously and not deliberately, these vulnerabilities make us susceptible to attacks from emotional predators and for a life of chronic unhappiness, unfulfilment, and emotional pain and fatigue.
“The problem is that if we meet someone who is authentically a good person and who is NOT inflicting emotional pain on us and NOT pushing our fear and pain buttons, we are at risk of feeling unloved, unfulfilled and unworthy and then proceed to sabotage the ‘good’ relationship to keep ourselves in our comfortable state of shame that, of course, while painful, we nevertheless ‘believe’ we can handle better than, say, our fear of being betrayed and abandoned and do not believe we are worthy of anything better.”
Let’s break this down a bit further as it applies to relationships. Do relationships with jerks bring you pain? Absolutely, however, it is pain that you associate with being lovable and a good person and believe you are powerless to and you do not believe you deserve better. You also in your childhood most likely developed codependency tendencies and learned to self-sacrifice for other people. Perhaps you are an empath with too much compassion and believe you must fix other’s problems before you take care of your own needs? Perhaps you never learned you are worthy of being happy and were rewarded only for taking care of other’s needs?
This maladaptive thinking is what keeps us vulnerable to abusers and how abuse makes our emotions become toxic to our own selves. We learn to maladapt and confuse self-worth with avoidance of pain rather than pursuing goals and relationships that bring us real joy. Our decisions become heavily based on our learned pain tolerances and perceived weaknesses rather than our personal value and power and worthiness of joy. We become attracted to power imbalanced relationships because we believe we should suffer to be lovable and can “handle” the shame and emotional pain from abuse better than our fear of abandonment from being alone. So a relationship with a “good” person would not be appealing to abuse survivors who would not relate being treating well to being lovable or worthy and would not be able to “see” the good in it and therefore, would perceive no value in it.
I am committed here at Yourlifelifter and wrote Take Your Power Back to help you do exactly that and show you where to look to discover the real truth, facilitate your healing, and live as the joy-based authentic person you were put on this earth to be.
The only person you are here to serve is your authentic self. When you serve your authentic self, your decisions and actions fulfill your legitimate emotional needs. All of life’s pieces fall into place, since the core of your being is truth-based and authentically you. You know you can rely on yourself for your safety. You feel safe in your own body.
What happens to us when we are abused, betrayed by those we intimately trust? Betrayal is one of the most painful human experiences. The victim’s response is shame, internal pain, self-loathing, trauma, and fear. We translate that into the false belief that something is wrong with us. But there is nothing wrong with us! There never was. We did not do anything wrong. Being who we are is not wrong. Our love was real. Our trust was real. Theirs was not. We were innocent defenseless victims.
Our attackers are character-flawed, disordered. We were betrayed because we trusted and depended on unhealed abusers, manipulators, and untrustworthy broken people. They betrayed us. We were betrayed because that is what betrayers do. It was not personal in that sense. Our attackers targeted us because they are experts on homing in on people with our vulnerabilities.
They need people with our vulnerabilities so that their manipulation tactics will be
successful, so that they will win the challenge and the ultimate prize: our energy, attention, and adulation. Before you and me, there were many, and after us, there will be many more. We were betrayed because we were vulnerable. We did not ask to be victimized, but we played a role in the abuse that we need to understand and accept.
Many of us are empaths—highly sensitive natural healers, compassionate people with
high emotional intelligence. We did not learn to use our compassion and trust responsibly; we depended on untrustworthy people to define our self-worth. Our emotional vulnerabilities make us complicit in our own abuse by keeping us susceptible to abusers who preyed on us and kept us addicted to pain. This truth can be very painful, and yet it’s life-changing. It will change your life forever and for the better. When we know better and that we are worthy of the knowledge, we do better.
Anger, resentment, and revenge will not heal us. Self-avoidance will not heal us. Focusing on our abusers will not heal us. Taking responsibility and accepting without judgment will. In healing, we learn to become our authentic selves—and to stop seeking approval of our worth from others. Healing is a learning process. Through asking the right questions and seeking and finding truthful answers in a safe and trusting environment, we learn to turn our compassion and courage inward to support shifts in our thinking that lead to long-term emotional health and happiness.
We learn to befriend ourselves (who we long ago abandoned) by accepting our powerlessness, committing to our healing, challenging our thoughts, releasing our fear and shame, and incrementally taking our power back as we lift up our thinking and discover and honor our real selves and our personal divinity.
Do we need to understand our abusers to heal? Yes. But minimally and only in order to understand what they are missing and what they exploited in us and what faulty beliefs make us vulnerable to them. In fact, focusing too much on them will prevent you from healing.
Narcissistic abuse recovery expert, Melanie Tonia Evans, cautions us frequently that focusing too much on our abusers and our fear of them rather than on our healing and the role we play in our abuse can keep us trapped and prevent our recovery. I can relate.
One of the most difficult lessons I learned was that I was vulnerable to attacks by manipulators and bullies. I felt threatened by them and believed I was not safe. I became fearful and resentful. My fear drove me to overestimate the harm from them and underestimate my ability to deal with them. I felt defenseless. I became hyper-vigilant in my attempts to avoid shame and pain as I waited for their attacks. I became hyper-reactive to attacks that I was sure would come and did come. I became intolerant, which did not serve me.
In the process, I gave up my power to emotional vampires who continued to target me. Trying to avoid perceived threats kept me emotionally trapped to the people and events that triggered my fears and caused me continued pain. So, I remained a victim of the emotional vampires because I thought like a victim. I was held captive by my own fears. I became emotionally fatigued. Focusing on them rather than myself kept me from healing. I learned and accepted that my fear was giving my abusers the power to overcome me.
So I put on my big-girl britches and, little by little, took on and challenged my fears and
my false sense of powerlessness, replacing them with courage and self-assurance. I took my power back as I came into my own truth and accepted what I could change as well as what I could not. I accepted what happened to me, took responsibility for the role I played, and shifted my thinking from that of a victim to one who wanted to take her power back, detach from and defuse the abusers, and thrive. I took action!
I adapted by turning the irrational fear and hypervigilance into compassion and tolerance. I turned that wasted fear-driven energy to the source of that fear within myself and not only challenged and released it but replaced it with self-compassion, self-knowledge, self-power, self-respect, and self-love. I honed my ability to identify and cope with evil people. Instead of focusing my energy on them, I shifted my attention to me and my self-worth and abilities. I protected my personal boundaries because I know and believe I am worth it.
In the process of healing and witnessing my own healing, my fear of aggressors became pity for the powerless annoyances they are. In the process, my self-esteem and self-respect and self-assuredness soared, and I took my power back. I chose not to give my power to powerless emotional vampires and to protect my personal boundaries and honor my personal rights and authority because I know I deserve respect. I taught my daughter the same. In the process, my daughter healed through me and thrived. It is never about the other person, folks. My dear friend Jim Upshaw told me that years ago, and I never forgot the message. Now I know the true meaning. Now I never forget the lesson: When you serve your authentic self, your decisions and actions fulfill your legitimate emotional needs. You know you can rely on yourself for your safety. All of life’s pieces fall into place, since the core of your being is truth-based and authentically you.
In the healing process, we regain our self-trust, self-power, self-respect, and self-esteem. We learn what our true value is to ourselves. We learn to rely on and trust internal emotional cues that have been recalibrated with our personal truth and core beliefs. Oh, of course, we must get cues from our environment and from others who have our best interests at heart. We also become better able to recognize those who do not. But we now can readily use those cues to gauge where we are and to tweak our internal truth-seeking filters based on our choices and their outcomes.
In healing, we learn who we really are and to love ourselves. We become fully integrated people of integrity whose thoughts, actions, and beliefs align. Our healing allows us to be the best version of ourselves. It is the best demonstration of self-love we could give ourselves. And in that newfound truth, we thrive.