6.3
May 21, 2024

Letter to a Narcissist.

{*Did you know you can write on Elephant? Here’s how—big changes: How to Write & Make Money or at least Be of Benefit on Elephant. ~ Waylon}

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Recently, while helping a client disentangle from a damaging relationship with a narcissistically inclined family member, I shared a letter with her I had found that same morning to aid her clarity.

The timing of finding this letter was impeccable and so essential for my client to shift her inner perception to that of one of letting go with understanding.

The letter demonstrated that no matter how articulate and compassionate we are, trying to communicate with someone intent on gaslighting is futile.

Often, it’s empathic, emotionally intelligent individuals with unresolved past trauma who find themselves trapped in such narcissistic entanglements, leaving them feeling inadequate and unworthy. My client, an exceptionally self-aware and intelligent person, was struggling with feelings of inadequacy due to narcissistic abuse that began in her early childhood. This abuse had flavoured all her relationships until she began to heal.

Stumbling upon this letter I had written to a family member many years ago was a magical serendipity. Both for myself and my client.

This person had exhibited narcissistic behaviours since childhood that had hurt and confused me most of my life, until I gained clarity and healed.

I am grateful and passionate that, through my experiences, I am now able to help my clients break free from the inner bondage that keeps them caught in narcissistic relationships. I know the territory well. Inside and out, like the back of my hand.

I often half-jokingly say that I earned a “Lifetime Master’s Degree” in dealing with narcissism through my relationship with this person, and all the relationships that followed in my life. We tend to keep attracting the same dynamics until we unlock the element within us that keeps us unconsciously attracting the same abusive dynamics in our relationships.

All my life, I was on a mission to find a way to love this person no matter what, despite the challenges. I aimed to heal myself enough to be able to see the innocence of their child self and soul, buried behind their trauma-shaped behaviours—as trauma is a core aspect of narcissism.

When I wrote the letter, proud of my clarity, wisdom, and compassion, I had hoped they would finally see me for who I am and feel my good intent in trying to clarify, to possibly build a new path together.

Instead, they felt attacked, again, which always puzzled me until I realized that those entrenched in narcissism tend to view truth as an attack.

This misunderstanding was familiar to my client as well. The serendipitous discovery of this letter provided the exact support and insight she needed. She said it put words to her experience, which healed and empowered her.

I shared it with her to illustrate to her that even careful and thoughtful articulation can still be misinterpreted as offensive by someone engulfed in narcissistic defensive patterns and behaviours . Which is what she was experiencing with this family member, and it was twisting her into knots inside.

Deeply moved by the letter, my client encouraged me to publish it, believing it could help others understand and navigate the disorienting dance of narcissism and not feel alone.

If this article even only offers peace and clarity, empowerment to one reader who doubts themselves, it will be worth it.

Narcissistic harm caused by family members is one of the hardest traumas to heal from.

Here it is:

Dear…

This is what I understand.

That you carry cherished wounds from your childhood that have not been healed.

These wounds created many layers of pain and fear.

They also created a fantasy reality where image was more important than truth, where you felt you had to hide parts of yourself, and always project what you thought others wanted you to be, to be seen and accepted.

When the fantasy façade starts to crack or someone is perceived as challenging you, and there is a chance that the hidden parts of you could possibly be revealed, or you fear you are losing control, you turn to attacking whoever it is to deflect attention away from you, to prove or defend your story. This is a common initial self-preservation dynamic in pretty much everyone to varying degrees. But normally it evolves into a healthy dialogue that can shed insight and understanding, enabling a relationship to grow.

I have hoped for this evolution with you, but realize it is unlikely to happen.

Reactivity and exaggerated drama are always a diversion and way of avoiding some deeper truth within. Always. That is the marker. That on its own limits any possibility of genuine meeting.

I understand that this dynamic has created a closed circuit where to survive and feel safe you must believe that only your perception is true, there is no room for anything else.

I understand that this creates a distorted lens through which all experiences are viewed and filtered, which then creates a self-perpetuating storyline, like a hamster on a wheel.

I understand that this too is self-preservation.

Because the protective pattern is to rush towards judging and condemning whoever your perceived enemy is, is a way of self-preservation, where you seek only to validate your point of view, the time isn’t taken to look beyond yourself and attempt to see a vaster view and open the possibility that your perception isn’t “God’s” view.

It’s yours, based on your history and storyline. There is a saying that we rarely see others for how they are, we only see what we are, projecting it onto them.

In all my sincere attempts to communicate the best way I could, the Why’s of what stimulated hurt and confusion in me, I never verbally insulted you. I boldly confronted you and addressed the things that blocked the ability to have a relationship with you. I never attacked you as you perceive it.

I understand that underneath all your reactions, your attempts to manipulate me through fear, guilt, or shame, trying to have power over me, are actually a sincere longing for love and connection. It’s really a deep cry for love.

The thing is, that unless the patterning and storyline is lifted and healed, there is simply no meeting place, no possibility to connect.

It’s not me being hard hearted or mean, it’s me acknowledging a fact, and doing my best to come to terms with it.

I know the journey I have been on, I know myself well, and by the authority of my soul, as an act of creation, I can say that every accusation you have forced on me is false, and every attack on my person is totally unwarranted.

No matter how obviously imperfect my ability to express myself in a way that you can understand has been, the expressions of my feelings and experiences are nonetheless sincere, valid, and deserve to be heard, contemplated, and validated.

I can understand that because you have been in self-preservation mode that you couldn’t see your actions as abusive, to you they are justified. I have forgiven you, yet it doesn’t change the fact that if the patterns born of fear and false judgement in you are running the show, that there is no possibility for developing a relationship.

Forgiveness does not mean you can have a relationship with the person who abused or hurt you. It must be a two-way street for that to happen.

It means letting go of the burden of resentment, releasing yourself and them from that bondage, and cultivating humility, acceptance and understanding that stuff happens, we are all imperfect and evolving and we all catalyze opportunities to grow through conflict in and with others.

Whether we choose to grow or not, beyond the conflict, is another question.

I have worked hard to heal and come to a place unclouded by fear and hurt. That’s the point I have come to.

I wish and pray for you to come to that place in you too. If and when you do, a meeting of hearts will be possible.

I do hold love for you in my heart. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have put effort in writing so many letters over the years, hoping you would finally open to understand me.

My client took several deep breathes and at long last experienced the visceral sensation of letting go.

Holding this letter in my hand, contemplating publishing it, I had a healing epiphany, that it could also be a letter to my wounded child self, that has indulged in temporary narcissistic reactions when feeling confronted and not safe. When we are honest, we all do.

I understand these things because I met them in myself and healed. This epiphany brought me full circle.

My whole life has been dedicated to uprooting patterns and behaviours not in congruent alignment with how I experienced my true nature being.

I used to get emotionally highjacked by unconscious trigger patterns that confused me and made me dig deep to understand the totality of me so that I could restore my sense of wholeness.

This is what trauma does. It interrupts our ability to be 100 percent authentically ourselves because we end up relying on primal survival patterns to survive life, that were formed by our subconscious when we were young.

Trauma is a spectrum. I have discovered that it is not so much the “what” of what happened, but the impact it had, that leaves the trauma imprint. That is why we cannot compare traumas.

Whether it was a bunny rabbit or a tiger that chased you off the cliff, you fell off the cliff. You got wounded. Some roll and only have scuffs, some land on a sharp rock. Same cliff, different results.

I travelled the world learning with hidden Masters and Teachers to come home to myself. And I have. And actually still am, because as long as I am alive and living, truly living, I meet new experiences that bring me deeper into this wholeness.

When we are all honest, unexpected trigger reactions happen to all of us. It’s a natural mechanism of survival.

What differentiates full-fledged narcissistic behaviour, from someone simply caught in a temporary trauma-induced survival narcissistic reaction, though, is awareness, empathy, the willingness to self-question and reflect. Where we are accountable and take action to heal in us what is crying for love and knows no other way to survive but to hide and defend. We do this to no longer unintentionally harm others and ourselves.

Narcissism is a spectrum, like light and dark. We all have narcissistic behaviours at times.

But there are also healthy elements to narcissism to appreciate, such as feeling confident enough to take care of ourselves and to show up in life to express our unique gifts and beauty, seeking our destiny. Any form of self mastery actually requires the healthy ego of narcissism. It makes us want to do and be our best. No one talks about that though.

The thing is that narcissism is an essential element of our innate make-up. It’s a part of us for a reason.

Living in denial of that is what builds the shadow of narcissism in us. We must be willing to call things by their true name to navigate and master life and the journey of self-awareness and self-mastery.

We keep what we deny and defend.

If we deny this fact then we remain in unconscious narcissistic patterns that harm us and others. The loop will never end.

To understand and identify the narcissist in front of me, I need to know and understand the narcissist within me first.

The defining moment many years ago when I was able to embrace that, yes, I can become a narcissist when I am emotionally triggered, when I feel vulnerable, cornered, or attacked, is when I started understanding narcissism in a new light,

Just being aware that we all have this element in us is enough to keep it in check and remain in the balanced spectrum. Which allows us to create the healthy boundaries we need, rather than electric fences around us that perpetuate the harm cycle.

And, it gives us the conviction and confidence, when needed, to walk away without looking back.

~

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