I just found a really interesting article posted on another site, and thought I'd share it here. The link to the original post is:
How To Stop Obsessing and Start Living by Kaleigh
One of the most important issues when trying to recover from narcissistic abuse is our tendency to obsess about the abuser in our life. We tend to believe that while we are left holding all the dark energy from the relationship the abuser escaped with the goods. We imagine the narcissist to be off walking in the sunset with his/her new love while we are sitting at home suffering depression, apathy, anger and horrific emotional pain.
If we were to really take the time to think about it, it is highly unlikely that our abuser is really having the happy life with someone else that we wanted to have with him/her. Since narcissism stems from a deep sense of inadequacy and low self-worth, the narcissist is forced to get his feelings of well-being from those outside himself.
He may temporarily experience the illusion of perfection with another person, much like he once did with us, but I stress the word temporary. If the narcissist builds his good feelings about himself based on how he is perceived by others, it is only a matter of time before his/her new love has an issue or complaint with the relationship. Lets face it! Every relationship has issues; I don't care how good it is.
The difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one is how both partners deal with the issues that surface in the relationship. If one person is unable to handle confrontation, or cant self-reflect than the relationship will either fall apart or the partner will be forced to sweep his/her feelings and issues in the relationship under the rug. This is a recipe for disaster.
So, remember that things are not always as they appear. What you see or imagine life to be for the partner who was abusive towards you, is likely a fantasy that you have created in your own mind. If you have created this illusion that life is a bowl of cherries for the narcissist and hell for you, then you can change the way you feel simply by changing the fantasy you are creating.
Changing the fantasy involves watching your thoughts and changing what you tell yourself. Instead of picturing in your mind that your abuser is off living the good life, picture instead that he/she is running away from his feelings by escaping into another illusion that involves someone else besides you. You should feel lucky that it is no longer you. Because you now know the truth, right?
We were discussing in my empowerment support group how the narcissist will project his dark, repressed qualities onto those closest to him, but we, the co-dependent, project our good qualities onto him. This is why we have the feeling he/she has stolen our life.
When we live our lives in dysfunction there is a tendency towards black and white thinking. We are either all good or all bad. There are no shades of grey where we can be both good and bad, light and dark, wrong and right. So if we are made to feel, by the narcissist in our lives that we are bad, we may assign him the good. This causes us to feel so much worse because we have somehow lost everything that we believed was good about ourselves. We are under the illusion that our good has been stolen from us, kidnapped and given to someone else. But this is far from the truth of what is happening.
Remember how good you felt when you first fell in love. All the focus was on how beautiful, wonderful, charming, smart and lovable you were. You could do no wrong. You felt all of those things. You felt good about yourself! You felt lovable! You felt worthy. So what happened?
Like the narcissist, you gave him/her the power to validate you. And when you give someone else the power to validate your worthiness, you also give him the power to invalidate you. So we go from being on top of the world to crawling on the bottom of it. We come to believe, on some level, that we are all those horrible things we feel. We think we might be the one who is the narcissist because we are obsessing about him, feeling so horrible about ourselves and recognizing our own tendency to rely on outer validation in order to feel good about ourselves. When the narcissist goes on with his life to find someone new we imagine what it was like in the beginning when we first fell in love. Now someone else is getting all our good. We are getting all the bad.
How can we change this? One method of helping us to stop obsessing and feeling that we have lost our good, is to start taking inventory of our good. This means to get out a piece of paper and pen and write down everything good you can possibly think of about yourself. If you need help, get a friend to tell you what he/she admires or likes about you and write that down. Put that paper somewhere you can see it every day. Read it in the morning when you wake up and in the evening when you go to bed. Remind yourself throughout the day of your positive, lovable qualities. Imagine, in your minds eye, you living your ideal life, with someone who cherishes you.
Take your good back! Call back what has been stolen by simply stating a command I ask you to return all you have taken from me NOW! Florence Scovel Shinn, the author of The Game of Life says Nothing is ever lost in the mind of God. What she means is that if we stop focusing on our loss and instead see that what comes around goes around we will soon realize that we never really lost at all. If we lose a possession, a home, or anything else, we must trust in the law of reciprocity and that what we lose will come back to us in another form. We will get a better house, a better relationship, a greater income opportunity etc.
What we tell ourselves is so important in our healing and recovery. Don't give the narcissist more power than he/she deserves. Most of my clients know they are giving him/her power in their lives by their constant obsession about that person. They are giving their energy through focus. We have to catch ourselves when our thoughts go to the narcissist in our lives and discipline ourselves to change our thoughts and focus on something else.
After my first relationship I was instructed by a therapist to put a rubber band around my wrist and whenever I thought about him I would snap the rubber band and consciously change my thoughts to something else. In itself this didn't solve my problems but it did help me to be aware how much energy this was consuming in my life. I had to start forcing myself to find other things to focus on. And it became a real celebration when I realize I hadn't snapped my wrist in over an hour, or two hours or even more.
Now days if I were wearing that band it would be a waste. Now and then one of the old NS will cross my mind but the thoughts are usually fleeting and more on the positive side. This is because I have moved through all the stages of recovery and am at peace with the role these men played in my life. I no longer feel angry, or ripped off, or betrayed. Now I just feel grateful for what I have learned and the strength I have gained in my own life.