People who have never experienced obsessive thoughts before suddenly find themselves obsessing about the narcissist, and don't understand why or where it is coming from. I can tell you. It is the result of Cognitive Dissonance, which is the difficulty of trying to hold two opposing thoughts or beliefs at the same time.
Cognitive Dissonance leads to obsessive thought because we are trying to make sense of a situation that makes no sense. How can I love something that I also hate? How can I be crazy in love with this person, but despise him at the same time? We remember the wonderful times, the good times and the person we thought we fell in love with and we miss him. We wonder what happened to him. Where did he go? Why did he disappear? What did I do wrong?
While we’re remembering this person who no longer seems to exist, we are grappling with a new person we no longer recognize, and we don’t know how to feel about him. How can he be good and bad? How can I love him and hate him? Trying to resolve this in our minds is very confusing and leads to Cognitive Dissonance, which causes obsessive, intrusive thoughts that impede our ability to concentrate, work, sleep, eat or function.
We must remember that we did NOTHING wrong nor is there anything that can be done to bring this person back to us. The person we fell in love with is not who we thought he was at all. He never existed. We fell in love with an illusion. Narcissists are shallow, hollow and empty.
Realizing this person is NOT who you thought he was and NOT someone you want to be with is critical. Once you realize separation from the Narcissist is a GOOD THING, you are on the path to true recovery.
Many people ask why they keep obsessing about the Narcissist even after they realize all of this.
“Understanding It” is only the first step on The Path Forward. The importance of processing our feelings and sharing our story with others who “get it” is necessary before one can truly move on for good. Until this happens, we will remain stuck. I created this messageboard to help you understand why you're obsessing and to help you stop obsessing.
People tell us to just move on and expect us to get over it, but we can't until we fully process how we feel about it, share our story with others who can relate, and organize our thoughts in such a way that we feel we have made sense of the situation.
You may ask: “How do you make sense of a senseless situation?”
Well, this is certainly not easy, but I believe sorting out our feelings and organizing our thoughts in a way that helps us feel we have given the experience some kind of form and structure helps tremendously.
We have a need to organize the trauma and chaos we experience in life. It makes us feel better to express ourselves in a way that allows us to feel as though we can finally put the whole crazy mess to rest in our heads. Until we do this, we will always obsess about it.
Each of us must find an outlet to give creative expression and form to what we experienced. For me, this outlet has been my first book, "It’s All About Him" and my music CD, "Gotta Get It Out."
The key is to find an outlet in which we can express our feelings and share our story. For some, this may include talking to family members or friends, sharing on our on-line forum, journaling or creating art or music. Whatever it is, it is critical that you find an outlet to express yourself in a way that helps you release your emotions and put things in perspective. We Gotta Get It Out! In my opinion, it is the only way to put things to rest in your mind.
A Narcissist will never give us closure, but we can help ourselves get closure by making sure we process our feelings.
Why is this step so critical?
Research tells us the main reason for the stress of psychological trauma is that our memories of these horrible events are fragmented. Psychologically traumatic events are ones that have no good explanation. You have painful facts that make no sense, right?
Our natural tendency is to avoid thinking about painful memories or events. We suppress them and hope they will go away. But, they don't. If you don’t process them, deal with them and get them out, they will never go away. This is because the mind is most settled when there is coherence to our thoughts.
The only way to resolve conflicting thoughts is by remembering them, processing them and making sense of them. One way of doing this is by sharing our story with others. Sharing our story with people who understand is extremely healing and cathartic. It validates our experience and reassures us that we are not alone in our struggle.
Telling your story allows you to link together your emotional memories, which makes the traumatic events more coherent. It makes memories of these events less likely to be repeatedly called to mind so they can be laid to rest. This stage is imperative before you can move on. Unresolved emotional trauma floods our bodies with hormones, which leave our immune systems weak and vulnerable to attack.
Some of you have asked recently if you rely on this forum too much. Relying on this forum is much better than the alternative. Going back to your narcissist or resorting to other methods of numbing your pain is not a viable option to healthy recovery. I created this board specifically for this reason!
One of the main reasons we obsess is because we don't want to feel our feelings!
When you are stuck in an obsessive-compulsive cycle of thought, you are trying to avoid having to feel. By distracting yourself with mind rituals, you can easily forget all about the emotions trying to surface inside you.
Think about it, if you are engaged in obsessive thought and consumed with your mind, who has time to feel? Identifying with your mind allows you to avoid having to feel.
If you find yourself obsessing, I challenge you to ask yourself this question:
"What feeling am I trying to avoid right now?"
I guarantee you will find that there is a very strong emotion you are avoiding. We have to stop being afraid to feel our feelings. We must learn not to elude our feelings with methods of distraction.
Processing our emotions and allowing ourselves to feel our emotions is critical before we can move on.
I created this messageboard for you to process your feelings in a safe environment. Together, we can help each other process the painful feelings we need to confront in order to move on.
We enage in obsessive thinking so we can avoid confronting the painful reality of our situation. We use the recurring thoughts to distract ourselves from what we really need to confront and process – our feelings!
Coming to this forum and sharing your thoughts is an active part of your recovery!
You are being brave and should be proud of your willingness to confront your situation and deal with the feelings you are experiencing. Too often, people choose to run from their feelings. Running away is like preferring death to life. We may be in the dark right now, but from darkness comes light. If we commit ourselves to feeling our emotions and staying right where we are, our experience becomes vivid. Things become very clear when we don't try to escape or run from them.
The fact that you are here shows that you honor your feelings and respect yourself to do the hard work it takes to get through this painful experience in your life. We must confront our pain. Look it right in the eye. In my opinion, it is the only way to undo negative patterns of thinking. If we face something head on, we no longer play mind games with ourselves to avoid it.
When we face pain and fear, we will be humbled. There will be little room for the arrogance of holding onto ideals or lying to ourselves as a method of escaping reality. The kinds of discoveries that are made in painful situations have much to do with having the courage to feel. When we stop and feel our feelings, we encounter our true being. We are more in touch with ourselves than ever before. This is what Buddhists call Mindfulness.
Clarity provides direction. We must never fear the reality of our situation, no matter how overwhelming it may seem. Everything in life teaches us something. Being here is proof that you are willing to learn from your experience instead of choosing to run from it. Struggle toughens the human spirit and strengthens our character. It gives us purpose and direction. Following the path of least resistance in life is a cop-out. It is struggle and pain that leads to transformation.
“Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert