As we've discussed, when we try to get over a narcissist, our minds are experiencing severe Cognitive Dissonance. I first learned about Cognitive Dissonance in college. Basically, it is the difficulty of trying to hold two opposing thoughts or beliefs at the same time.
At the time, I smoked cigarettes and the easiest way for me to understand Cognitive Dissonance was to think of how I felt about my habit. I enjoyed it, but yet, I hated it because I knew it was bad for me, right?
Cognitive Dissonance leads to obsessive thought because we are trying to make sense of a situation that doesnâ€™t make sense. How can I love something that I also hate? That is the crux of the issue when trying to get over a narcissist.
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 weâ€™re remembering this man that no longer seems to exist, we are grappling with a new man who has suddenly emerged full of venom and hatred and we donâ€™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 will drive us to the edge of our sanity.
Cognitive Dissonance leads to obsessive, intrusive thoughts that impede our ability to concentrate, work, sleep, eat or function.
Now that we have identified what is at the heart of the aftermath of a relationship with a narcissist, we can talk about what we can do to get over it and how we are helping each other get over it by sharing our story with one another on our messageboard and eventually in support group meetings as well.
As you know, I strongly believe we have to â€œGet it Out,â€ which is the first step in the road to relationship recovery. A narcissist will never give us closure, but we can help each other get closure.
Why is this first step so important? Well, the main reason for the stress of psychological trauma is that our memories of these traumatic events are fragmented. Psychologically traumatic events are ones that have no good explanation. You have painful facts that make no sense, right? This is what we call Cognitive Dissonance.
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 donâ€™t process them, deal with them and get them out, they will never go away. Why? 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 others is extremely healing and cathartic. It 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.
By sharing our story with others and finding creative outlets to channel our feelings of pain, anger and regret, we can begin the path to relationship recovery.
We need to organize our thoughts about the traumatic experience in some way that helps us feel that we have made sense of it all and express our feelings about it before we can put it to rest. This stage is critical before one can move on.
Dr. Stephen Diamond says creativity â€œis one of humankind's healthiest inclinations, one of our greatest attributes,â€ and explains that our impulse to be creative "can be understood to some degree as the subjective struggle to give form, structure and constructive expression to inner and outer chaos and conflict.â€
Think about it. As humans, we have a need to give form and structure to the trauma and chaos we experienced. Makes sense, doesn't it? Until we do this, we cannot move on.
People tell us to just move on and expect us to get over it, but we can't until we fully process our feelings about it, share our story with others who can relate, and organize our thoughts in such a way that we finally feel we can put the whole damn mess to rest in our heads. Until that happens, we will always obsess about it.
Without processing our feelings and getting them out in a creative, healing way, they stay within us and become toxic. We have to get it out. It is the only way to heal. Unfortunately, no one knows what is it like to love a narcissist unless they have been through it themselves.
It is for this reason, we have our messageboard and for this reason we will start having live support group meetings in major metropolitan areas.
To me, â€œgetting it outâ€ with others who understand it is the only answer to getting over a narcissist. We must focus on ourselves, process our feelings, and express our thoughts and ideas in a creative way that gives structure and form to the chaos we experienced. Until we clean up this mess in our minds, we can never put it to bed and move on.
I am dedicating all of my free time now to developing an 8 step program, which begins with the first step - Get it Out! This first step will require members to share their story, which many of us have already done on this messageboard and write two letters - One to the narcissist and one from the narcissist to you, which I've touched briefly on before.
The following 8 steps will consist of creative ways and outlets that will enable us to process our pain and give structure and form to the chaos and trauma we experienced.
1) Get It Out
2) Understand It
3) Accept it
4) Establish No Contact
5) Find an Outlet for Anger
6) Let Go of Pain and Regret
7) Face Fear
8) Live in the Now
I truly believe that by working these steps, we will be able to eventually stop obsessing about the narcissist and move on. We have to make peace with the chaos in our minds and the best way of doing that is with others who understand. It may take awhile and everyone should work the steps at their own pace, but I believe if we work these steps together, we will be able to move on and experience love again.
It was not until I wrote this book and made my music CD that I was able to even think about letting someone back in my heart again.
The new website is going to be www.GetItOutGirl.com and will have a detailed description of the eight steps as well as a list of meeting dates for our live support group meetings. I'll also set-up and facilitate calls for those that don't live near metro areas. This messageboard will remain the main portal through which everything is linked because the first step in relationship recovery is to "Get It Out" and this is where it all starts. Right here with all of you. Thanks for being here. xoxo