Narcissist Recovery Blog

Why We Must Write About Our Experience of Trying to Love a Narcissist

Here's why it's so important to write about what you're experiencing:

Today we now have proof that writing is therapeutic. James Pennebaker, PhD., a psychologist and researcher, has conducted studies that show improvement in immune system functioning and emotional well-being when research participants write about difficult or traumatic events in their lives.

As Linda DeSalvo points out in her book, “Writing as a Way of Healing,“ many writers, like Virginia Woolf and Henry Miller describe their work as a form of analysis or therapy. Before treatment was available, many writers used their work in this way.

DeSalvo describes the therapeutic process of writing like this:

Why the Narcissist will Never Change

Narcissism is a personality disorder and it is important to understand what this means. People with personality disorders are rigid and unaware that their thoughts and behavior patterns are inappropriate.

Research indicates they are rarely the ones who come in for treatment. Instead, the spouse, significant other, children, and parents of the personality disordered are the ones who suffer and seek therapy. PDIs rarely seek treatment.

Write his Eulogy

Yes, it is critical that we accept the fact that the man we fell in love with is gone.

Part of Step 4 - Accept It - involves writing his Eulogy. I believe this is important because we must fully grieve the man we fell in love with and accept that he is gone and never coming back.

The man who stands before us now asking for forgiveness and playing with our minds is NOT the man we fell in love with at all. We must not try to fool ourselves into thinking that he is. Trust me, he is relying on us to do this.

Instead, we must recognize this new man as an IMPOSTER and nothing more. We must fully grieve the man we fell in love with and say goodbye to him. We must pay our respects to him and mourn him. I believe by writing his Eulogy, it will help us do this.

Personality Disordered Individuals (PDIs)

I've been doing a lot of research lately for purposes of the new website and recovery book. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), there are 10 Personality Disorders. Mental health professionals group these personality disorders into one of three clusters based on similar characteristics.

Guess what they all have in common with one another? All Personality Disordered Invdividuals (PDIs) are:

MANIPULATIVE
CONTROLLING
SELFISH

They seek out relationships in order to use people to meet their own needs. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.

Narcissism and the Church

Simply put, Narcissism is the "Abuse of Power."

At the LA Book Expo in 2008 where I found my publisher, none of the publishers I tried to talk to were at all interested in publishing a book on narcissism. Most of them suffered from it themselves! No joke!

You should have seen the look of disgust I got from some publishers when presenting my book to them. One guy handed it back to me and said, "Psssh, this is the reason my sister-in-law gave for divorcing my brother" and handed it back to me with a look that could kill.

To Obsess or Not Obsess After the Narcissist

When getting over a narcissist, I believe we must go through a process of obsessing about our experience and over-analyzing it before we can move on.

Our minds must make sense of the chaos and trauma we experienced (i.e. emotional abuse)at the hands of the person we love.

Each of us needs to find an outlet in which to give creative expression and form to what we experienced. To give it some structure and organization so that we can file it away and put it to rest once and for all. For me, this outlet was my book and my music CD.

Once we are able to process the experience, the obsessive thoughts should lessen, but ONLY if we allow ourselves to FEEL.

Fierflie makes an excellent point:

More on Managing Obsessive Thoughts

Briseis is right, the moment we tell ourselves to stop obsessing about something, we will obsess about it more. It's so unfair, but so true. Think about it. If you tell a group of people not to look at the elephant in the room, the first thing everyone is going to do is want to look at the elephant in the room, right?

The main reason we obsess is UNCERTAINTY. We hate UNCERTAINTY. When something in our life is unclear or uncertain, we will obsess about it until we think we can create some kind of certainty.

The first thing to understand here is that nothing in life is certain. Until we accept this, we will never stop obsessing. What's the old saying, the only thing in life that is certain is death and taxes. So sad, but also true if you think about it.

Why we are drawn to narcissists and why we are a magnet to them....

This article does a great job of describing some of us to a tee. I definitely consider myself an Empath. This article helps explain not only why we are drawn to narcissists, but why we are magnets to them as well.

"Real empaths feel too much. Real narcissists don’t seem to feel anything, or at least not in regard to others’ feelings. Showing your vulnerable side to a narcissist in an attempt to explain how his or her behavior might be hurtful will just invite more abuse."

Why We're Here

I just want to reiterate that venting, obsessing, over-analyzing and discussing your narcissist with others who understand it is a CRITICAL step in the process of recovery. We view it as the 1st step "Get it Out" and it is the initial reason why I created this board. The 2nd step is to "Understand It" and that is the other primary purpose of this board.

The fact that you are here talking about it means you are no longer lying to yourself about your relationship. That is HUGE! I lied to myself for years about my marriage. I didn't want to believe Prince Charming was not who I thought he was at all. Who wants to admit that to themselves! I know I didn't!

What the Bible says about Narcissism

Catching-up on the board, I noticed a discussion about what the Bible says about Narcissism. While I am not a religious person, I am very spiritual. In response to this recent post, I thought I should point out that the Bible refers to Narcissism as Unrighteous Dominion - The Abuse of Power. Here's a copy and paste from my book on this very topic:

This temptation to exercise unrighteous dominion exists in any situation where one is in a position of power or influence. It can occur at school, work, church, your community and in homes and families. A man who practices unrighteous dominion in his home single-handedly destroys the self-esteem of his wife and children. He may not even realize he is abusing his power, but simply knows no other way to behave.

Have a Love Affair with Yourself

We spend way too much time trying to form and nurture relationships with others who could potentially be our soul mate, when the whole time we neglect to nurture and get to know ourselves!

I know that in the past, I have been guilty of thinking a man could meet all my needs and make me happy. I believe that society teaches young women this from an early age (i.e. Disney Fairytales where girl meets Prince Charming and lives happily ever after).

Living in the Now

I'm so grateful we found one another and I strongly believe God led us to one another as well. I am not a religious person, but I am very spiritual and I belive in a higher power, a higher energy that makes the sun come up every day. It's our job to tap into that energy that exists within ourselves. We all posess the energy to make the sun come up in our lives every day. Tapping into that energy inside us is something we will help each other do by working the steps and supporting one another.