Life lessons learned in Narcissistic Abuse recovery
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Life lessons learned in Narcissistic Abuse recovery

Today is the day. You are the youngest you will ever be again, and the oldest you have been up until this point. How you spend your days is how your spend your life. But what happens when all that time, all that effort, has been spent striving to make other people happy while day after day you forsake yourself? Take time out for Narcissistic Abuse recovery.

This is the key issue facing more modern humans than is comfortable to even attempt to statistically categorize, needing to heal from a traumatized, Stockholm Syndrome type of neurological state. Noting that over 12% of the world population as of the year 2015 meets the diagnostic criteria for having what is known as a Cluster B personality disorder, narcissism is at an all-time statistical high these days.  That leaves 88% of the human population striving to not only maintain their own best interests in life, but chances are their life paths have been inextricably altered having to deal with one or more of them.

When it comes to age and wisdom, people with Cluster B personality types don’t have it. Many enablers spend a lifetime striving to make personal life choices of their own that are out of fundamental moral alignment with their oppressive friend and family member needs, thinking that if they just try hard enough to communicate with them and take their social orders that the narcissistic person will eventually socially mature and be pleased.

What happens to the victim of a Cluster B person is they get psychologically trauma bonded with their abusers. Hoping to help the toxic personality type elevate their consciousness and thinking, their lovers, friends, and family members dutifully capitulate to the whims of people who love nothing more than barking low-quality advice and dogmatic, non-sensical preference orders at other people.

When you are a toddler or a young elementary school child, there’s not much you can do to buck authority figures. If Mommy Dearest says you are expected to look, act, or dress a certain way — by God you do it. Fathers who are Enabling Henchmen (narcissistic and sociopathic role male models who enable toxic mothers) tend to expect children to be seen and not heard during these years, spending time with their own children for a few minutes here and there, delighting in bragging to their friends what great parents they are for having themselves taken part primarily in baby manufacture. Once a child starts to hit pre-teen years, look out! Young men are expected to “toughen up” while young ladies are supposed to strive non-stop to please them, acting as nothing more than witless performers.

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For anyone raised by WWII Generation parents, the expectations of both gender and age roles within the nuclear family unit have always been clearly defined. To families who drank the proverbial Kool-Aid from the local church punch bowl in the congregation hall after Sunday services, everyone knew both expectation and the drill:

  • Mothers were expected to keep the house and micromanage the daily lives and transport of children
  • Fathers were the breadwinners who expected to have the final authority as the pants-wearing familial dictator
  • Little Johnny was expected to man up and play violent sports and chase girls — treating women like objects and pulling their pigtails in public while striving to get to second or third base by or before the end of junior high school
  • Little Alice was expected to perform ballet pirouette between classes at school, to sing, to dance, to make straight As, and to learn how to entice male suitors without ever having to give up the goods

Once humans were considered “grown adults”, men were expected to act like men… and women were supposed to act like women. Moms drove the big car while dad chased women behind her back in the sports car or his two-passenger truck. The older a married couple got and the more children they had, the more practical driving a Porsche sounded to the adults.

Middle age crisis was to be expected in men, while women were to dutifully assume the role of house frump. Running out of time was something all family members were told on a daily basis, with parental role models echoing chants of “C’mon, hurry up!”, “We’re going to be late!”, “Stop dawdling!”, and alarm clocks blared daily providing the startling impetus to mindlessly wake.

For Baby Boomers, the Beatnik and Hippie movements help some promise of hope out to people in existential crisis that there was more to life possible than falling into Confucian line with roles previously held like heavyweight boxing championship titles by toxic parents. The Beatnik culture gave people a reason to dream about travel, inspired them to make music that resonated more with their souls as modern expressions of the time, and inspired wanderlust. Once the harsh reality of the Korean war and pointless conflict in Vietnam came to light, those same people who felt drawn to live a more free-spirited and yoke-free life elected to do such symbolic acts as burn their bras, start growing out their hair, and making themselves into what some stylists might call a tragically chic, flower-powered hot mess.

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Which brings us to our point. Whatever your age or generation, today is the oldest you have ever been. History books are present to be reviewed and studied, with much wisdom presented in hindsight by wise scholars who examine all the before and afters.

Using what we know as humans with a vast and varied cross-cultural bank of knowledge and wisdom at our disposal is changing societies. While 100 years ago, people were forced to primarily rely on limited amounts of mass media and their local church pastors to bring them the latest sociological interpretations of human events, men and women living in the 21st century have a wealth of information (thanks to technology) at their fingertips.

Not only can a human being look back through history records at a glance the same way school children used to be forced to head to the library and use encyclopedias to write book reports, one can turn to  a variety of self-help resources that provide expert advice on what to expect when and if they make choice A, B, or C with regard to lifestyle.

Savvy seniors who share their life stories can be credited for the human emotional growth phenomenon. After all, without actual real-life humans to tell us things like, “This was my experience, choosing to stay long term in a bad marriage…” or “When I was 30, I left my abusive wife/partner/parents/adult children/husband/community/town/country/toxic peer group and did not look back!” other aspiring humans seeking inner peace would not have the opportunity to analyze their life history in such a way that would allow them to reflect.

“There’s no need to re-invent the wheel!” is one wise statement that springs to mind with regard to time, age, and human growth as it relates to the psycho-social and moral divine. Read 100 different accounts of what it’s like spending your lifetime living under the thumb of an oppressor, and one point comes clear. People who are actively being abused are likely to suffer from C-PTSD and severely limiting emotional issues.

By staying in a bad marriage, a poor quality relationship with an abusive sibling, an appallingly traumatizing relationship with a parent who sees you as an object with limited to no value — while thinking a person is doing the right thing to stay or be there — is committing passive suicide… not being a martyr. What’s more, it’s trading life quality for what? To magically somehow reinvent the power and control dynamic of the Narcissistic Abuse wheel, somehow expecting a new outcome for living a life voluntarily exposing oneself to a person with an untreatable as well as most likely an unmanageable personality disorder?

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If you are a person looking for a sign that something is not right with your Abuser, the very real fact that your internet browser is allowing you to read and do your own research in the 21st century without requiring a visit to some counselor, hoity-toity therapist, or authoritarian counselor should tell you all you need to know. Kind humans who have walked miles — endless lifetimes of miles — in your shoes have lovingly left you a “How the HECK do I get myself out of this mess?” breadcrumb trail.

The clock is ticking, Narcissistic Abuse victims. You are who you decide to be and how you spend your days is how you spend your life.

Are you happy in your present circumstances, living with an abusive romantic partner or feeling socially and morally obligated to spend time with a family member or friend you cannot stand?

Are you living a life filled with joy, waking up each day feeling excited to greet the sun or are you more inclined to rush-rush-rush to hurry-hurry-hurry up and avoid being late like your Baby Boomer or WWII Generation parents said? Are you 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80 years old and still have not taken a day off from doing things like chores for a taskmaster boss, unappreciative family, or a lover who is less loving than a mailbox?

Seriously consider your own answers to these sort of broad-based and generic lifestyle questions, noting that the more time you spend NOT answering but still ruminating on them is time that arguably could have more productively been spent.  With each passing tick and tock of the cosmic time clock, you are older than you have ever been and younger than you will ever be again.

So use a few hours of those minutes and productive years to really do some reading and positive self-help research. Be curious about the opinions of elderly people and folks who have elected to radically change or shift their boring, pedantic, or banal life paths.

If you are a woman raised to believe that the measure of your success lies in how sparkly the finish is on your tile floors and that gives you pleasure, by all means, KEEP SCRUBBIN’. If you don’t mind a husband who has affairs and stays gone from the home all the time while boorishly bellowing in his best Al Bundy voice that he’s slaving away for the sake of the family, spending countless hours at the office then stick with that.

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If you are a man who does not mind not being a part of the family except as a figurehead only, by all means spend the least amount of time at home with your wife and children as is humanly possible — but show up just enough so she does not wander off and start having an affair with that local handyman, pool boy, or painter she just hired to help her with the household property management. Don’t let her get too close to that high school crush… you know the guy we mean. The newly divorced, emotionally sensitive, and arguably damaged pansy most likely to get into your wife’s granny panties just to see if he can, followed by dissing and dismissing her but still leaving that door open for a random booty call opportunity…

You might be a grandmother of 12 but loathe your hubby. Bad Grandpa might truly desire to have a house slave who waits on him hand and foot, but he’d be better off having MEALS ON WHEELS deliver to his inept self-caretaking ass while you take a pleasure cruise around the world, maybe.

The point is, if you have breath in your lungs, a brain in your head, and a pulse, chances are you have some say in how to write the creative pages of your own life story. Embrace your youth, whatever your age.

Go gray, naturally.

By embracing the very real NOW moment in time, understanding that to do so we are allowed and energetically encouraged by nature to use what we know from the past to make a safer, more loving and comfortably prosperous future for ourselves (and hopefully our offspring), humans can truly take their own lives back. Back from people who peddled social ideas like poverty and human strife — for some — would be both socially appropriate and tolerable.

If… that is truly a wondrous thought to hold in your head when and if one is seeking to spiritually align with a moment.

If you had a choice…

If you made a different decision…

If you only knew how the story was more than likely going to end after playing out the NEXT forty years of drama…

All of these things are questions each human being who has a heart and higher level emotional intelligence quotient are likely to ask themselves daily with aplomb and wonder. If you are as young as you are ever going to be again and could change something or everything about your life, what would you change?

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That’s the money question right there to be answered.

To stay or not to stay in an abusive home or professional environment becomes a decidedly easier question to answer thanks to the internet and all the brave abuse survivor souls out there who have left their stories on electronic forums for other people to analyze and measure. But stay or go, there’s a far more simplistic yet profound set of questions each and every human mind needs to answer before embarking on any soul journey…

Namely, who are you… what do you like doing… and what makes your heart beat a little faster when and if you dare to dream about risking trying something you have never in a million years before considered?

Want to be a treasure hunter? Go for it.

A painter? Marvelous.

Care to dance the night away at various coastal resorts and nightclubs around the world? Go for it.

But change comes in small as well as dramatic fashion. Love reading a book in your favorite chair but hate the room it’s in? Move your furniture.

Need a little pick me up on your self-esteem? Grow your hair long, cut it short, or do something to give it a new pop of color.

Over 50 or staring down the gauntlet? Delight in the notion never again will you have to wipe a snotty nose or listen one more time to a parent-teacher conference with some insufferable bore blathering on and on to you about how your child’s grades in elementary or junior high school are going to matter.

[God forbid the ill-tempered little brats don’t go on to get into the right brand name private school, social institution, or college.]

Be happy your children are old enough to make babies of their own — and no matter what you do resist the urge to declare as a grandparent they are your property right for ownership. Be better than your own parents were in order to honor them genetically — while avoiding that massive guilt-producing intellectual trap of believing that the biblical phrase HONOR THY MOTHER AND THY FATHER meant enabling them to be abusive.

Do take into consideration that every minute of your life spent defending yourself in unwinnable arguments with stonewalling narcissistic monsters is a minute you will never be able to take back. Realize that each time you functionally engage in communicating with a toxic person, your body is likely to produce surges of toxic chemicals that are damaging over time to the victim — never once producing an unpleasant or harmful chemical in the body of an abuser.

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For any person who has ever wondered why so many mean-spirited people grow to epic old age while their loving partners die on the vine, only the good die young, or their caretakers wither? It’s due to them having a different biochemical nature relating to social interaction.

People with Cluster B personality disorders emotionally, psychologically, and (in a way) physically feed off taking advantage of and abusing others. Fiercely competitive and egocentric to the core, when a person who strives to please them engages, the abusive personality type experiences a surge of pleasurable emotions when and if they cause their “Narcissistic Supply Source” to waste their time, feel frustrated, or have their feelings hurt.

Never appreciative and always keeping score, if you do something wonderful, they will tell you they never asked you to do that instead of sincerely offering appreciation. They will also advise you in no uncertain terms how whatever effort you made to please them fell short of the mark, was not enough, or that they changed their mind — now that you did exactly what they said or gave them exactly what they demanded, they will drive you bat guano crazy informing you, “That’s not what I meant!” or “I never said I wanted you to do that/buy me that/change plans/get me that!”

Tick tock.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

The person striving to be a People Pleaser feels targeted for abuse, socially victimized, and is left with a profound sense of being fundamentally (as a human being) UNAPPRECIATED. And it’s awfully hard to be grateful to be in a relationship with a person of any gender, social role, age, or stereotype who makes everyone around them except perhaps a few “preferred favorites” like crap. Yet, all the positive thinking books in the world meant for a generic audience will tell you that.

So here’s your HALL PASS on guilt… guess what? If a person is abusing you or fails to appreciate your willingness to be involved in a social relationship with them, one has absolutely no moral obligation to take it or feel happy about it. On the contrary, relationships with abusive people are to be ENDED immediately when and if a person A) realizes they are being used or abused and B) the perpetrator of the abuse wants to do it.

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If you feel compelled to appreciate everything in your life, appreciate the very real fact you are a human being — not a tree. You have legs to get up and walk. Relocate yourself away from toxic people accordingly.

The only regret most Narcissistic Abuse survivors who have gone full-on “NO CONTACT” with abusive people have is they did not leave abusive relationships earlier. Seriously. Ask them. Listen to their wisdom. Learn their perspective. And let their 20/20 hindsight knowledge influence your personal lifestyle decisions.

“But my story is different! He’s the love of my life — my soulmate!”

Pish posh. Turn off the Disney movie rerun. If you come home from a night at the ball disheveled, shoeless, and your date does not even recognize you without your hair extensions and a full pancake face of drag queen style makeup, he’s not the one, pretty pretty princess.

Conversely, if she’s more interested in what’s in your wallet than in your moral character as a human being, you might want to reconsider what true love means in the eyes of a Malignant Somatic Narcissist.

“But she’s my MOM!”

Yes. And you can thank her and your father for getting drunk that one random night after a party or that yo daddy knocked her up during makeup sex. Woo who.

Honor that devil vagina magic for all eternity.

“But he’s OLD — how will he ever learn how to take care of himself?”

Let’s be honest. Paper plates exist for a reason. So does take out pizza, fast food, and restaurants that allow people to use curbside service.

“How will he/she/they ever make it without me?”

R’uh roh, Shaggy… your grandiosity is showing. It might be time to do a quick reality check about the size and importance of your own ego after years of being duped or conned into voluntary indentured servitude to a seriously tiresome, boring, and obnoxious family.

“I don’t think children should have to focus on things like having to work while going through high school or college.”

Yeah — prepare yourself for them to party their narcy little asses off on your dime, milking the family trust fund budget far past the age of 18, 19, and 20. If a child turns 21 and still expects or demands financial resources from a family member? Chances are they are at best narcissistic, noting that at worst they might have Narcissistic Personality Disorder or be running with a toxic peer group who intellectually and emotionally supports or promotes extreme levels of parent-abusing entitlement theories.

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“I cannot travel right now… I simply cannot leave my XYZ.”

Yeah. Sure you can’t.

Clearly, there are no companion services for the elderly, pet sitters, or other human beings on the planet as fundamentally capable as you are to provide housekeeping or routine maintenance services for your family.

Starting to catch the gist yet?

Humans, by nature, fearing the unknown, tend to create an unlimited number of excuses and reasons why they cannot step up to the proverbial plate, take a swing, and risk knocking it out of the park or failing. It’s a psychological habit to fear the unknown rather than to relish in embracing the idea of living in the mystery.

You are as old and wise as you have ever been in the past. Today. Right now. At this moment.

And you have access to unlimited amounts of experiential wisdom notes to help you plan and prepare for the next stages of your life journey.

Who are you and what do you want to do with your life? Do you daydream about being something? Or aspire to simply “be”, graciously flitting from moment to moment as yourself with no other pressured moniker needed?

Be a doctor… be a teacher. Become a faith healer. Or just be yourself.

Whatever your choice, learn to look around you and value the moment more. After all, you will never be younger than you are while reading this post — and you can never take back time, regardless of how you willfully decide it’s going to be spent.

The time for self-care is now. Take a time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to decide who you are and to recover from Narcissistic Abuse by using your own free will life choices to plan the next steps of your life path accordingly.

About Plato's Stunt Double

DISCLOSURE: The author of this post is in no way offering professional advice or psychiatric counseling services. Please contact your local authorities IMMEDIATELY if you feel you are in danger. If you suspect your partner, a loved one, co-worker, or family member has a Cluster B personality disorder, contact your local victim's advocate or domestic violence shelter for more information about how to protect your rights legally and to discuss the potential benefits or dangers of electing to go "no contact" with your abuser(s). Due to the nature of this website's content, we prefer to keep our writer's names ANONYMOUS. Please contact flyingmonkeysdenied@gmail.com directly to discuss content posted on this website, make special requests, or share your confidential story about Narcissistic Abuse with our staff writers. All correspondence will be kept strictly confidential.