HEALING FROM NARCISSISTIC ABUSE: FORGIVENESS
* Narcissism is considered a less severe form of psychopathy.
Healing Is Forgiveness Manifested
In the aftermath of my encounter with an Internet psychopath or "cyberpath"- a severe form of mental rape along the narcissism continuum, I have puzzled over what "forgiveness" means, in books, and on the Internet. I have been exhorted, in groups, to "forgive", Forgive Or Forfeit Your "Soul". I have not been able to forgive, nor wished to forgive, nor dwelled on forgiveness and I don't think much about it when it comes to psychoguy. My experience is that I suffered an emotional holocaust and a nuclear winter in the aftermath- so why should I even begin to think about things like forgiveness? Why should I consider it at all?
Questions arise.... Who and what do we forgive? Ourselves? Them? The universe? G-d? Life? In the end, I had no idea how simple the answer was.
It has taken me a long time to come to this place. In Judaism, we actually have a blessing for the moment, "Blessed are You, the Lord our G-d, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season".
I learned that the first mistake we make is to think that to forgive is to give permission to continue intimacy- to come close once again.
Another mistake lies with the concept of "letting go"? This is a fine thing when we are doing it with someone normal- do we not LONG for the balance to be restored? For felicity and harmony once again?
Forgiveness also feels like it should be with one's entire heart and soul- should be heartfelt, an act. And how can one's heart remotely be engaged with the psychopath/abusive narcissist when disengagement is the most immediate necessity and goal???? I can tell you right now that will never happen in my lifetime- that sort of forgiveness. For some it may be necessary to stay true to themselves, but for me, it mocks and diminishes my sense of integrity. His death notice will finally bring me rest and I say that without rancour. I weep at the thought and I would weep at the notice. Okay, you don't have to figure it out.
The last mistake we make, I have learned, is in thinking that forgiveness is still all about them- the wounders, the abusers, the demeaners, the cheapeners, the vicious ones, the selfish ones. Something outside of us. This is when we know full well that they will never say that they are sorry, or their sorrow rings hollow; we still focus on them. Nor will life, or G-d, or the universe say they're sorry, or necessarily right the injustice. I have spent almost two years in trying to come to terms with the fact that there was a psychopath in my life who used me for simple amusement, and nothing else.... The Psychopath At Play
This entire process, the process from the beginning, when our inner selves bristle against and then wrestle with what shocks us so.... the process manifested by this site, the gaining of knowledge, the acceptance of pain and all emotion.... all are an event in healing, an event in forgiving, by increments, millimeters, microseconds.
And little did I realise that the healing pertained to forgiving yourself -that that is the stuff with which we are working.....
Working through everything about the encounter is forgiveness manifesting itself,struggling to emerge; it is the intimation of learning to know forgiveness for ourselves, until we become intimate with it as it settles at home in every fibre of our being,like a soft and tender lover.
[I guess that's what they mean by "loving yourself", which I've never understood. Cause, how do you do it? Take long walks, go to the spa, get your nails done, nurture yourself with warm, fuzzy and "spiritual" things, chant affirmations, and eat a pint of ice cream?]
The entire unfolding and discovery is all about forgiving yourself at deeper and deeper levels; rather than simply "progressing", it spirals. The support group, the therapist/counselor, the information- all is geared to forgiving yourself....of letting go of the feeling that somehow we were responsible, in understanding and trusting that inner wisdom that emerged the moment we went into shock and reremembering.
Redemption is in the working through.
You, me, all of this is about accepting the fact that it happened and that sometimes there are no satisfying answers to "why me".......of acceptance that it happened and not beating ourselves up about it. Of accepting it to such an extent that one day we can immerse ourselves in the universe and the world freshly born (though less innocent).
I discovered that this is it, right here. The knowledge and the pain and the feelings and working through to the other side and on the inside. This is it- in time, to let go of our self-blame, our notions of failure, to know that we did good. Period.
How do we do it? I just read this and thought: "yes!"
Know that you don't know and then step into the unknown
~Richard Carlson (1)
To me this means to know there isn't an answer for everything. To realise that it is scary to leap into the unfamiliar. But as the author states, the "known" can also be our cage- that which is familiar and seems safe. Once we realise we may be trapped in that gilded cage of our old worldview and beliefs, and those beliefs, I think, include the idea that there are answers to everything, we are half way out of it. What we don't realise, says the author, is that the unknown may be less risky than the familiar. If we reach a point of acknowledging that, then we can be set free. All it takes, is that first, most difficult step. This happened to me.
Then one day it dawns upon us, an awakening happens, that we are okay with the universe, with the world, with the people around us. Somehow, that terrible time slips away from us and into the background. One day, we are born anew and we have forgotten much of the pain. It is like giving birth. We forget and don't even realise we have left something behind us....it happens when we are not looking or willing.....it just happens, life suddenly happens. We get glimpses of the falling away of a tension that we didn't even know was wrapped round our inner being like a strait jacket or a corset. The iron maiden we inhabited begins to dissolve, here and there.
"Letting go" is so inadequate a description. It is release.
It is a surrender once again to trust and life, and that trust includes a restoration of belief.
One day, the beauty of the world once again beckons to us, intrudes upon us, pulls us in, captures us. And after so many whispers, announcing itself to us, that we ignored in our anguish .... after a very long and arduous road, suddenly, unexpectedly, we are surprised by Love. And we find ourselves unfurling, tentatively, soft with Love.
And all of this happens because we find the courage and heart to face it all, with our entire being, and to follow wherever the discoveries lead us, with a determination to add something to the world. The "pull" of the disordered "angel" is replaced by the pull of something greater than ourselves, which is, ultimately, the pull of our own destiny.
>©2002-2009 Invicta MA. Reproduction by permission only. All Rights Reserved.
1. Carlson, Richard. Ph.D. (2002) What About the Big Stuff? NY:Hyperion Books.
Anatomy of Malignant Narcissism //Narcissism On the Internet:WARNING // Malignant Self-Love/Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Sam Vaknin Revisited // Sam Vaknin: Diagnosed Psychopath (New)
//A Soul With No Footprints // Ten Ways to Freedom from Narcissists // Pathologizing the Victim:Codependency Facts // Letting Go //Healing: Leaving the Net
Narcissism Symptoms Checklist // Can Pathological Narcissists Get Better? // Is "Mr Hyde" A Fake? // "Projection" Made Easy
Psychopath Symptoms Checklist // Conscience Continuum: Paranoid Narcissism Spectrum // Antisocial Sociopath Psychopath // Narcissistic Grandiosity: Real Life Examples // InnerLandscape of the Socialized Psychopath // Socialized Psychopath: Social Suicide; Is It Genetic? // CaseStudy: The Physician // CaseStudy: The Psychiatrist
Return to Narcissism Support and Healing Resources