Wow. There is a line in this article that leaves me completely astounded. So I would like to comment on it and add a few other thoughts about my own recovery from narc abuse.
“ If they see a psychotherapist, it will have to be one who supports their self-image.”
I was in therapy for fifteen years to recover from psychological abuse and scapegoating. These were narcissistic injuries inflicted in my family of origin that were so severe it left me with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
One therapist described my family as a text book example of the Narcissistic Family System.
In those fifteen years I often went twice a week for help.
I had several different, excellent therapists. My final therapist wrote her master thesis on maternal narcissism, so she proved to be a true comfort and source of understanding for my particular family history.
Back to the line from your article…
I don’t understand how any therapist who is a truly dedicated professional would allow a patient to continue on in their self deception. What could a narcissist gain from seeing a therapist unless they were fully dedicated to change?
So, the idea of a dysfunctional relationship between a therapist and client is something I have never even thought possible. But it must be. I never really considered it.
My own recovery is only possible because of layer upon layer of untangling the utter despair and confusion my mother put me through. Month after month and year after year of trying to make sense of what can’t be made sense of. There really is no explaining in logical terms all the hoops a narcissist will make you jump through. Part of recovery is accepting that. And working on changing how you think about your life not being what you had hoped it would be. The changes that come with acceptance gave me the inner core I had so desperately needed. It took the fear out of living and helped me put my anger into a safer places. My mother was simply who she was and no force of nature or God would change her.
The reason I read this article is because a person I love dearly is convinced I am a covert narcissist based upon the early days before I went into recovery. It is very painful to be judged by somebody you love from a time before your recovery was even begun.
When your family of origin is so confusing and painful, you have nothing to hold onto. When the wagging tongues in a large family eviscerate you for standing up for yourself, it is enough to drive you crazy. It takes a lot of strength to overcome that.
Coming to terms with the family you wanted vs the family you got is painful, but the only path to peace. But it took about forty years to be able to stand in the midst of dysfunction at times and hold onto who I know I really am. That’s why it is so painful to be judged by this one person who informed me a couple years ago of their beliefs.
I haven’t seen much written about what happens to people who are raised in toxic situations and the akward struggle for wholeness they go through in adulthood. They can be judged and held to standards of how they were before recovery.
This is sadly missing in our dialogue about narcissism. However I understand the shock and pain of living with narcissistic wounds that cause years of confusion. When you identify somebody as a source of injury, it’s hard to get past that.
We need more discussion about the process of recovery.
Well, I guess I rambled here through several thoughts. One thing tends to lead to another when considering the complex trauma of narcissistic injury.
Thank you for the article. I am still digesting it and will continue to study what covert narcissism is. It is kind of new to me. It never came up in all those years of therapy. In therapy we focused on my traumatic narrative of what had happened to me. And how I could deal with the shock of it. And of overcoming the negative effects, getting perspective and finding hope.