They Are Who They Are: Accepting Narcissists and Other Disordered People in Your Family
Repeat after me: “I can accept that they are who they are, and what happened happened. I recognize that I had no control over this, and I release my wish for it to be any different.”
This affirmation is the springboard for your healing journey. It marks the first stage of recovery after narcissistic abuse. It is accepting not only what happened to you, but also what happened within your family. Wishing it to be any different only deepens the wounds. This stage is extremely important for several reasons.
You must start somewhere. You must begin to label the abusers as such. And label their actions. Terms such as gaslighting, hoovering, love-bombing, etc. are all a part of the narcissistic abuse vocabulary. Labeling the abuse will aid you in verbalizing it to others. Perhaps a trusted friend, therapist, counselor, or anyone else in your life who is an ally. In explaining your experience, you will no longer feel crazy, awkward, weird, guilty, etc. Instead, these labels will justify and validate your feelings.
Secondly, after you have accepted your family system for what it is, you can set healthy boundaries. Because the abuser/s are your kin, you may have felt obligated to spend time with them, communicate with them, and allow them to be privy to certain aspects of your life. However, choosing to stay in contact with these people will continue to bring detriment to your life. Do not underestimate the power of a narcissist or other disordered person. They can manipulate your life without even being in your presence. Setting boundaries strips them of their ability to bring you harm.
The third layer of importance to accept fully your story is to go a step beyond boundaries. Depending on the severity of the abuse and your proximity to the abuser, you may need to go no contact. Again, these people are your family, so this could be devastating. It could have a ripple effect on your entire family. But consider all of the hurtful things that were said and done. Think of how they made a choice to be deceitful and manipulative. Ask yourself, “do I want these kinds of people in my life?” Even as adults, we may feel obligated to speak to the elders in our families. It may feel wrong or sinful to call out the matriarch or patriarch of the family on their abuse.
This is your life. You are not at fault for being raised by disordered people. But you are responsible for creating a better life for yourself. You may be broken, but that does not mean you are not worthy of love, happiness, and fulfillment. You can piece yourself back together creating something more sturdy, beautiful, and unstoppable. And so it is.
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