Hope and forgiveness in the wrong hands
Relationships thrive within the dynamics of respect and mutuality. A lack of these undercuts the core of what is necessary for any healthy good relationship. Compassion, patience, honesty, and trust are what define its shape and circumference.
A relationship with a person who has narcissistic traits or emotional dysregulation is by definition, a slow indoctrination into the deep well of ”I am not enough”. Your self-talk becomes a reflection of the lack of compassion, empathy, and respect - not a good dwelling place.
A lifetime can be spent trying to get the acknowledgement from the aloof detached and disconnected parent/s re-enacted by and through, being re-drawn via new but historically flawed conduits of our personal, and our romantic relationships, with those who offer a false opportunity, but instead, ephemeral idealisation in lieu of real organic connection and eventual belonging merely because you are for them an ideal choice because of your vulnerability.
In this pale exchange, the wound never heals and the negative self-talk becomes louder and louder until you are eventually convinced of your own worthlessness. It always ends in tears, and they will be yours - not theirs for sure!
So, how can we better manage this sad and painful repetition through the draw of what is familiar (however bad it is for us?). When we are drawn in and seduced by what is known, because we forget, and we hope, and we forgive because we so want it to be different, and our alarm system is down and people pleasing and delusory false promises, as well as this infallible hope, keep us here in this darkest of perilous inter-relational dynamics.
Here are some coping points. What we can do to help ourselves is:
This can limit the personal pain and damage as well as be realistic about investing our hope in what is unlikely to change. Those with narcissistic traits are unlikely to see, own or validate their own dysfunction and, therefore, getting to stage two of the necessary participation in employing and exploring change is equally unlikely to happen or ever take place.
Put in place acceptance
This is how it is. Accept it or slowly (or quickly) walk away from it. Sometimes this approach of a new more realistic acceptance is necessary when it is a parent or a child or a long term relationship or marriage that you cannot bear to leave.
These relationships are also by and large not bad all the time and might well have their good moments. In fact, paradoxically, this is often what prevents any kind of healthy change. Or there are finances or cultural issues as well as love that makes a severing of that relationship seem and/or feel impossible and unbearable. Most especially I feel if the relationship is with your own child when, beyond the cutting of the umbilical cord, any other severing is far too much to bear or consider.
Sadly, the truth often is that we put 90% of our hearts, minds and souls into our most dysfunctional relationships, and far less into those that are healthier, and rewarding and more peaceful. We are so taken up and emotionally denuded there is less to go around.
Better to re-address the calculus by limiting unhealthy interaction/s and so, importantly, lowering our realistic expectations. Then we don’t fall so far by our cognitive awareness of the limitations and we lower the impact of "being back here again".
So, where is the resolve? What does it look like? 64 million dollar question, huh? Maybe it lies somewhere here: Not expecting the ideal, the fairytale.
It might not be what we originally imagined or hoped for but, in changing our own narrative and the shape of our expectations, we can love those who let us down by accepting less. In turn, this limits disappointment and prevents this from feeding into our own self-alienation and lack of self-acceptance. Hopefully, here in the paler blue of the Azul is a different shape of an emotional circumference that allows new freedom of breath and peace.
If we can change the narrative, we can find unalterable freedom that is not dependent on another who cannot give us not only what we need, but what they are also fundamentally unaware of through their own limitations and not ours.