Part 2 — Who in your childhood encouraged you to take all the blame?
Most of my clients who tend to take more than their share of the blame for their breakups had a parent who blamed them inappropriately. It can help to realize that part of what is keeping you from seeing the current breakup situation really is that it is a repeat of a recurring childhood situation.
Ask yourself: Who in my childhood always blamed me when something went wrong?
Example — My client Laura was raised by a narcissistic mother who continually blamed her for virtually everything. If the milk in the refrigerator went sour, she was told: You must have left it out. When her mother got angry and yelled at Laura on the street, she heard: It’s your fault that I lost my temper! If you hadn’t been so disrespectful, I wouldn’t have had to yell at you in public.
“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” – Edmund Burkeax
Part 3 — What do you get out of protecting your abusive ex and blaming yourself instead?
We not only blame ourselves out of habit and because of our history but also because it serves some hidden psychological purpose. In order to move on, It helps to recognize what you are getting out of protecting your ex and putting all the blame on yourself.
This was a hard question for Laura to answer. She finally said:
“If it was my fault, I can make it better. I loved the way he made me feel in the beginning. He kept telling me how special I was and that I was so beautiful! That is hard for me to let go of. No other man ever made me feel so confident. If I accept that he is a Narcissist and nothing I do can solve his problems, I have to give up on ever getting him back the way it was before. I realize that whenever I think about him, I only picture him the way he was in the beginning, not when he was abusing me.”
Part 4 — Write down a true statement next to each belief in Part 1. Make sure it is what your mind tells you is true (even though your heart does not want to believe it).
Here is Laura’s new list:
1. It is not my fault that he was abusive. He has a history of being abusive to women.
2. There was nothing I could have done that would have changed the outcome.
3. He only treats women well at the beginning of the relationship when he wants to seal the deal.
4. He will eventually abuse the new woman too.
5. There are lots of men who will find me attractive and special in a normal way that does not change into its opposite.
Whenever you find yourself missing your ex or blaming yourself, reread Part 4 over again.
Punchline: It can be very hard to heal from narcissistic abuse because we tend to only focus on the good parts. We tell ourselves that we could have done something differently and we imagine that our ex will be giving someone new the perfect, everlasting love that we crave. It takes repeated cold doses of reality to counteract our fantasy that we lost something fantastic and irreplaceable.
This article is based on a Quora.com post called: It’s been months since I went “complete” no contact to heal from narcissistic abuse, months since I started therapy, months of researching narcissism, and I still think about this person every day. When does this nightmare end? (June 17, 2018).
If you are a victim of narcissistic abuse, then the healing from the experience and the trauma is going to be a complicated and lengthy process. However, if you are positive and determined enough, you will find the path that leads you to a happier and healthier life.
Find Elinor’s book on amazon: Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration, and Safety.
Written by Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D. Originally appeared in Psychology Today