A Momentous Month
Updated: Aug 8, 2020
Welcome to August dear friends. It’s only been a few short days, yet I’m feeling momentous energy emerging for this month.
A dear friend Alex and I have decided to partner up and take a deep plunge into some inner child work together. While connecting over a tarot session, we discovered a breadth of commonalities we share in our childhood stories. Primarily, the commonality that we both grew up with at least one narcissistic parent.
This experience has affected us both in conscious and subconscious ways. Although I have addressed this extensively through talk therapy, I have never dove in headfirst to uncover the deeper limiting beliefs and patterns that unconsciously emerged.
Together, we will be exploring many modalities to unlock the protected corners of our hearts and move into love. This will look like reading, breathwork, inner child hypnotherapy, journaling, meditation, emotional freedom techniques (EFT), reiki, bodywork, and perhaps even exploring if we were tangled up in past lives with these parents. We will share all the shifts, realizations, and breakthroughs along the way to hopefully expand those around us in the possibility of moving forward, letting go, and unconditionally loving and accepting ourselves.
The term “narcissism” originates from the Greek myth of Narcissus, a handsome young hunter who sees his reflection in a silver pond and falls in love with it. A woodland nymph, Echo, hears Narcissus proclaiming “I love you” in the water and hopes he will love her when she repeats his words. To her disappointment, he is so consumed with his reflection he cannot hear or see her. As much as Echo tries, Narcissus never acknowledges her. They both eventually wither away in their yearning and die in the woods (Love, 2014).
Quite uplifting, yes?
Creating healing around a relationship with a narcissist can be challenging as many (like myself) have borrowed Echo’s strategy and try desperately to force them to see, acknowledge, and love us. Symbolically speaking, I have thrown boulders in the water, set the woodland on fire, and drained the pond in an intense craving for the onlooker to swivel and look instead in my eyes.
But what an intriguing and paradoxical dilemma - constantly urging them to change so they may unconditionally accept and love us. The very thing I desire is precisely what I have been unable to give.
Emerging psychological studies suggest there are multiple types of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Houlcroft, Bore, & Munro, 2012; Lamkin, Clifton, Campbell, & Miller, 2014). However, I will be discussing narcissism in a general and homogenous sense. Note there are some limitations to this approach and there may be variations in diagnosis and type. Feel free to read into the research out there!
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists a grandiose sense of self-importance as the key element of narcissism. This will coexist with entitlement, lack of empathy, intense need for the admiration of others, arrogance, envy, a sense of “uniqueness”, and a tendency to exploit others (American Psychiatric Association, 2000)
Narcissists are persuasive and intuitive, but use these skills to manipulate others and achieve their goals. They do not make much progress in psychotherapy because they continually blame others and have no accountability for their part in a conflict. They have little to no capacity for unconditional love and typically attach strings and conditions to favors they give. If you don’t abide by “their way” of doing things or disagree, they become cold and punishing, with-hold love, or give you the silent treatment (Orloff, 2018).
When interacting with others, narcissists commonly write off the emotions and experiences of others, at times even denying events in the past occurred. My mother has never denied events of the past but instead will criticize others for “being stuck in the past” or compare to an event she went through to claim she had it worse. Her other mechanism, common for narcissists, is to throw her hands up and dodge accountability by saying she could never be a perfect parent.
One of the most common experiences people encounter with narcissists is gas-lighting. Gas-lighting distorts another’s perception of reality by intentionally setting up crazy-making situations and then questioning the person’s sanity for reacting to the craziness (Orloff, 2018).
Throughout the month, I’ll share a few personal stories so you may see how these energetics play out in real life. You may find this section triggering or unnecessary for your understanding, so feel free to skip.
My partner, Riley, and I moved to Maui in September of 2019 where my mother was also living. She was excited for us to come and asked several months before the move if she could throw a welcome party for us. We agreed, although expressed it was not necessary.
A few hours before the welcome party, I sat down to watch several training videos for my first day of work the following morning. My mother peeked into the door and asked if I would come with her to pick up the chips for the party. I thanked her for the invitation and let her know I would stay there to prepare for work.
She sweetly pleaded me to join her, asking to spend time with me alone since we had hiked that morning with Riley. I let her know there will be plenty of time to spend together and I will watch the videos to prepare for work. She asked again and again, becoming increasingly agitated my answer would not change. After several minutes of this, she asked again and unsure what to say, I looked at Riley. He reinstated “she said no” and my mother flew off in an uncontrollable rage.
She insulted us, brought up deep issues him and I were confronting together at the time, and threw our objects around the home. She screamed the party was canceled and our behavior was selfish and ungrateful.
We snuck out the back door and went to the beach to cool off. By the time we arrived back to the house, guests had already arrived and she greeted us with steel eyes and a massive smile. She sang high praises of me to her friends (and strangers she invited) throughout the party and catered with some of the most expensive food she could buy.
A few days later in discussing the chip fiasco, my mother claimed she lost control because I was allowing my partner to speak for me when I could speak for myself, and that wasn’t how she raised me.
Here are the narcissistic red flags from this example: seeking admiration and approval from others, not accepting no from others or respecting their boundaries, rationalizing abusive behavior by blaming others involved, and distorting their involvement to escape responsibility.
Thankfully for us all, there are myriad ways to heal inner child wounds that may stem from abusive parents. I will share all the modalities we try out this month and here are the firsts:
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): a form of acupressure in which participants tap on specific energy meridians while thinking about a specific problem and voicing positive affirmations (Emotional Freedom Techniques). The combination of words and movement work to unblock emotions and move pockets of energy that get lodged into the body through trauma.
Yesterday I experienced my first guided EFT session with the wonderful Zoe Rose (I will update this and link her website when it’s ready). I filled out a questionnaire before hopping onto a video call together, giving her many necessary details about my health history and what I was looking to address through EFT.
After we framed how the session will go, we began a circuit of tapping to address the stagnated traumas within my body. Zoe tapped along with me and here is a snippet of one of our circuits:
“I want to be successful but I’m worried that I won’t be able to and that love is conditional and I won’t be able to get love unless I am perfect. This stuck feeling - stuck in a cycle of trying to be perfect, feeling like I can’t break it. If I break it, then everything will fall apart. No one will love me if I am not perfect. And I feel that in my chest. It’s really tight and I want to get it off because this is what I deserve. And I know people love me, even when I am frustrated or upset and not perfect. Maybe that’s why people love me because they love me for me. And I want to get to a calm and peaceful place. But I don’t have to be there all the time. In fact, I don’t have to be there most of the time. I just have to feel what’s going on with me. This frustration that I’m feeling it’s coming into my body, this feeling of being stuck. I’m confined to living perfectly if I want to succeed, cause that’s the only way, right? I have to be perfect to succeed. Or maybe I can just keep going how I am going because no one’s perfect. And I can still be successful and frustrated and angry and can still find a peace of calm whenever I want to, but I don’t always have to.”
We tapped along together in the same pattern, mixing positive affirmations and the deeper limiting beliefs behind those wounds. In an hour session, we completed several circuits for each topic including resentment, approval, and openness with others.
At the end of the session, I felt noticeably calmer when recalling the same emotions. I also felt tired and dazed, which Zoe expressed was normal. That afternoon I completed several deliveries for a side job and took a tea bath as soon as I got home. I had never done this before either but felt an intuitive pull to mix my Epsom salt and chamomile flowers for a soak. I pulled out all the bells and whistles for my bath from calming music to half a dozen candles and set the intention for this bath to cleanse and reset my energy from that day.
I went to bed listening to binaural beat meditation music (You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-ha0riQKLw). This morning, I woke up feeling clearer than any previous day this week. Later on, I started to feel a few random emotional outbursts that leveled off in the afternoon.
This evening, I’m diving back into To Be Magnetic’s Inner Child Workshop (Which I have completed before and highly recommend - check it out here: https://www.howtomanifest.com/p/unblocked-inner-child) and continuing the first read Alex and I are embarking on together: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk. I will keep you all updated!
Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for this month!
Have a wonderful and healing week my friends.
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic criteria from dsM-iV-tr. American Psychiatric Pub.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) - Emotional Health. (n.d.). Retrieved August 07, 2020, from https://eft.mercola.com/
Houlcroft, L., Bore, M., & Munro, D. (2012). Three faces of narcissism. Personality and individual differences, 53(3), 274-278.
Lamkin, J., Clifton, A., Campbell, W. K., & Miller, J. D. (2014). An examination of the perceptions of social network characteristics associated with grandiose and vulnerable narcissism. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 5(2), 137.
Orloff, J. (2018). Protecting Yourself from Narcissists and Other Energy Vampires. In The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People (pp. 109-111). Boulder, CO: Sounds True.
Love, C. V., Dr. (2014, September 12). The Origin of the Word "Narcissism". Retrieved August 07, 2020, from http://www.drcandacevlove.com/etymology-narcissism-greek-myth/