I keep the Serenity Prayer on my office bulletin board. It keeps me from strangling certain people and helps me stay centered (or advises me to get centered). It reminds me wisdom is a goal, not something I've already achieved.
I was walking on a beach by the ocean once and suddenly everything made sense in a whole new way. I was overwhelmed by the understanding and by the beauty around me. Even the squawking of seagulls seemed to affirm my new truth. The receding tide pulled the old reality away. I was totally in awe and full of joy in that moment.
Having had that experience once, I wanted it again. I tried to make more epiphanies happen, but epiphanies are unhelpful that way. You've just got to make your new reality solid by working through all the pieces of your life that need remodeled -- which can be quite a drag to tell the truth, but the end result is a better life than the old one.
Last week I talked about narcissism. I've continued to think about it, and kismet intervened by a friend's facebook post about gaslighting. I know the word because my house was repeatedly broken into and things taken or moved, but nothing so serious to be anything other than crazy making. I changed locks repeatedly and filed police reports but it was a long time before it stopped.
The article about gaslighting talked about (guess what?) narcissism. Ahhh... the universe is telling me something. I spent days reading things online, and then switched to youtube. There's more narcissists than I imagined, and I'm realizing I've had a LOT of them in my life. I started my research with one person in mind, then two, several, and OMG him too? Epiphany! Actually, it was a series of epiphanies without the benefit of ocean and seagulls.
I recommend you look things up online too, but I don't want to make this post a narcissistic tutorial when there's so much better info already online. I put some key points about them below. Where I'm going with this is "wisdom". Gaining more information leads me to see certain people in a new light, most especially myself because I am still living in response to others' behaviors. New knowledge is giving me a new way to look at things that I couldn't see before because I didn't know what questions to ask.
Studying narcissism makes me look at the Serenity Prayer again. "Accept things I cannot change." Narcissists won't change. The professional advice is don't try and run like hell. "Courage to change the things I can" -- which is my own point of view and with whom I choose to have in my life. "Wisdom to know the difference."
I don't want to sound ungrateful for guidance and kismet, but next time I get an epiphany, I want seagulls and ocean, or maybe a forest. It would be nice to have an empathetic someone with me too.
Don't care about your feelings. Really. They act interested to manipulate your feelings more effectively. They use your words to twist your reality and to make you question yourself. They cripple you in every way to make themselves feel more powerful. They won't change and won't get help. Any sign of change is manipulation.
Dealing with Narcissists...
Flee. You don't have to be nice to them, you can even be rude, because they don't have regular feelings. This doesn't hurt them because they honestly don't care about you. If you can't leave because it's your boss or someone like that, make it all about them. "I need a day off so I can work more effectively for you." (Something I actually said to my last boss.) End the conversation quickly to limit abuse.
Group DynamicsNarcissists will manipulate others into criticizing and ostracizing you, even if the others aren't narcissists. The things narcissists do seem unbelievable to others outside the group, so you won't be believed when you talk about it. It's best to have no contact with the narcissist and also the rings of people involved in the abuse.