If you haven’t read part one, you can do so HERE
Sometimes I write articles from the third-person point of view, as I put on my life coach “hat.” I take myself out of the article and write as if I am coaching a new client or talking to a stranger. Then, sometimes, life (and God, I believe) throws me curve balls so that I can grow and share what I have learned with you through personal experiences.
If you check out YouTube this week, you’ll see a new video posted about shame. I’ve seen a consistent trend among toxic people in 2020, regardless of any narcissism. Most enjoy using shame to hurt me or others. By the way, I am pruning those people from my life before 2021 is upon us.
Shame is the heaviest emotional tool used by narcissists to project their self-assassination onto you or me. Shame hits us where it hurts because it’s calling out perceived deficiencies in our character.
This week I had a friend offer his opinion of some trials I am going through. This “friend” said he did this out of love, but I clearly heard shame in his words. He told me that I needed to grow up and let go of my past. The funny thing is that the past he was referring to started two weeks ago and isn’t over yet. My father is recovering from open-heart surgery, and I am healing from caustic remarks my mother, the narcissist, said when I traveled to another state to care for my father. (Mom told me she wished I had never been born.) I’ve let most of the pain go, but isn’t it okay that I am still stinging a little from her words two weeks later? That I am worried because I haven’t seen my father in this much pain – ever? I think so. For me, a little acceptance, encouragement, and love go much farther than shame as a support mechanism.
Unfortunately, shame can last weeks, months, years, or decades if we let it. When the narcissist or anyone else shames us, we carry around their voices in our heads. It’s like a podcast is on repeat in our brains when we feel like we don’t measure up.
There are a few things that you can do to alleviate the effect shame has on you.
- Don’t take it personally. The narcissist is projecting their insecurities on you. This isn’t about you.
- Remind yourself the truth is the opposite of what the narcissist told you. For example, if the narcissist says you can’t do anything right, you do many things almost perfectly! If the narcissist says your hair looks terrible, it most likely looks the best it has ever looked!
- Tell yourself to let it go. Their cruel words are not a reflection of you. Say to yourself, “Stop it. I am not talking to myself that way today.”
- Extricate yourself from the relationship. If the relationship is too toxic for you, don’t do it. I told this friend that I didn’t need friends like him in my life. I need support and effort made toward understanding, not criticism.
Shaming may increase during the holidays as the narcissist grows more tense and frustrated. Narcissists don’t embrace the holidays like the old Andy William’s song, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” For the narcissist, the holidays can be hell because the holiday isn’t all about them!
Last week I addressed some mental exercises that you can do to hit the reset button and survive the holidays. Here are some more suggestions that can help you. These are ways to protect yourself emotionally by physically removing yourself from the situation.
- Decide how long you can stay for a holiday visit and stick to that plan. Perhaps you previously would visit the narcissistic parent for two weeks. If two days is all you can take, then stay two days. Tell the family you can’t make it work this year. Offer no excuses, or if you have a legitimate one, lean on that. You need to take care of yourself. Why dive into the shark tank longer than necessary? They are lucky you visit them at all!
- Have an escape plan. If things grow unbearable, have a plan to leave the toxic atmosphere for a few minutes or the entire holiday season. Have a friend you need to check on. Maybe things blow up at work.
- Take a break for a few minutes. Walk the dogs. Take a plate of cookies to a neighbor. Go outside and call a friend. Just get away from the toxicity. Then you can reenter the situation with a better attitude and more armor.
Finally, remember that the holidays are almost over. Be kind to yourself until they are. You’ve got this. You are the opposite of the shame you’ve endured. You are worthy. You are loved. And you are enough.
If you are interested in online counseling, Dr. Carter has a sponsor who can assist. As the need is there, please seek the help you deserve: https://betterhelp.com/survivingnarcissism We receive commissions on referrals to BetterHelp. We only recommend services that we trust.