Three times in the last few days, I have had friends speak to me, and my two favorite pastors preach about being grateful. Honestly, when I heard all these messages, I wanted to throw my phone and my iPad into a nearby pond. “Are you kidding me?” I asked God just yesterday. “Do you know what my last month has been like?”
The last few weeks have been tough for this strong woman. Yes, I know if I survived narcissistic abuse, I could survive anything. And no, I am not missing that toxic relationship, and I would never go back. But lately, life and the pain it can bring has had me on my knees in more prayer than usual.
I went through a tough breakup a few weeks ago with a man I thought I would marry. Then, earlier this week, my father (who is my rock) called and said his heart exam was “grossly abnormal,” and he would have further testing. Two days later, I found out that he will have a triple bypass before Thanksgiving. With Covid-19, my brother and I cannot be in the hospital or likely near him when the surgery is over. “What next?” I asked God.
Then, a friend of mine commiserated with me. She showed sensitivity and asked me to think about the good in my life, too. When she reminded me that life can be gray, not always black and white, I finally heard the message I needed to hear. So, I made a list of the things that I am grateful for. I am blessed to have God give me peace when I pray. I am so thankful that my son is healthy, happy, and tremendously funny. I have the best friends I have ever had in my life. I even listed them: Holly, Wyatt, Amy, Joe, Kim, and Johnny. This is my wolf pack. This is my tribe. Also, I love my home that is filled with peace and laughter. (And that we can have cereal for dinner, and no one complains). I have a great job helping sick kids, and I am honored that God put Dr. Carter in my life 15 years ago. Who knew that we could reconnect then build a community with extraordinary people like you? I am beyond blown away.
I am not saying it’s easy. We’ve been programmed for years to think like the narcissist, who has black and white thinking. There is no grey. They tell us that we are bad to their good. We are inadequate to their magnificence. One narcissist even told a friend of mine that “You are just stupid, so you wouldn’t understand anything I tell you.” We can easily get accustomed to thinking like a narcissist.
None of this narcissistic thinking is true. You see, life can be grey. Some days are bittersweet, such as the birth of a child just days after your grandmother passes. Or, you drop your daughter at college, watching her spread her wings, so proud but longing to hold her as an infant one more time. One day can be packed with victories and defeats. But it’s up to us to decide what we want to cherish and what we want to survive and live to tell about it.
Today, I’ve chosen to be grateful for my blessings. I will get through this because I survived decades of hell with not one but two narcissists. I invite you, too, to make a list of what you are grateful for. We can see everything as bad, inferior, and sad and fall into the victim role. But let’s change the narrative. Let’s go forth as survivors. Because that’s what we are.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. Part of being a strong individual is knowing when it’s time for someone else to step in and help us. 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: HERE
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Blessings to you during this Holiday season.