The importance of self care and soothing in healing

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Many of us who were raised in households where our needs did not count or matter or by parents who themselves had narcissistic issues or injuries never learned how to take emotional care of ourselves, we never learned to love ourselves unconditionally and value ourselves and our feelings.  Most often we never learned to know and respect what our true emotions were, to understand that they exist for a reason and are the most important thing to connect to and notice if we are ever to learn how we really feel, what hurts and sucks us dry as well as what heals and uplifts us.

If we were dismissed, humiliated, discounted, left alone, ignored or punished, sent to our room when angry or sad this is what we are going to learn to do to ourselves. We will do it without being consciously aware and the due to the laws of attraction we will attract to us people who do the same.

The truth is if we have endured this kind of abuse when young we will be certainly set up in later life for relationships in which we attract those who discount us and our needs and feelings in just the way they were discounted, ignored or invalidated growing up.  We attract this again until we learn from the pain that the one that must take care of us is ultimately us and all our relationships in life are really a reflection of how well we take care of, treat, respect, disrespect, criticise, judge, value and / or devalue ourselves.

The truth is we are no longer a child, but the wounded inner child and his or her hurt does live inside of us and will attract narcissists to us until we bring these wounds to consciousness and feel and heal them.  If we are to heal from this pattern we need to learn ways to self soothe, ways to pay attention to and take our hurt and feelings seriously.  We need to learn the important of self value and self respect in order to burn our selves clear of the victim trap which we remain stuck within as long as we do not deal with the inner issues that attract us later in life towards relationships in which we are victimised again and participate in this victimisation.

How many have you been in a relationship where your partner tried to tell you there was something wrong with you for feeling a certain way?  Can you connect this to the way your feelings were ignored or misunderstood in childhood? This is very deep programming that is difficult to understand. For myself it has taken about 5 years in therapy to no longer be totally undone by all the negative programming put into me and re-awakened by my narcissistic abuser.  I have also met over and over again as a lesson the issue of being discounted, sidelined or rejected for expressing my true feelings, especially anger about what was happened to me over many years.

I know now that I attracted my last ex partner because he was a mirror of al the voices inside my head that discounted and rejected me over years.  At the time I met him I was living totally alone after an attempt to start therapy which got aborted. My marriage had fallen apart and I did not know at all how to take care of myself emotionally.  I did not have protective boundaries.

At times when he said or did something that was abusive and hurt, part of me knew.  But another part of me over rode the deep feelings due to my fear of being alone again.  It was a poor bargain and one I have learned that I must take responsibility for.  In the worlds of Eleanor Roosevelt ‘no one can make you feel inferior without your consent’.  But if you have been a victim of shame, discounting, invalidation and blaming in childhood you will be vulnerable.

The pain we suffer in these kind of relationships deep within our soul is a sign that we need to heal.  We have emotional work to do to grow a loving non shaming adult inside of us who will take care of us emotionally, nurture, protect and guide us, one who will listen to our feelings, treat them tenderly and become self responsible.  In early days we may often need someone else who can model this for us consistently since the damaging programming can be so deeply buried inside of us.

Here are some of the issues that we need to look at when we are coming out of such abuse.

How much lack of self respect and self value do we exhibit towards ourselves in the way we talk to ourselves?  Are we hard on ourselves?  (And here I am not talking about self discipline such as the need to exercise, eat well and get enough sleep… all critical aspects of self care which become difficult when we come out of a toxic relationship.)  Do we hold ourselves to impossibly high standards?  Are we realistic in our self appraisal?

How many feelings of guilt and shame do we suffer?  Do we feel safe in expressing feelings of anger, sadness and fear?  Do we hold and love and support ourselves through these feelings?  Do we know how to take care of ourselves when we feel this way?  Do we move away from those who hurt or abuse us?  Do we make excuses for them or lie to them or ourselves about how much it hurts?  Can we discriminate that which is hurtful and take care of ourselves?

Do we have a real relationship with ourselves and are we honest with ourselves about what we feel and what we can do?   When things wrong do we berate ourselves?  Is our love for ourselves unconditional?  Do we encourage ourselves?  Say ‘well done’ when we do well?  Do we beat ourselves up over our mistakes? Do we make excuses for why we can not take action to look after ourselves?

Do we know and respect our own boundaries?  Do we do what others expect of us even if it goes against our values, hurts us or we don’t truly want to?  Can we say no?  Do we realise that we don’t have to explain or say sorry for things that are not our fault?

All of the above are just some ofthe issues we need to look at if we really want to stop the pattern of attracting narcissistic abuse towards us.  For the abuser comes into our lives to teach us a very valuable lesson.  That we are deserving of respect, care, attention and love.  And in the end it us up to us to ensure that this is what we give to ourselves.