Narcissism’s Emotional Fallout

I’ve noticed from time to time a tendency on some of the narcissism blogs that I read, for people to get a little testy about the things said about narcissism, narcissists and their victims. I have experienced testy commentary a couple of times and in one case, an outright angry response to a comment that I made – an accusation that I didn’t understand narcissism, that I didn’t know what I was talking about, that I didn’t know what it is like to be a victim.

Initially, I was hurt by the remark. I took it personally.

Reading, writing and thinking about narcissism is an emotional and arduous task. It requires a great deal of work, very difficult work that takes time, effort and sometimes, money.

When I first separated from my ex-narcissist, I went for counselling. I was fortunate on several fronts. First, I had a health care account that allowed me to cover the cost of counselling. Secondly, I had an excellent counsellor. And last, but not least, I had very supportive people in my life.

I moved on. I started a new relationship with a man to whom I am now married. My life is good, better than it has ever been, in fact.

I also started this blog. Initially, it was only about narcissism, but as I recovered and grew,  I moved on to other subjects, too.

I still write about narcissism, obviously. I still read about narcissism. I still think about narcissism. A lot.

I have realized, too, that my recovery is not complete, and that it likely never will be. I am still processing many things about narcissism, and have also come to the realization that my mom was probably also a narcissist. That means that I may be an ACON, or an adult child of a narcissist(s).

This has opened an entire other door for me. One that I didn’t consciously know was there. It was a surprise, but also not a surprise.

I knew that something was wrong, but I thought it was always my fault. I spent a great deal of time trying to “fix” myself.

But what I know now is that I’m mostly okay. I have tendencies to behave in certain ways that I learned when I was a child. I am slowly getting that some of these “behaviours” are actually just reactions.

I am taking the time to slowly process a somewhat difficult childhood that lead to some rather shitty decisions on my part. I’m finally starting to really see that I am in charge now, that my decisions are my own and my responsibility.

My pronounced childhood stutter is almost entirely gone.

I don’t take testy commentary personally any more.

Dealing with and processing narcissism is work. And like any other work, it can be frustrating, boring and tiresome. But this work also demands a great deal of intense emotional investment. It’s draining and exhausting.

So, people who are deeply processing can make comments that come out of an emotional hole. They can sound waspish and bitter, or even ridiculous and idiotic. They may be grief-stricken or preachy. And, they may be making the same comment for the 3,405th time because they still can’t believe it and still have to say it. And that’s okay, too.

Repetition can be the mother of recovery.

And recovery is what many of us are here for, right?

31 thoughts on “Narcissism’s Emotional Fallout”

  1. It made me happy to read that your life is better than it’s ever been, Lynette! Obviously, writing about your experiences has been therapeutic. Keep doing what works for you. 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on Lucky Otter's Museum of Narcissism and commented:
    Here is another great blog I found, and this is a great article. We are all at different stages of processing the narcissistic abuse that was done to us, and this writer points out that we should not take negative comments personally and as people in recovery, we may ourselves act testy or negative at times, even when blogging.
    For me, blogging about narcissism is smething that makes me happy–even though the topic is a dark one. I love everything about writing and blogging about narcissism, even the emotional pain and yes, grumpiness that tends to arise from time to time. Blogging about narcissism is hard, hard work, because at the time we are blogging, we are also doing deep self-therapy and painful emotions can come to the surface and cause us to say and do things we normally wouldn’t. But in spite of all this, I feel like this is my life’s calling and I have never been more deeply involved or emotionally invested in any hobby I ever had…and this is a hobby, but more, so much more. Read on!

    1. Dear Lucky Otter – thank you so much for the re-blog! I always take that as a real sign that I’ve written something that resonates, more than any other accolade. Thanks again! 🙂

      Narcissism is a very dark topic. Many therapists see it on a continuum all the way to psychopathy, so it is a study of the absolute worst characteristics of humanity. As we know, it has to be studied, and if this is your life’s calling, don’t apologize. In my little opinion, the more people we have studying this topic, the better. I just hope that the study of narcissism doesn’t become a fad that falls out of fashion.

      1. I hope it doesn’t either. I don’t think it will though any time soon if at all. The problem of narcissism is getting worse in the western world but more and more people are noticing and calling it out! I feel honored to be one of those people to do this work. 🙂
        Yes, I think your post resonated with a lot of people–I know it did for me.

  3. can’t say that I can necessarily understand what you went through or what u are going through, but perhaps I can relate to a certain degree. I’m a recovering alcoholic myself and my dad was one and drank himself to death at the age 55. For me, it’s far more easy to go day by day. Keep up the good fight and I am happy that you have now found happiness.

    1. Thanks so much, FujiXMan! 🙂

      Recovery from narcissistic abuse is often compared to recovery from alcoholism or substance abuse. There’s some study suggesting that the same brain centers might be involved, and of course, many alcoholics show narcissistic characteristics while engaged with it because nothing and no one is more important than the next drink. My son is a recovering alcoholic, too. So, you might understand narcissism much more than you think.

      Good luck with your day-by-day recovery. You seem to have found happiness with your photography, too. I very much enjoyed “coming along” on your last trip. 🙂

      1. Thank you very much. Yes, this is my happiness. I never really thought about being somewhat narcissistic while being an alcoholic. Now that you mention it, i can look back and see instances where i was. Yikes! Glad those days are gone. Good luck to your son in his recovery. Thanks again for the comment.

  4. Wonderful article, Lynette! I very much appreciated reading about your experiences as a blogger, how your life has changed because you’ve put effort into learning, writing, conversing with people. I’ve seen your comments on other blogs, so I know how much effort you’ve put into your recovery work. Do passersby understand that? Of course not. It’s obvious they aren’t doing their own recovery work. Nobody lives in a narcissistic society without attracting at least a few nasty fleas.

    I appreciate your articulate response to something every n-blogger deals with. At first, I think we most of us take the insults personally but eventually, we get to a state of “meh.”

    Nice post. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your very supportive comments, Czbz! 🙂 It’s been a real journey, one that’s still very much underway. There are days or moments when I feel as if I haven’t learned anything, but when I read the blogs of those who are just starting, I realize (again) how far I’ve come.

      Thanks for coming by! 🙂

  5. I am happy as you know that you have moved on, met a beautiful man and married him. Life does turn around for the better most times. I dont understand narcissism, never experiencing it, but I can understand from reading your posts, that it’s not a bunch of roses! Recovery …yes…being able to pour out our feelings and receive support and friendships are other reasons. Hugs 💙

  6. Well said, Lynette. People have different ways of dealing with pain and grief. Having recently come out of a relationship with a narc, I can attest to the conflicting emotions we go through while trying to piece together our lives again. Some days are worse than others and we can tend to get testy.
    Thanks for a good read.

    1. Thanks so much for you comments! 🙂

      The emotions one is left with after dealing with a narcissist are truly unpredictable. I also felt very disconnected from myself and others, like I was just an onlooker who was along for the ride. It took a while for these intense emotions to calm down enough so that I could begin to examine them. It’s been a real journey of self-discovery, as cliched as that sounds.

  7. Great post! Wonderful to read and follow your flowing movement, your thoughts and emotions, and the shifts in awareness.

    I used to get more emotionally charged comments when I first started blogging about the subject, but then my posts were more emotionally charged with my own gunk. So it was action and reaction, and chain reaction, at work. Your stuff triggers theirs and the chemical mix can be quite volatile. It’s sort of like being intoxicated with the emotions and thoughts, the drama, which it all stirs up and causes to froth over due to fermentation.

    Where NPD is concerned we can all behave like bad drunks, drunk-texting, slurring our words, screaming “No one understands anything but me”. Especially online. Sometimes people just need to get things out of their system and they do it in your general direction, but it’s not really at you, it’s at whoever hurt them and you’re a safe surrogate, or they’re shouting at the world, hoping someone will hear and acknowledge them. It’s pain talking.

    Mostly people in pain are venting, and hopefully the vent helped them even if it hurt you – but if you do what you did, look into your reaction to their reaction, then it can help you too. You can see yourself, and your options.

    On occasion… writing about this subject can attract members of the subject.

    Since I’ve been more sober emotionally, shared less of my charged gunk, the comments I’ve received have also been more sober emotionally.

    It’s fascinating to observe the progression, and find out where it is going.

    Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. Hi Ursula, thanks so much for your very insightful comments. 🙂 I always look forward to reading your thoughts.

      We are emotionally drunk – that’s such a good way of putting it. I know that I was. I remember my divorce lawyer telling me that I needed to calm down and how outraged I was at that suggestion! It was the next day before I realized that she was right, and then I felt like an idiot. I think now of the people who very calmly lived through my explosions, knowing, when I did not, that I would get through it and be all right. They had more faith in me than I did and I’m so thankful for them now. 🙂

      Very true about members of the subject.

  8. “Dealing with and processing narcissism is work. And like any other work, it can be frustrating, boring and tiresome. But this work also demands a great deal of intense emotional investment. It’s draining and exhausting.”

    I agree. I’m right now in the middle of doing that work and it is indeed draining and exhausting. But I know I’m making progress and hope that I will one day be rewarded for the work. I’m glad to hear that your life is now better than ever 🙂 Great post!

    1. Thank you! 🙂

      I can tell that you’re making progress, too. I think that you’re farther along than I was at the same stage. And yes, this will get better and you will be rewarded. But don’t ever forget that it’s you who has done the work. 🙂

      1. There are times when I think that I have come a long way since the breakup. On other days I still feel very low and depressed. Thank you so much for your kind words. I always feel very encouraged after reading your comments ❤

        1. Thank you! 🙂

          It’s pretty normal for you to experience highs and lows. Just remember that in spite of that, you are making good progress and you will come out of this as much more confident and a wiser person. 🙂

          1. I hope you are right 🙂 I feel as if I’m changing and becoming a different person due to the fact that this time I really forced myself to thoroughly process what happened.

  9. Very insightful. Your strength to get past the experience and more forward is inspiring! I have recently started reading people’s stories about narcissism, to put things into perspective. I have a friend that I have known for almost ten years that exhibits all the symptoms, finally realizing he is a narcissist. I am fortunate that it is just a friend and I can easily remove him from my life.

  10. Lynette, thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences and the story of living with a narcissist. It’s helped me a lot. I could relate with so much of what you wrote, including the narcissist being gay and in denial.
    I have fresh wounds from dating a narcissist man for 3 years. I had no idea what it was and what was so wrong with the roller coaster relationship until a dear friends said, “he’s a narcissist.” She told me to google it, and I cried with so many mixed emotions.
    It’s been only 6 weeks since I left him with one relapse. Odd that I even thought to go back, an hour after we broke up (after 3 years) he was on a dating website looking for his next victim. He went on dates immediately while I could barely get out of bed. This feels like a bad nightmare. He tried to ruin my reputation at work, some mutual friends… I started this relationship as an extremely confident woman and now I’m grasping to be build myself up.
    Your blog has helped start to do that. Thank you and I was happy to read you were able to have another relationship.

    1. You’re very welcome. 🙂 I’m glad I could help.

      So much of what you say in your comment is familiar to me. My ex-narcissist was also involved with online dating very quickly after we split up (I think he may have been at least trolling on dating sites well before we split) and he also tried to ruin my reputation at work. I eventually had to get the police involved after he sent threatening emails, and then I found out a lot about him – he basically had a rap sheet that I had had no idea about. I also had a dear friend who pointed me in the right direction, as well.

      The fallout was something else. I was happy to get my life back but I was completely shattered. I questioned everything, especially my own judgment. I went for counselling – one of the best things I did – and read a lot about narcissism. Eventually, things started to come together again and one day my counsellor told me that I didn’t need to see him any more. Some parts of life are the same but other parts are different. I am different, but I think I am better, too. I would not want to repeat this experience but I learned so much from it that I am almost glad that I had it. Sounds weird but it’s true.

      You might be interested in this blog: Ursula writes very knowledgeably and insightfully about narcissism and I learned a lot from her.

      Good luck to you and remember to be good to yourself.

  11. This particular post really helped me this evening and also the comments you and others have made. It makes me feel a little less alone. It is great to hear you and others have made it through to the other side. I know one day I will realise that the knowledge I have been given, is a great gift but I am not there yet.
    I really appreciate your support of my blog. I could see you understood where I was coming from. I have been shocked just how many of these toxic characters are around. Turns your whole world view on its head doesn’t it?
    Your post and your quiet support has meant a lot to me.
    Thank you!

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