Buckle up, this is going to be rough….trigger warning for emotional abuse and narcissistic abuse. Possibly also triggers around minimising and micro aggressions to self.
Okay, there’s the triggers out the way. If I’ve left anything out please let me know and I’ll add them in.
This is something I want you to really listen to if you’ve grown up in a narcissistic household.
When you say to me: ‘I don’t want to cause a fuss’, or ‘I’m really over emotional’, or maybe ‘she only wanted the best for me’; I hear you repeating the internalized messages from the years of gaslighting you have suffered.
You are literally doing their gaslighting for them. You are SELF GASLIGHTING.
Let’s take the first example I’ve used. ‘I don’t want to cause a fuss’.
Over the years, every time you have asked for a need of ANY kind to be met, if it hasn’t aligned with the need of the narcissistic parent, it will have been made very clear how much of a gross inconvenience that is. Every time you expressed an autonomous need, you will have been told something along the lines of ‘don’t make a fuss’. You may even have been physically assaulted for requesting it, possibly even sexually assaulted.
You will have internalized that every time you ask anyone for any kind of need to be met (a drink, a tissue, for them to stop kicking your seat on a plane, your food order is wrong etc etc) you are creating an ungodly fuss and EVERYONE hates you for it.
Let me say right now, they don’t.
And if they do, the chances are that it’s very much firmly in the camp of THEIR issue. Not yours. Remember what I say about boundaries? If we can honestly (key word right there!) look at the situation and without justification realise there isn’t anything we would change, then we have nothing to apologise for, and can go peacefully on with our day.
(Side note, if we are justifying, it may be that we are trying to convince ourselves as much as the other person, it might also be a sign that we’ve been emotionally abused and have to explain at length why we need to have our needs met – not healthy, not ok, not your fault. I’ll blog about it soon)
So how do we combat it? We have to adjust our boundaries and our language. One way we might do this is put ourselves in the shoes of the person we are asking to meet our need.
If you were a waitress in a restaurant and you got an order wrong, would you be angry/irritated with a customer who politely and quietly says ‘My order is wrong, could you correct it please?’
I really hope I’m right when I say ‘no, of course you wouldn’t!!’ You might feel a bit embarrassed you had got it wrong, you might even get seriously triggered, but that would be about you and your unresolved issues (probably around perfectionism/being good enough; thanks narcissistic parents!!!) not the customer.
Self gaslighting, does the work of the narcissist even when they’re nowhere to be seen. You are subconsciously continuing their abuse for them. By challenging this behaviour, you will start to establish some healthy boundaries around your self-worth and self-value, and you will break the cycle.
Be kind to yourself, this is hard, and it hurts to realise the perpetual insidiousness of their vile abuse, but awareness = healing, and I KNOW you can heal this. I know you can. Because you would have scrolled past this post and not even dared to read the rest of it. I’ve attached a table of examples of the taught message, the internalised messaged and the message we need to change it to. Read it, save it, and learn it. And heal. Stand up, you’re not an inconvenience you’re astounding.
All the love ❤