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Helpful Tips and Reminders for Highly Sensitive Survivors of a Narcissistic Parent
By Roxanne E. Smith--HSPsurvivors.com 2011
Here are 5 helpful tips and reminders for survivors of an N parent:
1. Compassion for yourself is always rule #1. You did a great job surviving a very difficult childhood. Instead of getting loving support you were often ridiculed and undermined. You DESERVED compassion but you did not get it. You must learn to give it to yourself--to be the ideal mother or father to yourself that you never had. As survivors, we all are always too hard on ourselves. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, stop everything and be nice to yourself about it. You have every right to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Imagine the most loving mother comforting you through it. What would she say to you? "Everything is going to be all right. You have worked so hard and you deserve to rest. Put your feet up and I'll get you a warm blanket. How about some green tea and a warm cup of soup." :) Put your worries out of your mind--does that task really have to be done today? No, it does not. It is very important to know that until you have unconditional compassion and love for your self you will not have the energy to give compassion and love freely to others! Healthy, loving relationships are reciprocal--you must have compassion to give to others if you want to attract people into your life who are truly "giving" in return.
2. Forgive yourself. When you have an N parent you were never taught that it's okay to make mistakes. When you make a mistake, a loving parent would say to you, "It's okay, that is how we learn and you learned a lot from this--maybe it is even good that it happened." If you had this message growing up, imagine where you'd be today! You could glide from one mistake to the next without beating yourself up about it, instead you would say to yourself, "that's okay, I am only human, we all make mistakes and that is how we learn." Also forgive yourself for trusting the wrong people. Because you had an N parent that you trusted for a long time, you may be confused about what a healthy relationship looks and feels like. It takes time to learn to love yourself and start attracting people who also love themselves and have real love to give. Forgive yourself about trusting the wrong people along the way, this happening is often a necessary stepping stone on our journey to finding our true selves and honoring all of our feelings.
3. Allow yourself to have some inner confusion at times. We all have inner confusion at times. Even Deepok Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and the wisest psychotherapists on earth have inner confusion at times and this is how we continue to grow and learn. This is part of the human experience on this planet. We cannot and must not feel that we have to be on top and have it all figured out all the time! Your N parent may have made you feel this way probably because you were so very bright and right so much of the time, they felt compelled to knock you down and never gave you credit for your brilliant ideas. So when you weren't on top and were naturally feeling confused about some unexplained event in your lives, they may have often taken this opportunity to point out to you, "See you aren't so great, this happened to you and this is proof! This was very confusing and painful to you which just further made you harder on yourself. You may have said to yourselves, "I must never let people see that I don't have it all figured out. I must be even more perfect!" If you can see how unfair this was to you as a child and how you deserved to feel okay about having inner confusion, you will feel much relief and realize you deserve to be... human. It is so unhealthy trying to be perfect. We must grieve for the time we spent feeling unworthy of acceptance and that we are not good enough as we are in each given moment. Sometimes we have inner confusion--it is okay...let it be. In time, the lesson you were to learn from it will be learned and you will progress again towards expressing your true voice.
4. Guilt, shame, and doubt are thoughts and feelings from elsewhere to be ignored. Ignoring your "inner critic" is hard to do because it feels like it's your "self" telling you these negative messages so you think it must be true. But these messages and feelings are not from your true self--they are incorrect beliefs from surviving your N parent which you have internalized! You can learn to recognize them and identify them as your "inner critic" which you must ignore. It is not the truth! Your inner critic is WRONG about you. Most often the exact opposite is true. When you become conscious of your "inner critic" you can over-ride your thoughts with positive affirmations such as "I love and approve of myself". Getting in the habit of catching yourself when you are unconsciously beating yourself up will change your life! When you can stop your negative thoughts and know and believe that they aren't true, your true purpose and compassionate self will begin to emerge. This is not easy and this leads into my next tip. Sometimes you must get help from a safe person you can trust fully to grieve and let out the pain from your abused inner child before you can begin to change these negative beliefs about yourself.
5. Consider reaching out and getting help. If you are projecting bouts of anger and despair onto your loved ones and are confused about why this is happening, it helps to understand the roots of this confusing pattern. In inner child grief work, this is called "transference" and is a very important and necessary part of the healing process. It is as if you must pull the other person into the drama of the original feelings from childhood so that you can process these feelings and heal them in the present day. Post traumatic stress (PTSD) is the eruption of past unresolved childhood pain into your relationships in the present. If you don't understand what is happening it can wreak havoc on your present relationships. But if you work this out with a skilled coach or counselor that you fully trust, you can learn to understand your feelings as they come up and you will not need to act on them. You can learn how if you are able to display the out-of-control feelings with this safe person who is able to stay impartial and unaffected and still be compassionate even to angry or blaming projections. Depending on the severity of the abuse and the transference symptoms, look for an experienced counselor or coach with knowledge of inner child healing and are humanistic in their approach. As a coach I can help clients with most mild symptoms of post traumatic stress--I have experience with this as I not only worked through my own transference and projections with a therapist but also because my husband and I worked through our projections and transference from our childhoods onto each other to the point of overcoming our co-dependence issues. We were able to do this because of our deep trust in each other and because of my training, my own self-growth which had to happen first, and my knowledge about healthy communication skills, grieving our losses, and what constitutes healthy boundaries.
As a highly sensitive person who survived an N parent, you can learn techniques to love yourself and heal your childhood wounds so that you can have the peace of mind and confidence in yourself that you DESERVE. I hope that my tips have been comforting to you. You are a special highly sensitive soul and your healing is necessary so your God-given gifts and true self can be actualized and all your dreams can come true. You survived a N parent--be kind to yourself! Now is your time for healing.
(This article was originally written as a post on my blog--to read more informative posts of this nature please click here to go to my blog=>hopehealing.wordpress.com or click on the word "BLOG" on the task bar above.)
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I am an Empathic Life Coach providing emotional support and intuitive guidance based on my own personal and spiritual healing journey. Although I am experienced in the healing arts, I am not a licensed mental health counselor. My Life Coaching services and the information shared on this website is not to be considered mental health counseling. I do not diagnose, treat, or cure mental health disorders. Please consider my Life Coaching services and the emotional healing information shared here only in addition to and not in place of the advice, care, and evaluation from a licensed mental health counselor, psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, physician, or other licensed health care provider. Some clients may be referred to a licensed mental health professional.
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