You Are Enough!

Miscellaneous

  • ‘Why? Why did the narcissist lie?’
  • ‘Why did I fall for it?’
  • ‘How could I have been so stupid?’

These are the questions that wake you up at 3am on a Wednesday. You stare at the ceiling, your stomach is in knots and your mind feels like it’s playing ping pong with the things the narcissist said that seemed so sincere…that you believed.

By the time you finish reading this today, the 3am ‘why’ question will be gone. You’ll know the ‘why.’ You’ll also know, fundamentally, that you are not stupid. You’ll begin to forgive yourself for falling for the lies, and to understand you have always been enough. I combine these two ideas because they mirror one another, just like the narcissist mirrored us. We’ve given the narcissist so much power. Let’s take it back.

What you’ll learn

The narcissist does what works.

  • Mirroring: He pretends to love everything you do.
  • Compliments: He tells you that you are the most amazing woman he’s ever met.
  • Soul-mate effect: With the mirroring and the compliments he becomes your ‘perfect’ partner.

Jump to Chapter ↴

You are enough!

  • You are enough: You don’t need a fake fairytale Prince Charming. He only brought one shoe, for heaven’s sake.
  • Forgive yourself for loving someone who treated you badly. There is no shame in making a mistake.
  • You decide your worth: Every day you wake up and decide what you deserve.

Jump to Chapter ↴

The Narcissist Does What Works!

A friend said these five words in response to a question I asked about whether manipulation was premeditated. If he had smacked me upside the head I couldn’t have been more surprised. It couldn’t be that simple, not when we spent whole years of our lives analyzing why the narcissist does what he does.

The word narcissist comes from the Greek myth about a handsome boy named Narcissus who became so obsessed with his own reflection that all he could do was stare at himself all day. A lot of people think being a narcissist means being really conceited, but for those of us who have danced with the narcissist we know that conceit is the least of his issues.

The mirror, however, that’s where the true tricks lie. He mirrored all of your best characteristics until you felt like you were practically the same person. Know the Now why would anyone do this?

The Narcissist Does What Works!

Think about it. If you were damaged in childhood, wouldn’t you want to find ways to control the world around you? So the narcissist did. He spent years of trial and error to figure out what worked. And when he figured out that ‘mirroring’ other people’s best characteristics got him the attention and admiration he wanted… then that’s what he did. But we didn’t get that…because for us that seems like a crazy thing to do. Once, in college I was stupid enough to tell a boy I liked camping. Guess what? A few weeks later he invited me camping and I was miserable. Lesson learned. Don’t lie about your interests.

But the narcissist never bothers to learn that lesson because why would he? He mirrors everything you love because he’s getting his needs met in the moment. He uses these techniques the way an athlete uses muscle memory. It’s automatic and so ingrained he doesn’t even think about it. The most honest thing I’ve ever heard a narcissist say was… ‘I meant it when I said it.’

Meanwhile we’re crying to our girlfriends…

Why would he say he wanted a house in Italy too? Why would he say I was amazing, that he’d never met anyone like me? Why would he say ‘Crime and Punishment’ was his favorite book, just like me.

 

The Narcissist Does What Works!

Let’s go back to the beginning of the relationship. Ask yourself…What did he do that worked? Was it the compliments? There are always so many compliments. I bet you didn’t know before you met the narcissist that your hair glowed with the embers of twilight and your eyes were like portals to the universe? And you loved it because it was beautiful and romantic and Disney princesses screwed us up for life. Yes, maybe it was a bit over the top, but it didn’t stop that feeling in your stomach, especially if your narcissist was really good looking and he leaned forward and looked deeply into your eyes. Oh, I hope you’re laughing because it is just all so stupid.

The Narcissist Does What Works!

We want to be in love and the narcissist knows it. We want to believe that every crappy relationship we’ve ever had was preparation for finally getting the great guy who was going to love us forever. And here he’s doing what works, what has always worked, and what will work again because we want the fairy tale.

He’s looking for food, sex, shelter and safety and so are we. He says he will give you those things so you respond in kind. That’s it. Nothing more or less. We are convinced the narcissist is a grand master chess player when in reality he won a few games at a high school tournament and he figured, ‘Good enough, I know a few moves and most of the time I win.’

So there’s the ‘why’, answered like I said it would be at the start of the blog. You don’t have to wake up anymore at 3am. It’s simple, but we want it to be complicated. Because surely, if we are bright, successful women, we couldn’t have been tricked by so simple a dance. We gave him credit for dancing a tango, but really it was more like a TicTok…it gets a lot of attention, but there’s not really much substance. And that brings us to the more important part of the story, the part that we can change, the part that we are fundamentally in control of…our own self-forgiveness.

One of the best lines I’ve ever read is from Vishen Lakhiani’s book, ‘The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.’ In it he states…

One of the best lines I’ve ever read is from Vishen Lakhiani’s book, ‘The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.’ (www.mindvalley.com) In it he states…

Every time you give someone the power to build you up with praise, you’re also unknowingly giving that person the power to destroy you with criticism.

 

What does that have to do with self-forgiveness? A whole hell of a lot.

Go back to the first time the narcissist told you that you were amazing. Why did you give his words more value than you gave your own? When he took those words away during devaluation (You remember devaluation, right? It started about 6 weeks in when he began texting a lot less or maybe he insulted you and said, ‘just joking’) You suddenly started to feel like midnight had come and you’d turned into the pumpkin.

Forgiveness can’t come as long as you’re putting the key to your self-esteem in another person’s hands. So snatch that key back, turn it in your own heart and you decide who uses it in the future.

And even knowing that, and we do know it…How is it, that so many bright, ambitious, attractive, talented women get caught in relationships with men who don’t see them as equals, who don’t treat them well, who cheat on them?

How Do We Forgive Ourselves?

Are we victims? Oh, that’s such a bitch of a question. When answered with an angry ‘NO’.. we’re over-compensating. When answered with a ‘YES’…well, get over it. So, what do we say to our friends who love and believe in us? How do we tell them that their strong, confident friend feels like a failure? How do we admit to others that we were culpable in our own destruction?

How Do We Forgive Ourselves?

There’s a great expression called ‘holding space.’ What holding space means is that we offer a safe place for those people we care about, without judgement. As people pleasers, women who have been involved with narcissists have given all of their ‘space holding’ to someone else. We have no idea how to hold space for ourselves. We forget to just breathe, especially on the really bad days, when the pain closes in because we’ve checked social media to see what he’s up to…We forget to look in the mirror and say, ‘I am enough.’

So, as we go on this journey together I’m going to say over and over the one thing we all need to know, the one thing we need to feel in the most visceral of visceral ways…

You Are Enough!

You don’t even know how enough you are, how IT you are, how you deserve so much better than some fake fairytale Prince Charming. For heaven’s sake, the Prince only brought one shoe and he thought you should feel grateful he put it on your foot. YOU can buy your own shoes.

You Are Enough!

Have you asked yourself what makes you…YOU? The first time I did I drew a blank. I’d read a self help book and it said to list 10 things you like about yourself. Now, if you’d asked me to name my flaws, whoa did I have that list at the ready, but what did I like about myself? Ten minutes later I came up with…’My cat likes me.’ No joke, that’s what I had.

My journey took three years and a whole lot of blame on the narcissists. Yes, there was more than one. And the final one, the cerebral narcissist who ripped my soul out of my body and threw it at me to eat, well he…he almost took me down.

And then something happened…2020. I wish I could say I underwent change for a more profound reason than getting locked in my house, but nope, I can’t. I had nothing to do so I thought, let’s take a wander down to hell, drink coffee with my demons and try to sort why I’d allowed this to happen.

Is It My Fault?

We, as women, love to blame ourselves. It’s what we do, like multitasking by putting on lipstick while feeding the cat, only in the case of the narcissist we combine deep-seeded shame with a dose of ‘How could I have been so stupid?’

I promised you a roadmap to forgiveness and here it is.
It is not your fault that you were lied to. He chose to do that. It is not your fault that you believed him as long as you did. He told a good story. Do you know what is your fault? That when the narcissist chose to make you feel you weren’t good enough, you believed him.

You Decide Your Worth!

No other person gets to tell you whether or not you are good enough, not your parents, siblings, friends, partners or children. You decide your worth.

And here’s the thing, when you get that you have a voice, you have a brain capable of conversations that are interesting, then you start getting that tingle that maybe ‘enough’ is right around the corner. And ever so slowly you start asking yourself the questions, ‘Do I want to give my time to this person who only gets back to me on occasion, or decides he needs a nap halfway through a conversation? Is this stimulating for me or would I rather spend my time with someone who actually stays awake?’ I guarantee once you start asking yourself these questions, once you start making it about what brings you joy then ‘enough’ becomes natural, self-forgiveness moves into your soul, and the damage goes the way of the dodo.

So, I invite you to join me on this journey. I’ll give you the tools to bend narcissism (to be explained in my next blog post) so it’s not something happening to you, but rather simply an experience, and often times a humorous one. We’ll aid each other in creating a parallel evolution where self worth is the currency and empathy is the payment both to ourselves and to the narcissist. One caveat, I know the narcissist hurt you. I know he left you on the floor to pick the pieces up, but this isn’t a place for hate… dry, sarcastic, biting commentary, yes, but not hate. Martin Luther King Jr. said. ‘Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’

I have a mission, to eliminate narcissism, at least as a toxic source of control. I can’t do it by myself. It’s going to take all of us saying that we are enough, so we can ignore love-bombing as a tactic and share the best lines we’ve ever heard with our girlfriends and laugh, instead of cry, over brunch.

This space that we’re holding here, together, for each other is ours…to celebrate how far we’ve come and to stand in awe of the dreams we want to accomplish. I’ll see you here again for my next post about BENDING NARCISSISM. And remember…

You Are Enough!

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Bending narcissism

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Catherine Stuckey, M.A.
Founder
Having taught English for years I never thought I’d be translating what the narcissist says to other people.

I’ve spent four years researching the world of narcissism, through work, dating and personal interviews. My mission is to help others recognize narcissism and through this recognition stop the narcissistic cycle from continuing.

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