By Jacqueline Kraft Bruno
You may have identified you have been in a relationship with a narcissist, or a sociopath or a sociopathic-narcissist. You may have read and re-read the signs and symptoms. Maybe you have compared your stories with those of others who have walked the same road. Perhaps you have felt shock, anger and grief, at the realizations of who you were really with. Maybe you’re wondering why. Why did I choose this person, or why did I let this person choose me? Maybe you’re ready to start moving past it but find yourself reliving the past or the feelings of the past.
For me, there wasn’t a one stop solution for healing from the complex-trauma left behind when the abusive relationship ended. My beliefs and my behaviors were still wired to survive, excuse, and attract narcissistic people. I was excited to experience relationships in a new way. I was also terrified to trust, and I often felt anxious, depressed, confused or just plain hopeless.
I found this recovery, like many other recoveries, was a process, not an event. It required patience, with both the process and me. It required willingness to see myself differently and to look at my behaviors, my part, in all of this, with an attitude of responsibility, rather than shame. I wanted to heal and be free. I did not want to pick up the bat my abuser left and start beating myself with it by blaming and shaming myself.
I started with traditional therapy. Therapy helped me to identify work I needed to do on boundaries, my high tolerance for being mistreated and how to refuse it from a place of love. I learned the importance of reviewing my motives, my thinking and my own feelings. I learned to stop asking the world to justify my feelings and that I don’t have to get permission to feel, or to say no.
I felt better but wanted more. I felt I needed healing for the feminine side of my soul. I had turned away from everything in me that was gorgeously and divinely, female. I resented my own sexuality. I didn’t trust my intuition. How does one set out to rediscover the goddess within?
I decided to start with what I knew and add to it as I went along. The tools that have had the best results for me are:
- Daily meditation. This helped me to get grounded, feel safe in my own body, open up to the grace and wisdom around me, get in touch with my feminine spirit and the peace of forgiveness, and to start trusting my heart.
- Yoga. This helped me to feel powerful. How can I be a victim when I feel like Xena- Warrior Princess! Yoga also compliments meditation by getting the blood and energy circulating. Whenever I get stuck in a toxic thought or emotional space, yoga helps to literally move the energy and get it processed.
- Painting, going to church, writing letters and burning them, journaling the anger or grief, and praying for release, answers and peace.
- Support groups. Being there and to help another woman is spiritual practice to me. I think it is for everyone.
- Practicing radical acceptance. No matter what, I had to allow my true self to emerge. I have found this can only happen when I let what I feel surface, even when it’s not pretty. I let my truth out, even when it didn’t, or doesn’t, make me look like the strong woman I like to see myself as. I had to admit, I do care what people think of me. But if I try to control what people think of me I lose me. Letting this belief take root, allowed me to let go of the illusion that I am not lovable if I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. I am, and will always be, lovable.
- EFT and Reiki. I have learned when I walk through an experience that feels like the emotional equivalent of peeling off a few layers of skin, energy work isn’t optional, it’s necessary. EFT is a treatment used by both traditional therapist and energy healers. It’s easy, and once learned, anyone can use it themselves. EFT uses a tapping technique to disrupt the established energy pattern of a false, negative, belief and introduce a belief reflecting self-love. It takes only a few minutes to energetically “tap-out” the belief that “I am not good enough.” And replace it with “I completely love and totally accept myself.” Reiki is similar in the effect produced. Reiki invites and reminds the body to heal itself.
Healing is as diverse and beautiful as our wounds. We deserve our own patience. We are allowed to choose our own path to healing, do what works and let go of what doesn’t. We may not always have the support of friends and family who haven’t been through what we have. That’s okay. We may not always be able to support what we don’t understand either. We can keep going. No matter who agrees or disagrees, with our pace or the results of our work, we deserve to heal and keep going.
Most importantly, at the end of every day, no matter how we feel or what we think, we can KNOW, we are loved. We can know it because it is true. It is true for each and every one of us. We are enough, right now. There isn’t a destination to being enough. We are loved because we come from love, we are love and we return to love when we leave this human life.
We are the love, light and strength of the Goddess, Mother and Father God, and Mother Earth. We thought we were separate, but we were wrong. We are part of all that is.
We got this.