(If you received 2 blog posts from me in your email today and the first link isn’t working, it’s because it was replaced with this one… sorry about any confusion!)
A close friend of mine has a hubby who designs spaces like a bad-ass mofo. He says that of the 6 key design elements (scale, size, texture, line, weight, shape), he sees everything in the world – first and foremost – through the lens of scale.
Everything is relative. Here’s an example:
As a youngster, I remember climbing the spiral staircase inside the Statue of Liberty and looking out her crown. SO COOL! Later, I purchased a small souvenir statue of Lady Liberty and placed it on my dresser as a keepsake. Very big difference.
I imagine immigrants in the early 1900’s sailing to America and seeing Lady Liberty for the first time. WOW! If she had been smaller, it wouldn’t have had nearly the same impact.
Let’s take a look at how SCALE relates to healing from the effects of narcissistic abuse.
What ARE the effects?
Basically, you experience an internalized false view of reality: a warped, convoluted, exaggerated sense of self and the narcissist. If you REALLY internalized the trauma (extreme caricature shift), you probably have a warped sense of “others” in general.
It boils down to this:
You feel small. Because they appear big (giagantic, powerful, etc.).
This perspective is generated – with deliberate precision and deep conviction – by the narcissist’s DESIGN.
How does this perspective play out?
- The narcissist uses coersion (with the co-narcissist) to gain control.
- The co-narcissist uses submision (to the narcissist) in order to gain control (keep reading, and this will make more sense).
- Note: The term co-narcissist can be compared to “co-pilot”. Or a tango dance. Where one always leads and the other follows.
How does this happen?
The narcissist feels excruciatingly small and this feels shameful and painful to their ego. They run from their shame by finding a target who will feel smaller than they do for one purpose:
SO THEY CAN FEEL BIG. LARGER THAN LIFE.
If you’ve been through such a relationship, then you know that with a narcissist, any attempt to own your true “bigness”, your true-to-life sense of self, your true “character” will lead directly to narcissistic rage.
THIS CAN TRULY BE TERRIFYING.
Physically. Emotionally. Financially.
Tendrils of fear keep the invisibility cloak of shame wrapped around you. (What a gift, eh?)
For safety’s sake (yours or someone else’s) you begin to hand over your greatest asset: Your power. Your perspective. Your authentic expression.
To survive, you learn to stay small.
You might see the truth. But you don’t express it directly. And you don’t act on it.
If you do this often enough… YOU begin to believe it.
That’s called Gaslighting. You’ve been tricked, snowed, and duped.
You experience a very distorted view of your self, of your power, of your possibilities.
You abandon and betray yourself.
That’s called TRAUMA (Yay!)
Here’s a refreshing perspective that can help lighten your load 🙂
Compared to the entire Universe, you ARE small, tiny and infinitesimal. This can actually feel comforting and awesome.
Compared to an ant, you are HUGE. This can feel wonderous and amazing.
But compared to a narcissist…
YOU ARE EQUAL.
You have a right to YOUR perspective, your experience and your existence, just as everyone does.
Your POWER is your ability to take ownership of your experiences and your possibilities.
Emotions and Scale
One of the most difficult parts of the healing journey is experiencing the swirls of emotions as they rise up to be released and set free.
Recently in my life, it’s been RAGE. Not at the narcissists in my prior life, but at the old fear that has stayed in my psyche. A habit. Complex Post Traumatic Stress. A fear of their rage at me or toward someone I loved, even though narky nark is no longer here.
One of the first adjustments a child makes to survive narcissistic rage, is to learn to fear ANGER. The narcissists’ anger. And their own. The child quickly learns to NEVER lose control. And to NEVER express their anger at the narcissist.
Because if they did… someone would pay.
Anger, boundaries and self-assertion are not permitted in those relationships.
Healthy anger, when it’s been hidden from the self for a long time, can turn into suppressed RAGE.
Recently, when the internalized RAGE started to feel HUGE, it felt as dominating as the narcissist once did. (Scale, perspective . . . I could feel myself shrinking.)
I said NO. Handing my power over to any emotion would not be acceptable. Just like stuffing it would not be acceptable.
What to do?
I decided to the use the energy of the RAGE as it arose – to cut the ties of old fear. It felt as though the trauma ties (the fear which bound me to the narcissist) were being chopped off with each blow. With the fighting force of someone who flings a machete through a field of tall sugarcane. With strength and effort and deliberateness and might.
My mind began experiencing a newfound clarity. It felt as though the fuel in my engine was on self-clean.
This felt GREAT! Energizing. RIGHT ON!
Gratitude rose up like a phoenix from the ashes!
AND YET . . . strangely . . . in this mixed concoction of emotions . . . the RAGE seemed to want to stay.
I searched for clarity and found some wonderful words of wisdom:
Hold it loosely. Like a fresh egg or a golf club.
Hold your thoughts and emotions loosely.
Perspective. Scale. Truth:
Breathing fully again. I didn’t realize I was holding my breath.
Yes. Perspective. Scale.
The rage subsided and the shame cloak fell off along with the tendrils of fear.
Commitment and loyalty toward myself filled the space in my belly where the rage had stormed.
I stood tall.
Truth emerged like a sunrise.
I don’t belong to the narky nark.
I never did.
I belong to the Universe.
And the Universe belongs to me.
I want to live in a world that loves itself with innocence, laughter and joy.
I want to see the world fall in love with itself. Magically.
Through the crown of Lady Liberty.
The reality of humanity is that we are wonderous, mysterious and beautiful creatures filled with possibilities.
We are worthy of our own celebration.
That’s my perspective.