On one of the narcissistic abuse (n/a) channels, a speaker (not Simon) talked about a concern that n/a is leaving the realms of the professionals and has become a mainstream-healing topic which is frequently not getting the depth of psychological attention it deserves. He asked for comments and I would like to share my reply with you for the sake of letting you know where I stand on the topic. By naming it and sharing it, you might be more empowered to navigate your journey more powerfully as well.
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The problem is that too many therapists have been blind to narcissistic abuse when it is “only” invisible (not joined by physical abuse) – most are inept at recognizing the symptoms and clueless about remedy. Christine Canonville is a therapist and criminologist from Ireland who is creating awareness among therapists (and now the legal system) about coercive and ambient abuse. Through her youtube talk to therapists in Ireland, I learned the term co-narcissist (the targeted person) and her description of such a person shed brilliant light on the topic.
Prior to that, I had seen various professionals (psychologists and therapists) and it took years for ONE therapist to finally name that “narcissistic abuse” was probably the hand I’d been dealt. BUT he concluded by saying that the narcissistic family member “really loved me.” Another therapist said that what I was probably dealing with was cultural patriarchy (Israeli / Iraqi family). Both of these intelligent therapists gave me partial truths due to their own lack of awareness. They both missed the mark. As did many before them.
Over the last year, the youtube stations which are education-oriented, critical-thinking oriented, and where people share personal experiences authentically without being victim/overly emotional oriented have been the most healing balm for me. I agree Richard Grannon and Vital Mind are excellent. And I have also appreciated 3 women: Meredith Miller, Permission to Exist as well as Surviving to Thriving. NOT for their accuracy but for examples of people maintaining a sober attitude and clear thinking while sharing their difficult experiences as well as their experiments in new behaviors and outcomes – with their kids, new spouses, in relationships and at work.
Through them, for the first time, I could see that I am not alone. For the first time, I could feel validated at the levels of depth of toxic shame which I experienced for so many years in isolation. I could witness people who experienced similar challenges making it through to the other side. Not perfectly. But beautifully. The literature prior to theirs was extremely limited and the psychologists who talked about it offered very little hope at any sort of healing. You wonder why people are shifting away from psychologists and professionals? This is why I did.
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To be clear, I am not a fan of n/a forums or groups. I’m not interested in joining them. But I am interested in learning from those who are pioneering the conversation. At JBL, our n/a conversation sits in a much wider context: Empower your joy. Embody your truth. Live your dreams. The people I work with and coach are people who are committed to the larger conversation. My take on it: if n/a is getting in your way, then learn about it, get straight to the healing modalities that work, and apply them to your life. Snap out of it as quickly as possible. And get on with living.
Ha! While searching for a feature image for this post, I entered the phrase “together is Better” and a book by one of my favorite speakers, leaders and teachers appeared in the results. So… Simon Sinek… I’m happy to plug your beautiful book!
Here’s to more joy empowered, more truth embodied and more dreams fully lived.