My mental health issues and recovery are mostly based on understanding my trauma from childhood. So all these books have a central theme of childhood trauma and recovery. I will update them whenever I read more on these.
This is the list as of August 2020
For sometime after I figured out that both my parents were emotionally immature and narcissists, I just wanted to wallow in self-pity and hate them with all my might. It was the first instinctual thing for me to do because all the nonsensical emotions I carried with me all these years made perfect sense. I was so elated with finding an answer that I did not want to move on from that and think about what happens next. As you might know, this stage doesn’t last long if you truly want to recover from the abuse and heal yourself.
The obvious next step for me was to confront them. Again, as you might have guessed, that did not go well. I did not try much either on that front because by then I had read enough about how the confrontation with narcissists never works. So I decided to leave that altogether, though I do lose control and ask them when some situations provoke me. I cannot be always so in control around them. At least not now.
So the next step and the only sensical step for me was to understand them. Forgiveness was not part of the process. Just understanding them as to why they turned out that way. The answer was simple as in any psychological trauma do get carried through generations. My parents did not have a good childhood. Especially, my mother, I would say. They both had absentee father figures. My dad had to deal with the loss of his mother in his teen years and was deeply traumatized by the world when there was no other adult to replace her. He was never cared for. My mother, on the other hand, was one of the last in the many children my grandparents birthed and was least cared for based on her accounts. She was ignored, she was teased for being ugly, she was not listened to and she had to care for her sister’s children when she was figuring out her life. She grew up feeling she was not valued.
Even the glimpses of family history were enough to make me realize that my parents did not know any better. But I could still not forgive them because they could have stopped the abuse with them. It was not like they intentionally carried forward the abuse but they did not try enough was what I feel. Maybe I will be able to move past it completely one day. That day is not here yet. I do feel a lot lighter nowadays having found the heart to understand them and not be angry. That is mission accomplished as of now.
It has not been long since I figured that my parents are narcissists. Since then it has been a revelation for me on many fronts. I used to (still do) walk around with such intense shame and self-blame for anything and everything. But the intensity has come down a lot and I have begun to treat myself with so much more love and compassion whenever the negative voice takes over.
Anyway, one such huge revelation has been about whether I am a narcissist or not. I used to firmly believe that I am one because the way I behaved sometimes scared me. I saw the reflection of my parents in me and it repulsed me. The feeling of shame didn’t help here either. It came as a relief when I got to know that many victims of narcissists carry around this doubt of whether they themselves could be a narcissist too. I took it as part of my healing journey. Also the fact that I worry about being one, should mean that I am not one because narcissists precisely lack this self-reflection. I constantly worry about hurting others because of my actions/behaviour. So I took that as another proof that I am not one.
But the most helpful of all has been my exposure to the term “Narcissistic Fleas”. Things made much more sense and it sealed the answer for me that I am not a narcissist. The term literally means the characteristics you pick up from being around the narcissists. These fleas doesn’t in anyway mean you are a narcissist too. It is as simple as the fact that you tend to become like someone with whom you spent your developmental years with. You pick on their way of behaving, you learn their ways of dealing with the world, you learn their defence mechanisms etc.
Knowing this simple fact saved me from so much mental agony. Wish I had come across it sooner. Now I am off to ridding myself of the fleas! Is there a Nshampoo for that?