It was several weeks ago that I began marking passages in a book Every Man in this Village is a Liar by Megan K. Stack. She is a reporter and the book recounts some of her experiences reporting on wars.
The passages I marked in the book had to do with war, of course. But that is not why I marked them. The passages, to me, spoke on a different level- dealing with a narcissist.
Please note, in NO WAY am I saying dealing/living with a narcissist is similar to experiencing war. I am simply making a connection between the two, as Stack’s words struck a cord with what I had been processing as of late.
I have written a lot about narcissism, but do this less and less with time. I have begun thinking about the “end game” with a narcissist, that either has exited one’s life or remains in one’s life (for any number of reasons) but in a much more limited role.
Prompting me further on this quest was a recent blog by Lynnette about moving on after a narcissist.
In the book by Stack, she recounts the following sentiment about the war,
“A battle had begun, and so there must be a climax, there must be a resolution I expected something to happen, in the end.”
And I think this relates to how many of us feel once we get our feet on the ground and our head on straight and our heart working again after having a narcissist in our lives- we want the climax.
We expect some type of resolution, perhaps a battle royale, words to be exchanged, an apology, we want to fight and express all that we underwent, we want some inkling of awareness on the narcissist’s part about the damage caused (in our dreams).
We think about payback. We think about compensation. We believe in karma and make an altar to it.
Basically, we want the culminating act to this drama with a soundtrack and everything!
After spending so much purposeful time and energy on understanding ourselves, the dynamic, and our own recovery, which is often a symbolic walk up a steep hill, we expect to keep climbing- onwards and upwards.
But with time, we feel the energy plateauing. We either remove the narcissist from our lives, or if unable to do that, we become more adept at handling the narcissist.
Still, though, we may be looking for something…we are just not sure what.
Again, Stack’s words comes to mind.
“You sense that you have already lost something in the war, so you stick around waiting for the missing parts to come back, to restore themselves, …”
Perhaps we are waiting for those missing days or years. Those parts of ourselves that went AWOL during this time of trauma to somehow come back and restore themselves.
In the end, I like what Stack wrote about war –
“You can survive and not survive, both at the same time.”
And I wonder if this is how many feel upon healing from a narcissist.
The “end game” may not really be the “end” we imagine. We are changed by the experience and we become something different than we imagined. We are wiser, more aware, but more cautious too. We have replaced naivete with awareness, soft boundaries with firm borders.
In the end, we come to understand that we have been resolute in our own restoration and perhaps that is the only “end game” that really matters.
I hope my treatment of Ms. Stack’s quotes makes sense. They are used with the best of intentions.