How absolutely wonderful that would be, don’t you think?! On the surface, the idea of erasing all remembrances of an intimate relationship with a narcissistic sociopath seems like a beautiful solution. But not really. After all, how would we learn from the mistakes we made with the narcissistic sociopath if we can’t remember our mistakes?
Mistakes YOU made you ask? Yes. Regardless of the ambush of abuse and his over-the-top and shitty behavior, we must be accountable for our part in the toxic relationship.
Where do you begin?
The first step is to stop asking all of the “why” questions related to HIS behavior:
Why did he do that?
Why did he say those things?
Why was he so jealous?
Why did he claim I was just like him?
Why did he belittle me and my son?
Why did he hate my sisters?
Why, why, why? And on and on.
Instead, ask yourself some “why” questions related to your own behavior:
Why didn’t I speak up for myself sooner?
Why did I let him make me so angry when he said things I knew were false?
Why did I tolerate things for as long as I did?
Why did I let his harsh and vile words hurt me?
Why didn’t I listen to family and friends?
Why was I so stubborn?
Ah-ha! See the difference this makes? All of a sudden it’s no longer about him and trying to figure him out. (You couldn’t do that INSIDE of the relationship; what makes you think you can do it OUTSIDE of the relationship, silly!?)
It’s now about YOU! All eyes are on YOU!
If you want to change your behavior, you must understand your current and past behavior first. In literature, the breaking down of characters and plot and action based on the reader’s personal understanding of the words is called deconstructionism. Through the deconstruction process, the reader gets a more meaningful understanding of all of the parts and pieces that make the story happen the way it happens. Like deconstructing a story, deconstructing your own mind, thoughts, actions, reactions, and feelings, will help you understand yourself more clearly, which can lead to healthy change and growth.
During the deconstruction process, you’ll be taken to places in your past you may not want to visit: your parent’s fights, their divorce, an argument on the playground with a childhood friend, an argument with your beloved sister. But you’ll also be taken to places that you enjoy and embrace: your first kiss, your first day of college, meeting someone special, riding a rollercoaster. With each visit to the past, you’ll ask yourself more and more questions about what you felt and why you felt that way. Amazingly, you’ll find the answers but only if you stay focused on YOU, not on other “characters” in your memory. (If there is one time in your life you need to be selfish, it’s now!)
Deconstructing yourself is intimidating but such a simple thing. You will never REALLY know why someone hurt you or treated you poorly. But you will learn why you reacted the way you did and how you can keep from reacting negatively in the future. You will also become more empowered to take action and control of your life when faced with toxic people in the future.
Taking that first step outside of your current self and asking “why” can lead you to redefining yourself and living the life you were born to live.