*For a definition of narcissism & lists of narcissistic traits please look online.
It started with a story that I’m sure most of us are familiar with; I went to a party, met a guy and we hit it off. We seemed to have the same sense of humour and he appeared to ‘get’ me in a way which I had found to be quite rare in my life experience to date. So far, so good.
He laughed at my jokes and I felt flattered and validated by him. He invited me over for a swim and sauna, as the flat complex he lived in had one on site. I thought that we were friends – perhaps becoming something more – and felt nervously excited.
When he made a move on me in the otherwise empty sauna, I felt shocked, perhaps naively. As I pulled away from him, disappointment and hurt showed on his face. I was unsure; did I want this or not? We ended up kissing and I felt that I was on a trajectory that led only to one place and I couldn’t get off it. My solar plexus felt tense and began pulsating in an uncomfortable way.
Back at his flat, inevitably we had sex and from his actions I felt like I was in a male-centric fantasy; a porn movie, which was definitely not a good thing for me. It felt like who I was didn’t matter. After our encounter, he got dressed, making it clear that that I should leave and that he was meeting up with friends for a late drink, which I was evidently not invited to. Confused and upset, I felt discarded. I left and drove home, not quite knowing what had happened. The sex, though on the face of it consensual, had left me feeling empty and unimportant at best.
I spent the next day crying and wondering what had happened. I began to realise that I had disassociated and had missed signs that I should just leave. I suddenly recognised that the feel of the whole scenario reminded me of an incident of sexual abuse that I had had inflicted on me years before. In both I had felt insignificant, voiceless and literally used to fulfil someone else’s hidden agenda. All my sexual wounding rose up and took centre stage. A niggling feeling also kept occurring to me, which was that I wondered if he had been sexually abused himself.
Seeking help from a couple of trusted friends, I talked it out, started working on my original trauma and chalked it up to experience. A few days later I received a text from this guy – let’s call him Simon, saying, “I want you. Come see me Saturday.” I laughed out loud and not in a good way, left it for a couple of days, really not wanting to dump what had come up for me onto him but instead take responsibility for my part in it. Eventually I declined his invitation (if that’s what it was – it felt more like an instruction).
His response surprised me; he said he hadn’t meant his text to hurt, that he liked me etc. I began to question my version of events; perhaps he hadn’t meant to overstep my boundaries. A dialogue sprung up in which I told him that my sexual wounding had come up, without going into the original incident. He seemed really understanding and sympathetic to what I was saying, particularly that I was only willing to have sex within the context of a monogamous loving relationship. Without actually saying so, he indicated that he wanted that too. (I now know this to have been the hook that brought me back in.)
We started texting each other. The fact that he hadn’t run a mile but was engaging with me eased my concerns and although wary I wanted to believe him/his version of events. I wanted a relationship based on trust, truth and love; that started with open and honest communication as far as I knew. Again we seemed to be on the same wavelength. We talked a couple of times on the phone and laughed a lot.
A month after our initial encounter we met up again and went for a walk and it went well. There was genuine empathy and connection, I thought. In the following few weeks we met up a couple more times. I still felt wary but decided that whatever happened between us, my part in it was to show up, be open and be as present as possible. I was also in no hurry and consciously decided to pace myself.
And then underneath the joking and fun, other things began to emerge, for one thing by his bed he had this book called (something like) ‘How to make anyone do anything for you’. He sent me texts that were orders; ‘Come over and bring….’ he told me that he was ‘dominant’, that he liked group sex and had no sexual boundaries. Although I had no judgement about that, I didn’t understand how that behaviour could fit with the monogamous loving relationship I had understood that he wanted.
Also a couple of times I had clearly felt malevolent anger coming from him, which he quickly covered over with a joke. I began to wonder if he was a narcissist as he talked about himself a lot and literally praised himself out loud several times e.g. after cooking: ‘That was a fantastic dish you made, Simon.’ The first couple of times he did that I thought he was joking, until the last time we saw each other I realised that he actually meant it.
In addition he told me that he could make me rich through business advice he would give me (even though he clearly wasn’t rich himself). He also began to mock me by doing an unflattering imitation of my speaking voice. After the first couple of times (when I had assumed it was just a joke), I told him I didn’t like as it made me feel self-conscious, he stared at me for a few moments and then just continued doing it.
Other red flags happened; like we went out dancing and he told me that a couple of ladies had chatted him up during the course of the evening. I wondered why he had felt the need to tell me about it as I had also been chatted up but had kept it to myself because I was with him, so what did it matter. I also had a strong feeling that he was, or had been, an escort. A couple of weeks later he told me that he had worked as one a few years previously. He also said that he had hung out with criminals as he was looking for a strong male role model and had been a member of a cult for 8 years. Now these things I also have no judgement about and initially put down to him experimenting and trying to find his own way in life but some feelings of disquiet were coming up for me; each bit of information on its own felt surprising, even mildly shocking, but when they all fell into place a disturbing picture materialised.
During this time, I had stopped being able to sleep properly and had a constant gnawing anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach, which at first I thought was that excitement that is common when you meet somebody new. However one night I had a disconcerting dream about Simon; we were in a place with a communal kitchen and several people were there. Then a lady walked in with long dreads who was clearly ‘the boss.’ Simon turned to me in the dream and his eyes went red, which freaked me out as the feeling that came with it was extremely negative. When I told him about the dream he responded by telling me what colours in dreams meant, which sounded like meaningless gobbledygook to me.
The fourth and last time we met, I stayed over and he told me about a dream he had had that night, which was about fighting a multi-headed gorgon. Now Simon never admitted weakness or any kind of vulnerability in the short time I had known him, but the plaintive sound in his voice when he told me about this dream was clear even though he immediately covered it over.
Before I left that morning I had a strong urge to give him hands-on healing. Thinking that this was because he had been ill that week and feeling strong energy flowing through my hands, I placed them on certain energy centres in his body. At the same time I questioned Spirit silently about what was happening and my part in it, as I knew that my default patterning in relationships, like many women, was to give too much, even sacrifice parts of myself for the other. I was clearly told that I needed to trust and allow myself to be used as a channel in this instance, as he needed it.
As I allowed the energy to flow through me, underneath the defence mechanisms I had begun to identify in Simon, I perceived a fragile child. The adult Simon was extremely fixated on sex, his prowess, performance and number of previous partners, but what I understood from this healing was that he may have had a lot of sex in his life, but there had been very little love. I told him this and he responded that he had never felt love for anyone, although he had faked it a few times to get what he wanted from people. I felt repulsed although at the same time the child part of Simon was so vulnerable I also felt a lot of compassion for him. The energy flow came to an end and I gathered my things together and left.
I came home and meditated. Suddenly it was like the veil that had been hiding the full picture, albeit by this time in tatters, completely fell away and my Guides came in and led me on a journey. They took me to a clearing, laid me down and began extracting stuff from my body – a dead flounder came out of my heart plus various black barbs. In my sacral a black snake was drawn out, very carefully and very lovingly by angelic beings. They bound it in light as it was extremely vicious, hissing and would bite if given half a chance. Then they removed the eggs it had laid in my womb area. Now fully cleared, a fire and glowing golden energy came to fill the spaces.
A child appeared aged around 2-3. I recognised it as the vulnerable child part of Simon I had seen while giving him the healing earlier; in other words a soul-part which had split off at a time when great trauma would have been experienced by him. The angelic beings gently took him to a place where he would be safe and looked after until, or if, Simon ever did the work to heal himself and claim it back.
I was then shown a medusa-type being; a dark entity occupying Simon’s energy field and remembered the dream I had had about the woman with dreads, as well as the gorgon Simon had told me about that morning. I was told that she reproduced through sexual interaction, hence the vicious black snake that had just been taken out of me.
I was also told that if he didn’t get rid of it, it would eventually rob him of everything and take him over completely. He would then fully be the master manipulator he was on his way to becoming. I realised at that moment that this entity was slowly taking the remainder of his personal power, which had been compromised by the abuse and trauma he would have experienced as a child. This shattered and fragmented part of him alongside the emptiness and abandonment he must have experienced left a sizeable hole in his energy field, which was filled by the dark entity. Furthermore I saw why he needed to manipulate others because he had to steal power/energy from them rather than it emanating from his true place of power in the body (the sacral) compromised by the events of his childhood and filled by the gorgon.
First of all, after seeing and feeling all this, I felt a strong angry reaction; like oh my god you’re a narcissist – get away from me you bastard, you are using me completely. I became an expert very quickly – reading many articles and blog posts – also watching podcasts by psychologists etc. Most of them warned against these ‘damaging’ & ‘dangerous’ people who live among us and gave various identifying behaviours, then blamed the narcissist – it was clear that it was all their fault and the ‘darling lovely’ empaths (their natural partners from the opposite polarity) – clearly the victims here from most of what I read – kept giving and giving, so full of compassion.
Healing & Insights
But. Having been involved in my own conscious growth for 25 years, although I feel that part of the healing process is to vent, blame and point the finger (just don’t get stuck there) my instinct is always to go within and have a look at my own patterns of behaviour that I am being shown by the universe, for it is here that the real healing and empowerment lie – in taking responsibility for my own part in the dynamic.
I have already mentioned my tendency to sacrifice part of myself for the partner in my life, putting a lot of energy into their life at cost to my own. So I sat with that fact for a while. According to all the stuff I had read, at crunch time, most narcissists will drop you completely and then most likely turn up at some point to try and get you back. Even though I had ended it, I found myself waiting for him to turn up and (when I prodded my shadow a bit more) I was actually looking forward to it.
You think I liked admitting that to myself? So I was getting something from this, not just a hapless victim after all. As I sank deeper into the depths of myself over the following days and weeks, I saw my own childhood wounding; my own need to be loved playing itself out, my desire to be indispensable to someone else so I could feel important, among other stuff in the mix. Once again I saw how our individual behaviour patterns attract each other and interlock, so we can have an opportunity to heal ourselves and find the middle ground.
So I have shed more than a few tears in the aftermath of this learning process I have undergone. I have cried for the fact that narcissism comes from a shattering in childhood; often from abuse meted out by care-givers that those children had to survive. The child underneath was exposed to shame and humiliation to such a degree that they had to build a false self or set of false selves to cover over their learned belief in their inherent badness.
I have cried for myself and the patterning of sacrifice I have recognised within me, as well as the sexual violence I suffered. I have cried for all empaths who give and give and can’t see that they need to address their own childhood wounding to find the balance and healing they seek. And I have cried for the pain in the world that everyone carries – that it has come to this on our beautiful planet.
I feel that it is important to acknowledge and feel our pain, both individual and collective as a part of the healing journey; the path back to wholeness. But it is equally as important to balance that with love, joy and celebration. What I celebrate is the growing consciousness I see around me and in my own life, because it is only in expanding our consciousness that we can identify all parts of the picture for ourselves. It is through that identification that those mini-lightbulb moments occur lighting the path to our own self-empowerment, which in turn ripple outwards, touching and changing all of us for the better.