« Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional » Chapter 2: Narcissistic Wounds and Intrusion

« Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional »

Chapter 2: Narcissistic Wounds and Intrusion

(My article is deeply inspired by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Reading her article on that subject, it was like it had been written for me, confronted I was by this exact situation. See her article here : http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=123559591025862)

Sometimes, we append to be in a very sensitive situation, even more difficult to manage since a close friend, even a member of our family, is at the origin of this situation. It occurs when, for example, a person more or less close of our circle of acquaintances imitates our actions, desires the things we have, or simply wants to know all about us, about our everyday life, how we live, etc….

After all, what could be more normal than a friend, a close relative, interested in us, in our life? What could be more natural, indeed, to share our desires, our ideas, our discoveries, our resources with close relations? This sharing occasion, if it takes place in both ways, establishes usually a healthy symbiosis, in which each prospers and blooms with and thanks to the other one, being actively engaged in the relation. Thus, there is respect of the private life and the difference.

This interrelationship becomes problematic when it becomes a one-way thing. The person in front of us, very often unconsciously, tries finally to look like us, in a more or less direct way, instead of living an existence freely based on his own ideas and desires, according to his true self, deep authentic essence. Therefore, finding no inner inspiration, this person dedicates to observe what the other one seems to do/obtain/wish/possess; and aspires in what he believes the other one possesses, materially and/or spiritually, because he thinks it’s lacking to him…

The relation that establishes the person in demand is not any more a place of sharing but absorption of the other one, « the aura », the approval, the gratitude and the energy of which he desires. It is exhausting to be driven in a relation where one of two persons tries too much frequently to pump the energy and the inspiration of other one, where only one benefits from it; whereas the other one is more and more tired, because there is no support given in return.

The « vampirism » of the situation comes from the intrusive aspect in which enters the relation between both protagonists, one emptying the other one of his substance, his energy, insinuating himself into his life, into his everyday life, into his intimacy… The « vampires » are generally intrusive unintentionally, breaking borders, disregarding limits without even realizing it…

The intrusion is characterized by the fact that one is always in demand, takes more than the other one is capable of offering, and often pushes to an intimacy in which he is not invited. Sometimes, by envy or even jealousy, this person tries to monopolize what is not offered or belong to him. It corresponds exactly to the definition generally admitted: intrusion is the action to get illegitimately into a responsibility, a function, a place, without invitation, without right, without being expected or invited.

Most of the intrusive ones generally refuse to admit themselves such as they are, honestly, and are in total denial, which thus brings them to refuse to change or acknowledge their attitude when someone tells them, not feeling at all any truthfulness about the situation. Trying to put/to redefine healthy limits with an intrusive close one is a particularly difficult mission, quite as to say no to him, because generally, he does not see the other one being separated from himself, living a separated life. He is moreover often surprised, because he considers himself giving a lot, and is often capable of making a long list of what he gives to the other one.

Furthermore, we give a certain place to an intrusive close friend or relative, because we find very often some excuse in his behaviour, being involved emotionally and affectively. We do not want to hurt, to be too rough, we have already tried to discuss the problem, but, because or friend is in denial, all our attempts failed… If instinctively, we know it is necessary to put limits, to keep distance with such an invasion, very often, we find ourselves forced, without knowing what to do more really, nor how taking itself there… If instinctively, we know that it is necessary to put limits, to keep at a distance such an invasion, very often, we find ourselves forced, without knowing what to do, nor how to do it… The intrusion is all the more difficult to manage since instinct and limits of the victim are partially destroyed, or when the victim is himself in position of fragility (material, psychic …). Even for the victim, it is indeed sometimes difficult of acknowledge that his energy was drained off.

The fatigue, which ensues from it, comes because we are exploited and colonized by a person incapable to live in a autonomous way. This person steals our time and energy, wastes them because of his own fragility, steals even pieces of our entity, mentally and spiritually, which belong to our private life, our intimacy. At the risk of seeming hard, if the intrusion becomes permanent and out of proportion, be invaded by others turns into a rape-like feeling, an aggression and a violation of his personal space and intimacy. The situation generates even more fatigue as it seems to be endless.

Indeed, one who spends time desiring and/or imitating someone looks like a bottomless pit: his thirst seems insatiable… Actually, in perpetual demand, taking without giving in return, these persons are also generally persuaded to be appreciated for their presence, while very often, it results from it for the victim of intrusion an instinctive aversion, tired to be requested and forced to give infinitely. If purely by chance, the supplicant (what never arrives, so to speak) asks what could help or please us, and our answer is « nothing », our answer, effectively and completely honest, generates in fact more confusion to him. Why? Because, suffering from a narcissistic wound, this person feels always the need for something. Not going on with his demand, we affect directly his deepest wounds…

One adult interfering into the business of another one, invading his space, and does not seem to acknowledge the other one intimate limits, shows no authentic true self, but a substitute one, impersonated, imitated someone’s. If we can expect, and even understand such intrusive behaviour on behalf of a child, it is because he is simply immature; it is his way to learn and to show what he is capable of. Because of his immaturity and naivety, he does not realize that he will soon want to find his own style, to follow his own way, not in the imitation, becoming a mini-clone of his model, but by developing his own true nature. The child is under development, not the adult. Thus, we do expect from him proof of maturity, and an original inner self.

This essential true self/inner self (in the meaning of the original essence) exists, but still not completely developed, or just deeply hidden, because of obstacles, of blockings due to more or less deep, more or less repeated wounds. These narcissistic wounds, which we all experience more or less painfully during our life, can involve a loss of our personality, when we don’t carefully look after or worse, totally ignored them. A so deep retreat of the authentic inner self creates an immense, painful and violent emptiness within.

Under normal circumstances, an adult is capable of choosing moments and activities that get him rest, reassurance, self-fulfilment, enjoyment… On the other hand, an adult whose narcissistic wounds are profoundly anchored is incapable of it, because he is unconscious of his state, or refuses to acknowledge it. A predatory behaviour follows, intrusive, sometimes even particularly aggressive towards the envied one. For the victim of the intrusive « vampirism » from a close one, the result, as already told, is to be drained of his energy, feeling an immense fatigue.

Being worn-out implies that we need to recover. First of all, it is not so easy of acknowledge, because we have to face a weakness, our own weakness, but also the weakness of other one (and all the consequences coming from that awareness)… Then, « attacks » being ceaseless, as already explained, recovering from these assaults lasts every time more. Moreover, I don’t speak about the fact that we are often lacking in front of exploits and dodges an intrusive one will resort to avoid confrontations of any kind, or to have to hear and understand he needs help…

In front of this kind of situation, to face it correctly, we have to remember two things essential. First, we need to protect ourselves, because once drained of our energy, we can’t any more helping the other one. Then, we need to help and support him, keeping in mind that it is out of pure spite that this person acts like it, but because he is deeply in pain (to go further, see Chapter 3: Narcissistic wounds and path of way-out).


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