When I was removing from narcissistic abuse from an ex-girlfriend, I made the huge mistake that almost everyone makes. This mistake prevented me from overcoming the trauma of narcissistic abuse. But then I found the key to healing from traumatic experiences, which I want to share with you today.
Why Paper Beats Narcissism Where Baseballs Cannot
This concept saved me from a dark place. In physics, they say every action has “an equal on opposite reaction.” This means that for one body to affect another body, they both have to participate.
Imagine a professional baseball player swinging a bat. They can generate a huge amount of force and knock a baseball hundreds of feet into the bleachers! But, try asking that same player to hit a piece of paper. Try as they might, they will never be able to move it more than a few feet.
Why is this? The paper doesn’t react! No matter how hard you hit it, the paper will go its own way immediately after.
Emotional abuse and trauma work the same way. To experience trauma, we have to participate and react to our abuser’s use of force.
This is HUGE because that means we have total control over the amount of trauma!
What Buddhist Monks Can Teach Us about Overcoming Narcissism
There is a story that I often think about, where a Tibetan Buddhist monk was imprisoned by the Chinese government for decades. During that time, he experienced extremes of deprivation and torture. Yet, years later, when he was asked about what the biggest danger was, he said, “That I might lose compassion for my captors.” And that maintaining compassion had got him through the captivity to freedom.
What the monk’s training and experience had taught him was that controlling his own reactions was more important for overcoming trauma than controlling the people around him.
I don’t say this to insinuate that we should tolerate abuse or not take steps to protect ourselves. To the contrary, I consider doing what you can to insulate yourself to be the first step in every effective recovery program. But that isn’t enough.
The Biggest Mistake People Make When Healing from Narcissism
The huge mistake people make when healing from emotional abuse is that they look outside for relief from trauma. I see this all too often from victims —
- Looking for an apology or closure from their former abuser
- Expecting someone or something to come into their lives and make everything better
- Using their trauma as an excuse not to continue living their lives
You will never be able to fully heal from narcissistic abuse if you look outside yourself for the answers. No amount of reconciliation, angel interventions, or self-isolation will result in you being able to overcome your fears and traumas.
Ultimately we are all responsible for our own emotional healing and for finding people to help us along the way when we get stuck.
For those of you feeling stuck in emotional abuse, the first step is to take an introspective look at your own psyche, and discover what the next step in your personal healing process is.
For help and resources to initiate and transform your personal healing process, see —