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Narcissistic Rejection & Wounding

BY JEN MAKIN, CMHC


Narcissists are master manipulators. They are professionals at making you feel like their behavior is your responsibility. It's a twisty turvy existence. 


A narcissistic wound is different from rejection. Although rejection can cause wounding, they differ.


WOUNDING


When we think of a physical wound, like a gaping gash, we think of the efforts we take to take care of it. We would wash it, dab it dry and put on ointment and/or a covering to protect it from further damage. This is like an emotional wound. 


These wounds can come from:


  • Abuse in every form

  • Mind games

  • Put downs

  • Manipulation 


SAMPLE PLATTER


Mother-Daughter Relationship Wound:


Mother: Your husband has taken a lot of naps on our vacation. Does he not like us?

Daughter: No, he had a really rough week at work and his body is sore. He needs to rest.

Mother: It just seems like he is avoiding it.

Daughter: OK mom. I can talk to him about being more present with the family.


Relationship wound avoided through boundaries:


Mother: Your husband has taken a lot of naps on our vacation. Does he not like us?

Daughter: I am not sure mom, you’ll have to ask him.

Mother: It just seems like he is avoiding it.

Daughter: Hmmm… not sure. I would talk to him if I were you.


Husband-Wife Relationship Wound:


Husband: Have you seen my socks?

Wife: I am not in charge of your crap.

Husband: OK, I just know you were folding them the other day.

Wife: Yes, because I do all the laundry.

Husband: Geez. Seriously? Whatever.


Relationship wound avoided through boundaries:


Husband: Have you seen my socks?

Wife: I am not in charge of your crap.

Husband: Have you seen my socks?

Wife: Obviously not. I am not in charge of them.

Husband: (Silence & continue to look for socks)


ABUSE


In these scenarios, the way to protect oneself is to move away and gray rock the abuse. Sadly, narcissism usually dies down with age. That’s not to say that treafment or another intervention can change  the course of a narcissist’s life, but most narcissists have poor insight and struggle to understand that they are the common denominator in all negative experiences.


The course of time helps them to wake up, grow up and move to a healthier space of existence. Your  best way to avoid the pain of their wounding is to just that. Avoid them as much as possible and create pockets of safety for your own well-being and sanity.


I am not telling you to divorce your spouse or disown your family. I am saying that you have to look deep within yourself, get honest with what you are experiencing and make changes necessary to stay healthy. Be honest if you’re experiencing abuse and reach out for help.


REJECTION


Rejection presents in a relationship as more dismissive interactions such as:


  • Ignoring in person

  • Ignoring on text (leaving you on red)

  • Dismissing your ideas

  • Making you feel small when you speak up

  • Rejecting how you think

  • Gaslighting your experience


SAMPLE PLATTER


These types of behaviors can leave you feeling bewildered and turned around. As you fight to maintain your reality, the narcissist uses all of their efforts to push you back into seeing their perspective only. Your reality, opinion and perspective becomes null and void and the narcissist will make every effort to be heard. 


Over time, you stop feeling like your own person. You become melted into the narcissist as your identity is stripped away over time. You lose precious parts of yourself as you constantly battle to feel seen, heard and validated within the relationship with the narcissist.


These scenarios can manifest in numerous ways:


  • You used to be a runner and now you can hardly get our of bed

  • You received your bachelors degree with high hopes to become a writer, but those dreams are long gone

  • Your world revolves around your narcissist and you lie to yourself to keep going on a daily basis

  • You’ve always had cats but you’ve convinced yourself that they are messy and a nuisance mirroring how your narcissistic husband feels

  • You want to work outside of the home but your ideas are dismissed and your told that you’re unholy, ungrateful and selfish

  • You have always been a Chevy fan but you now prefer Ford  because you didn’t husband has made it clear that your dad brainwashed you into liking Chevy 

  • You realize your dream of becoming a massage therapist and you’re told that your new career is a “joke”


These samples are generalized and you can plug and chug any scenerio, but you get the gist. 


TURNED AROUND


When you finally find your voice and get the courage to stand up for yourself, the narcissist makes you feel crazy. How your feeling isn’t even reality after all.


Martha: Todd, I don’t like when you spend so much time outside of work with your secretary.

Todd: Martha, how do you even know where I am all day? Are you tracking me?


This is an example of rejection.


Even in this tiny interaction, Todd dismisses Martha and changes tooics. He brings up something that has nothing to do with the boundary she is attempting to set. He puts her on the defensive and she walks away from the conversation feeling more confused than before she engaged with him.


The frustration builds as she role played with her therapist for almost the whole session in her last appointment. She’s furious. She allows herself to get angry while driving in her car. Whipping around corners and rolling down the windows to feel the cool air on her stinging cheeks. She gains more strength and goes home to try again.


Wiping her tears, she approaches him again.


Martha: I’m not ok with you hanging out with your secretary outside of work.

Todd. You’re crazy. You have no idea what it takes to run a business. 


This is an emotional wound.


You do everything in your power to hold a boundary, and he wounds you by attempting to feel small. Even if down the road he apologizes, the danger is always under the surface.


Most apologies sound like:


I’m sorry you got your feelings hurt.


This is not an apology. This is not taking accountability for one’s actions. 


Saying:


I’m sorry I said those things to you. It wasn’t ok. I’ll do better in the future.


No one is asking for perfection, just progress. Look for these little tell tale signs that you’re not being validated in your relationship. Validation is the opposite of rejection and wounding. To validate means to acknowledge someone else’s experience without judgment. 


FOOD FOR THOUGHT


Validation starts within. Sometimes, especially as women, we gas light ourselves into thinking something is OK. We lie to ourselves because the truth hurts too much. 


This world is already hard enough. Experiencing safety in relationships is more important now than ever before. We must hear each other, see each other and be the good we want to see. 


See the good. Be the good. 


These dismissive wounds only grow deeper when unattended. We must nurture our spirits and use our voices wisely. Speak up and out and fearlessly take action as needed. The road will be shown as you take the first step.

















































































































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