Wherever they go, narcissists are destroyers. Without conscience or psychological boundaries, they head straight for what they want, regardless of the people whom they hurt, wound or destroy. This is particularly painful for family members. The patriarchal grandiose, ruthless narcissist in his role as father and spouse, turns family members against one another, plays favorites openly, is cruel to those who don’t measure up to his standards–meaning they must mirror him perfectly at all times. Narcissistic patriarchs rule with intimidation and threat. As a very young child the son or daughter of a patriarchal narcissist knows the sound of his/her father’s footsteps and terror courses throughout his small body. His mind is racing as he feverishly searches for a place to hide. “What have I done wrong this time?” the child asks himself. Some children of narcissistic parents internalize these feelings of always being wrong, of not being worthy, worthlessness–without value.
With their volcanic rage interrupting any possible peace in the home, the narcissistic patriarch holds on to his throne by instilling deep fear in his spouse and children. Day and night his wife and children are in a state of flight. Their nervous systems are worn down by the constant stress hormones that race through their bodies and the obsessive thoughts that this time dad and husband will lose it completely and decimate all of them.
Surviving this childhood or marriage is truly miraculous. After you are free of the narcissistic patriarch and on your own, there is an essential time for healing, appreciating your true unique nature and acknowledging and using your special gifts. Some victims find that quality psychotherapy helps them to work through the painful legacy of those years of maximum ordeal. There are many practices that will teach you that you are entitled to and can feel safe, secure and calm within yourself. Practicing deep breathing through the nose slows the nervous system and puts you in the parasympathetic mode. Be patient with yourself. Remember you are learning to shift your body from fear and intimidation to calmness, security and a deep feeling of well being.
Gentle yoga with emphasis of breathing through the nose an focusing on doing poses in the moment teaches us to concentrate on what is happening now. As your breath slows down, every system in your body begins to heal. Looking deep within and discovering your special gifts is an essential part of your healing. By working each day on this new cycle in your life you will find yourself changing. Be patient with the pace of this shift in your new self perception. Pay close attention to your intuition. Don’t let the projections of others interfere with your insight. Move forward on your own path, appreciating the beauty of your personal transformation.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.