As my boundaries grow stronger, I’m better able to deflect the negativity of others. Before, I absorbed it, and radiated it back to those closest to me. Oh what a joy I was to be around.
Now, when someone lashes out at me, it feels like a warning: back up, this is not someone you want to be bothered with. Back then, it was a challenge: who can be more of an asshole. My money’s on me. Sure you want to test the theory?
God, I was so negative.
I can see my own past behavior in these people, and I get a glimpse of how sick I’ve really been. It’s like they are holding up a mirror reflecting back to me my past self. That’s how I came off to the world. No wonder no one liked me.
It’s because I took everything so personally. Realizing not everything is about me? Priceless.
When people say narcissists “think everything is about them”, I never connected with that. They make it sound so enjoyable.
It’s a curse. It’s exhausting to be worried about what everyone thinks of you all the time. Ironically, I honestly feel more selfish now, not considering what everyone else thinks about everything I do. Probably because I was trained to think everyone else’s thoughts, feelings and opinions were more important than my own. But it’s so freeing not to have your self esteem hanging on it.
Here’s how I thought: Of course it was about me – maybe they didn’t like me, didn’t respect me, didn’t recognize my authority/intelligence/good taste/talent/expertise or had some grand secret plot to ruin my day for reasons unknown.
But maybe it’s just not. If it’s really not about me, it doesn’t affect my mood. I also then have no reason to be mean to that person. In fact, maybe I’ll even be nicer, since they seem to be having a bad day.
When I don’t take things personally, I’m much friendlier. I think, wow, that guy seems to be in a bad mood, hope it’s nothing serious like his mother dying.
Seriously. Had you thought of that? I never had, and if I’m being totally honestly, I really didn’t care what was going on with that random guy. I just need what I need from you, so please make it happen.
And one of the most amazing parts of depersonalizing other people’s actions — it cuts down on the obsessing. If it’s not about me, I have less to obsess over. My mind feels so much clearer and I can better focus on important things like my kids.
When you stop personalizing other people’s actions, you become happier. You’re also more pleasant to be around and people respond well to that.
Empathy and boundaries – two things I’m learning. In this instance they’re kind of working together.