When Marla went No Contact from her abuser, her flying monkey sister kept saying, “But you never know how long Grandmother is going to live.” It’s true, when someone dies, we mourn them, but what most flying monkeys don’t realize is many survivors of narcissism mourn the loss of relationships every day. Which is worse, to mourn the dead or have no relationship with the living?
Narcissism leaves in its wake the walking dead. This starts with the narcissist who feels jealous or entitled to what other people have and believes they are above the law so they take from and lie about others while they cover up their own abuse. The narcissist is spiritually dead. Then there are the flying monkeys, who carry messages from the narcissist, triangulating with others and failing to do their own thinking. Flying monkeys are often brain dead.
It wouldn’t be so bad if narcissism only affected the narcissist and a few flying monkeys, but when those who are spiritually dead and brain dead get together, through their gossip, lies and triangulation, they can affect even those who have a conscience and brain. Many innocent bystanders often believe their lies and join in shunning the scapegoat because they are not close enough to the survivor to know the truth.
Scapegoating is a creepy game in which everyone pretends like the survivor is dead. To be shut out and ignored or treated as though you are dead is probably one of the cruelest acts of human hate and it’s usually done by family flying monkeys who want to shut the survivor up to protect the narcissist. Remember there is a difference between narc shunning and going no contact. No contact happens because the narc and flying monkeys are unsafe. Shunning and scapegoating happen because the narc wants to bully the survivor and shut them up.
I read a poem once that listed all the things cancer can’t do like ruin friendship and quench the Spirit and I can tell you from experience, while cancer might not extinguish all those things, narcissism will. There is no argument that cancer is an evil scourge, but so is narcissism. I’m not sure which is crueler—losing a loved one to cancer, or being treated as if you are dead while you are still alive by the family you love. Everything cancer can’t do, is easily accomplished by narcissism:
What Narcissism Can Do
Narcissism is unlimited…
Narcissism can cripple love,
Narcissism can shatter hope,
Narcissism can corrode faith,
Narcissism can destroy peace,
Narcissism can kill friendship,
Narcissism can suppress memories,
Narcissism can silence courage,
Narcissism can destroy the soul,
Narcissism can steal eternal life,
Narcissism can conquer the spirit.
Anyone who is a survivor of hidden abuse is fully aware of the evil narcissism can accomplish. No one—not the narcissist, not the flying monkeys, not the innocent bystanders, nor the survivor are immune to this insidious disease which destroys relationships and leaves so many walking dead in its wake.
But narcissism doesn’t always get the last word. The narcissist might be spiritually dead, the flying monkeys might be brain dead and innocent bystanders might be under the illusion that the survivor is dead, but the survivor can stage their own resurrection among the people worthy of their love and attention. Here’s how to do that:
1. Continue to Love
Stay away from your abusers, but continue to love kind and worthy people. The world loves people empathetic to the human condition. Use your loving heart to help other people. You are real, you are honest and you are a good friend. All of these traits will encourage and bring hope to others.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” -C.S. Lewis
2. Use Your Voice
Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2017 celebrates The Silence Breakers, this is proof the world appreciates truth tellers. Keep remembering and telling your truth. The narc and flying monkeys might treat you like you are dead to them, but your voice is a reminder that you are very much alive. As a survivor you can continue to speak out and let your voice be heard. Don’t let the narcissist and flying monkeys steal your voice.
In her Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted, Brené Brown writes:
“We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.
We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.
Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home.
Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhéarted.
We are rising strong.”
3. Find Community
Whether you are dealing with cancer or narcissism—the best indicator for a quality life includes community. As long as you are alive and choose to reach out and connect with other people, neither of these evils can win.
Even if you are cut off and separated from others by the narcissist, you are connected to many others. Don’t let the illusion of feeling alone keep you from finding other like minded survivors. Community brings healing and comfort to our lives.
“One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.” -Haruki Murakami
Allow your pain and authenticity to connect with others going through the same thing. You are not alone, so don’t let yourself feel alone. Reach out to healthy people and get to know them. Do what you can to help others and you’ll receive joy in return. Find other kindred spirits. Get on with living and loving and let the dead bury the dead.