The Process of Healing

It all started the day she humiliated me in my home for the last time.  It was at one of my children’s birthday parties if you can believe it.  After everyone left, I heard God say to me, “There is nothing you could ever do or say that will ever make her love you.”  And … I broke.  This was the beginning of healing for me.

The first ten years, I struggled, thinking I was the only one with such a mother.  It was after those ten years that I confronted my family of origin (father and siblings) with my mother’s abuse – the result of that was going full and strict no contact.  I was done being abused by my mother by proxy and being smeared and vilified all the time.

The process of healing really started for me just after breaking ties with all family of origin, and it started with coming across the term, NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) only four years ago.  Reading on it was like reading a detailed outline of my mother – her character and her actions!!  It was like blinders had been removed from my eyes and having a boulder lifted from my shoulders when I realized that the abuse was and is not my fault and never was!  For the first time in ten years, which was four years ago, I felt like I might finally be able to heal – but this knowledge, although insanely helpful, was not enough in itself. And so, the next step was primarily having to do with changing my thinking and this is the scripture passage which helped me in leaps and bounds …

“Rejoice in the Lord, alway: and again I say, Rejoice. …
Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God,which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”   ~ Philippians 4:4,6-9       {italics and bold text mine}

whatever lovely

Healing from this kind of abuse is tedious and arduous.  Extremely arduous.  But if we are conscientious about what we mull around in our heads, it can be done.  I know, because I have done it.  This is what worked for me.

Very often, victims associate even their name with the abuse.  For me, hearing my birth name in my head even made me feel bad about myself – just the name.  Anything accusatory just made it worse!  It was awful – it was like living in an internal prison of hell of which there was no escape.  Just hearing my name would remind me of how despised, unloved and worthless my abusive mother made me feel.  Changing my thinking was very, very difficult.  And that is when the Lord planted in me the desire to change my given names (both first and middle.)  And I prayed about it for some time still before I talked to my husband about it.  (I am so thankful for such a supportive husband – he knew I needed this!)  I know this is not a route many will take or can take – but for me, it was very necessary as well as very healing, in due time.  There were just too many negative associations with it.  So, about three and a half years ago – with the help of a dear friend – I chose a new name that reflected ‘me’ more than the name I had been born with.  I did this about three and a half years ago.

Changing my name was a big deal as I had it legally changed.  Documentation had to be changed; for instance, my birth certificate, driver’s licence, passport, legal documents, wills, insurances – it all had to be changed – and it wasn’t cheap – but it was worth it for me and I don’t regret it one little bit.  I love my new name.  (It also takes those you know about two years or so to get used to calling you by a new name too – and longer if they don’t see you often.)  I will also say that the name change was not the ‘immediate magical solution’ and I didn’t expect it to be – it was just the beginning.  Over time, the new name did make it much, much easier for me to drown out my mother’s ugly and accusatory voice in my head that pretty much ran non-stop.  It still took work and being very conscientious of my thoughts to keep kicking her voice and accusations, rants and lies out of my head.  It took time.  It did not happen overnight – but I was determined to be persistent.  I will say though that I noticed some difference after about two weeks and considerable difference after about a month.  And still I kept going.  And when any of those negative accusations and lies entered my head I had to consciously choose to not think on those things and choose to replace the lies and accusations with things I knew about myself that were good and true, I’d replace those things with things that were lovely, just, of good report, of things that were true and pure – many a time God’s Word was my focus as it is absolute truth.  It helped greatly, I know, having the Lord on my side – having the Holy Spirit in me to help me and guide me – as this is no easy task.  Like I said, it took me being very conscientious of my thoughts.

In healing my thoughts and thus my heart and mind, I also had to keep telling myself that I was not and am not who she said I was – as I had even believed those lies.  I believed them because I thought, ‘Who would know me better than my own mother?!’  Was I ever wrong!  The absolute truth was that she never knew me at all – not even a little bit.  So even those lies had to be conscientiously torn down and replaced with truth.

Battling the lies and accusations in my mind not only had to be dealt with – but I also had accept the fact that this family (my family of origin) was no longer a part of my life – which, very surprisingly, was not that difficult.  They made me their scapegoat.  They made me out to be the villian (when I was the one actually victimized and vilified.)  From as early as I can remember, I always felt like I was on the outside looking in – so its no wonder that I always felt like the black sheep, the ‘odd one out.’  I never really felt part of them.  And so, breaking ties with them was not as devastating as I expected it to be – probably because the peace and calm that followed was also unexpected – but I basked in it – joyfully.  It turned out that there weren’t a whole lot of great memories to revisit.

I am so thankful that I have a family in Christ and my own little family of a great husband and our three great kids who I love dearly and have loved deeply and greatly more than I ever was.  So I made a conscious choice to not live in the past – to not visit there (good or bad) if you know what I mean.  Instead, I have poured my energy into knowing who I really am – who God has made me to be – as well as being a better woman, wife and mother than my abusive mother ever was – all for His glory!  This drive was strong as my deepest desire was and is to pass on a much better and healthier legacy than the one I was given.  The only thing my mother ever taught me was ‘what not to do’ and ‘who not to be.’

When I omitted my mother from my life about 14 years ago, the Lord gave me two visions.  In the first one, He let me know how much He so valued me – that He would look after me and that no one could snatch me from His hand.  (John 10:28)  He said to me, “Even though your father and mother forsake you, I will never forsake you.”  (It would be three years after that before I found this verse in Scripture – Psalm 27:10)  In the second vision which was within that same month, He let me know these things again – this time reassuring me that omitting my mother was ‘okay.’  He said He’d look after me, and He has!!!

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised …”  ~ Jesus  (Yeshua) Luke 4:18

These things has He done for me – He made me His through preaching of the gospel, He healed my broken heart and muddled mind, He delivered me from my captive (my abusive mother), He removed the blinders so I could see the truth that the abuse was not my fault – and He set me free from ever having my heart or mind from ever being bruised again … and I know He has this in mind for you too!

~ Saoirse Quill


4 thoughts on “The Process of Healing

  1. Thank you so much for this. Your posts have been incredibly similar to my own experiences. I even read your post ‘Choosing Sides’ to my husband and then separately to my kids. Each one’s response was ‘Did you write that?’. We were stunned to have the words for so much of what I had been going through. It has been so incredibly painful, but now that I am on the other side of the decision to go no contact, I am so relieved and happy. So much of my thoughts were geared toward trying to explain the situation and the sick dynamics of my narcissistic mother and her flying monkeys. Now, I am so free! I am certain I will wrestle with the ‘what ifs’ from time to time, but I have finally identified Satan’s desire to wreck me with this and I love the Lord to much to ruin his amazing creation of me. I have chosen to focus on the blessings in my life!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I am still always amazed at how similar so many of our stories can be. This is why I write … to validate the abuse and to help folk see the truth so that it may set them free, that they can find vibrancy in life again. Satan loves to destroy … God loves to restore.

      In my experience, trying to explain to mutual relations and friends about a narcissistic mother and her enablers (flying monkeys) is a lost cause. All we can do is know the truth for ourselves and accept that it is what it is – this for me was part of the healing too. Being free of all of it really is a blessing.

      ~ Saoirse

  2. You’re correct, they never knew us or cared to know us. I recall so many Christmas gifts that made it obvious my mother didn’t know me. Even once when I was much younger, everything my older sister (preferred child) received for Christmas fit, was her style, etc. Complete opposite for me, NOTHING fit, only one thing was my style in all the clothing and shoes. When I was 21, it was the last holiday I spent with my NM or Nsister, and NM bought me a bunch of silly/tacky socks- I had gone through a phase when I was THIRTEEN of wearing fun socks, but that ended by the time I was 15! Even still, they weren’t my style had I still been in that phase. I’m a very thankful and grateful person, so I was nice about it and kept my mouth shut instead of calling her out on it- all that would have happened had I done that is she would have cried hysterically in front of everyone (including her fiance she’d been with for all of maybe 4-5 months by that point) for sympathy, claiming how hard she tried and how ungrateful and mean of me; not worth it!

    1. Pheonix ~

      I hear ya! It’s like they really don’t see us at all. My mother had this idea in her head of who I was and I was nothing like the person she had in there. I recall my sisters being able to be adventurous in discovering their ‘style’ and being able to do wild things with their hair (colouring and bleaching) – but I wasn’t allowed. She didn’t let me do wild things with my hair and when I tried to develop my own sense of style, I was ridiculed. She bought clothes that reflected her idea of me which wasn’t me at all. And like you – I chose to be grateful for getting something than nothing at all, even though much of the clothes she bought me just hung in my closet unworn. Some I wore because they were all I had – but they in no way reflected who I was or my own sense of style. When in relationship with narcissistic mothers (especially as a teen) it really isn’t worth rocking the boat. Too painful.

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