Bridget Morris and Lisa West discuss the importance of emotional distancing and why it is critical for those under the stay-at-home order to practice it.
Sharing a Space
It is difficult to physically distance yourself from a NARC if you share the same physical space. The NARC will use this mandatory isolation to intensify his plays, and so the added stress of the NARC’s behavior, coupled with the current global anxiety everyone may be facing, will cause strain on your mental health.
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Britt and Lisa define emotional distancing as “putting space between your emotions and the NARC’s actions”; this means not allowing the NARC’s behavior to evoke anger, distress, or sadness. The NARC is executing plays to gain control of your emotions so that he can have power over you.
A tool that assists in emotional distancing is the NBG Pause: the ability to pause in the midst of chaos and internalize your response, regardless of what may be occurring externally. Britt describes emotional distancing as “becoming the CEO of your emotions”. It is a mechanism that helps you determine whether or not you need to execute a counterplay.
Some of the NARC’s Plays
Britt and Lisa describe four of the NARC’s plays: the Conflict Creator play, the Ignorer play, The Shamer play, and the Blamer play. The NARC may engage in a mix or combination of some or all of these plays at any given moment. Like the NARC, the target can also engage in a mix or combination of the counterplays. Britt and Lisa share examples of the NARC’s plays from their past experiences, what not to do, and the counterplays they could have used.
Even after healing from narcissistic abuse, it is important not to forget your experiences to avoid falling back into the same or similar relationships in the future. With a NARC, the relationship is one-sided and only their needs are met, whereas healthy relationships are two-sided.
Lisa shares how she struggled with self-care after leaving a NARC, which is a critical step in healing. She describes coming to the realization that she had an obligation to take care of herself for her children’s best interest. Everyone has an obligation to their friends and family to live the best life they can so they continue to be here, Lisa says.
Helping Your Children
Having children is a catalyst to figure out your situation: you don’t want them to suffer so you’ll do what is necessary to ensure that they do not. A child of a NARC will always have some sort of relationship with the NARC, and it is essential that they acquire the skills to love themselves because they are not exempt from the NARC’s plays. Taking ownership of your behavior through the NBG Pause and emotional distancing can have a positive impact on your children; they learn by what we do, not what we say.
Using one of the provided game cards, Britt and Lisa describe the Shamer play. The NARC attempts to make you feel ashamed or guilty for an insignificant common action or statement that you make, and/or your needs.
How is Emotional Distancing as Healthy as Social Distancing
The question of this episode is: ‘How is emotional distancing as healthy as social distancing?’ They answer by making a parallel between the separation needed to prevent infection, and the separation between your emotions and the NARC’s actions needed to prevent the NARC’s behavior from taking effect. You need to take accountability for your actions and be mindful of the impact your words can have. Even though you are frustrated, it does not mean you need to project it on someone else. Social distancing is still awkward, but it is becoming our new normal, and emotional distancing will be the same way.
Britt and Lisa’s prayers are with those suffering from narcissistic abuse as well as the coronavirus. They implore listeners to keep in contact with their loved ones, and to reach out to those who may be in need.