Healing Despite Injustice
How many of you have experienced the emotional invalidation and psychological destruction of a narcissistic relationship, only to have the narcissistic person just sashay into the sunset – with a new partner, with family stepping in to care for them later in life, having their stolen business idea succeed and not sharing the success, with little care about how their behavior affected anyone else. Rumination is one of the greatest barriers to healing from narcissistic abuse, and survivors, and the issue that is most ruminated about is the injustice. Many survivors feel that it is hard to feel whole or to even move forward in the face of the injustice. The rumination and the injustice and the subsequent stuckness can significantly impede healing. You obsess over it. You think about it. You can’t let it go. It can feel like they “get away with it” – whatever “it” may be in your situation – and the injustice is that narcissistic and toxic often do. The lack of justice or even fairness, is challenging, and many people mentally hold on to these relationships and hope that the karmic scales will be set straight.
Survivors desperately want justice, but what do you do when it feels like it doesn’t come?
The utter injustice of being gaslighted, invalidated, dismissed, lied to, manipulated, devalued, and criticized, and watching the perpetrator of this behavior feel no negative feelings and experience little consequence can feel insurmountable. Many survivors feel that healing would be easier if there was some kind of retribution. This month is about learning that whether there is “justice” or not – healing is possible (and even when there is justice, that is still not a guarantee of healing). Our systems aren’t designed to deliver “justice” for narcissists, narcissism is not against the law, and neither is emotional abuse (hit a person = assault; emotionally abuse someone for decades = you are told there are two sides to every story). And the lack of empathy means that there isn’t even the interpersonal justice of your hurt or experience being recognized.
Our systems reward manipulators, entitled people, and bullies. Your cheating partner may quickly move into a new relationship, your abusive father may have created a new family with a new partner and new children, your entitled and manipulative friend may find a nice person to marry. Injustice may come from the blame-shifting that is always a part of narcissistic relationships. When things in their lives go wrong, they will blame everyone around them, from “backstabbing” friends to “ungrateful” family members for making them look bad. Waiting for justice is like waiting for a bus that is never going to arrive so learning to heal without it is essential.
And the grand irony is that narcissistic people walk around the world proclaiming that nothing is fair to them, spending lifetimes exacting vengeance on others, and living in their own victimhood. The hypocrisy of them demanding justice, even when others are experiencing their abuse, can feel confusing and enraging.
This month won’t be easy, injustice is one of the most vexing aspects of healing from narcissistic abuse. Our nervous systems don’t do well with injustice – it is the ultimate cognitive dissonance. The ultimate antidote to the injustice is when a survivor finally and unabashedly lives authentically as themselves and not in service to the narcissistic person(s) in their lives. Ultimately the justice is found in yourself, but it takes a minute to get there.