In all my years of guiding others through narcissistic abuse recovery, I’ve seen some dangerous advice. Everywhere I look, it seems there is a teacher or author who promises rapid healing, wholeness, balance, and the complete annihilation of trauma triggers for the rest of your life.
But here’s the truth — recovery from narcissistic abuse is not easy, nor is it linear, fast, or permanent.
Recovery is exhausting, challenging, and forces you to question everything you thought you knew about yourself. Anyone telling you otherwise is promoting spiritual bypassing rather than genuine recovery.
Emotional abuse triggers don’t vanish overnight. Plus, the world is filled with toxic and narcissistic people.
We can’t avoid the “bad guys” and isolate ourselves in a pseudo-spiritual bubble forever.
That’s not true healing — when we engage in practices that bypass our humanity, we’re just dissociating and neglecting real recovery.
If you’re ready for some raw and real truths, keep reading because genuine recovery from narcissistic abuse is possible if you’re prepared to tackle the deep spiritual challenge.
What is Spiritual Bypassing and Why is It Dangerous?
Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist John Wellwood first coined the term “spiritual bypassing” in the early 80s, defining it as the “tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks.”
Some may call the westernized yoga industry a broad-form spiritual bypass because it capitalizes on yoga for profit and removes the true spiritual aspect of the practice.
Buying a $200 yoga mat made with child labor to nail the perfect pose isn’t exactly spiritual or self-aware — especially if you walk out of the studio and into Starbucks where you treat the worker poorly for messing up your drink.
People feel self-righteous and tell themselves they’re living a spiritual life but their spirituality can sometimes be devoid of any self-reflection and improvement. They’re not working on changing the negative material conditions of society or themselves.
In terms of narcissistic abuse recovery, spiritual bypassing is dangerous because you end up ignoring your human condition in favor of some grandiose pseudo-spiritual journey.
All the positive psychology in the world can’t dig anyone out of poverty and it can’t help you avoid a future abusive relationship either. We must acknowledge our faulty programming, accept it, and change it if we want to overcome narcissistic abuse.
You can’t go around the emotional, spiritual, and mental shortcomings that allowed you to tolerate the abuse. You must work through them to improve yourself and the dysfunctional programming you were indoctrinated into.
6 Types of Spiritual Bypassing Holding Back Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
It’s hard to put your finger on your own spiritual bypassing but you may see it in others.
When you’re in the throes of a spiritual bypass, you can’t see it happening. It’s as if the spirituality blinds you to the truth.
When you look at someone else going through a spiritual bypass, however, it makes you cringe because it’s so obvious they’re overcompensating for something — just like those jokes about men who drive big trucks and rev their engine at every stoplight.
Here are a few types of spiritual bypassing I’ve noticed in my years of experience in narcissistic abuse recovery.
Positive psychology can be an effective way to change negative thought patterns. But, it’s usually not the best place to start for anyone wanting to heal from narcissistic abuse.
We’ve all seen someone on Facebook posting about “good vibes only.” Many of us are guilty of this one ourselves sometimes because it’s an easy (yet sometimes unhealthy) coping tool.
While positive psychology can be useful with balance, it’s dangerous as a wholehearted philosophy because it encourages you to repress important so-called negative emotions.
But in truth, you shouldn’t repress emotions like anger, sadness, and grief. They’re normal!
Sure, acting on anger with aggression or violence is wrong, but acknowledging you’re angry is healthy.
The world has plenty of negative people, places, and things. We don’t need to let the negativity control us, but ignoring it is just as bad.
If everyone adhered to the “good vibes only” ideology, no one would try to fix problems like starvation, poverty, and inequality because they’d all have blinders on. Attempting to use “good vibes only” as a way to heal from narcissistic abuse is just as fruitless.
“Maybe You Should Look in the Mirror”
There may be some truth in the idea that what you dislike in others is an unrecognized trait that you dislike in yourself. But, it’s not as black-and-white as some of the so-called gurus are telling you it is.
The “you hate in others what you hate about yourself” ideology is one of the most dangerous types of spiritual bypassing because it’s rooted in victim-blaming.
Let’s get it straight: Self-reflection is good. Looking at toxic situations or your own harmful behaviors and asking yourself “how did I get here and what can I do differently to avoid it?” is healthy.
Looking at narcissistic abuse and saying “maybe I’m the manipulative one” is not recovery. It keeps you stagnant and opens the door to future abuse. Too many people who’ve been on the receiving end of emotional abuse, especially long-term abuse, chalk up their defense mechanisms as being narcissistic. In turn, they feel they should forgive the true narcissist in their lives and overlook genuinely abusive behaviors.
When you recognize a person’s behaviors as abusive, that doesn’t mean that you, too, are abusive. It’s most likely righteous indignation and it can be a powerful weapon of positive change, but you need to know how to harness and use it.
The Law of Attraction
“You attract what you put out.” The law of attraction is another type of spiritual bypassing rooted in victim-blaming.
No one attracts narcissists and abuse. It’s not your fault for winding up in an abusive relationship, regardless of whether it’s a partner, friend, or family member.
But it is your responsibility to learn and grow from the experience so you can stop repeating the same patterns of dysfunctional relationships. You’re not “attracting narcissists” – you’re experiencing repetition compulsion by clinging to a familiar dynamic.
That said, narcissists are experts at finding and creating a good supply. They use manipulation tactics to build one-sided emotional bonds, test your limits, and take you for all you’ve got.
That’s why narcissistic abuse recovery is so important, especially learning how to create and maintain boundaries even when it’s tough. Most often, narcissists won’t let their true selves show until they have you in vulnerable positions. Because of this, learning to create and maintain boundaries is a non-negotiable for empaths and sensitive people who feel they need to save the narcissist(s) in their lives at all costs.
If you have your boundaries figured out – and actually use them – you don’t have to worry about being taken advantage of by narcissistic people. And you can focus on using the Law of Attraction for the good things in life.
“Everything Happens for a Reason”
Boy, it’s sure easy to remove all your personal power with this one, isn’t it?
Meeting the narcissist was simply your destiny. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet another one someday and get stuck in the same cycle. Everything happens for a reason, right?
While it’s healthy to look at abuse as a learning experience, the goal should be to develop tools so you can avoid future abusive situations. The whole idea behind being the target of narcissism is to learn to say no and to take up for yourself. At some point, you should be able to implement boundaries in your relationships. Not throw your hands up in the air as if being the target of a narcissist is simply the hand you’ve been dealt in life.
This is a common reaction from Empaths who are having a hard time leaving the narcissist in their lives. They don’t consider the possibility that they entered into a relationship with a narcissist in order to have a particular transformative experience, or to learn to say no. We like to think that living from the heart, being totally in a space of love and affinity can only be good; that it can never be wrong or bad. But one must also truthfully ask themselves: is it balanced? Is it healthy?
Unfortunately, the common undercurrent with many empaths is that they often heal others to their own detriment, which is very unhealthy. This is why throwing your hands up in resignation as though narcissistic abuse is just your lot in life is one of the most disempowering things you can do to yourself.
You can only be strong when you don’t need anyone
Today’s so-called spiritual message is that you can only be strong and powerful when you get to a place where you don’t need anyone in your life.
Humans are not designed to be alone. We are pack animals. Some evolutionary psychologists speculate that as humans evolved, they learned that being part of a group gave them a higher chance of survival. Being separated from the tribe could literally mean certain death. For this reason, we have powerful emotional forces telling us that we need to be with others in order to survive and thrive.
Does that mean to allow toxic people to remain in your life? Does it mean going right back into dating after leaving a narcissist? Not at all.
It means that you shouldn’t force yourself to be lonely thinking you are on the way to achieving ultimate healing and enlightenment.
It means only letting people in your inner circle who cherish and respect you. If that means you have to be alone for a while as you shed toxic people and situations, then so be it. When you do this, you make space for good people in your life. You make space for healing and transformation.
Sometimes, as you leave toxic people and relationships behind, you will find yourself alone for a while. That’s okay. It feels bad, yes…but it’s part of your transformation. It gives you time and space to make friends with yourself and reflect on how to do life differently.
But, don’t believe the hype that you should block love and relationships out of your life because you have the false belief that you can only become strong alone.
When you finally escape a relationship with a narcissist (whether it be a spouse, parent, or friend), it’s common to throw yourself into the other end of the spectrum with spiritual individualism.
People have their own problems to work on, and you have yours. End of story.
We don’t live in vacuums. Our actions impact other people and vice versa.
An important part of recovery is understanding interdependence and how to grow with other people — not in spite of or without them. Not all people come to pilfer and destroy. Some people come to restore.
Focusing on Forgiveness
Holding a grudge is no way to live.
That said, part of overcoming narcissistic abuse involves admitting that you forgive people too easily.
How many times did you forgive the narcissist for shaming you, making you feel worthless, and using you as a doormat? Probably more than you could possibly count, right?
Most survivors of narcissistic abuse have a problem with people-pleasing. Many of us just want to make people happy — often at the expense of our own emotions.
For someone recovering from narcissistic abuse, this mentality is dangerous.
Instead, we need to learn to express our emotions in healthy ways. We need to learn how to speak up when we’re hurt and enforce boundaries.
Forgiveness will come naturally with time as you recover. Forcing forgiveness just to feel enlightened and self-righteous only does more damage as a form of spiritual bypassing.
How to Work Through True Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
You can’t go up, over, or around narcissistic abuse recovery — the only way to go is straight through.
True recovery is messy.
You’ll have to face emotional triggers head-on. You’ll have to accept boundaries are healthy — no matter how hard it hurts to enforce them. You’ll be forced to experience a range of emotions: joy, sadness, grief, freedom, anger, shame, loneliness.
Emotions are good, normal, and healthy even when it doesn’t feel that way.
If you don’t allow yourself to work through and process these emotions, you’ll never fully recover. Using a psychedelic blast-through and spiritual bypassing just puts a bandage on a gaping wound: You may not see it but it will get infected and come back to bite you later.
How To Get Started On The Stages of Healing After Narcissistic Abuse
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Zdroj : https://kimsaeed.com/2020/02/18/6-types-of-spiritual-bypassing-holding-back-your-abuse-recovery/