Do you forgive a mad dog?
The trap of forgiveness makes us believe that we are done recognizing what has harmed and deformed us as children. So we no longer strive to become conscious of it and to work it out-not only for ourselves but also to not repeat abusive, hurtful, or unkind behaviors with our own children.
quote fromThe Trap of Forgiveness by Barbara Rogers, author of "Screams from Childhood"
Henri Nouwen says, "Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all of us love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour -- unceasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family."
Which one is true?
Most people who deal with a Narcissist soon find out they are like the story of Ber Rabbit and the Tar Baby - the N leaves his or her sticky tarry fingers on you. Most people can ignore them. Ignore them at your own risk and peril! The N is constantly projecting his sickness onto others. The N projects his or her vision - reality - onto others so that they will mirror the N's inner turmoil. Most Ns are charming. They will manipulate, cajole, compliment you till they feel they have you in their power. What they want is for you to agree with them, then they want you to go along with whatever they say and do.
You may find yourself feeling ill at ease, off center, after being with a N. They make you doubt yourself - in so many subtle ways. Or you may feel wonderful because they have charmed you. They want you to feel dependent on them, on their approval. If you are intimately involved with one, you may find they will use you and then throw you away, then they will come back and do it again.
The harm they do may be overt or covert. If you start playing their game, you will probably loose, because you need professional training to deal with the mental ill. You also need to be aware of your own weaknesses and strengths, and have good boundaries. If you can concentrate on the thought that you are dealing with a 'spoiled child' then you may succeed. But do not expect them to change. If they do change, it just means they are trying another tact.
When and if you react in anger at the N, you are also playing their game. They want a reaction from you. Ignoring them, or completely shutting them out is one tactic they hate (think spoiled child). If they have harmed you in some way, in your professional or personal life, you may find it difficult to forgive them. Why should you? According to Alice Miller, you will be hurting yourself again if you do forgive them.
You may have compassion for them - just as you would feel terrible for a wild animal that attacks. The wild animal is doing what is natural. A N has a limited range of human feelings, only thinks of themselves, therefore is forever locked in his or her own hell. They will never know true human emotions - they may fake them. The only person who exists on the N planet is themselves. Don't feel sorry for them. Don't forgive them. Learn as much as you can about mental illness. Give them a wide berth. Protect yourself.
Forgive yourself, and get professional help if need be. Don't be a victim.