Healing a Heart During the Holidays
Going Home for the Holidays When Home No Longer Exists
Those of us who are in recovery from a long relationship with a person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) know how hard the holidays can be. But I have discovered a new layer of challenges.
We are the new homeless.
Make no mistake, the plight of the “unsheltered” (the newly rebranded and preferred term) is profoundly and systemically one that deserves compassion and concern. Those who find themselves, in increasing and alarming numbers, without shelter face another existential crisis. Most of us are only a couple of paychecks or one serious accident or major health event from financial crisis, so becoming “unsheltered” is not too far fetched for any of us these days. Every human deserves the dignity and safety of a place to call home and shelter, regardless of how they ended up in such a condition.
So without diminishing the original homeless population who are now the “unsheltered” demographic, I think I’d like to co-opt that term for those of us in the process of attempting to survive and thrive after narcissistic abuse.
We are the post narcissistically abused discarded, and we are homeless in every possible definition of the word.
A few days ago, I returned to Austin, Texas to visit my oldest son and his family as well as a few close friends. I was positive about the experience, eager to see everyone, and excited to sink my teeth into some great Texas tacos and BBQ — not something they do so well in the Bay area where I now live.
I picked up my rental car and jumped onto 290 heading toward family, food trucks, and the many things I have come to love about Austin after calling it home for so long. It didn’t take over 5 minutes before that familiar feeling of a giant invisible force snatching me up and slowly squeezing the life out of me began. You know the one. Your chest tightens up like an elephant is sitting on it, your breath won’t come, your heart races like you’re having a heart attack. Out of nowhere. Blindsided. Just like their departure. Just like the hundreds if not thousands of anxiety attacks you’ve had since they’ve been gone. You don’t even know what triggered it. It just comes, and the rest is…