Life Happens in the narratives we tell each other.
Budweiser has a way of telling us a story. One of the most successful, and remembered, ad was aired during the 2014 Superbowl. There was a puppy inexplicably drawn to a Clydesdale horse. The puppy escaped it's pen multiple times to be with the horse, and the horse reciprocated its affections. The puppy was persistent and in the end, they were finally together. (Tale as old as time...Romeo and Juliet!)
(watch here) If it doesn't pull at your heartstrings, you're made of stone!
Story-telling affects us where almost nothing else can. It stirs the heart and soul. Ad agencies use it. Businesses use it. Media uses it. My blogging buddies use it in their posts too.
Stories also add personal meaning to our lives.
Humans are inclined to see narratives where there are none because it can afford meaning to our lives, a form of existential problem-solving.
My dad was a tough act to follow in my early years. I used to think, 'What's his story?' He was mostly a mystery. He was a genius (member of Mensa) - that's all I knew up until age 25 when he divulged more.
Stories came out over time about his life. He was trapped inside the wrong body (and gender). He endured physical and psychological abuse from his own dad (I'm glad he never laid a hand on me). Stories of his Vietnam experiences came out (my mom was married to him for 18yrs and never knew). He thought the world of his mom, and told me stories about her.
I saw another side to my dad, and I can't express enough how this changed my thoughts of who he was, and my thoughts of never feeling good enough around him. It changed me.
Stories do that. Stories can heal.
He is a narcissist (not only my definition, but actual diagnosis), which makes me the daughter of a narcissist. At one time in my life I had to heal this...being raised by a narcissist.
I healed through a story I made up about myself. I implore you to do the same. What is a reoccurring theme that seems to hold you back? Past abuse? Past neglect? Past hurt? A shortcoming that haunts you? Instead of creating a story for others, create one for your own benefit and healing.
Here is mine: Daughter of a Narcissist. (in this case I changed it from dad to "queen". You can take liberties with your own story too.)
A little girl raised by a queen would have the best in life. Spoils and wealth beyond ones imagination. The best of everything.
For she could never have better or be better than her queen mother. She didn't dare get the ultimate punishment handed out to those who disrespected the queen- shrunk to the size of an ant or imprisoned by puppet strings. The girl had one rule to live by; never offend the queen and make her mad.
The little girl tried hard to care for the needs of the queen. It was a tall and constant order. She made sure her mother always outshined her. She was quick to turn away any compliments directed at her from others and just as quick to criticize herself.
The queen was quite comfortable in her relationship with her daughter. Her daughter knew just what to do to make the queen happy. She was often goofy, a little chubby, spoke awkwardly, and never did anything too well. The little girl found it easy to just explain away or excuse her jobs well done. Careful not to outshine the queen.
Long after the queen died, and the girl was now grown, she found it difficult not to feel bad for being good or better at anything. But Something deep inside said something was wrong.
Because of her mother's death and absence, naturally the girl, now a woman, went on to care for something else- a bunny.
A wild baby bunny she had rescued from the grips of her mother's old cat. She protected that baby bunny. Protected it from the cat. Fed the bunny from a bottle. Nursed it into a grown, strong and capable, bunny. It seemed she had done very well by the bunny, but being it was a wild bunny, it ran away.
The queens' daughter was sad. She did all she could do for the bunny. It wasn't her fault though. She knew by nursing it to good health, she had been the one to set it free and so she realized she had a right to be taken care of too.
She realized what her mother had done. She knew she would not be free until she cared for herself. She learned to be gentle with herself as she had with the fragile baby bunny. She protected herself from the sneaky people in the world that might prey upon her.
She took care of herself as well as she had taken care of others.
She was able to allow herself to feel glad to be herself. Relax when praised and graciously accept all she deserved. Silently she told her mother that she had grown up and was content with her life and herself. But that now it was time to be set free.
WRITE. YOUR. STORY.
In my story, I began as a young child and ultimately emerged as a healed adult. This storyline tactic is helpful when remedying past hurts (where most of our current issues reside).
There's pretty neat things involved, like forgiveness, healing, and understanding. I re-read this story periodically to remind me how to approach the world now that I'm no longer under the control of a narcissist.
Tell yourself your story as you might tell a kids' nursery rhyme- repeat as needed- memorize as second nature. Use metaphors or analogies for added effects.
You can move past hurdles and mental blocks or ruts you've become accustomed to...because you never changed your story before now! Write it!
I'm passionate about no-nonsense self-improvement. Too many of us are plagued by faulty thought patterns- I aim to change that!