When you are raised by narcissists or toxic people nature versus nurture is not really a debate because both were choatic messes. Nature refers to the genes you inherited and nurture refers to the environment you experienced. Both of these contributing factors need to be addressed in narcissistic abuse recovery.
Nature, being the genes you were born with, is not on your side when you are born into a narcissistic family. Toxic people do not take care of their health on more than a surface level. So being their offspring means you need to address these health issues. Heavy metals, parasites, and gut flora are some of the things that we inherit from our parents that have a large impact on the quality of our lives. All mental disorders are thought to begin in the gut. Cleaning up your microbiome is a great place to start when recovering from narcissistic abuse. Do a heavy metal cleanse, parasite cleanse, and start colonizing the good bacteria in your gut. These are all things that seems really simple, but after you begin to address these issues you start to realize how dynamic they really are.
Changing your environment is the easy part. Anyone can move and start over, but not everyone realizes nurture encompasses changing the way you react and respond to life. Changing your behaviors that reflect in your environment is changing your deep rooted programming. You were programmed by a toxic person who installed viruses into your programming that will cause you to self destruct. If you do not address these viruses and out of date programming it will lead to a whole system break down: emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Nature versus nurture is not the question when recovering from narcissistic abuse. Genes and environment are both issues. The question is have you addressed both to fully encompass your healing in a holistic manner.
Narcissists cannot survive without their enablers. Flying monkeys are people who turn a blind eye to red flags, blatant abuse, and the narcissist causing most issues rather than resolving them. These people are usually unaware of the abuse they are perpetuating and participating in, but ignorance does not make the damage they do heal faster.
Flying monkeys also play into narcissistic family cults. When narcissistic supply is not easily obtainable, a narcissist always has their family to fall back on. Narcissists rarely go no contact with their family of origin, even when there are highly dysfunctional members. Turning these dysfunctional family members into flying monkeys allows the narcissist to perpetuate abuse on their target whenever they choose. Family members in a narcissistic family cult are taught loyalty and blind devotion from a very young age, so these flying monkeys will normally last a lifetime.
Narcissists use flying monkeys to spread and perpetuate their smear campaign after their true colors are seen. These people are used to do the narcissist’s dirty grunt work. Flying monkeys do not think for themselves and often take everything the narcissist says at face value. Even when faced with the truth about the narcissist, flying monkeys would rather stick their head in the sand than admit the narcissist is not the victim he/she claims to be.
A narcissist needs to have flying monkeys for narcissistic supply and reinforcements. These people allow the narcissist to continue to believe all the grandiose things they believe about themselves. Flying monkeys may be unknowingly perpetuating narcissistic abuse, but this does not mean they belong in your life. Going no contact with all people who have bought the narcissist’s fantasy, that they sell as reality, is imperative to your recovery.
Remember the truth is often not as easy to swallow as the great fantasy the narcissist sells. Have compassion for these people, because at one point in time you were one of the narcissist’s flying monkeys too.
When making new friends and reconnecting with old friends after narcissistic abuse, it is imperative to figure out who is toxic and who is healthy. Healthy people will aide in your healing journey, while toxic people will add to the struggles of recovery. Recovering from narcissistic abuse is a lifelong journey. When you think you have arrived, you are faced with a new obstacle in life that leads you right back to recovery. You are worth the life of your dreams and every time you compromise it is rooted in your belief that you do not deserve your dreams.
Recently, I have been working on meeting new people and reconnecting with some of my old friends. After going within, working on myself, and my root wound, it is time to get back out into the world. However, going back out into the world is not without speed bumps.
Here are 9 signs, I have encountered, that shed light on a person’s toxicity:
They enjoy hearing about your problems and things you are struggling with because they enjoy your pain more than they can share in your successes.
They use your given name more often than necessary.
They over share their issues and struggles, but rarely share successes or things they are happy about(besides material possessions).
They talk a big self-care game, but rarely participate in it or follow through.
They know a lot of people and enjoy talking/gossiping about them.
They often talk about their traumas, but rarely share how they addressed and/or dealt with these issues to heal.
They treat you as a toy/possession rather than a freethinking individual.
They study you rather than get to know you or catch up with you.
They bring up past experiences you shared that involve your vulnerability(if you knew them before).
When you know and realize the signs and feelings that go along with toxic people, it is easier to weed them out of your life. Be a ruthless gardener and protect the garden of your life like the true gift it is.
Psychopath Free by Jackson MacKenzie is a book that changed my life. Growing up with two ex-military parents in a Russian Orthodox Narcissistic family cult made this book feel like a family reunion. Psychopaths have a higher skill set than the average narcissist when it comes to manipulation. Without feelings they have to emulate being human and having an emotional spectrum beyond merely anger and jealousy.
“Psychopaths do not actually feel the love and happiness that they so frequently proclaim. They oscillate between contempt, envy, and boredom. Nothing more.” -Jackson MacKenzie, Psychopath Free
Psychopaths prey on others to feel alive and get a taste of emotion. Their emotions are flat, dull, and painful. They seek to kill in you what they cannot have themselves. Psychopaths are people who know they do not have the ability to possess feelings and take it out on others.
As BPD and narcissism overlap, so do narcissism and anti-social personality disorder. All cluster b personality disorders start to look similar with time and age. Dark triad is how most of cluster b personality disorders leave this world. So if you grew up with a BPD or narcissistic parent, chances are highly likely that you will see the signs of psychopathy in them with age.
Signs of psychopathy:
Lack of empathy
Disregard for right and wrong
Wit and charm
Unreliable and unpredictable
Lack of remorse or shame
Poor judgement and failure to learn by experience
Lack of insight
Only concerned with the now
Everything is a game
Ignores social norms
Not all narcissists are psychopaths, but all psychopaths are narcissists.
During narcissistic abuse recovery, I have learned the people who are the most toxic and do not know how to love are often the ones who paint a picture that I am hard to love. Now I am not saying I am anywhere near perfect, but I am human and humans are easy to love when they find someone who appreciates who they are. Question the humanity or motives of anyone who tries to make you feel like you are hard to love.
One of my dogs had emergency surgery last week and I was faced with loving and caring for a little creature who taught me how to love. Before I had a dog, I had never experienced anyone giving me more love in return for my emotional investment. I was raised by narcissists and surrounded by them in the adult industry and that has made up 75% of my life. So rarely did I have the opportunity to love and emotionally invest in someone who could return the favor.
Rescue dogs are the best medicine for anyone in recovery from narcissistic abuse. My heart was shocked alive when I adopted my first rescue dog and with my second rescue dog my heart was pushed to limits I never imagined. People hide behind masks with ulterior motives, but dogs show you who they are unapologetically and without doubt.
My dogs have taught me I am not hard to love and neither are you.