• Tilly Rivers

Healing from narcissistic abuse - put your oxygen mask on!

One of the many 'jobs' I'm doing at the moment is looking after Myrtle, an elderly lady who has problems with her lungs and great difficulty breathing. She took up smoking in her teens and only gave up a few years ago. It's been hard over the past few months for me to watch her struggling to catch her breath. She's been frightened at feeling that she's slowly suffocating.

That got me thinking about how her illness is in some ways similar to people like me who've lived a life of insidious self-harm.

Because her lungs are crippled, she's unable to fully draw in the oxygen she needs and expel the toxic carbon monoxide. I too have been crippled by the inability to inhale a healthy sense of self-worth and expel the 'tar' of accumulated negative thoughts.

Myrtle is finding that the build-up of C02 in her body is causing confusion, depression and listlessness. That was me too.

And then, just as she was getting so sad that she really didn't feel the point of going on, the respiratory unit in her local hospital offered her a cure - a small mask attached to a machine which gently forces the air in and out of her lungs.

The wonderful nurse in the respiratory unit sat and patiently explained to Myrtle exactly what was wrong with her and how the mask would change her life.

I’m sitting now and watching as her chest rises and falls with no gasping effort. Bliss. She’s being infused not only with oxygen but with the peace of mind of knowing what the problem is and how to fix it.

Visualisation is a great thing.

Watching her helped me to visualise how layers and layers of black ‘tar’ have been building up in my own body. From the moment I was born and left to cry through the night - to the disastrous series of bullying relationships I was attracted to like a moth to a flame.

It was the equivalent to smoking twenty cigarettes a day. Until I hit my rock bottom and realised I couldn’t breathe. I was killing myself.

I knew that sticking a few positive mantras on the fridge wasn’t going to help. That would be like giving up smoking and taking a few deep breaths once a day.

I needed to help myself. To reach out for that oxygen mask and wear it every day for the rest of my life. I needed to take a good look at my life and understand what had gone wrong.

Myrtle found the mask to be cumbersome and sometimes difficult to adjust but she’s had to learn to put it on and use it herself.

Like me, she needs to have the determination to keep on trying. It’s been two weeks now and she’s disappointed not to have seen an instant change, but she knows that it’s going to take time.

Just like it has with me.

Years in fact.

Changing the very make up of my cells through mindfulness, meditation and soul shifts doesn’t happen overnight, but I know that by persisting I’m gradually dissolving my childhood programming. I’m sucking out the years of negative thoughts and breathing in positive ones.

The mind is a miracle. Use it to heal yourself and find joy in the world.

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