Words have power, even after their sounds have long dissipated in the air.
Recently, I saw a post on a Facebook group that prompted NPD survivors to share the favourite words and phrases their narcs used. Responses included “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” “That’s just your opinion,” “You can’t change the past,” and the perennial narc favourite “You’re crazy.”
Some were so familiar I could hear them in my ex’s voice, others were new and I was grateful I’d never heard them spoken to me.
This morning, at work, a disgruntled former client posted scathing posts on my organization’s Facebook page that ended with “Lame.” This is a word she used frequently when rules were enforced that she didn’t like. Once when I’d had to sit in on a mediation with her, she had used this word often. Every time she’d said it I had felt irritated, but I’d been so focused on the situation I didn’t give it much thought.
Today, after being triggered by a movie last night, and after 9 months of No Contact,when I saw her comment ending with “Lame” I felt absolute rage toward her; rage that was disproportionate to what she had done, so I knew I was being triggered.
It’s all coming together.
“Lame” was one of my narc’s favourite ways of shutting me down. Whenever I was happy about something, he would call it (or me) lame. If I made a joke, he just replied “lame.” If I proposed an idea I was excited about, of course it was “lame.” Every ounce of confidence and happiness was drained out of me with a door-slamming, soul-deflating “lame.” Over and over and over again.
And today, after 9 months of healing and growing, that one single word still has this much power over me.
It reminds me to be careful with my words when I am speaking with others, and it also reminds me not to have any tolerance for people who aren’t careful with their words with me. We’re all old enough to know better – those who don’t can go learn it on their own time.