To be Wayward, means choosing to nurture and love ourselves. It means supporting one another’s diversity, authenticity, and freedom, while making choices that honor our own. It means identifying where we can make positive changes in our lives, and stepping out into that unknown with grace and courage.
Sounds lovely. Looks great on paper. Reads like a simple plan to a better life. Very inspiring, right?
We all know from experience, though, it isn’t simple at all.
Stepping into our power and making change also leaves us feeling vulnerable. It may be paramount to find support, yet always tricky knowing who we can trust to be the right kind of support. It is deeply confusing, causing us to doubt ourselves, when we run face first into other people’s agendas.
Now, some people’s agendas for us may be opinions offered from a place of love. If we love someone who believes we are making the wrong choice for our own happiness, it does set us back on our heels a bit, doesn’t it? It makes us wonder if we are missing something they are able to see that we can’t, somehow. It may even succeed in redirecting our energies.
Sometimes it is best, if we can anticipate that someone we love will not support our authentic choices, not to consult them at all, and instead do what we know to be right for us. We can still share our intentions with these loved ones, but not in such a way as to invite their input.
We can only control what we do, think, and feel, not what they do, think, and feel. Changing who we are to make them happy is never the right choice, though. Since their goal is our happiness, being inauthentic to make them happy guarantees none of us are happy.
But what if our loved one is a narcissist? A Narcissist’s agenda is a powerful obstacle to our Wayward authenticity, because they can wield it like a master to bend us to their will. By definition, if we love a narcissist, we must come to the realization that any love they have for us is fully contingent upon them being able to get their own way and control us. It’s not really love at all, from my perspective, but a narcissist’s love is a seductive thing, and so many of us have been drawn into that.
Rule number one:
Our goal may be to make them understand what we need and what is important to us, to teach them, or explain to them, and hope they will change – but they do not share our goal. They simply do not care about understanding us from our perspective. They have their own idea of who we are, and that is enough for them. They are automatically in opposition to anything that would help us gain independence from their will, and nothing promotes independence more than authenticity.
Note: I’m not saying a narcissist is always self-aware enough to realize this is what they are doing, but that doesn’t make it untrue.
A narcissist will cudgel us with their agenda by undermining our faith in ourselves, blaming, manipulating, gas-lighting, inciting guilt, minimizing the importance of what we say, and never, ever taking personal responsibility. They may even negotiate, but if you have negotiated with a narcissist in the past, you know from experience that once they get their way they have no incentive to follow through with their part of the bargain. They may make a half-hearted attempt at it for a while, but eventually it will be as if they never made a promise at all.
We run up against one another’s differing agendas all the time. Relationships are a give and take by definition, but beware the narcissist’s agenda, because their agenda includes no give and all take.