The jump between knowing what you need to do to grow and actually doing it
Earlier someone asked me if I’d been abused before and knew the signs, how did I end up with another abuser? So, I wrote about it on my narcissism blog. There were a few reasons I was naive enough to let it happen again, but one of them really got me thinking because it related to this blog about learning and growing. The reason I hadn’t yet changed and grown went beyond just recovering from abuse.
I made the mistake of marrying a second abuser because I didn’t do the work I needed to do to recover and learn after the first one! I naively thought that just knowing what to look for was enough for me to avoid any more abuse. I thought that it couldn’t happen again and I’d get lucky the next time. Wrong! The reality is, I knew in my head what was going on, but I didn’t change my life. I didn’t change my poor coping skills that led me to marry the first abuser.
Even though I’d started reading so many of the self-help books I review for this blog, and I truly believed them and loved what I was reading, I hadn’t yet made the jump to LIVE them. I passively thought reading them was enough. I used to go to therapy and understand all of the psychological reasons I was the way I was, and all the textbook reasons I repeated abusive relationships, but I would ask my therapist HOW to go from having the knowledge in my head to activating change in my life. My heart was not catching up with my brain.
This problem translates to all parts of life–not just abuse recovery. I was trying to take the easy way out and acting like reading books was going to fix my problems. In reality, *I* had to fix my problems, and the books were just the instruction manuals. I truly believe there is so much to learn from therapy, self-help books, and the wisdom of others, but I needed to be an active participant in that learning. That was the final step that took me a few more years to master.
If you want to change, you have to change. You have to make the jump from head to heart to life. You have to know yourself to see your weaknesses then choose to be proactive about changing your behavior and your thoughts.
It’s like learning a dance. You can read a book about it, you can watch videos, you can think about it until you are an expert in how it should be done…but you don’t actually dance until you get up and do it. And this is the same leap that I needed to make to connect what I learned with how I was going to start living.
For me, even though I hated the way my life was going, and I felt frustrated that I met two different controlling, narcissistic men after growing up with a narcissistic mother, I hadn’t yet hit the point where I was desperate enough to change. For several years, I learned and learned and learned until I understood what was going on, but one day, I had to get fed up and move to the next level. That’s when my life really began to improve.
1. I had to recognize the problem.
2. I had to examine the problem.
3. I had to find the source.
4. I had to learn how to fix the problem.
5. Then I had to live the solution!
For several years, I was stuck on step four. On my narcissism blog, I write all about my observations of narcissists and their victims. This blog is my journey through the final step–living my life the way I make it!