Your Experience Makes You an Expert

Your Experience Makes You an Expert

Last week, I was on a zoom call with my new friend Alice, and she made a little complaint about the fact that I said I was by no means an expert. This complaint was made in a super encouraging and supportive way, and really got me thinking. She pointed out that my experience made me an expert and that I shouldn’t sell myself short.

The things that I speak about and write about are the things that I have gone through in my life. They’re things that I have experienced and researched and ruminated about. For instance, my college degree doesn’t center around Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), but I spent almost thirty years dealing directly with two different individuals who were text book cases, and one other person who had strong NPD tendencies. I’ve also spent the last three years primarily focused on healing from their abuse. This experience makes me an expert.

I know because I’ve lived it.

Before Alice pointed this out to me, I hadn’t considered myself an expert. I was just a girl sharing some of her healing journey in hopes that it might help someone else. But the more I think about it, the more I realize how right she was. I am an expert.

Not only do I know so many ins and outs of narcissism, but I know a lot of the tricks they play when it comes to manipulating you and everyone around you. I’ve learned about how they trick you into being grateful for their abuse. I found out firsthand how effective gas lighting can be at making you think that you’re crazy or that you deserve the way you’re being treated. Truth be told, I would rather not know these things. I’d love to be able to say that I’d never been directly affected (abused) by a narcissist.  But the truth is, I’m a narc abuse survivor and that’s taught me a lot.

Learning about the disorder has helped me to heal.

Realizing all of the little games and tricks they played on me… Figuring out all of the ways I had been manipulated and replaying events in my head once I was informed… I realized that I wasn’t the one with the problem. It wasn’t me being crazy or sensitive or needy. I just didn’t know it at the time.

Once I started learning about narcissism, I dove deep into that rabbit hole and learned pretty much everything I could about the disorder. I started recognizing patterns of behavior and it blew my mind how oblivious I was before. It’s amazing what people can get away with when they’re good enough manipulators, especially when their ‘condition’ isn’t very well known. I feel like NPD is one of those things… when you know about it, the behavior is extremely obvious and this makes it easier to shut it down. But I think most people assume that saying someone is a narcissist just means that they’re full of themselves.

Due to a lifetime of personal interaction with narcissists as well as years of reading everything I could get my hands on and talking to multiple people in the field of psychology, I have definitely become an expert. And I think Alice is right- it’s high time that I not only admit that to myself, but I own it.

My experience makes me an expert.

I have been told by a few people that our discussions or things that I have written or spoken about concerning narcissists has been helpful for them in recognizing it in their own lives. It’s my hope and goal that I can further use this experience to help raise awareness. That I can empower women (or anyone really) to be able to heal and move forward with their lives after escaping narcissism. With that in mind, bigger things are going to be coming, so stay tuned. It’s going to take me a bit to get things together because I really want to make sure I get it right. But I’m definitely on a mission.

I guess my point is, you don’t need a certificate to be an expert in something. Just stop doubting yourself.

Thank you for reading, and above all, please remember that you matter. That you are worthy of love, regardless of what you can do for others.

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