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NARCISSISM, RECOVERY, AND MY STORY

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People are approaching me to discuss the topic of narcissism, gaslighting, and mental health. Why is this? Why are so many people interested in speaking with me about this topic? Is it because I am extremely and perhaps, overwhelmingly public about my personal life experiences as both a recipient of mental health care services and as a provider of mental health care services for others? The answer is yes. 

People are asking me about these topics because I’ve experienced them from both sides of the office door. In doing so, I made a lot of enemies! I made enemies for telling the truth about what I witnessed.

How many people reading this article can, in detail, describe and explain something called Munchausen Syndrome by proxy? For those unaware, including many mental health providers, Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is an extreme form of narcissistic abuse.

My mother is a person who exhibits this dangerous and potentially deadly behavior. For the first fourteen years of my life, I lived as a child victim of a covertly manipulative, severely sick woman I called Mummy. I do denounce my mother as a child abuser. 

And for those who don’t understand, Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy requires accomplices to successfully achieve a degree of abuse that the perpetrators’ sick mind requires to protect themselves.

My mother’s accomplices include Dr. Ken Duckworth, one of the most influential and powerful psychiatrists in the United States. Dr. Duckworth and I met several times as a child; He even visited my mother’s house to discuss my alleged mental health issues.

Unfortunately for me, and perhaps for all of us, I was being abused by a mentally ill woman in plain view of this psychiatrist and many others. No one protected me. On the contrary, they hurt me.

I’m 48 years old and soon to be 49. I’m still alive. I am a 28-year Survivor of illicit and fraudulent psychiatric treatment. It’s been seven years since I took a pill, and I’ve slowly improved daily. 

I was drugged to protect awful family secrets for more than half my life. The abuse was made possible with the help and power of a mental health system that refused to listen to the child begging them for help.

Imagine having control over the life of another human being, and your job is to help them be mentally well, and you use your job to create the sickness you say you are helping.

Seven years ago, after the abused child you read about above grew into an adult. I worked tirelessly to prove myself. Having worked as a mental health peer support worker for ten years, I published two well-received recovery health-oriented books. That’s when the lightning struck again.

Now you’re beginning to understand why I’ve been asked to write about narcissism and mental health recovery.  

I am that guy. I am a survivor. My story violates the contemporary mental health paradigm in our society. I am living proof that the system so many of us rely upon is irrevocably synonymous with fraud.

I’m not only a child survivor of psychologically turned pharmaceutically delivered violence; I’m also a well-trained certified peer specialist. 

I know a little bit about mental health recovery, and I know a little bit about working in the mental health field. I’ve worked in recovery for ten years straight, but that all ended in 2015.

Why, may you ask? Because in 2013, I received my adolescent mental health documents from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, where I was working as a vetted statewide trainer for their psychiatric providers, social workers, nurses, and peer specialists.

But what do you mean Craig (dead name), or Gregorio, all while living your second chance at life? Why are you talking about the Department of Mental Health in Massachusetts in an article about narcissism and mental health recovery?

Well, I’m so glad you asked. In 2015, I began working for a company called the Northeast Recovery Learning Community based out of Lawrence, Massachusetts. It was here that I encountered a sickening collection of narcissists operating as professional mental health providers (i.e., peer specialists).

As a child survivor of psychiatric abuse via Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, a type of abuse that requires the collaboration of mental health providers, both willing or unaware, I knew that I was working for people who posed a sexual danger to those who could not protect themselves.

If I remained quiet, I would be okay. If I made a big deal of what was occurring behind closed doors, I would suffer personal and professional consequences.

Everyone reading my words should be concerned. Concerned that these abusers have been promoted into powerful positions. Those who know something disgusting and wrong has occurred have remained quiet to keep their jobs and funding.

So, of course, if we talk about narcissism and mental health recovery, we need to talk about the reality that the mental health field is dominated by those who exhibit these toxic and dangerous behaviors.

Narcissism is a taboo topic. We are not supposed to talk about it. However, nearly every person reading this has encountered this behavior while working as a mental health worker.

Imagine telling someone that they’re crazy for telling the truth.

Imagine having to lie to yourself, your friends, colleagues, and peers, and of course, lie to anyone and everyone, as needed, and maintain that lie for the rest of your life.

All we can do is tell the truth about our experiences and hope that the right people will listen and do right by us.

I know what it’s like to grow up in a narcissistic home environment, and I know what it’s like to work in a toxic mental health recovery environment. I know what it is like to have your employer also be your abuser, with 28 years in the middle; or perhaps with no years in the middle. That makes it so much worse.

I was challenged to write this article, and I am glad for it. I’m doing well, considering I fought against the monsters, and I remain secure on my feet.

Winning and being victorious can sometimes be different things. No one wins when narcissists are involved. However, it is a victory in the form of a technical knockout to live and be well and happy and be, at the minimum, 51% stable; that is why I am sharing my thoughts and experiences on narcissism and mental health recovery.

Some people accuse me of being self-involved. This is a shallow misperception that illuminates the deep insecurities of the critic. If you are a mental health provider and think this way, please stare at yourself in a full-length mirror while entirely nude for twenty minutes. 

Not only will you focus on every perceived outward flaw, but you may also very well experience your psyche telling you things that you already are aware of yet have done an excellent job of keeping yourself under wraps to allow you to fulfill your duties and live your daily life.

Let’s talk about what it means to be ‘self-involved.’

It’s incredible how many people throw around the word survivor yet use it as a catch-all description of vastly different experiences. 

Everyone reading this who has worked at a university or a mental health organization has come across a colleague who is toxic and unfit for their role. Many of us have fallen prey to these individuals while we watch them at the same time climb the ladder of influence, power, and respect. You know it set you on fire, but call it what it is; arson.

The definition of survival is the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically despite an accident, ordeal, or challenging circumstances.

People who find themselves without any good options often feel the obstacles are insurmountable. The truth is people will do anything they can to survive. This is how survivors of narcissistic abuse recover.

It is terrible to survive this sort of abuse. I am here to validate all who do their best to keep going.  

I am living proof that healing is possible. Every day my job is to heal a little bit more. If you resonate with what you have read here, show me your love and order my books here:

https://sanityisafulltimejob.org/collections/craigs-books

About the Author

Craig Lewis

I'm 46 years old going on 23. I live in Mexico because I choose to be happy. I authored several books on recovery & healing; & I'm preparing to publish several more. I believe in liberty, truth, justice & radical human-powered transformation. I'm a rebel & I proudly wear my colors on my sleeve. I have survived a tragically abusive & marginalized life & thus, I fearlessly act in solidarity with the "others". My desire is to be a benefit to all people who seek to heal & help others heal. I live, love & thrive, in the present moment; it's a good life.

Contact: survivingtheimpossible@gmail.com

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