Tarot as Treatment

Or: How Tarot saved me from the Narc and guides me through my Chronic Fatigue.

A mighty midnight thunderstorm is preventing me from sleeping – I sorely need my sleep, I am having a fight with fibromyalgia you see… trying to distract myself from the pain, fatigue and fibrofog I take out my tarot deck.

Here’s where I start thinking about all the hard times in my life, and how tarot helped me through.

So this one is for all you brave warriors out there battling fibro, CFS, anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress,… and all of you who survived living with a narcissist or sociopath too – you are my tribe!

I have been interested in tarot since I was about 15 years old and started studying the cards properly age 25.

They were a trusted companion in my life for the next 10 years or so – I turned to them for advice and comfort during my first dallyances with chronic fatigue and the constant pain that comes with it; I used them in my work with young people in children’s homes as a therapeutic tool, letting them pick out cards representing their fears and struggles, hopes and dreams; I read for my friends and for strangers alike, making new friends in the process and feeling good about being able to give them some direction in times of need; … in short: I loved Tarot!

My cards accompanied me everywhere, until I met my Narc that is…

If any of you are familiar with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you will be well aware of how a Narc can leech on to your life, with devastating consequences.

My Narc professed his undying love for me, little did I know how little THEY know about Love. Or empathy. Or compassion. Or respect.

Any of these traits that make us human are alien to a Narc – all they see is a tool to be used, a way of getting the power, control and admiration they crave.

For the next 6 years, the Tarot and all things contributing to my Spiritual Growth were a thing to be hidden – my Narc did not want me to grow, you see, he wanted me small, malleable, alone and with nothing or no-one to turn to for support.

I sneaked out my tarot decks and my crystals when he was not home. If he caught me I could expect his haughty disdain, ridiculing and belittling my beliefs. It was nothing. Didn’t hurt as much as some other things he could do to me – tarot stubbornly stood by me whilst all other friends drifted away, either chased off by my Narc who did not like their influence on me (read: did not want me to have fun and enjoy their company) or fed up with my anti-social behaviour (read: my Narc did not let me go out, keep appointments, repay invitations,…)

So while my Narc was busy chipping away at my confidence, self-esteem and support network, Tarot did her best to build me up again, show me a brighter existence, telling me I was stronger than I believed.

When my chronic fatigue flared up (even worse now then before due to the constant stress I found myself subjected to) and my Narc tried to tell me I was malingering, making things up, exaggerating, attention-seeking,… Tarot told me that no, I was NOT crazy, it wasn’t all just in my head, I could help myself get back on my feet.

I owe her a lot even though I was not a good friend to her at this time, hiding her away in cupboards and behind books on shelves, letting her be ridiculed and badmouthed without defending her, even losing my faith in her at times… but Tarot is forgiving.

When things finally became unbeareable and I was forced, after a particularly bad physical assault, to pick up my daughter (and my cat) and move countries so the Narc who claimed to love me could not hurt us anymore, Tarot came with me.

And over the next two years she was my greatest ally in my effort to get my life back on track. I started studying her again, learn about her power and her strength. I used her to get to the bottom of what had happened to me, and to figure out how I, as a Social Worker, had fallen in to the trap of an abusive relationship (something I had always sworn would never happen to me) and most importantly: how to get back out, dust myself off and move on. She can do that, Tarot, it’s in her very bones. At the heels of the Devil and the Tower she gives us the Star, after all!

Not easy, moving on when you have had no closure. When your tormentor is adamant that he never treated you wrong. That you were the one to blame. He has a story that people who I know used to like me will fall for. He has been sowing his little seeds for years for just such an occasion you know. Baiting me in public then using my reaction to get sympathy: see what I have to put up with? See what she’s like? I am a martyr for putting up with her… people will believe that, they don’t know the monster behind closed doors, they only see his pimped and preened shiny reflection when he turns on the charm…

So I have lost friends along the way, lost my home and most of my belongings, lost the country I held dear – but I have my daughter, I have my cat, I have family, I have some old friends who are happy to pick up where we left off, I have some new friends who are accepting and supportive, and there is Tarot, of course. My trusted tool for self-development, advice, understanding, forward planning and spiritual growth.

I used my tarot cards in therapy, my counselor was very supportive and encouraging as she could see how much insight my cards provided. I learned to let go of the past and of the guilt I felt for getting myself in that situation to begin with. I moved on and now my Narc has no power over me anymore.

And now, when the pain and fatigue of CFS/ME and fibromyalgia are rearing their ugly head again, I use Tarot once more, even if only to distract me, give me something familiar to hold on to and show me that the clouds will lift again…

Much obliged, dear Tarot!

Stay strong all you beautiful wounded souls out there – be blessed Xx

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