How Understanding Abusers Can Be Beneficial

I have read in some places recently that it isn’t necessary to understand what is behind an abusive person’s actions. All that matters is he or she abused you. This hasn’t really sat right with me.

I’m certainly not saying you have to excuse your abuser’s horrible actions away, because there is no excuse to abuse. I’m also not saying you need to really, truly understand exactly what made the person act as they did (especially in cases of being abused by a narcissist- who can really truly understand why they do what they do?!). However, if you understand a little about the abusive person in your life, it can benefit you greatly, because you can truly grasp that the abuse was not your fault.

So many victims of abuse tend to blame themselves. How many children of narcissistic parents grew up hearing that it was their fault their parents acted the way they did, & still believed that nonsense well into adulthood? I certainly did. My narcissistic mother blamed me for making her act as she did. If I wouldn’t have been so bad, she wouldn’t have had to use “tough love” (what she called her abuse) on me. I believed I was a bad person for most of my life as a result, & if I could have been better as a child, my mother wouldn’t have abused me.

Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder has helped me more than I can say. I finally have an answer to why my mother treated me as she did, & the answer isn’t that I was a bad kid! The answer is that she learned early in life that acting in this incredibly dysfunctional way got her whatever she wanted- attention, control, or the freedom to do anything she wanted. That has absolutely nothing to do with me! She wouldn’t have been kinder or loving to me if I had been a better daughter! No matter how I acted, my mother would have treated me exactly the same way- abusively.

I have known about NPD for I think four years now, & in that time, I have learned a great deal. Even so, I still read any information I can find on it. Why? For one thing, NPD seems to be a bottomless pit. Just when I think there can’t be anything left to learn, something else shows up. For another thing, reading about it often is a very good reminder that what happened to me isn’t my fault. In spite of the wealth of knowledge I have on this topic, I still battle wondering what I could have done differently, or did I do something to make my mother abuse me. Granted, those times are very few & far between now, but every now & then, they still happen & have to be dealt with.

Many people I have spoken to who have been through narcissistic abuse read constantly about NPD & surviving narcissistic abuse. Like me, they have been told they are too focused on NPD or being too negative. I disagree- reading about NPD is extremely beneficial to its victims! That being said though, as I have written about many times, it is equally vital to take breaks where you refuse to think about NPD or the abuse you endured. The negativity & evilness of NPD can depress you greatly, so breaks are of the utmost importance.


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

6 responses to “How Understanding Abusers Can Be Beneficial

  1. Thank you for this post, I never thought about how understanding my abuser would help me understand it wasn’t my fault, but this new idea you shared really helped me, I felt a load lifted off just by realizing this possibility. Thank you!


    • It’s comments like that which make writing about narcissism so rewarding. Thank you for sharing that! I’m glad my post helped you!

      It seems like so many people say all that matters is the person hurt you, you don’t need to understand why. I find understanding why to be VERY helpful! It’s so easy to blame yourself with narcissists- they make us do that. Anything to have a healthier perspective is a good thing.

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  3. Thank you for this. Like you my mother is a narcissist. I love my mum she is my mum, it’s hard not to but sometimes I hate how she treats me. Learning in adulthood that she is a narcissist after being abused by my narcissistic husband was hard but I have learnt that I only allowed her abuse to continue by not being firm with her. My mother likes getting her own way even in arguments. Before I knew she was narcissitic I used to compensate by trying to please her by agreeing with her to save the argument from escalating. Now I no longer feed the narcissist. Now I have boundaries. I tell her my side even if it is not to her liking and when she’s rages I say that’s your opinion but it’s not mine. If she continues I choose to either walk away or change the subject like most narcissist do with us. She has realised that I no longer play to her tune. Boundaries are what we need in our fight against narcissist. Stay strong and don’t stop being you for anyone or to save the peace. Not worth losing yourself for


    • Mother or not, how can a person not hate how a narcissist treats them? It’s hurtful & destructive. I’m so glad you’ve learned about narcissism & how to deal with your mother. It sounds like you’re handling things as well as can be under the circumstances.

      I have to say, what you said, ” Stay strong and don’t stop being you for anyone or to save the peace. Not worth losing yourself for” is absolutely wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. I fight trying not to lose myself since it’s such a habit for me to do that to keep the peace. Your reminder is quite helpful. 🙂


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