When you grow up with narcissistic parents, the fear of divulging what they do to you is very real. Narcissistic parents don’t always use threats- they don’t need to. They have a certain look that can instill sheer terror into their child. That fear often stays with the child into adulthood. This benefits the narcissistic parent, because she knows her secret is safe. However, it hurts the child.
Not talking about the narcissistic abuse you endured can cause many health problems, such as ulcers, high blood pressure or digestive problems. It affects your mental health too. Depression, anxiety, PTSD & C-PTSD are very common, even under the best of circumstances- a good therapist & caring support system. Without those things, depression, anxiety, PTSD or C-PTSD are pretty much a given.
You need to talk about your experiences! I’m not saying you need to publish books or write a blog like me, unless you feel that is the direction God is leading you, but you do need to talk for the sake of your physical & mental health.
I know talking about your experiences can be a scary prospect. It also can feel like you’re being disloyal. That is not true, however. Telling the truth isn’t being disloyal.
Guilt happens too. I think it’s pretty much impossible not to feel guilty at first. You’re talking about something you were told your entire life you shouldn’t talk about, after all. My mother used to tell me not to “air our dirty laundry.” It took me a long time to realize it wasn’t “our” dirty laundry I was airing, it was hers.
If you’re considering talking about the things that have happened to you, please know that it’s OK to talk about it. If you don’t feel up to talking, how about writing in a journal at first? Writing is very therapeutic- there is something validating in seeing your experiences written out. Also, if you take precautions, no one will see what you write, so you can feel free to let it all out. I love http://www.my-diary.org, as it is a password protected, private online diary.
If you aren’t comfortable talking to another person, why not pray? God is a great listener, & will comfort you like no one else can. You can be completely open with Him without fear of judgment or criticism- it’s very freeing.
If you opt to try therapy, be sure you find a therapist who understands narcissistic abuse. Not all therapists do, so it may take trying a few before you find one you’re comfortable with.
And, if you opt to talk about your experiences with those closest to you, use wisdom with deciding who to open up to. If you share a person with the narcissistic parent who abused you, they may not want to hear about your experiences. They may be very fond of the narcissist, ¬ want to hear anything bad about her. They may not believe you. It is better to find someone to talk to who isn’t close to the narcissist, such as a friend of yours who doesn’t know your parent(s) well. You also need to speak with someone who is caring, supportive, objective & close to God. You need someone who is honest enough to tell you the truth, but caring enough not to be brutal & painful with it. If this person also gets mad for you about what you have experienced, that helps too. I had a friend who in many ways was like a mother to me. She was a very special lady, always had a ready smile & some encouragement. But, when I told her some of the things my parents did to me, she would get angry on my behalf. If this good, Christian lady who was utterly patient & held no bad feelings towards anyone was getting mad, it must be really bad. Her anger helped to validate my pain.
Talking about the painful experiences you endured will help you to heal. It will get the toxicity out of you, preventing further damage to your physical & mental health. It also will help you to keep the blame on the abuser instead of on yourself, which is a battle for many victims of narcissistic abuse. So please, open yourself up to talking about your experiences. You deserve the freedom it brings you. xoxo
2 responses to “To Those Who Are New To Learning About Narcissistic Abuse- It’s OK, Even Necessary, To Talk About It!”
I consider this to be one of the best things you’ve ever written. And I wish that all survivors of N abuse had the opportunity to read it. When first emerging from the fog of abuse survivors can be at a loss to know what to do or think about the abuse. They would benefit mightily from this advice. And while I agree that journaling can be very helpful I’ve come to see recently that it helps to hear from others who have been abused. Many times through listening to other survivors I’ve been able to remember and process experiences that were too painful or too complex to record. So in addition to journaling I highly recommend listening to others as they recount their experiences. Ultimately the only other people who truly understand what we’ve been through are other survivors and we can be a wonderful, life-giving resource to one another.
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Thank you so much Suzanne! You have made my day! 🙂
I agree completely about listening to the stories of others! That is so helpful. It really is weird at first, since so many of us think it’s just us- no one else has experiences anything like ours. But it’s so helpful finding out just how wrong that thinking is, & that there are many others with experiences like ours out there! Sad but comforting at the same time.
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