Many victims of abuse downplay what they have been through. Maybe you’ve even done it yourself, saying things like, “What I went through wasn’t nearly as bad as what you did!” “At least my mother didn’t beat me!” “It wasn’t so bad…” “My uncle only raped me that one time, & he was drunk…It wasn’t really his fault..”
The simple fact is though, that abuse is abuse. There is really no point in comparing your situation to someone else’s. Yet, victims do it often.
Many victims of psychological & narcissistic abuse were abused mentally but not physically or sexually. They often believe because there was “only” mental abuse, it wasn’t so bad. Psychological abuse doesn’t leave visible scars, which means many people don’t think it’s as bad as physical or sexual abuse. This is completely untrue! All abuse causes pain & damages a person’s mental health.
Often abusers have their victims completely convinced that they are so incredibly unworthy, that they don’t even deserve sympathy, understanding or pity for the pain they have survived. The lower a person’s self-esteem, the easier a person is to control, so obliterating self-esteem is a very preferred tool of all types of abusers.
Also, narcissists love to blame their victims. It doesn’t matter if you were absolutely 1,000% not responsible for the problem, they will still find a way to blame you. One year while working in the yard with my husband, he dropped a very heavy log on my foot, which broke my toe. My mother blamed me for him dropping the log on my foot!
Narcissists love to flaunt to their victims that they care about someone else’s suffering & not yours. If you experience the exact same thing as someone else, the narcissist will offer sympathy for that person while simultaneously letting you know they couldn’t care less about your problem. For example, in 2010, one of my cats passed away suddenly. Within a couple of days of losing her, my parents’ neighbors’ small dog passed away. My mother shed tears over the dog’s death, telling me how wonderful she was. Yet, when I told her about my cat, she responded with “Oh well.. at least you don’t have anyone sick anymore” then she changed the subject. This type of behavior makes a victim feel like anything they experience isn’t a big deal, yet what other people experience, even if it’s exactly what the victim is going through, is worthy of sympathy.
Narcissists also are professionals at invalidating their victims. After enough invalidation, you learn that you don’t deserve any validation. Nothing that happens to you is a big deal, & everyone else is much more important than you are.
If any or all of this sounds all too familiar to you, you need to know something. Dear Reader, what you went through was bad. The worst. No one should have to suffer any type of abuse! There is no comparison between you & anyone else. Every situation is different, & every person is different. It’s completely unfair to say someone else had it worse than you because of those differences.
Instead of comparing, how about validating your experiences to yourself? It’s OK & even healthy to admit that they were bad. In fact, if you hope to heal, then you need to admit & accept how bad things were. Once you do that, you can grieve or get angry or whatever you need to do to process what happened to you. Acceptance is an important first step.
If you’re having trouble validating your experiences, try thinking about things from a little different perspective. If someone you love came to you & told you their story that was just like yours, would you tell the person it was no big deal? Would you tell that person someone else had it worse, so they need to just get over it? Or, would you hug the person, say what they experienced was wrong, & try to help them cope? Guessing you would do the right thing & be there for that person. If you’d be good & understanding for someone else, then why can’t you do it for yourself?
If you’re having trouble being that good to yourself, then I would urge you to start praying. Ask God why you aren’t being that good to yourself. Let Him help you to see what the problem is, & help you to fix it. Also don’t forget to ask Him to help you to learn to validate yourself while you’re at it.