Handling People Who Don’t Believe You

So many people I talk to that have survived narcissistic abuse tell the same story about how people in their lives responded to them discussing the abuse.  They were met with invalidation (“It couldn’t have been that bad!”  “Other people had it way worse than you did.”), scolding (“How can you say those things about your own mother?!”), disbelief or being accused of being unforgiving or needing to “get over it”.


Especially in the early days of awareness of narcissism & learning what you went through really is abuse- you aren’t crazy or to blame like you were told- this sort of behavior is devastating.  The more you heal, the better you can handle it, but I don’t think it ever stops hurting at least some to be met with such indifference to your pain.  It can leave you bitter & angry if you allow it to.


In all fairness, you certainly have a right to be angry at people who say such things!  It’s heartless & hurtful!  So get angry!  Get it out of you so you can forgive.  You don’t deserve to live with that anger inside of you, stealing your joy!  Whether the other person deserves your forgiveness or asks for it is irrelevant.  You deserve better than carrying around anger inside of you!


That being said, there are other ways to cope.


Journalling is a wonderful thing. It is a completely safe way to get your feelings out, especially if you use a password protected journalling website.  This will help you to let go of all the negative feelings.


Focus on the positive.  Just because one person mistreated you doesn’t mean everyone will.  Appreciate your good friends & let them know you appreciate them!  What other good things are in your life?  Maybe start a gratitude journal- daily, write down at least 2 things you’re grateful for.


Accept the fact that not everyone will understand what you’ve been through.  In all honesty, narcissistic abuse can be hard to wrap your mind around, especially if you’ve never been exposed to it.  (Even if you’ve been through it, it’s hard to grasp!)  And sadly, some people have no desire to even try.  With people like this, it’s just smart not to discuss the topic of narcissism.  They won’t be convinced of anything you say because they lack the desire to understand.  When that wall is up, it stays up, & nothing you say can make a difference.  Stick to more neutral topics with this person, & if you need to discuss something you’ve been through, then seek out someone who understands.


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

16 responses to “Handling People Who Don’t Believe You

  1. tess

    Another well written post Cynthia….and so true.
    I am struggling to hold on to longstandin g friends because of them not understanding.

    I t is not easy to carry on “normal” conversations with other friends whilst keeping this “secret pain” under wraps….its like “the elephant in the room”…some secret topic that is off limits which prevents us from focusing on this none abusive friendships.

    I am finding this difficult and anxiety-causing.
    ….but we must try…or we will lose most of our friends.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I have faced the same problem. Most times people think that I made up the

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sorry, trying to write while on a bumpy train journey is not easy. A lot of times people think that I have made up the whole narcissistic abuse concept. Because they have never heard about it, they cannot believe that it exists. It is highly frustrating. They also downplay the effects. Surely you can’t have PTSD. Soldiers returning from war have it. And if you try to explain what a covert narcissist is, you can be met with total incredibility.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I’m sure it’s not!

      It’s extremely frustrating when people don’t believe you or invalidate. the tremendous damage it causes. It’s being abused for being abused really.

      Of course..only soldiers get PTSD. Right. Amazing how naive people can be.

      So true about explaining covert narcissists. People don’t want to admit such evil exists but it really does!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. When I went NC with my NM and her enablers I discovered that there were other people in my life who were unwilling to validate my experience or support my healing. These were people I had expected would support me and be happy for me in my new-found freedom. There were also those from whom I expected nothing, but who did treat me with kindness, validation, and understanding. NC is the great revealer. It can tell us who truly cares for us and who doesn’t. It also reveals the characters of the people around us. When that happens we’re faced with another difficult decision on the heels of the one we made when we went NC with our abuser. Do we continue to have a relationship with those who deny the truth of what we tell them and invalidate our suffering? Or do we end those relationships? No matter what we decide we’ll be hurt yet again. We should be prepared for this. The euphoria of freedom from abuse is wonderful, especially in the first days and weeks of NC. But the truth is that we’ve just begun the process of eliminating abuse from our lives. It does get easier as time goes on, but the world is filled with narcissists so it’s a lifelong process.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That is so very true, Suzanne.

      I actually reached the point where if you don’t care about my pain (from the narcissistic abuse or any pain, really), I don’t want you in my life. Not that I want friendships to be all about me of course- I just want someone to be as caring towards me as I am to them. If they can’t manage that, they’re gone.

      I have 2 people now I want rid of, covert narcissists, but don’t. I don’t trust them not to harass or start trouble for me somehow, which I don’t need. Since we only talk on fb, I just block them from seeing anything I share other than posts about narcissists. lol It works- they’re talking to me less & less.

      Liked by 2 people

      • As I begin to heal and grow stronger I find that I have less and less tolerance for relationships in which there is no reciprocity of my care and concern. I tolerated those kinds of relationships for too many years and I’m done. I’d rather have just a few close friends who love me selflessly and with whom I can be honest and open without fear of invalidation, rather than a large group of people who have no genuine love or concern for me. Brilliant strategy for dealing with those coverts, btw. You’re no longer feeding them their preferred supply, but something they apparently don’t care for. I’m glad that it’s working for you.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Goodness yes.. the more healing you do, it seems to naturally lower your tolerance for that kind of relationship. Quality over quanity is a very good thing!

          Thank you. I imagine the coverts’ heads want to explode.. lol I wish I could just unfriend them- it’d be better- but my gut feeling is it’d end up backfiring on me. The one I can imagine calling or coming over to find out why I was so mean to her. She’s posted on fb before when she was unfriended. The other is my aunt, & her son is my favorite cousin. She’d no doubt run to him & probably her brother/my father as well. Best to lay low & avoid that, yanno? So, I’ll give them something to read instead. lol

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on A Blog About Healing From PTSD and commented:
    I have experienced all of the various types of invalidation that Cynthia talks about in this post, and I agree wholeheartedly with everything she says on this topic.

    Comments are closed here, please visit the original blog. Thank you for stopping by and God bless. ❤


  6. Comments like that are why I turned to blogging to get the story out! I wanted, needed to talk about it, but before I had a chance to even *begin* to tell the story, people were already tired of it and telling me to move on or whatever.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Angela

    It’s not just me then. Thank you everybody for sharing your experiences. I feel that life is too short to continue contact with some people in my life. There’s nothing but annoyance and irritation to lose by removing them from my life, and peace and wellbeing to gain. It’s not easy dealing with people who don’t understand but it’s going to be worth it.

    Liked by 2 people

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