In my experience as well as speaking with others who also have survived narcissistic abuse, I’ve noticed a very common phenomenon. Society’s invalidation & even gaslighting of victims.
Possibly the most clear example of this came from my high school guidance counselor. I went to her, trying to find some way to get along with my narcissistic mother, & not only wasn’t helped, I was hurt in the process. One day, I told her about what I called my mother’s “lectures”, where she would scream at me, telling me how terrible I was, how other people talked about me behind my back because of how terrible I was & even accusing me of things I hadn’t done. The counselor’s response? “Well, that doesn’t sound so bad.”
Dear Reader, if you have experienced something similar to someone you told about your history of abuse, you know how painful this experience is. It can catch you off guard, especially when it comes from someone you care about or expect to care, such as a therapist.
If you haven’t had the “pleasure” of this experience, chances are you will at some point. Either way, when someone acts as described below, you need to remember, they clearly have a problem.
Some people blame victims for making the abuser act as they have. Common sense should dictate that anyone who does this has their own issues. No one can make someone abuse them! Don’t accept this person’s blame for your abuser hurting you! All blame for the abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, period!
Some people also blame the victim for not getting away from their abuser sooner. Many people don’t understand the concept of the trauma bond, how a victim can form a strong bond to their abuser. They also don’t understand how abusers can financially abuse victims, leaving them with no money or means to earn money so they can escape. Further more, they also fail to understand how many abusers have beaten their victims down so badly that the victims don’t think they can survive without the abuser.
Some people make the victim feel to blame for not being able to get along with the abuser. I think it was about 5 ago, one of my aunts told me that I needed to get into therapy & figure out how to get along with my parents, & “don’t dare tell her it won’t work!” I told her I did that when I was only 17 & what I learned is no relationship can work if only one person is willing to work on it. I stand by that today. No relationship can be healthy if only one person works on it. People who don’t realize that are foolish.
Some people assume they know best what the abuser’s intentions are, & assume they have good intentions but misguided actions. If someone defends your abuser by saying things like, “He didn’t mean to hurt you…” “She just doesn’t know any better”, or “That’s just how he is,” this person is invalidating & gaslighting you. No truly innocent person hurts people repeatedly after being called out on their behavior.
Some people push victims to heal. Only the most toxic person would dare to trivialize a victim’s horrific experiences, tell a victim of abuse to “get over it”, accuse a victim of being codependent or fail to understand why that person hasn’t “forgiven & forgotten.” Healing is a very individual path. Everyone’s path is very different. Also, every narcissist is different, so naturally how they abuse their victims is different. It’s only natural to assume that no two victims will heal the same way & many victims will have to work on their healing for a long time, most likely a lifetime.
People who treat victims like I described in this post are further abusing victims rather than helping them. If you come across people like this, stay away from them. Instead, deal with people who possess empathy, kindness & aren’t judgmental know it alls who assume they know your situation better than you do.