Illness & Injury In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I recently realized something that I’ve been living with for my entire life is most likely a symptom of narcissistic abuse.  It never occurred to me before, so I started researching it & found absolutely nothing on this topic.  All I can share with you is my personal experience, nothing I learned from anyone or anything else.

Many of you who know my work know I survived Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in 2015.  As a result, I live with symptoms of that & a Traumatic Brain Injury from either the oxygen deprivation to my brain during the poisoning or the concussion I most likely got from hitting my head when the poison made me pass out or a combination of both.  I don’t discuss these symptoms much partly because I don’t want to sound like either my mother or mother in-law who used their health problems to gain attention.  I also doubt my problems in spite of the glaring evidence that something is wrong.  Sometimes I think I’m exaggerating or even faking it in order to get attention like them.  And, I don’t want to “bother” anyone with my trivial problems.

I know how ridiculous this sounds.  How can I think that way when I know better than anyone else just how difficult my life is because of the symptoms?  And for attention?!  I minimize them to everyone, including myself.  As far as burdening anyone, I’m not one to ask for help easily so I of all people should know if I want to ask for help, it’s very necessary.  I know all of this, yet these thoughts are still there.  Why?!

Suddenly it hit me.  These thoughts are there because of narcissistic abuse!

Growing up, my illnesses & injuries were taken as an inconvenience.  My mother could be nice to me when I was sick or hurt.  A part of me looked forward to being sick or hurt for that reason. But, she would remind me even years later how much of a burden it was when I was sick.  The older I got, however, the less likely it was she’d be nice to me when those things happened.  In fact, I never missed a single day of high school even though there were days I really should have stayed home. 

When I was 19, as I’ve mentioned before, my mother & I got into a physical fight & she threw me into a wall. I am reasonably sure she wanted to kill me that night.  I lived with awful back pain for 10 years after that.  No doctors believed I was injured & my mother was convinced I was faking it.  Looking back now, I think the pain was due to the emotional trauma rather than any physical injury, because when I get extremely stressed, my back aches in that same location.  At the time however, I didn’t realize this, & thought if even the doctors think I’m faking it, maybe I am. 

As an adult, other people haven’t believed me when something was wrong or acted as if my pain was nothing but an inconvenience to them.  My ex husband being the worst of them, but there were others too. 

I believe the years of being accused of faking problems led me to doubt myself, & think that I am faking whatever problems I have, unless there is undeniable proof.  I realized this recently when I learned one problem I have is a common symptom of brain injuries.  It should have simply been eye opening but instead it made me happy because here is proof that something is wrong!  I’m not faking it!

I also realized I hide so much from my husband because I don’t want to burden him, & I don’t feel I have the right to expect his help when I need it.  Pretty ridiculous, really.  He should help me if I need it!  That is what spouses do for each other! 

It occurred to me that if I experience this with my own health problems, then others who have endured narcissistic abuse probably do too.  That is why I wanted to share this with you today.  You’re not alone & you’re not crazy!  I totally understand!

Unfortunately as of yet, I don’t know of any ways to change this dysfunctional thinking, but if I come up with anything, I definitely will talk about it in the future.  In the meanwhile, please know I understand & am praying for you!

21 Comments

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

21 responses to “Illness & Injury In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

  1. Wow just wow. I too have endured this exact feeling. My mom treated me as if I were faking. All my life. She would minimize my sickness, pain or whatever.
    In my situation, I believe my mother couldn’t believe me or anyone else because #1 she didn’t have the capabilities to have compassion on another, Because of the narcissm and #2 she faked alot of sickness herself. Up until her death. She was always sick, always coming up with new stuff to be sick with and she didn’t have anything, she’d take a handful of pills to get a trip to the hospital.
    To this day, I feel the need to prove to those around me when I’m not feeling well.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s just awful isn’t it?! Once I realized what was happening, it’s making me very angry too.

      Geez.. your mother loved that attention, huh? I believe people with Munchausen Syndrome are narcissists since all they seem to care about is getting that attention. Do you think your mother also had that disorder in addition to narcissism?

      Liked by 2 people

      • No because isn’t that when you poison your own child? She wasn’t around enough for that. She was more like not wanting anyone else to have the attention but her.
        I’ve been wondering about the flying monkeys you write about. Wondering if you’d do a post or have a post already that goes more into detail about them and their characteristics? Like are they too narcissists or they just duped by the narcissist?

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is Munchausen by proxy, hurting someone in your care (child, elderly parent, etc) for attention. Munchausen is hurting yourself for the attention.

          I’ve done a few posts about flying monkeys over the years. Also wrote about them on my website at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com (use the search bar & you’ll see what I’ve written). My family has given me plenty of education in this area. I really think the majority of flying monkeys are covert narcissists who enjoy abusing while looking like good people who are just trying to help. Some were also abused & trying to normalize abuse so they don’t have to face their own pain. There are some who are truly duped by the narcissist, but they’re pretty rare. How the flying monkey responds when you talk to them about the narcissist is vital to showing you which you’re dealing with. Genuinely duped people are interested in listening to you without trying to shut you down or defend the narcissist. They consider what you say, rather than dismissing & invalidating. Flying monkeys couldn’t care less about anything you have to say. All they care about is the narcissist. Anything you think or feel is irrelevant to them, as is your pain. They act like something is wrong with you for not being willing to tolerate the abuse & also deny or excuse the narcissist’s behavior. That’s just the basics for you, but I think paints a pretty good picture of what these people are about.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah then she definitely had Munchausen because she had “overdosed” maybe 20 to 30 times that I know of. It was never enough to kill her. Along with many other diseases she proclaimed to have. I am actually dealing with this feeling you described today. My middle daughter may have Lyme’s disease and Im taking her to the Dr at 11 am. I had to cancel our trip to an amusement park and I felt the need to prove the symptoms to the friend I cancelled with in case she didn’t believe me! Yeah that abuse done to us really does linger. And I’m adament to rid myself of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh geez.. that’s a lot of times to overdose. :/

      UGH! I can understand totally how you feel. I’d feel the exact same in your position I’m sure. It reminds me of when I had to call out of work sick, I always felt like my bosses never believed me.

      Hope your daughter is ok & it’s not Lyme’s disease!! ❤

      Like

  3. Ah, yes, the fight to always be the “sickest”! Very much a factor in my family I call this the “fight for the bottom”. Yet when you are sick, they either don’t believe you, OR they have the same exact ailment – ONLY WORSE! I do have one cousin who has been battling a rare type of brain cancer for over 20 years. She has even lost an eye to one of the experimental surgeries. She is a jovial person who is always positive about her condition. She makes jokes at her job about how she spells her name with an “i” so people remember her. However, sympathy for this cousin is only mentioned if you talk about your ailments to much. Then comes the trump card phrase, “Well, you think you have it bad – look at your poor Cousin with an “i””!!! Then you go take your Robitussin and shut up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Are we related?!!? That’s how it was in my family too, a competition! That is partly why I didn’t tell anyone in my family excluding one cousin (who i knew would keep it to himself) about the carbon monoxide poisoning. I was certain if my mother knew, she would’ve said something like, “Oh yea.. so & so had that. She recovered in a couple of days & is fine now.” along the lines of “Go take your Robitussin & shut up”.

      Your cousin with an I.. omgosh.. LOL she sounds like a tough lady. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can understand why years of being accussed of faking it made you start to believe it. I’m sorry that it made you question yourself and made you suffer in silence. I one hundred percent believe you – I have a friend whose parents were neglectful and abusive and now she has a chronic condition that causes her constant pain because her body has started physically reacting to all of the emotional stress and pain it’s endured. I won’t say that I can relate to you and all of the tough things that you’ve been through – but I also understand the feeling of not wanting to burden my family members with my pain sometimes. My disability causes almost constant leg pain which the doctor gives me medication for, pressure sores which also need to be attended to, and sometimes painful infections. Over the years, I’ve picked up the bad habit of suffering in silence because I don’t want to feel like I’m burdening others with my pain. But you’re right – that’s exactly what a spouse/family are there for. They don’t mind helping us through. I’m happy that you have someone in your life who’s like that too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your validation & kind words! ❤

      Your poor friend! I believe it though. The ongoing severe stress of situations like that can wreak havoc on a body!

      Suffering in silence is hardly a good idea, is it? I'm sorry you started doing the same! It's definitely not a good habit at all & no matter a person's intentions, it shouldn't be done. It's hard not to slip into that sometimes though.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am always floored by how the honesty of one can help so many more. your words have caused me to see things a bit differently, in a way I needed to. indeed, the worst part of physical abuse can be the emotional scars that persist…

    Liked by 1 person

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