Common Myths About Narcissistic Abuse

There are many myths about narcissistic abuse.  This post’s purpose is to debunk some of the more common ones.

“You let him/her get away with treating you that way.  That’s why he/she does what they do.”  Narcissists aren’t normal people who respect boundaries.  They don’t care that their actions cause pain & problems for others.  They only care about what they want.  No matter what consequences you give a narcissist, chances of them respecting your boundaries are slim to none. 

“Narcissists only abuse the weak & stupid.”  Anyone can be abused by a narcissist, no matter their intelligence, personality, religious beliefs, social standing or gender.  Narcissists are incredibly good actors & can convince anyone of whatever they want them to believe.  Even people who know a great deal about Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be fooled temporarily.  Someone who doesn’t know about it can be fooled much easier & for a much longer time before they realize something is very wrong.

“You must have done something to attract this type of person.”  This is nothing but victim blaming & shaming, & is incredibly cruel!  Do you know the kind of person narcissists are attracted to?  People with kind, loving & gentle spirits who have a great deal of empathy.  It is wrong to make people like this feel badly for being this way, especially when these are all wonderful qualities!

“You just need to learn how to stop making him angry or stay out of his way.”  No one is responsible for another person’s abusive behavior beyond the abuser.  Nothing anyone can do can prevent any abuser from abusing, period.  Narcissists are also incredibly toxic people who enjoy torturing their victims.  One way they do this is to keep their victims in a constant state of high alert by changing what angers them & what they want.  No matter how much a person may want to avoid angering the narcissist in their life or stay out of his way, it’s impossible.

“You need to fix this relationship!”  One of my aunts told me this regarding the relationship I had with my parents.  She is far from the only person to think in such a dysfunctional & foolish manner.  The problem is no one person can fix a relationship.  While one person can destroy a relationship, it takes two people to fix one.  Not to mention, in the mind of narcissists, their relationships are fine.  They don’t need fixing, at least so long as the victim does whatever the narcissist wants & tolerates the abuse.

“If it’s so bad, just walk away/go no contact.”  Anyone who says this most likely lacks empathy.  Ending relationships is always hard.  Ending a relationship with a narcissist is even harder, especially if that person is someone you love a great deal such as a spouse or parent.  Chances are the person who says this also has no concept of trauma bonding.  Trauma bonding is common among narcissists & their victims.  This is when the narcissist interjects some kindnesses in with their abuse.  They also destroy their victims’ self esteem, making them think they can’t survive without the narcissist.  There is also the fact that many narcissists financially ruin their victims so they are dependent on their narcissist.  Narcissists also isolate their victims from friends & families, so they have no one they can trust to help them.  Leaving narcissists isn’t as simple as “just walking away” for these reasons & many more.

“You’ve been away from the narcissist for a while so you should be over it by now.”  Narcissistic abuse often creates Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in victims.  This disorder as well as the tremendous amount of psychological warfare waged against victims by narcissists mean there is no “getting over it”.  It takes a lot of time to come to any sort of terms to what happened & if you have PTSD, to learn to manage your symptoms.

These are only a few of the myths about narcissistic abuse, but even so, I hope my debunking helps you. 

12 Comments

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

12 responses to “Common Myths About Narcissistic Abuse

  1. Reblogged this on silverapplequeen and commented:
    I’ve heard every single one of these, at least once.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Cynthia, this is well done. Thanks for sharing it with others. My wife and I have been watching the excellent HBO limited series called “Catch and Kill” about Ronan Farrow’s podcasts speaking with reporters and women who helped him break the Harvey Weinstein chronic and long time sexual assault abuse story. Weinstein reminded us of the former president with his narcissistic behavior – the bullying, the temper, the overbearing attitude, the shallow ego, the forceful threats used to get non-disclosure settlements and the vindictiveness toward women who would not allow themselves to be raped by him. In essence, he would either make or break their careers. To your point, these women are still suffering the trauma of the encounter with this steam roller. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Keith!

      Sounds like a very interesting series.

      I’m sure those women are still suffering. Such awful abuses are nearly impossible, if not impossible, to heal from in a lifetime.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Cynthia. I wrote a recent post called “What do these men have in common?” It focuses on the enablers who clean up the messes made by these narcissistic sexual predators. Farrow and the reporters lamented these folks go unpunished. As for the most famous narcissist who left the White House, an attorney wrote in 2015, if you are on Donald Trump’s good side, don’t get used to it. You won’t be there for long. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is brilliant, Cynthia. And boy, does it ever hit home, with where I am currently writing in my memoir.

    Like

    • Linda Lee, as a sidebar, I love your nickname and was curious how you chose it.. Some old colleagues used to call me Don Quixote on occasion when I would try to save someone who I felt was being unjustly let go. I was largely chasing windmills, hence the name. Keith

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Keith! It’s great to meet another Quixote. I wonder if we are related, lol. I used to have a saying on my gravatar page: “I tilt at windmills. Somebody has to.” But I eventually took that off, because it’s kind of goofy.

        I saw your question about thirteen hours ago, which was very early in the morning here in New Mexico. I liked your comment and wanted to reply right away, but our three dogs needed out, and then back in, and then… it’s been one thing after another. Throughout the day, I had your question in the back of my mind. How to answer? It’s funny, I have been calling myself Lady Quixote since June 2011, just over ten years ago. You are the first person to ask me how I acquired that name.

        It’s a long story. A hard story. But I do want to answer your question, so here goes. A tragedy happened in my family on June 3, 2011. My very precious, much younger cousin, my only blood relative living here in New Mexico, drowned that day. At the same moment that Elaine drowned, I was writing a long loving email to her, full of plans for her upcoming birthday. The night before, we had talked on the phone for over an hour. We had talked on the phone several times that week. I was trying to help her, trying to be an emotional support for her, because she was going through a very hard time in her life. My husband and I were praying for her every single day. We had invited her to come and stay with us for as long as she needed. She was thinking about it.

        And then we got the call that she had drowned.

        Oh my God. It’s been over ten years and it still hurts my heart so bad.

        My grief, my pain, was overwhelming. I screamed. I raged. God, why? She can’t be gone. She’s only 38 years old! God, we were praying for her. Day and night we prayed, asking You to help her. WHY???

        I started writing down my pain, writing my grief, writing my whys, and writing my unanswered questions. In one of my grief poems, as I realized that being angry at God for not answering our prayers the way we wanted Him to, made about as much sense as Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Who was I to argue with Almighty God? So in my grief poem I wrote that I am nothing but dust in the wind and a Lady Quixote, tilting at windmills.

        My cousin’s untimely death plunged me into the deepest, longest depression of my life. My husband took me to doctors. Antidepressants and talk therapy did not help. For two years, I barely functioned.

        Then — exactly two years and two days after my cousin’s death, a big dust storm into town. I was outside with our dog, Lady. I saw the solid looking wall of dust coming and quickly got her and me inside. After about an hour of the dust storm sand blasting our house, the storm finally stopped. Then I went outside the front door to get our mail.

        Lying on the ground right next to the single front step was a gleaming silver tag, the size and shape of a dog tag. It had a hole in one end, for hanging on a chain. I picked up the tag, turned it over, and was shocked to see that it was engraved with the words to a poem that my precious cousin had attached to every single one of her emails, for many years. On all of her emails was the poem: Dance like no one is watching, love like you’ve never been hurt, work like you don’t need the money, live like it’s heaven on earth.

        What are the odds that exactly two years and two days after my precious cousin drowned, a dog tag engraved with the poem she automatically attached to every email would blow up against our front step during a massive dust storm?

        I knew then that God was telling me my cousin is in heaven with Him, that I will be reunited with her forever one day, and until then, I needed to stop grieving and fully live my life. Live like it’s heaven on earth. So that’s what I did.

        But there is still a small part of me that wants to tilt at windmills. So I am: Lady Quixote. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • Linda, thanks for sharing your heartfelt story. I was already moved by her and your ordeal when I reached the poem arriving after the dust storm. That is amazing and telling. The message is welcoming and so helpful in how we should live our life. Cynthia, thanks for letting me pose this question or your blog and for Linda’s wonderful answer.

          By the way, that saying you removed from your gravatar page is not goofy at all. When I was formally chastised for too aggressively trying to save a colleague who was unjustly let go, I told my boss, “I would do the same for you.” Sometimes you have to tilt at windmills because no one else will, even when you know it won’t do any good. In this particularly case, I did get one message across – why did you have to be in such a hurry to fire someone and not vet the issue more as is the norm?

          Keith

          Liked by 2 people

        • That is such a sad but beautiful story. ❤ Thank you for sharing!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Emerging From The Dark Night and commented:
    A very important post for anyone ever abused by a narcissist.

    Liked by 1 person

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