Category Archives: Abuse and the Healing Journey
If you are in a long term relationship or are married to someone & at least one of you has narcissistic parents or family members, there is something you should know. Standing up for your partner to your narcissistic parents is one of the most important things you can do in your relationship.
When a couple makes a commitment to each other, a big part of that commitment is taking care of each other. Part of that involves not tolerating anyone hurting your partner. If you stand up to someone on behalf of your partner, you show your partner that this person’s well being & safety are extremely important to you. You prove that you love that person & will do your best to keep them safe. This is incredibly good for your relationship!
Not tolerating someone hurting your partner also shows the abusive person that you are well aware of their actions, & there are consequences for their behavior. Not doing so only proves to an abuser that they can do anything they want without consequences. This means that they will continue what they have been doing & in time, their behavior will get even worse. And, your partner will be left feeling abandoned & alone, which is potentially relationship ending. No one in a committed relationship should feel that way!
If you struggle with defending your partner to your abusive family members, then please consider a couple of things.
If it is your family that mistreats your partner, this means they are your problem! It is NOT your partner’s job to deal with your family. If your partner confronts your family rather than you, your family will be highly upset. That happens in many families, but especially in narcissistic ones. Chances are they will tell you what a terrible person your partner is, how he or she isn’t good enough to be in your life or other nonsense as a way to deflect your attention from their terrible behavior. If you are the one to confront them, they still may try to deflect & criticize your partner, but there is a better chance of them listening to you than your partner!
Also if anyone in your family mistreats your partner, they have absolutely no love or respect for you. If they had any respect or love for you, they would manage to be civil to your partner no matter how much they disliked this person. If your partner is abusive to you, any children you share or your family, that is a different scenario. They should civilly address their concerns with you, be loyal to you & care more about your safety than civility. However, if the reason they dislike your partner is because of simple differences in personality, your family should manage basic civility at the very least to this person out of love for you. When you love someone, it’s not that hard to be polite to someone they care about even if you can’t stand that person. I have done it & while it can be hard to be polite to someone you really dislike, reminding yourself of the person you care about can make this much easier.
Dear Reader, if you are in this position of having someone in your family mistreat or even abuse someone you love, then please consider what I have said. Protect your loved one! It will protect their mental & physical safety but also help your relationship! In fact, protecting your loved one will increase the bond you both share.
I saw a comment on one of my old YouTube videos I thought was rather interesting. The comment said that this person took care of her elderly abusive mother until the end of her life. She suffered health problems that didn’t run in her family as a result of dealing with their “complicated” relationship, but she is glad she didn’t abandon her like I did my parents. She went on to say that although she didn’t like my video, she said she’s glad she watched it anyway because she realized maybe she wasn’t such a terrible daughter like me after all.
Rather than simply delete the stupid comment, I left it up. It’s sort of a lesson within a lesson. The original lesson being my video, & the secondary lesson is how to deal with people like this.
This sort of comment happens all the time with adult children of narcissistic parents. The smug ignoramuses of the world think they have the right to judge how we treated our parents while they truly know nothing of our experiences. We need to be aware that this can happen & how to handle it.
To start with, I believe it’s very important to realize this is a trigger, which is why your reaction may be exceptionally emotional. Mine certainly was. I immediately felt rage & wanted to tell this person exactly what I thought of her judgmental words. I took a few moments to calm down because I recognized my strong reaction was a trigger. It reminded me of things my own family has said. If a comment like this is said to you in person or on the phone, you don’t have the luxury of taking a few minutes to calm yourself before responding as I did. Instead, take a deep breath & let it out slowly. This will calm your mind & body long enough for you to formulate a good response rather than react. Reactions in situations like this only cause more problems. You need to have a calm & calculated response instead.
It’s also important to recognize that a person saying this sort of drivel has some ulterior motive. Often they are flying monkeys, saying such idiocy to hurt you on behalf of the narcissist. They may even know the truth but say this anyway simply to hurt you because you hurt the narcissist that they idolize. In my case, I don’t know this person nor does this person know my parents. Flying monkey obviously can’t be the case. I have another idea of what her problem is though…
The commenter in my situation is, I believe, a covert narcissist or at the very least, has narcissistic tendencies. Covert narcissists will do anything they can to get the word out that they are wonderful, caring, & even martyr like. That is what this person did with me. She came across as a loving, devoted daughter who was willing to sacrifice herself & even her health for her abusive mother. She shamed me for not being a “good daughter” like she obviously was while at the same time building up her martyr image. I’m glad this person was so obvious in displaying those narcissistic tendencies because that enabled me to know how to handle the situation immediately: provide no narcissistic supply. I debated deleting the comment, but that would’ve validated to this person how mean & unreasonable I am. It also would’ve enabled her to look like the victim of my meanness, & provided narcissistic supply. Instead, I figured it best to respond simply, without emotion. I said that everyone has to do what they feel is right in their situation. I did in mine just as she did in hers. I’m not judging her so please don’t judge mine & if she can’t refrain from that, please stay off my page. Simple, to the point & calm.
Whether the person in question in these situations is a narcissist, flying monkey or just some poorly informed person with good intentions, it’s never wise to defend your actions. Somehow, that always seems to make things worse, so don’t do it! If you must say something for whatever reason, keep your comments unemotional & logical. State only the facts, not how you felt. And, ask logical questions like, “I don’t understand how you think me doing what you think I should makes any sense. Why should I subject myself to being treated so poorly?”
Lastly, always remember that God is there for you. If you don’t know what to do, ask Him for help. Even a prayer as simple as “Please help me!” can work wonders! As the adult child of a narcissistic parent, you need to know how to handle yourself when these situations arise & unfortunately, they will arise. I hope my situation has given you ideas on how to do that when the time comes.
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The holiday season is a very popular time of year for narcissists. Overt narcissists love ruining everyone’s joy by causing discord around holidays. Covert narcissists love throwing parties, cooking, baking, buying tons of gifts & making sure everyone knows how hard they worked & sacrificed. This sort of thing can lead to a lot of dread of holidays in many of us who have been subjected to holidays with narcissists.
As if that isn’t bad enough, there are also those who judge those of us who are less than thrilled with holidays or even choose not to celebrate them. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been criticized for not liking holidays or celebrating them anymore. I wish these judgmental jerks would experience just a part of what I have, then see if they can maintain their “holiday cheer.”
Since that’s impossible, I figured I would discuss this topic for those of you who share my lack of enthusiasm & give some points you can bring up to the judgmental folks if you need to.
Not everyone is going to think the same about holidays, & there is nothing wrong with that! Everyone is unique, right down to their fingerprints & DNA. Just because someone celebrates in a way that is different than you doesn’t mean they’re automatically wrong. It just means they want to do something different. What gives anyone the right to say their way of celebrating is the only way to celebrate?
Some people are what I refer to as holiday Nazis. They want what they want, when they want it for holidays, & there is zero tolerance for disobedience. My mother in-law was like this as was my first mother in-law. What makes the wishes of these people so important anyway? What if someone wants to spend the day at home with their immediate family instead of attending some big party? Why is that wrong? I don’t see how it is. Again, it’s different, not wrong. Besides, these people & their demands can ruin holidays for even the most die hard holiday fanatic. How is that so difficult to understand? It’s only normal that after repeated ruined holidays a person comes to dislike them.
Some people are also dysfunctional & not willing to work on it. For them, holidays are a time to prove that their family isn’t dysfunctional, but a big, happy family. These people can’t stand those of us who don’t go along with the charade, because we threaten their delusions. Rather than face the truth, they attack those of us who live in it for not going along with their big happy family act. How does this make any sense? It only makes sense in the minds of the dysfunctional fools who behave this way.
And, what if someone has found a way to enjoy holidays that works for them? Why is that worthy of criticism? Holidays are supposed to be about joy, peace & love. Where is any of that in judging how someone spends holidays?
Those of us who have had more bad than good holidays don’t need judgment & criticism about what we want to do. We don’t need to hear that we are wrong for how we choose to celebrate or if we choose to ignore the day. We don’t need to be criticized because we prefer Italian food or some other food over traditional holiday fare. We don’t need to have our faith brought into question because we don’t celebrate Christmas the way other people do. Not celebrating Christmas the traditional way has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s faith in God any more than not celebrating Thanksgiving makes a person ungrateful. No one should be made to feel flawed or “less than” simply because they choose to live their life in a way that brings them peace & joy. If someone tries to make you feel badly for how you celebrate or don’t celebrate this holiday season, remember that clearly they have the problem, not you. Functional people don’t try to ruin other people’s joy.
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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.
Often, two people who were raised by narcissistic parents marry each other when they grow up. Ideally, they understand each other’s past, offer support & help each other cope if their parents are still a part of their lives. Sadly though, this isn’t always the case.
Sometimes when two adult children of narcissistic parents marry, they learn each person is on a very different page. One is trying to be healthy while the other remains in denial of just how toxic his or her parents are. This is hardly an easy position to be in for either person.
If you are in this painful situation, I hope this post can help you today!
To start with, you need to pray. Ask God for any help you need to cope with the situation, whether it be patience, understanding, wisdom or anything. Prayer is always the best place to start in any difficult situation, & situations don’t get much more difficult than this one!
Next, you need to accept that you & your partner are in a different place. Your spouse may never see the truth about their parents. They also may never see the truth about yours, for that matter. You can’t change this, so you need to accept that painful truth.
You also need to accept that you can’t change your partner. As much as you’d like to, you can’t make him or her see the truth. We all have to face the truth as we are able. Forcing someone to see the truth before they’re ready isn’t good for their mental health.
You may need to stop discussing anything about your parents with each other to avoid conflict. I know this is incredibly frustrating because you should be able to discuss any topic with your spouse. In an ideal world, that is how things are. Unfortunately though, when dealing with two fallible human beings, that isn’t always feasible. If discussing anything about parents causes strife, it may be best to find someone else with which to discuss the problems. A close friend or relative, your pastor or even a counselor may be a much better option for you.
If you have issues with your spouse’s narcissistic parent, unfortunately, you can’t expect support from your spouse if he or she doesn’t see that parent is narcissistic. Don’t expect it from him or her. I realize this goes against what is natural & is very painful & hard to accept, but you need to do it anyway. Accepting this painful truth is hard, but it is easier than to be disappointed in your spouse repeatedly.
You also will need to find ways to deal with your narcissistic in-laws on your own, & chances are slim your spouse will approve of how you deal with them. This is tricky. There is no way to avoid your spouse’s anger in this situation. The best you can do is to remain calm when dealing with your awful in-laws & your spouse. Also be logical when your spouse gets angry. If he or she says you’re hurting the narcissistic parent, for example, you can say that parent has hurt you too. Why was that acceptable behavior but you setting a reasonable boundary to protect yourself wasn’t?
Never forget to take care of yourself & your mental health. A spouse in denial can be very good at making the healthier spouse feel as if they are wrong, over sensitive or even crazy. Don’t buy into this gaslighting! You are doing what is right by facing the truth about your narcissistic parents & in-laws. Don’t let anyone, including your spouse, convince you otherwise!
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Many narcissists, in particular covert ones, love to portray themselves as victims no matter how badly they have abused someone. They prefer to hide behind the mask of innocent victim than to show people the ugly truth, that they are evil & abusive. Unfortunately countless people fall for their victim act. Real victims act very differently, & those who have bought a narcissist’s victim act think this means the real victim is the one faking it, not the narcissist.
People need to be able to identify a genuine victim from a narcissist’s victim act in order to avoid being pulled into a narcissist’s abusive web. I think this can be especially beneficial when applied to people met online. So many victims join support groups & forums looking to meet others who share their experiences only to learn someone they met in one of those places is actually a narcissist.
There are some behaviors narcissists do that give away the fact that they aren’t real victims. One thing they do is only tell their side of the story. What I mean is narcissists will talk about how the other person yelled at them or called the police on them, yet not share any information on what led up to that scenario. They make it sound like the other person just snapped suddenly for no good reason, & attacked them. A real victim doesn’t do that. They tell the entire story, not leaving out selected parts that might make them look bad.
Along those lines, if a narcissist feels they must mention some bad behavior they have done, they make excuses for it. For example, say they hit their victim in a fit of rage. They will find ways to blame the other person for making them hit them. Or, they will excuse it away, maybe saying the other person hit them first. A real victim doesn’t make excuses or blame others for their bad actions. They admit their bad behavior & accept responsibility for what they have done, no matter how ashamed of it they are.
Narcissists also turn any conversation back to their situation, even when speaking with victims such as in an online group. Real victims support each other. Sure, they share examples from their own life some, but they keep the focus on the person doing the talking.
Narcissists talk about the situation over & over. They tell their story to anyone who will listen, even if the listener isn’t interested. They seem to want to tell everyone how badly they were treated. Real victims don’t talk to anyone & everyone about their story. They are selective with whom they discuss their situation. Even if they are like me & write publicly about it, when it comes to discussing it, they still are selective.
Narcissists want pity. They want to be seen as a completely innocent victim who did nothing to deserve what was done to them, so people will pity them. Real victims don’t look for pity. Empathy is great as is support, but pity isn’t something real victims want.
Narcissists expect everyone to understand their plight & offer them validation. Real victims aren’t like that. They know not everyone can relate to their situation. They know not everyone will care that they were abused. They don’t need external validation. They know what they have been through, & that is enough for them.
Everyone needs to be aware of these behaviors in others, in particular victims of narcissistic abuse. Not everyone who says they were abused by a narcissist is truly a victim. There are plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, who look for true victims to meet the sick needs they have. Consider a person’s behavior rather than blindly believing someone who tells you they are a victim of abuse.
Gaslighting is an especially insidious form of abuse that makes a victim doubt their memories, perceptions, reality & sometimes even their sanity. Narcissists love to use it due to the fact that people who live with frequent gaslighting are easy to control. After all, if a person doesn’t trust themselves, they will look elsewhere for whatever information they need, even to an abusive person who is the reason they no longer trust themselves.
Gaslighting can be very subtle, which means it can be difficult to identify. Below are some commonly used phrases narcissists use to gaslight their victims.
“You’re crazy.” Either said outright or implied with phrases like, “You need help.” This phrase can make a person doubt their sanity when repeated often enough & with certainty.
“You’re over sensitive or overreacting.” Another common gaslighting phrase. This is said to make a victim feel shame for being upset at what the abuser has said or done. Few things will shut a person down faster than shame, & when they are shut down, they won’t complain about the abuse.
“I was just kidding!” This phrase is closely related to “You’re oversensitive.” It is designed to create doubt. The victim is supposed to think they overreacted or are too sensitive or stupid to realize the comment was just a joke. The truth is however that it was nothing of the sort.
“You need to get over it!” This phrase basically tells a victim that they are wrong for still being upset about whatever the abuser did that upset them. Narcissists want their victims to tolerate abuse indefinitely & without complaint. If they can make their victim feel badly about themselves or even ashamed for being upset, then they have an excellent chance of getting the victim to continue to tolerate abuse.
“It didn’t happen that way!” This phrase can be used in a couple of ways. The first & most obvious of course is to make a victim doubt their perception & believe the narcissists’s version of events. The other use may be the narcissist’s lack of coping skills coming into play. The narcissist may be ashamed of something they said or did, not because it hurt the victim, but because it may make the narcissist look bad if the victim tells others about what happened. In order to avoid that, the narcissist may try to convince themselves & the victim that it didn’t happen that way, it happened this very different way instead. This way will involve the narcissist not acting badly or the victim doing something to provoke the narcissist to do what they did.
“That never happened!” Denial is a very commonly used tool with narcissists. If they can get their victim to believe that something never happened, that person won’t tell others what the narcissist has done.
“No one else would feel that way./ You’re the only person in the world who would feel that way.” This phrase is another way for narcissists to shame victims by making them feel they are weird, wrong, broken. If they can shame a victim enough, the victim will stop complaining about the abuse & tolerate it quietly.
“I’m only doing this because I love you.” My mother used to justify abusing me by telling me it was “tough love” she was using on me & I deserved it because of my terrible behavior. That is all this phrase is – a way for a narcissist to justify being abusive.
“No one will ever love you like I do.” My ex husband told me this once, & I thank God he was right about that! The phrase is said to make a victim feel that they are lucky to have the narcissist’s love, because no one else ever could or would care about them.
When the narcissist in your life says such things to gaslight you, keep in mind that is exactly what these phrases are, gaslighting. That means there isn’t an ounce of truth in them at all. If you have doubts, ask yourself why do you think the narcissist is right. Or better yet, ask God to tell you the truth in this situation.
Keep a journal. If you haven’t done this before, do it now. Write down what the narcissist says. Seeing things in writing can bring about a great deal of clarity. Often, it makes things clearer than simply talking or thinking about them.
Always remember, the narcissist says these things to manipulate you & to keep you down. Don’t give the narcissist that satisfaction!
In spite of how it may seem, in spite of the many similarities most narcissists share, when it comes to ending a relationship with a narcissist, each situation is unique.
This is what makes the common advice, “Just go no contact” very bad advice, in my opinion. While it’s true that ending the relationship is often the only solution for a victim, that process shouldn’t be done so glibly, with no real thought put into it.
Ending any relationship creates a narcissistic injury in a person. In other words, it’s a blow to the self esteem when someone tells you they don’t want you in their life any longer. While functional people are hurt & angry, they get through. Narcissists, however, aren’t like functional people. They rage. They often spread vicious lies about their victim in a smear campaign designed to do the most possible damage to their reputation. They also are known for harassing their victims so badly, they sometimes wear the victim down to the point of returning to the relationship. Anything to make the constant influx of phone calls, texts, emails, etc. stop. Other narcissists have no problem stalking their victim or even physically hurting or killing them.
These reasons are why although no contact is usually the best solution when it comes to a realtionship with a narcissist, how you get to that point must be done with great wisdom & planning.
As always, I recommend prayer as the best place to start. God can help you like no one can simply because He knows things no other human knows.
From what I have seen, in these situations, God gives one of three answers:
- “End it now. Just walk away.”
- “Not yet… I will tell you when & how.”
- “Don’t end it.”
“End it now” is the easiest. You simply block the narcissist’s access to you at every turn. Usually, they walk away & find a new victim, not caring they lost you. This solution usually is best for narcissists who are lower on the spectrum or who have a lot of people in their life.
“Not yet” is what happened with my parents. That was tough because I really wanted the relationship over, yet also knew I had to wait on God’s timing. I also wasn’t sure how to end it, but He showed me. Although waiting in these situations is really hard, it also is well worth it. If you follow God’s lead, you will have peace not only about ending the relationship but how you choose to end it. That peace is so important! And, by following God’s lead, you will receive the minimal amount of abuse from the narcissist once you end that relationship.
“Don’t end it” may be the most challenging answer of all but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a valid answer. I’ve known a few people who received this answer. Rather than ending the relationship with the narcissist in their life, they made themselves as unappealing as possible to that narcissist & eventually that person ended the relationship with them. This seems to be a good option for the most toxic of narcissists. If a person can become so unappealing to their narcissist that the narcissist rejects them instead, they stand very little chance of retaliation from that narcissist. The narcissist feels they have the power because they ended the relationship rather than the victim did. In cases of malignant narcissists, this is a very good option because it will help a victim avoid the potential fallout of an especially vicious & even dangerous narcissistic rage.
Whatever you do when it comes to ending the relationship with the narcissist in your life, please be careful, be wise & most of all, follow God’s promptings. You will get through this time with your safety & sanity in tact if you do those things.
One way narcissists lure victims into a relationship is by paying way too much attention to their victims.
Narcissistic friends & romantic partners alike commonly smother their new found interest (aka victim) with positive attention. They cling very quickly to someone they just met. They claim the new interest is their soul mate or they felt some sort of special connection the moment they met. They shower this person with praise & often gifts as well. They want to spend every possible moment together.
I have experienced this with friends as well as my ex husband. I’ve met several people online who within a day or two of meeting me decided we needed to talk constantly. Probably the first one was the worst. I didn’t know about narcissism at the time & was flattered she thought so highly of me. We used to speak on the phone often as well as via email. When I didn’t respond to her call or email, she would get mad. She’d claim she was just kidding when she said things like how dare I not call her back sooner than I did or “joke” about me being so busy when she clearly thought I never had anything to do.
I was young & naive, living with narcissistic parents when I met my ex husband. He constantly told me how pretty, smart, etc. I was, how he waited all his life for someone like me & expected me to spend all of my free time with him.
Anyone can be extremely flattered when someone treats them this way, but the average functional person realizes quickly this behavior isn’t normal. Those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents however are different.
Growing up with narcissistic parents means you have no concept of healthy boundaries. Even if this person’s attention is overwhelming, you don’t feel you have the right to refuse it. After all, the person is saying & doing what seems like the right things. How can you refuse that?!
Also children of narcissistic parents are neglected. Having someone pay positive attention feels good, & it’s about impossible to resist.
And, narcissistic parents don’t praise their children. These children grow up starving for praise. When someone comes along, showering them with praise, they can’t resist it.
If you grew up with narcissistic parents, you need to be aware of people like this who obsess over you. They’re predators looking for a victim.
Sometimes people meet & they just “click” immediately. My husband & I were that way. The same with my best friend & I. There was no obsessing though. We talked often & were free with complements, but no one was offended if the other didn’t answer their phone call or call back immediately. There was no talk of “soulmates” or anything similar in the very beginning or pressure to spend every waking moment together.
I’ve learned that children of narcissists need to be aware of people like this much more than the average person because of the natural weaknesses that come from being raised by narcissists. I strongly recommend asking God for discernment with people to help you to figure out who is safe & who is not.
Listen to your gut feelings, too. If something doesn’t feel right about someone, that feeling is there for a reason.
Pay attention to people’s actions, not only their words. A person can say anything they want, whether it’s true or not. A person’s actions tell you what is truly in their heart.
If you have doubts, talk to a safe, wise friend about your thoughts. Sometimes an outsider can be very helpful in providing an objective opinion.
Remember, not everyone who pays attention to you truly cares about you. They can be looking for your weaknesses & fears to exploit them & manipulate you.
One thing most people who haven’t experienced abuse at the hands of a narcissist fail to grasp is last straw moments. In fact, they can be odd enough that even those of us who have experienced narcissistic relationships don’t always understand them.
Last straw moments are those things that a narcissist does that seals their fate with their victim. The things may not be the worst thing they ever have done. In fact, they may not be all that bad, especially in comparison to other things the narcissist has done. They simply are something that makes a victim say “enough is enough!”
With my ex husband, it happened on our fourth wedding anniversary. I’d told him I wanted a divorce probably a month prior. He said I owed it to him to give him one last chance. Being naive, I agreed to it. Aside from moving out of his parents’ home, nothing changed. On our anniversary, we watched television. He suddenly said, “So you still want that divorce?”
With my mother, it happened when we had a huge argument in 2016 about me not telling my parents that my husband’s mother died. They knew I didn’t speak to her or her two daughters. I also was more concerned about my husband than my parents, especially since they spoke with my in-laws maybe four times in the 22 years we had been together at that time. I naively thought they wouldn’t care about her passing other than concern for my husband. I felt betrayed that my mother cared more about potentially upsetting my in-laws by not being there than me feeling her attendance would’ve shown she cared more for them than me. When I told her how I felt, she acted like I was the one in the wrong, & was angry with me. I couldn’t deal with her again.
Several months later, I went no contact with my father. One day, my husband & I were having our back door replaced when suddenly my father showed up. My husband told my father to leave, & after some harsh words, he did. Twice the following week, he sent the police to do a wellness check, claiming my husband abused me & kept me from him. My father sinking so low made me realize I’d never break no contact with him.
In all three scenarios, nothing they did was especially bad compared to their other actions. Yet somehow, it also woke me up to how badly I needed to get away from such toxicity.
Chances are excellent that you will experience something similar in your relationship with the narcissist in your life. When this happens, please learn from my experiences.
Don’t beat yourself up. So what this wasn’t the worst thing they have done? They have done plenty. It’s normal that anything, even something sort of small, can push you over the edge, because your patience are worn out.
Don’t think you’re petty because what they did wasn’t as bad as other things. Like I just said, it’s normal that anything, even something sort of small, can be too much after someone continually does terrible things to you.
Don’t compare your situation to anyone else’s. Everyone is unique. Just because your last straw moment was different than someone else’s doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.
Remember that you are unique as is the narcissist in your life. There are no one size fits all solutions. You need to handle the situation from here the best you can. If others think you’re wrong, so be it. If no one you know has handled a similar situation as you feel you need to, that isn’t important. Do what you know in your heart is right in your situation, & don’t let anyone else change your mind.
Both of my parents died not terribly long after going no contact with them. My father within a few months in October, 2017 & my mother almost exactly 18 months later in April, 2019. I have done a LOT of thinking since then because, well, that’s what I do, I overthink things. lol One thing I thought about though made a lot of sense & I wanted to share it with you.
When someone goes no contact with their narcissistic parent, it seems most people assume that person hates their parent. They hate them so much, they can’t tolerate that person in their life any longer. I find that is rarely the case. Every person I’ve spoken with about this topic has said they loved their narcissistic parent deeply. It was the abuse they hated, which is why they felt they had no other choice but to go no contact.
I felt the same way. I hated how my parents treated me so badly, I felt I had no other choice but to go no contact. I prayed a lot, I tried a lot of things, & nothing I did or said helped the relationship. In fact, it kept getting worse.
Eventually I felt no contact was my only option & I prayed a LOT about that. I felt God wanted me to wait, so I did even though it was incredibly difficult. When the time felt right, I eliminated my parents from my life. It was the hardest, most painful thing I’ve ever had to do. Later, I learned it was also the right thing to do.
Just before my father died, he accepted Jesus as his Savior. His miraculous story is on my website at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com if you’d like to read it. Anyway part of the reason he turned to God was because I wouldn’t go say goodbye to him as he was dying, in spite of knowing he wanted me to & the constant harassment & bullying by people trying to force me to. Nothing else in his almost 80 years of life worked to make him turn to God, not even his own near death experience when he was a teenager.
After my mother died, I learned that she too accepted Jesus as her Savior. Apparently she had as a young child, but stepped away from her new faith probably because of the abuse she received at home. Me not having a relationship with her, I believe, helped to turn her towards God as it did my father. During our almost three years of no contact at the time of her passing, I prayed for her daily. During that time, God told me a few times that she was praying, asking God to make me contact her. He said that her motivations were purely selfish, so He didn’t want me to.
I think my story isn’t terribly unique. Many narcissistic parents end up alone in their final years, abandoned by the children they abused for their entire lives. I also can’t help but think many would turn to God in their desperation for help as my parents did. Hopefully they also would accept Jesus into their hearts as my parents did.
Dear Reader, as hard as it can be, please pray for your narcissistic parents. God hears those prayers, even when we pray from an attitude of “I’m only doing this because I know You want me to.” That was my attitude for a long time, yet in spite of it, both of my parents went to Heaven when they passed away. So please, keep praying for your narcissistic parents. Even if prayer is the only thing you can do for them, it is a very powerful & wonderful thing!
Anyone who has been subjected to narcissistic abuse knows that unless it affects a narcissist, a narcissist isn’t going to care about it. Period. As if that isn’t bad enough, they train victims to feel the same way. No matter what happens to a victim, it isn’t important. You could be lying in a pool of blood after someone hacked off your leg while the narcissist with you has a cold, & that narcissist will do their best to convince you that your freshly severed leg is no big deal. Their sniffles though, now that is a crisis, so you need to stop whining about your leg!
Narcissists manage to convince victims of the lack of importance of their problems subtly. They’re so subtle, most of us don’t even pay attention to what they are doing until years later when we realize it.
My overtly narcissistic mother simply ignored my problems. I might as well have said nothing, because she would act as if I didn’t say anything or talk over me to change the subject. There were other times if she did listen, she would blame me for the problem, even when I wasn’t at fault.
My father & ex husband, both covert narcissists, used a different tactic. They would let me talk, listening to every word I said. It seemed like they cared, but they didn’t. They wouldn’t respond like a normal person & say “I’m sorry that happened to you” or “Are you ok? Can I do anything to help?” Instead, they would tell me how upset they were or how hard my problem was for them.
For example, the night in 1990 when I was 19 & my mother threw me into a wall, both my father & ex husband turned that into their crisis. My ex said how upset he was that my mother did this, he was furious with her for hurting my back, etc. etc. Not once that evening or in the years following did he offer me any comfort.
My father brought up that night periodically until he died. Mostly about how awful it was that when he walked out, my mother locked him out of the house. His keys were in his pocket & he could’ve come back inside at any time. He also mentioned how bad the damage was where my mother threw me into. It took him time to patch it up. A couple of years before he died, my father literally said to me, “It’s ok.. you don’t have to apologize for busting up that wall. I fixed it & it’s all over.” I was blown away! Why would I apologize? Yes, it was me that broke a wall but not due to my own carelessness! It was because my mother, who was much stronger than me, threw me into the thing! And for the record, I told him this.
Although narcissists are clearly very good at training their victims to think their problems don’t matter, that doesn’t mean they are correct. Not by a long shot, in fact. For some reason, I never saw it until a few months after my mother died. That is when I suddenly realized how it happened & how terrible it is! I repeatedly have told myself that it wasn’t so bad, how my parents & ex treated me. I’ve even doubted having C-PTSD in spite of flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression & more.
Please learn from my experiences! Don’t buy the narcissist’s lies! What happens to you *is* important! It does matter! Acknowledge your experiences for whatever they were. Admit to yourself that you did great sometimes in spite of what the narcissist tells you. Also admit that the traumatic ones were bad. There is nothing wrong with that! In fact, it’s a good thing to do because once you realize that, you can start to heal.
Every once in a while, I hear someone say they are grateful for the terrible things that happened to them at the hands of an abuser, because those awful things made them stronger or made them who they are today. Honestly, I’m not sure that this is a good thing. It may sound empowering, but really… is it truly good to be grateful for suffering horrific abuse even when good came from it? I just don’t know. It sounds too close to toxic positivity for me, but I can’t say with 100% certainty I’m right about that. It may just be something that each person needs to decide for themselves if it is good for them or not.
What I do know though, is that whether or not you’re grateful for those terrible things, it’s a good idea to be grateful in general. It helps to appreciate your loving husband, great kids, a secure job & whatever else is going on in your life. A grateful attitude can help alleviate or at least lessen depression so naturally you should be grateful for the good things.
While it may be hard, I really think it’s good to appreciate the good that came from the bad things in your life too. It’s taken me quite some time, but I eventually became grateful for all that I learned as a result of the narcissists & their abuse in my life.
I can spot a narcissist easily now, rather than simply ignore my instincts that were saying I should run for the hills rather than deal with this person.
If somehow I end up forced to deal with a narcissist, now I know how to deal with them in ways that protect my mental health. There will be no more narcissists defining who I am.
Also if I end up forced to deal with one, I know ways to set boundaries now that prevent them from taking advantage of me.
My tolerance for abuse in any form is now gone. I have no problem calling out abusive behavior whether it’s done to me or to someone else. If it’s done to me, & someone reading this has been abusive to me, just know that you are going to be the subject of at least a blog post or two, YouTube video or maybe even a book at some point. Probably you already have been in one of these roles by now.
I love the fact that the awful experiences in my life had a purpose. Being able to write about such things & help others learn, grow & heal is incredibly rewarding. It helps me to cope. I can be less angry about the abuse knowing it all had a purpose.
Also, being through the horrors of abuse means I appreciate good people in my life more than the average person. Those who haven’t been abused tend to take good people for granted much easier than those who have. Appreciating good people just feels good, & that leads you to seek out other good people while rejecting toxic people. It also strengthens relationships with good people because you can’t help but to let them know they are appreciated.
The more grateful you are, the more grateful you become. Certainly that is a very good thing!
So what good things can you think of in your life that are a direct result of surviving abuse? I’m sure if you think about it, there are plenty of good things. Whether you are grateful for the horrors you’ve experienced or not, I really would like to encourage you to be grateful for the good that has come from it all. It can be very good for your mental health! xoxo
When experiencing narcissistic abuse, it feels like the narcissist is attacking you like a hungry lion attacks prey. They do their level best to destroy everything about you. That feels incredibly personal, doesn’t it? The fact is though that it isn’t.
Narcissists are incredibly selfish & self serving. Every single thing they do is motivated by how it will serve or benefit them.
If a narcissist calls you ugly or stupid, it isn’t because he or she thinks you are. It’s because it makes the narcissist feel powerful when they see you hurting because of that insult.
If your narcissistic spouse destroys your financial status, that isn’t about you either. Destroying your finances makes him or her feel powerful. You can’t leave him or her without money. You can’t rent a place to live with a bad credit rating. You are forced to maintain the relationship with this narcissist, & they love having that control.
If the narcissist in your life is your parent who refuses to treat you like an adult, again, that isn’t about you. It doesn’t mean the narcissist believes you aren’t a capable adult. Treating you as a child well past childhood gives that parent the control they want over you by making you feel incapable.
At the core of narcissistic behavior is the drive for narcissistic supply. Narcissistic supply is anything that feeds the ego. Everyone appreciates narcissistic supply to some degree. A sincere complement makes you feel good, doesn’t it? Most people appreciate complements. Some may even fish for them once in a while, asking questions like, “Does this dress look ok on me?” in the hopes of hearing, “You look beautiful in that dress!” That is narcissistic supply on a normal scale. Narcissists, however, take this to an extreme.
Narcissists will do anything to gain their narcissistic supply & gain it often. They have no problem tearing another person’s self esteem apart or manipulating & controlling others to get it. The fact others are hurt in this process isn’t important to narcissists, due to their complete lack of empathy. All that matters is they accomplish or obtain whatever it is that they want at that moment. And, once that moment is done, they are looking for their next moment.
Narcissists are much like hard core drug addicts, always looking for their next high, & they will do anything to get that high. The only difference is their drug of choice is narcissistic supply.
Always remember that what narcissists do is about them, not you. Even hurting, even destroying, you isn’t about you. Every single solitary thing narcissists do is always about them & procuring their precious narcissistic supply, period. The more you remember this, the less devastated you will be when the narcissist in your life says & does the terrible things they do to you.
One word of warning: this realization shows just what a damaged person the narcissist is. It’s sad when you realize that someone’s thinking could be so warped as to not care about the tremendous amount of damage they do to others, including those they say they love. While yes, this is sad, please don’t let yourself feel too much pity for the narcissist, because that can lead you down the path of tolerating their abuse. Remember, they have chosen over & over to do the abusive things they have done. This has shut down their empathy, & made it easier for them to continue to abuse. While it’s sad they are as they are, narcissism is ultimately a result of their bad choices.
People who don’t understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder, flying monkeys in particular, seem to all think that setting boundaries & limits on a narcissist’s abusive behavior is a terrible thing to do. If the victim is a Christian, these people often add in that those limits are “ungodly”, “unloving” & even “not honoring your parents.” If a victim wants to divorce a narcissistic spouse, people are quick to point out the Scripture that says, “God hates divorce!” or “wives submit to your husbands” while leaving out anything else that can elaborate on these verses.
The fact however, is that these people are entirely wrong. Boundaries are loving, Godly & honorable.
You can’t change anyone’s behavior of course, but boundaries set the stage to encourage a person to behave in a better way. Good boundaries also show people how to treat others in a healthy way by displaying clearly what a person will & will not tolerate.
Consequences when someone disregards another’s boundaries also give a person a choice. They can change their behavior for the better & receive a better, healthier relationship in return for their efforts. Or, they can continue their bad behavior & suffer the negative consequences, such as someone terminating the relationship with them.
It is a loving thing to do to help people behave in a more Godly & loving way.
What is not a loving thing to do is enabling bad behavior. Tolerating abuse is far from loving. How could it be a loving thing to do to encourage someone to participate in bad, abusive & yes even sinful behavior? It isn’t loving at all nor is it Godly! Yet it seems like so many people think this is the case, & will twist Scripture around in an attempt to convince other people this is true.
And, on the opposite side of that same coin, how is it loving to tolerate things that cause pain? How does that sort of behavior benefit anyone? It only hurts victims & tells abusers that their awful behavior is fine.
I know this post is a very brief & basic one today, Dear Reader, but I felt the need to put it out there anyway. I feel someone needs this simple reminder, so here it is. Keep your boundaries in place & keep enforcing them! Anyone who doesn’t respect them is the one with the problem, not you. You aren’t a bad Christian or unloving spouse or adult child for having boundaries. You are simply giving someone the natural consequences of their behavior, as things should be. People reap what they so, as the Scripture says…..
Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. 8 For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (AMP)