Tag Archives: abuse
Most people who hear of someone being abused think of someone weak. A small child, an adult with low or no self esteem who isn’t very intelligent or even mentally or emotionally stunted. Maybe someone who has a very gentle nature, lacking the strength & courage to stand up to an abusive person or thinks that tolerating abuse is the Godly thing to do.
While it’s certainly true that people like this are sought out by abusers, they aren’t the only ones. Highly intelligent, strong & confident people are also sought out by abusers.
Have you ever heard a story about a wealthy person being charmed by someone who stole most if not all of that person’s money? Or, maybe a strong person ended up abused, & turned into an empty shell of their former self not long after marrying their abuser. That person isn’t someone you would consider weak, but even so, they clearly were abused.
The natural response most people have is to wonder how this sort of thing happened? They think that person was too smart or too strong to be in this situation, & it doesn’t make sense. Their opinion of that person often drops because they feel that person must have been weak or stupid, in spite of how they appeared to be.
Such thinking couldn’t be further from the truth!
Abusers are often like prey hunting animals. Sure, they’ll hunt the wounded, young & easy prey sometimes. It’s there & they need a meal/victim so why pass that up?! But, that doesn’t mean they have an aversion to the more challenging prey. If a lion is hungry enough, he’ll hunt that healthy & strong antelope even though getting that antelope is a lot of work.
The same thing goes for narcissists. They don’t have an aversion to abusing a victim that is more of a challenge. In fact, they enjoy it. Easy victims are good, but conquering someone who is strong, confident & successful is big time narcissistic supply. That challenge makes them feel very powerful. It makes sense in its own dysfunctional way. It shows the abuser they are able to destroy the un-destroyable. They must be powerful to accomplish that, right?!
If you are someone who has suffered abuse, that doesn’t mean you are weak. It means the person is an abuser, & often abusers seek out a challenging victim. If you were sought out, that means there is something about you that appealed to the abuser. Your strength, success, intelligence, kindness, faith… whatever it was, it was a good thing to make such a horrible person want to destroy you.
And, if you know someone who has been abused, this also applies to them. That person must possess some very good qualities if that awful person worked so hard to destroy them. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the victim. Quite the opposite – there is something very right with that person!
If you have survived narcissistic abuse, then you know how badly it can mess with your mind. One thing it does is it can skew a person’s perspective in all kinds of ways. It can leave a person feeling badly about themselves, such as believing they are ugly or stupid when nothing could be further from the truth. It also can make a person overly pessimistic, because he or she has had so many bad things happen to them. Or, it can turn a person overly optimistic, because either he or she has decided not to be so negative like the narcissist who abused them or he or she is trying so hard to distance from the abuse in every possible way.
In any case, neither being too pessimistic or optimistic is good. Pessimists are often depressed because they only see the bad things in life & expect only bad things to happen. Optimists are often depressed, too, because they constantly expect good things to happen. When something happens that isn’t so good, they are shocked & saddened.
Being realistic yet slightly optimistic seems to be the healthiest way to think, in my opinion anyway. You accept things as they are, whether good or bad, & if there is a way to glean good from it, you do it.
It can be tricky to get your thinking more balanced after being so out of balance for a long time, but it is still possible. It takes time, patience, understanding with yourself, focus & help from God.
Prayer truly is the best place to start. Ask God for whatever it is you need, such as helping you to be more aware of unhealthy thoughts so you can change them.
I recommend too, focusing on God. If your relationship with Him isn’t particularly close, then work on it. Drawing close to your Heavenly Father really helps to bring comfort, peace & joy.
Also try to focus on what you think about. Many times, people just think things & don’t even realize what they are thinking about. Slow your thoughts down & pay attention to the things that cross your mind. Acknowledge them & accept them without judgment.
Question those thoughts, too. Is it possible that your expectations of this person/situation are unrealistic? Ok, so this situation is pretty bad.. is there something good that you can take away from it?
If you tend to think too emotionally, then try to interject some logic into your thoughts. If you have trouble doing this, try imagining your situation not as yours, but as that of a friend who has come to you with this situation, looking for advice or comfort. How would you feel about it as an outsider? What would you think of your friend’s feelings? Thinking this way can help to detach you some emotionally so you can look at situations more objectively.
Although it may take some time, you can learn to have a healthier perspective on life. It will be well worth your time & energy when you are a happier & more peaceful person.
Hyper vigilance is a term used to describe when a person feels an extreme awareness of one’s surroundings. It’s so much more than simply noticing obvious things, such as if a new person entered the room or if someone else left the room. It’s being aware that & much more. It can be an awareness of things most people don’t even notice, such as if someone had a fleeting expression of anger or someone’s tone of voice changing ever so slightly. It also can include an extremely exaggerated startle response, increased heart rate & fast, shallow breathing, feelings of anxiety & even panic.
Hyper vigilance is a natural part of C-PTSD & is extremely common among those who have survived narcissistic abuse.
When you are in the midst of narcissistic abuse, you learn quickly that in order to avoid the narcissist’s rage, you have to be perfect. In order to be perfect, you must be aware of whatever the narcissist thinks, feels, wants or needs at any given time. To be aware of such things, you have to notice even the slightest change in the narcissist. Even such very subtle things as a slightly raised eyebrow or a transient half smile can clue you in to whatever the narcissist may want from you or is thinking. Hyper vigilance becomes a very useful survival skill with narcissists, because it can protect you from the narcissist’s rage & abuse. Unfortunately though, once the relationship with a narcissist has ended, the hyper vigilance often remains even though there is no longer a need for it.
There are some ways you can cope with hyper vigilance in this situation.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be very helpful. Talking about your feelings & experiences is helpful, because when you bring problems out into the open, they often lose their control & power over you. You also begin to see the flaws in the thinking that causes your problems in ways you never did before which means you can correct these things. Even if you opt not to partake in therapy, just talking about your feelings & experiences can help, if you talk with only safe, non judgmental & understanding people. Best of all, if you can find someone who has experienced situations similar to yours because that person can understand you as others cannot.
When you feel anxious, stop & take a deep breath. Release it slowly. This simple action enables you to take a moment to stop & regain your focus, plus the act of breathing helps to calm your body.
Remind yourself that you are safe. There is no danger & no need to be hyper vigilant in this situation. Look around at your surroundings & take in what you see. If you’re with someone, ask them for help if you need it.
Acknowledge what you feel. Question it. Does it make sense in this situation? Why or why not? Logic helps to calm emotions, especially emotions that are disproportionate to the situation at hand. Use that to your favor by questioning what you feel.
Medication may be helpful, so talk to your doctor or therapist if you are interested in trying it. Anti-anxiety & anti-depressant medications can be quite helpful. There are many to choose from, so it may take some time to find what works best for you. Also, don’t forget to ask your doctor about possible side effects before you agree to take a medication. There are also herbal alternatives, such as Valerian Root, lemon balm & kava kava that may help to calm your anxiety, & St. John’s Wort & Sam-E for depression.
Hyper vigilance is a nuisance, I know, but it can be managed! Be as patient, understanding & gentle with yourself as possible, & you will see positive results in time. xoxo
Most of us who have survived narcissistic abuse know at least some about projection. Projection is when a narcissist accuses a victim of something that the victim doesn’t do, but the narcissist does. As one example, my narcissistic mother accused me of lying more times than I can count. Although in all fairness I lied some to her, I didn’t lie to her often, & when I did, it was out of self preservation. She, however, has lied to & about me more times than I can count.
Projection is a very effective weapon for a narcissist. It allows the narcissist to get upset about the flaw they are accusing another person of while simultaneously accepting no responsibility whatsoever for it or making appropriate changes in their behavior. It also means that unless the victim is aware of the phenomenon of projection, the victim will listen to the narcissist & make whatever changes they need to in order to please the narcissist. This means plenty of narcissistic supply to any narcissist. Controlling a victim? Turning a situation around so the victim feels responsible while absolving oneself of responsibility at the same time?! This is a big narcissistic supply win!
Victims need to be aware of projection so not only do they refuse to accept this burden & blame any longer, but also so the narcissist in their life is deprived of getting their narcissistic supply. Depriving a narcissist of supply is VERY important to help you maintain your sanity while in a relationship with any narcissist.
Another reason to know about projection is because it can help you to learn about the narcissist. Remember what projection is- a narcissist accusing a victim of things that they are doing, not the victim. A narcissistic wife who accuses her husband of cheating is most likely cheating or at the very least, has chosen someone she wants to have an affair with. The narcissistic boss who accuses an employee of stealing from the company probably has stolen quite a bit. A narcissistic parent who accuses their adult child of lying is most likely a liar.
If you pay attention to what the narcissist in your life accuses you of doing, you can learn what they are up to. This knowledge can help you to figure out ways to deal with the narcissist because now you know just what you’re dealing with.
The next time the narcissist in your life accuses you of some outrageous behavior, Dear Reader, I urge you to listen to it. Not because they are right, but because it can help you to understand what they are up to.
If you have a narcissist in your life, no doubt that you have had the unpleasant experience of telling that person that you are sick only to have them not believe you. I certainly have. I can’t count how many times my mother didn’t believe me that I had the flu or some sickness. She didn’t even believe I was injured when clearly I was limping or bruised. In fact, after she threw me into a wall when I was 19 & I had back pain for the next 10 years, she deliberately would hand me heavy items, smack me in the back & tell people I was faking the injury.
Does any part of my story sound familiar to you? I would guess it does. It’s so upsetting & frustrating, isn’t it? Even if you don’t care what this person thinks of you, it’s hurtful knowing they actually think you’d be capable of lying, let alone about something as serious as your health. It also can be difficult because if the narcissist is talented enough at gaslighting, you may start to doubt yourself & believe what the narcissist says. I know, it sounds hard to believe, but it can happen. I had plenty of times where I wondered if my mother was right, & I really was faking my back injury.
I used to wonder why this happens. Why don’t narcissists believe people when they say they’re sick or injured? Eventually, I think I figured it out.
As anyone who knows anything about narcissism knows, narcissists lack empathy. If another person is sick or injured, they simply couldn’t care less. So what if someone is suffering? It doesn’t affect the narcissist, so it doesn’t matter to the narcissist. If they can convince a person that they truly aren’t sick or injured, maybe the person will stop “bothering” the narcissist with their complaints & problems.
There is also the attention factor. Narcissists expect to be the center of attention at all times. If someone is sick or injured, other people will care. Their attention will be on the patient, not the narcissist. This is a problem for any narcissist. If they can convince others that the patient isn’t really sick or injured, they may be able to divert all attention back to themselves.
Along the lines of getting attention is the fact that many narcissists will exaggerate or even outright fake illness or injury for attention. Not long before the last time I spoke to my mother, she had a trip to the emergency room. Suddenly she was violently sick to her stomach one day, & my father called an ambulance. It turned out simply to be vertigo. Highly annoying, yes, but not serious. A few hours at the emergency room, & she was home again. When I spoke to her that last time, she mentioned how she “was in the hospital.” That comment made it sound much more serious than it actually was, didn’t it?
There are also those who will make themselves sick or hurt themselves in order to gain attention from their loved ones & from medical staff. Munchausen Syndrome is what that is called.
I believe that because some narcissists will fake or exaggerate their own health issues or even harm themselves, they believe other people do the same. Narcissists tend to see everyone as alike. They expect other people to do the exact same things that they do, so if they will fake problems, it’s only natural to them to assume that other people will do the same. They can’t seem to comprehend that other people don’t act like they do.
The next time the narcissist in your life doesn’t believe you about being sick or injured, I hope you will remember this post. Their lack of belief is their problem, & it has nothing to do with you at all.
After escaping abuse at the hands of a narcissist, many victims find their narcissist has created a smear campaign against them. In other words, they trash the victim’s reputation to anyone & everyone who will listen. They also turn friends & family against the victim, including people the victim never expected could be turned against them. This on top of all of the horrors of the abuse can be utterly devastating.
When a narcissist creates a smear campaign, you first need to remember what it is. It’s an abusive tactic designed to isolate you, to leave you without support & love by making people think terribly of you.
A smear campaign is also done to remove your credibility, so if you tell others what the narcissist did to you, you won’t be believed. It is a way for a narcissist to protect his or her reputation by removing the believability of the claims of their abusive ways & focus from their behavior while making a victim look bad at the same time.
This may be the hardest part of a smear campaign, but it is also very true. People who blindly believe the lies don’t truly love you. If they did, they would know you well enough to recognize the lies rather than believe them. They also would defend you to the person spreading such lies. As painful as this realization is, it’s also very important. You need to know who truly loves you & who doesn’t. This is the one good thing about a smear campaign, how it shows you who loves you & who doesn’t.
You also need to remember that ultimately, this smear campaign isn’t about you. It’s about the narcissist who started it. The narcissist wouldn’t have started it if you wouldn’t have seen the ugliness behind the mask. Because you did though, he or she has determined it’s best to destroy your reputation & your credibility so their secret will remain safe. As an added bonus, the narcissist gets narcissistic supply by hurting you & feeling powerful by destroying your reputation.
Those who support & help to spread the lies of the smear campaign aren’t innocent either. They are also gaining something from what they are doing. Maybe they have gained favor with the narcissist, maybe the narcissist is giving them money or gifts, or maybe they’re just getting narcissistic supply by looking like they care while they’re abusing you by slandering your good name. There is also the possibility that they are in denial about what the narcissist is, so they are trying to shut you down so their denial won’t be threatened.
When a smear campaign happens, the best thing you can do is to ignore it. Ignore everything that is being said about you & don’t defend yourself. Anything you say to defend yourself may be taken as proof that the narcissist is right about you, that you really are crazy, angry or whatever other nonsense the narcissist says. The best thing you can do is to live your life. Let your good character shine & it will prove the smear campaign to be wrong. Anyone who cares about the truth will see that your behavior doesn’t line up with what is being said about you, & question what they have heard.
If anyone tries to tell you what the narcissist is saying about you, if at all possible, end the conversation. Change the subject. Walk away. Do not engage in it. You don’t need to hear the lies that are being spread about you.
And never ever forget that this smear campaign isn’t about you nor is it a reflection on who you are. It’s about the narcissist who started it & the mindless minions who help to spread it.
Since my mother’s death in April, I have received some written communication from my “family” (using that term VERY loosely). Others have called my mother’s home. I can only assume that is some lame attempt to contact me. I have long since blocked their phone numbers so they can’t reach me, & why else would anyone call that number knowing its owner is dead?
Rather than speaking to these people, I figured since many are nosy enough to read my work, I’ll send a message via my blog. I may even add this as a page to my website since I know they also frequent it, not sure yet.
Anyway… onto what I have to say.
If any of you who are attempting to contact me are looking for some sort of handout, that is NOT going to happen. I will NOT enable your bad behavior (like your greed & poor money management skills), nor will I be anyone’s doormat. Find someone else to use.
If you want something that belonged to either of my parents: you need to realize the nastier, more demanding or manipulative you are to me, the less likely the chances I will give you anything. It doesn’t matter if my mother once told you that you could have some specific item when she died. What matters now is what is written in her will, & specific items aren’t listed. Since she assigned me as her personal representative, this means everything is now mine to do with however I see fit. I am boxing up some items to send to people she was close to. I will send them when I get the time. There is no need to contact me or to rush me. Showing up at my home or my parents’ home will result in me calling the police to have you removed from the property.
If you’re trying to contact me so you can share your opinions on how I am handling this situation, because I didn’t have a funeral for my mother or even because I had no relationship with my parents since 2016, I really don’t care what you think. Your opinions mean nothing whatsoever to me, & I won’t listen to them. Trying to contact me to share them is a waste of your time & energy.
If you harass me, some of you should know, I have saved evidence of your previous harassment. For one relative, I have plenty of documentation of your harassment dating back as far as 2013. I have plenty of evidence from the past, & will save any & all new evidence. I will involve the police if you force my hand.
To that one “special” cousin who showed up uninvited & unwelcome to my mother’s private burial just to give me grief, cause your big scene & refuse to leave, you astound me. You truly have NO class. You clearly also have zero respect. Obviously no respect for me which you’ve already made abundantly clear, but also none for yourself or my mother. You claimed to be at the burial for my mother, yet you yelled at & treated me like dirt AT HER GRAVE. No respect! Count your blessings I have the common decency not to act like trash at a burial, because that is the only reason I behaved as well as I did towards you that day.
I also want to say to my family: leave me alone. I have nothing to say to anyone, nor do I want to hear anything from anyone. All I want is for my so-called family to leave me alone.
No doubt by now some smug, “holier than thou” people are reading this & judging me for being angry. No doubt you also think that makes me bitter, unforgiving, a fake or a “bad Christian” as my family has called me before. It doesn’t. Even Jesus got angry. Several times his anger is documented in the Bible. Maybe if you actually read a Bible instead of twisting the few Scriptures you know to fit your agenda, you’d know this. You really should try reading the Bible sometime. You might learn something.
Those of us who have gone no contact with abusive parents most likely have heard the same invalidating, nonsensical comments.
- “But that’s your MOTHER!”
- “Your father can’t help it… that’s just how he is!”
- “You need to let what they say roll off your back.”
- “You need to forgive & forget/honor your parents!”
- “You only get one set of parents!”
Statements like this make me cringe. People who say such utterly moronic comments truly have zero clue what it’s like to be in the position of feeling no contact is the only option left to protect our sanity.
If you have gone no contact, Dear Reader, then this post today is to remind you of some things.
First, no one has the right to tell you how to feel about anything, let alone your abusive parent’s actions. You know how it feels to you, & that is all that matters. Just because it may not bother someone else so much doesn’t mean you’re automatically wrong. It means you two are different.
Second, no one has the right to dictate how you should handle the relationship with your abusive parent. They aren’t in the relationship so they don’t need to have an opinion on it, let alone share that opinion with you as if it was the Gospel.
Third, just because you are no longer speaking to your abusive parent doesn’t mean you aren’t honoring that parent. There is absolutely NO honor in tolerating abuse. See this article for more information: What It Really Means To Honor Your Parents
Forth, you have every right to protect yourself from abuse from anyone, including your own parent. There is nothing Godly or holy about tolerating abuse. Nothing.
Fifth, remember that the person saying these things has absolutely zero clue of all the heartache you have endured, all the tears shed, all the prayers & begging God to change things & to show you what to do. This person is talking out of sheer ignorance, & is NOT someone whose advice you should listen to.
Sixth, many people who say such invalidating nonsense come from their own dysfunctional backgrounds. You facing your pain reminds them of their own pain that they are trying to ignore. Seeing you face your pain makes them feel cowardly for not facing theirs. Or, it threatens their denial. If they had a decent relationship with your narcissistic parent, you clearly showing the truth about your parent threatens their delusion that your parent is a good person. Either way, they want to shut you down because of their own issues & lack of courage.
Lastly, if you have doubts about whether or not you’ve made the right decision to go no contact with your parent (which we all do at some point), ask God to tell you. He will tell you nothing but the truth & it will help you greatly. Some time back, I was starting to have doubts about being no contact with my mother. Elderly, widowed & on her own for the first time at almost 80 years old, it’s natural I felt badly for her. I asked God one morning if I should resume contact. Immediately, I knew what would happen if I did. I could see it kinda like a movie playing in my mind. At first, she was nice & not very demanding. As time wore on though, she expected me to come by a couple of times a week, then three times a week, then daily. I would be forced to be at her beck & call, unable to take care of my own family & home, & even my writing would be neglected. I knew in my heart God was right, & this is exactly what would happen, because it happened before. My mother’s mother was this same exact way. Physically & mentally, there is no way I could handle this, plus I can’t allow my calling & family to suffer just to provide someone with narcissistic supply. God helped me to stay on the right track, just like when He told me it was time to go no contact with my parents in the first place. He can do the same for you. All you have to do is ask.
So many people seem to think that because an abusive person was pleasant with them, it means that person wasn’t abusive. Nothing could be further from the truth! Abusers are very selective in the specific types of people they wish to abuse. This means not everyone fits into the abusive person’s agenda.
Abusers aim for people who have experienced abuse in their past. Most people, including victims, will assume the victim is the problem if they have had multiple abusive relationships, because he or she is the common denominator in these awful relationships. It makes sense to some degree to think that way. However, it doesn’t mean that is always the truth.
Abusers also aim for empathetic people with a kind heart because they are much more willing to excuse abuse. These people will understand that their abuser has suffered trauma in some way, so they tell themselves that their abuser is only acting out of dysfunction. This leads them to tolerate a great deal of abuse that they normally wouldn’t be willing to tolerate. I did this with my parents & my late mother in-law. I can tell you that it was a huge mistake which led to me being hurt a great deal.
Or, people with a kind heart may want to try to “fix” this “broken” person as a way to help them. Although the fact that they want to help people is quite admirable, this line of thinking can set a person up for abusive people to take advantage of & hurt them.
Insecure people are also a good target for abusive people, because abusers realize that insecure people are very pliable. It won’t take a great deal of work for a narcissist to change someone who is insecure into whatever it is a narcissist wants.
If you aren’t insecure though, chances are good that your self confidence was seen as a challenge to your abuser. While narcissists do like insecure victims, confident ones also are a good thing in their mind. Confident victims are a bit of a challenge. If they can destroy a confident person, then they see themselves as very powerful, which provides a great deal of narcissistic supply.
In order to avoid these awful situations, I have some suggestions.
First, as always I recommend prayer. Turn to God & He will help you. Talk to Him about whatever it is you feel & ask Him to help you. Ask Him to identify easily the red flags & to give you creative ideas to cope with this situation.
If there is something about a person that makes you uncomfortable, even if all outward signs look good, trust that the uncomfortable feeling is there for a reason. Watch the person’s actions closely for either good or bad signs & it won’t take you long before you recognize whether this person is abusive or not.
Also, always remember your boundaries & do NOT compromise them! What are you comfortable with or uncomfortable with? What are you willing to do or not willing to do? You have every right to feel as you do & to enforce those boundaries however you feel is appropriate.
Keep learning, growing & getting healthier. The more you do that, the less abusive people will be attracted to you. Abusers of all types size people up quickly, & if they see right away that you’re emotionally & mentally healthy, they will be more inclined to leave you alone. As an added bonus, the healthier you are, the more other healthy, functional people will be attracted to you.
Lastly, never, ever forget that even if someone does abuse you, that doesn’t mean it’s your fault. Ultimately, the choice to abuse someone belongs squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, not the victim. There is nothing any victim can do to force someone to abuse them.
There is no way to avoid abusive people entirely simply because they are everywhere. However, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of being abused.
A lovely lady in my Facebook group by the name of Ella Jane Gamberi shared some extremely wise & insightful thoughts on the topic of honoring one’s parents recently. Since so many of us with narcissistic parents have been subjected to judgmental people criticizing us for not honoring our parents, I believe her words may help others as they helped me. I’m very happy to say that Ella allowed me to share her insight.
Check this out…
Hi. This is my first post here. I wanted to let you all know that I have studied some on this honouring abusive parents thing. Proverbs says “honour is not fitting for a fool”. If your parent is also an atheist which mine were they qualify for fools as a fool says in his heart there is no God. Look up some other characteristics of fools and you might be surprised who qualifies. God is not mocked. Nobody who treats the weak and lowly like trash gets away with it. In my opinion children, new mothers and many others qualify as vulnerable. God both loves and keeps those who cry out to Him against injustice. Remember the widow and the judge! God bless.
How much sense does this make?!
I’m embarrassed to admit I never connected the passage about honor not being fitting for a fool in relation to honoring one’s parents. Thank God this lovely lady did though! Isn’t this helpful?!
Dear Reader, if your parents are like the majority of narcissists & don’t believe in God, He considers them fools & unworthy of honor. Personally, I don’t think He means we can treat our parents any old way. As children of God, we are to glorify Him & part of that is being good to people. That being said though, we can rest easy knowing that having boundaries with our parents, not blindly bending to their will & yes, even going no contact aren’t signs we are being dishonorable to our parents, hypocrites or “bad Christians”. There is nothing wrong with any of the above!
Victim blaming is a common phenomenon in society today. The woman who was abused by her husband is to blame for not leaving him sooner. The victim of rape is blamed for being drunk or high. The victim of theft is blamed for not locking his door.
This awful phenomenon invalidates the pain of the victim. It can make a victim feel as if she wouldn’t have done what she did, then the traumatic event wouldn’t have happened. How could she possibly have the right to be upset? It’s an absolutely awful thing to do to someone, making them feel this way! No one deserves traumatic, terrible things to happen to them. What victims do deserve is kindness, understanding & support.
Whether the person blaming the victim is the cause for the victim’s pain or not, blaming her also enables that person to distance himself from the victim & her pain. If the victim is the cause of her own suffering, then he need not feel sorry for her or try to help her. If the victim caused her own suffering, then the abuser need not feel bad for doing whatever it was he did to her.
Narcissists love victim blaming. It serves them very well. I lost track of how many times my mother told me I was the reason she “had” to abuse me. She even called it “tough love” instead of what it really was, abuse. She claimed if I didn’t do whatever it was I had done (or she thought I had done in most cases), she wouldn’t have been forced to scream at me, destroy my things, etc. etc.
If you have been on the receiving end of victim blaming, please do not allow that trash to get inside you! You did NOT deserve what was done to you! You are not to blame, the abuser is! You have every right to be angry, hurt, & yes, even traumatized! Don’t believe those fools who tell you that you deserved it. Anyone who blames an innocent victim has serious emotional problems.
Denial is an unhealthy coping mechanism in which people refuse to acknowledge that something is happening in order to make themselves more comfortable & to avoid facing the ugly truth. There are different facets of denial & those with narcissistic parents are well aware of many of them.
One form of denial is when narcissists deny doing anything wrong. They may justify their actions by blaming their victims or deny altogether that they did anything wrong at all. Either way, they refuse to take any responsibility for their actions & deny that their actions are hurting another person.
Those close to a narcissist also often deny the abuse is happening. If a victim reaches out to others, to their family in particular, chances are excellent that they will be met with invalidating & even shaming statements. They may also be accused of lying about the narcissist.
Such forms of denial are destructive to victims. They teach the victim that she can’t trust her own perceptions, feelings, thoughts & even sanity. Denial also teaches victims that their feelings & thoughts are unworthy, that they shouldn’t bother people with them. That easily can lead to the destruction of a victim’s self esteem. In turn, this can lead to a person tolerating all manners of abuse, because they feel unworthy to defend themselves or they simply don’t believe that their feelings or perceptions of a situation are accurate.
Although coping with such awful experiences & the aftermath is hard, it can be done successfully.
You’ll need to depend on God. A lot. He knows the truth of the situation, so you can count on Him to show you what the truth is whenever you have any doubts. Never hesitate to ask Him to help you, because He will be glad to do so!
Keeping a journal is very helpful too. Write about the traumatic events as soon as you can after they happen, & be sure to include dates & lots of details. If later someone says, “That never happened!” you can go back & see that yes, it DID happen! If those things didn’t happen, you wouldn’t have written about them!
I also recommend writing your story. Naturally it’s your choice whether or not to publish it or any part of it, but at the very least, write it out. Seeing your story in writing will help validate your experiences by making them seem more real. Only remembering things isn’t as validating, I think, because you can convince yourself you just don’t remember things right. That is especially easy to do when a narcissist is telling you that you’re remembering things all wrong. Writing your story also can help you to see just what the narcissist is capable of by reminding you of things she already has done, & that can help you to deal with her. Seeing your story in writing is also an excellent reminder never to underestimate her. Writing your story is a very difficult step, but it is truly worth the difficulties.
When either the narcissist or others invalidate you, another good step to take is to remind yourself what they are doing. They don’t want to face the ugly truth that this person is incredibly abusive. They are trying to shut you up only to make themselves more comfortable. The good news is that this means their actions have nothing to do with you. The bad news is that knowing that doesn’t always make their actions not hurt. This knowledge can take some of the sting out of their actions though, & anything that helps to do that is a good thing in my book.
Finding the courage to set boundaries on being abused & even to end a toxic relationship isn’t easy. It takes a tremendous amount of courage & strength to do such things. One of the few things that is even more difficult is to tell other people your story. Part of the reason for this is the victim blaming & shaming that is so common in society.
Many people simply don’t want to hear anything negative. They are so obscenely positive it’s just ridiculous. If something is less than positive, they don’t want to hear it, & will shut that person down quickly when they can.
Even more common is those who have been abused themselves, yet refuse to face their pain. When they see someone facing their pain & conquering it, it makes them feel uncomfortable for two reasons. First, it reminds them of what they are trying so hard to forget. Second, it makes them feel inferior for not doing the same thing.
There are also those who enable abusers. For whatever bizarre reasons, they pity abusers & hate victims instead of the other way around. They have no tolerance for anyone who dares to speak out against abuse. They label these people troublemakers, liars, attention seekers, drama queens & more.
Often, people like this are easy to spot. They are the loud ones who call victims names, harass them & even send them vicious hate emails, texts & voicemails. The one plus about these people is you can have no doubt about what kind of awful person you’re dealing with when they act this way. The problem is when people are much more subtle in the way they try to shame & shut down victims. Below are some warning signs that someone is not safe to tell your story to.
If someone refers to your relationship as one where both you & your abuser are at fault for its demise, this person isn’t safe. We all know that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. However, when a person is abusive, it’s not an innocent mistake. It’s a deliberate choice to harm another person. Any functional person should recognize that!
All victims need understanding & empathy. Even if a person hasn’t been in an abusive relationship, anyone should be able to grasp that it’s not a pleasant experience & feel badly that anyone experienced that. Someone who can’t clearly lacks empathy & is a toxic person.
Avoid anyone who trivializes the abuse. One of my aunts once referred to the abuse I experienced as, “childhood hurts.” That truly hurt me & it destroyed our relationship. Luckily, it happened well into my healing journey. If it happens to someone new to their healing, an invalidating comment like this can be devastating!
Those who make excuses for abusers should be avoided. People who do this are as toxic as the abuser! They invalidate the victim’s pain & suffering, & even make the victim feel ashamed for not being understanding, or being too sensitive & such. The truth is there is NO good reason to abuse, period.
People who judge a person’s healing are toxic. Everyone heals differently & at a different pace. Many toxic people try to rush a victim along with comments like, “You need to let this go.” “It’s been how many months since you left him?” “You told me this already.” This does no good! To process & heal from abuse, it takes a lot of time, energy & sometimes even telling the same story over & over in an attempt to make some sense of it. A person who doesn’t understand that is toxic.
Anyone who uses a person’s faith as a reason they should tolerate abuse is incredibly toxic & should be avoided at all costs. While God didn’t promise this life would be easy, He never said anywhere in the Bible that tolerating abuse is good & holy. Yet, there are many who think it is the “good Christian” thing to do, tolerating abuse. I’m no theologian, but I do recognize that tolerating & enabling abuse is not only wrong, it’s not God’s will.
If you come across these kinds of people, remember, not everyone needs to know your story. Refuse to discuss it with them. You don’t need to be abused even more than you already have been!
So many people who were abused wonder the same thing: Why was I abused? They wonder what they did wrong or could have done to make their abuser abuse them. It’s certainly understandable to think this way. After all, narcissist never accept responsibility for their actions & also make certain their victims know they are to blame for all the problems in the relationship.
So why were you abused? The answer to these questions is this…
You were abused only because your abuser made the terrible, dysfunctional decision to abuse you.
You did nothing wrong. You aren’t a bad person. You didn’t allow this person to abuse you. You didn’t make anyone abuse you. You’re not annoying, stupid, a loser, a pushover, codependent, etc. There is absolutely nothing about you or that you could do to make anyone abuse you. Abusers are the only ones responsible for the abuse they inflict.
I know it can be hard sometimes wondering why this person who was supposed to love you inflicted so much pain on you. If you’ve been in more than one abusive relationship, it’s also natural to assume you’re the problem. After all, you’re the common denominator in the relationships so you must be the problem, right? Wrong.
I used to think these same things. It took some time, but the more I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & the more I healed, the more I came to realize that the monsters who abused me did so because something is VERY wrong with them, not me.
Something else to keep in mind about narcissistic abusers. Narcissistic parents work hard from the day their child is born to mold that child into whatever it is they want the child to be. In fact, many only have children to make themselves little “mini mes” to use so they can procure narcissistic supply.
As for narcissistic romantic partners, they’re not any better. They choose partners for utterly selfish reasons. They choose people who they think can make them look good somehow, or that they can change into something they’re not. Narcissists do love having that power over people to make them do their will.
In both the case of narcissistic parents & partners, the victim has nothing to do with why they were abused. Children are convenient & easily pliable especially by their parents. Romantic partners are chosen because they have good qualities that the narcissist thinks will make them look good. Keeping this in mind, how can anyone think that the abuse they endured was their fault!? It’s impossible!
Dear Reader, I hope you realize now that you have absolutely NO responsibility in the abuse you endured. Your abuser is the one who is responsible, not you. Please let go of any thinking that tells you it’s all your fault, because it is NOT your fault! Nothing you said or did could have convinced the narcissist in your life to stop abusing you & to treat you right.
Children who are abused by their parents without fail show signs of that abuse in their adult years. This post addresses some of those signs.
Abused children grow up believing they have no control over what happens in their lives. This is because abused children are not taught that they have the right to have boundaries or even to say “no.” That faulty thinking often carries into adulthood when the abused child finally realizes that he or she has as much right to have boundaries as any other person.
Abused children also grow up into a false person of who they really are. Children want their parents’ love & approval. It’s only natural to feel this ingrained need so strongly. With healthy & functional parents, it’s a good thing. With abusive parents however, it’s not so good. In fact, a child can be so starved for their parents’ love & approval, they learn to live in whatever way they believe is pleasing to their parent(s). A child whose parents tell her she needs to be a nurse when she grows up may become one, all the while hating her line of work because she really wanted to be a teacher, or vice versa. Sadly, this can continue until that child gets to know the person that God created him or her to be & discards that false self.
Abused children grow up not in touch with their emotions. Abused children are often told that their emotions are unacceptable. Usually the only acceptable emotions in a home with abusive parents are the emotions of the abusive parents. They criticize their children for having a bad temper when they are righteously upset at being abused. They call their children oversensitive & mock them for their emotions. These children learn quickly the best way to deal with their emotions is not to deal with them, so they push them deep inside so they don’t have to feel anything. While this is a useful survival skill with abusive parents, it doesn’t serve anyone well long term. This child needs to learn to trust his or her emotions, to recognize them & find ways to cope with them in healthy ways.
Abused children often become people pleasers. Children whose parents abuse them learn quickly the best ways to avoid abuse is to please their parents. If they can just be good enough, smart enough, talented enough or pretty enough, their parents won’t hurt them anymore & will love them, they believe. Sadly this mentality carries into adulthood, & that abused child is an adult who worries about pleasing other people at any personal cost. This adult is angry, bitter & miserable, yet feels unable to make any changes. Realizing what is happening is the first step. Once that has happened, learning about boundaries & developing healthy self esteem will help tremendously.
Abused children learn not to trust their instincts. Narcissistic parents love to gaslight their children. Gaslighting in its simplest definition is when someone distorts another person’s reality in such a way that the victim learns quickly not to trust their own instincts or perceptions, often even their own sanity. Children whose parents gaslight them grow up with instincts like every other person, but they lack the ability to trust those instincts. As a result, they frequently end up in situations that are bad for them or abusive relationships. Even if they felt somehow that something was bad for them, they ignored it since they don’t feel they can trust themselves to know what is best. Learning to trust your instincts after a lifetime of gaslighting is NOT a fast process, but it is possible. Listen to your instincts, & observe what happens. Chances are, you’ll see those instincts were right time after time. The more it happens, the more you learn you can trust your instincts.
Most everyone is aware of the fight or flight response. This describes how a person reacts to extremely stressful situations, such as being attacked.
Fight means you aggressively fight back, because you believe you can defeat the danger. When it happens, you feel intense anger, may cry or punch people or things, you may grind your teeth & chances are excellent your stomach will be in knots.
Flight means you run from the danger, because you believe you can’t defeat it. When it happens, you feel fidgety & anxious. You can’t stay still. You want to run for the hills immediately.
There are two other responses beyond fight or flight that are seldom mentioned. Freezing & fawning are the other two responses.
Freezing means when you’re unable to act in these awful situations. You can’t think clearly. Think of a deer in headlights. That deer sees the danger heading straight for him, but is frozen in place. This happens when you believe you can’t escape or defeat the attacker. Freezing literally makes you cold when it happens. Your body feels heavy & hard to move, sometimes it can feel numb as well.
Lastly, there is fawning. This happens when in an acutely stressful situation, you do your best to comply with their attacker as an attempt to save yourself. Like freezing, it happens when you believe you can’t escape or defeat your attacker. Fawning is a typical response of those who have been in abusive relationships. People who fawn realized that fighting, flight & freezing didn’t work, which is why they resorted to fawning. They found that concerning themselves with the well being of their abuser was their best chance at diffusing the situation.
While fight, flight, freeze & fawn are very different responses, they all share the same goal: to diffuse or preferably end the situation & protect yourself. A problem is often people get stuck in only one or maybe two responses when each one can be helpful in different circumstances. This is especially common in those with PTSD or C-PTSD. The responses become habitual. The best way I know to overcome this is to recognize what you do in such situations. Considering how you acted, without any judgment of course, can help you to discern which acute stress responses you have used. When faced with danger after doing this, you’re more likely to respond after a bit of thought rather than react as in acting without thought.
Another issue can be for those who have experienced multiple traumas. We can perceive threats when there isn’t one. It helps to learn to slow down your thinking a bit so you can decide whether or not the threat is real. Taking a long, deep breath in then releasing it slowly only takes a couple of seconds, but it can slow your body & mind down enough to help you figure out the situation as well as the best way to respond.
Past trauma can affect your life in so many ways. Learning to manage your responses can be one way to help yourself handle stressful & even new traumatic situations in healthier ways.
Leaving a relationship with a narcissist is so hard! Whether the narcissist is a love interest or family member, it’s always hard. They can make you feel obligated to them as if you owe them something, like no one else would “put up with you”, & you’ll lose everyone you love if you end this relationship. It takes a lot of strength & courage to end a relationship under those circumstances.
It’s hard to end any relationship. It’s sad eliminating a person from your life that you once cared a great deal about. If that person is a family member, it’s even harder simply because that person is family. Family is supposed to be full of people who love & support each other. It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact someone in that role in your life isn’t that way at all, but is an abusive monster.
There is also the fact that narcissists make their victims feel like they’ll never find anyone to love them. My ex husband told me once, that I’d never find anyone who loved me like he did. At the time, it was terrifying! I was sure I’d be alone forever. The more years we have been separated though, the more I realized he was right. No one else has so called “loved” me like him & I thank God for that!
There also is the problem of flying monkeys. Whether the narcissist in your life is a relative or romantic partner, chances are excellent that this person has some devoted flying monkeys who think she can do no wrong, & you know they will attack you if you are “mean” enough to abandon their precious narcissist. That can be pretty intimidating, especially when you’re already beaten down by the narcissist.
While these can be upsetting scenarios, it’s still best to abandon the relationship with the narcissist in your life. You will NOT regret it! I have not once heard anyone in this type of situation say they wish they had stayed in the abusive relationship. Not once! In my experience, I have absolutely no regrets either.
When you do end the relationship, you are going to love your new freedom & realize it was worth it.
Suddenly, you will feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. No longer do you have to seriously consider every word you say for fear of upsetting this person. You no longer have to worry about how you style your hair or how you dress being a reason for this person to put you down. You can do whatever you want, have your own opinions, listen to whatever music you like & even eat whatever food you want without the fear of being mocked. It’s so freeing!
When stuck in a relationship with a narcissist, it is hard to see just how bad things are. You’re so busy trying to survive, that takes up all your thoughts. It doesn’t cross your mind that things are really bad. Once you leave it though, your thinking will be much clearer without the narcissist taking up so much of your thoughts. You’re also going to see exactly how bad the situation was, & be incredibly grateful you left it.
If you’re considering ending your relationship with a narcissist, but are afraid, I want to encourage you today. You can do this & you won’t regret it! Ask God to give you strength. Talk to your supportive friends or a counselor & let them encourage you. Look at your past successes, all the times you dealt with the narcissist in your life or her flying monkeys & they didn’t get their way. You can do this, Dear Reader! You really can! And when you do, you are going to be incredibly grateful you did it!
Narcissists seem to have a “gift” for making their victims feel that they are the problem in the relationship, that they are the ones who are dysfunctional, not the narcissist. Often, they are so talented at doing this, a victim is completely baffled as to how it happened. This post will explain some ways narcissists accomplish this.
Narcissists love gaslighting. Gaslighting is the systematic tearing down of a person’s sanity. Narcissists will deny having done something, deny the incident happened as it did, find a way to blame the victim for the problem & more. Constant gaslighting tears down a person’s ability to trust their own memories, feelings, perceptions & yes, even sanity.
Narcissists either imply or say outright that their victims are crazy. My mother used to tell me often, “You need help.” It was accompanied by a pitying expression. She was implying I was in dire need of psychological help, yet, never got it for me. Why? Because she knew I was sane. I, however, had doubts for most of my life about my sanity. After all, no one would say such a thing to their own child if it wasn’t true, I thought.
Narcissists project their faults onto their victims. Narcissists view others through a very distorted lens. Titus 1:15 says, “To the pure, all things are pure; but to the corrupt and unbelieving, nothing is pure; both their mind and their conscience are corrupted.” (AMP) One aspect of this is accusing their victims of the very things that they themselves do, even when there is no evidence of the victim doing anything of the sort. They often accuse their victims with such certainty, the victim may believe the accusations are true. There is one good thing about projection. It can be useful in learning what the narcissist is really up to. The narcissistic husband who claims his wife is unfaithful is most likely having an affair. The narcissistic mother who accuses her child of lying is a lair. Listening to what the narcissist accuses you of can give you a great deal of insight into what they are truly like.
Narcissists love the silent treatment as a weapon. In my late teens, my mother & I argued constantly. One of her favorite ways to hurt me was to give me the silent treatment. I would beg her to tell me what was wrong, & she either refused to answer or would say, “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you!” At the time, either scenario was devastating. Saying nothing showed me I wasn’t worth her time or energy to speak to. Saying she wouldn’t tell me if I didn’t know what was wrong made me feel crazy, stupid & ashamed for not knowing what egregious sin I had committed.
Narcissists lack self awareness. Rather than question that maybe, just maybe, they might be the problem in their relationships, they blame all relationship woes on other people. If you aren’t aware of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it can be quite easy to believe that the narcissist is right, & you are at fault for their problems or the problems in your relationship.
Narcissists are provokers. In other words, narcissists will do whatever it takes to push their victims to the point of rage so they can use that rage to prove to the victim that the victim is crazy, abusive, irrational or anything else. Since the narcissist stays calm while the victim is clearly upset, it’s easy for the victim to believe what the narcissist says at this point.
Narcissists will say that they forgive you, even when you have done nothing wrong. By saying this, they are implying that you are the problem in this situation, & they are very good & kind people to forgive you for the awful things you have done.
Learning about these tactics can help you to protect your mental health, & not fall for the narcissist’s lies that you & you alone are the dysfunctional one in the relationship.
I’ve decided to take a hiatus from writing books for a while. Dealing with my mother’s estate is a lot of work, & with my mental & physical limitations, also excessively stressful. Writing is a lot of work, so I don’t feel I can write & deal with that at the same time. Or, if I could, I doubt I’d do either all that well. So, writing books is going on the back burner for a bit.
I’m still going to keep up with this blog & my YouTube channel though.
Since I have some really wonderful readers, I know you’ll understand & I thank you so much for that understanding. xoxo