Many of you who know me personally know that my husband has been wanting to move into his late parents’ home for some time now. It caused a great deal of arguing between us. Although his reasons are smart & valid, I also had smart & valid reasons for not wanting to move. Thankfully, we were able to reach compromises about the situation, so the arguing is over.
I noticed something interesting about this when first telling people that my husband wanted to move. The vast majority of people encouraged me to move, & disregarded my misgivings.
To be honest, I felt like none of these people cared about my feelings. I felt betrayed, hurt, angry & most of all shocked. It made no sense to me at all that people I cared about would act this way.
Eventually though I realized some things.
They saw things differently than I did since they weren’t as involved in the situation as I was. Not everyone knew the ugly story of the problems with my in-laws. They couldn’t make an informed opinion because they didn’t know all of the facts.
There is also the fact that people see things through the lens of their own experience. Maybe they would like to move & don’t have the opportunity. They could think moving is a great thing, period, simply because of their situation. Or, maybe they have a good relationship with their in-laws, & can’t comprehend mine. If it was them, their in-laws wouldn’t cause them any problems, so they assume mine are the same.
Plus, people are often narrow minded, not looking at the big picture. In this case, they knew I dislike my current neighbors & have a chance to get away from them. What could be bad about that?! They simply didn’t think that the house could be run down or in a bad neighborhood, only that I have a means of getting away from my awful neighbors. (For the record, the house is in great condition & in a good neighborhood).
Thinking about all of this made me realize how similar this is to when someone opens up about being abused by a narcissist & isn’t believed.
People don’t know the whole story. They haven’t seen the rages or horrific abuse. They probably see the narcissist at their most civil, or they don’t know the narcissist at all.
People also see things through the lens of their unique experiences, as I said. If someone hasn’t encountered a narcissist, they often struggle with believing the bizarre stories of narcissistic abuse. Having been through it, I still have a hard time believing some of the things that have happened to me! How could someone who hasn’t witnessed it not struggle to believe a person could behave in such a manner?
Also as I said, people are narrow minded. Some people come from a normal family, & assume everyone has a normal family like they do. I experienced this with someone I knew years ago. When I explained some of what I’d gone through with my mother, he said something to the effect of, “You’re a teenage girl. All teenage girls have problems with their mothers.” He was a very nice person who came from a normal family. I believe because of that, he had no idea that so much dysfunction could exist in the world.
The next time you discuss the narcissistic abuse you’ve experienced & someone brushes you off, please keep this in mind. Although it’s true, many people have malignant reasons for not believing you or trying to stop you from talking about it, not everyone does. Consider the person with whom you’re dealing. You’ll know if the person is good just ill informed or is being malicious. If the person is good, I hope remembering what I said can help you not to be so hurt or angry by their behavior. If not, I hope you can get away from the person as quickly as possible!