Tag Archives: blame

How To Cope When Narcissists Shift The Blame To You

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How Narcissists Convince Victims They Are The Problem

Narcissists have a way of making their victims feel like we are the problem.  This is awful for the victims, because as a result, we end up tolerating their abuse for years.  We think they’re good to put up with us, & we try harder & harder to be good enough for them.  Meanwhile, as we’re losing ourselves in trying to please the narcissists, the narcissists are gaining tons of supply.

 

So how does this happen?  How can a person honestly believe they’re the problem when the narcissist clearly is?  Narcissists accomplish this in several ways.

 

Projection.  Narcissist always accuse others of their own flaws.  This makes a person feel inadequate.  A person may even become angry but feels they don’t have the right to be angry since they are the flawed one.

 

Narcissists don’t examine their behavior, only yours.  If you’re angry with a narcissist, all that narcissist sees is how you’re acting.  They don’t ask themselves why you’re angry or is it something they’ve done.  They see you acting in a way they consider irrational, & make you feel crazy for your behavior.

 

They gaslight.  All narcissists love gaslighting their victims.  Gaslighting is basically when you say the sky is blue, & the narcissist says it’s clearly green & something is wrong with you for thinking otherwise.  Granted, that is an extremely obvious example, but that’s pretty much how gaslighting works.  Narcissists see the same thing you see (that blue sky) but don’t want you to see it that way.  Rather than agreeing that the sky is blue, they’ll tell you it’s green & try to make you feel crazy for thinking it’s blue.  Narcissists do this often with abusive things they have done.  They may deny the events happened entirely, or try to convince you that they happened in a very different way.

 

Narcissists provoke their victims to rage while maintaining their cool.  One primary feature of narcissism is their complete lack of empathy.  This enables narcissists to feel no guilt or remorse for abusing a victim.  This also means they can maintain their calm demeanor while simultaneously driving a victim to the brink of madness.  When this happens, a victim feels insane.  After all, the victim is the one screaming & crying while the narcissist is cool & collected.  The victim looks crazy to herself & anyone else who may be witnessing this phenomenon.

 

If you’re in a relationship of any sort with a narcissist, these things are most likely happening.  When they do, please remember this post & remind yourself that you are NOT the problem!  The narcissist is only trying to make you think you are!

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The Blame Is Not Always Yours!

So many survivors of narcissistic abuse I’ve spoken with take on so much blame for being abused.  They say things like, “I should’ve known he was this way when we first met…”  or, “I was a difficult child.. my mother had to be hard on me.”

 

This makes me sad.  People need to have a balanced view of blame rather than taking on too much.

 

If you too grew up with a narcissistic parent or two, there is a great deal of blame to be laid on your parent(s).  If you have C-PTSD, anxiety or depression issues, struggle with self-harm or eating disorders, chances are very good the root of those problems lies with enduring narcissistic abuse as a child.  Nothing you did could create these problems for yourself.  It is your responsibility to deal with those problems, but not for having the problems.

 

If your narcissistic mother shamed you, told you that you were a mistake, ignored you or was abusive instead of disciplining you, the fault lies with her.  No matter what a child does, a child cannot make her parent treat her in such cruel ways.  No bad behavior is a valid reason to abuse a child!

 

Having trouble relating to other people after being raised by a narcissist or two is completely normal.  The blame for that can be traced back to your narcissistic parent(s).  However, the responsibility for making changes to have healthier relationships is on you.

 

Not having a healthy balance in such areas & accepting blame for these things can lead to nothing but misery.  False guilt, shame, depression, anxiety & more can result.

 

Do you place blame where it belongs or do you take on too much blame, Dear Reader?  I urge you to take a long, hard, honest look at your situation.  Ask God to help you identify areas where you’re in need of balance.  He will!

 

I realize that saying your narcissistic mother is to blame for your problems as an adult can trigger unkind, even cruel, comments from others who don’t understand narcissistic abuse.  That being said, I urge you also to consider carefully who you discuss this with.  Aim for safe people- people who have been through similar situations, who are non-judgmental & have your best interest at heart.  If you’re unsure if anyone in your life currently fits that description, then check online.  There are many online support groups.  (I have a Facebook group that is full of love & support.  You’re welcome to check it out if you like.)  Talking about it can help you a great deal, when you talk with the right people.

 

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“You Can’t Blame Her Forever!”

So many  who grew up in happy homes tell those of us who didn’t that we can’t blame our abusive parents forever.  We have to take responsibility for ourselves one of these days!

 

While this sounds good, I have an issue with it.

 

Parents are responsible for raising their children.  Some do a wonderful job, putting a great deal of time & effort into making sure their children grow up happy, healthy & loved.  Other parents aren’t so good.  They tear down their child rather than build her up.   They expect their child to take care of them, rather than taking care of her as God intended.  They are so self-absorbed that they have no time or energy to devote to their child.  Some may not even meet the child’s basic needs such as food, clothing or shelter.  Others may use their child to meet their needs, & take their anger out on the child or sexually abuse her.  When parents behave in such ways, that child will grow up scarred, either physically or emotionally or both.

 

Abused children grow up with problems.  Some have lifelong injuries because of the physical or sexual abuse they survived at the hand of their parents.  Some have addictions due to their desire to escape the pain inside caused by their upbringing.  And often, many have PTSD or C-PTSD.

 

How can you not blame your abusive parent as long as you have such problems because of that abusive parent, especially when those problems interfere with your daily life even years later?!

 

I firmly believe that the abusive parent deserves 100% of the blame for the problems that he or she caused.  No one can do anything to deserve being abused!  Abusing is the responsibility of the abuser, never the victim.

 

That being said, the victim does have some responsibility.

 

It is the victim’s responsibility to heal as best she can from the abuse she endured.  It is up to the victim to seek help, to research or do whatever she needs to heal.  While some problems may be lifelong such as PTSD or C-PTSD, she certainly can learn ways to manage her symptoms.

 

It is also the victim’s responsibility to be sure that she doesn’t repeat the familiar patterns of abuse.  Sometimes those who were abused as children become abusers.  I don’t understand how this works exactly, but it is a pretty common phenomenon.  It is up to the victim not to allow this to happen!

 

It is up to the victim to learn & grow as a person, rather than stay the stifled person she was raised to be.  It is her responsibility to become the person God wants her to be, even when it clashes with what her abusive parents wanted her to become.

 

It is also the victim’s responsibility to forgive her abuser.   Mark 11:25 says,  “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”  (ESV)  I know it is hard to forgive others, especially when they deliberately hurt you.  I know they don’t deserve your forgiveness.  However, I also know that you deserve better than to carry around bitterness & anger inside of you!  Don’t get me wrong- I don’t mean you need to forgive & forget.  That only sets you up for further abuse.  I am saying that you can, in time & with God’s help, release the anger you feel inside.  You will be so much happier for it!  Your health will benefit too, as repressed anger can create a myriad of physical & emotional health problems such as high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, heart problems, kidney problems & more.

 

Lastly, I believe it is also the victim’s responsibility to educate others & help to raise awareness.  For example, many people have heard the term narcissistic abuse, but do they really know what it means?  Probably not, so why not start a blog on the topic?  Write about your experiences or what you are learning as you heal.  If you wish, do so using a false name.  Writing the truth using your real name can be a scary prospect since you wonder if the abuser will learn about your writing.  I know- it honestly makes me very anxious sometimes that my parents will learn what I write about (as it is, they don’t have a computer, but they do have flying monkey relatives who do).  If you don’t feel confident in writing a blog, then what about checking into laws on the kind of abuse you endured?  Do you see where the laws need changing?  Then look into changing those laws!  Start petitions or create a website on the topic.  There are plenty of ways you can make your painful experiences count for something!

 

 

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You Aren’t Always The Problem In Relationships

Growing up with a narcissistic parent or two builds a very dysfunctional foundation in a child.  One of those dysfunctional beliefs created is that you are always the problem  in a failed relationship.

 

I knew the day I met my now mother in-law, she didn’t like me.  For the first eight years of our relationship, I tried with her.  No matter what I did though, I was wrong & never good enough.  My mother in-law even told me shortly after our marriage how disappointed she was my husband married me instead of an ex girlfriend.  For most of those eight years, I tried to figure out what I was doing wrong.  How could I improve the difficult relationships with her?  What could I do to make her see I’m not such a bad person, or that I’m better suited for my husband than his ex?  Nothing I did worked, & in fact, things only got worse.  My sisters in-law weren’t exactly my best friends to start with, but those relationships also got worse.  It seemed like the more time passed & the harder I tried, the worse things got & the more frustrated I got.

 

Then one evening in the spring of 2002, my mother in-law called about 8:15.  She asked to speak to my husband, who was either still at work or on his way home.  I told her this, & she screamed at me because she didn’t think he should work so late.  She mentioned she thought he was working too much.  He looks tired & I said his allergies were flaring up, & she resumed screaming at me because he has allergies.  It was a wake up call for me- I realized I can’t be in a relationship with this person.  She was mad at me for things I had absolutely no control over.  Nothing I can do will make things better between us.  I gave up.

 

A few months later, my husband called one of his sisters for her birthday.  He was flustered by the call, because he said she was screaming at him about me- how I keep him from his family & treat them all like “poor white trash.”  I used to think she & I were friends, but realized that wasn’t the case.  No friend would think such a ridiculous & untrue thing about me.

 

I haven’t spoken to my in-laws since 2002 & it’s been very freeing!  They blame me & even my husband did for a while for being unreasonable.  Due to my bad foundation, I blamed me too!

 

I’d been through this same scenario with every failed relationship in my life.  Everything was all my fault.  If only I would’ve been smart enough to figure out the solution to make things better.  If only I had been nicer, more understanding, etc., this wouldn’t have happened.

 

It took me a long time to realize, not everything is my fault!  Bizarre, huh?  Looking at the situations, it seems painfully obvious it wasn’t, yet it took me years to realize I wasn’t a bad person because I couldn’t make these relationships ok.

 

My point (finally..lol) is I am sure you have similar feelings, Dear Reader.  I have yet to meet an adult child of at least one narcissistic parent who doesn’t blame herself for the failed relationships in her life.  Are you thinking that this probably doesn’t apply to you?  Well let’s look at a couple of things..

 

First, your bad relationship with your narcissistic mother.  How can this be your fault?  She’s a narcissist!  No one is good enough for a narcissist.  Even those she idolizes will show a flaw at some point, & the narcissist won’t be impressed with him any longer.  Plus, as a child of a narcissist, you were born with a job- to please your narcissistic mother at all times.  This is IMPOSSIBLE!  Narcissists deliberately set up others to fail, especially their own children.  It amuses them & makes them feel powerful.

 

Second, as the survivor of narcissistic abuse, other abusers will be attracted to you.  This is especially true before you understand narcissism & work on your healing.  Chances are good you were abused by others in your life simply because you learned early in life how to be a “good victim”- you learned to keep secrets, have no boundaries & never talk back.  That isn’t your fault!  That fault lies squarely on your first abuser.

 

Lastly, no doubt you have made mistakes in your relationships.  Being human, that is inevitable.  However, what are the chances that you are the sole problem in every single relationship you’ve been in that has gone badly?  I would have to say the chances are slim.  Very slim.  The odds of you winning the lottery are probably better!  Relationships are a two way street.  Both people have to work on it.  One person cannot carry the entire relationship!

 

Today, Dear Reader, I just want you to think about this.  You honestly cannot be the problem 100% of the time.  If you believe you are, then it’s time to look at things objectively.  If you can’t, try pretending a close friend is telling you about her failed relationships that are exactly like yours.  Would you blame her for their failures?  What would you tell her?  Write it out if it helps- seeing things in writing somehow often makes things clearer.  You also can ask God to tell you the truth about what happened.  Were you always the problem?  What went wrong?  He will gently let you know the truth, & chances are, you are going to be surprised to learn that you aren’t the awful problem you think you are.

 

I truly hope you do this.  Living with the undeserved guilt of failed relationships is a miserable way to live.  You don’t deserve to carry around false guilt & shame!  You deserve to be happy!

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Discrediting The Victim- A Common Phenomenon

No matter what type of abuse or trauma you have suffered, often discrediting you, the victim, happens.  Often by outsiders who say ridiculous statements such as…

“Well if you wouldn’t have worn that short skirt, you wouldn’t have been raped!”

“If you had just been a little nicer to him, your husband wouldn’t have hit you!”

“Your mother did the best she could-  you need to understand that she had been abused.  She just didn’t know how to raise you, so you have to forgive & forget.”

Even more frequently, the person who perpetrated the abuse works hard to discredit you.  Narcissistic parents are especially good at doing this.  They tell others they are concerned about you, because you have been acting strangely, you have a vivid imagination, you’ve been making up stories, they did the best they could do by you, but you were always a difficult child & more.

Publicly stating that the victim is not a victim, but instead the problem helps to convince others of that fallacy.  The narcissistic abuser has great conviction when lying- people who aren’t extremely close to her rarely doubt her stories, especially if said under the guise of concern for her child.

This works well for the narcissistic mother, as she is able to convince people quite easily that her child  is the problem, thus turning people against her child & supporting her.  People then will look down on or fail to believe the child if she openly discusses the abuse or tries to stand up to or set boundaries with her narcissistic mother.  I experienced this myself in my teen years. My mother’s friends had once liked me, but as the abuse escalated & I tried to protect myself, suddenly those friends no longer liked me.  They barely even spoke to me or made eye contact with me.

Discrediting the victim also serves to make the victim question herself rather than the abuse she has come to believe is normal.  There were times in my teen years I felt as if I was going crazy.  My mother told me I was crazy anyway, even threatening to have me committed many times. That along with acting like & saying I was the problem caused me to doubt my sanity more times than I can count.

Also, another benefit for the abuser of discrediting the victim is that all eyes are on the victim, not the abuser.  The abuser can do anything she likes, because no one will notice.  They are too focused on how bad, wrong, crazy, etc. the victim is.

If you fall victim to this, please know you are NOT alone!  This is a typical tactic of narcissistic abusers.  It does NOT mean that you are to blame.  Instead, it is just one more sign that this person is the problem, & that this person  is evil.  After all, only an evil person would blame an innocent victim instead of accepting responsibility for their own actions.

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Society’s Views On Being Abused

I was reading this morning about society’s disdain for “victims” even to the point of blaming them. Although I hadn’t thought much about this until reading it, I have to agree- it’s very dysfunctional & shaming.

I honestly get tired of hearing things like, “the strongest people fight battles behind closed doors that no one knows about.” In other words, “keep your problems to yourself, & you’re weak if you talk about them.” Well, I totally disagree with that.

First of all, victims have no control over being victims. Period. And, being a victim doesn’t make you weak- it means you were subjected to abuse by a cruel, heartless person. That can happen to anyone, weak or strong, highly intelligent or not very smart. Saying, or even simply implying anything else just makes me angry!

Secondly, talking about what happened not only helps you to cope, but helps to raise awareness of things like child abuse & mental illness. By nature, I’m extremely introverted, & rarely talk to anyone about my problems. I don’t like talking about the abuse I’ve gone through or the C-PTSD I live with daily. However, I believe God wants me to talk about these things, & since I’ve become more open (writing books & blogging) about my experiences, things have begun to change. I have learned so much about C-PTSD, long term effects of child abuse, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, surviving a narcissist’s abuse & how to deal with a narcissist. This has helped me to learn that I’m really ok! I’m not crazy- I’ve reacted normally to abuse in my life. And, in addition to helping myself, I have been able to help many other people. I don’t even know how many emails I’ve received from people telling me that something I wrote helped them or inspired them. That is incredibly rewarding for me, & helpful for them.

Also, some people who at least realize being a victim is beyond your control still have warped views of the healing process. Many people think healing is a steady, positive thing. Onward & upward! Uh, no. It’s not even close.

There is nothing simple or easy about healing. The healing journey is a very windy, twisted road- sometimes you can move forward pretty easily, but often you take many curves & sometimes even go backwards.

And, there is no time limit on healing. So many people think you should be able to “get over it” quickly, when in fact, everyone is different. Some people survive abuse with very few problems, while others suffer their entire lives. Everyone is different, & just because you were able to move on quickly doesn’t mean someone else is as well.

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Keeping Blame In Perspective

Many people who have survived an abusive situation are told you can’t blame your abuser.  He or she didn’t know what he or she was doing.  Or, that person is mentally ill.  Or, he/she was abused as a child.  Or a plethora of other reasons a person can’t be mad at their abuser.  This invalidates the pain the victim feels!  It immediately makes you feel guilty because you have problems stemming from being abused.  I know- I have been in this position myself.

While I’m not saying we need to blame every problem in life on being abused, I am saying we need to keep a healthy perspective on it.  In my case as an example, my mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder & Borderline Personality Disorder.  When I first learned of her disorders, I felt guilty for having problems that stem from her abuse when I was growing up.  I didn’t think I should hold her responsible- after all, these are disorders!  She must not be responsible for how she acts!  Then I can’t be angry or hurt or have problems that stem from things she did to me.  Besides, that was a long time ago..

Then I learned that personality disorders describe a way someone behaves, rather than physical brain damage, such as Schizophrenia or PTSD.  And, many of the things my mother did to me were hidden, even from my father.  That tells me she knew what she was doing was wrong.  After all, if one is proud of one’s actions, they aren’t hidden.  

I have since learned to have a healthy perspective.  While I do blame my mother for me having C-PTSD, I take responsibility for how I cope with it.  I blame her for my lifetime of low self-esteem, yet I try to find ways to keep a healthy self-esteem.  While she is to blame for the damage done to me, it is my responsibility to heal as best I can.  Part of that healing, I believe, is knowing that the damage done is NOT my fault!  I did nothing to deserve the horrible things that were done to me!

You did nothing to deserve the abuse you endured either!  Keep the blame for what was done where it belongs- squarely on the abuser.  You have absolutely NO responsibility for what was done to you.  However, you DO have a responsibility to heal.  Ask God to show you how- what steps you need to take.  And, as you heal, you may find out that God wants to use your story to help others heal, & inspire others.  That may help you heal even more than you know!  Blessing & inspiring others is a beautiful feeling!  

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