Tag Archives: confrontation

When To Speak Up &When Not To Speak Up To Narcissists

A very difficult subject is when should you speak up & when shouldn’t you speak up with a narcissist.

Anyone with any experience with a narcissist knows that most of the time, it’s easiest just to stay quiet.  Speaking up can trigger a narcissistic rage or a victim act (“How can you be so mean to me!?  I was just trying to help!”).  Or, if you’re angry when you confront the narcissist, there is narcissistic supply, because he or she feels powerful because of upsetting you so much.  And, since whatever they did upset you, they know to do it again & again to keep procuring their precious supply.  This kind of nonsense can make anyone want to avoid confronting a narcissist, no matter what they do.

Yet, failing to confront a narcissist indefinitely only makes you miserable while they get away with their outrageous, abusive behavior.  Talk about a no win situation!

The best thing I have learned to know when to confront a narcissist & when not to is by maintaining a close relationship with God.  He enabled me to know when & what to say to my narcissistic parents, & when to say nothing.  Sounds simple, I know, but it’s true.

When I knew I was going to see my parents, or they would call & I’d see their number on the caller ID, I would ask God to give me the words I needed & to help me get through the conversation.  That’s it.  And it worked every time!

There were plenty of times when my parents would say something hurtful & I knew in my heart that this was not the time to speak up.  Knowing that helped me to stay quiet & pretend I didn’t notice the abusive comment.

When I did need to speak up, though, God gave me exactly the right words I needed & the courage to say them.  The last time I spoke to my mother was May 5, 2016, which was also one of the last times I spoke to my father.  As I have mentioned before in this blog, we got into a huge argument that night, first my father & I argued, then my mother & I.  I went into the conversation having a fairly good idea it wasn’t going to be pleasant, but I had no idea I’d end up telling my parents off!  God knew though!  Later when I prayed & apologized to Him for my behavior, He said, “Your parents needed to see that.  They needed to know that their actions could make their normally calm & reasonable daughter would act that way.”

That close relationship with God has been a true lifesaver for me in knowing when to confront, & when not to confront, but, I realize not everyone reading this shares my faith.  For those of you in that position, I recommend learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & your narcissist.  If you study this person, I would guarantee you’ll find that he or she only has a few moves in their repertoire.  Most narcissists are that way.  While most narcissists are quite intelligent, they also aren’t overly creative.  They have a few weapons that get them what they want & use them over & over.  Learning what those weapons are will help you a great deal in that you will be prepared for what they most likely will do in most any situation.  It’ll also help you to know whether or not to confront this person & what most likely will happen if you do.  Preparation is a wonderful thing!

I know the tips in this post are pretty simple, but they really can be of a great help.  I wish you the best in your situation!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Thinking Of Confronting Your Narcissistic Parent?

During the course of healing from narcissistic abuse, you may want to confront your narcissistic parent.  You may want to let her have it, to tell her she’s abusive & evil, to tell her although she tried, she didn’t destroy you & many other things.  In your fantasy of doing this, she breaks & apologizes for all of the hurt she has caused you.  She says she wants to change, & to make it up to you for all of the damage she has done.

Unfortunately this is a very unrealistic expectation.

Narcissists don’t admit to any wrong doing on their part.  They often do one of three things- either blame the victim for making them do what they did, say it happened an entirely different way or deny it ever happened in the first place.  As a result, often confronting the narcissist is more damaging to the victim than if they don’t confront.

Confrontation is certainly your choice.  You have every right to call out an abuser on her abusive behavior.  However, you need to have realistic expectations on how the situation may happen for it to be a healthy choice for you.

If you confront your narcissistic parent, will it help you to get it all out to her?  Will it help you to call her out on what she has done even if she denies it or blames you?  If so, then confrontation is a good option for you.

However, if you expect that your narcissistic mother will suddenly have a moment of lucidity, then accept full responsibility for her actions, genuinely repenting of what she has done, you are setting yourself up for serious disappointment.  In fact, that disappointment may be devastating for you.

Probably around 10 years ago, my father went through a phase of complaining even more than usual about his & my mother’s marriage to me.  I hate that!  That is emotional incest & abusive!  I don’t want or need to know about their marriage problems, yet both of my parents have dumped them on me my entire life.  One day when I saw him alone, I finally decided enough was enough.  I was tired of changing the subject to get him to stop complaining.  I had to tell him that he was hurting me, & it needed to stop.  So I did.  I told him those words- “It hurts me when you complain to me about your marriage & about Mom.  Please stop it.  Find someone else to talk to.”  He responded by saying, “Oh ok.. but just this one more thing…” He went on to complain about her for 45 more minutes until he left my home!  (Yes, I timed it!  I was curious how long it’d go on.)  I ended up even more hurt than I was originally, because at this point, he knew he was hurting me yet did what hurt me anyway.

When considering confronting your narcissistic parent, please consider it long & hard.  Pray about it too, & ask God to show you what you should do & if you should confront, how you should do it.  I would hate to see you hurt, Dear Reader, so please do those things before you confront your narcissistic parent!  xoxo

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Why Do People Not Want You To Speak Up To Abusive Relatives?

Have you ever noticed that almost no one says you are right to have problems with abusive family members?  That it is OK to defend yourself to them?  Instead, you are encouraged to “just let it go.”  Or, excuses are made like, “Well, she’s getting old now…”  or “You know how he is.”

 

Why do so many people think it is wrong to speak your mind & defend yourself when someone says cruel things to you?

 

I think it is because people do NOT want to leave their comfort zone.  They would prefer you stuff your emotions (because that is oh so healthy..not) than make them uncomfortable by standing up for yourself.

 

Those of us who have been abused have been through more than enough suffering.  It isn’t fair to expect us to go through more just to make someone else comfortable by not upsetting them.

 

When people tell you to “just let it go” or “don’t rock the boat”, ignore them!  If you feel you need to speak up when your parent is cruel to you, then by all means, you have that right!  There is nothing good, loving or honorable in “not rocking the boat.”  People need to be accountable for their actions, like it or not.  They need to know when they have said or done something that is inappropriate.  Whether or not they change their behavior is not your responsibility, but at least by speaking up you have made them aware of the inappropriateness of their actions.

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

To Confront Or Not To Confront Narcissistic Parents?

I was recently watching a TV show where one of the main characters developed PTSD after being carjacked & tortured.   Someone suggested he visit his attacker in jail & confront him.  He did.  The attacker didn’t even remember who he was at first, then told him he let him live- the victim should be grateful.  He also blamed the victim for scaring him at one point during the attack.  The victim finally left.  He later was talking to his father about it & said nothing changed.  Confronting that man did nothing to help him.

 

I thought about this in the context of those of us with narcissistic parents.  Sometimes people tell adult children of narcissists that we should confront our parents.  It’ll do us good to get it all out.  It doesn’t matter how they respond or if they deny what they did because we know the truth.

 

Sometimes, that isn’t true however.

 

If you’re in the position of considering confronting your narcissistic parent, I strongly urge you to pray & think before doing so.  Think about what you hope to accomplish.  Do you want to just get things out or are you hoping for validation?  If you’re hoping for your parent to validate your pain & admit to the things they’ve done, then you may be in for a very rude awakening.  Narcissists seldom admit to making mistakes, & when they do, often it is turned around so the victim is to blame.  “If you wouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t have said that.”

 

Do you think confronting them will change their behavior?  Again, you may be in for a rude awakening.  Narcissists rarely change their behavior, & when they do, it’s usually for the worse.  If a narcissist knows that something they do hurts you, they will do it again & again & again.  Hurting you makes them feel powerful, so yes, they will continue to do it repeatedly to get that “high.”

 

However, if you want to confront your narcissistic parent to clear your mind or get things off your chest, & you genuinely don’t care about what they say or do, then you are in a position where confronting your parent may benefit you.  It may help you to feel some peace or feel lighter by getting things out of you.  Even so, before you do, pray.. ask God to strengthen you against whatever nastiness they sling your way so you won’t be hurt when they deny their actions or act bored when you begin to cry.  Narcissists are excessively cruel when confronted, & even the strongest people need extra strength to deal with them.

 

If you are wondering, I’ve decided not to confront my narcissistic parents.  At the time of writing this, it’s been almost 1 year since my mother & I have spoken, over a month for my father & I (very rare for him- he used to call constantly.  He must be very mad at me).  I thought about it recently.. I wonder if either of them will want to talk things out.  If they do, I won’t go along with it.  I have nothing to say & don’t want to hear anything they have to say.  I’m at peace with that decision.  I know nothing I can say will change their behavior or make them see the errors of their ways.  I also don’t need to get things off my chest to them.  Doing so would only hurt me more when they ignore me.  I’ll pray or write in my journal instead.

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Before You Confront A Narcissist

I believe picking your battles with a narcissist is among the most challenging thing a person can do when in a relationship with a narcissist.  They need to know their behavior is unacceptable, yet when confronted, the person doing the confronting often ends up frustrated & even more hurt than they were after the original event that made them think they should confront the narcissist.

 

Second only to deciding when to confront a narcissist is how to confront them once you decided to do it.  Narcissists love to play the victim & also to twist a situation around so you’re the bad guy.  It can feel impossible to know the best way to go about this incredibly difficult situation.

 

I firmly believe in staying calm & sticking to the facts.  Force the conversation to stay on topic, otherwise the narcissist will steer you completely off topic, & most likely onto what they think is wrong with you.  They may provoke you into getting so caught up in defending yourself, you forget what the original topic of the conversation was supposed to be.

 

There is one thing that I have found to be even more important though, & that is prayer.  Before talking to a narcissist, pray.  If they are calling, quickly ask God should you take the call or let it ring.  If you feel you should take the call, ask Him to help you through the conversation.  He truly will not let you down!!  And, it may be in a different way than you expect, but it will be the best way possible.

 

Last May just after my mother in-law died, I didn’t tell my parents.  I realized they’d see her obituary in the local newspaper.  I expected them to call me, & say how sad it was, she was a great woman, blah blah… things I did NOT want to hear about the woman who hated me & treated me like dirt for the first 8 years of my husband’s & my relationship.  When my parents called a few days after she died, I knew the call wasn’t going to be pleasant.  I  also knew I might as well take the call because if I didn’t, they’d call back constantly until I answered since that’s what they do & they’d think this was an important topic.  I also asked God to help me have the right words to say.  My parents shocked me by saying they wanted to attend the funeral, & were upset they didn’t even know she passed until they saw her obituary.  Wasn’t expecting that!  It immediately angered me, especially when my parents acted like something was wrong with me for being angry.  I ended up yelling at both of my parents, even using some bad language which are all not my normal behaviors with them.

 

Once I hung up the phone, I told God how sorry I was- I don’t even know what happened to me, why I reacted that way.  It’s not like this was the first time my folks cared more about someone who has hurt me than me.  God spoke to my heart & said this is exactly what they needed.  They needed to know that they hurt me so badly, that I would act that way, so out of character.   He answered my prayer- He gave me the right words for the situation at hand- just not in the way I expected.

 

In the months that have passed, I realized God wanted my parents out of my life, & this was a way to do it.  They have cut ties with me, so I can’t be accused of going no contact with them.  Anyone who hears about this situation has to see the ridiculousness of it.  My parents cared more about someone they saw twice in the 22 years my husband & I have been together, than me, their own daughter.  It’s only logical I’d have been upset by that.  Not even the most devoted flying monkeys can justify their incredibly hurtful behavior, which is probably why I haven’t heard from any of them.

 

My point (finally) is that praying before confronting a narcissist is absolutely vital to dealing with them.  If I wouldn’t have prayed before talking to my parents last May, I have no doubt our relationship would be as it always was.  Extremely painful for me.  As it is though, I’m much happier than I’ve been in a long time, in spite of grieving the loss (dysfunctional or not, losing your parents is still a loss that needs to be grieved).  It’s amazing the power of prayer.  James 5:16 states in the last half of the verse, “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. ” (MSG)  That is so true!  Utilize that power & God will help you in ways you never imagined, even when it comes to something so complicated as dealing with a narcissistic parent!

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To Confront Or Not To Confront?

I had yet another nightmare about my mother last night.  I told my husband about it this morning, & the topic of the nightmare was similar to something she used to do repeatedly when I was a child.  He asked if I ever confronted her on it, & I said of course I did when it was happening.  He suggested I confront her now, as an adult, & I said absolutely not.  She’s still the same person she was back then, so I’d end up frustrated or hurt again.  His perspective was at least I’d get the anger out of me.

I later got to thinking… this happens a lot.  I’ve noticed many people think confrontation is always the way to go when someone has hurt or abused you.  And, many times it is the right thing to do.  Normal people don’t want to hurt others, so when you confront them, they will apologize & try to make it up to you.

There are times though, when confrontation isn’t right for various reasons.  When someone is a narcissist for example, confronting them most likely will lead to them making you out to be the bad guy, them the victim.  Plus, now they know that action hurts you, so they will do it over & over specifically to hurt you.

Rather than just blindly confront your abuser, I strongly suggest thinking about it first.  How does this person respond to confrontation?  Is she/he open to making changes?  Does the person care about hurting others?  If the person is a narcissist, & you know they will turn this scenario around, will it still help you to speak up?  Answer these & any other questions honestly, then you can choose whether or not confrontation is the right thing for you to do in this situation.

I opted not to confront my mother, by the way.  This  is usually how I handle things with her.  I don’t like it, because I believe people need to know when they do bad things.  However, she also likes to use things that hurt me repeatedly.  If I can conceal my pain, I have a better chance she won’t use that tactic repeatedly.  I’ve learned with her, it’s best to show zero emotion when she hurts me & I’m in her presence.  Once I leave, I cry or vent, often writing in my journal & praying.  Getting my feelings out to her would only result in being completely invalidated & honestly, I can’t handle that anymore from her- she has done it too much in my life.  It isn’t a perfect solution, & it probably won’t work for everyone, but it works for me.

Learning about setting & enforcing healthy boundaries also will help to eliminate the need for many confrontations.  Knowing what you will & won’t tolerate, & making that known, eliminates disagreements & problems before they start.

Limiting contact with the person will help you as well simply due to the fact you spend less time with her.

As I found what works for me, you need to find what works for you.  I pray God will guide you in the right direction for you when the time comes.

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