Tag Archives: denial

When Victims Act Like The Narcissists Who Abused Them

There is an odd phenomenon that can happen to people who have survived narcissistic abuse & refuse to face it.  They can develop narcissistic tendencies & behavior.

Thankfully, I don’t think this trait is overly common.  Also I don’t think they all are true narcissists, merely showing some tendencies.  Even so, it is a good idea to be aware of the potential for this behavior in victims of narcissistic abuse.

If you’re a victim of narcissistic abuse & are working on your healing, most likely you can be almost paranoid about your behavior.  You’d rather do about anything rather than treat people as the narcissist treated you.  Even so, it’s a good idea to monitor your behavior.  Pay attention to how you speak to people & also how you treat them.  If you hurt someone, also pay attention to your reaction.  Do you apologize immediately to that person or do you make excuses for what you did?  You know the signs of narcissism because you lived through that horror.  This means you should be able to spot those tendencies in yourself easily & are motivated to make appropriate changes.

Those who haven’t admitted to themselves or anyone that their abuser was a narcissist or even abusive at all for that matter don’t have your advantages.  Not working on their healing, they function from a place of dysfunction.  They’re wounded but don’t know it.  They may see some of their behaviors as abnormal but aren’t sure why they are abnormal.  Or, they may not see there is any problem with their behavior.  They are simply behaving as their parents behaved.  When I was in my early 20’s, I realized I was doing that.  My ex husband called me out on saying that a certain band was awful, just because I didn’t like it.  I’m glad he did!  Me not appreciating their sound doesn’t mean the band wasn’t talented.  It simply meant it wasn’t my taste.  That caused me to consider the way I acted in other areas & realized I was behaving in some ways like my parents.  Even though at the time I knew nothing of narcissism, I still didn’t like my behavior & made changes.

It seems many victims of narcissistic abuse find each other.  If this describes you, please be aware of what I talk about here.

Not all victims are the same.  Some are early in their education about narcissism & healing from narcissistic abuse.  They still are going to show plenty of dysfunctional behavior, but the good news is that they’re open to making changes & learning.  Others may be in a similar place to you, & those are the people you probably will feel the most connected to.

Unfortunately, there are also those who are like I have described here.  Please be very aware of those people, because they can hurt you badly, even though it may be unintentional.  I’ve learned this recently from someone I know.  This person was raised by a very covert narcissistic mother, yet never has admitted that fact.  In fact, this person always defended that awful narcissistic mother vehemently.  For years, this person’s behavior was just fine.  Suddenly however, when this person was speaking, the words said were the exact words that person’s narcissistic mother has said!  It was incredibly unsettling & not to mention hurtful.  I know the person didn’t mean to hurt me, but to witness someone who was always a good person suddenly talk like a narcissist was incredibly hard.  In fact, as I write this, I’m not sure if this person will be in my life much longer.  Intentionally narcissistic or not, narcissistic behaviors aren’t something I can handle anymore.

You, Dear Reader, may experience a similar situation.  I hope not, but it is still possible.  Please remember to protect yourself.

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

Willful Ignorance

Many people realize the truth will set you free.  They know that even the ugly, painful truth is always better than a pretty lie, & no matter how much it may hurt, always aim for truth in their lives.

Then there are other people who are nothing like that.  They prefer pretty lies any day.  They excuse the bad behavior of others readily & deny those people have done anything wrong.  These people are practicing something called willful ignorance.

Willful ignorance is a legal term which basically means a person has made a poor decision to circumvent information as a way for people to avoid making uncomfortable decisions.  On a more personal note, it is the avoidance of information or evidence that would force a person to face something unpleasant.

One of the best examples of this came from my personal life.  As I’ve written about before, at the time my father was dying, I had been no contact with him for several months.  My family attacked me via any means possible daily, trying to force me to go say goodbye to him.  Every time I would block one means, they’d find another.  I finally asked God why.  One of the things He said was that me staying away meant I was proving that not everything was ok.  If I would have gone, that would have shown them that my father was the great guy they wanted to believe he was.  I was threatening their willful ignorance. 

This also happens in cases where a person is abused by their parent, spouse, in-laws, etc. & other people refuse to believe it rather than get involved & try to protect the victim.

While it is certainly understandable to avoid painful things, willful ignorance is incredibly dysfunctional.  It sets people up for disappointment & unnecessary suffering because they refuse to acknowledge the warning signs most people see.  It hurts those closest to those who engage in this behavior because they are helpless to help the person they love.  These people are so devoted to their dysfunction that they will ignore what the person who loves them says, & will fight with them to protect their denial.

It is so hard being in this situation, whether you are the one practicing willful ignorance or the one who loves someone who practices it.

If you are the one practicing it, please stop!  I know the truth can be scary & painful, but by avoiding facing that, you’re hurting yourself, not helping yourself.  You need to know that God loves you & will help you to face whatever needs facing.  If you have trouble with that due to having an abusive parent figure in your life, He understand that too!  Be honest & tell Him just how you feel.  It’s ok!  I can promise you, He won’t cast you into hell or strike you down with a lightening bolt.  He will gently help you to see you can trust Him which will help you to start facing the painful things you must face.

And, if you are someone who loves a person who is willfully ignorant, I want you to know that God understands your pain & frustration.  Ask Him to show you how to support our loved one in a healthy way.  He will!  Don’t get sucked into the dysfunction either.  Stick to the truth & don’t let this person convince you of their false beliefs.  Keep your boundaries in place & protect yourself from the dysfunction of this situation.  This person has the right to engage in their dysfunction to their heart’s content, but you also have the right to engage in healthier ways.  Part of that means protecting yourself & not getting involved in their dysfunction.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health

A Bit About Denial

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.

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

Denial

Denial is a common survival tool of victims of all types of abuse.  Pretending things didn’t happen, weren’t that bad or there was a good reason your abuser acted as she did are all forms  of denial.

 

Denial may help you to cope for a while, but it shouldn’t be a permanent solution.  It can be very unhealthy.

 

It enables you to avoid facing the damage done & the pain you feel.  Although that may feel good for a short time, in the long run, it can hurt your physical & mental health.  Stifling emotions can create anxiety, depression, headaches, body aches with no physical cause, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes & more.

 

Denial may get you through a bad situation as it’s happening, but otherwise, it has no benefits.  I know facing the ugly truth can be hard, but I want to encourage you, Dear Reader, to face it.  As hard as it may be, it’s actually much easier in the long run than denial is.

 

Facing the truth allows you to heal.  When you no longer deny the facts, you can see the situation for what it is, then deal with it & heal from the damage.

 

Staying in denial often also means staying in an abusive situation.  Many people think they don’t have a right to be upset about their situation because their narcissistic parent wasn’t as bad as someone else’s, or at least their abusive husband didn’t beat them like their friend’s did, so they continue to have a close relationship with their abuser.  There is no logic at all in this!  Abuse is abuse, period!  It’s all bad!  Degrees of abuse don’t matter.  What does matter is no one should tolerate being abused!

 

When you know you need to start facing certain things, it’s time to get into prayer.  Ask God to help you.  Ask Him for strength & courage.  Ask Him to enable you to face whatever you need to, & only to allow you to face what you are able to at any given time.  You will be glad you did this as you begin to face ugly truths.  And, you’ll be glad you started facing those truths once you realize how much healthier you’ve become!

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