Tag Archives: gaslight

Dismissive Listening

One way people can treat others poorly is by practicing dismissive listening rather than empathic listening.  It is a very common behavior.  It is so common, in fact, that many people don’t even realize that it’s not right.  They may feel badly after someone treats them this way but not necessarily know why, because in addition to being so commonplace, it’s also very subtle.

Dismissive listening can be recognized easily if you know what to look for.  Basically it is like the name says, it is when someone dismisses what you say.  Some common dismissive phrases are:

  • “Don’t be upset/sad/angry!” 
  • “The same thing happened to my friend!  She was fine though.”
  • “At least it’s not…<insert random bad thing here>”
  • “Well it could be worse!”
  • Any sort of toxic positivity phrase like, “cheer up!”, “Positive vibes only!” or “Think only happy thoughts!”

Dismissive phrases like these often try to shut down & even instill shame in the person talking to the dismissive person.  They also are a sign of someone trying to fix another person rather than listen to what they have to say.

While narcissists clearly are pros at dismissive listening, not everyone who talks this way is a narcissist.  Some people simply don’t realize how they are treating others is wrong. 

I urge you to pay attention to how people treat you when you talk.  If someone is quick to dismiss what you have to say, that is a red flag.  They may not be a totally unsafe person, but they may not be comfortable with the subject matter & as a result, want to stop you from talking about it.  Some people simply can’t handle talking about specific topics.  While that is fine, dismissing you if you bring up a specific topic isn’t fine.  The dismissive listening is a red flag that this topic isn’t a safe one to discuss with this person, so you should avoid it.  It also could potentially be a sign the person is dysfunctional or even narcissistic.  The way they behave otherwise will let you know what the case is.

I also want to urge you to pay attention to how you treat others when they are talking.  If you catch yourself being dismissive to others once in a while, it happens.  It’s normal, really.  On a regular basis though, it’s not good.  You can make changes though! 

Remember that being a good listener means you want to hear what someone has to say, & you make that obvious.  You make it clear you are willing to listen to them.  You let the other person speak without interrupting.  You don’t change the subject.  You let them speak without judgment or criticism. 

You also don’t need to offer advice unless the other person asks for it.  Unasked for advice is just rude & presumptuous! Not to mention, many people just need to vent rather than advice. 

Show empathy.  Let the other person know you care by saying things like, “That sounds really hard.”  “Can I do something to help you?”  “I’m here for you.”  & “I care.”  Those little phrases will make a huge difference to someone in need of a comforting friend.

Body language can be important too.  It sends subtle cues to the speaker that you are involved in this conversation.  Touch their hand, look them in the eye, maybe offer a hug.

Dismissive listening may not be the worst thing a person can do to another, but it still needs to be avoided in order to have healthy, happy relationships.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

How Cunning Narcissists Can Be

I have my blog comments set up so I have to approve comments from anyone who hasn’t commented before.  It’s been a useful feature for protecting it from the narcissists in my life as well as weeding out spam.  Thankfully most comments don’t meet that criteria, so rarely is there a comment I don’t approve.  Recently though I had one.  I didn’t approve the comment primarily because I didn’t want anyone new to learning about narcissism to read it & fall for the manipulation in it.  I was simply going to ignore it but I realized it could be an excellent teaching tool.

I won’t share the comment word for word, only parts of it that can be useful for educational purposes.

It started out saying that my article was “insightful.”  Sounds nice, doesn’t it?  But, in true narcissist form, it was an attempt to gain my trust.  Narcissists aren’t ones to complement others to be nice.  Consider love bombing.  It involves lots of complements which lures victims in.  Even if the relationship isn’t romantic, narcissists are very complimentary at first since it helps gain their victims’ trust & create a bond between them.

From there, the commenter said that a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder suffers more than their victims because they have C-PTSD from childhood which lead to them developing NPD.  Then this person explained the disorder.  This is clearly an attempt to appear superior to me by being much more knowledgeable than me on this topic.  The topic I’ve been writing about since about 2011, by the way.  I’m not saying I know everything about narcissism of course, because I definitely don’t.  But, look at this situation for a moment.  Why would anyone talk condescendingly to someone who clearly has plenty of experience & knowledge on a topic?  It’s not as if this person said they have studied it for years, are in the mental health field or even mentioned a past relationship with a narcissist.  No evidence of anything like that was given.  I was just supposed to take them at their word, believing they know much more than me.  That is typical narcissist behavior – they expect to be believed & even revered simply because they are them. 

The person then went on to defend narcissists, saying they are simply unaware of the suffering their behavior causes due to physical issues with their brain, & if I understand at all what goes on in their minds, I will agree.  Rather snarky, right?  The mask was coming off at this point.

They then went on to say that anger is normal, but sometimes anger “can turn you & your actions evil.”  This comment is interesting because it’s trying to lure me back in while insulting me all in one sentence!  Talk about crazy making!  The person validated my anger at narcissists then called me evil.  They didn’t say anger can turn “a person” or “a person’s actions” evil.  They said “you,” which seemed aimed directly at me, not talking about people in general, yet there is plausible deniability in that sentence.  Maybe this person aimed it at me, or maybe they were simply saying any person’s anger can do this to them.  Narcissists love plausible deniability, because it allows them to be hateful while appearing innocent, & if their target says anything, they look petty or even crazy.  Looking at the context of this particular situation though, I tend to believe it was aimed at me. 

They also went on to say I need to understand the intricacies of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, how the narcissist (not sure which one in my life they are referring to) was a victim of child abuse & how doing so will set me free from the resentment I obviously feel.  Why would any person have such sympathy for one person for being a victim of abuse who went on to abuse others yet have so little sympathy for another who also was abused yet did NOT go on to abuse others?  That is very typical narcissist logic.  Normal people see just how intensely wrong that is, but narcissists don’t.  They are always right, victims are always wrong.

The commenter ended by saying I’m in a losing situation followed by a laughing emoji.  In fact, on a hunch I googled this emoji.  It’s called “face with tears of joy” & is used to show someone laughing so hard they have tears in their eyes.  Pretty disturbing when you think about it.  Someone who says they think I am in such a bad way would find it so funny they would not only laugh but to the point of tears.  I think that sums up narcissists beautifully.  They are more than happy, they are simply elated when their victims suffer. 

Just for the record, not only did I not approve the comment, I blocked the commenter from accessing my blog.

I hope this helps give you some insight into just how subtle & wicked narcissists can be.  The more you know, the better prepared you can be when you have to deal with these people. 

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What Real Love Looks Like Compared To What Narcissists Call Love

I read an interesting article recently on ibelieve.com about some things adult children wish their parents would say to them as well as tips on how to incorporate them into the relationship with their adult children.  The suggestions in the article struck me as being the exact opposite of what narcissists call love.  I thought it would be a good idea to share them to help victims of narcissistic abuse to understand what real love is & is not.

Thinking before you speak was the first on the list.  In other words, a person trying to show love will be considerate & not rude or critical with their words.  They try to offer encouragement instead of discouragement.  If they must offer correction, they do so gently.  Narcissists are much different.  They may think before they speak, but only of what they can say to inflict the most pain or gain the most control.  They may even call this loving behavior because they claim they are trying to help their victim.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Next on the list was not acting like the center of their adult child’s world.  Normal, functional parents realize that they won’t be the center of their child’s world forever.  They may grieve some as it happens, but they also accept that as a natural part of the relationship because that is exactly what it is.  They know their children still love them & they still love their children.  Many narcissistic parents however, expect different from their children.  They expect to remain the center of their children’s world indefinitely.  When the child of a narcissistic parent starts to separate from them, the parent views this as a betrayal on the child’s part.  To narcissistic parents, growing up is proof their children don’t love them anymore.  And, if those children want to prove they love their parents, they must keep them as much the center of their world as possible.  Ignoring their spouse & children in favor of the narcissistic parents is not only acceptable behavior, but it is encouraged.

Third on the list was having a soft reproach.  In other words, being gentle with your words when you must tell someone you disagree with them or disapprove of something they have done.  The Bible describes this as speaking the truth in love.  Obviously, this is NOT something narcissists do.  Overt narcissists are often extremely critical & heartless with their reproach.  Covert narcissists are much more subtle but equally cruel.  They prefer to express disappointment & use guilt trips.  Narcissists will claim they love their adult children which is why they say what they do. 

Fourth on the list was choosing quiet over giving advice.  A person who understands loving behavior recognizes the value of this.  They know unasked for advice is rude & insulting because it basically tells the recipient of this advice they aren’t smart enough to handle the situation on their own.  Rather than make someone feel this way, they remain quiet unless asked for advice.  Narcissists, as usual, behave in the complete opposite way.  They value their own thoughts, feelings & opinions more than making anyone feel loved, so they have no problem forcing their unasked for advice on others.  They may say they are only trying to help because they care, but the truth is giving advice is just one more way for them to show off what they believe is their supreme intellect or to attempt to control another person. 

Last on the list was apologizing.  A person who is humble & loving will apologize to anyone, including their children, when they have done wrong.  Narcissists are far from humble, even the covert ones who put on a false display of humility.  Rather than apologize, they will excuse or deny their bad behavior.  They even may blame their victim for forcing them to do what they did.  When I was in my teens, my mother called her abuse “tough love” & said she was trying to “save me from myself” if I confronted her.  Apologies never happened.  Instead, she tried to convince me love equaled abuse, which is typical narcissistic behavior.

If you are in the position of hearing a narcissist tell you they love you, then please remember what I have shared with you today.  Love shouldn’t hurt you or make you feel badly.  It should prove someone truly cares for you & wants what is best for you.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Lacking A Healthy Perspective About Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

When you have been abused by a narcissist (or several!), you are going to have ongoing issues as a result of their abuse.  This is likely to continue for many years, even long after the abuse has ended or even after the abuser dies.  Today we’ll be discussing one of the lesser discussed yet potentially devastating issues: lacking a healthy perspective about yourself.

Not long ago, in emailing with a friend, I mentioned something traumatic that my mother did to me when I was in my teens.  She was floored, then told me how horrible it was & how badly she felt for me.  I was stunned by her reaction.  Yes I knew it was traumatic but somehow I didn’t think it was all that bad.  This same scenario happened a few times.  Then a few weeks after that first email conversation, during a phone call to a different friend, the scenario happened yet again.  I mentioned a past traumatic experience, & she too was flabbergasted.  And again, I was stunned since I didn’t think of the experience was all that terrible.

Being prone to over thinking everything, these experiences got me thinking.  I didn’t understand why I didn’t think these experiences were so bad, yet other people did.  It isn’t like they haven’t been through the same & worse experiences, & I recognized theirs were pretty terrible. 

Then, I learned something interesting that at first I thought was unrelated.  I’m always tired, & I assumed it was because I can’t get to sleep or stay asleep without medication, & have constant nightmares.  Not long ago I got a smart watch that monitors all kinds of health processes including sleep.  It showed me that I get virtually no deep sleep.  That explained why I’m always tired, but not why I don’t get deep sleep.  I researched this & found PTSD & C-PTSD cause a person not to get the deep sleep they need.  Upon learning this, my first thought was, “wow, I really DO have C-PTSD!”  My second thought was wondering what is wrong with me?!  I’ve had symptoms of it for my entire life!  How could I doubt it?  Suddenly, things began to make sense when I thought not only of this but my interactions with my friends a few weeks prior. 

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, they dictate everything about that relationship as well as about you.  They do this through gaslighting.  After being exposed to this toxic behavior long enough, a person takes on the narcissist’s narrative.  If the narcissist claims you’re stupid enough, you believe you are in spite of having an above average IQ.  They claim you’re fat?  Absolutely believable, even if the scale says you only weigh 110 pounds.  This gaslighting goes much deeper than those superficial issues however.  Narcissists all convince their victims that what they’re doing isn’t so bad, clearly it’s not abusive, it never happened, or if it did then it’s their victim’s fault. 

This gaslighting also branches into the realm of health conditions too.  Narcissists are the only ones who have any sort of health problems, at least according to them.  Also, narcissists aren’t above faking an injury or illness or even making themselves sick, they assume everyone does it.  These two things mean that narcissists don’t care when their victims have any problems.  They assume their victims are just faking as they would do.  Or, if there is undeniable proof of a problem, they minimize it so they don’t have to pretend to care or to help the victim.

This gaslighting is why I was shocked my friends not only saw the events in my life as traumatic, but validated me & cared how I was affected as well.  It also explains why I felt surprised to find proof I really do have C-PTSD, in spite of having the symptoms for so long. 

If this sounds familiar to you, my heart goes out to you.  I wish I could help you fix this right now, but I can’t.  I can tell you some things that I’m finding out that help me though & I think they’ll help you too. 

Prayer certainly helps!  I have asked God to help me have a healthier perspective on myself & talk to Him regularly about this.  Also, when I recognize any minimizing behavior in myself, I tell myself the truth about the situation instead.  Progress has been slow going with me, but it’s still progress & that counts!   

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

Coping When Gaslighting Happens

Gaslighting is an incredibly insidious, subtle form of abuse.  In time, it can erode a person’s ability to make decisions by destroying their trust in their own instincts, feelings & perceptions.  It’s evil & horrible, yet it also is seldom seen as such.

Once a person realizes what gaslighting is though, it feels as if enlightenment suddenly has taken place.  Things finally make sense!  This also is the time an abusive person who uses gaslighting steps up their game.

When this happens, the victim of gaslighting goes one of two ways.  Either they think they were wrong, their abuser is not gaslighting them & gaslighting isn’t a real thing or they become determined to fight back.  I truly hope those of you who follow my work are interested in fighting back!  If not, I hope you will be soon!

When a narcissist actively employs gaslighting, confronting them on their behavior is often a waste of time.  Rather than admit their abuse is wrong, they spin the situation around to make their victim look abusive, over sensitive & mentally unstable while simultaneously making them look innocent.  There are times when confronting them is necessary, but often it is best to avoid doing so.  During those times, talking to yourself can be very valuable because it will help you to avoid falling for their abuse.  Following are some helpful affirmations to tell yourself that can help you deal with gaslighting behavior.

“That is NOT how that happened!”  Narcissists love to reinvent the past, glossing over their bad behavior or flat out denying it.  Sometimes simply reminding yourself that what they say isn’t true is enough to keep you focused on the truth rather than believing their lies.  Reinventing the past is a coping skill many narcissists use, & it is their right to do so.  It also is your right not to join in on their dysfunction.

“My response to cruel, contemptible behavior is normal.  What is NOT normal is the fact you think that what you are saying & doing is acceptable & normal.” Narcissists try to make their victims feel like the problem, & that their reactions are completely wrong.  This is NOT true!  Remind yourself that their behavior is the problem, not your reaction to it.  Being angry, insulted, hurt, & outraged is normal in abnormal circumstances!

“Me wanting you to be accountable for your behavior doesn’t make me a bad person.  It makes me normal.”  Narcissists can’t stand being accountable for their behavior, & will do anything to avoid it.  Accountability isn’t a bad thing & people should be accountable for their behavior.  Only people behaving badly want to avoid it.

“My thoughts, opinions, needs, feelings & even my humanity matter.  Period!”  Narcissists try to make their victims feel as if there is nothing about them that matters.  They are WRONG!  Every single person matters, no matter what narcissists may think.

“No one can dictate how I feel & what hurts me.”  Narcissists are notorious for telling their victims how they think they should feel as a way to manipulate them.  This is so wrong!  No one has the right to tell any other person how they “should” feel. 

“God doesn’t love you because of how you treat me!”  Some narcissists use religion to justify their wicked behavior & many even try to twist His word around to justify their behavior.  This is extremely WRONG!  God loves the people He has created & it pains Him when they harm each other.  When a person sets boundaries with an abuser, that isn’t harmful to the abuser.  It is normal, reasonable behavior.

I hope these affirmations help you to avoid falling for gaslighting & cling to the truth instead.

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

When Narcissists Manipulate By Appearing Confident

When I was married to my narcissistic ex husband, he said many bizarre things.  One of those things came to mind recently.  He said that it is impossible for someone to think another person is attractive without wanting to have sex with that person.  According to his so called “wisdom”, every single person in the world thinks exactly this way, except me, so clearly there was something very wrong with me. 

At the time of this conversation, I was a typical victim of narcissistic abuse.  Thanks to the narcissists in my life, I believed I was incredibly stupid, so I believed what narcissists said no matter what evidence there was to contradict their words.  Obviously they were much smarter than dumb me, so I had to listen to them, I thought.  So naturally, I believed this lie & others my ex told me.  This one was different though.  Even though I felt ashamed for being so “weird” in this area, I couldn’t make myself agree with him. 

Over the many years since our divorce, I wondered once in a while what his statement was about.  It wasn’t until I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder that I figured it out.  Since many narcissists behave similarly, I thought I’d share my findings.

When narcissists say something with such utter certainty as my ex did, there is a reason for it.  Never forget that.  They aren’t talking just to hear themselves talk, although they do love the sound of their own voice.  Narcissists always have motives with everything they say & do.  What they say isn’t simply empty words.  They’re said with purpose.

They may be trying to gaslight their victim into believing something they want their victim to believe.  When someone hears something said enough & with enough certainty, chances are excellent they’ll start to believe that thing.  In my situation, I believe my ex wanted me to think that way.  He wanted others involved in our marriage, so he was trying to make me feel wrong for not wanting the same.  If he could make me feel flawed enough, he thought he could make me change my mind.

I think my ex was also trying to normalize that behavior.  If I believed it was normal, I wouldn’t have been upset to find out he was unfaithful.  I would have accepted it as just a part of life, without complaint. This is a pretty common tactic of narcissists.  If they can make their victim think something is normal, it’s a big victory for them.  The victim will tolerate that thing that the narcissist wants them to tolerate, even if it is something they originally thought was wrong.

Narcissists love to shame their victims to make them be easier to control.  Remember how my ex told me that everyone in the world thinks the same way on that topic?  That was a shaming statement.  I was supposed to realize how wrong I was, because I was the only person in the entire world who felt as I did.  If he could’ve just made me feel badly enough, he could’ve convinced me that he was right, I was wrong, & he would have won this battle.

When you are faced with this type of manipulation, it is important to trust your gut.  What you feel inside is what is truly right, not what the narcissist claims is right.  If you get confused or feel conflicted, take some time to pray.  If you can’t get away to do this, a simple, “Father, help me!” prayer can make all the difference in the world. 

It also helps to consider what the person has said logically.  Ask yourself does what they say make sense.  Using my situation again as an example, logical questions I asked myself could have been something like.. how is he qualified to know how every single person in the entire world feels on this topic?  Does this belief include thinking a family member is attractive?  What about the fact I’m straight- does he think if I think another woman is pretty I should want to have sex with her?  

These sort of mind games are difficult when you are in the situation, but they can be handled.  Slow your thinking down so you can think rationally about things, be true to yourself, & take no crap!  Don’t let a narcissist manipulate you!

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

When Covert Narcissists Act Immature, Incompetent, & Dumb

A very common tactic of covert narcissists is to portray themselves as immature, incompetent & even dumb. Considering all narcissists want to be seen as special & even superior people, this sounds wrong, but I can assure you, it happens.  I’ve seen it first hand.

Whether a narcissist is overt or covert, two of their main goals are to abuse & control their victims.  Appearing not overly capable allows narcissists to do just this while receiving no consequences whatsoever, because people often believe that the narcissist who behaves this way simply doesn’t know any better.  Consider these scenarios

A child who grows up with a covertly narcissistic parent like this often is assigned the role of protector of that parent.  Since narcissists often marry, mostly an overt & a covert narcissist, the child protects the covert narcissist parent from the overt one.  The covert narcissist can get away with just as much if not more abuse than the overt one, because the overt is in the spotlight.  There is no denying the abusive ways of the overt narcissist.  Covert narcissistic parents however, can fly under the radar, abusing their children quietly through manipulation while getting their children to protect them from the overt narcissistic parent.  They end up looking like the good parent, & the child honestly believes they are until they learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  This is how I grew up with a covert narcissist father & overt narcissist mother, & my story is very common.

Consider the common scenario of the covertly narcissistic mother in-law who is verbally abusive to her daughter in-law when they are alone, & never in front of her son.  When the daughter in-law tells her husband, this can go several ways.  One is the husband defends his mother.  He hasn’t seen her do anything his wife says she has, so he doesn’t believe his wife is telling the truth about his mother.  Or, he defends his mother saying yes, she can be hurtful sometimes, but she just doesn’t know any better so the wife can’t get mad at her.  Or, maybe he does believe his wife, & then confronts his mother.  His mother claims she had no idea what she said would upset his wife.  She cries & says she meant no harm, she was just trying to help.  He believes this victim act & stops defending his wife to his mother rather than face her crocodile tears.  By acting immature & unintelligent, this person is able to get away with abusing her daughter in-law, having her son protect her instead of his wife & she has caused a giant rift in their marriage.

Using a covertly narcissistic mother in-law as an example again (since I have plenty of experience in this area), consider this scenario.  This mother in-law hates that her recently married son isn’t spending as much time with her as he once did.  Naturally all parents aren’t thrilled by that, but most take it in stride as a natural course of events.  Narcissistic parents however take it as a personal slight against them, as if their adult child’s new spouse married them for the sole purpose of stealing them from their parents.  Rather than simply call her son & say, “I miss you.  Would you & your wife like to come to dinner next weekend?  I’ll make your favorite dish”, covert narcissistic mothers plan.  The mother in this situation can come up with all sorts of things she needs her son to help her with because she claims she doesn’t know how to do these things.  Since he does, she needs his help.  She often creates more & more tasks for him, taking him away from his new wife.  She may even invent a need for him on his anniversary or his wife’s birthday, claiming she forgot the date.  If his wife protests, he feels torn because although he may want to spend more time with his wife, he feels badly for his poor helpless mom who needs him.  He may even see his wife as unreasonable & selfish.  Another giant rift in the adult son’s marriage can be caused by this situation.

If you recognize someone you know in these behaviors, then chances are excellent you’re dealing with a covert narcissist.  If that is the case, there are some ways to help you handle this situation. 

Never provide this person personal details or information, since that will be used against you at some point. 

Never show them any emotions, because showing emotions helps narcissists figure out what works in hurting or abusing victims. 

Do NOT allow this person to manipulate you.  Recognize the signs & change the subject, hang up the phone or leave when the manipulation starts. 

Try never to be alone with them.  Covert narcissists behave better when there are witnesses. 

Don’t ever think they just don’t know any better.  They DO know better, but they don’t see a reason to behave better. 

Never forget that no one can be devious & stupid at the same time. 

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Filed under Mental Health, Narcissism

About People Who Push Your Buttons

The world is full of many people.  Some of those people seem to have a knack for pushing every button you have.  Something about them constantly gets under your skin.  It seems like every single time you speak to them, you walk away angry or hurt.  Possibly the worst part of it is when you say something to them, no matter how gently you phrase it, somehow they twist the conversation around to the point you end up feeling badly for upsetting them. 

While many people don’t want to believe this, those people are almost always covert narcissists.  Yes, it does sound harsh to label them as such.  No, I don’t know the person you know who behaves this way.  Yet, I feel safe in standing by my statement that this person is almost certainly a covert narcissist.

Covert narcissists love to push people’s buttons.  They say cruel things to someone either about that person or those the person loves.  That person’s family, job, hobbies, beliefs, likes, dislikes & more are all targets for the covert narcissist’s criticism.  However, their nastiness often happens only when their victim is alone with them.  If the victim is with the narcissist & at least one other person, the narcissist is often as sweet as can be.  That way, if the victim gets angry at the narcissist’s fake behavior, they aren’t believed.  They would look foolish because others only see the good behavior.  An example I can give of this behavior from my own life happened with my late mother in-law.  My husband & I eloped.  Not long after we got home, we visited his parents as we did constantly during that time.  His mother & I were alone washing dishes while he & his father were elsewhere in the house.  His mother told me how she & his father were horribly disappointed that my husband married me instead of an ex.  A short time later, my in-laws had a party.  At said party, my mother in-law told her sister, “I want you to meet my beautiful daughter in-law!”  I obviously was angry & disgusted, but who upon seeing this would have believed how awful my previous interaction with my mother in-law had been?

Covert narcissists also like to play dumb regarding so many things, including their button pushing behavior.  Playing dumb is very advantageous to them.  It means people think they can’t do much so they do things for the narcissist.  They get joy from being able to make people do things for them.  It also works well when they push other people’s buttons.  If the victim confronts the narcissist, the narcissist can play dumb & claim they didn’t know what they said or did would upset the victim or that they were simply trying to help.  Either way, if a victim is unaware of this tactic, often they will feel badly for misunderstanding the narcissist.  They will let the issue go.  As an added bonus for the narcissist, this also teaches the victim to be more tolerant of abuse.  Victims come to think the narcissist truly doesn’t know any better, so they need to overlook anything that the narcissist says or does that is upsetting. 

The truth about covert narcissists & their button pushing behavior is they know exactly what they are doing.  They aren’t naïve.  They only play naïve in order to get their way.  No one who is truly naïve knows exactly who they need to hide certain behaviors from & has the self control to do this.  Also a truly naïve person wouldn’t know that certain things are especially upsetting, let alone continue to do them regularly.  This is especially true if you have told this person their behavior upsets you.  Anyone who knows something is upsetting & yet continues to do it knows just what they are doing & make no mistake, this is abuse!  A normal, functional person with even a minimal degree of empathy would stop doing hurtful things upon finding out something they say or do hurts other people. 

I know this can be hard to believe, that someone you care for is this type of person, but accepting this fact is truly life changing.  Understanding the truth about people in your life & learning ways to deal with them enables you to have much healthier relationships.  You have more peace & joy.  Best of all you learn to avoid abusive people.

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Filed under Enjoying Life, Mental Health, Narcissism

One Of The Narcissist’s Weapons – Touch

One way of controlling victims that narcissists use is touch. 

Touch is a very intimate thing.  It usually is allowed by only those closest to us.  Most people are uncomfortable with someone touching them who they aren’t close to unless that touch is nothing more than a simple hand shake.  After all, most touching behaviors that are common in close relationships are highly inappropriate when they come from strangers.  How awkward would it be for a stranger to hold your hand?  Hug you?  Kiss you?  Put their arm around you?  It would be incredibly awkward.

Yet, in such situations, sometimes people will tolerate the awkward touching rather than speak up.  Narcissists love to manipulate those people.

Touch is a way of increasing closeness & intimacy, in particular in romantic relationships.  Consider a healthy dating relationship for example.  That first time holding hands or that first kiss makes the couple feel close to each other.  Naturally that is a very positive way to use touch.  Narcissists will not hesitate to mimic it in order to gain control over their victim.  In fact, touch is such an effective weapon, it is commonly used by pedophiles to test the boundaries of children they wish to abuse.

When a narcissist first meets their victim, naturally they won’t begin using touch obviously.  It probably will be subtle, such as the male narcissist putting his hand on their female victim’s waist as she enters an open door or the female narcissist touching her male victim’s arm as he speaks.  Such touches seem innocent & many people won’t give them another thought.  The manipulation begins to work though whether or not the victim realizes it.  Those simple touches so early on increase a sense of intimacy & closeness.

When the narcissist sees such touches are accepted by the victim, they will push the boundaries a little further.  When those touches are accepted, the narcissist will push the boundaries a bit further, & the cycle continues.  As the cycle continues, they get more comfortable pushing all boundaries with their victims.  Then before they know it, the victim is going along with whatever the narcissist wants.

In romantic relationships, this touching thing is also a way to show others who the victim belongs to.  When dating, my ex husband constantly touched me.  His arm was around me, he was holding my hand, he wanted me to sit on his lap.. something to show other people that I was his property.  I found it very awkward sometimes but ignored it because, like most raised by narcissistic parents, I didn’t pay attention to my feelings.  It wasn’t until years later when my grandfather mentioned this & how disturbing he found it I realized how weird it was.  Not knowing about narcissism at that time, all I realized was my ex wanted to show others that I was his “property”, which was pretty unsettling.

If you meet someone new & they are too comfortable touching you, consider that to be a red flag.  Not all people who are the “touchy feely” type are narcissists of course, but some are.  Pay attention to the person’s behavior.  If they consistently push boundaries with you, that is clearly a red flag.  If you ask them to stop touching you & they don’t or accuse you of being over sensitive, that is another.  The average person will respect your boundaries & alter their behavior, no matter how accustomed to & comfortable with physical touch they are.

Also, if you are involved with someone romantically who insists on touching you constantly, then it may be a red flag of narcissism.  Consider this person’s behavior as objectively as you can.  Ask yourself if they have shown other signs of narcissism.  If they have, then act accordingly to protect yourself. That is your right!

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How Narcissists Like Making You Feel Dumb To Make Themselves Feel Smart & Superior

I was mopping my basement floor in our old house one morning when I remembered the oddest thing.  The paint was flaking off badly, & had been since immediately after I painted that floor not long before we moved into our home.  I’d never painted concrete before & had no clue it required special prep before paint.

What I remembered was how about the time my husband & I went to settlement on our house, I mentioned to both my father & father in-law on separate occasions that I was going to paint the basement walls & floor first, so we could start to move our belongings in the basement very soon after settlement.  Then I would focus on painting the main level.  Neither my father nor father in-law said a word.

Shortly after, I told both fathers on separate occasions again that I had finished painting the basement.  Both men had the exact same reaction.  They asked if I prepared the floor with muriatic acid before painting.  I was surprised because I never even heard of this product.  I told them no.  And again, both men had the same reaction.  Both shook their heads & smirked at me, not saying another word.

Having never painted any concrete before, I had no idea that muriatic acid could be used to pre-treat concrete to help paint stick to the surface.  A little tip that might have been nice to know prior to working so hard painting the entire concrete floor in my home’s basement, don’t you think?

Unfortunately, both my father & father in-law were narcissists.  My father a covert one who became more overt as he got older & developed Alzheimer’s.  My father in-law was overt in his younger days & became much less narcissistic as he got older in spite of having dementia. 

When I thought about this situation, I realized that their responses were typically narcissistic, & I’ll tell you why.  Both men had the typical male need to feel useful, but I believe being narcissists, it was very exaggerated.  I can’t help but wonder if me not asking for their advice prior to my painting task offended them to the point of narcissistic injury.  It’s entirely possible of course.  Narcissists get offended so easily.

What also is entirely possible is that by not giving me the information they knew I needed, they set me up in order to feel superior.  Narcissists LOVE to feel superior to other people in any & every way.  It props up their ego & seems to just feel really good to them.  While almost anyone can appreciate feeling superior to some small degree, narcissists take it to an extreme.  They need it like an addict needs their drug of choice, & many times, will do anything in order to access that feeling of superiority.  They have no problem withholding information or providing false information, or even blatantly lying to or about their victim.  Whatever it takes to make them feel superior is going to be done.  If you or someone else gets hurt in the process, that isn’t important.  What the narcissist wants is the only thing that matters.  At least to the narcissist, that is.

Knowing this information is vital for anyone who comes in contact with a narcissist in any capacity.  It can help you to avoid a great deal of frustration & wondering why they did what they did.  Remember that they are selfish to the extreme, & all that matters to them is whatever they want at that specific moment.  Hurting others to get that is not a big deal to anyone who lacks empathy, like narcissists.  It’s very sad that there are people out there who are so pathetic they are willing to hurt anyone & everyone to accomplish their goals, but unfortunately, there are people like that.  And they are everywhere!  Be aware of that fact & protect yourself!

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Frequently Used Gaslighting Phrases

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Ways People Excuse Abusive Behavior

 

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Abusers Don’t Abuse Just Anyone

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.

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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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Narcissists & Dominance

Whether overt or covert, narcissists are control freaks.  They must be in control of their environment & the people in it at all times.  We all know overt narcissists use fear & covert narcissists guilt to accomplish this, but there are other methods they also use.

Narcissists may use ignoring a person as a means of control.  They accomplish this in many ways.  They may simply ignore the victim in conversation, acting as if the person didn’t say anything when they did.  The narcissist may talk over the victim in conversation.  They may conveniently “forget” to invite the victim to a gathering.  If the victim arrives with someone, the narcissist may greet that person while ignoring the victim.  When a person is ignored this way, they may shut down, fading quietly into the background which leaves more room for the narcissist to get attention.  Or, they may question the narcissist, wondering what they did wrong & pleading with the narcissist to forgive them.  Ignoring a victim also lets that person know that the narcissist thinks they are unworthy of the narcissist’s attention, so the victim may try harder & harder to please the narcissist.

Interrupting is another display of dominance narcissists use.  When most people have a conversation, & someone interrupts them, they stop talking to let the interrupting person talk.  Narcissists will use this natural proclivity to their advantage.  My father used this tactic a LOT.  In fact, he put a unique spin on it.  When I started talking, he would open his mouth as if he was going to talk, then close it quickly.  Naturally, I thought I was interrupting him, so I encouraged him to talk.  One day after a visit, I prayed about it.  I don’t usually interrupt people, so why was I doing it with him?!  God showed me I wasn’t.  My father was using this tactic to get me to stop talking so he could talk.  I hate bad manners, he knew it & used that to dominate our conversations.

Shock is a big favorite with narcissists.  If a narcissist is a part of a group of people & not the center of attention, that narcissist is incredibly uncomfortable.  She feels out of sorts, & will do whatever it takes to restore her position of being in control & being the center of attention.  One method she may use to regain her position is by shocking everyone in the group.  She may start talking loudly & suddenly about an entirely different topic of conversation.  She may blurt out some weird or disturbing facts that is so odd that it gets everyone’s attention.  She may walk away while someone is talking, make a loud noise or even spill her purse to restore the balance of power she wants.  My mother once broke into song when my father & I left her out of our conversation.  Remember the old musical, “Oklahoma!”?  Apparently my mother does.  She started singing the theme song.  Loudly.  Since this was well before I knew anything about NPD, my father & I ended our conversation at that point.  Attention was focused back on her, as she wanted.

Possibly the most disgusting way narcissist try to assert their dominance is with body functions.  Even passing gas or burping isn’t too low for a narcissist desperate enough to establish dominance.  They also may blow their nose extremely loudly or make the sounds more disgusting than need be.  If they don’t use a body function, they will at least talk about them.  My mother has irritable bowel syndrome & has absolutely no trouble discussing all the gory details of it.  Body functions are so seldom a part of a conversation in any way that when it happens, people are naturally shocked & notice the person who brought them into the conversation.

The best way I’ve found to deal with these dominant behaviors is very simple.  Ignore them.  Pretend the narcissist didn’t say or do anything unusual.  Carry on with your conversation as usual.  If she interrupts you, you can either talk over her or wait until she is finished, then resume your previous conversation.  If she ignores you, pretend not to notice.  The same goes if she uses shock value or body functions- pretend you notice nothing whatsoever.  By ignoring the narcissist’s attempts to dominate, you aren’t allowing her to dominate.  You’re depriving her of narcissistic supply, which is the best thing you can do with any narcissist.

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Narcissists Love When Victims Suck Up To Them

Narcissists love to have power over their victims.  To hurt someone either mentally, physically or sexually gives them a feeling of power.  Possibly the only thing that makes narcissists feel even more powerful is watching their victim suck up to them.

When a victim is genuinely repentant & will do anything to make it up to their abuser, this is a huge power trip for the narcissist.  They know they can make that victim do anything at this point.  There also is the added bonus of the victim accepting responsibility for whatever the narcissist did.  This means the narcissist doesn’t have to take any blame at all.  (Not that they would anyway, but at least in this situation, they don’t have to work to pawn that blame off on someone else).

Narcissists are incredibly good at manipulation & gaslighting- making a person doubt their own thoughts, feelings, perceptions & even sanity.  Because of this, it’s no wonder many victims in the midst of narcissistic abuse continually apologize & suck up to their abuser.  I certainly have done my fair share of it before learning about narcissism.  (If you have too, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.  I doubt there is one victim of narcissistic abuse that hasn’t apologized to their abuser at least a couple of times.)

If you’re still in a relationship with a narcissist, I’m sure you’re faced with the scenario at least periodically, where the narcissist is angry with you & demands that you apologize.  Or maybe she prefers suddenly to stop speaking to you, with no explanation whatsoever, in an attempt to make you rush to her side, begging for her to speak to you again.

Having been there, I learned something.  Don’t do it!!!

If you have done something wrong, then by all means, apologize.  It’s just the right, mature thing to do.  Say you’re sorry, make things right if you can, & move on.

If you haven’t done something wrong, then do NOT apologize!  If you do it once, the narcissist will demand you do it again & again.  She will use you & wear you down to get you to make it up to her for whatever horrible thing you supposedly did.

If a person can’t behave like a mature adult by trying to work out a problem, then don’t treat them as if they are one.  Let that narcissist pout like the bratty child she’s acting like while you ignore her ridiculous display.  If she’s trying to make you feel guilty, pretend not to notice.  If she hints for an apology, also pretend not to notice.  Learn to enjoy the silent treatment if you’re on the receiving end of it.  It’s a reprieve from unnecessary drama- why not enjoy it?

Stop trying to make it up to a narcissist who isn’t telling you what you’ve done wrong or who blames you for them abusing you!  It only provides them with narcissistic supply, & the more you provide, the more they will demand from you.

Making it up to someone you have hurt is one thing.  It should be a normal thing for a person to do as well as the one hurt to expect.  However, when someone constantly expects another person to make it up to them without trying to talk things out, or because they abused their victim, something is very, very wrong with this situation.

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Another Weapon In The Narcissistic Arsenal

One weapon narcissists use is to tell their victims “I know you better than you know yourself.”  While it may sound rather innocuous, that phrase, especially when said by a parent to a child, can be devastating to the self esteem.

My mother said this to me my entire childhood.  I ended up feeling like I was stupid (how can a person not know themselves after all?!) & like I had to look to her to know what I liked & didn’t like, my opinions on things, what I should & shouldn’t do.  I was so insecure, & partly because of that stupid phrase!  Even now, in my mid 40’s, I have issues sometimes with figuring out what I really like & don’t like.

Have you heard this insidious phrase from your narcissistic parent too?  If so, you’re not alone!

The key to letting go of the insecurity caused by hearing this phrase is to pay attention to yourself.  Get to know you.  The real you, the person God made you to be & not the person your narcissistic parent tried to make you into.  Notice how you truly feel about everything.

Chances are, when you first start to do this, you’ll feel some guilt, like you’re going against your narcissistic parent’s wishes.  That is normal.  Just remind yourself that you are allowed to be an individual.  God created you to be an individual.  You were made to be you, not some cheap imitation of you & certainly not some lump of clay molded by a narcissistic parent only concerned with their wishes.

As you begin to know yourself, your narcissistic parent will disapprove.  Don’t let that disapproval discourage you. The disapproval doesn’t mean you’re wrong or a bad person at all!  It means the narcissist is disappointed in you for not continuing to allow her to control you.  If your narcissistic parent attempts to make you feel bad, wrong, guilty or ashamed because you’ve changed, pretend you don’t notice.  Ignore the comments!  You do what is best for you, NOT the narcissist!

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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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Subtle Tactics Narcissists Use To Abuse

When most people think of narcissists, they think of someone loud & obnoxious, who is obviously abusive.  That isn’t always the case however.  Some tactics narcissists use to abuse their victims are very subtle.  So much so that when they happen, a victim may not give them a moment’s thought.  That doesn’t make these tactics any less abusive.

 

Trying to “fix” your appearance.  This can be done in very subtle ways, such as suggesting what foods you can eat to help you lose weight or what clothes would look better on you than what you normally wear.  It’s a way to shame your looks disguised as offering helpful suggestions.  It’s also a good way to make someone look like what the narcissist wants that person to look like.

 

Isolation.  Whether the narcissist in your life is a parent or spouse, it’s a safe bet that person wants to isolate you.  They may say things like, “She isn’t really your friend.  If she was, she would/wouldn’t ….”  “I heard he said …. about you.  It was a terrible thing to say, especially since he’s your brother!”  “They don’t like me.  It really hurts me you’d be friends with people who obviously hate me.”  The fewer people in your life, the easier you are to control.  You won’t be able to talk about your situation with anyone, so no one can tell you what he or she is doing is wrong.

 

Disrespecting your boundaries.  It starts out small.. a little compromise you don’t object to.  Then it’s another, slightly bigger compromise, then another & another.  Before you know it, you aren’t allowed to have any boundaries.  The old saying, “give him an inch, he’ll take a mile” is the absolute truth with narcissists.

 

Making you doubt yourself.  “Are you sure you said that?”  “No, I don’t think you really want that.  I think you’d prefer….”  Subtle phrases like this are nothing but gaslighting.  They make a person doubt their perceptions, feelings, & opinions.  It’s a very subtle way of tearing a person down mentally & emotionally.

 

Using anger to control you.  In romantic relationships, they hide their anger until they are comfortable that you’re in it for the long haul, then they start using their anger suddenly.  Overt narcissists often will scream & rage, sometimes for hours.  Covert narcissists give quiet displays of their rage- they give the silent treatment, give disapproving looks, tell other people how cruel you are to them & play the victim.  Some narcissists will punch walls or take their anger out on inanimate objects as a way to intimidate you.  My ex husband did this & told me how lucky I was he took his anger out on our microwave instead of me.

 

If someone is doing these things to you or someone you know, it’s abuse, plain & simple!  You have every right to protect yourself from this type of behavior, no matter who is doing it.  Take back your power!  Set & enforce your boundaries.  Leave if the person becomes angry, especially if you’re afraid for your safety.  Rekindle old friendships the narcissist forced you to abandon. Start a journal if you don’t currently have one, & keep track of the things the narcissist says- seeing things in writing may give you more clarity.  Most of all pray.  Ask God what you should do in this situation.  He will guide you & give you creative ways to handle it or the strength to go no contact.

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Gaslighting

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Narcissistic “Breadcrumbs”

Many years ago when married to my ex husband,  I was really sick with the flu.  I was miserable.  Between being sick & living with our failing marriage (for which he blamed me completely), it wasn’t a nice time.  A couple of days into the flu, he came home with a get well card for me.  I was so happy!  I never got get well cards, or cards of any type from him.  I opened the envelope & took out the card.  He hadn’t even bothered to sign it or seal the envelope!  He simply bought it, put it in the envelope & handed it to me.  At the time, this made my day & brightened my awful mood some.  Looking back though?  I realize I was content with narcissistic breadcrumbs.

 

One thing narcissists have in common is training their victims to be content with the breadcrumbs, the bare minimum, the very least they can get away with doing.  The example in the above paragraph is a very good example of narcissistic breadcrumbs.  And, like a good victim, I was content with that because usually, my ex did nothing for me when I was sick or injured.  That unsigned card was the biggest gift he had given me during our marriage.  It didn’t occur to me the only reason he even did this much might be because we were living with his parents & he probably figured bringing me a card would make him look good to his mother.

 

Why would narcissists do the bare minimum?  They are done so you will see they are doing something nice for you & ignore the abuse.  They are merely a distraction by the narcissist so they can continue to abuse you however they like.  You are supposed to be so overwhelmed with this “good” thing that they are doing for you, that you’ll forgive & forget the many bad things they have done.  Remember my example?  Do you really think my joy at receiving that pitiful, unsigned card lasted?  No.  It also didn’t negate the facts he didn’t listen to me or care about me above what I could do for him.  But, it was supposed to.  As if a few years of this would be simply forgotten by giving me a card that he couldn’t even bother to sign.  Narcissists don’t think like normal folks do though- they assume such tiny gestures will overwhelm us with gratitude & distract us indefinitely from the problems at hand.

 

If a narcissist wants something from you, he may do something nice for you before asking you for that favor.  Money is a favorite tool in these situations.  For example, money is tight for you so the financially stable narcissist gives you some money to tide you over until payday.  A couple of weeks later, he asks you to do something for him.  He will remind you of how much he helped you out recently by giving you that money.  “After all I do for you, & you can’t even manage to do this one little favor for me!”

 

 

Narcissists also don’t like to do for other people.  Doing for others means thinking of someone beyond yourself, which is NOT something they care to do.  Why think of someone else when they are so much more important?!  This is partly why they do the bare minimum- the minimum also means they don’t have to think of someone other than them for long.

 

If you “force” them to do something (mind you, by forcing this can mean asking “Would you mind doing ___ for me please?”), you will pay for it.  Asking a narcissist to do something for you, no matter how small, can incite a rage or passive/aggressive behavior.  So if they feel forced to do something nice for you to try to distract you from their behavior, they will resent you for “making” them do it.  The fact you didn’t ask them to do it isn’t important.  In their minds, you made them do this thing & they aren’t happy about it, so they will punish you passive/aggressively by doing the bare minimum.  And, if you don’t appreciate their effort, then they have a valid reason (at least in their minds) to blow up at you.  “Nothing I do pleases you!”  “You don’t appreciate anything!”  “You’re impossible to please!”

 

Narcissistic breadcrumbs are a way of life in a narcissistic relationship.  If the narcissist in your life suddenly is doing something nice for you, then be aware, there is a reason for it.

 

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Saving Face Matters To Narcissists

 

What others think of the narcissist is the most important thing in the world to them, so they will do anything to protect it.  That can include acting like they are the real victim when you confront them on their abusive ways.

 

If you tell a narcissist something they do hurts you, you open the door for a world of gaslighting/crazy making behaviors.  They may rage, scream, cry, use guilt or calmly state why you are the abusive one.

 

 

When my parents & I had our last fight in May, 2016, as I’ve mentioned before, it was because my parents were supposedly upset I hadn’t told them that my mother in-law passed away.  They saw her obituary in the local paper after the funeral was done.  My parents claimed they wanted to attend, but didn’t learn of the funeral in time, which is the only reason they didn’t go.  This hurt me because I’d told them how cruel she had been to me over the years, yet they wanted to “pay their respects” to her?!  I told them I felt betrayed, yet neither understood my feelings.  In fact, when I told them “she treated me like dirt for years!”, both of my parents had the same reaction: “But that’s Eric’s mother!”  My response was, “But I’m your daughter!”  Silence for a few seconds then, “But that’s Eric’s mother!” was the response.  It became crystal clear to me that the fact that was his mother & my parents want to impress my husband mattered much more than the fact they were hurting their own daughter.  Looking like the caring in-laws to the man they want to impress, my husband, was more important than anything else.

 

This is very typical of narcissists.  If taking responsibility for something they have done puts them at risk of looking “less than,”they can’t deal with that.  Shaming you or making you look like the bad guy is worth it, so long as their mask doesn’t slip off.  There is nothing they won’t do to save face.

 

If you confront the narcissist in your life, please be well aware that this can happen to you too.  If it does, remember this isn’t about you!  This is about them protecting their fragile self esteem.  The truth isn’t important, neither is not hurting you.  Maintaining their reputation is all that matters.

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A Little About Flying Monkeys

Isaiah 5:20  “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”  (KJV)

 

So many people who know the narcissist are completely devoted to that person.  Commonly known as flying monkeys, they will defend the narcissist at all costs, even in spite of glaring evidence of the narcissist’s wrong doings.  From what I’ve seen, this phenomenon is especially common among marriages where one spouse is an overt narcissist & the other covert, but it also happens among child/parent relationships, other familial relationships or even friendships.

 

Whether these people realize it or not, they are condoning & enabling narcissistic abuse.  Sure, they aren’t necessarily holding a victim in place while the narcissist verbally or physically attacks, but they are condoning & enabling it nonetheless!  By not speaking up to the abusive person or by telling the victim things like “You need to honor your mother & father!”  “Just let it go”  “I’m sure she didn’t mean it the way you took it!”  “You’re oversensitive/being dramatic!” they basically are telling the victim, “There is something wrong with you for being upset about being abused!  Let that person abuse you & take it with a smile!”  This can be extremely mentally damaging for a victim!

 

I have been through this myself as well as talked to so many other victims who have experienced similar situations, & all of us have been deeply hurt or damaged by such cruel, invalidating behavior.

 

While the behavior of the flying monkey may seem like they simply don’t know any better or they want to help, the simple fact is their behavior can be very damaging, no matter what their intentions are.  It really is best to avoid them whenever possible & let God deal with them.  He certainly is not pleased with their behavior, & Isaiah 5:20 is proof of that.

 

When it’s not possible to avoid them, there are some ways to cope that may help you.

 

If the flying monkey starts talking about the relationship between you & your narcissistic parent, telling you what you need to do to fix it, it’s time for a subject change.  You can say, “I’m not going to discuss this topic with you,” then change the subject.  Or, you can simply change the subject. You also can say, “If you continue trying to make me talk about this subject, I’m going to hang up the phone (or leave the room)” then follow through on your threat.

 

Sometimes, simply ignoring the flying monkey is the easiest way to cope.  If you get a text or an email, for example, those are easy to ignore.  My mother’s flying monkey has emailed several times about my mother.  Each time she does, I simply ignore her email.

 

Never engage the flying monkey in a conversation about the narcissist.  You WILL regret it.  You’d regret beating your head into a brick wall less than you would talking about that topic with a flying monkey.  Flying monkeys are extremely confident that the narcissist is right, & that you are wrong, bad, mean, etc. & they will say or do anything to try to beat you into thinking the same way.   Do NOT discuss the narcissist with the flying monkey!

 

If you are the crafty type, like to have a little fun & have a kinda warped sense of humor like I do… you can actually crochet your own flying monkey!  I found a pattern for one!  I’m going to make a few of them, because I know seeing them will make me laugh if I have the misfortune of dealing with any flying monkeys.  I already have a name for one in mind- after one of my mother’s flying monkeys.   The link to the pattern is below.  If you end up making one too, I’d love to see a picture & if you name it, would love to know why you chose that name.  You can email me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com if you’d like.

 

http://www.amigurumitogo.com/2015/11/flying-monkey-amigurumi-free-pattern.html

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Narcissists Want Everyone, Including You, To Believe That You Are The Problem

A very common tactic of narcissistic parents is to make the child & everyone else believe that the child is the problem behind the family’s dysfunction.  This tactic of discrediting & blaming the child serves a twofold purpose.

Purpose #1 is to be sure that all attention is focused on the child so the narcissistic parent can abuse her child unnoticed.  People are so busy looking at the child’s bad behavior, they don’t notice what the parent does to the child to make the child act out.  They also won’t believe the child if she says anything about what the parent does to her.  After all, the narcissistic mother has everyone convinced the child is a liar, disobedient, rebellious, etc. so why would anyone believe what that child has to say?

Purpose #2 is to create so much doubt in the child, that she doesn’t have time to focus on what is being done to her.  She spends so much time thinking about what her narcissistic mother says she is doing wrong, how she can change, what she can do to please her narcissistic mother & more, that she doesn’t question the abuse that is being done to her.

I went through this with my mother as a teenager.  Her friends who once liked me suddenly wouldn’t even make eye contact with me anymore.  One so-called friend of my mother’s even gave me a lecture one day on how lucky I was to have a mother who loved me so much.  I needed to start behaving myself for a change & stop making her life so hard.  (Interestingly, just before that call, my mother had been screaming at me, accusing me of terrible things that I didn’t do.  I sure didn’t feel so lucky!)  I knew I couldn’t say anything to any of them about what my mother was doing to me, because they believed her.

At the time, it hurt me badly.  I liked some of my mother’s friends, & was hurt when they no longer liked me.  In time though, I realized that although it hurt, it wasn’t a bad thing to lose such people.  Normal, intelligent people wouldn’t blindly have believed my mother.  I’d always been a well-behaved, quiet child, so why didn’t anyone question my mother when she said I was doing such outrageous things as taking drugs or having sex with the entire high school football team?  Such things were completely out of character for me- you would think someone would have said so to her, or maybe questioned me.  Neither happened however.  Losing people who so readily believed the worst of me really wasn’t a big loss.

If this has happened to you, please think about what I said in the previous paragraph.  I know it can hurt when people assume you are the problem, but truly, losing people like that isn’t always a bad thing.  You need & deserve people in your life who love you, not people who blindly believe something bad about you then judge & criticize you.  In a way, your narcissistic mother did you a favor.  She helped you to weed out the unsafe people in your life.  Looking at the situation that way can help to take a great deal of the hurt out of the situation.

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Being Feminine Or Masculine

Since I’m female as are the majority of my readers, I’ll write this directed mostly at the ladies, but the information is important for you gentlemen as well.

Narcissistic mothers love to destroy everything they can about their children, right down to destroying their femininity or masculinity.

I’ve always liked so many of the stereotypical girly things along with some more masculine things (like cars) & while growing up, my mother criticized me for them.  I wasn’t feminine enough because I preferred cars to baby dolls, but I was too girly for liking soft, feminine clothing.  I wasn’t really allowed to wear anything too feminine either, & my mother had to approve all my clothes until I moved out.

The result was stifled femininity.  It’s only been the last few years I’ve been letting my feminine side come out, & I feel so much more comfortable!

Can you relate?  Did your narcissistic mother try to destroy your femininity too?

If so, Dear Reader, I’d like to encourage you to take back your femininity!  You won’t regret it!

While I realize some women are naturally less “girly” than others, & there is nothing wrong with that, I’d like to encourage you to take back your femininity as well.  Whatever your level of femininity, it’s yours, & you need to be in control of it, not your abusive narcissistic mother!

So how do you take it back?

For me, I started paying attention to how I felt about feminine things.  I realized some things were more attractive to me when I ignored my mother’s views on femininity.  As an example, my mother only thinks clear, soft pink or mauve nail polish is appropriate.  I started experimenting with other colors.  I now wear almost every color except yellow, red or orange & only because they aren’t good colors for me.  Wearing so many different colors is something I enjoy.

I also realized the stereotypical masculine things I like don’t detract from my femininity.  I love classic cars & drag racing.  I also have no trouble fixing my own car when need be.  I don’t think this affects my femininity at all.  There is nothing wrong with being diverse in your interests!  (Besides, knowing how to fix my car means if I have car trouble, I can make it home, which isn’t a bad thing at all.)

Lastly, I thought about what being a woman, especially a feminine woman, means to me which is what I strive to be.  I think a woman is:

  • Caring
  • Nurturing
  • Generous
  • Loving
  • Helpful
  • Empathetic
  • Encouraging
  • Has integrity
  • Open minded
  • Doesn’t compromise her principles
  • Willing to work hard when needed
  • Has the wisdom to know when she needs to help others & when to step back
  • Appreciates softness
  • Appreciates beauty in all forms
  • Takes care of herself & her appearance
  • Maintains a clean, inviting, cozy home
  • Is always there for her husband, children & others in her life that she loves
  • Is self-sufficient but not too proud to ask for help when needed

Now it’s your turn- what does being a woman (or man) mean to you?

I hope this helps you to let the wonderful man or woman inside you come out!  God made you the way you are for a reason, so why shouldn’t you enjoy every aspect of yourself?

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The Narcissistic Apology

Narcissists rarely apologize for anything, but when they do, you can be certain it isn’t a genuine apology.

A genuine apology doesn’t include excuses. Someone who is genuinely sorry for their actions won’t say you made them act that way. That person also will try to change their ways as they don’t want to hurt you like that again.

All of these are foreign concepts to the narcissist.

Narcissists hate to admit they are wrong, & will go to great lengths to avoid it. They will offer excuses as to why what they did was not their fault, or even blame you for making them do what they did. They love to offer the passive/aggressive type of apology- “I’m sorry you feel that way.” “I’m sorry you think what I did was wrong/unfair/hurtful.” All of these actions show that the narcissist is not genuinely sorry for what she did. Most likely, she doesn’t care that she hurt you & only cares that she accomplished whatever it was she wanted to accomplish.

I also realized recently another trick of the narcissistic apology. My father has done this one many times & it wasn’t until recently I caught onto it. He recently apologized to me for not being there enough for me in my life. I was touched- there was no blame or excuses so I assumed it was a genuine apology.  He apologized for missing my fifth birthday because he had to travel for work. I told him it’s fine- not a big deal, it was just a birthday. He went on to say how terrible it was of him, he shouldn’t have gone on that trip. Again I said it was no big deal. I pointed out how many other birthdays he was there for. It was only one birthday. Plus he did other things for me. By the end of the conversation, he was happy.

While there are times I am more than willing to reassure someone who hurt me, this was not one of those times that was a good option. If someone accidentally hurt me once, fine. Bad things happen sometimes. But this was different. My reassurance would have been providing narcissistic supply.  Unfortunately, I realized this after the conversation, & then I felt conned into telling him he was a good father.

Whenever you hear a narcissist apologize to you, remember- it is NOT a genuine apology! Don’t get your hopes up thinking they might finally see the error of their ways & change. The narcissist’s apology is like every other thing they do- it’s only about narcissistic supply.

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Validate Yourself

Being a victim of narcissistic abuse is not an easy thing.  You go through the abuse & somehow survive, only to be victimized further by people who invalidate what you have gone through.

I have heard comments such as…

  • “That doesn’t sound so bad…”(from my high school guidance counselor, referring to my mother screaming at me for hours in my teen years)
  • “You just need to understand her better.”
  • “Nobody’s perfect!”
  • “You need to fix things with your parents.  Get into counseling!”
  • “You need to work things out with your parents.  They won’t be around forever yanno!”
  • (from a different counselor after meeting my mother) “I can’t see you anymore- you’re a terrible daughter!”
  • “You need to find things you have in common with your parents!”
  • “You’re too negative!”
  • “I can’t believe they are that bad!”
  • “Are you even sure that happened?  That’s a pretty serious accusation.”
  • Various excuses as to why my narcissistic parents or mother in-law treated me so poorly such as she isn’t intelligent (she isn’t educated- big difference), her mother in-law didn’t like her, etc.
  • Laughing at my story of being abused.

After hearing such things, I felt victimized all over again.

Victim blaming is very common in today’s society, so it’s not surprising these cruel words & more are said to victims of narcissistic abuse daily.

Unfortunately I don’t believe there is any way to avoid them entirely.  All you can do is use wisdom on who you share your story with.  Even when you do this, sometimes people may hurt you by invalidating your pain.

The fact is though that you can validate yourself.  You can heal from narcissistic abuse even if there is no one to support you but God.

To do this, you need to lean on God.  Talk to Him about how you feel.  He can handle it all & wants to be there for you!  Let Him be!

As for you.. you need to trust that what happened was bad.  Admit it to yourself.  No more excuses, no more telling yourself you’re oversensitive or weak.  Narcissistic abuse permeates every part of a person’s being.  It can destroy one’s self-esteem, perception of reality or even sanity.  It is nothing to take lightly!   If you’re having trouble with this, write your story out.  When I wrote my autobiography “Emerging from the Chrysalis” a few years ago, it was hard.  Very hard.  For the first time, I realized just how bad the abuse I have survived really was.  Yet, as hard as it was to see things in black & white, it was very freeing too.  It gave me a new perspective.  I realized I’m a very strong person.  I also realized God must love me a great deal to have gotten me through all of that.  It also helped me to see my parents as they truly are, instead of making excuses for their behavior or thinking I was the one with the problems- I really wasn’t oversensitive, overreacting, reading too much into things, etc.  They have some serious problems & one of those problems is NOT me!

Once you are able to accept the truth about what you have gone through, healing will come.  You will grieve, you will be angry, but these are necessary steps to freedom from narcissistic abuse.  And, the more you validate yourself & heal, the less other people’s invalidation will bother you.  I’m not saying it won’t hurt sometimes- it’s only human to be hurt when your pain is trivialized- but it won’t devastate you as it once did.

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Do People Tell You That You’re Crazy, Stupid Or Other Bad Things?

Narcissists love to accuse their victims of awful things.  Crazy, stupid, selfish & more- there is no end to the hateful things a narcissist will call you.  And, like everything else they do, there is a motive behind doing this.

Calling you these awful names doesn’t mean they actually believe you are crazy, stupid or selfish- instead, it gives them power & control.

How, you ask?  Because if you are told you are selfish, for example, you are going to work hard to prove that you are not selfish.  This gives the narcissist power over you because by saying what she did, she made you work harder for her.  She feels better about herself at this point because you working hard to please her shows she has power.  Plus, when she sees that she is able to make you do things, that makes her feel better about herself.

When someone tells you awful things about yourself, you need to think about it.  Constructive criticism is said gently & to help you.  Narcissists however, don’t say things nicely or to help.   They say things cruelly or they imply things rather than say them outright, so if you confront them, they can say something like “I never said you were *fill in the blank*”  “You read too much into things!”  “You have such a vivid imagination!”

The person saying these things.. do they often criticize you?  Do they often try to control you?

If you are having trouble determining what is really happening, ask God for discernment on the matter.

You do not deserve to be mistreated!  If someone is telling you terrible things about yourself that you know are untrue, always remember that it says more about her than you.  Normal people don’t tear down other people, but encourage & empower them instead.

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“My” Truth vs. The Truth

Have you ever heard the phrase “my truth”?  I heard it again recently.  That phrase is said to describe what you believe.  Whether it is really true or not, however, is inconsequential.

This phrase is perfect for describing what narcissists believe.  Their truth rarely resembles the real truth.

I think it is used when someone is trying to convince themselves of something that they know is not true, which narcissists love to do frequently.  If they say something is their truth, it implies the thing is true, so it’s OK to believe.  As an example, my mother believes she was a good, loving, caring mother to me.  That is her truth.  She has convinced herself of it.  It’s how she copes with her guilty conscious.  She knows what she did to me was wrong & rather than accept responsibility for it, she reinvents the past & creates her own truth.  She has convinced others of her truth as well.

I know just how frustrating this is when you know the real truth & others insist that lies are the truth.  Never forget- their truth is just that, theirs.  It isn’t yours.  So long as you know what the real truth is, that is what matters.  Don’t let anyone sway you from what you know to be true.  If you have any doubts, ask God to help you to see what the truth really is.  He will do so!

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If You Don’t Think Narcissistic Abuse Is So Bad, Then Read This

There are so many people who think growing up abused by a narcissistic parent isn’t a big deal, we need to get over it, stop wallowing in the past & feeling sorry for ourselves.  Today’s post is for them.

And, Dear Reader, if this post doesn’t describe you, feel free to show this to those in your life it describes if you think it will help them to understand just how destructive & evil it is.

Below are some of the problems that narcissistic abuse can cause.  If you have not been the victim of narcissistic abuse, I hope you thank God at the end of this list that you don’t have to live with these problems.  I live with every single one, & it is extremely hard.

Constant self doubt.  Narcissists are experts at gaslighting (distorting reality) which leads victims to doubt themselves constantly.  Narcissists state what they say as if it was the gospel truth, & when a person hears something, especially something said so confidently, over & over, they tend to believe it.  Even if it is something they can see clearly & plenty of evidence points to what they see is right, they learn to doubt their perception of reality & believe the narcissist.  Even once away from the narcissist, they tend to believe other people over themselves due to not trusting their own perceptions & feelings.

— Low self-esteem.  Since insecurity is at the root of narcissism, narcissists love to make others feel as badly about themselves as they do.  No matter how beautiful, talented, compassionate or intelligent you are, by the time a narcissist is done with you, you’ll be convinced you are the ugliest, most selfish, useless & stupid person ever to live.  Any shred of self-esteem is destroyed, & done so in such as way as not to be obvious.  Narcissists rarely tell you outright you’re stupid, for example.  Instead they prefer to imply it. ( “A smart person would’ve known that!”)  That way, if you confront them, they can reply with something like, “I never said you were stupid!”
“I don’t know where you get these ideas of yours.” ” You’re reading into things!” or something similar.  Gaslighting at its finest…

Anger.  It’s only natural that after living through narcissistic abuse, you’ll be angry.  It’s unfair, destructive & hurtful.  Then those who you tell often invalidate your pain or don’t believe you, because they are fooled by the narcissist’s “good guy” act.  Anger is very normal under the circumstances.

— Self destructive or self harming behaviors.   Many people who survive abuse do things that are self-destructive.  They can make poor choices such as choosing abusive romantic partners, or they can engage in binge eating or cutting.

— Dissociation.  Dissociation is a survival skill that many people use to get through traumatic events.  Women who were raped often describe it as feeling as if they left their body while the attack was happening.  When you are abused, you often dissociate.  I thought I was just day dreaming all my life, but I later learned I’ve been dissociating all this time.  Sometimes I just get lost in my own mind & emotionally pull away from those around me.  It often happens during traumatic situations, but sometimes it does not.  It just happens out of the blue.

— Depression.  Depression is very common as well.  It’s hard to be happy when you feel like an utter failure, when you are certain everything you do/feel/think is wrong & when all you hear about is your faults.  Sometimes, the depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts.  Yes, it really can be that bad.  I spent much of my life suicidal as a result of narcissistic abuse.

— Guilt.  Even knowing a lot about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there are still times that I feel guilty for disappointing my narcissistic mother.  She is obviously disappointed I’m an author, she hates my house, car & that I haven’t “given her grandchildren”, & is even embarrassed by the fact I don’t speak to my in-laws (narcissistic mother in-law- I can’t deal with her verbal abuse).  In spite of the fact I know these things are all right for me, occasionally, I feel guilty for disappointing my mother.  This is typical.  Children raised by narcissists feel responsible for everything, & that includes the happiness of their narcissistic mother.  If they disappoint her, not only do they face her rage, but also the guilt for “failing”.  Unfortunately this means they carry the guilt into their adult lives, so even when they know better, sometimes they still can feel guilty when they shouldn’t.

— Attracting abusive people.  Once you have been abused, it seems like other abusers seek you out.  Being beaten down so badly by a narcissist is no exception.  Other narcissists will see you as a potential victim.  Thankfully, the more you heal, the less this happens, but it still happens periodically even when you have been focused on your healing for a long time.  You end up being on your guard when meeting new people or else you fall back into old, dysfunctional habits.

— Aches, pains & illnesses.  Have you ever noticed that most narcissists are quite healthy, yet their victims are often sick?  I believe this is because of stress.  Narcissists rarely feel stressed, as they put everything unpleasant on others.  Their victims, however, are under constant stress because they must appease the narcissist & anticipate her needs 24/7 at any personal cost or else face her volatile  rage.  Ongoing extreme stress causes a multitude of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease or even diabetes.  And, depression can cause aches & pains with no physical cause.

— C-PTSD.  Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is very common among victims of narcissistic abuse.  The ongoing, constant trauma of gaslighting, verbal abuse & the rest of the evil that is narcissistic abuse can cause physical changes in the brain which results in C-PTSD.  Basically, this means your body is in a constant state of fear.  Pete Walker, author of “Complex PTSD: From Surviving To Thriving” states that we have a fear reflex of fight, flight, freeze or faun.  Living in a constant state of fear means you will have one of those responses, like it or not, when fear is triggered.  For example, when my mother tries to control me as she did when I was a child, my natural reaction is faun- I do as she says & ignore my own anger at this unfair treatment.  It takes conscious effort on my part not to behave this way.  Plus, C-PTSD includes extreme anxiety, depression, flashbacks, damaged short term memory, sleep problems, nightmares & hyper-vigilance (an extreme awareness of your surroundings & potential danger).  I have had C-PTSD since 2012, & frankly, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  Living with the symptoms every day is sheer torture.

I would hope after reading this that your eyes are now opened to the truth about narcissistic abuse.  It *is* a big deal.  It *does* change your life.  It has nothing to do with not getting over things or self-pity.   The symptoms are a normal result to very abnormal circumstances.

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