I saw a meme on Facebook earlier today. It said, “Write as though your mother will never read it.” Considering what I write about, I liked it. I also realize many of you who read my blog either currently write about the narcissistic abuse you’ve been through or are considering doing it. This meme made me think of sharing a bit of encouragement for you today.
I know writing about the worst, most painful experiences in your life isn’t easy. It’s hard writing out your experiences. Seeing them in black & white makes them more real & can make the pain of them even worse. There is something good about this pain though. It’s also validating, seeing your traumatic experiences in writing. You get the validation you never got. You can’t minimize your suffering or deny that the experiences were horrific when you see them in writing. Writing also can help you to process the trauma in a way speaking about it doesn’t. While you’re writing to help others, you’re also helping yourself.
Writing about the abuse inflicted on you also can be intimidating. What if your abuser reads it? That thought can be utterly terrifying. It was for me at first. I worried what would happen if my parents learned I was writing about the abuse inflicted on me as a child?! How would they respond? Could I cope with it? How? Would they try to sue me for libel? Would the flying monkeys attack me? A million awful questions ran through my mind. After time & prayer, I finally was able to ignore those questions. I began to trust that God would not only allow me to write about whatever He wanted me to, but He also would enable me to deal with any fallout from my parents or flying monkeys.
You can trust Him to help you too. You also can use some common sense ways to protect yourself.
- You can use a pen name. Many authors have written books under a pseudonym to protect their identity. If you’re writing a blog rather than books, you can avoid using your name entirely. You can name your blog something like, “Daughter Of A Narcissistic Mother” or, “My Ex Is A Narcissist”. Many bloggers use this method of protecting their identity, & it seems to be quite effective.
- You can change the names of people in your writing. As an example, don’t refer to your narcissistic brother Steve by his real name. Call him Paul instead. You also could change the relationship. You could say he’s your cousin rather than your brother.
- Never give specifics in your writing. Don’t mention your abuser’s address obviously, but also don’t mention the name of the town they live in.
- Always remember what libel is & write accordingly. According to the Cornell Law School, libel is defined as follows: “Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person’s reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession.”
- Stick to the facts only. Tell your stories in a matter of fact way, leaving emotion out of it wherever possible. When your emotions are vital to the story, you can say comments like, “When my abuser did _____, it made me feel _____.” If you come across angry in your writing or calling your abuser names, your writing could come across as libelous. Sticking to a matter of fact way of telling your story avoids that.
- If you’re considering writing your autobiography, you also can write it as a fictional story rather than non fiction. Change some details around to make your fictional story a bit different than your real story.
Regarding your abuser & possibly flying monkeys reading your work, with any luck, they won’t. I was fortunate in that my parents didn’t care to read my writing. In fact, my mother told me it was nothing but a waste of time. Not everyone is that fortunate, however. If this happens, remember what I’ve said before about protecting yourself from these attacks. Block the narcissist’s & flying monkeys’ access to you in every possible way. Document their abuse in case you need it in the future. Save screen shots, emails & texts to some type of cloud storage or email it to yourself rather than simply on your phone or computer so it’s protected against failing electronics. If they create a smear campaign against you, don’t react to it. Your reaction won’t change the minds of anyone who wants to believe it & the narcissist & flying monkeys will claim your reaction is proof that you are what they say you are.
If you feel led to write about your experiences with narcissistic abuse, it may not be easy but I can promise you that it will be very rewarding! I wish you only the best! xoxo