Tag Archives: narcissist
Narcissists all love to control their victims. Many use two tactics simultaneously to get what they want. Those tactics are nit picking & changing goals.
These evil tactics work very well together to make a victim feel not good enough, & willing to work harder & harder to please the narcissist. As an example, at the time my ex husband & I were together, I felt I was morbidly obese & disgusting. Looking back though at old pictures now, I see I was a normal weight. Not skinny, not fat.. normal. However, he constantly hinted that I needed to lose weight so I could look better. Our marriage was a nightmare, & I thought that if I just could lose weight, I could fix it. I know, this was very naive on my part but I was young & unaware of the kind of person I was dealing with at that time.
Anyway I lost weight.. 23 pounds to be precise. I fit into a size 6 comfortably & some size 4’s as well. Considering my frame & height, I was too thin, I think, but it still wasn’t good enough for my ex.
During my weight loss journey, my ex did not complement me or encourage me. The closest thing he said to a complement was, “Well your butt finally looks better.” He also made me feel like I needed to lose more & more weight in order to please him. As thin as I was at that time, I still felt that I was disgustingly fat & like if I didn’t lose some more weight, my marriage would fail because of it.
My ex husband’s nitpicking & changing the goals in that area gave me a very skewed view of not only my appearance which damaged my already fragile self esteem, but also my responsibility in our failing marriage. I felt as if I was completely to blame for the problems in our marriage, even though now I know I was not. This is basically the goal of a narcissist who employs nitpicking & changing the rules. If the narcissist can make their victim feel badly about themselves, they are easy to control, which of course is a great thing to a narcissist. And, if the narcissist can convince the victim that something is their fault, they will work hard to please the narcissist. The victim also will be so focused on trying to please the narcissist, they won’t realize that the narcissist is to blame, so the narcissist gets away with their abusive tactics. And, this builds up a tolerance to abuse in a victim, so a narcissist can do more awful things & get away with them.
No matter the relationship, all narcissists seem to use nitpicking & changing the goals as a way to abuse their victims. Parents use this tactic on their children even into adulthood, spouses use it, co workers & friends use it as well. It is wise to learn to recognize this abusive tactic, understand it & find ways to cope with it.
Recognizing it is pretty easy. When someone is excessively critical, even when said with feigned concern, & if the person also changes what they want from you often, these are big red flags.
You also need to keep in mind that this is not about you, it’s about the narcissist’s need to abuse & control you. The things they criticize aren’t necessarily flaws. Probably they are things you’re insecure about, so the narcissist uses your insecurities as a means to abuse you.
As for ways to cope, recognizing what is happening & remembering what the reasoning behind it is will help you tremendously. Stick to your boundaries, too. If you give a narcissist an inch, they’ll take 100 miles, so don’t give them what they want. Also, I firmly believe in praying, asking God to give you creative ideas to deal with a narcissist is always a very good move. He will give you effective ideas that you never would’ve thought of on your own. Let Him help you!
Severing ties with a narcissist is a very difficult thing to do. Not only telling the person you are done with the relationship, but the aftermath. It can come with a plethora of challenges. One of them for many people is extreme anxiety.
Many people who have left a narcissistic relationship have discovered that once they are safely away from the narcissist, their anxiety gets much worse for a while.
On the surface, this doesn’t make sense. They’re safe, the narcissist hasn’t tried to contact them in ages. They haven’t even seen the narcissist in passing at the grocery store or on the road. Why would anxiety be bad when it should be so much lower? I think this happens for a few reasons.
When in a relationship with a narcissist, you learn to function in survival mode out of necessity. Your entire universe consists of thoughts like what can I do to please the narcissist, what can I do to make sure the narcissist doesn’t get angry with me, what needs does the narcissist have that I can anticipate in the hopes of gaining some favor from this person. When you think this way, it’s as if there is simply no room in your mind for anxiety. All the space in your brain is taken up with those thoughts, & there is no room for anything else. I really believe narcissists do their best to keep their victims busy in this way so they don’t have the opportunity to see the abuse is wrong or plan their means of escape.
If you were romantically involved with a narcissist then begin to get involved with someone who isn’t a narcissist, that can create a lot of anxiety at first. It feels so foreign to be with someone who is healthy when you are so accustomed to abuse & dysfunction. You also naturally can feel like you did with the narcissist, waiting for the next bad thing to happen. When it doesn’t, that can be unnerving simply because of what you were accustomed to in a relationship.
If the narcissist in your life was a parent, then you grew up in an extremely abnormal environment, which means you grew up to be a bit abnormal. You couldn’t see life as a normal child does when growing up. You have a skewed view of the world. When you escape your narcissistic parent, you suddenly have to function in a very different environment. Even though it’s healthier, it’s still different than what you are used to. This can create anxiety, even though it’s a good thing.
You also grew up with this way of thinking like, “I’m supposed to do this thing, so I’ll do it.” No further thought happened. As an adult free of that abuse, now you see things as you should have seen them as a child but did not have that opportunity. It can create anxiety, & sometimes even shame for the things you did simply because you were told to do them.
The best way I know to deal with anxiety like this is with reassurance. Ask God to reassure you & to help you with the anxiety for starters. Also, talk to yourself. Remind yourself that the danger has passed. Those terrible things that once happened to you are no longer going to happen. That abusive person is out of your life, & you’re safe now. If you’re dating someone, remind yourself that this person isn’t the narcissist, but an entirely different person. You can’t expect the same behavior from this person that you got from the narcissist, because healthy people do NOT act like narcissists. And thank God for that!
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I decided to try something new.. podcasts. The idea popped into my head recently, even though I know nothing of podcasts. It felt like God was leading me in a new direction, so I decided to give it a try.
To get started, I’ve decided to use the audio from my YouTubes. Yes, it’s a repeat of information having it on podcasts, YouTube & in this blog, but not everyone learns the same way. Some are visual learners & love YouTube. Some learn best from reading & others prefer learning audibly. I doubt many people will benefit from all three formats, so by doing them, it enables more people to (hopefully!!) learn from my work.
If you’d like to check them out, here is the link:
I only have a few out there at the moment, but I’ll add more as time goes on. I was hoping to get all of them done asap, but yanno something? I can’t get them done quickly. Not with my mental health. So, I hope you’ll be understanding & patient with me taking my time in adding more podcasts.
When you first start to open up about the abusive behavior the narcissist in your life has inflicted on you, it can be very hard. You were told to keep everything a secret. My mother used to tell me, “Don’t air our dirty laundry!” as a way to keep me quiet. It didn’t work though. At that time I was only 17, living through sheer hell due to her abuse & didn’t know what to do. I told others in the hopes of finding someone who could give me advice on how to cope or make my mother treat me better. Obviously that didn’t work. I did learn about what happens when a victim starts to open up about narcissistic abuse though.
When you begin to divulge what the narcissist has done to you, the narcissist will be horrified. After all, you’re not supposed to tell anyone anything! The abuse is supposed to remain a secret between the two of you, no one else. Naturally, the narcissist is going to be angry with you, because that is what they think. They don’t think about the fact that you are a human being with feelings & needs & even the right to discuss your own life with whoever you wish.
The narcissist also is going to be very angry at you for making him or her look bad when you talk about the abuse. Narcissists clearly don’t think like normal people, so they won’t consider their actions are what make them look bad. Instead, they’ll lump all the blame on you for making them look bad.
Narcissists feel betrayed when victims tell others about their abhorrent behavior. They all seem to think victims will tolerate their abuse indefinitely, never protesting it, & are shocked & horrified when that isn’t the case. This so called betrayal can trigger their rage.
It also can trigger a myriad of unhealthy coping skills. One of which is reinventing the past. Many narcissists convince themselves that they are awesome people, & never would abuse anyone. After my mother’s death, I learned she knew what I write about in spite of my efforts to prevent that from happening. I also learned she must have convinced herself that I was lying & she didn’t do anything I said she did.
When the narcissist becomes enraged & acts in this way, it can be scary. Some scream. Some harass or stalk. All engage in a smear campaign & are often successful at turning those you love against you or at least damaging some of your relationships. This is a terribly painful place to be, I know. It may even make you think you’re wrong for opening up. Life seemed easier when no one knew what the narcissist did to you. I can tell you something though.. although it may seem easier, it isn’t.
In some ways, not discussing the abuse is easier because the narcissist is appeased. When they’re appeased, they aren’t ruining your relationships or at least your reputation. No one is telling you what a terrible person you are. But, you are unhappy. You’re trying to do everything perfectly so as not to upset the narcissist, which means you’re under intense stress & utterly miserable. Everyone is happy except you, & the people who are happy clearly have no concern for your mental health.
Tell your story. John 8:32 says the truth will set you free. Let it! The more you discuss the abuse, the more you’ll heal. If the narcissist doesn’t approve, that isn’t your problem. Besides, think about this: if what he or she did was truly ok, if it was all your fault & their abusive actions were totally justified, why are they so determined to keep it a secret?
“You can’t get mad. He just doesn’t know any better.” I think all of us who have been victimized by a narcissist have heard this statement at some point. It’s said by those who either have absolutely no understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or those flying monkeys who enthusiastically enable narcissists to abuse.
This statement can be very unsettling. You can feel so angry by the abuse but then you stop in your tracks. Maybe the person who said this is right, & the narcissist truly doesn’t know any better. You feel badly for being angry with someone for doing something they don’t know is wrong.
Long before I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I was in this situation. I had problems with my now deceased mother in-law from about the moment we met. Obviously I didn’t know what to do since I knew nothing of narcissism. I decided to talk to my husband in the hopes he would have ideas on how to help me get along with his mother. When I first told my husband about the problems I had with his mother, he said that she didn’t know any better. He truly believed it, & I thought maybe he was right. His mother gave the impression of being very naïve, after all. I also knew her mother in-law never liked her. Maybe the problem was that she had no other experience beyond the negativity between her & her mother in-law, & being naïve, she didn’t know how to act better towards me. Logically, it made sense, & I felt terrible for being so upset with my mother in-law for quite some time & silently tolerated her abuse. Yet, “she doesn’t know any better” didn’t sit right with me.
Eventually I realized why the ignorance plea felt wrong. I realized she wasn’t ignorant, she was malicious. I thought I’d share those realizations with you today so if someone tells you that the narcissist in your life doesn’t know any better, you won’t suffer needlessly as I did.
If someone is truly ignorant of their actions, they won’t hide their behavior. Why would they? If they aren’t aware that what they’re doing is wrong, there’s no need to hide it. Someone who is knowingly doing something wrong is going to hide their actions. My husband never once saw his mother say or do anything inappropriate to me. Not once in the eight years she was in my life before I walked away. We saw her often, too, but she never slipped up. If she truly didn’t know that she was treating me badly, why would she have hidden her behavior towards me? She would have treated me the same no matter who was around.
A malicious person doesn’t listen. A person who is told that their actions are hurting someone yet repeats the actions over & over is malicious. By continuing to hurt someone, they are proving by their actions that they either don’t care that their actions cause someone else pain or that they enjoy deliberately causing pain. However, if you confront someone who is truly unaware of the pain their actions cause, they will change their behavior, apologize & even try to make it up to the person they hurt if at all possible. They also won’t repeat the hurtful behavior again.
An ignorant person doesn’t change their actions just because another person enters the room, but a malicious person does. A malicious person will change their behavior if someone whose opinion they value comes along so that person continues to think well of them. Ignorant people won’t think that way because they don’t think their behavior is something that can be construed as bad or wrong.
When in a situation where you are told the person mistreating you simply doesn’t know any better, please consider these three scenarios. They should help you to realize quickly if the person in question truly is ignorant of the pain their actions cause or if they are deliberately mistreating you.
People who aren’t terribly familiar with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often can be tricked by the “disorder” part of the name into thinking that narcissists are sick. They cannot control their behavior because they have a mental illness, so you have to give them a free pass. This is completely WRONG!
You see, there are differences between sick & evil.
A sick person cannot control their symptoms. Look at a person with PTSD, for example. Flashbacks happen & the person having them can’t stop them. It doesn’t matter if the person is driving, at work or sitting on the couch watching a movie. However, if you look at a narcissist, he or she can control the symptoms quite well. I remember in my late teen years, my mother would scream at & berate me, but if the phone rang, she could switch that behavior off to speak to whoever was calling her.
Another difference is someone who is sick hurts someone, it isn’t intentional. They clearly get no thrill from causing pain & suffering, & they feel genuine remorse for their actions. They apologize. They try to make it up to the person they hurt when possible. They also do their best not to let that happen again. Evil people behave nothing like this. They enjoy causing pain & suffering. It’s rather like a high to them because they feel powerful that they can affect someone so strongly. They feel no remorse for their actions. They don’t apologize but instead offer excuses, blame the victim, say the incident didn’t happen as the victim remembers it or it didn’t happen at all.
In spite of these very clear differences, it seems many people don’t acknowledge that sick & evil are very different things. I think there are a couple of reasons for this.
Maybe this is because it is easier for people to write off abusive actions as sick. Knowing that someone you love has chosen to inflict physical &/or mental pain on you is very difficult to accept. That person loves you.. how could they want to hurt you, after all.
Another possible reason is sickness can be cured or at least managed. Give someone the proper medication & their symptoms will be either cured or at least controlled. There isn’t a pill to control or cure evil. The person must want to stop doing evil things, & very rarely does an evil person want to change. Clinging to the hope that the evil person is simply sick gives the victim hope of change.
When I first learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I got stuck on the term “disorder”. I thought that meant that my parents’ actions were beyond their control. If they couldn’t help themselves, then I shouldn’t be angry with them for hurting me. It wasn’t intentional, I thought. I would guess many people have thought the same thing. If someone who is abusing them has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it can be very easy to believe at first that these problems are called disorders because the abuser can’t control their abusive actions. That also is much easier to accept than the fact that your abuser is deliberately choosing to abuse you.
There is also the fact that if this is sickness as opposed to evil, everyone has an excuse to do nothing about the abuse. After all, if it’s a sickness, no one but a doctor can fix that, right?
Claiming evil people are simply sick people does no good to anyone! What people don’t realize is they are giving the evil person free reign to abuse. They offer the abusive person no consequences for their actions, which means there is zero chance that abuser will want to change. Why should they when they know they can do anything they want with no repercussions?
They also don’t seem to realize (or at least don’t want to admit) that this also invalidates & can further traumatize victims. Victims who are trying to escape abuse or have escaped know the truth. It hurts them to be told their abuser was just sick & they were wrong for being angry with him or her.
Just remember, Dear Reader, you know in your heart whether your abuser is sick or evil. If you have any doubts, look at their behavior, & you’ll see the truth.
The term sexual narcissist describes a narcissist who thinks they are incredibly gifted in the area of sex. This attitude makes them feel entitled to anything they want in that area, no matter the pain & suffering it may cause their partner. So long as the sexual narcissist gets what he or she wants, that is all that matters.
There are some signs that show you if you’re involved with such a person. Some people are guilty of such behaviors from time to time, but when the behaviors are a constant, that is a big red flag that your partner is a sexual narcissist.
In the beginning, the narcissist is extremely attentive, flirtatious, & complementary. Granted, this is sort of the norm in any relationship. However, narcissists take it to an extreme, leaving a victim swept off their feet. They also stop this behavior suddenly & with no explanation, leaving their victim confused & willing to do anything to regain the narcissist’s attention. This makes the victim easier to control, which is why they behave in such a manner.
Once the newness wears off, the victim’s sole purpose is to please the narcissist. As a narcissist becomes comfortable in the relationship, their focus changes from being this perfect partner to “What can I get from my victim?” Any degrading or deviant fantasy the narcissist has is demanded of the victim. Nothing is off limits, even if it causes the victim physical or emotional suffering. When the victim protests, the narcissist shames the victim for being a prude, immature or not loving the narcissist. Sometimes they get violent & force their victim into doing what they want, & other times they use manipulation & shaming to get it.
The victim is not allowed to have needs or wants. At this point, the narcissist’s mask is off. The victim knows that he or she is there to please the narcissist. The victim also is learning that his or her own needs & wants mean nothing to the narcissist. In fact, victims are often ridiculed for having their own wants & needs. Sexual narcissists think of their victims as inhuman, without needs or wants. How can a thing, an inanimate object have needs or wants? It’s ridiculous. All that matters is the narcissist’s needs & wants. The victim’s are at best shrugged off, at worst mocked.
Narcissists are more focused on their performance than their partner. Since narcissists are so deathly afraid of criticism, they focus on avoiding it at all costs. This behavior extends to the bedroom. They often even focus more on how they’re performing than their partner.
Many sexual narcissists engage in extremely unhealthy sexual behavior, such as pornography or infidelity. Your average person realizes there are unhealthy sexual activities, & avoids doing them. They also realize they can enjoy sex with their mate in many ways without going near any of those unhealthy boundaries. Narcissists however are different. Nothing they want is wrong or unhealthy in their minds. If someone is hurt or offended by their actions, clearly that person has a problem, not the narcissist.
If you’re involved with a sexual narcissist, the best advice I can give you is RUN! They’re dangerous to your emotional health. If you do as they want, your self esteem will be obliterated because of the degrading things the narcissist forced you to do. If you refuse, they will destroy your self esteem by making you feel like the most awful, unreasonable & ugly person in the world for not being a willing victim to their depraved ways. They’re also dangerous to your physical health. They frequently get sexually transmitted diseases from their cheating ways & infect their partners.
Rather than deal with such dreadful outcomes, if at all possible get away from this person! Protect your physical & emotional health!
I recently saw the most interesting conversation on television! In this particular scene, a younger lady was talking with an older lady. The younger lady was deaf, & discussing how things went when she began to lose her hearing in her teens. She said she was afraid & angry, naturally, but her older sister told her being deaf was her super power. She learned how to adapt to this new life which obviously wasn’t easy. She also mentioned how people in their community were learning sign language, & that it was all because of her.
Immediately I began to think of those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse. We have super powers too!
We survived some pretty horrific stuff! Simply surviving narcissistic abuse definitely fits into the super power category! Many people don’t. They end up committing suicide, & quite honestly, who can blame them? Like many others, I sure considered it plenty when I was going through it.
We also not only survived, but we did so with our sanity & humanity in tact. Narcissists pull out all the stops when they abuse their victims in an attempt to utterly destroy them. Surviving that without becoming angry or bitter or continuing their abuse is really impressive! Many people who survive narcissistic parents simply don’t have the strength or courage to break the cycle of abuse, & they abuse their children.
Many of us go on to talk openly about our painful experiences, & by doing so, help other people. We create awareness of narcissistic abuse, which is desperately needed. And, we help other victims to learn what is happening with them when we discuss our experiences. I’m sure you remember how it was prior to learning about narcissistic abuse. You felt like you were going crazy, maybe the narcissist was right & you were causing all of the problems in the relationship & more. Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is incredibly freeing because you learn the narcissist is the problem, not you like the narcissist said. By discussing your experiences openly, you’re helping other people obtain that freedom! Also, by discussing narcissistic abuse, we are able to show others what does & doesn’t work with not only dealing with narcissists but the healing process as well.
If you have C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse, you aren’t exempt from having the super powers. I know many who have it consider themselves weak or seriously flawed, but that isn’t the case at all! You simply have a scar that shows yourself & others you survived some pretty horrific stuff. I know C-PTSD is horrible, I live with it too. But living with something so painful & challenging is a super power!
And you know something else? By being open & honest about your struggles with C-PTSD, you’re helping others. You may help some people who may not yet realize they too have the disorder. They may hear of your struggles & realize this is what’s been happening with them. While naturally no one wants to be diagnosed with any illness, mental or physical, if you’re suffering with symptoms & have no clue why, learning what is happening is incredibly helpful! Having answers means you know what you’re dealing with & can find the proper treatment.
Also, by discussing your symptoms openly & how you cope with those symptoms, you help others find ways to manage their symptoms. It can be so hard to come up with ideas to help yourself, especially when symptoms are flaring up, which means learning what works & doesn’t work for others can be extremely helpful!
Please never forget, Dear Reader, that you have super powers. You survived some of the cruelest abuse a human can survive & are going on to help others. Those are some impressive super powers! That is amazing & you should be very proud of yourself!
One passive/aggressive tactic narcissists use to abuse victims is to be sure they know they aren’t good enough.
A common way narcissists do this is to make sure you know that no matter how good you are at something, someone is better than you at it. Let’s say you own your own interior designing business & the narcissist knows this. Most people would be impressed by that. Narcissists are too, just not when it comes to YOUR business. They may say something like, “Did you know that Sally owns her own interior designing firm? She is so smart & talented! She works so hard! Never takes a day off!”
While the words aren’t said, the message is still clear: “Sally has real talent! You aren’t as hard working, talented or business savvy as she is! You aren’t worthy of my admiration like Sally is!”
Another variation on this is when a narcissist says, “Interior decorating is so easy. Seems like anyone can do it. Anyone can put up a sign saying they’re an interior designer these days. I can’t imagine why anyone would pay someone to do something so easy…” Again, the words may not be said but the message is crystal clear – “You’re nothing special. Any idiot can do what you do.”
A different tactic is used mostly by narcissistic spouses but also by parents. They never tell you how attractive you are & they know you’re insecure about your appearance, but they freely complement others. As an example, a narcissistic husband may fuss over a famous model’s beautiful figure to his pregnant wife who is about to give birth to their child, & who feels fat. Parents can do this too, though. My mother never told me I was pretty as a child. In fact she used to brag that once she told me she thought I was “kinda pretty”, even though I don’t remember that happening. Yet, when I was young, she’d fuss over how pretty other little girls were. When I would be upset, she’d tell me I was wrong & shouldn’t feel as I did.
There are some big bonuses for narcissists in treating victims this way. If you confront him or her, the narcissist knows their comment hurt you. If you’re angry, all the better for the narcissist, because the narcissist can use your anger to prove how unreasonable & crazy you are. They’ll say things like, “Don’t be so sensitive!” “I don’t know how you got that out of what I said!” “You read too much into things!” If you’re unaware of what is happening, you easily can feel like the narcissist is right. You’re crazy, oversensitive, etc. Believing those lies will make you feel shame & be easier for the narcissist to control. The narcissist may even use it as an excuse to discard you.
These tactics are attempts for narcissists to diminish anyone they envy, compete with or see as a threat in some way. They knock a person down a bit by making them feel unimportant, bringing them closer to the narcissists level which also builds up the narcissist.
If the narcissist in your life treats you this way, remember what they are doing. They’re using a passive/aggressive tactic to try to destroy your self esteem so they can control you. Chances are, they don’t even mean the cruel things they say. They’re actually envious of you for being prettier, more talented, more successful or whatever than they think they are. Rather than try to better themselves, narcissists would rather tear someone else down. So if the narcissist in your life treats you this way, don’t forget that. What they say isn’t what they truly feel. What they feel is the exact opposite.
Living through narcissistic abuse is a horrific experience that no one should have to endure. As if that isn’t bad enough, many victims open up to their family about their experiences & are met with unbelief, blame, shaming comments, denial & more. Their family members say that they should forgive & forget, get over it, & other invalidating comments. It’s so shocking when you expect support & love & are met with these terrible reactions. As if this wasn’t enough, many families offer unconditional love & support to the abuser while shunning the victim.
The vast majority of my family never cared that my parents were abusive to me. They ignored signs when I was a child. As an adult, they told me things like I needed to get over my childhood hurts, I only get one set of parents & I needed to fix the relationship with my parents. No doubt many of you can relate.
Victims often wonder why their family acts this way. I have some ideas why. By explaining the behavior, I am certainly NOT excusing it. There is no valid reason to treat a victim this way. I am simply trying to show victims that the people who say such comments are incredibly dysfunctional & should be ignored not believed.
Denial is the main reason families reject victims & support abusers. Who wants to accept the fact that someone they love in their own family is capable of horrible acts?! No one. Many people do it anyway. Many other people lack the courage to face that ugly truth. Also, by denying the abuse, they can have a clear conscience when it comes to failing to help or protect the victim. If the abuse didn’t happen, even only in their mind, then they did nothing wrong. Lastly, many of these people care a great deal about the abuser. Narcissists can be quite charming & likeable. These people believe this act is the real person & become so enchanted with that false persona, they will reject anything that threatens it which includes someone claiming that person isn’t the perfect person they present themselves as.
Many of these abuse defenders have abuse in their own past. For every victim of abuse who confronts their pain & works on healing, there are other victims who don’t have the courage to do the same. They pretend they weren’t abused, pushing all memories as far away from them as they can so as to avoid their pain. When you face your pain, those people are reminded of theirs, especially if the abuse had similarities. Facing your pain makes them feel badly for not facing theirs as well as reminds them of their own pain. Since they don’t want to be reminded of their own pain, they will do their best to shut you down quickly.
Some abuse defenders are also abusive narcissists. Abusers don’t want to admit any behavior is abusive. It means admitting to themselves that they too are abusers, & what they are doing is wrong. While narcissists lack the empathy to care about the pain & suffering they cause their victims, they do care about what others think of them. To be known as an abuser tarnishes their reputation, which is something they wish to avoid at all costs.
Many abuse defenders benefit from befriending the narcissist. Immediately after my mother died, I learned she sent one of my aunts money monthly. I was stunned! They never got along & my mother often had complained of my aunt’s lack of money management skills as well as her expectations of others to bail her out every time she got herself into trouble. I can only assume her benefiting from my mother is why she was such a staunch defender of my parents. There are many others in similar situations who like my aunt, refuse to chance losing their benefits from the narcissist & prefer to throw their victims under the bus.
When you are in such a situation, I hope you keep this information in mind. When your family dismisses your valid claims of abuse, the problem definitely isn’t you. It’s them!
I have heard so many people say that narcissists never change. While this is often true, I disagree with it in some situations.
Narcissists absolutely can change, but only if they see the need. After an argument, they are usually very nice to their victims to win their trust back, including promises of better behavior. They also may stop their abuse, even mid-rage, if someone whose opinion they care about enters the room. Obviously, they possess the ability to change. The problem is they rarely want to change for long, because being abusive gets them what they want.
Narcissists also change as they age. If a narcissist would terrify victims by screaming & hitting when he was 35, he can’t be intimidating like that anymore at 75. This means that he will have to find new ways to abuse. There are also some covert narcissists who become overt narcissists due to age or brain diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Also, I am a firm believer in Matthew 19:26 in which Jesus says, “With God, all things are possible.” This tells me that a narcissist could change, & become a non-narcissist, with God’s help. Likely? Not really, because although all things are possible with God, people still have a free will, He won’t infringe upon that & narcissists are quite content with their behavior since it benefits them.
How can a person tell if a narcissist is sincere & genuinely changing for the better? There are some signs you can look for.
Does the narcissist back up words with actions? If someone promises, “That will never happen again!”, yet it does happen again, that tells you this person has no real desire to change.
Is the narcissist’s apology genuine? Does he or she apologize as often as necessary? A genuine apology is more than simply saying, “I’m sorry.” A genuine apology includes the person accepting responsibility for what they did & putting effort into making things right. It also should be said however often the victim needs to hear it. It should NOT include excuses, blaming you or someone else, or the word “but” immediately after “I’m sorry.” It also should NOT be passive/aggressive, such as, “I’m sorry for whatever you think I did,” “I’m sorry if I did anything that upset you,” or, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
Does the narcissist pressure you to take him or her back, or resume the relationship as it once was? Anyone who truly has changed their abusive ways will understand that it takes time to earn a person’s trust back once it has been broken. They will be willing to wait as long as it takes while doing whatever it takes to repair the damage to the relationship.
Is the narcissist mirroring you? Does he or she suddenly agree with everything you say or has he or she developed a sudden interest in things that matter to you? That is mirroring. In other words, this person is trying to act like you so you will feel comfortable enough with him or her to resume the relationship.
If the narcissist is behaving in a way that shows you this person has changed, what happens when he or she slips into old habits? No one is perfect. It’s only natural to make mistakes when trying to change, no matter how much we may want to change. How does he or she handle those times? Does this person apologize immediately & change the behavior? Or, does this person make excuses, blame you or show in some other way that he or she is accepting no responsibility for what he or she did?
Is the narcissist willing to discuss problems reasonably? Typical narcissistic behavior when someone confronts them involve temper tantrums, guilt trips, denial &/or gaslighting. Proof of change would be that he or she will listen to you without acting in such a way.
Dear Reader, I hope you consider these points if the narcissist in your life says they have changed. They can be fantastic actors, capable of convincing people of pretty much anything they wish.
Also please remember that although with God all things are possible & narcissists can change for the better, it is highly unlikely. Pray for it. Hope for it. At the same time, never forget that it isn’t terribly probable. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, as the saying goes.
Many covert narcissists tend to behave like children in some ways. I believe this is because they want to be coddled & taken care of like little kids. Not that everyone doesn’t have that urge to be cared for sometimes but they really take it over the top.
Do you know if the covert narcissist in your life is behaving childishly? Here are some ways to identify their childish behavior.
Childish adults don’t control their emotions normally. Healthy adults have a good perspective. Sure they get angry or sad sometimes, but it’s proportionate to the situation at hand. Childish adults aren’t this way. They get angry easily or cry at the drop of a hat, & their reactions are very disproportionate to the situation.
They lie. Granted, all narcissists lie. Childish ones however will lie even easier than their more mature counterparts. If they’re in a situation where they are uncomfortable, childish narcissists will lie to get out of it. Maybe they don’t want to attend their child’s Christmas play at school, so they say they have a headache in order to get out of it.
Blameshifting/blaming. Another thing all narcissists love to do is shift the blame to their victim rather than accept responsibility. Again though, childish ones do it even faster.
Excuses. When a normal adult is confronted about something, they accept responsibility without making excuses. Childish narcissists don’t do this. They make up excuses, often really lame ones. As one example, my late mother in-law was a covert & childish narcissist. She used to snoop through my purse if I left her alone with it in her home for more than a moment, like if I went to the bathroom. At one point, she left $40 in it. I told my husband this isn’t her trying to bless me- it’s hush money so I’ll let her keep snooping. As I listened from around the corner, he talked to her about staying out of my purse. She whined about having “alllllll this cash just lying around” & said she had to get rid of it. She didn’t mean any harm- she was just trying to get rid of some of that extra cash. Lame excuse, no?
They feign incompetence. Any adult who wants to be treated like a child will pretend they don’t know how to do things. They may try to do something & do it really badly or break something, so the people in their lives get frustrated & just do the task for them.
Everything is a crisis. Not every problem is a crisis, but childish narcissists act like they are. If they have a crisis, then they can call on someone (usually their adult children) to run to their side to fix the problem.
Parentification. Narcissistic parents are often very good at parentification. This is when a parent treats a child more as a partner than a child. The child is supposed to listen to the parent’s problems, often about such inappropriate topics as the parent’s marriage or sex life. The child is supposed to take care of the parent’s emotional needs (cheer the parent when she’s sad, calm her down when angry, etc) & sometimes physical ones as well (such as cooking for or doing the laundry). If both parents are narcissists, often the covert narcissistic parent will also expect the child to protect that parent from the overt one. The child ends up very protective of that parent, not only with the other parent, but in general. When that child grows up & gets married, if his new spouse has any complaint about the childish parent, the adult child will defend that parent to the spouse, often to the spouse’s surprise. Excuses are made, the spouse is shamed for daring to be upset with the parent & more.
To deal with these childish behaviors in your narcissistic parent, don’t indulge them. If your parent wants you to do something you know she can handle on her own, let her. Tell her you aren’t able to take care of it but you know she can handle it just fine.
If she calls, complaining about a crisis & you know it’s not really a crisis, put it in perspective for her. Use cold logic. Let’s say she’s upset because her mail hasn’t been delivered yet & it’s 2:00. It usually arrives by 10, so she is upset it’s not there. You can (calmly) say things like, “Mom, it’s still early in the day. It’s the Christmas season & the post office is really busy this time of year. They get behind sometimes. If it doesn’t arrive by 6, contact the post office in the morning.” Logic is a wonderful tool with narcissists. They can’t say anything when the facts are completely clear before them.
Use logic when she lies, makes excuses or blames, too. You can say things like, “I really don’t see how Susan doing that could make you behave that way. It doesn’t make any sense. Besides, I’ve known Susan for 10 years, & I’ve never known of her to do anything even remotely like that before.” When you use logic, always stay calm & state the facts clearly.
If your narcissistic behavior acts childish with emotions, such as having a temper tantrum for not getting her way, treat her like the bratty child she’s acting like! Tell her you aren’t going to talk to her until she calms down. If you’re on the phone, tell her you have to go. Use another phone to trigger your call waiting, so that way you can tell her your call waiting went off- you have to go. (it’s not technically lying- your call waiting did beep!)
Regarding parentification behaviors… this is a tough one. I honestly never found a way to stop my parents from doing it. Saying, “It hurts me when you talk about Mom/Dad like this” doesn’t work with narcissists. The one thing I found to be the most effective was to change the subject, especially back to my narcissistic parent. Since narcissists love to talk about themselves, let that work in your favor. Granted, you may not want to hear the latest gossip spoken about during her last bridge club but it sure beats hearing about 1,000 reasons she thinks your dad is a jerk!
There are ways to cope with childish behavior in narcissistic parents. These suggestions are the best ones I’ve found. Also don’t forget to pray. Asking God for help is the smartest thing you can do.
Setting you up in a no win situation is one of many weapons in the narcissist’s arsenal. They put you in a situation where you can’t win so they have a reason to be angry with or hurt by you, or to make you do what they want.
In my late teens, my mother’s abuse was at its peak. She would scream at me so often, it was just a way of life for me then. She didn’t have any valid reason to scream at me, so she would often make up reasons or put me in a situation where I would be wrong no matter what. One example that comes to mind took place not long after I met my now ex husband. Upon seeing him for the first time, my mother hated him & told me to stay away from him. I liked him so I sneaked around behind her back at work & school to see him. (The rest of the time I was with my mother). He & I worked together, & often closed the place. I wasn’t allowed to have a car, so my mother took me to & from work & school. When my ex & I walked out from work together, my mother screamed at me as soon as I got into the car for spending time with him. When I walked out first on the next evening we worked together, she screamed at me again for him “hiding from her”, “not having the guts to face her, “& “being a coward”. Then on the next evening we shared a shift, he left first as I hung back. Then she screamed at me for him “being so cocky”, leaving work before me. There were only three ways to handle the situation & she got mad at every single one of them. She created the perfect no win situation. When I tried talking to her about it, she screamed at me for not knowing what she expected of me. It was devastating to me & made me feel crazy. It didn’t matter to her it hurt me though- as long as she felt better, that’s all that mattered. That’s how narcissists are- so long as they benefit, it doesn’t matter who they hurt or destroy.
Unfortunately, I’ve never found a really good way to deal with it. That’s why it’s called a “no win” situation, I suppose. All I have learned is not to engage in the behavior. Let the narcissist have the temper tantrum but you remain calm. Showing narcissists emotions only gives them supply so you refuse to do that! Do NOT apologize if you weren’t wrong. Change the topic. Leave the room or hang up the phone.
Always remember, this is NOT normal behavior! The person who puts another in a no win situation is not normal. There is something very wrong with that person, not you.
Many people hear the term “soulmate” & assume it means someone romantically connected perfectly to another person. This couple is assumed to be perfectly compatible in every way – comparable intellectually & sexually, sharing the same perspectives, feelings, likes & dislikes, & always agreeing with each other. The perfect fairy tale love, in other words. It also is a common belief that people have only one soulmate in their lifetime.
I don’t believe that this definition of soulmates is accurate at all. I believe it’s actually better & more varied.
For one thing, I believe there are different types of soulmates, & they aren’t always romantic. My best friend is my soulmate. My husband sometimes finds it hard to believe just how much she & I have in common. My husband is also my soulmate. Both relationships are very different & neither relationship is perfect.
My husband & my best friend share much in common with me. We all think remarkably similarly & share similar views on all kinds of things. All of us are Christians. We all grew up in similarly abusive, dysfunctional environments. Yet at the same time, we’re all very unique individuals. Each of us works in a very different line of work. My husband is pretty interested in politics while my best friend & I have no interest in politics. I love to crochet & knit while my husband & best friend have zero interest in either. My best friend has no interest in cars while my husband & I both are pretty car obsessed, in particular with old classics.
While I consider my husband & best friend to be my soul mates, you can see obviously we aren’t perfect fits for each other. Sometimes we even disagree with each other. The cool part is that it’s totally fine! We all respect each other’s differences. We’re also willing to learn about the things that interest each other. And, although we don’t always agree about everything, we have enough respect for each other to be perfectly fine with that. We don’t have to agree about every single thing.
They both bring a great deal to my life, & I hope I return the favor to them. They challenge me to be a better person. There is no doubt that both are committed to the relationship with me. I know if we have an argument, neither will abandon me.
The reason I’m mentioning soulmates is because many narcissists will try to convince their romantic partner that they are the partner’s perfect soulmate. No one could be as good for them as the narcissist, or love them as the narcissist does, at least according to the narcissist. In fact, my narcissistic ex husband once told me that no one would ever love me like he did. To his credit, he was right – no one else has “loved” me as he did & that is a fact for which I am VERY grateful! They also want their partner to think no one could understand them as well as the narcissist does, which is partly why they are the perfect soulmate to the partner.
If a romantic partner ever claims to be your soulmate, I want to encourage you to consider this person very well. Does he or she show narcissistic tendencies? Did this person mention the topic of being your soulmate early in the relationship? When this person mentions the soulmate topic, does he or she only talk about how good they are for you, not that you’re also good for them? Does this person use the phrase my ex used, that no one would love you like he or she loves you? If so, these are some serious narcissistic red flags! I would strongly encourage you to end the relationship! Functional people don’t feel the need to convince their partner of their greatness for the partner. My husband & best friend have never done this. In fact, both tell me I’m good for them & that they appreciate me.
Functional people also don’t try to make a relationship very serious too early. They realize it takes time to get to know each other enough to decide if this relationship has the potential to be serious. Talking about being soulmates or discussing marriage early in the relationship isn’t normal! My ex husband proposed to me only a bit under 3 months after we met.
Just remember, Dear Reader, that although it’s flattering if someone claims to be your soulmate, that also can be a red flag. It can be the warning sign of a narcissist.
So many people seem to admire others who are constantly busy. If you don’t believe me, you can see this for yourself. If someone asks what you’ve been up to lately, notice their reaction to your answer. If you say, “Not much,” most people look a bit disgusted with that answer. However, if you say, “I’ve been really busy,” most people look pleased with your answer.
Keeping busy isn’t always the good thing many people think it is though. Constantly going takes a toll on your physical, emotional & even spiritual health. Physical because you aren’t taking the proper time to rest like your body needs you to. Emotional because you aren’t allowing your mind to relax or giving it time to process things you need to process. Spiritual because you aren’t taking time to spend with God, so He can restore you, heal you or simply love you like you need.
Keeping busy is also a trauma related response. Many people who have experienced trauma throw themselves into activities or work rather than take the proper time to face & heal from their trauma. Think about it. How many people after the death of someone they love, for example, suddenly get more active in work, volunteering, working at their church or other activities? A lot of people do this. They also will frequently say something like keeping busy helps them not to think about their departed loved one so much. Whether or not they realize it, they are trying to avoid the pain of missing their loved one by being so busy, they don’t have time to think about that pain.
As hard as it can be to stop this behavior, it really is important to do so. If you are too busy, I’d like to encourage you to pray about it. Ask God to help you let go of activities that aren’t beneficial to you, to help you streamline your life so you will have more free time, & to give you the courage & strength you need to face the issues you have been avoiding.
Also, seriously examine your activities. Are there things you do that aren’t bringing you any joy or benefiting your life in any way? Then it may be time to abandon them if possible. Or, if you can’t fully abandon them, how about reducing the time, energy & finances spent on those activities?
Use technology to help you. I lean heavily on Google Calendar. It took some time to set it up, but once I did that, it’s become a life saver! All important dates are on it, such as birthdays & anniversaries. I also added dates our monthly bills are due (including notifications for a week or two before to remind me they are coming up soon so I can plan accordingly), & have them recur each month. My husband & I both have Calendar on our cell phones, so we know when we have plans, when we have free time & when our bills are due.
Another useful tool is paying bills online. Most companies save your payment information so if you pay the bill once, you can return each month, click a couple of buttons & pay your bill. If you are financially able, another useful feature is automatic payments. Most companies allow customers to schedule their payment so it automatically comes out of the bank on the same day each month.
Decluttering is another way to free up time. Yes, it takes time to do, but once it’s done, it’s a wonderful thing. My Grandmom had an aversion to clutter, & would say more stuff is only more stuff to clean & maintain. She was right. Less stuff to clean & maintain means more free time for you.
Use common sense, & you no doubt will see activities you can stop or do a different way to free up some time in your life. You’ll enjoy your life a lot more when you have plenty of time to spend in prayer, reading, or whatever other ways you like to spend your time. You’ll also be much less anxious & more able to face whatever issues you need to face. xoxo
Childhood trauma is a terrible thing. It forms so much of who we become as adults, good & bad. Unfortunately usually there is much more bad than good.
The way to help minimize the bad is to heal. To do this, you have to face the trauma, & that involves facing the emotions connected to it. I know, this isn’t exactly fun but it’s quite necessary for healing. Emotions demand to be dealt with, so not doing so will result in them manifesting in such toxic ways. They will negatively affect your mental & physical health. They can draw you to unhealthy relationships & circumstances. That’s why it’s so much healthier to face trauma than to avoid doing so.
An effective way to do this that I have found is loosely based on Craig Hill’s “The Ancient Paths” book & seminars. Start by looking at your life. What areas are you consistently struggling with? From there, you can ask God to show you what the root of the problem is. When I have done this, God has shown me a memory, & usually it’s from childhood. I focus on that memory, remembering everything about it that I can – what happened, where it happened, who was there, even more insignificant things like scents, sounds, who wore what clothing. Remembering as much as possible makes it more real, which triggers many emotions. Once I feel the emotions I tell God that in that situation I felt a certain way, like helpless, ashamed, stupid, ugly. Then I ask Him to tell me if what I felt was right. Was I right to feel the things I did? I then listen for His response. There really is healing & life in God’s word! When He has spoken to me, I end up feeling so much better! So much of the pain just disappears.
There is still a bit of work to do after this, however. You will need to feel your feelings. I mean really feel them. Cry, get angry, yell… do whatever helps you to feel those emotions so you can get them out of you. I often tell God just what I’m feeling. He really can handle that & offer comfort during these painful times. You may need to do this a few times to purge yourself completely of the emotions. That depends on the trauma & how you as an individual feel about the situation.
When I first learned about all of this, I naively thought doing it once or twice would heal me completely. Unfortunately healing from trauma is an ongoing process. You have to heal from one incident at a time instead of all at once. I can’t tell you it’s ever easy, but I can say that the more you do it, the easier it gets. You get stronger as you heal, which enables you to face things better. You also grow closer to God, because facing trauma in this manner makes you depend on Him for help. It naturally strengthens your relationship. It also helps you see God as He is, your Heavenly Father, rather than how you view your earthly parents. So many abused children grow up seeing God as unreliable & untrustworthy as their earthly parents. It’s natural, unfortunately. Working on your healing in this way naturally changes your perspective on Him, & draws you closer to Him.
Also remember that doing this can be very emotionally draining. It’s only natural that dealing with such negative & strong emotions would leave you feeling drained & a bit raw emotionally after. When this happens, take good care of yourself. Rest, be sure to eat healthy & relax as much as you can.
I know this all sounds intimidating, but truly, you can do it & you’ll be very glad you did!
As I write this post, it’s May 5. To many people it’s no special day. To others, it’s Cinco De Mayo. To me, it’s a reminder of a very strange day.
In 2016, my mother in-law died on April 30. Two days later, our oldest kitty died suddenly. Three days after that was our dog, Dixie’s birthday & we really did try to celebrate her special day as usual. Not easy with the sadness we both felt, but we tried & I think Dixie was ok with that since she was a very sweet, sensitive & smart little pup.
Then “it” happened. May 5, 2016, I had a huge fight with my parents. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, as you can tell if you read the original post in the link above.
Today, as I was driving home, the date hit me. I had thought of it earlier remembering my sweet Dixie on her birthday (she passed in 2017), but I hadn’t thought about it relating to the argument with my parents. I also realized I hadn’t thought of it last year, either, but in all fairness, my mother had just passed & I was still in shock at that time. I wasn’t functioning very well.
Anyway, when I thought of the date relating to the argument with my parents, guilt about overwhelmed me. I am so NOT proud of my behavior that evening. That argument also was what led to me being no contact with my parents, & that led to them dying without me in their lives in any capacity. It was my final straw. Yet, I know what I did was the right thing. It seems so unfair to be wracked with guilt even knowing I did the right thing, yet, it also makes sense in a strange way.
Going no contact with your family, in particular your parents, is incredibly hard. Many people have no idea just how hard, but those of us who have done it or are contemplating doing it know. It’s brutal. It goes against nature, stepping away from your own blood! Yet sadly, it also is necessary sometimes.
If you’re contemplating going no contact with your narcissistic parent or parents, my heart goes out to you. It’s incredibly difficult! Having been in your position, I can give you some advice though…
Seriously consider your choice. No contact needs to be permanent, not permanent until you need your parent or miss them. Only do it when you are certain you can make it permanent, no matter what.
Don’t do it on a whim or because you’re angry. My story may sound like I did that but it’s not the case. I’d been considering no contact for a while at that time, yet felt the timing wasn’t right until that argument with my parents. It felt as if God said, “Now”. Timing is important. Trust His timing & ask Him to help you figure out when the time is right.
Know that going no contact can lead to tremendous guilt, even when you know there was no other choice. I know, it seems wrong but it’s a simple fact. As I type this, I still feel guilty about going no contact with my parents even knowing it was God’s will for me to do it. The one thing that helps the guilt is leaning on God for reassurance. At first, it was constant.. especially when my father was dying in 2017. It has lightened up a great deal, but even now, sometimes guilt still kicks in.. like today.
Never, ever stop praying for your parent. I know many people say narcissists aren’t worth praying for, they’re a lost cause, nothing can save them, etc. but you never know. Both of my parents are in Heaven!! When my mother died, a stranger, the funeral director who took care of her, told me that he felt God wanted him to tell me she was in Heaven. In 2017, a former friend told me that God spoke to her about my father being in Heaven. I realize not everyone wants to be saved & God honors the choices of each person. That being said though… never stop praying for your narcissistic parents! The worst case scenario is that parent doesn’t accept Jesus, which of course is terrible, but there is at least some comfort in knowing you did all you can do. God heard your prayers. He won’t forget you praying for your parents. He knows you did all you could do. Your conscience is clear, & that is a good thing.