Tag Archives: narcissists
Ending any type of relationship with a narcissist is always a challenge. Whether that person is a friend, romantic partner or relative, it seems like the same basic actions happen often.
A person severs ties with the narcissist in their life. The narcissist is upset, which of course is natural. No one is happy that someone no longer wants them in their life. The problem though is how narcissists handle the situation. Most folks walk away, respect the other person’s boundary & move on however works for them. Narcissists aren’t most folks. Rather than simply walking away, they create chaos.
Many narcissists harass their victims after no contact has been implemented. They don’t leave quietly with their dignity in tact. Instead, they demand to know why the victim ended the relationship. Victims usually tell narcissists why, but they don’t listen. Instead they claim they have no clue why the victim is upset. They may cry or beg the victim to come back. They may rage in an attempt to scare the victim into coming back. If the victim will not speak to them, narcissists have no problem calling, texting, emailing, etc. non stop in an attempt to wear down their victim so he or she will come back to them. Having been on the receiving end of this, I can tell you it can be incredibly unnerving. Anyone who spends so much time focused on making another person’s life miserable in an attempt to force that person to come back to the relationship clearly is not mentally stable.
There is also the notorious smear campaign. Everyone has someone in their life that they don’t have the nicest things to say about. Chances are though, that ruining that person’s reputation isn’t exactly a top priority with you even if that person did you very wrong. Narcissists however, will not hesitate to tell anyone & everyone how terrible their victim is. If they don’t have anything that is negative & true to say, they have no problem creating things to say. They in particular seem to love claiming their victim is mentally unstable. If someone tells you that they have crazy exes, for example, that can be a warning sign you’re dealing with a narcissist. Pay attention to their behavior & you will figure out soon enough whether or not this person is a narcissist.
Narcissists also love to send out the flying monkeys. Their devoted, wicked enablers are more than happy to carry out whatever wishes the narcissist has. This often includes trying to “talk sense” into victims to make them return to the relationship or telling them how horrible they are for doing what they have done to the narcissist.
There is something interesting about all of these scenarios. Not a bit of it makes any sense! Why would anyone want to resume a relationship out of fear or guilt? Yet, narcissists do these things anyway, fully expecting their victims to return to the horrible relationship.
If you end a relationship with a narcissist, you need to be aware that these situations are very likely to happen. Their behavior is often shocking, even when you know it may happen. Narcissists take things to such extremes, it’s hard not to be shocked.
If the narcissist in your life subjects you to these behaviors, remember to block all contact they & their flying monkeys have with you, document everything in case you need it to file charges, & don’t respond to the smear campaign no matter how hard it is. Any acknowledgement that the narcissist is affecting you makes them feel powerful, so they will do the thing that made you react as you did more often. Show them no reaction, block all access & enjoy your life without the narcissist in it!
I’ve done something for so long, I didn’t even realize I did it until recently. When I drive past a building with big glass windows or some sort of reflective surface, I look at myself driving.
Recently I caught myself doing this & thought, ok, I’m weird. I’ve known this for years & accepted my weirdness. This looking at myself driving thing though.. wow. I don’t even like looking at myself in a mirror when I put on makeup or looking at pictures of myself. Making my YouTubes is a big struggle for me, so why am I doing this?!
Suddenly it hit me… because when I was a teenager, I had to fight my mother terribly to get a driver’s license. My friends were driving at 16, & their parents often bought them their first car. Their parents put everything in their name to keep insurance costs down. Meanwhile I had to fight my mother badly to get a license. She wouldn’t even let me see my birth certificate. She showed it to the employee at the Motor Vehicles Administration after shielding me from seeing it. When I failed the first test, she told me she knew I would because I wasn’t ready to drive. When I got my permit & wanted to get myself a car, she told me she’d take me shopping one day so I could see how stupid I was for thinking I could afford a car. She picked a car out for me that I absolutely HATED. It was ugly & over priced.
A month or so later, I picked out my first car & got my license.. here is a picture that my mother took of me with that special & I still think absolutely adorable little car..
This is me in 1989 with Baby, my 1978 Buick Skyhawk that I hope to restore one day.
I realized something recently…
The reason I still ogle myself driving when I can isn’t just because I like my pretty cars. It’s because I never take driving for granted. I had to fight hard to get my license. I paid for my first car, insurance, maintenance & everything by myself. I worked hard & accomplished what I wanted to. No one can take that away from me. My first car in particular is a symbol of that which is why she’s special to me & I hope to restore her. Driving any car reminds me of what I managed to accomplish on my own though, no thanks to my parents. I’m proud of that, & seeing myself behind the wheel of a car, in particular my own, is a reminder of that.
I mentioned this to my husband recently & was rather nervous about admitting it. He shocked me by understanding completely & said “You should be proud of that! Celebrate it! Enjoy driving! Take pictures of yourself behind the wheel!” That helped me to see that maybe I’m not as weird as I thought I was..
Is there anything “strange” you do that is like what I do? If so, I want to encourage you to embrace that. Don’t think of it as weird like I have done with looking at myself when driving. Instead, celebrate it! Be proud of whatever it is you have accomplished in spite of your narcissistic parent. You did something on your own without the help of a narcissistic parent. That isn’t an easy feat when you consider you have had a narcissistic parent or two trying to keep you down your whole life. Be proud that you overcame that & still did whatever it is that you did. It’s ok to be proud of yourself! You deserve to feel that way! xoxo
Most Christians, even new ones, have heard of the armor of God that is written about in Ephesians 6:13-17. To summarize, the armor includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of Salvation & sword of the Spirit.
Have you ever considered how the armor is when viewed from the perspective of dealing with narcissists? I would guess not. I’ve been a Christian since 1996 & studying Narcissistic Personality Disorder since 2011 & it never crossed my mind until recently. It’s well worth considering if you have to deal with a narcissist in any capacity.
When dealing with narcissists, you truly need that belt of truth. Narcissists twist the truth around to their advantage, deny the truth or even recreate their own version of any situation & call it the truth. When dealing with them, you must be well aware of the truth rather than accept their twisted version of it. Knowing the truth helps you to avoid being manipulated by narcissists.
You also will need to wear the breastplate of righteousness at all times. Being aware of what is right & moral will help you to stay on the right track with narcissists. They try to force victims into doing whatever they want, & often those things aren’t good for anyone but the narcissist, let alone moral. Being secure in what you know is right helps you not to get sucked into compromising yourself & your beliefs.
The shoes of peace are also incredibly important. Narcissists feed off the emotions of other people. Any sign of any emotion triggers a reaction in a narcissist. If you’re clearly happy, they’ll do what they can to make you sad. Angry? They’ll make you angrier. Sad? They’ll push you to the point of seriously considering suicide. The best thing you can do in any dealings with a narcissist is to remain completely neutral & peaceful. Show them no emotions whatsoever. Naturally, once you’re away from the narcissist, you need to deal with what you’re feeling however works best for you, because holding emotions in isn’t a healthy thing to do long term. I am only recommending holding emotions in while in their presence because it will help you in dealing with them.
You also will need your shield of faith. Faith in God can get you through anything & everything, even the impossible situations like dealing with narcissists. My faith enabled me to find successful ways to cope with my narcissistic parents, to go no contact at the right time & even helped to get my father to turn to Jesus at the end of his life. With God, all things are possible, even when it comes to dealing with narcissists.
The helmet of Salvation is truly invaluable as well. When you are secure in the knowledge that you are a child of God, it helps you in so many ways. It gives you peace, faith & the knowledge that your Heavenly Father will protect you from anything & enable you to survive anything.
The sword of the Spirit, God’s word, is incredibly valuable too. When you know what God has to say about things, it gives you wisdom & peace knowing not only how to handle what you must, but knowing that you can handle anything, even anything a narcissist can dish out.
If you’re wondering how to put on this armor of God, ask God to help you, listen to anything He suggests to you & have knowledge of the Bible. There are some really wonderful email lists you can subscribe to that will deliver Scriptures to your inbox daily. I subscribe to one that lets me read through the Bible in a year. There are also many devotionals available, either in email or book form. Whatever you do isn’t important. Your relationship with God & knowledge of His word are.
In spite of what many people seem to think, there are very significant differences between no contact & the silent treatment.
The silent treatment is a frequently used punishment for either a real or more commonly perceived wrong. No contact has a long list of grievances that have happened over a long period of time. It isn’t done because someone did one little thing wrong, unlike the silent treatment. It also is never used as a punishment.
The silent treatment will end when the person who initiated it feels their victim has been sufficiently punished for their sins. Once it is done, the one who implemented the silent treatment often contacts the victim & acts as if nothing happened. No contact is meant to be permanent, & nothing will make the person who initiated it talk to the abuser.
There is absolutely no honor in the silent treatment. It is simply a passive/aggressive way to punish someone. No contact is honorable. There is also no honor in enabling bad & even abusive behavior.
The silent treatment is immature. Young children use it to get their way but most of them grow out of it eventually. Not everyone does, unfortunately, so they use this childish behavior to get what they want. No contact is mature, well considered & a very viable option in toxic relationships.
Virtually no thought goes into the silent treatment. Narcissists will use the silent treatment for any reason at any time, without forethought. No contact is much different in this area as well. By the time a person has gone no contact with an abuser, a great deal of time, consideration & prayer have gone into the action.
The silent treatment creates conflict. Other people are involved, & picking sides. They tell the person on the receiving end of the silent treatment to fix the relationship, or apologize to the person who initiated the silent treatment. No contact is an attempt to minimize conflict. People who initiate it don’t try to get other people involved or force the abusive person to apologize.
The silent treatment is a power trip. If a victim is unaware of what the person giving the silent treatment is up to, they will do their best to make the abuser talk to them again & to please this person. They will apologize & sometimes even beg the abuser to forgive them. No contact is not a power trip. People who implement it aren’t interested in anything their abuser does or says. They are simply done with the relationship at that point.
The silent treatment is disrespectful. A person won’t treat someone they respect in such a way. Instead they will try to work out their problems. Someone who uses no contact has tried many times to work out the problems, & gotten nowhere. This person eventually realizes there is no other solution, & they end the relationship. They respect themselves enough to walk away from a toxic relationship.
The silent treatment isn’t Godly. It’s so many bad things like I mentioned previously. No contact, however, is very Godly. You are removing this person’s opportunity to sin by abusing you. You are giving this person consequences for bad behavior, which opens the door for them to change. Whether or not they do is up to them of course, but you give them that opportunity.
Sadly, some relationships are simply beyond repair. It takes two to make a relationship work, & when one isn’t willing to do any work, that relationship is doomed. Sometimes the best thing a person can do is to walk away in order to protect their own peace & mental health. It’s an extremely difficult & painful decision to make, but there are times it must be done.
Ending a romantic relationship with a narcissist is tough. Months or years of the constant gaslighting & abuse destroy a person’s self esteem while somehow leaving victims to feel as if they should appreciate the narcissist settling for loving them. By the time a person ends such a relationship, their thinking is damaged, but they do realize that the narcissist was abusive. At the same time, there is often a lot of guilt & doubt involved for ending the relationship. I experienced it myself for quite some time after divorcing my ex husband.
After the relationship has ended though, you will feel so much better. Time & distance from a narcissist give a person clarity & make room for healing to take place. You may be wondering what signs you can look for that you have moved on from your narcissistic ex, & this post will explain some of them.
If your narcissistic ex tries to contact you, you have no desire to respond. Narcissists are known for attempting to “hoover” their victims, in other words, lure them back into the dysfunctional relationship. If you cringe when you see your ex’s phone number or email address rather than get excited, this is a big sign you have moved on. And, if your ex reaches out to you constantly to the point of harassment, be sure you document everything. Harassment & stalking laws are changing, & you may need that documentation if you have to get the law involved.
Having no desire to know what is happening in your ex’s life is another sign you’ve moved on. It can be common when a couple first breaks up for at least one person in the relationship to want to know what the other is up to. They may discreetly check out their social media or ask mutual friends about them. Losing the desire to do these things shows you’re over that ex.
Another sign of moving on is when you no longer compare yourself to anyone that person is dating or has dated. Narcissists love to compare their victims to others they deem more attractive, smarter, etc. Being romantically involved with someone who does this, it can make you feel as if you have to not only measure up to their other romantic partners, but be much better than them. Losing that baggage is incredibly freeing!
Their opinion of you means nothing to you anymore. While it’s normal to some degree to want an ex to think you’re doing well without them, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting your narcissistic ex to think you’re doing a thousand times better without them. When you stop thinking that way & couldn’t care less what he or she thinks of you, you have moved on.
Severing ties with toxic people is another sign you’ve moved on from a narcissistic ex. After dealing with someone so toxic in such a close relationship, it’s easy to become tolerant of toxic people. Deleting them from your life is a very healthy move in any case, but if it’s done after breaking up with a narcissist, it’s also a sign that you have moved on.
Gaining self confidence is another sign of moving on. Narcissists do their best to obliterate their victim’s self esteem. They even destroy their victims’ ability to trust their instincts, feelings & perceptions through gaslighting. Learning to trust such things takes time, & is a big sign you have moved on.
When you end a relationship with a narcissist, you may feel like you’ll never get better, but you absolutely will! Be patient with yourself & don’t try to rush your healing. As time passes, you’ll notices these things happening, & they can reassure you that you are going to be just fine.
Many people believe utter nonsense when it comes to abusive people. This post is about dispelling those myths.
“He/she is a good person. There’s no way he/she could be abusive towards anyone!” Definite myth. Abusive people can be active in their church, work with the homeless, donate a lot of money to charity & even foster children in dire straights. Narcissists are extremely concerned about looking good, & such actions make a person look good. They will do whatever they can to look good. It doesn’t mean they are good people.
“I’ve never seen this person abuse anyone. They can’t be abusive!” Abusers hide their actions from all but their victim. Abusers can appear kind, caring, charming… it doesn’t mean that they aren’t trying to destroy their victim behind closed doors. Again, they are concerned about looking good, so naturally they will hide their abusive ways from everyone but their victim.
“That person has always been nice to me!” Of course he or she has always been nice to you! Abusers don’t abuse every single person they come into contact with. They are selective when choosing their victims. Those they choose not to abuse, they are nice to so they don’t think the abuser could be abusive, & the victim’s claims of abuse won’t be believed.
“But he/she is a pastor, doctor, teacher, police officer, etc!” Helping professions such as those are very appealing to narcissists because they attract admiration from the general public. Being a pastor, doctor, teacher, etc. doesn’t make someone immune to being abusive. Many people in those professions are good, caring people, but not all are.
“All parents love their children. Parents don’t abuse their children.” Just because someone is biologically able to become a parent doesn’t mean they automatically are good, loving parents. Some people are incapable of loving anyone in a healthy way, & that includes their own children.
“Your mother/father always brags about you. He/she must love you!” Another fallacy. Narcissists want people to envy them as much as they envy others. Bragging about their super talented, attractive, etc. children can garnish envy from others. It doesn’t mean the parent actually believes their children are as wonderful as they make them sound.
“But he/she said he/she was a Christian! That means this person can’t be abusive.” People can say anything they like. I could tell you right now that I’m of Korean heritage. I may even participate in Korean customs, but one look at me shows my lineage is primarily German & Irish. I can claim what I like, but the truth is easy to see. The same goes for so called “Christian abusers.” They may claim to be good Christians. They may be active in their church & know the Christian lingo. Their abusive actions however prove they are nothing like what they claim to be. And, many abusers hide in the guise of being religious. People assume someone who claims to be religious or is active in their church is a good person, so that person is usually not watched carefully for signs of being abusive.
“He/she says you’re lying.” No abuser is going to admit their horrible behavior unless they absolutely have to, & then, they’ll offer up excuses.
“It wasn’t abuse. You two just weren’t a good match.” There is a big difference between a poorly matched couple & an abusive relationship. Poorly matched couples realize that fact & go on their way. One person doesn’t abuse another because of being poorly matched.
If someone tells you that they are being abused, do NOT fall for these myths! Look at the situation objectively rather than assuming the person they claim is abusive is too good to be an abuser. Or, if someone has told you these things regarding your abuser, feel free to show them this post if you think it will help. xoxo
Narcissists & their flying monkey enablers have a very skewed view of what is ok & what isn’t ok, what’s abusive & what isn’t abusive. Narcissists are an extremely entitled bunch & they lack empathy, so in their minds, whatever they want is all that matters. Hurting others isn’t important. And, their flying monkeys agree wholeheartedly. So what if someone gets hurt? The narcissist is the important one, after all.
These people act like certain abusive behaviors are completely normal. In time, this can make victims think the narcissist is right, that they are wrong for being upset about something that is supposed to be so normal. More subdued abusive behaviors often fall into this category.
Also, many abuse victims develop a very thick skin when it comes to abuse. This comes from being abused repeatedly. If an abuser isn’t screaming at them or physically assaulting them, they sometimes don’t think they are being abused. Unfortunately abuse isn’t always so easy to spot. It can be subtle, but equally abusive. This post will describe some of the subtle ways a person can abuse.
Taking or relocating your property. When you live with someone, chances are excellent you will move each other’s property at some point. My husband moves my purse if it’s in his way, for example. But when someone hides or even gets rid of something that belongs to you, that is abnormal! It is also abusive if the person blames you for forgetting that you moved or got rid of the item when they are the one who did it. That is gaslighting!
Controlling behavior. Telling you what to say, how to act, how to look, what to wear, hiding your car keys so you can’t go anywhere are all abusive, even if there are no physical threats to go along with the control. No one has the right to control another person.
Sexual violations. Someone who uses guilt & shame to force you to perform a sexual act that is something you really don’t want to do or causes you pain is just as guilty as the masked man who rapes you at knife point. Just because a weapon wasn’t used doesn’t make this ok. It’s not ok if you’re married either. Being married doesn’t give anyone the right to be sexually abusive.
The silent treatment. While the silent treatment isn’t usually considered abusive, it actually is. If you don’t know what the person’s up to, the silent treatment can make you do almost anything to win the favor back of the person not speaking to you. It sets you up to be controlled & manipulated while damaging your self-esteem. Once you understand what the silent treatment is about though, it can be a pleasant respite from the abuse.
Being confusing & unreasonable during a disagreement. Most people try to work together to a solution when involved in a disagreement, even if things are heated. An abusive behavior is instead of working on a solution, talking in circles, trying to focus on something other than the issue at hand, projecting their flaws onto you, bringing up past arguments, & gaslighting.
Please remember not to normalize or excuse abuse. Behavior like this is NOT normal & there is no excuse for anyone to act this way. Even if it happened “only once”, there is still no excuse for it. Instead, admit the truth, that such actions are abusive & terrible. You also need to accept that you have done nothing wrong, & you did nothing to deserve such treatment. You have every right to be upset about what was done to you. You also have every right to protect yourself from further abuse so set those boundaries & take good care of yourself!
This post is similar to the last one, except it helps to identify some of the tactics of covert narcissists.
Covert narcissists are like their name implies, very covert in their actions. Because of that, they can be much harder to identify than their overt counterpart. Their actions can leave a victim wondering if they are being oversensitive or reading too much into things. I’ve said many times that if I have to deal with a narcissist, I’d prefer an overt one simply because I know exactly what I’m dealing with.
Covert narcissists are quiet in how they get attention. They don’t get attention by bragging or being loud & obnoxious like overt narcissists. They get it by appearing gentle & humble. They “let it slip” about how they helped someone in need or that they are very active in their church.
Covert narcissists appear fragile & vulnerable, like they need someone to take care of them. They give off an air of naivete & needing someone to protect them that makes people want to take care of them, in particular, their children. The life purpose of the child of a covert narcissist is to take care of their parent’s every need.
They are always the victim. No matter what a covert narcissist does to someone, you can guarantee they will blame the victim for being so mean to them for reacting as they did. After all, they often say, they were just trying to help or they had no idea that the person would be upset by their actions. The covert narcissist comes away from this situation looking innocent while the victim is shamed & even shunned for being so mean.
Covert narcissists have no empathy. Unlike overt narcissists, however, coverts are quieter about this. They will simply act bored, discreetly change the subject or walk away if someone is talking to them about their problems.
Covert narcissists manipulate in subtle ways. A covert narcissist looking to manipulate someone won’t use fear or intimidation like an overt narcissist. Instead they may use tactics like guilt, pretending to be helpless or even acting concerned. Covertly narcissistic elderly parents also are known to use their health problems as a way to manipulate others, in particular their adult children. They may even go so far as to skip taking medication or taking too much to make themselves sick.
Covert narcissists will ask how their victims are doing & other questions about them or their friends & family, but it isn’t out of genuine concern or love. It’s about gathering information that can be used against the victim. They will use what they learn to smear the victim’s reputation to other people or to criticize the victim & those the victim cares about.
Speaking of criticism, covert narcissists have no problem using scathing, cruel criticisms, but only will do so when no one is around other than the victim. Covert narcissists always want to be seen as good people, so when they are verbally abusive, you can guarantee there will be no witnesses. That way, no one sees their awful behavior, which also makes it harder for the victim to be believed.
Covert narcissists can change according to who they are around. If a covert narcissist is around someone they wish to impress, they will claim to share the same likes, dislikes, beliefs & more as the person they wish to impress. This is called mirroring, because the narcissist is behaving as a mirror to the other person. Mirroring makes a person feel closer to the person mirroring their behavior, because it appears that they have a great deal in common.
While this list isn’t a fully comprehensive list of the many tactics covert narcissists use, it should help you to recognize several red flags, at least, & help you to protect yourself from these people.
Since it’s impossible to avoid all narcissists, I thought I would write a post to help people easily recognize their abusive actions. This post will be about the actions of overt narcissists, the next, about covert.
Overt narcissists are the most commonly discussed type of narcissist. They are known to be very loud, brash & bold in their abuse. They are the easiest narcissists to identify simply because of how obvious they usually are.
Overt narcissists rage. Loudly. When their victim causes them a narcissistic injury by failing to provide them with their narcissistic supply, overt narcissists will be furious & let their victim know it. If the victim fails to complement the narcissist, disobeys the narcissist or commits some other supposed horrific sin, that victim can count on the narcissist punishing them harshly for it.
Overt narcissists like to brag. When dealing with an overt narcissist, it won’t take long before this person regales you with stories of their great accomplishments, their unique talents or the masses of people who admire them.
If an overt narcissist isn’t the center of attention, he or she will find a way to return to the center of attention. An overt narcissist will do whatever it takes to gain attention, good or bad. They will start to discuss highly inappropriate topics such as the details of a recent murder or even body functions. They will make noises such as clapping their hands or even a loud burp. I remember my mother once breaking into song when my father & I were talking & she wasn’t interested in our conversation.
Overt narcissists also have no problem interrupting other people. If a person is talking about something that doesn’t interest the overt narcissist, they have no problem interrupting or talking over that person to change the conversation back to them.
All narcissists lack empathy, & overt ones are very obvious about it. If you have a problem, an overt narcissist will be sure to let you know that your problem isn’t important to them. They will change the subject or say invalidating things to make you feel so badly for being upset, that you don’t discuss this topic again.
Overt narcissists must be in charge of every area of the relationship, period. Overt narcissists are like dictators in a relationship. They will use shame & fear primarily to keep their victim under their control. Many also have a thing for using cars to help them dominate. They must drive, because that way they have their victim trapped where they can’t escape & they are in control of where they go.
Overt narcissists are incredibly opinionated. Whatever the topic is, overt narcissists will have an opinion on it & believe that everyone must hear said opinion. If the opinion is something about the victim, you can guarantee it will be a negative opinion.
All narcissists are envious, but overts are very obvious about it. Anyone an overt narcissist believes to be more talented, successful or attractive than they are is going to be judged & criticized VERY harshly, & usually behind their back in an attempt to turn other people against the person they envy.
Overt narcissists have double standards. Whatever an overt narcissist does is great, but if anyone else does that same thing, it’s bad. For example, if an overt narcissist lied to you, that would be ok because, according to them, something about you made them lie. Yet, if you lie to the overt narcissist, that is completely unacceptable & there is no reason whatsoever for you to lie to them, ever!
Obviously this isn’t a complete list of the behaviors of the overt narcissist, but it should be enough to help you see such behaviors as a red flag. Recognizing those red flags will help you to protect yourself from such toxic people.
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!
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?
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!
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.
So many websites & authors make no contact sound like an easy decision & once you go no contact, all will be right in your world. Nothing could be further from the truth!! While no contact is often the best & even the only solution, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one.
If you’re considering no contact with a narcissist in your life, in particular one in your family, you need to be aware of some things. I am not writing these to make you change your mind about no contact, only to help you prepare for the potential aftermath.
- No one has the right to abuse you, not even your family.
- You are under no obligation whatsoever to tolerate abuse from anyone & yes, that includes family.
- Cutting toxic people out of your life doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you someone who cares enough about yourself not to tolerate abuse.
- Just because you severed contact with someone doesn’t mean you hate them. You can love someone but still not be able to be in a relationship with them because they’re abusive.
- No one can fully prepare for what may happen after no contact because all people are different. When I went no contact with my mother, she ignored me & kept her distance. When I went no contact with my father, he continually tried to force me to talk to him, including getting his family to try to force me to talk to him. It’s hard to predict how the person on the receiving end of no contact will handle it.
- You will be depressed for some time after going no contact. No matter how sure you are that you did the right thing or how much you know you had no choice but to do this, ending a relationship especially one with a family member is TOUGH! It hurts!
- You’ll also feel very guilty for a while, even though there isn’t a valid reason to feel that way. This is simply because that is how this person trained you. Their feelings are more important than yours & how dare you put your feelings ahead of theirs, at least that is what they want you to believe. Remember, this person is the reason the relationship fell apart. Yes, you walked away but only after you were pushed into doing so to protect your mental health. There is no reason to feel guilty about this!
- You’re going to have doubts. It’s only normal. Remind yourself of how much thought & prayer went into your decision when this happens. Also remember what led you to make this incredibly difficult decision. Doing so helps a great deal.
- Not everyone is going to understand. Some people are going to judge you very harshly. Those people can be incredibly hurtful & cruel. No matter how convicted they are in their beliefs, it doesn’t mean they are right. Don’t let them make you doubt your decision or tolerate their abusive words.
- Of those who judge you, you will be surprised by who is doing it. Some folks you were convinced were on your side will turn on you, & it is going to hurt badly! You also may be surprised by acquaintances & even strangers who attack you for going no contact. It’s shocking when someone you barely know or don’t even know at all thinks they have the right to tell you what they think you should do with your life.
- Those who don’t understand also will try to guilt or shame you into reconnecting. Don’t let that happen!! Again, remind yourself of what led you to making this decision. Also remind yourself that these people don’t know the whole story, so their input is useless to you.
- Often, these people who attack you are going to be your own family. Family is often the most abusive in these situations. Mine certainly has been. Various members have attacked me like they were starving lions & I was vulnerable prey. Sadly this is pretty normal in narcissistic families. Family members often delude themselves into thinking they’re a happy, normal, functional family. They will do anything to protect their delusions, including attack someone who tells the truth. If they can quiet the truth teller, then their delusions can remain in tact. To them, attacking their own kin is worth it if it protects their delusions.
- You may think if you just did something they wanted you to do or loved them enough, the abuse would have stopped. That is not true! A person changes because they want to. To make an abuser want to change is nearly impossible. They get what they want from being abusive & they lack empathy. This means they see no reason at all to change.
- You also may have days where you miss this person. You may be tempted on those days to rekindle the relationship. You may even want to apologize for going no contact. DON’T DO IT!! Once someone has gone no contact then later returns to the relationship, it gets much worse than it originally was. It may start out good, but it won’t take long before the mask comes off again. When that happens, the person underneath is even uglier than they were before.
- You won’t be functioning in survivor mode anymore, so you may feel much different. You may feel very vulnerable & over sensitive. Little things can make you cry or make you angry that never bothered you before. You may have more nightmares than usual. You may experience changes in anxiety levels by either becoming more anxious in general or less anxious but when you do get anxious those times are harder than they used to be.
- You may feel oddly lost, too, like you don’t know what to do with your life. When in a relationship with a narcissist, they seem to take up all the room in the relationship, even down to including all the room in your brain. Without them, what is there to think about?! It can take some time to feel less lost after survival mode is over.
- At some point, you are going to feel so much better! You’ll experience freedom & enjoy that feeling immensely. If the narcissist in your life was a relative, guilt will come attached to enjoying your new freedom, but in time it will get less & less, until it disappears.
- You’ll also experience peace, possibly for the first time in your life! No more unnecessary drama. No more narcissistic rages. The peace is glorious!!
- You won’t feel on edge all the time, worried about what to say or do to appease the narcissist so he or she won’t rage at you. You finally can relax & not focus all of your energy on this person. It’ll feel like a giant weight is lifted off your shoulders.
- You also will start to enjoy little things more than you used to. When you’re life is totally focused on a narcissist, it’s hard to enjoy subtle things like a bird singing, a beautiful full moon or even a great song on the radio. It can feel almost like you’re reborn, I think is the best way to describe it.
In time, you’ll learn that no contact was absolutely worth it. In spite of all the pain, the tears, the doubts & the attacks from horrible people, it truly was worth it. You will survive it, & be better & stronger for it!
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Recently I was speaking with a fellow blogger, Linda Lee at https://ablogabouthealingfromptsd.wordpress.com (it’s a great blog! Check it out!). We were talking about how we don’t believe God created people for things like surviving abuse & losing someone we love which is what makes coping with such things so incredibly hard. During this conversation, she told me something very interesting. Some time ago, she spent time under the care of the well known Meier Clinic. In fact, she was blessed enough to be under the care of Dr. Meier directly! After a lifetime of abuse & bad mental health diagnoses, this was an incredible blessing! What he told her made so much sense in her situation, but I believe in other people’s situations as well. It sure fit mine! It probably will fit your situation too!
“You are NOT mentally ill. What you have is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although PTSD is classified as a mental illness for insurance purposes, the reality is that having PTSD after experiencing overwhelming trauma is perfectly normal — no less normal than it is to bleed, if somebody cuts you with a knife. You see, God did not create us for abuse. God is love, and He made us in His spiritual image, which means that we were created for kindness and love, not for abuse and hatred. God created us to love and be loved. But when we get hate instead of love, when we receive abuse instead of kindness, we are damaged by that. Being damaged by abuse does not mean that you are weak or crazy. The strongest, sanest person in the world will develop PTSD, if they go through enough trauma and abuse. Just as the strongest man in the world will bleed, if you take a knife and cut him. Human skin was not created to withstand the sharp blade of a knife. In the same way, the human soul was not created to be traumatized and abused.”
I have beat myself up a LOT since learning I have C-PTSD. I’ve told myself I’m so weak & other people had it worse & all kinds of heartless, invalidating things. It doesn’t help when other people’s words & actions re-enforce such things. I have found that sometimes those who have suffered abuse yet don’t have C-PTSD can be as judgmental as those who lack empathy for those who have been abused.
Anyway I find Dr. Meier’s words to my friend so comforting!! Having C-PTSD or PTSD is a very normal response to a very abnormal situation! These disorders aren’t a sign of weakness. They are a sign of being normal.
Also, notice that he said. “The strongest, sanest person in the world will develop PTSD, if they go through enough trauma and abuse.” That tells me that no one is immune to traumatic responses. Every single person has a breaking point, a point where enough is enough, & the trauma they experience will cause their brain to develop PTSD or C-PTSD. Everyone’s breaking point is different, so there is no point in judging others who have one of these disorders. No one is immune!
The next time you’re feeling weak or like a failure for living with PTSD or C-PTSD, I hope you’ll remember what Dr. Meier said. Print them out. Save them somewhere on your computer or phone. Share them on Facebook. Whatever you do, please remind yourself of them! I certainly plan to do so & do so often! It can get too easy to go down the rabbit hole of thinking you’re a failure for having such a problem & that isn’t right! No one is immune! They are natural reactions to highly abnormal circumstances, nothing more!
Recently, I was watching an episode of “The Walking Dead.” I’m not sure if any of you who follow my work are also fans, but if not, you still might find this interesting.
In this particular episode, Neegan was talking to the daughter of a woman he had killed. Alpha was a horrible woman & was basically a cult leader in my opinion. Anyway, the daughter was calm at first, realizing he killed her because it was necessary. He kept saying she needed to get her feelings out though. It wasn’t healthy to hold them in. The girl insisted she was ok. Eventually, the young woman broke down though. When she did, she said something interesting. “I want to hate her but I can’t!”
This really hit home with me. I think many of us with narcissistic mothers feel the same way. I realize not everyone does. Some dislike or even hate their narcissistic mother. I truly hope this post doesn’t make you feel something is wrong with you. Everyone is different! I’m simply writing this to help those who feel like I do.
It’s a very strange feeling when you know your mother did the most horrific & unspeakable things to you, destroyed your self esteem, destroyed your identity even, yet on some level, you still love her. It makes no sense at all to the logical mind to feel that way. If anyone else did these things to you, chances are excellent you wouldn’t feel any love for this person at all. Why feel differently towards your mother? She’s the one person in the world that never should intentionally hurt you, yet she did. Over & over again in fact.
The one year anniversary of my mother’s death is fast approaching & I’m realizing I feel the same way. I want to hate my mother, but I can’t. I’ve been thinking about this & this episode of “The Walking Dead” got me thinking about it more. I thought I’d share some thoughts as to why this happens sometimes.
Many children of narcissistic parents are naturally loving & kind. They aren’t people who hate easily & often not at all.
Many narcissistic mothers were the engulfing type. Children grow up feeling as if she is the only safe place for them because their mothers make them feel that way. Hating that safety net of sorts feels impossible.
Often, there were some good times, too, not only bad. Very few abusers are abusive 100% of the time. They are nice & loving periodically to bond their victim to them. This trauma bond can be extremely confusing! You want to hate the abuser, but you also know that they can be very kind & loving at the same time. It feels impossible to hate someone kind & loving even when you know that they are capable of unimaginable cruelty.
The nature of relationship is another factor. You only get one mother. You shared her body with her for nine months. This can’t be said of any other human being on the planet. This naturally makes a child share a unique & exceptionally close bond with her mother, no matter what kind of mother she was. Hating one’s mother is unnatural. Of course it is possible & many people do feel that way, but not everyone is capable of hating their mother.
If you feel like there is something wrong with you because in spite of it all, you still love your narcissistic mother, please know there is nothing wrong with you. When it comes to surviving narcissistic abuse, there are no one size fits all solutions. Everyone is different. Everyone processes emotions differently. Everyone also had different experiences. I really don’t think there is anything wrong with how anyone feels who survived a narcissistic mother. The only wrong that I’m aware of is when someone repeats the pattern with their own children, & continues the cycle.
Everyone who knows much about narcissistic abuse knows their tactics. Gaslighting, invalidation, scathing criticisms, baiting, projection… the list goes on & on. They also have other ways to abuse their victims that are so subtle, they are often overlooked because the narcissist isn’t doing anything.
Narcissists can instill blind terror into their victims with a look. I remember the look from my overtly narcissistic mother when I was growing up. I knew to stop whatever I was doing or saying right then or else the consequences would be terrible. Naturally, I obeyed, & didn’t have to face consequences after that look. My mother was hardly the only narcissistic parent to do this. Many use it.
There also is a variation on the look that covert narcissists prefer. The victim knows if they don’t do what the narcissist wants, they are going to be on the receiving end of a horrendous guilt trip. Since covert narcissists are naturally much more subtle than overt narcissists, they wouldn’t consider scaring their victim in the same way. Instead, they prefer to make their victim feel so guilty that they never repeat the behavior again.
Both overt & covert narcissists have yet another variation on “the look.” It’s the look that makes a victim feel like they are the most moronic, disgusting, pathetic creature in the world. My ex husband perfected this one. When we argued, I was always wrong, according to him. To drive his point home, he would look at me with a very smug look. He never said the words, but his facial expression told me he was convinced I was utterly pathetic, stupid & lucky he was willing to put up with such a disgusting creature as me who was clearly so far beneath him & his highly superior intelligence.
Another way narcissists can abuse without lifting a finger is known as triangulation. This is when a narcissist confides in another person about the victim. They usually lie to this person to make the victim look bad & to make the narcissist look like an innocent victim. When that third person believes the lies, they confront the real victim. They tell the victim that they need to apologize to the narcissist, stop doing whatever the narcissist said they were doing, or even resume the relationship with the narcissist after going no contact. The narcissist does nothing while this person abuses the victim on their behalf.
Clearly narcissists have abuse down to a science!
If you face any of these situations when dealing with a narcissist, chances are at some point you will think you’re reading too much into their actions. You may even think something is mentally wrong with you to think the narcissist meant anything more than simply to look at you or was talking to a friend about your troubled relationship. Please get such thoughts out of your mind immediately! You aren’t reading too much into anything! Every single thing narcissists say & do has a purpose. You are correct in assuming those looks mean what you think they mean, & that person telling you what you are doing wrong by the narcissist is being used by the narcissist.
When these things happen, the first step I suggest you do is ask God to guide you & give you wisdom & creative ideas for handling the situation. Also remind yourself that nothing narcissists do is innocent. Everything has a self-serving motive. These behaviors really have nothing to do with you. They’re about the narcissist gaining control over you. Don’t allow yourself to give into that control. And, as for the person used in triangulation? If you can’t remove this person from your life, at least refuse to discuss the narcissist with this person. You’ll save yourself a great deal of frustration!
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Some time back, I was watching an episode of a true crime show on tv. The show is called “Evil Lives Here” & is about people who lived with someone who did terrible things, like being serial killers. This particular episode was about the Truck Stop Killer, Robert Rhoades. His ex wife was interviewed. She told the story of how they first met & about what it was like to be married to him.
Normally stories like these are disturbing yet fascinating, but I found this one especially disturbing. So many of Mr. Rhoades’ behaviors reminded me of my ex husband. The way he manipulated & shamed her was exactly the same as what my ex did. Even the words he said to her were the same as my ex said to me. Their behaviors were so similar that it really shook me up for quite some time. I didn’t even tell anyone for a while, because I was trying to process it all.
I didn’t plan on blogging about it, but recently I thought it might be a good idea. If these two abusive men used the same behavior, no doubt others do as well. These behaviors are also not really discussed openly. Most people know of the obvious abusive behaviors like hitting.
One behavior my ex & Mr. Rhoades shared was having extremely definite opinions on how they wanted their wives to look. I would guess most married folks like to see their spouses looking a certain way more than others, but both of these men took it to an extreme. My ex would make me feel as if what he wanted was the only thing looked good on me. What I liked didn’t matter. Mr. Rhoades took the behavior further. He did that plus laid out clothing for his wife to wear. I remember his ex wife saying he would lay out clothing on the bed & tell her to wear that specific outfit because they were going out. He wouldn’t tell her where they were going. While that could be a nice surprise, his wasn’t. One evening, his “surprise” was he took her to a swinger’s club.
That brings me to the main similarity these two men shared. Sexual preferences. Deviant sexual behavior like they shared is a red flag in a romantic relationship, but that red flag turns into more of a giant flashing neon billboard when they demand it from their spouse even knowing she objects strongly to it. Both my ex & Mr. Rhoades used the same tactic in order to get what they wanted – shaming. Both said comments like, “Any other woman would be glad to do this for me.” “Every other woman in the world does this!” “You’re so immature/prudish/boring in bed!” “You should be glad I want to involve you in this instead of just going behind your back to do it!”
When someone wants something so badly that they will shame someone else for not being willing to participate, that is abuse. Someone is putting their selfish desires ahead of their spouse’s, even though they know what they want will cause the person great physical or emotional pain. This shows a total lack of empathy, because no one who truly loves their spouse would want to hurt them or not even care that they are hurting them.
If someone you are romantically involved with behaves in these manners, they are definite warning signs of narcissism. If at all possible, get away from this person as soon as humanly possible! You need to protect yourself!
If you are unable to get away, start quietly planning to do so. If people like this change, it almost never is for the better. I’m sure Robert Rhoades’ ex wife would agree. So take care of yourself. Protect yourself from further abuse. You don’t deserve to be treated this way! xoxo
Over the course of my life, I have dealt with quite a few narcissists. They taught me many ways to deal with this personality.
One way I learned to deal with narcissists pretty successfully is to stump them. How do you stump such a highly illogical person whose thinking makes no sense? With cold, hard logic.
Narcissists feed off of the emotions of their victims. It gives them such a feeling of power to control another person’s emotions! That is why the Gray Rock method is so successful, it deprives the narcissist of feeding off the emotions of their victims because the victim keeps all emotions hidden from the narcissist. This is what cold, hard logic does as well.
A person who is very logical doesn’t reveal what they feel. They deal instead with nothing but the facts. This can be very useful with narcissists.
As an example, let’s say the narcissist in your life wants you to do something that will create a financial burden for you yet not benefit you in any way. The narcissist insists you need to do this & hand over your bank card right now. But, what if rather than saying “no” outright you said something else? What do you think would happen if you said, “I don’t understand something… how is this supposed to be a good thing? Clearly, I’ll end up with a debt I’ll have trouble repaying. Yet, I don’t see how this debt will benefit me. Am I missing something here? Please tell me how doing this will be a good thing.” How would the narcissist in your life respond to this? I would guess like many narcissists, he or she would be baffled.
Doing this can make a narcissist angry, naturally. Going against their wishes always carries that risk. That being said though, even the most malignant narcissist doesn’t want to look foolish. They realize that raging against someone who is making sense can make them look foolish, so usually they won’t rage extremely. They may throw out a few nasty comments, but that is all. The good part is, their behavior can change, & it often does.
If you wish to try using logic against the narcissist in your life, I would encourage you to give it a try! Some folks are very emotional & not as logical by nature. This may be a bit tricky for you, but you still can do it. If it helps, think of your situation as if it wasn’t you involved, but instead was a friend who came to you complaining of this problem & looking for a solution. What would you tell that friend?
Here are some phrases that can help you to get started being logical with the narcissist:
- I get that if I do that it helps you, but I don’t see how it helps me. Not trying to be selfish here, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to do that.
- So you just said/did that thing that you know bothers me & you’re mad that I’m upset about it. I don’t see why you have the right to be mad at me but I don’t have the right to be mad at you for doing something you know bothers me. Would you explain that to me?
- I’m really confused. I don’t see how that is a good thing. Can you explain it to me again in a different way so I can see things from your perspective?
These suggestions are simple, but they can be surprisingly helpful. And with time & practice, no doubt you’ll figure out even more phrases that will be beneficial.
Many people I have dealt with seem to misunderstand what no contact really is. Since others have experienced this too, I decided I would share some thoughts today on what no contact is & is not.
First of all, & yes, this is directed specifically at those who have said this nonsense to me.. no contact is NOT un-Christian. Enabling bad & abusive behavior is un-Christian. Tolerating abuse silently is un-Christian. Never confronting someone about their abusive behavior is un-Christian. If you don’t believe me, open a Bible. As Christians, we are to love people. Part of loving people is wanting what is best for them & helping them to be their best. When someone doesn’t listen to another’s complaints, they need consequences to make them want to improve their behavior. When normal consequences don’t work, no contact is a very viable option, even for those closest to a victim such as their own family & yes, even parents.
No contact isn’t about being unforgiving. A person can no longer speak to someone & have forgiven them for their abusive ways at the same time. Protecting one’s mental health has nothing to do with unforgiveness.
No contact isn’t taking the easy way out. Far from it! Anyone who has gone no contact with someone they love has suffered a great deal not only due to the abuse, but also making the decision to go no contact & living without that person. If you disagree, consider my story. I went no contact with my parents several months before my father died & almost three years to the day before my mother died. Doing that & not being there for them when they needed me at the end of their lives was horrible. If you think that was easy, you are very sadly mistaken!
No contact isn’t about trying to change someone. Yes, you are giving that person consequences for their actions, but that doesn’t mean you are trying to manipulate them into behaving better. You set that stage & it’s up to them to do with it as they want.
No contact also isn’t about not accepting someone. It’s about accepting that person as they are, yet knowing you can’t have a healthy relationship with that person.
No contact has nothing to do with being disrespectful. Rather it has everything to do with self respect, with respecting one’s self enough to detach from an abusive relationship.
No contact isn’t about hate. Just because you have ended a relationship doesn’t mean you hate the other person. You can love someone a great deal yet not be able to be in a relationship with that person. Some people I’ve spoken with assumed I hated my parents because of being no contact with them. Far from it! I loved my parents a great deal. It was how they treated me that I hated.
No contact isn’t about creating conflict or being dramatic. Every single person I’ve spoken with who ended an abusive relationship, no matter who that relationship was with, wanted the exact same things I did: no further abuse, peace & a conflict & drama free existence. When a narcissist’s flying monkeys go after someone who has gone no contact, fewer things can be more stressful & upsetting. We try to avoid that at all costs!
I doubt there is anyone who truly wants to end a relationship with someone they love, even when that person is abusive. That being said though, there are times when it’s necessary. Some people are so toxic there is no other solution other than no contact. Sadly, this even happens in families. As I said, I ended the relationship with my parents. They were simply that cruel & toxic. It happens, unfortunately, so if it has happened to you as well, know you’re not alone. Many of us understand!
Many of you who know me personally know that my husband has been wanting to move into his late parents’ home for some time now. It caused a great deal of arguing between us. Although his reasons are smart & valid, I also had smart & valid reasons for not wanting to move. Thankfully, we were able to reach compromises about the situation, so the arguing is over.
I noticed something interesting about this when first telling people that my husband wanted to move. The vast majority of people encouraged me to move, & disregarded my misgivings.
To be honest, I felt like none of these people cared about my feelings. I felt betrayed, hurt, angry & most of all shocked. It made no sense to me at all that people I cared about would act this way.
Eventually though I realized some things.
They saw things differently than I did since they weren’t as involved in the situation as I was. Not everyone knew the ugly story of the problems with my in-laws. They couldn’t make an informed opinion because they didn’t know all of the facts.
There is also the fact that people see things through the lens of their own experience. Maybe they would like to move & don’t have the opportunity. They could think moving is a great thing, period, simply because of their situation. Or, maybe they have a good relationship with their in-laws, & can’t comprehend mine. If it was them, their in-laws wouldn’t cause them any problems, so they assume mine are the same.
Plus, people are often narrow minded, not looking at the big picture. In this case, they knew I dislike my current neighbors & have a chance to get away from them. What could be bad about that?! They simply didn’t think that the house could be run down or in a bad neighborhood, only that I have a means of getting away from my awful neighbors. (For the record, the house is in great condition & in a good neighborhood).
Thinking about all of this made me realize how similar this is to when someone opens up about being abused by a narcissist & isn’t believed.
People don’t know the whole story. They haven’t seen the rages or horrific abuse. They probably see the narcissist at their most civil, or they don’t know the narcissist at all.
People also see things through the lens of their unique experiences, as I said. If someone hasn’t encountered a narcissist, they often struggle with believing the bizarre stories of narcissistic abuse. Having been through it, I still have a hard time believing some of the things that have happened to me! How could someone who hasn’t witnessed it not struggle to believe a person could behave in such a manner?
Also as I said, people are narrow minded. Some people come from a normal family, & assume everyone has a normal family like they do. I experienced this with someone I knew years ago. When I explained some of what I’d gone through with my mother, he said something to the effect of, “You’re a teenage girl. All teenage girls have problems with their mothers.” He was a very nice person who came from a normal family. I believe because of that, he had no idea that so much dysfunction could exist in the world.
The next time you discuss the narcissistic abuse you’ve experienced & someone brushes you off, please keep this in mind. Although it’s true, many people have malignant reasons for not believing you or trying to stop you from talking about it, not everyone does. Consider the person with whom you’re dealing. You’ll know if the person is good just ill informed or is being malicious. If the person is good, I hope remembering what I said can help you not to be so hurt or angry by their behavior. If not, I hope you can get away from the person as quickly as possible!
Removing someone from your life is a very challenging thing to do even under the best of circumstances. What makes it even harder is when others criticize not only that you did it but even how you ended a relationship. It is so frustrating when you took this big step & people with no vested interest in the relationship feel the need to tell you how wrong you were. It can make you seriously doubt your decision.
One aspect of this I have experienced is being told how wrong I was for simply backing out of someone’s life rather than explaining how I feel or trying to work things out. Those familiar with the Myers Briggs personality test recognize this as the infamous INFJ door slam, even though all personalities may use it. Others call it ghosting. Whatever you choose to call it, many people call it childish, petty & even cruel when it often is nothing of the sort.
While the door slam isn’t appropriate in every relationship that ends, in many cases is it a very good option to take no matter what others may think.
With narcissists, trying to work out relationship problem is a waste of time. In fact, telling them that you are hurt when they do or say something usually just makes them do or say that thing more often.
They also have no desire to change their hurtful behavior. If something they do hurts someone, that is either inconsequential to them or it brings them joy. Trying to talk things out with someone like this is not only impossible, but it will cause a lot more pain & frustration.
Not to mention, narcissists will try to convince a victim to maintain the relationship’s status quo & can be very good at doing so sometimes. This can cause a couple of unpleasant outcomes. The victim may become confused & stay in the toxic relationship. Or, the victim may leave but carry a great deal of shame for leaving the “poor abuser” or “ruining his or her life” by ending the relationship. Another scenario can happen if the abuser & victim live together. Talking to the abuser before ending the relationship & moving out can give the abuser time to come up with especially creative & effective tactics to keep the victim in the relationship
In cases like this, it is much better for someone to leave a relationship unannounced & silently for their own mental health’s sake.
Not all relationships are abusive, though, & sometimes a person wants to end it simply because of personality differences, moral differences or even religious beliefs. In cases like that, sometimes leaving a relationship silently still may be a viable option.
If someone repeatedly hurts you, you tell them they’re hurting you & they continue to hurt you, they have to know why you’re ending the relationship. They don’t need you to explain yourself yet again. There is no point.
No one should have to explain to someone how to be a decent human being, especially repeatedly. Some people seem to have no clue how to be civil, let alone polite, & are content with their behavior. They say things like, “This is just how I am.” Explaining why you want to end a relationship with someone like this is most likely going to be a waste of your time.
Obviously, people are very different so you need to consider your options seriously when ending a relationship someone. If the person is reasonable, explaining why you’re ending it is a good option. That person may learn that they need to behave in a healthier way. And, who knows, they may teach you something about your own behavior as well. If the person in question isn’t reasonable though, quietly walking away probably is your best option.
Recently, God told me something fascinating. “To narcissists, fear plus obedience equals respect.” I thought this was fascinating & it made a lot of sense! Narcissists clearly have no grasp of what true respect really is. They also have no grasp of how to get respect. What they do to get their so called respect is nothing like what most people do.
Most people realize you can’t demand someone respect you, you have to earn their respect. Narcissists don’t think that way. My mother used to tell me, “I demand respect!” Didn’t work… I had very little respect for her.
Also, most people don’t try to force someone to do anything. They go on about their lives not trying to force someone to respect them. They instead do things that earn people’s respect such as helping the underprivileged or homeless. Narcissists don’t care about doing good deeds to earn respect. They believe that they’re entitled to it no matter what.
I also thought at first that this pertained only to overt narcissists. They have no problem yelling, cursing, demeaning, invalidating, intimidating & using physical force on a victim to get whatever they want. It can be easy for people to become intimidated by such things & become obedient to the narcissist.
As I thought about this, God said it goes for covert narcissists too. They may not be so obviously intimidating, but they truly can instill fear in their victims which makes them obedient. Their weapons are quieter, such as using guilt, shame, acting disappointed & the silent treatment, but they are effective nonetheless. That also made sense. A victim may not be afraid of a covert narcissist screaming at them or hitting them, but they do still fear the covert narcissist’s quiet wrath & will do about anything to avoid it. Fear & obedience.
I also wondered how narcissists know to do what they do. I mean, they’re not exactly insightful. Yet somehow they also know what to do to each unique victim to get what they want. How do they all know that fear & obedience will get them their so called respect? God answered that question too. He said the devil tells them things. Apparently he & his demons basically whisper things to them, & the messages are kind of like a subliminal message. These messages are spoken quietly & subtly, so narcissists think they are their own ideas. They’re also simple, along the lines of “If you scream at her, she will do what you want” rather than explaining more complicated details, such as fear & obedience equal respect.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that narcissists are helpless against the devil’s will. They aren’t, but they choose not to ignore him. Repeatedly doing the devil’s work has shut down their natural empathy & their willingness to listen to God. 2 Timothy 2:26 in the English Standard Version, it says, “and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” Clearly, people can choose to reject doing the devil’s work.
I’m telling you this in order that you may understand what you’re dealing with regarding narcissists. You aren’t dealing merely with an obnoxious person when you deal with a narcissist. You’re dealing with an evil spirit wanting to hurt you. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Remember what exactly you are dealing with, Dear Reader. Learn about spiritual warfare, & most importantly, stay close to your Heavenly Father. All you have to do is ask Him & He will gladly help you in any situation, including this one.