Tag Archives: narcissists

Some Thoughts About When People Don’t Believe Victims About Narcissistic Abuse

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!

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Ghosting, aka The INFJ Door Slam

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.

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Narcissists Think Fear + Obedience = Respect

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.

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Often “Less Wrong” Is Your Best Solution With Narcissists

When dealing with narcissists, often there is no right answer.  They are masters at creating no win situations, & even when they aren’t actively creating one, they seem to come up anyway.  For example, think about no contact.  In a sense, it’s the right solution.  It’ll protect you from further abuse & give you the space you need in order to heal from all you have endured.  While those are certainly great things, no contact also means a close relationship ended & on a bad note.  Clearly this isn’t a really good thing, even though the good outweighs the bad.  The only other alternative is to continue in an abusive relationship, so a person is limited to two choices, neither of which is particularly great.

Many things with narcissists are like that.  Setting boundaries is another example.  Yes, setting boundaries is a good thing & it is necessary, but at the same time, it starts a lot of problems with narcissists.  Since they don’t respect anyone’s boundaries, when someone tries to set them, they get angry & even more abusive.  The only choices are begin to set boundaries & deal with more abuse at least temporarily, or do nothing & suffer anyway.  Neither answer is really a right one.

Often, the best you can do with a narcissist is choose the least wrong answer.

While I know this sounds depressing & hopeless, I don’t mean it to.  Once you accept this, you can feel less stress & anxiety in your dealings with the narcissist.

Accepting that there really isn’t any right answer helps you to understand that no matter what you do, there won’t be a good, healthy or functional solution.  There is nothing you can do to make that happen.  It’s beyond your control.  This can be very freeing!  It helps you not to beat yourself up because things haven’t worked out perfectly.  You accept that sometimes a person’s best just isn’t good enough, & that’s ok.

It also helps you because you learn to keep your expectations realistic with the narcissist.  You know that the narcissist is going to be angry or upset no matter what you do.  You will have a good idea what to expect rather than thinking that this time will be better.  You also can prepare yourself for whatever is going to happen.

Accepting this truth that there are only less wrong answers with narcissist also helps you not to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out exactly what you need to do & how to do it.  You feel much less pressure to make everything right when you know that no matter what you do, you’ll be wrong anyway.

When you know that the narcissist will say you’re wrong in whatever you do, it’s also much easier to think of yourself instead of only him or her.  You develop a mindset something like, “Well, if I’m going to be wrong anyway I might as well get something out of this too.”

In all honesty, sometimes the fact there often isn’t any right answer also will make you sad.  That is totally normal.  It isn’t exactly the most cheerful fact of life, after all.  But, if you can look at it in ways that benefit you, it really can help you.

I also found that a quote from Captain Picard from the old tv show “Star Trek The Next Generation” to be comforting.  “It is possible to commit no mistakes & still lose.  That is not a weakness.  That is life.”  I know, I’m a nerd quoting this show, but the words are very wise & very comforting.  Definitely worth remembering, in particular when dealing with a narcissist.

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What It’s Like To Go No Contact With Parents

People often don’t understand what it’s like sever ties with  parents.  It’s easy to understand how shocking it can be to some people.  I want people who don’t understand to understand, & I hope to help them to do that with this post.

Looking from the outside in, most people don’t see an abusive family scenario.  They see attentive parents & well behaved children.  They see parents who are successful at their chosen careers, kids getting good grades in school, active in sports or other after school activities & their parents supporting such things.

They don’t see what happens behind the scenes, though.  Screaming, raging, sometimes even physical assaults.  Then there are the scathing criticisms said so often that it destroys the child’s self esteem.  There also is the fact that narcissistic parents do their level best to destroy their child’s identity & recreate the child into whatever it is they want.  The child’s personality, likes, feelings & even morals mean nothing to that parent, only what the parent wants is what matters.  While this may not sound so bad to someone who hasn’t experienced it, I can tell you from my own experience & that of others I have spoken to in similar situations, a child in this situation often considers suicide as it feels like the only means of escape.

When the child in this situation grows up, often, that child who is now an adult learns that their upbringing wasn’t normal.  They witnessed other people with kind & loving parents.  They have friends whose parents bought them their first car when they got their drivers’ license instead of fighting them getting a license & car.  Their friends’ parents celebrated when they graduated from high school or college rather than ignoring the accomplishments or finding some way to trivialize them.

Things like this often make this adult child look for answers.  Frequently many abused adult children learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder at this time.

Suddenly, so many things make sense!  The abuse, the belittling, the manipulation, the control.  Then they learn there is almost no hope whatsoever of changing a narcissist.  Explaining that their actions hurt only encourages them to do those things more.

After attempting every tactic they can to make the toxic relationship healthier yet failing, the adult child realizes no contact is the only option.  Even after the realization, it often takes a long time to work up the inner strength to go through with actually ending the relationship with the toxic parent.

Eventually, they do sever ties though.  Suddenly people they know, or barely know, come out of the woodwork to tell them how terrible they are, how they need to fix the relationship, how badly they’re hurting their parents, how selfish they are & more.  The guilt is horrific & people like this make it even worse.

There is also the devastation of betrayal, because most of these people are people you never expected to side with anyone who abused you.  Actually society in general often sides with parents in these situations rather than the children they abused.

People assume estranged children hate their parents, & treat them accordingly when nothing could be further from the truth.  People don’t realize the pain behind going no contact.  They don’t realize the intense guilt or the cognitive dissonance because of doing something so extremely abnormal either.  They don’t recognize the loneliness because not only did you lose your parents but also most of your family & even friends by choosing to protect your mental health.

This is what happens when someone goes no contact with their parents.  This was my experience as well as that of so many others I’ve talked to.  If anyone thinks no contact is easy or taking a cowardly way out, they are utterly mistaken.  It’s the hardest decision I ever made, yet also the best one.

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Judging Victims For Tolerating Abuse

I’ve noticed so many people are quick to judge victims of abuse for tolerating abuse. The nature of the relationship doesn’t seem to matter, the same things are said to victims.  These judgmental people say things like, “Well *I* certainly wouldn’t have put up with being treated like that!”, “Just go no contact!” or, “Why didn’t you leave sooner?”

This post is for those people who are quick to judge, & need a  lesson on the reality of what it’s like to be abused.

Unless a person has been subjected to the effects of daily, intense gaslighting, they truly don’t know what they would do in that situation, & have no right to judge a situation they can’t understand.

Abusers use gaslighting to convince their victims that they can’t make it in life without their abuser.  Abusers convince their victims that they are so stupid & incapable that they need the abuser to help them navigate through life.  Not even the most highly intelligent people are immune to this.

They also convince their victims that no one cares about them other than the abuser.  People only talk to them because they are trying to be nice, not because they really care, abusers say.  They also create doubts in victims’ minds about their loved ones by saying things like, “She isn’t really a good friend to you.”  “He doesn’t care about you yanno.”  When an abuser says such things with conviction, & a victim hears such things often enough, they believe them no matter how much evidence to the contrary they may see.

Abusers also are very good at convincing their victims that if they would try just a little harder, the abuser would threat the victim better.  Watch a young child with an abusive parent, & you will see this clearly.  The meaner the parent is, the harder the child works to please that parent.  Adults aren’t immune to this behavior though.  During my first marriage, I did this with my ex husband.  The problem with this behavior is whatever the victim does is never good enough.  Abusers are notorious for changing what they say they want, raising that bar a bit higher once the victim does what they originally said they wanted, or denying ever wanting that thing their victim just did.  A person unaware of this manipulative & abusive behavior will keep trying to please their abuser, which leads to utter frustration in the victim & satisfaction in the abuser for having such control over the victim.

There’s also the fact that most people don’t want to end relationships with those closest to them, & abusers are usually those closest to the victim.  Deciding to end a romantic relationship is a big deal, especially when abuse is involved because the victim is going to feel like a failure or stupid for falling for someone abusive.  If the abusive relationship is a parent/child relationship, that is incredibly hard to end too.  Who can feel completely comfortable telling their parents they never want to see them again?!

Lastly, many abusers prevent their victims from leaving.  They often take the victim’s money & ruin that person’s credit, making it impossible for the victim to leave.  They make the victim completely financially dependent on them.  They threaten to take the couple’s kids away so the victim never will see them again.  Some have been known to lock their victims in their home, making them a prisoner.  And, still others threaten to kill either the victim, their pets, their children, their friends or family if the victim leaves.

After considering all of this.. can you honestly still wonder why victims tolerated the abuse as long as they did?

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Why Narcissistic Abuse Can Get Worse As Children Grow Up

I’ve heard over & over that narcissists never change.  Yet, I’ve seen my narcissistic parents change a great deal in my lifetime.

 

When I was a small child, my mother controlled everything about me, & my father idealized me.  In adolescence, my mother continued to control me & added scathing criticisms & later screaming at me to her repertoire.  My father still idealized me but when I complained about my mother to him, he told me how hard it was for him, & he was helpless to do anything for me.  Once I moved out, my parents both complained to me about the other one even more often than they had when I was growing up (which was a lot when I was a kid).  My mother no longer screamed at me or could control me as much as she did, but she was also still critical.  My father said how hard it was for him when I was growing up, knowing she was hurting me & wanted my comfort.  Once my parents hit their 70’s, they changed again.  My covertly narcissistic father gets more overt by the day, & my mother’s scathing criticisms have become quietly spoken & more hurtful than ever.

 

Many narcissistic parents follow a similar path in the manners in which they abuse their children.  They adapt their behaviors to the child’s & their stages in life.  But why?  I mean, we can all understand why a physically abusive parent stops hitting their child once the child is physically able to protect herself of course.  The abuser doesn’t want to get beaten as she beats her child.  But why do narcissists change their behaviors so much?

 

Personally, I believe the reason is they are attempting to beat their adult children down so they stay childish.  Eroding their child’s self-esteem will leave that child feeling incapable, rather than like the capable adult she truly is, & will make her feel she must depend on her parents.  After all, the parents want her to believe, she isn’t smart enough to choose the right friends, work the right career, like the right things, etc.  Her parents know best, so she should depend on them.

 

If a narcissistic parent can keep their adult child in a perpetual state of childhood, this can provides an incredible amount of narcissistic supply.  The adult child will depend on the parents, which means they can give the appearance of being good parents.  This adult child also will cater to their every whim, which we all know provides tons of narcissistic supply.

 

If the adult child doesn’t submit, however, she can count on problems with her parents.  Narcissistic parents can’t deal with a child who doesn’t submit to her parents, even as an adult.  They expect blind obedience from their child, no matter her age, & if they don’t get it, they will do their level best to hurt that child. They will treat her worse than ever once they realize she is resisting submitting to them.  Or, they simply discard her like a piece of trash, refusing to have any relationship with her, & often creating a vicious smear campaign against her.

 

As the adult child, you have no obligation to submit to abusive parents.  There is no love or honor in abuse.  You have every right to protect yourself from your narcissistic parents!  It will not be an easy road, but it is worth it.  And, it is much easier than living in that perpetual childhood in an attempt to please them.

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What’s Happening In My Little Corner Of The World & A Prayer Request

Dear Readers, I may not be posting much in the next few days.  My father’s in the hospital with extremely severe muscle spasms in his lower back.  I mean screaming in pain severe,  & none of the pain killers are helping. The doctors don’t know what’s causing the pain.

If you would, please pray for my father.  Also, for me as well.  My narcissistic mother is using this situation to be all about her.  Not a surprise,  of course.  But, I need God’s wisdom on how to handle dealing with her.  Thank you! xoxo

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