Tag Archives: relationship
In spite of how it may seem, in spite of the many similarities most narcissists share, when it comes to ending a relationship with a narcissist, each situation is unique.
This is what makes the common advice, “Just go no contact” very bad advice, in my opinion. While it’s true that ending the relationship is often the only solution for a victim, that process shouldn’t be done so glibly, with no real thought put into it.
Ending any relationship creates a narcissistic injury in a person. In other words, it’s a blow to the self esteem when someone tells you they don’t want you in their life any longer. While functional people are hurt & angry, they get through. Narcissists, however, aren’t like functional people. They rage. They often spread vicious lies about their victim in a smear campaign designed to do the most possible damage to their reputation. They also are known for harassing their victims so badly, they sometimes wear the victim down to the point of returning to the relationship. Anything to make the constant influx of phone calls, texts, emails, etc. stop. Other narcissists have no problem stalking their victim or even physically hurting or killing them.
These reasons are why although no contact is usually the best solution when it comes to a realtionship with a narcissist, how you get to that point must be done with great wisdom & planning.
As always, I recommend prayer as the best place to start. God can help you like no one can simply because He knows things no other human knows.
From what I have seen, in these situations, God gives one of three answers:
- “End it now. Just walk away.”
- “Not yet… I will tell you when & how.”
- “Don’t end it.”
“End it now” is the easiest. You simply block the narcissist’s access to you at every turn. Usually, they walk away & find a new victim, not caring they lost you. This solution usually is best for narcissists who are lower on the spectrum or who have a lot of people in their life.
“Not yet” is what happened with my parents. That was tough because I really wanted the relationship over, yet also knew I had to wait on God’s timing. I also wasn’t sure how to end it, but He showed me. Although waiting in these situations is really hard, it also is well worth it. If you follow God’s lead, you will have peace not only about ending the relationship but how you choose to end it. That peace is so important! And, by following God’s lead, you will receive the minimal amount of abuse from the narcissist once you end that relationship.
“Don’t end it” may be the most challenging answer of all but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a valid answer. I’ve known a few people who received this answer. Rather than ending the relationship with the narcissist in their life, they made themselves as unappealing as possible to that narcissist & eventually that person ended the relationship with them. This seems to be a good option for the most toxic of narcissists. If a person can become so unappealing to their narcissist that the narcissist rejects them instead, they stand very little chance of retaliation from that narcissist. The narcissist feels they have the power because they ended the relationship rather than the victim did. In cases of malignant narcissists, this is a very good option because it will help a victim avoid the potential fallout of an especially vicious & even dangerous narcissistic rage.
Whatever you do when it comes to ending the relationship with the narcissist in your life, please be careful, be wise & most of all, follow God’s promptings. You will get through this time with your safety & sanity in tact if you do those things.
One way narcissists lure victims into a relationship is by paying way too much attention to their victims.
Narcissistic friends & romantic partners alike commonly smother their new found interest (aka victim) with positive attention. They cling very quickly to someone they just met. They claim the new interest is their soul mate or they felt some sort of special connection the moment they met. They shower this person with praise & often gifts as well. They want to spend every possible moment together.
I have experienced this with friends as well as my ex husband. I’ve met several people online who within a day or two of meeting me decided we needed to talk constantly. Probably the first one was the worst. I didn’t know about narcissism at the time & was flattered she thought so highly of me. We used to speak on the phone often as well as via email. When I didn’t respond to her call or email, she would get mad. She’d claim she was just kidding when she said things like how dare I not call her back sooner than I did or “joke” about me being so busy when she clearly thought I never had anything to do.
I was young & naive, living with narcissistic parents when I met my ex husband. He constantly told me how pretty, smart, etc. I was, how he waited all his life for someone like me & expected me to spend all of my free time with him.
Anyone can be extremely flattered when someone treats them this way, but the average functional person realizes quickly this behavior isn’t normal. Those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents however are different.
Growing up with narcissistic parents means you have no concept of healthy boundaries. Even if this person’s attention is overwhelming, you don’t feel you have the right to refuse it. After all, the person is saying & doing what seems like the right things. How can you refuse that?!
Also children of narcissistic parents are neglected. Having someone pay positive attention feels good, & it’s about impossible to resist.
And, narcissistic parents don’t praise their children. These children grow up starving for praise. When someone comes along, showering them with praise, they can’t resist it.
If you grew up with narcissistic parents, you need to be aware of people like this who obsess over you. They’re predators looking for a victim.
Sometimes people meet & they just “click” immediately. My husband & I were that way. The same with my best friend & I. There was no obsessing though. We talked often & were free with complements, but no one was offended if the other didn’t answer their phone call or call back immediately. There was no talk of “soulmates” or anything similar in the very beginning or pressure to spend every waking moment together.
I’ve learned that children of narcissists need to be aware of people like this much more than the average person because of the natural weaknesses that come from being raised by narcissists. I strongly recommend asking God for discernment with people to help you to figure out who is safe & who is not.
Listen to your gut feelings, too. If something doesn’t feel right about someone, that feeling is there for a reason.
Pay attention to people’s actions, not only their words. A person can say anything they want, whether it’s true or not. A person’s actions tell you what is truly in their heart.
If you have doubts, talk to a safe, wise friend about your thoughts. Sometimes an outsider can be very helpful in providing an objective opinion.
Remember, not everyone who pays attention to you truly cares about you. They can be looking for your weaknesses & fears to exploit them & manipulate you.
One thing most people who haven’t experienced abuse at the hands of a narcissist fail to grasp is last straw moments. In fact, they can be odd enough that even those of us who have experienced narcissistic relationships don’t always understand them.
Last straw moments are those things that a narcissist does that seals their fate with their victim. The things may not be the worst thing they ever have done. In fact, they may not be all that bad, especially in comparison to other things the narcissist has done. They simply are something that makes a victim say “enough is enough!”
With my ex husband, it happened on our fourth wedding anniversary. I’d told him I wanted a divorce probably a month prior. He said I owed it to him to give him one last chance. Being naive, I agreed to it. Aside from moving out of his parents’ home, nothing changed. On our anniversary, we watched television. He suddenly said, “So you still want that divorce?”
With my mother, it happened when we had a huge argument in 2016 about me not telling my parents that my husband’s mother died. They knew I didn’t speak to her or her two daughters. I also was more concerned about my husband than my parents, especially since they spoke with my in-laws maybe four times in the 22 years we had been together at that time. I naively thought they wouldn’t care about her passing other than concern for my husband. I felt betrayed that my mother cared more about potentially upsetting my in-laws by not being there than me feeling her attendance would’ve shown she cared more for them than me. When I told her how I felt, she acted like I was the one in the wrong, & was angry with me. I couldn’t deal with her again.
Several months later, I went no contact with my father. One day, my husband & I were having our back door replaced when suddenly my father showed up. My husband told my father to leave, & after some harsh words, he did. Twice the following week, he sent the police to do a wellness check, claiming my husband abused me & kept me from him. My father sinking so low made me realize I’d never break no contact with him.
In all three scenarios, nothing they did was especially bad compared to their other actions. Yet somehow, it also woke me up to how badly I needed to get away from such toxicity.
Chances are excellent that you will experience something similar in your relationship with the narcissist in your life. When this happens, please learn from my experiences.
Don’t beat yourself up. So what this wasn’t the worst thing they have done? They have done plenty. It’s normal that anything, even something sort of small, can push you over the edge, because your patience are worn out.
Don’t think you’re petty because what they did wasn’t as bad as other things. Like I just said, it’s normal that anything, even something sort of small, can be too much after someone continually does terrible things to you.
Don’t compare your situation to anyone else’s. Everyone is unique. Just because your last straw moment was different than someone else’s doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.
Remember that you are unique as is the narcissist in your life. There are no one size fits all solutions. You need to handle the situation from here the best you can. If others think you’re wrong, so be it. If no one you know has handled a similar situation as you feel you need to, that isn’t important. Do what you know in your heart is right in your situation, & don’t let anyone else change your mind.
In a previous post, I mentioned that I found some notes my father wrote concerning the abuse my mother inflicted on me. He had put them in the Bible he wanted me to place in his casket upon his death.
Since reading those notes, I hadn’t thought too much about them. It hurt too much & made me angry. Basically, from what I gathered from his notes, knowing him & what God spoke to me about the situation, it boiled down to my father let my mother abuse me because he felt unable to protect me. He didn’t have the inner strength to protect me, let alone himself. While it’s true he also got a degree of narcissistic supply from the situation, in this post, I want to focus on the lack of inner strength only.
Narcissistic abuse can sap a person of so much, including their inner strength. You can feel as if there is no point in trying anything, because anything you do is wrong, according to the narcissist. They also tell victims things like no one else will ever care about them like the narcissist does, you can’t trust anyone else, & you’re lucky the narcissist loves you because no one else would. These statements can destroy any sense of hope in a victim. Without hope, there seems to be no point in trying to escape the abuse or even protect yourself from it. If you have children with the narcissist in your life, it also seems hopeless to protect them.
As difficult as it is, please try to regain your inner strength!! No one deserves to be treated the way a narcissist treats their victim, & that includes you. I’m sure the narcissist told you that you deserve whatever they do to you, or that you make them act the way they do, but that is not true! It’s a lie to justify their abuse.
If you continue to tolerate this abuse, there is also the chance it could make you suicidal. Many victims have experienced that, including me. That is a terrible place to be, & one where you don’t deserve to be. You deserve to be happy & living a life free of abuse, not one where you’re planning your own death. I know it can look like the only escape you have, but that isn’t true! There are ways out, & you can find them!
If you have children, think about them. One of your jobs as the parent to protect them, & that includes protecting them from any abusive person, even if that abuser is their other parent.
If you think you should stay with your narcissistic partner “for the sake of the children”, think about what kind of example you’re setting for them by doing so. You’re showing them that they should tolerate abuse, & that people can treat them any old way they want to. They also see your partner abusing you, which sends them the message it’s ok to abuse you. This can lead to children who become angry at their parent for failing to protect them & treat the parent badly, even abusively.
If the narcissist in question is your children’s grandparent, I want you to think about something. Do you remember how your parent made you feel when you were your child’s age? Your parent is inflicting that same pain on your child. Do you really want your child to feel as miserable & hopeless as you did?
To help you regain your inner strength, think about things that inspire you to be strong. Sometimes a song makes me feel strong, other times it’s Scriptures in the Bible. Even internet memes can be surprisingly inspiring sometimes. I also read previous entries in my journal to remind me of things I’ve overcome since that helps strengthen me.
Most of all, I have found a close relationship with God to be the best thing to increase my inner strength. I ask Him to give me strength & to help me as I need it. Before my parents died, I asked those things often when I had to deal with them & God never failed to give me just what I needed at the time. He will do the same for you. Let Him help you, & do what you need to as well. Before you know it, you’ll have your inner strength back.
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
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?
Living through narcissistic abuse is a horrific experience that no one should have to endure. As if that isn’t bad enough, many victims open up to their family about their experiences & are met with unbelief, blame, shaming comments, denial & more. Their family members say that they should forgive & forget, get over it, & other invalidating comments. It’s so shocking when you expect support & love & are met with these terrible reactions. As if this wasn’t enough, many families offer unconditional love & support to the abuser while shunning the victim.
The vast majority of my family never cared that my parents were abusive to me. They ignored signs when I was a child. As an adult, they told me things like I needed to get over my childhood hurts, I only get one set of parents & I needed to fix the relationship with my parents. No doubt many of you can relate.
Victims often wonder why their family acts this way. I have some ideas why. By explaining the behavior, I am certainly NOT excusing it. There is no valid reason to treat a victim this way. I am simply trying to show victims that the people who say such comments are incredibly dysfunctional & should be ignored not believed.
Denial is the main reason families reject victims & support abusers. Who wants to accept the fact that someone they love in their own family is capable of horrible acts?! No one. Many people do it anyway. Many other people lack the courage to face that ugly truth. Also, by denying the abuse, they can have a clear conscience when it comes to failing to help or protect the victim. If the abuse didn’t happen, even only in their mind, then they did nothing wrong. Lastly, many of these people care a great deal about the abuser. Narcissists can be quite charming & likeable. These people believe this act is the real person & become so enchanted with that false persona, they will reject anything that threatens it which includes someone claiming that person isn’t the perfect person they present themselves as.
Many of these abuse defenders have abuse in their own past. For every victim of abuse who confronts their pain & works on healing, there are other victims who don’t have the courage to do the same. They pretend they weren’t abused, pushing all memories as far away from them as they can so as to avoid their pain. When you face your pain, those people are reminded of theirs, especially if the abuse had similarities. Facing your pain makes them feel badly for not facing theirs as well as reminds them of their own pain. Since they don’t want to be reminded of their own pain, they will do their best to shut you down quickly.
Some abuse defenders are also abusive narcissists. Abusers don’t want to admit any behavior is abusive. It means admitting to themselves that they too are abusers, & what they are doing is wrong. While narcissists lack the empathy to care about the pain & suffering they cause their victims, they do care about what others think of them. To be known as an abuser tarnishes their reputation, which is something they wish to avoid at all costs.
Many abuse defenders benefit from befriending the narcissist. Immediately after my mother died, I learned she sent one of my aunts money monthly. I was stunned! They never got along & my mother often had complained of my aunt’s lack of money management skills as well as her expectations of others to bail her out every time she got herself into trouble. I can only assume her benefiting from my mother is why she was such a staunch defender of my parents. There are many others in similar situations who like my aunt, refuse to chance losing their benefits from the narcissist & prefer to throw their victims under the bus.
When you are in such a situation, I hope you keep this information in mind. When your family dismisses your valid claims of abuse, the problem definitely isn’t you. It’s them!
I have heard so many people say that narcissists never change. While this is often true, I disagree with it in some situations.
Narcissists absolutely can change, but only if they see the need. After an argument, they are usually very nice to their victims to win their trust back, including promises of better behavior. They also may stop their abuse, even mid-rage, if someone whose opinion they care about enters the room. Obviously, they possess the ability to change. The problem is they rarely want to change for long, because being abusive gets them what they want.
Narcissists also change as they age. If a narcissist would terrify victims by screaming & hitting when he was 35, he can’t be intimidating like that anymore at 75. This means that he will have to find new ways to abuse. There are also some covert narcissists who become overt narcissists due to age or brain diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Also, I am a firm believer in Matthew 19:26 in which Jesus says, “With God, all things are possible.” This tells me that a narcissist could change, & become a non-narcissist, with God’s help. Likely? Not really, because although all things are possible with God, people still have a free will, He won’t infringe upon that & narcissists are quite content with their behavior since it benefits them.
How can a person tell if a narcissist is sincere & genuinely changing for the better? There are some signs you can look for.
Does the narcissist back up words with actions? If someone promises, “That will never happen again!”, yet it does happen again, that tells you this person has no real desire to change.
Is the narcissist’s apology genuine? Does he or she apologize as often as necessary? A genuine apology is more than simply saying, “I’m sorry.” A genuine apology includes the person accepting responsibility for what they did & putting effort into making things right. It also should be said however often the victim needs to hear it. It should NOT include excuses, blaming you or someone else, or the word “but” immediately after “I’m sorry.” It also should NOT be passive/aggressive, such as, “I’m sorry for whatever you think I did,” “I’m sorry if I did anything that upset you,” or, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
Does the narcissist pressure you to take him or her back, or resume the relationship as it once was? Anyone who truly has changed their abusive ways will understand that it takes time to earn a person’s trust back once it has been broken. They will be willing to wait as long as it takes while doing whatever it takes to repair the damage to the relationship.
Is the narcissist mirroring you? Does he or she suddenly agree with everything you say or has he or she developed a sudden interest in things that matter to you? That is mirroring. In other words, this person is trying to act like you so you will feel comfortable enough with him or her to resume the relationship.
If the narcissist is behaving in a way that shows you this person has changed, what happens when he or she slips into old habits? No one is perfect. It’s only natural to make mistakes when trying to change, no matter how much we may want to change. How does he or she handle those times? Does this person apologize immediately & change the behavior? Or, does this person make excuses, blame you or show in some other way that he or she is accepting no responsibility for what he or she did?
Is the narcissist willing to discuss problems reasonably? Typical narcissistic behavior when someone confronts them involve temper tantrums, guilt trips, denial &/or gaslighting. Proof of change would be that he or she will listen to you without acting in such a way.
Dear Reader, I hope you consider these points if the narcissist in your life says they have changed. They can be fantastic actors, capable of convincing people of pretty much anything they wish.
Also please remember that although with God all things are possible & narcissists can change for the better, it is highly unlikely. Pray for it. Hope for it. At the same time, never forget that it isn’t terribly probable. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, as the saying goes.
Most people have heard of the notorious narcissistic smear campaign. This happens when a victim ends a relationship with a narcissist. Narcissists can’t handle rejection, so to extract revenge on the one who rejected them, they tell anyone who will listen the most terrible lies they can conjure up about the victim. Sadly, many people believe the lies, & victims often end up losing relationships with people they love. In many cases even some of their close friends & family believe the narcissist’s lies. This is why smear campaigns can be one of the most painful things a narcissist can do to a victim.
When a smear campaign happens, many victims try to explain their side of the situation. It’s only normal to want to be believed, after all, & prove that they are nothing like the narcissist says they are. Sadly though, people who wish to explain themselves are often met with disbelief. Worse yet, when they become upset about not being believed, people take their righteous anger as proof that the narcissist was right, & the victim really is crazy, irrational, or even abusive.
Rather than frustrate yourself, there are some much better ways to handle this awful situation.
First, pray. Ask God for whatever you need in the situation & in particular, His guidance in exactly how you should handle it. This is the absolute best place to start in any situation, in my opinion, & especially in such a tricky one as dealing with a smear campaign.
Second, you need to shift your perspective a bit. Someone who genuinely cares about you not only wouldn’t believe the narcissist’s lies, but would defend you. Anyone who doesn’t do this & believes the narcissist’s lies clearly doesn’t really care about you. Knowing that, why would you care what people like that think of you?
Third, it bears repeating – never defend yourself to anyone who believes the narcissist’s lies. There is no point. Some people prefer to believe lies to the truth, so defending yourself to them will only serve to convince them that you are as bad as the narcissist says you are. I know it’s tempting to defend yourself, but truly, you will be better off not doing so! Let these deluded people believe whatever they want.
Fourth, rather than worry about the lies being told about you, try to focus instead on living your life in such a way that no one with any sense would believe the lies. Just let your good character shine through. 1 Peter 2:15 says, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” (ESV) Doing this will prove that you are nothing like what the narcissist has said you are, & in fact, contrary to what the narcissist claims, you are a very good person. Some people are die hard, excessively loyal to the narcissist, & they will refuse to believe anything but the lies. The more rational, reasonable & functional people though will see the truth. These are the people whose opinions you should value rather than those who blindly accept the narcissist’s lies as truth.
I know smear campaigns can be very difficult & painful to experience, but truly, you can & will get through it. You will come out stronger & wiser from the experience too. Your relationships most likely will be better as well. The unhealthy ones will be weeded out by the narcissist’s lies, leaving you with the good ones. Although smear campaigns are awful to go through, usually these good things & more end up coming from them. Oddly, they really can be a blessing in disguise.
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!
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.
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.
When you first learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, one of the first things you will see is many people preaching the value of no contact. It’s true, no contact is often the best solution when dealing with narcissists, no matter what role the narcissist has in your life. They accept no responsibility for their abusive ways, they have no empathy so they don’t care about the pain they cause, & they are more than happy to use & abuse anyone in order to get whatever they want. In other words, they aren’t the kind of people with whom you can work things out.
No contact is a very serious issue, & should NOT be taken lightly. Yet, there are people out there who treat it as if it’s no big deal. You can recognize them easily. They’re the people saying, “Just go no contact” if you mention your narcissist’s abusive behavior. They act like there is no excuse whatsoever to remain in that relationship, & something is very wrong with you for staying.
People like this are not good if you’re in the place of considering going no contact. The reason being people who say this can make a victim feel shame for not wanting to end that relationship or not having the strength to do it just yet. That shame may make them feel horrible & muddy their thinking. It is NOT helpful! This is NOT what anyone considering no contact needs! People in this position need support, love, understanding & even objectivity in the people surrounding them to help them come to whatever decision is right for them.
There is another brand of the “no contact” crowd out there that is even more dangerous. These are the people who say your family is toxic as soon as you say anything about them that is less than 1000% positive, & you don’t need them in your life. People like this are either highly sensitive due to their own abusive pasts or they’re manipulative. One example is someone I knew who sold her home & gave the money to a fortune teller. This fortune teller told her that her parents were toxic, & she needed to get away from them. She should sell her house & give the rest of the money to this fortune teller. The lady’s parents were about as un-toxic as you can get, but she listened anyway. The fortune teller ran off with this lady’s money as soon as the house was sold.
My point of all of this is that you, Dear Reader, need to be wise with people who say, “Just go no contact”. Think about it for yourself before you decide to do it. Is the person telling you this someone who knows you & the other person? Does this person have experience in similar relationships? Does this person have anything to gain if you sever ties with the person in question? Remember, abusive people isolate their victims, so there is a distinct possibility that this person could be abusive & trying to get you away from someone who isn’t abusive (like the fortune teller in my story).
I’m not trying to talk you out of no contact, far from it. Like I said, in many abusive relationships, it’s the only option. What I am trying to convince you to do is to pray & consider it seriously for yourself while not blindly listening to the advice of other people. People who give advice on this subject may not have your best interest at heart, or know enough about your situation to give good advice. Consider what they have to say, but if it doesn’t feel right, trust that feeling.
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.
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.
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?
After ending a relationship with a narcissist, the narcissist will NOT take it well. No one likes rejection, of course, but narcissists take that dislike to an entirely new level. Many have been known to stalk & harass their victims to punish them for rejecting the narcissist. Most however, do something known as hoovering. Hoovering is when a narcissist tries to lure a victim back in to the relationship. It is yet another very good reason to have nothing to do with the narcissist once you end the relationship.
Narcissists have many ways they try to hoover in their victims. All are sneaky & confusing for a victim unless the victim is aware of what the narcissist is up to.
Often, they will have their flying monkeys talk to you. They will explain how sorry the narcissist is & how miserable life is without you. When I broke my engagement to my now ex husband, several people told me I should get back with him because he was miserable without me. No one cared how I was without him, only about him. The guilt I felt was intense, which obviously was the goal since it made me return to him.
The narcissist may “accidentally” run into you at the coffee shop or grocery store, & use this supposed chance meeting to tell you how much they miss you as an attempt to hoover you back.
Narcissists may use special days to their advantage, such as sending you a lovely card & gift on your birthday, or reminding you that today would have been your anniversary. This is to make sure you think of them favorably & give them an excuse to talk to you
Narcissists aren’t above using a crisis to their advantage either. If you have had a serious problem & the narcissist learns of it, he or she may try to contact you claiming to be concerned about you. Or, if the narcissist has had a crisis, he or she may let you know, saying they thought you would want to know. These are only about getting their foot in the door.
Items also can give a narcissist an excuse to contact a victim after the relationship is over. They may ask if you have some item of theirs, even knowing you don’t have it. It’s merely an excuse to reach out to you.
Sometimes narcissists may use technology to hoover. They may text you, claiming it was for someone else, then try to start a conversation. They may call you, asking if you called them, then when they say they look at their phone, they mistook your number for someone else’s, but since you’re talking, how are you? Some will even send a message, then ignore your response.
If they can open the door of communication in any way, they absolutely will do it. Doing so probably means they will tell you how miserable they are without you & how much they have changed.
When things like this happen, don’t be foolish as I was with my ex! Be aware of what is happening. They are only trying to hoover you back for their own benefit, not because they love you. Remind yourself that they don’t miss you, per se. They miss how you made them feel. They miss how they could control & manipulate you.
Never forget that the primary interest of any narcissist is that narcissist. No one else really matters to them. This means they only want you back because you can benefit them in some way.
Remember the tactics & why the narcissist is doing these things. These things are done only to manipulate you back into the relationship so the narcissist can abuse you further.
Narcissists almost never offer a real apology. Sure, they may say the words, “I’m sorry” sometimes, but the words are often followed up by words &/or actions that prove this apology isn’t genuine. Sometimes however, they can be quite convincing that this time, the apology is real. This post is to help you spot the signs of a fake narcissistic apology.
The fake apologies are most likely to flow freely after ending a relationship with a narcissist. They may even say the right things like, “I’ve changed”, “I know I did some bad things,” or even, “I’ll get therapy”. The words can be very believable. Naturally, you will want to believe them too. No one wants to accept that there are people out there capable of the cruelty that narcissists commit on a daily basis.
The problem with such apologies is if you give the narcissist a bit of time after the first apology, some cracks will start to show. Instead of, “I’ve changed,” they may say things like, “I’ve changed but I need you to do some changing too.” They also may add a “but” to their apology. “I’m sorry I did that to you, but you really made me angry!” Suddenly their willingness to go to therapy either turns into a willingness to go to couples therapy rather than individual, or they claim they never said they would go to therapy in the first place.
At this point, many victims are sucked in by the first, more sincere sounding apology. They make excuses for the narcissist’s sudden changes. They blame themselves for making the narcissist do the terrible things they did or even their lack of patience & understanding with the narcissist. They also think maybe the narcissist is right, & they never promised they would go to therapy.
If the victim continues with this train of thought, resuming the relationship with the narcissist is very likely. In the beginning the victim will be glad they did this, because everything will be good. The narcissist won’t be so cruel, but instead will be kind, understanding, even gentle. This “honeymoon” period lulls victims into a false sense of security. They believe the narcissist has really changed this time. They believe the narcissist meant what they said, & the relationship is going to be ok.
Little by little though, the narcissist begins to resume his or her old ways. It probably will start out as subtle criticisms or attempts at control or manipulation. These won’t happen as often as they once did, which makes it easy for a victim to brush them off.
As time passes, however, the narcissist gradually returns to his or her old ways, & most likely adds some new tricks to the repertoire. The victim ends up shocked one day when reality sets in, & they see that the narcissist never changed at all.
This scenario almost always happens, no matter the nature of the relationship with a narcissist. You mostly hear about it in the context of romantic relationships, but it also happens with friendships or parent/child relationships.
Don’t let this happen to you!! If you have ended a relationship with a narcissist, refrain from having any contact with that person at all. If you must, keep your contact minimal while showing no emotions. If you can have someone act as a mediator between you both, all the better.
Any contact you do have with the narcissist gives him or her the chance to “apologize” & attempt to lure you back. Don’t fall for it! If he or she doesn’t accept responsibility for the behavior & ask how to make things right, or if he or she demands you believe or trust them, those are signs the apology isn’t sincere. If you resume the relationship at this point, you’ll be as miserable if not more miserable than you were before. Don’t let that happen. Walk away & take care of yourself.
Two years ago today, my father passed away. Naturally, the date has me thinking a lot. I tend to overthink anyway so no big surprise there.. lol
One thing that came to mind is a poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye that my father liked….
“Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave bereft
I am not there. I have not left.”
Lovely, isn’t it? It offers a great reminder that when someone we love has passed away, there are still things surrounding us that help us remember that person. For example, when I see butterflies, I think of my granddad, & monarch butterflies remind me of my father’s miraculous salvation at the end of his life. They always make me smile.
When the person who died is a narcissist, it’s certainly understandable if you don’t want reminders of that person. I understand completely, as sometimes reminders of my late parents are hard for me to handle. However, if you have lost someone you love, those reminders can offer a great comfort. They remind you that you can see your loved one again someday or of some good times you shared.
I’ve also come to realize that items hold energy. I don’t mean things can be haunted like in scary old ghost stories. What I mean is items that were particularly close to someone seem to hold a bit of that person’s “vibe” if you will. For example, I have some of my paternal grandmother’s jewelry. I love wearing it! It brings me comfort, reminds me of her or good times we shared. It’s as if I carry a bit of her essence with me when I wear it.
There also is a negative side to this. If the person whose item you have was abusive, the item can make you feel bad. I tried wearing some jewelry belonging to my narcissistic maternal grandmother. It was pretty, I like pretty jewelry, so it seemed natural for me to wear it. I quickly realized it didn’t feel right. It also made me feel as if I carried a bit of her essence with me, but the problem was, unlike my other grandmother, she was cruel! That wasn’t the vibe I wanted, so I stopped wearing her jewelry, pretty or not.
Considering all of this, I’ve come to believe that one thing that can help a person can get through grieving the loss of a loved one is having something of their deceased loved one’s. I’ve also come to believe that if the person who passed away was a narcissist, it may help the person grieving to avoid their possessions. It really depends on the relationship between the two parties involved.
I’m also not saying you have to cling to or avoid the deceased person’s item forever. What I am saying is that I believe that it can be helpful when the death is recent & grief is at its most difficult place. Since my father has been gone a while, now I can handle being around his possessions much easier than I could at first.
Grief is very hard & very painful, whether the person lost is someone you loved or a narcissist. I sincerely hope this post gives you another helpful way to cope. xoxo
Many of us who have been raised by narcissistic parents seem to end up with many other narcissists in our lives. We often end up romantically involved with them or friends with them. Like many others, I have experienced both, mostly narcissistic friends. I’ve also found precious little information available about narcissistic friendships, so I decided to tackle the topic myself.
People who come on too strong when first meeting you can be narcissists. That new friend who you just met yet who wants to spend lots of time with you or claims you’re their best friend may be a narcissist. Some folks who act in this way are simply insecure, but even so, you should be aware that there is a possible a sign of narcissism.
Friends who talk down to you are often narcissists. Narcissists seem to think they are superior to their victims, & don’t mind showing it. They act smug & talk to victims as if they are much less intelligent than the narcissist.
Your friend who can’t be bothered with your problems is probably a narcissist. Remember, narcissists all lack empathy. If you tell your friend you have a problem & they act bored, act as if they can’t be bothered, trivialize your problem or change the subject, these are all red flags of a lack of empathy.
If your friendship is one sided, that’s a big red flag of narcissism. A good friendship is balanced. Sure, sometimes your friend will need more from you than usual, but there are also times you will need more from your friend than usual. It balances out. When the bulk of your friendship is your friend taking from you while giving nothing in return, chances are your friend is a narcissist.
Narcissists expect their friends to be available to them 24/7, & believe there are no excuses for not being available. Narcissistic friends have no problems calling at 11:00 at night even knowing you need to be up for work at 5 a.m. If you don’t take their call, they say you’re a terrible friend, accuse you of not caring & more. If they need a ride somewhere, that is what you are for, to provide it. In fact, if they need anything, you are supposed to meet that need.
If your friend talks non stop about himself or herself, while never or almost never asking about you, that is another sign of narcissism. Narcissists almost never stop talking about themselves. Overt narcissists may brag about their fantastic accomplishments or covert ones may be subtle in discussing the things they do for others. They may discuss their problems or interests non stop.
Once you realize your friend is a narcissist, it’s usually best to end the friendship if at all possible, as is often the solution with any narcissistic relationship. Most often I believe the Gray Rock method is the best way to end a relationship with a narcissistic friend. In other words, become boring to your friend. Take their calls, spend time with them & do things for them less & less. When they get mad at you, pretend it doesn’t bother you in the slightest. Show them no reaction or emotion. If they demand to know why you weren’t available, give no excuses. Just say you were busy, & change the subject. When they talk about themselves, act disinterested. The more boring a narcissist finds a person, the less time they want to spend with that person. Often, they get bored enough to discard their victim.
Having a narcissistic friend isn’t easy, but you can protect yourself & handle the situation! Remember the kind of person you are dealing with, keep your emotions under control around them & conduct yourself accordingly.
So many children of narcissistic parents end up in many abusive relationships over the course of their lives. It starts out with abusive parents, then moves on to friends, later adding in co-workers & often eventually marrying a narcissist often from an equally narcissistic family.
As if the additional abuse isn’t bad enough, we also tend to verbally abuse ourselves about the situation. We beat ourselves up for getting involved with people who are so much like our abusive parents. We think we’re stupid, hopeless & much more. We can’t imagine why we would do such a thing. The aim of this post is to explain some possible reasons why we end up with these abusive people.
One reason is abuse is normal to us. We’re so accustomed to it, if a person isn’t abusive, we simply don’t know what to think of that sort of behavior. We choose an abuser over a safe, not abusive person simply because it’s familiar. There is a degree of comfort in familiarity, even when it is abusive. Thankfully, the more we heal from childhood, the more abnormal abuse becomes, & we stop attracting & being attracted to abusive people.
Children of narcissists grow up trying to find love, the love we never received as children. In a romantic relationship, this can give an abusive person a great deal of power & control. Until you recognize the signs of abuse, their power & control comes across as confidence, which can make you feel safe & loved, even there isn’t anything safe or loving about someone being controlling.
We also don’t really recognize what healthy love looks like. It’s not like a narcissistic mom & dad could provide good example of that. We think being loved means being abused, even though nothing could be further from the truth. When someone comes along & claims to love you, even if that person treats you like dirt, you think that person actually loves you.
Children of narcissists also settle. My mother told me no man would ever want me, so when my ex husband pursued me when we were in the eleventh grade, I felt like I shouldn’t pass up this opportunity even though he really wasn’t the type of guy I found attractive at all. After all, no one else would ever want me, I thought. Even dating other men after high school didn’t change that false belief I had. Many other adult children of narcissists I’ve spoken with have had similar experiences, & like me, settled for someone they didn’t love & who was abusive.
Gaslighting is your norm. You are so accustomed to being manipulated that you don’t recognize it as a problem. Since you don’t recognize this problem, the abuser can manipulate you in any way he or she sees fit. One common way narcissists keep their victim/spouse down is to make that person think that they are the problem in the relationship. When a person has low (or no) self-esteem, believing they are the problem will make that person feel as if they have to work hard to please their partner to make up for all of the misery they put that partner through.
If you too have experienced abusive relationships, then please stop beating yourself up! As you can see, it’s understandable! What matters is you escaped the abuse & learned from the awful experience. You’ll also find that the healthier you get & the more you learn, the more narcissists & other abusers will leave you alone.
Not all unsafe people are narcissists. Unfortunately, those of us who have experienced narcissistic abuse can be so focused on spotting & avoiding narcissists that we don’t notice traits in your garden variety unsafe people. It can be all too easy to overlook some unsafe qualities because if you compare them to narcissistic traits, they don’t seem all that bad. That doesn’t mean that these people are ok, however. It just means they aren’t as unsafe as narcissists. They still can cause frustration, hurt & pain.
Below is a list of traits of unsafe people I have compiled.
Unsafe people can come on too strong. Granted, narcissists do this, so it is at the very least a sign of an unsafe person, if not a narcissist. Watch out for anyone who says, “You’re going to be my best friend!” about as soon as you meet, or someone you date who starts discussing marriage almost immediately. Being so clingy simply isn’t normal.
Unsafe people also avoid facing their own problems, & will do about anything to avoid it. When my father was dying, my family & even strangers came out of the woodwork to attack me for not being there to say good bye, as I’ve said before. It went on for months but happened daily for his final three weeks when he was in the hospital. I asked God why this was happening & He told me something interesting. Some people were in deep denial. They didn’t want to face their own past abuse. Me not being there threatened their denial. I have been open about the abuse in my past, & me having the strength to face it made them feel bad for not doing the same. They felt they had to shut me down & make me do what they felt I should do so they could continue that denial. Rather than face difficult issues, many people will go even to such extremes to maintain their denial.
Unsafe people have no interest in improving themselves. Safe people want to learn & grow, lose bad habits, & other good things. Unsafe people couldn’t care less about such things.
Unsafe people act like they know everything. You can’t tell an unsafe person anything, because they know it all. They aren’t open to any knowledge, not only knowledge about how to improve themselves.
Unsafe people also become defensive at constructive criticism. Constructive criticism can help a person learn, grow & improve him or her self. Naturally this is a huge turn off to unsafe people since they have no interest in doing any such things.
When an unsafe person hurts another person, chances of accepting responsibility for their actions, a genuine apology & changed behavior are very, very slim. If you tell someone that something they said or did hurt you, & they act this way, it is a huge red flag saying this person is unsafe.
Unsafe people also demand trust rather than accepting the fact trust is earned. So many people say, “You can trust me” that it isn’t often noticed. It’s something that needs to be noticed, however! A healthy, safe person knows trust is earned, not given on demand.
Unsafe people can be very selfish. I don’t mean in a narcissistic way, where every single thing has to come back to them & they rage if it doesn’t. Not all selfish people are malicious, they are simply thoughtless. Even so, their selfishness can hurt you. If this happens & the person accepts responsibility, apologizes & their behavior changes, this is a very good sign that this person is safe. If none of that happens, however, this person is unsafe.
Unsafe people can be demanding of your time. Part of the selfishness factor, unsafe people want to monopolize your time. Naturally, not everyone who wants to spend time with you is unsafe. Good friends & loved ones naturally want to spend time with each other. Extroverts love to spend time with people. The key to recognizing an unsafe person in this area is someone who pretty much demands you spend time together when they want, & either acts offended or gives guilt trips when you are unavailable.
I believe these tips can help you to recognize unsafe people easily. And, when you come across them, always remember to keep your boundaries firmly in place, & be ready to enforce them as needed.
People often think it’s necessary to have some sort of closure at the end of a relationship, & it’s impossible to move on without it. Sometimes, however, closure isn’t a possibility. When it comes to narcissists, that is absolutely the case.
When an average relationship ends, it comes after two people have tried to work out their differences yet were unable to do so. They agree that the best solution is separation. Maybe some harsh words are said & the people decide to move on, each in their own direction. Each person also grieves, but in time, they do move on.
When a relationship with a narcissist ends, none of this happens. Narcissists see this as a rejection & narcissists’ simply can’t handle rejection in any form, ever. It’s a narcissistic injury. In other words, it is a direct blow to their self esteem. Rather than risk feeling not good enough or people finding out someone thinks the narcissist isn’t good enough, narcissists rage. The rage may be either a physical or verbal attack on the person ending the relationship, creating a smear campaign to discredit anything their victim says, recruiting flying monkeys to attack the victim, harassment & stalking or they simply pretend the victim never existed & meant nothing to them.
However the narcissist handles the relationship ending, it leaves no opportunity for real closure for the victim. The reason being the victim is too busy trying to process the trauma from the narcissist, survive the pain of people the victim thought cared turning on them, dodge the flying monkeys’ attacks, finding ways to protect him or herself from the narcissist’s harassment or stalking or processing the pain of the narcissist moving on as if the victim never existed. Such situations prohibit victims from being able to get closure in the traditional way.
None of this means that a victim can’t have closure after ending a relationship with a narcissist, however. It just has to come in different ways.
One way to help get closure is to accept the fact you won’t get it in the normal ways, & there is nothing you can do about that. Narcissists are far from normal people, so why would getting closure after ending the relationship with one be normal?
Another helpful thing you can do is accept the fact that the relationship meant nothing to the narcissist beyond what you could do for him or her. There was absolutely nothing you could have done to make that relationship healthy or loving, & that is NOT your fault! The blame for that lies on the narcissist.
It’s also common for people to beat themselves up after ending a relationship with a narcissist. Whether the narcissist was a spouse or parent, people often get angry with themselves for tolerating the abuse for too long or making excuses for it. That is nothing to be ashamed of! Any normal person wants to believe the person they love is a good person, which makes it hard to believe otherwise. Plus, narcissists are excellent manipulators. By being good sometimes, it thoroughly confuses victims. It makes them want to think the bad times aren’t the norm, that the good times are. This is known as Stockholm Syndrome or trauma bonding.
Since narcissists are so good at manipulation, that is why even some people close to you go to the side of the narcissist. If someone has their own issues, they may blindly fall for the narcissist’s manipulations. Someone abused as a child yet not facing their pain may side with your narcissistic parent because siding with you reminds them of their own pain & issues they fail to face. Or, they may be cowardly & see siding with the narcissist as the easiest path. The narcissist may benefit them somehow & not being on his or her side would mean losing that benefit. People like these are easy for narcissists to manipulate.
Lastly, as always I recommend praying. Ask God to help you. He will show you what you need to do as well as help you to heal. He will do so gladly, so why not let Him?
Closure with narcissists is difficult, but it is possible. It just isn’t what most people think of when they hear the word “closure.”
Many of us who grew up with at least one narcissistic parent ended up as adults, romantically involved with another narcissist. Unfortunately, it is very common. I did it myself. My mother was a very overt narcissist, my father a covert narcissist & my ex husband a very covert narcissist. Since he acted so differently than her, I honestly believed he was ok, even good for me at first. It took some time after our divorce when I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder before I learned about covert narcissism vs. overt. When I did is when things finally clicked, & I realized how bad he was for me.
If you too have thought the faulty way that I have, you are not alone! Below are some ways you can tell if your significant other is a narcissist. I am writing this from the perspective of a woman with a narcissistic male partner simply because that is what my situation was, but the information fits no matter who is male or female in the relationship.
It’s his way or the highway. Narcissists simply must have their way, always, period, end of story. If your mate pouts, uses guilt or anger to make sure he gets his way, this is a red flag.
If he acts like he is the one who knows what is best for both of you, this is another big red flag. My ex husband was convinced he knew what was best for us. The truth is, he knew what was best for *him, not *us.
Every conversation comes back to him. Looking back at my first marriage, it astounds me how every conversation came back to him. When my mother abused me when we were in high school, rather than him caring how it affected me, he talked about how hard it was on him. When he lost yet another job, it was all about his panic rather than what we could do to survive.
Manipulation is a constant. Overt narcissists are obvious in their abuse. They use threats of physical violence or yell & belittle to get their way. Covert narcissists are much more subtle, using guilt, shaming & gaslighting to get their way.
Are you always to blame? Another sign of a narcissistic mate is when you are to blame for everything. He lost his job? That is your fault, even though you were never there. His car broke down? Also your fault, in spite of the fact you have not driven the car since 2007. Why? His reasons will be creative & highly inaccurate.
Does he think way too highly of himself? Regarding my ex husband, my granddad said to me, “It’s a shame he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was.” He was right. My ex was convinced he was much smarter than pretty much anyone else on the planet, but especially me. He also seemed to think he was doing me a favor by being with me.
Does he lack empathy? A hallmark of all narcissists, overt or covert is that they lack empathy. If anything hurts another person, a narcissist cannot understand it. They also lack the ability to see things from another person’s perspective. Emotions & different perspectives are well beyond something they can understand.
Feeling like you can’t be good enough for him is another red flag. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, I always knew it was never enough for my ex. He made me feel ashamed for my shortcomings, too. This is very typical of narcissistic partners.
Emotional abuse is the norm. You are accustomed to him making you feel not good enough, stupid, ugly, etc. You also make excuses for it, blame yourself & justify what he said.
He isolates you. Ok, maybe he does not hold you hostage in the basement, but he does say negative things about your friends & family, which leads you to sever ties with people you were once close to. My ex pressured me from very early on to sever ties with my mother, then later my grandparents, & even my best friend. He used subtle means, too such as, “She isn’t a good friend to you since she doesn’t call more often…”
If your significant other is doing at least some of these things, then please, Dear Reader, be careful with this person. Chances are excellent that you are dealing with a narcissist. I urge you to pray about your situation, & ask God to help you. Reconnect with those with whom you severed ties. Talk to safe people. Ask for help as needed. You can survive this situation!