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?