Anyone who has been subjected to narcissistic abuse knows that unless it affects a narcissist, a narcissist isn’t going to care about it. Period. As if that isn’t bad enough, they train victims to feel the same way. No matter what happens to a victim, it isn’t important. You could be lying in a pool of blood after someone hacked off your leg while the narcissist with you has a cold, & that narcissist will do their best to convince you that your freshly severed leg is no big deal. Their sniffles though, now that is a crisis, so you need to stop whining about your leg!
Narcissists manage to convince victims of the lack of importance of their problems subtly. They’re so subtle, most of us don’t even pay attention to what they are doing until years later when we realize it.
My overtly narcissistic mother simply ignored my problems. I might as well have said nothing, because she would act as if I didn’t say anything or talk over me to change the subject. There were other times if she did listen, she would blame me for the problem, even when I wasn’t at fault.
My father & ex husband, both covert narcissists, used a different tactic. They would let me talk, listening to every word I said. It seemed like they cared, but they didn’t. They wouldn’t respond like a normal person & say “I’m sorry that happened to you” or “Are you ok? Can I do anything to help?” Instead, they would tell me how upset they were or how hard my problem was for them.
For example, the night in 1990 when I was 19 & my mother threw me into a wall, both my father & ex husband turned that into their crisis. My ex said how upset he was that my mother did this, he was furious with her for hurting my back, etc. etc. Not once that evening or in the years following did he offer me any comfort.
My father brought up that night periodically until he died. Mostly about how awful it was that when he walked out, my mother locked him out of the house. His keys were in his pocket & he could’ve come back inside at any time. He also mentioned how bad the damage was where my mother threw me into. It took him time to patch it up. A couple of years before he died, my father literally said to me, “It’s ok.. you don’t have to apologize for busting up that wall. I fixed it & it’s all over.” I was blown away! Why would I apologize? Yes, it was me that broke a wall but not due to my own carelessness! It was because my mother, who was much stronger than me, threw me into the thing! And for the record, I told him this.
Although narcissists are clearly very good at training their victims to think their problems don’t matter, that doesn’t mean they are correct. Not by a long shot, in fact. For some reason, I never saw it until a few months after my mother died. That is when I suddenly realized how it happened & how terrible it is! I repeatedly have told myself that it wasn’t so bad, how my parents & ex treated me. I’ve even doubted having C-PTSD in spite of flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression & more.
Please learn from my experiences! Don’t buy the narcissist’s lies! What happens to you *is* important! It does matter! Acknowledge your experiences for whatever they were. Admit to yourself that you did great sometimes in spite of what the narcissist tells you. Also admit that the traumatic ones were bad. There is nothing wrong with that! In fact, it’s a good thing to do because once you realize that, you can start to heal.