Tag Archives: victim

How Narcissists Instill Toxic Shame In Their Children

Instilling a root of toxic shame in children is something narcissistic parents do amazingly well.  And they really have to if they wish their child to be compliant & easily manipulated.  A person who is ashamed of everything about themselves is very easy to control, because they assume someone else always knows better than they do.  When that someone else is a person in a position of authority like a parent & the victim is a young child who naturally looks to that parent for everything, it can be very easy for that parent to plant the seeds of toxic shame in that child.

On first glance, it may be somewhat hard to recognize exactly how a parent accomplishes this goal.  That is why we’re talking about it today, to help you recognize how your narcissistic parent created this root of toxic shame in you.

Narcissistic parents primarily instill toxic shame in their children by destroying their child’s self confidence.  This is done by telling the child they can’t do anything right, by doing things for the child & claiming it’s because that child can’t do tasks right, telling embarrassing stories about them that may or may not be true, exaggerating any faults the child has or once had, or reminding the child of the many times that parent rescued the child from his or her bad decisions even though those times may not have even happened.  Such actions can destroy a child’s self confidence & leave them to think they are so incapable that they need their parent to take care of them, even as adults.

When a narcissistic parent says, “I was just joking,” you can count on that being a way to instill shame in their child.  No, they weren’t just joking.  They were deliberately saying something cruel to their child as a way to build that toxic shame.  When the child showed hurt feelings, the parent said they were “just joking” as a way to make that child feel ashamed of being upset at the parent.  If the parent can convince the child that he or she was just joking & the child was wrong to be upset, the child will tolerate the cruel words said in this instance & in the future.  Sometimes the child in this situation will defend themselves to their parent.  Their parent uses their normal reaction to prove to the child how unstable the child is.  Narcissistic parents can use either reaction to create toxic shame in their child.

Blame shifting is another effective way to instill toxic shame in children.  I remember when my mother would say the most unimaginably cruel things to me, usually screaming them at me when we were alone, & blame me for making her say those things.  I felt terrible for making her behave so awfully.  That is typical.  Blame shifting enables narcissists to abuse their child without accountability.  The child learns to tolerate abuse because they are to blame.  If they would just act right, the parent wouldn’t be abusive.  What the child fails to realize is nothing they could do would make that happen, so when their parent is abusive repeatedly, they accept that it is their fault, which results in feeling toxic shame.

Narcissistic parents who play the victim instill toxic shame in their children.  Covert narcissistic parents in particular love the victim act, but overts aren’t above using it either.  Narcissistic parents will infuriate their children then use their children’s reaction to prove to the child just how mean & horrible that child is to their parent.  This naturally makes the child in this situation feel ashamed of themselves for being so terrible to their parent for no good reason.

Talking above or below the child’s level instills toxic shame.  Talking above a child makes the child feel stupid for not understanding what their parent is talking about.  Never mind that parent may not be as intelligent as the child & is talking in circles with confidence in their words to confuse the child.  Talking down to a child by treating a child or adult child as if they are still very young makes the child feel as if their parent is superior to them. 

If you have experienced these things from your narcissistic parent, hope is not lost.  You can heal!  It will take time & effort, but you can do it.  You need to identify your parent’s shaming voice & what it tells you, then counteract that voice with the truth.  Write things down if it helps you.  If you struggle with this, asking God to help you can do wonders to shut down the shaming voice & help you to see the truth! 

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When People Say Things They Shouldn’t To Abuse Victims

Admitting you were abused or hearing stories by other people of abuse they endured is very uncomfortable & unpleasant.  No one wants to talk about abuse.  I sure don’t!  I’d love to write about more pleasant topics & never think about the abuse I endured ever again.  Yet, I know this is impossible.  Even if I quit writing about it, the aftermath of abuse never goes away.  It’s always there to some degree, so talking about it is normal.  Most people talk about abuse in their past either slightly, a lot like me or mostly somewhere in between.

Anyone who has decided to open up about abuse has learned that not everyone is a willing, compassionate listener.  When you gather your courage to discuss the most painful experiences of your life only to be met with invalidation, it can be incredibly painful.  I hope to help you learn some ways to cope with that in this post by sharing some common comments people make to abuse survivors.

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?”  Many people who haven’t survived abuse don’t understand why a victim wouldn’t reach out for help.  It’s totally acceptable to educate anyone who asks this question.  Abusers threaten their victims to keep quiet.  They also tell their victims no one will believe them.  They even destroy their victim’s self esteem to the point the victim believes no one would care anyway, so there isn’t a point in telling anyone.

“You shouldn’t talk about this.  It’s not the Christian thing to do, making him/her look bad.”  People who say this are often also survivors of abuse, yet who lack the courage to face their pain.  Others facing their pain makes these folks feel badly, so they try to shut down the open person.  Often, there is no getting through to these people, so it is best not to discuss abuse with them.  It is vital to know though that there is nothing “un-Christian” about discussing your experiences.  You aren’t making the abuser look bad.  The abuser already did that by being abusive.

“Are you really sure that’s what happened?”  This comment is often said by someone who knows both victim & abuser.  This is said by someone who really doesn’t want to accept that someone they care about is capable of such awful behavior.  It also is said by a narcissist’s flying monkey who is trying to instill doubt in the victim so they tolerate more abuse from the narcissist.  Take this comment as a red flag that the person saying it is NOT safe!  Don’t discuss your experiences with this person.  Doing so only will lead to you being hurt, possibly also being the victim of a smear campaign.

“Nobody’s parents are perfect,” “No one gets along perfectly with their parents,” or “Everyone has childhood hurts.”  When a person says these statements, it hurts.  They are lumping vicious abuse in the same category as simple personality differences.  So invalidating!!  Shock value can make a person realize how foolish their words are.  Saying something like, “So my mother berating me to the point of obliterating my self esteem while I was a child is the same as another mother not letting her child wear a certain shirt to school?  That’s what it sounds like you’re saying, & I disagree with you.”

“Stop thinking about it” or “Stop dwelling in the past!”  Wouldn’t it be nice if it was that easy?!  Again, it’s acceptable to educate whoever asks this question.  Tell them that C-PTSD & PTSD are common after abuse, & are brought on by experiencing such horrific trauma, it literally broke a person’s brain.  A quality these disorders share is constantly reliving the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares & intrusive thoughts.  Not thinking about things is impossible when your brain won’t let you.

“Why would you talk about this now, all this time later?”  When in the midst of suffering abuse, the victim is busy trying to survive.  Talking about it at the time rarely seems important.  Once the victim is safe, survival mode ends & this person can think clearer.  They often try to process what they just escaped by talking about it.  Or, they are triggered by something… a sound, smell, someone that reminds them of their abuser in some way.  Not a lot of people are aware of this, & that may be the case with the person who says this to you.  Tell him or her.

“You’ll get over it,” “It could’ve been so much worse!” or, “Look for the positive in everything!”  Such comments are what I think of as toxic positivity.  While it is good to be positive, too positive is unhealthy.  It’s unrealistic which easily can lead to disappointment.  Comments like this also make a victim feel ashamed for still being affected by the trauma or needing to discuss it in order to heal.  Don’t waste your time talking about past trauma to people like this.  You’ll only end up hurt by their calloused words.

“At least he/she didn’t hit you!”  A common belief is that the only type of abuse is physical.  Anyone subjected to narcissistic abuse knows this is utter nonsense.  Emotional, mental, sexual, financial & spiritual abuse are all horrific forms of abuse.  They simply don’t leave the clearly visible scars that physical abuse does.  The uneducated need to be aware of this, including the person who says this to you..  You can also tell them that PTSD & C-PTSD are physical damage done to the brain by exposure to abuse & trauma.

“What did you do to make him/her treat you that way?”  This invalidating & shaming statement is so common!  It makes victims feel responsible for the terrible things their abuser did to them, & that is utterly wrong!  No one can make another person abuse them, period, no matter what they do or don’t do.  Did Jack the Ripper’s victims do anything to make him kill them?  What about Ted Bundy’s victims?  No.  These men saw an opportunity & took advantage of it.  Their victims did nothing to deserve what these killers did to them.  This is a point which you can bring up to the person who says such a disgusting statement.

“You should be more patient with him/her!”  No.  Just no.  The more patient you are with an abuser, the more they will abuse you because they see that you will tolerate a lot.  It could help to ask this person why should anyone be understanding with someone who repeatedly hurts them & shows no desire to improve their behavior?

“You should be more careful when picking your romantic partners!”  This statement is nothing but victim blaming.  What the heartless person saying this fails to realize yet needs to know is abusers can come across any way they like – very charming, kind, compassionate, romantic, successful.  They rarely are abusive monsters 24/7.  If they were, no one would get involved with them because it would be clear what they were really like.  They lure victims in by appearing to be much better people than they truly are.  While this seems like common sense, unfortunately it isn’t.  The person who says this statement to you needs to be educated!  Tell them this!

Unfortunately, there always will be people who don’t understand what it’s like to survive abuse.  There also will be people who want to silence victims, no matter how much or little they discuss their experiences.  The more you heal, the less these people will bother you, I’m happy to say.  I also hope this post has helped you to learn some ways to deal with these people!  xoxo

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Trauma Responses & Guilt

Many of us who have experienced trauma experience a lot of guilt about how we responded during a traumatic event.  I have experienced this.  When my mother & I got into an argument & she threw me into a wall when I was 19 in 1990, I blacked out & bit her during the assault.  To this day I remember how shocking it felt to hit the wall then suddenly coming to as she was releasing her hold on me that pinned me to the wall.  And when I came to, I ran from the house & sped away in a cloud of tire smoke.  For many years after, I felt incredibly guilty for the entire event.  Mostly because I bit my mother & she had a scar from that, but also for the fact I gave in to her.  She was itching for a fight the moment I walked in the door after work that evening.  I recognized the look immediately & in spite of knowing nothing about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I knew getting into an argument would result in something bad for me, yet I did it anyway. 

While it may sound ridiculous to you, this triggered an intense amount of guilt in me!  I gave in rather than simply leave which would have been the smart thing to do.  And, thanks to me, my mother had a physical scar.  Horrible!

As you read this, you probably are thinking things like, “But you were only 19!”  “You didn’t know about narcissism!”  “You were defending yourself!”  “You couldn’t move so how else could you defend yourself?”  And you know something?  Those are all correct.  That isn’t how it felt at the time of the incident however, or for over twenty years after it happened.

Do you feel guilt about a response during a traumatic event too?  If so, please show yourself the same mercy you were just willing to show me! 

During trauma, the brain is overridden by survival instincts.  While that is a good thing in the sense that survival instincts will help you to survive, they also may cause you to behave out of the ordinary & in a way that may be embarrassing to you.  Please try to let that go!  Survival instincts are there for a reason.  They help a person to survive.  Whether your instinct is fight, flight, freeze or fawn, that instinct helped to save you from a potentially even worse fate.  That makes your survival instinct pretty impressive!  Don’t discount it!  Embrace it!  Be grateful that it is partly why you survived!

Don’t forget to analyze the event too.  If you analyze it, you had no other choice.  Maybe you’re thinking that you did, but also consider yourself at the time.  You may not have known any better, which led you to make the best choice you could at the time.  This can be difficult, I know.  I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up for poor choices I’ve made in my life, too, but you know something?  That is a waste of time!  You aren’t the same person you were who made a less than ideal choice during a time of extreme duress.  You did your best & that is all anyone can expect.  You also survived the traumatic event, so you should be proud of yourself!

Please just remember, Dear Reader, that even if your trauma responses haven’t been what you wish they were, you have no reason to be embarrassed or feel guilty about them.  They did their job, which was to help you survive.

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Blessings Are Possible In Spite Of Narcissistic Abuse

Those of us who have suffered through narcissistic abuse know trauma, depression, misery & even what it feels like to consider suicide.  We have gone through such horrific events that it can feel nearly impossible to find any good in life.  Yet we are still blessed!  Not because of the abuse, of course, but in spite of it.

Victims of narcissistic abuse always feel weak in the midst of their suffering because they are powerless, but truly, they are strong.  It takes an incredible amount of strength to escape the abuse against all efforts of the narcissist to keep you in the relationship.  It also takes a great deal of strength to escape with no self esteem, & when you believe you aren’t able to survive without the narcissist in your life.  Having such strength, especially in spite of the narcissist’s efforts to destroy it, is a huge blessing! 

Victims of narcissistic abuse are also incredibly brave.  Narcissists aren’t always physically abusive.  They don’t have to be.  They can terrify victims with a simple look that can make a victim fear or their life.  Going against someone that appears to be incredibly powerful & capable of causing you great pain & suffering is extremely brave!  Being so brave is another huge blessing.

Victims of narcissistic abuse are very appreciative.  After surviving horrific abuse, victims have a different mentality than the average person.  Victims know how bad things can be & how cruel people can be.  They have learned to greatly value all of the good things in life.  Living life with an appreciative spirit is a wonderful thing that can bring a great deal of joy, & is another blessing.

Victims of narcissistic abuse are loyal.  When someone who claimed to love you abuses you to the point of destroying your personhood, it’s hard to trust other people.  Once a victim trusts someone & that someone is good to them, however, they are incredibly loyal.  Good people are exceptionally precious to those who have suffered narcissistic abuse.  Victims will adore & protect these people fiercely, which is why they often make wonderful friends & romantic partners.  Friend & romantic partners appreciate such loyalty, so again, this is another blessing.

Victims of narcissistic abuse who turn to God have an extremely close relationship with Him.  Of all of the things I have mentioned so far, this is the most wonderful one, in my opinion.  I saved the best for last.  In typical narcissist fashion, narcissists do their best to convince their victims to believe as they believe.  The narcissistic atheist expects their victim to share their beliefs.  There are also narcissists who know enough about the Bible to be able to twist Scripture around to the point of justifying their abuse.  Such behaviors often convolute a victim’s view of God.  For someone to survive this yet come away with faith on any level is impressive, but many have an extremely intimate relationship with God.  He blesses these people greatly, too.  Isaiah 9: 2-3 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.  3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.” (NIV)  I can’t help but think God has a special place in His heart for those who have been abused, which is why He blesses victims in this way.

By sharing these thoughts, I’m not saying that any victim of abuse should be grateful for their traumatic experiences.  I am saying though that it’s good to look at these blessings in your life & be so grateful for them.  Be grateful that in spite of the narcissist’s best efforts, he or she couldn’t take these gifts from you.  And, be proud of yourself for surviving all that you have!  That, as you well know, is no easy feat!

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Why Some People Hate & Abuse Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Recently I was scrolling through my journal.  I came across an entry I made in February, 2020 regarding something I learned about one of my cousins immediately after I joined Instagram.  I immediately deleted Instagram, I think even before writing this journal entry. To get why I found this disturbing enough to delete that account so quickly, you need to know some background…

Growing up, my cousin & I were never close.  My mother never let me get very close to anyone on my father’s side of the family.  Even as adults though, this cousin & I just didn’t really click. 

We tried somewhat to have a relationship as adults.  In 2014, she had a Christmas party a few days before Christmas & invited me.  I couldn’t attend.  She attacked me for not coming even though she knew I don’t celebrate Christmas.  Immediately after, she stopped speaking to me & unfriended me on Facebook.

Nineteen months later, this cousin sent me an email.  Only the subject line of the email had any text.  It said “Supposed to make amends with everybody”.  Judging by the language, I assume that meant she was in a 12 step program since that is word for word one of the steps.  I ignored the email, because I believe if someone is sincere about making amends, they might say something in the email on the topic.

This cousin never tried to contact me again until my father was dying in 2017 when she tried to force me to visit him one final time.  When I ignored her calls & messages, she tried to force another cousin into bullying me into seeing my father.  When that failed, she sent me a very shaming email about what a bad Christian I am.  It arrived the evening before his funeral.  

I heard nothing else from her until she followed me on Instagram in early 2020.  I was shocked she would follow me since, like the rest of my family, she clearly thought so poorly of me.  I asked God why would she do that.  His response was very interesting & I think very informative for many victims of narcissists who deal with either the narcissist or their evil minions stalking them.  He said,

“Your cousin is insanely, obsessively, morbidly envious.  She thinks you’ve had this easy, charmed life.  When she sees you “whining” about your childhood, it justifies her hatred of you.  She felt her parents didn’t really care about her, & she saw yours shelter you.  That’s where the envy began.”

“She lied to herself about her parents’ loving her & her being so close to her mother, your aunt.  She thinks you’re lying about your parents & you’re being a spoiled brat.  She thinks you’re petty & weren’t really abused.  She also can’t accept that her uncle would be abusive or marry someone who was.”

“She thinks abuse is only physical or sexual.  Verbal abuse doesn’t count to her.  She thinks Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a made up thing that you use to justify talking about your parents that way.”

“The devil feeds her delusions.  He makes her think the things she does, & those things feed her rage & disgust of you.”

I would guess that many of you now feel an “ah ha!” moment.  Somehow it makes sense that someone you know feels this way about you, & that is why they are so devoted to the narcissist in your life & feel free to treat you so badly.

I truly hope this helps you because not knowing the motivation behind someone’s ridiculous & abusive behavior can be so hard!  When you know that what they say & do has more to do with them than you, it can be surprisingly freeing!  It helps tremendously to know that the problem truly has nothing to do with you, & instead is all about that person’s dysfunction. 

If this does fit a situation with someone you know, if you can, please pray for that person.  Pray for them to come to know Jesus as their Savior, & for Satan to leave them alone.  Those are two things they need more than anything else in the world.  So as difficult as it can be, please try to pray for them.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes & the more likely they are to turn their lives around.  It also will help you to be blessed & to have peace because you will be following Jesus’ command in Matthew 5:44 to pray for your enemies.

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For Those Who Judge Victims For Tolerating Abuse

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Things That Scare Narcissists

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Tactics Used By Narcissists: Nit Picking & Changing The Goals

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Re-Victimizing Survivors

In my experience as well as speaking with others who also have survived narcissistic abuse, I’ve noticed a very common phenomenon.  Society’s invalidation & even gaslighting of victims.

Possibly the most clear example of this came from my high school guidance counselor.  I went to her, trying to find some way to get along with my narcissistic mother, & not only wasn’t helped, I was hurt in the process.  One day, I told her about what I called my mother’s “lectures”, where she would scream at me, telling me how terrible I was, how other people talked about me behind my back because of how terrible I was & even accusing me of things I hadn’t done.  The counselor’s response?  “Well, that doesn’t sound so bad.”

Dear Reader, if you have experienced something similar to someone you told about your history of abuse, you know how painful this experience is.  It can catch you off guard, especially when it comes from someone you care about or expect to care, such as a therapist.

If you haven’t had the “pleasure” of this experience, chances are you will at some point.  Either way, when someone acts as described below, you need to remember, they clearly have a problem.

Some people blame victims for making the abuser act as they have.  Common sense should dictate that anyone who does this has their own issues.  No one can make someone abuse them!  Don’t accept this person’s blame for your abuser hurting you!  All blame for the abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, period!

Some people also blame the victim for not getting away from their abuser sooner.  Many people don’t understand the concept of the trauma bond, how a victim can form a strong bond to their abuser.  They also don’t understand how abusers can financially abuse victims, leaving them with no money or means to earn money so they can escape.  Further more, they also fail to understand how many abusers have beaten their victims down so badly that the victims don’t think they can survive without the abuser.

Some people make the victim feel to blame for not being able to get along with the abuser.  I think it was about 5 ago, one of my aunts told me that I needed to get into therapy & figure out how to get along with my parents, & “don’t dare tell her it won’t work!”  I told her I did that when I was only 17 & what I learned is no relationship can work if only one person is willing to work on it.  I stand by that today.  No relationship can be healthy if only one person works on it.  People who don’t realize that are foolish.  

Some people assume they know best what the abuser’s  intentions are, & assume they have good intentions but misguided actions.  If someone defends your abuser by saying things like, “He didn’t mean to hurt you…”  “She just doesn’t know any better”, or “That’s just how he is,” this person is invalidating & gaslighting you.  No truly innocent person hurts people repeatedly after being called out on their behavior.  

Some people push victims to heal.  Only the most toxic person would dare to trivialize a victim’s horrific experiences, tell a victim of abuse to “get over it”, accuse a victim of being codependent or fail to understand why that person hasn’t “forgiven & forgotten.”  Healing is a very individual path.  Everyone’s path is very different.  Also, every narcissist is different, so naturally how they abuse their victims is different.  It’s only natural to assume that no two victims will heal the same way & many victims will have to work on their healing for a long time, most likely a lifetime.

People who treat victims like I described in this post are further abusing victims rather than helping them.  If you come across people like this, stay away from them.  Instead, deal with people who possess empathy, kindness & aren’t judgmental know it alls who assume they know your situation better than you do.

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Identifying Victims From Narcissists Who Pretend To Be Victims

Many narcissists, in particular covert ones, love to portray themselves as victims no matter how badly they have abused someone.  They prefer to hide behind the mask of innocent victim than to show people the ugly truth, that they are evil & abusive.  Unfortunately countless people fall for their victim act.  Real victims act very differently, & those who have bought a narcissist’s victim act think this means the real victim is the one faking it, not the narcissist.  

People need to be able to identify a genuine victim from a narcissist’s victim act in order to avoid being pulled into a narcissist’s abusive web.  I think this can be especially beneficial when applied to people met online.  So many victims join support groups & forums looking to meet others who share their experiences only to learn someone they met in one of those places is actually a narcissist.  

There are some behaviors narcissists do that give away the fact that they aren’t real victims. One thing they do is only tell their side of the story.  What I mean is narcissists will talk about how the other person yelled at them or called the police on them, yet not share any information on what led up to that scenario.  They make it sound like the other person just snapped suddenly for no good reason, & attacked them.  A real victim doesn’t do that.  They tell the entire story, not leaving out selected parts that might make them look bad.

Along those lines, if a narcissist feels they must mention some bad behavior they have done, they make excuses for it.  For example, say they hit their victim in a fit of rage.  They will find ways to blame the other person for making them hit them.  Or, they will excuse it away, maybe saying the other person hit them first.  A real victim doesn’t make excuses or blame others for their bad actions.  They admit their bad behavior & accept responsibility for what they have done, no matter how ashamed of it they are.

Narcissists also turn any conversation back to their situation, even when speaking with victims such as in an online group.  Real victims support each other.  Sure, they share examples from their own life some, but they keep the focus on the person doing the talking.

Narcissists talk about the situation over & over.  They tell their story to anyone who will listen, even if the listener isn’t interested.  They seem to want to tell everyone how badly they were treated.  Real victims don’t talk to anyone & everyone about their story.  They are selective with whom they discuss their situation.  Even if they are like me & write publicly about it, when it comes to discussing it, they still are selective.

Narcissists want pity.  They want to be seen as a completely innocent victim who did nothing to deserve what was done to them, so people will pity them.  Real victims don’t look for pity.  Empathy is great as is support, but pity isn’t something real victims want.

Narcissists expect everyone to understand their plight & offer them validation.  Real victims aren’t like that.  They know not everyone can relate to their situation.  They know not everyone will care that they were abused.  They don’t need external validation.  They know what they have been through, & that is enough for them.

Everyone needs to be aware of these behaviors in others, in particular victims of narcissistic abuse.  Not everyone who says they were abused by a narcissist is truly a victim.  There are plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, who look for true victims to meet the sick needs they have.  Consider a person’s behavior rather than blindly believing someone who tells you they are a victim of abuse.

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Doing Weird Things After Narcissistic Abuse

I’ve done something for so long, I didn’t even realize I did it until recently.  When I drive past a building with big glass windows or some sort of reflective surface, I look at myself driving.

Recently I caught myself doing this & thought, ok, I’m weird.  I’ve known this for years & accepted my weirdness.  This looking at myself driving thing though.. wow.  I don’t even like looking at myself in a mirror when I put on makeup or looking at pictures of myself.  Making my YouTubes is a big struggle for me, so why am I doing this?!

Suddenly it hit me… because when I was a teenager, I had to fight my mother terribly to get a driver’s license.  My friends were driving at 16, & their parents often bought them their first car.  Their parents put everything in their name to keep insurance costs down.  Meanwhile I had to fight my mother badly to get a license.  She wouldn’t even let me see my birth certificate.  She showed it to the employee at the Motor Vehicles Administration after shielding me from seeing it.  When I failed the first test, she told me she knew I would because I wasn’t ready to drive.  When I got my permit & wanted to get myself a car, she told me she’d take me shopping one day so I could see how stupid I was for thinking I could afford a car.  She picked a car out for me that I absolutely HATED.  It was ugly & over priced.

A month or so later, I picked out my first car & got my license.. here is a picture that my mother took of me with that special & I still think absolutely adorable little car..

Cyndi & Baby, November, 1989.jpg

This is me in 1989 with Baby, my 1978 Buick Skyhawk that I hope to restore one day.

I realized something recently…

The reason I still ogle myself driving when I can isn’t just because I like my pretty cars.  It’s because I never take driving for granted.  I had to fight hard to get my license.  I paid for my first car, insurance, maintenance & everything by myself.  I worked hard & accomplished what I wanted to.  No one can take that away from me.  My first car in particular is a symbol of that which is why she’s special to me &  I hope to restore her.  Driving any car reminds me of what I managed to accomplish on my own though, no thanks to my parents.  I’m proud of that, & seeing myself behind the wheel of a car, in particular my own, is a reminder of that.

I mentioned this to my husband recently & was rather nervous about admitting it.  He shocked me by understanding completely & said “You should be proud of that!  Celebrate it!  Enjoy driving!  Take pictures of yourself behind the wheel!”  That helped me to see that maybe I’m not as weird as I thought I was..

Is there anything “strange” you do that is like what I do?  If so, I want to encourage you to embrace that.  Don’t think of it as weird like I have done with looking at myself when driving.  Instead, celebrate it!  Be proud of whatever it is you have accomplished in spite of your narcissistic parent.  You did something on your own without the help of a narcissistic parent.  That isn’t an easy feat when you consider you have had a narcissistic parent or two trying to keep you down your whole life.  Be proud that you overcame that & still did whatever it is that you did.  It’s ok to be proud of yourself!  You deserve to feel that way!  xoxo

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When People Call You, The Victim, Abusive

Many victims of narcissistic abuse experience the same thing.  After months, years or even a lifetime of abuse, they realize they can’t take the abuse anymore.  They then escape the narcissist & are met with further abuse from other people instead of love, concern & support.

That abuse frequently consists of victims being told they are oversensitive, they need to forgive, aren’t being so called “good Christians,” they shouldn’t go no contact because the narcissist is family & other similar nonsense.  Possibly the worst of the comments many victims hear though is when people tell the victim that they are the abusive one.  I think one of the most painful things any abuse victim can hear is that they are acting like someone who caused them unimaginable pain & suffering.  It’s cruel & it also can cause victims to have doubts about their behavior.  Following is some food for thought for narcissistic abuse victims as well as for anyone who may have said these things.

When a victim escapes their narcissist & refuses to have any further contact, that doesn’t make a victim immature, unforgiving or pouting like a spoiled little child.  It also doesn’t mean the victim is being passive aggressive by giving their abuser the silent treatment.  It means the victim is protecting him or her self from further abuse, not being abusive towards anyone.

When a victim finally tells others about what the narcissist did, this also isn’t abusive.  This is someone speaking the truth about unthinkable suffering they have endured.  This person is looking for support, to work through their pain, to warn others who know the abuser & even to help raise awareness of narcissistic abuse.  There is absolutely no way this is abusive!

When people tell the victim how they should return to the relationship, anyone should refuse to engage with people like this because clearly they are toxic.  Doing so is not abusive.  What is abusive, however, is when people tell other people they should return to an abusive relationship, & shame them for not wanting to tolerate abuse any longer.  I admit, this is a particularly sensitive topic with me.  When I broke my engagement to my now ex husband, several people told me I should get back together with him because he was miserable without me.  After going no contact with my parents, people said I needed to “fix things with them”, as if I was the only one who could repair that relationship.  In both situations, not one person asked why I severed ties with these people & they encouraged me to return to relationships that were detrimental to me.  See how abusive that is?

People who tell others to “take the high road” or “be the bigger person” are the abusive ones, not those who refuse to take that supposed high road.  Tolerating abuse doesn’t make you a good person.  It isn’t good or holy.  It’s foolish.

People who share criticisms with victims of how victims handled the abusive relationship when the victim didn’t ask for their thoughts are being abusive.  The victim is not being abusive for not handling the abuser the way this person thinks they should.  The victim is also not being abusive because he or she tells this person that they didn’t ask for that person’s opinion.

People who move on & enjoy their life after surviving narcissistic abuse aren’t deserving of shame, nor are they narcissists.  To shame them or call them narcissistic for finally having the ability to enjoy their lives is abusive.

If you are faced with people who call you abusive or they abuse you for ending an abusive relationship, they clearly have problems.  Always remember, you aren’t being abusive in any way for protecting yourself from them or your abuser!  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

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Some Victim Shaming Comments

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Some Victim Shaming Comments

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Victim Shaming Comments

Victim shaming is a big problem in society these days.  It happens when someone says something that makes a victim feel shame for whatever abuse was perpetrated against them or makes the victim feel to blame for what happened.

Some statements are especially common, & those will be addressed in this post.

“I know someone who had that happen to them, but it was way worse.”  Trauma isn’t a contest.  Trauma hurts, period, & there is no reason to compare one person’s traumatic experience to another’s.  This sort of statement does nothing good.  It only minimizes & invalidates the victim’s pain.

“Your abuser has had a rough life!  You should help him/her.”  A history of being abused or through trauma is NOT an excuse to abuse other people.  Yes, people who have been abused & traumatized don’t always act like functional people.  However, the vast majority also aren’t abusive.  I think this is because they know how badly it hurts to be abused, & they won’t want to inflict that kind of pain on others.

“You know what the problem is?  You weren’t nice enough.  You didn’t kill him/her with kindness.”  Killing someone with kindness can help in some situations.  It can help a person see that their behavior is wrong.  They feel convicted & change.  When dealing with a narcissist or other personality disordered individual though?  Being overly kind is seen as a green light to abuse & take advantage of a victim more & more.

“I don’t know why you two just couldn’t get along.”  This phrase puts the blame for the abuse on both people in the relationship, which makes a victim feel at least partly responsible for the abuser’s behavior.  This is totally unfair!  The only person responsible for the abuser’s behavior is the abuser, period, end of story!

“Stop being a victim!”  While this may sound empowering at first, it’s also a way to stop a victim from discussing their experience & try to get the victim to get over their experience.  There is absolutely no shame in being the victim of abuse.  None!  There is also no shame in the fact it takes time to heal from abuse.  In many cases, it takes a lifetime.  That doesn’t make a person weak or a failure!

“You need to forgive/let this go.  You’ve been holding onto this for too long!”  I am a huge proponent of forgiveness.  Holding onto anger isn’t good for your physical or mental health.  That being said, you can’t let go of all anger just because someone tells you to!  Doing so is a process.  I firmly believe in forgiving immediately in the sense you don’t expect your abuser to try to make it up to you for what they have done.  In that sense, it’s easy to forgive because you know an abuser can’t truly make everything ok for what they have done.  Letting go of your anger, however, isn’t so easy.  That takes a lot of time & actually feeling the anger  as a way to get it out of you.  There is no time limit on that.

“That happened in the past.. why are you still holding onto this?”  This statement is beyond foolish.  When something extreme happens to a person, either good or bad, they can’t just “shake it off”!  Not to mention, when a person is traumatized, there is an excellent chance of that person developing PTSD or C-PTSD if the trauma is ongoing.  A hallmark of both disorders is not being able to let go of trauma, because it returns often as intrusive thoughts, flashbacks & nightmares.

When people say statements like these to you (& they will at some point), please remember, these statements are not about you.  They are about someone who truly has no concept of surviving abuse & trauma in a healthy way.  That person may have been through abuse too, but lacks the strength to face their pain.  If they can make others not face theirs as well, it makes them feel more normal.

Many people also like to pretend that there is no ugliness in the world.  If they can stop you from discussing your traumatic experiences, they can resume thinking that the world is a happy place at all times.

Rarely when people are insensitive & invalidating is the behavior about the person on the receiving end of their comments, but instead is about the person saying such things.  If you can remember that, it will help you not to be devastated by their cruel comments.

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The Lens Of Victim-hood

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Strong People Are Abused Too

Most people who hear of someone being abused think of someone weak.  A small child, an adult with low or no self esteem who isn’t very intelligent or even mentally or emotionally stunted.  Maybe someone who has a very gentle nature, lacking the  strength & courage to stand up to an abusive person or thinks that tolerating abuse is the Godly thing to do.

While it’s certainly true that people like this are sought out by abusers, they aren’t the only ones.  Highly intelligent, strong & confident people are also sought out by abusers.

Have you ever heard a story about a wealthy person being charmed by someone who stole most if not all of that person’s money?  Or, maybe a strong person ended up abused, & turned into an empty shell of their former self not long after marrying their abuser.  That person isn’t someone you would consider weak, but even so, they clearly were abused.

The natural response most people have is to wonder how this sort of thing happened?  They think that person was too smart or too strong to be in this situation, & it doesn’t make sense.  Their opinion of that person often drops because they feel that person must have been weak or stupid, in spite of how they appeared to be.

Such thinking couldn’t be further from the truth!

Abusers are often like prey hunting animals.  Sure, they’ll hunt the wounded, young & easy prey sometimes.  It’s there & they need a meal/victim so why pass that up?!  But, that doesn’t mean they have an aversion to the more challenging prey.  If a lion is hungry enough, he’ll hunt that healthy & strong antelope even though getting that antelope is a lot of work.

The same thing goes for narcissists.  They don’t have an aversion to abusing a victim that is more of a challenge.  In fact, they enjoy it.  Easy victims are good, but conquering someone who is strong, confident & successful is big time narcissistic supply.  That challenge makes them feel very powerful.  It makes sense in its own dysfunctional way.  It shows the abuser they are able to destroy the un-destroyable.  They must be powerful to accomplish that, right?!

 

If you are someone who has suffered abuse, that doesn’t mean you are weak.  It means the person is an abuser, & often abusers seek out a challenging victim.  If you were sought out, that means there is something about you that appealed to the abuser.  Your strength, success, intelligence, kindness, faith… whatever it was, it was a good thing to make such a horrible person want to destroy you.

And, if you know someone who has been abused, this also applies to them.  That person must possess some very good qualities if that awful person worked so hard to destroy them.  That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the victim.  Quite the opposite – there is something very right with that person!

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About Victim Blaming

Victim blaming is a common phenomenon in society today.  The woman who was abused by her husband is to blame for not leaving him sooner.  The victim of rape is blamed for being drunk or high.  The victim of theft is blamed for not locking his door.

This awful phenomenon invalidates the pain of the victim.  It can make a victim feel as if she wouldn’t have done what she did, then the traumatic event wouldn’t have happened.  How could she possibly have the right to be upset?  It’s an absolutely awful thing to do to someone, making them feel this way!  No one deserves traumatic, terrible things to happen to them.  What victims do deserve is kindness, understanding & support.

Whether the person blaming the victim is the cause for the victim’s pain or not, blaming her also enables that person to distance himself from the victim & her pain.  If the victim is the cause of her own suffering, then he need not feel sorry for her or try to help her.  If the victim caused her own suffering, then the abuser need not feel bad for doing whatever it was he did to her.

Narcissists love victim blaming.  It serves them very well.  I lost track of how many times my mother told me I was the reason she “had” to abuse me.  She even called it “tough love” instead of what it really was, abuse.  She claimed if I didn’t do whatever it was I had done (or she thought I had done in most cases), she wouldn’t have been forced to scream at me, destroy my things, etc. etc.

If you have been on the receiving end of victim blaming, please do not allow that trash to get inside you!  You did NOT deserve what was done to you!  You are not to blame, the abuser is!  You have every right to be angry, hurt, & yes, even traumatized!  Don’t believe those fools who tell you that you deserved it.  Anyone who blames an innocent victim has serious emotional problems.

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About The Consummate Victim

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Why People Choose To Believe Narcissists Over Their Victims

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What To Watch Out For With Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

 

 

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Seeing Through The Lens Of Victim-hood

When a person has been abused, they tend to see the world differently than other folks.  People like this aren’t as trusting as the average person, & with good reason.  They have survived some pretty terrible stuff!  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering how many untrustworthy people there are in the world.  However, it can become a bad thing.  A good friend of mine once called it “seeing things through the lens of victim-hood.”  I thought the term made perfect sense.

When a person sees others as out to hurt them with little or no evidence to prove this is happening, it’s a bad thing.

Or when a person reads so much into every small comment or action that they see others as out to get them, this is a bad thing.

Unfortunately, it can be very easy to turn out this way after surviving abuse. It can be especially easy to see problems online over face to face contact.  Once you’ve been badly hurt, you obviously want to avoid it again.  It’s very easy to become hyper-vigilant, seeing abusive behavior everywhere.  A person looks at you a bit odd or cracks a joke that isn’t like your sense of humor & suddenly you think they’re out to hurt you when nothing could be further from the truth.  This is no way to live!

Rather than succumb to this miserable lifestyle, change yourself!  It is possible!  I was this way & managed to change.  If I can do it, so can you.

As always, I recommend prayer as the place to start.  God can & will help you to make whatever changes you need.  He also will show you what you need to do.  Why not let Him?

Also slow down when a situation happens.  Respond, don’t react.  Responding isn’t instantaneous.  It requires time to consider the situation.  Reacting is instantaneous & done in the heat of emotions.  Reacting often happens when seeing situations through the lens of victim-hood.  Give yourself time to consider the situation before you respond.

Don’t automatically assume that your knee-jerk reaction is correct.  Consider it.  Question it.  Slow your thoughts down for some time & ask yourself why you think the way you’re thinking.  Is there evidence to back up what you believe is happening?  What is that evidence?  Are there red flags that show you this person isn’t safe, such as a lack of empathy for example?  Write it down if it helps.  Writing can help you to see things clearly, often more clearly than speaking or thinking about things.

Think too about the person in question.  If this is someone you know well, you will know what this person is & is not capable of.  You know if this person is safe or not.  Ask yourself, is it likely this person is out to hurt me or not?

If you want advice, don’t talk to someone else about the situation in a way that will get them assuming the worst about this person.  If they believe you, they will only feed your fear.  They’ll automatically respond to your fear with fear, especially if this is someone you’re close to.  If you want to talk about your situation with someone safe, that’s totally fine.  An objective opinion can be a truly great thing!  Just make sure you say things in such a way that the person who you’re speaking with can form their own opinion.  Say things like, “I think this person is looking to hurt me in some way.. what do you think?”  then state the facts without emotion.  Let this person form their own opinion if you want their best advice.

Just remember, Dear Reader, not everyone is abusive.  Not everyone wants to cause you pain & suffering.  Pray & seriously consider the situation so you can respond to it appropriately, rather than reacting because you’re seeing it through the lens of victim-hood.

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The Consummate Victim

Some covert narcissists are what I think of as the consummate victim.  They are the ones who are always wronged, always the victim, & never at fault for anything.  Some examples of their behavior are as follows.

 

The narcissist says something cruel.  You get angry, & rightfully so.  She claims she never meant to hurt your feelings.  She was just trying to help & had no idea what she said would upset you.  She then stops speaking to you for weeks, even if you apologized.

 

The narcissist tries to manipulate you into doing something you don’t want to do.  Naturally, you refuse to do it.  She claims you don’t love her.  How could you refuse to do this one little thing for her, especially after all she’s done for you?!

 

The narcissist is your elderly parent who expects you to come at their beck & call.  You tell your parent you only are available one day a week to do what she needs.  She tells your family how you refused to help her, & they attack you for being a bad daughter, ungrateful, a spoiled brat & more.

 

Narcissists who claim life is so unfair to them or that they are mistreated when people confront them on their abusive behavior are also consummate victims.  There are also those who blame their victims for their abusive behavior.  They are also consummate victims, as are those who complain about their problems, yet refuse to do something to change the situation.

 

Dealing with these people is incredibly frustrating, I know.  My late father & late mother in-law were both covert narcissists & consummate victims.  I repeatedly asked my father not to call after 9 at night.  When I refused to take his call when he called at 10 one evening, he called my in-laws & a cousin who lives almost 500 miles away.  He told both he was so concerned about me for not answering the phone, & asked them to have me call him immediately.  Another time, I was angry with my mother in-law because she had snooped through my purse yet again.  She asked my husband why I was angry, & he told her.  I overheard the conversation.  She claimed not to know what she did would be upsetting to me.

 

Both situations were similar.  As a result of my father’s & mother in-law’s actions, my husband & I got into an argument about his mother & my cousin & I argued about my father.  Being the typical consummate victims, their obnoxious behavior caused problems for the real victim while making themselves look good.

 

There are some things that you can do that can help you if you must deal with this behavior in covert narcissists.

 

Always rely on God to help you in this situation. He will be glad to help you discern the truth & strengthen you to do whatever you need to do!

 

Remember the type of person that you’re dealing with.  No matter what you do, this person will twist the situation around to make you look bad & them look like the innocent victim of your cruelty.  Expect nothing else because this person has no desire to behave any other way.

 

Also remember that there is nothing wrong with you setting boundaries or confronting this person on their abusive behavior.  Both of those are good things to do.  They are healthy & show you have self respect.

 

Consummate victims are very skilled at recruiting flying monkeys.  When you set those boundaries or confront the narcissist about her behavior, no matter how gently & reasonably you do so, it’s a safe bet someone will tell you how cruel, unreasonable, wrong, etc. you are.  When this happens, ignore whatever these flying monkeys have to say.  They don’t know the truth, only what the narcissist has told them.  Also, it’s best to refuse to discuss the narcissist with them.

 

Lastly, it’s also important to remember that consummate victims may project their status on their real victims.  It can be easy to believe their lies since narcissists are talented actors who give very convincing performances.  To avoid believing their lies, remember that you are NOT a consummate victim if you are angry about being abused, setting healthy boundaries or refusing to be manipulated.

 

If you are faced with a covert narcissist who portrays herself as a consummate victim, you can cope.  You have the knowledge & strength to handle this ugly situation.

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Why People Believe Narcissists Instead Of Their Victims

Those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse all seem to wonder one thing- why does everyone believe the narcissist & not me?!

I certainly have.  I was in my late teens when my mother’s abuse hit its peak.  During that time, I noticed that her friends no longer were friendly & nice to me.  Women who once obviously liked me no longer would even make eye contact with me or speak to me.  It wasn’t hard to figure out my mother told them something awful about me.  What I wondered was why would they believe her lies when they knew me well.  They had to know I wasn’t the terrible teen my mother told me & others that I was.

I think I have some ideas as to why people believe narcissists in these situations.

The person who doesn’t believe a victim may be a narcissist.  I have noticed narcissists don’t believe people easily.  If someone says another person hurt them, unless there is undeniable evidence such as broken bones, many narcissists don’t believe that person.  Maybe they simply have no interest since it doesn’t center around them.

Narcissists are also phenomenal actors.  They can create any impression they wish.  If they want to appear kind when they aren’t, they can do that with no problem.  Highly intelligent even though they aren’t particularly smart?  They can pull that act off too.  Their chameleon like ways blend well with their superb ability to read people, which enables them to appear in the most appealing way possible to each individual person.

Many people look for the best in others, not the real in others.  People see the narcissist as a good person, as the narcissist wanted them to, so when a victim tells others of the terrible things the narcissist has done, the victim is not believed.  People don’t think someone as “good” as the narcissist could do such things.

There’s also the fact that narcissistic abuse is so outlandish, it’s hard to believe.  Looking back at things narcissists have done to me, even I have trouble believing they happened, & I was there.  People with no knowledge of narcissism can have trouble believing your stories of narcissistic abuse simply because of the bizarre nature.

Some people who don’t believe victims also come from backgrounds of abuse, yet have not faced their pain.  Instead, they live ready to shut down anything or anyone that may remind them of their pain or that threatens their flawed belief system that all is fine in their world.  I know a family like this.  The father was horribly abusive to the children growing up.  The mother stood by his side, & failed to protect them.  In fact, she instilled the belief in them that it was their place to protect her, not the other way around.  The adult children were very protective of their mother.  They treated her as if she was a young child, in need of constant care, coddling & protection.  No one was allowed to mistreat her or criticize her, even if they were telling the truth.  None of them have any tolerance for anyone setting boundaries with their parents.  They seem to believe that you tolerate anything & everything from your parents with a smile.  They also will believe any lies a narcissistic parent tells them about their child, not their child.

I also think there is another reason people believe narcissists over victims.  Those who aren’t facing their own abusive pasts feel bad when they see others who are.  Maybe it makes them feel ashamed for not being strong enough to do so or it simply reminds them of the pain they work so hard to ignore.  But, I do know for these people, it’s easier to believe a narcissist than to believe their victim & face their own pain.

When you come across someone who doesn’t believe you, then Dear Reader, remember, it has nothing to do with you.  The person you’re speaking with has their own issues.  Normal, mentally healthy people listen to a victim’s story & believe that person unless there is strong evidence that the victim is lying, not the other way around.

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How Growing Up With A Narcissistic Mother Affects You As An Adult

Growing up with a narcissistic mother is incredibly painful.  It causes a great deal of damage too, not only to one’s mental health but sometimes physical as well due to the intense, incredible stress of living with such a cruel person.

 

Unfortunately, the damage done is still with the child moving out of his or her mother’s home.  While some of that damage is obvious, such as a person having C-PTSD, not all of it is so easily identified.  There are many behaviors that tend to stick with a person even years after the abuse has ended.

 

Many victims accept the blame for everything.  Growing up with a narcissist, you learn early in life that everything is your fault.  If you had any doubts about that, your narcissistic mother would remind you of it.  By adulthood, victims have lost all doubts & know everything is their fault.

 

Closely related is apologizing for everything.  Children aren’t allowed to stand up for themselves, especially to their narcissistic mother.  In fact, we don’t even have any clue how to stand up for ourselves.  Instead, we learn to apologize, whether the problem is our fault or not.  This behavior carries over into adulthood.

 

Narcissistic parents often compare their children unfavorably to their siblings or cousins.  Those children grow up comparing themselves unfavorably to others just as their parent did rather than appreciating the differences in each person.

 

Children of narcissistic parents learned early in life that their purpose was to do for their parent.  Children aren’t even thought of as human to their narcissistic parents, but instead they are merely tools to be used as needed by that parent.  Knowing this means these children believe they aren’t important.  They prioritize everyone else over themselves.

 

Along these lines, children of narcissistic parents also refuse to ask for help.  They believe they are unworthy of help from anyone.  Many are also perfectionists & think they should be able to do things by themselves, without any assistance.

 

Chronic self doubt is another problem narcissistic mothers create in their children.  When you grow up hearing how you can’t do anything right, you’re a failure, you’re stupid or other cruel things, self doubt is normal.  It can make you doubt every single thing about yourself, even into adulthood.  Often it’s like there is a recording in the back of your mind when you try to do something that says those same awful things Mom used to say, & when you hear the recording, it transports you back to childhood, when you felt you were all of those things Mom said you were.

 

Difficulty making decisions happens often with adult children of narcissistic parents, too.  When you suffer with self doubt, decisions can be really difficult to make!  Even simple decisions like when your spouse asks where you want to go for dinner can be very challenging, because you feel like whatever you say will be wrong.

 

Over thinking is another common sign of having grown up with a narcissistic mother.  It stems from having to be “on alert” at all times, needing to know what Mom wanted or how to please her or what exactly she needed at any time in order to avoid a narcissistic rage.

 

The lack of ability to express emotions is common with adult children of narcissistic mothers.  So many narcissistic mothers did their best to stop their child from expressing any emotions, negative or positive.  My mother used to scold me for having “that Bailey temper” that I learned never to show any anger or even simple frustration.  It felt easier to stuff that emotion deep down than to be shamed.  My mother also complained that I didn’t look happy, yet if I was happy, if it had nothing to do with her, she would shame me for being happy. Many narcissistic mothers behave in a similar way with their children.

 

Do you behave in any of these ways, Dear Reader?  If so, please know you are NOT alone & you are NOT crazy.  I’ve experienced them all, & still do experience some of them.  I have found that praying really helps a great deal.  I ask God for help or to show me what I can do to change my behavior.  Simple?  Sure, but also very effective.

 

I also question things.  “Am I really to blame for this?  Why?”  “Should I apologize for that?  Why or why not?”  “Why am I comparing myself to that person instead of appreciating our uniqueness?”  “Am I really not smart enough/talented enough/etc. to do that?  What evidence do I have that shows me I’m not?”  “Is it really unreasonable of me to ask my husband for help when I don’t feel good?  Why?”  These simple questions make me think about the situation at hand more objectively & I can see that sometimes what I’m thinking is nothing more than some old, dysfunctional mindset.  Upon seeing that, I am able to act in a more appropriate way.  If you have trouble doing this, another approach could be to imagine a friend came to you with the problem you’re facing now.  What would you tell that friend?  Imagining a friend is confiding in you rather than thinking about yourself facing the problem can give you a very different perspective.

 

Although these issues are challenging, they can be dealt with with time & work.  Do it- you deserve to be rid of these dysfunctional habits!

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When Narcissists Claim To Be The Real Victim

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About Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Since my last post was about red flags in those who write about narcissism, I thought I’d make today’s post about fellow survivors.

Most people who have survived narcissistic abuse are good people who are trying hard to recover. Naturally they have issues, but at least they’re working on them & working on getting healthier. They also are willing to share what they learn to help others in similar situations, & do so without any arrogance. They’re also open to input from other people, because they realize they don’t know it all- there is always more to learn on this topic.

Not every victim is this way, however. Some turn abusive.

I don’t know why some victims try to heal & why some become abusive but it does happen sometimes. If you’re going to interact with other victims through online support groups, reading blogs or on social media, you need to be aware of some red flags.

The biggest red flag to watch out for is narcissism. Many of you know the signs already so I won’t repeat them here. I’ll just share a link to the page on my website where I wrote about it if you care to check it out: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Narcissistic-Personality-Disorder.php

There are other red flags, too. If a person gives advice too freely, for example. While most victims want to help others, they also realize how rude it is to give unasked for advice. They also realize sometimes a person just needs to speak things out loud to help them work through a situation, & that doesn’t mean they’re looking for advice.

If a person is bossy or demanding with their advice, that’s another red flag. Most people realize that all people are individuals. What worked for them may not work for another. They realize it’s not a good idea to try to force someone to follow their advice & let the other person decide for themselves whether or not to follow it.

Your average victim of narcissistic abuse also isn’t judgmental or critical. They know all too well what it feels like to be judged & criticized so harshly, so they don’t inflict that on anyone else. Some victims turned abusers, however, can be extremely judgmental & critical.

Some victims also become very arrogant. They seem to think because they found success in doing something that helped them, that everyone should follow in their footsteps & if they don’t, they’re foolish.

These same people are also usually the first ones to shame people who, “don’t just go no contact.” They make it clear they don’t believe there is any reason not to go no contact, & they offer no compassion to anyone who wants to but it unable to or is trying to find another option.

Abusive victims also make excuses. If they are short with someone, it’s always for a reason like they’re having a bad da, as one example. They don’t apologize or accept responsibility for the hurtful things they do.

And, if you call a person like this out on their actions, they WILL be furious. They may offer a non apology. They may offer lame excuses for their behavior. They also may get mad at you. That in particular is a big red flag, because most victims of narcissistic abuse apologize easily & often. They don’t get mad when called out on their bad behavior. They usually get mad only when someone is accusing them of something they didn’t do.

One other red flag is a smear campaign. This is very common on social media. If someone feels the online support group they participated in wasn’t a good environment for example, social media is an easy way to let the world know how you feel about it. That is pretty normal behavior, I think, but if a person posts about that group in a way that really trashes it, that is a red flag.

The last red flag is stalking or harassing another person online. With your average victim of narcissistic abuse, they may have a dispute with someone then either stop speaking with them or even block them entirely. A victim who is also abusive however, may harass or stalk someone who disagreed with them. They may leave nasty comments on their page or join groups the other person is in & harass them in the group. This nonsense can go on for a very long time, especially with narcissists.

The best advice I can give in these situations is the Gray Rock method. Don’t react to their outrageous behavior or show them that what they do bothers you. Remain calm & ignore their behavior. Don’t defend yourself to their smear campaigns. Instead, simply block them wherever you can. Most people like this will get bored easily & leave you alone at this point. Narcissists may not be so simple to get rid of however. They may bother you for a long time. Never, ever respond to them- instead keep blocking them & their flying monkeys.

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Ways Narcissists Silence Their Victims, part 2

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Ways Narcissists Shift The Blame From You To Them & How To Cope

As anyone with experience with a narcissist knows, they accept no blame for anything they have done.  Ever.  You can confront them about something terrible they have done, then later walk away wondering why you just apologized to them instead of them apologizing to you.  This post will help you identify some of the common blame shifting behaviors so you won’t fall for them in the future.

Probably the most common thing that narcissists do to shift the blame is to play the victim.  This is especially common with covert narcissists, but overt ones will do it as well.  The narcissist will turn your legitimate concern around in such a way that you feel as if you’re being too hard on that person, overreacting or being too sensitive.  After all, they never had any idea that what they said or did would hurt you, they say.  Or, they may bring up some (probably imaginary) thing you did in the past, claiming that is abusive, & turning the topic of the conversation to that incident rather than your topic.

Closely related to playing the victim is the guilt trip done to shift blame.  They may tell you about something painful that they experienced in their childhood or say things like, “Why are you yelling at me?  I didn’t mean to hurt you!”  Before you know it, you’re comforting them even though they hurt you!

They often accuse their victims of bad or even abusive behavior, but especially during the times when they are confronted.  This is an effective way to shift the blame from the narcissist to the victim.  My mother did this to me when I was growing up.  She said I made her do something bad to me because of how terrible I was acting.  On my seventeenth birthday, she destroyed my gifts that my now ex husband gave me, then made me clean up the mess she made.  She said because I was “acting so snotty”, which is what made her destroy those gifts.  The truth was when I took the gifts from school to her car at the end of my day, I was terrified what she was going to do to me because she hated my ex, & was quiet.  I wasn’t “acting snotty”- I was acting terrified!

Narcissists also minimize the feelings of their victims to shift blame to the victim.  Basically, this shifts the blame to the victim for how they responded to the abuse rather than the abuse itself.  They may say things like “You’re too sensitive,”  “You’re crazy,” or “I was just joking!”

When you’re talking with a narcissist & these things happen, then you can be certain they are attempting to shift the blame off of themselves.   The best thing you can do is to redirect the conversation back to the original topic, as calmly as you can.  Wait on the narcissist to finish whatever she is saying, then calmly say something, “Ok, but that isn’t what we were talking about.  We will address that later.  We’re discussing ____ at the moment.”  You may have to do that a few times, but keep doing it.  If that doesn’t work, try saying, “We’ll talk about this another time when you are ready to talk,” then leave or hang up the phone, & approach her another time in the very near future.

Unfortunately with narcissists, there is never an easy answer.  Doing what I suggested may not work at all for you in the sense of being able to hash out the problem at hand.  However, the good thing is it will let that narcissist know that you aren’t going to be fooled by the blame shifting nor will you be pushed around.

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How Narcissists Convince Victims They Are The Problem

Narcissists have a way of making their victims feel like we are the problem.  This is awful for the victims, because as a result, we end up tolerating their abuse for years.  We think they’re good to put up with us, & we try harder & harder to be good enough for them.  Meanwhile, as we’re losing ourselves in trying to please the narcissists, the narcissists are gaining tons of supply.

 

So how does this happen?  How can a person honestly believe they’re the problem when the narcissist clearly is?  Narcissists accomplish this in several ways.

 

Projection.  Narcissist always accuse others of their own flaws.  This makes a person feel inadequate.  A person may even become angry but feels they don’t have the right to be angry since they are the flawed one.

 

Narcissists don’t examine their behavior, only yours.  If you’re angry with a narcissist, all that narcissist sees is how you’re acting.  They don’t ask themselves why you’re angry or is it something they’ve done.  They see you acting in a way they consider irrational, & make you feel crazy for your behavior.

 

They gaslight.  All narcissists love gaslighting their victims.  Gaslighting is basically when you say the sky is blue, & the narcissist says it’s clearly green & something is wrong with you for thinking otherwise.  Granted, that is an extremely obvious example, but that’s pretty much how gaslighting works.  Narcissists see the same thing you see (that blue sky) but don’t want you to see it that way.  Rather than agreeing that the sky is blue, they’ll tell you it’s green & try to make you feel crazy for thinking it’s blue.  Narcissists do this often with abusive things they have done.  They may deny the events happened entirely, or try to convince you that they happened in a very different way.

 

Narcissists provoke their victims to rage while maintaining their cool.  One primary feature of narcissism is their complete lack of empathy.  This enables narcissists to feel no guilt or remorse for abusing a victim.  This also means they can maintain their calm demeanor while simultaneously driving a victim to the brink of madness.  When this happens, a victim feels insane.  After all, the victim is the one screaming & crying while the narcissist is cool & collected.  The victim looks crazy to herself & anyone else who may be witnessing this phenomenon.

 

If you’re in a relationship of any sort with a narcissist, these things are most likely happening.  When they do, please remember this post & remind yourself that you are NOT the problem!  The narcissist is only trying to make you think you are!

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