Tag Archives: victim

The Truth Versus Your Truth

A fairly common saying among people today is about speaking “your truth.”  It sounds empowering on the surface, doesn’t it?  But if you look a bit deeper than just at the surface, you see it is far from empowering. 

“Your truth” can be anything.  Your truth could be that grass is purple, as an example.  You could believe that with every single fiber of your being.  You could post it all over social media, wear clothing that says grass is purple & even message or call everyone you know daily to remind them that you believe that grass is purple.  Your conviction, however strong it may be, doesn’t mean that grass is indeed purple.  The truth is that grass is green, not purple.  And, encouraging someone to believe that the grass is purple instead of all evidence that proves it’s green is enabling some belief that isn’t true.  That is never a good thing!

Abuse survivors frequently are told to speak “their truth.”  This often seems very condescending to me, as if the person saying this is telling the victim “you weren’t really abused, but if it makes you feel better saying that you were, then go for it!”  If someone is abused, that abuse isn’t simply “their truth.”  If someone was abused in any way – verbally, emotionally, mentally, physically, sexually, financially or spiritually – that is the truth.  It isn’t subjective.  It’s a fact.  To tell a person that “their truth” is that someone abused them rather than recognizing it as a fact is very minimizing of the real truth.

I firmly believe people who use the phrase “your truth” often are being manipulative.  Not always, since some people innocently use the phrase in trying to help others of course, but I don’t see that happening all that often.  Much more frequently, when this phrase is used, manipulation is involved.  People who use this phrase may be trying to make someone feel stupid & themselves superior by patronizing them when they use the phrase, “your truth” instead of “the truth.”  They also may be trying to stop the person they are speaking with from discussing abuse by making them feel badly or doubt that they were abused when they say comments about “your truth.”  Such a snarky, condescending comment can make most people doubt what they say is truly accurate.  Whatever the reason, when a person says something about you discussing “your truth,” it often is a big red flag, & should not be ignored.

When someone says something about you speaking “your truth”, it can be hard not to submit to their belittling, minimizing attitude, especially if you have been abused.  Abusers minimize their victims’ complaints & concerns, which can make them doubt themselves with or without their abusers’ input.  It simply becomes a very bad habit.  I want to encourage you today not to doubt yourself though!  Remind yourself that there is no such thing as “your truth.”  There is only “the truth.”  If you have any doubts about what the truth is in your situation, then research what the Bible has to say about the topic at hand.  The Bible can prove or disprove any topic, & is full of the real truth.  After all, God is the God of truth, according to Psalm 31:5.  In the Amplified Bible, it says, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth and faithfulness.” 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Evil Spirits and Spiritual Warfare, Mental Health, Narcissism

The Victim Act

Both overt & covert narcissists share a fondness for portraying themselves as victims, although often covert narcissists are much quicker to use this tactic.  Overt narcissists prefer other people to see them as superior, but in a pinch, they will pull this victim act if necessary.

Narcissists use the victim act as a way to convince people that their victim is the real problem in the relationship.  It takes the focus off of the narcissist & places it on the victim.  This scenario is especially common when an overt narcissist marries a covert narcissist.  The covert calls attention to the overt narcissist’s behavior, which allows the covert narcissist to continue being abusive in the background.  The victim act also can be used when a narcissist is losing control of their victim as a way to manipulate other people into telling the victim they need to treat the narcissist better or to abandon the victim so he or she has no support.  Portraying themselves as a victim also can be a way for a narcissist to manipulate their victim.  The goal is to convince the victim that he or she is being cruel & needs to change their behavior to whatever the narcissist wants.  If the narcissist is convincing enough & the victim lacks knowledge of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the victim may believe that they are being unreasonable for wanting the narcissist to treat them with respect or that having boundaries with the narcissist are cruel. 

The victim act also gets narcissists plenty of attention, which is something they all crave.  They are seen in a good way, certainly much better than the person that they claim is their abuser.  They also have control over how other people see them by lying & creating a story to show them in their best possible light, the victim in the worst..  People who are unaware of the victim act often fall for it, & blindly support the narcissist while shunning whoever they claim to be their abuser.

Covertly narcissistic parents also portray themselves as victims to their children.  Often, they are able to convince their child that they need protection & coddling, so this draws the child into a sick emotionally incestuous relationship.  The child’s focus is so much on taking care of their parent, that often even as adults, they don’t recognize or acknowledge that this behavior is sick & abusive.

Victimized narcissists also have extreme double standards.  They are allowed to say & do anything to you, no matter how hurtful.  Yet, if you say or do the same thing to them, they claim you are abusive, bad, & the real problem in the relationship.

There are ways to differentiate someone who is playing the victim compared to someone who is a true victim.  True victims don’t talk badly about other people non stop.  They talk some about their abuser & what they did, but primarily they focus on their healing.  They also are guarded, not talking very openly with just anyone about their experience.  Narcissistic victims will tell anyone who will listen all about their pain.  And, narcissistic victims don’t take any responsibility in their situation.  A true victim will admit anything they did wrong, sometimes even accepting blame for the abuser’s behavior, especially in the early days of their healing.

If you have been on the receiving end of a narcissist’s victim act, my heart goes out to you.  I have many times & I know it’s not an easy place to be.  I learned from the experiences though.  I learned there always will be people who believe the narcissist’s outrageous lies over the truth, & nothing will convince them otherwise.  Let them go.  Their dysfunction is way more important to them than the truth, & nothing you can say or do will change their mind.  In fact, the more you try to change their minds, the more convinced they become that the narcissist is right about you.  Leave them & the narcissist to their toxicity & get away from it as fast as you can.  What people like that think about you isn’t important.  Your sanity is.

I also learned that this experience is great for teaching you who is safe & who isn’t.  Unsafe people blindly believe the lies.  Safe people don’t, they defend you & they abandon anyone who speaks or believes the lies.  Unsafe people will abandon you over the lies, & this is a good thing even when it hurts at first. 

I also learned just how much God loves His children.  During such times in my life, He comforted me, helped me to heal & let me know He would deal with these toxic people on my behalf.  These painful times brought me closer to Him, & that made it all worth it.

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Playing The Victim

Many narcissists are known for playing the victim, in particular covert narcissists.  They seem to think that everyone else has caused their problems but themselves.  Their own actions are always excused away or even denied.  They also claim there is nothing they can do about these problems. 

As a person with a kind heart, it can be easy to get drawn into this victim act & feel sorry for this person.  The problem is that is easy for these people to manipulate the kind hearted in these situations.

Following are some ways to identify someone who is playing the victim to help you avoid that situation.

People who play the victim obviously feel sorry for themselves.  They think the world is so cruel & unfair to them, & they’re helpless to do anything about it.

These people also have no desire to put any work into improving their situation.  They prefer staying in the bad situation than changing it or even allowing anyone to help change it. 

They also accept zero responsibility for their behavior.  Whatever is wrong is always someone else’s fault, according to them.  They did nothing wrong.  If they ran someone over with their car, they would blame the person they hit for being in that parking lot at that particular time of day rather than admit that they didn’t look before backing out of their spot.

People playing the victim are incredibly manipulative.  Once they know they have someone’s pity they feel free to get anything they want from that person.  They will gain their sympathy & support.  They will get money from them.  Most of all, they get attention & these people do thrive on that attention.

Parents who play the victim are especially manipulative with their children.  There are so many situations where an overt & a covert narcissist marry, & the covert ends up looking like the innocent victim who needs his or her children’s protection against the overtly narcissistic parent.  This was my situation.  My father claimed there was nothing he could do to protect me from my mother’s abuse, & it was so hard for him when she abused me.  I often comforted him after one of her abusive episodes rather than him comforting me.

People like this are also emotional vampires, as the saying goes.  They cling to other people & expect them to listen to their woes at any time, for as long as they want to talk, no matter what is going on in their lives.  If the listener is unavailable, that person will do their level best to make the listener feel guilty for failing to be there when they were needed the most.

Another quality of those who play the victim is how offended they are with any differences.  If their chosen listener disagrees with them or continues suggesting they make changes, they will become very angry with the listener or even cut that person out of their life.

Most people who have experienced serious problems learn to appreciate the good things in life as a result.  Even small things such as a pretty flower can brighten their day.  Not so with those playing the victim.  They are intensely negative & unappreciative.  Nothing pleases these people.

When you come across someone like this in your life, & you definitely will, the smartest thing you can do is to set boundaries.  Limit your exposure to this person & avoid them if at all possible.  If avoiding them isn’t possible, keep conversations with them short & superficial.  Talk about the weather & other light topics that aren’t about them & how they have been wronged.

If you’re like many children of narcissistic parents who feel obligated to care for others to the point it’s unhealthy, these people can be hard for you to spot at first.  As God to give you discernment & remember the signs of their toxic behavior.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

When One Parent Is Abusive & The Other A Bystander

So many times over the years, I’ve gotten comments on my blog or by email from people who recognize they had an abusive parent.  They discuss how cruel that parent was, often explaining terrible tales of brutality that no child should have to face.  At some point, they mention their other parent.  From their description, you would think that parent borders on sainthood.  They say things like, “Mom knew Dad was a monster, but she gave me pointers on how to stay out of his way & not make him angry.”  “Dad was such a good guy.  He wouldn’t see the bad in anyone, even Mom.  He dealt with things by telling me that’s just how Mom is, she can’t help it, & encouraged me to forgive & forget what she did to me.”

Stories like this just break my heart.  These people truly believe what they say, & don’t realize that a passive parent is just as bad as an abusive parent.  Long ago, I was one of these people.

My mother was an overt narcissist.  Her abuse was undeniable.  It was loud, obvious & cruel, especially when I was in my late teen years.  I cried on my father’s shoulder about it many times.  The majority of those times, he turned the situation around to how painful it was for him & how helpless he was to stop the abuse.  Those times ended with me trying to comfort him.  Other times, he simply didn’t care.  I remember one time he gave me a pat on the knee & walked off.  He didn’t say anything but his attitude was one of “Wow.. glad I’m not you!”

For years, I thought this behavior was ok.  Normal even.  He was a great guy, & simply a victim of my mother like me, which is why he couldn’t (well, wouldn’t) help me.  In fact, I felt it was my duty to care for & protect him.  Yes, I am serious.  I honestly believed that it was my duty, as his child, to take care of & protect my father while not expecting him to care for & protect me.  Disturbing, isn’t it?

Sadly, many other adult children with abusive parents grew up believing the same things I did, which explains the many comments I’ve heard from adults who believe the same faulty way I once did.

The problem is this thinking is incredibly dysfunctional.  It’s not facing the truth, & the truth really will set us free!

Believing that one parent is good while the other abusive in these situations creates distrust & confusion about love & loyalty in children.  They think love & loyalty involve sacrificing not only your identity & beliefs, but even your children if need be.  If you’re unwilling to do that, you must not love that person.  This sets the stage for very dysfunctional & even abusive relationships in that child’s life. 

It also makes a child question themselves.  It’s normal for that child to grow up excessively angry at the overtly abusive parent because they simply don’t have the courage to be angry with the passively abusive parent.  One day when they realize this, they wonder what is wrong with them for not being able to accept both parents were abusive.

This type of thinking also happens a lot with people who can accept that their fathers were abusive, but not their mothers.  Admitting a father is abusive is easier than a mother.  Many mothers in such situations play up the appearance of being helpless victims who need their children to protect & coddle them.  Their children get so caught up in taking care of them, they seem to forget that it isn’t their job.  It’s their mother’s job to protect & care for them instead.

The first step to healthier thinking is to recognize both the good & bad aspects of both of your parents.  Writing these things out may be especially beneficial since written words have the ability to bring clarity that the spoken word often lacks.  Seeing your parents realistically is a healthy thing to do, & sets the stage for your healing.  This isn’t “wallowing in the past” or “blaming parents for everything.”  It is a legitimate & healthy step to take towards healing.

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Being In A Relationship With Someone Who Is Extremely Independent

Being extremely independent is looked upon as a good thing by most people.  There are times when it can be a very good thing, like when it comes from a position of faith that God will help you to do anything you need to do rather than putting faith in people.  Sadly, it also can be a problematic trauma response.  I know this since this is why I tend to be overly independent in many ways.

When someone grows up with an abusive parent or two, they learn very early in life that people can’t be trusted.  After all, if someone who was supposed to love, care for & protect you is untrustworthy, how can anyone be trusted?  That logic absolutely makes sense.  Yet at the same time, it isn’t necessarily a good thing.

A problem with this quality of extreme independence is that it can cause a person to find safety within his or her self & withdraw from other people, even the safe ones.  It pushes people away, whether or not that is the intention. 

Growing up accustomed to being let down by those who are supposed to love us most causes us to realize we don’t need anyone.  We’ll always say that we don’t need help.  We can do this thing without any help.  Even if we truly need help, admitting that fact is very unlikely to happen, which naturally is a problem in so many ways.  Refusing help when it is needed causes a person to make mistakes or even fail at whatever project they are doing.  It also pushes people away, which can damage or even destroy their relationships.

This extreme independence leads to thinking about romantic relationships like, “I don’t need you.  I want you.”  That naturally can be a good thing in some ways, but when you’re married to someone, you need to need your spouse.  God created people to need each other, but in particular their spouse.  That is why when people marry, they should share many qualities, but also be better in some areas than their spouse, & their spouse should be better in other areas than they are.  This kind of couple makes an amazing team with many talents.  They are so much better together than they were independently. 

Another problem of being in a romantic relationship with someone extremely independent is that if you give this person a reason to leave, they will, & the reason doesn’t always have to be a good one.  It can be something simple such as you forgot that you were supposed to go to dinner together one evening.  It isn’t necessarily that the person was looking for an easy way out of the relationship.  It’s more because they are afraid of being let down & hurt yet again.

A person who wants to be in a relationship of any sort, in particular romantic, with someone like this must make their actions align with their words.  After a lifetime of being disappointed by people, if actions don’t continually line up with words, an extremely independent person will leave rather than risk being disappointed frequently yet again.

Being in a relationship with a very independent person can be incredibly challenging, & truly isn’t for everyone.  However, the person who is willing to be understanding, patient & sincere stands a great chance of breaking through the barrier of extreme independence & finding a very loving & loyal partner. Winning the trust of someone extremely independent isn’t easy, & it won’t be taken for granted!

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Forever The Victim – A Narcissistic Tactic

Some covert narcissists are perpetually a victim.  They are the ones who are always wronged, always the victim of mean people, & never at fault for anything.  Here are some examples.

A narcissist says something cruel, which naturally makes you angry.  She claims she never meant to hurt you, was just trying to help & had no idea that would upset you.  She may even stop speaking to you for a while after this, even if you apologized for being upset with her.

Or, the narcissist tries to manipulate you into doing something you don’t want to do.  When you refuse, he claims you don’t love him.  He asks how could you refuse to do this one little thing for him, especially after all he’s done for you?!

Maybe the narcissist is your elderly parent who expects you to come at their beck & call.  You tell your parent you only are available on Tuesdays & Saturdays to do what she needs.  She tells your family how you refused to help, & they attack you for being ungrateful, a spoiled brat & more.

Narcissists who behave this way, those who claim life is unfair to them, that they are mistreated when people confront them on their abusive behavior, those who blame their victims for their abusive behavior & those who complain about their problems yet have no real interest in change are also the perpetual, consummate victims. 

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.  I refused to take his call when he called at 10 one evening.  His response was to call my in-laws & a cousin who lives almost 500 miles away.  He told both he was so worried about me because I didn’t answer the phone, & asked them to have me call him immediately.  Regarding my mother in-law, I was angry with my mother in-law once because she had snooped through my purse yet again.  She asked my husband why I was angry.  I listened to their conversation.  He told her why I was angry, & she claimed not to know what she did would be upsetting to me.

Both situations are almost identical.  As a result of my father’s & mother in-law’s actions, my husband & I argued yet again about his mother, & my cousin & I argued about my father.  In typical forever victim fashion, their behavior caused problems for the real victim (me) & made them look good.

 When you must deal with this dreadful behavior, there are some things you can do.  I firmly believe that relying on God is the first & best step you can make.  He will help you to understand what they are doing & come up with ways to most effectively deal with this toxic behavior.

Never ever forget the type of person you’re facing.  No matter what you do or don’t do, they will make the situation look as if you’re being cruel to them.  Expect nothing else because that won’t happen.

Remember there is nothing wrong with you setting boundaries & confronting this person.  Both show you have self respect.  However, also know they may backfire in a sense & make your situation worse.  These narcissists are very talented at recruiting flying monkeys to protect them & also chastise the victim.  When faced with those flying monkeys, ignore what they say.  Don’t discuss the narcissist with them at all. 

Lastly never forget that no one is truly a victim who is angry about anyone setting healthy boundaries with them such as refusing to be manipulated or abused.  Anyone who is angry that someone won’t tolerate their abusive behavior is toxic, period, & not a true victim.

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When People Blame Others For The Trauma They Experience

Extremely dysfunctional people often have a very bad habit.  They find ways to blame the innocent for cruelty or even abuse others inflict on them.  These are the people who ask someone what they said to make their spouse hit them, criticize a woman’s choice of clothing on the day someone raped her, or say things like, “I don’t know why you two just can’t get along” in a shaming tone when someone says their elderly parent is abusive.  They also may minimize the trauma, invalidate the person’s feelings about it or even deny it happened altogether.

This bad habit isn’t simply dysfunctional for the person who behaves this way.  It’s also exceedingly cruel to the people they say such comments to & treat so poorly.  Saying such things is shaming, & it implies someone deserves whatever trauma has happened to them, brought the abuse on themselves & are to blame for not turning an abusive relationship into a good one.  Of course, such words aren’t spoken directly, but the implications are still there.  To someone who has suffered trauma & is in the vulnerable position of admitting that to someone else, this behavior can make a person feel ashamed for suffering, not preventing the trauma or even bringing it on themselves.  Minimizing, invalidating & denying trauma also are cruel, because they make a person feel ashamed of themselves for feeling as they do.  They feel they are wrong, flawed or even crazy when subjected to someone who minimizes, invalidates & denies the trauma. 

When a dysfunctional person treats an innocent person this way, they have their own reasons for doing so, & those reasons are never healthy.

This person may be on good terms with the abuser, & doesn’t want to think they could be so close to someone who is so cruel.  Admitting someone you think highly of is in reality a toxic monster isn’t exactly pleasant of course.  Blaming someone for making the person they care about behave badly is much easier for people like this to handle.

Some are simply cowardly.  To support victims, you have to do things.  You offer them compassion, caring, kindness, & support.  You listen to their horror stories because it helps them to talk about it.  Blaming an innocent person makes what happened to them something they deserved, & in that case, they don’t deserve any of the things that victims deserve.  It’s much easier than supporting someone who has been traumatized.

Some of these extremely dysfunctional people have experienced their own trauma, & you facing your trauma offends them.  It reminds them of pain they want to forget, which makes them extremely uncomfortable.  Or, they see you facing your pain & feel cowardly for not facing their own.  They don’t take this as a sign that it’s time to start facing their pain.  Instead they try to shut down the victim.  That is why they say such cruel things.  Their goal is to stop this person from making them feel things that they have worked very hard to avoid feeling.  Shaming someone is a very quick & effective way to accomplish that.

If you have experienced being treated this way, my heart goes out to you.  It’s not fair or right in any way.  Please never forget though that it has absolutely nothing to do with you.  There is nothing wrong with you for wanting to discuss what happened to you.  There is, however, something very wrong with someone who is willing to treat someone who has been traumatized so poorly.  Don’t let their dysfunction determine how you feel about what happened to you.  You know the truth about the situation.  You were there.  You lived through that & are living with the aftermath of it.  The cruel person who treated you so badly wasn’t.  This means they don’t know nearly as much as they think they do, so why would you seriously consider anything they have to say on the matter?  There is no good reason to!

Rather than taking their cruelty to heart, ignore them.  Focus on taking good care of yourself & your healing, & leave the dysfunctional to their dysfunction.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.)

What Complements Are Like For Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I have yet to talk to one victim of narcissistic abuse who doesn’t struggle with receiving complements on some level.  I certainly am one of them.  You may be able to relate to my story.

Growing up, my overtly narcissistic mother was very critical of me.  She said it was for my own good but it really didn’t feel that way.  My self esteem was about non existent. 

Just before I turned 17, I met my ex husband.  At first, he showered me with constant praise.  Eventually that stopped, & he became very critical.  Of course, he denied that because he didn’t say words like, “stupid” or “fat.”  He implied them by saying things like, “I’m surprised you don’t know that” or, “well, you certainly aren’t small…”  By the time that marriage ended, I had no self esteem.

For most of my life, if people complemented me, I would tell them why they were wrong.  Eventually I realized this made people uncomfortable, so I started to smile & say thank you.  I was still cringing inside, & thinking of how wrong they were, but at least they didn’t realize that.  I was more or less satisfied with this arrangement for a long time. 

Eventually though, I decided it was time to consider complements rather than blindly shoot them down.  I realized that people don’t usually say things with an ulterior motive or to hear themselves talk.  When they pay complements, they sincerely believe what they say.  I still struggle with trying to believe them, but knowing this helps.

Then I read about shame & suddenly things made sense!

When a person is subjected to narcissistic abuse, they develop a deep root of shame thanks to the gaslighting.  Being told how terrible, ugly, stupid, flawed, mentally unstable & more they are over & over does this.  So when someone complements this type of person, one of two things may happen..

Cognitive dissonance can happen.  That is the term for the very uncomfortable feeling of receiving new information that clashes with one’s core beliefs.  Being told you are something good after believing that you are nothing but bad creates a very painful cognitive dissonance.  The automatic reaction to cognitive dissonance is often to reject the new information immediately.  That isn’t always wise though.  That new information should be questioned!

Another possibility is the complement triggers shame, because the person feels they have somehow duped this poor person.  They feel shame because they believe they were being deceitful.

If you experience these feelings when someone gives you a complement, I would like to encourage you to challenge this.  I can’t promise you’ll become completely comfortable with complements, but at the very least, you will learn to feel better about them.

Remember what I said – most people don’t have any ulterior motive for paying someone a complement.  They’re simply being nice & sincere. 

Consider the complement.  I would bet the same thing someone praises you for is something the narcissist was quick to criticize about you.  Narcissists are quick to tear down anything good they see in their victims, so that alone should prove that it’s true. 

And never forget to pray.  God will be more than happy to help you to heal in every area!  Let Him do just that!

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Labeling Victims Of Abuse As Survivors Can Be A Mistake

Many people, even those who have survived narcissistic abuse, look down on anyone who uses the term “victim.”  It seems to offend some people who survived narcissistic abuse to be referred to as a victim, because they prefer to be called a survivor.  Others who haven’t survived narcissistic abuse but still find the term victim offensive seem to look down on anyone who considers herself or himself to be a victim.  They obviously associate the term victim with someone who is weak &/or foolish, as if only weak & foolish people can be abused.  They also seem to think victims are those who wallow in the pain of their trauma, & never move on.  They have PTSD or C-PTSD because they won’t just stop thinking about the trauma.  If they’d just stop thinking about it, they’d be fine!

Whatever the motive, many times victims are pushed & even shamed into referring to themselves as survivors & never victims.  This can be a problem for victims!

There is absolutely no shame in falling prey to an abusive person.  Narcissists are notorious for being phenomenal actors.  They can fool anyone no matter how smart or even how much a person may know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The more you know, naturally the quicker you can catch onto their behavior, but even so, there is a chance you can be fooled briefly.  I have been & I’ve been studying narcissism since 2011!  Anyway there is truly no shame in being abused.  The only shame in any abusive relationship belongs to the abusive person, never their victim.

Also, putting the survivor label on people can make them feel pressured to heal quickly or even get over the abuse entirely (which is unlikely).  Rushing healing never works out well.  Healing has to be done at its own pace & that pace varies greatly from person to person.  Not to mention, most of the time, it’s a life long process.  Very few people completely “get over” abuse, especially when there is a history of it such as growing up with abusive parents then dating or marrying abusive partners.

I think a lot of times people put the survivor label on victims to make themselves more comfortable.  Maybe it makes them feel that since the person survived, the abuse wasn’t that bad.  If it was someone they knew, this can help them feel better about themselves if they did nothing to help the victim.  Or, maybe it is spoken out of simple ignorance.  They intend to be empowering & comforting yet are unsure how to do it. 

As for those who have been abused, I really believe it should be each person’s preference which label they use, so long as each person accepts the fact that they were victims of an abuser & have no shame for that.  Removing yourself from the abuse by calling yourself a survivor can be empowering to some people, & that is wonderful.  Whatever helps is a good thing! 

For myself, I stick with using the term victim.  I don’t want to sound like I’m looking for pity or attention, because truly that’s not the case.  Instead, by using that term, I’m reminding myself that what happened to me wasn’t my fault.  I was innocent & did nothing to deserve the abuse.  This helps me because my abusers blamed me for their bad behavior.  Even years after, I have moments of slipping back into wondering what I did wrong to make them treat me the way they did.  Thankfully, those moments don’t last long, but they do happen.  Referring to myself as a victim is a little reminder every time I say or write it that what they did to me was their fault, not mine.

However you choose to refer to yourself is up to you.  But please, whether you prefer the term victim or survivor, let it be your choice.  Don’t let anyone pressure you into referring to yourself in a way that you don’t feel comfortable with.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Shame Over Past Behavior In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Victims of narcissist abuse are no strangers to shame.  Narcissists use it as a weapon very simply because it is such an effective weapon.  A person who feels tremendous shame is very easy to manipulate because they believe they are flawed, stupid, awful, selfish & more beyond repair, so they must listen to someone who isn’t a terrible person like they are.  It’s just common sense that someone out to manipulate & control another person would be thrilled with a victim who thinks this way.

Even when an abuse victim realizes this, that doesn’t make the shame go away.  That shame can hang around for a long time.  Thankfully, much of the shame instilled in victims by the narcissists in their lives diminishes & even disappears fairly fast when they realize that what they feel & believe was deliberately put their by a narcissist.  Other shame however tends to hang around way too long!  That is the shame we will address today.

Victims of narcissistic abuse often feel intense shame about their behavior when they were in a relationship with a narcissist.  I truly understand this since I have experienced the same myself.  In fact, my behavior made me wonder if I was a narcissist since I did some of the same things.  The truth however is no, I am not nor was I a narcissist.  And, if you have similar feelings, I’m sure you aren’t either.

Victims of narcissistic abuse must lie when in relationship with a narcissist.  One key to surviving a narcissistic relationship is to please the narcissist at all times.  Obviously common sense says no one can please any person at all times, in particular someone who is notoriously impossible to please.  However, in the midst of the relationship, that isn’t common sense.  Victims are conditioned to think they must please the narcissist & not doing so is a huge flaw on their part, deserving whatever abuse the narcissist wishes to dish out.  Rather than face that abuse, victims often lie.  It’s a survival skill.  Unfortunately this survival skill can come with a lot of shame attached after the relationship is over.  Instead, try extending mercy & understanding to yourself because it was a necessary evil at the time.

Manipulation is bad, there is no disputing that.  Yet like lying, it too is a necessary evil when in the throes of a relationship with a narcissist.  Anything to please the narcissist is what is important & if that requires manipulation, so be it.  Once the relationship is over, however, looking back on being manipulative in any capacity is shame inducing.  It even can make a person wonder if they are a narcissist as well.  If you are wondering the same, no you are not!!  The fact you wonder & are willing to research it to find out says you aren’t a narcissist.  They don’t do self reflection, & if they somehow stumble upon something stating anything negative about them, they reject it immediately.  So no, you aren’t a narcissist.  You are someone who did something that narcissists do but you only did so in order to survive a toxic environment.

Maybe you were married to a narcissist & did things sexually you aren’t proud of having done.  Again, you did this as a way to survive.  That doesn’t make you a bad person!

If you have experienced such things then please keep in mind although you feel ashamed of what you have done in the past, you aren’t a narcissist nor are you a bad person.  You did what you needed to do at the time to survive.  That is all.  If you had been in a normal relationship, you wouldn’t have done such things.  It’s ok to release that shame about your former behavior!  When you struggle with this, ask God to help you.  He will so let Him do it!  You don’t deserve to live under such a dark cloud of shame!

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Why Some People Treat Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse So Badly

I use an online diary.  It sends me periodic emails saying things like, “Last year on this date, you wrote…” then includes a link to that entry.  Recently it showed me an entry I made in February, 2020.

That day, I wrote about how I had joined Instagram to follow someone who shares information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I hadn’t even set anything up on my account when I got an email saying someone was following me.  It turned out it was one of my cousins who was so awful to me when my father was dying.  I blocked her at first, then immediately decided that wasn’t good enough.  I deleted my Instagram account, & haven’t gone to the site since.

I prayed about this, asking God why would this person follow me?  She hates me & has made the very clear for a long time.  He told me something that I thought may help other victims of narcissistic abuse, so I want to share that with you today.

“She’s 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 in her mind.  She felt her parents didn’t really care about her.  She saw yours shelter you.  That’s where the envy began.”

“She had to lie to herself about her parents’ loving her & being close to your aunt.  She thinks you’re lying about yours & 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 NPD is a made up thing you use to justify talking about your parents as you do.”

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

Pretty disturbing isn’t it?  Sadly though, many people abuse victims of narcissistic abuse & I would guess many have very similar motivations behind their behavior.

My mother was definitely the engulfing type of narcissistic mother, so to the outside world, she looked attentive, caring, & somewhat over protective.  My father went along with her behavior.  Also, I never complained because this is what abused kids learn to do to survive.  To anyone not intimately involved with my parents & I, we looked like a tight knit family.

Consider my cousin I mentioned earlier.  She came from a very dysfunctional & abusive childhood.  It’s no wonder she thought my childhood was so happy & care free.  She only saw what she was allowed to see, & never knew what went on behind closed doors.  Her observations combined with the devil validating her feelings turned her into someone who is very envious for no good reason.  Her way to cope with it was to treat me badly. 

What about those in your life who have treated you similarly?  Could this fit them as well?  If so, there is only a small amount of advice I have on dealing with such people, but I believe it will help you as it has me.

Remember that their behavior stems from their dysfunction & lack of relationship with God.  It isn’t really about you, although they will make it sound that way.  Don’t accept whatever they say about you because it is wrong! 

If at all possible, end the relationship.  People like this are very convicted in their wrong beliefs.  You won’t be able to change their mind, so don’t waste your time trying.  Sever ties & block all ways they can reach you.

Lastly, pray for them.  The Bible says we are to pray for our enemies, so pray for this person to see the truth & for evil spirits to leave them alone.  Doing this helps them as well as you because over time, it helps you to release the anger you naturally feel towards them. 

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Some Ways Victims Of Abuse Are Re-Victimized

Abuse victims don’t have it easy.  Contrary to what many people think, the abuse doesn’t end when the victim either leaves the relationship or their abuser dies.  Far from it.  There are many who live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or more commonly, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Both are horrible & potentially life ending disorders since many who suffer this way commit suicide.  You would think this would be bad enough, but it gets even worse.  Many people who have survived abuse are further abused when they have the courage to tell other people about it.

If you have told people of your experiences with an abuser, maybe you simply don’t realize how other people can abuse a victim who opens up about their story.  In all fairness, it can be very hard to recognize at first!  When subjected to narcissistic abuse, any other abuse can be hard to identify.  That doesn’t make these things less wrong, however.  You need to be aware that there are many ways to abuse, including subtle ways.  The more you know, the more you can protect yourself!

Possibly the most common way victims are further abused is by minimizing or even denying the abuse.  Many people don’t want to deal with stories of abuse.  Maybe they are the type who think that is being “too negative”.  Maybe they have their own history of abuse & can’t stand listening to others’ stories because it reminds them of their own pain.  Maybe they’re close to your abuser & refuse to see this person as anything less than wonderful.  In any case, minimizing & denying abuse is cruel & it is abusive!

When the abuser is a shared family member, people often deal with this situation terribly, even in abusive ways.  No one wants to admit that their favorite relative is an abusive monster.  Certainly that is understandable.  What is not understandable is how people react in this situation.  Many relatives will abuse a victim by shunning them by refusing to include them on family gatherings while rallying around the abuser.  There are others who not only deny the abuse allegations but sit the victim near their abuser at family gatherings.  Others tell victims things like, “That is a serious accusation.”  Or, “Are you SURE that is how it happened?”  Such comments are invalidating & abusive.

A very common way victims are abused is when they tell someone about the abuse, that person says they refuse to take sides, want to remain neutral or don’t want to get involved.  Neutrality helps abusers.  It enables them to continue to abuse without fear of consequences.  Naturally, by default, this means that victims are hurt by neutrality.  Victims need someone to stand up for them, to confront abusers or at the very least, to say, “This is wrong!”  Such things don’t happen when people try to be neutral or refuse to get involved, which makes neutrality abusive.

Another common way victims are abused is when people they tell about the abuse judge them.  Everyone judges others to some degree.  There is nothing wrong with deciding if a person is safe or not, shares your life views or religious values.  What is wrong is when people judge another person’s healing journey.  Healing from abuse is very unique to each individual person.  No one who is trying their best to heal from abuse does it right & no one does it wrong.  Many people fail to recognize this, however, & judge victims harshly & cruelly.  They are judged for not “getting over it” fast enough, for not “forgiving & forgetting” & other nonsense.  This is abusive, cruel & just wrong all around.  People who are healing need mercy & understanding, not judgment. 

If any of these things have happened to you, please try to remember that these behaviors are abusive.  You have nothing to be ashamed of, you aren’t doing things wrong & you have every right to heal however works best for you.  Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise!

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When People Refuse To Choose Sides

It seems that so many people, even professing Christians find remaining neutral in conflicts to be an admirable quality.  On the surface, it looks decent enough.  The neutral person may listen to both people in a conflict & offer support to them both.  And in some rare situations, this is good.  Usually maintaining a neutral position isn’t fine though.  In fact, Elie Wiesel, who survived three Nazi death camps & spent his life honoring & speaking for victims of the Holocaust, mentioned this topic.  He received a Nobel Peace Prize for his work, & during his acceptance speech said many wonderful things.  One part of the speech says, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”

Consider being friends with a couple who is getting a divorce.  They are doing so because prior to getting married, they failed to consider some important issues, such as whether or not to have children.  Now that they’re married, they can’t reach an agreement, & have decided it’s best to go their separate ways.  Their divorce is amicable.  Both parties in this situation deserve support because neither is wrong.  They are doing what they think is best for them under the circumstances.

Consider a different angle on this situation.  Instead of the divorce being based on innocent & naïve mistakes on both their parts, imagine one person is abusing the other.  That person is not only unfaithful, but verbally abusive, has ruined the other’s credit, stolen money, isolated them from the people who love them & more.  Then as the icing on the cake, rather than simply walking away, that person fights the divorce, or maybe even tries to take the innocent spouse for whatever money & possessions they have left.  Would you give this abusive, awful person the same compassion & respect as their innocent victim?  I would certainly hope not. 

Yet, people in such situations support abusers like this all of the time.  They don’t do this by openly encouraging the abuser to hurt the victim, but by claiming to remain neutral. 

People who want to remain neutral support abusers by not calling out their bad behavior, even going so far as to protect them from the natural consequences they should receive.  These people may lie to other people to make the abusers look good, even law enforcement.  This behavior shows abusers that they can do whatever they please without fear of repercussions & with unwavering support.  Basically it gives abusers a free pass to abuse whoever in any ways they would like.

These neutral people also tell victims that they don’t want to hear them talk about their abuser because “they won’t take sides”.  They minimize the victim’s pain & deprive them of much needed help & emotional support by remaining neutral.  Victims in this type of situation can be very vulnerable after experiencing so much trauma, & being treated this way affects them very negatively.  Some even become so ashamed of being traumatized that they resume toxic relationships.   Most learn quickly to stop discussing their pain, forcing their emotions deep down inside & avoid dealing with them in a healthy way so those painful emotions manifest in terribly unhealthy ways such as self harm, depression, even suicide.

On a larger scale, being neutral allows all kinds of terrible things to happen in society.  People truly need to be held accountable for bad behavior so they learn not to continue behaving that way.  While most narcissists won’t learn, at least holding them accountable shows them that not everyone is going to tolerate their abuse silently.  Even if their victim doesn’t stand up to them, if someone else does, that still gives them that valuable lesson.  It also shows their victim that someone cares for them, which can be an invaluable lesson to someone who has been told repeatedly they are unworthy of love by a narcissist.

The next time you are in a position of having the choice of remaining neutral or speaking up for victims, then please choose to speak up!  Don’t be stuck feeling like you’re caught in the middle.  You aren’t, no matter who the abuser is!  Make a choice & stand by it! 

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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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