The Victim’s Responsibility

love storyI often visit other sites on narcissism, sociopathy, psychopathy, (whatever a person chooses to call their abuser) looking for information and new insight. There is one thing that is said often that I don’t quite agree with and that is: that the victim’s are co-dependent. I understand that we can only speak with any authority from our own frame of reference. But I feel once again it is kinda putting the onus on the victim; if they hadn’t been so co-dependent they would have avoided the demoralizing experience and gives others a false sense of security and a feeling of superiority over the victim. “They are flawed and so it is their own fault they got hurt, I would have never been sucked in like that.” Narcissists love those people, they present a real challenge.

I definitely think that there are co-dependent women or men who have been abused by a narcissist, or people who had abusive upbringings that fall victim; those are the stereotypical victims, but I know that people who aren’t co-dependent have been caught up in the web of deceit and abuse of a narcissist.

I don’t think there is a victim “profile”  I do believe we all have to take responsibility for our own actions and if we don’t acknowledge that  we had some control over what happened to us then we are doomed to have it happen again. In order to feel safe we have to see where we were vulnerable. We have to be able to identify what it was that gave the narcissist that opening to control us like he did. If we take the “victim” mentality and refuse to see that we had anything to do with what happened to us; we will remain victims and will likely make the same mistake again and again.  If we refuse to take responsibility for what happened to us we are refusing to take the necessary steps to heal from the abuse and will go looking for someone else to “fix” us and take our pain away. Whereas if we do the painful work of looking within to find what we need to change in order to stay safe we won’t rely on someone else’s opinion of us to make us feel lovable and worthy of love, in fact we won’t accept anything but treatment we are worthy of.

To say that all victims are co-dependent or abused as children gives a false sense of security to those people who aren’t or didn’t. A woman who had a loving childhood with two loving parents who instilled self-confidence and self-worth in their child is just as susceptible as the woman who had the bad upbringing. By the time a person reaches the ripe old age of 30-35 they usually have some ghosts in their closet, some tender spots, only you know your weak areas. And when I say weak I do not mean that in a derogatory way. We are all unique, we were born different with different personalities and our upbringing and life experiences good and bad have formed us into the people we are today.

The narcissist does not prey on co-dependent people, or weak people; he/she is an equal opportunity abuser, everychameleon person he meets is assessed to be either worthy of his abuse or not worthy. Meaning the person has something he wants or he has something to gain by being close to that person. Once he deems a person worthy of his abuse he will set about hooking them and figuring out where they are most vulnerable. Every single person on this earth has a vulnerable spot, I truly feel there are very few people immune to a narcissist who has their sights set on them. And I don’t mean strictly romantic relationships, many people are abused and taken advantage of by a narcissist as a neighbor, co-worker, or friend.  Dr Robert Hare, a professor at University of BC, is the leading expert on psychopaths and after studying psychopaths for 30 years he has even admitted to being fooled by the occasional narcissist/psychopath, if he can be sucked in, anyone can.

I am not saying that we all have to go around suspicious of everyone we meet or build a brick wall around ourselves; what I am saying is that if you are confident in who you are, deep inside and you stay true to that; it is very unlikely a narcissist will be able to get a strong enough grip on you to destroy you. If he keeps hitting dead ends every time he tries to manipulate you he will lose interest and when he does, you have to be confident enough in yourself to let him go and not feel there is something wrong with you that made him leave. Yes something about you made him leave, that is not a bad thing, if you stay true to your moral core and protect your boundaries a narcissist will not be able to hurt you, it is only when you are not true to yourself that you allow the narcissist to abuse you.

Personally I was born sensitive, but I was also born an Aries which means I am extremely independent and more than a little bit head strong. They say that an Aries female can get by without a man better than any other woman in the zodiac. But we are also extremely trust worthy and loyal and that is where JC got me. Once I commit to some one or some thing I do it 110%, even when things look hopeless I will find a way to rally and give it another try. You would be hard pressed to find an Aries that doesn’t defend her loved ones like a lioness defending her cubs. I was fearless in defending JC, I went toe to toe with some powerful men that made other men shake in their boots, I don’t give up on the people I love and I don’t desert them. I also have always had this belief that I was capable of overcoming any obstacles and there was always time for me to save myself; after I made sure everyone else was ok then I would figure out how to save myself. It worked against me with JC because he took full advantage of it. I have given my last dollar to my son knowing that somehow I would find a way to make more money. I have given my last dime to a homeless person because I figured he needed it more than I did and I knew I was capable of making it by. JC exploited that part of me to his benefit.

It is something I have recognized in myself and I don’t consider it a flaw, even though I have been told it is. Under the right circumstances it is an admirable quality but I have to be very aware of my tendency to want to save every stray dog and homeless person and know that I can put my security in jeopardy when I am too giving and there are people out there who will take advantage of me. I am also very intuitive but I have not always trusted my intuition, I am trying very hard to not question my inner voice any longer.

Narcissists/psychopaths are motivated to pick their target by what the target has to offer them AND finds the thrill of winning over the victim’s trust extremely exhilarating. That initial enamoration (is that a word? it is now) that the narcissist exhibits is real in the sense that he is getting huge shots of supply as he sees the victim falling in love with him; it signals to him how powerful he is and he is patting himself on the back for being so cunning. The more independent, and self-assured the victim is the harder the narcissist will work at breaking her down and the longer he will be enamored with her. He does want to know everything about her, he does want to spend every minute with her because he MUST have her.

Many people suggest it is wise to not be an open book when you first meet someone, don’t give away too much information on yourself but I am not sure of that now. A narcissist can be extremely patient and if he has his sights set on a woman he can put an extraordinary amount of time into winning her over. I suggest that if you have done the work necessary to know yourself well, you are best to be open with new men you meet and then sit back and watch what he does with that information. This will only work if you have taken the time to become your own best friend and know your own weaknesses, but the fastest way to find out if someone is a narcissist is to throw out some bait and see if he runs with it. If you are open about your interests, your passions, does he suddenly have that interest also, if you share that you love animals does he have some sob story to tell about his first dog? If you were bullied in school was he also? If you are an extremely independent woman does he admire that about you to the point of being extreme and make a point of telling you how much he loves your independence? Trust your gut reaction when he responds to the information you give him.

Only you know what pushes your buttons and only you know what your gut is telling you; not getting involved withlock another narcissist has everything to do with you knowing yourself better than anyone. Whereas the end of the relationship had absolutely nothing to do with you or the next woman and it was all about him; the beginning of the relationship is all about you and less about him. In the beginning he is imitating you, zeroing in on you, totally focused on you and your likes and dislikes, what empowers you and what will cut you to the core; his is building his weaponry to use on you later; you need to realize that and before you are in too deep run at the first sign that he is using that information to manipulate you.

But, but but……what if you fall in love and are blinded again? You won’t be if you  know yourself and learn to listen to and heed your inner voice.

The fact that you survived a relationship with a narcissist is testament to your strength and survival skills; take the experience a step further than being another victim and turn it into an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. You will never be the person you were prior to meeting the narcissist you might as well be better.

Love and Hugs

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20 Replies to “The Victim’s Responsibility”

  1. “They say that an Aries female can get by without a man better than any other woman in the zodiac.”

    Totally agree! In fact, that entire paragraph describes this Aries to perfection 🙂

    Narcs and their ilk take great delight in tearing down a strong, independent woman and I don’t see myself as a victim because he was successful. I am strong. I am a survivor. I will always be wary of men now, though – I can’t help it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sofia Leo, another Aries!! my birthday is April 5th, I find that most of my close friends are Aries women also and they are all the same as me. It is rather amazing to me that a person’s horoscope sign can be so accurate. I don’t follow my horoscope but check it occasionally and often times it is pretty dang close.
      I am not surprised you are an Aries I had a feeling.

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      1. April Fool baby here 🙂 I don’t have any Aries friends IRL, I don’t think. Interesting. My horoscope is often eerily accurate, too, but I try not to let it influence me too much.

        Aries women unite!

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    1. Thank you Peter, yes I graduated from the school of hard knocks. LOL Like I said in my post, when I do something I do it 110% and that includes being the victim of a narcissist, I have to research it and know everything I can about it. I have to solve the puzzle, curious minds want to know, but curiosity killed the cat too. LOL
      You have been following me for a long time now, I am sure you do see a change in me, I appreciate your support, the support i have gotten from this blog has had a huge part in my healing. I remember when you told your followers about this woman living in a trailer without running water. It seems like a lifetime ago now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been to more than my fair share of therapists, mainly because as soon as they mention co-dependency I shut down. I moved away from home at 16, finished school, got married, had two children, divorced, went to college, became a nurse, purchased a house and then met “him”.
    I had to be the single most independent female I knew. I took a bow for no one. My grandmother always said she felt sorry for my future husband when I was younger. She was the subservient wife. Maybe that is the reason I was abused, I was FAR from subservient.
    I honestly don’t know what happened. Co-dependence, in my mind, as you said, is another way to blame the victim. I don’t cotton to that train of thought at all.
    Great post once again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Teela, thank you for your comment. I take great offense to being called co-dependent also. As with you I was independent to a fault(I don’t consider being independent a fault but had people tell me it was). Any man ever try to control me and he was on the curb so fast his head was spinning and I gave no second chances. I had friends tell me I was too picky, that I didn’t allow men to do things for me and I was making men feel less masculine by being too independent. I had guys tell me they felt I didn’t need them. I didn’t, but I would tell them, isn’t it better that I am with you because I want to be and not because I need a man?
      By the time I met JC I had been a single mom for 17 years, owned several homes, had a good career and was not looking for a man. I met him and he seemed so sweet and sensitive I made a conscious choice to allow a man to spoil me. So when my gut started reacting I didn’t listen, I thought it was because I wasn’t used to giving a man any control and it was going to take time to get comfortable with letting a man take the lead. And when I did explain to him how I was feeling he was so understanding and we could talk so openly about it I began to relax even more. Bingo! before I knew what had happened I was in too deep. I never thought any person would purposely sabotage my vehicle to keep me home, and it snow balls as you know,
      I never in a million years would have thought I would end up abused, and neither did my family or friends, if there was an award for “woman most unlikely to ever be abused” it would have gone to me. So no one understood why I was putting up with the shit I was and people actually got angry with me. My son even said to me, “Mom I just couldn’t understand, you never took shit from any man the whole time I was growing up. What happened?”

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      1. I can relate to getting used to having a man do things for me. I really had to warm up to that sort of thing. It was hard for me.
        I don’t think co-dependence is a weakness, the presentation of it is. It does say you are weak to have fallen pray to this. It doesn’t try to convince you that you are with a psycho and should get out.
        They actually counsel you should work through these issues. It is demeaning.
        People just didn’t believe me at all. B/c of who I am and b/c of the public persona he presented.
        It was a hell of a mess.
        If I wasn’t co-dependent when I started, I was when it was over.

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  3. Nice post Carrie. I’m a Libra woman myself. The sign of the Scales of Balance (only non-living sign of the Zodiac). I think in my case, I was just too strong for my Psycho monkey to take down. He started his D&D on me, and although inwardly feeling devastated, I immediately got up and started D&Ding him back telling him what an old, nasty, ugly looking fart he was! LOL. Ever since I was a child, I had to learn to be tough and strong. He found out in a hurry I wasn’t going to break! He ran off screaming “I was insane, I was insane!” Yeah, he was! LOL.

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  4. I admit I haven’t thought about the subject of co-dependence that much, but Teela may have a point. Being co-dependent has gotten an undeservedly bad rep IMO. Having been happily married years ago I have my own POV about it. Co-dependency is the ying and yang of a healthy relationship. There are ebbs and flows to all relationships. There were times in our marriage, I would be weak and my husband would be the strong one. Other times, he’d be the weak one and I’d be strong. It was like a beautiful melody. Together we were greater than our individual parts. Neither of us used or abused the other. It was a mutual partnership of love and support. We were a team and we worked together. Co-dependent – yes, you betcha! But it was a healthy, working relationship which is what one is when it’s right! JMO. :>) Too often we hear about the bad relationships, and not enough of the good. Had he not died, I have no doubt we’d still be happily married today.

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  5. I can relate to all that you wrote. He copied me to learn to be nice. And, I copied his verbal tone and mannerisms to get rid of him. He always won at playing games, but in the end, he lost with me. I am happy today because the tears are gone for him hurting me. I have made all that I went through a positive experience. I have grown in self confidence and ‘Love Me’ today. Also, my faith in God has increased because of the divine insight and interventions that came forth. Yes, I am a Pisces woman: sensitive, caring, loving, helping others. Weak? No. Co-dependent? No. Happy, strong, successful? Yes! Never weak or unfulled because I don’t have a man to take care of me…control or manipulate me!

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  6. Carrie, I totally agree with you that the accusation of co-dependency is a blame-the-victim tactic. I have about concluded that we can’t be our fully female selves in this society without being accused of copendency!

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  7. I’m not sure I’ve heard anyone refer to victims as co-dependent, at least at first. I have heard of narcissists manufacturing an environment that nurtures co-dependency in order to maintain control and be needed, though, so I think I understand what you’re saying. Based on my research, if I had to create a profile of a potential victim, the first requirement would be empathy. I haven’t seen a victim who wasn’t empathetic to a near-fault. Empathy isn’t a bad quality, but if it’s recognized and preyed upon by an abuser, it can become a powerful weapon against the victim.
    No matter what personal qualities the victim has, a narcissist will prey on any perceived weakness. The problem is the victimizer, not the victim.

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    1. Krystenswihart, it is quite a common misconception that victims of a narc are co-dependent, people assume the victim was before ever meeting the N but in most cases the woman was a strong independent woman who became co-dependent after being abused by the N.
      Of course it is not the victim’s fault, they didn’t even know what a narcissist was, but once they have left and realize what they were/are dealing with, if they are to avoid ever falling for a narcissist again, they have to do some soul searching and learn to set boundaries and defend them, and learn to love themselves so that no one can ever make them feel less than ever again.

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