I think all victims of narcissistic abuse feel the same way I did; that no matter how hard they tried no one really believed them. The narcissist was telling outrageous lies about the victim and people, family and friends lapped it up; but when the victim tried to tell their side no one would listen. In court, the police, society in general; no one believed them. The victim gets re-victimized over and over again; and every time they are disbelieved or blamed for the demise of the relationship they become more determined to prove their case. They become panic, their nerves are raw, constantly in the fight or flight mode, they wait for the next attack from the narcissist. What will he do this time? When will he strike? How will they ever prove to people he is a narcissist and they are the true victim? They remain a victim even though they have left the narcissist and feel the only way they can heal and move is if the narcissist admits wrong doing. The narcissist sucks them in time and time again and the victim is revictimized again and again by the narcissist making it even harder for people to believe the abuse because if it was so bad why do they keep going back?
Why do people believe the narcissist and not the victim? Well, its shitty, but people believe the narcissist because he is so calm, rational and certain about events and his “innocence”. He has practised being a “victim” and he doesn’t feel guilt. Guilt, self doubt, taking any blame whatsoever, makes a person look guilty. The narcissist will take some of the blame; “I should have stood up for myself”, “I should have known I couldn’t fix her”, “I shouldn’t have let her push my buttons”. He will cry real tears, AND he started the whole victim act long before he actually left the relationship; while he was still telling the victim that if only she would do this or that, the relationship would be saved. The victim was so busy jumping through endless hoops trying to get the N to love her again, she was oblivious to his campaign to destroy her reputation and make his exit.
Really, when you think about it, the victim is pretty hard to believe. What other people see from a typical victim:
– She has kept her mouth shut about the abuse. Either she is ashamed of the situation she has allowed herself to get into or she was protecting him.
– The victim is an emotional basket case whereas the narcissist is calm.
– The victim seems uncertain about events, time lines, is generally confused.
– And, she keeps going back!
The more she is disbelieved the more anxious she gets and desperate to prove she is the victim. People are turned off by desperation. I don’t know why, but as much as I fight it, I still find myself pulling away from people who are desperate and “Woe is me”. Yet I have been there, desperate to be believed, understood and validated. I eventually gave up on trying to find validation. I got sick of sounding like a broken record and I knew I could not keep asking, “Why me?” and keep seeing him.
A common trait of the victims of a narcissist is; they are extremely adept at picking up on the moods of others, were often the peace keepers of the family and they have honed that skill while with the narcissist. Their senses are heightened to the max, looking for cues to the narcissists mood 24/7, trying to avoid conflict and more importantly keep the N happy. Once they leave the N they are still running on “high alert” and are extremely sensitive to everyone’s moods and often times read things into the comments or actions of those around them. They end up living in a constant state of reacting to others, consumed with “What did they mean by that?” “Are they mad at me?” Because everything was their fault while with the narcissist, they feel everything is their fault, always! I realized that it was pretty narcissistic of me:
I was so frustrated trying to please everyone and I was pleasing no one. My mom angry because I had stayed, my ex slandering me to customers, friends and anyone who would listen; even me! twisting facts and rewriting history to suit his agenda, I was going through my days afraid of offending people, afraid of not being believed and not finding compassion and understanding, so I stopped.
It was then that I decided that I was going to live true to me, I was the only one who knew where my heat was, what my intentions were and I chose to never do anything ever again that I was not at peace with. I decided to never let anyone, a.n.y.o.n.e. pressure me into doing something I was not totally at peace with. I analyzed every feeling I had, was I being too sensitive? did I have a right to be angry? and I also decided to stop guessing at what people meant, what people were feeling, what their intentions were and just ask! If my feelings were hurt I would express that and ask for the other person’s side and often times either I had misunderstood their intension or they had not realized they hurt me. I realized that it was so much easier to just express my feelings than try to guess what people were thinking.
The other thing that plagues victims, is their guilt, that is why I don’t advocate revenge. Whenever I got revenge on my ex it felt good at the time and then the guilt would set in and he would use it to his advantage every time. One time when I discovered more of his personal ads on the net I keyed his truck. It felt great at the time but once the adrenaline wore off and he twisted the truth and made me feel guilty, I ended up paying for it for the rest of the relationship and I am sure to this day he is telling everyone what a nut case I am.
I always forgave and forgot; he expected the slate to be swiped clean after every feeble apology but any little mistake or perceived crime of mine was brought up and embellished forever more.
The line between, telling the truth in order to protect myself and revenge blurred. Here is the link to a post I did a few years ago about that blurred line and the narcissist’s need for revenge. The victim is criticized by the narcissist for their natural instinct to protect themselves.
The only choice the victim has is to live honestly and true to their core beliefs and moral code, that way they can never be manipulated through guilt or threats of “being exposed”. This was proven to me this year when a police officer contacted my mother looking for me because I was “Inciting violence against my ex” through my blog.
My mother was panicked but I stayed surprisingly calm, I knew I would deal with it and I called the cop immediately. We played telephone tag for a while but eventually connected. I was calm, rational and not the least bit concerned about whether the cop believed me or not. I felt it welling up in me, that old panicky feeling, the “but he did this or that”, but I pushed it down and stuck to the facts. I knew why I started the blog, I knew what my intention was and is and I knew I didn’t want to go to court or to jail but I also knew I had a right to speak my truth; I just had to find out how to do it legally.
Initially the cop was all business, and I could tell he thought I was a vindictive bitch but the more we talked I could feel him softening and I could tell there was doubt in his mind regarding what my ex had told him and that what I was saying was the truth. But as much as I was tempted to fill the cop in on everything my ex had done, I didn’t; if he had read my blog he knew and that was not the issue. The issue was, how can I speak my truth without getting in trouble with the law and what are my rights.
The link to a post I did on it is here
The point I wanted to make with this post is this:
For the most part, we give the narcissist everything he needs to hurt us and we have to become aware of that and start acting in our best interest. We all have said, “I didn’t ask to be lied to, abused or slandered”. No, none of us knew what we were getting into, but now that we know what we are dealing with, we need to step back and think clearly and not emotionally. It will work in your favor in all your relationships, believe me.