One of the most surprising things about being involved with a narcissist was the total lack of sympathy shown by family, friends, and society in general, even the medical profession has literally laughed when I suggested the stress of prolonged abuse could be responsible for my heart condition. (I know doctors dont like people Googling for medical advice but the Mayo Clinic has done studies on it and there is even a condition called “Broken Heart Syndrome”. ) It seems to me that almost any crime is more forgivable than ending up in an abusive relationship. Not only do people blame the victim, they actually get angry with the victim and carry a grudge about it. I was surprised recently that some family members who, even though it has been almost 7 years, and they have listened with heads nodding, to me explain domestic abuse, praised my blog and professed to be proud of the work I have done supporting victims, still blame me for getting involved with my ex and not leaving sooner.
I find it quite remarkable really and would love to know why being the victim of domestic abuse is such a sin.
I find it incredible that family will tell the victim how sick they are to have stayed and wonder why the victim goes back, show the victim no compassion, tell them to “just get over it”, ask them why they are sad and tell them they “should be happy to be free”, or they need to find a “nice” guy, like they went looking for a bad guy on purpose the last time. The absolutely most damaging thing to do to the victim is disown them and cut them off for going back, you are actually putting them at great risk because they don’t feel they have anywhere to go, that they must be as unloveable as the N says they are, and if they are stubborn like me, makes them dig in their heels determined to prove they are not making a mistake.
Invariably the victim was going through something that made them vulnerable when they met the narcissist, perhaps a marriage on the rocks, recently single, widowed, or lost their job, maybe struggling as a single mom and tired of doing it alone and then in walks the narcissist, her knight is shining armor. The narcissist pretends to be the answer to her prayers, compassionate, helpful, her strongest allie and supporter, he wants to take care of her, thinks everything she does is wonderful and tells her he can’t believe his good fortune to have met her. He sweeps her off her feet and she soaks up the attention like a dry sponge, he doesn’t give her time to doubt him or his intentions. His true colors don’t show until he has her dependent on him and even then it is gradual.
The first time his mask slips it is a momentary glitch in an otherwise fantasy relationship, she can rationalize his behavior, he had a tough day at work, he is stressed about something, besides, he was fine the next day, everything went back to normal. But the seeds are planted and she is very aware of not causing it to happen again. But it does happen again, they talk about it, he blames her or something else, or says she is being too sensitive. Well, it isn’t the first time she has been told that! Is it?
The narcissist changes the rules constantly, what pleased him yesterday, infuriates him the next, what infuriated him yesterday gets no reaction today. The victim, without even being aware they are doing it, starts to walk on egg shells.
Walking on egg shells; just for the hell of it, lets take a little impromptu survey.
How many of you, who have been victims of narcissistic abuse; were the peace keepers of the family growing up? Does any of this sound familiar?
– your parents fought and you protected your younger siblings or were the go-between them.
– you were always able to forsee the needs of everyone in the family and tried to keep everyone happy
– you were expected to care for your siblings or run the house for whatever reason, your parents both worked, you had a sick parent, there was addiction in the family or one or both parents were narcissistic.
– were you a perfectionist, having higher standards for yourself than anyone else
– have you always been very attuned to the moods of others and feel you were responsible for their unhappiness
– have you felt you were better able to handle life’s setbacks than others and would sacrifice your own well being if it meant making life easier for the other person
– in my case my father even told me that if I was not “good” he would ship me off to a boarding school and take my brother and leave my mom. My father always complained about my mother to us kids and he would compare me to her, saying, “You aren’t going to be like your mother. You will treat your husband right.”
– were your feelings dismissed because “you are too sensitive”. My dad called me a flake.
More than likely you are an empath and have never felt like you quite fit in, that is until you met the narcissist and he loved everything about you and seemed to be very in tune with you also.
And he was, because he was gathering information to use against you. There is a reason you feel the narcissist knows you better than anyone ever has, because he makes it his mission to learn everything about you in order to hook you, manipulate, guilt you or cause the deepest injury.
The victim of a narcissist needs:
– people to listen and not judge. They will relive the whole relationship many times. They need reassurance they did all they could to save the relationship, more than most women would, that they are not crazy or the bitch tbe narc says they are. (They may not believe it anymore than you do but; they WILL eventually think and talk about something else.
– the loyalty of friends and family. Do NOT stay friends with the narcissist. It is not possible to remain neutral with a narcissist. You are either supportive and believe the victim or you believe the narcissist but you can not ride the fence.
– do not fill the victim in on what the narc is doing. She may think she wants to know but it will only hurt.
– please do not tell them what they need to do to heal, and give them time to heal, at least a year or more
– please refrain from saying how you always knew he was bad news, you never would have fallen for his lies, or anything else that suggests they were stupid and should have known better
What do you need from the people closest to you? What could people have done to convince you to leave sooner ? What would have helped you heal faster? What surprised you the most after leavin by the narcissist?