How To Help Someone Involved With A Narcissist

What to do if you suspect someone you know is involved with a narcissist

First of all let’s cover the don’t:

* Do not underestimate how dangerous, manipulative and conniving a narcissist can be.

Too many times people confuse narcissism with ordinary abusive behaviour or someone with an inflated ego. A true narcissist is cruel beyond comprehension and can cause immeasurable emotional and physical damage. They will stop at nothing to control their victim and that could include death.

* Never make the victim feel they are responsible for their own abuse.

By saying things like: I would never have stayed, I would have seen he was an asshole a mile off, he was attracted to your co-dependency, etc
No one knows what it is like to be manipulated by a narcissist unless they have been there.

-Narcissists are attracted to strong, competent, self sufficient women with a strong sense of responsibility and moral fiber. What woman wouldn’t want to be described in those terms? The last thing a narcissist wants is someone needy or someone any one could have, she has to be a “trophy” and confident enough to keep his narcissistic supply coming. Plus the more self sufficient and confident she is the more determined the narcissist will be to “break” her, if he can make her totally dependent on him it is the ultimate in NS.

* Do not withdraw your support in an effort to make them choose between you and the narcissist, or in anger because they won’t leave or went back.

Withdrawing your support is giving the narcissist exactly what they want – total control over their victim and makes the victim dependent on the narcissist and reinforces what the narcissist is telling them; that they (the narcissist) is the only one they can rely on, the only one who truly loves them and that they are flawed in some way, why else would someone they cared about turn their back on them?

* Do not expect the victim to return to their “old self” immediately after leaving the narcissist.

The longer a person is involved with a narcissist the more damage is done to the person’s self confidence, their esteem and even their perception of reality. That does not heal quickly, sometimes never. The victim has been abused at a soul level, comparable to a prisoner of war, a rape victim, a hostage; they can probably not even adequately describe what they have been through. In many cases they have blocked much of the abuse or minimized it; which is typical of a person in highly dangerous situation and was part of their attempts at survival.

– Many people leaving a relationship with a narcissist suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and should get help from a professional for that, someone who is familiar with Narcissism and the effect on the victims.

*Do not believe anything the narcissist tells you, he will try anything to discredit the victim and make them appear to be the crazy one and it is the narcissist who is the victim.

You can almost guarantee that whatever the narcissist is saying is the exact opposite of the truth. If he is saying she was unfaithful; it was him cheating. If he says she spent all the money; it was he who spent money.

Remember the narcissist is an award winning actor, he’s been doing it his whole life, if he does admit to any wrong doing it will be part of his plans to manipulate the situation in his favor.

*Do not show the narcissist any sympathy!

One of the tactics often used by a narcissist (especially when he feels he is losing ground) is to use other people as pawns in his efforts to control his victim.
The victim needs no reasons to feel sorry for the narcissist, if they see you are sympathetic to his cause they will doubt they are doing the right thing by leaving.

*Do not be overly critical of the narcissist to the point of the victim feeling they must defend him; remember the narcissist uses guilt as a means of manipulation. You don’t want the victim to feel she has done anything wrong by confiding in you.

The To-Do List:

*Research Narcissism

There are hundreds of support groups, forums, advice sites and sites giving professional opinions.

No one can understand the power a narcissist has over his victim or how
he gained that control or why a victim finds it so hard to leave. Unless you have been there it is impossible, but by reading other people’s accounts of their experiences you will come to realize it is very common and perhaps develop some compassion for the loved one you are trying to help.

*Reinforce that the victim is NOT responsible for the abuse, it is the narcissist that is sick and they can not save him.

-You will have to do this often, once out of your company and back home with the narcissist the narcissist will work over time to extinguish any confidence the victim might have acquired while with you. It is a constant roller coaster ride in emotional hell and you might be the only person who can counter the insanity of living with a narcissist.

*Document!!

When the victim tells you of abuse, infidelity or any other mistreatment by the narcissist make note of it; if there is any physical abuse try to take pictures even if she refuses to press charges. It is actually best if she doesn’t keep records herself because the narcissist IS going through her stuff whether she realizes it or not and if he finds it he will destroy it and “punish” her in some way. But this information will come in handy in the future as:
Proof there was abuse should she have to go to court or get a restraining order.
A reminder for the victim of what she had to live with when her resolve weakens.
Proof of the truth in defense of the lies the narcissist will inevitably tell anyone who will listen.

*Be There!!!

I know it is frustrating to hear the victim cry about the abuse and then they don’t leave or they leave and go back, but you need to be her voice of reason and sanity. You must understand that narcissists are experts at making someone feel crazy.

A woman in an abusive relationship leaves an average of 7 times before leaving for good. As long as he can make her feel that she has some power to change things she will go back, she needs to be reinforced that she has indeed done all she or any woman could do and no one deserves to be abused.

* Believe them!

Once they opening up and start sharing some of the things the narcissist did, believe them, no matter how bizarre it may sound and reiterate it is the narcissist that is sick, not them!

*Listen!!

If they are still with the narcissist all you can do is be there to listen and reinforce that: They are NOT crazy
They are strong
They are not alone
They CAN leave and when they do you will be there to help

* If they have left they will need to rehash the relationship trying to make sense of it, trying to find answers to why something so wonderful turned so ugly.

Quite often while in “survival mode” the victim will block or minimize a lot of the abuse because they are overwhelmed or simply can not accept how horrible the situation is. Once they are away from the narcissist and the danger emotions and memories will come flooding back and the brain needs to acknowledge and accept what happened in order to start the healing process. It might be necessary for the victim to relive some events over and over again.

*Allow the victim time to grieve the loss.

Too many times the people close to the victim get frustrated that they are so sad and “taking too long” grieving and should “just get over it”. That they should be happy they are away from the abuse.

Remember this is probably what they thought was the love of their life and not only is the relationship over but they have to accept it was all one sided; the narcissist is incapable of love; they were in love with a sham. The narcissist will never admit to any fault, and over time more and more of the lies he told will surface reopening the wounds.

Nine times out of ten the narcissist will be involved in another relationship very quickly and will be on his best behaviour and doing everything he can to rub his ex victim’s nose in it.

Either that or he will stock his victim, call incessantly, write letters, anything he can think of to get to her and weaken her resolve.

You can’t stop the victim from going back, but it is less likely to happen if they don’t feel alone. The narcissist can be very convincing especially if the victim is alone, depressed and filled with self doubt.

Good Luck!!!

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553 Replies to “How To Help Someone Involved With A Narcissist”

  1. Leaving the narc…. Everyone makes it sound so simple! This is my ex husbands new woman. We are still very close, as he is my best friend. She is a control freak from HELL! She won’t clean and now the have rats! She has ruined his relationship with his family by being totally destructive of anything and everything! Not limited to his stuff, but his families and mine as well. Most recently she used my bathroom and stole my brand new jeans that were hanging on the door hook. I asked him to watch for them, and showed him a picture, (I got them on ebay) later that day, he confided that she was wearing them. If he says one wrong word, she will throw a huge fit! She yells things at him whie they are in public like “baby raper” “mom-fucker” “heroine junkie” and worse. None of these things is he, but he is so conditioned to keep her happy, so he can avoid her wrath – that it is literally killing him.
    Her violence knows no bounds. She trows full coffee mugs across the front seats, she takes an AXE to the trailer they used to live in, until she destroyed it. They no longer have a sliding glass door because every time he gets one, she throws something and breaks it, Nothing means anything to her, yet in her mind she is completely justified. “You made me do this!” ” IT’s all because you didn’t ______” or “This didn’t have to happen – but YOU…” He thinks he deserves the abuse at this point.
    Is there no one we can call to get her out of there? She won’t leave. and if she does it’s only for a couple hours and when she returns? She acts like nothing even happened. He will ask “What are you doing here? and she will reply: “I live here”,

    I / we NEED help! She’s going to kill him, and then just move on tho her next victim, like its no big deal.
    Please! HELP?!

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    1. Hi Carolyn

      I’m in the same position as you are with my ex-wife, took her into my house after she was left completely broken and homeless by the narc she left our son and me for last year.

      All advice I can give you try a few times to him your honest opinion and ask his friends (if there are any left who cares) to talk to him. (no idea if someone else agrees)

      All that will happen now is the narc’s target gets a new fresh look and their efforts will be doubled to manipulate and control. And you will dragged down with him into an emotional hell; I’m pretty much back to the low point when she first started cheating and my our family life to appease the narc.

      Every time she breaks down, I listen to hellish detail I do not want hear about the she really feels and what has been done to her, then I build her up, he phones her and convinces her how evil I am and that it is all my fault etc within minutes. It is emotionally draining and not something someone who does not have the necessary training and knowledge can do. I’ve given her this week Wednesday as the ultimatum day; either she breaks it off or she needs to find new accommodating at the end of the month.

      I feel sorry for the victims and still care very very much for my ex-wife but in the end they are adults and until they open their eyes and see what is for what there is no changing their mind. All you can do is hope their eyes open in time and shield yourself for the eventual fallout.

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  2. I can’t seem to find an answer to this. Our son is married to a covert narcissist and she has treated us horribly for years. We went low contact with them because of how we were disregarded.
    Everything peaked recently when my husband asked our son why he didn’t show up for an agreed dinner together for just the two of them. This isn’t the first time he’s done this but it was a time my husband was finally fed up. Our son blew up in an email and went on and on about past hurts and how it’s affected him for years.
    Seriously, we are having a hard time reconciling the disrespectful message in the emails with the person we have known prior to this marriage. We have decided to go no contact with him as his allegations and insinuations were so full of deceit we can only imagine his covert narcissistic wife has projected her opinions of us onto him. His lies are so obvious and dismissive it’s unbelievable.
    How can we be there for someone who displays this kind of behavior? We cannot save him and we would never try and point out to him what she is. We have NEVER said one bad thing about her to him.
    The world from day one was all about her and her family and we didn’t argue with him. We are two parents who ask very little as people have a right to live their lives the way they want but we draw the line at disrespect and his emails were the first time we got a taste of it from him. Any insight would help.

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    1. I’m so sorry you’re going through this! When our daughter’s narc started turning her against us, we were given the very best advice – let her go and make her own decisions, but love her and keep the relationship open. I found a way every day to send a text that let her know I was thinking about her and missing her. I thought about what would speak love to her and gave her gifts or a Groupon for a meal out. Over time she decided she wanted a relationship with me, and even though her narc was still angry and wanted her to hold a grudge too, she stood up to him and said, no, life is too short and too precious to spend it angry. Even though he is now dating her best friend, she is still caught in his web and the three of them are best friends. But! I have a good relationship with her! She treats me with respect, even if she doesn’t listen to my advice. We talk or text every day and she wants to spend time with me. I would say, even though he is disrespectful to you, only respond with love and don’t ignore him. Don’t get pulled in to his drama that she is causing. Over time he may come back to you. Our strategy is to leave the narc out of our conversations, unless it’s just to ask a question. I keep my opinions of him to myself. She has cut off some of her closest friends because they speak out about him and I know she’s going to need me the next time he discards her. And my biggest advice – pray and get others to pray with and for you. God really does do miracles!

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      1. Susan, thank you for your words of wisdom.
        Our son has chosen to shut us out. We have to save ourselves now and stay out of their toxic relationship. He seems to have taken on her opinions and I’ve done a lot of research on co-dependency. This could go on for years and frankly we are tired of losing sleep from getting the silent treatment.
        We’ve always been here for him, we are the same people so he knows where to find us.
        I’m happy for your relationship with your daughter it sends the message of hope.

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      2. Your story is very similar to ours. Our daughter was having typical teenage years but then she got involved with an ex-boyfriend of a friend of hers, and the nightmares started to show up 3 months into their relationship (October) by Christmas she had a promise ring and rages towards me began. Oh the rages…most of the time they happened while I was driving her to school. I was able to keep my composure up until the last week of school. It was so bad our son was afraid to leave me alone. We sought out help and everywhere we turned there was nothing anyone or any agency could do. She threatened suicide and that was enough to get her evaluated, she was hospitalized for a week under the advice and order of a physiologist. Don’t get me started on what happened while she was there. On the last day she finally started to come to the conclusion that she was in an unhealthy relationship. I cried while on the phone with the doc… but the stay was over. There was nothing else they could do and she was released. This state we live in makes sure that those over the age of 14 know that they can refuse mental help. The only thing left to get her more help would have had to have been a court order and that wasn’t going to happen in this case. She was 16 almost 17. A week later she ran away and lived at her boyfriend’s house with his father, younger sister, and younger brother. And the drug using and selling going on is a whole other monster. His father has never contacted us in any form since this started. His mother, as I was informed by my daughter, is still a drug user and that she allowed her boyfriends to sexually abuse her son when he was little. Great….! HIs mother has little to no contact with any of the children.
        Our daughter had no contact with us for months. I would send weekly text messages telling her I loved her. Eventually she did respond, and we would only text. I was okay with that. At least she was texting me and said she loved me back. Then one night we thought the cars were being broken into but instead it was him trying to get her out of his car. I was in my PJs and socks standing outside at the end of January. There was a lot of yelling and cussing. He actually had the guts to tell us he was on our side. I just looked at him and said that was BS since he had done nothing to show us he was on our side for 8 months. There were car chases and more yelling. Needless to say we had her home.
        Well we had her home for 4 months and now she is gone. Those 4 months there was little to no fighting or raging. But now it’s like that time never existed. Then two weeks later he hit her. She left him and went back to him hours later. “He didn’t really hit her”. At least that’s what he told her. I found out the next day that a week before this happened that she had to be pulled out of his car window because she was punching him in the face. (Come to find out the day of her hitting him was the day she ran away.) And, I found out from the school that they had to call protective services and his dad for constant threats of suicide. It’s been ABSOLUTELY INSANE!!!! Lately she will text and then rages. I just can’t do much more of this. I want to tell her something. I will text a message but then I end up not sending it due to I fear it will be twisted and I will get more raging. Thank you all for listening. Most days I want to give up, some days I can rationalize and know that this is happening because of what she is experiencing with both of them abusing each other and his father in denial, and other days I have no clue as what to do or think.

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    2. Patty, my deep apologies for my slow reply. My life has gotten so busy I find it hard to keep up with the blog these days.
      You and your husband have done all you can do. To try and make your son see the truth would only drive your son away. He us in denial, clinging to the fantasy of what he thinks he has found and transferring blame to you and your husband in hopes of finding happiness that has become elusive. Narcissists are very convincing and adept at confusing the victim so badly they don’t know what the truth is.
      At this point all you and your husband can do is speak your truth and protect yourselves.
      I have had a similar situation with my own son and what I did was say my peace and then left it in his hands.
      Example conversation went something like this. I took them aside and said. “I do not interfer in my son’s life. If he is fine with being disrespected by a woman that is his choice. But when I am present it becomes my business. When I am disrespected, it is my business and I must do what I feel comfortable with. I will not allow my son to be disrespected in my presence and I most certainly will not allow anyone to disrespect me. Ever.
      If my son has issues with me, he can talk to me in a respectful way and I will always listen and will always love and support my son.
      I can not tell him how to live his life though.
      So, I want the disrespect to end here, if you don’t feel it, fake it but I will not tolerate it in my house or my life.
      Then I dropped it.
      I never mentioned it again. My son thanked me for speaking up on his behalf and gave me a hug but he did what he wanted.
      Later he came to me with complaints about her and I gave my honest opinion.
      He has a child with her so she is still in his life to some degree and he is terribly forgiving. I give my honest advice ONLY when asked and bite my tongue in between times. I only address issues that concern me directly and draw a very clear line when it comes to disrespect.
      My son is not your son of course but my son has never made plans with me and not followed through but your husband was well within his rights to voice that he was upset your son cancelled their plans.
      You can have boundaries and still love someone when you own your own shit and don’t make it all about you.
      Only address issues that directly concern you.
      I have continued to invite him to things like Christmas etc and if she comes I have gifts for her, I welcome her as I would any guest in my home. If he has chosen to not come then I continue on with my plans and don’t take it personal.
      She has said some critical things about my son in front of me and I have “jokingly” said, “Excuse me but you can’t bullshit me, I have seen you in action my dear.”
      I refuse to argue. I speak my truth about MY feelings. That way no one can argue with me. You can not tell me how I should feel about anything. My feelings are my feelings, my boundaries are my boundaries. You may not like them but you can’t argue with them. They are mine.
      You can not argue with his and what he is willing to take or not take.
      When and if he sees the light, you can support him 100% and always always tell him how much you love him, how proud you are of him and how his happiness is all that matters as long as it does not disrespect you.
      You have to find your own happiness and it can not be reliant on his happiness.
      You have to find a way to let it go.
      It is not easy to stand by and watch your child be abused but he has to come to the realization on his own. When he does you have to restrain yourself from saying “I told you so”.
      Hugs to you and your husband. It’s tough but hopefully your son will see the light sooner than later.

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      1. Thanks for your reply Carrie and we’ve accepted the situation. We are convinced he is projecting his miserable life onto us as he has twisted facts to serve his own agenda. His excuses are nonsensical and blatantly false, so much so that it would be easy to disprove, but why bother. His objective is to win and take no prisoners.
        Were we blind to this all his life? I find it hard to believe that he’s always been like this. I frequently checked the bottom of his email to see if it was his name attached to what we were reading. We didn’t argue with him. We simply said that considering the extent of his grievances we were stepping away as we’d like him to have a life free of resentment and we want peace. Not once, ever have we called out his covert-aggressive-manipulative-narcissistic wife on her behavior. She would NEVER be seen as getting her hands dirty in ANYTHING. Her covert behavior is textbook and if I hadn’t done hundreds of hours of research on this subject I think we would have potentially been emotionally slaughtered, but then again we have a strong boundary. We expect respect and we will always reciprocate. If you can’t respect us then we will walk away. It’s not a secret formula. Thankfully they don’t have children, nor will they in the future. Life without little human pawns is truly peaceful.

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    3. We have been through the same. My brother married a narcissist and it ruined our beautiful family. My mother is losing her health because of this situation. Sounds like the exact same story. Lies lies lies. His idea of who we were and are is completely distorted. We have done therapy and told him everything yet of course it didn’t help. Let me know if you ever get a tip on how to help your son.

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  3. This is very helpful for me. So sorry there are other parents dealing with this. I have a daughter living with one and l am trying to educate myself on helping her for not only her sake but my two granddaughters that are living this hell. He recently tried to isolate me,which almost worked because she said things to me that no mother should hear! I was ready to throw my hands up as painful as it would have been,but l started to research and pray for God to lead me to some understanding….then l found this page. Thank you for sharing your experiences and ways you found to deal with them. I will never let her down,or my granddaughters. They are my life and he will not scare me away! Never realized how they can manipulate and control things to go their way! I never knew these demons existed because l always tried to see the good in others……no more!

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    1. Cindy, I know it’s so hard to watch your daughter going through this and I wish there was an easy answer to protecting your child; male or female. (Because men get involved with female narcs who are just as manipulative and dangerous as the male versions)
      You have to walk a fine line, maintaining contact while having your personal boundaries. You have to live your life also and it is difficult. Come here for support when you feel like throwing your hands up.
      I never knew these soul vampires existed either until I got involved with one.
      Remember the N feeds off of the emotions of others, he doesn’t care if it’s fear, love, hate, anger; any reaction from the victim (you are one of his victims also) is proof of his power and control. The best reaction with a narcissist is no reaction at all. Deadpan, one word responses, unemotional.
      Good luck. Hugs. Carrie

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    2. I’m so glad you’ve found some help and encouragement! A couple times my daughter’s N has sent me awful, hateful texts – me, not my husband who has been the one to state the boundaries, like “you shouldn’t be on our property when we get home.” I feel like he sees me are his adversary, because I am the one connecting with my daughter the most and having an influence on her. Even though we don’t directly communicate very often, I have the feeling he sits over there gloating whenever he wins in a decision she is making, and I hear about his rants when I win. She is expecting his baby in Aug., and I’m thinking he isn’t going to like having an attention sucker like that around. He seems to be working on the next discard, which I hope is bad enough that she will finally see his true colors!

      I’d like to know from others – with a young, (17), unmarried Narcissist, will the baby be a reason to stick around and play more of his games, or an excuse to disappear for good, because he doesn’t want the financial or emotional responsibility? I am praying for the latter.

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  4. I really need help understanding what I need to do to support my gf who was in a relationship with a narcissist. I have met her ex who decided to randomally come over and she let him in a long with his friend. She was clearly not herself and allowed him to take control of her and myself. He tried everything to bash me and get me to lash out at him. I did nothing even though he put his hands on me. She stood there and did nothing. I understand that she cares for him still and that she was protecting him her kids. The main thing is she becomes a whole different person when he comes around. Our relationship will be fine for weeks on end then it get ruined by him. She states she needs closure but im worried she will run back to him when they are alone. I know I have no control over who she chooses. I don’t know if I should let her talk to him alone and whatever happens happens? Also she tends to blackout mentally and just the other day she was telling another guy a supposed friend that she wanted to kiss him and that I her bf was crazy. I confronted her about this and she claims that it wasn’t her. I know she was drinking and her mind wasn’t the same. We supposedly resolved it and I forgave her and I am giving her another chance. I am just emotionally and psychologically messed up right now and I don’t know what to do. I have a big heart and a lot of patience and it can only be taken so far. Someone please help me to understand what I need to do.

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  5. Can someone help me explain what happened?
    I dated a guy who has a wife who is a narc – his was kind of separated )living in different house in the same property) for a few years (with her keep coming to his side to bugged him). She had asked for a divorce – but when he already prepared the papers and when she realized what then impact financially and what and that she has a competitor (aka me – the reason why he want divorce) she flipped – she wanted him back and put a crazy campaign that confused him, He put our relationship on hold but promised to be friends. the last day he talked to me he told me that she asked him to cut me f – but saying that he should have the right to have his own friends, especially now that he is moving to California. Then he cut me off completely and block me from all connections.

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  6. Help, my identical twin sister is married to a Narc.

    Within 6 months of dating him, she accidentally fell pregnant to him. She had two children to her first husband, who walked out on her after the birth of their second child. Two years later, whilst I was working away at the time, she began dating her now narcissistic husband. When he asked her to abort the pregnancy, she refused. Near the end of the pregnancy he asked her to marry him. I only met him on a handful of occasions prior to the birth of their first child. By this time, both myself and my mum could see him for who he was and begged her not to marry him.

    He would put her down and say it was a joke, as they do! I fought with him continually about the way he treated her and her two children. The last argument I had with him was 12 years ago, when she came to me and begged me to find a way of getting along with him, because he is the father of her child, and she refuses to have another failed marriage. She begged me to do it for the kids.

    I reluctantly agreed for her sake. I did everything the books tell you to do! Support her and be by her side unconditionally. I wanted to be there when she finally saw through him and had enough of his manipulation. I moved my husband and kids to the same town, so we could be closer and raise our kids together. I have spend the past 12 years by her side, being polite to him and walking away when I would get upset by his offending behaviour. Meanwhile, he spent the past 12 years, trying to upset me to get rid of me. He has always been threatened by anyone that gets close to her.

    I refused to let him isolate her. My sister and I were inseparable. We lived in each others pockets having at least 5 phone calls a day. Twelve months ago, I had a dream that he would eventually come between us. I spoke to her about it. She promised me, she would never let it come to that and there was no way he could ever do that to us.

    When we had time alone, my twin and I would talk about his behaviour. She would agree but she would make excuses. Many times over the past 15 years, she attempted to leave him, however he always talked his way back in.

    9 months ago, she called me over and told me she had finally seen him for the Narcissist that he is. That she knows she will never be able to please him and even bawled her eyes out, saying ‘how could I have put my kids through this’. She told me that she was going to wait until her youngest daughter came back from her scholarship oversees and then end it. I really believed it was going to be finally over! I saw a change in her. She stopped listening to his crap and did what ever she wanted, whenever she wanted to. He would throw his tantrums, but she saw it for what it was and ignored him.

    One week before her daughter was due to return from overseas, her husband had a workplace accident and needed a shoulder operation. That week, I saw the most horrific change in her! She refused to leave his side and began idolising him again. It’s was like we went right back to the start again, but worse!

    Now he has completely turned her into a person I don’t even recognise. My sister has gone from being the most loving, empathetic and amazing mum, to now having no empathy for anyone but him, and having similar traits of the Narcissist.

    She has pushed myself and the rest of the family away. Every time we try to talk, all I hear is him. He is playing the victim and she is falling for it, hook line and sinker. I’m done with this situation and I’ve told her that I can’t do this any longer.

    I am now going to counselling to get help. I’m absolutely broken. The councillor is telling me to do what I have done for the past 12 years. Stay by her side, and wait till she comes back around again. I know I should, but I just can’t be nice to him anymore! I can’t go back to pretending. I have way too much hatred for what he has done to my sister. 12 years ago, I agreed to go along with this relationship for the kids. I truely believed she would eventually see through him. I really never dreamt he would change my sister to become more like him! If I thought he could do that to her, I would never have gone along with it.

    How do I get my sister back? How do I get her to see the real him again?

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    1. Oh Leanne, your story breaks my heart. You have done everything you could and now you have to put yourself first. Narcissists get off on the pain of others, not just their immediate victim but also the people who love the victim. He gets secondary narc supply off of you.
      Your sister has shut her feelings off and is so far into denial she can’t see reality. It’s hard to explain how the victims mind works and what happens, their mind actually breaks. I remember praying my ex would tell me any sort of lie just so I could continue to lie to myself. I had gotten to the point of knowing I was never going to leave and he was never going to change. I had accepted this was my life. It was “just the way we were”. I had shut off my feelings because I knew there was no point in getting upset because I had said it all before and nothing changed.
      When a person denies what they know to be true long enough they get cognitive dissonance, where their mind actually believes lied in order to accept the unacceptable.
      The slightest kindness on the part of the abuser is exaggerated in the mind of the victim in order to convince themselves that they are actually in a loving relationship. Your sister is dealing with the guilt of subjecting her children to this abuse and her mind has twisted facts in order for her to deal with the ugly truth.
      She has given away her self respect, and she is ashamed to admit she is living the life she is, you are no longer a safe refuge for her; now you are the ugly truth staring her in the face, reminding her of bad choices and how far down she has sunk. She has admitted to you that she knows what he is and yet she didn’t leave, so now, in order to continue living the life she must shut off any feelings she has for you or any one but him. She must make him her whole life because now she sees him as the only one who accepts her for who she is.
      Does that make any sense? It is hard to explain because it really doesn’t make sense. That’s the thing with narcissists, they don’t make sense, and life with them doesn’t make sense.
      You now are a victim to both of them and in order for you to accept the unacceptable would have to have cognitive dissonance and lie to yourself. The cycle MUST stop and you are wise to understand this.
      I am not a professional counselor but I am surprised your counselor is saying you need to stand by your sister no matter what.
      When I was in the situation, it was my ex’s sister who was living with us at the time who said to me that it was just a matter of time before he killed me. She was afraid he would kill her too just because she was with me. She also said she couldn’t live with his abuse and she left and never spoke to him again. When she left she told me that she hoped I left too.
      A month later I did leave. I knew she was right and the abuse was only getting worse.
      I can only imagine the pain of watching your twin in this situation and see her change so drastically and be helpless to stop it and make her see reality, but you MUST look after yourself.
      I always feel honesty is the best policy, especially when you’ve tried everything and don’t know what to do.
      I would talk to her one more time and tell her how seeing her situation and how she has changed tears you apart. You will always love her and if she ever wants to leave you will be there to support her every step of the way but you can no longer stand by quietly watching her be abused. It is in your rights to refuse to be in his company, if she chooses to allow herself to be mistreated she is an adult and that is her choice. The children do not have a choice and she no doubt feels bad about the repercussions her choices has had on her children but she can fix that. She has the power to be the parent the children deserve and you will help her. The minute she decides to live true to her core values, morals and wants to change her situation you will help her to leave safely.
      But until she does you won’t be in his company, he is not welcome at family functions, you won’t visit with him there and you don’t want to hear about him. You are done. It is unhealthy for you and you are choosing to live true to YOUR core values and protect yourself. If she tries to guilt you or blame you all you can do is repeat the facts to her again.
      “I have compromised my principles because you asked me to, for 12 years and I can’t do it any longer. I love you. I did what you wanted because I didn’t want to lose you but I’ve lost you anyway so I might as well live true to myself. You are not making healthy choices and I can not in clear conscious stand by and not say anything.”
      And then step back. Send her cards or letters of support to let her know you are still there for her. Call occasionally, but refuse to discuss him or listen to her complain, say something like, “It is what it is. When you are ready to change your situation I am here for you. I have told you I believe you deserve better until I am blue in the face until you believe that, I really don’t want to hear about it.”
      Keep reinforcing you love her, will help her, but you can not subject yourself to abuse.
      Hopefully she will see the light. Often times when the victim totally shuts off their feelings the N gets bored because he isn’t getting the reaction he needs to feed his ego and he will leave for fresh supply, with any luck that will happen with your sister.
      I wish I had a better answer for you, more hope, but no matter how painful it is, you must save yourself and not go down the rabbit hole with her.
      Big hugs to you!
      Carrie

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      1. Thank you Carrie,

        I have utilised your words and sent her an email. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me.

        My mother had met with her about a week ago, and did what you just told me to do. We both didn’t know whether that was the right thing to do at the time, but Mum felt she had no other choice.

        He has managed to isolate her from our whole family, which is absolutely devastating.

        Once again, I thank you for your words and support. I hope my heart is healed again, some day xx

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  7. Leanne, I pray she wakes up and decides to take control of her happiness and that of her children, soon; but no matter what, your family is presenting a united front and not feeding the monster any longer.
    I wish you all the best.
    Hugs 💓❤️❤️

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