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Reactive Abuse

Reactive Abuse

Even good people have their limits.  Narcissists overstep boundaries time and time again.  They will push and push until you respond and then they’ll blame you for over-reacting or for being abusive.  The real abuser now has all the evidence they need.  Unfortunately, their constant needling, provocative words or acts that have led to a reaction from you, are often not seen or heard by anyone else but your response is often witnessed by every Tom, Dick and Harry.

The aim of an abuser is often to make you look bad and themselves look good.  They have achieved what they set out to do.  You have been manipulated into reacting to their abuse.  That’s what people witnessed, not their endless baiting and goading.  When the narcissist tells everyone their tales of woe in their premeditated smear campaign, it is you who will look like the guilty party and not them.  You’ve played into their hands and they now have everyone’s sympathy because they are the true victim of your abuse and instability.

Regrettably, the real victim in these scenarios, often believes that they have acted badly and blames themselves for over-reacting.  They have often be told that they over-react, they’re too sensitive and in time, they start to believe it.

Sadly, once these seeds have been sown in the minds of by-standers, their mind-sets are very difficult, if not impossible to shift.  They saw your behaviour with their own eyes and there’s very little you can do to swing their train of thought in your favour.  People are very quick to judge without knowing the full facts.

The true casualty is regularly wracked with guilt at their own behaviour.  However, the narcissistic personality, never admits to their faults, will feel no remorse for pushing you over the edge.

If someone in your life continuously pushes your buttons to hurt you and get some sort of reaction from you, reassess your reasons for keeping this person in your circle.  Don’t waste your life trying to fix someone else. There are some people who just can’t be fixed.  Don’t waste your life waiting for change that will never come.  Remove toxic people from your life and never, ever feel guilty for doing so.

Written by Anne McCrea

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

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Educating Society about Emotional Abuse is Paramount

Educating Society about Emotional Abuse is Paramount

During these past few years I have been in touch with thousands of people whose lives have been shattered by emotional abuse.  Some of this abuse has come from within the family unit, from people who should have had their back but instead were the ones holding the knife.  Others have experienced abuse from ‘friends’ (I use that term lightly) or within the workplace.  Regardless of where this abuse comes from, the effects can be absolutely devastating.  To add to the pain that each and every one has suffered, these people often reach out to friends, family or professionals only to find that they are not believed or that the abuse they endured, is played down and considered trivial because there are no visible marks or scars.  This invalidation adds further pain to the individual who has suffered more than enough.

Unfortunately, people who have not experienced emotional abuse, have little understanding of the devastation caused by this form of maltreatment.  Sadly, this applies to many psychologists and therapists whose knowledge of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is somewhat limited.  These counsellors can do more harm than good.  In the cases of couples counselling, the therapist is often taken in by the narcissist and blames the target, not the perpetrator.  Narcissists are pathological liars who show no emotion when lying which is why they are so often believed.  They will also tell the truth in misleading ways giving the therapist an incorrect perspective, for example, telling part of a story where they talk about your behaviour, leaving out their provocation that made you react to their abuse.

‘In order for couples counselling to be successful, both partners must be willing to take responsibility for their actions and make adjustments to their behaviour.  Abusive people want all the power and control in the relationship and will focus on maintaining that imbalance, even if it means continuing unhealthy and hurtful behaviour patterns.  Many callers to the Hotline have related stories of trying and ‘failing’ at couples counselling because of an abusive partner’s focus on manipulating the sessions to place blame, minimize the abuse and attempt to win over the therapist to their side.’  (The National Domestic Violence Hotline)

It is imperative, when searching for a therapist or counsellor, that you ascertain they understand this dynamic and are up to speed on the subject of NPD.  There are many excellent counsellors out there.  Make sure you engage the help of the right one.

It is estimated that one in three targets of abuse will develop PTSD as a result of what was done to them. This is treatable with the correct help and support. Please click here for  more information on PTSD.

Society in general needs to be educated about narcissism, including therapists, law enforcement officers, judges, attorneys, and barristers.  Sometimes their lack of knowledge and understanding of malignant narcissism results in a target of such abuse being further abused by the judicial system or counsellors who are supposed to help them.  The uneducated tend to think that a narcissist is someone who loves themselves and have no insight into the long term psychological damage these people often cause.  This disorder goes way beyond selfishness and self-love, in fact, narcissists are often plagued with self-loathing and self-doubt. Although this type of personality frequently displays an air of grandiosity and arrogance, behind the false exterior there often lies a vulnerability and such a very fragile ego.  Their overreaction to some perceived slight can be absolutely devastating to those they target.

Professionals and the general public need to educate themselves on terms such as:

GASLIGHTING which is an insidious process which occurs over a period of time resulting in the person being gaslighted questioning their own reality and/or sanity. Please click here for more information on Gaslighting.

PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR such as the silent treatment which is a favourite tactic of an abuser where all attempts at communication are met with deadly silence.  Please click here more information on The Silent Treatment.

Experts throughout the world use criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) which is published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental health conditions such as NPD.

The Mayo Clinic sets out the criteria from the DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it.
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents.
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate.
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people.
  • Requiring constant admiration.
  • Having a sense of entitlement.
  • Expecting special favours and unquestioning compliance with your expectations.
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want.
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others.
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you.
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner.

Diagnosis is by trained mental health professionals.  To be diagnosed with the rather unflattering label of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, one must possess at least five of the traits mentioned.  A common and very important trait, which is not mentioned in this list, is that of little or no empathy.  There are many who believe that as this is such a key aspect in people with NPD that it should have been included in the diagnostic criteria.

Many people have no understanding of why someone would remain in a relationship with someone who is abusive either emotionally or physically.  Some well-intentioned individuals will ask questions like, ‘Why did you not just leave?’  If only it was a simple as that.  Targets of abuse may be beaten down over time with neither the desire nor strength to fight.  They may be tied to their abuser by a psychological phenomenon known Trauma Bonding.  Please click here for more information on Trauma Bonding.

People need to understand that recovering from narcissistic abuse is a lengthy process.  Never put a time limit on your recovery.  For some, this will take two or three years but sadly for many, much longer.  Give time, plenty of time.  Education is a key part in recovery.  No blame should be placed on a target of abuse. There is light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.  We just need to know how to switch it on.

Written by Anne McCrea

References

Mayo Clinic Staff, (2014), Mayo Clinic: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, [Online], accessed Feb 2016.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline, (2014), Why We Don’t Recommend Couples Counselling for Abusive Relationships [Online], accessed December 2018.

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Dysfunctional Families

Dysfunctional Families

The ideal family consists of a group of people we can depend on, people who love us, nurture and care for us, people who offer their guidance and support as we go through life, people who we trust. Family is the most important influence in the life of a young child. We usually think of family as blood relatives but sadly not all blood relatives have our best interests at heart. Some of the most toxic people we know may share the same DNA.

A dysfunctional family background often leads to a child believing that their opinions, needs and desires are unimportant and meaningless. As they mature they often lack confidence with low feelings of self-worth. Depression and anxiety are commonplace. Adult children from a narcissistic family need support to make them understand that they are not inadequate and to help them develop healthy self-esteem and build strong and healthy relationships.

In the toxic family neglect and abuse are often a daily occurrence. This family may look good from the outside but it’s a different story for those who live within this dysfunctional family dynamic. Everything is about image. The narcissistic parent will likely put on a display in public and be seen as generous, personable and charming whereas behind closed doors they are abusive and controlling. The house where abuse takes place, whether mental or physical, will never be a home. Talking about their issues is forbidden. (Let’s just pretend everything’s perfect.) Family members who thrive on drama, negativity, jealousy, criticism and denigration will never make a child feel good about themselves. Children from narcissistic families rarely grow up to be close to their brothers and sisters in later life. They have often been pitted against one another in their childhood. Unless the child holds the position of the ‘golden child’ within the family unit, they will be seen and not heard, blamed and shamed. Nothing they ever do will be good enough and they’ll soon learn that their value depends on their achievements, how they can make the family look good and not for who they are.

Signs that you are dealing with toxic family members

  • They are verbally or physically abusive.
  • They make you feel that you can never do or say anything right.
  • They gaslight you. (Sometimes described as ‘psychological warfare’ gaslighting is an insidious process of mind games that occur over a period of time resulting in the person being gaslighted questioning their own sanity and/or reality unable to trust their own judgements.)
  • Lack of empathy.
  • They play victim to circumstances they create.
  • You feel uncomfortable when they’re around.
  • They put you down more than they lift you up.
  • They use personal information against you. (Information you gave them in confidence.)
  • They try to control you.
  • They are judgemental. (Justified criticism is healthy but constant criticism will destroy anyone’s self-esteem.)
  • You feel like you are walking on eggshells so as you don’t upset them.
  • They have anger issues. (Explosive rages.)
  • They exhibit passive aggressive behaviour. (Invoking the silent treatment for some perceived slight will create tension and uncertainty.)
  • There are endless and unnecessary arguments. (Disagreements are normal. Frequently provoking and initiating arguments is not.)
  • They try to isolate you from your friends or other family members. (Once isolated, you become easier to control with no one to turn to but the abuser.)
  • This person uses manipulation tactics for personal gain. (Exercises unscrupulous control or influence and emotional exploitation over another person.)
  • They spread malicious gossip. (They turn people against each other creating jealousy and disharmony.)
  • They make you unhappy and feel bad about yourself. (You may be convinced that there is something wrong with you and that everything that goes wrong is your fault.)

How do you deal with toxic family members?

The worst thing you can do is do nothing. By doing nothing you are giving them the impression that their behaviour is ok. Your mental and physical well-being may suffer as a result. Stop giving up a part of yourself to keep the peace and please someone who is impossible to please. Behaviour such as the behaviour mentioned above, will drain you emotionally. Something that I hear so very often is, ‘I wish that I had done something sooner,’ and ‘If only I’d known that this wasn’t normal. I thought all families were like this and I blamed myself.’ For your own sake, establish boundaries sooner rather than later. You teach people how to treat you by setting healthy boundaries.

Your boundaries are a set of limits or rules where you decide what is acceptable and what is not. They’ll differ from person to person. Normal healthy people know not to cross the line and should have a reasonable idea when not to intrude. On the other hand, the narcissist personality, will have absolutely no respect for the boundaries you set. They have an extraordinary knack of pushing people to their limits for their own amusement, to create friction or drama or to test you. Setting boundaries with a narcissist will not be a one off thing. Expect it to be something that you will have to address time and time again. Communicate your wishes firmly and directly and don’t let them push your buttons. Remain resolute and leave them in no doubt that you mean what you say or things will go back to the way they were before.

Healthy boundaries include ‘alone time’ and time to spend as you see fit. Never let anyone make you feel guilty for setting standards. If they get angry with you for setting standards, they’re not giving you the respect that you deserve. They are the one with the problem, not you.

Some people will never respect the boundaries you set and will not change their behaviour. If they don’t respect your boundaries you may need to examine what position this person will play in your life. You may find that you need to create some distance between you and family members. You are not being selfish or demanding, you’re simply practising healthy self-care. Not every toxic person needs to be cut out of your life but sadly sometimes, someone may be too toxic to you for you to justify keeping them around.

You can’t change the past but you can take control of your future. It’s not easy distancing yourself from family but sometimes this is the only answer and absolutely necessary. The key is in the intent. You’re not doing this to intentionally hurt or punish someone but to protect yourself so let go of the guilt.

When you cut out toxic people from your life, they will often turn the story around and blame you for the conflict. Hard as it may be, ignore their behaviour. Those people who believe their lies and pass judgement without proof, may be best avoided too.

Never give up on your own emotional and physical health by tolerating disrespect and abuse by a toxic family member. Sharing the same bloodline simply means you are related but it doesn’t make you family, love does.

Written by Anne McCrea

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

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MANIPULATIVE BEHAVIOUR

MANIPULATIVE BEHAVIOUR

‘Manipulative, abusive, controlling people and the weak people who are afraid of them, their enablers and flying monkeys who blindly follow them… will say and do almost anything to keep you quiet. You are going to get labelled as crazy, angry, jealous and hateful, to name but a few, when you stand up to them and call them out on their behaviour. Be strong. You can handle this. The truth is always revealed to those who have learned to see.’

Let’s look at what is meant by manipulative behaviour;

Psychological manipulation can be described as exercising unscrupulous control or influence and emotional exploitation over a person or situation with the intention of gaining power and control at the expense of their target. A world-renowned expert on manipulators, Dr George K. Simon has cited three necessities to successfully manipulate someone:

1. Concealing aggressive behaviour and intention.

2. Understanding the psychological shortcomings of a victim in order to determine which method will achieve the best results.

3. An uncommon degree of ruthlessness, having no reservations about inflicting harm upon their unsuspecting victim.

Who do they target? Anyone can be a target of an emotional manipulator.

• Empathetic, kind and easy-going people who try to avoid conflict. These kind and considerate people are likely to forgive the narcissist time and time again for their monstrous behaviour.

• The independent, accomplished person will be a great source of narcissistic supply once they have fallen under their spell.

The narcissist has mastered the art of deception. Although their intentions may initially appear to be honest and sincere, their ultimate goal is to deceive, exploit and manipulate. Whatever the relationship with the manipulator, be it parent, spouse, partner, sibling, child, friend or co-worker, this relationship is unbalanced from the beginning. Their aim is to, by any devious means necessary, gain control of your mind, resulting in you becoming an unwilling participant in their schemes. How can any such connection not be doomed from the outset?

Narcissists are known to be very observant at the start of any relationship. They listen intently as you reveal details of your past, your feelings and vulnerabilities, to use this information against you for their own gain.

Narcissists are adept at distorting the truth. Manipulators are often compulsive and pathological liars. They will twist events, things you’ve said or done, turn them around, and maybe add a few lies so that their version becomes a far cry from reality. Of course, their target is left feeling confused and full of self-doubt.

Manipulative people will often play the victim to circumstances they have created. They lack accountability for their words or actions and twist the situation round to blame you.

A common form of manipulation is that of turning people against each other, creating jealousy and disharmony. They talk behind backs spreading false information so that people become distrustful of one another. Splitting, as this is sometimes called, puts the narcissist in a position of power.

Passive aggressive behaviour is common. They go between being pleasant one minute to refusing communication the next (the silent treatment). Their target is left reeling, wondering what they have done wrong when in fact, the answer is, absolutely nothing at all.

Explosive rages and personal attacks and criticism are another favourite tactic. They are relentless in their pursuit of grinding you down until they get what they want. Your emotional health and well-being are of little importance.

Targets of such insidious manipulation unintentionally give up a part of themselves to keep the peace and please someone who is simply impossible to please. Unfortunately, once these twisted individuals succeed in taking advantage of your kind and forgiving nature, they are likely to repeat this behaviour over and over again until you put a stop to it once and for all.

We all have the right to be treated with respect and set boundaries as to what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Learn to be assertive. You have the right to your own opinions and values and the right to express these without being put down by someone whose moral values are sub-standard to say the least. Never be afraid to say, ‘No’, and don’t feel guilty for doing so.

Remember that someone who feels the need to manipulate others has failed to mature emotionally. Although they may appear to be strong and in control, there are often underlying insecurities and self-doubt. What you see is not what you get. Their dysfunctional behaviour is likely to tumble over from one relationship to the next. They absolve themselves from any responsibility in their continual failed relationships. Narcissists’ failure to hold themselves accountable for their behaviour is in complete contrast to them holding you accountable for yours.

• Do you feel you are constantly walking on egg shells around this person?

• Do you feel as good about yourself as you once did?

• Do you feel taken for granted?

• Do you feel that whatever you do, it’s never enough?

• Is it always you who is doing the giving and them the taking?

• Are you losing friends, acquaintances without knowing why?

• Are you subjected to their passive aggressive behaviour?

• Does this person try to tell you how you should think or feel?

• Do you feel that it is all about their needs whilst yours don’t matter?

• Do you feel pressured into doing things that you are not happy with?

If you have answered ‘Yes’ to some of these questions, it may be time to re-evaluate what part, if any, you want this person to play in your life.

‘Make today be the last day that you care about people who have shown you that they don’t.’

Written by Anne McCrea

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

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Is A Narcissist Ever Sorry?

Is A Narcissist Ever Sorry?

Is a narcissist ever sorry?  Yes and no…

If you are wondering if a narcissist is ever sorry for the hurt they cause or how they make you feel, then the answer has to be, ‘no’.  They simply don’t care how their behaviour makes others feel.  Remember, it’s all about them, their feelings and their needs.  These disordered individuals feel that they are above reproach.  If they behaved badly, then it’s somebody else’s fault.

“If you hadn’t pushed me too far, I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did.”

“You’re just too sensitive.”

Narcissists are delicate souls who fail to take responsibility for their conduct.  They can’t accept criticism or blame but instead shift blame onto others.  By shifting blame the narcissist will protect their ever so fragile ego from bruising.  They are terrified of looking too deep within themselves, to accept the shame of recognizing who they are.  Self-reflection is avoided at all costs.  To be sorry for their behaviour would be tantamount to admitting that they were wrong and that’s not going to happen.

So what, you may ask, will a narcissist be sorry for?

They will be sorry that they have been found out, that you figured them out for who they really are.  That wasn’t supposed to happen!

They will be sorry that they will lose control over you.  Narcissistic supply is vital for their wellbeing and if you were a good source, the subsequent loss can be devastating to someone with such precarious self-esteem issues.

Narcissists don’t do solitude so if you decide that you have had enough and leave them to their delusional hell, their world may disintegrate.  So yes, they will be sorry.

I am sure you get the picture now.  The narcissist may be sorry but those ‘sorrys’ are reserved solely for themselves.

Written by Anne McCrea

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

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WHO IS A TARGET FOR A NARCISSIST?

WHO IS A TARGET FOR A NARCISSIST?

Anyone can be a target of a narcissistic personality.

The greatest source of narcissistic supply will come from conquering the unconquerable! If they can manipulate someone who can advance their status, this would be considered a great achievement.

I look at this from the mind-set of a mountaineer. At the beginning of their quests to climb mountains, the mountaineer will start off small, and with every successful climb, they will want to go higher the next time. Eventually, they won’t get satisfaction unless their climb is more difficult and more challenging than the one before. Their life goal will be to conquer the biggest and the highest mountain. The narcissist’s greatest challenge and achievement will be to conquer the strong and powerful. Once having achieved their goal, the narcissist will attempt to tear down those very same attributes that attracted them in the first place.

Under the mask of the narcissist, is often a person of rather low self-esteem, even though to many, they may appear to be confident and assertive. They need to have their fragile egos fed, having a regular source of narcissistic supply which in turn makes them feel superior. They want others to be envious of them and their chosen partner. Narcissists generally do not have any respect for weakness of character. However, weak people who are easily manipulated are seen as soft targets, and the narcissist may choose someone who is sad or insecure on a temporary basis, until someone better comes along, when they will unceremoniously cast aside and dump the weak person.

The narcissist will feel threatened by those who are more popular than themselves and those who they believe to have integrity and strong morals. In some cases, the narcissist will target such people, for no other purpose than to bring them down.

Once the narcissist has picked their target, they will go all out to prove to this person that they have met their soulmate. Their goal will be to make this totally independent, strong person, utterly dependant on them. They will have to work hard to rise to the challenge but once accomplished, imagine the boost to their ego. Once they have you where they want you, they will slowly but surely chip away at your self-confidence so that eventually you become a shadow of your former self.

The narcissist is attracted to the self-sufficient, independent individuals as they will be less likely to have to take care of their needs.

Narcissists are envious of those who are happy and content. If you have a passion for life, they will try to make sure that it won’t last long. How dare you be happy, when they find it impossible to ever find such a state of contentment? They will seek to destroy your happiness just to make themselves feel better.

Narcissists don’t like being upstaged in any way. If you are the type of person who doesn’t feel the need to take centre stage, you’ll fit the bill for a time. You will be less likely to take the spotlight away from them.

If you are a perfectionist, you may be targeted because you will want everything to be perfect and you will go out of your way to achieve perfection. You will want to receive their approval for a job well done, but as an acknowledgment is extremely unlikely, you’ll try harder next time. You always try to please, doubting yourself and thinking that whatever you do is never good enough.

The narcissist will pray on the empathetic people in this world, the most compassionate, loving and kind people. Someone with such a kind and forgiving nature is much more likely to forgive them time and time again.

Sometimes, if strong, independent targets are unavailable as a source of supply, the narcissist will choose someone who will be an easy target for their manipulation, someone who they see as weak, someone who may be recently divorced or someone in mourning. The depths of their immorality and depravity knows no bounds. Exploiting the vulnerable will give them a lesser degree of supply, but it will be enough until a new source of supply has been established.

Written By Anne McCrea

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

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Amazon US

STOP GIVING A DAMN

STOP GIVING A DAMN

It took me a long time to get to a point in my life where I no longer give a damn what people think. The less I give a damn, the better my life becomes. From now on, I’ll do what I believe is right. My conscience is clear.

People like to be liked. They try to please other people often disregarding their own wants, needs and feelings. They go all out to please someone who may never even notice their efforts. They may get a pat on the back if they’re lucky. On the other hand, the more you do for some people, the more they expect. Yes, it’s nice to be nice but we have to know when to draw the line. We have to know that it really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. As long as you know in your heart that you’re doing the right thing, ignore what anyone else thinks.
We need to stop being afraid of what others think.

There will always be those who try to find fault where none exists. Let them.

There will be those who are looking to be offended. Let them be offended. These are their problems, not yours.

There are some who will be angry with you for what you’re doing. Let them. Do it anyway if you know it’s right.

There will always be people whose lives are so boring that they can’t keep their nose out of everyone’s business. Pay no heed.

Some people have nothing better to do with their time than cause upset and frustration to those around them. Their behaviour says a lot about them. Distance yourself.

Some people will be green with envy and jealousy. They’ve got issues they need to address. Let them go.

There will always be liars and people who try to put you down. You don’t need them in your life. In time, the liars get caught out in their lies and those, who believed all that s**t, well, you’re better off without them.

As time passes, you’re circle may get smaller as you weed out these people who never had your back in the first place. You can replace these degenerates with honest, reliable folk who have the same values and morals as you do. You’ll see that the people’s opinions you once cared about are long gone.

Be choosy about those damns that you give. Save them for the situations and people in your life who are worth giving a damn about.

Written by Anne McCrea

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon US

RECOVERY FROM ABUSE

RECOVERY FROM ABUSE

I am often asked, ‘How long will it take to recover?’ There is no straight forward answer. It’s different for everyone. A lot will depend on how long you have been abused and what was done to you. Recovery from emotional abuse is going to take a lot longer than getting over a normal relationship. Some experts will say that it takes at least two years to recover from abuse, but for many, it can be much longer. I believe that to move on, you must physically get away from the narcissist in your life. It’s a bit like a wound that won’t heal if you keep opening it. No contact works but it is difficult. It is extremely tough to implement no contact if you have not accepted that the relationship is over, permanently.

Psychologists talk about the five stages of grief which are:

  • Denial and Isolation.
  • Anger.
  • Bargaining.
  • Depression.
  • Acceptance.

It should be noted that not everyone will go through these emotions in this particular order. There is no time limit on how long each stage will take nor is it necessary to go through each one of them.

‘If only’ is an expression that we must forget. ‘If only I had recognised the red flags sooner’, ‘If only I had of acted differently’. Nothing you could have said or done would have changed the outcome. They are who they are. What’s done is done.

‘Someone who makes excuses for their bad behaviour but keeps on doing what they’re doing is trying to justify what they already know they are doing wrong. There is no justification for treating others badly and they know it. They may fool some people some of the time. Don’t let them fool you.’

Never be afraid to seek the help that you need. There are those who will find that therapy helps. Some people suffer from PTSD because of what was done to them. This can be treated with the correct help and support. Others will find that going on anti-depressants for while may help. You have got to do what is right for you.

Realize that you are not the person the narcissist made you think that you are. You are much stronger than you think you are. Surround yourself with people who care. Talk to people who understand what you are going through. Don’t expect people who have never been subjected to abuse to understand. They won’t. You will find those who understand your pain are those who have been there.

It is essential to understand NPD and rid yourself of the belief that any of this was your fault.

You need to be able to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Understand that the narcissist is a dysfunctional human being, they were before they met you, or in the case of a parent, before you were born. Understand the immorality and wickedness that characterizes their behaviour.

You may feel that you will never be able to trust anyone ever again. You want to build walls to protect yourself and keep people out. Hard as it may be, try not to paint everyone with the same brush. There are some good people out there. There are some people who want to see you happy and not be the cause of, or rejoice in, your pain. Give those people a chance. Don’t isolate yourself and cut yourself off from the world. Doing so would be letting the narcissist still have control over you once they are nothing but a distant memory. Remember that the rear-view mirror is smaller than the windscreen for a reason. Focus on what is in front of you, rather than the road you have already travelled.

Written by Anne McCrea

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Callous Discard

The Callous Discard

When you first encounter a narcissist, you will likely be sucked into a toxic whirlwind. You will be seduced by their charm and believe that you’ve met your soulmate, someone who possesses the same beliefs, values and standards as you do. They’ve listened very carefully to you when you’ve talked about yourself, your hopes and your dreams and now you’ve found someone who wants exactly what you want in life. That old saying, ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t,’ will never be more apt than it is in this scenario.

In the beginning the narcissist will have high hopes for their new found love. Maybe this person will be the one who will fulfil their needs, someone who can put right all that is wrong and has gone wrong in their life, someone who will adore them the way that they deserve to be adored and someone who will be different from all their past ‘loves.’ (I use that term lightly.) The narcissist is looking for perfection and soon boredom will set in when they realize that their new darling is not perfect. You are not who you pretended to be at first and you’ve disappointed them. Of course you will be to blame for everything that has gone wrong within this fairy-tale romance. Self-reflection is not a skill that the narcissistic personality has learned or wishes to acquire. In their sick and distorted mind, they will never be at fault. Their frustration at your shortcomings (you’re a normal human being with needs and wants) will be enough for them to think that you deserve to be pulled down a peg or two. How dare you put your needs above theirs! They won’t accept anything less than being your number one priority. Your devaluation will commence.

This person who once made you feel special and feel loved more than any other will take every opportunity to demean and belittle you and you will have absolutely no idea what you’ve done to deserve it. You will likely try harder to please and if you manage to succeed this time, they may decide to keep you around for a little longer.

In this case, they will return to the person who they once pretended to be. You will likely be so glad to see that everything is rosy again and not question what just happened. This idealization / devaluing phase may continue for quite some time, possibly months or years. With each episode of devaluation, whether it be verbal put downs or passive aggressive behaviour, your feelings of self-worth are liable to take a nose dive. You are never sure how this so easily offended person is going to react so you find yourself walking on eggshells so that you never upset them again. How do you avoid offending someone who appears to be on the lookout for something to be offended by? The short answer is, you can’t.

Devaluation

The narcissist will put into practice the devaluation phase. They will likely have done this before in every relationship in their shady past. This process can take many forms such as gaslighting, shaming, belittling, smear campaigns, ghosting, abuse both verbal and physical, to name but a few.

If you find yourself in a relationship such as this, do yourself a favour and get away as soon as you possibly can for your own sanity and well-being.

The Discard

The devaluation phase will often be followed by a callous discard with no regard for your feelings. It doesn’t matter whether this relationship has lasted a year or twenty years. They owe you nothing. The narcissist will often abandon you and walk away without warning and without explanation. You’ll be left crushed and traumatised by what’s just happened and you’ve no idea why.

Why?

This relationship was doomed from the outset. You can never have a normal relationship with a disordered person and believe me when I say that the narcissist is not a normal person by any stretch of the imagination. They are dysfunctional human beings who will live with their dysfunction for a lifetime. The more you read about narcissistic personality disorder, the more you’ll see that you did nothing wrong. Their emotional maturity has never developed in the normal way. They will remain emotionally stunted until their dying day unable to form healthy attachments with anyone who has the misfortune to enter their lives. They are doomed to live their lives surrounded by drama and chaos, their home ground. These delusional individuals will never find happiness and contentment in their lives in the way that you can. These people are eaten up with jealousy and self-hatred. They will never be satisfied with what they have, always wanting more and always reaching for the unreachable.

This is not a loss, it’s gaining your freedom

When you come to terms with what has been done to you, which may take some considerable time, you will come to realize that losing the narcissist is not a loss. Far from it, it’s a gain. It’s gaining your freedom and releasing yourself from a toxic fate. You deserve so much more than what this person can ever give you. Close this chapter of your life and start writing the next chapter with people who value you, people who want to see you happy and people who would never obtain any satisfaction from seeing you in pain, knowing they are the cause of your anguish.

Written by Anne McCrea

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

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THE AGEING NARCISSIST

THE AGEING NARCISSIST

As a narcissist ages, people eventually see through the false charm and see the person for who they really are. Slowly but surely, the narcissist’s social circle dwindles away, one by one people disappear, no longer finding their behaviour acceptable. Most people who have crossed their path in one way or another have borne witness to their deceit and toxicity. Towards the end of their lives there is often not one single living soul who cares whether they live or die. By the time the final curtain falls, they receive what I call poetic justice, getting back what they gave out to others all their lives. As they take their last breath, there’s not a hand to hold, everyone who once cared is long gone. Call it Karma, call it God having the final say, call it what you will… I call it pay back.

Ageing is a process that none of us look forward to, but it IS better than the alternative. Most of us try to age with grace and dignity, having gained wisdom through the years. A narcissist’s behaviour tends to get worse with the passage of time. As time takes its toll on their looks and their health they know that admiration is a thing of the past. Time has taken its toll on their withered frame. They can no longer rely on their outward appearance to attract new supply. They glare at the image staring back at them from the mirror failing to accept the aging face before them. Their mind is not as sharp as it once was. What have they left to look forward to? Retirement? Obscurity? Insignificance? We are always told to look on the inside, look at how someone treats others, look at their heart and look at their soul. It’s the inside that counts. What’s on the inside of a narcissist? Absolutely nothing but an empty shell. As the years roll by the narcissist faces a complete loss of supply and lashes out at anyone unfortunate enough to be within earshot.

WHEN THE NARCISSIST IS LEFT ALONE

I have a strong belief that people who treat others poorly and have no empathy or compassion for others will be shown no compassion in later life. They have spent their entire lives abusing, betraying and demeaning others, aware of what they do, and without a second thought for the pain that they inflict time and time again. Friends and ex-partners have become enemies. If their children haven’t already become strangers, the narcissist may try to buy their children’s love in a feeble attempt to keep them close, believing that they may be the only people left on this earth who will put up with their pernicious behaviour. These meagre efforts to be seen as a good parent may be welcomed by a child who has spent a lifetime seeking mum or dad’s approval. For others, it will be too little too late.

‘An ironic twist of fate…
Their enemy will be their memories.
They can never undo what they’ve done.
They can’t escape their thoughts
When they find themselves alone,
Unloved and abandoned.
When their evil has been uncovered,
The truth will pursue them,
Wherever they go.’

The narcissist is an immature, angry, volatile and controlling individual. They spend their lives attempting to form relationships. Sadly, it’s not a partnership they are seeking but a dictatorship where they have all the power and control. Eventually people get sick and tired of their behaviour and abandon them. A string of failed relationships adds to their already fragile ego. By bringing about their own abandonment as a result of their abusive and despicable behaviour, they inflict upon themselves a deep narcissistic injury. Somehow, the narcissist will delude themselves into believing that their own self destruction is someone else’s fault.

Much like a drug addict without their supply, the narcissist can’t cope when supplies become scarce and runs out. They become chronically depressed and angry and find no pleasure in anything. Their noxious behaviour becomes more demanding and worse by the day. Things that they used to enjoy no longer hold their interest. Their world has become hostile, their social life non-existent. No one wants to be in their company for any length of time. They often become a hermit, closed off from the outside world, blaming everyone else for the situation that they find themselves in. The longer the lack of supply continues, the worse their insecurities and paranoia become.

The narcissist clings desperately to nothing, resenting the passage of time yet helpless to prevent it. They may create fake profiles on social media to stalk people, people that they may never meet or talk to. Surfing the Internet may give them the opportunity to get a little attention from someone, from anyone. They’ve lost faith in themselves. They don’t like themselves and nobody else likes them either, so they think, ‘There’s no point in being nice.’

Narcissists have an enormous fear of their own mortality. As death approaches, they know that complete oblivion is on the horizon. Life gives back to them exactly what they deserve, loneliness and isolation. They find themselves being shunned and ignored. The one thing that they never could control is time. As they move forward to eternity they have the knowledge that there is a final judge, and this time, it’s not them.

THE NARCISSIST AND ILLNESS

People will say that when they have become ill, the narcissist didn’t want to know. They were not interested and basically didn’t care. They saw it as your problem, so get on with it. So what happens when a narcissist gets sick? They will milk it for as long as they can. They will take all the sympathy and concern that they can muster, and then some.

They will see their illness as a reason to demand your attention 24/7. Cast any plans you may have aside. Your focus must be on them until they are better. After you have nursed them back to health, taken them to the doctor, collected their medications and tended to their every need, don’t expect them to show you how grateful they are for your tender loving care. They aren’t. It was your duty after all. You could have done more.

There are times when a narcissist will fake illness, fake a heart attack, fake cancer, in fact fake anything, just to focus attention on themselves. They may do so when you are ill, go one better than you with an illness much worse than yours in order that they get the attention that should be focused on you.

THE NARCISSIST ON THEIR DEATH BED

I am often asked if a narcissist will change when they are on their deathbed. Will they want to put things right and apologize to all those they have hurt in their lifetime? Some people want closure and expect a change of heart from the narcissist as they take their last breath. A deathbed apology is extremely unlikely. They are likely to die the same way that they have lived, hurting others. Many will use this time to twist the knife in just one more time.

Don’t beat yourself up if you decide not to pay them one last visit. It is a matter of looking after yourself, a matter of self-protection. There is no point in opening old wounds to satisfy the demands of someone who inflicted those wounds in the first place. If they wanted your company, they should have shown remorse before this late stage, and they should have acted better.

Pity them for being the person they are if you must, but please be careful to never give them the chance to hurt you again.

Written by Anne McCrea

(From Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon)

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