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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

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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

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

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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THE NARCISSIST IN COURT

THE NARCISSIST IN COURT

If you find yourself in a court case against a narcissist, be prepared for the battle of your life. The narcissist wants to win, by any underhanded means available. Remember that these people are pathological liars and can put on an Oscar winning performance in the courtroom. The narcissist will be one of the most venomous, dangerous opponents one can face in any court of law.

The types of cases you may find yourself involved in are:

  • Criminal proceedings where you are the victim of a crime committed by the narcissist.
  • Divorce proceedings, where property/money are in issue.
  • Custody cases involving children.
  • Proceedings involving the return of property/money owed.

If the case is one of divorce, the narcissist will present himself or herself as confident and calm, whereas the downtrodden ex-partner will have been run into the ground by this ruthless individual in the months and years leading up to the court case, and often will come across as stressed and lacking confidence. Do not engage in conversation and avoid any eye contact with the narcissist in or outside the court. If there is somewhere private to sit outside the court, find it, so that the narcissist and any of their enablers are not able to intimidate or unnerve you.

Many people facing a narcissist in court worry that the narcissist will manipulate the court and their lies will be believed. It is vital to ensure that your chosen legal representative is up to speed on NPD. A lawyer who is not knowledgeable is likely to be manipulated by the narcissist and may advise you to settle when it is not in your best interests to do so.

The narcissist has pushed you to your limits in the past. Now it’s your turn. Narcissists are likely to react with fury when caught out on their lies and bad behaviour and reveal information which they had no intention of revealing. Their rage may become uncontrollable, with their lawyer doing all in their power to keep them cool, calm and collected (a rather difficult if not impossible task).

The narcissist is likely to have hidden or diverted assets. It is possible to break a narcissist in court, but one needs to be well prepared. It is critical that you are armed with irrefutable, undeniable and corroborated evidence. Avoid giving the narcissist any credible alternative scenarios to the facts. A well-versed lawyer can pose questions to the narcissist in such a way that will take the wind out of their sails ever so subtly.

‘I am led to believe you are quite knowledgeable. Sorry, what is your highest academic qualification? …So, you have no formal qualifications, you never studied for a degree?’

Contradicting or belittling the narcissist’s inflated view of themselves will shatter their fragile self-esteem.

Whilst in the confines of the courtroom, position yourself away from the narcissist and never look in their direction. The fact that you are not looking at them will likely cause a narcissistic wound. The narcissist hates to be ignored.

As we know, the narcissist believes they are above the law and not subject to the limitations of the everyday citizen. As far as they are concerned, they outrank anyone in the courtroom including the judge or magistrate. How dare anyone have the audacity to make them accountable for their actions! Anyone who gives evidence against them will be labelled a liar and corrupt.

Never show any reaction to their words or behaviour. They knew how to push your buttons before and they will try it again. Make sure that these attempts are met with indifference.

It can be difficult to relay to the court just how unacceptable the narcissist’s behaviour can be. Hopefully, they will supply that information to the court and discredit themselves when their fury erupts in the courtroom.

Always tell the truth. Never be tempted to embellish the truth or paint a false picture. Don’t stoop to the narcissist’s level.

Written by Anne McCrea

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

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The Online Creeper

The Online Creeper

Some narcissists will use social media to get attention. Others will use the likes of Facebook and Instagram to stalk, creep and keep an eye on you, your family and what you’re doing. There’s a big difference between nosiness and fixation. Narcissists don’t like to lose control, let go and they struggle to come to terms with the fact that you have moved on with your life. They find it almost impossible to keep their nose out of your business and their spying may become obsessive. This type of behaviour is not normal by a long shot.

These online creepers have problems in their own lives that they need to address. Unfortunately they will rarely see a problem with their conduct. Mentally stable individuals who have happily moved on with their lives will have no desire to creep online. They don’t want to see what people who are no longer a part of their circle are up to.

It doesn’t matter how much time has elapsed since you last had any form of contact with these paranoid individuals. Their crazy behaviour may last for many years.

Most of the time this online creeping often will go unnoticed by the person being watched. However, sometimes these online sneaks slip up and leave a trace. They accidentally hit a like button, realise their stupid mistake and quickly hit the button again hoping to remove all traces that they’ve been watching you. Alas, it doesn’t work that way. They’ve been found out.

(Yes, after five years this little scenario was played out yesterday by my ex-partner’s son who was obviously slithering online like a snake hoping that he wouldn’t be observed. And yes, he slipped up, hit the like button and then quickly tried to unlike it. Too late, you were caught.)

For some, online creeping may turn into something much more sinister such as continual stalking and harassment which I will cover in another article.

In the meantime, if you want to keep your life private, keep your profile locked down and keep those little online creepers in the dark.

Written by Anne McCrea

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

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Your Life With A Narcissist

Your Life With A Narcissist

No one comes out of a relationship with a narcissist unscathed. Some people will live with those deep scars for a lifetime while others will learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, realise that these individuals are dysfunctional human beings who have little or no regard for the people they harm and exploit and they’ll know that their lives will be so much better when these people are no longer a part of it.

Some people on this page have decided to share their experiences of how their lives have been touched in one way or another by a narcissist.

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I’ve cut contact with my narc mother for the last two months because she started to abuse me with one of her rages and I’ve realised I don’t have to take it, but more importantly that I just can’t take it any more. As for sharing parts of my abuse as a child, there were many hideous instances, the main being that she just ignored my existence. When she wasn’t spitting out verbal abuse it loved my two brothers. She tried to marry me off at 16 to a family friend that I didn’t even like to get rid of me out of the house. But now in her old age she expects me to take her into my house. Not happening. This is just a tiny insight into the abuse I had to endure my entire childhood and life.

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Recently split from my partner after 9 years of hell and manipulation. He was leading a double life pretending to be something that he wasn’t a caring family man. First he said he was separated from his wife but he wasn’t after a short time of meeting he moved in with me as I was recently divorced had 3 bedroom house and expensive car bought and paid for and money in the bank but not for long, over the years he sponged off me and kept disappearing. Then I found emails he was meeting people for sex and when I confronted him he cried and said he was sorry and that a friends emails had got mixed up with his. It was a lie, one of hundreds of lies that were to follow. He slit his wrists, had me arrested for trying to kill him but the police didn’t believe him and he was thrown out of my house. He was removed from my house in total 14 times and social services threatened to take my children. Every time I tried to get rid of him he came back, broke into the house or got in my car. The violence got worse. He tried to strangle me and I was sick after he let go of my throat. I sold my house and moved but he came with me, bad mouthed me to everyone so the neighbours distanced themselves from me. He killed my animals and trashed my car and said the neighbours had done it. Eventually I escaped by help from my neighbours and the police were called I am currently under police protection and restraining order for a year I’ve been left with a mountain to climb but already I feel better not being criticised every day and not having to walk on eggshells.

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Kept quoting bits and pieces of scripture to make me think I was going against the Bible if I didn’t do as I was told by my husband. That’s what wives are supposed to do, right.

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My mother put me down at every opportunity. If I disagreed with her about anything I was punished, smacked and ignored. Her verbal abuse was something I got used to through the years. My sister was never given the same treatment. She was the apple of my mum’s eye and never did anything wrong in her eyes. Me, on the other hand, I was the one who got blamed for everything. She made me feel worthless and I grew up believing she was right. I stumbled upon your page and everything made sense. I wasn’t the problem. She was. I’ve learned so much. I now know that she isn’t going to change and my sister has grown up just like her. I’ve cut contact with them both and life is so much better. I’ve been to counselling and read other people’s stories. You’ll never know how much that helped. I’m not alone. I know my worth and will never let anyone put me down again.

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I got the silent treatment for weeks on end. Would then walk back in my life as if nothing happened and I like a fool kept taking him back. I hate myself for my stupidity.

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I’ve been abused by my adult son. I gave him everything I could when he was a child, maybe too much. I went without so that he could have the childhood I never had but it’s all backfired. If he doesn’t get what he wants, he rages until somebody gives in for peace and quiet. He’s told me he wishes I was dead and to be honest sometimes I wish I was too. I know I should cut him out of my life but I can’t bring myself to do it.

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I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My father was controlling and my mother an alcoholic. He probably drove her to drink. When things didn’t go his way or he didn’t get the adoration he thought he deserved we were treated with the silent treatment sometimes for weeks at a time and his icy glares, they were something else. At times I just wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. When he thought we had been punished enough he would start talking to us again as if nothing had happened. We never questioned his behaviour. We knew better than that. As he’s got older his behaviour has got worse. I have very little to do with him now. He is a very sad and lonely old man and he’s brought it all on himself.

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He made me quit my job telling me that I needed to be with the kids. I’d no money with him controlling every cent. I was stuck with no way out.

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I’ve been to hell and back with the woman I loved with all my heart. I did everything for her, tried to make her happy but nothing I did was enough. When things didn’t go her way, the only way, she was the devil in disguise. No one saw this side of her but me. To everyone else I was a lucky man, lucky to have found someone who was so attractive and obviously crazy about me. If only they knew. What they saw was a far cry from what I saw. She was smart. She never let anyone else see that horrible side to her personality. That pleasure was for me and me alone. No one who hasn’t been there will understand. She managed to bring me to my knees, begging her not to leave even though I knew that leaving me was the best thing she could have done for me. She turned everyone against me, people who I thought were my friends but she got there first with her lies and they believed her. I found out the hard way that people who I thought were friends weren’t. They didn’t want to hear my side of the story, they had heard her side and formed their own opinions. People are so judgemental and gullible. Those people aren’t my friends any more. They’re shallow. I have learned so much in such a short time thanks to this page. I was dying inside until I found it. I thought I was the only one going through this shit. Now I know I’m not. These people are everywhere, destroying people’s lives and getting away with it. She nearly destroyed mine but thankfully I’ve learned. I don’t trust easily. It is going to take a hell of a lot for anyone to earn my trust. I don’t know if I ever want to fall in love with any woman again. This hurt too much and I don’t know that I could go through it again. If they’re too good to be true at the start, there is probably a reason. Learn about these soul destroyers before they destroy your life.

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I’ve cut contact with my family because they are only family by blood. Proper family don’t treat family like they treated me all my life. It took me a lifetime to realise that my family wasn’t a normal one. I was put down by my mum and dad from as far back as I can remember. I was the reason that they had no money. I was the reason that they rowed. If I wasn’t around, their life would have been so much better. They gave up everything for me and I never deserved any of it. I grew up believing I was a worthless piece of shit because they told me I was. Who was I to argue? I didn’t expect anything from anyone and I never thought I deserved to be loved by anyone. I’m in therapy now to change my perception of who I am.

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She had me feeling sorry for her because of her previous boyfriend. She told me how he treated her so badly and I wanted to show her that all men weren’t like that and take care of her. Then when she got my heart she showed me how cold hers was. The discard was brutal.

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I worked in an office for three years, was well thought of by bosses and colleagues until a new start came into the office. She was ever so pleasant and charming at first, trying very hard to be liked by everyone. She would bring in buns for everyone at coffee break. Within a short time she was inviting people to her home for drinks. Everyone liked her but I had my doubts. I noticed she would copy the way I dressed and some of the things I said. I noticed she took credit for others work when they weren’t around. Once or twice I pointed this out in the nicest possible way. I became arch enemy no 1. She did everything in her power to turn my colleagues against me. She told lies behind my back and sabotaged my work. What hurt me the most was how easily my colleagues accepted her stories and one by one they turned against me. If I defended myself, I was being bitchy, vengeful and vindictive. Eventually I couldn’t face going to work, went off sick and resigned. I have heard that she started on someone else after I left and I believe that people saw her for what she was. I’m glad about that but it was too late for me.

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Married forty years to an emotionally abusive controlling man. He was jealous of my friends and cut me off from everyone over the years. He was jealous of the attention I gave my dog so he killed him. He talked down to me, yelled at me, went into mad rages and sometimes ignored me. Our children are grown now and have disowned their father. They saw him for what he was and encouraged me to leave and make a life for myself. I’m so glad I took their advice after defending him for years and blaming myself for the way he was. He always blamed me and I started to believe he was right. I’ve suffered ill health for years, all I believe as a result of years of stress. I’m gradually getting my health back and the stress is gone. My biggest regret is that I stayed too long with a monster. To any of you out there reading this, don’t make the same mistakes I did. Your life is too short. Get out while you can, while you still have a life ahead of you.

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Lived a double life. Told me he was away on business when he was cheating. Lied all the time to cover his tracks and make me believe him and I did like a fool.

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My husband was the perfect gent when I met him, showering me with love and affection. Of course I thought I had met my soulmate and he proposed within a few months. We were married within 8 months and it was on our honeymoon that I first glimpsed a side of him I’d never seen before. He talked down to me. He huffed when everything didn’t go the way that he wanted them to. He gave me the silent treatment, ignoring me until I would plead with him to talk to me again. I kept apologising in case I had said something wrong. Yes, I grovelled for his forgiveness just so things would be normal again. And they were, for a short while. These periods of normalcy never lasted long. There was always something that he didn’t like and always an excuse to put me down. My head was in a mess. I couldn’t figure out what had happened to the lovely man I had fallen for. I wanted to please him. I would have done anything to please him but nothing did. He was the perfect husband when we were in public but a different man when we got home. I lived like this for 15 years, my health slowly deteriorating, both physical and mental. I lost many of my friends because he didn’t like them but managed to hold on to one who saw what was going on. She told me to Google the word, Narcissist. That was a light bulb moment. The descriptions I read were my husband to a T. Eventually I packed my stuff and left. It was the only thing I could do to save myself. It took me a long time of soul searching and therapy but I have recovered. I am the person who I used to be. I’m on my own now and it’s bliss.

Some people stay in relationships with a narcissist waiting and hoping for change that will never come.

I have yet to hear of a malignant narcissist changing for the better over the long term.

Anne McCrea

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering The Illusion is now available in paperback and kindle.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

 

 

A GLOSSARY OF TERMS RELATED TO NARCISSISM

A GLOSSARY OF TERMS RELATED TO NARCISSISM

ACON

Adult Children of Narcissists

BAITING

A narcissist loves to provoke a reaction from you, especially in public. They will provoke you into responding in an angry or emotional manner. (Your angry response is further evidence of your unbalanced state of mind).

BLACK SHEEP

The black sheep is blamed for just about everything that goes wrong within the dysfunctional family. They can’t do anything right. Their achievements are not recognized by the narcissistic parent and are swept under the carpet.

BOUNDARIES

Boundaries are a code of conduct or an unwritten set of rules which we consider to be reasonable behaviour from those around us and our response when someone steps over the line.

CLOSURE

Closure in a normal relationship involves open and honest communication about what has gone wrong, you then wish each other well, say goodbye and move on. After a relationship with a narcissist ends you are left with so many questions and no answers. It feels like the book has been closed before the story has ended. We cannot expect any form of closure from the emotionally immature narcissist who is completely lacking in empathy, and has no regard for your feelings. The only closure in this type of relationship is the closure you give yourself.

CO-DEPENDENT

The individual characteristics vary from person to person. Some of the more common characteristics would include trying to avoid making decisions, preferring to rely on others. Co-dependents are often perfectionists who tend to put the needs of others above their own, which results in them feeling needed. Unfortunately, co-dependents often stay in relationships that are emotionally destructive or abusive.

COUNTERING

A narcissist will dismiss or nullify their target’s thoughts, feelings or experiences and make them feel that they are wrong to hold such feelings or thoughts.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

Cognitive dissonance occurs when one holds two or more contradictory beliefs or values at the same time.

Sometimes people hold very strong beliefs and when they are presented with evidence which opposes those beliefs, they find it impossible to accept this evidence. Dissonance is often strong when we go against our own moral standards, for example, if someone believes that they are a good person and goes ahead and does something wrong or bad, the feelings of guilt and discomfort are known as cognitive dissonance.

DUPLICITY

Deception by speaking or acting in two different ways to different people about the same subject. Dishonest behaviour.

DISSOCIATION

Dissociation from mild to moderate is a detachment from reality, usually in the case of abuse. It is a defence mechanism.

DISCOUNTING

A target of abuse is denied the right to hold their own feelings. For example, being told that you are much too sensitive or have no sense of humour, thereby invalidating your reality.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE

Emotional abuse may be referred to as psychological violence or mental abuse, which involves subjecting someone to behaviour which may result in psychological distress or trauma such as chronic depression, stress, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

ENABLER

An enabler is someone who, by their action or inaction, encourages or enables a pattern of behaviour to continue, or removes the consequences of bad behaviour.

FALSE GUILT

False guilt is guilt that someone places on themselves because of their perceived failures or inadequacies. If they have not broken a ‘moral law’ and feel guilty, this is known as false guilt.

FALSE FLATTERY

Narcissists love to be admired and receive compliments, so they assume that everyone needs this too. They will tell you that you are special, no one can understand them like you do and put you on a pedestal. I’m not saying that you are not special but don’t be fooled by their compliments. They are all part of the game!

FALSE SELF

The narcissist creates a false image of his or herself. This image is not a reflection of their true character. They will display this image to impress and mislead others, knowing that their real self, the person who they really are, is not likely to impress anyone. This false image is not likely to be maintained for a lengthy period of time.

FALSE VULNERABILITY

The narcissist often pretends that they need you. This makes you feel good about yourself, an important part of their lives. You are important to them for as long as you give them the attention they need, but replaceable when you don’t.

FLYING MONKEYS

Flying monkeys are people who have been convinced by the narcissist that he or she is the real victim. They inflict further harm on the real victim by submitting to the narcissist’s wishes and demands. They may threaten, torment, discredit or add fuel to a smear campaign by spreading lies and gossip.

GAS-LIGHTING

Gas-lighting is a manipulative tactic where a mentally healthy individual is subjected to conditioning behaviour so that they doubt their own sanity. The target starts to believe that their perception of reality is false. The narcissist may simply deny saying something didn’t happen when in fact, it did, telling you that you heard wrong or lie about an event or situation. Over time a victim starts to think they are confused and going crazy. They come to rely more and more on the narcissist to keep them right.

GOLDEN CHILD

The golden child can do no wrong, will be encouraged to do well and be given the best of everything. The narcissistic parent will celebrate even their most minor achievements whilst their faults and failings are swept under the carpet. This child may receive special treatment for being the perfect child and for doing everything that their parent wishes.

GRANDIOSITY

An unrealistic sense of superiority. A grandiose narcissist sees themselves as better than others and views other people with disdain.

GREY ROCK

Grey rock is a term used to describe your behaviour when trying to cut contact with a narcissist. The aim is to be utterly boring so that the narcissist no longer sees you as good supply and subsequently disappears. Grey Rock differs from no contact in that you don’t avoid the narcissist. Instead you keep contact, albeit to a minimum, but keep your responses so extremely boring that the narcissist will see you as a poor source of supply. Your aim is to blend into the background, become  insignificant and be as boring as you can possibly be. Talk about the most boring topics you can imagine such as ironing, doing the laundry or how you enjoy watching paint dry. No-one wants to be in the company of boring people and the narcissist is no different.

HOOVERING

The term hoovering, derived from the Hoover vacuum cleaner, describes how a narcissist attempts to suck their victims back into a relationship. They will use every trick in the book to get you back under their power and control. Hoovering often takes place after you have left them or after a period of the silent treatment. They promise to change their behaviour or say that they have already changed dramatically.

INVALIDATION

Invalidation is a manipulative tactic used to get a target to believe that their thoughts, opinions and beliefs are wrong, unimportant or don’t matter.

LOVE BOMBING

Love bombing is a term used to describe the typical initial stages of a relationship with a narcissistic personality, in which the narcissist goes all out to impress their target with flattery, holidays, promises of a future together, having the target believe that they have met their perfect partner, their soulmate.

MIRRORING

A narcissist will mirror what they see in you from your mannerisms to your dress sense, your behaviour and your likes and dislikes. They basically become just like you.

NARCISSISTIC INJURY

A narcissistic injury can be described as any perceived slight, threat or criticism, whether real or in the narcissist’s imagination, which they view as an insult, an act of rejection or disagreement.

NARCISSISTIC RAGE

Narcissistic rage is a narcissist’s reaction to a narcissistic injury, usually a rather aggressive response which may be likened to a child’s temper tantrum. This outward display of rage is normally directed towards whoever the narcissist feels has been the cause of their hurt. On occasion, the rage can be directed towards themselves, where they take the criticism and turn it inward, so they feel a sense of shame and depression.

NARCISSISTIC SUPPLY

A narcissist is lost without narcissistic supply. They need supply like a plant needs water. Supply consists of attention, admiration, respect, adulation and even fear. However, it should be noted that a narcissist can draw on negative supply such as detestation and hatred. Without these vital nutrients of life, the narcissist will become dysfunctional.

NO CONTACT

No contact is put in place by a victim to give themselves time to recover. It is not, in any way, like the narcissist’s silent treatment. A narcissist who initiates the silent treatment is doing so as a punishment and to exert power and control.

No contact is a self-imposed set of rules whereby there will be absolutely no contact with the toxic person. (No texts, no emails, no phone calls, no snooping on social media). It has been likened to building a wall between you and a toxic individual. You will not care or even be aware of what happens on the other side of this wall.

(Minimal contact is advised in circumstances where one has to co-parent with a narcissist).

PROJECTION

A narcissist is an expert at projecting their own character flaws or bad behaviour onto others.

They will go to any lengths to avoid being held accountable for any wrong doing and will blame others for the very things that they do themselves. The main objective is to make themselves feel superior, displace responsibility and place it on the shoulders of their unsuspecting target.

PROTECTION GUARANTEE

They may promise to keep you safe from the world. This may make you feel dependent on them for your own safety.

RUMINATION

Rumination can be described as a chain of repetitive thoughts which focus your attention on the symptoms of your distress, personal loss, depression and/or anxiety. Instead of focusing on solutions, your focus is drawn to the possible causes and consequences. Healthy alternatives to rumination are positive distractions, things that take your mind off your problems.

SCAPEGOAT

The scapegoat is someone (or group of people) who is unfairly blamed for the wrongdoings, failures, mistakes and faults of others. A child in a family may be singled out and subjected to unwarranted negative treatment.

SELF ESTEEM

Self-esteem is the overall judgement one holds about their own self-worth, including pride in oneself, self-respect and self-assurance.

STRINGS ATTACHED

There’s a reason for everything a narcissist does. If they do something for you, they will remind you somewhere down the line. They will want something from you in return.

TRAUMA BONDING

This term comes from a real-life hostage situation where several of the hostages became emotionally attached to their kidnappers (The Stockholm Syndrome). Trauma bonding is a misplaced loyalty where a victim is emotionally bonded with their abuser and finds themselves unable to leave an unhealthy or dangerous relationship. The victim remains loyal to someone who has betrayed them time and time again.

TRIANGULATION

Narcissists thrive on chaos. They provoke rivalry and jealousy between people, creating triangles to boost their own ego.

VULNERABLE NARCISSIST

The vulnerable narcissist has a very low self-esteem and is constantly on the look-out for proof of their worthiness. This type of narcissist hides behind a mask which masks their deep- seated feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. They are haunted by fears of rejection and abandonment.

Written by Anne McCrea

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

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GASLIGHTING

GASLIGHTING

The term Gaslighting originates from a 1938 play “Gaslight” and its 1944 film adaptation, in which a husband tries to make his wife believe that she is insane by using manipulative tactics.

A narcissist will use a very effective, persistent form of psychological abuse known as gaslighting to gain power and instil confusion and anxiety in their target.

Gaslighting is an insidious process that occurs over a period of time, resulting in the person being gaslighted questioning their own reality and/or sanity.  They will no longer feel that they can trust their own judgement and memory.  When someone’s recollections of events are constantly put in doubt, it is inevitable that they will wonder if their own version of events is indeed correct.  Their self-esteem and confidence will plummet, and they will start to believe that they can’t function independently, finding it difficult to make decisions.  Anyone is susceptible to this form of abuse, which is akin to brainwashing.

How is this achieved?

Snide comments and a little lie here and there will more than likely go unnoticed.  As time passes, these will escalate and even the smartest, mentally stable person can fall prey to such manipulative tactics.  They will find themselves being reminded of their shortcomings and weaknesses so that they feel there is something wrong with them and they become so grateful to have the narcissist in their life.  Lies become the norm so that they have no idea what are lies and what is the truth.  When lies are so utterly convincing, they will inevitably doubt their own perceptions.

‘If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes accepted as the truth.’

To add fuel to the fire, the narcissist who is trying to wear you down will throw in a little praise now and then.  Now you are more confused.  You must have got it wrong.  They’re not so bad after all.  It must be you getting things twisted.

The intermittent put downs and praise increases your anxiety and stress.  You’re walking on egg shells in an attempt to please, but whatever you do, it’s never quite right.  They will continue to ridicule you and point out your flaws.  You find yourself always on the defensive and apologizing when you’ve done nothing wrong.  In your mind, you must have upset them, so it must be your fault!

Isolation is another one of their ploys.  When they have succeeded in isolating you from friends or family through, yes, you’ve guessed it, more lies, you will feel that you have no one you can trust except the person who you can trust the least, the narcissist. You are insecure and in a weak position, just where they want you, confused and isolated.

The manipulator may relate a story, leaving out certain information.  When they convince their target that they told them specific details of which the victim has no recollection, they will start to think that they are losing their memory and their mind.

The gaslighter will question their target’s sanity to just about anyone who will listen.  If there comes a time in the future when the target should decide to talk to others about the narcissist’s abusive tactics, why should anyone believe them when they know that this person is unbalanced and unstable?  Remember that the narcissist is such a convincing liar, and often appears to be so very charming in public, that their ‘listening ears’ find no reason to doubt them.  Who do people turn to for the right information?  Certainly not the person being gaslighted.

Typically, in this type of relationship, the person who is being manipulated will defend the behaviour of the abusive personality.  They often feel embarrassed and ashamed and blame themselves for the narcissist’s behaviour.  ‘If I hadn’t done……., he wouldn’t have behaved the way he did.’   ‘She doesn’t really mean it.’

Once the target recognizes what is happening it is vital for them to understand that they will never stand on safe ground around this person.  It is like walking on shifting sand.  The narcissist will never take responsibility for their behaviour.

Anyone who has been subjected to this form of abuse will almost certainly need counselling to build themselves back up to who they once were.  A strong support system will work wonders.  The feelings of self-doubt and low self-esteem will pass.

Written by Anne McCrea

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

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Stalking

Stalking

We all have a right to feel safe as we go about our daily lives. Stalking is a crime and should not be taken lightly. Serious cases of stalking may result in a target living in a state of fear, having to leave their home or work or in extreme cases, death. Justice systems in many parts of the world have failed in identifying and managing the risks involved. Why? A lack of awareness and understanding of what goes on inside the mind of a stalker and inadequate training.

Sadly, victims are often let down by the criminal justice process with their reports not taken seriously and dealt with accordingly.

Stalking is a very much an underreported crime yet, it has a tremendous impact on those who have been the victim of such a crime.

Stalking may be described as unwanted and obsessive attention by a person or persons towards another person. This may include following or spying on their target or monitoring them by any means including social media. This may directly or indirectly communicate a threat to the victim or instil fear or distress onto their victim.

The most common form of stalking may be considered obsessional, where the stalker is a former partner who will not accept that the relationship is over. This is usually preceded by some form of abuse within the relationship and is often practised by people with a personality disorder and those with controlling personalities. This particular type of stalking is reaching epidemic proportions in today’s society and is unfortunately, not always taken seriously by law enforcement agencies.

It should be noted that stalking is not restricted to romantic relationships but may include friends and co-workers.

Why Do Narcissists Stalk?

Have you spotted them lurking near your place of work or your home? Are they invading your privacy? Normal people accept when a relationship is over and don’t show up at places where they expect you to be. You were once under their control and they want to keep it that way. They feel entitled to your attention, the narcissistic supply they obtained from you and the power they had over you. One of a narcissist’s biggest fears is losing control of someone who they once had complete control over. The fact that you have called, ‘time’ on your relationship is of no significance to them. You were once their puppet to be played with as they saw fit and they still want to have control of those strings. Their envy of you being able to enjoy life without them often becomes pathological. They are envious of the qualities that you possess that they know they can never have, such as your empathy, high morals and integrity. Your rejection of them cuts them to their very core. ‘How dare you reject me… I’m the one who does the rejecting… If I can’t have you, no-one else will.’ Just because the relationship is over, doesn’t mean that their need for control has ended. This is not all about power and control, but about ‘ownership.’ Even if the narcissist has moved on and found another person to control and dominate, they don’t want to see you moving on wanting to be a big part of your life for all of your life.

This type of behaviour is psychotic practiced by someone who is clearly delusional, jealous and likely insecure. A stalker can be dangerous going to extreme lengths to hold on to someone who they are afraid to let go of. They don’t want you to move on and find someone else.

Even after you’ve blocked them from social media, the narcissist will likely follow you by creating fake accounts or by recruiting their flying monkeys to do their dirty work and report back on what is going on in your life. (Like a spy in the sky, they want to know what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with.)

How do you respond to the narcissistic stalker?

You have got to set firm boundaries and let your stalker know that you will not tolerate this form of harassment. Let them know that you will have no hesitation involving the law and that you will report them to the appropriate authorities if necessary. If they fail to recognize and abide by your wishes to be left alone, call the police.

No contact is vitally important when leaving a relationship with a narcissist.
When all attempts at making contact with you have failed, a narcissist may use your children as a means of getting the desired result.

Stalking is perhaps best understood by both the stalker and their victim with friends, relatives and law enforcement often not taking the situation seriously, sadly sometimes, with tragic results.

 

Written by Anne McCrea

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

Helpful links

Stalking Resource Center

Crown Prosecution Service – Stalking and Harassment

 

Responding to a Narcissist’s Silent Treatment

Responding to a Narcissist’s Silent Treatment

Turn the Game Around and Play it Better

Have you ever found yourself being ignored by someone and you have no idea why? A narcissist will deliberately ignore their target in order to cause harm, often encouraging others to do the same (Ostracism).

What have you, the target done to deserve being ignored?

More than likely nothing of any significance. A narcissist will react to any perceived slight, real or imagined with any punishment that they deem fits your crime, the silent treatment being a favourite in their arsenal.

We all have an inherent need to belong. To be shut out especially by those we love, is debilitating even to the strongest of people. By being ignored or ostracised, we are left feeling worthless with our self-esteem at an all-time low.

The narcissist will express their disapproval by shutting down, withdrawing any love or affection, refusing to communicate and denying their target any explanation. Why?

Avoidance, control, disempowerment and / or punishment, punishment for some perceived slight that their target is completely unaware of. They know how they are making the other person feel but in their sick and twisted mind, they believe that somehow they deserve it. Their emotional maturity is typical of a five year old child who sulks and storms off until they get what they want.

(Don’t confuse the silent treatment with no contact which is a process undertaken to protect ourselves, to give us time to heal and recover, not to punish or hurt anyone).

How does a narcissist expect you to react?

A narcissist wants the target of their abuse, and be in no doubt their silence is abuse, to reach out, plead and beg for their very existence to be recognised. Responding in such a way will give the narcissist their much needed narcissistic supply. The narcissist will read all your texts and emails and will get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from them. Oh, how it makes them feel important! It is perfectly normal, for a target of this form of abuse, to reach out in an attempt to resolve the situation. Your phone calls will likely go to voicemail, your texts or emails will be ignored. All your attempts at communication will be met with a deafening silence.

This passive aggressive behaviour is usually a repetitive form of emotional abuse which the narcissist will practice time and time again with each episode of silence often lasting a little longer than the one before. This is intentional manipulation which conditions the target for future mind control.

What these people do not anticipate is your knowledge of their twisted mind games. They don’t expect you to know how to play these mind games better than they can. Instead of crawling back to them, let them crawl back into whatever hole they have created for themselves and give them a taste of their own medicine.

How do you play a narcissist and play better?

Don’t give them their desired result. Don’t beg and plead to be recognised. Let their silence teach you something. Let this deadly silence teach you that you can carry on without them. Use this period of silence as a time to re-evaluate your position. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out what you’ve done wrong. I know you want answers but don’t chase them for any. They know that by not getting an answer from them, you will likely start blaming yourself. You’ll apologise when you’ve no idea what you’re apologising for and try to do everything right this time, until the next time. Don’t play into their hands.

If a narcissist sees that they are not getting their desired response, this particular period of silence is likely to come to an end. However, bear in mind that if a narcissist believes this particular form of manipulation isn’t effective as far as you are concerned, they may switch to some other manipulative tactic.

Respect yourself enough to know that someone who loves you would never treat you in such a contemptuous manner. People who love you don’t withhold love, they give it. People who love you have your back. They don’t stab you in it.

When someone gives you the silent treatment, return the favour, walk away, close the door and lock it behind you.

Written by Anne McCrea

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

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