The irony of a narcissist saying, “You’re crazy.”
Most of the people I have spoken with so far, including myself when I took that first step to reach out for help, often start with. This is going to sound stupid, daft, silly, mad, crazy or unbelievable. Most people who have suffered at the hands of a narcissist, be it parent, boss, friend, other family members or a partner, have started with those words unless they are further along in recovery. Even then, sometimes, we slip. You are far from alone in how you feel. None of it sounds stupid, daft, or any of the others most of us lead with when we very first open up. Unfortunately, narcissistic abuse is very real in society. When it’s only emotional, psychological abuse, it’s hard to see. Even when their physical abuse, too, with how the narcissist blame shifts or uses reactive abuse against us, it’s hard to see clearly what’s happening to us. It’s hard to trust and open up to start. Sexual abuse is another people find incredibly hard to open up about.
You are not, and you were never crazy. You just loved, cared, trusted and respected the toxic words of a narcissist. Narcissistic people that you never had the knowledge to understand who they are, what they do, those red flags, or that this personality disorder even existed, if they were your parents you were raised to believe it to be normal, then we end up accepting behaviour as normal that we should never have accepted, yet often most adults of childhood narcissistic abuse will say something just didn’t feel right, and how could a child know what that feeling was when they were being taught by the very person making them feel this way. Even partners, as they treat us so right in the beginning, then slowly infect our minds, our instincts speak, yet we don’t know what they are telling us.
So what exactly do they do to us? Emotional abuse is hard to see. These are some things that happen to people in emotionally abusive relationships.
Emotional abuse is non-physical, yet some or a lot of physical abuse can occur in these relationships. Also, we know when we’ve been punched in the face, it hurts, it leaves marks, we feel it, and we see it. Yet, due to fear and intimidation, most still don’t leave. Psychological abuse hurts us differently. In the most unimaginable ways, we just don’t see it happening. You just can not see. Just like physical abuse, psychological abuse causes so much pain, yet mostly the confusion and pain occur in our hearts, minds and soul. Both types of abuse leaving lots of side effects like anxiety, trauma bonding and CPTSD.
The relationship usually starts with the narcissist wanting you all to themselves, this isn’t always the case depending on how many other partners the narcissist already has on the go, in most cases, this is a major red flag, the very first stage the love bombing stage when they just can not seem to get enough of you, with them treating you so well you can not get enough of them either and who could blame you, yet when you want to go out with friends at first, they might offer lifts to keep an eye on you, yet we believe they are being kind. They might make us feel guilty for going, so we slowly stop going. Further, into the relationship, they will start with the arguments. the silent treatments, or the accusations, either before we go, or when we get home, we end up cutting ourselves off from friends and family due to fear of the narcissist reactions, or the narcissist triangulates with toxic words like. ” they don’t like you anyway.” Or “they talk about you behind your back, they said this about you.” Or “your parents just use you.” And the rest. They’ll start arguments before family events. Then when you arrive, they’ll be the life and soul of the party while you’re left, hurt, angry or frustrated. They can use this against you further down the line when they want to make out you’re crazy. When we are isolated, we lack the support system to help us see what’s happening, or if you have got people saying things in the beginning when the narcissist is treating you so right, the narcissist will go all out to make sure you cut them out. When we do see, most of us, through our own pride, through guilt for not believing those who were right, fear of judgment, fear of being misunderstood, or embarrassed, don’t want to approach those very people who could help us, worse still with some narcissistic people they will have all your friends and family on their side as their flying monkeys or enablers believe the narcissist and not you. Isolation is a major red flag for future awareness if you start dating again.
Try reaching out to friends and family you’ve been isolated from. Genuine people who love and care will help you, reaching out online to support groups, where you can speak with those who’ve lived it and understand, to build up your confidence, connect with others, not feel so alone, you can make amazing online friends. Then start getting back out in the world. This isn’t easy to start, especially with anxiety. Learn your triggers, so you know you. Find anchor thoughts. Keep telling yourself that you are safe now. Start by just smiling at people, then say hello. It will get easier, and you will get there.
Most people around narcissistic people no longer feel in control of their own lives, thoughts or feelings,
The narcissist tells you they are the only one to understand you, to care about you and to love you. It’s hard enough being isolated and feeling alone. We are lost in a world of thoughts that are no longer our own. All now based on the narcissist’s reality, thanks to the narcissist’s toxic words. Yet the only or main person you have for reality checks is the very person making you feel how you do. They then come at you with verbal attacks of “you’re insecure.” Or “you need help.” Or “no one will love you.” When we’ve been taken down mentally, these words cut deep, our minds believe them, and we start to believe that something is wrong with us, and they help us to feel grateful that we have their help and support when they play nice and the words of. “After all, I do for you.” When in reality, if you truly think about it, they do very little for us other than make our lives a living nightmare. While we are not understanding they are the ones taking us down, this puts the narcissist more in control of our minds. These toxic words chip away at our confidence and self-worth. Leaving us questioning our very instincts and believing we are not lovable and should be grateful for the narcissist’s negative toxic love.
Once you do start to see, writing it out helps a lot of people, so they can begin to put reality back into their own minds, creating their own thoughts and thinking For themselves again. Learning and understanding about the disorder, so you know how you think and feel, is far from ”crazy” you’ve just been manipulated by someone to feel that way so they could keep control over you. Learning those ”insecurities.” were actually your instincts speaking out, even though at the time you didn’t know what they were telling you. Now you know when your intuition is telling you something, even when you’re not sure what it is, trust it as it’s usually right.
From one moment to the next, you just don’t know who they are going to be, leaving us walking on eggshells around them, tiptoeing around the landmine in case we set them off, in reality, it’s not us that set them off, it’s who they are they set themselves off, this doesn’t make it any easier while you’re living it, or fresh out, yet after time learning to understand that the nice and nasty side is who they are. It’s all to manipulate to get their needs met, all to distort our reality and prescriptions of them, all to train our minds to behave how they want, all to keep control over others as they don’t know truly what they wish to or who they are, they feed off others, why no matter what you try it’ll never be right. This trains our minds to doubt our own thoughts, to question our abilities, to fear being open and ourselves around others, to be scared of what people will think of us, worrying about offending others—worrying about all other people’s reactions to us just being ourselves.
Learning or creating yourself to be exactly who you want to be, to rediscover your own thinking abilities, removing self-doubt from your mind. With good intentions, there is no wrong way or right way to live your life. It’s better to do your best and miss than do nothing at all. We are all survivors. We are all still here. Genuine people will understand you forgive innocent mistakes. Those who don’t are not the people for you.
Anger and resentment, anger is normal. While you are still in anger, use it to motivate you to make you better, not bitter. As humans, a natural coping mechanism in times of need is a fight, flight, freeze or fawn. Most of us fall into at least one of these while in a narcissistic relationship of any kind. Sometimes we go through all four during the relationship. This is a vital human instinct to protect us when in danger. Around narcissists, we are unwittingly putting ourselves in danger, our instincts know. Our natural coping mechanisms know. Yet due to their many manipulative tactics from silent treatments, provoking, blame-shifting, projection and gaslighting, this leads our natural defence mechanisms to be used constantly and over a prolonged period of time. It can be damaging to who we are. It’s there to help us in the moment, not long term. Some of us may have fought back. The narcissist then twists this, so we doubt ourselves. They will provoke you, to bring the worst out in you, then blame you. As you’re a genuine, caring person, you then feel guilty and do all you can to make it up to them. When you realise what they did, it can make you angry, taking flight finally having enough, walking away, going no contact, yet again to most of us, this feels mean, as how many times has it hurt us to be on the receiving end of the silent treatment, the disappearing acts, we know it cuts deep, we know it hurts, we have the empathy to care, so feel guilty or like we are turning into them when we start saving ourselves, we are not there’s a massive difference, narcissists use the disappearing act or silent treatments to punish you, they don’t care for you they want to cause you pain, so you beg and plead to end that emotional pain, then when they feel like it, the nice act comes out, making us believe it was our fault. It was never your fault. When we do it, it’s not to hurt them. It’s for our own sanity, to help us break free from those who just seek to harm us. Freeze, when we pause, when we can not move no matter how much we want to, most of us have been on the receiving end of the narcissist Stare, that cold, darkness, the empty soul, when you look straight at it the first time or those after it literally sends shivers down your spin and freeze, you know something wrong’s, somethings going to happen, yet you just can not move, over time this passes, and some of us learn to get out of there, or leave just before the eyes go. Looking back, we might feel stupid for letting ourselves get in that deep, for not walking away sooner. You can not change what you didn’t know. This isn’t your fault, it didn’t start with you, and it will not end with you. Then comes fawn, where we just give ourselves up, completely lost, often depressed, anxious, hurting, feeling like we have nowhere to go and no one to turn to, and we just do as we are told. Most of us just don’t see or understand what’s happening then one thing one moment, or it can be a few we rise to know we need out and do our best to get out safely, they once out might come the anger, hatred and resentment, not to all but most survivors, or they leave us. They walk away from children to move straight in with someone new and their children playing happy families, they might start on smear campaigns or dragging you through family courts, and you can see they are lying through their teeth, yet you might still be hurting and healing. Anger towards them for the way they are treating you, the way they treat the children, the fact they simply do not care, anger towards ourselves that we didn’t see it sooner, that we didn’t leave when we should, resentment that they’ve stolen so many years and so many memories as they were all lies, resentment that they just move on without a care. Still, they might come at you with endless games.
Holding on to that anger and resentment, all those negative thoughts and experiences keeps our minds locked in the past. When we don’t truly let go and release all the pain, we carry the story into the present. Our future, those memories, and the pain stay with us. It ends up still keeping us negatively attached to them. It is extremely hard to let go of the anger and resentment, especially when we’ve been mistreated, when we’ve been duped, sold a dream that never came true and delivered a living nightmare. If you have or do feel anger and resentment, you’re not alone. Once you’ve worked through all the self-blame and self-doubt, you might start blaming them. You are not to blame, yet playing the blame game is dangerous. Lose the self-blame. Accept the things you did or did not do, remember at the time you made those choices your intentions were good, hindsight is a wonderful thing, pass responsibility back to the rightful owner for the part they played, then learn from it and grow from it, learn the behaviours you’re no longer willing to put up with from others, learn who you are and how you handle things, learn from those errors in judgment, letting go of the pain, frustration, anger and resentment of a narcissistic person from your past isn’t easy. However, it’s the best thing you’ll ever do.
Negative feelings, as you’ll already most likely know from being around a narcissist, has a negative impact on your emotional and physical health, causing all sorts of health problems. If you’re at the start, you might not be ready to hear or deal with this. That’s normal. You are not alone in this. When you are ready, you can, and you will do it for yourself. First comes forgiveness, and that first lot of forgiveness needs to purely be for yourself. You need to forgive yourselves. We need to forgive ourselves for accepting behaviour we should never have. For not trusting our instincts, reacting, bringing out our ugly side, for no one is perfect and that’s what makes us human and knowledge and what keeps the narcissist trapped in the misery of being themselves, they blame all others, accepting no responsibility and hold grudges forever never forgiving.
In contrast, at some point, survivors do. Whether you do it is up to you. You might be thinking, I’ll never forgive, and if you are, that’s fine. Most of us, not all, have felt that at one time or another. Accepting the past for exactly what it was. Not worse than it was, not better than it was. No excuses, just what it was, this can take time, and this is also normal. Let go of any expectations you had of them, releasing the pain. It’s a learning curve. Once learned, life becomes full of joy and happiness again. One main thing to start is looking at what to be grateful for in your life since you split up. If it’s recent, find the things you can do now that you couldn’t do while in the relationship and start doing them for you.
Most people, either in the relationship or once out, feel ashamed for being themselves. As a narcissistic person continually puts us down and criticises us, some do it obviously “you can not do that.” The covert narcissist. Some subtle. “I wouldn’t do that if I was you.” The overt narcissist. When you’re repeatedly being told, you’re not good enough, no one will love you, you’re fat, you’re thin, you’re stupid, you’re insecure, you’re crazy, and all the other negative gaslighting phrases, it programs most people’s minds to believe it.
We then no longer feel good enough about who we are, the skin we are in. Our own abilities and this holds us back from being who we indeed are. When they point out our mistakes, our flaws and our insecurities when they make them up as they go along and sink us further, it takes a piece of us every single time. It chips away at you slowly overtime at our self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. We start to believe them and their poisonous words. They plant those seeds of doubt then help them grow within us. Most of us then learn to no longer open up. We shut ourselves off because they shame us into believing our feeling are not normal. They invalidate us at every turn.
This also means we start to question our own sanity. Was it them? Is it me? If only I? Am I crazy? Did I do that? Why don’t I remember that? This, again, is mainly down to the gaslighting from the narcissist, psychological abuse that gets you to doubt your own reality and sanity. We lose more trust within ourselves and our own capabilities.
We then also start to no longer feel in control of our own lives, all our hopes and decision-making they promise and don’t deliver, as the narcissist has questioned continuously what we are doing, where we are going, our choice in how we dress, we might start to worry that our own individual choice doesn’t please them and might start arguments with them, so we end up asking them, we start doubting ourselves and running our choices through them and going with what they approve of rather than what we do.
You’re not alone. Everyone at one point in another gets embarrassed has feelings of not being good enough, even those who haven’t been around narcissists. Our pride and ego take blow after blow from narcissists. Now is the time to reprogram our own thinking. Start with finding things or achievements you have done that you are proud of and focus your mind on them, every time you start to feel yourself feeling low, look for the things to be proud of, what to be grateful for, you can and you will. Look at others that have done the things you’d like to do. They are just a person like you. It’s possible if they can do it, so can you, don’t look to be better than others, look to be better than you, to keep growing, learning, developing your own qualities and abilities, just get started, once you start it gets easier, don’t look at mistakes, look at lessons and go again. Acknowledge any achievement along the way, open up to those who’ve lived it and will validate your feelings as normal. That will give you ideas of how to move on. Take those ideas that work for you. You can create a new dream, new goals, new hopes, you can take back control of who you are, start with the simple things, how you want to dress, you’re now free to choose for you, and don’t let anyone tell you that’s not right, or make you feel uncomfortable, those who do the problem is with them not you. Feel comfortable, feel good, feel happy in the clothing you have on, dress like you and show up as you. You have to feel comfortable with your choice, with good intentions do what is right for you. Choose what you want to watch, where you want to go, take back your decision-making skills, you have them, take back your thinking, their yours, take back control and simply be who you want to be for you.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach. She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.), where you will be matched with a licensed councillor who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
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