When you’re trying to come to terms with what you’ve been through, and those well-meaning people around you just don’t understand.
If you have lived, been in any kind of a relationship with a narcissistic person, whoever that narcissist was to you in your life, it’s extremely hard for you to understand what’s happening to you at the time, difficult to understand afterwards everything you’ve lived through and to process it all, even harder to explain to others exactly what you’ve been through.
In the beginning, when you start to process it all, most of us find it is so unbelievable. Even though we lived through it, we often have those lightbulb moments to then doubt ourselves. Most of us even question if we are the narcissist. It’s hard enough for us to come to terms with and accept what we’ve lived through, and to us, it can feel even worse saying it out loud. It’s hard enough for those who have been through it to understand it all, and those who’ve not been through it just don’t seem to get it.
In all honesty, I’d like as many people as possible not to understand, as that would mean they’ve not had to suffer at the hands of a narcissist’s manipulation. Unfortunately, far too many people have. Those that have are often left feeling crazy and powerless and extremely frustrated coming to terms with it all, often left with anxiety and depression in place of who they indeed are, not always but most often left with a loss of possessions, isolated from friends and family. Those who they thought they had left in their life, too, help to begin to rebuild their lives. The narcissist has got in there first by playing the victim, smearing the actual victim’s name and telling their lies and false stories very well. Our parents have often been doing this throughout our lives, bosses have already been in touch with every other company that might employ you or give you bad feedback, so others don’t hire you. So when the person who’s genuinely suffered speaks out or reaches out for help and support, they’re often left more confused, distressed and frustrated as those around them either don’t get it or believe the real victim is crazy. At the same time, the narcissist, with their pity plays or admiration face, swans off into the sunset with their new victim and the old victim’s personality and belongings until the envious face shows it’s ugly side again.
It’s frustrating yet understandable when you hear yourself telling others or the police, or some people even try to warn the narcissist’s new partner that you didn’t harm the narcissist. You reacted because they provoked you, so they could use it against you to cover up the abuse they did to you. As who would do that to someone? Yet as those who’ve been with a narcissist know, those with a narcissistic personality disorder do it. Or that what the narcissist is saying happened did happen. However, it was the other way round, and so much more happened. The narcissist is a manipulator and a liar, they only ever tell their version of reality, and as they lack in cognitive reflection skills, they fail to recognise what part they played, meaning their lies are their truths, and they tell them so very well. Yet as you are an honest good-hearted person, who’s often taken all the blame, due to the narcissists blame-shifting, throughout the relationship you might have never called the authorities, or because all your work colleges either look up to the boss, fear the boss, or you’ve been isolated from work colleges as the boss has put you on a pedestal, of whoever the narcissist was in your life, you’ve made excuses to protect yourself from reality, not realising you were protecting the narcissist, and now you still try to be fair, play fair and explain both sides of the story so others can make their own minds up, however, a narcissist is the master of manipulation and that actually helps with the narcissists smear campaign, as some of the stories you tell about things that you may have done, match what the narcissist is saying about you, if the narcissist calls the police on you, you are honest and admit the part you played, and that’s all the police need, they’re not looking for excuses, they’re looking for conviction, yet the narcissist will often leave out the part they played, it’s incredibly frustrating trying to explain to those who don’t understand.
When you are trying to reach out and help the new victim, yet the narcissist has already smeared your name on how crazy you are, how you want the narcissist back, how you’re the one doing the stalking. As the narcissist’s manipulation has also infected them, they turn to the narcissist for reality, leaving you looking even crazier to the new person and backing up the narcissist’s lies, even though you are the one telling the truth.
What makes it worse is as you’re so frustrated dealing with it all, trying to explain or, in some cases, with police having to explain yourself to others, who’ve not been there, it is effortless and normal for you to become extremely upset or lose your temper with those who are not understanding what you’re saying as they’ve not lived it. Your amygdala within your brain can grow with narcissistic abuse, as this houses and controls our emotions. It is not always a case of getting a hold of yourself, it’s temporary brain damage, and it takes time for it to go back to normal size. Trying to get your own head around it while trying to explain it to others often leaves you hurt, angry and frustrated, which usually then matches the narcissist’s lies about just how crazy you are. You are not crazy, you are acting normal in some horrific situations, and no one hears you. Then we have the flip side, you heal, you understand everything that went on, you have now a hold of your emotions, you explain rationality, yet now people say it couldn’t have happened because you are so calm about it if you are seeking help from a therapist. This backs the narcissist’s lies that you are crazy. If you go to the doctors for help with anxiety or depression, this again supports the narcissist’s lies, that they did all they could to help you and couldn’t take any more, so they had no choice but to leave.
So many survivors of narcissistic abuse end up in therapy to recover from how the person who should be in therapy treated them, yet the narcissist is the one getting all the help and support. At the same time, you are often left alone trying to work out where the narcissist went, what stunt they will pull next, and what happened to you.
People need to be educated on the narcissistic personality disorder. Still, you need to remember it is not their fault they don’t understand, what the narcissist has done to you, or how you’re reacting.
The same goes for those who go back to the narcissist, and the people around you don’t understand the trauma bond that needs to be broken. It’s hard to break free, so if you do go back, you are far from alone. It takes an average of seven attempts to get out and stay out, and some make it out the first time. Some it takes a while longer through doubts and fear, so don’t let those who say,” why didn’t you leave sooner.” making you question yourself. They should be asking,” how can I help.” Or saying, “I don’t understand, but what can I do.” Those who question why you didn’t leave sooner or surely your parents are not that bad, tell them to go, google narcissist, then try and explain it to you. If they’re not willing to support you, you don’t need to keep explaining yourself.
Most of us will not have told people what was happening while it was happening, and most narcissistic people will have painted the perfect picture to the outside world at the start, then slowly and carefully smeared the real victim’s name.
You have to remember how hard it is for you to come to terms with what you have lived through it, so you have to try as hard as it is not to react or get over emotional toward the police when the narcissist has pressed charges against you. Not to get frustrated when the narcissist lies about you in court, have facts and evidence, give enough rope and let the truth out naturally. Not to go trying to warn the new partner as frustrating as it can be as you know what they are about to go through, they are loved up, they are in the idolisation stage, they will not listen to you.
You have to be as reasonable and as rational as possible and gather as much evidence as possible when it comes to court cases, messages and photos.
It’s hard coming to terms with everything you’ve been through. Some shout it from the rooftops, which is actually what we need to get it out there, awareness raised and understanding to those who have and haven’t lived it. Others shut down and shut themselves off. They need to know how they feel is normal is relevant, and people do understand.
Even those who haven’t lived through it and want to help may not understand the severity and look at you confused, or worse, ask if you’re exaggerating. This is horrible when you’ve been mentally and possibly physically abused, and you may have been told by the narcissist no one would believe you. Then when you speak out, people say. ”I’m sure it wasn’t that bad.” you want to scream it was, and in actual fact, often, it was much worse. When you’ve been invalidated by the narcissist, finally reach out for support, and those you turn to invalidate you even more. This hits hard and often leaves people with little trust in themselves and little trust in those around them, often leading to further isolation.
When you’re left with guilt and the blame, then reach out, and people ask. ”what did you do?” or ”it takes two to tango.” it’s even more soul-destroying and can set you back.
No one deserves to be abused mental or physical, no matter what. No one.
In most situations, people don’t go around doing stuff to others for no reason or destroying others, and before we realised what we’ve lived through, we didn’t believe it either. Yet, people with a narcissist personality disorder do just that.
Narcissistic people will Abuse others mentally or physically for no reason at all, often by causing arguments to provoke you, then blame it all on you. ( the narcissist’s goal is to make themselves feel better, most narcissists believe nothing is ever their fault.) so if you blamed, you-you were never the narcissist.
A narcissistic person will not see others’ feelings, opinions, boundaries, and values, and they will not see their own mistakes. They will not be held accountable. They will not be sorry. ( false apology if they have something to gain by doing so, which usually falls under. “If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t.” Or ” I’m sorry you. ) You can not reason with a narcissist. There is no compassion or understanding with a narcissist. You can not help a narcissistic person who doesn’t believe they’ve done wrong.
People with the narcissistic personality disorder live in a different reality to those who are not, often believing their own lies and that all others are to blame.
You will never get your feelings validated from a narcissistic person, they are not listening, and they don’t care. They only hear things they’ll be able to use against you in the future.
Most people want to help each other, understand each other, and make others feel happier. A narcissist wants to win at all costs.
Narcissistic people triangulate. They want to pull everyone they can onto their side, including friends, family, police, judges etc., as they will feel under criticism and believe you’ve turned against them when you try to take control back of your own life.
It’s even more hurtful when those who don’t understand the trauma bond don’t understand why you don’t leave, why most often those who’ve been through it will tell you to get out safely yet will also stand by you when you stay or go back, as they understand trauma bonding is hard, leaving is hard, staying out is hard, they also understand that when you do finally make a choice to get out and stay out, you’ll need someone.
So how do you explain it to those around you?
Don’t if they’re not willing to listen or learn, stop talking and leave them to it. With society, there is most likely a percentage that just doesn’t care, a percentage that just wants the gossip, a percentage that is glad it’s you and not them, and then those who care and want to help.
Yet you should be allowed to speak your truth, and it’s vital to speak your truth.
Remember, those who’ve not lived through it will not fully get it. You know what happened, you know how you feel, your feelings are valid, and those who’ve lived it understand and knows how you feel.
If you want to tell people, then tell them, explain once and leave them to it, don’t get into a debate and start defending yourself. Know your truth, know who you are, and know others’ opinions of you do not define you. You define yourself. Those who judge you, let them. Their judgment speaks volumes about who they are as a person, not you.
Those who ask,” why did you stay?” don’t take offence. They may not mean it that way. Explain the trauma bond, as they might just want to understand better to help better.
Learn and know your own thinking so well that others can no longer use you against you.
Speak with those who’ve lived it, to give you validation on how you feel. Until you learn to provide yourself with that validation, help validate those who are still questioning themselves.
It’s good to talk honestly and openly, and it’s good to have the freedom of speech. Most of us want to be liked and appreciated by others. First, we have to learn to like, love and appreciate ourselves, don’t live for the approval of others. Live to approve of yourself.
There is no wrong in trying to explain to those around you or those close to you. Just don’t get frustrated if they don’t get it. Most are not doing it to hurt you. They just don’t understand if they ask questions. You want to talk, talk. If not, tell them, ”I would prefer not to discuss this now.” or ”That’s in my past.” you do not have to explain every decision you made in life to others. Also, remember just how long it took you to understand.
Time and Patience, be patient with yourself and allow yourself time to overcome what you’ve been through. Live for today, not yesterday. Look at what you want in your future and set out to achieve it. In time people will see you for you, and actions speak louder than words. What others think of you is for them. What you feel about yourself is for you. You should never think you are what someone else thinks you are. You should think you are who you want to be.
None of us is perfect, and we are all imperfectly perfect. Mistakes are made to learn and grow. We learn to be who we want to be, with mistakes, life lessons, time and patience.
Remember, abuse is abuse, and no one deserves to be abused, accept responsibility for yourself, and pass the responsibility that’s not yours back to the rightful owner.
Talk to those who want to listen and learn. Leave those who do not.
Wherever you are, if you’re out, do your best to stay out and keep going. If your In gets out as soon as you can, but do what’s right for you and stay safe.
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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.
What happens to you in a narcissistic relationship.