44 thoughts on “The Cumulative Effect of Narcissistic Abuse

  • June 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Great article!! So true – Thank you for laying out so clearly why doubt seeps in; because you play the situation over and over in your mind and wonder if you’re over reacting, or too sensitive … they didn’t mean to hurt me so bad. Then relative calm for a while before WHAM!! another blow. It’s exhausting. And any reaction seems like an over reaction. It can take years to fully acknowledge the accumulative effect it’s all had. I became a shell of a person. Still recovering.

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    • June 5, 2017 at 9:54 am

      Amen, sister! I’m still recovering, too. Some days are easier that others, and I am moving forward faster than I think. Hang in there, and keep going. We’ll get there! 🙂

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    • June 15, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      This sounds a lot like me. Insulted, then insulted for objecting, then questioning myself, then bam, insult after insult after insult. And their outrage gets greater every time I object. Yes it reduces you to a shell. I have barely any contact now, but the experience leaves me feeling so small & afraid to trust people. And, ironically, more prone to be hypersensitive/ overreact if someone did, even accidentally, do something as it just triggers a stress response in me now. 😞 Very painful & hard to heal from. But I’m trying. Some days I just need to take things a little gentler than others…

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      • July 12, 2017 at 12:08 am

        Just went through it again, it is so insidious, isn’t it? I keep beating myself up. Why couldn’t I have stopped it? It was a new job for me and this beast of a woman made my life miserable. Cutting comments and remarks at first. She yelled at me a few times for nothing. She was not obliging several times when she could have been. Nothing stopped it. That should have been a warning to me. I guess I knew but I didn’t want to come to terms with it. I knew she could cause trouble for me so I trod very gingerly around her. Then came the grande finale. It blindsided me because I hadn’t done anything I could put my finger on. There was a lot of projecting. I engaged with her instead of walking away. I should have just said “I don’t do drama” and walked away. But, I didn’t think of it at the time and when you are several months into it there is so much involvement because they falsely accuse you and you want to show everyone that it isn’t so. You are heavily vested and then the big clap of thunder, the kind that makes your cat run under the bed. So, how could I not be affected? I am a narcissistic magnet, I attract them in every job I find. And, every job I get I lose because they do the switcharoo on me and I take the bullet for them. Oh, yes I try to speak up but I have a soft and docile personality, which is why they pick me to begin with. I get red faced and stutter and try to explain and make a fool out of myself. I got dismissed from the job or quit because it really does look like something might be up with me at this point because I feel embarrassed, angry, shame (false sense of every emotion). I have been accused but I know I was nice to them. I know I was reasonable to them. I know I don’t deserve this. I can count all the things they have done to me. They are blaming me, turning it around. I have become the bully. I slip away. I simply do not have a strong enough personality to stand up to them all. By this time others have become involved and it could be four against one (mobbing). The cycle repeats itself somewhere else. Please help. I don’t know what to do anymore?

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      • July 17, 2017 at 12:21 am

        Nisey,

        Try starting your own business. Try getting a job where you work alone for the majority of the day. Try getting a job where you work from home. Do whatever you can to get away from these people.

        There are people whose natural personality type make them a target to these awful types of people. Do not feel ashamed. Do not let them destroy you. Find something you can do in order to make a living which doesnt involve large groups of people.

        You are a sensitive person and that is nothing to be ashamed of.

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  • June 4, 2017 at 3:39 am

    Thanks for another great contribution. I’m an analytical person and very sensitive, and the cognitive dissonance I experienced via my stbx-husband was so profound. After I was discarded, I would wake up around the witching hour for days. I’d start wailing and shrieking as waves of panic, anger, shame, and physical/emotional pain engulfed me. That was last July. He timed the discard to coincide with the anniversary of our first date, which was a significant day for me as I only ever dated him.

    I pray and work hard to be able to love and forgive myself. I am finally focusing on my healing about 70% of the time. I still devote too much time worrying about him, his flying monkeys, his enablers, and the “bitch-troll-from-Hell” who thinks my stbx is her true love so adultery and abuse by proxy is totes cool.

    All of us who are survivors, warriors, healers, and advocates need to believe that we are enough. Be like Michael Scott during his corporate interview and recognize that your “weaknesses” –being caring, loving, trusting, forgiving, loyal, and self-reflective while seeing the good or potential for good in people — are actually strengths. Our good qualities were twisted and used to hurt us because evil is a perversion of goodness, and narcs are generally perverse, twisted, soul-sick individuals who largely lack what we possess.

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    • June 5, 2017 at 10:04 am

      That is unspeakably rotten of him. I’ve had a Nxbf do that same sort of targeting thing where they actually attempt to increase the pain by choosing something important to you. It’s hard to comprehend their actions because we don’t *think* like that. It would never occur to us to add pain to more pain on purpose like that because it’s insane, and as a very wise friend of mine who was a counselor for many years told me, “Healthy people don’t fit in dysfunctional situations.”

      And as for the adulterous troll who snagged him from you, although it may seem impossible now, one day you will think of her with gratitude because she is now stuck with him and you will be free, eventually. That’s how I now look at the people my Nparents have always replaced me with, I am grateful that they have to deal with them instead of me. The Flying Monkeys fawning adoration for them coupled with disdain for me gives me a shot at a peaceful life — plus it thins out my Christmas card list as they one by one get removed from my life!! 😀

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      • June 6, 2017 at 10:14 pm

        I thank you for your encouragement. It’s very kind of you to bolster me and the other people posting. I hope I can reach a place where I can help others. The abuse is real, but it doesn’t define us.

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    • June 7, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      Good analogy using Michael Scott! What a dear heart he was, mostly. And if you’ll recall, his family was scetchy and non supportive. So he was one of us! Alone and struggling.

      I divorced 98% of my biological family because of their constant abuse and subtle cruelty. Now they’re old and dying off. It’s sad, but when I think of what they put me through, I can’t believe it still. But when you constantly demean and belittle people, you literally show them the door out of your life. The fact I had a facial disfigurement and a late in life diagnosed genetic disorder makes me wonder how they could be so mean to the young girl I once was. I deserved love and support, but got only crumbs on occasion.

      But as for that exit door they were always making dream of finding…I did. And I choose to go through it. I had to in order to want to keep on living. Those of us who know what I’m saying, know exactly what I mean.

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    • July 17, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Exactly, they feel so insecure and adequate. When they interact with someone who has the qualities they want they start to downplay our qualities. They look for something in us they can play upon (no one is perfect, so if we are 5 mins late then they can use that). Suddenly, we are selfish, inconsiderate people even though they are always late. Soon, they are projecting their downfalls on to us. Then they find another thing to pick at and soon it becomes a war zone (one we didn’t choose or cause). These people have powers to influence others, after all they can be very charming when they want to be. They have such strong personalities and can get all the right people involved. If it is a work force situation they can and know what to do to get us removed from their environment so they can have more of what they want (money, hours, power, attention) and the focus is off the person who seems to be perfect in their eyes because they are gone. They are no longer quite as heavy, late, inadequate etc. This is all done without a blink of an eye. After all they don’t know they are doing anything wrong, they act confused, preoccupied, they have no conscience. Oh, oh, she quit, why? Give me a break you jealous, possessive troublemaker, you must messed with my life, my finances and my integrity. And, you turned my superiors against me you wicked non-human.

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  • June 4, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Thank you so much for this article. It completely describes my experience of the past 10 years. After the loving, “we are perfect for each other” phase, he systematically tore me down, bit by bit. In the end, I was a shell of a person and completely exhausted. I did question my own sanity many times.

    I tried to reason with the lies, the gaslighting, the denials…and all the other power moves, but never got anywhere. Some of the instances, as this article describes, are forgivable. For me, some where not, for example, believing he was sincere (yet again) and opening up to him to share some of my struggles just to have them used against me later as ammunition. For me, this is unforgivable and I can never feel emotionally safe with this person.

    The gaslighting behavior is insidious, sneaky, cunning, baffling and effective. Gradually, one cut down after another, he sucked the life out of me.

    The foundation of my being was attacked – and I still haven’t fully extricated myself from this horrible relationship, but I’ve made progress. Reading these posts have helped me see what’s going on. I’m not crazy, this is not love, and I am worthy of a healthy relationship!

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    • June 5, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Enuf, it was so creepy reading your post because you described my marriage so perfectly. I escaped with the help of a few friends and anti-depressants back in 2007. You can do it! The anti-depressants were required (for the first time in my life) and I was able to leave those behind about 6 weeks after he moved out.
      Best Wishes!

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    • June 5, 2017 at 10:12 am

      You do deserve better. There was another article I read recently that might help. It is called Hoover Maneuver: The Dirty Secret of Emotional Abuse” by Andrea Schneider. In it she describes the Narcissist’s cycle of “Idealize, Devalue, Discard.” It helped point out to me that all that had happened in the situation, the aftermath of which I am still recovering from, was this cycle. It was not personal. I was simply caught one more time by expecting rational behavior of people who could only adhere to their cycle and never step out of it. The key to staying free is to stop expecting healthy behavior from those who cannot do it. Then we move on, heal, and open ourselves to the good stuff that is coming!

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    • June 21, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      I feel the same. 10 wasted yrs of slowly being stripped of everything that is you. Now I’d rather be alone and lonely (at times) than abused. Slowly healing. I kicked him out. Should have done it yrs ago. Thanks for all the support on here. And yes unless you have lived thru it, you can not understand. People say ‘can’t you say anything positive about him?’, you need to forgive’. No I need to first work out how to survive, and how to heal myself. Anything after that is a blessing.

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  • June 4, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    It was so great to be able to read someone else’s experience of narcissistic abuse, especially the reaction you got from other people!

    I’m under constant pressure from my family to ‘be nicer to my mum.’ I feel judged and pressurised for cutting her out, despite the fact that none of them are at all interested in my reasons for doing it. I sometimes wonder, if they honestly think I’m that immature and vindictive, why they’d want me to be part of her life? They’re hoodwinked by her victim routine and it makes me feel like they have a pretty poor opinion of me and don’t know me very well!

    It takes a lot of strength not to let doubt and rationalising creep in because of course it would be nicer to have a relationship with my mum (dependent on her being a different person), but hearing about your experience has really helped, it’s great to know I’m not alone.

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    • June 5, 2017 at 10:22 am

      You’re not alone! Realize that Victim is the favorite role on the Power Triangle for narcissists. Even when they are a Persecutor of someone (another point on the triangle) they still see themselves as the victim, such as “I wouldn’t treat you this way if you didn’t deserve it because of how you treat me. Poor me…wahhhhh.” That last, third, point left on the triangle? It is Rescuer, and that is what the N’s insist we do for them over and over and over. It matters not that we are the ones being hurt. Or filleted behind our backs to anyone who will listen. Or that we have developed physical maladies as a result of long term abuse. None of that matters to them, we are the bad guys if we do not rescue.

      So…keep right on being the bad guy. Enjoy the feelings of guilt because they mean you are getting it RIGHT. Several older wiser friends of mine have told me that. At first I didn’t get it, (“Enjoy” guilt??!? What???) but now I do. When we act in a way that is good for us, we tick off the Narcissist. They then act out against us with ugliness to provoke guilt so we will back down and go back to being obedient doormats. Therefore, when we choose to deal with the feelings of guilt while staying the course of freedom, we eventually get to recognize those feelings not as a bad thing but as a good thing! They are showing us how far we have come! 🙂

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  • June 5, 2017 at 2:00 am

    Thank you.

    the very day after our wedding he ignored me for hours and came out only to eat crackers, didn’t look at me and went back in his room for hours until he slept. I piled on seventy pounds by numbing myself with dessert and fattening food.

    he cheated on me and I asked questions: ” why did you spend time with her but not me? ” and ” why did you get turned on by her and not me?” ” why were you getting turned on by her fantasizing about her while I was talking to you?”

    his answer: ” why does it matter? ” like I was annoying him. he makes me sick.

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  • June 5, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Thank YOU! You nailed it.

    In normal human interaction, we flub up and occasionally hurt people. We hope grace will be extended, the apology accepted, and the relationship strengthened. In our turn, we extend that grace to others, when it is needed. We’re all human, after all…

    The problem comes when we try to apply that sort of normal thinking to relationship with a narcissist. Narcissists don’t DO normal.

    Like my counselor says, “One incident is not the problem. The problem is when multiple incidents form a pattern.”

    Thank you so much for pointing this out. We survivors are often the kindest hearted souls on the planet, so we can be easy prey for “believing the best” about someone…over and over and over. When you add up their Narcissistic Bar Tab, however, the pattern emerges, and all we can do is stop playing the game.

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  • June 5, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Love this writer, she is very good at getting the right words to describe that special type of hell that victims (former victim) go through. I have cut off 1 sister, partially my brother and soon my mother who continues to dismiss my feelings.

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  • June 6, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    I was emotionally abused by a mother with NPD for 47 years. It was compounded by a father with a terminal illness that should have ended 15 years earlier than it did…I’m am only child. I couldn’t leave him alone with her. I feared what she would do to him. As a result of 47 years of this woman’s emotional abuse, I am a completely broken person with nothing but regrets and resentment for the fact that I did not (I feel I could not) go No Contact (I didn’t even know that was a thing.) I’m 62 years old, I never had a life, and it feels like it’s over.

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    • June 7, 2017 at 11:08 am

      I’m so sorry that you feel this overwhelming helplessness and hopelessness. I am replying to you because I know EXACTLY how that feels. Its a very lonely feeling and easy to give up but please know YOU ARE NOT ALONE, ITS NOT TOO LATE, take advantage of the rest of YOUR life and be free. I cant tell you how much I wish this for you. No one deserves to feel this way.

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      • June 7, 2017 at 11:52 am

        I knew I was just different then my Mother and Brother and thought I was just unruly “just like my Father”. Recently I had been so confused on why she does the things she does. I chalked it up to being older and set in her way and also just being a mean ol’ b-word. But the most freeing thing to me was figuring out it’s not me, nor has anything to do with me and it is her and her nasty narcisstic tendencies that make her who she is. After the letter and convo I cut her off. She threw a fit in voicemail one time about not calling her, when I called her back she acted calm like nothing happened. Recently she learned how to text and sends me “updates” about her life and they always revolve around going to the doctor (there is nothing physically wrong with her besides minor athritis), her knee, but that she is doing well. No two way conversation, this is hilarious. I have learned to now laugh at the situation, the best thing my therapist said to me that put everything into perspective was “how much rent is your Mother/Brother paying for all that space they occupy in your head?”

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    • June 20, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      You are never too old to find peace. I think narcissists affect only children more than those with siblings because they have no one to compare their abuse with. Please know you are not alone. Don’t let the abusers win. Do things that make you feel good. I read and listen to positive materials/videos and take care of myself the way my family should have. I don’t have time to live in the past. The only purpose of life is to feel good. Don’t let the bastards take that away from you. It drives my narcissists nuts (the ones who are still in touch) when I let them know how well I am doing. I will never let them know when I’m not. Life is good. Enjoy it for what it has to offer. Be kind to yourself and others. Best wishes.

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  • June 6, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    I am having a hard time dealing with the friends and neighbors who only see my ex’s public persona. They didn’t hear the nasty comments or asides and if they did he would pass them off as ribbing and that I was too sensitive. How can they judge who’s rigth or wrong if they were not married to him. His friend told him HE was not the problem.

    I was definitely gaslighted and finally stopped wondering if it was all my fault. After a series of incidents, I finally said enough. Enough with the blaming everyone else for the negative and taking all the credit for the positive, enough with the self-adoration, compounded by the adoration of others who admire his artistry and generosity toward his “friends.” Yet higher expectations and expectations of sacrifice from his own wife and children.

    What’s stranger is that I married my mother, who made my childhood an eggshell-ridden journey of anxiety and paranoia. I should have seen this coming, but I was thinking the adoration would last forever. Then came the devaluation while he pumped up his own ego (mid-life crisis) and in this twisted fairytale, I discarded him before he got a chance to discard me (after threats to do so). He claims he never would have broken up our family. Buddy, you left us a LONG time ago to be with your friends.

    And that’s how he lives today. Surrounded by “friends” who pity him as the victim and continue to fawn on him for his other talents. I’ve left a trail of regrets, but the one that started it all is thinking that I could not find anyone that would “love” me more. I would have been better off alone this whole time.

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  • June 7, 2017 at 4:29 am

    You’re funny. Steps 1-3 are especially useful. Took me 25 years to come to this conclusion..

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  • June 7, 2017 at 7:58 am

    This is classic narcissism and so true. My mother was a narcissist and everything in her life was always someone else’s fault. My father for ‘stopping’ her doing anything and us kids for spoiling her life when she could have gone on and done great deeds in life. Everything revolved round her needs and moods and if we behaved like normal children ie got upset sometimes or angry, she yelled at us and got upset then blamed us for it. So we all lived with continual guilt and walked on eggshells round her never knowing when it would kick off again. Anything could make it happen so there was no way to predict it.

    Two good examples. When her sister died she was too old to go to the funeral so it ended up just being me and my youngest sister representing the family. She seemed very upset and we were so nice to her promising to pass on her love etc, and tell her all about it when we returned. She also was insistent she wanted something of hers too. When we returned however and tried to tell her, her mood had changed. She stopped us mid stream and said she had already heard about it all from our cousin. I gave her the doll from her sister and her reaction ‘Oh I don’t want that, just chuck it somewhere’.

    The other one was when my sister got post natal depression. She told my mother and her reaction? ‘I might have know you would be too weak to raise a child. I suppose I will have to do it myself’. My sister was gutted. My mother specialised in hitting us further when we were down, and because she was jealous tried to ruin any good times we had by picking a row.

    I didn’t cut her off but built my brick wall and limited contact with her.

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  • June 7, 2017 at 8:56 am

    The article was interesting and very recognizable. The difficult thing for me is the “N” word is so easy to say now (hard to spell however) that I see it applied to maybe too many people. I remember telling a counselor that I was afraid I was a narcissist because of something she said to me in an earlier session . She laughed and said if I had worried so much about it that meant I was surely not a narcissist. I hope that is true but really don’t know.

    However, having realized very late in life that I may have been raised by a narcissitic mother and very likely had an extremely narcisstic older sister, I feel like I may have done that to my kids or appeared to to them. Honestly, I could see them saying that was me. I married a man after leaving my spouse of many many years who was a blueprint for a narcisstic person and again, he would probably say that I am. He called me “I, me, my” among other things. Needless to say, as is evident here, my sense of my self has been seriously-eroded over the years. So odd as I always saw myself as a strong person. Now I think a lot. Actually, always have but now it is even more reflective.

    Ok, so I am rambling but again, I believe that “N” exists. I just realized that I don’t say the word right which may be why I absolutely cannot spell it . I always thought there was an extra syllable there “narcasistic” etc which shows that my attention span certainly does in many directions. I didn’t want to spoil the cheering on of the writer here because the writing is dead on. I’m just concerned that there is a lot of “gaslighting” going on in our society by shouting “he/she is a N…..” and that absolves the speaker of everything. Sigh…life is hard. Glad I still have a sense of humor and faith – the only things that keep me smiling through it all. (and drugs help – legal prescribed drugs …but drugs) . Thanks for listening – (please don’t yell at me).

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    • June 7, 2017 at 11:14 am

      We are so much alike. don’t worry, you are understood more than you think. humor is a golden characteristic to have and can be your saving grace, don’t let them ever take that from you, its yours

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  • June 7, 2017 at 9:42 am

    I never realized what was wrong, I kept telling my husband that my mom was really “strict” with me growing up. Im now 36. Now knowing her, he at first couldn’t believe she couldn’t hurt a fly. It only happened after a housewarming party when her true narcissistic self came out. She basically shut down during the party because she wasn’t the center of attention and left early like she often does. She wrote me a letter and actually mailed it to me (she has my phone number and only lives 20 mins away) that consisted of all her thoughts and cristicisms about why I hate my brother (I don’t, we are just not close that’s all), why I act “rich” and should remember where I came from (we weren’t rich or poor, but weren’t struggling the way she makes it sound), why do I give more time and attention to my friends and not the family because family will always be there (I have good friendships because “family” has never been there emotionally and helped me develop) and on and on. After confronting her about it, she just giggled like it was funny, I don’t think she ever thought I would ever ask about that letter was all about and what she meant by all of it, she just figured I would realize all my “mistakes” and just change. I also sought out my half brothers/sisters from my Dad’s marriages that I had been kept from without her knowing because she said that “her and my brother were family and why should I look or need them” and realized she witheld some truths wbout the story of what really happened in the relationship. Which she was the one who was the mistress and broke up a family, she kept me from him and them so I wouldn’t know the truth of what she did. I also have a “golden child” half brother from another one of her failed marriages which she always pits against me, he is strange and we are not close and that’s ok for me. Both even say the same thing about how much my brother helped when I was a baby, right down to the very same words and sentence “who was the one who changed your diapers and brought you stuffed animals when you were a baby, me!”. I think he has Peter Pan syndrome and is just an extension of my Mom, he is 53 and lives at home, had been married and even moved his wife into the house, divorced her after my mom telling him that his wife wasn’t good, he has no desire to leave, does not have empathy toward anyone elses feelings and he messes up so much but she still enables him. All of this was so confusing for me until I really saw what was going on and understood. My husband saw what is going on and now he understands. My mom also uses him by saying that if I go “no contact” don’t expect for her to every do anything for me, her and my brother will only do for my husband. They think he doesn’t know who they are and how their actions had impacted me over the years. I vent because it is no use fighting with someone like this and I have finally come to the realization that the only logical thing to do is do not see them.

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  • June 7, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I am the adult (read old) child of an alcoholic father and a mother who took rat poisoning when she was 59 and I was 32 and died in the ambulance. What has helped me most in dealing with myself and the way my childhood scared me, scarred me, and made me the strong person I am, is finally coming to the understanding of how powerful a delusion is the Delusion of Free Will. People cannot help who they are, because who you are is the result of the total accumulation of the moments, experiences, joys, and suffering in your life. Neither Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, nor Charles Manson could help themselves. Each was doing his best, as are all of us. I don’t mean to imply anything here about forgiveness or responsibility or hanging in there and letting ourself be abused.

    It has taken me most of a lifetime to realize why my father was so bitter that he needed to sweeten his life with alcohol. Now, about 30 years after his death, I understand and can feel compassion for him. Everyone suffers and all too often their suffering impacts others. Your blog has been of tremendous help to me and, I’d imagine, all who read it. A huge thank-you to all of you for what you do here.

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    • June 12, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Generally, we are one third genetics, one third environment, and one third CHOICES: small, small, Medium, small, LARGE, small… The small choices that affect the larger ones. That’s how we each steer our own ships..tiny rudder adjustments.

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  • June 7, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Well, at this point, can’t say that we’re all cried out, but it certainly helps to come on here and chuckle about it a bit in retrospect. Thanks to the author and commenters who choose to view these experiences with humor, grace, and understanding and share about them here. It somehow hurts a little less. Btw, if I had a dime for every time I heard, “It’s not me, it’s you that is messed up according to my friends…”

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  • June 7, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    My abuser is my oldest sister. My no contact day came with the passing of my father this past Friday. Since that time, butter couldn’t melt in her mouth. To say I’m shocked would be a lie as of course she has to settle the estate and will naturally need me to sign off on this and that. I will do this for my dad and she will think it is for her. I know this. Once this part is over, it will be a ‘see ya’ moment and I actually think she just won’t notice and to me that is just fine. All that really matters is that I am finally free. I’ve been preparing for this moment for about eight years now and I am comfortable with simply knowing she is out there somewhere and I need not know or care any longer. Such liberation is life affirming. Thank you for making the case in your posting. It’s very nice not being alone in this kind of thinking.

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  • June 7, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Hi! I’m from Mexico. What do yo mean with this phrase “proverbial Jell-O® to the proverbial wall”?

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    • June 8, 2017 at 1:40 am

      Nailing Jello to the wall is an expression for something that is impossible, or really difficult!

      Es imposible pegar gelatina a la pared con un martillo y un clave, no? Las cosas que son dificiles, se dice que es igual poner gelatina a la pared! Es un refran. Pidiendo a mis esposo que no gaste tanto dinero es como pegar gelatina a la pared con un clave!

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  • June 7, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    The laughter is definitely to keep myself sane and to prove to myself how ridiculous it can get. Acceptance was a huge factor too, when I finally realized what was going on, it freed me from confusion. It’s a great feeling. I realized that a lot of what my Mom takes credit for were all my decisions, from going to college, financial decisions, jobs and even where I decide to live and how. Believe me, it can get ridiculous! My mother has never apologized , has pushed other family members away because of her trying to push her ideas on them as well and she is actually isolated herself and is desperately trying to pull me back in because she has no one else to be her “whipping girl”.

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  • June 7, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I stumbled across this forum in looking up links relating to suicide. I would like to share a bit of my story in hopes that what has transpired over the last 62 years of my life is more about abuse not I am crazy. I was the oldest of 5 children born to an emotionally battered ( by her father ) mother. I was told at a very early age that I was bad and that God would punish me. By the age of 15 I couldn’t cope any more and made an unsuccessful attempt at suicide. Went to live with my functioning alcoholic father and step mother. Met my future husband,married at 19 to escape their disfunction. I married someone who was as emotionally distant as my mother and a N. Over the next 42 years I tried to cope, becoming severely depressed as the decades passed, thinking there was something wrong with me. I had a bad case of codependency and would have never let go of him. Several statements by other respondents jumped off the screen at me. Being driven crazy by his public persona of niceness towards me but total silence when it was the 2 of us. What my family and friends saw was not what I lived with. I married my mother in hopes of getting different results. His rejection of me after 42 years of marriage…..why keep someone around who doesn’t meet your needs anymore. My N could only acknowledge me if his physical needs were met first. All about his mr nice guy persona, having a good time while I turned on myself for being unrealistic in my expectations of what a relationship should look like. That is how they come out on top, pretending there isn’t a problem with them while you slowly push away all friends and family, They walk away without skipping a beat….
    Thank you all for sharing and then listening to my grief. I pray for healing

    Reply
  • June 8, 2017 at 1:36 am

    I love the idea of not doing anything, and sitting till the urge passes! I JUST decided to stay away from my daughter, who is very disrespectful. She yells a LOT and I have asked for years for her to turn her voice down, but she will not. I could write pages…. anyway. the peace is so good. I have not had the urge to cal or visit yet. I find it a shame, as I would prefer a close-knit family! By the way, you made a grammatical mistake… I make lots of typos, and I would want to be told. “Maybe we shouldn’t have forgave…”. It should say ‘have forgiven’, ‘not have forgave’! Thanks!

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  • June 8, 2017 at 2:16 am

    Our mother was the narcissist in our family. She played us against each other like a well oiled machine. My sister and I loved one another but knew that it was not going to get any better until my mother was better. Well, you all know that would never happen! She always was right and don’t dare question it. She played me and my sister for two thing……money and driving her around. At Christmas every year my daddy went above and beyond for her presents. There is the smirk. Don’t get me wrong we all had great Christmases. BUT hers had to be more than ours. My daddy must have knew she had a problem but never talked about it. sigh.
    When he passed away it was tough. By that time we were definitely at NO CONTACT to her and with every little lie she told us we had a no contact with each other. We didn’t want it that way but she made sure we did. We were here on earth to cater to her, take care of her, and make sure she had plenty of money. It’s hard to believe but we actually did the things she wanted. Then one day she decides she doesn’t want to live by herself but with one of us……….OH DEAR GOD NO!!!
    We had to talk about this so we went to lunch and didn’t ask her to go. Had she found out ewwww it would have been nasty (from her to us). We both had families and couldn’t bear the thought of her coming in and destroying it. So, we found an assisted living community for her. It was very nice and she had plenty of people to talk to. All she wanted to talk about was how her daughters would not take her in when she was so ill. ILL??????? Since when??? Oh she got a lot of mileage out of that telling everybody she knew and met how horrible her daughters were. But see I remember when her daddy was dying of cancer her sister asked if she could come up there and help. She immediately said I can’t because I have a family to take care of. smirk..smirk…smirk. She lived to be 83 yrs old. She passed away in August 2016. My sister and I are the only ones left in that family. We talk all the time, do stuff, etc….it’s so great! Not one cross word between the two of us since mama passed. There is still guilt and other negative feelings I tell myself. I am trying real hard to get through it.
    God Bless You All!

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  • June 8, 2017 at 3:04 am

    This article was very enlightening. My ex is narcissistic. I managed to get out of it, hoping that I was setting the example to my daughter that I (and she) should be treated better. Well, my new marriage is wonderful, but I can see that from halfway across the country, her dad is still controlling and manipulating her with his narcissism. He called her during her college finals to tell her he had a heart attack…and there was less than 5% damage to his heart! I think since he came out fine, he could have waited rather than freak her out during finals.

    My question is…how do I help her recognize this? If I bring it up, even gently, she gets frustrated that I’m being negative about her dad. I understand that and have worked very hard to not do that, yet, she’s told me of many times she got mad at him for saying very negative things about me. It is tearing her apart right now. She doesn’t see how it is effecting her, but I do. She’s stressed over classes, has no self-confidence in her ability to do well in classes, avoids studying and classwork, has a crappy attitude around our house, and would rather pay me back for the class she wants to drop than pay her dad for an airplane ticket he booked to go visit him. She knows he contributes nothing to her college, but I think she feels if she doesn’t go visit him, he’ll stop loving her (probably because deep down, she knows the love is conditional). I often worry that I’ll lose her to suicide because she attempted once. I bring it up when she hits these lows, to make sure she understands that she has unconditional love here and endless support, and that we love her more than we can express. She said she attempted because she couldn’t take the stress from him anymore. She did much better when she was able to live with me full time…weekly back and forth did her in, and her dad just wouldn’t listen to her and let her decide. He made sure her time was 50/50 and even disallowed letting her spend a few extra hours with me during his week when I had family visiting from out of town.

    How do I help her realize this is a toxic relationship and that’s what is creating such anxiety for her? How can I help her understand that it’s ok to put a temporary block on their relationship?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

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  • June 9, 2017 at 10:32 am

    It was no wonder I left not only my hometown, my home state but even my country when I was 19 years old. I took stock, began to grieve the love and acknowledgement I didn’t get but then, as I got older, as I felt strong and sure in myself, I felt it was time to come home, face the family I came from. After the grieving, the anger, the putting pieces together to try to find myself, all that was left is a desire to love and accept my narcissistic parent just as they are. Sure, their style still ranges from slightly bizarre, passive-aggressive and controlling to outright toxic but I am able to stand solidly in a place of love, acceptance and forgiveness. I come out unscathed and stronger after each visit. I still would not consider moving back ‘home’ to be a caregiver, but I am able to stay in close touch with my narcissistic parent. I think my point is that in the initial phases, no contact allows us to heal and find ourselves. But in the long run, it may also be possible to build a loving, if not wonky, relationship. This, to me, is the highest common good.

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  • June 10, 2017 at 7:35 am

    I should press on to achieve recovery, that means letting go of the pain, and treat these people as great teachers. You only stick your fingers into a pretty candle flame once, after which you became very much more wary and knowledgeable.
    The main lesson is they don’t really know what they have and if they do, they don’t care because its always about them.
    My big issue with my ambitious social climbing mother was that I was vin ordinare and not Vin Diesel or the likes ,nor would want any of that kind of vicarious attention the media hands out, while it suits them. Yup its a coven of narcissism…
    Of the common or garden species, I didn’t fit in with her grandiose plans, and so the emotional tundra trick.
    Didn’t work, I was a worker bee type so kinda social and somewhat popular. How dreadfully plebeian…lol
    I’d like to say it worked out Ok after I left home , but I was pre programmed, and yes married a narc.
    But, woohoo that finally went to the wall 7 years ago!
    Older, wiser and most definitely happier, I’ve found the let go principle a major factor in present day life.
    Who needs ancient shit staining the now?
    Find a way of achieving good awareness, about self and others via therapy and go live the life you are meant to live…Happy days

    Reply
  • September 1, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Thank you. I’m just learning that there are some people who do “get it”!

    Reply
 

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