Home » Posts tagged 'narcissism victim'
Tag Archives: narcissism victim
I recently came across an excellent article by Kim Saeed titled “Why Narcissists Discard You at the Worst Possible Times”. This is one of the most accurate articles that I have ever read on this aspect of narcissism. I shared this on my Facebook page, and several people commented on how true the article was, so I thought it would be a good idea to do an actual blog post on this topic. The link to Kim’s article on her website is at the end of this blog post, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has or is currently dealing with a narcissist.
In her article, Kim talks about how a narcissist will discard a victim at a stressful time in his/her life in order lure the sufferer into triangulation or trauma bonding. In my case, I believe triangulation played a role, but trauma bonding not so much because I didn’t play by the “narcissist’s playbook”. My ex decided to ask me for a divorce at the absolute lowest point in my life – I had two failed lower back surgeries, just had a brain aneurysm, and my father was sick with cancer. I could no longer work due to my back issues. He asked for the divorce just when I was cleared for my third back surgery after recovering from my brain aneurysm. I was shocked as I never saw it coming. He said that we “needed some time apart” and I agreed to that (not knowing that this is all part of the narcissist’s plan). I went to my parent’s house for four days, and when I came home, he had divided up all our assets and told me what I would be getting and what he would take. I was so confused, so I asked him what had happened – why did he do this when we were just supposedly “taking some time apart to think about things”? He just brushed me off, and I knew at that moment that he never had any intention of working toward saving our marriage. The next week, I found hidden e-mails – he had been having an affair. Kim describes this actual type of event in her article below.
After reading this article, I realized that this was triangulation. He attempted to stay a part of my life for the first few months, even insisting on visiting me in the hospital after my third surgery. I refused. He had a plan as to how the entire separation/divorce would play out, but I didn’t play his game. Instead, I retained an attorney. Everything he had planned to do (division of assets for example) did not happen as he wished. He became a person that I did not recognize. He yelled, insisted that I get rid of my attorney, demanded the return of the e-mails to him, etc. etc. I didn’t give in. I wanted out. Now, I have to say that I did at one point ask him to go to counseling and asked for a try at reconciliation, but I really didn’t want to do this. I did it because the Divorce Care class at my church taught our group that we should always try for reconciliation before moving to divorce. I gave it a weak try, but I really wanted out. So, the trauma bonding really didn’t happen in my case. I shut the door and didn’t re-open it, and this certainly made him very angry. The anger that he exhibited during that time is also known as narcissistic rage. His behavior was all textbook.
Please read Kim’s article below – you’ll be so glad you did. I was!!
I’m quite sure you have heard of how our mental health influences our physical health. This can clearly happen in individuals who have dealt with narcissistic abuse. I know because it happened to me.
I first learned about the mind/body connection when I was in college. I had stomach trouble in the second half of my sophomore year in college, and I thought it was just stress. However, it turned out to be acute appendicitis, and it wasn’t diagnosed until I became violently ill during my summer vacation (thank goodness I was at home with my family at the time).
I woke up one morning around 4 a.m. to excruciating abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. This went on for hours. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t sleep, and the thought of food was revolting. Later that day, my mom suggested that we go to the hospital since I wasn’t getting any better, but I refused. I assumed I had food poisoning and thought I just had to wait it out. However, I didn’t improve. Later that night, my mom insisted that we go to the hospital. At this point, I don’t remember much. I think I was blacking out for chunks of time because I can only recall certain things. In fact, I was told that I walked into the ER with my mom, but I don’t remember doing it.
The ER doctor thought at first that I had food poisoning and put me on IV fluids since I was dehydrated. However, just before discharging me, he went on his gut instinct and decided to examine me again. Thank goodness he did because it was during this second exam that he decided to order blood work which showed an extremely high white blood cell count. His exam and the blood work confirmed that I had appendicitis. My uncle, who was a surgeon, was called in, and they took me to surgery shortly thereafter. He told my mom that a routine appendectomy usually takes about forty-five minutes.
Four hours later (yes, four!), my uncle came out of surgery and talked to my mom and aunt. I had a ruptured appendix that was also gangrenous (dead tissue). He was certain that I would have peritonitis (a dangerous abdominal infection), and he was also certain that I would be sick for months and would not be able to return to college in the fall. He told my mom that I wouldn’t have made it through the night if she hadn’t brought me into the hospital. The day after surgery, the pathologist even came up to my room to see “the girl who actually walked in this hospital with THAT appendix!”
Well, I proved my uncle wrong! At the time that this happened, I was having the time of my life in college and at work. I absolutely loved college and my work, and I was determined to return to school in the fall. In fact, when I woke up from surgery, my first question was “When can I go back to work?”
I returned to work three weeks after surgery, and I returned to college that fall. My uncle told my mom that the reason I recovered so quickly was because of my attitude. I learned through this experience that your mental and emotional health have a huge impact on your physical health and your ability to heal.
This lesson recently became apparent to me once again. As I’ve written in previous blogs, I was a victim of narcissistic abuse for many years. During those years, I was always sick with some kind of head infection or stomach virus. I tried my best to take care of myself, and I am known to be a “clean freak”, but I still seemed to pick up every bug out there. This always baffled me.
This confusion all became clear when I cut contact with this narcissistic group. It has been over four years since I dealt with this family, and unbelievably, I haven’t had a major head infection or stomach virus since the relationship with this family ended! Sure, I’ve had the occasional headache or sniffle, but I’ve not had a major infection that has kept me in bed for days for over four years! I finally came to the realization that the reason I was constantly sick while dealing with this family was because I was not self-aware, not happy, full of self-doubt, and under tremendous stress. My body didn’t like it.
If you are living in an emotionally or mentally abusive situation and find yourself constantly ill, remember that there is a mind/body connection when it comes to physical health. Your body might be trying to tell you something. Listen to it!
Today I would like to talk about how someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) blames others for the problems in his/her life. I have to say that when I first heard about NPD and how those with this disorder are known to blame others, I was quite intrigued and amazed. I witnessed this kind of behavior in a narcissistic family for many, many years. This knowledge opened my eyes, and it began my long journey of learning all about NPD.
My parents always made my sister, my brother, and me take responsibility for our actions. Stories are still shared today among our family. One in particular was a time when I was about 6 or 7 years old, and I saw a bracelet on a doll that I liked during a shopping trip with my mom. I decided to break open the packaging and take the bracelet when my mom wasn’t looking. Later, at home, my mom found out that I took the bracelet. The next day, she drove me back to the store where I had to go in and give the clerk the bracelet. I had to tell him that I took it and that I was sorry.
My parents did not hold back when we needed to be punished. One morning, when I was about 14 years old, I was in a really bad mood. My mom kept yelling for me to get in the car because we were going to be late for school. My sister and brother were in the car waiting, but I was still messing with my hair as I tried to get it to look right (big problem, I know…haha!). Anyway, after several minutes of my mom telling me to get in the car, she gave up and left without me, so I had to walk to school. When I arrived, the principal smiled at me and walked up to me. He said, “Your mom called me and told me to give you a detention. She said that you are late and have no excuse”. He thought it was kind of funny, but I wasn’t amused. I was mad at my mom for doing this.
Years later, however, I began to appreciate what my parents did for us. They taught us that there are consequences to our actions. That is one invaluable lesson…a lesson that not everyone in this world learned as they grew up.
Now, in this narcissistic family that I knew for over twenty years, I never saw any kind of repercussion for bad behavior like I used to see in my family. Instead, I witnessed never-ending enabling behavior. When one of the kids did something wrong, even if it was clearly his/her fault, he/she was never subject to consequences. Occasionally, the parents would tell the child that he/she shouldn’t have done what he/she did, but there were no consequences. Also, if something bad happened, they would blame it on the person involved in the situation who was outside the family – a teacher, a manager, an ex-girlfriend, an ex-boyfriend, an ex-spouse, etc.
What is amazing to me is that each time one of the people that they blamed exited the picture, the problems continued. The teacher exited, but the problems continued. The manager exited, but the problems continued. The ex-girlfriend/boyfriend exited, but the problems continued. The spouse exited, but the problems continued. You would think that eventually they would realize that the problem was within the family. But they never came to this realization, or at least they never openly admitted it.
During those years, the family members would share the drama with me all the time. When I offered my advice, I was met with defensiveness if it didn’t agree with what they wanted to hear. I occasionally gave them a healthy dose of reality, telling them that there was too much enabling and not enough tough love, and this angered the members of the family. This reaction completely frustrated me. I tried to help them, but somehow, when I gave advice (which they asked for), I became the target of their anger. Somehow, I became the “bad guy”. I eventually began to blame myself for causing more problems within the family because I thought I was giving them bad advice. But, deep down, I knew it was good advice, and I became so confused and conflicted. My self-worth started to tumble, and I became depressed and even more frustrated.
OK, so now I want to get into what happened after learning about NPD through counseling. First of all, I now realize how deeply blessed I was to have wonderful parents. Understanding the concept of consequences for bad behavior is invaluable. It teaches us respect for others along with the concept of boundaries. Even though I was mad at my parents when I was a child, I now know why they had to use tough love on occasion. Looking back now, I certainly deserved that detention and even appreciate it!
Constantly blaming others for problems in life is one of the hallmark signs of narcissism. The family that I talk about above clearly has this trait. As I learned more about NPD, I now know why I felt so depressed and frustrated. It wasn’t because I gave them bad advice or that I was a bad person. Narcissists don’t want to hear the truth. They want constant praise and admiration. Giving them a healthy dose of reality will hurt their image…their false self. Instead, they want you to back them up and tell them how wonderful they are at dealing with a bad situation, even if they are dealing with it poorly. They don’t want you to help them solve the problem. The purpose of those family members talking to me about their issues was to dump it on me, not to help solve the problems. So, although I truly tried to help them, they viewed it as an insult. I learned that if they couldn’t accept responsibility for their actions, the problem was on them, not me. This was the beginning of my journey of reclaiming my self-worth.
It is important to know (and this literally took me years to accept) that you can only change YOUR behavior. You CANNOT change the behavior of someone else, no matter how bad you want to help them. The likelihood of changing a narcissist is nil. They don’t believe they have any issues, and pointing out any problems with them will lead to anger and extreme defensiveness. They will also throw all the blame onto you, so don’t be surprised if that happens. If you can leave the situation, it is probably the best thing to do. If not, learn as much as you can about NPD and how to effectively deal with it. One way to do this is to set boundaries, and I will discuss that topic in my next blog.
Have a great day!