Narcissism In Situ (Support Links)

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism. [Mayo Clinic]

The term narcissism is German, derived from Greek Mythology where young Narcissus, a narc4hunter known for his beauty, fell in love with his image reflected in a pool of water. As if self-preservation in its purest form, narcissists strive to prevent any ripples in the perfect reflection of themselves they think they see.

Most important to say, the term “narcissist” is so over-used today as petty insult it does a grave injustice to victims who suffer under it in the spouses or family members who are. Know that. Understand it. In physical abuse you see marks. With narcissistic abuse, unless you know the abused intimately you’ll not suspect anything unsavory of their narcissist spouse. In fact, you’ll find any accusation of the narcissist hard to believe. (See professional comments beneath.)

In all sincerity, I am so sick of thinking about this subject the last thing I want is to write about it. I want to forget it, wipe it out of my head like the plague it is, but apparently that’s not how recovering from this abuse works. As I do with most troublesome things, I write to purge it. Here we go again. Maybe only those who’ve suffered the abuse know its difficulties, for surely I have lived a long life not remiss of sufferings yet this sort of prolonged haunting is highly-irregular for me.

Convincing myself that by not giving the narcissist’s abuse free rent in my head, I believed I had finally taken its power, was finally back operating under my own power. In many ways I have and am. But the suffering seems to have an afterlife … or I just narc6haven’t dealt with it in the right way yet. I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced this ineptness before, at least not so much that something felt so in-my-face like this does right now, even after a few years.

Once I come to terms with a difficulty – and I have indeed come to terms with this – it will subside into the shadows of optional recall. I was well on my way to climbing out of this dismal hole so it seemed any moment of any day I could think of it only in passing, when summoned, when reflection served a purpose. I’m angry more than hurt by its second life now, which might be a good thing, though clearly one goes in hand with the other.

Sometimes I fear the mistake I made was not addressing it, never verbalizing it, never giving it any sense of closing a door … never saying much of anything at all, really. I just silently walked off into the sunset as if it was another ho-hum-hiccup in life when, in narc1fact, it was the most unconscionable thing I’ve ever allowed to happen. And that’s the real clincher: I did ‘allow’ it for twenty damned years and I am so angry about that.

Narcissism was such an integral part of my everyday routine that, by the time I left, whatever words could be said of it felt too empty and meaningless to bother saying. Maybe that is part of its poison. By then I was painfully aware of just how purposeless words of your pain are to a narcissist.

I was not one who could intentionally hurt others, even when seemingly justified. But the one thing I probably should’ve indulged was hurling words back, in undermining his own self-worth, as that is a narcissist’s Achilles Heel. I don’t even know that would’ve mattered or only made things worse if there is a ‘better or worse’ in living with one. Maybe I’m better having a clean conscience even if I am the only one who knows about it, given all of the pathetic lies he weaves to justify himself. Maybe by not doing that I’ve somehow made the lies harder to come by or less convincing.

At the time of living under a narcissist I rationalized all of these common sense reasons why ‘allowing’ the abuse was the best alternative. At the time I’d underestimated its power. At the time, even in leaving, I hadn’t truly identified what narcissism is. I only knew it was everything that is wrong in the world and that I wasn’t going to live in its ugliness anymore. At the time I thought being the “bigger person” was the right thing to do, that that would have some illusive payoff in the end, that all things good would prevail and I was on the right side of good so that meant I would prevail, too.

Maybe I have prevailed and only the inability to see into another’s life so removed, in affirming some victory over it, is all that’s really missing. Why seeing that outcome for myself is so important I’m not really sure, but, sadly, witnessing his misery would comfort me. Since when someone else’s discomfort became something I wanted to see for myself, I don’t narc3know either. That’s not my nature. Maybe that’s part of narcissism’s poison, too. Maybe he’s gutted the goodness within me right down to its last mutating cell.

I am not proud to admit that, but part of healing is admitting what we don’t want to confront about ourselves so I will. I want to see some sign of remorse, some vindication, some indication that “what goes around comes around” really does happen … some Godly recompense … some will of the universe for all that’s good & right to finally set things back in order.

Before this I’d never referred to myself as a ‘victim’ of anything. Even now, here writing this, I have trouble saying it. If there is anything that can make someone a victim – even those who are strong, independent, self-reliant people (if not especially those people) – narcissism does. Perhaps that’s how narcissists choose their prey. It takes strong, independent people to be willing to give of themselves to a fault; and their self-reliance is what the narcissist wants for themselves. It’s a natural attraction when you think narc5about it. Maybe those slight-of-hand compliments of character should be enough to satisfy me.

Having made significant progress I was trekking along quite nicely, believing narcissism’s abuse was finally fading into some fabric of the past. By sheer happenstance I stumbled across an article on the subject. The words were so indelibly poignant in coining my twenty years of living in its thieving tortures that all of those sufferings came right back in the lap of my today, right back into my living world, as if I’d never fought to leave them in the first place. Narcissistic abuse was a part of the living breathing me all over again as if I’d not escaped at all.

All of the sudden I felt just as helpless as when living in it. All of the sudden I was more angry than ever before, more frustrated than ever before. All of the sudden what were only stale understandings had reinvented themselves as if put under a magnifyingnarc2 glass – every spec of narcissism’s granular ugliness jumped out at me with crystal clarity. Suddenly I grasped exactly what was only subliminally experienced back when I simply knew it had a name.

I could no longer ignore the infinite glaring truth of just how despicable a narcissist’s incomprehensible greed for self-serving absorption is and, along with it, how morbidly abusive all of the goodness that they take for themselves is. Everything that was ever good about me or that I’d ever given to anyone else out of that goodness was run up some flagpole of ridicule of me for all to enjoy. I had to admit how starkly I’d laid myself open as the most dimwitted pawn in the most vicious and bizarre games of psychological warfare.

Something is very wrong with being forced to relive that after you’ve gone to painstakingly great measures to eradicate it. Can there ever be peace? I pray this is only one of the many phases to healing. This is such a sick feeling of self.

The article I happened across is so pristine in describing exactly what I lived that I hope it is helpful in recognizing narcissism’s indicators. I should’ve left my narcissist at its very first signs and there were so many of those. Shoulda, coulda, woulda … .

 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Gaslighting,” excerpted below, in part citing Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-love – Narcissism Revisited on gaslighting, or ambient abuse.

According to Sam Vaknin, there are five categories of ambient abuse and many times, they are a combination of these components in play by the abuser:

  • Inducing Disorientation: The abuser causes the victim to lose faith in her ability to manage and to cope with the world and its demands. She no longer trusts her senses, her skills, her strengths, her friends, her family, and the predictability and benevolence of her environment. The abuser subverts the target’s focus by disagreeing with her way of perceiving the world, her judgment, the facts of her existence, by criticizing her incessantly – and by offering plausible but specious alternatives. By constantly lying, he blurs the line between reality and nightmare. By recurrently disapproving of her choices and actions – the abuser shreds the victim’s self-confidence and shatters her self-esteem. By reacting disproportionately to the slightest “mistake” – he intimidates her to the point of paralysis.
  • Incapacitating: The abuser gradually and surreptitiously takes over functions and chores previously adequately and skillfully performed by the victim. The prey finds herself isolated from the outer world, a hostage to the goodwill – or, more often, ill-will – of her captor. She is crippled by his encroachment and by the inexorable dissolution of her boundaries and ends up totally dependent on her tormentor’s whims and desires, plans and stratagems.
  • Shared Psychosis: The abuser creates a fantasy world, inhabited by the victim and himself, and besieged by imaginary enemies. He allocates to the abused the role of defending this invented and unreal Universe. She must swear to secrecy, stand by her abuser no matter what, lie, fight, pretend, obfuscate and do whatever else it takes to preserve this oasis of inanity. Her membership in the abuser’s “kingdom” is cast as a privilege and a prize. It is not to be taken for granted. She has to work hard to earn her continued affiliation. She is constantly being tested and evaluated. Inevitably, this interminable stress reduces the victim’s resistance and her ability to “see straight”.
  • Abuse of Information: From the first moments of an encounter with another person, the abuser is on the prowl. He collects information. The more he knows about his potential victim – the better able he is to coerce, manipulate, charm, extort or convert it “to the cause”. The abuser does not hesitate to misuse the information he gleans, regardless of its intimate nature or the circumstances in which he obtained it. This is a powerful tool in his armory.
  • Control by Proxy: If all else fails, the abuser recruits friends, colleagues, mates, family members, the authorities, institutions, neighbors, the media, teachers – in short, third parties – to do his bidding. He uses them to cajole, coerce, threaten, stalk, offer, retreat, tempt, convince, harass, communicate and otherwise manipulate his target. He controls these unaware instruments exactly as he plans to control his ultimate prey. He employs the same mechanisms and devices. And he dumps his props unceremoniously when the job is done.

If you feel that you are the victim of gaslighting … at the hands of a narcissist, you have the power to make changes and to leave the toxic relationship. Before ending a relationship with someone who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder … the only thing worse than being married to these individuals is to divorce someone with [it]. I encourage you … join in-person support groups or online support groups such as My Emotional Vampire, Respite from Sociopathic Behavior, After Narcissistic Abuse or One Mom’s Battle

 

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22 thoughts on “Narcissism In Situ (Support Links)

  1. Hi there,
    I’m snowed under and can’t find Richard Grannons cptsd videos atm but i wanted to refer you in light of your post (emotional flashback) He is so helpful in many areas. He is soon to have an interview with pete walker, if you subscribe to his Spartanlifecoach channel on youtube they will alert you.

    Perhaps check out this video as it mentions a book I highly recommend by complex ptsd surviving and thriving pete walker. Narcissism usually stems from lifelong issues with family somehow and leads onto (if not inclusive of continued control/guilt/ shsming/ abuse etc from family etc additionally) relationships in all walks of life.
    I really dont have the time to elaborate. I just cant stress how richard is so down to earth and knows his stuff. He personally suffered throughout his life too. (spartanlifecoach is the channel and on fb too)
    Blessed be ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Crystal Empath, thank you so much for the referrals. I will look into them. I had no idea narcissistic abuse could leave such trauma or that ‘I’ could be one for flashbacks, but that is what this was & it caught me totally by surprise, especially this considerable time later. Most frightening in whole new ways & emotionally defeating. I appreciate your time to comment & care. You, as well, be blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Plz be kind, patient and loving with yourself. It is ever so important; especially while you learn to reeducate and reprogram yourself. We are but a “work in progress” on our journey, but ever so fragile now; despite our immense strength and endurance. Once we truly know better, so can we do better for ourselves ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yours are refreshing words (the idea that reprogramming ourselves is even possible). The fear of having to live with these terrors, even more fiercely now, was itself terrifying. I think trying to cope with this marital abuse for 20-years, while not understanding ‘what’ it truly was, goes to its difficulty. Thank you so much for your encouragements. I will be searching those videos today :).

          Liked by 1 person

          1. The book is a self help work book. With unbelievable growth potential. And Richard has many videos. He Is intelligent, articulate, educated and is known to swear and be very straight forward; depending on his moods in each video. He has google hangouts too that you can ask questions on relevant topic (all variations of narcissim and cptsd and its many complexities snd blocks to our growth and wellness.) Of the day. Oh, he has a couple of programs too and a book, but the many videos will keep you going/learning and pete walkers book will assist any therapy or counselling you may have or had. I can recommend others later. Much food for thought in your growth there. Perhaps I will post on my blog when I am “back” the information and books I have found helpful. Happy healing dear one! 😄

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I love the idea of you posting these resources all in one place. I’m not a ‘sit down & read a book’ person (wish I was), but I am a whiz at research. The workbook idea appeals to me as do the videos. I’d only started counseling this year & it’s funny, feeling better lately I was just thinking about stopping it. After this experience my gut instincts to stay with it proved right. Through this I’ve learned to listen to my gut, which would’ve saved me from it in the first place. Not thinking narcissistic abuse was the issue it obviously is, I’d not even begun to address that in counseling. Trying to convey that someone you’ve loved is a narcissist is far too haphazardly perceived as an off-the-cuff insult rather than the very serious consequence it was for the abused. So I am definitely delving into that at the next visit. Hopefully that will help.

              It’s odd but when I think about looking up these resources I’m actually afraid of learning more for fear of more of these painful flashbacks. But I definitely will be doing that, because getting past this in a healthy fashion is the ultimate priority & clearly an essential one. Thank you again, so much. Until reading this linked information, even I didn’t give full credibility to what I’d actually suffered. I am an intelligent woman, all the more amazed now at how we can be so severely manipulated. Actually, I think if anything saved me after 20-years, it was knowing that the games he was playing were so pathetically fake, keeping my consciousness aware of that. But even then, they do take unimaginable tolls because your reality is so subliminally shaken you do lose all confidence in yourself. Sorry to ramble so … Thank You!

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  2. Sorry you are being haunted by the ghost of the narcissist! I know that feeling very well…. anger bubbling up, re-living things as if they happened yesterday (flashbacks), etc. It is all exhausting. We have to remind ourselves that, as you say, it is just phases of healing, and it will pass (again). I wish that this phase of re-living will pass for you as soon as possible. I think it is great that you are writing about it, it can be very cleansing for the soul to put it all out here, in writing. Take care and be well. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your visit & comment, Survived, and for your kind sentiments. Oh sigh, it is most tedious. When I first identified this in my spouse ten years ago there weren’t the online resources there are today. Seeing my subjective interpretations of the experience put in professional words of hard cold analysis brought them back to in-full-color life. This, too, shall pass. You were astute enough to get out early and hopefully that works in your favor. I hope your ease comes swiftly. You are a ‘sister survivor’ of another kind :).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can completely understand that reading articles, aswell as other things/scenes/images, can trigger the old memories. I believe that is quite common for people who have had dealings with narcissists. Yes, it shall pass. I have also found that, it can sort of come and go in waves. And when you think the ocean has finally become calm, in comes an unexpected, large wave of the old grief. But, it will become calm once again, for a while. 🙂
        Thank you, I hope so, too. I hold hopes for both myself and for you, that we can become more and more free of this “plague” as you put it, a very accurate description, by the way!! (The word plague).

        Take care and be well. Hugs to you. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I so hope you’re wrong about the coming-backs. How far out are you? I need to believe this will pass for good & after divorce it got so much better. But what you called “flashbacks” aptly describes this event. Last month I was feeling so confident about progress I’d considered giving up counseling … now I know what this month’s topic will be :). Thank you again Survived. Next time bring better news, will ya? (LOL)

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I hope so, too. But from all I’ve read from other survivors, I have gathered that it can be a process that takes a long time, and that it will “come and go” with the grief and so on. I hope I’m wrong too! 🙂 I would like us to be completely free from all this.
            I ended the relationship 1.5 years ago “officially”, but then I unfortunately stayed on in the “narcissistic harem” (post here, if you’re interested https://survivednarc.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/hangin-in-heros-harem/ ) for more than a year after that. And even in the last few months, there has been the occasional contact…. (he is skilled at “hoovering”, and I cave, sometimes, and reply). Still, I am a firm believer in that i will only have a chance of maximum healing once I’ve gone No Contact for good.
            1 month is the longest I’ve been so far without contact… and I am working hard to stay away completely!

            I will try to bring good news as often as I can! The best of luck to you in your continued healing. 🙂 Hugs.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Mine would inevitably come crying *real* (as in run down his cheeks) tears, either very clearly mimicking some emotion or faking ill health. Not knowing about narcissism then, I remember thinking at the moment how very odd the fake tears were, but giving him benefit of doubt how they could be real & how bad I’d feel if they were & I ignored him. [Smuggly & sarcastically] … Yeh, right. It’s amazing how we allow intelligent instincts to be overcome by the goodness in us that narcissists so crave & use. I think if I could get past the anger at myself for letting it go on so long I might be okay with the rest. Oh heck, who knows. After this occurrence I stopped reading any more about it – lol. Same here, Survived, wishing you very well & quick healing. Congrats on the 1-month! A real mile-marker!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Ahh, tears. That is one thing that the narc ex of mine never really managed. He just went for love letters, grand promises for the future (all fake, of course), more lies, etc. Oh well. Thank Heavens we are away from all that!
                Thanks for the congrats and right back at you, for staying away. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for posting this. There’s so much in here that I can relate to. I’m sorry the pain resurfaced – I’m way earlier on the path than you are but I guess it is part of the emotional rollercoaster that ends somewhere in Healingland. Hugs to you dear SITR.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you so much MyWorld. I thought of your fresh struggles as I whined about my old ones :). You’re right, it will end in Healingland (what a great coin of words). Someone needs to give us the zip code, ha. It’ll get better. Yours will too. Writing and heartfelt camaraderie is a great reprieve along the way.

      Liked by 1 person

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