Suggestions for Victims of Narcissists (VoNPD’s)

June 12, 2011 — I’ve noticed that this is one of the posts that gets the most traffic on my blog, therefore I thought it was time to update it a bit. — Joyful Alive Woman

When someone makes you more unhappy than happy, it’s time to kick them out of your life.

Funny how we don’t realize that until we’re in so much pain that we begin to realize we have to get rid of someone, and usually more than one person. Why? Because we attract abusive narcissists when we are in “victim consciousness.”

I’m not referring to the usual ups and downs of any normal relationship. I’m talking about abusive relationships where the dynamic has gone on for years without improvement or resolution. Those in such a relationship know the difference. So don’t haul off dumping someone after six months of marriage, or for narcissistic reasons of your own 😉

When we identify that we are indeed the victim of a Narcissist, the first thing we need to do is begin to do what I call “get off of Victim.” I wanted to do that for years, but I didn’t know how. Many times (during different phases and circumstances of my life) I even came to believe that I was unable to learn how. It was very frustrating and devastating.

I think it’s partly because I wasn’t able to identify the original source of my victim consciousness. Finally, I learned that the source of my victim consciousness (aside from the bullying I experienced in grade school about my health problems) was my mother and my close friend, a woman I refer to on this blog as “H.”

Be very wary of those who set themselves up as an authority in any field. Be wary of any authority figure, especially one who claims to be adept at teaching spiritual principles and practices, or who simply claims to be qualified as a spiritual teacher or guide. This goes for life coaches too, now so trendy. There are many good people in that field, but I personally know of at least five people who are “life coaches” or “women’s goddess blah blah” who are very dangerous people — dangerous in the sense that they are very wounded narcissistic people who have set themselves up as leaders and experts. You don’t cross them (i.e., bring up legitimate questions or concerns) because they play dirty. Real dirty. They don’t like being challenged and they don’t take it lying down.

The self-help and spiritual world is full of good professionals who are intelligent, morally ethical and good at what they’ve trained for. However, there are also many pathologically wounded people who set themselves up as experts, leaders, figureheads. They publish books, lead specialized destination travel groups, run special interest groups, workshops and seminars. Almost always, they have “fans.” They “hold court.” They charge a lot of money. Access to them is nearly impossible unless you have money and/or power. In too many cases, these people have very serious issues. Many times their underlying motivation is obtaining never-ending sources of Narcissistic Supply in addition to their power, wealth and status.

So check these people out thoroughly first. At the first sign of more than a little Classic Narcissistic Behavior in anyone you know or meet, leave. Do not engage. Just nip it in the bud. This is true for family, friends and co-workers too. Recently I met a man I thought I was going to become involved with. However, within one week he began behaving like a Narcissist. I couldn’t deny it. I wanted to, but it was uncomfortable and I wasn’t going to travel that road again. I wrote him a letter, to which he actually responded in a positive way but I still didn’t get involved. He became history. The next paragraph explains why.

If someone who is interested in you behaves as though you don’t matter, and they’re always full of themselves, and they fail to perform the most basic social graces, you shouldn’t ignore these behaviors and you shouldn’t subject yourself to them. Really look at what the person’s agenda is, and don’t deny what you see or excuse it away. You’ll save yourself a lot of grief. This goes for female friends as well as romantic relationships.

If you are already entangled with the person or situation – disentangle. It really is just as simple as that. You don’t have to give a reason, because you will get sucked back in while trying to explain your reasons. It will only delay the inevitable – which is, they shouldn’t be in your life.

These days there are many resources – even in this economy – for leaving a relationship with any kind of abuser. You can do it if you want to. You really can. If you are addicted or simply caught up in the maddening, fruitless scenario of Narcissistic Abuse – stop. Especially if you are a Codependent/Invert Narcissist like I was for so many years, which is usually the case.

That’s right. JUST STOP. Cut it off. Do not look back.

You must take the first steps so that you can feel how it works. I was terrified, but I did it. I was heartbroken to end a three-decade friendship but I did. (What a pathetic delusion: she never considered me a close friend!) I was in disbelief, forced to acknowledge the broken pieces of my shattered fantasy, and devastated at the emptiness of realizing that the good stuff in the friendship would also be lost. Now I am incredulous that I was ever convinced I had a close friend in her — or even a friend at all in the final years.

“If we are really honest with ourselves we have to ask – what is it really that we are scared of losing? The answer – if you choose to base it on reality that is supported by evidence – is that we are scared of losing something that does not exist to begin with.” Source: Cosmic Walk blog (*Note: Unfortunately, Cosmic Walk blog no longer exists. It’s a shame really, because it’s one of two main sites that helped me immensely back in 2009 when I started this blog. Perhaps some material is cached; I hope so.)

Get rid of people who actually take delight in and feed on your anxiety, your despair, your disorientation, your low self-esteem, your subservience, your poor choices, your failures, your never-ending crises… just put a stop to it.

You will be amazed at how your life changes. The progress might be slow, but it is steady if you are resolute.

Believe it. Know it. Affirm it every day.

Realize that you have likely become addicted — to the person, the behavior, the arrangement, the circumstances. Whatever it is, you’re getting something out of it. What is that? What is the payoff for you? Because there always is one, whether you realize it, admit it or not.

What is the payoff you’re getting that you’re not willing to let go of?

In my case, I had quit work to take care of my N mother and was trapped because she helped me financially while I helped with her fatal illness. That was a trying experience, but there was an end in sight which enabled me to keep going.

In a professional therapeutic relationship, a therapist will often ask you “what is it that you’re getting from this situation? What is the payoff?”

Be honest with yourself. Often the answer surprises us at first, but then we understand why we’re making that horrible payment in order to get the payoff.  It could be guilt, it could be love, it could be pity, it could be codependency, it could be materialistic, it could be survival – as in my case, along with all of the other foregoing descriptions.

If you have even the slightest suspicion that someone does not have your best interests at heart, heed this warning, investigate further and take effective action.

As VoNPD’s we must make sure that we no longer play into the agenda of a Narcissist. That’s no small feat, because Narcissists are cunning. They do NOT have the normal capacity for sympathy. Do not play your hand, do not give out unnecessary information. Do not allow them to see you as vulnerable. Do not let them take advantage of any vulnerability you might be experiencing in your life. Do not try to get sympathy from them. You will not receive it. What you will receive instead is a knife twisting in your back on top of what you are already experiencing. (As a general rule, VoNPD’s usually have a lot of crisis in their lives until they begin to heal.)

If you look back over your life, you’ll realize that you were probably warned about the Narcissist(s) in your life – no doubt more than once. I was certainly warned! There are signs. There are also people who love you and have warned you. (A critical note: they won’t always use the word “Narcissist” and you might brush off their attempts to make you see the light.)

Many years ago, our society didn’t have the awareness of mental illness and personality disorders that it does now, but I was still warned at that time. My first warning came from a woman who approached me all the way back in 1977 ranting about the Narcissist who had just entered my life (the 33-yr friendship mentioned above). I just didn’t realize at the time that the person was actually a Narcissist. We didn’t use such words then. The word “stress” had hardly even come into common usage – incredible as that seems now.

We didn’t know about such things as Narcissism or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Even those of us who were studying human nature and pursuing spiritual ideals and methods were not aware of it. We sure had plenty of Narcissists in our spiritual arena, though – both male and female. In reality, of course, they were everywhere in society.

Since I have had to deal with so many Narcissists in my life, I no longer give people the benefit of the doubt nearly as much as I once did. My ex-husband was right about some things. From the very beginning of our relationship he told me that I was too gullible, too forgiving, too naïve, too quick to give too many people the benefit of the doubt. He saw very clearly – even though he was very young – that people often took advantage of me in both social situations and at work.

Ultimately even he used my compassion and vulnerability against me in a nasty divorce in which he had the upper hand while defaming and discarding me, and issuing death threats. Because I was in such fear and despair, I didn’t realize until much later that the 10th year of marriage was rapidly approaching and he didn’t want me to get his Social Security benefits in my old age (I was 48 at the time of the divorce, with retirement looming). He played dirty, and it nearly destroyed me. He took a vow, and broke that vow in vicious ways. When you’re a normal person (one who is compassionate and lives by The Golden Rule as much as possible) it’s very difficult to recover from that kind of abuse and betrayal.

Being a VoNPD is why I started this blog. Whether it’s a bitch of a friend, a nasty abusive husband, a wicked mother, a strange leader who doesn’t seem quite right… I want other women (and men) going through this stuff to see the light. I want them to realize that nowadays there are support systems I didn’t have many years ago. At the time of my original abuse, and during my marriage there was no internet, there were no cell phones, there were no “support groups” for abused women. There were shelters, but they didn’t offer nearly the kinds of assistance they do now. We just muddled along as best we could: either staying in the awful relationship or afterward while trying to get (and stay) away. Therefore, there is now no excuse for not seeking help and moving on!

So take heed!

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