101 Struggles Only Narcissistic Abuse Victims and Survivors Will Understand

101 Struggles Only Narcissistic Abuse Victims and Survivors Will Understand

**Trigger Warning** These statements came from real narcissistic abuse survivors and are regarding actual narcissists. Please read with this in mind**

Living with a narcissist can make you feel crazy, to say the least – but any kind of relationship with a toxic person can really mess with your head!

In my SPAN (Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in relationships) online support group, I asked the following question:

“What are some things that only victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse will understand?”

And they came up with 101 of them!

1. Constantly being put down and told I am crazy
2. Knowing someone is a threat but no one taking you seriously because you do not have a cut lip.
3.Having someone say, “but they look normal”
4. Losing most of what you owned
5. Not being taken seriously by a domestic abuse shelter because you did not fit their picture of abuse
6. Being lied to
7. Triangulation or constantly being dragged into the drama.
8. Knowing no one has your back because they are either flying monkeys or blame you for being in the situation in the first place
9. Being the problem child worker spouse when the narcissist just smiles and knowing you have been set up
10. Not knowing your power, worth, or rights.
And not even understanding that you get them from yourself and your higher power
11. Maybe explaining basic human compassion to your N. I mean not even about his treatment of you but having to explain to an adult why his behavior in a certain situation might be inappropriate. E.g. the death of this person’s father is not about you. It is the other person’s grief and your only role should be to be there for that person and this behavior would be selfish and hurtful to the other person. I felt like I was talking to a child trying to explain why it’s not nice to hit other kids or something.
12. Ongoing fear and anxiety of moving forward to have the N pull you back in…losing yourself in it all…coping skills needed..nothing is working.
13. The tantrums. Like a 3-year-old.
14. For me it’s hard to explain to ANYONE how deeply rooted the pain goes when it’s done covertly. No outwardly scars. I have a very hard time putting my finger on it myself.
15. It is difficult because from the outside looking in the covert narcissist is a saint. This was my father and my most recent experience. People don’t want to hear it and they are condescending and make me feel as if I am damaged and crazy (which I am, but not how they think!). I have been with and known other narcs as well, but the covert narc is the worst!
16. Covert narcissists are skilled manipulators. The proverbial Street angel and house devil. Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde.
17. Whenever I speak to someone, I am hyper-aware of the words I chose because I don’t want them to take what I’m saying as an insult. One of the ways my ex sister in law battered my self-esteem was to twist anything I said into an insult and she was good at it. It made me feel like not talking at all and then thinking and rethinking everything I wanted to say… I ended up coming off as a freak and completely unnatural.
18. Feeling like you are addicted to a substance, but it’s a person so you cannot go to detox.
19. Going into a relationship with a narcissist is great at the beginning. I thought I found the love of my life. Just recently I discovered I’m addicted to him. He’s doing it on purpose with the silent treatment. I wish there was a detox for this!
20. Constantly battling feeling like no one wants to hear what I have to say…worrying that I have no social value and that people think I’m a bitch.
21. Anxiety and fear of moving forward…coping skills and desperately needed support.
22. People thinking I’m crazy when I try to explain my situation.
23. Being told that you are “falling apart” without them holding you together. Without them you are pathetic. They are so much stronger than you….when the entire time you are thinking how incredibly strong you are to handle this abuse!
24. The “You know what you did” stare. It makes you feel guilty when you have no idea why.
25. Constantly being emotionally and mentally exhausted.
26. Feeling unsafe and always doubting your perception of reality
27. Never wanting to trust anyone with your heart again
28. Not wanting to waste my precious time and life on another person that doesn’t value the gift.
29. The rapid beating of the heart when the phone rings and it’s your Narc.
30. The triggers and the need to reprogram them after the abuse ends.
31. That they can not accept love from never having a single hug, kiss…and they are so damaged – it is sad.
32. The fear of authentically expressing yourself and knowing that some form of punishment will follow.
33. Never feeling safe in the relationship because the kind person that you are dealing with is fragile and will flip in one second flat. When that happens and you were already low about something to begin with, the pain you feel can be almost unbearable. You end up not trusting yourself or the universe to bring anything good to you.
34. When you live in a constant state of trying to predict and prevent mistakes, visible signs of failures, messiness, things that could be perceived as laziness, disrespect, or stupidity before the Narc gets home.
35. Hiding small purchases so you don’t get criticized for being frivolous and careless.
36. Cleaning your daughter’s room so she doesn’t get yelled at and criticized.
37. Being hyper-vigilant in all things so that you can try to avoid disappointment and lecture.
38. Looking over my shoulder wherever I go and being afraid that he’s going to be there. Not even going to buy groceries when I don’t have any food because I’m afraid I will see him.
39. The effects of toxic-relationship-induced PTSD.
40. When every six months you are given a list of “improvements” that must be made otherwise the narc is going to divorce you.
41. Emotional blackmail is constant.
42. I have a hard time making choices. And always depend on others to make them for me because it feels safer.
43. Questioning everything and doubting your ability to choose the right path.
44. When you never hear the words: “I’m sorry”, “You look nice”, “How was your day”, “What did you do today”, etc.
45. When your own daughter says “He isn’t very nice to you” or “You know Dad doesn’t like you, right?”
46. My husband and my sons told me so many times to stop talking with my mother. But being a “bad daughter” in other people’s eyes stopped me from doing so. I didn’t want my mother to be right about me. But the support from my husband, sons, family (even her side) and friends totally shocked and encouraged me. They don’t think of me as a bad daughter. But the thing is…their approval though nice isn’t necessary anymore.
47. When your daughter tells you she is afraid to leave you alone with him.
48. The stalking and watching and having decisions made for you…the controlling… you spiral further down wondering where you went.
49. The battering that your self-esteem takes and then when you finally get the courage to leave…there is nobody there to really support you because you weren’t allowed to even have any friends in real life… in other words, feeling DISCONNECTED with other human beings that really do care about you.
50. Your trust of other humans is shattered and your general feeling safe in the world is gone because your abuser managed to destroy that, also…if there was any time in your life for others to step in and say “how can I help?” – it is then….not to just ignore you like you have got the plague.
51. How to divorce a narcissist.
52. Trying to understand how a human being with not one ounce of empathy can actually be classified as a human being.
53. Being discarded with no closure.
54. When your 3-year-old granddaughter sees a smiling Bob commercial and says, “Grandma, I think grandpa needs some of that stuff to fix his smiler.” (She thought it was a commercial for smiling pills).
55. When you want to stop celebrating the holidays because of the stress of spending time with a room full of narcs.
56. When you understand that nothing the narcissists do to hurt or upset you could ever be worse than you getting upset at them for doing it. Being upset at them is unforgivable.
57. Being treated and spoken to like a child. He would come into my home office and say, “The window needs opened” and just do it without asking if I would like the window open. Every time I left the house he would have to walk me out to the car and usually give me a lecture on how to drive even how to get in the car and also warnings about all the bad things that could happen. When I told him this made me feel infantilized, he responded, “You just don’t appreciate my helping you and doing things for you. Plenty of women would be grateful for me.”
58. Whenever I bring up ANY topic I wish to discuss that involves ANY involvement his part, the subject is immediately redirected as a missile in my direction. No matter how far off-topic it may be, suddenly I am the immediate focus of the source of the problem, the reason that the solution cannot be obtained, and the villain of the day. Amazing how he is a master of turning the tables. No amount of reasoning no matter how much logic I throw at him can thwart him. His confidence in his beliefs are unshakable. Its a losing battle but still my sense of incredulity overrides my common sense.
59. Cognitive dissonance. For example, you see obvious signs a narc has been cheating on you and you choose to believe the lies the narc tells you about what’s really happening.
60. Always feeling I have to solve everyone’s problems. Or explain why someone is acting stupid – as if it’s all my fault.
61. I used to be the person who would say that every child needs both parents. After narcissistic abuse, I see exactly why some children must never see the narcissist parent. Now people ask me the same question. They are where I used to be and probably think I am cruel for fighting so hard to keep the little one from him.
62. Going to sleep in fear and waking up in dread every day. With no resolution in sight. Feeling stuck. A living nightmare that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
63. The Gaslighting.
64. Flying monkeys.
65. Being isolated from people who actually care about you.
66. Getting married or romantically involved with a narcissist and realizing that you were also raised by one.
67. Being disgusted with yourself for not taking action to leave.
68. Repeated attempts to leave and repeated hoovering and love bombing episodes to keep you hooked.
69. Being shocked by the consistently outrageous behavior they display in private.
70. Smear campaigns.
71.The constant”loop” …that hooks & holds your brain’s thought patterns on a repetitive “rewind/record button” that plays over & over & over again making you trapped with the”what if’s” ??? Why didn’t I do this? Why wasn’t I smart enough, before after the fact? If, I had only? IF, IF, IF??!!
72. The narcissistic flip – when the narcissist gets mad at you for being upset or disappointed in him/her.
73. Never feeling good enough.
74. Feeling like you’re not a “real person”
75. Being treated like property instead of a person.
76. Always putting the narcissist’s needs before your own because you don’t want to make him/her angry.
77. Narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury.
78. Hearing the narcissist’s car in the driveway and warning your kids so they can hide out and avoid the wrath.
79. Becoming so numb that you don’t even feel joy anymore.
80. Dissociation that becomes toxic.
81. Using the gray rock method to survive.
82. The horrible unsympathetic attitude of ‘why are you still with him? You must enjoy it’ (even my narc said this to me, which later would change to “How dare you even think of leaving me?!?”)
83. The long and repeated silent treatments you’re subjected to.
84. You understand what it’s like to be the constant source of criticism and blame that turns you into a frightened, mentally paralyzed version of your former self that you have to bring back to life. Only your youth is gone, your looks are fading, your energy is drained and your hopes and dreams are crushed.
85. Always being told you are weak. So you stand up for yourself and then you are told you are crazy and full of drama.
86. The triangulation and smear campaigns that the Narc perpetrates against the target. Including; using your own family and children of all ages.
87. You understand what it’s like to carry the emotional weight for someone you love only to be told that it’s your fault that they have emotional problems in the first place.
88. Fight and/or flight
89. Walking on eggshells
90. Feeling manipulated and intimated no one seeing it but you
91. The one-sided, manipulative phone calls.
92. Love bombing.
93. Narcissistic altruism – the gift that keeps on taking. The narcissist is not selfless. Whenever the narcissist “does” for you, they expect to be “paid back.”
94. Wondering if the narcissist is right about you.
95. Wondering if YOU are the narcissist.
96. Feeling lonely and like everyone in your life is a narcissist.
97. Being homeless.
98 Believing that you were loved and learning that the narcissist isn’t capable of love.
99. Always feeling like you are dead inside.
100. Wishing you could just talk to someone who understands – and having no one in your life who fits the bill.
101. Dealing with flying monkeys

Would love to hear your thoughts – and your own experiences – in the comments!

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already. Hugs and love to all of my survivors! Get my books at http://booksangiewrote.com and pick up your free 5-day fear-busting email course (especially designed for narcissistic abuse survivors) at http://narcissismsupportcoach.com.

Narcissists and One-Sided Calls: Proving You Aren’t the Crazy One

Narcissists and One-Sided Calls: Proving You Aren’t the Crazy One

Today, we are going to talk about the one-sided phone calls we’ve all experienced with narcissists and how they use this tactic to manipulate you, manipulate others and to elicit new sources of narcissistic supply.

One of my coaching clients asked me today if a “one-sided phone conversation” was a commonly used narcissistic abuse/manipulation tactic – and with her permission, I am sharing part of what she said to me about it.

In part, she said: When (the narcissist) calls from work..(if he decides to) out of no where he will say stuff like, “What is wrong with you?” or “Why are you starting a fight?” or “Why are you being a bitch, why are you doing this, you just like to fight…etc.” Is this something everyone else in this situation has had to deal with?

My answer? Oh yes indeed, and here’s what happens.

Picture this. Your narcissist is standing in front of a room full of co-workers or friends, and you call him/her about something you need to ask him/her or info you need to pass along.

As the phone rings, he or she groans and says to the people in the room, “Oh GOD! Not this again…”

Begrudgingly picking up the phone, he/she says, “Hello?” ever so sweetly.

You say hi and say whatever you have to say – and before you know it, the narcissist is saying strange things – things that don’t make logical sense in the conversation and that don’t seem to be responses to what you’re saying.

Next thing you know, the narc seems enraged or offended, and is saying stuff like, “You’re crazy!” Or “Geez, you’re so paranoid/controlling/bitchy/lazy/desperate/etc.” And the more you try to convince the narc that you’re really not trying to offend him/her and that you just wanted to see if they’d stop by the store and grab a gallon of milk on the way home (or whatever), the more he/she seems to ramp up the bullshit.

Suddenly, you hear him/her tell you “I’ve had enough! Don’t talk to me. I don’t think I’m coming home tonight,” or whatever version of that seems to hurt you the most, and then the phone goes dead.

So where does this leave you? Hanging by a proverbial thread, in most cases.

Now you’re confused – you’ve just been gaslighted. You wonder if you’re the crazy one – AND, on top of that, you realize that conversation just happened in front of other people, who are now judging you based on ONE SIDE of a really strange conversation that has left you completely spinning and lost.

See what just happened there? You got “narc’d” so to speak – the narcissist pretended that you were a crazy, awful or otherwise unsavory person, thereby not only cementing his/her position that YOU are the problem in your relationship with the people around him – but also, you’ve been used to elicit additional sources of narcissistic supply.

Now, the people who heard that conversation will begin to feel sorry for the narc, and in some cases, will use this as an opportunity to attempt to get closer to him or her. And of course the narcissist knows it – and that’s exactly the reason he or she did it – in order to get the attention and pseudo-validation he or she requires every single second of every single day.

How to Deal When the Narcissist Hangs Up the Phone

What can you do about it? You’re stuck with this now-corroded self-image that the narcissist keeps putting on you to their “flying monkeys” and so you know that no matter what you say or do, it can be interpreted to highlight or validate the narcissist’s lies about you.

So the only thing you can do in this case is:

1. Avoid all phone calls with the narcissist unless absolutely necessary and
2. When or if you do have to get on the phone, stay calm, keep it quick, and don’t indulge the games. Keep your emotions out of it.

You might also consider texting instead – and one client I know even records the calls. Who can blame her?

Should You Expose the Narcissist?

Okay, now we’re going to talk about what else you could do, if you wanted, to expose the narcissist to the people around him or her – if you really feel like you want to do that. TO be fair, the best option is really to just NOT engage the narcissist, to move on and to go no contact. But, failing that…here’s some stuff you might wanna know. Check out this video.

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Step-Monster: The Life-Long Effects of Having a Narcissistic Step-Parent

Step-Monster: The Life-Long Effects of Having a Narcissistic Step-Parent

We all know some amazing people who are the best step-parents they could be, right? You know the ones – they’re the moms and dads they “didn’t have to be.” But what happens when you’re dealing with a toxic step-parent? Well, that’s a whole other experience.

What happens when your child’s other parent, or YOUR parent, marries a narcissist?

What if your step-mother or step-father (or narcissistic spouse) is a toxic narcissist? What does that mean and what happens next?

I’m starting off by answering a question from two YouTube viewers named Nikki B and 57goku who ask:

“Can you do a video on narcissists and step children?”

What is a toxic, malignant narcissist?

A narcissist, in general, someone with a high opinion of him/herself. In narcissistic abuse situations, this refers to a toxic, verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive person who may have narcissistic personality disorder. A malignant narcissist, on the other hand, is someone who has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) along with antisocial features, paranoid traits, and ego-driven aggression. They may also exhibit an absence of conscience, a psychological need for power, and an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement.

Defining Narcissistic Step-Parents

How can you tell you’re dealing with a narcissistic step-parent? First of all, we’re not talking about a new step-parent who just needs to get used to his or her new family – a healthy person won’t have the issues we’re about to discuss.

We’re talking about a narcissistic stepmother who intentionally plots her way into the heart and mind of a man who has kids – or the narcissistic stepfather who gets jealous when his wife pays attention to her own kids instead of him, for example.

These kinds of narcissists are especially toxic because they get into the marriage for all the wrong reasons – often money or status – and who will let no ex-husband or ex-wife (let alone KIDS) get in the way of getting what they want.

For women, they often cement their role the way many female narcissists do – sex. First, they’re friendly and warm with both their men and their stepkids, listening to their every problem and concern and becoming irreplaceable in their lives.

When the marriage is still fresh and new and the family is still on their best behavior, the narc step-parent might seem to really be devoted to the kids. S/he nice, s/he’s polite and she generally pretends s/he’s interested in their lives.

As the kids start to become more comfortable, though, so does the “evil” stepmom or dad, and then things start to get rough.

Once they get their hooks thoroughly in place, narcissistic step-moms and step-dads will pull the old switcheroo and show their true narcissistic face – and no matter how good-looking they are, that is ONE UGLY FACE.

And often, when it comes to the “real” parent, s/he can’t see a problem with his new spouse – they can do no wrong in their eyes. Sometimes a natural parent even gets in on the deal by becoming – a narcissistic step-parent’s flying monkey – willingly or not.

How Kids Experience Narcissistic Step-Parents

Everybody takes their family for granted, sometimes, because that’s how human nature goes. But when you’re being raised by a narcissist, it’s a whole other ball of wax – and narcissistic step-parents can sometimes be even more traumatic for a kid because they may replace a “regular” parent (one who isn’t a narcissist).

As far as kids see it, there are several signs of a narcissistic step-parent – though they won’t know the label, they’ll have experienced such as the following.

  1. Step-parent is self-centered and vain. They have an overly inflated sense of self-importance.
  2. Step-parent uses the kids. They will take advantage of the children and others in their lives without a second thought – s/he expects everyone, including your kids, to cater to him or her and doesn’t mind exploiting them when it suits him or her.
  3. Step-parent loves the spotlight. You already know that narcissists want and need to be the center of attention. When a kid shines, a narc step-parent will feel slighted and feel like the kid is throwing shade their way – and this can lead to him or her throwing a bunch of narcissistic rage or narcissistic injury on your child’s head.
  4. Step-parent has awesome moments. You might not have expected me to note this, but there are some pretty cool things about narcissists when they’re in their element. That’s why every now and then, you might find one hanging out with the kids and bonding like nobody’s business. He or she might also tell fantastic stories. That’s because a lot of narcissists have an imagination like no one’s business – their ambition and self-interest borders on unrealistic, making them perfect playmates under the right circumstances. But the flip side of that is that these times become rare or even non-existent when a narc step-parent becomes comfortable enough in the family to “let it all hang out.”
  5. Step-parent ignores the child and is not sympathetic to him/her at all. Since narcs don’t experience empathy, it’s common for them to disregard how others feel – and this will confuse your kid. At the same time, narc step-parents will be incredibly sensitive in their OWN feelings and will expect everyone, even the smallest children, to share his/her concern. Which brings me to my next point…
  6. Step-parent throws a fit and over-punishes your child for “disrespecting” or otherwise annoying him or her. Sometimes, your kid will be standing there in utter shock while a narcissistic step-parent rages against him for some perceived sense of being disrespected or annoyed by them. Or maybe the narc felt criticized. This will inevitably lead to the step-parent throwing off an inordinate amount of anger, right at your child – and if you don’t jump in and back him or her up – you can guarantee that you’ll be in trouble. But if you do, your kid feels betrayed by the one person who’s supposed to protect him or her. And god forbid you try to stand up for your baby – that’ll cost you BIGTIME. But you might do it anyway because you’d rather let the pain rain down on you, right?
  7. Step-parent is super scary when he/she is angry. A narc’s anger can hurt more than any physical abuse – it can cut to the bone. And for a child, it can cause permanent and significant psychological damage.
  8. Step-parent isn’t present much. Since a narc needs so much “narcissistic supply” from people both inside and outside the family, the kids will often feel like other parents hang with their families more than theirs. And the kicker? A narc step-parent is also more likely to make the natural parent spend less time with their kids because, as always, they want all of the attention on themselves – and they resent anyone or anything that stands in their way.
  9. Step-parent only interacts with kids on their terms. A narc step-parent won’t be bothered with learning about what your kids enjoy – they’ll only do things with them if THEY enjoy those things. If the kid enjoys them, great. If not, no problem for the narc. And if the kid has the nerve to complain – out comes the old narcissistic rage or narcissistic injury.
  10. Step-parent only cares how your kid appears to his/her friends and/or colleagues. He/she will only be important to the narc step-parent when the narc can brag about him/her. And your kid will be well-aware of it, sadly.
  11. Step-parent never gives kids what they really need. Even if the narc step-parent provides for your kid on a material level, your kid will feel deprived on a whole other level – the emotional one. If the kid needs attention and affection (which every child does), the narc may give it but only sporadically – and only when it benefits the narc.

How Do You Help Your Kid Deal With the Aftermath of a Narcissist Step-Parent?

You need to help your child come to terms with how they’ve been hurt by this step-parent and how they can move forward.

You have to understand that your kid may have suffered on a level you can’t fully understand.

How do the kids deal with a narcissist step-parent on their own?

Sometimes, they’ll band together other kids and team up “against” the narc and emotionally support one another – or older kids will begin to protect the younger ones, taking all the pain on themselves to prevent it from raining down on them.

Other times, they’ll spend less time at home and they’ll eventually leave home earlier than they might’ve.

What are the effects of a narcissistic step-parent on the kids?

Narcissistic step parents can have profound effects on your kids. For example, each time their natural parent sides against them with a step-parent, the kid feels like they’re left standing alone and they’ll have feelings of betrayal and abandonment.

A lot of adults who had narcissistic step-parents report that they felt like their parent was “taken away” by the step-parent or that they lost their childhoods and the deep care and love of a “real” parent.

Some go into psychotherapy and mourn the loss of their parent and to deal with those feelings of abandonment and betrayal.

How does this affect the narcissistic step-parent?

Sadly, the narcissistic step-parent will feel little guilt for alienating and sometimes even completely destroying the relationship between parent and child – because, as they see it, they’ve “won” the attention game. And when the kids are adults, the narcissistic step-parent will celebrate.

Worse, some will repeat this pattern with multiple families.

What does dealing with a narcissist step-parent do to your child?

As your child grows older, they may even be at risk of becoming a narcissist themselves. While that applies more to men than women, women are more likely to BECOME VICTIMS themselves. In either case, you don’t want that for your kid, right?

How can you protect your kids from a narcissistic step-parent?

Start by helping yourself. Let me explain what I mean.

First, recognize that emotional abuse will leave scars you can’t see – but the long-term effects are REAL, and the pain goes on long after the relationship ends.

Recognize your own feelings – you might have a lot of guilt, or intense grief, disbelief, or even just plain old pain. You might feel really ashamed of allowing your kids to get tangled up with your narc spouse (or ex-spouse). And you know that when you were being abused by the narcissist, you were probably not as good of a parent as you wanted to be.

Maybe you were just emotionally unavailable, or maybe you just know that your kids heard and saw way too much in the way of arguments and abuse – and in seeing the state you wound up in when all was said and done.

And recognize that your kids might have seen you as helpless or crazy – or maybe just totally powerless.

The only way you can help your kids get better is by getting better yourself – by taking back YOUR OWN POWER.

You might also like to read this book.

If you pull the old “self-sacrificing parent” deal and end up not taking care of yourself, you’re providing a not-so-awesome example of how to lay down and take it. I’m sorry for the harshness, but please know that it’s tough love.

You MUST lead the way by showing them how it’s done – show your kids what healing and self-empowerment look like. Otherwise, they’ll just stay stuck in those same toxic patterns.

You have to heal your kids by healing yourself. Period.

Finally, be an ear for your kids – listen to their concerns, their fears, and their successes – and validate them appropriately. Don’t overcompensate; you won’t be doing them any favors – but DO be genuine with them and ensure that you actually validate them on an emotional and psychological level whenever possible. Make sure they know that YOU KNOW that they are REAL people who have REAL value – you feel me?

Question of the Day: Have you dealt with a narcissistic step-parent, either as a child or as a spouse? How’d you handle it, and what advice would you offer someone who is dealing with it right now? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below this video. You never know whose life you might change by doing so.

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