Monday, August 31, 2015

why narcissistic abuse can hurt so much

name of art: "Effects of Child Abuse"
image is © Lise Winne
watercolor, ink and graphics, 2015
(for questions regarding use of images or to contract an image for your next article
contact: LilacGroveGraphics (att)

People in healthy relationships work out differences by adopting these practices: "I am sorry." "I forgive you." "I want to understand what happened." "Let's work it out." "I want this relationship to work out, so let's talk it out." "I'm trying to understand where you are coming from." "Do we understand each other? I think that is what is most important right now before we hammer out a solution." "I know you are hurt, but I honestly didn't mean to do that." "I love you. The love is so much stronger than either of our agendas. So I hope there is a compromise we can both live with." "I'd love to resolve this with you so that we are both mostly satisfied, even if we can't be all satisfied." "This is a relationship. That means both of us have to be heard and considered." "You are so precious to me. I would love to work this out with you." "We can resolve this."  "I'm so glad we can talk things out." "Let's make up!"

Most relationships fall into that category. It's what most people expect when they are in new relationships too. Which is why it throws a lot of us off guard when we encounter narcissists.

There is a huge difference in the way conflicts are approached when you are with a narcissist.

Narcissists work out differences by going on the attack. They have reprimanding sessions. Their favorite phrase is "You have a vivid imagination." Other attacks include: "I always knew you were crazy!" "I would never say that!" "It's your fault." "You are to blame for ALL of this!" "You know what's wrong with you? I'll tell you!" "You need to learn a lesson!" "I don't care if this relationship works out or it doesn't. I just don't want to hear any more." "If you say one more thing ..." "You need to apologize!" "I'm not going to dignify that with an answer!" "If that's the way you feel, I'm warning you! You'll pay for it!" "I'm sorry you feel that way." (coldly). "You're better than that!" "Wow! You need to get a grip!" "Ha! Ha! Guess what? I don't care!" "You're a spawn of the devil!" "How dare you!!"

Big difference!

And this is not all! Narcissists love (and I mean LOVE) the silent treatment as a weapon. Every time you want to talk normal, in a healthy way, you are met with a barrage of more reprimanding, blaming, stonewalling, patronizing, insults, goading and the sulking silent treatment unless you say exactly what the narcissist wants to hear. Except you'll never know what they want to hear because they are notorious for saying, "It should be obvious!" or "As if you didn't know!" They think everyone should read their minds! So, it is a guessing game. If you don't get the guess right, they just give you more of the silent treatment. It is more indicative of how three year olds act when they do not have good communication skills and want an adult to understand what they are feeling and thinking at all times.

If that wasn't enough, they also expect you to apologize when they've abused you. You are supposed to feel that they can't help but be abusive, that you have to give them a different set of moral standards than they give you. They think that all of their abusive tendencies are because it's someone else's fault and because everyone else except them is flawed and is deeply provoking to the narcissist. That is why they are personality disordered: their view of the world is that they are perfect and no one else is, so everything that goes wrong, even if it goes a little wrong, the blame has to go away from them and onto someone else. When they feel someone is to blame, they retaliate in the most destructive way they can, and feel their victim deserves it. They are teflon people with huge egos.

They have been known to be totally shocked and surprised when therapists tell them they are not so special, that they are not better than others. They have also been known to be just as dumbfounded  when they've committed a crime and told they are as culpable and responsible for it as anyone who commits the same crime.

So, the result is that you can't work things out. The narcissist doesn't want to work things out; all he (or she) wants is for you to realize that your stature is lower than his, that you don't deserve equal treatment or to be considered, and that he has a right to belittle you, berate you, lecture you, insult you, dominate you, enslave you to his agenda and abuse you.

In the meantime, you are expected to walk on paper thin eggshells so that he doesn't attack you further.

People who have been brought up in normal households, mostly walk away from relationships with narcissists. Their parents have taught them good boundaries and what respect and understanding sounds like. When you grow up with addicted, neglectful, traumatized, psychologically disordered, abusive, borderline, narcissistic or sociopathic parents, your parents never taught you good boundaries, and your radar for sensing toxicity in a potential partner is compromised. Additionally, if you have been brought up as the scapegoat (where blame for everything that goes wrong in the family is heaped on you), or shaming (which is emotional abuse designed to make you feel worthless) or to feel you are flawed, then your guilt about it can override your boundaries. This is how narcissists slip into your life. Once they are in your life, they wreak havoc, bring misery and trauma, and they can even destroy you. And then you have to figure out how to safely extricate yourself from them (and make no mistake about it, safety is a big concern as perpetrators escalate violence when their target is just leaving, or right after the target has left).

The trauma is what is hardest to get over. Your "We can work it out" healthy attitudes are taken advantage of, stepped all over, and in the end, crucified. "We can work it out" in effect is met with an implied "You are crap! How dare you not capitulate to me!" or "How dare you criticize me!"

"We can work it out" should only be met with "Yes, we can work it out." If it is anything other than that, you are probably dealing with a toxic disordered person.

For a list of cluster B personality disorders that practice abuse and domestic violence go here.

To understand why narcissistic silent treatments are abuse and can cause trauma in their victims (C-PTSD), go here.

To understand why most abusers do not want to change the way they behave, go here.

If you think that you won't be abused if you do everything your abuser wants at all times, and that you are willing to be saintly and altruistic, think again and go here (abuse tends to escalate no matter what, and especially if you become docile, passive and don't fight for yourself).

Most abusers attack you on many levels: verbally, emotionally, and sometimes physically, by triangulating, by raging and blaming, by expecting from you perfect execution of words and feelings that they approve of, through gaslighting, through blame-shifting and projection, through gossip and smear campaigns, through isolation tactics, through denouncing your feelings, through financial abuse or underhanded financial competition, through erroneous blaming, through any kind of injustice they can think of, through hypocrisy, and finally by pretending to be the victim of you. If your parent is abusive, they will most likely be playing nasty favoritism games between you and your siblings too, in addition to all of these attacks. If you are married, they are most likely putting you through love triangles. And if all of this is not enough, they get a gleeful attitude, a bounce in their step, a happy smile, which they try to make known to their target (victim) in any way they can -- in other words they "get off" on being abusive and getting away with abuse.

sign #1

Hopelessness coupled with the trauma of having been abused, is why it hurts so much. Depression, sadness and internalized anger are often the outcomes.

I found this on Peace's facebook page (he has written a number of books under that pseudonym):

remember children:

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

most long term relationships are destroyed by ego, indifference or abuse

name of cartoon: "Ego and Heart"
image is © Lise Winne
(for questions regarding use of images or to contract an image for your next article
contact: LilacGroveGraphics (att)

(Note: for a list of abuses, emotional, verbal, physical, financial and sexual, visit this post)
A good rule of thumb in detecting whether you are being abused or not, is if the other person is intentionally trying to hurt you through words and actions. Blaming can also be emotional abuse if most or all of what is going wrong in the relationship is being attributed to you by your partner (i.e. all your fault) or you are being blamed for their abusive behavior.

The Buddhists knew it all along: relationships are destroyed by ego ... even the relationship you have with yourself! More on this later.

It is easy to figure out why relationships are destroyed by indifference: "I don't care!" spoken too many times to your partner means that you are putting up a wall, negating their perspectives, perceptions, experiences and life-force. Their needs, love, thoughts, responses and unique qualities are no longer important to you. This means that you are no longer having a relationship with them and the rift deepens as hurt feelings multiply and the wall that you have put up to block their perspectives widen.

The faux-apology like "I'm sorry you feel that way" when they are hurt by your non-loving responses or actions would come under this category as well.

But what about abuse? Why would anyone want to abuse their loved ones in a relationship? As I have stated in this post and this post, abuse can be learned, but most often it comes from personality-disordered individuals: borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. Some addictions like alcoholism can mimic personality disorders, particularly narcissism.

I have talked a lot about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in many posts in this blog. Having this disorder is a crisis in ego. The NPD wants to control and dominate others. They want  followers and admirers first and foremost, over intimacy, over a connection of souls sharing the experiences of life, over building familiarity, commonality and trust.

In order to obtain admirers, masking is required. The mask of the NPD is where the NPD puts all of their pride, not in the authentic self.

Most NPDs break out into a rage if they feel they are criticized, critiqued, or indeed, if any words or actions from others they are close to are portraying autonomy, or a difference of opinion, even if it is not meant to hurt the narcissist. They take criticism and autonomy to mean that they are not valued. If people in their lives are not thinking about them on a consistent basis, they are like a plant that shrivels. If their loved ones are not admiring, praising, walking on eggshells around the narcissist and thanking them at every turn, they feel useless. If their so-called admirers aren't doing exactly what is expected, the narcissist's pattern is to retaliate and rage, then to move onto accusations and a torrent of blame-shifting, then to discard via the silent treatment and finding another person to take their place. They can alternately move onto someone else before they get to the silent treatment to send you the message that you aren't worthy of them. It is all very, very strategic abusive behavior on their part.

So why do they abuse if it will ultimately make their victims feel less admiring, less invested, less trusting, more distant, more disgusted, more resentful, more critical -- and haunt the abuser to the point where they feel they have to cover their tracks with endless excuses, more desperate erroneous blaming, diverting and lies to keep the safety of the mask on? Surely they know that once they abuse, that's the sign to their victims that the mask has come off, and all that will be left standing in its place is an abuser with very little decency and virtue.

Well, why do you think they run away so easily from responsibility and their relationships? It is because the mask is where all of their pride and self worth are invested and bundled; the authentic self behind the mask is deeply shamed and lacking in integrity. Indeed their real souls probably want integrity, so that they don't have to create so many lies and crazy-making counter defensive strategies, which can usually be undermined by more and more of their false stories being exposed, with the need for their ever-more desperate cover-ups.

But, most narcissists would rather falsify and cover up than take the relatively easier path of obtaining integrity through honest means. That's why it is a personality disorder: it is destructive to self and to others, and like an addiction, it creates an illusion of being happy and fulfilled, a life being well-lived. To a narcissist, it is easier to just go out and find another admirer or victim than to work on relationships and have integrity. This is why narcissists are known for having short term relationships that end abruptly, sometimes without discussion or reflection. The shamed self often is exposed when someone finds out the narcissist was or is abusive. They feel too entitled or lazy to work on relationships they are already involved in, so they cover up their shame by a barrage of blaming and diverting, never taking responsibility for their part in the destruction of their relationships (this is very similar to the way alcoholics and addicts act too). They lie to others about how their partners treat them (feigned victimization) so that they can preserve the mask at all costs, even if they risk getting caught, even if investing in that mask is a bad investment that will ultimately bring the narcissist to his knees.

If the ego was healthy, there would be no need to rage over others' perceptions and imperfections of oneself, or to lie about events to make themselves look better than they actually are.

Many normal people have a little bit of narcissism, but most of us don't act on it. We can be hurt by criticism, and perhaps even feel like lashing out and sulking in silence (silent treatment) for a few hours, or at most a day, but the difference is that most of us still don't react in that way because our empathetic natures are much more prevalent than our narcissistic natures. We care about what our actions will do to the people we love and the relationships we have invested in. People with normal doses of empathy have the ability to self reflect, and search within to see if the criticism is legitimate. If the criticism is legitimate, then we might want to respond or change for the better, or for the sake of the other person. Or we might express why we don't want to, and expect the other person to respect our boundaries and decisions about it. Most people don't try to hurt the other person in a relationship, or throw the relationship away (that is the territory of narcissistic behavior).

From an article on The Good Men Project, Joanna Schroeder states:

... marriages aren’t destroyed by a lack of knowledge, lack of innovation, or lack of grandeur. Marriages are destroyed by ego. And it is ego that keeps us from hearing the voice inside, which is whispering the answers we already know about how to make our marriages come alive ... Marriages aren’t healed with big things; they’re healed with small things done every day. They aren’t healed by doing new things; they’re healed by doing old things we used to do and quit doing somewhere along the way. And, if we can set aside our ego for a little while, we don’t need anyone to tell us what those things are. We already know. Beneath all of our hiding and pretending and protecting and defending and accusing and criticizing, there is a voice always whispering the answer. -- Joanna Schroeder

When a married person has an affair, or is seduced by another, and puts on a mask to his spouse that he or she is being faithful, the mask is hiding the fact that they are not faithful. When the mask comes off, there is usually a crisis. The person behind the mask is exposed as a liar and a cheater and it can be devastating to the spouse on the receiving end: "All along I thought you had integrity! All along I thought you were invested in our marriage! All along I thought you loved me! All along I thought you were honest! All along I thought you were the kind of person who would fight to keep your integrity and resist temptation!"

The trauma doesn't just happen in the spouse who found out; it is also in the person who got found out (exposure). What happens next is how to determine whether it was a lack in judgement, a lack of care and concern, or whether it is outright abusive behavior.

Does your partner admit to a failure in integrity or weakness with obvious shame? Do they try to make amends? Are they willing to attribute blame to themselves and take responsibility? Are they willing to stop the affair (i.e. to stop hurting you?). Are they willing to go to counseling with you? Do they care about how their actions effected you, your feelings, your trust, your security, your relationship?

If they don't care about what kind of effect their actions have on you, that is a red flag. That is a sign of some narcissism, i.e. "I mostly only care about what I want and you always will come after that." Be aware that alcoholics and addicts can display narcissistic or manipulative tendencies too: it is often a part of their disease -- and don't forget that sex addiction is a classified real addiction and it can mean your partner is putting their addiction before their marriage as well.

A strong indicator of your spouse abusing you by having an affair is any one of the following: putting the blame for their actions and their affair on you, excusing themselves of all responsibility, flaunting their lover in your face, expecting you to compete with their lover, continued signs of indifference to you or your feelings, expecting you to fix the marriage, expecting you to fix their desires to have affairs, expecting you not to feel, pathological lying when you have asked for the truth, blaming you for being hurt (i.e. being told "you create drama", "you're too sensitive", "you shouldn't be hurt", and blame-shifting like: "if you weren't hurt, sad and depressed all of the time, I wouldn't have an affair"), gaslighting ("you didn't see me kissing my lover; it was all in your imagination"), expecting preferential treatment because they are desired by someone else (i.e. "put your needs and feelings aside for what I want; it is your responsibility to save our marriage"). There are many more, but this is a start: in general, abuse is doing things to intentionally hurt you, destroy your self esteem, and/or blaming you for their actions.

Be aware that once abuse is part of your relationship, the frequency, duration and intensity all tend to escalate. There is often little choice but to get out.

In old age, the narcissist usually destroys the relationship they have with their own egos too. They have been abandoned or have abandoned others many times over. The elderly narcissist can be lonely and bitter. The people left aren't the healthy people with hearts who care about intimacy, ethics, compassion and justice. The healthy people have left long ago because health means living without the abuse and continued dominance of another, health means not living with falsified stories that shift and sway to an agenda, health means not being co-dependent with abusers.

Who knows why narcissists get rid of all of the good people with hearts in their lives, but I think it may be their soul's way of teaching itself a brutal lesson which is possibly karmic. There may be a good soul behind the mask of the abuser. That sounds weird to say that. How can "good person" and "abuser" be in the same sentence? Well, if it is stripped of the mask, it would have no choice but to work on the shamed self that caused all of the abuses because it couldn't stand itself otherwise. No more lies, no more spinning, no more blaming of others, no more arrogance and hypocrisy, no more expecting of others that they would never expect of themselves, means working hard on integrity, and keeping vigilant of it. The mask is used only to prolong, to obstruct the soul taking the right path, the path of authenticity.

Thus narcissists are often betrayed by the ones who are left in their world because the ones who are left are impervious to abuse; they are usually fellow narcissists willing to overlook the abuse of the elder narcissist. They look past the abuse for one reason only: to seduce and croon their way into the inner realm, waiting to swoop in to get the spoils. As soon as the elderly narcissist is weak, the fellow narcissists do what they do best: treat their aged fellow narcissist as prey: raging at the slightest protest, going back on their word, intolerant of criticisms, depriving them of a voice, abusing, discarding and exploiting with impunity.

An elderly narcissist that hasn't weakened yet will still have the ability to punish, and their grown children and elderly spouse take the brunt of it, but the narcissist's smear campaigns can be relatively ineffectual (because the family is onto them by the time they are old: the truth has a way of coming out in bits and pieces eventually). Their money and their looks are not much use to them except for providing essentials: they can't buy admiration, health and security, and they can't seduce more lovers.

The mask of the unhealthy ego which says I'm perfect and special and you are not, then, is at war with their real selves. By desperately trying to hold onto the one thing they've invested in for most of their lives at the expense of ALL relationships, the mask starts its disintegration when there are no more good people to exploit. Now it is their turn to be exploited. As their fellow crocodiles are attacking and chomping away at them, the mask is the first thing to go because it is the shield to what the crocs really want, the shamed, fearful, shivering, self, that the elder narcissist hid. The weakened elder is more and more at the mercy of their own shame, as the crocs bring it out in one layer of denial after another, expecting the weakening elder to capitulate to demands, and to cry for mercy and relief. Begging is the grand prize to all narcissists and it doesn't matter if the beggar is a fellow narcissist.

(I also recommend reading the writing that goes with the link to the picture above) 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

If you are good and show altruism and magnanimity, will that keep you from being abused?

name of cartoon: "The Question"
image is © Lise Winne
(for questions regarding use of images or to contract an image for your next article
contact: LilacGroveGraphics (att)

The answer should be obvious.

If you base your worth on whether other people think you are good or bad, then when you are told you are bad (even if there is evidence to the contrary), then you suffer by their yard stick.

According to this Help Guide post:

If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive.

Any relationship where you have to walk on eggshells, usually escalates. This means over time, ever more thin eggshells, ever more rage, ever more controlling behavior over what you do and say. You can be perfectly good, and as sweet as an angel, but the abuse will escalate (unless your abuser has an extremely rare epiphany, which is doubtful). Ask any domestic abuse counselor or survivor.

Most abusers design their actions to reward "goodness" and punish "badness" (usually), so it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you always please them, they'll keep rewarding you. However, there will be some point where you will have to assert your autonomy (not take orders). There will be a huge blow-up about it and probably a pretty severe punishment too, to try to get you back in line again, bending under pressure. The punishment may be so severe and long lasting that you don't think it is worth it to assert yourself (at least on the issue you chose), so you go back to the relationship compromising away your soul bit by bit. What matters most to victims is keeping the abuser placid. What matters most to perpetrators is keeping the victim compliant. The victim wants a rage-free relationship, and thinks it is better to sacrifice herself (or himself) to that end. The perpetrator wants to rage, reject and punish at any point, especially if he (or she) is not pleased, and wants to be unconditionally loved for it, and thinks it is better to sacrifice his partner for short stints over and over, as long as he can effectively guilt trip her and then woo her back.

Abusers with personality disorders get smug over all of the details and signals that they are winning a dominance game. They love to see their magic at controlling you working. They love your docility and compliance and willingness to please. The problem is that they want you to be "better" rather than just "good"; in fact they want to be able to completely control every part of you, and roll over you like a steamroller when you are not doing as they want or at a weak point in your life, so punishing you more severely will be the only way to accomplish that. That is why abusers escalate the abuse. They get into a cycle and rhythm: you are wooed and charmed, then they start getting edgy and snippy, then they terrorize you, then they blow-up at you, round and round. When you capitulate more and more and more and more, you eventually become their slave. At the point where you are dependent on them for something, they no longer feel the need to win you over, so disregarding any and all of your feelings, thoughts and perspectives, your health and well being, and being downright dangerous begins to feel pretty normal to them. 

This is the point when many victims see the problem with their dependency and how abuse is locking them in to a worsening nightmare, and they want to leave their perpetrators. Perpetrators graduating from verbal and emotional abuses, to physical abuse is largely why 75 percent of those trying to leave, or who have just left, an abusive violent relationship will be killed. That statistic is scary high.

Abusers with Narcissistic Personality Disorder discard their "loved ones" when they get bored, when they feel criticized, or when people aren't doing exactly as they want. A lot of times the rejection (discard) comes over a flimsy argument, or because they have found a new supply (someone who they think will make a better sycophant and give them everything they want and demand). NPDs are always bailing on relationships to pursue the next "dream person". They also blame their victims for everything that has gone wrong.

Many abusers discard their loved ones with reckless abandon. When the loved ones recover and move on, the narcissist can't stand their recovery and considers it as a blow to his fragile ego. He either tries to destroy his victims further or to get them back.

According to this article by relationship coach, writer and radio host, Kim Saeed:

Every single action employed by the Narcissist stems from a pathological need to control others. In order to prove your love to a Narcissist, you must surrender all power and control to them and become a real-life Marionette, whose only purpose is to enhance the Narcissist’s false image, take care of their every need, and accept their self-serving abuse.

The Narcissist has no real identity, only an illusion of themselves built on their ability to control other people. When they lose said control, this illusion is shattered. This explains why they shift into turbo gear when you implement No Contact. No Contact makes the Narcissist feel small, worthless, and powerless. They whip themselves into a frenzy because they need your supply to maintain their false image. When you go into No Contact mode, you are shifting the power to yourself, and the Narcissist loses their sanity because they’ve lost not only their God-like power, but also their emotional punching bag.

As this article states, as relationships get deeper with abusers, trauma bonds sometimes form, often in the form of Stockholm Syndrome:

A victim of Stockholm Syndrome irrationally clings to the notion that if only she tries hard enough and loves him unconditionally, the abuser will eventually see the light. He, in turn, encourages her false hope for as long as he desires to string her along. Seeing that he can sometimes behave well, the victim blames herself for the times when he mistreats her. Because her life has been reduced to one goal and one dimension which subsumes everything else–she dresses, works, cooks and makes love in ways that please the psychopath–her self-esteem becomes exclusively dependent upon his approval and hypersensitive to his disapproval.

As we know, however, psychopaths and narcissists can’t be pleased. Relationships with them are always about control, never about mutual love. Consequently, the more psychopaths get from their partners, the more they demand from them. Any woman who makes it her life objective to satisfy a psychopathic partner is therefore bound to eventually suffer ...

I have gotten to know hundreds of abuse survivors. It is very, very obvious that victims are, by and large, the ones who are constantly being groomed to be dominated, to please, to accept things from their perpetrators that their perpetrators would never be willing to accept themselves. The victims are expected to "give, and give, and give, or else". From all I have seen, there has never been a single act by the victim to justify the abuse they received. There was nothing where the victim "brought it on themselves" (a favorite quote of abusers), other than co-dependency and Stockholm Syndrome. While the ignorant part of the population still looks upon abused victims with disdain, and at fault, for most of the population, attitudes have changed rapidly. The subject is being spotlighted in so many more articles, T.V. programs and on social media than ever before. Victims have many outlets now, and they are joining with other victims to bring awareness and education to the problem in record numbers.

I personally look at Amazon regularly, to see if the number of books being published about abuse is increasing. No, they are skyrocketing! Public facebook pages about abuse also seem to be going up in record numbers. This is someone I started following on facebook when she had 3,000 followers. She now has 60,000 followers (and counting) as of this writing.

Anyway, I have found that most victims are the altruistic, giving, magnanimous members of society. As research has born out (see this post), the greatest majority of victims are in the helping professions (nurses, special education teachers, therapists, yoga instructors, etc) and over-give and over-compensate. They get easily used by others. They are sometimes even known to excuse abusive behavior ("They have a personality disorder -- or a drinking problem -- or had a terrible childhood -- no wonder they act like that"). These are people who can get easily brainwashed into thinking they are to blame if their abusers rage and reject. The victims are groomed into thinking of themselves as defective by their abusers. The defect the abuser fixates on with an empath is that his victim is never giving enough, a defective, deficient, selfish giver. This plays on the self esteem of the victim, particularly since their identities and professions require them to give and give and give, and take care of people, and excuse temper tantrums (just think of the difficult patient in the emergency room, say someone who is having a tantrum over a minor injury, and how an empathetic nurse will relate to that unreasonable patient). Eventually victims are drilled with subtle messages that they have to take abuse and hypocrisy from their perpetrators in order to survive, or to be safe, or to be liked and loved. Until they see the hypocrisy in everything their abusers say...
In my own life?

In every situation I was in where I was altruistic and trying to be polite, give the benefit of the doubt, and to be pleasing to people who had previously hurt me over a period of time, the abuse got much, much worse.

I did an absurd amount of free babysitting for years for someone who initially treated me badly. During the time I was babysitting, I was treated much better, but as soon as the babysitting was no longer needed, this person got much, much worse. Never repaid in kind, never thanked me. Instead? Insulted me endlessly, bellowed commands with swear words, almost always talked over me rendering me voiceless, indulged in splitting, was always scheming a divide and conquer strategy on a daily basis and made up stories about me to build a coalition of prejudiced minds, always acting ultra entitled. If that wasn't enough, this person stole from me! Goodbye. 

In a studio situation with a fellow artist who was trying to sabotage my career in every way she knew how, I thought I could turn the situation around initially by firing her pots for her. So I loaded and fired her pots over the course of a few years, doing chores for her, helping her carry things, and so on. I never expected anything in return except the dignity of being treated as a fellow human being, with politeness. She was incapable of giving me even that. She slandered me relentlessly, stole from me, surreptitiously meddled in my work and display spaces, goaded me, gave me the silent treatment, and got so much worse no matter how polite and dignified I was, and became a terror in my life for 25 years!

In another relationship, the problems were his addiction. I thought that by offering support, and giving myself completely, sacrificing just about every one of my own needs, that the situation would improve. It got worse. Never thanked me for trying; cheated, lied, got angry with me for not trying even more (?!?), just went on to the next enabler.  

Another person who had hurt me egregiously in the past decided they wanted to be in my life after all, especially when I was at the height of my performing career. They told me that they had "misinterpreted me" for so many years and now regretted it. This is someone who had previously given me the heebie-jeebies, someone I didn't trust at all. It took awhile to allow this person to get close to me because memories don't fade! I'll call this person "D". D wanted to make it up to me, to make up for lost time. So D's way of making it up to me was in the guise of protecting me from stalkers and abusive people in the music world. In order to do that D needed to enlist my trust, and like an idiot I gave it. Eventually, over the years D put tremendous pressure on me to disclose everything going on in my life, also in the guise of altruistic care and concern. Disclosing a lot of private information is a privilege, a kind of altruism in that you are giving them preferential treatment with your thoughts, personal information, trust, to be in your inner-most circle (the purpose is intimacy, to take care of each other, to "have each other's back"). I believe D solicited so much information so that they could use it as a weapon against me later (which is blackmail and the lowest form of betrayal there is). Anyway, at the most traumatic time of my life (illnesses, surgeries, deaths), D double-crossed me in the worst possible way, discarded and abandoned me with revelry, tried to turn those close to me against me, and enlisted a bully to write abusive threats. There was no question it was a "power and control" move (predator-to-prey abuse is always a play for dominance, with the motive of getting weakened victims to grovel, or to hurt them intentionally in order to provide the abuser with narcissistic supply, i.e. thrills). Obvious message to me? "No one else should abuse you, but I have the right to do it, especially at the worst possible time of your life." The other message: "I am showing you I don't care about you a shred."  

Lesson? If you show you are good to people who have previously hurt you, you might only win them over for a moment. Or it might bring temporary relief or safety from being abused. In the long run no amount of being nice to people who have purposely set out to hurt you in the past will get them to treat you well or to see you as a good person, or even as a fellow human being (with feelings, needs and perspectives that are as significant as theirs), and it will probably make it so much worse.

Why? People who enjoy hurting other people get a high from doing so. It makes them feel powerful that they can effect people negatively. That is their primary agenda. They are not interested in your integrity, altruism or goodness for its own sake. They are only interested in it for their sake.

When a pickpocket meets a saint, he sees only his pockets -- Ram Dass

Instead of trying to prove to others that you are lovable and don't deserve abuse, the person who needs convincing of that is yourself, not necessarily the abusers. This is exactly what this pregnant woman found, who upon finding that she was due to have a second child, her abusive husband divorced her during her most vulnerable time. She somehow knew deep inside herself that she didn't deserve the abuse, and through that realization, could move on with her life, giving her altruistic gestures to her child and waiting with excitement to nurture and love the child that had yet to be born.

Because the great majority of abusers have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or an addiction which can mimic Narcissistic Personality Disorder), I am putting up this quote for you to think about:

And here is another quote that is relevant from another poster: