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First things first: if you are an adult, and another adult is threatening to punish you or hurt you, it is always abuse.
The only time that it is not abuse is if it is a court judge giving you a sentence, or if you are in the army and a higher ranking military official makes a decision based on your conduct, or a superior fires you from your job, or if you are incarcerated you might be punished for an infraction. These kinds of figures are the only officials who have rights to punish another adult, never a family member, never a friend, never a spouse, never an acquaintance.
Punishing an adult in a close personal relationship such as in a family, between spouses, and between close friends is inappropriate, always abuse, and often illegal. Punishments in these kinds of relationships can also have long lasting effects on its victims and cause permanent damage to relationships and nullify trust.
Narcissism (one of the personality disorders associated with a likelihood to abuse) probably would cease to exist if erroneous blaming wasn't such a big part of the arsenal of weapons at the abuser's disposal.
An overwhelming number of forums and videos on narcissism and abuse cover erroneous blaming and punishment. It is the second most popular subject on abuse after favoritism (the favored golden child via the scapegoat -- see my post on favoritism to know what I am talking about).
Even though financial abuse happens in 98 percent of all abusive relationships, erroneous blaming and punishments as a subject for forums, videos and writings out-trumps it.
So why is it such a huge subject for victims of abuse?
Because it is a form of gross injustice that victims tend to fixate on when talking about their experiences, and it is used constantly by abusers. Abuse (often referred to as punishments by the abusers and narcissists themselves) almost always happens for mystifying reasons. Narcissists are known for punishing over nothing, or over something so insignificant to most everyone else, that it can leave their victims in shock.
You can be blamed for provoking the erroneous punishments and there is no way to defend yourself; the narcissist has the audacity to tell you what you are thinking, what you are feeling, why it is an egregious offense that deserves cruelty (which can be outright rejection or some other form of abuse). Many of these abusers talk over you, and discount anything you have to say. Often shortly afterward, they'll insult you endlessly over it too. It is common for them to call you animal names like rat, snake, bitch, ass, pig. Alternatively they can call you poison or evil. In other words, it is totally made up.
Narcissists can even end relationships over how you look at them (and I'm not kidding).
It can make any victim go into a panic. All victims know they are dealing with nefarious "crazy-making talk" when this is going on, and most victims learn very quickly that there isn't a thing they can say or do that will change the decision of the abuser (or narcissist, the personality type most often associated with being abusive). The real reason for the panic in victims is the unpredictability. Narcissists tend to pick the worst times of your life, or when you are off-guard by some life event to make their attack. Their rages are so intense and annihilating that they can seem, and even be, predatory and dangerous. And what is more, they have been known to enjoy acting this way.
If you work with someone like this, an important project may end for no reason at all. If you are hired by someone like this, they suddenly fire you, or refuse to pay you even though you did what the job required. If you are a child of someone like this, you can sometimes be ostracized for weeks, months, years or a lifetime over something like this, or if you are a young child, you can be hit, and battered and bruised, and thrown into your room without an explanation as to why you deserved it (or the explanation might be "You're just evil and that's the end of it").
But that is usually not the end of it.
They'll often send in their flying monkeys (often a spouse or their favored golden child) to abuse you further: humiliate you, berate you, eviscerate you, and call you names, and try to convince you further that you are as evil and deserve as much punishment as what the narcissist says. The reason why there are others who are so willing to tell you that you are evil without witnesses, without research, and for no rhyme or reason is because narcissists tend to hang out with other narcissists (bullies). These other narcissists don't really care what the facts are, or who you are: they just want the chance to take a pot shot at you. They torture a victim, and any victim will do.
Most flying monkeys are people who generally don't seek you out: they are not calling you up to meet with you over lunch, or calling you up to get an opinion about something, or calling you up because they really like your company: their sole purpose in your life is to either ignore you (their relationship with the narc is usually so all-consuming that they don't have time for you anyway) or when they are roused by their fellow narc to go on a bullying spree.
Many narc parents prefer another narc for a spouse, just for this very reason! They love ganging up on one child victim just to take the child down together! So much togetherness and common goals! Ew!
Young children who have a narcissist for a parent really can't understand all of the irrational rage of their parent. Many survivors report that their first memory of their parent is some sort of punishment -- and one where they couldn't understand why it was deserved. Yes, their first memory. That is so sad!
So, why does it have such a big impact as to be a first memory that lasts a lifetime?
The stories sound similar: "I was playing peacefully, and my Mom (or Dad) came up behind me and whacked me hard, shoved me around, and put me in my room for a long time. I couldn't understand what I did wrong! And as the years went on and the punishments increased, I understood it less and less, even though I was made to feel I deserved it by others in the family too. It had a tremendous impact on my self esteem, as though I was deficient, as though I was wearing a sign I couldn't see, that only they could see, that said 'punch me!'."
When they asked what they did wrong, the parent tried to convince them that they, the child, was crazy and evil. And, yes, the "crazy and evil" labels are the standard common labels that abusive parents use -- all to control their victims.
It is a devastating form of gaslighting for a small child who can't even read and write yet. The narc parent desperately wants the child to think of himself as evil so that the parent can have an endless excuse to abuse for no reason at all, or for a very minor infraction. The parent desperately wants the child to think of himself as crazy so that the parent can convince the child that he is too crazy to understand why he is evil and deserves the endless punishments! To top it all off, if you grew up during the fifties, sixties and seventies, children constantly heard from their television sets and their school teachers, "Mom (or Dad) can be counted on to know what is best!" The horror! In those days, these kinds of sayings could exacerbate abuse.
Disgusting! But also incredibly tragic! No child should ever be put through this! So, if you know of a child who is talking as though they don't know why they are being punished, and the only explanation they are getting from their parents is that they are crazy or evil, please call Child Protective Services! It could save a child's life!
If your parent is telling you what you think and feel, and if he argues with you when you try to tell him what you really think and feel, I would bet your parent is a narcissist with all of the traits that go with being a narcissist.
Alcoholics have been known to use erroneous blaming too in similar ways as narcissists -- so beware. It is part of their disease. They consistently misread and misinterpret the feelings of others because their brains have been anesthetized.
One way the abuser tries to hurt targets is to provoke them just to watch their targets get angry, preferring to do it in front of others so that there is an audience. I thought the Knowing a Narcissist facebook page said it best:
A game that many narcissists enjoy playing is one where they poke at their target and provoke them, either obviously or subtly, until they get the target to react angrily. They like to have other people present when this happens, but they'll happily do it in private as well and just tell everyone about it later.
They do this because A) It's fun to them, since they are sadists who enjoy toying with people, and B) It makes their target look unstable and over-emotional to others. This will help them discredit their target if they ever tell people about the narcissist's abuse.
So what does erroneous blaming and punishing look like? Here are a few examples:
Putting all of the blame for things that go wrong on one person in a family (scapegoating). This is common with a narcissist at the helm.
"You need to be punished for that look on your face." A common one too. This one is about interpreting your feelings and using those interpretations as an excuse to abuse.
"You need to be punished for being so ungrateful!" (again, interpretive)
"You brought this on yourself!" (blaming a victim for the perpetrator's abuse)
"You meant to hurt your mother! No matter what you say, I know it, and you should feel ashamed of yourself! And so, for that, you don't deserve a mother! You will have to live a life without a mother for the rest of your days." (again, interpretive -- and so highly abusive; ostracized children are usually a sign of highly abusive parents or parent figures)
"If you can't thank me the way I want, then you will not have a place in this family again." (being erroneously blamed for how a victim expresses thankfulness, with an implied punishment/abuse of ostracism for the victim not being "perfect" in the execution of words or the portrayal of feelings that the abuser desires -- see my post on perfectionism)
"You're a snake, and that is why you are treated so badly." (a verbal abuse with an undefined, erroneous label, plus a reason for instigating an erroneous reason for abuse, plus an arbitrary reason for why the abuse is being leveraged -- if you hear a parent talking to their child this way, please call Child Protective Services)
"You're a spawn of the devil! And devils need to be locked up to be taught a lesson they will never forget!" (same as above, but more abusive and dangerous -- please call Child Protective Services if this is a child, or the police if you hear this being leveraged by one adult against another adult)
"You didn't vacuum the room I told you to vacuum! What is the matter with you!? Are you THAT STUPID!? That's the problem with you: you always get this wrong! Just for that, I'm not eating the dinner you cooked. I'm just going to drink instead. I can't stand you right now! And that's the end of this discussion!" (using a mistake by the victim as an excuse to punish and verbally abuse -- i.e. branding a victim as "stupid" -- and using an always/never statement to unfairly brand a victim further as incompetent, plus ending a conversation in order to cut the victim off from hearing his perspective, including why he might have vacuumed a different room than he was "told to" vacuum -- see my post on constant insults and criticism which explains always/never statements in abusive relationships ... and by the way, a child who appears to get "orders wrong" on a consistent basis may have PTSD from abuse)
"You told me that you would go on a date with me to the aquarium! And now your boss has you on a string for the day?! Screw that! And screw you too! I'm going to invite Susan on a date, just for that!" and then leans in, tauntingly, "How do like them apples!?" (punishing someone because they got called in for work, retaliating by inviting someone else out for a date to take your place, thereby threatening the longevity of the relationship you have invested in, and taunting ... and by the way, taunting is bullying, and bullying is abuse)
"You're crazy and stupid! And crazy, stupid people get exactly what is coming to them!" (verbal abuse, labeling, and the implication that the victim deserves bad luck or abuse)
The victim is sick. The perpetrator uses the sickness as an excuse to abuse: "I just don't feel like I owe you anything! There is no law on the book that says that I have to take care of you! Maybe you deserve to die of this! You might not ever be grateful for how I treated you, anyway! In fact, I'll leave you right now and never come back unless you get out of bed and do the job you agreed to!" (using a tragedy or illness as an excuse to abuse is often done by people with antisocial personality disorder or malignant narcissists: they make it very clear that they don't care what you are going through or how you are feeling; their "orders" and arm-twisting are all that matter to them)
A step-parent telling an underage child: "You always were and always will be bad! You never deserved a mother, and now I'm going to make sure that you never deserve one again! You're going to live with your father and I hope I never see your sniveling ugly little face around here again!" (interfering in the mother/child relationship, making decisions which adversely effect both mother and child, shaming the child with labeling which is a form of both verbal and emotional abuses, treating a child as though they are a freak and that they don't deserve what other children deserve in the way of a place in the family, terrorizing a child as children are naturally bonded to their parent for survival -- contact Child Protective Services).
These are just "for instances". There are, unfortunately, many, many more that abusers use. Most erroneous blaming is about the abuser labeling their targets feelings first, then labeling their target in relation to those feelings (devil, snake, bitch, cunt, rat, poison, evil, stupid) for these made up feelings, then using these as excuses to punish/abuse -- and please note that punishments and abuse almost always get worse unless there are consequences for the perpetrator, or the victim leaves the relationship and sets up boundaries that greatly limit or inhibit contact).
In another post, I will talk about the "You brought this upon yourself" phrasing that abusers use in order to justify abuse (a similar topic to this one, but which is at the heart of all abuse, including abuses like erroneous blaming and punishments).
People who use any of these phrases (above) can be dangerous, and can get dangerous very quickly. Sometimes it doesn't take much for the abuse to escalate where your safety or life is in danger. Being silent at what they are leveraging against you can send them into as much of a blind annihilating rage as trying to defend yourself to tell them what you are really thinking and feeling (which, of course they don't want to hear, because they are so sure of themselves). To them, opposition (including a minor difference of opinion) can be seen as war, as so deeply offensive, that they tell themselves that "those different perspectives" need to be wiped off the planet, along with the person who stated them (this is common thinking for terrorists too). These are highly toxic people who should be encouraged to get their minds, their agendas and focus off of you (in other words they should be abandoned if they are not your family, and if they are your family, their potential for being dangerous is still high -- you can abandon them too, or alternately what many survivors do is to keep the contact very minimal, to very large family events, to go gray rock, i.e. to talk about the weather, or tell their family members they will not be discussing personal subjects). As a therapist once told me, narcissists and sociopaths can either be irreparably hurt or go into a killing rage because you didn't butter their toast the way they wanted -- and he wasn't kidding when he said it, any more than I am kidding about a look or a glance you gave them being a punishable offense deserving of an overwhelming amount of abuse for days, weeks, months, years or a lifetime.
This is one reason why narcissists and sociopaths are abandoned (if they don't abandon first): the punishments are so over the top and so creepy and so irrationally erroneous and so full of hatred and vitriol (over so many minor issues), that being around them does not make sense in terms of relationship-investment, in terms of spending time with them and listening to them, in terms of having them in your life and home and around your children where they can cause more trouble, in terms of working with them at a job where they can create such an unstable pernicious environment that nothing gets done and the business flounders. You can't count on them to be "reasonable and normal". They are hotheads in a burning inferno of their own making.
Most bullies are narrow minded and fixed. If you ask for understanding, empathy and looking at issues from another angle, they refuse do so (most of them). They can't even entertain the possibility of another perspective for a second, they are so arrogant. They will just give you a patronizing lecture which solidifies, for them, their world perspective over and over again, the same perspective that they had last year, and ten years ago, and fifty years ago. Understanding you is not "on the table" because only their own perspectives matter to them, even if it is the farthest thing from who you actually are. They do not even care if their perspective is out of the ballpark and does not convince.
A child victim is not going to think of himself as someone with evil ulterior motives who deserves abuse. Occasionally it happens because of a mob mentality (his whole family scapegoating him), but even then, there is almost always serious doubt in the mind of the victim.
Many narcs feel that part of their superiority is that they can read minds, but it is so far from the truth! In my own experience, only highly observant, sensitive, unusually empathetic people have the ability to read expressions and understand what those expressions really mean; certainly not narcs! They are as far from being accurate at understanding their fellow humans as anyone I have met.
One exception: their knowledge about their fellow human beings is about as deep as how lions know gazelles. The difference between the lion species and ours is that they don't hunt and try to destroy their own offspring (cubs). Pretty messed up brain wiring!
So many accusations that narcs lob at victims in terms of analyzing their victim's feelings, thoughts and experiences are so far from the truth that it is dizzying. When you can sit and analyze why they accused you of something, it usually always sounds like projection: it is the way they think, feel and act. If they call you evil (one of their favorite indictments), it is about them: they are all about mirrors, after all! This is one reason why it is impossible to talk to narcs: they can't grasp what is really happening outside their own angry, paranoid jealous internal world. Part of being a shallow person without empathy and "a relationship quitter" when uncomfortable personal subjects are raised, is that they cannot even begin to know people because of their aversion to any solution but the silent treatment when times are tough in a relationship. How can you ever know a person when you just put a wall of self righteous silence between you? You really can't have a glimmer of what other people are like, or going through, or have any other perspectives other than your own. It is like a child who has books, but refuses to read them. Narcs refuse to understand other people and are content at being highly ignorant and reactive about other people instead. They are that lazy and mindless. The only thoughts, feelings, needs and perspectives they truly understand are their own, period.
This is the basis for why narcs oftentimes hit a child when the child is happily playing with some toys. The narc parent gets some sort of overwhelming feeling in their own body, projects it onto a child, and then WHAM! The child is hit! The child is punished for how the parent felt!
Narc parents hit, brutalize and isolate their child more times than not over false issues: when the child is ruminating about how to ace the next test, or what to do about a sick pet, or what to give a grandparent for their birthday, or over concentrating on making a complicated model airplane: it could be anything, and yes, abusers are that far off the mark when they accuse and punish!
Often the thoughts and perspectives of the victim are so incongruous to what the abuser is seeing and insisting on, that victims cannot but help to roll their eyes (which becomes another punishable offense because you are showing the abuser your impertinence at not agreeing with his views of you, and you are showing too much autonomy -- abusers hate, and I mean HATE, autonomy!)
This is why I do not agree with the premise that narcs are intelligent. They can't be! They are not engaged with others to a degree of comprehending and understanding them. They cannot begin to fathom differences in other people, or begin to appreciate ranges of perspectives; the only thing they understand is their own desires: to mirror others, to manipulate others, and to strategize ways to go about it. And even then, they are mostly caught at these unethical practices. So how does that make them intelligent, again?
When a victim rolls his eyes, as a sign of disagreement with his abuser's perspective, the abuser really only gets that facile amount of information, the "disagreement" part of the information. He does not get the "reason" behind the rolling eyes. In other words, he is not trying to figure out why someone is rolling their eyes: what he knows is that he doesn't like it because it isn't flattering. He believes his views are the only worthwhile views, even if they are not the truth, and the truth is not something he investigates anyway. Narcs are highly reactive to stimuli like grimaces, and yawning, and yes, rolling eyes. Narcs spend more time reacting than investigating. All of this is why when narcs punish their children, they tend to be over-the-top abusive AND unjust as well. I would go far as to say almost all punishments by narc parents are unwarranted.
Even when it comes to understanding themselves, I don't think narcissists grasp much. They know they feel, and think, but that is about it. I agree with Sam Vankin's premise that narcissists are essentially hollow beings who try to take on the personalities, concerns and interests of others (mimicry) in order to feel they are part of the human race. However, a mirror is not an authentic self, it is a one-way, small, flat view of someone or something. When a parrot picks up the vocal tones and some phrases, he doesn't really understand what the phrases mean the way we, as humans, understand. That is, I believe, how the narcissist functions.
Narcs care too much about what other people think of them, to the point where, if they don't like what another person is saying, they abandon the relationship. Again, only being open to praise (typical of narcs) means that a whole array of other experiences and perspectives get wiped out.
This is why they cannot even begin to be enlightened about how other people think and feel. So adult child abuse victims, based on this, should not worry about whether the narc in their lives loves them or not, or approves of them or not (because a narc is so dysfunctional in their perceptions that they are not capable of having an adult, sane, uncharged, comprehending, two-way kind of conversation where they understand their child). If you tell them that they hurt you, they will just mirror back: "No, you hurt me!" They are not interested in your feelings because they cannot begin to travel away from how they feel and think. In relationships, they will just continue to justify the unjustifiable, make up your motivations, blame you for things that don't exist and when being around you is upsetting to them, will mirror you or tell you that you are crazy (gaslighting). To them you are crazy because mirrors is all that they understand and enjoy. If they can't make a patronizing competitive remark, or they can't manipulate you, or they can't make you feel ashamed and indebted, or they can't make a mirror out of something you said, they don't know what to do with you. Your autonomy, strength, talent, intelligence, differences and resoluteness is the last thing they want; it is like a giant scary monster with big sharp teeth to them, so they either run away (abandon) or lock you up (isolate), denounce you as insane or throw you away. And you are crazy, but only to them, not to most of us with normal amounts of empathy. This, I am convinced, is at the heart of their abuse towards you. To them, people they cannot comprehend and control are monsters that need to be destroyed, and if they see any of this monster in you at all, they amp up the cruelty and sadism.
The only thing they can get their heads around is either a sycophant or a mirror that doesn't challenge them. This is why they adopt and try to mold a favored golden child among their children into a "mini-me" (golden children learn early to flatter, and to be rewarded for mimic-ing their parent's personality). The only time they let up on giving their scapegoats endless silent treatments (or other dis-favoring activities) is when the scapegoats make notable achievements. Then they try to charge back into the scapegoats lives again, try to take credit, and once they feel ensconced, try to micro-manage their scapegoats' careers.
This is why I have come to the conclusion that you cannot be invested in a relationship with a narc. This is why gray rock discussions like laundry, dishes and gardening are the only kinds of conversations that make sense to have with parents who are narcissists. They might like personal heart--to-hearts, and they might sweet talk you into having one, or goad and make you a laughing stock if you refuse, or they might try to pry like crazy for information, but if you listen to them, they rarely have an insightful response to anything you might have to say. And because they are so untrustworthy, it will work against you. They twist it around in their overwhelmingly angry, jealous, bitter minds and ponder over what to do with the information. The one thing you can count on about their responses is that they are almost assured to be off the wall! They are not capable, in the least, of being able to handle profound subjects, personal subjects, or professional subjects; they have very little understanding of them (when it comes to you). These people aren't much older than six -- indeed, it is like trying to talk to a six year old about big grown up subjects -- it can't be done!
Only empathetic people should have access to your feelings, thoughts, motivations and your perspectives about your experiences. With empathetic people you can have deep conversations, where their perspectives and perceptions are in the same ballpark as yours, and where their responses make sense. You can bring up challenging subjects too, without being blamed for something erroneous.
People who tell you what you think and feel are most often personality disordered: Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder. It is also the first sign of a personality-disordered person -- so be on the lookout! What they say is so often a projection of their own thoughts and personality on to you because they take absolutely no time to hear and research your perspective.
Also, so many parent abusers give their children the silent treatment for so much of their children's lives, or isolate them in some way, that they can't possibly know their child, let alone understand a thing about them. That is why when they are screaming at you that you are evil and need to be punished, you need to take it all with a grain of salt and view them the way Mozart viewed his stepmother in the movie, Amadeus (used her screeching blaming, shaming session as an inspiration for his opera piece -- and a not too flattering one).
So if you know that an adult child has been ostracized from his family, it is usually because he has ignorant parents who don't know what else to do with him other than to punish (abuse) him.
People with normal amounts of empathy won't treat you this way: they will ask you what you think and feel and what your experiences are. Moreover, they will be interested in what you have to say and will try to see it from your angle. They will spend some time evaluating it, especially if they are in a close personal relationship with you, with a lot at stake, and furthermore, they won't try to control you with their perspective, and reject you if it isn't their perspective (remember, their lives are all about them, them, them and what they think, feel and thought, felt and what they always do about what they think, feel, and thought, felt!). Normal folks are also agreeable to therapy if the communication lines break down (another sign of a personality-disordered person is an absolute refusal to go to therapy, to deal with personal problems and issues in a healthy self examining way: they are willing to lose the relationship with their child instead).
So how do you get the respect you deserve? By not trying to force your perspectives on close-minded people like narcissists, and by keeping to subjects that they can handle like laundry, dishes, cooking, nature, weather and the latest art exhibit -- i.e. no personal subjects. Most of them will find you too boring, and perhaps threatening, if you insist on those subjects in your relationship, and therefor leave you alone -- and that should be fine. It is not your job to entertain them in ways where they cannot handle personal subjects in a responsible way. If they have used personal explanations and information from you to twist it around in their unhinged minds, and use it to make sick insulting allegations, then they'll do it again. It is about taking personal subjects away from them, as you would take car keys away from a six year old.
You take your personal discussions to reasonable, healthy, normal people instead, the kind of true adults that have the capacity to understand what you are about, and can see you through your challenges, who can love you wholly, unconditionally, gently. You take personal discussions to people who do NOT have a history of silent treatments, erroneous blaming sessions and childish vapid responses.
In another post, I will talk more about what works best when dealing with an erroneous allegation. For the sake of brevity here, I will say that most therapists suggest you walk away and not respond at all. In other words, don't even bother defending yourself. If they insist you respond, you just hold firm on not responding.
I have tried two ways:
1. walking away without responding
2. trying to get them to understand my perspective through writing reams of letters where the narc could sit down, re-read, and hopefully get a glimmer of understanding where I was coming from.
In the latter case, I found what so many survivors find: that narcs use their targets pleadings to understand them for abuse escalation purposes: more crazy blaming, more cruelty, and arguing. Narcs love to argue, and they get really dirty and filthy about it, with taunting, goading and insults. Once I saw the "mean girls" junior high behavior, and was sickened by it, it cured me of ever wanting to talk to them about another personal issue again, or of having any hopes whatsoever of being understood by them. Their taunting was the switch that turned off my desire. So, I would say that in order to skip this step, walking away from these discussions from the very beginning is what is best. I have found that, for the most part, defending yourself only gets more bullying and escalating, and more arguing, and more responses that go nowhere except to show they are heartless people.
In another post I will also talk about an antidote to abuse: being in relationships with deep thinkers (philosophers and writers of the human condition) and highly empathetic people (therapists, spiritual workshop leaders, peace movement people) and team-player musicians. It is what I did for a decade of a silent treatment by someone in my life: and it was a profound life-altering experience that made all of the difference!
I know so many of you survivors out there get fixated on what these narc parents did to you, because I hear and read your stories all of the time (I am often reading and listening late at night -- and I also know that some of you read this blog). And it is deeply traumatizing, that it can be disabling -- I totally get that.
But if you can eventually throw a tiny bit of caution to the wind, there are people who are authentically compassionate, who will not try to break you when you are going through tragic events in your life. I think when you are a child of abusive parents, trust is an emotion you can't feel easy about, and don't want to feel. So you put it in a cage and don't let it out for fear that it will hurt you again. Many victims of abuse isolate themselves. You might have trust in your mailman to deliver your mail every day, but that is about it.
The point I am trying to make is that taking a tiny leap of faith to try trusting in others who are exhibiting compassion towards you (without automatically doubting it as another ruse) is the thing that can heal you from abuse. Abusive people want you to feel isolated, alone and suffering. And then victims also help to create more isolation, loneliness and suffering in their lives from fixating on the bad people and not trusting potentially good people (I did it at one time, so I know). If victims can allow themselves to trust someone in little teeny tiny baby steps, taking a lot of time to research and understand the motives of a person, then that relationship can become the catalyst that creates healing in you.
There are ways to tell if you are just getting sucked into another abuser's world. Abusers can (and often do) parrot the tone of voice and movements of authentic empaths pretty darn well. If you just go with that, you can get burned again. Indeed, it can be hard to tell the true empaths from the fake empaths if you just go on how they are sounding. The difference between the real ones and the fake ones is that the fake ones have a history of rejecting people in close personal relationships, they use tactics common to abusers (gaslighting, imperious lectures, taunting, constant chiding, mirroring, constant pressures to disclose, an insistence of being in charge, silent treatments and sometimes physical violence). There is evidence in their pasts of callous or cruel behavior and arm-twistings (blackmail). So, you have to look into their pasts beyond the empathetic face they are showing you at the moment. I have outlined some of the signs to look for that most abusers display in the types of abuse blog post.
One of the potential signs of an abuser is what this blog talks about: someone who tells you what you feel and/or think, and being insistent about it. Another one is one adult telling another adult they need to be punished.
So what I am proposing here is to be open to the real empaths by going molasses-thick-slow if you think you have found a real empath, and research their history (with their friends, family and exes). If you find any warning signs, back out. If you do not come across any of the warning signs, go forward, but still be cautious. Hint: it took me over 10 years to trust some friends, who, by all appearances, had a super-functional family where everyone respected each other, and were compassionate towards each other, all in an idyllic setting (happy dogs included). I would cry every time I pulled out of her driveway. It became apparent that she and her husband were the real deal; everyone around them remarked that they were tremendously good people. Being around them, and at their family gatherings, made all of the difference in my healing. There are others in my life too that are real, but my point is that my thoughts go towards people like this now, instead of the abusers who tried to take me down like so much prey at the most tragic point of my life (my father's death, our closest family friend's death, and six surgeries between my partner and I ... They couldn't have been more cruel). And yes, tragic times are when bullies get activated.
Most of the writings for this blog were done between 2013 and June of 2015. I have 187 blogs waiting in the wings to be published. In other words, all I really do now for the blog is cartooning and approximately one hour of editing to publish the posts.
I still read about upcoming new laws (like the Cinderella law in Great Britain that make emotional abuse a crime). I still listen to survivors' stories and propose ways to join together to bring awareness and start a movement (much like the civil rights movement, or the women's rights movement). While I am happy that schools are doing more to address bullying, I think they also need to do more to tell children what constitutes child abuse. There are still too many child victims that fall through the cracks -- locking a child up in a bedroom for seven months, or making them live in a backyard doghouse in freezing temperatures should not be going on in this day and age. Neither should barbarous practices like punishing a child for a look on his face.
While school nurses are trained to look for bruises and scratches that can detect child abuse, they are not trained, by and large, to look for sexual abuse, emotional abuse, sibling abuse and bullying, poisoning, over-medicating to control a child, children being taught to normalize abuse, children being taught to normalize witnessing sex between adults, children being made to take the blame for alcoholic rages and abuse, constant criticism, chiding and vilifying, erroneous blaming and the "punishments" that result from it, scapegoating one child while favoritizing another child in the same family, and ostracism of children is all part of child abuse. This all needs to change, and change now.
So my reason for even thinking about narcs is to help my fellow survivors.
For me, the first part of my recovery was a deep desire to be my most authentic self. That, I decided, was the most important thing I could do in terms of living a happy, fulfilling life. You can't be totally and completely authentic around people who are manipulative and overbearingly controlling and want to put crazy-making sadistic labels on you. It is just never going to happen! When I got to a point where I didn't want to plead with abusive people to be kinder, or to ask them to listen and understand where I was coming from, when I truly surrendered all of the pipe dreams of making up with these kinds of people, that is when my life changed. During the process, more and more deep, profound, enlightened people showed up in my life, and it was totally compelling. I just want to tell you step-by-step how I got there (hoping it may inspire you).
One person who was around me from the very beginning in 2013, said all kinds of things to divert my attention away from my abusers, and the suicide I was contemplating. One of the first was about "deflecting arrows" that I wrote about in my first blog post. But the following one pertains to the blog topic I am writing about here: "When you make your life about healing yourself, you can heal others, and then peace becomes more possible for the whole world." That makes sense. There have been great people all along the way, to the people I live with, who were constantly checking up on me in the early days to make sure I would stick around, to all of the other saintly survivors who make it their life's work to help others out of the darkness. I am glad to be part of that community and to be contributing. More later ...
Many narcissists try to mold people to suit them
and this is the crux of why they "punish", patronize, degrade, goad and bully.
For those of you who want an authentic life and to be the powerful
and this is the crux of why they "punish", patronize, degrade, goad and bully.
For those of you who want an authentic life and to be the powerful
personalities and voices you were meant to be,
I found this song (and singer, Jordan Smith) to be inspirational.
I found this song (and singer, Jordan Smith) to be inspirational.
The refrain is "Stand in the light to be seen as you are":
false allegations -- an article from Wikipedia
Narcissistic Rage: Rage by a narcissist is directed towards the person that they feel has slighted them. This rage impairs their cognition, therefore impairing their judgment. During the rage, they are prone to shouting, fact distortion and making groundless accusations.
psychological projection -- an article from Wikipedia
Projection tends to come to the fore in normal people at times of crisis, personal or political but is more commonly found in the neurotic or psychotic in personalities functioning at a primitive level as in narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder.
victim blaming -- an article from Wikipedia
idealization and devaluation -- from an article from Wikipedia, including a discussion on narcissism
defamation -- an article from Wikipedia
Why Abusers Who Punish Use the Ungrateful Phrase -- my own post on why the "ungrateful" phrase is often used in erroneous blaming situations
defamation -- an article from Wikipedia
Why Abusers Who Punish Use the Ungrateful Phrase -- my own post on why the "ungrateful" phrase is often used in erroneous blaming situations
Here is something I found that is appropriate to this topic.
It is from facebook: www.facebook.com/NonviolentParenting
Here is a relevant graphic that I found on Knowing a Narcissist's facebook page: