Malignant Narcissistic Abuse – Understanding the Enemy’s Devices

NOTE: This is a reblog of a reblog.

In order to understand what my comments here are about, please click on the original link, which you will find at the bottom of these paragraphs, read the original author’s post, then make sure to look at the meme collection. It had my mouth hanging open, it is so affirming of my own lived experience of being an ACoN (Adult Child of a Narcissist).

One thing in the meme collection that I must take issue with is the statement that taking on narcissistic traits, if one grows up in such a home, is voluntary. It is not. If the only coping mechanisms you have ever known are drama, tantrums, accusations, the silent treatment, etc, it takes time to figure out that these are dysfunctional and abusive. And since Adult Children of Narcissists (ACoNs) often are drawn into adult relationships with narcissists, the story tends to perpetuate itself down the generations. After all, when we meet someone who “feels like we have known them all our lives,” well, we probably have, because they “feel like home,” our family of origin.

The first thing we must learn is insight: it isn’t our fault, we are not defective, we do not deserve to be treated like a mouse being tortured by a cat.

Some people are fortunate to realize that something is very wrong–usually after multiple failed relationships, suicide attempts, or other catastrophic life events–and seek help, sometimes from the right person, like a good therapist, and sometimes from….someone who “feels like home,” claiming that they want to help, but really being a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as we unfortunately see with some religious leaders. I have even had a narc therapist! She had a hand in destroying my marriage. I sat there mesmerized while she smiled and preened, not realizing what it was about her that was so familiar (she was like my mother, who used to court my boyfriends), until it was too late. She stood up, announced that it was her opinion that we should divorce, and left us sitting on her couch looking at the floor.

Memoir Notes

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  1. My take on the therapist? Did she run away with your husband? Or somebody elses’? She should be run out of town.

    • That was 25 years ago. I don’t know and don’t care what happened to her.

      • I mean, after my curse took effect 😆

      • Maybe she’s buried in somebodys’ back yard beside Jimmy Hoffa! LOL

        • I hope not. My intention is not to kill, but to bring about true consciousness. When a person fully realizes the impact of their behavior on other people’s lives–especially people who have come to them for help, or people who are born to them, or otherwise helpless under their power–the impact of that realization is more devastating than any death sentence. My dearest wish is for the people who have mistreated me (and the same goes for everyone including myself who has ever mistreated anyone else) to become fully aware of it, and relearn who we really are, who we were in the Garden of Eden before the Ultimate Narcissist deceived us with the lie that “Power Over” is better than “Power With.” (Ideas on Power Over/With credit to Starhawk; relationship to Garden metaphor mine)

          • But we all know that narcissists have no conscience….no realization of what they’ve done…
            BTW…I was joking about the Hoffa thing. LOL

            • I know you were joking! You’re right, narcissists have no shred of insight. But just imagine if they woke up suddenly and could see the movie of their lives, of the lives of the people they’d used as part of their own movies….in my mind, sometimes I call my mother “Mimi” because all she thinks of is “me, ME,” and sometimes I just call her “Scarlett”….

  2. Excellent writing and insightful. Much food for thought.

  3. My mother lacks insight, and I have little expectation of her gaining any. I protect myself, but at the same time realize that she loves me (truly). After years of therapy and learning how to accept love while shielding myself from emotional abuse, I cannot help but partly identify with my mother (though I accept responsibility for my behavior and have sought treatment since I was 18) and feel some compassion for her. I believe that she is ill, not meaning to hurt others, but reacting to triggering stimulation and trying to control her environment. That does not excuse her behavior when she hurts others, but it does help to not take it personally.

    • I think that as we do our own work, it is possible to develop our compassion “muscles.” I have to treat my mother like a poisonous snake, but I feel sorry for her that she feels that bad about herself that she has to draw blood (mine) before she feels satisfied. So I keep my boundaries clear, limit contact, and, sadly, don’t offer affection (which she will instantly turn into a nightmare because she’s sucked me in). This results in something that looks like peace.

  4. Protecting oneself is paramount.

  5. You are absolutely right when you say that we have no choice.

    In fact, one of the first things I learned in adult life was that it is NOT ok to open other people’s mail.

    Of course a true narcissist would not have been able to learn that it was wrong.

    It’s called narcissistic fleas.

    If you bed with a narcissist you wake up with fleas.

    I still get fleas if I spend too much time in Second Life. Suddenly the world is all about me: what do I want to buy, is my avatar hot enough….do ‘I’ look gorgeous!? Fortunately I hear a little voice that says, dude that is a doll…log the fuck out now!

    I still don’t know who that voice is…:)

    But I’m glad it’s there.

    • Whew, I don’t know how you manage Second Life when one is too much for me!

      I have to tell you a funny (not really) story.

      My Gay Orthodox Jewish Boyfriend (shhhhhh😉) LOVES that saying “if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” And most of the time when he reminds me I’ve just “done it again,” he’s right.

      But a few years ago he got a roommate, and suddenly the whole scene changed. I was now the dog, and found myself verbally abused by both of them! So I distanced myself right quick.

      Now I get calls and emails wondering “where I’ve been keeping myself.” I sidestep those questions, am polite, but still keep my distance.

      It really hurt me to do that, as I did and on some level still do love him. But I was never so shocked as when I heard him (in my mind) in his own voice tell me…”when you lie down with…”

      Damn, how could I have let myself be blindsided again? Or was I, really? In retrospect it was not hard to see. I guess it felt good to have a friend, and it wasn’t until I became the third wheel and the open abuse started, that I realized that I had blinded myself to his narcissism. After that, I have been even more wary of “making friends,” because I really don’t have whatever I need to see these people coming BEFORE I get involved with them.

      • Oh I hate Second Life. But my alternates love it….at least the ones that take pictures in it. But if they ever started socializing with the weirdly conservative/libertarian sex -freaks who seem to be all over the grid all the time I’d pull the plug completely.

        I will never forgive the one named Mateo for not properly protecting Bobby…

        One day I’ll tell the story about that…


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