Ever tried to explain something to a narcissist, and they pretended not to understand? It’s like speaking another language from behind a brick wall; in other words, incredibly frustrating, to put it mildly.
I should know. After all – I literally communicate for a living. And some people say I’m pretty good at it! And yet, even with a very simple concept, the narcissists in my life have always acted like they just couldn’t comprehend what I was trying to explain – no matter how many different ways I’d say it.
Narcissists choose to make you feel unheard and misunderstood.
Eventually, I would come to understand that they chose to misunderstand. It was a form of gaslighting, and it drove me insane!
After a while, I had to acknowledge that I was dealing with someone who was showing malignant narcissist traits.
The truth will set you free in narcissistic abuse recovery.
Once I finally figured out the truth – that I was dealing with a malignant narcissist, I felt devastated. And yet, as painful as that was, it also relieved me beyond belief because it explained so much – and it proved that I was relatively sane despite the narcissist’s claim to the contrary.
Has the narcissist taken your identity away?
Before I discovered I’d been dealing with abusive narcissists in my life, I found myself feeling like I had nothing – like a shell of the person I used to be. I was so wrapped up in making the narcissist happy that I stopped feeling any desire for things and situations.
I lost myself, and I didn’t even know where to find myself! Nor did I want to be around other people.
I was so overwhelmed by this person’s need for attention, not to mention his blatantly clear intention to misunderstand me and make me feel uncomfortable.
Why do we focus on fixing the toxic relationship?
I don’t know about you, but when I found myself at the point of being actively devalued, along with occasional silent treatment discards, I was fully focused on one goal: to fix this person and make it all okay again. It was all I could think about.
Of course, the only thing I had any control over was myself – and even though I was pretty sure that I couldn’t make the narcissist become something new, I was also someone who isn’t afraid to do a little work and fix the broken parts of ME.
So, I’d always focus on whatever was wrong with me and try to fix that (in hindsight, it was nothing but deaing with undiagnosed and unrecognized C-PTSD symptoms ).
I thought if I could fix ME, maybe the narcissist would naturally ease up. Of course, I was wrong there. I got a little mad at myself.
But then I did something SUPER dumb…
I tried to help the narcissist.
And so no matter how hard I tried, I never found a way to fix this person. So, in my FOG (fear, obligation, guilt), I figured I’d try to fix the broken parts of “me,” thinking maybe he’d catch up – or that his behavior might change on its own if I was perfect.
Of course, the narcissist was pleased with this development. It offered plenty of chances to both love bomb and devalue in alternating rhythms, the intermittent nature of which is the very basis for trauma bonding.
But it also offered plenty of invalidation; I had zero support during this time, and I felt more alone than ever.
Narcissists don’t want your help unless they want it.
I couldn’t believe how clueless this supposedly intelligent man was able to act, but I must have believed his BS on some level.
After all, I would spend hours trying to figure out exactly how to explain something, I would even write down what I wanted to say and say it as calmly and carefully as possible.
But rather than trying to defend bad behavior, I’d shut my mouth and get lectured by the narcissist on my apparent lack of communication skills.
You can’t fix a narcissist.
For the narcissist, there was clearly no desire for change on his part, and his sense of entitlement blew my mind.
He reminded me often that he thought I was a total loser, someone who needed all this mental health help – and sometimes, he’d even convince me that I wasn’t as smart as I’d led him to believe. It got so bad that I literally started to believe him.
So, I was generally feeling pretty incompetent in my life. That is until I realized one day that it could not be done unless the narcissist is actively aware of their personality disorder and willing to work with a qualified therapist to identify, resolve and heal their core wounds.
But I’ve never seen it happen – narcissists simply do not change and do not have emotional or compassionate empathy for you or anyone else. That would be why the narcissist could flip everything around and be angry with me.
You are NOT crazy!
I “needed help,” they’d say. So obviously, I felt like no one understood me, and I felt alone and completely insane – and the narcissist took advantage of my weakness at the moment and assured me that this might be the only time I’d ever been right.
(If you can relate to that, please know that you’re NOT crazy – and know that the narcissist behaved this way on purpose to add “mental health” issues to your plate.
That’s because when you don’t trust your own judgment thanks to their abuse, narcissists will actively try to disturb your peace and, yes, even your sanity. They can’t stand for you to be happy.
Even my friends didn’t get why my relationships were so toxic.
It floored them, they said, because I was so easy to get along with. After all the years of hearing about how awful I was to live with, you can imagine my surprise to hear otherwise.
But my friends weren’t alone in their confusion. In fact, I got plenty of feedback from anyone who had the nerve to offer it.
- My toxic parent mystified them, but they’d say in a horrified voice that she was my MOTHER and I had better repair the relationship with her before it was too late. That last part, for the record, means they would shame me.
- People would tell me to just get over it and move on.
- Some suggested therapy – but that never works with a malignant narcissist.
- When it came to my toxic marriage, it was even worse – they were annoyed and would ask, “why don’t you just leave already if it’s so bad?” (NOT helpful, btw!)
Does your life feel like some kind of cosmic joke meant to make you change?
I have gone through several existential crises during which everything I did felt wrong, off-balance, or just plain crazy. Here I was, living in what felt like a cosmic joke of a life, with narcissists everywhere I turned.
Even friends who weren’t intrinsically toxic were still unable to understand my issues.
I mean, after being so beaten down and being so conditioned to question myself – I really didn’t even know what I believed, much less understand how to figure all that out.
I knew I needed help.
But not just any help. I needed to feel seen and heard. I needed a way to share the times when I did not feel good enough or even like I was a “real” person.
I didn’t know how to find help. I wanted a very specific kind of help. Not from just anyone, but specifically with people who UNDERSTOOD where I was.
After searching and trying out therapists and various support groups and systems, I found no relief: no one could quite “get” what I’d been through.
But something in me told me that I couldn’t be the only one going through this.
So, I got busy and started doing my research, and right about 2012, I learned about narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse. And boy, am I glad I did – these little bits of information were life for me – as in they changed mine.
Back then, no one even really knew the term “gaslighting” – I had to go to the library to learn about it. There wasn’t much information on the internet that was easily digestible. As I began to post about this stuff on my blog, things turned interesting: many people came to me and asked for my help.
How could I help?
I was a journalist by trade, so research and writing were my bag. I knew how to write, I reasoned – and I I felt terrible when I learned how underserved this group of people was at that time. And after a lot of study and research, I took it upon myself, and I got to work creating that much-needed content.
It was a start anyway. But I had bigger plans.
Easier, less painful narcissistic abuse recovery is the goal.
My goal was to make it easier – or at least far less painful – for our fellow survivors than I had it back then. I wanted to create content that made narcissistic abuse recovery easier to discover, understand, and get through.
I did this by sharing information and helping victims and survivors understand what they were dealing with and what they’d need to do to heal themselves. This led to an entire movement that would eventually be supported by a whole team of fellow survivors.
Over the years, we have really learned who we survivors are and exactly what we need to heal ourselves so we can evolve and thrive from here on out.
Not only do I do my best to be the person I needed in my own recovery for you, but I have simultaneously healed myself along the way.
So, I learned I wasn’t alone – and I hope I’ve helped you do the same. (If not, stick with me – we will get there!)
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So, why am I telling you all of this?
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What does it cost?
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