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The Toxic Aftermath of Covert Narcissistic Abuse

How-To-Get-Away-With-Murder-by-Jeni-Mawter

OVERT Narcissistic Abuse starts out subtly, then gradually builds so the target of this abuse becomes more and more distressed in the relationship. Whilst the target may not be able to pinpoint that they are in an abusive relationship they recognise that something is going dreadfully wrong.

COVERT Narcissistic Abuse, is completely different. Like an invisible gas without any smell it infiltrates and slowly poisons a relationship so that in the end the target is completely destroyed in mind, body, spirit and soul. Covert Narcissists have such stealth that the target is made to feel like they are the ones who are at fault. They are also made to feel like they are going crazy.

Covert Narcissistic Abuse is so insidious, that targets completely lose their sense of ‘Self’. They no longer know who they are, they feel like they’ve lost their Soul. And to make matters even worse, the Covert Narcissistic Abuser never abuses in public, all their tactics are used behind closed doors. As such, when a victim attempts to explain their war zone aftermath NO ONE BELIEVES THEM!

Narcissistic Abuse is the Pandemic of our time.

“What Abuse Survivors Don’t Know: 10 Life-Changing Truths” Article by Shahida Arabi onmogul.com

I am sharing this excellent and uplifting article to help with your healing:

The journey to healing from emotional or physical abuse requires us to revolutionize our thinking about relationships, self-love, self-respect and self-compassion. Abusive relationships often serve as the catalyst for incredible change and have the potential to motivate us towards empowerment and strength, should we take advantage of our new agency.

 

Here are ten life-changing truths abuse survivors should embrace in their journey to healing, though it may appear challenging to do so.

 

  1. It was not your fault. Victim-blaming is rampant both in society and even within the mental landscapes of abuse survivors themselves. Recently, the victim-blaming and the mythical “ease” of leaving an abusive relationship has been challenged in the public discourse. Accepting that the pathology of another person and the abuse he or she inflicted upon you is not under your control can be quite challenging when you’ve been told otherwise,  by the abuser, the public and even by those close to you who don’t know any better. Abuse survivors are used to being blamed for not being good enough and the mistreatment they’ve suffered convinces them they are not enough. The truth is, the abuser is the person who is not enough. Only a dysfunctional person would deliberately harm another. You, on the other hand, are enough. Unlike your abuser, you don’t have to abuse anyone else to feel superior or complete. You are already whole, and perfect, in your own imperfect ways.

 

  1. Your love cannot inspire the abuser to change. There was nothing you could have done differently to change the abuser. Repeat this to yourself. Nothing. Abusers have a distorted perspective of the world and their interactions with people are intrinsically disordered. Pathological narcissists and sociopaths are disordered individuals who have specific manipulation tactics as well as behavioral traits that make them unhealthy relationship partners. Part of their disorder is that they feel superior and entitled; they are usually unwilling to get help and they benefit from exploiting others. A lack of empathy enables them to reap these benefits without much remorse. Giving your abuser more love and subjugating yourself to the abuser out of fear and out of the hope that he or she would change would’ve only enabled the abuser’s power. You did the right thing (or you will) by stepping away and no longer allowing someone to treat you in such an inhumane manner.

 

  1. Healthy relationships are your birthright and you can achieve them. It is your right to have a healthy, safe, and respectful relationship. It is your right to be free from bodily harm and psychological abuse. It is your right to be able to express your emotions without ridicule, stonewalling or the threat of violence. It is your right not to walk on eggshells. It is your right to pursue people who are worthy of your time and energy. Never settle for less than someone who respects you and is considerate towards you. Every human being has this right and you do too. If you are someone who has the ability to respect others and are capable of empathy, you are not any less deserving than anyone else of a relationship that makes you happy.

 

  1. You are not forever damaged by this. Healing and recovery is a challenging process, but it is not an impossible one. You may suffer for a long time from intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and other symptoms as a result of the abuse. You may even enter other unhealthy relationships or reenter the same one; this is not uncommon, as a large part of our behavior is driven by our subconscious. Still, you are not “damaged goods.” You are not forever scarred, although there are scars that may still remain. You are a healer, a warrior, a survivor. You do have choices and agency. You can cut all contact with your ex-partner, seek counseling and a support group for survivors, create a stronger support network, read literature on abusive tactics, engage in better self-care, and you can have better relationships in the future. If you suspect you were the victim of emotional abuse, you can read about the manipulation tactics of emotionally abusive people and understand how pathological individuals operate so that you can protect yourself in the future. All hope is not lost. You can use this experience to gain new knowledge, resources and networks. You can channel your crisis into transformation.

 

  1. You don’t have to justify to anyone the reasons you didn’t leave right away. The fear, isolation and manipulation that the abuser imposed upon us is legitimate and valid. Studies have proven that trauma can produce changes the brain. If we experienced or witnessed abuse or bullying in our childhood, we can be subconsciously programmed to reenact our early childhood wounding. The trauma of an abusive relationship can also manifest in PTSD or acute stress disorder regardless of whether or not we witnessed domestic violence as a child. Stockholm syndrome is a syndrome that tethers survivors of trauma and abuse to their abusers in order to survive. This syndrome is created from what Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D calls “trauma bonds,” which are bonds that are formed with another person during traumatic emotional experiences. These bonds can leave us paradoxically seeking support from the source of the abuse. Biochemical bonds can also form with our abuser through changing levels of oxytocin, dopamine, cortisol and adrenaline which can spike during the highs and lows of the abuse cycle. The connection we have to the abuser is like an addiction to the vicious cycle of hot and cold, of sweet talk and apologies, of wounds and harsh words. Our sense of learned helplessness, an overwhelming feeling that develops as we are unable to escape a dangerous situation, is potent in an abusive relationship. So is our cognitive dissonance, the conflicting ideas and beliefs we may hold about who the abuser truly is versus who the abuser has shown himself or herself to be. Due to the shame we feel about the abuse, we may withdraw from our support network altogether or be forced by our abuser to not interact with others.

These reasons and more can all interfere with our motivation and means to leave the relationship. You may have been financially dependent on your abuser or feared physical or psychological retaliation in the form of slander. Therefore, you never have to justify to anyone why you did not leave right away or blame yourself for not doing so. Someone else’s invalidation should not take away your experience of fear, powerlessness, confusion, shame, numbing, cognitive dissonance and feelings of helplessness that occurred when and after the abuse took place.

 

  1. Forgiveness of the abuser is a personal choice, not a necessity. Some may tell you that you have to forgive the abuser to move on. Truly, that is a personal choice and not a necessity. You might feel forgiveness of the abuser is necessary in order to move forward, but that does not mean you have to. Survivors may have also experienced physical and sexual abuse in addition to the psychological manipulation. You may have gone through so much trauma that it feels impossible to forgive, and that’s okay. It is not our job to cater to the abuser’s needs or wants. It’s not our duty to reconcile with or forgive someone who has deliberately and maliciously harmed us. Our duty lies in taking care of ourselves on the road to healing.

 

  1. Forgiveness towards yourself is necessary to move forward. Self-forgiveness is a different matter. You do have to demonstrate compassion towards yourself and forgive yourself for not leaving the relationship sooner, for not taking care of yourself better, and for not looking out for your safety and best interests. These are all things survivors tend to struggle with in the aftermath of an abusive relationship and it can take a while to get to this point. Remember: You didn’t know what you know now about how the abuser would never change. Even if you had, you were in a situation where many psychological factors made it difficult to leave.

 

  1. You are not the crazy one. During the abusive relationship, you were gaslighted into thinking that your perception of reality was false and told that you were the pathological one, that your version of events was untrue, that your feelings were invalid, that you were too sensitive when you reacted to his or her mistreatment of you. You may have even endured a vicious smear campaign in which the charming abuser told everyone else you were “losing it.” Losing it actually meant that you were tired of being kicked around, tired of being cursed at and debased. Losing it actually meant that you were finally starting to stand up for yourself. The abuser saw that you were recognizing the abuse and wanted to keep you in your place by treating you to cold silence, harsh words, and condescending rumor mongering. It’s time to get back to reality: you were not the unstable one. The unstable one was the person who was constantly belittling you, controlling your every move, subjecting you to angry outbursts, and using you as an emotional (and even physical) punching bag.

Who are you? You were the person who wanted a good relationship. The one who strove to please your abuser, even at the cost of your mental and physical health. You were the one whose boundaries were broken, whose values were ridiculed, whose strengths were made to look like weaknesses. You attempted to teach a grown person how to behave with respect – often fruitlessly. You were the one who deserved so much better.

 

  1. You do deserve better. No matter what the abuser told you about yourself, there are people out there in healthy relationships. These people are cherished, respected and appreciated on a consistent basis. There is trust in the relationship, not the toxic manufacturing of love triangles. There are genuine apologies for mistakes, not provocation for attention or quick reconciliation. Consider this: aside from the experience of trauma, these people in healthier relationships are not drastically different from you. In many ways, they are just like you – flawed, imperfect, but worthy of love and respect. There are billions of people in this world, and yes, you can bet there are plenty out there who will treat you better than the way you’ve been treated before. There are people out there who will see your wonderful strengths, talents, and who will love your quirks. These people wouldn’t dream of intentionally hurting you or provoking you. You will find these people – in friendships and in future relationships. Perhaps you already have.

 

  1. It may have seemed this relationship was like a “waste of time” but in changing your perspective, it can also be an incredible learning experience. You now have the agency to create stronger boundaries and learn more about your values as a result of this experience. As a survivor, you’ve seen the dark side of humanity and what people are capable of. You’ve recognized the value of using your time wisely after you’ve exhausted it with someone unworthy. With this newfound knowledge, you are no longer naive to the fact that there are emotional predators out there. Most importantly, you can share your story to help and empower other survivors. I know I did, and you can too.

Louise Delahunty offering ‘Assistance for NPD Harm Reduction’ coaching in the United Kingdom

Hi Everyone,
Recently learned of a new resource which I’d like to share:
Psychopathy Awareness and Harm Reduction Coaching (PAHRC) programmes to Avoid Dating a Psychopath or recover when you have.
We also offer a Corporate Trajectory ‘Protecting your Business from the Corporate Psychopath’.
Founder is a Mental Health Professional (former NHS and Priory) and Coach.
Louise Delahunty

List of International Resources re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

International Register of NPD Resources

Recently, I was contacted by Michelle Mallon, a social worker in the United States, who is attempting to pool NPD resources on a global scale. A co-ordinated approach to Narcissistic Personality Disorder on an international scale is what we need to inform and empower those affected by NPD. Read more

Need help to deal with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and you live in Australia?

Julie Hart from The Hart Centre offers specialist services to help those dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

http://www.hartrelationshipcounselling.com.au/free-psychology-help/are-you-living-with-a-narcissist.html

The Hart Centre
Suite 32104 Southport Central Tower 3
9 Lawson Street
Southport 4215 QLD
www.thehartcentre.com.au Read more

Moving on from Narcissistic Abuse due to Narcissistic Personality Disorder: A Slideshare Compiled by Jeni Mawter

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Narcissistic Victim Syndrome – the Fallout of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. A Powerpoint by Jeni Mawter

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From Victim to Victor: Dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

This is a fantastic resource full of great advice for dealing with a NPD in your life.

10 Steps to FREEDOM from Narcissistic Abuse by Invicta Ma

by InvictaMA 2009-2013
POSTED BY INVICTA MA

http://narcissism-support.blogspot.com.au/2009/01/ten-steps-to-freedom-from-narcissists.html

“love bombing” that I am sure many of those victimised by narcissists experience. In real life, a girlfriend who turned out to be a narcissist thought the world of me, came to me for advice, and would do anything for me; she was so like me, and so perfect until the cracks began to show. They cannot keep up the facade for very long. But they are masters, if you don’t know better, at getting you hooked.

This feeling of “love” that we have is more intense than normal because first they flood you with expressions of love and then they withhold and then they give a little, and over time this changes our brain chemistry- it’s a form of manipulation, control and brainwashing.

There is no doubt that we have loved. It’s just that narcissists can’t love you back. And there is no doubt that it is not a good idea to depend on the strength of your feeling for a narcissist, but to listen to your gut. What happens with these types is that we get so caught up in the feeling and don’t listen to the alarms and red flags that usually guide our way.

1. Educate Yourself

The most important thing you need to do is learn everything you can about the disordered and how they operate. You must educate yourself. Repeat and repeat and repeat. Unless you educate yourself you will never be free of their toxic enmeshment. Because they don’t think and feel as we do, we cannot treat them like we do “normal” people/ourselves. Nor is it any use feeling sorry for them when you are trapped with them because they will simply use all your feeling against you. You need to harden your heart in order to see very clearly what you are dealing with.

2. Observe and Trust Your Gut

Distinguish between what is feeling in yourself and your gut instinct, and switch to trusting your gut. You are in poor physical and emotional and mental health because you are struggling to
understand behaviour that on the surface contradicts the words.

Never listen to words. Observe the behaviour. It is by behaviour that we really know people. Words are just a con job. You are worn out and sick because your psyche and body are telling you there is something terribly wrong when there is an illusion of everything being right (because s/he tells you so) and this is a very hard thing to accept. If it feels wrong, it is wrong. Be a scientist. Silently observe what is really happening.

3. Stay Out of Their Head

Get back inside your own where you belong. It’s a mindfulness thing. Watch how hard that is because they’ve trained you well. Don’t try to figure out what they’re up to, what’s in their mind, or second guess them. Getting into their head means trying to figure out their motives, trying to make excuses for them, trying to rationalise their behaviour, trying to manipulate them, and especially getting sucked into the content.

When you catch yourself, wrench yourself away from it and think about something else. I used to use a Hebrew blessing as a mantra when my mind wandered into poisonous realms. This is a challenge because it takes a huge force of will to do this and goes against all the training they gave you to ensure that they take up all the space inside your head.

4. Ignore Content

There is no content for narcissists except the kind that will suck you in. I had to train myself to ignore the content. It’s not a question of belief or disbelief. It’s about tearing yourself away from everything being about them during all your waking hours and probably your dreams.

Do not listen to or give importance to the content of what narcissists say. It is their way of sucking you into their world and keeping you there, a world of total mindfuck where you always end up the bad guy. They don’t make common sense and keep moving the boundaries and goalposts to keep you destabilised.

Listening to the content stresses your cognitive functioning- it is crazymaking. Know that whatever they say has something in it for them, no matter how reasonable or wonderful it seems. It is all about them and they want you to be all about them as well and they will do and say anything to you to keep you trapped in their little dream world. Instead, observe what they are doing.

5. Protect Your Assets.

If need be, squirrel away money. They will bleed you dry. Protect anything that is precious to you. If you think about being fair and noble, you might be left destitute.

6. Silence is Golden

It is natural to want to share yourself with your soulmate. But you do not have a soulmate; you have a narcissist pretending to be a soulmate. Resist the temptation to tell them everything you think and feel. You cannot move them. They will use it against you. The more open you are, the more artillery they have. They love for you to share. If you need to say anything, either dissemble or be vague or neutral or change the subject. Everyone has ways to withhold, so use your particular way to protect yourself.

7. Who Are You?

Know what you stand for and know what you are willing to live and die for. Or anyone can persuade you of anything. Without knowing yourself, you have few boundaries about what you are willing or not willing to tolerate. Strengthen that belief system and set of values that you cherish. Then you will know what to do and how to act and not waver.

8. It’s a Marathon

Keep observing and reading. Once you learn what manipulative tricks they can use, you will observe them happening. This is a huge reinforcement for you, a way of deprogramming from the illusion of great, soulful love or familial love or friendly love they have set up for you. This does not happen overnight. It’s a long distance goal. Be kind to yourself and patient. You are learning new ways to act in the world and redefining yourself and your beliefs, especially about people and relationships. Give yourself time to deal with all that’s happening. Nothing will change overnight. It’s a marathon.

9. Get Support

Anyone dealing intimately with the disordered is going to be emotionally and mentally abused. It’s important to have support whether it is a good friend, a counsellor, a group for the abused, even the internet though that is a more dangerous undertaking and not one I recommend. Along with support, the most important thing is to start to get back your health and your sanity with small things that give you pleasure or joy or peace. We all have something we love to do.

I would also recommend that if you seek counselling that you find someone in your area that deals with trauma and/or abuse. Do not try this over the internet or by phone. In addition, do not buy e-books that invariably are self-published, because they don’t answer to any mental health, ethical or professional standard; charlatans/narcissists abound on the net.

10. Nurture Your Soul

Once in a while, do some small kind thing for someone that will make their day. Do it anonymously and quietly. Say something complimentary to someone, even a stranger. Make one of your little dreams come true, for yourself. Get back in touch with your religion if you have a faith. Breathe in the fresh air and know that one day you will be free and life will be so much better