Living with a pathological narcissist means being forced into giving up your own identity, dreams, rights, and opinions. They are always right, , and anything you do that seems like you are trying to be an equal, will be shut down.
It is difficult for people who have not lived under the heavy weight, of the dark shadow, of a pathological narcissist to understand.
People will tell you that all you have to do is stand up to them, and assert your boundaries. But if you have lived with one of ….”the people that have no conscience” … then you know that the consequences that follow any attempt to assert your individuality, are met with severe punishment.
The malignant narcissist knows the weaknesses of their victim. If you love your children, they will threaten them, or turn them against you.
If you need your car to get to work, they will remove your car and refuse to return it until you submit. If you have friends, they will manipulate them, lie to them and ruin your relationships.
If you are seriously ill, they will tell people you are faking being sick to get out of seeing them. They will “accidentally” run into your employer and tell them you are pretending to be sick in order to get time off from work.
If you are struggling financially, due to repeated undermining behaviors by the narcissist, they will tell others how much they have helped you financially, and how ungrateful you are behaving to them.
If they humiliate you be spreading personal information they spied through your computer to discover, they will make it clear to you that they have more dirt on you. ….. Comply or suffer.
They will convince you to quit your job and then shame you. They will offer for you to move in with them, saying they need you there, only to send out Christmas card letters telling everyone how much you are imposing on them.
When you attempt to get a job, or start a business, to make enough money to move out, they will undermine you at every turn. …steal your keys and take your car out for an oil change, when you need to get to work.
When you complain that they took your car when you needed to get to work, they will tell you that since they are now helping with the maintenance of the vehicle ( the one oil change that it did not need, and you did not ask for) that the title to the car should actually be in their name… It’s only fair, right?
When you have a business appointment that you have to get to on time, they will block your car in with theirs, so you cannot get out.
When you ask them to move their car, they will demand all the information about your business, so that they can further undermine you.
When you get a pet for comfort, they steal the supplies you bought for it, and put them where you cannot reach them. Then they nail the cage to a table in their yard, so that you cannot take it.
If you purchase any property, like furniture, they will insist it was always theirs. If it becomes damaged they will demand that you pay for it.
If you live with a psychopathic narcissist, they will break your appliances and scream at you for breaking them. You will go without a shower or a stove….even when you rent (which is unreasonanly high) has always been paid on time to them.
When you tell them that these things are legally required to be working, they will tell you they have other projects to finish in the house first, such as new wall paper in their bedroom.
If you use their shower and the pipe behind the wall leaks, they will tell you the water damage was caused by you not knowing how to use the shower curtain. When you show them the floor next to the shower is dry, they ignore you and continue to explain how to properly pull the shower curtain closed, so that you do not damage their house again.
When you ask the plumber, right in front of the narcissist, if water from the shower curtain not being pulled tight could send water pouring through two floors of celings, he laughs and says no. When you remind the narcissist of this conversation the next time they tell you there was water damage due to your not pulling the shower curtain closed, they deny the plumber was ever there.
When the therapist tells you to bring the narcissist to therapy with you, because the therapist feels that everyone can live in harmony once the therapist teaches everone proper techniques for communication, DON’T DO IT!
The narcissist is not unaware of methods for communication. Their methods are intentional and not accidental.
Make no mistake. The narcissist is in full control of their communication methods.
They are able to behave during the idealization (honermoon) phase. They are not confused as to why everyone is not getting along… or about why all the relationships around them are in chaos.
They divide and conquer, with a Machiavellian philosophy.
The ends jusitifies the means.
They say one thing to you, and the opposite to someone else. They deny saying things, manipulating you, and threatening you.
They will never admit what they do, or what they say to you behind closed doors. They deny reality to discredit you, turn people against you, and to create chaos so that they can be on top.
They intentionally use techniques of brainwashing and creating a … “shared psychosis”…in order to to scapegoat certain people. The family members who seem to want to hold onto their identity, and will not let the narcissist make them bow down to their greatness.
The narcissist will retaliate against you when you try to shed light on the truth. Their secret identity is hidden under the mask, and they hate you for knowing who they really are.
They will stop at nothing to destroy you, financially, socially, and physically. Their tactics will cause deterioration of your physical and mental health.
Why don’t people simply just stand up to the narcissist they are living with and assert themselves?
Because often times you have a better chance escaping them without severe damage, if you let them think they have control, while you are secretly filling your bank account and packing boxes that you hide in the closet.
The retaliation by a psychopathic narcissist is so severe it has driven many victims to suicide. Unless you have lived with them, you cannot imagine what they are capable of.
painting by Taras Loboda 1961 Link to more of their paintings HERE
If you find yourself in the darkness….it is partially a solitary battle. Trying to get out of that tunnel backwards, by retreating will not work.
You are thrown into the middle of the dark tunnel, by your personal demons.
If someone has hurt or abused you then you are realizing that this has triggered your old wounds to open up and your sleeping demons to awaken.
You have to sit with the darkness and interact with those fears, angers, grief or sadness demons. You need to let your inner child know that you are confronting those demons for them, because the child in incapable to battle them or defend against them.
If you try to run away from that tunnel, the demons will always follow you, because they refuse to be ingnored. Your inner child will continue to feel rejected and abandoned by you, because you are not integrating the demons.
If you experienced trauma at early ages, those demons are still haunting the child.
An incident of coming face to face with evil or darkness, will trigger the old fears, because they were never consoled and accepted.
You can sit with these feelings and let your inner child know that you accept them, love them, and will always protect them.
Once the child realizes it is not abandoned then the process of integrating the fractured child parts, and fractured memory pictures, can begin.
image from pinterest Link HERE
Each picture has a meaning attached to it. The meanings of things during childhood are programmed into you by others, who were concerned with their own agenda. You can change the meaning that your subconscious holds about these memories.
Take your time as you walk through the dark tunnel. You will get to the other side stronger and with greater ability to perceive truth.
Society, and people from your life, have dropped a veil in front of your eyes.
Any feelings you are carrying of shame, guilt, or obligation to violate your authentic self, are part of this veil.
There is more to see and perceive….and there are more possibilities that exist….and more possibities that you can create. People limit you by telling you what you cannot and should not do.
The darkness does not have to be pushed aside, in order for you to survive it.
Painful emotions are guides, telling you not to go in a certain direction.
Your emotions are an alert system that is important for you to pay attention to.
Others are not living your life. They do not have any right to dictate how you feel about their behaviors and words. They do not have any right to program your mind with the meaning they want you to attach to things.
Your brain and your emotions are your own. You have a right to feel how you feel, and to care about those feelings. Others who discount your feelings are not supporting you and those people are not good for you.
Highly sensitive people and empaths are criticized by the ones who want to dominate over and subjugate them.
They will tell you that you are “too sensitive” or that you are “over reacting.. “
They may even deny things they say and do, in order to gaslight you.
When you try to set boundaries with them, they tell you they never did what you are remembering them doing….or they just plain say that your needs are irrelevant.
This is to create ficticious examples of how your “highly sensitive person” qualities are not valid. If these people can make you question your perception of reality, then they can manipulate how you feel about yourself.
Do not discount or minimize your feelings.
Experience them and integrate all parts of you into the whole. Others will attempt to fracture your parts, because this disables you from being powerful.
You have a great purpose and there are many possibilities all around you. Accept and love yourself for who you are.
Photography by Karina Chernova – see more of her work HERE
As you begin to integrate the light and the darkness of the old and new demons, you will begin to see how you belong in the world.
You have purpose and are part of all life. Your gifts are special and unique. .
Listen to those people that nourish your soul…rather than those people that seek to cripple your spirit. Find others who can validate your worthiness ….
Highly sensitive people and empaths are in the minority.
It is important for you to exist in an environment that supports you. Seek out those who value your gifts and accept you for who you are.
Note – If you are interested in life coaching for expanding and blossoming your unique gifts, or help finding your direction, please feel free to visit my web site and join the email list.
-overcoming narcissistic abuse
-dealing with the “red pills” and truth being revealed to you
-hypnosis and NLP
-compassionate conversation and validation
Walking past the black iron bars
Of the outdoor prison, in the square
Where people were taken for reasons unknown
And locked behind the black iron bars there
A maiden felt her wrist taken hold
by a prisoner dressed in back and gold
The inmate was pretty, but worse for wear
She wore withered flowers in her hair
The maiden had never been near this dark place
But she saw great compassion in the prisoner’s face
The worn woman held onto the young woman’s hand tight
and pulled her in close under the evening star light
The sky was filled with seas of silvery stars
The maiden saw the prison woman had deep painful scars
“Take this and listen to me”
Said the woman so sweet,
“This small velvet bag contains rubies to keep”
The maiden drew close to the woman to hear
Then secrets she whispered into her young ear…
“If by one the rubies glare
Be alert for the monster’s stare
If by two or more they light
Avert your gaze and take swift flight
If by 8 or 9 they should shine
There is no wasting time
Hide the gems and claim to be blind
The creature is already inside your mind
Only the stones of red can tell
When you are close to a creature of hell…”
She bade the maiden hide the gift in her dress
And run very fast without turning back
She said to keep running no matter the sounds
She might hear behind her….the creature was coming ’round
“Now run and run fast
Heed well what I say
Those rubies of red will save your young life one day
Stay on your path and do not get distracted
By anyone along who calls you sweet names
Hold fast to the red gems and keep them quite safe
Their light of the truth will save you
from shame and disgrace”
So the maiden held fast to the gems she kept hidden
And ran like the prisoner woman had bidden
She wanted to turn and look back if she dared
But the prison woman had forbade her to peek
The monster was coming and the woman knew all too well
What would happen to her if she looked
His blue eyes would meet hers
And his trance would be strong
And the rubies would light up in vain
This monster was a powerful one
And the maiden would fall
For his charm and the song
he would sing just for her
The prisoner watched the young maiden go straight
Along the path and away from the gate
Stuck behind black iron bars
The woman looked up at the moon and the stars
She couldn’t get free, but her truth was outside
No bars could hold the rubies of red
The gems brought her hope
For the one she passed them to
Having fashioned them out of her blood
Over time and from terrible pain
The red stones lifted her name
Outside of the prison-master’s walls
Then the screaming began
But the maiden never turned
She knew she possessed the keys
in the form of the ruby stones
to shed light on the dark ones
In the small velvet bag that was hidden in her dress
And to turn and look at the creature
Would likely mean her death
If one gem would light, she would be very cautious
If two or more glimmered, she’d turn her back
If 8 or 9 burned bright, she would run through the night
Because those rubies of red were like red flags of light
When you are with a devil of a partner, you do not see their dark side at first. The really good predators are skilled at creating a shared psychosis…an illusion that you are two perfectly matched souls….destined to be together
When you are with an authentic partner, who has true compassion for you, they do not feel the need to state things like….
I have compassion for you.
I don’t usually have compassion for other people, but I have compassion for you.
Other people do not really understand you or see you. But only I see the real you.
No one sees your talent but me.
I am the only one who has really loved you.
I am the only one who could really love you.
You are so different from other people that I am the only one who understands you.
You are too special to be with anyone but me.
No one will love you the way I do.
You are the only one who can save me.
I would die without you.
You would die without me.
You and I do not belong in this world.
We are nothing without each other.
You can only do great things if you are with me.
I will kill myself if you leave me.
I will kill myself if you….
I will kill myself if you don’t….
My life was nothing before you.
You don’t need anyone but me.
Your friends are not really your friends. Only I am.
Everyone always lets me down in the end.
Everyone disappoints me sooner or later.
Every relationship I have ends up with them abusing me. You will do the same.
Everyone leaves me. So will you.
No one is willing to give me what I need.
I never get enough help from anyone.
People should help me and do what I ask, without wanting something in return.
If you really loved me you would not expect things in return for doing everyhing I ask you to do.
How can I believe you love me if you are not waiting by the phone when I call?
How can you do things for other people when I am so needy?
How can you do things for yourself (like take a shower) without checking that I am okay first?
I should not have to be there for you to prove my love.
Love is about you being there for me and doing things for me that I can do myself.
Love is being there for me when you have an impotant business meeting to go to.
Love is being there for me, when your friend or family member has an emergency.
Love is about being there for me when you have an emergency.
Love is being there for me when you are sick or sleep deprived.
Love is giving up all your friends and family for me.
Love is you knowing that my job is more important than yours, but that I not help you pay your bills.
Love is YOU paying attention to MEEEEEE and me ignoring, rejecting, demeaning, minimizing and lying about you.
She used to stay up late at night to clean the house and have peace. She could move about the house and touch things late at night, in a way she was not able to during the day.
If she touched things during the day, she was bound to do it in a way that displeased him. If she displeased him, or if he felt disrespected by the tiniest thing, she would pay for it.
She felt terrified of him. He liked the house to be clean and neat, so she had to take care to be sure things were done to his liking. But truthfully, no matter how long she cleaned, or how much she tried, it was never right for him.
After cleaning until 4 am, she laid down on the couch, with the television on quietly, so as not to disturb him. He was asleep on the next floor up, in the queen size bed. She did not dare slide into the bed next to him.
At 7 am he would awaken her by swatting her repeatedly with something….usually his coat. She would awaken mid-swatting, and react with a normal startle reflex to being swatted while you sleep.
He would scold her and ask her how many times he told her not to jump like that when he woke her up. She was so stupid to keep forgetting how he hated it.
Then he would throw her purse on top of her and demand 3 dollars, so he could go down to the store and buy a tall boy. Beer was the only alcohol available for sale before 11 am. He would settle for that until the vodka could be purchased.
She knew better than to argue about needing the money for milk or bread. She still had bruises on her jaw, from doing that last week.
She handed him the money and he snatched it without saying anything more. But as he walked out the door, he grumbled something about her being fat and lazy for sleeping all day.
I still jump and cover my face by reflex, when someone startles me in my sleep.
I just finished giving a guitar lesson to my teenage niece. It is nice to spend time with her. I have been giving her lessons for a few months now, about every other week.
Before her father had asked me if I was interested in doing guitar lessons with her, I had not been doing much with guitar at all.
I used to play all the time. Depression has a way of making you lose interest in the things you once used to love to do. After back to back abusive situations with partners and family members, I lost my will to do anything that I liked to do.
Since I have started my life coaching business I have been feeling that life force coming back. Once people suck your will out of you, it takes time to be able to self generate that energy again.
It takes doing something that you are passionate about. Since I have been working with other abuse victim, I have felt a purpose in my life that means something special to me. So this is having the effect of generating some of that will power back again.
I still feel the weight of depression pressing down on me as I try to push it off. I am learning that you cannot push it off at all. It is more a matter of accepting without judgement of yourself.
Then allowing the feelings to come and sitting with them in a way that is nurturing. Showing yourself compassion when the people closest to you cannot show you any compassion is not easy. But you can do it once you learn that the perceptions others have about you do not have to frame your reality.
Anyway, I was thinking of putting new strings on my guitar so that it would sound better. The old strings have a very thumpy, dull sound. I know that I would be pleased to hear the sound of new strings and I would be more likely to play for enjoyment.
I might learn a new song or write one of my own. Baby steps are sometimes the way to make great changes in your perceptions. It is the change in perception that will create change in your behavior.
Perceptions control your emotions. Emotions are underneath of all behaviors. Once you can begin to change behaviors and have more control over getting some momentum, then you can begin to enjoy your path as you are creating it under your feet.
Low self esteem.
Lack of being able to self generate feelings of self worth.
Fear of doing things that make other people upset, angry or disappointed.
Difficulty prioritizing oneself.
Trouble feeling motivated to get ahead in life.
These are some of the symptoms of C-PTSD from growing up with a narcissistic parent. Your subconscious brain is programmed very early about your identity, and your role in the family and your place in the world.
Associations are deep in the subconscious.
If you do not comply with the other person, there will be consequences to pay. If you cause someone to become upset , you will pay dearly.
People from more health families learn to look out for themselves. You learned that in order to protect yourself, you have to look out for others.
People from functional families were taught to be in touch with their own feelings and to love themselves.
If you were the child of a narcissist, you were taught to defend against the wrath f the narcissist by not expressing your own feelings. Eventually you began to have trouble identifying what you want at all.
As an adult this wiring in your brain keeps you from taking care of yourself properly.
You still have that hyper-vigilance that there is a threat of danger when someone near you is not getting their way.
You may have a fear of being abandoned by the people you love, if you consider your own needs to be equal to theirs. The longer you cater to the desires of other people, in a relationship, the more they come to expect that treatment from you.
People around you can become conditioned to expect you to always agree, always go along with them, and never challenge them.
One of the many problems of this “people pleaser” behavior is that it attracts narcissists and predators. Narcissists and psychopaths want easy prey or at least a victim that had obvious emotional wounds that they can use to use against you.
If you have never practiced standing up for yourself, then you have no idea how to do this, and you fear the consequences of doing so. What would happen to your relationships if you said “no” to someone?
What would happen to your world of you began to prioritize your own needs? What consequences would follow if you believed that your needs and ideas were just as valuable as those of the people in your life?
Well, you can see the people in the world who are not afraid to say “no.” You interact with them all the time. They say “no” to you all the time. These people are not all in the same category.
There are people who do what they want all the time. They never let people cross their boundaries. In fact, they cross over into your world and stomp all over your rights and invade your boundaries all the time.
These are the narcissists. You may have a fear of becoming like that. You do not want to become the parent that emotionally abused you. The very person that caused much of your difficulty in getting what you want out of life.
But there is another category of people who stand up for themselves. These are people that have healthy boundaries but still respect the rights of other people. They do not exploit and manipulate others.
They express their feelings and let people know what they want. They go after the things they want out of life and they consider their personal dreams, desires and emotions to be a high priority.
These are not narcissists. They do not use aggressive, emotionally manipulative communication. They do not covertly try to get emotional reactions from you, in order to exploit and control you.
There is a line between assertive and aggressive. You are being assertive when you express what you do and do not want.
You are being aggressive when you make it clear that you do not care what the other person wants. You undermine, lie to, and gaslight people to get your way.
Being assertive and having healthy boundaries does not have to injure other people.
You are not a bad person for looking out for yourself.
You are not a narcissist if you care about your own feelings and needs. You are a normal human being.
I will write about this topic again in the future. Please leave comments below about a specific question or particular problem that you have.
Give me some ideas about problems of having C-PTSD (complex PTSD) that you are dealing with.
I want to hear from adult children of narcissistic parents. Also from anyone that grew up under the heavy cloud of a narcissist in some capacity. It is not always a parent.
Also, if you feel that your ability to move forward and get momentum in life has been affected by narcissistic abuse, either during childhood or as an adult, please leave me any ideas about questions I can address in a future post.