An Open Letter to Friends and Family of Narcissistic Abuse Victims

By Kim Saeed | Break-Ups

Apr 01

Ven Baxter

If you’ve never been in a close relationship with a Narcissistic partner, it may not be easy to imagine. It might be impossible. It may not be easy for a survivor of Narcissistic abuse to relate his or her experiences to others, either.

Indeed, both of these may be impossible.

However, even if you’ve never experienced Narcissistic abuse yourself, it’s likely that you know someone who has. That person may benefit if you understand something–even a little bit–about his or her difficult experience.

This message is for friends and family of survivors of Narcissistic abuse. Its intention is to help you understand some of what your loved one has gone through–and, hopefully (perhaps recently), come out of. Its main purpose is to help assist your loved one’s healing.

So, what is Narcissistic abuse like? It’s like…

1) …being given a delicious treat and then having it taken away for no reason…and thrown in the trash in front of you…by someone who watches your lip tremble and your tears fall…with hidden but still barely visible enjoyment…and then apologizes…with a smirk…after the trash has been taken out…and promises not to do it again…but does anyway…after you forgave them…and forgot about the first time.

2) …chasing a puppy over a hill, only to find when you reach the crest that a bully has run it over with a car on the other side…who blames you for killing the puppy…by chasing it to their side of the hill…where they were driving…in the grass…with a “No Cars in Grass” sign posted.

3) …lending your car keys to a friend, who then crashes it…and laughs at you later…for being so stupid…as to lend your car keys…to them…while they were drunk…even though you didn’t know they were drunk…and they never said so…and they say your car was a piece of crap…and you needed a new one anyway…so you should thank them.

4) …having a student who scores 59% on everything–and fails–but is SO close to passing that you keep trying, test after test, to help him study and pass…but he keeps scoring 59s…and keeps telling you that he’d pass…if you didn’t suck so bad as a teacher…and his last teacher was SO much better than you.

5) …tending a garden and watching it grow–until your neighbor of many years suddenly throws an all-night drinking party on it…and says it was in his yard, not yours…but promises to help you re-plant it anyway…as a “favor” to you to “keep the peace”…and never does…but moves away instead…and tells the new tenant how crazy you are.

6) …hearing a beloved family member tell you, on his deathbed, that he always hated you, and only pretended to like you, and wanted to tell you before he dies–and then hearing later that the family member didn’t die…and is doing well…and says he doesn’t remember talking to you…or even that you were there…when he was ‘dying’…and then finding out later that the family member wasn’t really dying…and knew it all along…and was just being cruel…and you have no idea why.

7) …knowing where your purse is, and what’s always in it, but not finding it there–and finding it in your roommate’s closet instead, with its contents moved around or missing…and your roommate saying that you left it the last time you were in there…but that was weeks ago…but your roommate swears it was yesterday…and says your memory must be bad…and she seems to be wearing your lipstick… but claims she just bought it.

8) …being dumped, and told that your partner hates you and that it will never work, and your partner throwing your things out the door–and then calling you two days later, as if nothing had happened…saying it was “no big deal”…and getting upset at you…for being upset and taking it so seriously…and then says they were “just joking”… and buys you something very thoughtful to make up for it.

9) …being showered with praise, affection, attention, compliments, and shared dreams of a beautiful future together–until the hook is set…and you’ve fallen in love…and then, all of a sudden…your beloved starts tugging on the hook…and it hurts you to tug away…but it doesn’t hurt them at all…and you don’t understand why.

10) …watching the preview for a new movie, and paying to go watch it at the theater–and the movie being horrible…but you stay anyway to get your money’s worth…and you think it’s only two hours long…but it’s four…and then you’re tired…and just want to sleep…even if it’s in the chair…among strangers…instead of your own bed at home…so you fall asleep…and get locked inside the theater…and are late to work the next day.

These ten examples are mostly parables designed to show the sort of dynamic that’s common for someone in a close relationship with a person who shows significant Narcissistic traits–that is, a “toxic” relationship.

Not all of them are to be taken literally.

Ven Baxter lives in Florida, where he works as a canoe outfitter, teaches, writes, and enjoys being father to his three children.  You can find this article on his blog, Ven Baxter – Go deep into the nooks and crannies of life and the human experience…

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(30) comments

Anonymous October 26, 2016

Creating a beautiful painting after so much time and effort only to have it be burned to a crisp and then be told you shouldn’t have spent so much time on it because you should have known this would happen. It’s normal for hard work to be wasted. It’s just a painting, you’re making a bigger deal out of this then it is. You can always make a new one.

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Moving Forward July 17, 2016

I’ve lived it……….yet still find it difficult to believe how someone can be such a monster. I guess that only further explains how I questioned myself, questioned what was real and what wasn’t. Did I imagine that? or did I forget them saying something ahead of time that should have warned me? It was a twisted web that I couldn’t even explain – I just knew I was entangled.
Each day away from the narcissistic behavior………….things become clearer. I wasn’t the crazy one. I will heal. He won’t.

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Karin July 17, 2016

Hi Kim, I’m here from the Facebook share of this post. Welcome to the new blogger – very perceptive article. It’s so sad that even the Survivor’s still have to read about how the world at large still misunderstands Narcissistic Abuse to such an extreme degree. One day, I hope to see less scorn/disbelief and better education of both professionals and the general public.
(I miss the “like” button – just to let you know I’ve been here. I don’t always read everything as sadly, I can still be mildly “triggered”)

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Gabriela July 3, 2016

This discribes it perfectly

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Ret June 25, 2016

Good descriptions! It’s hard to explain the covert manipulations, and the passive aggressive behaviors to others. My Ex lives to get back at me if he’s upset about something. He needs to unload the anger but he can not show his emotions in a normal way. So what ensues is payback. I can see them coming whenever he doesn’t get his way.

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Human May 16, 2016

Survivors can easily relate to these parables. Someone without experience or knowledge of narcissistic abuse may dismiss them as ridiculous. Sadly, such a person is likely to side with the abuser and believe the victim is at fault.

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Anonymous May 12, 2016

My family will never get ..its my daughter…you will always be damned if you do…..damned if you don’t…..you are always wrong no matter how right you are

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Alia May 7, 2016

I really like the last one (the movie theater), because it really shows that the ball is always in my court (it doesn’t involve the narcissist per se, only me – the “victim”), but I refuse to play it, so to speak, when it comes to my own happiness. I disguise it by being a good person and by having principles and morals and by doing the right thing. I bet people laugh at my righteousness and that’s why I find myself in ridiculous relationships (including work relationships), where it just doesn’t make sense that I am even staying. Sure I need money (work), but for someone with the abilities of my caliber I could and should and finally am (I did learn a thing or two from my past) making a lot better living with a lot more control. Anyway, I’m trying to say that a lot of of us end up in these situations because we give up control to these guys for whatever reason, but mostly because it is easier that way and we don’t have to be fully responsible for our own happiness (which we don’t think we deserve anyway). We are as sick as these narcissists:(

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    Kim Saeed June 26, 2016

    We may be sick, Alia, but the good news is that we can heal and recover, whereas a narcissist will always be the same.

    I hope you find what you’re looking for in life. The best piece of advice I can give you at the moment is to write up a list of 5-10 deal-breakers – one list for romantic relationships and one for others – and when someone commits one of your deal-breakers, be willing to walk away…and mean it, regardless of the seeming connection you have with that person. This is especially critical in today’s world of online dating in regards to romantic relationships.

    In the meantime, spend some time getting to know yourself very intimately and honor your feelings above all else.

    Reply
      Melissa November 8, 2016

      Love this advice.

      Reply
Writer April 28, 2016

https://www.facebook.com/sheiladeborahoneill/

It’s True, I Let Him
By Sheila Deborah O’Neill

It’s true, I let him
Inside of my veins
Not knowing futures
Of endless mind games

It’s true, I let him
Take over my heart
Let into my soul
He ripped it apart

It’s true, I let him
Believed and did trust
Each toxic memory
Just lead me to rust

It’s true, I let him
Forgave as I could
Not knowing in time
Take more than I should

It’s true, I let him
I stood in my tears
Fell into sorrows
Lived in great fear

It’s true, I let him
Take my peace away
Startled responses
Nightmares each day

It’s true, I let him
Held on for dear life
Went through the battles
Told I’d be his wife

It’s true, I let him
Throw all in my face
For all was my fault
My truth, my disgrace

It’s true, I let him
Again and again
How might I get out
There wasn’t a plan

It’s true, I let him
Get under my skin
Do things I regret
But wasn’t to win

It’s true, I let him
No longer could stay
Everything I once had
Let him take away

It’s true, I let him
But no longer do
Survivor of trauma
It’s sad, but it’s true

It’s true, I let him
In love I gave all
The one to not hurt
Became my great fall

It’s true, I let him
As I try to heal
Numbing the memories
Chronic pain I feel

It’s true, I let him
Poisoned from the start
Habitual lies
He hiding his narc

It’s true, I let him
In love, we believe
Questions, confusion
His answer to leave

It’s true, I let him
I thought love was free
Learned my life lesson
Was not real to me

It’s true, I let him
Compartmentalize
Not even knowing
It helped his disguise

It’s true, I let him
But not anymore
Rebuilding takes time
I’m out of the war

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Steve April 17, 2016

Its way worse

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Ven – so glad you are writing with Kim. This is a parody of horrors. The sad part for survivors is that we’ll do some of this behavior as we work on our healing when we first step out into the dating world again. Those lovely emotional triggers from someone that is not necessarily a narcissist – maybe just a selfish opportunist but you are so much on high alert that it brings out your still wounded self. Thanks for sharing this one.

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    Kim Saeed June 26, 2016

    Thank you for commenting here, Kristin! You are so right about the behavior work. It’s a life-long undertaking <3

    Reply
gaydensadmirer April 16, 2016

What great examples!!!

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Jamie April 11, 2016

Yes these feel like it. So spot on! Purposeful malicious hurting… Just to hurt you. What a tragedy these folks are.

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Yttrium April 8, 2016

These are apt metaphors, and succinct. They perfectly express the exhaustion, can’t-win-for-losing setups, and crazy-making of a relationship with a disordered person. I’m sharing them with some of my friends and family — the ones who refused too drink the Narc’s Kool-aid and saw him for what he was.

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Jackie April 6, 2016

Narcissists are very good at lies so even the best of us are tricked. These people are seasoned experts at the art of cloak and daggers. Their ability to deceive is such that it takes longer to find out you were conned.

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    Kim Saeed June 26, 2016

    Even Robert Hare, the world’s leading pioneer in the field, admits to still being fooled by these people. What I’ve learned is that there is usually some warning sign to our intuition. Something that tells us ‘there’s something strange or unusual’ about this person. I think many of us just need to trust our guts more instead of justifying someone else’s unacceptable behaviors.

    Thank you for commenting, Jackie 🙂

    Reply
Been There April 2, 2016

You say these are just made up, but these are things I hear my mate say every day. So accurate and chilling how they manipulate and abuse us in a pattern that can be mirrored and applied to all our cases as victims. Thank you!

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zuly April 2, 2016

these are perfect examples I couldn’t put it any better! thanks for helping!

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TommyB April 2, 2016

I could relate completely. She hurt me so much and recovery is very slow. 9 months N free.

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Trish April 1, 2016

Brought tears to my eyes only because it reminds me of the damage and why no contact is so important. I’ve been searching for the words to explain the experience however so clearly articulates . 2 years since I last saw him and 1 1/2 years narc free!

Reply

These are all such perfect examples of what they do!

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Candra April 1, 2016

This explained so much in a new way and helped me realize that I am in a narcissistic relationship. If nanywaycares to respond, can such a “relationship” cause a great deal of fatigue. I am wanting to end it but I am “on the road” (i.e. no house to live in, but I’m at least not broke) with three dogs and feel so tired I feel like I need him. It’s a vicious cycle.

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    Karin July 17, 2016

    You are stronger than you know and this community will support you. No Contact will save your life.
    Stay connected with the survivor stories here – you can do this.

    Reply
Remembertoforget April 1, 2016

Very accurate!! Great read!

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MA April 1, 2016

Thank you

Reply

A very good article. 🙂

Reply
    Kim Saeed April 1, 2016

    Thank you, Lynette! We have a new author for the site, Ven, and he is very gifted <3

    Reply
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