My wife grew up in a picture-perfect but abusive and dysfunctional family. She was raised by a narcissist. She was depraved of some of the most basic emotional needs; unconditional love, comfort, security, acceptance and healthy encouragement.
Children of narcissists are not healthy, happy or confident. Narcissistic parents ruin the entire course of their children’s lives, by destroying their self-esteem, their feelings of well-being and safety, and their confidence and courage. My wife is a narcissistic abuse survivor.
If you are a victim of narcissism, I hope you can recognise the problem, get help, and successfully recover from the narcissistic abuse. Education, awareness and implementing strong boundaries can help empower and protect you. If you are a friend or relative of a victim, please extend support, empathy, compassion and nonjudgment to the victim.
Knowing the narcissist
It is important to identify toxic narcissists early on. Narcissists can commonly be very charming and exciting, but in private they are highly manipulative and controlling people who don’t have empathy, compassion or conscience. A narcissist thrives on drama in relationships and feeds off the control he/she holds over others. Narcissists require a lot of energy, and they never change. They destroy you mentally and emotionally. Narcissists are very secretive, a characteristic of almost all abusers – “Don’t wash our dirty laundry in public!” they say.
Narcissistic abusers can deceive and manipulate even the most skilled of professionals. It is easy to mistake the abuser as well-intentioned and communicate this to the survivor, but an abuser always has an agenda of controlling the victim.
Walk away and close the door behind you
You don’t have to keep toxic people in your life, and you don’t have to feel bad for cutting them out. It is however extremely difficult to end a relationship with a narcissist. He/she will do almost anything to undo the situation and pull you back into the abusive relationship.
There is only one successful strategy to break free from a narcissist. That is the “No Contact” rule. It involves avoiding any contact with the narcissist and his/her harem.
The narcissists will seek revenge because ignoring them is one of the worst things you can do to a narcissist. They will try to call you, stalk you, interact with you, wait for you somewhere, and contact friends and relatives.
Ignore all attempts at communication, no matter what form the attempt is. Detach from any mutual friends or relatives that the narcissist could use to reach you and manipulate you, directly or indirectly.
No contact is not something you do for a week or a month, it’s indefinite. With time you will experience healing and recovery. You will experience more self-esteem, more joy, less pressure, less negative thinking, and more freedom.
Understanding the harem and the malice campaigns
When you discard a narcissist he/she will begin a malice campaign against you. The narcissist is a charming manipulator and will turn everyone against you. He/she will depict you as the abuser or unstable person. He/she will try to provoke you, and thus prove your instability. The narcissist will seek to pull you back into the trauma and abuse, with the help of his/her narcissistic harem.
A narcissistic harem is a collection of interchangeable friends, admirers, relatives and co-workers that a narcissist gathers to get his/her supply of love, admiration and validation. It is his/her support network and fan club. Flying monkeys are people who loyally support and defend everything the narcissists do and often carry out their dirty work. They are used by the narcissist to hoover, triangulate, trigger or manipulate you in some way. Often, flying monkeys come in the form of well-meaning friends and loved ones. They show up, trying to gently convince you to go along with what the narcissist wants. They are not likely to believe your accounts of the abuse. It’s best to cut ties with them completely and create your own support network that is separate from the abuser.
There are plenty of books about Narcissism, and a lot of information available on the internet. Here are two links to further resources on the subject:
Link 1: Thought Catalog, Narcissism
Link 2: Psychology Today, Narcissism
Additional information about No Contact
What does “no contact” really mean? One of the most specific and informative explanations I’ve found is by Luke 17:3 Ministries.
No Contact Means:
NO Talking To Them No Matter What Happens And No Matter What You Hear
NO Letting Them Talk To You, NO Listening To Anything They Say, NO “Hearing Them Out.”
NO Letting Them In Your House And NO Going To Their House. If It Is Possible To Move, Then Move, Get A P.O. Box, And Don’t Let Them Know When Or Where You’re Going. DO NOT leave a forwarding address at the post office- after the forwarding period is up, any card or letter your abuser sends you will get returned to him with your forwarding address on it; instead contact each of your creditors, friends, and anyone you want to keep in touch with individually and advise them of your new address. Never use your street address. Use your P.O. box as your address on everything- including your driver’s license, car registration, credit cards, deliveries, bills, etc. This will buy you a couple of years, until they find you online. The best move is more than a day’s drive away. In fact, the further, the better.
NO Phone Calls and NO Returning Voicemail Messages. Change Your Number To Unlisted and Unpublished, And Do Not Give It To Anyone You Can’t Trust Not To Give It To Your Abuser. NEVER pick up the phone. Screen Your Calls. Use Caller ID Or Let Your Machine Pick Up. If you get any strange messages from people you barely know or whom you haven’t heard from in years, do not return their calls unless they told you why they wanted to talk to you when they left their message. Be very wary of anyone who just leaves his name and number and says something along the lines of, “I need to talk to you.” There’s a very high probability he’s a Silent Partner, sicced on you by your estranged abuser.
NO Sending Or Responding To E-Mails. Block Their E-Mails, IMs, And Ability To See When You Are Online Block them from viewing your page on any social networking sites you are on. Make sure you use a different, unidentifiable name and e-mail address on any forums or chat groups you belong to.
NO Meetings to “Talk Things Over” Or “Work Things Out”.
NO Communication At All Except Through Attorneys. NOT THERAPISTS- Attorneys. If you go to counseling with a psychopath, I guarantee you’ll regret it.
NO Cards or Letters and NO Responding to Cards or Letters. NO Birthday Cards. NO Christmas Cards. NO Mother’s Day or Father’s Day Cards.
NO Gifts and NO Accepting Gifts. If A Gift Is Sent To You, NO Acknowledging It And NO Responding. NO Returning Gifts, Cards, or Letters. To An Abuser, That Is A Response- It Means You Are Still Emotionally Connected To Them, You Still Care, And If They Keep Trying They Can Wear You Down.
Ignore, Ignore, Ignore.
NO Exceptions For Holidays, Birthdays, or Anniversaries
NO Visits, Including Hospital Visits
NO Letting Them Near Your Kids. If They’re Too Toxic For You To Be Around, Then They’re Too Toxic For Your Children To Be Around. Warn Your Children To Stay Away From Them. Notify Your Children’s School To Call The Police If They Show Up.
NO Public Pleasantries. If You Run Into Them In a Public Place, Ignore Them, Turn Your Back, And Walk Away. If They Approach You, Say In A Loud Voice, “Leave Me Alone!” And “Do Not Talk To Me”. If They Persist Or You Believe You Are Being Stalked, Call The Police. Get a paper trail started. Make a police report and get a case number so that in the future you can file charges for stalking, aggravated harassment, and any other crimes that the police or your lawyer can think of.
NO Discussing Them With Anybody Who Has Contact With Them.
NO Speaking At All To Anyone Who Might Be Pumping You For Information Or Spying On You, And Reporting Back To Them. Cut Off Anyone Who Is Not Loyal To You.
NO Listening to Any News About Them. If you’re absolutely DYING of curiosity, listen but do not show undue interest, do not respond, and do not give any information in return.
NO Giving Other People Information About You Or Your Family That They Could Carry Back To Your Abuser.
NO Invitations to Your Big Events and NO Responding to Invitations They Send You.
NO Responding To News That They Are Getting Married, Having A Baby, Getting A New Job, Retiring, Moving, Taking A Trip, Sick, Dying, Or Dead.
NO Big Announcements or Telling Them Anything About Your Life- NO Letting Them Know You’re Getting Married, Moving, Or Having A Baby. NO Letting Them Know When Your Children Get Married, Where They Live, Work, or Go To School, Or When Your Grandkids Are Born.
Print Out E-Mails and Keep All Cards, Letters and Other Communication In A File For Future Harassment Or Stalking Charges, But Do Not Respond.
No Contact means NO CONTACT. Nothing, Nada, Zilch, Zip, Zero. As if they were total strangers who also happen to be dangerous, deranged, psychopathic stalkers. Which they pretty much are. So why would you not protect yourself and your family from them?
Narcissists do not understand limits, maintaining a comfortable distance, taking it slow, or being cordial while still keeping someone at arm’s length. They only deal in extremes, and must be totally enmeshed with you, with no boundaries or restrictions. It’s all or nothing with them. Because of this, it’s important to accept that it is NOT possible to have “limited” or “occasional” contact- for instance, only when there is a big event like a wedding or funeral. This only sends a mixed message to your abuser, who will interpret ANY willingness at all on your part to communicate with him as a sign that all is forgiven, you’ve gotten over your little snit, and everything can now go back to normal, without him ever having to apologize or stop abusing you.
No Contact is THE END. You have already wasted your entire life trying everything possible to have a nice peaceful relationship, and nothing worked. That’s why you reached this crossroads. There is nothing left to try. It’s OVER. It’s time to put a period on it, walk away, and never look back. Time to finally live your life. Time to do what you must to protect yourself and your loved ones from evil people who would do you harm. If you break No Contact, you will only be sucked back in. If you keep No Contact, you will live your life in peace, freedom, and safety.