Narcissists Fold, Spindle and Mutilate: Where and how to get help

I just read a post entitled  No Longer Dead and I knew immediately what this woman was dealing with based on the first half of her post.  My assumption is that the second half is her, telling herself that she will not accept this individual any longer until or unless he acquiesces to her completely legitimate and emotionally healthy demands.

If this woman has been dealing with an NPD, she was dead to him from the beginning.  She never truly existed as a human being worthy of love, respect, dignity and empathy.  She was simply this person’s mirror.  It appears she spent years being devalued and discarded and then finally got sick of it, found her strength and decided to move on.

This is a good post to read.  Many times, when we are the focus of devaluation by a narcissist, we don’t know what the heck is going on.  All we know is that nothing we do seems to be good enough; everything is our fault; we are crazy.  Nothing is wrong with the narcissist and he or she makes it very clear to us that we are the problem.  Still, when we’re in the middle of it, it’s difficult to step outside the fishbowl and peer in.  Objectivity seems to be the lowest on our list of priorities, with survival of a relationship that never was being our top priority.

Even if you’ve been married to an individual for most of your adult life, if you are being treated the way the woman in No Longer Dead was being treated, you haven’t had a relationship.  A relationship takes two people.  A Narcissist absolves themselves from relationship responsibilities before they engage with another individual.  A narcissist doesn’t have relationships; he or she merely has mirrors.  Even if you’ve been married for 30 years to a narcissist, it sadly means that you’ve been a mirror (and nothing more) for 30 years.

Narcissists can’t love another human being.  They don’t love themselves, even though their surface would indicate that they do love themselves – too much.  Scratch that surface and you find nothing.  Narcissists are fragile shells and to keep their shells intact they abuse before they can be abused.  This is why they are hyper-vigilant for the slightest criticism.  They twist and spin words that they believe might be critical (even if they aren’t) and deliberately make them critical so they can set about stomping the purveyor of those words into submission.

Narcissists are emotional vampires and they have memories like elephants.  Those who share emotions, who show they have emotions, who are compassionate and empathetic, are considered weak to a narcissist, ergo; they are FOOD.  A narcissist will suck you dry, and when you finally realize what’s been going on and stand up to the narcissist in your life, they will pull out every emotion you ever shared with them, twist and spin it and fling it back at you with deadly accuracy.  When they see their mirror has gained strength, thus providing the mirror the means of seeing the narcissist for what it truly is, they will move in for the emotional kill.

There is a point at which you, as a mirror can avoid this emotional kill, if you truly see what’s going on.  It’s a nanosecond in the scope of a 30-year marriage, or a many-years-long “relationship” with a narcissist, but if you see it, and flee when you see it, you will have a slightly diminished time frame during which you have to heal and rebuild your emotional health and strength.  If you don’t see it (and many of us don’t, and no one but you can say when that point is) you will be so emotionally crushed that it may be years before you have the strength to bootstrap yourself out of your situation.

If you are experiencing any of the issues described in the first half of No Longer Dead you MUST take a step back, grab your journal if necessary, and start assessing things.  Just start writing, and don’t worry about how things come out.  This will allow you to re-read and identify what’s truly going on.  If you don’t write, see a counselor.  Talk to a trusted friend.  Get an objective view of your situation.  While you’re doing this ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND THAT A NARCISSIST NEVER CHANGES.  THIS IS NOT A RELATIONSHIP; YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO SAVE YOURSELF, NOT A RELATIONSHIP THAT NEVER WAS. 

I don’t recommend seeing your family pastor or priest.  Why?  A pastor (and especially priests) are trained to keep the marital unit together regardless the circumstances.  If you see a priest you may be told it’s your responsibility (if you’re female) to act in submission with your husband’s will, regardless his will.  Depending upon your denomination, a pastor may tell you the same thing.  Fundamental Christian pastors may tell you (if you’re female) that you’re the one with issues since you’re not acting in accordance with “God’s” will or your husband’s will.  Trust me on this one, I’ve been there.

Most religions don’t recognize personality disorders as an acceptable reason for divorce.  My experience has taught me that when religion enters the picture, it is the woman who pays a huge price when her mate is a narcissist.  If there are children involved, you must get them away from the daily influence of the narcissist or you will have children who grow into damaged adults.

I believe that faith in a higher power is essential.  Many don’t believe that, and I respect their choice. For me, though, if I didn’t have faith in a higher power, I’d never have made it this far in life.   If you don’t have faith in a power greater than yourself, all that’s left to see you through your turmoil is whatever reserve of inner strength you may have.

My best advice for getting free of a narcissist (and you are with a narcissist if  all or most of the first half of No Longer Dead applies to you) is to seek secular help.  Prayer works, regardless your form of worship or faith.  Positive thinking works, but getting there is difficult.   Narcissists have many crossover traits to alcoholism, as well as to Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder.

Even if the narcissist in your life doesn’t drink, that doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t have alcoholic traits.  It’s very easy for someone to believe they are not an alcoholic simply because they don’t drink.  Alcoholism is defined not only by the consumption and need for alcohol, but by a very clear set of behavior patterns and those behavior patterns align with the way I’ve seen narcissists act.

If you are with a narcissist who does not drink, the odds are good you have a dry drunk on your hands.  Al-Anon is a great place to get the help and support you need in dealing with a dry drunk and/or a narcissist.  Please open the link for dry drunk to read the characteristics.  You will see that they align clearly with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

If the narcissist in your life drinks, it’s very important to get help through Al-Anon.  There are meetings everywhere and while some view it as a betrayal to the person with whom they are involved, that is simply misplaced loyalty.  Most of us who wind up with a narcissist in our lives have had prior experience with some form of emotional dysfunction in our lives, probably during childhood, when we are most malleable and taught to accept behaviors that are truly self-damaging.  Regardless your faith, if you believe in a higher power you must ask yourself if your higher power would find your situation acceptable, and would that higher power believe it to be something that is good, healthy and uplifting for you?

Remember this:  Martyrdom is not the glorification of God or any other higher power.  It is the glorification of EGO.  Many times, we have our egos too invested in who we are; that which we allow to provide us our criteria for life is our ego, not our SELF, which involves listening to the still, small voice and acting from within a higher level of knowledge with regard to self.  If we act from within the self, and not the ego, martyrdom to the cause of a narcissist becomes anathema to us.  In martyring ourselves to another’s abuse of us, we deny that which has been universally given to us:  love, in all its forms. Martyrdom is not love.  It is the glorification of our own egos, and that is not a good thing.

If you are with a narcissist, and you have sublimated yourself to that individual’s monstrously sick manipulation, you are martyring yourself.  STOP NOW!  

If you don’t stop the madness now, you may find yourself dealing with a massive case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Trust me on that one, too.   PTSD can result from recurring, consistent emotional abuse.  Couple that with the physical abuse that some experience when with a narcissist and you’ll wind up with a full-blown case of PTSD.


9 thoughts on “Narcissists Fold, Spindle and Mutilate: Where and how to get help

  1. Thank you for your comments. I respect you for the strong stand you take on this subject. Being a woman who lived more than 40 years of my life with narcissistic people and attempting to find love in those non-relationships, I agree with almost all of what you wrote. I need to add before saying anything else, that though no one should emotionally or physically batter another, it happens every day. It happens to the best of us, to those of all economic levels. It does not choose its prey by status or race. It is prevalent in our homes, Christian and non-Christian.

    One comment that I do not fully agree with is your recommendation to “not seek pastoral or priest care” in this time. I do understand and agree that MANY times, these people will guide you to stay in a marriage that is unhealthy and dangerous to emotional and physical well-being. I believe this type of advice stems from a lack of understanding of the circumstances and the truth written in the Bible. I believe Jesus did not look well upon oppressors and those who stole life from others. In fact, Jesus was a great advocate for women in their protection from abuse and oppression. When you consider Jesus example of love, justice and protection for women, it is heat-wrenching that those in positions of authority in the church, continue advising women to remain in abusive relationships. Yet, I know first-hand it is a truth. While I do believe there are those who are misguided by these leaders in the churches, I believe we each have a responsibility to choose wisely the circle of advisors from whom we accept guidance. In a time as this, we need people rallying around us who know the truth, love us from unselfish hearts and hold us accountable to the ONE truth.

    Not being accepted after leaving these types of relationships causes greater “outcast” mentality. When I finally pulled up my bootstraps and decided for a better life, it took me a while to really understand that I was not all the things that had been said to me in those non-relationships and by those who judged my decisions. The ONE thing that kept me centered through obstacles and continued abuse, even after I separated myself from it, was seeking a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, my higher power. I learned that I was truly loved, NOT from what someone told me, but from what I understood from a thirst to know. I researched and studied the Bible on my own, so I would know the truth personally.

    I do believe it is very wise to be sure who you choose to connect with in your safe and confidential circle. That is sometimes hard to determine when you are in such a state of desperation and with no real identity. That is when wolves can come in and devour one, and our churches are not free from wolves. With that said, I do believe there are many women and men who have a heart to help one another and share the compassion and wisdom they have gained by experiencing these circumstances themselves. I personally know many in the “true church” who are a voice for women in abusive relationships. It is to the detriment of people’s lives and to the “true church” that those who are in positions of authority are teaching and guiding from a false truth. In the Bible, we learn this has been present since the beginning of the church. It is why it is crucial for us to seek the truth above all else and stand up as a true voice.

    I asked a woman recently who has been emotionally and physically battered which was worse. She said the physical is temporary, the emotional is longer lasting and more damaging because it gets inside of you! . Personally, I agree.

    I respect your comments and your strong devotion to being a voice for women! I believe if a person–man or woman, is in an abusive relationship, they need to separate themselves from it for a time. It is generally only in reflection that we can see the truth.

  2. Allison, thank you for such a well-written and thoughtful reply. I think you stated it well when you said one should be careful when choosing an emotional adviser. I have personally known several women who were in similar situations who sought only the advice of their pastor, and in two situations, their priest. For myself, I first talked to my pastor. In each situation, we were all told that we needed to “try harder” and that we were simply “misunderstanding” the men who were perpetrating the abuse.

    I also realize that not all pastoral caregivers misinterpret the true meaning of Jesus’ words. Many do, though, which is why I cautioned against seeking help there,since it’s entirely possible one might walk away even further in doubt about one’s sanity and clear vision regarding the situation.

    I don’t wholly advocate against it, but I think at first, it’s probably better to seek advice from someone who does not know the abuser. Narcissists are supreme con artists and many times they are able to convince everyone within a mate’s circle of family, friends and acquaintances that they (the narcissist) are a wonderful human being and they have already been able to manipulate those people into believing that their partner is truly a sad, misguided and crazy individual.

    A true narcissist won’t seek help. He or she won’t agree to marital or relationship counseling unless they believe they can get the counselor immediately on their side and use the counseling sessions as just another tool to bludgeon their victim.

    I speak in my posts from a strictly female perspective and my hope is that I can help even just one person get off the roller coaster. If one person can detach, heal and deal, then my entire blog is well-worth my effort to get the information out there. Even though I speak from a female perspective I attempt to make it known that not all narcissists and abusers are male. Abuse is not exclusive to one gender.

  3. Allison, you wrote a very KEY piece of information: “Not being accepted after leaving these types of relationships causes greater “outcast” mentality. When I finally pulled up my bootstraps and decided for a better life, it took me a while to really understand that I was not all the things that had been said to me in those non-relationships and by those who judged my decisions. The ONE thing that kept me centered through obstacles and continued abuse, even after I separated myself from it, was seeking a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, my higher power. I learned that I was truly loved, NOT from what someone told me, but from what I understood from a thirst to know. I researched and studied the Bible on my own, so I would know the truth personally.”

    I would like to create a separate post specifically for that information because it is important for people to understand it. You touch on issues that all who leave abusive relationships encounter.

    Peace and blessings to you. You speak with great wisdom. Thank you for your input!

    • Anything I can add that will encourage, inspire or motivate a woman to understand she is important, she does matter and she is loved, brings great warmth to my heart!

      I thank you for posting my words. They were hard earned, however; I would not trade a moment for the freedom I gained after the war was won! Much love and blessings to you!

  4. Pingback: Learning the Truth « Dating a Personality (Disorder)

  5. Pingback: Your Questions About What Is Emotional Health

  6. Pingback: Co-Dependent In A Narcissistic Relationship? | Narcissistic Relationship

  7. Pingback: The Narcissicist’s Seduction: A Card Trick « Phoenix Rising

  8. When I read the no longer dead post I immediately recognised my ex’s behaviour. Especially the part where she says that she told him that she was scared to talk to him and his response reminded me of my ex. When I told him that he told me that I wasn’t optimistic and that I should make a choice whether to stay with him or not. And that’s it. I was really shocked.
    I totally agree with you on the part where you say that you should not contact your pastor. I made the mistake to confide in a few church members and I gave them some examples of the things I had to go through. They were shocked but they still want me to reconcile with him telling me that he still loves me and that it’s the work of the enemy. Other people try to excuse his behaviour and telling me that there’s a reason that I know him and his past. Even though they were shocked to hear the things he had said and done to me, they still want me to pray for him and work things out. Finally one person whom is a Christian told me that my ex wasn’t a health christian and the way he responded to my email shower that he will never change. I always thought that I was crazy. My ex is a youth leader, smart, social, and he knows almost everyone from our church. So it was like nobody wanted to believe that he did and said that and they put all the responsibility on my shoulders. This relationship has ruined a lot for me and I’m really sad that I entered the relationship. I’m still trying to recover and understand. Thank you so much for this post. Good to know that I’m not crazy and not alone!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s