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Narcissistic Abuse: From Victim to Survivor in 6 Steps


Narcissistic Abuse: From Victim to Survivor in 6 Steps

By Sam Vaknin
Author of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"

You have been abused, maltreated, harrassed, and stalked.

You feel that you fell prey to a narcissist or psychopath.

But, you must move on from victim to [sign in to see URL] one will or can do it for you:

Not your therapist, not your best friend, not your nearest family.

Only you can choose survival over victimhood.

Abandoning the Narcissist

The narcissist initiates his own abandonment because of his fear of it. He is so terrified of losing his sources of Narcissistic Supply (and of being emotionally hurt) that he would rather "control", "master", or "direct" the potentially destabilising situation. Remember: the personality of the narcissist has a low level of organization. It is precariously balanced.

Being abandoned could cause a narcissistic injury so grave that the whole edifice can come crumbling down. Narcissists usually entertain suicidal ideation in such cases. But, if the narcissist had initiated and directed his own abandonment, if it is perceived as a goal he set to himself – he can and does avoid all these untoward consequences. (See the section about Emotional Involvement Prevention Mechanisms in the Essay.)

Moving On

Click HERE to Watch the Video

To preserve one's mental health – one must abandon the narcissist. One must move on.

Moving on is a process, not a decision or an event. First, one has to acknowledge and accept painful reality. Such acceptance is a volcanic, shattering, agonising series of nibbling thoughts and strong resistances. Once the battle is won, and harsh and agonizing realities are assimilated, one can move on to the learning phase.

Learning

We label. We educate ourselves. We compare experiences. We digest. We have insights.

Then we decide and we act. This is "to move on". Having gathered sufficient emotional sustenance, knowledge, support and confidence, we face the battlefields of our relationships, fortified and nurtured. This stage characterises those who do not mourn – but fight; do not grieve – but replenish their self-esteem; do not hide – but seek; do not freeze – but move on.

Grieving

Having been betrayed and abused – we grieve. We grieve for the image we had of the traitor and abuser – the image that was so fleeting and so wrong. We mourn the damage he did to us. We experience the fear of never being able to love or to trust again – and we grieve this loss. In one stroke, we lost someone we trusted and even loved, we lost our trusting and loving selves and we lost the trust and love that we felt. Can anything be worse?

The emotional process of grieving has many phases.

At first, we are dumbfounded, shocked, inert, immobile. We play dead to avoid our inner monsters. We are ossified in our pain, cast in the mould of our reticence and fears. Then we feel enraged, indignant, rebellious and hateful. Then we accept. Then we cry. And then – some of us – learn to forgive and to pity. And this is called healing.

All stages are absolutely necessary and good for you. It is bad not to rage back, not to shame those who shamed us, to deny, to pretend, to evade. But it is equally bad to get fixated on our rage. Permanent grieving is the perpetuation of our abuse by other means.

By endlessly recreating our harrowing experiences, we unwillingly collaborate with our abuser to perpetuate his or her evil deeds. It is by moving on that we defeat our abuser, minimising him and his importance in our lives. It is by loving and by trusting anew that we annul that which was done to us. To forgive is never to forget. But to remember is not necessarily to re-experience.

Forgiving and Forgetting

Click HERE to Watch the Video

Forgiving is an important capability. It does more for the forgiver than for the forgiven. But it should not be a universal, indiscriminate behaviour. It is legitimate not to forgive sometimes. It depends, of course, on the severity or duration of what was done to you.

In general, it is unwise and counter-productive to apply to life "universal" and "immutable" principles. Life is too chaotic to succumb to rigid edicts. Sentences which start with "I never" or "I always" are not very credible and often lead to self-defeating, self-restricting and self-destructive behaviours.

Conflicts are an important and integral part of life. One should never seek them out, but when confronted with a conflict, one should not avoid it. It is through conflicts and adversity as much as through care and love that we grow.

Human relationships are dynamic. We must assess our friendships, partnerships, even our marriages periodically. In and by itself, a common past is insufficient to sustain a healthy, nourishing, supportive, caring and compassionate relationship. Common memories are a necessary but not a sufficient condition. We must gain and regain our friendships on a daily basis. Human relationships are a constant test of allegiance and empathy.

Remaining Friends with the Narcissist

Click HERE to Watch the Video

Can't we act civilised and remain on friendly terms with our narcissist ex?

Never forget that narcissists (full fledged ones) are nice and friendly only when:

a. They want something from you – Narcissistic Supply, help, support, votes, money… They prepare the ground, manipulate you and then come out with the "small favour" they need or ask you blatantly or surreptitiously for Narcissistic Supply ("What did you think about my performance…", "Do you think that I really deserve the Nobel Prize?").

b. They feel threatened and they want to neuter the threat by smothering it with oozing pleasantries.

c. They have just been infused with an overdose of Narcissistic Supply and they feel magnanimous and magnificent and ideal and perfect. To show magnanimity is a way of flaunting one's impeccable divine credentials. It is an act of grandiosity. You are an irrelevant prop in this spectacle, a mere receptacle of the narcissist's overflowing, self-contented infatuation with his False Self.

This beneficence is transient. Perpetual victims often tend to thank the narcissist for "little graces". This is the Stockholm syndrome: hostages tend to emotionally identify with their captors rather than with the police. We are grateful to our abusers and tormentors for ceasing their hideous activities and allowing us to catch our breath.

Some people say that they prefer to live with narcissists, to cater to their needs and to succumb to their whims because this is the way they have been conditioned in early childhood. It is only with narcissists that they feel alive, stimulated and excited. The world glows in Technicolor in the presence of a narcissist and decays to sepia colours in his absence.

I see nothing inherently "wrong" with that. The test is this: if someone were to constantly humiliate and abuse you verbally using Archaic Chinese – would you have felt humiliated and abused? Probably not. Some people have been conditioned by the narcissistic Primary Objects in their lives (parents or caregivers) to treat narcissistic abuse as Archaic Chinese, to turn a deaf ear.

This technique is effective in that it allows the inverted narcissist (the narcissist's willing mate) to experience only the good aspects of living with a narcissist: his sparkling intelligence, the constant drama and excitement, the lack of intimacy and emotional attachment (some people prefer this). Every now and then the narcissist breaks into abuse in Archaic Chinese. So what, who understands Archaic Chinese anyway, says the Inverted Narcissist to herself.

I have only one nagging doubt, though:

If the relationship with a narcissist is so rewarding, why are inverted narcissists so unhappy, so ego-dystonic, so in need of help (professional or otherwise)? Aren't they victims who simply experience the Stockholm syndrome (=identifying with the kidnapper rather than with the Police) and who deny their own torment?

===================================

Author Bio

Sam Vaknin ( [sign in to see URL] ) is the author of Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East, as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.


He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

Visit Sam's Web site at [sign in to see URL]

---
Encyclopedia of Narcissism and Psychopathy

http://samvak.tripod.com/siteindex.html

Buy 16 books and video lectures on 3 DVDs about narcissists, psychopaths, and abusive relationships

http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html
Nov/22/2014, 11:29 am Link to this post  
 


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