When we realize that one of the significant people in our life exhibits narcissistic/sociopathic behavior, and we are/were their prey, that realization can lead to a varying range of emotions. Some of the things you may find yourself dealing with are confusion, stress, (perhaps long term) anger (at the person and possibly yourself for being duped for however long) sadness, and questioning how this happened to you to begin with.
If you were raised by someone who is a narcissist... if you were healthy and realized the destruction the parent was constructing... you are then at a higher risk later to marry a narcissist and or have a friend who is one. The reason for this being is we automatically go to "what we know" and if your mom or dad is a narcissist you may very well be dealing with one later in life. If you are the type who will question, doubt and ask yourself internally:
"Am I a narcissist? Am I like that? Because I don't want to be! I fear being that! Iabhor that!"
Then rest easy. Because more than likely you aren't a narcissist. A narcissist doesn't have self reflection to ask those critical questions of themselves, of their behavior, because they are all about self preservation... they are all about painting a facade of perfection and they are their own biggest fans.
I truly believe the worst aspect of dealing with a narcissist (and there are plenty, take your pick) is after enduring their craziness for however long... in some casesyears on end.... is no one believes you when you try to explain that your dad or husband or ex or ex-friend is a narcissist. People are looking at the person at face value... they see a bright, friendly, likely outgoing person whom you are saying is a narcissist. They don't see it nor believe it for a second. In fact, as you rattle on about some of the ways they've behaved over the years you see doubt staring back at you in the form of growing silence, stiffening body language and replies like "Well, I just can't imagine that... I mean, he/she has always been so nice to me!"
As you stand there you may begin to doubt yourself (which is one of the cunning purposeful tactics of a narcissist) and second guess, wondering once again if you have your facts straight. But here's the truth:
You do have your facts straight.
You may begin to feel anger and defensiveness rising up in you because suddenly everything you've been through... the abuse at the hands of a narcissistic parent as a child, the abuse of a narcissistic ex spouse, or whether it's the abuse of a narcissistic friend... has supposedly according to this person standing before you not ever really happened... yet it did really happen. Deep down you know this to be true but it's when seeing others speak of the narcissistic person with praise, adulation and even reverence you pause if even for a split second, having a fleeting moment of doubt within.
But this is a common reality for people who have dealt with narcissist's firsthand. I promise you it's real. You didn't dream it up. You didn't invent it. It really happened and it was/is reality.
A few months ago I was out shopping when I ran into a woman who has known my dad for many years through business. After chatting a moment she invariably asked "How's your dad?" I replied I didn't know but from what I heard through the grapevine he's fine. She came back with "I just love your dad!"
Awkward silence ensued.
Images of him having fits of rage while growing up, breaking things, glass flying, mugs flying, his fist going into walls while I listened to his raging cuss-a-thon from my bedroom, twisting and turning everything I said, denying any wrong doing, the worshipping of a pristine image of himself in the eyes of the community, making money under the table, always playing the martyr, the victim... generously doling out heaps of guilt to use as a form of control, the ugliness he displayed behind closed doors, the plain ugly things he'd say... it all flashed before me, washing over me, sweeping my shoulders and making me so so so incredibly tired this scenario was now playing out yet again... that here stood yet another person he knew through business that was charmed and blind to the real him behind closed doors. That once again I was being told what a simply wonderful human being he was and the adorement for him was radiating in their eyes at me.
"Everyone says that." I tell her stiffly and although my words could be viewed as affirmation, instead through detected tone and body language the truth is I'm saying anything but that without saying much at all. She catches the difference and carefully scrutinizes me for a moment then abruptly says she must get going. I nod and with goodbyes we part... once again I'm reminded of how powerful the narcissist is.... they've constructed such a careful facade for so many years in their social or business circles of being respectable, honest, friendly, etc that no one will believe for a second it's them and not you.
It's a battle not worth fighting.
Because it will drain you dry and leave you feeling even more powerless than what you've already experienced at the hands of the narcissist. Don't beat yourself up... drop the invisible bat and realize that you may have been duped by a narcissist or endured significant sociopathic abuse at their hands but it doesn't define you.
You aren't "stupid" or "dumb" etc for falling for their lies, their confusion, gas lighting, crazy making, delusions and sociopathic behavior... you were an innocent, good person they knowingly took advantage of and treated miserably. You can stand in victory knowing you survived it and came out on the other side...
even if you stand
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013
image “Family Capturing Their Enjoyment”
by stock images via FreeDigitalPhotos.net