Back when I started this blog, I was a narc-hater. I think such an attitude is both justified and normal when you’re trying to go No Contact with an abuser. In fact, your rage gives you the courage and motivation to make your escape, because righteous anger overrides fear. Without that anger, you’d stay stuck in fear and codependency and that has an extremely high price, maybe even your life.
But too many abuse survivors (I prefer the term “survivor” to “victim”) can’t or won’t move on from the rage and hatred. Although that enables them to get to the point of going No Contact with their abusers, they seem to remain stuck in a victim mentality that keeps them from progressing or moving past the abuse in their minds, even though the narcissists are out of their lives.
Here are 8 good reasons why letting go of narc-hate has made my life better, and can make yours better too.
Not everyone is going to like this post, and I understand. It’s controversial to some people. But these things have been an important part of my recovery and without them, I’d still feel like a victim instead of a survivor!
1. Education. After I ditched the hate, I realized I wanted to learn the real facts about NPD. I found out that not all of them are evil or don’t want to change. I learned this mostly by reading forums for people with NPD and found they are just as human as anyone else, but have adopted certain defense mechanisms that cause them to project onto and act out toward others.
2. Looking inward. Letting go of hatred made me able to look at myself and see my own narcissism (I was shocked to learn I had quite a few N traits of my own!) I am working on those now in therapy. I would not have been able to do this if I hung onto my “us versus them” mentality.
3. The victim mentality sucks. I found out that by hanging onto rage, when it has nowhere left to go, you start to become paranoid and start finding narcissism in normal human behavior. You begin to suspect everyone of being a narcissist. You even run the risk of becoming narcissistic yourself. I’ve seen it happen too many times to people who had no idea it was happening to them. That’s no way to live and a sure recipe for misery and continually feeling like a victim.
4. Pity removes their “teeth.” I started to feel less like a victim. By realizing my abusers did what they did because they couldn’t help themselves, and not because they were inhuman, evil monsters, somehow that made them seem to have a lot less power over me. They began to seem sort of…pathetic. Which they are.
5. They can teach you about yourself. Slowly, I realized that although what they did to me was terrible, that they chose me as a target precisely for those qualities which are my strongest and which I want to reclaim (having tried to hide them due to shame) and develop even more: sensitivity, vulnerability, empathy, and the ability to love. Framed this way, narcissists can be very important teachers in our life’s journey. I’m beginning to realize just how valuable these lessons were. Whatever they seem to hate about you are those things you should work to develop and use even more. They hated you because you had strengths they envied and feared.
6. Strength. Having grown up in a family full of narcissists, I had to become strong. I think I’m a lot stronger and think more deeply about human nature and life in general than I would have if I had been raised in a normal home.
7. Shades of grey. I found out that nothing is black or white. Everything is just shades of grey. Narcissists usually also have PTSD and adopted narcissistic defense mechanisms, and those of us who aren’t narcissists are still often on the spectrum somewhere. There’s a lot of overlap between the “victims” and the “abusers.” Often a person can be both. Realizing this has made me more empathetic in general and less likely to see everything in terms of black and white.
8. It’s better to be a survivor than a victim. If I continued thinking of myself as a “poor victim” instead of someone who could actually learn something from the narcs, I would not have come so far in my recovery as I have.