My letter to a fellow ACON who wants to take her blog down.

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A good friend of mine in the ACON community has just announced she wants to take her blog down and remove herself from all social media. She isn’t depressed or angry at anyone, but just feels like she wants to hide. She also said that she feels like maybe God wouldn’t approve of her exposing her abusers, even though she has never used any real names. I was a little alarmed by this, so I just sent her an email, which I’m going to post here (and remove any identifying information). I think the feelings she described are common in abuse survivors, who have been trained by their abusers that nothing they do is ever right and that exposing their abusers is some kind of mortal sin. I beg to differ.

Here’s my letter in response to her post.

I just read your latest post about wanting to hide. At first I was surprised you said you were allowing comments, but after I read it I understood why. When you said you were thinking about taking down your blog, Twitter, etc. I thought to myself, No! she can’t do that! We need _______ ‘s blog!

I’ve sometimes felt like hiding too and been tempted to disable comments several times. Once (and you will remember this) last May, I was VERY close to taking down my blog or setting it to private because of some criticism I got over a post I wrote. I also felt very exposed when my blog was found by a few people I didn’t want to find it (including family members), but after an initial “Oh, shit” panic reaction, I decided to keep plugging away because to do otherwise would be the coward’s way to handle things, and I’m sick of being a coward who never stands up for myself.

I think as survivors of abuse, we ACONs can be very easily triggered. It’s scary being out there and being so vulnerable for the public to see. But that’s exactly what we are trying to reconnect with through blogging and sharing our stories with each other. We need to regain our courage to BE vulnerable. We’ve been trained by our narcissists THAT IS NOT OKAY, but that is a big fat LIE. We look at those who haven’t been so damaged and marvel at their openness, but when we try to do it, it can be very scary.

I think that’s why you feel like running away and hiding. It’s your fear that you might be hurt again that’s causing you to take such drastic action. I know, because I feel that way often myself.

____, DON’T DO IT. Don’t take down your blog. It’s understandable you might need a break, but don’t be rash. Set it to private for awhile and focus on other things, or just let it stand as is, and just don’t post in it for awhile. Give yourself a break, that will give you time to be mindful instead of doing something you might regret, like removing your blog.

We’ve been lied to and made to believe that exposing our narcissistic parents, spouses, etc. is not okay. I believe in the 10 Commandments too, but I don’t believe God wants the narcissists to get away with what they do, and I don’t believe a narcissistic mother or father really qualifies as a true parent. They certainly haven’t lived up to their end of the responsibility, have they? You are not using any real names, so you are not damaging them personally. What you are doing instead, is giving a voice to the oppressed survivors that have felt all alone because they thought no one could ever understand. We are inundated with sappy, sentimental images of Mothers, but our mothers never fulfilled that stereotype. For us, that image is a lie.

Narcissists, no matter whether they are biological parents or not, deserve to be exposed for what they are, and for how they have abused us. By sharing your story, you have no idea how many other people who have been in your boat you are helping. You have helped me, and you have helped many others.

Also, don’t think for one second that your story isn’t interesting enough to write about. You have one of the most interesting stories I have heard. You are helping and giving hope to countless abuse survivors. No names are mentioned, you are not hurting anyone, and I am sure Jesus approves of what you are doing. It’s all for the greater good. Your blog helps so many. God has led you to where you are for a reason.

Please think about what you’re doing. If after a month or so, you still want to take your blog down, then go ahead. But I would wait, and leave it up anyway for others to read and find hope from in the meantime, and just focus on taking care of yourself for a while.

***

I forgot to put this in my email, but I think that as a Christian, my friend should subscribe to Smakintosh’s Youtube Channel (Gospel Underground). He is a survivor of narcissistic parents, and has many videos that explain why it isn’t unbiblical to expose and go no contact with narcissistic parents. Here it is for any other interested persons: https://www.youtube.com/user/smakintosh

Narcissistic Parents of Adult Children

Just a reminder if you have a narcissistic parent…this is so important to remember.

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image chef change youIf you have a narcissistic parent, then nothing of your own belongs to you. Not your mind, not your thoughts, not your feelings.

The narcissists feels entitled to control and own all of your things, both physical and mental.

When you have an idea you want to try that is different from theirs, they will put up a fight to make you change to their way of doing things. They have no right to d this. You are an adult with the same rights they have. 

They do not ever see you as an adult, or as an individual with your own rights, gifts and talents.

They feel you are something they own and should control when you need controlling. 

If you do not comply with their wishes, they will try to undermine you in any way they can.

Narcissistic parents have gone so far as to publicly shame…

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Sensitive Children and the Adult Child in the Abusive Narcissistic Home

Excellent article about the devastating effect narcissistic parents have on the most sensitive children in the family and why they tend to become scapegoats. They grow up into codependent adults prone to repeat the same toxic patterns with others. But this doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Read on.

SITE FOR CREATIVE SOLUTIONS

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In a home affected with an abusive narcissistic parent emotions are repressed and become twisted.  Rules are built on shame, guilt, or fear.  Feelings are often not shared and when they are expressed, it is done in a judgmental manner placing blame on one another.  The narcissistic parent is self-involved and feels no empathy for their children.  They are incapable of mirroring real love and try to get their children to fulfill their unmet dependency needs.  The narcissistic parent’s unresolved drives for attention and caretaking takes center stage as the child’s early developmental needs are ignored and denied.  The self-involved parent shames the child for having desires and makes them feel guilty.  All of the family attention and energy is focused on the demands of the narcissist.

Sensitive children growing up in abusive narcissistic homes build their personalities based on what they have to do to survive.  Many of these children…

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Preliminary results of the Parental Narcissism Survey are here!

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Back in February, I was approached by a researcher, Ph.D candidate Valerie Berenice Coles of the University of Georgia, who asked me to post a survey on this site to collect data from ACONs about parental narcissism and the effects it had on participants. In June, I was asked to repost the survey again, because more participants were needed to complete the study. I promised to post the results when I had them. This morning I received an email from Valerie, with the preliminary results, so here they are.

Thanks again to everyone for helping us develop and validate a measure of parental narcissism! The response from the ACON community was tremendous and we are the envy of our colleagues that so many of you took time out of your lives to help us with this research.

We currently have a paper from the questionnaire out at an academic journal for review. If it is accepted for publication, we will update this message with a link for the article. Below is a brief and general review of some of our findings. When the scale and findings are published, you will have the opportunity to look at more specifics. Please note that some of the results may seem “common sense” but we needed to build off a foundation of empirical research since, as you know, there is presently no published scale that measures parental narcissism behaviors from the perspective of the adult child, and very little research in general. Thank you again!

Scale Development/Study 1:

Our goal was to develop a measure of parental narcissism. We started with 36-items. 1,236 people took this original scale, 976 of which were ACONS from 34 countries. We examined whether the 36-items worked together as a scale. We eliminated items that were problematic and ended up with 18 items that assessed four dimensions of parental narcissism: lack of empathy/indifference, negative grandiosity, center of attention, public versus private personas.

Lack of Empathy/Indifference. A lack of empathy is a key characteristic of narcissism. On the ACON sites, the lack of empathy is often described behaviorally as indifference and examples given by ACONS of parental indifference include the parent minimizing the feelings of the child and a lack of interest in the child’s feelings.

Negative Grandiosity. Grandiosity is “an inflated appraisal of one’s worth, knowledge, importance or identity.” Measures that assess grandiosity from the narcissists’ perspective, not surprisingly, focus on the positive side of grandiosity (“I am the best!”). From the ACON perspective, however, it is the negative grandiosity, that occurs especially when the narcissistic parent feels under attack and, thus, vulnerable. From the ACON perspective, when a narcissistic parent fails or is in the spotlight for not being a good parent, her/his insecurity can result in grandiose statements that reflect the parent is “the worst parent in the world” or “no one loves me.”

Center of Attention. Center of attention dimension reflects the positive, inflated, self-absorbed, and individualistic disposition of the narcissist. For the narcissist, the world is about “I” and “me” never “you” or “we.” From the ACON perspective, nothing is about the child unless it benefits the parent in some way. ACONs also write about how conversations focus around the parent’s interests rather than the child’s.

Public versus Private Personas. Narcissists can carefully construct their self-presentation in public such that they appear less negative in public than in private, at least in the short term. While differing public/private personas is not a characteristic typically measured by narcissism scales, it is a behavior often noted by ACONS who write of parents who present a friendly, charming persona only in public.

These 18-items formed into these four dimensions of parental narcissism behavior (lack of empathy, negative grandiosity, center of attention, and different public/private personas). The four dimensions all correlated highly with each other and together the four formed a final “Perceived Parental Narcissistic Behavior” (PPNBI) scale. To create the PPNBI scale, we summed up the scores on the 18 items.

What is the PPNBI Related to for the ACON?

ACONS who took the parental narcissism scale also completed some scales about themselves. Here are some of our findings:

*Higher scores on parental narcissism (PPNBI) were positively associated with ACONs feeling depressed as a teen and also with feeling depressed within the last year.

*Higher scores on parental narcissism (PPNBI) were negatively associated with feelings of well-being as a teen and with feelings of well-being in the last year.

*ACONS with higher scores on the parental narcissism scale were more likely to indicate you don’t trust other people, in general.

What other measures of the narcissistic parent is the PPNBI related to?

Scores of parental narcissism are:

*Negatively associated with feeling that your parent cares for you and negatively associated with feeling like your parent gave you freedom to be yourself/do what you wanted to do.

*Positively associated with idealizing one child in the family (aka: a golden child) and with devaluing a child (aka: a scapegoat).

*Very strongly related to verbal aggression. The higher the scores of parental narcissism, the more verbally aggressive the parent acted.

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Study 2

In study 2, we tested the 18-item scale again to see if it worked the same way and generated the four factors (lack of empathy, center of attention, negative grandiosity and different public/private personas). In Study 2, 625 participated (505 were ACONS from 34 countries).

We did replicate the findings from Study 1 that found these four factors and that the four factors all worked together to form the Perceived Parental Narcissistic Behavior Index (PPNBI).

What other measures of the parent is the PPNBI related to?

In Study 2 we found further evidence that the PPNBI is a valid and reliable score. For example, that the PPNBI was positively associated with a typical measure of narcissism (Narcissistic Personality Inventory). This was good news as it provides us evidence that our scale IS capturing narcissistic behavior.

Additionally, we found that the PPNBI was negatively related to a parent being perceived as agreeable and positively associated with a parent being perceived as extraverted. For the ACON, we found that those who rated their parent high on the PPNBI were more likely to negatively associate with the secure attachment style and positively associate with the fearful attachment style.

Finally, parents who score high on the PPNBI were also more likely to score highly on parentification, which is a term for making the kids do the work of a parent. The more narcissistic your parent, the more likely the parent had expectations that the kids would take care of things a parent would normally do.

Summary

In conclusion, the goal of this research was to develop and provide initial validation data for the Perceived Parental Narcissistic Behavior Index (PPNBI). The identification of perceived parental narcissism is critical to gain a better understanding of and illuminate the unique challenges ACONs encounter. Before the PPNBI, no measure allowed family members to assess whether a parental figure was narcissistic. The PPNBI is an 18-item measure that taps into four types of parental narcissistic behavior: lack of empathy, center of attention, negative grandiosity, and different public/private personas. The PPNBI correlates with a known measure of narcissism and correlates with being verbally aggressive and caring less about one’s children. The PPNBI is positively associated with ACONs depression and negatively associated with their well-being and ability to trust others.

Across both studies, 1,481 ACONs worldwide from 48 countries participated and many webmasters generously posted the study URL on their web pages (THANK YOU!). This is the first study for either of us where we received over 100 emails from participants thanking us for doing the research and letting us know how meaningful it is that researchers are paying attention to the ACON population and their family dynamics.

As we mentioned above, the full research from this study is under review at a journal. If it is accepted and published, we will be delighted to send you a link to the research (we can’t do this until the work is published). We can’t thank all of you enough for helping out with our research. The $100 gift cards were selected by a random drawing and have already been mailed to the winners.

Again, many thanks!

Valerie B. Coles & Jennifer Monahan

Being discovered online by your narcissists.

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Back during the winter, I made the mistake by sharing an article on a social media platform that several members of my family use, including my narcissistic mother.

It came to my attention (through my son) that they did in fact find my blog and it was being read. I was horrified, but I was fortunate because not a word about it was ever said to me. Oh, I’m sure they talk amongst themselves about what a horrible person I am to have a blog where I talk about my family the way I do, but it’s not as if they weren’t already saying mean things about me behind my back anyway. I know they probably still read this blog, but I no longer care. In fact, sometimes I think it may be a good thing for them to see in print was I was always too afraid to say.

Another blogger I know has a far worse family than mine. The psychological abuse this woman suffered, especially at the hands of her MN mother and sister, was so extreme that the stories she tells about them would be hard to believe if I didn’t know they were true. Her family REALLY hates her, and her sociopathic mother has turned every member of the extended family against this woman.

She just wrote a blog post about getting several ugly and hateful anonymous messages, after she too made an error where she might have “leaked” the fact she has a blog about her narcissistic family. Based on what she has said about them, I think these people are extremely dangerous, far more dangerous than my family ever was. So even though this woman and I are no longer friends (that’s another story I won’t get into here), I am worried for her. So I’m asking for your prayers and positive thoughts that nothing untoward happens if it’s true that her family found her blog. These people are incredibly toxic.

Chronic rage is a trap, not a trophy.

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If we are survivors of narcissistic abuse, we are all at different stages of our recovery. If we are just coming out of a relationship with a narcissist or in the process of going No Contact (which is the best gift we can give ourselves), it’s natural to feel anger and even hatred toward our abusers. Our anger overrides the fear they instilled in us and makes it possible for us to take the actions necessary to disconnect from them.

When I started this blog, I too was extremely angry at my narcissists, particularly my psychopathic ex. As an ACON, I railed on about my parents too, particularly my MN mother. Early posts of mine on this blog have a much more bitter and angry tone than my more recent posts, some of which attempt to understand why my narcissists did what they did to me and about what makes narcissists tick in general. I don’t regret making those early, angry posts, because that’s where I was at emotionally on this recovery journey. I NEEDED to feel that anger and hate. It served a survival purpose. But anger is a survival emotion and is meant to be temporary, not become a psychological and spiritual forever-home.

I am no longer in a situation where I am in close contact with malignant narcissists, and I was finding that holding onto all that rage was turning me bitter. When a person is filled with rage, the body’s cortisone levels rise and blood pressure rises. These are physiological changes that make “fight or flight” possible. But over prolonged periods of time, being in such a physiological state is bad for you and can lead to physical illness.

Besides being unhealthy for the body, holding onto rage way past its expiration date makes it impossible to move forward to a place of real healing. If you feel rage all the time, you simply cannot move forward. It blocks you from opening your heart to all the good things that life can offer. Frankly, I was just becoming bored with it. There had to be something better beyond it–and there is!

I see this unwillingness or inability to let go of chronic rage and hatred in many survivors of narcissistic abuse, especially ACONs who were raised by narcissistic parents. Of course it’s perfectly understandable to feel an almost overwhelming sense of injustice and betrayal when you realize your own parents didn’t love you and in fact probably hated you and set you up to fail in life. It’s understandable to hate the people who were supposed to nurture you and give you the tools you needed to have a happy life but instead attempted to murder your soul. I get it, I really do. I felt that way about my mother for many years.

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Some of these chronically angry abuse survivors have embraced a mentality of perpetual victimhood, using their rage as a sort of trophy “proving” how abused they were. They can’t or won’t let go of their rage because it makes them feel vindicated. I remember reading a comment from one angry ACON who said if he/she were to let go of their bitterness and hatred, they would have let their abusers “win.” But this person is wrong. Because paradoxically, remaining stuck in misery, rage and hatred is making it impossible for this person to heal and live a happy life, and isn’t being miserable exactly what their narcs want? Holding onto rage and wallowing in all the ways they victimized us vindicates the narcissist, not the victim. If our rage destroys or kills us (because eventually it can), the narcissists will be throwing a party to celebrate.

I think the best revenge is to live well. If a victim of abuse moves into a place of peace where healing is possible and can learn to become happy and even successful in life and stop using their victimhood as a kind of trophy, their narcissists will HATE that! Nothing enrages an abuser more than seeing their victims become happy and successful (and not bitter or angry). So how does healing ourselves and letting go of our “trophies” of rage and hate let the narcs win? It doesn’t. In fact, WE win and THEY lose.

But if I were to say this to them (and I have), I would be accused of “victim blaming” and even “narc hugging.” They would say my blog is “dangerous” to abuse survivors (and they have!) They would accuse me of having no empathy for their plight and am in fact taking the side of those who abused them! None of that is true. They just don’t get it. They think that because I’m suggesting they move away from their hatred, this means I’m blaming them for their misery and making excuses for the narcissists who abused them. This is a dangerous and tragic misunderstanding because they can’t even see the way they have been turned against themselves by their own narcissists! They can’t allow themselves to ever feel happy or let go of the bitterness that continues to hold them hostage to their narcissists even after they’ve gone No Contact.

Narcissism is the “gift” that keeps on giving if you let it. You can’t be happy if your default setting is rage. All that rage will eventually destroy your body AND your soul. In fact, living in a state of perpetual rage can turn a person narcissistic themselves. It’s a fact–I have seen it happen and it’s a horrible and scary thing to witness.

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I read a post on Constant Supply: The Narcissist’s Wife about the very same thing I’m talking about here, and their post is what inspired me to write this article. I’d been wanting to write about this, but due to the nasty pile-on I experienced from several ACON bloggers a few weeks back due to an article I posted suggesting we stop hating on all narcissists (the message of which was taken WAY out of context–in no way did I EVER suggest we condone what narcs do or engage with them in any way), I’ve been reluctant to post any more articles even touching on this touchy matter.

Reading this blogger’s article gave me the courage to express my feelings about this apparently controversial issue. I’m prepared to be attacked again, but at least I know what to expect now and can arm myself accordingly. While the blogger I mentioned in the previous paragraph does talk about “forgiving” her narcissist, I wouldn’t go that far myself. I don’t ‘forgive’ my narcissists for the way they held me back all my life and nearly destroyed me, but I no longer choose to hate them either. My attitude about them is that they simply do. not. exist. They are no longer an important part of my life and I refuse to give them any more space in my brain than they deserve. Don’t forget that narcissists crave attention–ANY attention–and that includes negative as well as positive attention. To act as if the narcs don’t even exist is what they hate and fear more than anything in the universe.

Living well and healing yourself without reacting to our narcissists either negatively or positively is the sweetest revenge possible. The narcs will hate you for it.

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We are all at different points of our recovery journey, and those who seem stuck in the “rage” setting (which is normal and necessary early in recovery) and have thereby not been able to move forward to real healing should not pass judgment on those who may be farther along the road and have reached a place where holding onto all that hatred was becoming burdensome and harmful.

I chose to jettison all that negative baggage to make my progress along the rocky road of recovery easier, and I have seen many others do it too, and actually become happy people. I hope and pray eventually ALL abuse survivors can reach a point when they realize holding onto their baggage is self-destructive and is holding them back from true healing–and is keeping them trapped in their own identity as “victims.”

I’m prepared to be disagreed with for posting this, but frankly I don’t care. If you are one of those who choose to hang onto your chronic rage, that’s your choice, and I respect that choice. I have no right to judge you or condemn you for doing so. But I don’t think it’s helpful or healthy. Hopefully, some people who have this problem might be able to take away something positive from this article and be able to extricate themselves from the quicksand of rage and continue to move along the road to recovery.

Please also see my article, Why Unrelenting, Chronic Rage is So Toxic.

Second chance to participate in parental narcissism survey!

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To all ACONs:

I emailed Valerie Berenice Coles, Ph.D candidate from The University of Georgia to find out when the results of the survey about parental narcissism I posted about back in the winter would be published. I received this reply:

Hi Lauren,

Thank you so much for you email! I promise I have not forgotten about the report. After concluding the first study we received so many request from individuals that missed the study that we opened another study for those who missed the first one and are including those responses in the report (which WILL be sent out this summer). If you happen to have any readers who did not participate in the first study but are interested in getting involved (there is only 1 $100 gift card this time), the link is: https://ugeorgia.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_8cDgGItIiXqe3B3

This study will be up through June. If you have any other questions, please let me know!

Valerie Berenice Coles, MA
PhD Student, Research Project Manager
Graduate Assistant to Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Student Ambassadors Program
University of Georgia
Department of Communication Studies
Caldwell Hall

http://comm.uga.edu/people/individuals/155

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So, for any ACONs who did not have a chance to participate in the first survey, which ended on February 28th, here is another chance to help out and possibly win a $100 gift card too.

The survey will only take about 15 minutes of your time but those 15 minutes will be invaluable in helping to find out more about this very important topic.

As I did the last time, I will be posting a link to the survey in the sidebar.
Again, here is the link to the second survey:
https://ugeorgia.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_8cDgGItIiXqe3B3

Also, as soon as the results are available from the first study, I’ll be posting them here.

The 4 types of narcissistic abuse victims.

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It’s become clear to me that not all ACONs and abuse survivors are on the same page when it comes to their attitudes toward narcissists.
Because we all are abuse survivors you would think there’d be more solidarity among us, but this is not necessarily the case.

It seems there are four distinct types. In spite of things I may have alluded to in the past, I don’t think any one group is worse or better than any other. They are different, and each has their reasons for having the attitudes they do. I’ll explain why I think the attitudes are different among the four groups. There is definitely a pattern I’ve noticed.

1. The Narc-Hating Group.

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These ACONs usually underwent the worst abuse as children, or had two narcissistic parents instead of just one. Having abusive parents seems to instill the greatest anger in victims–more so than having been with an abusive spouse–and this anger isn’t easily let go of. This group has a warrior mentality: to them, ALL narcissists are evil, bad seeds, or demonic, and have no hope whatsoever of recovery or healing. They may acknowledge a continuum or spectrum among narcissists, but it’s not important to them. A narc is a narc is a narc, and they are all considered impervious to change and anything they do is suspect. Some ACONs of this type are ultra-religious and believe all narcissists are seared souls destined for hell.

2. All Cluster Bs are the Same Group.

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This group goes a step beyond the first one, in that they believe anyone with a Cluster B disorder–Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic, or Antisocial–is character disordered and manipulative, and therefore all pretty much the same and to be avoided like the plague. They do not make exceptions even for Borderlines–the least “malignant” of the four disorders. People who subscribe to this view were as damaged by their malignant narcissistic parents as the first group. One of their parents may have been Borderline or Histrionic, rather than narcissistic– but people with those disorders don’t always make very good parents either. It’s unfortunately all too common for narcissists to collude with Borderlines in the abuse of the child, with the Borderline in the more codependent, subservient role.

3. Not all Narcs are Hopeless Group.

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This group may be in the minority among ACONs (at least among bloggers), but it’s the group I’m evidently in–which has raised the ire of some of the Narc-Hating ACONs. People in this group aren’t going around singing the praises of narcissists and in fact the vast majority strongly encourage No Contact (just as the other two groups do). They do not tolerate or enable narcissistic manipulations and abuse, but they hold that because narcissism may be a spectrum disorder, that those at the lower end of the spectrum (non-malignants) may be redeemable under the proper circumstances and with the proper treatment. They may show more sympathy or empathy for people with narcissism than the first two groups, but they aren’t enablers either. Most do not believe malignant narcissists and psychopaths/sociopaths are redeemable, however.

Many people in this group were part of the Narc-Hating group when they were trying to disengage or go No Contact with their abusers. They used their anger to give them the courage and motivation to disconnect and stay disconnected. But because their hatred and anger toward narcissists isn’t as deeply ingrained as in the first two groups (I’ll explain why in the next paragraph), people in this group eventually can no longer hold onto their anger and prefer to try to understand the motives of those who abused them, while at the same time remaining disconnected from their abusers and not enabling narcissistic behavior. Their desire to let go of anger is very difficult for ACONs of the first two groups to understand, and people of the third group may be seen as betraying the ACON cause, even though this isn’t really the case at all. They’re just handling things differently.

Another reason a person may hold that some narcissists are redeemable is they may have a narcissistic child, and it’s an extremely difficult thing for a parent to accept that their own child may be beyond hope.

It’s been my observation that people in this group may have suffered less severe abuse as children, or had only one narcissistic parent instead of two. One of the parents (usually a codependent spouse) may have actually loved their child, and this love tempered the abuse inflicted on them by the narcissistic parent even if they were forced to collude with the abuse at times. Some people in this group may have even had normal childhoods with non-narcissistic parents, but got involved in relationships or marriages to narcissists (which technically means they are not ACONs at all). It’s been my observation that people who suffered most of their abuse at the hands of a narcissistic spouse or lover rather than a parent never developed the deep hatred toward all narcissists that the first two groups tend to do.

4. Codependents.

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Codependents are often (but not always) personality disordered in some way, and many of them are Borderlines or covert narcissists. They are usually victimized by their narcissists, but also identify with and collude with their abusers. Most codependents were abused by narcissistic parents, and are drawn to narcissistic relationships where they are compelled to re-enact their abusive childhoods. This is the group that may never acknowledge they are being abused or reach out for help. They continue to defend and enable their abusers and may believe they are the ones at fault for anything that goes wrong. If a Codependent leaves their narcissist and realizes they were actually being abused, then they are no longer Codependent and join one of the first three categories.

Why are we all so old?

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It seems that most of us who have finally left their narcissistic abusers, blog about it, or have finally gone No Contact with their narcissistic FOO’s (family of origin) are not spring chickens. Most of us seem to range from our 40s to 60s.

We are just now finding out, late in life perhaps (but never too late), what WE are really all about and the way we wasted so many years staying with our abusers or allowing them to continue to control us, even from a long distance. Many of us remain terrified of our parents or siblings until a very late age. We unconsciously revert back to our childhood roles when forced to deal with them.

It hurts to realize that our younger years were wasted on being narcissistic supply to someone else, instead of becoming the productive, happy people God meant for us to be. There’s a lot of guilt when we realize how we cheated ourselves out of happiness. We neglected our abilities, abandoned our interests, never developed our minds and talents, and became vulnerable to mental illness, generally dismal self esteem, poverty and even chronic illness due to the abuse we endured. This is the way our narcs wanted us, because a weakened person is not a threat. A weakened person is obedient and won’t leave the narcissist. Most of us were trained from an early age to be supply for other narcissists.

While it’s natural to feel regret for all that we missed out on when we were younger, we need to forgive ourselves. What happened to us wasn’t our fault. It happened because we are nurturers by nature and attract narcissists who see us as easy marks. They are also pathologically envious of the qualities (such as empathy and love) we have that they will never possess. They want what we have but will slowly (or not so slowly) kill us to get it. But those qualities they envy and want so badly will always elude them, because they must come from inside themselves, not from others they have recruited to be their victims. Inside, they are emotional vacuums that are essentially empty but devour the life force from others.

It’s never too late for us to change, but I wonder why it is that you rarely sees narcissistic abuse bloggers who are much younger than their 40’s. Does it really take that long for us to wake up from our delusions that by only pleasing our narc that we will live happily ever after? And WHY does it take that long?

It’s amazing how much I have learned about myself in one short year. I never believed people when they used to tell me I would be so much happier and more confident without my needy malignant narcissist ex-husband feeding off of my patience, my finances, my emotional stability, and even my sanity. I thought this shit was normal. I was accustomed to it. Now I know it was anything but normal. Seriously, you’d have to take a gun and shoot me in the head before I’d go back to living the way I did until just over a year ago.

On abused men.

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I also sometimes wonder how many men have been victimized by narcissistic/psychopathic women (or other men). I know they exist but there seem to be very few men blogging or writing about their abuse. That’s probably because men have a harder time talking about their feelings, especially on a public blog or forum. To admit having been abused by a woman probably is seen by men as an admission of weakness, even though it’s really anything but.

I think men’s fear of being seen as weak or vulnerable puts them at a huge disadvantage and makes it less likely that they will ever be able to repair the damage done to their minds and emotions. Men are also less likely to enter therapy than women. They may finally leave their abuser, but they continue to suffer alone instead of sharing their pain and journey to wellness with others who have similar stories. I think that’s so sad.

I just get so tired of it…

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I just read this blog post “I Would Be Begging for Help if it were Me” by Fivehundredpoundpeep. I highly recommend it to all ACONs. However, I won’t lie–her well written article triggered me, and the following may be the most emotional post I ever wrote.
This actually started as a reply on her blog, but I decided to turn it into an article because it’s very much on my mind. Tears are not far away.

The mother she describes in her article sounds EXACTLY like mine–the tone, choice of words, attitude, everything. Criticism under the guise of “help.” Dismissal in the name of love. With mine it’s always “positive thinking:”
“If you were not so negative, things would come more easily to you.”
“If you were more pleasant to be around, you would be able to make the connections to help you advance in a career.”
“You never were the competitive type.”
And always, always, “You’re too sensitive.”

Well, excuse me, Mommie Dearest, you’re too damn insensitive. You may not know it, but my high sensitivity, much as it may annoy you, is going to OUT you one day as the MALIGNANT NARCISSIST you always were, and will save my sanity. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

And then you dare to tell me how much you love me in the next line? Prove it.

She used to send me corny memes and hackneyed sayings about always being sunny and cheerful, and accepting things the way they are. Scooping all these memes together and throwing them in the blender, here’s the pureed form of the message she was giving me:
“You are a failure and will never get anywhere in this world because you’re not a fun person, you never smile, you’re always negative, but you should accept things as they are and be happy with your lousy lot, because you don’t deserve any better.

That’s what she was really saying. She’s one of what I call “the positive thinking nazis.” Actually both my parents are. There’s nothing wrong with positive thinking, of course, and it’s something we should all strive to do. But my FOO took it too far. They used it as a way to sugarcoat and deny real issues. It was like putting a Band-aid on a cancerous lesion so it didn’t have to be seen. If it didn’t have to be seen, it would go away. That was the sort of narcissistic magical thinking and insanity I had to deal with.
They used it as a way to deny responsibility. That’s the most glaring thing wrong with the positive thinking movement, when taken to ridiculous extremes. The denial of reality and rejection of responsibility.

Of course if I ever confronted my mother about this (which I never did, not directly anyway, since I was a teenager), she’d either fly into a narcissistic rage or vehemently deny it.

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My mother still has the power to make me feel this way. That’s why we’re estranged.

Seriously, that’s the only kind of “help” I have ever gotten from my MN egg donor since I grew up. But I can’t be rejected anymore because I don’t ask her for a thing anymore. I could be lying in a gutter with a broken leg and no home and no way to get to the hospital, and she’d probably tell me I was just being too negative and drawing in my own bad fortune. I would rather lie there and bleed to death than beg her to help.

My whole FOO are huge proponents of the postmodern narcissistic grandiose fantasy of “you create your own reality. If you fail, it’s no one’s fault but your own. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps and suck it up.” It’s The Cliff’s Notes version of Ayn Rand’s objectivism. No compassion. No empathy. No love. Only judgment, gaslighting, subtle put downs, no loyalty, and thinly veiled hatred. And unfair and untrue accusations of my acting “entitled” because at my age, of course I should not be needing any help. But I’ve never asked them for much anyway. They think I asked for too much. All I ever wanted was love. No their conditional fake excuse for love.

It made me furious to the point of wanting to smash my fist into a brick wall when well-meaning people who may have heard about my financial problems or need of emotional support, said to me something like, “Honey, don’t you have a family you can turn to?” Or “Surely your family will help you out of this jam.” Sometimes it still happens, though I tell no one IRL my troubles. But I don’t want to hear what they have to say: all these people assume that just because their own families will help them or give them a hand up when they’re down on their luck or just need a non-judgmental listening ear or a soft shoulder to cry on, then the same must be true of my family too. It’s just what everyone does for own flesh and blood, right?

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These fortunate people with loving families may be well meaning but they assume because theirs will help them and give them unconditional love, that the same holds true for people like us. They simply can’t or won’t believe there are some parents who actually HATE THEIR CHILDREN.

I get so tired of it. So very tired of it. That’s why I tell no one my problems anymore except on my blog. I never ask my parents for help, ever, and never will again. Especially not my mother. But I won’t need to. I’m still poor but I’m surviving, even thriving now–but not because of any of their heartless and judgmental “advice.”

I’m getting better because I have the ability to reach out to my real family–this amazing community of people who have such similar stories–through a skill I’ve recently rediscovered and is the tool to my healing: my writing.
I don’t need to be my mother’s scapegoat anymore.