9 ways to tell if the victim blog you read is run by a narcissist.

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The Internet is a great thing for a lot of reasons, but for victims of narcissistic abuse, it’s probably the first time in our lives we ever had a voice, and would be listened to and believed.   There are hundreds and probably even thousands of blogs and websites for people who have been victims of narcissistic abuse, either by their families, or at the hands of an abusive spouse, boss, lover, or friend.

The Internet has given us a voice, so now we can not only read and comment on the stories of others who have suffered similar experiences, we can also start our own blogs where we can talk about our own abuse.   Before the Internet, who would listen to us, much less believe us?  More than likely, we’d be told, “oh, of course your mother/father loves you,” or “Oh, I’m sure she means well and doesn’t know how to express it,” or worse, “it’s all in your head,” or “you are too sensitive” or “you are too paranoid.  Or even, “you are crazy to think that.”

Before the Internet, if you actually went No Contact with an abusive person, especially if it was your own family,  most people would tell you you’d “regret it” because “your family is all you have.”   Religious people might have said to you that disconnecting from a parent or other close family member was a grave sin and broke the commandment that says, “honor thy mother and father.”  Well, my answer to that is this:  you are not honoring an abusive, narcissistic parent by enabling them or allowing them to continue to abuse and use you.  The kindest thing you can do for them is to stop enabling them, by going No Contact.  By doing so, you are removing yourself from the equation and making it impossible for them to target you anymore.   More than likely they will find a new person to target, or continue to talk trash about you behind your back, but you are making things harder for them. Think of it as “tough love.”  You can still love a narcissistic parent but refuse to allow them to victimize you anymore.

There are many great narcissistic abuse and ACON blogs, forums,  and discussion groups that have helped many people and for the most part they are a Godsend.   Without them, we’d all still be in the dark, thinking WE were the problem, and that if only we could please our abusers, everything would be fine.  We’d feel misunderstood and all alone. We would never have met each other or been able to tell our stories.

This blog started as an ACON blog, but because I’ve expanded into other topics and really didn’t have a lot more to say about my own abuse (because I got tired of dwelling in the past and prefer to look toward the future), I can’t really say this is specifically an ACON blog anymore, although I still include articles about narcissistic abuse from time to time and my old posts on it remain popular.

Unfortunately, there are more than a few blogs, forums, websites and Facebook groups meant for survivors of narcissistic abuse that are actually run by narcissists who are not aware they are narcissists and identify only as victims.   Un-self-aware narcissists are far more dangerous than those who have become self aware, because they refuse to–or can’t–see their own narcissism.   Instead they project it onto others, even where it doesn’t exist.

Please keep in mind, that there is a higher percentage (as much as 70%, according to some sources)  of people with Cluster B disorders like NPD or BPD among those who were raised by narcissistic parents.   Because there’s not a clear line between people who have been abused and those who are abusers (and in fact both may be present in the same person) it shouldn’t be very surprising that some victims are suffering from disorders a lot worse than just C-PTSD.

This is a problem because a person who is in an abusive relationship and considering going No Contact (or is newly No Contact) may think they’ve found a safe haven with empathetic fellow-sufferers who can be of  help to them, but they may well find themselves re-traumatized later on by the group, should they disagree with them in any way or say or do the “wrong” thing — and there isn’t much, if any, forgiveness from groups like these.  Once they devalue you, you are dead to them.     I was the target of such a group myself, and was so traumatized I almost took my blog down.

I’ve been in the narcissistic abuse community long enough now that I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on how to tell the safe ACON/narc-abuse blogs from the ones that are not so safe and actually could be dangerous.   So here is a list I devised of the ways you can tell if a narcissistic abuse blog is dangerous and should be avoided.   If any of the blogs or websites you read show these “red flags,” proceed at your own caution.   If you must read them, avoid commenting.

1.The site preaches hate and revenge.

If the site, blog or group you are involved in constantly bashes people with Cluster B disorders, calling them demons, monsters, incurable, having no souls, all going to Hell, or encourages its readers to “get back at” them or “out-narc” them, proceed very carefully.  While righteous anger is perfectly normal when you have been abused and can give you the motivation and courage to go No Contact, and even anger at narcissists in general is to be expected, if that is ALL the site seems to focus on, that’s a red flag.   Websites and blogs like these CAN be helpful when a person is going No Contact or you’re trying to leave an abuser, but once you are safely away from your abuser(s) and all that righteous rage is out of your system (for most people, it WILL burn itself out eventually), you should move onto sites that focus less on how horrible narcissists (or borderlines, or whatever) are, and more on how to heal yourself from C-PTSD and narcissistic abuse.   Also, it’s ALWAYS a bad idea to try to “get back at” or “out-narc” a narc.  It won’t solve anything, and you may find yourself more of a target than ever.   You’re not going to be any match for any malignant narcissist who’s on their game, and they usually are.

2. The owner(s) and followers of the site, group or blog seem stuck in a victim mentality.

Things just never seem to get any better for them.   There is no emotional growth to be seen when people are stuck in a victim mentality.  If you try to suggest they move on and work on themselves to feel happier or less like victims, they are very likely to attack YOU as being a narcissist who thinks you’re better than them.   This is an example of projection.  Sure, I totally get that all the positive thinking nazi’s out there can be irritating (and I HATE those toothpaste-smile cheerleaders who discourage you from being able to express your real feelings and tell you to smile when you don’t feel like smiling), but that doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong with being more positive or forward-thinking, or doing something to change your outlook on life to a happier one.  As victims, we were trained to expect the worst from people and probably have very little trust in others.

But our narcissists aren’t going to just magically appear on bended knee and tell us they’re sorry and un-do all the damage they did to us.  So you really only have two choices.   You can continue to wallow in misery and victimization until the day you die, or you can try to change things about yourself without expecting your abusers to make things up to you, because they won’t.  Changing yourself doesn’t mean you were at fault, but fair or not, it’s the only way to escape from the trap of being a lifelong victim.

3. They are never in therapy or getting treatment.

I’ve noticed how some people in these groups are never in therapy or practicing mindfulness skills, or doing anything that can make their lives easier or better.   I think that’s because they are really narcissists or borderlines who think of themselves as perfect and use their victim status as a kind of false self to get sympathy or attention, and woe be to those who ever suggest they need to change anything about themselves, or that perhaps a therapist could help them.   Are they afraid if they go to a therapist, they might find out something they don’t want to know?  Few malignant narcissists ever think they are the ones with a problem; it’s always everyone else.

4. The group bans, blocks, or insults people who are self aware borderlines or narcissists — and those who challenge the status quo. 

It doesn’t matter if they are in treatment or say they want to change.  They are automatically just lying or trying to get attention, just because they say they have an NPD or BPD diagnosis (or even just a self-diagnosis).  Because of course, people with these disorders donothing but lie and misrepresent themselves.   They CAN’T be self-aware or want to heal!   But I know otherwise.   I spent time on a forum with self aware NPDs and borderlines who were in therapy and actively trying to make changes and practice mindfulness and treat others better.  Why on earth would they want to do that, if it weren’t true?  What would motivate them to lie about it?

Some groups also ban, block or insult other victims who show any empathy for people who have these disorders or who question the bashing mentality.    One of the things I’ve learned on my own healing journey is that narcissistic abuse and narcissism is not a black and white issue.   Most people with cluster B disorders were also victims of abuse–and most abuse victims have narcissistic traits or “fleas” to one degree or another.

I’ve been called a narc-sympathizer, but I no longer take that as an insult.   Some of the victim sites don’t seem to recognize that narcissism is on a spectrum, and some narcissists are a lot worse than others.   C-PTSD is usually comorbid with these disorders too.   While yes, it’s true that there are malignant narcissists who “like” their disorder and would rather undergo root canal than ever darken a therapist’s office door, there are others, lower on the spectrum, who dislike the way they behave and want to learn how to be more authentic and develop empathy and real connections with others.    Of course, the narc abuse sites probably aren’t the best places for a Cluster B person to land, but I’m appalled at the way some of them get treated.

The same goes for those who show empathy for people with these disorders.   If you don’t drink the “all narcs are incurable and evil” Koolaid and dare to question the narc-hating status quo, prepare to be mobbed, banned, smeared, or called a narcissist or worse yourself.   The irony here is that your show of empathy probably means you are lower on the narcissism spectrum than they are.    Also, just because you hate narcissists doesn’t mean you can’t be one.

5. The site or group has a tight clique of hangers on and there is never any disagreement or healthy debate among them.

All they do is pat each other on the back and agree about how terrible it all was and how evil the narcs all were.   They never challenge each other to THINK  or to be open to out of the box viewpoints.   There also never seem to be any helpful suggestions intended to help each other heal.  Years later, they are still bemoaning how badly they got treated even years after going No Contact, but are doing absolutely nothing to improve things for themselves.  They are not very welcoming of newcomers, or of anyone who challenges them that they may be the cause of their own problems now that all the narcissists have been booted out of their lives.

6. They seem to see narcissism where it doesn’t exist.

Someone offers a helpful suggestion or minor criticism, and they call that person a troll or a narc.    They talk about isolating themselves from everyone, because “everyone is a narc” or “the world is full of narcs.”  I understand the lack of trust, but you can’t heal when you isolate yourself from the world and continue to insist it’s an evil, dangerous place full of people who will only abuse you.   You have to learn self empathy and from there, you can slowly learn to trust others and realize there really are good people in the world.   It’s sad they will probably never reach that point.

7. They are combative and aggressive toward those who disagree with them.

They may even go on a full-on smear campaign: gaslighting, telling vicious lies about you,  projecting things onto you, triangulating against you (complete with flying monkeys), sending nasty “anonymous” emails,and even threatening lawsuits (narcissists are notorious for being litigious), all while continuing to insist that they are just harmless “empaths” who actually show little to no empathy, even among themselves.  This happened to me, and it’s happened to others, so this is no exaggeration.

8. If the owner of the group is religious, they are dogmatic and intolerant of other religious points of view or those who disagree with their religious beliefs.

Understandably, many victims of narcissistic abuse turn to God or Christianity since the people in their lives have proven so untrustworthy and unloving.  This is not only understandable, it’s also desirable.   Having faith can keep us healthy and sane, and give us hope when all hope seems lost.   But beware of site owners who use their religion in abusive or narcissistic ways — to shame, belittle, or make themselves feel superior to others.  Use great caution around anyone who tells you your religion (or lack of religion) is wrong or evil, or that you are going to Hell for your beliefs.  This is religious abuse, and narcissists are notorious for it.

9.  You just feel uncomfortable or ill at ease.   

Listen to your intuition.  Even if you haven’t been attacked or targeted, if you just feel ill at ease of uncomfortable on that blog, forum or group, or hesitate to share your honest feelings and opinions there, chances are there’s a good reason you feel that way.  Don’t ignore your feelings — you spent too much time already dismissing your feelings as “crazy” or “wrong” due to the abuse you suffered, but your feelings are probably trying to tell you something important and you should listen.

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The thing that makes me so sad is that failing to move on from the righteous anger we all feel at first, can turn a person into a narcissist, even if they weren’t one to begin with.    With nowhere left for all that rage to go, a person can become bitter and paranoid.  They begin to see narcissism in normal human behavior.   This is why moving on from the anger stage is so important (and for most people, it does burn itself out once the danger has passed).

Moving on doesn’t mean you have to tolerate narcissistic abuse or resume contact with toxic  people you have gone No Contact with. It doesn’t even necessarily mean you have to forgive your narcissists for what they did to you (and you surely don’t want to forget!)   But it does mean that at some point, you should be able to let go of the hatred and even begin to see abusive types as broken people who got that way because they were themselves abused (I don’t believe anyone consciously chooses to be a narcissist, in spite of what some people say).   Once you can recognize them as broken people instead of demons from the bowels of hell,  you can then begin to look inside yourself and see what you can do to change and make yourself less attractive to narcissists.   (Thinking this way also makes them seem a lot less dangerous, which in turn will make you feel like less of a victim).   Maybe you are codependent and unconsciously do things to attract that sort of person into your life.  That’s not victim-blaming — it’s just being willing to take responsibility for yourself and having enough insight to see the role you might have played.  None of us are perfect.   It wasn’t until I was able to stop thinking in an “us versus them” way and stop seeing myself as a “poor helpless victim” that I was able to see how my own narcissism and codependency negatively affected my life and my relationships.   Without this knowledge, I would never be able to heal.

All that being said, I truly don’t think these group and forum owners and bloggers are aware that their behavior is very Cluster B, that they may be on the N spectrum themselves, or even–God forbid!–have NPD.   I also don’t think they are being dishonest about the abuse they suffered.  They honestly believe they are only victims with PTSD or C-PTSD.  But their thinking about the issue of narcissism and narcissistic abuse is too black and white for them to be able to see their own narcissism, for to do so in their current state, would mean they would have to admit they were one of “those bad people” and the cognitive dissonance arising from that would be far too great for them to handle.   So they must continue to split: projecting onto and smearing those who refuse to drink their poison Kool-aid.

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A new day.

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It’s the first day of Summer (or is it the second?), and things look much brighter today than they did last night. In the midst of a severe BPD/C-PTSD “episode,” (I’ll explain more in a minute), I published a post, “Why I’m a Wreck,” which I just set to private and will probably delete eventually. I thank all of you for your prayers and good wishes. I feel like I have a family here. ❤

I’m very symptomatic right now and overreacting to everything. I’m paranoid and hypervigilant. I see evil everywhere and demons in every corner (but the demons are only in my own mind).  I’m having trouble being mindful and trying to stay in the present.  I’m thinking in a more black and white way (splitting) than I have in a long time. I’m catastrophizing and imagining the worst possible outcomes about everything.  I’m “going off” on people and getting angry at them for no reason.    Example: I don’t agree with my roommate’s religious views, and I became very judgmental and actually yelled at her, telling her what she believed was “stupid.”  I immediately felt terrible about it and apologized; being so judgmental is not like me (but it is like me when my BPD is in full bore).   When a lot of things happen at the same time, it can really overwhelm anyone’s system (even if you’re free of BPD or C-PTSD) and it’s hard to keep your grip and stay mindful.

An example of my “catastrophizing” was believing my son has NPD. I talked to him again today, and he certainly does not. He may have a few of the traits of narcissism, but he does have empathy and he isn’t manipulative and he doesn’t play evil mindgames. He was in a bad mood last night and it was late. We talked today and he was much more sympathetic.

Two things have brought on this sh*tstorm of triggers and symptoms.

1. I’m getting deeper into therapy, into the really “difficult stuff.” It isn’t fun anymore. It’s hard, painful work now. I found this hard to believe when I started, that I’d get to a point where I’d be in so much pain as buried traumatic memories begin to emerge to consciousness. I have to keep reminding myself that this is all good; the pain and “regression” back into earlier ways of dealing with stress means I’m healing.

2. My father’s death. I’m grieving in my own way, but more than sadness is a lot of anger, and a lot of old, painful memories are being triggered by this too. I’m actually remembering events I thought I’d long forgotten.

God works in mysterious ways. It was my father’s time to die, but it also happened at a time where I felt “stuck” in therapy–not moving any faster and not able to access buried emotions brought on by trauma. My father’s death has made it possible for me to do this work, and it is work.

As for my daughter, her moving back in with me, as one of my commenters (Susan?) said in the post I just deleted, may be the best thing for both of us. I just need to set some firm boundaries but I think she will respect them. I never thought her living with her dad was a very good idea.

And, I’m not sure yet, but there may be a out of state move in our not very distant future–one that would bring the three of us (me, and both my kids) together as a family again and have a fresh start.  I don’t want to get my hopes too high about this though.  But it could happen.

The awkwardness of being a Borderline ACON.

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I won’t lie.  It’s incredibly awkward being a blogger who blogs about two things that seem diametrically opposed to many people in the narcissistic abuse community:  being a victim of narcissists, and having a Cluster B disorder (BPD).   To those of you who aren’t familiar with the ACON (adult children of narcissists) blogosphere,  there are a few ACON bloggers (not too many on WordPress, fortunately) who seem to think if you have BPD then you can’t also be an abuse victim and certainly shouldn’t be blogging about it.  Because, you see, if you have BPD then you are one of the soulless abusers.  If you are any kind of “cluster B person” blogging about abuse, then of it follows that you must have an “agenda.”  What that agenda is is never specified though.

I have been accused of many things, none of which are pretty, and few of which are true. Most are crass generalizations made out of ignorance and a refusal to think outside the box or consider that not everything is all black or all white or that all people can be shoved into a box. .   Here are just a few of the things I’ve been accused of.

  1. I have an “agenda” and dishonest motives.
  2. I am not really an abuse victim.
  3. I am being paid off or otherwise compensated  other people (like Sam Vaknin) or psychiatric organizations (like the APA) to promote my “evil” views and blur the lines between Cluster B disorders and complex PTSD caused by abuse.
  4. I’m “evil.”
  5. I’m crazy.
  6. I’m confused.
  7. I only care about being “popular”
  8. As a Borderline, I have “no right” to be writing posts about narcissistic abuse.

To these accusations,  here are my responses:

  1. Um, no.  I’m not clear what “agenda” it is I’d be trying to promote. My only “agenda” is healing for myself, fun (because I love to write), and hopefully, helping a few others along the way.
  2. I guess some people never really read this blog because it’s filled with personal accounts of narcissistic abuse by both my family of origin and my ex-husband.   Oh, that’s right.  I’m just making it all up. 🙄   I couldn’t make up these accounts if I tried.  I try not to dwell too much on the abuse though, because doing that doesn’t help me and only makes me miserable.  That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, though.
  3. This really makes me scratch my head.   It almost makes me laugh how far a few people are reaching by saying this.  The only monetary compensation I get is about $30 – $40 a month from running ads on this blog.   I still live in poverty and I don’t have any kind of shady business dealings with any organization or person.  I write this blog because I want to.
  4. That’s quite a value judgment there.   You don’t even know me.   I don’t point fingers and call anyone evil unless I have real good reason to, and even then I’m hesitant because I don’t want to be a judgmental person (I can’t stand judgmental people).   I think it’s always better to use the term “evil” for actions, not people.   I guess this idea that I’m evil is because I’m zOMG “Cluster B.”  I’m not a narcissist (even if I do have a few of the traits) and I’m not antisocial and I do have empathy and an almost excessively strong conscience.   But some people have the idea that even if you’re a self-aware borderline who practices mindfulness, you’re still as bad as one of the narcs.  “Sociopath” is another thing I’ve been called but it means pretty much the same thing.
  5. Maybe there’s a bit of truth to this.  After all, I do have four mental disorders–BPD, complex PTSD,  Avoidant PD, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  I can act pretty crazy sometimes too.   But at least I’m self-aware crazy and can see myself pretty objectively and control my urges to act crazy when they get out of hand. But just because you don’t agree with me doesn’t mean I’m crazy.  I just have a different opinion than you do.  Deal with it.
  6. There’s also some truth to this.    It is VERY confusing being both an abuse victim and having a Cluster B disorder, even though the Cluster B disorder was caused by abuse!   And like it or not, I DO think BPD and complex PTSD are almost the same disorder.   Of course, this is just my opinion and no one’s paying me off or brainwashing me to “blur the lines.”
  7. No.  My primary motive in blogging is healing myself and helping people.   A secondary motive is fun.    Yes, of course I look at my stats and always get a small thrill when they’re growing, but I don’t write to be popular or famous.  Yes, I’d like to write a book someday and be able to make a living from my writing, but who wouldn’t?   Even if I never make a penny from my writings and even if no one read my blog, I’d still be doing it because it’s something I really like to do.
  8. As a Borderline, I *AM*  victim of narcissitic abuse.  (see reply #6).  ANYONE who was an abuse victim and wants to heal from the damage they endured has EVERY right to blog about it, and yes, that even includes people with self aware NPD!

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“Me and My Evil Crazy Me” (Minecraft image by Sonatathesiren)

I know my opinions are sometimes controversial and won’t sit well with everyone, but unless I’m presented with a convincing argument to discard my personal beliefs and opinions, they aren’t going to change.   I ‘m a critical thinker who likes to explore all angles of an issue and then form my own opinions when I’ve gathered enough information.  I’ve always walked to the beat of my own drummer, rather than mindlessly following what other people tell me I “should” do or believe.   Being a “lone wolf” who walks to the beat of my own drummer and refuses to conform to the “popular” view is one of the biggest reasons why I was ostracized by so many people all my life–including my own family.  But you know what?  I don’t care.  This is who I am and I’m going to keep running with it.     I seriously don’t understand why people who dislike my opinions and views so much keep reading my posts anyway if it’s only going to make them angry.  No one is forcing my opinions on those people. Just hit the backspace button!  It’s easy.

I’m aware some people have a problem with this because it doesn’t fit into the almost cult-like mentality I’ve seen among certain (fortunately only a few) ACON bloggers. If you piss them off, be prepared to be mobbed. Maybe they’ll leave you alone on your own blog but make no mistake–they will be trashing you and your character on their own blogs. At the same time, there are so many more people (and bloggers) who appreciate my reluctance to put people into boxes and think in only black and white terms.  There are many beautiful shades of grey in between the extremes.  That’s one of the best takeaways of moving away from BPD black and white thinking and replacing that with critical thinking and mindfulness.  If that’s evil and crazy, then evil and crazy I guess I will be.   But I really don’t think it is.

balance

Many people have told me my more open-minded approach has been refreshing and has helped them come to terms with the abuse they had to endure and move past the rage and anger they felt coming out of their abusive relationships, or when they went No Contact. At the same time, one of my aims has become reducing the awful stigma against people suffering from BPD. It’s a delicate balance, but I don’t think it’s undoable.

Being a borderline and a trauma victim who writes about narcissistic abuse issues as well as my own (and other) cluster B disorders,  it’s sometimes a delicate balance.   But they are not mutually exclusive.   I  feel driven to write  about my disorders as they relate to my abuse and attempt to reconcile them because I need to for my own sanity and healing.