One aspect of dealing with a narcissistic family dynamic which I found particularly pathetic was the royal command. Without fail family members were required to attend various events. I could never understand why a grown adult seemed unable to cut the apron strings and would respond to his family of origin, with what had appeared to be almost total obedience-worse still he expected all of us to fall in behind him. Before I even knew what “No Contact” was I went “No Contact”, with half the in-laws in 2008. I had noticed how things had immediately improved, although I had no idea why. It took me almost another decade to cut contact with the rest of them. Of course they have tried to flout this in every way they can. I noticed that whenever they gave us anything, it was never really ours. Apparently it was always just a loan. Then suddenly one day they would demand it back in order to give it to somebody else. I think narcissists are the same with people. In their mind you always belong to them, whether you realise it or not. You have just been set aside so they can play with something/somebody else for a while. They expect to be able to come back and play with you and to find you where they left you, whenever it suits them.
Mark Lawrence(AZ Quotes)
In the end it seems we’re just toys. Easy to break and hard to mend.
For the past six months I had been quietly looking for a new home. This can be a very stressful experience. I had seen some very interesting places. One place claimed to have two bedrooms. They actually were an insult to even the word” cupboard”.
Another was a hotel room which had somehow been reclassified as a flat. The chief thing I remember was how many doors had to be unlocked between the front entrance and the eventual “flat”. Aside from the disconcerting number of locked doors,
there was the ever present fear that I would be doomed to wander eternally lost, through the corridors of this “Fawlty Towers”.
I lost count of the number of unsuitable properties, from which I had ended up walking despondently away, before I had found my own little slice of heaven. It was small. I didn’t know how we could make it work-but we have. I knew from the moment I arrived in the area, I belonged here. It had felt like coming home-not returning to “cult headquarters” but home. I had found the area before I had found the actual property. I loved the area so much, I took time out from house-hunting, just to spend the day there. I had decided to check online to see what was available, on the off chance I might find somewhere and there it was- our cosy apartment. It had all fallen into place and we have settled here happily.
I write this as words of encouragement for those of you still dealing with those early struggles, as you contemplate a new life, away from everything to which you have become accustomed. I wake up most mornings and my first thought is normally.
“Thank you God!”
It is not easy but eventually life can begin again after narcissistic abuse.
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In my view it is not really possible to deal with narcissistic abuse without at least beginning to acknowledge there is a spriritual dimension to all this. Things I had learned from my alternative friend had really helped me understand. Too many weird things happen when you are caught in a narcissistically abusive situation, for it all to be dismissed as a coincidence. These toxic beings share such similar behaviours. In my experience, I was often attacked by people who had no obvious connection with the primary abuser. Things used to work in my life and then suddenly it was almost as if nothing worked. Once I made him number one, suddenly I was engaged in some mysterious struggle, with forces I did not understand. I eventually had very little choice but to lean on God. Time and time again his nasty little schemes had come undone, as God had stepped in. He, (the toxic being)had become wary. Even he recognised that he was not getting everything his own way. He had learned to tread a little more carefully. I liked to think he was becoming more content. We could go months without incident. Then something, normally related to his family of origin, would trigger him and our peace would once more be shattered. I removed objects from the house associated with the troublemakers and did a lot of praying. I worked on the philosophy that as long as we were having five positive experiences for every negative one, things were ok. Part of him was trying to break free from the dark forces controlling him, I am sure but he couldn’t quite do it. The point was made to me that whilst he had really seemed to relish the times where we were allowed to get quietly on with our family life, in the end he constantly enabled those who sabotaged it.
As it was pointed out to me, yes others were always causing mischief but he was allowing it to happen.
For some leaving a toxic situation may look like this:
Others may feel they need to leave their situation like this:
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When you are the victim of narcissistic abuse, you are caught in a web. I know at times I even felt a degree of security, while trapped and wrapped tightly in their silken threads.
Each thread has to be removed and be prepared, this will probably take time. Escape can take patience, courage and determination. I am in the process I believe of breaking the very last of these silken bonds. Like a spider sitting in the corner of a web, these beings seem to sense movement and struggle. They then go back to secure their victim with more web and perhaps another paralysing bite. I try to ensure I am one meal not worth the consequences these days.
I am probably a bit unusual in that through my teacher training, I recognised much of what he was doing but I could not bring myself to completely face the fact that, it was entirely deliberate. In my mind, one day he was going to come to me apologise and own his behaviour, whereupon we would live happily ever after.
I watched him try to train us all. As a teacher I know children often crave attention more than anything else. Any attention is usually better than being ignored. He would deliberately re-enforce negative behaviour by rewarding it with his attention. He would encourage them to ignore boundaries by saying “No” to them and immediately caving once they(the children) started to badger him. If you have to co-parent with a toxic partner, whether you are living with them or not, you have to work doubly hard on teaching boundaries. I watched the way he tried to use language to program us all. My counter would usually be to ask my youngsters,
What do you want?
What do you like?
What do you think?
to help them develop their own opinions, likes and dislikes.
One of my children wrote him a powerful missive, once they had hit their teens, basically telling him what they thought. He had immediately became the unappreciated victim. This had helped to put an end to one important aspect of his shenanigans however. I think the most important thing anybody trying to co-parent with a toxic partner can do. is to teach them(the children) to think for themselves. They will turn on you at times but it nonetheless means, in my opinion, you have done your job. My youngsters will also tell me without hesitation when they feel I am wrong about something. This can be challenging at times but I remember once thanking my father for encouraging me to have a mind of my own. I truly recognised what a precious gift this was, once I realised the number of people, who had not been allowed to think for themselves or to hold their own opinions.
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