Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Malignant Narcissist And Her Silent Partners


THE SILENT PARTNER AND THE SILENT MAJORITY


"Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the oppressed.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented"......Elie Weisel


The Silent Partner is any relative who stands by silently while you are victimized, or who takes the abuser's side against the victim.  She, or he, is usually the other parent, who abdicates his parental responsibility to protect his children, or, worse yet, sacrifices his children to the abuser(s) in order to make his own life easier.

In most cases of birth-family abuse, there is usually not just one single Silent Partner.  Several, if not many, family members collude with, protect, and cooperate with the abuser, and participate in scape-goating, pressuring, ostracizing, or trying to silence the victim.  I will refer to these evil participants in our abuse as the Silent Majority, although that term requires a bit of clarification.  In many instances they are far from silent.  Although they might be silent about the actual abuse inflicted upon us, they can be quite vehement in insisting that the victim is wrong for not continuing to accept it.

While encouraging an abuser to operate freely in their midst, they will not be silent when it comes to criticizing the victim.  They will look the other way when the victim is being mistreated, never validating her or defending her, and then attack her when she defends herself.  The one that they gossip about, smear to others, judge, and condemn will invariably be the victim rather than the abuser.  In their sick, evil, twisted minds, it is the long-suffering victim who is the family “trouble-maker”, never the abuser herself.   They don’t ever believe there’s anything wrong with her.  They don’t see a problem with her behavior.  Why?  It’s simple. Because birds of a feather stick together.

In our Lord-Of-The-Flies birth-families, the Silent Partner and The Silent Majority don’t bat an eye at betraying an innocent family member who loves them, and serving her up on a silver platter to be sacrificed to vicious, lifelong abuse.  They specialize in re-victimizing the victim.  Although not as open and obvious about it as the “Alpha Dog” abuser, they are every bit as guilty as she is.  By either their silence, or their speaking up against the wrong person, they allow and encourage the abuse to continue. They are PARTNERS with the abuser.  They are abusers, too, and it’s time we give them the credit for it.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Adult Children of Narcissists: You Carry The Cure In Your Own Heart



                                               You Carry The Cure In Your Own Heart

This article by Andrew Vachss is a must read for Adult Children of Narcissists. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the most important articles for those of us that endured severe emotional abuse at the hands of our parents, siblings and extended family. 

As an adult child of a cruel narcissist family, including narcissist parents, and a violently mentally disturbed sociopath sister; I sometimes feel universally abandoned (even with a blog about narcissistic abuse). And it's this article - You Carry the Cure in Your Own Heart -  that I go back to time and again for validation. The article is a reminder that there are people out there that truly get it. That don't need explaining. That don't need convincing. They don't require a check list and a rating system to quantify and qualify the severity of our abuse. They just know. Emotional abuse is the cruelest and longest-lasting abuse of all. They understand that any abuse that diminishes an individual's sense of self is devastating and comes at a great cost. 

They also know that any form of "healing" or "cure" for emotional abuse is not available to purchase. The cure is carried within the survivor's own heart and soul. And only we know how to tap into our healing source. And we are free to do it in our own way and in our own time. Our hearts, our souls, our recovery, our terms. We hold the power to help ourselves. 

So BEWARE anyone trying to sell you any variation of "therapy" or"healing." If they say, you "need" this or you "need" that because you "enabled" your abuse and you are not "moving on" fast enough or "your anger is fear" and you have this "disorder" or that "syndrome" they are blaming you for your pain and shaming you into "fixing" you - the alleged problem. That, in and of itself, is one of the most despicable forms of emotional abuse. Predators are well aware they can control others through guilt and shame while simultaneously vaunting themselves as enlightened experts or authority figures who preach the gospel: "Don't be a victim! Don't allow the narcissist to have power over you! I used to be you and you can be healed like me! Let me show you how.... I take all major credit cards and paypal." 

Beware sites run by therapists/life coaches/shrinks/ Gurus etc. that PUSH psychologizing the victim and have hidden agendas (sometimes it's making money and attracting clients/customers and often it's narc supply - attention - for the pusher, or a combination of the two). They are brainwashing you into believing you "need" them or therapy or counselling or life coaching or psychic healing or CDs, DVDs, books and recovery systems... or whatever. They are brainwashing you into believing you "need" help from some other person or source. They are manipulating you into believing that something or someone, other than your self,  holds the power. The "self-help" industry is not about self-help, it's about trying to create a dependency. This dependency will only perpetuate your victimhood, drain your bank account, waste your time and energy, and exasperate your pain when it ultimately fails. The repugnant hypocrisy of these charlatans is this: These victim bashers (disguised as healers) "need" victims to stay in business. So while the "narcissistic abuse recovery experts" slyly shame and blame you for still being a victim, they depend on you being a victim in order to make a buck. That's next level projection right there. Think about it: They. Need. You. They need "victims"  to stay in business. No more victims, no mo money... and attention.  

And keep in mind, most scammers are not children of narcissists, but CHOSE as adults, to be in relationships with "alleged" narcissists. And a lot of these scammers change their stories (because faking victimhood and being "one of you" is essential to the con). So they "suddenly" may identify as an ACON. And if you get the urge to shell out $50 to learn how to take revenge on a narcissist, know this: You are going in the exact opposite direction of revenge on a narcissist. In fact, you are once again allowing a narcissist or a pack of narcissists to manipulate and exploit you. These predators know their audience and the chinks in your armor. Be discerning. Especially online. Only you know what you need and what works best for you.

Forgive yourself and write your own script. Don't let someone else write it for you. 


                                           You Carry The Cure In Your Own Heart  

                                             by Andrew Vachss      www.vachss.com

I'm a lawyer with an unusual specialty. My clients are all children—damaged, hurting children who have been sexually assaulted, physically abused, starved, ignored, abandoned and every other lousy thing one human can do to another. People who know what I do always ask: "What is the worst case you ever handled?" When you're in a business where a baby who dies early may be the luckiest child in the family, there's no easy answer. But I have thought about it—I think about it every day. My answer is that, of all the many forms of child abuse, emotional abuse may be the cruelest and longest–lasting of all.

Emotional abuse is the systematic diminishment of another. It may be intentional or subconscious (or both), but it is always a course of conduct, not a single event. It is designed to reduce a child's self–concept to the point where the victim considers himself unworthy—unworthy of respect, unworthy of friendship, unworthy of the natural birthright of all children: love and protection.

Emotional abuse can be as deliberate as a gunshot: "You're fat. You're stupid. You're ugly."

Emotional abuse can be as random as the fallout from a nuclear explosion. In matrimonial battles, for example, the children all too often become the battlefield. I remember a young boy, barely into his teens, absently rubbing the fresh scars on his wrists. "It was the only way to make them all happy," he said. His mother and father were locked in a bitter divorce battle, and each was demanding total loyalty and commitment from the child.

Emotional abuse can be active. Vicious belittling: "You'll never be the success your brother was." Deliberate humiliation: "You're so stupid. I'm ashamed you're my son."

It also can be passive, the emotional equivalent of child neglect—a sin of omission, true, but one no less destructive.

And it may be a combination of the two, which increases the negative effects geometrically.

Emotional abuse can be verbal or behavioral, active or passive, frequent or occasional. Regardless, it is often as painful as physical assault. And, with rare exceptions, the pain lasts much longer. A parent's love is so important to a child that withholding it can cause a "failure to thrive" condition similar to that of children who have been denied adequate nutrition.

Even the natural solace of siblings is denied to those victims of emotional abuse who have been designated as the family's "target child." The other children are quick to imitate their parents. Instead of learning the qualities every child will need as an adult—empathy, nurturing and protectiveness—they learn the viciousness of a pecking order. And so the cycle continues.

But whether as a deliberate target or an innocent bystander, the emotionally abused child inevitably struggles to "explain" the conduct of his abusers—and ends up struggling for survival in a quicksand of self–blame.

Emotional abuse is both the most pervasive and the least understood form of child maltreatment. Its victims are often dismissed simply because their wounds are not visible. In an era in which fresh disclosures of unspeakable child abuse are everyday fare, the pain and torment of those who experience "only" emotional abuse is often trivialized. We understand and accept that victims of physical or sexual abuse need both time and specialized treatment to heal. But when it comes to emotional abuse, we are more likely to believe the victims will "just get over it" when they become adults.

That assumption is dangerously wrong. Emotional abuse scars the heart and damages the soul. Like cancer, it does its most deadly work internally. And, like cancer, it can metastasize if untreated.

When it comes to damage, there is no real difference between physical, sexual and emotional abuse. All that distinguishes one from the other is the abuser's choice of weapons. I remember a woman, a grandmother whose abusers had long since died, telling me that time had not conquered her pain. "It wasn't just the incest," she said quietly. "It was that he didn't love me. If he loved me, he couldn't have done that to me."

But emotional abuse is unique because it is designed to make the victim feel guilty. Emotional abuse is repetitive and eventually cumulative behavior—very easy to imitate—and some victims later perpetuate the cycle with their own children. Although most victims courageously reject that response, their lives often are marked by a deep, pervasive sadness, a severely damaged self-concept and an inability to truly engage and bond with others.

We must renounce the lie that emotional abuse is good for children because it prepares them for a hard life in a tough world. I've met some individuals who were prepared for a hard life that way—I met them while they were doing life.

Emotionally abused children grow up with significantly altered perceptions so that they "see" behaviors—their own and others'—through a filter of distortion. Many emotionally abused children engage in a lifelong drive for the approval (which they translate as "love") of others. So eager are they for love—and so convinced that they don't deserve it—that they are prime candidates for abuse within intimate relationships.

The emotionally abused child can be heard inside every battered woman who insists: "It was my fault, really. I just seem to provoke him somehow."

And the almost–inevitable failure of adult relationships reinforces that sense of unworthiness, compounding the felony, reverberating throughout the victim's life.

Emotional abuse conditions the child to expect abuse in later life. Emotional abuse is a time bomb, but its effects are rarely visible, because the emotionally abused tend to implode, turning the anger against themselves. And when someone is outwardly successful in most areas of life, who looks within to see the hidden wounds?

Members of a therapy group may range widely in age, social class, ethnicity and occupation, but all display some form of self–destructive conduct: obesity, drug addiction, anorexia, bulimia, domestic violence, child abuse, attempted suicide, self–mutilation, depression and fits of rage. What brought them into treatment was their symptoms. But until they address the one thing that they have in common—a childhood of emotional abuse—true recovery is impossible.

One of the goals of any child–protective effort is to "break the cycle" of abuse. We should not delude ourselves that we are winning this battle simply because so few victims of emotional abuse become abusers themselves. Some emotionally abused children are programmed to fail so effectively that a part of their own personality "self-parents" by belittling and humiliating themselves.

The pain does not stop with adulthood. Indeed, for some, it worsens. I remember a young woman, an accomplished professional, charming and friendly, well–liked by all who knew her. She told me she would never have children. "I'd always be afraid I would act like them," she said.

Unlike other forms of child abuse, emotional abuse is rarely denied by those who practice it. In fact, many actively defend their psychological brutality, asserting that a childhood of emotional abuse helped their children to "toughen up." It is not enough for us to renounce the perverted notion that beating children produces good citizens—we must also renounce the lie that emotional abuse is good for children because it prepares them for a hard life in a tough world. I've met some individuals who were prepared for a hard life that way—I met them while they were doing life.

The primary weapons of emotional abusers is the deliberate infliction of guilt. They use guilt the same way a loan shark uses money: They don't want the "debt" paid off, because they live quite happily on the "interest."

When your self'concept has been shredded, when you have been deeply injured and made to feel the injury was all your fault, when you look for approval to those who can not or will not provide it—you play the role assigned to you by your abusers. It's time to stop playing that role.

Because emotional abuse comes in so many forms (and so many disguises), recognition is the key to effective response. For example, when allegations of child sexual abuse surface, it is a particularly hideous form of emotional abuse to pressure the victim to recant, saying he or she is "hurting the family" by telling the truth. And precisely the same holds true when a child is pressured to sustain a lie by a "loving" parent.

Emotional abuse requires no physical conduct whatsoever. In one extraordinary case, a jury in Florida recognized the lethal potential of emotional abuse by finding a mother guilty of child abuse in connection with the suicide of her 17–year–old daughter, whom she had forced to work as a nude dancer (and had lived off her earnings).

Another rarely understood form of emotional abuse makes victims responsible for their own abuse by demanding that they "understand" the perpetrator. Telling a 12–year–old girl that she was an —enabler— of her own incest is emotional abuse at its most repulsive.

A particularly pernicious myth is that "healing requires forgiveness" of the abuser. For the victim of emotional abuse, the most viable form of help is self–help—and a victim handicapped by the need to "forgive" the abuser is a handicapped helper indeed. The most damaging mistake an emotional–abuse victim can make is to invest in the "rehabilitation" of the abuser. Too often this becomes still another wish that didn't come true—and emotionally abused children will conclude that they deserve no better result.

The costs of emotional abuse cannot be measured by visible scars, but each victim loses some percentage of capacity. And that capacity remains lost so long as the victim is stuck in the cycle of "understanding" and "forgiveness." The abuser has no "right" to forgiveness—such blessings can only be earned. And although the damage was done with words, true forgiveness can only be earned with deeds.

For those with an idealized notion of "family," the task of refusing to accept the blame for their own victimization is even more difficult. For such searchers, the key to freedom is always truth—the real truth, not the distorted, self–serving version served by the abuser.

Emotional abuse threatens to become a national illness. The popularity of nasty, mean–spirited, personal–attack cruelty that passes for "entertainment" is but one example. If society is in the midst of moral and spiritual erosion, a "family" bedrocked on the emotional abuse of its children will not hold the line. And the tide shows no immediate signs of turning.

Effective treatment of emotional abusers depends on the motivation for the original conduct, insight into the roots of such conduct and the genuine desire to alter that conduct. For some abusers, seeing what they are doing to their child—or, better yet, feeling what they forced their child to feel—is enough to make them halt. Other abusers need help with strategies to deal with their own stress so that it doesn't overload onto their children.

But for some emotional abusers, rehabilitation is not possible. For such people, manipulation is a way of life. They coldly and deliberately set up a "family" system in which the child can never manage to "earn" the parent's love. In such situations, any emphasis on "healing the whole family" is doomed to failure.

If you are a victim of emotional abuse, there can be no self–help until you learn to self–reference. That means developing your own standards, deciding for yourself what "goodness" really is. Adopting the abuser's calculated labels—"You're crazy. You're ungrateful. It didn't happen the way you say"—only continues the cycle.

Adult survivors of emotional child abuse have only two life–choices: learn to self–reference or remain a victim. When your self–concept has been shredded, when you have been deeply injured and made to feel the injury was all your fault, when you look for approval to those who can not or will not provide it—you play the role assigned to you by your abusers.

It's time to stop playing that role, time to write your own script. Victims of emotional abuse carry the cure in their own hearts and souls. Salvation means learning self–respect, earning the respect of others and making that respect the absolutely irreducible minimum requirement for all intimate relationships. For the emotionally abused child, healing does come down to "forgiveness"—forgiveness of yourself.

How you forgive yourself is as individual as you are. But knowing you deserve to be loved and respected and empowering yourself with a commitment to try is more than half the battle. Much more.

And it is never too soon—or too late—to start.