Hope After Narcissistic Abuse

Hope.

One of our family members recently asked a question that was a good cause for pause. The member innocently (and likely fervently seeking answers) asked,  “Where is the message of HOPE in all this talk about narcissism and narcissistic abuse”?

I couldn’t provide an answer right away, but as I thought about it, I realized that the hope in encountering this abuse is the kind that we all have to dig for.

Hope is defined as an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.[1] As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation”.[2]

Among its opposites are dejection, hopelessness and despair

Let’s discuss the opposite of hope first:

The very nature of narcissism is one of hopelessness, because there is NO CURE.  It’s no wonder this hopelessness and despair rubs off on everyone the narcissist comes in contact with. We must come to terms with and face the fact that someone we genuinely felt love for is entirely incapable of ever loving us in return. When we’ve no other choice but to turn away from someone we loved and walk away from dreams that we had, there’s no hope in that. If we have any hope in us, it’s running to a future free from abuse; one that can only be achieved by removing a toxic person from our lives. We must summon the hope and courage within us that says we deserve a better future for ourselves and our children.  The kind of hope that motivates us to do the difficult tasks required to separate ourselves from the hopelessness of narcissism.

Once we run for our lives, there’s a prolonged grieving process that a recovering target goes through, whereby we are completely depressed and devoid of any hope.   Certainly we’ve left and now have the opportunity to experience peace and health, but the weight of our emotions cycle through us, demanding they be felt.  It’s not surprising how difficult it is to feel any hope, while it feels that we’re literally dying from emotional pain. Our lives are upended, we’re being harassed, smeared and targeted by the narcissist and are often times waging some sort of financial, familial, or judicial battle as a result of our having been involved with someone who thrives on power and destruction.

As we pass through the stages of no contact, gaining knowledge of narcissism, embracing the shock that comes with our newfound understanding of sociopathy and the evil that truly exists in this world, we are not in any position to feel “hopeful”.

As we were running at our lowest emotional capacity, we had to come face to face with realities that are downright terrifying. Ugly realities like how unsafe the world feels with narcissism in it or realizing how very little the narcissist cared for us or how aggressively they meant to harm us contains no message of hope; not in the slightest.  We are discovering that someone we trusted to keep us safe and have our best interests at heart, were actually putting us at risk and purposefully harming us. We realize that words were purposefully spoken or withheld to manipulate and control us. We find out about the many affairs, the lies, the games, their motives and just how deeply their lack of empathy challenged our frames of reference for what is “right” and “fair” in this world. We witnessed the lowest form of humanity; we not only ‘witnessed’ it, we LIVED with it, we slept with it, we were close to it.

The only hope that I’ve been able to glean during this initial phase of recovery, which lasts anywhere from 1 to 3 years by my account,  is that we have the hope that we will return to our former selves; the person we were before the predator found their way into and destroyed our lives. However, this hope is simultaneously peppered with doubt and worry that we will NEVER get there again. Many times throughout this initial phase, we have to take things as they come, day by day – just making it to the next morning. This slow, tip-toeing hope is enough to push us through to the next day; it may be slow as molasses, but it is hope nonetheless.

Once we’ve processed the phenomena and concept of narcissism and narcissistic abuse, there’s a newfound hope in our ability to change ourselves and share the information that will help ourselves and others avoid narcissists in our future. That’s the real hope that springs forward from all this darkness! We emerge with an optimistic attitude that we WILL have a brighter future and we WILL help eachother get there.

There is so much hope in facing down our fears. When we don’t know much about narcissists, they’re really rather scary. They’re so out of the realm of normal, that we can’t imagine facing them. It’s comparable to staring down the boogey man under the bed. Once we arm ourselves with knowledge, while they certainly remain to be very dangerous people, they lose their ability to have power over us and they become frankly rather laughable and pathetic. Narcissists seem to only scare and obtain power over young and impressionable children and those vulnerable adults who have no clue that their brand of evil exists in the world, what to look for and the damage they can cause.

Our hope is found in our ability to allow ourselves to be changed for the positive by this experience. What other option do we have? To fold? To give up? To cave to the abuse? To decide to not learn and simply give ourselves over to the whims of someone who doesn’t and can’t care about us? Our hope is our belief that not only do we deserve better but that we can transform and change anything within ourselves that will help protect us and serve us in the future. Our hope is not in a new relationship, not in a new hair do or look, not in a new body, or not in a new  place to live. Our hope is in the renewal of our minds. Everyday that we wake up and are able to experience the beauty of life and breath and be thankful for our freedom, peace of mind and ability to choose happiness, is a day of hope.

The narcissist may have been toxic and damaging to our lives for the time they were in it, and for a period of grieving afterward, but there does come a time in every targets mind, where we decide that we will no longer allow ourselves to be affected negatively by the narcissist and their abuse. We will take the negative hand we were dealt and play it like a champion for our betterment. As our hope returns, the narcissist loses the power they once had over us, their former target, forever free; forever hopeful.

8d5f4997a403ed22880b87579a890c88

-*-

Posted on October 31, 2014, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. 8 days ago, I had a final confrontation with my abusive narcissistic mother. I’m 48 years old, an attorney, and I continued to be afraid/vie for my mother’s approval. It will never happen. She’s a toxic,abusive, manipulating,controlling bitch who really screwed me up. I feel so guilty because she is my mother, and we are told we should love our mothers, but she is CRAZY. I’m so ANGRY at her, I have so much repressed RAGE. I just want to beat the living hell out of her, like she used to beat the hell out of me, and then make me think it was ll my fault. like it was all my fault that made you beat the crap out of me. Hitting me with a belt wasn’t enough? No daughter, you deserve to be hit the big belt buckle so that you REALLY LEARN your lesson Or if the buckle wasn’t enough, lets get the wire hangers. Those particularly hurt, especially when she scratched my face up, and tried to tell me that she had hit me because I had to learn and she was doing it for my own good. You would come home everyday and I never knew whether you were having a good day or a bad day, I never knew what I said or didn’t say, or did or did not do that would set you off. I was a kid and I always had to “guess” what mood you were in. I don’t know what finally made me blow up and tell her off. I knew it was coming. I’d become an expert at waging her mood and she was itching to tell me off and blame me for whatever it was she felt I had done/not done/said/not said/whatever reason her screwed up mind could come up with to blame me. I just had ENOUGH, and I told her I was sick and tired of being the person she dumped her shit on. I did tell her she was sick in the head and crazy. She went on and on about what a disappointment I had turned out to be. I told her I already knew, as she never failed to tell me, over and over again for years. I had gotten so used to it that now I just ignored her. But I also told her that I felt the same way about her.

    She made me think I was NOTHING without her, that without her I’d BE nothing. That if ever had done anything it was BECAUSE OF HER SACRIFICES. NOTHING I’ve ever done is GOOD ENOUGH!!! ITS NOT MY FAULT YOU’RE SO GODDAMNED MISERABLE, but stop blaming me for the misery you have created for yourself. She has done nothing but beat me, berate me,humiliated me by calling me all kinds of vicious names, make me think I’m stupid and unworthy of anything good happening. One of the worst things she ever said to me was why I couldn’t have died instead of your mother. That if given a choice, I should have been the one to die instead of my grandmother. That my grandmother should have survived her brain tumor and that I should be dead instead. I lost count of the times my mother said that to me, and at other times, variations on the same thought. “You are malignant cancer”, “Tumor”, etc., that had matestisized and could not be cut out, a parasite, imbecile, idiot, cretin.

    When she started again on my numerous character failings , I brought up the times she had told me she wished I had died instead of my grandmother, she flat out denied it and said that it had never happened and she had never said that. I just told her, she couldn’t lie to me anymore, that it was a sign of how crazy she was that she would deny that she had said that to me. That if she actually believed I would make something like that up, then then she was a truly sick individual completely incapable of admitting any transgressions or feeling bad about it. I told her she was a sociopath and a toxic personality. She said she never wanted to see me again, and I said that was fine by me. The only reason we have the minimal contact we have now is because she was my mother, that I felt it an obligation to keep in contact because it was the only way I actually keep in limited touch with my brother (he has Down’s Syndrome and developmentally very limited).

    THANKS MOM-YOU ARE A COMPLETE BITCH.

    Like

  2. I love this site! Would just like to say that there is no going back to the person we were. The narcissist/psychopath killed the beautiful, innocent person we were. It’s like losing one’s virginity; there’s no going back after the knowledge and experience of these character disordered individuals. We are sadder, but wiser. And forever on guard.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just recently divorced (25 years) I am very thankful to be free from him, but I am having a hard time being free in my mind from the haunting memories of him. He stole my family and friends with years of lies that when I found out, I totally went into PTSD. My health went down immediately. For a three year period I studied and became aware of what I was really dealing with and started saving back money to leave. There was a fear that gripped me so hard that I was living with a total psychopath/narcissist. I couldn’t tell anyone because no one would believe me because of his constant charm he gave everyone outside our home. He used religion as his hiding place with people – and his deception was unbelievable. When I escaped 10 months ago, I left with shingles, colon ulcers, gastris and a little over 100 pounds. I packed my car and moved to another state – and have been trying to regain my health and get all the knowledge I can on how, when, why, and what is this horrible personality. I felt every word of your blog and I thank you for inspiring me this morning. God bless you –

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I’ve been booted out of my dying mothers life for seeking medical treatment from my brother punching me. i feel like I’m dying inside. I’m shocked that she is even willing to purger herself to protect him. I’ve never felt loved, accepted or anything.

    Like

  5. Great insights. I’m fresh from being the victim of this insidious abuse, having just instituted NC after a year relationship with a woman with NPD. If you’ve ever read the book The Giving Tree, you may be familiar with how the tree displays unconditional love by giving the boy who visits him his apples, his limbs for house lumber, his trunk for a boat. until he s left with just a stump that the boy, who’s now an old man sits on to rest. OK, I know The Giving Tree is about unconditional love and not narcissism but it’s a good metaphor for how the narcissist makes its victim feel because they are using your unconditional love to destroy you.

    She got a new job at a retail store a couple weeks ago and baked cookies for every male at the location. She said, come along, I will introduce you to my coworkers and I walked around the florescent aisles following her model figure as she pressed a baggie of sweets into almost every worker’s hands–all of them gushing at her model face. “He’s nice, he gets my cookies. That one’s not. Let’s skip him.” She didn’t give any cookies to any women….or to me. Her Facebook page features three thousand male friends and thousands of selfies and bikini shots. In each she displays a euphoric smile. Absent are any photos of me, her children or her family who never get to see the ebullient smile she displays for superficial admirers when she’s at home.

    Sites like this, which introduced me to a critical new vocabulary—gas lighting, triangulation, devalue and discard–have given me hope. Telling her to get off my stump is the most empowering thing I’ve done in years. With therapy, I hope to turn into a strong beautiful tree again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My hope is this. When I realized this mask he wore was a reflection of me I realized this love was real after all. I was in love with me

    Like

  7. I have been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist for the past 9 yrs we have 4 children together I’m just trying to break free from this relationship the children an I are currently living in a Womans Refuge atm our 3 yr old daughter became seriously sick an was transferred to a larger hospital in a larger town my narcissist came with us to be with our daughter the whole time we have been here he’s been using the situation too get to me not only am I trying to deal with our sick daughter an the fact I’ve had to leave our other children behind I’m having to deal with his mental crap an him trying to use his daughters illness to get to me an because I refuse to tell him what he wants to hear (as in he wants to get back together an I say no) hes getting nasty an using whateva tactic he can think of to make me do what he wants even as far as ringing my parents an telling them lies about me I feel like I’m going crazy an stuck in a situation that’s outta my control an when I try to confront him on what he’s saying or doing he either blames me or denies anything hes said! I feel so vulnerable an trapped atm.

    Like

  8. I have been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist for the past 9 yrs we have 4 children together I’m just trying to break free from this relationship the children an I are currently living in a Womans Refuge atm our 3 yr old daughter became seriously sick an was transferred to a larger hospital in a larger town my narcissist came with us to be with our daughter the whole time we have been here he’s been using the situation too get to me not only am I trying to deal with our sick daughter an the fact I’ve had to leave our other children behind I’m having to deal with his mental crap an him trying to use his daughters illness to get to me an because I refuse to tell him what he wants to hear (as in he wants to get back together an I say no) hes getting nasty an using whateva tactic he can think of to make me do what he wants even as far as ringing my parents an telling them lies about me I feel like I’m going crazy an stuck in a situation that’s outta my control an when I try to confront him on what he’s saying or doing he either blames me or denies anything hes said! I feel so vulnerable an trapped atm

    Like

  9. Thank you Ana, as I struggle with this dark period of my life its people like you who help give me that hope after my entire support network was demolished. Survivors who wear the badge of a warrior that has defeated evil who make it their goal to help us in need.

    I am a man who suffered nearly 5 years of abuse that culminated in it becoming physical. That was the darkness just before the dawn. She left me 1 week after the death of my father last year and rubbed her new love in my face. I was so devistated that when she returned I could not take the pain of losing both my dad and woman at the same time and went back. It lasted 5 moths and got exponentially worse each day until violence was bestowed on me and I walked. She smeared me and blamed me for it all, turning people against me, gong out of her way to make sure I didnt get hired at a prospective employer, even filling her own son with vitriolic hate and lies to the point that he ambushed and assaulted me while walking to my car after work which landed him in jail. What mother does that to her own son?

    These monsters are both male and female and they leave you completely broken, a shell of your former self long after they are gone. My struggles continue daily at nearly 3 months of NC but thanks to the wonderful caring loving souls such as you whose mission it is to help those afflicted, I am on my highway of molasses slowly creeping toward the hope and realization of healing and finding the love that each and everyone of us deserves.

    God bless you and thank you.

    Like

  10. I needed to hear that. Thank you!

    Like

  1. Pingback: After – Narcissist Abuse – Running for Hope | On The Edge

Thoughts or Feelings you'd like to share?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: