Your Voice – What it is and How It Is Silenced By the Narcissist

downloadWe hear the term “Share your voice”, “Find your voice”, etc. quite frequently in recovery. As a writer on the topic of recovery from narcissistic abuse, it’s one I use frequently without ever directly talking about what “your voice” actually means and the power it holds and why so many abusive people respond to it aggressively in an attempt to silence it.

First of all, your voice, isn’t just the audible sounds coming from your vocal chords. That’s just a vehicle that pierces the Silence.  Your voice is actually more than that – It pierces the silent atmosphere that boundary violations, disrespect, marginalized treatment and abuse thrive in. It’s an audible right that you claim by speaking up, to say that what you have to say, and that the truth you have to speak as if it is worth BEING HEARD; even if YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO THINKS SO. Other names to describe “your voice” are:  assertiveness, worthiness, truth, honesty, your reality, your side of the story, your feelings, your validation, your weigh in, your vote, your opinion.

While you share your voice in many situations, we are going to discuss situations where your rights and boundaries are being violated and where you make the decision to assert your “voice” in order to protect yourself, have your needs considered equitably and to be involved in matters of importance that concern you.

If you were raised in a dysfunctional / narcissistic household, you were taught at a very early age, many messages about your voice: “Kids should be seen; not heard”, “Your opinions don’t matter”, “Be Quiet! , “You don’t say that about mom, dad, aunt Sue, Uncle Charlie”…etc. Kids have such a keen ability to see the obvious negative and subtle messages about people and their true character. We often hear the term, “Out of the mouths of babes” , which illustrates the brute honesty that kids approach the world and the people in it.  If you were an honest kid, who called things like you saw them, asking questions that made sense logically but were met with disdain, you were likely also branded the “scapegoat” in the family.


Scapegoats pick up this dysfunctional family moniker for being truthful and outspoken about realities that those living in a dysfunctional cycle do NOT want to see. In order to silence the harshness of the reality that you’re asking them to face, they will label YOU the troublemaker and do anything within their power, and as adults they have it, to SILENCE YOU.

How does it feel to be silenced? It’s Frustrating. Hurtful. It sends the message that you don’t matter. You wonder why others get to express their feelings and thoughts, even when you see that they aren’t honest, and yet you are shut down, forced to eat your words, shamed, told you are bad, inappropriate, starting problems, or ARE the problem. It’s isolating. You learn very early on that sharing your voice, your truth, your thoughts, your feelings are a bad thing and that you’re a “bad person” for doing so.

Overcoming scapegoat labels and the continual messages that your voice is caustic, is a terrible legacy. It sets you up as an adult to be the person who will be easily silenced when confronted with abuse. How else does abusive behavior continue but  with a complicit, silent partner who has learned to excuse the unexcusable, to defend the undefendable and to agree to hide the secrets of a person whose life would be destroyed by the truth if only YOU were courageous enough to share it.

Narcissists purposefully choose those who are vulnerable to keeping secrets and not sharing their voices. They want to know they’ve chosen someone with whom their secret is safe. What’s their secret? WHO THEY REALLY ARE. A narcissist doesn’t dare risk showing their unmasked, bullying, abusive, lying, cheating, immoral, perverted, addicted, conning, conniving selves to someone who is confident to tell on them and who is carrying a bullhorn ready to blast it out to the world what happens behind closed doors. That’s too much a risk of exposure that would send their shanty house of cards crumbling to the table.

The narcissist is VERY AWARE when you are speaking in an assertive powerful way and will take that powerful speech as a threat to their abusive system. If you begin to assert your rights in conversation or “demand” in words or action that your needs matter as much as the narcissist’s do, you will begin to be seen and treated as a THREAT.

tell it anyway

Narcissists will use any and all tactics available in their arsenal of abusive techniques to get you to stop speaking up:

1. Preventing You

Someone preventing you from speaking is in effect, shutting down your voice. No one can hear you when the narcissist is preventing you from speaking. Ignoring you when you’re talking, talking over you, changing the subject, bringing it back to themselves are all forms of preventing you from sharing your voice. Prevention can also include: Making fun of you in front of others so that you stop speaking, Isolating you entirely, and Legal abuse where a narcissist obtains gag orders or other injunctions against freely speaking.  – all these verbally abusive statements send these messages: YOU DONT MATTER. What you have to say is of no importance to me or anyone, just be quiet. I have the power over you to silence you. Don’t share your voice.

Examples: “Shut up!”,   “Who asked you?!” , “If I wanted your opinion I would ask for it”.

2. Shaming, Blaming, Projecting

Here, the narcissist doesn’t just attack superficial qualities about you, they go for the core of you. By “punishing” you with shame, blame and projection, they are brainwashing you to associate speaking up with a defect of your character at your core. Calling you names, bullying you with verbal abuse, Blaming you for “always” being wrong, or starting problems, assigning motivations to your actions that only you could know about, and projecting their flaws onto you are effective ways to get you to stop sharing information.

Examples: “You’re such an attention getter! You always start drama! Why can’t you just leave well enough alone. Youre so selfish to bring this up! Narcissistic even! You always just want to tell lies to get attention!”

3. Threatening

Narcissists are very scary people when they aren’t getting their way or fear exposure.

When you’re in a relationship with them, they’ll threaten abandonment, physical abuse, breaking your things, sharing private secrets with others,  leaving you or “pressing charges” /accusing you of things that you’ve never done. The list of threats go on and on, but basically they’ll use whatever they can about you, against you until you stop  speaking up, speaking out or sharing your voice either with them directly or with others.

When leaving them, they will literally do anything and stoop to lows you didn’t think people could stoop to. We’ve onlly seen or heard about them on one of those made for tv movies, where people are hired as hit men, or husbands are run over in their cars or poisoned by vengeful narcissistic ex partners or family members. These people are not just your normal, exit strategists. They go for the KILL. Sometimes, literally threatening the life of their former targets. Which shows the level of fear they have of exposure, the greater the threat, the more they feel they have to lose.

Examples: “If you tell x, Im going to _______” , “You Might not want to do that . . . ” ,  “If you do or don’t do ___, I will _____”

4. The Smear Campaign

This is that “special” little coupe de gras, “parting shot” of the narcissist that you’ve likely never encountered until your departure from a truly malignant /diagnosable narcissist.

Whole articles cover this particular “entity” that is part and parcel with your experiences with a narcissist. Let me address it with brevity. A smear campaign is the narcissist’s last and only chance to CONTROL YOU and the PR SURROUNDING THEMSELVES.

It’s things that companies deal with frequently when letting go, key employees who may walk away with a tale or two to tell about the “inner workings of the company”. They have a reputation to keep afterall with the community, so they frequently will ask employees to sign a “Non disclosure agreement” usually in return for a pittance of cash to buy your silence.

If narcissist’s had this tactic legally available to  them, without tipping their hand that they are aware they’ve openly abused you, they’d hop on this. Instead, they take the dirty criminal, rat’s route in an attempt to win the same outcome as the one done by legal means.

Narcissists are aware that the first person to speak out and secure their position in the annuls of “public opinion” is the one who will appear to be the genuine “victim” and they know that the “Best defense is a good offense”. In the unraveling of an interpersonal relationship, the narcissist will begin paving the way, LONG before you realize that your “relationship” is on the decline. They’ll plant seeds of doubt about YOU in others’ minds to discredit YOU so that whenever you decide to start talking about them, you won’t be believed. Usually your own people first. They know that by destabilizing your support system against you, that it will destabilize you to find yourself lacking the support you need to fight, when they launch their second blow: the public tribunal.

Here, the narcissist enlists people you DONT KNOW by using sympathy about how you are so crazy, hard to handle, irrational, and how the poor narcissist just can’t deal with you alone anymore, or they might get them to provide “witness statements” about your “crazy behavior”  to gang up with them, as their defenders and YOUR oppressor.

You come to discover that you have not only a fraudulent narcissist on your hands but a troop of accusers, blamers and crucifixionists ready to hang you on the cross for actions that aren’t true against you. You turn to your own supporters and find many of them switching ranks and joining forces with your abuser.

Targets end up fighting a smear campaign battle when we’re least ready to handle it. Exhausted from the battle and abuse of our relationships, we aren’t prepared to fight another battle so soon, just to share the truth. The smear campaign wages battle against your character, destroying your reputation, your relationships, your finances, and ultimately your health.

Here’s an example from my own story as an illustration of threatening and the smear campaign:

At my 3rd year with the narcissist, I had a life threatening event that caused me to take my needs more seriously. I was finding my voice, in response to coming face to face with my own mortality. I began asserting my need for follow through from the narcissist who had made me many promises regarding our relationship. When I began speaking up, we began having many “fights”.  I was unknowingly challenging the narcissist’s need to have all the power in our relationship and his unfair need to not be asked to be responsible for his promises to me. As long as I was willing to idly sit by and passively accept what he gave me without complaint, then we would have continued to be in a relationship. When I began speaking up, I began “rocking the boat of our abusive, one sided relationship”.

The narcissist kept upping his ante and moved into a more strategic abuse mode to shut me up, because he realized that I was not as satisfied with lip service as I had been in the past. He began threatening to have me fired (no I did NOT work for him, he was interfering with my job to a private employer) he threatened to send private pictures of me to my employer to paint me as an “immoral” character so that I’d be fighting to keep my job instead of fighting him to make good on relational promises.  At each step of this escalating abusive dance, I reacted with emotional upset over the things I found him capable of doing to harm me, whereas he, was coldly detached from me as a person; especially someone who he had proclaimed over and over to love deeply. It became apparent to me that, in his eyes, I  was just an object who deserved to be destroyed. He  became more and more psychopathic in his desire to silence me, ultimately threatening to have me killed.

challenging a narc

When you finally find the courage and strength to sever the relationship with an abusive narcissist, you find that you’re no longer under the will of an oppressor. With your freedom, you decide that you no longer have to watch what you say, carefully construct your words, and you aren’t forced (punished) for sharing truths about the narcissist that they can’t admit and can’t stand hearing about themselves. The things you remember now, because you can without punishment, are how the narcissist WASN’T sensitive like they said they were, they WEREN’T honest, like they claim, they AREN’T faithful, kind, or a caring person. In fact, they’re just the opposite of who they say they are: They’re dishonest, immoral, scary, rude, selfish, unthoughtful, inhumane, jealous, possessive, shallow, insecure, immature, petty, problematic, chaotic, trouble making, and quarrelsome.  You escape and you’re a built in enemy to a narcissist.  You hold the power to ruin them in the eyes of everyone they’ve fooled, with the truth.

In the end, It’s up to each target to decide what truths they want to speak or where they want to share their voices. Being in touch with who you are, what your truth is, and who you want to share it with is a decision that only you can make. Whether or not to share the truth about the narcissist that abused you is also your personal choice. The timing, the details, the audience, are all factors to consider when telling the truth about your abuser. I caution you to give the decision some careful thought and consider the consequences.

Posted on May 4, 2015, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Alena@TheHomemadeCreative

    Your conclusion — that’s where I am, right now. My father is in prison for life. I went No Contact with my mother one year ago this week. I have supporters – some sort me telling my story, but most think I’m wrong and “unforgiving” or vindictive to do so. I also have my mother’s attempts to discredit (a very subtle, but effective, smear campaign), and her many flying monkeys. I’m also the oldest of five, and they’re split on me talking publicly. So… I’m scared, and I just don’t know what to do. I want to speak. I believe I can do some good for others, and myself, by speaking. And I feel like I NEED to speak, for me. But I’m scared.


  2. I successfully left on the second attempt, 6 years apart from the first try. The second attempt brought me the most covert aggression. A staged confrontation where he recruited my dad and pursued me with the cellphone with my dad on the line and kept putting the phone in my face. I repeatedly kept telling him that I didn’t want to talk to my dad, I made it to the door of our master bedroom and shoved him to get him back so I could close the door. He told my dad that I hit him and was calling the police. His smear campaign started with my dad and oldest sister, the internal support system. Then he moved to the police, courts and tried to get my kids taken away. FORTUNATELY, the police, courts, judges are VERY used to this personality and can recognize it right away. Yes, I still had to go through the system but was able to get records sealed and remove any “victim” record he tried to keep.

    The best thing to do is accept that these people do not think like normal people and NEVER will, they WILL NOT change. We have to change how we deal with them and MUST take caution in every way. We do the same wearing our seat belt. If divorced with kids, ALWAYS use a 3rd party to handle negotiations (i.e. Lawyers, med/arb, or PC/DM).


  3. I really love this site, it helps me alot, especilaly in times like now where I just want to break down and cry. Over 2.5 years after leaving my NA, No longer having a social media life due to it and my blog being my only outlet that I refuse to part with, He follows it, comments on it. and now has a blog of his own twisting to say I am the NA because I am ignoring him. He is trying to get me to break and I will not. I have continued to have no contact with him, I have continued to try my best to carry on with my life, yet I still find it hard on all levels.
    Thank you again.


    • If you were to go to my blog, click on the commentor at the bottom who comments the most even though the latest is also a fake on of his, you will find his blog accusing me. I do not understand, but I do understand. If that makes any sense. It all just puts a sharp pain in my chest that this long after leaving he is still there like I just left a week ago. I really did love this man until his true colors showed and I saw it for what it was. Hes pushed as afar as suicide as an only way out almost 2 years ago, I have overcome it and am a stronger person for it, knowing my life is more than that. I am a fighter but some days I just am so flustered by it. I hate to see so many that go through this. My heart aches for all that do. May you all have peace.


  4. “complicit, silent partner who has learned to excuse the unexcusable, to defend the undefendable and to agree to hide the secrets of a person whose life would be destroyed by the truth”. This hits home……no apology needed. Karma sucks.


  5. I am recovering from a relationship that lasted 10 years with a narcissist. These types of people will have your head spinning. My guy “loved me and would do anything for me”. When I asked why he was again hanging out with me and calling and coming to eat at my house everyday, he became very agitated and defensive. He threatened me by saying if I had another emotional episode, i.e. crying, he would never see me again. When I tried to wear some “sexy” lingerie for him once, he began laughing and wouldn’t stop. My feelings we very hurt and I asked him to please stop laughing. He wouldn’t stop. I began to cry and he continued to laugh. I finally called him an a–hole, and he became very angry with me that I had used such harsh language with him. He stopped speaking to me. He never apologized. He made ME feel bad for reacting to is bad behavior. Another time, I was siting near him on a picnic bench, and he told me that it made him sick when I was near him. I left but confronted him about it later. He denied ever saying that and said that he would NEVER say that to anyone! All the while, I was cooking and spending huge amounts of money feeding him nice meals. Another time, after not seeing each other for a long while, we were driving home from somewhere, and I told him that I felt really hurt about not seeing him and how things had gone the last time we saw each other. He told me “You hurt yourself.” One new year’s, I spent a fortune cooking, shopping, preparing food, etc. Before we ate, he announced that he was going for a bonfire at an acquaintance’s house after dinner. He didn’t invite me. We got into a big arguement and he stormed out. I ran after him in the snow in my bare feet asking him to forget everyting and just come back and eat. I pleaded to come back because my feet were freezing. He said my feet were freezing because it was my own fault. Another time his car broke down. He called and I immediately went to pick him up. Later, I also drove im to the car dealer to get his car back. When he got his car, he just got in and left. He never came up to me to say thanks. He just got in and left! He called an hour later and asked if I was mad at him. On one date, in front of one of his friends, he said, ” I could never take you home to mom and dad, you don’t speak Lithuanian”. I could go on and on. I really loved this guy. What an idiot I was. And the worst…he lives 4 houses away from me! I can never get away and not see him. In the 10 years I have known this guy, he has NEVER apologized for anything he has done.


  6. OMG….reading this is like someone is telling the story of MY life! It feels sooo good to be validated, and that this is a REAL thing. I was married to the narcissist for 27 years. I had become so beat down, low self esteem, depressed, then a couple of traumatic things happened in my life that left me with PTSD, and rheumatoid arthritis, so then all the PRX drugs cause me to gain 80 lbs., and you can imagine the snide comments and belittling remarks coming from the narcissist (even though he never wanted me to feel attractive) he sure didn’t want to be married to a sick overweight woman. Then the abuse became blatant, and before it had just been verbal, was starting to become physical. So, as if all this wasn’t enough, my physical daily pain and fatigue kept getting worse, and I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Think I’ve hit bottom? Oh no, not by a long shot. Now the narc wants out of the marriage to be with his girlfriend, but it is always imperative for him to look like the “good guy”, so then starts the smeer campaign. He got to EVERYONE, My family, my best friend of 20 years, even my grown children. I was utterly and completely alone. No support, in fact the opposite, really. And trying to deal with all this while dealing with the anxiety and brain fog of the ptsd, and fibro. He turned uglier and more cruel than I had ever imagined. I still don’t speak to my family. They have become toxic to me, because they still have not opened their eyes to the truth.
    If you are in a narcissistic relationship, be strong and walk away!! Don’t bait them, don’t make waves, just get out. Don’t end up a train wreck like me. Everyday I think about dying…that would just be easier.


    • Please do not give the narc the victory. Choose life. Choose it everyday. Purge the memories by carrying a special notebook with you and writing the thoughts and memories down as they come. Be healed and be made whole….Blessings


  7. Thanks Olivia. I was reading one quote on here. It’s amazing how much one person can cause destruction. It’s very true. I realized that this person that contacted me anonymously must be riding under the radar. I couldn’t believe at how much my intuition was telling me relayed back to me and what I thought was happening.
    I was on sites and I was blocked from some of them. I was being tracked. It was really none of his business but he made it his business because he probably couldn’t bare to have my family looking down on him and wanted to intervene but he managed to get into heir heads when he barely knew them. He knew nothing of my family history but he was appearing the good guy to everyone. He was horrible to live with and the mind games were just too bizarre to even explain. Things I had trusted him in were spread. Some of them were things I believe he extended on and lied about to have people question me and see me as the gossiper that can’t be trusted. He intended to destroy my relationships so I had my own family and friends who were contacting me believing I was crazy and a nutcase. I had family turn on me and start acting strange towards me. I did have issues but he managed to make them worse and did not at all make it clear he was helping – there was a load of deceit going on behind my back to have me appear crazy involving many people. I could not believe the amount of enablers this person managed to contact into this web. He enabled things to spread and made me appear someone that couldn’t be trusted. Made me out to appear someone that didn’t respect themselves and had people believe and taunt me in many ways. What I realized is amazing how one person can try to control a sector of people without them really knowing who they’re really dealing with. Even people passing on the road stopping and making faces. Just such infantile behaviour. It’s evident these actions are all in aid of hiding the fear he hides and the fact he really is an insecure individual clearly with some issues himself.
    Searched my history and wrongly accused me of being a person I’m not. He used this information to gain peoples trust and that he couldn’t possibly have done wrong to myself or my son. He must have thought I was just such a weak and easy walked on person that this is actually a person I am not. Played me and used my own family to meet his own agenda to fill, totally fearful… The people you know should know you better. Some people just enjoy creating havoc and enjoy the cruel game of messing with peoples lives..
    It’s always easy to point the finger in the direction of someone else and blame them but as I have been told go to these lengths it doesn’t define who I am but it certainly defines who they are.


  8. mystraightjourney

    Reblogged this on mystraightjourney.


  9. Great job! I have experienced the whole thing from start to finish twice!! Both ending in a terrible smear campaign. The female narc will lie about domestic abuse and have you jailed. When you get out, the smear campaign is firmly in place. She is with her new supply and flaunting it to hurt you deeper and your just wondering what the hell happened. Thank goodness I started doing research and found out about NPD.


  10. Hallelujah. Great post. Silencing the victim and contacting others to syphon information is how they get into your thoughts and use this. The last person I dated found every avenue to silence me. He was a mind game player. Made my business his, interfered in my life when it wasn’t his to interfere. Some people lack and have no idea what boundaries mean. Used my vulnerabilities and kind nature against me. Instead of helping me he managed to slowly play a game of deception behind my back. He appeared to be helpful when in the beginning his game plan failed so turned on me. He had others including my family and friends thinking I was a nutcase, told things to make them think I was talking about them so they would not trust me and see him as the trusting one even though he was around for only a few months but made it his business to know everything and see him as the one to trust. Using others to spread rumours and lies to destroy relationships I had with people. Trying to exclude and isolate me. He kept his life extremely private from me and I knew nothing about him. Placed my trust in others who weren’t trusting I discovered, hoping I’d talk so this would further be against me. making out I was a gossiper and using my personal business and contacting people that were pretending to like me, for me to see as trusting so I would talk about my life. Nice to receive confirmation from an anonymous that have no desire to be involved but to make contact with me. Nice to be told they know I’m a good person. I kept this to myself. I had men coming onto me in the weirdest of places so I was obviously being followed and monitored to set me up and see if I’d take the bait and really just to further harass me. Unfortunately the damage has you struggling some days – some days are good, some not good.


  11. Thank you. Every word of this is so true.


  12. Jodie Watson

    I wish there was a law against my own so called mother (Fker) who has destroyed my life from the start and who has just stole over 8 g’s from my own bank account pretending to be me. She has ruined all of my relationships with my ex’s and the worst is between my very own twin brother “The Golden Child” and me his twin sister “The Scapegoat”. I have finally just today started my own path completely solo. But I refuse to call her or need her for anything period from now on. I will survive. But I do hope that she get’s hers without a doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Having a Voice - The Dynamics of Healing Concepts

  2. Pingback: Your Voice – What it is and How It Is Silenced By the Narcissist | A Covert Narcissist's Wife

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