What Happens When Targets Aren’t Believed

Ask any target, even in the aftermath of leaving their narcissistic abuser, what the worst time with the narcissist was and  you’ll hear the harrowing and depressing effects of the mind games and devaluation; the shredding of the targets sanity and identity piece by piece while the narcissist smiles with delight.

The time spent with a narcissist is without question the worst times in targets’ lives. Many of us found ways to cope with the blaming, shaming, isolation, threats, withholding, power and control over us, to end up unceremoniously discarded without explanation or remorse.

But what happens afterwards? After we leave, do we instantly become better?

Narcissists isolate their victims and often commandeer the relationships we have in our support system to garner the sympathy of our friends and family before we even have the chance to crawl for help, mustering the words, “They abused me”.

We never realized how MUCH assistance we were going to need when it was over. We need the validation and empathy from others who objectively see the actions by a narcissist for what it is: ABUSE for most targets to even understand that what we went through was in fact abusive. Many of us are still willing to call the relationship “loving” and give the narcissist the benefit of the doubt (for being a caring human – perhaps misguided or lost) long after this generosity is due.

By the time we’re ready to tell others of our abusive experience, we realize that the narcissist has preempted us and gotten THEIR WORD OUT FIRST. While we’ve been dealing with what we thought were real emotions and a real relationship, the narcissist has already strategized their exit plan. They get their words out: The words that we know intimately are nothing short of pathological lying and twisting revisionist history. The narcissist will tell others we’re crazy, a stalker, vengeful, a poor loser, losers, or emotionally unstable. They’ll site our reactions to their abuse as evidence, never mentioning the abuse that caused our reactions.

Those who have been manipulated by the narcissist’s façade, who have been purposefully themselves manipulated by the image the narcissist wishes to portray, these “onlookers”, by believing or even lending their ears to the narcissists tall tales and outright lies, become unknowing participants in our further abuse.


We need VALIDATION not further doubting, questioning, or blaming. We need accountability, not others who make excuses for or enable the narcissist to continue abusing. We need justice, not a system who can be manipulated by the narcissistic criminal sociopath / psychopath. We need support, understanding and empathy, not aloof  statements such as “I don’t want to get in the middle” or “But he seems so nice”.

What happens to a victim of abuse when they’re met with such doubt and invalidation?


It takes great courage and self belief to press on towards healing when we’ve seemingly got NO ONE on our side to hear our stories and acknowledge our mistreatment. That targets continue searching for kindness, answers, justice and support for our experiences, is a testimony to our natures. We BELIEVE in the goodness and justice that “should” exist in this world even when we’re hard pressed to find it.

Find it we do. In other survivors. We know not to question or doubt a fellow target. As surreal stories are shared, we don’t doubt the veracity of the survivors statements, instead we nod our heads in validating assurance that we know all too well the monsters actions they describe. The bending mind games. The twisting blame game. The shame dump. The smear campaign. The projections, the lies, the cheating, the legal abuse, the stealing, the hacking, the stalking and the parading of new victims under our noses.  We too suffered the sheering mental cliffs and valleys that narcissists drive us to, hoping we’ll jump off and fall to a disastrous end.

Onlookers find it easy to throw out the judgmental words, “You should just let go, move on, forget about it. Forgive”. Would they say these same thing to a Ted Bundy survivor when he was still on the loose?  Would the police tell them they’re exaggerating or too sensitive or outright crazy? What does it take for these conspirators to understand the gravity of the situation and the harm that was done to us, is a harm that will be done to them if they continue to bury their head in the narcissists pile of delusionary sand.

We want to shout it from the rooftops! Be careful! Run! Save yourself! Look what they did to me! Don’t trust this person! Please, for the Love of God, this person’s dangerous!

Yet, when we do, we’re met with judgment, disbelief, shaming, name calling, and invalidation. This is Not the empathetic treatment that should be given to victims of narcissistic abuse; in fact this treatment is just as inhumane and unempathetic as the narcissist themselves.  All invalidation is a form of psychological attack. In response to this attack targets withdraw further into depression, helplessness and low self esteem.

If you find yourself having left a narcissist and facing the disbelief and invalidation from those around you who you’ve assumed would be there to help you, Please don’t internalize any further these negative messages. Don’t let another person’s inability to be humane, piggy back the abuse of the narcissist and drive your further into despair. REACH OUT TO THOSE WHO CAN AND DO CARE TO HELP!

There are many great survivor resources all over the web to meet a target on the journey with kindness and empathy.  It takes a community to overcome this abuse and until we educate the general public about the atrocity and insidiousness of this abuse, we must band together to heal and become stronger. Stay the course, keep the faith and remember that we are in this good fight together and we will be victorious about making narcissistic abuse an abuse that is detectable to the lay person, acknowledged as inappropriate, recognized for the dangerous situation it is and that all narcissists will be held accountable for their crimes against humanity.



Posted on September 18, 2015, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 98 Comments.

  1. My neighbour of 30 years I believe fits the profile of a narcissist but I have only just realised it. Finally after years of abuse, lying by omission, nasty digs, vindictive antics, her vanity, her sense of entitlement regarding money, even stealing from centerline. I finally called her out last week on all of what affected me. Just feel nothing for the woman, no guilt whatsoever. I normally feel bad in regards to arguments even if I’m justified.


  2. If he’s that bad why don’t you leave him ?and of course the answer I’m afraid know body will ever love me and be kind to me


  3. I can’t tell you how much this website means to me. I could have written every word myself. I’m working on leaving after 17 years – I feel stuck and paralyzed because although I have faced what I feel is the worst – I know the worst is yet to come. Thank you for closing this post with the most powerful line I have ever read or felt:
    And now I believe in myself ❤️
    Thank you, thank you! My emptied soul just got filled up…
    Peace, love, and sincere appreciation


  4. 3 years on I’m still fighting now social services say I’m a liar and manipulator and the violence/abuse never happened. My child is on at risk register and they want to put my others on too. Because he is good. Really good. I’m the worst mother who uses her kids to manipulate the system and am destroying them. I am a survivor yet I am not believed. It’s destroying me and my kids


  5. I lost my two sisters as well as my children in this divorce from the narcissist…….you at least think your family would be there for you…..not in my instance. I was kicked out from my own family’s holidays. I realized he had been coercing them for years prior to me leaving……he knew I was going to leave………my advice to you…get out EARLY and when you do, take your kids and always keep your family in the loop of his abuse…..don’t hide it from them.


  6. So true, oh my gosh, you just wrote my personal history here. Every single word. Well said, and thank you.


  7. Now allowed acces to my son due to deep seated corruption in the family court, the access centre now wants to have any visitors I wish to bring be approved by all parties. This is giving him continued control over me which as a domestic abuse survivor is not warranted not endorsed by reputable psychologists, counsellors or judges!! The amount of money he spends to continue parent alienation is triple what he paid in child support. He continues to show aggression and glares at me whenever I attend my sons baseball games. He even moves closer to where I am sitting in order that he is in my view. So sad and pathetic that he doesn’t know just how sick and twisted he is.


  8. Carole Veschi

    That is the absolute truth and the story of my life. I have more trouble forgiving the brainwashed enablers of abuse, then the actual abuser.


  9. All this is pretty much on target. Most people will never understand what it is like to be targeted by a covert narcissist. Mine still refuses to even entertain eh idea that he might be at fault. He firmly believes his own lies and revisionist history. He absolutely rewrites history. He continues his covert assault even after our divorce and his moving in his gal pal even before the divorce was final. He portrayed me as mentally ill to the world. Took every characteristic that I am proud of and all my achievements and belittled and degraded them. BUT he did so in the covet narcissist way so in many ways, it was endorsee by the court system. The one thing that few articles ever cover is the continued abuse after the divorce. When they can’t be shut out because you are co-parenting (as if that is possible) with them and they continue the attack. You cannot erase them because of the shared custody. They abuse the children and gaslight them. They bully the kids. They continue to try to use everything and twist it around to make you look bad. You live in constant terror that they will lie about something and try to gain full custody. Your life, post-divorce is worse than it was pre-divorce. Your fear is still chronically engaged by their covert threats. You are unable to recover or even to start o heal because the abuse is now continuing in full view of the world under the guise of concern for the safety of your children (even though the one who is mind screwing them is HIM). He twists even the most innocent or good thing into something you must defend or explain. It doesn’t stop. That is the kind of narcopath that I have. That is the kind that rarely addressed. The one who moves on and ignores the victim and the kids is the one that I want. But I have the exact opposite. I would rather have the one who sends drunk texts saying he still loves me than the one who defames and smears me 4 years later. I would rather have the one who womanizes all over the place instead of the one who finds a new victim right away and continues to use me and my children as his punching bag instead of the new source. I know that all types of narcopaths are difficult but I would like to see my type addressed sometimes and the effects of abuse that doesn’t stop after the divorce. The biggest problem is the using of the kids as weapons and abusing them as a proxy to abuse me. AND the continues threat to take the kid s away as he continues the smear campaign against me–the effective smear campaign. It is a horror story from which I cannot get relief.


  10. Rosemary Duncan

    What a lovely article. I felt sick reading it,thinking of OUR best friends,even my sister and daughter. MY heart was in my throat until I saw that final message in red ” WE BELIEVE YOU ” . Oh,thank God for you !


  11. And I’m still very suicidal…he’s taken everything from me.


  12. Amen…and then some


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