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?
WE BECOME ANGRY. WE FEEL HOPELESS. THE ABUSIVE MANIPULATION AND BRAINWASHING CONTINUES TO MAKE US FEEL STUCK, LONG AFTER WE’RE “SET FREE”. IN SHORT, IT SETS BACK OUR HEALING AND RECOVERY BECAUSE WE ARE BLAMED FOR OUR ABUSE, WHILE OUR ABUSERS SKATE AWAY SCOTT FREE.
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.