Narcissism; Once You’ve Seen It, You Can’t ‘Unsee it”
“I see it. Clearly. Once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it” – Sheri S.
Before I definitively had answers about the peculiar form of abuse I was enduring by a person with a malignant level of Narcissism, I inordinately blamed myself for what was happening. My naivete about my then partner’s systematic way of blaming and destroying me, allowed me to well…be blamed, destroyed AND dismayed.
It was only 4 weeks into no contact with my ex-abuser that I was introduced to the fact that what he had been doing to me had a name. The name I was given was the DSM classification, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. I then understood that I’d endured, “Narcissistic Abuse”; the particular type of abuse that a person with NPD perpetrates.
The initial stages of recovery were focused on my educating myself about the disorder, which is what we spend most of our time doing helping other survivors on our Facebook page; After Narcissistic Abuse. Knowledge combined with no contact, propelled me along that first year to such a degree that I began to easily notice and pick up on the Pattern (modus operandi) of the abuse perpetrated by a person with a malignant level of narcissism; in effect, I had become an expert on spotting malignant narcissism.
The stories, conversations, and experiences we’ve witnessed and experienced through our Facebook family of survivors, clearly illustrated the same expertise. Once we assisted targets through the highs and lows of emotionality and uncertainty during the No Contact phase, survivors catapulted quickly into the knowledge or “light” phase of narcissistic abuse (as we call it), and we began to see recovery happen swiftly.
I believe the reason for the swift movement and heightened recognition, is due to a few things:
- Without ongoing manipulation and brainwashing, due to No Contact, we as targets are transported from the belief that we were dealing with a “loving” relationship with a “normal” partner to quickly realizing that we were in a toxic, abusive relationship with a person who had a classifiable and possibly diagnosable personality disorder.
- Personality disorders are FIXED for a lifetime. As such, their abnormal psychological schemas and defenses are so fixed, you can easily recognize the similarities of one narcissist born in raised in the outback of Australia and compare their abusive traits to a narcissist plucked from Sudan, Asia, or the US with very little uniqueness.
- Without ongoing projection and blame by the narcissist, for being the “true abuser” or “the crazy one” or any other ways they shifted the responsibility for the abuse to their targets, we are able to finally begin to put boundaries between our own identity, behavior and responsibility and that of the narcissist’s. While none of us behave perfectly within ANY relationship, we clearly begin to see that the abusive dynamics were driven, controlled, and carried on by the desires and intent of the Narcissist and that we were along for a ride that we were completely unaware existed, until we were finally able to manage our way out of the situation. Basically, the responsibility for abuse, lies with the perpetrator and that is the Narcissist.
- As a result of trauma and in some cases, developing PTSD, we became hypervigilant to people and situations that remind us of our abuse. Once we’ve been burnt by a narcissist’s abuse, we try to avoid it at any cost in the future.
As we solidify our knowledge of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, we begin to see the traits everywhere. We see pathological lying, we see entitlement, we see incongruity between words and actions, we detect love bombing and flattery, we sense when people are using others as objects, we can detect triangulation, manipulation, a smear campaign, insecurity cloaked in bragging, and most of all, we can spot what a lack of empathy not only looks like, but what it feels like.
It’s been said many times that the Narcissistic individual will never change and can’t be helped but that the people around them are the ones who seek help. I believe this is a true and accurate statement. The people around a narcissist are the ones who CAN FEEL the PAIN. We suffer. We seek relief. We seek answers. The narcissist bullies their way through life with expectations of being pampered, excused and enabled for some really atrocious and immoral behavior and usually skate away unharmed, unaffected, and unaware.
Through it all, the inability to “Unsee” Malignant Narcissism and Abuse, protects us from ever being manipulated and taken by these con men and women in the future. It also provides a Public Education Prevention Platform about Narcissistic Abuse that we can share with others to help them spot the warning signs and avert being suckered into the Narcissist’s Evil plot to use and destroy them.
Enjoy your clarity, knowledge, safety and freedom – and Congratulations for achieving your Phd in Narcissistic Abuse to be aware and to use your knowledge to steer clear of this abusive personality in the future and to help others do the same!
Ana – After Narcissistic Abuse