If you have ever crossed paths with a narcissist or have or had the unpleasantness of one in you life, please know that whatever was said or done to you, was not your fault. Narcissists come in many forms: A parent, Grandparent, Sibling, Spouse, Mentor, etc. Whatever the case may be, you unfortunately were victimized. I can say this because I was but I can happily say, that I am now a “Victor” not a “Victim”. I now know all too well that it’s very hard to impossible for them to change or control their actions because they will never take accountability of their actions. They don’t recognize what they do is wrong, they will blame you and make you feel like you are the crazy one. You will really drive yourself crazy looking for an apology or for them to admit blame, this took a long time for me to come to terms with.
You can change your status of being a Victim to a Victor by standing up for yourself and by declaring “Enough is Enough, this Ends with Me”.
Idealize: Narcissist choose a Target for many reasons but to qualify as a “Perfect Target” they look for vulnerabilities that will show them what you are made of and what you have tolerated before. In my case, my boyfriend knew too much about me and my past. I confided in him as a friend, he knew that I was vulnerable, a scorned girl who had trust issue from being cheated on by a former boyfriend. He knew my insecurities and fears. He knew that I was looking for security, and needed to be lifted up, which made it easier to Woo me. Some targets are also chosen based on their attractiveness, job, popularity, success, wealth, etc. Unfortunately if you were victimized as a child, you were just born into the role. The greater your status of “supply” (positive supply; adoration, attention, devotion, placing them high on a pedestal, etc.) equals the higher value you have for them, to first conquer than to destroy you. Once they have decided that you hold a value of “supply” to them, they are vigilant in their pursuit. They will “Love Bomb” you, which is showering you with loving attention (almost smothering). They will give you abundance of compliments to build you up, intense sex, vacations, surprise visits, gifts, love notes, flowers, etc. They will go beyond and above to make you feel special. They will tell you how you are different and more special than anyone else they have ever been with. “Supply” in the narcissistic theory means what the feed off of, it’s like a drug. They are addicted to this form of energetic & emotional currency and they will do whatever it takes to get it. They will provoke both negative & positive supply as it provides them with an emotional life force. It’s the Pathological or excessive need for attention or admiration from codependents, it makes them feel good about themselves. I was in the middle of the Idealization & devaluation stage for a long time. I can best describe this as being on an emotional merry go round, in a vertigo sense.
Devalue: Victims of abuse are often unaware this stage has begun, because you didn’t even know you were a victim in the first place. At first you may notice a change in your relationship but it’s often hard to put your finger on it. They are manipulative and will “Gas Light” you (Gas lighting is a tactic the abuser will use to gain more power over you. This will make you question reality). They will start to make you feel unworthy in their manipulative way. This can be done by a backhanded put down, subtle digs, explicit making fun of, criticism and cruelty. They will most likely do this in a playing game kind of way, both privately & publicly, which makes it harder to understand what’s happening. Oddly when the public game is on, it’s ironic how nobody notices unless you retaliate (this always drove me berserk!). Expressing your concerns suddenly turns you into the “jealous” one or the “crazy” one, they will make you doubt yourself. They feed off of negative “Supply” in this phase (in the forms of outrage, jealousy, emotional outburst, fear, pain, etc.). He or She will turn cold and uncaring almost overnight, this is when the mask is unveiled and you see the person for who he/she really is (this took me a long time to see. I can most definitely say that my Guy was the best of the best at playing these games). They will devaluate you by turning the “constant contact” to “no contact” abruptly with no explanation, or in my case I was to blame. It was my fault, I was told that I all of a sudden was disgusting, dirty, unattractive, I didn’t “turn him on” anymore, etc. This verbal and emotional abuse hurts, it’s degrading. It makes you feel worthless, shameful, embarrassed. They often use these abusive words (and will repeatedly rub them in) because they feel that you will be too embarrassed to repeat them to someone else. They want you to believe that speaking out will only make you look bad and not them. Therefore they feel that they can control the situation and keep you from talking. Sadly to say, I was in this stage longer than I should have been.
Discard stage: Many victims may feel that everything was fine, and was holding on to the hopes that everything will go back to the good old days (like I was). Therefore, the discard phase may seem like it came out of the blue. In the devalue stage, the narcissist will go hot & cold or as I use to call my Ex, Jekyll & Hyde (Yes, to his face). In this stage, the victim is the “Crazy-Psycho-BiPolar” Bitch. When you are in this stage, your head will spin with these accusations. In order to save your sanity, it is important to know that you need to ignore it! I know all too well how hard it is to ignore these accusations. Out of aggravation, I use to cry and scream defending myself, which only fed right into his hands, as he would call me more names. Of course you naturally want to defend yourself, but it will get you nowhere, they will never admit to their own crazy insane abuse. Giving them the silent treatment is the BEST thing that you can do for yourself and it will also drive them crazy. You know and God knows the truth, don’t try to defend yourself like I did for so many years, it will only make you sick and drive you insane. When you call the abuser out and expose him/her, they will resort to victim shaming. My Ex started calling me K-Vic at the end (my first initial + victim). So clever, right?
Stages you (the Victim) will go through:
- Confusion: You will start to wonder; what’s happening, how did we get here? Is this just a mood swing or something deeper?
- Betrayal & hurt. Many victims experience denial, depression, rejection, shame, anger, lack of self worth, emotional ups & downs, etc.
- Detective stage: Once you realize that you are dealing with a narcissist, you will recount all of the missed “red flags” and patterns over the course of your relationship. You will discover unknown secrets & lies. You will read books and Google everything about the different types of narcissism to gain better perspective of what you are dealing with. You will also understand how you got here, what made you the “perfect” target.
- Isolation: Many victims will feel isolated, lonely & confused. This is normal, venture out and talk to people (you may even want to join a support group). You will be surprised on how many people know and understand narcissism. Contrary to what your abuser told you, people will believe you, they will not think that you are crazy or making things up.
- Awareness: This is when you become the Victor. You will be able to talk about it with new knowledge as you educated yourself and were able to put the pieces of the puzzle together. You will begin to “deprogram” yourself of being a codependent and gain clarity and have more peaceful nights. You will also know how to identify “toxic” people and surround yourself with healthier relationships.
- Recovery stage: No contact is key and this needs to start with you. You need to set boundaries and this starts with emotional & physical distancing. Ignore the texts & phone calls. Pray, mediate on God’s Words for He will make you strong, courageous & fearless. “You Got This”
- Start Living: If you were in a long term relationship, you will be very happy to “find yourself” again, this is a fun process! When you have been with a controlling person for so long, you kind of loose your identity. Take time and enjoy the process, start living, go out and have fun. Surround yourself with happy-loving people who actually care about you. Enjoy your Freedom and Start living the life that you deserve! Most of all, don’t be afraid to start all over again, you are going to love your new story better!
Recommended songs to help you get through these stages:
- Zach Williams: Fear is a Liar
- Francesca Battistelli: The Break up Song
- Sidewalk Prophets: Help Me Find It
- Danny Gokey: Tell Your Heart to Beat Again
- Lauren Daigel: You Say