Life after Narcissistic Abuse
Often, we believe escaping abuse is the end- but for some, it’s only the beginning.
Too many of us have encountered people with Narcissistic personalities. This could be a parent, spouse, sibling or friend- the list goes on. And unfortunately, sometimes it’s not always easy to escape the subsequent abuse we endure. For example, if you have a narcissistic parent and are yet to reach adulthood, you may develop a wide array of self-esteem issues, accumulate trauma and develop mental health issues as a result of years of narcissistic abuse.
Firstly, for us to be clear on what Narcissim is we will delve into the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I am a strong believer in us, as regular people have the ability and need to attatch these traits to people in order to protect ourselves, physically and mentally.
- Having an exaggerated sense of self and/or self-importance
- Needing constant admiration and praise (attention)
- Taking advantage of others
- Reacting negatively to criticism
- Little to no regard for others feelings (lack of empathy)
- Exaggerating achievements or talents
- Being preoccupied with fantisies of power, beauty and success
- Expecting special treatment due to believes superiority.
Narcissists genuinely believe they are better. They believe they are entitled to more, they believe they matter more and they have little to no regard for anybody else’ feelings. Narcissists can also be pathological liars, extremely manipulative and very cold.
Being in any form of relationship with a narcissist will drain you. And the abuse doesn’t stop once the relationship is over.
- Flying monkeys
This popular term in psychology was coined after the the winged monkeys who carried out the deeds of the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard Of Oz. Flying monkeys are human mouthpieces and tools that the narcissist manipulates and coerces into abusing and harassing the victim and perpetuating the narcissists narrative. As human beings we can often admit when our partners, friends or loved ones are in the wrong. There’s a grey area. However, flying monkeys in the face of that prospect will still have undying loyalty to the narcissist.
Flying monkeys often guilt trip, gaslight and coerce victims, also. They’re often described as ‘pleading the narcissists case’. Often, a narcissist recruits flying monkeys within their inner circle. Consisting of family members, friends and partners. The sad thing is, the flying monkey is completely objectified and used by the narcissist, their undying loyalty is not reciprocated at all. Flying monkeys are a key component in the next few tactics used by the narcissist, it is simply within a narcissists foundation to have a brainwashed circle of flying monkeys to do their bidding.
- Smear Campaigns
Smear campaigns are a narcissists first point of action when they feel their abuse is going to be exposed, the control over their victim is dwindling or their relationship with the victim is about to breakdown. A narcissist will quickly begin a smear campaign as a shield of protection in order to discredit the victim therefor potentially soften the blow of their abuse being exposed. Smear campaigns can be channelled through word of mouth, cyber bullying and harassment, threatened or actual exposure of private information and malicious posts. Smear campaigns are often deceptive and twist reality in order to wield it to their will.
A good example would be the narcissist posting various things online about their victim following a break up. Private information about the victims history with their mental health is posted by the narcissist, branding their victim ‘crazy’ and ‘unstable’. By doing this, the narcissist feels as if they’ve set up a safety net to fall back on if the victim should ever speak up about the abuse. A smear campaign may also contain counter abuse allegations from the narcissist, again seeking to discredit and ostracise the victim who was indeed the one who endured the abuse. Another stance a narcissist will take is ‘being a victim’, as this is so lengthy we’ll discuss this next. But it can also be an integral part of the smear campaign.
So far we have our flying monkeys, who the narcissist has manipulated and coerced into being blindly loyal to them and their cause. Often brainwashing them past the point or rationality or reasoning. They then begin their smear campaign with the help of their flying monkeys who are more than willing to engage in the discourse. They will help spread rumours, cyber bully, recruit other flying monkeys and overall make the smear campaign stronger.
- Being The Victim (The sob story)
So despite having no empathy, using human beings as tools to do their bidding, abusing people and being deceptive- the narcissist is ALWAYS the victim. A narcissist loves nothing other than a good ol’ sob story (about them, of course). In order to recruit flying monkeys and have a super effective smear campaign, of course the narcissist needs to be the victim. The poor blameless, targeted and unfortunate victim. The allegations of abuse or wrongdoing are simply a nasty lie because people envy the narcissist. They’re bitter. They’re crazy.
Narcissists love to reference irrelevant life events to deflect their behaviour. They love to engage in conspiracy theories (they’re out to get me because of X, they don’t like me because of Y). The most effective and deceptive way of winning a game (that’s all it is, to the narcissist) is to put on a good show. Narcissists may even fabricate, embellish or straight up lie about traumatic events that have effected them. The purpose of the sob story is to vilify the victim. To paint the victim as the narcissist sometimes, even. It’s a brilliant way to recruit flying monkeys and it’s a fantastic foundation for their smear campaign. They’re the victim and the real victim deserves the smear campaign. “She’s stopped me seeing my child, I had an awful childhood which means this really effects me, she’s lying about the abuse she’s just jealous of me”.
- Stalking and harassment
Another tactic that should not be ignored is stalking and harassment. A narcissist may add your friends on social media, hang around outside your workplace, drive past your home multiple times and contact you constantly. I want to make it clear if you are being harassed or stalked by anybody you must report it to the police. Usually these tactics are used to intimidate and inject fear into the victim. The reason this tactic is used is because it can be difficult to prove therefor works in the narcissists favour. It is a way the narcissist still maintains a presence in your life. Flying monkeys can also engage in these behaviours too, meaning the victim can feel completely isolated and paranoid.
If you block the narcissist from your social media after cutting contact, they may engage in a smear campaign, recruit their flying monkeys and harass/stalk you online. They could make fake accounts to access you and your information, send friend requests and follow your inner circle in order to gain access to you and use your inner circle to contact you indirectly. They may also call your workplace and put in complaints against you. If you severed ties with the narcissist physically they may drive around areas you frequent (your home, your workplace, inner circles homes, your favourite spots). Again, take stalking and harassment seriously, safely gather evidence and report every incident to paint a bigger picture. Stalking and harassment is illegal and nobody should have to endure it.
As we can see from the few examples given, narcissistic abuse does not end when the victim wants it to. It’s complicate and sophisticated. I would urge anybody experiencing these tactics to keep a log of any form of abuse perpetrated by the narcissist. These are very common tactics and the more they are spoken about the easier they are to recognise. Nobody should have to suffer in silence. Remember, narcissistic abuse can be perpetrated by anybody including parents, siblings, friends, work colleagues, bosses and partners. It is abuse, it is against the law and you do not have to deal with it.