Many people that tend to end up with abusers more than one time, were abused in some way as children. This could have been physical, sexual or mental abuse. It is possible that behaviors that you consider acceptable in your family, are actually abusive and you still do not identify them.
One of my friends puts up with extreme control by his family, as an adult of 45, and he has no idea that it is not normal. He actually feels like they are helping him. They talked him into leaving his career and his house, in order to move back home and live with them.
They promised him that they would financially support the small business he wanted to start, if he moved back home with them. I tried to warn him against this, knowing from past experience that the family does not approve of martial arts, which is the business that he wanted to start.
Also their past track record was that they made false promises, in order to get him to do what they wanted him to do. But they lured him in and he moved all the way across the country to move in with them. Once he had given up his house and his job, the family “changed their mind” about he;ing him start the business.
These are narcissistic lies that lure the victims in. They will make false promises to get you into a vulnerable position and then they can control you. They want you dependent upon them, so that you have no independence.
Now that he was living in their house, and had no job, he was basically a prisoner to their commands. They forced him to go back to college at 45 years old for the degree that they wanted him to get.
They managed this by by threatening to throw him out of their house, if he did not follow their new rule that “adult children living in their house must be going to college. Narcissists make up the rules as they go along and change them, as they see fit.
Since he had no job anymore and no where to live, he agreed to what they demanded and went back to school. They also “suggested” that he concentrate on his studies and not get a job.
This only made him more of a prisoner in their house, since he has no income. He has no money of his own and is basically their narcissistic supply, for when they need something.
This story is actually about my ex husband and his family. This is the type of narcissistic family that I married into and the reason that I ended up no longer married and living in poverty with my daughters. I have lived with the abuse of this family and unfortunately am still affected by it,
They have caused us financial devastation, loss of authority over our children, unacceptable living conditions (when forced to live under their roof) and other more sorted abuses.
I could tell you stories of going without food, money and basic necessities, while living under their roof and while they were living a rich life. The stories are complicated and were calculated and manipulated by them, in order to keep me powerless.
They have taken my transportation away before, and left me with no food, while their son (my husband) was allowed to go travel to California to “sew his oats” or some such crap. It is too much to describe now.
This is the type of narcissistic abuse that kept putting us back into poverty during our entire marriage. Every time we were beginning to get on our feet, they would manipulate him in a similar way to the story I told you. I could not understand why he would believe them every time they lied.
I never had any say about decisions. The lack of having your own voice in any relationship, is always a red flag ! If you see this happening , take a step back and look at what is happening, before you get sucked further in.
The family was and is, always in control. I am still living in poverty because of their narcissistic abuse. They have deliberately interfered with him working many times and this of course ended up affecting my child support…or lack thereof… many times.
But us you asked him about his family, he would tell you that they are not abusive, not overly controlling or narcissistic. He thinks they are just having good intentions and helping him. He does not attribute his parents’ constant boundary crossing of our marriage, as a reason for our inevitable divorce.
He was brought up with this level of controlling narcissistic behavior and was brain washed by two narcissistic parents who work as a team. One is a somatic narcissist and the other is a cerebral narcissist. This can be a very dangerous combination, when these personalities work together as a team, to get their “supply.”
If you have been drawn to narcissists or other abusers over and over, then there are ways you can review your past to identify the abuse that occurred. Look back at how you were treated.
What things were you made to feel were normal, but you actually felt violated by them. What things were you told not to talk about? What verbal or emotional control tactics made you feel disempowered?
I was also abused growing up and into early adulthood. I will talk more in the next post about my own problems identifying red flags, due to the lack of boundaries growing up.
If you were demeaned and minimized when you expressed your thoughts and opinions about things, then you probably have trouble expressing your thoughts about things in your relationships. You also will tolerate your partner making fun of your ideas, or arguing with them in a way that demeans you.
If you are in the same patterns of abuse that you have grown up with, then your brain will automatically go into the same mode that it used, when it had to protect you as a child.
If you were denied independent behavior and choices as a young adult, then you may not be used to making your own choices and decisions. Exerting your independence against what the other person agrees with, may cause you extreme anxiety.
Anything that triggers bad memories and feelings for you, is going to something that you are going to try to avoid. We all want to avoid pain. People that were abused while they were growing up, will try to protect themselves from feeling the pain that they felt as a child.
If the way to protect yourself from punishment and retaliation growing up was to just go along with what you were told and not to make waves, then you are primed for people to control you.
If you were not allowed to learn independence as a teenager and young adult, then you may feel “normal” being controlled by a partner. Or you may be like my ex husband, and feel “normal” letting your parents interfere with your major marital decisions.
If we can begin to see what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in how others treat us, then we will begin to understand the red flags of a potential abuser, when the flags wave themselves at us.