November 15th will be my 8 month anniversary of NO CONTACT with my abusive partner. I still have narcissists in my family that I want to break contact with but I am stuck in the situation for the time being. Let us hope that I can get on my feet and be able to take control back of my life to the fullest extent.
SCAPEGOATING IS A TERM THAT IS USED FOR THE ONE PERSON IN A DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY THAT IS TARGETED BY THE ABUSIVE FAMILY MEMBER FOR RECEIVING THE MOST AGGRESSIVE ABUSE.
Usually this person is targeted by the abuser because of their resistance to going along with the narrative of the narcissist.
If you were the truth teller in the family then you pointed out when boundaries were being crossed and when the other people were being mistreated. You were the one that probably defended siblings who were being abused. You may have tried to draw the abuse towards yourself in order to protect younger siblings from getting the brunt of it.
Very often the main abusive parent has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, although there are other personality disorders which cause people to abuse their children, like Malignant Borderline Personality Disorder.
The narcissistic parent us the focal point of the family because they demand that their needs and desires are primary. The needs of the scapegoat are ignored. They are labeled as the troublemaker in the family. Things they say are often used against them.
Fault for most every problem in the family ends of being dumped onto the scapegoat. The narcissist projects their own faults and personality disorder into the scapegoat.
The scapegoat is the one that can see that something is wrong with the narcissistic parent ans their behavior. The narcissist wants everyone in the family to pretend that everything is normal and their abusive behaviors are not abusive. The scapegoat angers the narcissist by being able to see through the false reality they create.
If you were the scapegoat child then your accomplishments were ignored or minimized. You were compared to other family members and the narcissistic parent would see to it that your accomplishments were seen as less than the other children’s and their own.
Family decisions may have been made without you in family meeting that you were intentionally not invited to. Yet you were still expected to go along with the decisions that narcissist made without expressing any dislike or negative feelings about anything.
You were emotionally punished for any resistance to what the narcissist wanted to do, even if it was harmful to you or others in the family.
As an adult the narcissist probably gossips about you and talks about you behind your back. They twist around the reality of things you say and do, in order to give a false image to others about you. You are called selfish behind your back anytime you tell the narcissist “no” or try to set healthy boundaries for the preservation of your mental health.
YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS NOT ONLY CONSIDERED UNIMPORTANT, BUT IT IS ATTACKED INTENTIONALLY BY THE NARCISSISTIC PARENT IN ORDER TO UNDERMINE YOU.
They use techniques like gaslighting and triangulating to break you down. You end up looking like the one who is at fault in the relationship because the narcissist lies to the other family members about you.
Even though the abusive parent is the unstable one, you are often made out to be the one that is mentally disordered.
Your behaviors are taken out of context and re-framed by the narcissist to appear illogical, irrational or selfish. By the time to are able to tell your side of the story to anyone, it is too late because the narcissist got to them first and has been spreading a smear campaign against you.
At times you may be shunned by the narcissist or by the entire family, because the narcissist tells them that they should not speak to you.
However when someone is needed to step in during an emergency you are often the first one they will call and expect to drop everything to help. You are expected to be the problem solver and the one to offer assistance, even after you were made to feel inadequate in the past.
RESPONSIBILITY IS NOT EQUALLY ALLOTTED OR EQUALLY SHARED.
The scapegoat is always expected to do more than anyone else without complaining, and they are expected to do the work that no one else wants to do.
There is never any thank you or credit given to the scapegoat for doing things for the family. In fact there will be a big deal made over a little thing that the golden child did for the narcissist, while your contribution and efforts are minimized or forgotten…until the next time they need something from you.
Scapegoating is a reflection on the person refusing to take responsibility or be held accountable, not the person being blamed. The scapegoat also provides a buffer against reality to support the family denial. The scapegoat carries the lion’s share of the blame, shame, anger and rejection so narcissistic mother can maintain her patterns of dysfunction while continuing to appear normal.
The scapegoat is punished by several methods. Shaming, ignoring, minimizing accomplishments, undermining, abused, rejected, singled out for blame.
The narcissistic parent will tell people that they have done many things for you and that they gave tried to be supportive of you. They will tell others that they have been a good parent for you and that you do not appreciate their efforts. They will sometimes go so far as to claim that you are abusive to them and play the victim themselves.
THE GOLDEN CHILD IS THE SIBLING THAT IS PUT ON A PEDESTAL BY THE PARENT AND EXPECTED TO MAKE THE NARCISSIST LOOK GOOD.
The parent claims the credit for the accomplishments of the golden child. The golden child will remain in the favor of the narcissist as long as they succeed and accomplish the things that the narcissist approves of.
THE RULES FOR THE GOLDEN CHILD AND THE SCAPEGOAT ARE NEVER THE SAME.
The scapegoat will be punished for things that the golden child is not punished for. The golden child will be praised for things that are ignored or undermined when the scapegoat accomplishes them or tries to accomplish them.
The narcissistic parent will undermine the scapegoat and at the same time say to them “I am doing this for your own good.” They disguise their cruel, undermining, manipulative tactics as loving guidance.
There are many tactics that the narcissistic parent will use to undermine the scapegoat. The family often becomes blind to the tactics of the narcissist against the scapegoat. They do not see that the scapegoat is being attacked and undermined.
Some adults choose to break off contact with the narcissistic parent for their own mental preservation. Others are shunned by the narcissist and sometimes the entire family.
If you choose to continue interaction with a narcissistic parent, you have to learn how to maintain boundaries and not allow anyone in the family to violate them. Most likely this will anger the family members who are not used to you maintaining the same boundaries that they expect you to respect for them.
They feel entitled to be treated with respect and to be able to set boundaries about their time, their emotions, their relationships, etc. But they do not often respect your right to set the same exact boundaries for yourself.
You are not seen by the narcissist as a real person that has the right to your own thoughts, feelings, ideas or a right to personal boundaries.
YOU SHOULD PRIORITIZE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND YOUR LIFE AND MAKE ANY DECISIONS ABOUT INTERACTING WITH YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS BASED ON WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU.
If they have never been happy with anything you have done by now, then what are the chances that continuing to try to please them will gain their appreciation and approval?
Narcissists are very good at persuasion techniques and ways to get you to trust them, in order to lure you in.
If you felt right away that they were not to be trusted then you would not have continued onto the next level of intimacy with them.
Some narcissists actively study and train to learn these techniques and others just naturally develop them. Since they do not have to learn to follow the moral and ethical practices that other people do, it leaves them more time for learning these techniques by trial and error.
Narcissists want to control people in order to extract narcissistic supply or to use them as sources for narcissistic supply in some way.
They can control you better if they learn about you. In order to learn about you they need you to reveal things about yourself to them.
You would not reveal personal things to someone like dreams, fears, and skeletons in your closet unless you felt like you could trust them with this intimate knowledge of you. They lure you into telling them about yourself by gaining your trust.
The ways in which they gain your trust are intentional and basically a kind of hypnosis.
There is something called Conversational Hypnosis, which is something that narcissists are good at. They have practice it over and over again and they have each developed their own special brand of brainwashing through hypnosis.
This video that I have shared with you is a class by David Snyder. He is a really excellent teacher of hypnosis and NLP hypnosis. He teaches hypnosis to people who are therapists and life coaches amongst other professions that want to be able to lead people to certain goals.
This type of hypnosis can be very helpful and add value to the lives of people, of the hypnotist has honest intentions and keeps the client safe. I have shared this video with you so that you can see that the techniques in this video are used by narcissists for malice.
If you have an opponent that is in a match with you and you do not understand the rules and techniques, but they do, this puts you at a great disadvantage. But once you understand the techniques that the narcissists use to lure you in, to get you to trust them and to believe the things they tell you, then you will be much harder to manipulate in the future.
I recommend that you watch this video and see how he uses the technique of pacing and leading.
David Snyder defines a “pace” as something in your present environment that the other person can verify as true. This means that the abuser will say things to you that you can validate as truth.
Once they give you enough truth then your brain begins to expect that the next thing they say will be true. Once the victim’s brain sees that the narcissist is saying true things then it lowers its defenses (filters) and begins to accept the things the narcissist says as true.
The next thing is called a “lead.” David Snyder defines a lead as something that you want the person to believe, to think, to say or to do.
So the narcissist will give you 4 or 5 paces and then 1 lead. Then they will give you 4 paces and 2 leads. More and more the paces can become less and the they can give you more suggestions that they want you to believe to be true.
Here is an example
“You are a single mother that has had to struggle with raising your kids on your own. You have had many obstacles in your life and you have overcome many things. Women have it hard when they have to work and also take care of their family. I really respect your resilience and I think you are to be commended. “
Do you see where this begins as true statements that you agree with and know to be true…and then…they tell you something that is not true but that they want you to believe? The “lead” that they want you to believe is that they have great respect for you and they think you deserve to be commended.
In this context of the hypnotic pattern of pacing and leading, their words seem to be true and you do not question them. If they had just started off by saying “I have great respect for you and I think you are to be commended…you would not be sure of that were true about how they felt about you.
During one conversation the narcissist can take you through this pattern of paces and leads many times. The more you begin to assume they are being transparent with you, the more you begin to trust them. The more you can validate the things they are saying are true, the more you will trust them.
The narcissist can use this same technique to get you to believe the false self is really them. They begin by giving you “paces” which you can verify are true. They can tell you about the business they own and then show you the link to the web site.
They can tell you that they specialize in a certain field and then demonstrate that they are knowledgeable in that field…or at least they can give you just enough that you believe they have proven that they are trained in that field.
Then once they have given you things about themselves that your brain can verify to its satisfaction to be true, then the narcissist can say something that you cannot verify but that your brain will accept as true.
This might be something about their personality that is not true such as …”I am a team player at work. I respect and listen to my employees”
Now you are seeing them as a person who respects their employees and someone that values people.
They might then give you some more paces and then tell you something like …”I am a loving kind of person. My employees feel like it is a family there. “
This of course is a complete lie since their employees actually fear and loath them. He controls and manipulates them and sucked the blood out of them while sadistically undermining and degrading them.
But when he says it to you using the Conversational Hypnosis techniques, it really seems to be true. You feel as though he was telling you the truth from the beginning of the conversation and from then on you believe the things he tells you without question.
Check out the video and have some fun with it. If you think of this as something new and fun to learn then I believe you will enjoy it. Instead of feeling bad about the games the narcissist played on you, learn the tactics they used so you can feel empowered.
Once you know the rules they are playing by then they can no longer confuse and manipulate you without your knowledge and consent. At least not with this pace and lead technique.
Abusers have a wide variety of skills and tactics concerning abuse of their victims.
Some abuse is “overt” which means that it is visible or otherwise able to be observed by the five senses. Verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, burning and restraining the victim are some of the ways an abuser uses overt abuse.
Covert abuse is invisible and often is not recognized by onlookers as abuse at all. Often the victim does not even see it until they are already affected in a psychological way by this abuse. This invisible abuse is premeditated and intentional on the part of the abuser.
The victim may see the covert abuse as accidental and that the abuser does not realize what they are doing to them. Narcissists and psychopaths are aware of the covert abuse. They use is systematically to crush down the self esteem of the victim and their confidence in their own perception of reality.
The abuser will create an illusion for the victim called “shared psychosis” which is an altered, twisted reality in which the abuser makes themselves necessary to the survival of the victim. The victim is brainwashed to believe that they need to advice, the presence, the wisdom and the protection of the abuser.
Gaslighting is a tactic used by the narcissist which has many faces. There are 4 or 5 ways that abusers can use to gaslight their victims. There is an intentional misleading, misinterpreting, twisting and altering of reality. The victim will become unsure of they can remember things properly because the abuser denies the things the victim remembers to be have happened.
ABUSER ALTERS REALITY
The abuser will make the victim feel like there is a problem with their memory and that they cannot properly remember events and things that were said by the abuser. Narcissists and psychopaths will re-write events any way they see fit and call them reality.
The victim is commanded to believe the version of reality the abuser tells them to, rather than their own memory of the events.
Over time the self esteem and self confidence of the victim is eroded away and they turn to the abuser to explain what is real to them. The abuser may suggest, accuse or cause the victim mental illness. The abuser will say that the victim is unable to tell reality from fantasy.
On-lookers of the relationship often believe the abuser when he tells them how he has to deal with the antics of the “overly sensitive ” victim. The abuser will often play the victim themselves and tell people that their partner is abusing them, rather than the other way around.
The abuser can make up stories about the victim or change things around to make the victim appear at fault.
Being in a state of anxiety and exasperation, the victim may appear distraught and it can be misunderstood by others.
Friends, co-workers, church members, even therapists believe that the abuser is being victimized. They see the victim as mentally ill or as “too sensitive” depending on how the abuser describes them to others.
This is the beginning of a smear campaign of the victim that can often continue long after the relationship ends. The narcissist can ruin the reputation of the victim and strip them of any friends, allies or family support.
ABUSER APPEARS TO BE THE VICTIM
About the victim, people wonder “what happened to her?”
” She used to be level headed and now there is something wrong with her. See how she makes accusations of this person that has only tried to help her?”
Abuser can Appear Benevolent
The abuser may show others how he / she has tried to help the victim in so many ways with money, support, and advising them. The abuser comes off looking like the good partner who was taken advantage of.
The narcissist wears a mask that people think is really them. It never occurs to people that are looking on from the outside of the relationship that he / she might be lying right to their face.
People do not expect people to lie about their entire personality.
People understand little lies and lies to get our of trouble but it does not occur to normal people that someone would lie about everything including who they are, what they want, how they feel and what they think altogether.
Psychopaths and narcissists are not just in the movies.
They make up 3 to 4 percent of the population. You have interacted with them and never even recognized them. They target people who are easy to manipulate. These are usually people with abuse and toxic shame from their childhood.
People that come from covert abuse tactics during their childhood are more likely to fall for the lies of the narcissist. The narcissist pretends to want and care for the victim.
The love-bombing stage is the beginning of the lies. This is the first mask that the narcissist uses to lure the victim in.
Abuse is abuse and it causes damage to the victim that takes a long time to heal from.
It is natural to be afraid to date again or be in a relationship again after you were abused.
I have interacted with hundreds of people on my blogs and on YouTube. Everyone has questions about if, when, how and who to trust again.
Most everyone wonders how long to wait before making themselves vulnerable to pain again.
Wherever you are on your path, you know things now that you did not know before. No matter how long it has been or how much you have learned about narcissists and cluster B personalites, it is still okay to feel the need to protect yourself.
You trusted your judgement before and you feel like it let you down.
You trusted in humanity differently before and now your reality has been forever altered. It was a crushing realization that there was no going back.
From time to time you even intentionally zoned out and pretended that the abuser was not that bad…maybe they really loved you and just were too broken to know how to care for you.
But truth is truth. The truth is brutal and we take it in small doses at a time….that is …after that first crushing blow.
You might wonder what you might still be missing. What piece is still left out of your puzzle that you might need.
It is not really so much about them as we think sometimes. The narcissists get so much press all over the internet.
Everyone talks about them, how they are broken, how they just cannot help their behaviors. You have probably heard people say that the narcissist was so abused that all they know is how to look out for themselves.
As a child they had to survive and they developed coping skills which included not feeling empathy or compassion for others. The pain of feeling the emotions of others was too great.
Then they grew up and had to keep these same coping skills they developed as children. They only injure others as a consequence of living and surviving the only way they know how.
Well if you were abused in a relationship with a narcicissist or a psychopath you know they did hurt you on purpose. They intentionally controlled you, lied to you, crushed your self esteem and made you appear to others in an unrealistic way.
You had trouble…and still do…getting anyone to believe your story. You feel alone much of the time with the PTSD that the narcissist has left you with.
Not only did you suffer during the relationship but you suffered long after the relationship ended…and are still suffering.
How could you expose yourself to this potential danger again?
Your judgement failed you once…perhaps more than once. You may have taken them back when they told you they could change.
You may have been taken in by a narcissist that seemed to be such a different person than the last one that you did not recognize anything wrong or unsafe about them.
You have spent countless nights ruminizing about the relationship…wondering what you did wrong and what is wrong with you.
Too much attention is going to the narciccists. They even like it even though they would say otherwise.
They are proud of their skills at manipulation. They are proud they outsmarted you.
But they were not smarter than you. You were just a person with a good nature and they took advantage of that good nature.
You did not deserve to be abused. You did not stay willingly in a relationship that you knew would get worse unless you were caught in their traps.
History will not repeat itself exactly. You will not be the same exact person this time that you were before.
This is more about you and less about them. Screw them. They get enough press and attention.
You have learned about yourself from this and you will continue to learn about yourself.
If you are not confident that you can walk away if you see red flags then you should take more time. If you have not learned about the red flags and the typical narcissistic tactics then take time to learn those things first.
The most important thing is that you have the confidence to be able to back off when you suspect something…or walk away when you feel disrespected or uncomfortable.
Relationships are not about forcing yourselves to tolerate another person’s behavior. If they do things that make you feel unsafe or disrespected then you need to be able to walk away.
If they do things that make you confused and you end up spending time justifying their behavior to yourself then walk away.
If they have to give you stories to justify their behaviors then walk away.
Relationships are not supposedly to be about how much you can take. It is not about how embarrassed you can be made to feel and still stand by them .
Relationships are not about how much you can keep your true feelings to yourselves. They are not about having to justify your partner’s behavior to your friends or having to apogize for their behavior to the waitress.
You need to feel comfortable in your own skin that your feelings, ideas and thoughts deserve respect.
You are the prize that another person should desire. You are the person that someone should make sure that they are making comfortable and happy.
You do not have to tolerate behaviors you do not want to put up with. As soon as it feels that way to you then walk.
Do not allow someone to tell you whether or not their behavior should or should not bother you. Your intution is good. Your brain is good.
You have right to feel how you feel. If the things they are saying do not match with how you are feeling then walk away.
If you can walk away when you do not enjoy their company….if you can move on when you feel that the reality they are trying to sell you does not match the reality right in front of you…then you are ready to dip your feet in the water.
If you need practice looking for red flags and walking away when you see them then maybe dip your toe in the water and comsider it practice or self training.
No matter what you must remember that you are complete and entire person all by yourself. You do not need a “second half” or a “better half” …or a “shitty half.”
Another person is to enrich your life and to share and grow with. They are a partner and a friend ….but not the rest of your puzzle.
Your puzzle may be a work in progress but you have all the pieces within you. It is during your own spiritual path that you will connect your puzzle together.
You do not need someone to complete you and it is arrogant for someone to think you are nothing without them.
Find people that think you are Really Something Special and that they are blessed to be able to spend time with you.
PTSD from being is an ongoing abusive relationship can cause problems with remembering things, paying attention and focusing. You feel like you are lost in a fog and that part of your brain is gone. It is hard to do normal tasks that are usually no problem at all.
This feeling of being in a fog is not uncommon with PTSD. You will be reading something and then end up having to re-read the same paragraph three times and still not know what you read. You might have trouble following simple verbal or written directions. You feel like you are coming down with Alzheimer’s disease.
Many people that experience this brain fog are afraid to say anything about it. You probably feel like no one would understand and it is also hard to describe.
Have you ever looked while you were driving and had no idea where you were? This happened to me several times during the first couple of months after my abusive relationship ended. It was scary and I felt like I was going crazy.
This brain fog is weird and scary. You wonder if it will go away and when it will stop. Are you stuck like this feeling stupid and unable to function forever?
Usually this is a temporary response to severe PTSD after an abusive relationship. It will probably go away. It does help to know that you are not the only one.
This brain fog is a result of the brain changes that occur when your brain is experiencing trauma. Certain parts of the brain are now on overload, like the amygdala which is in charge of the “fight or flight” mode. Your brain is on constant alert scanning the environment for threats and danger.
Our brains were not designed to be in a constant ongoing state of alert like this. The “fight or flight” mode is designed to be on for a few minutes in order to prepare you for dealing with a dangerous situation. It is not supposed to endure a situation like being in a constant state of threat by an abusive person.
The “Executive Function” is the part of the brain that controls functions that have to do with organizing, managing tasks, creating and following steps to get something done and focusing on what you are doing. People with a low executive function will have trouble paying attention and focusing.
When the amygdala is in a constant “On Mode” , other parts of the brain are affected and end up working at a less functional level. The executive function effectively “takes a hit for the team.”
With your executive function down you will have trouble with many things including concentrating, following directions and having a clear mind.