But I’m the victim

Many of us browse support forums created for survivors of narcissistic abuse – places such as r/raisedbynarcissists.

Having grown up in an emotionally abusive environment, with a parent who never loved us is painful and it can take a lifetime to recover from.

As ACoNs (adult children of narcissists), we desperately need the support these well-meaning forums provide. Most notably we need to feel heard, validated, understood and believed. We are craving the empathy we never received from our parents – and we are reaching out to the only other people we feel can understand us: those who have been in our shoes.

I am the child of a narcissistic mother, who scapegoated and emotionally abused me throughout my childhood. My entire adult life I was focused on my own pain and my mother’s narcissism, never realizing I had the same problem.

This is what’s so frustrating about this disorder – the person that has it is unaware they have it. They are the victim. Sound familiar?

This is what’s so frustrating about this disorder – the person that has it is unaware they have it. They are the victim. Sound familiar?

We have been told time and time again that there is no awareness for narcissists. The only option is to get as far away from them as possible. We cannot possibly be narcissists, we think, because we are trying to do better and although we may have a few learned behaviors here and there, we are NOT our parents.

I’m here to call bullshit.

We are not so fragile we cannot hear the truth. I’ve been in these forums, and my fellow narcissistic abuse survivors are in pain and want desperately to be happy — if only they knew what was holding them back.

The idea that narcissists can never become self-aware is one of the most damaging to those who wish to feel and do better, because by simply asking the question am I a narcissist, you are told you cannot possibly be one. And with that continued denial, all opportunity for healing and growth evaporates.

Make no mistake, the disorder is learned behavior. And the vast majority—two thirds—of children of narcissists go on to have NPD themselves.

If you’re the child of a narcissist who has some “learned behaviors” or “fleas”, you may be in denial yourself. Make no mistake, the disorder is learned behavior. And the vast majority— two thirds — of children of narcissists go on to have NPD themselves.

Those of us in forums for narcissistic abuse have been so hurt by our parents, we refuse to even talk to anyone who admits to being a narcissist by banning them from posting.

The irony here is clear:

  1. As the children of NPD parents, statistically, the vast majority of us have NPD ourselves.
  2. Those of us who have become self-aware enough to recognize our disorder are excluded from the group, precisely because we’ve done the healthiest thing possible — recognizing and admitting our narcissism.
  3. Growth opportunities for those left in the group who are questioning their own behaviors dwindle, as those who can offer the insight, empathy and guidance they need most are excluded.
  4. They continue to believe self-awareness is a myth. The narcs remain the “abusers” and they the “victims”. This status quo remains unchallenged.

By excluding those who have taken the healthy step of becoming self-aware, these forums have inadvertently become echo chambers that keep their participants locked in unhealthy cycles. As members, many of us have become precisely what we fear most and we’re none the wiser — we continue living in denial, all the while lamenting how painful it was when our parents did the same.

Those with NPD can absolutely change. But not until we face reality. My only regret is that I didn’t know sooner.

Do you have a good grasp of what NPD feels like to the disordered person? It looks a lot different from the other side. It may even look like you.

4 thoughts on “But I’m the victim”

  1. I’m coming across this after reading a more recent post from you. This one’s title was at the bottom of that article.
    Just recently I finally had a psychiatrist recognize borderline traits in me. I’ve been telling therapists for a few years now that I fit the criteria and none of them got it. One I thought did dx me with BPD but when I got a copy of the records I saw she had not.
    Now as time goes on, and I seem to have gotten angrier (although I have been quite angry for a long time, you know, the chronic kind of anger) I feel more and more like I may fall somewhere along the spectrum of NPD as well. More on the victim or vulnerable type.
    The hypocrisy you refer to is infuriating and I remember a blogger, sometime back, getting bullied and called a narc sympathizer. The bullies were ACoNs and acting just like narcs themselves in the way they kept going after her, trolling both on her blog and trashing her on their own blogs. It was sickening.
    I remember feeling relieved when someone said to me that if I’m wondering if I’m a narcissist then I’m not one. But I agree with you on this. Why can’t a narcissist be aware? Of course they can be, look at those diagnosed writing about it, either on the side of wanting to change and recover or those further up the scale who don’t think they need treatment/recovery but are still very much aware of what and who they are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are so many ACoNs that are unaware cluster B disordered. Sadly that type of behavior you describe is common in these groups. It’s a product of the disorder! So ironic.

      It is very hard for an NPDer to become self aware but it is possible! This blog proof of that. I hope it becomes more common as the disorder becomes destigmatized.

      It’s very common for BPD and NPD to cooccur! I do know that Borderlines also struggle with rage.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I can verify this first hand as well. Although I haven’t been officially dx’d with BPD, I finally had a psychiatrist see the traits and I’ve been aware of this myself for a long time. Have even tried to get dx’d. But then of course therapists doubted it because of my awareness. One therapist actually just diagnosed me with relationship issues. Ugh! It’s absolutely ridiculous.

        I am on a waiting list now for DBT and have a direct phone number of someone who assured me I would not fall through the cracks as I’ve been doing for 30 years. Sometimes I wonder how I made it this far alive.

        I hope too that it becomes less stigmatized and help becomes available much more easily for those who want it. And this self- awareness myth has to stop too.

        Liked by 1 person

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