As a survivor of narcissistic abuse, how do those three little words, “Is it me?” connect with you?
When I saw them in my Inbox today, they made me feel very sad.
The email read,
“I keep thinking about joining the Break Free Membership. But then I think is it me? I try to think before I speak. But no matter how I say things I get told to pick my battle.
So I don’t say anything at all. I go to the other room and shut my mouth.
I shut down and just hide. Maybe I’m the problem because I don’t communicate well.”
How much misery can one brief email convey?
The Narcissist’s modus operandi
That little email encapsulates the Narcissist’s modus operandi in so many ways.
- Clearly, the other person is not even pretending to have any concern, empathy, love or respect for Susan (not her real name).
- She appears to have gone past the point of even asking herself whether there might be something quite wrong – even toxic – about the way her partner treats her.
- Her constant exposure to this kind of abusive behaviour has dulled her perceptions to what is and is not acceptable so that she is trying to have a normal relationship with someone as abnormal as a Narcissist.
- There is the “tell” that is hidden in plain sight. The Narcissist informs this person who loves them that she has to “pick her battle” because – although she is not consciously aware of it yet – a war is being waged against her. Her life has become an endless round of trying to defend herself from terrorist attacks.
- The Narcissist’s intention is to silence her and destroy all perceived “opposition” to their rule.
- The Narcissist uses every possible opportunity to gaslight her and make her the problem.
Unfortunately, Narcissists don’t just want to silence you so that they don’t have to listen to you. Their intention is to shut you down so effectively that you don’t hear yourself.
The Narcissist’s intention
Narcissists do their best to reduce you to some kind of serviceable robot whose specifications include:
- Inexpensive to run,
- meets their job specifications reasonably well,
- low maintenance,
- fairly easy on the eye
- good enough to stick with… until they fancy getting a replacement model.
People forget who they are – or once were – in a narcissistic relationship because that is exactly what the Narcissist wants to happen.
A person who has been raised in a healthy home environment has an ingrained sense of their own values. They are, effectively, the gatekeeper to their own life. They make the decision about
- a) who is fit to be allowed into their life
- b) how much access to their life that person should have
- c) the grounds on which a person will be unceremoniously ejected from their life.
All of that comes naturally to people who grew up in a healthy environment. Whereas people who grew up in an abusive home have been taught, in practice, that there are no such things as boundaries.
There are no such things as boundaries in an abusive home because the abuser sets him or herself up as the gatekeeper of your life.
Now, logically, this is ridiculous.
Each and every one of us has a life. It is down to each and every one of us to be the gatekeeper of our own life.
But try telling that to a Narcissist!!
The problem with being worn down by a Narcissist
Like all victims of an abusive relationship, Susan has become so worn down by “her” Narcissist in residence that she has lost sight of three vital things.
1) That she actually has a life.
2) That it is her right to say whatever she chooses to say.
3) That “her” Narcissist’s behaviour is unacceptable.
Would the Break Free Membership help her?
It would in so many ways. It would give her a touchstone for evaluating her own experience. It would give her ongoing knowledge and understanding. But above all, it would give her support and a sense of community.
What would it do on for the Narcissist, on the other hand?
It would put him out of a job. He would wake one day to find himself ejected from his self-appointed role as gatekeeper of her life.
Nobody has the right to pollute your life with their toxicity
That is exactly what he deserves. Nobody has the right to pollute your life with their toxicity.
Since toxicity is such a big deal for a Narcissist, he or she can get on with poisoning their own life. They have no right to poison yours.
When a Narcissist tells you that you can never have a life without them that is not exactly the truth. What they are really saying is that they will lose out if they cease to be the gatekeeper of your life because they will lose their “right” to bar you access to your own life.
Without them, the gate to your own life is right there in front of you, wide open. All you have to do is move back in and make it your own once again. And if you aren’t sure quite how to do that, the Break Free Membership will help you to do just that.
Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.
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