exposing narcissists

More support for keeping diaries and saving letters/e-mails: to defend against gaslighting from abusers and narcissists

Here in several posts by Grace for my Heart, are reasons why we must keep diaries and save our letters/e-mails when dealing with psychological and narcissistic abuse:

Second, write things down.  I am a strong proponent of good records and journals in these relationships.  When you have a disagreement, even something as simple as the conversation I related above, write down your thoughts about it.

Tell what you remember and why and how you felt when the conversation ended.  Write down his lie/excuse/challenge as well.

You don’t have to do anything with this, but you may find that a pattern emerges and you can see what is really happening.  And you may take your journal to a counselor you trust to learn even more someday. —Gaslighting

This is especially important because

Also, narcissistic abuse is difficult to prove.  What evidence can you give?  Usually narcissists are not physical abusers, so there are no marks to show.

The continual criticism and the gaslighting can be hard to show to others.  And the effect is cumulative.  Taken as individual instances, these things often seem insignificant.

It’s when it happens every day over a period of years that the effects of the abuse are felt.  People who know you realize that something is wrong, but can’t put their finger on the cause, even when they see it happening.

The sad truth is that narcissists often win in the court of public opinion.  They have lived their whole lives manipulating the perspectives of others and they are invested way beyond anything the rest of us would consider reasonable.

They are usually ruthless in their willingness to attack, even to lie.  They tie others to themselves through manipulation for support. —Why Won’t They Believe Me?

You can use this to make your story believable because:

Last week I wrote about the difficulty many have in explaining the actions and abuse of the narcissist.  Some find that they simply are not believed when they begin to describe the kind of attacks and manipulation they have suffered.

I wanted to suggest some ways to prepare for telling your story.  Please understand that there is no magic incantation to make someone believe you.

As I explained last week, there are times when the recipients of your story feel that they cannot support you, even if they do believe you.  And, at other times, the narcissist simply wields his super ability to persuade others and you lose.  I wish it were some other way.

But there may be a few things that could help.

  1. Keep records.  Contemporaneous notes, records written very near the time of the event, are considered to be stronger evidence than just a story later.  If you can write down, within an hour or so, the exact words used or the particular times of the event or some very specific information, you will find that people receive your words with greater trust.  This is a well-respected technique in negotiations, probably because it seems more difficult to fabricate.  Use different writing tools from time to time to accent the fact that you are not writing this all at once. —Overcoming the Disbelief

I believe this is the real reason why Richard and Tracy tried to make me feel somehow stalker-y for saving my letters and e-mails to and from friends.  I believe they wanted me to feel just as creepy as they told me I was acting, so I would destroy all those letters and e-mails.

I believe they feared that I was writing down the things they were doing and saying, and that their house of cards would soon fall when I added it all up and realized they’d been deliberately deceiving and manipulating me.

And well, they were right about that.  These posts by Grace for my Heart, which I just found tonight, are also added support for my conviction that I did nothing wrong or “creepy” in saving these letters and e-mails.

Unfortunately, I shredded/deleted a bunch of letters and e-mails in 2008 after listening to bad advice, in an attempt to “forgive” Tracy and “move on” so we could be friends.

But a Providential “mistake” led to me discovering some of those old e-mails in draft form, a few in particular which I especially wanted back.

Basically, in May 2010, we got a new computer.  I didn’t understand how to transfer Thunderbird e-mails from one computer to another.  I had the old data files on a portable hard drive, but didn’t know how to re-connect them on the new computer.

So I used a very cumbersome method to look through my e-mails: opening them with WordPad and WordPerfect.  This left me with a tremendous amount of HTML junk to sift through (one little bit of HTML in an e-mail will turn into hundreds of pages of lines of junk characters), and far too much data at one time to be opened easily.

BUT then one day in September 2012, I discovered that my Drafts file had preserved all the different stages of each draft, even ones I had deleted!  These files did not have HTML like my Inbox, and were much easier to read through.

I could see the very first version of a draft before I first saved it, all the way up through various changes, to the final version!  And every version had its own time and date stamp.

I could see an e-mail written to Richard, full of venting and complaints about abuse in an early version, then later on changed to be far more diplomatic.

Shortly after this, I discovered how to connect my e-mails to a new computer, so I could use my e-mails normally through Thunderbird.

But I also saved a copy of the original data files, and the files I made to use with WordPad, so all those old drafts still exist.  If anyone questions if the WordPad files have been altered, they can verify them with the original data files.

I have used these e-mails to make my account far more accurate than it was before, since I had forgotten some things by the time I wrote it, and to prove that I used words like “bullied” and “abused” way back in December 2007 when complaining about how I was treated.

They prove that Richard told me he was being abused.  They prove that I saw acts of verbal and physical abuse when they lived in my house.

Drafts of e-mails sent to my mother describe the abuse I witnessed while Richard and Tracy lived in my house, so even though I deleted the e-mails and my mom does not keep e-mails that old, I still have copies.

And I have e-mail exchanges with my husband in 2009 which were never deleted, which prove that Richard complained of abuse.  I also have copies of an e-mail which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am telling the truth about their domestic violence, because of who it’s from and what it says.

I probably also found people more easily believed my story, when they themselves had dealt with Richard/Tracy, and/or when Richard’s criminal conviction of choking his daughter gave my story that outside verification through official sources, of plausibility.  Lots of narc victims don’t have this.

These records prove that I am not crazy.  That I am NOT “not all there.”  That this was Richard and Tracy gaslighting me again into thinking I was crazy and lying–or trying to, but they couldn’t because I have proof of the truth.  I have resisted exes trying to gaslight me in the past, so I know I can resist it now, too.

Do this yourself, keeping records and e-mails, when you feel something is going weird, so you can figure it out later and prove it to others.

Don’t let your narc tell you it’s “creepy.”  Those e-mails and diaries could save your sanity one day.  Or even help you in custody battles or with proving your side of the story.

I also highly recommend that you read all the articles I linked to in this post, because there is far more information in there about defending against gaslighting, telling your story and being believed.

 

Should bloggers reveal the names of their abusers? Should I reveal mine right here in a big expose’?

Why do we have to keep everything a secret?  Why are our ‘secrets’ considered embarrassing? Why are we protecting our abusers? What’s wrong with a good ol’ public hanging?…

Nowadays everything happens behind closed doors. And on top of that, victims aren’t supposed to talk about it. …Why are we being judged for what others did to us? –Prozac Blogger, “Why are we the ones that hide the truth?”

Prozac Blogger no longer blogs, at least not about his abuse.  He wrote in the post/comments that he was afraid his dad would find his blog, and proceed to “wipe the floor” with P.B. with his high-powered lawyers.  So he kept his identity secret.

But then, one day last year, he finally got the chance to confront his abusive father, and cut him out of his life for good.  After that, he felt healed at last, took down most of the blog, and started a new one which revealed his own identity, but was about various things, such as politics and his own short fiction.  (He was a porn star!  Who knew!)

From that, anyone who knew him could figure out his father, so I guess he was no longer afraid, even though he didn’t give his father’s name.  But now, I don’t see P.B. anywhere when I search.  I had to get the above link through the Wayback Machine.

When Savannah Dietrich was raped,

The public humiliation culminated this June, when her assailants struck a plea deal on charges of felony sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism that Dietrich felt amounted to a “slap on the wrist.” And the court had an order for Dietrich, too: Don’t talk about it, or risk 180 days in prison and a $500 fine.

First, Dietrich cried. Then, she logged online. “There you go, lock me up,” she tweeted to a couple hundred Twitter followers, outing her assailants by name. “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.”

These men had made their assault on her public. Now, they had convinced a court to keep it all under wraps. “If reporting a rape only got me to the point that I’m not allowed to talk about it, then I regret it,” she wrote in a note on her Facebook wall. “I regret reporting it.”  –Amanda Hess, Slate.com

Read the rest of the above post for details of how various girls have used social media to expose their rapists–and the fallout they received for it.  But Hess sees them as brave, fighting to make a change despite the odds.  After all, exposing rapists and abusers online is risky, especially if you can’t point to a settled court case.

If your rapist was convicted, or your abuser is sitting in jail for years for choking you, then you can’t be guilty of libel.  But if it’s not proven, or if it’s verbal/emotional abuse or a general pattern of behavior, then you are on riskier ground if you reveal names.

Julie Anne Smith was sued by her former pastor for blogging about spiritual abuse she experienced from him; she won.

I understand why they used real names, but that put them into treacherous waters from the very beginning.  However, it has given other victims of spiritual abuse a forum, as they discover they’re not the only ones abused at Beaverton Grace Bible Church.  Other spiritual abuse victims of other churches are also speaking out on these and other blogs.

As you can see in this post, in which I published the DARVO e-mail sent to me by my own abusers, they apparently had some crazy idea that I was going to go on some kind of public campaign outing them to the whole city.

I never said or “threatened” that I would, and I have no clue where they got this idea; it must have been their own paranoia speaking.  (But then, Tracy has shown a tendency to read in things that aren’t there.)

Or, as I figured at the time, maybe they were jumping on the fact that I wrote–in a post written long before they ever found my blog–that I would have to talk to the priest if their church merged with mine, to get his help dealing with the situation, and form a contract which would keep them from harassing me at church.

No, the only thing I told them was to either apologize or stay the **** away from me, and don’t contact me.  No threats, period; they pulled that “threat” concept out of their backsides, then proceeded to give me an actual threat.

No, I had already told my friends and family what happened, reported my abusers to CPS for the many instances of child and spousal abuse I witnessed, and told my priest what was going on so he could advise me, all before my abusers even found my blog.

I named my abusers to my friends and family, who include people here in town.  I no longer hesitate to use their names when speaking of them on my Facebook.  But my Facebook wall is closed to the public.

This was all the public “outing” I ever intended to do, and all of it is covered under our precious First Amendment.

I used my blog as a tool to get everything out in great detail, something my friends would not have the patience for, so that I could heal and maybe help other abuse victims in the process.

But all names and identifying details were changed, I even removed pictures from my website/blog and Richard’s comments on my blog from 2009, and I had no intention of ever revealing these things on my blog.

Besides, posting their names here would be vengeance, not justice or a healing tool.

“Justice” was telling my priest and family/friends.

“Healing” was writing about the abuse, venting all my anger, and then beginning to transfer it to the written words and out of my heart.  “Healing” is seeing others read my posts to help their own healing, sometimes even downloading a copy.

Putting their names on a blog so future employers could Google it–that’s vengeance.  “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.”  Not MINE.  (Besides, if I ruin their chances at getting a job, I ruin their chances of ever getting the means to move the heck away from this town.)

Now, the state publicly posts court records; I have nothing to do with that.  That, they will have to contend with.  Richard ruined his own chances of ever becoming a priest, and can’t sue the state for posting his criminal records.

I have seen all sorts of different abuse blogs in the past few years.  Some have never given the names of their narcissists and/or abusers, such as Tina Swithin and Whispers of God, but have still been threatened with or actually hit with lawsuits.

Some have given real names; the results have been mixed.  Princess Fi tried to go through legal channels, but it had been decades since her parents sexually abused her, and the police finally dropped the lawsuit.  She posted the names of her abusers online, but she lives in the UK, where the police forced her to remove the names.  Swithin has never actually been sued, and still blogs.

Christina Enevoldsen has been public about her abuse experiences in her own town for years, and even was threatened by her own mother with a lawsuit, but that never happened.  Other bloggers on Overcoming Sexual Abuse use real names as well.

[Update 12/20/14: After this post was written, Enevoldsen revealed that she was indeed sued by her mother–and won.  She writes about it here.]

Bloggers on Emerging from Broken use real names.  Though I think for the most part the bloggers are using their own real names, not naming their abusers.  Of course you can figure out who that is if you know the blogger, but the general public wouldn’t know.

Paula’s Pontifications does not give the name of her narcissistic ex.

Exposing the name of your abuser is a huge risk.  I don’t advise it, because changing names and identifying details should keep you from being successfully sued–especially if the abuse cannot be proven in court, such as verbal abuse or narcissistic mind games.

If your arm has been broken and the police are aware of this, or if your abuser has been convicted of sexual abuse or rape, you may be able to get away with exposing names.  But otherwise, take care.  It’s bad enough to be abused in the first place, without getting sued as well.

See Intimidation of Abuse Bloggers and Dealing with Gaslighting Legal Threats for more on this subject.

 

Another person who gets why we blog about our abuse/stalking experiences

I’ve been reading this blog about a woman who was stalked by her neighbor for some time.  Because of how some people responded to me posting here about Richard and Tracy, and especially my husband telling me they’ll stop stalking me here if I stop posting about them, this part resonated with me:

I was on a bit of a moral high horse, then. Thought Cyber Friend’s posts lacked discretion. Violated Internet Rule #1: keep your private life off the Internet. Weren’t her posts goading him? Taunting him? Putting fuel on the fire, giving him more to get enraged about?

By the way, I received similar accusations from people in my neighborhood, after they learned that The Neighbor declared war on me. Karma?

Of course, my moral quandary wasn’t enough to stop reading the awfulness Cyber Friend described. Who can resist taking a second, then a third look at a train wreck?

Cyber Friend never wrote about her fear, only her frustration and tiredness. The extreme tiredness that comes when you just want something to end, but have to keep going. Trying to hold onto your life, because the awfulness just might never end.

I now understand the tiredness she described. Never knowing when my dinner, my sleep, my attempt to go to work, to come home from work, to go grocery shopping, to entertain friends, or to just watch Doctor Who in peace, would be interrupted by a barrage of screaming hatred.

My new filter also allows me to realize that Cyber Friend was asking for help. Hoping for advice or comfort.

She was also building witnesses to her stalker’s obsession. Practicing cyber self-defense. Fighting her stalker as openly as he was attacking her.

Keeping a public record, so if anything happened to her, at the very least, her cyber readers could attest to her harassment.

Exactimundo!  This is why I kept posting everything my stalkers, Richard and Tracy, did, even when they passed me twice on the street and freaked me out last January.  I knew they would read that, maybe laugh, but I didn’t care: I wanted that public record.  They’re hardly the only ones who read that post.

I knew that Richard and Tracy were both crazy enough to attack me, because Richard once told me Tracy almost killed me one night (back in 2008), because I saw her raging tirades, because Richard was a former Mafia thug who had been convicted of choking one of his kids, and because he once told me he was going to assault (sounded like kill) the woman who evicted his family.

If they could do these things in other situations, or contemplate them, then I had reason to fear when seeing their van pass me a second time in one hour, as if they’d been waiting for me to finish my errand.  In case anything did happen to me, my blog would serve as evidence so that they would not get away with it.

I recommend the above blog, by the way: It is very well-written.  [Update 9/24/15: The blogger let the original blog expire.  For now, her old posts can only be found through the Wayback Machine, which I’ve used in my updated links here.]

Also, earlier I mentioned that my husband disagreed with some friends, and I wondered if his own trauma from the Richard/Tracy crap led to him making the disagreement seem worse than it was.  That is indeed the case.  He finally sorted out the issue with the friends.

He and I both felt, and we also told these friends, that the Richard/Tracy trauma has had such an enduring effect on us that he feared the same thing was happening all over again with new people. 

So he freaked out and thought the friendship was over, that the new friend was a narcissist, etc.  This tells me that he, too, was traumatized by Richard/Tracy.

 

Trudging Through Five and a Half Years of Hell…..Do I See Light Up Ahead? (Surviving Depression After Abuse)

I thought I had found a religious and spiritual mentor in my search for the True Church, and a best friend here in my own town instead of far away, one who would always be there for me throughout life.  But I believe this is what really happened:

I fell prey to a con man who eventually decided my husband and I were of no further use to him and his wife.  He used to be a Mafia thug, and was easily provoked to violence.  He hypnotized me without my knowledge.

They wanted to get political connections, but we were too “liberal” and not politically driven; he kept getting money and stuff from us, but the economy tanked and we had money trouble; I was his confidante of his wife’s abuses of him and the children, so she, who has a family history of personality disorders, smeared me to him to drive a wedge between us; and I spoke up against the way they both had been treating their kids.

So instead of addressing the real issues, they made me a scapegoat, made up offenses and kept me always jumping over hoops.  Then because we no longer had much money to give them, I started doubting Richard’s wild stories, and I had let them know they abused their kids, they started treating my husband and I both very badly.

They found an imaginary complaint to skewer me over, so we would break off the friendship in disgust, but they would still be able to claim that it was my fault and not theirs.

Richard threatened my husband with physical violence and intimidated him.  Then in 2010, I was proven correct about the abuse, when Richard choked his oldest daughter until she passed out.  He plea bargained and served a year of probation.

I have often wondered why it has taken three years to get through this depression after abuse, despite functioning normally by carrying on with life, traveling, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, taking care of my child and house like normal, helping out with my church.

It took many months for the occasional tears to stop, but they did stop eventually; however, I still feel sad often.  I have been depressed in the past, but it would pass within a year or two.

Then I remembered: This depression has not lasted for three years.  It has lasted for five and a half years, six years this December, and I know when and why it began:

My Hell began in the middle of December 2007, a few weeks after Tracy arrived in my house, when her fangs began to show and I saw that Richard’s claims of verbal abuse of him and the kids were true, along with the occasional smacks on his arm and a disturbing possessive and vindictive streak.

What seemed like a special friendship with Richard, a very dear friendship, began to deteriorate as he stuck up for not only his wife’s various snarks and other nasty behavior toward me, but her abuses toward him and the children, contradicting what he had told me before.

I felt alone, abandoned by the person I thought cared and had my back, like all my other closest friends through life had my back.

With my other friends, even though we disagreed on occasion, I could count on them sticking up for me whenever somebody dissed me.  But Richard joined in, not only allowing the dissing, but constantly criticizing me as well.  Nothing I did or said was right.

The depression began then.  I remember breaking down in tears more than once while they lived in my house.  I cried often during our friendship.

I spent a weekend in tears and sobs shortly after they moved out, because the way they were screwing me over made me think I had to break off my friendship with Richard.  My husband tried to ease my mind by making the decision for me, and saying I would not break it off.  (No, he’s not controlling; he was trying to help.)

I don’t want to go into detail because it’s all in my blog, and especially in the long version of the story.

But that weekend was repeated other times as well, as well as a time when I could barely get through walking my son to/from school without breaking into embarrassingly public tears on the sidewalk.

In between those times were constant tears, sadness, or resentment of Tracy’s lack of apologies for her nastiness.

This proves that the toxicity began in December 2007, dooming the friendship from the beginning of Tracy’s time in my city, because I was targeted by two very selfish, self-centered, abusive people, manipulators and users.  I thought Richard was a good person, but he, too, was toxic.

After my husband and I could not take the abuse anymore and broke things off, I had to tell my friends everything, so I could drain out the poison Richard and Tracy had filled me with over two and a half toxic years.  Also, for five years I had told Richard about things that upset me, but I no longer had him to talk to.

I vented on Facebook.  I told Todd everything.  I told high school friends.  I told college friends.  I told a few new church friends.  I told people on my favorite forums, begging for answers on how to keep in Orthodoxy, and how God could allow this.  I told my family.  I told my priest, starting back in December 2007.

I read and posted on blogs about narcissists and abusers, which showed me that my feelings and difficulties in healing, are all perfectly normal, that it often takes years to heal, that seeing the abuser again is traumatic.

I leaned on my husband, who recovered much more quickly because he was not the main target of abuse, but who became enraged at Richard and Tracy for putting me through this.

What our friends kept telling my husband and me: These people are toxic, manipulators, moochers, abusers, narcissists, a**holes; people on a couple of Orthodox forums used the word “evil” to describe Richard’s actions (choking his child).

But two and a half years of abuse, including both covert and overt verbal and emotional abuse, especially without physical abuse you can point to as proof, essentially gaslights you.

You wonder about your sanity, if you saw things correctly, especially when the abusers will tell you one thing then contradict it later on, and when only a few of their friends see the real them.

Every day I pray for Richard and Tracy’s children, that they be kept safe from abuse from their parents, because I worry about them and fear that the system has failed them by sending Richard back home with them instead of putting him in jail.

Richard’s lawyer ran for city council and won, but not with my help: I refused to vote for her, because I wondered about her character, getting such a sweet deal for him.

I have no way of knowing if CPS forced Tracy into counseling for abusing the kids as well.  I have no way of knowing if CPS finally convinced her that what she was doing to them was evil and would scar them for life, would cause them to want nothing to do with her when they grow up, just as she hates her own mother for treating her the same way.

If she doesn’t shape up, and if Richard doesn’t stop his own physical violence and narcissism, then their kids are going to grow up and write blogs of their own about Richard and Tracy.

I am an intensely analytical person.  I must know the hows, whys, whats.  Being targeted by narcissistic abusers is extremely hard to figure out, especially when you don’t understand why a person can act that way, how they can live with treating someone that way.

I am certain I have been depressed for five and a half years, starting in December 2007.  I am also fairly sure that I have had a form of PTSD, or a similar stress disorder, for the past several years, caused by the abuse and gaslighting of Richard and Tracy.

It was starting to heal, until they found my blog and began gaslighting me anew, adding threats as well, so I plunged back into the pit–in a year with several new emotionally traumatic experiences to add to the stress disorder.

Unfortunately, as a middle-class housewife and mother of a young child in the middle of the recession, with no health insurance provided by the husband’s job and no money to pay for it, and with heavy debt–professional diagnoses and trained counseling have been an impossible dream, at least during the worst of the depression and stress disorder.

All our money had to go toward physical necessities.  (This also explains why my 13 years of research into NVLD and Asperger’s has to suffice for now, because getting an actual diagnosis for NVLD is beyond our means.)

You can’t expect a pastor to know how to treat stress disorders.  My family and most of my friends live far away.  I have had to do this the hard way: by myself.  I’m sure that’s one reason why it’s taken so long to get through this.

Also, when you’re being abused, you don’t want to go to therapy to help you feel better about being abused.  First, you want the abuse to STOP, and justice of some kind to be done; then you can work on feeling better about being abused.

My abusers still justify their actions and haven’t stopped spying on me.  Rather than somebody telling me how to feel better about it, I want somebody to tell them to STOP, and to tell them their actions are wrong and sinful.  Not just me, but someone they’ll listen to.

That’s why, if they were to start going to my church full-time, I would be forced to request mediation from my priest or someone else in the church.  Because no one can expect you to be in the same church with your abuser/stalker for years on end without it causing all sorts of stress and anxiety disorders.

Not to mention, sharing the Eucharist with that person, contaminates the Eucharist.  There are Bible passages on how seriously we are to treat taking the Eucharist, lest we bring condemnation on ourselves.

Or is it depression now so much as it is anger, disappointment, and sadness?  Disappointment that as a shy introvert with NVLD/Asperger tendencies, I thought I had finally found a friend, one who lived here in my town, someone to talk to about everything and hang out with, only to find that friend was narcissistic, abusive and probably conning me the whole time?

I recall spending the entire 90s pondering and writing about the abuses of Peter, Shawn and Phil, analyzing everything, writing my college memoirs.  Then in the 2000s I would post about Phil on forums whenever the topic of abuse came up.

Maybe I’m at that stage now, moving out of wanting reconciliation, but figuring out what happened, labeling it, analyzing it, just as I did with my college abuse experiences, long after the trauma had passed.  Putting it into fiction or poems, posting memoirs, but seeing it as part of the past instead of the present.

Or, rather, it would be the past if my abusers would do as my past abusers did: make peace with me instead of stalking me, especially if their church closes.  [Update: Their church did close, but they did NOT start coming to mine after all.]

People disparage blogging, but sometimes that’s all you’ve got to really dig into what happened.  Not everybody can just go to a therapist, and even then, a therapist only gets an hour with you at a time.

(I also had a disappointing experience with counseling in college: I only had 6 sessions free, an hour each, and while I wanted to work on getting over Shawn‘s sexual and psychological manipulations and breaking free of him and Peter, the counselor kept talking about my shyness and how to fix that.  I didn’t go there to fix my shyness!)

People also don’t always realize that the Internet is the only way some of us have to communicate about these things, especially transplants into small cities where everyone has known each other since high school, and doesn’t think of inviting you out for coffee because they already have their circle of besties from Kindergarten.

Where, when you finally found someone to be your own bestie and go out for coffee with you, you were treated like a f—ing whore by that person’s spouse for wanting to go out for coffee, so even that concept brings back bad memories.

It’s the reality of modern life in a disconnected age where even neighbors don’t know each other: It takes time and breaking through cliques to get to the point of sharing such intimate details of your life with people.

So many of us have to use Facebook and e-mail to communicate with old friends, rather than just going out for coffee with a new friend to tell them everything you’re going through.

And even those friends don’t want to hear about it after a while, so if you don’t have a therapist, you have to get your emotions out somehow.  And sometimes even therapists recommend blogging; I occasionally visit an ACON (adult child of narcissists) blog which was started because the blogger’s therapist recommended it.

It’s also worth it when you see comments such as this one just posted on Paula’s Pontifications:

To Paula, Anonymous, and others who have described what it’s like to be subject to emotional abuse:

You are putting words to experiences that are most difficult to explain and it is immensely helpful to all of us trying to grapple what we’ve been through and why we weren’t able to understand what was happening at the time; how our vision was shrouded and our judgment systematically deluded by sociopathic influences.

Recognizing that the reactions of others have parallels to our own alleviates feelings of guilt or shame, and also, sharing your experiences helps us realize that we are not alone or impossible to understand and believe.

Thank you all for your efforts! You are making a big difference in the world.

Blogging is an outlet.  The names are changed because it’s not about revenge.  It is exposure, but if the subjects don’t out themselves, no one knows who they are.  (My close friends and some others know who the subjects are and what they’ve done, but they have not read the blogs.)

No, it is an outlet, a way to pour out all those feelings which bottle up inside, without annoying your loved ones.  A reader can read as much or as little as he/she likes, but be helped by whatever he/she reads.

For me, as a writer, blogging is also working through various ways of saying things until I find a gem: a book, a blog post with a thousand hits, a poem.  My blog is a writing journal, where the best way to figure out how to express a thought, is to keep writing it different ways until you find the best one, the best metaphor, the best wording.

I often repeat myself in my blogs as I think of a better or different way of expressing something, an insight I did not have previously, or just something that springs to mind that was not there when I wrote about this a year ago.

I see this in my old diaries as well, where I wrote endlessly about my experiences with Peter, Shawn and Phil until I finally got them out of my system, then later–when writing my memoirs–found these records valuable.  I would come across a passage or poem written 20 years before, and think, Dang, that’s beautiful.

I will write a post which gets a little attention, but not much.  Several months later I’ll write another one on a similar topic, which will get all sorts of hits.  It’s trial-and-error, see what works, what doesn’t, so that if I decide to turn all of this into a published book, I’ll know what to use.

Also, this record will be invaluable one day if I turn the emotions from this experience into fiction.  When writing stories for The Lighthouse, which drew on my college relationships for inspiration, I tried to, for example, write Jenny’s love letter to Scott, but could not write it authentically.

So I pulled out letters I wrote to Peter, and adapted them to my needs.  The result was an authentic-sounding love/grief letter.

If I wish to turn the Richard/Tracy experience into fiction as well, then these blog posts will help me write true emotions which readers can feel and identify with.

We blog because narcissists and abusers get their tentacles down deep into your psyche, so deep that it takes an enormous amount of work to pull them back out again–without damaging the rest of yourself in the process.

It takes an enormous amount of work to peel away the layers of two and half years of abuse and gaslighting, to figure out what criticisms may have been genuine, and which may have been the products of a (Tracy’s) deranged and/or personality disordered and/or bipolar mind (made that way by abuse, then spreading that abuse to everyone nearby).

It takes an enormous amount of work to get through the sadness of losing your closest friend due to betrayal, when everything around you reminds you of this person, so you have to give up beloved music/movies/activities which remind you of this person.

It takes an enormous amount of work for your heart to catch up with your head, for you to reconcile what you thought was a pious man, with the reality of his threatening your husband with physical violence and his almost murdering his little girl; and to do this while being endlessly stalked and threatened by this person because you dared to speak the truth and say it loud.

It takes an enormous amount of work to survive when every day you fight just to keep from stepping in front of a bus, and you fight this solely because your child needs a mother.  (It took me many months, possibly a year, to get past this stage.)

But I see the end coming.  I see the light up ahead.  I see the strength returning.  I’m beginning to stand and walk instead of crawling toward it.

I think it helps to write about it and to have confronted my abusers in this way, to have a church family, to realize my true friends are still there for me and love me, to have reconnected with a few old friends, to have made two new friends, to go from a daily walking/exercise bike routine to strength training at the gym, to buy a bike which widens my range of travel without a car.

It is coming.  I just have to keep going forward.

Maybe my faith will return as well.  Maybe that light is God’s beacon to me, leaving His light in the window so I don’t miss my destination as I fight through the darkness.

(As I titled another post which has long since been taken down, but was written in fall 2011, “The Light is Shining Through.”  I was going to revise it, but forgot about it.  But if you click on that link, you will see the revision I finally made in August 2013.)

Some time ago I answered a comment in which the commenter noted that the feelings surrounding the narcissistic injury still hurt after a considerable period of time.

That has had me thinking about why these injuries hurt us so deeply.  There are many kinds of hurt in our lives and people do mean things almost regularly.  Why do these seem to last longer than others?…

So, you see, there are several reasons why the pain continues.  Like a sore that never quite heals, narcissistic injury can last a long time.

But how do you move on then? …

You can move on with your life, even though the memory of the offense still brings pain. —For the answers to these questions, read Why Does It Still Hurt? by David Orrison.

Unfortunately, this is how many of us learned how to get through the tough times. We have learned to use denial as a coping mechanism. What we fail to realize is that the very method we thought was helping us is really killing us inside…..

When something hurts in life, we typically avoid it. We rarely think of it as something we are meant to learn from. In fact, we immediately try to find a way to get rid of the painful feeling. We run away thinking we can avoid our reality, but what we don’t realize is:

NOTHING EVER GOES AWAY UNTIL IT HAS TAUGHT US WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW.

We can lie to ourselves or run all we want, but the lesson will keep returning in different forms and manifestations until we learn what it is trying to teach us about our reality.

The very first noble truth the Buddha points out is that pain is inevitable in human beings. It is part of the human condition. We cannot avoid it.

We must accept pain and open our hearts to look at what we can gain by facing it. Only then can we discover that the very thing that terrifies us is in fact a way for us to reconnect with our true self and experience a rebirth.

Facing reality shows you who you are and what is true. Confronting our pain and fear tells us something about ourselves. We must get to know fear, become familiar and intimate with it.

It teaches us something. When we stop running and don’t act out, repress or blame, we encounter our true self. –Lisa E. Scott, Experiencing Your Rebirth After a Narcissist

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