An Open Letter to the Victims of Narcissists.

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Hey there,

I just want to start this letter by saying I get it—I’ve been there too.

In fact, for a number of years, I traded one narcissist for another—each one more charming and less obviously a narcissist than the last.

So, when I say that I can appreciate the damage and destruction they cause to someone, I really mean it.

I also understand the intense pain, sorrow, anger, and emptiness that is felt when we finally extricate ourselves from the claws of the narcissist.

I want other victims to know this: regardless of the depths of pain that we initially felt, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Ultimately, each time we overcome the influence of a narcissist we’re left a stronger, more resilient version of ourselves.

Hold onto that hope. Please know that is what the future holds.

Also know that people who fit into the “empath” personality category attract a higher number of narcissists into their lives, simply because empaths are more likely to be people-pleasers, and less prone to having strong boundaries.

That’s what narcissists (and sociopaths) want—to find someone they can easily control and manipulate.

The purpose of this letter, however, isn’t to rehash what we already know to be true about narcissists—that they are leave a trail of destruction for any person they touch.

My purpose, rather, is to share my journey and what I have found to be the three most important steps to healing the invisible scars that were left behind, and to move forward with life.

1. The first step is to realize that there is no “fixing” or “saving” these people. Narcissism is a personality defect. As much as we’d like to think that we can simply love these people back together, we cannot.

It’s like thinking that we can love a crocodile or shark into not attacking its prey. Nature designed crocodiles, sharks, and even narcissists the same way—to attack their prey. No amount of love will change that programming.

2. Move away, get away, cut ties. We need to move as far away from the narcissist as possible, as quickly as possible.

Change cities, change states. Hell, I left the country to get away from mine! Make this move with an awareness that they will come calling.

Initially the narcissist will be remorseful (an emotion they’re actually not capable of feeling) to trigger our guilt and that they’ve always used in the past to get us to stay. Then, when they’ve realized they no longer have control, they’ll get angry. This anger will lead them to say all kinds of nasty things to others about the victim.

When the narcissist loses control of us, they will attempt to control how others see us. Don’t go back. Going back won’t solve anything, it’ll only make things worse. Regardless of what they say, continue to move away from them.

Instead focus on self-love, focus on those deep seeded passions within. Those were the things that saved me.

3. Self-forgiveness. This is arguably the hardest step in the journey, however this is the step that ultimately leads to freedom.

Oftentimes, I think we seek to forgive the narcissist, thinking that will allow us to escape the ties to the past. The problem with that logic is this: by forgiving the narcissist we excuse their behaviour, we make it okay.

Forgiveness, in the absence of a genuine apology, means to let someone off the hook for their behaviour.

And narcissists will never genuinely apologize. Therefore it’s not them who needs our forgiveness. It’s us!

We need to forgive ourselves for being naïve enough to think we could change them. We need to forgive ourselves for staying. For putting up with their behaviour. For being blind to their manipulation and control.

Mostly, we need to forgive ourselves for not realizing and knowing implicitly that we deserve so much more. That we are worthy.

Having healed my wounds I can say this isn’t an easy journey. However, I’ve never done something in my life that was more important than taking these steps.

And while it might seem counterintuitive to say, I can now look back at this journey with an odd sense of gratitude, and know that without those narcissists I may never have found the greatest gift of all…

Myself.

With love,
a Survivor

author: Tiffany Toombs

Image: Jane Fox/Flickr

Editor: Lieselle Davidson

Mindful Bonus:

The One Buddhist Red Flag to Look out For.

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Tiffany Toombs

Tiffany Toombs has worked in the health and fitness industry for over 17 years. Her journey started in working with athletes to rehab their injuries before she made a move into the mindset and spiritual side of healing. Now working as a coach, educator, and presenter, Tiffany runs courses and workshops all over the world to empower people to take control of their lives and find their passion and purpose. Connect with her on FacebookInstagram, or on her website.

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lil_pastry_btch Nov 28, 2018 6:24am

Thank you, just thank you

Veronica Waid Nov 3, 2018 11:19pm

Hello Paul. Thank you for your words. I married two narcissists. Naiff is a word I use to describe "believing love heals and conquers anything" Believing that the rest of the world feels and desires the same as I do is pretty naive to me. Believing when someone says "I love you" is not always real.

Erin Labenberg Oct 21, 2018 3:39pm

Thank you so much for your article. It was much needed

Susan Raab Oct 12, 2018 8:24pm

I just moved away from my narcassistic husband. I had a miserable life with him, and yes, forgiving myself is hard, but I am trying no to beat myself up. Thank you for this article <3

Alexandra Aird Ross Sep 25, 2018 11:08am

Thank you so much for this article. It resonates so much with me. I got divorced two years ago and I am co-parenting with someone who displays narcissitic traits constantly. I have protected myself by limiting contact as much as I can. Reading articles like this one have helped enormously in my healing.

Darsi Kemp Sep 24, 2018 10:50pm

Sent to me by a friend, who wrote this. Seems fitting to what I am going through now, and have gone through before Here is something someone I know shared with me, that was written by her. If anyone shares this, you MUST Include Her Name: Encounter With A Sociopath He's funny and he's clever And thinks he's oh so fine. Admittedly he's something. How winning is his line. He's capable of reaching That very deepest place. He'll work you oh so sweetly With master-minded grace. He cares not for your feelings But only for the game. He'll dance you to the music Like moth to fatal flame. He loves to hold a flower So softly in his hand Then crush it for his pleasure, And stomp it in the sand. There's something wrong about him. He simply can't abide The one with purest motives Is threatening to his pride. So any gentle beauty He simply must destroy. He hates sincere affection And revels in the ploy. He's jealous of the goodness That precious souls reflect. He counterfeits their trueness In hopes to gain respect. But he's decayed within him And rotten deep inside But very good at faking To take you for the ride. So if you chance to meet him, Run swiftly. Don't look back. And hope he'll not take interest And throw him off your track. And if you never know him, You're fortunate indeed. But run from any like him, And bid yourself Godspeed. Written by: Elizabeth J. Mitchell

James Harvey Sep 10, 2018 10:14am

It waw only after the death of my (love of my life) had lied to and cheated for the entire time of our relationship, 23 years. whe left me with her daily diaries, she was so good with her "cover". she left me with my age "92'' with no place to go and nothing to look forward to, beware, there may be lots more of them out there

গ্যাব্রিয়েলা ডিয়াজ Aug 30, 2018 3:50pm

This was a hard.. A terrible journey to live. A drugaddic and narcisist. ... Please love guide and spend Quality time with ur kids but dont spoil your teenagers just cuz they got into the jail of drugs... They need to go away and survive from them by themselves.. They become the worst people and noone will be able to keep them around..

Kate Kerrigan Aug 30, 2018 2:56pm

I NEEDED TO READ THIS..HAVING JUST SPLIT UP WITH MY NARCASISTIC PARTNER AFTER SIX YEARS.......HE BROKE MY HIP AND I AM RECENTLY OUT OF HOSPITAL....HE HAS BEEN SERVED WITH AN INJUNCTION ...FOR ONE YEAR.....I STILL CARE ABOUT HIM BUT THE PIECE ABOUT THEM NOT BEING CHANGED BY LOVE HELPED....

Kate Rigg Aug 28, 2018 8:32pm

Thank you ❤️

Paul Erickson Aug 27, 2018 5:21pm

Tiffany Toombs Sadly, I have to agree with ignoring our intuition, but let's not also ignore the fact these caustic chameleons have the ability to portray perfectly exactly what it is we most appreciate in ourselves, and by extension present as our ideal soulmate, and this not because of ignoring our intuition, but simply desiring what each human does, that being with someone likeminded to do life.

Susannah Joy Schuilenberg Aug 26, 2018 11:38pm

Tiffany Toombs Perfect 😊

Susannah Joy Schuilenberg Aug 26, 2018 11:37pm

Darrel Yeng - Well said. Someone who is a “Narcissist” has the disorder. Someone who manifests narcissism as a trait or behaviour falls somewhere along a continuum from normal to pathological. Being careful to distinguish the difference is important.

Darrel Yeng Aug 26, 2018 3:29am

'The first step is to realize that there is no “fixing” or “saving” these people. Narcissism is a personality defect. As much as we’d like to think that we can simply love these people back together, we cannot.' Narcissism is not a personality defect, it is a personality trait. In fact, you need a little bit of healthy narcissism in your life to help with upkeeping your mental health. What you've described in the quoted text is NPD and not narcissism as a trait.

Tiffany Toombs Aug 24, 2018 3:02pm

Thank you for your feedback Jan! I do hope you're thriving now too! <3

Tiffany Toombs Aug 24, 2018 3:02pm

I'm so glad you resonated with this Frida. Thank you for your feedback! xo

Tiffany Toombs Aug 24, 2018 3:01pm

I appreciate it can be hard to watch others be married to a narcissist, however I've learned to accept that I cannot rescue them, this is their journey and lesson to learn. I pray that your daughter see's the truth soon!

Tiffany Toombs Aug 24, 2018 3:00pm

Thanks for your feedback Jean!

Tiffany Toombs Aug 24, 2018 3:00pm

Thank you for your feedback Paul! Perhaps naive wasn't the best word to use...however I do believe we empaths are prone to ignoring our intuition to rescue others.

Tiffany Toombs Aug 24, 2018 2:58pm

I have had clients and friends cut ties with adult children who were narcs. There's also a choice in whether to stay or go. Whether the narc is a parent or a child, you have NO OBLIGATION to give your time and energy to someone who treats you poorly.

Tiffany Toombs Aug 24, 2018 2:55pm

I'm glad it resonated with you!

Tiffany Toombs Aug 24, 2018 2:55pm

I hope so too!

Tiffany Toombs Aug 24, 2018 2:55pm

I appreciate there are situations where it's not possible to physically move away from the narcissist...as in cases of having children together, there are ways to energetically and emotionally disconnect and "move away" so to speak that I have witnessed great success with my clients. I'm glad this article resonated with you!

Tiffany Toombs Aug 24, 2018 2:53pm

Thank you for your feedback, however not once in this article did I refer to the mental health diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Narcissism in now often considered to be a scale towards which some people have more narcissistic tendencies than others. It's also be shown time and again that empaths and people pleasers typically lack the ability to set strong boundaries and therefore are more likely to attract people with high narcissist traits into their lives. I'll be more clear on making those statements in the future.

Tiffany Toombs Aug 24, 2018 2:48pm

Happy to remind you any time you need! <3

Tiffany Toombs Aug 24, 2018 2:47pm

They are all great actors and actresses I think! I'm so glad you've been able to break free from that now!