Are you a victim? A survivor? What are you? What am I? Are we the same, or different, you and I?
There is a controversial aspect when it comes to speaking about narcissists and more in particular about those who are/were subjected to narcissistic abuse. There are a lot of different blogs, voices and opinions out there, on this topic. Since I find this matter so important, I will add my voice to the others.
I am a victim. There. I said it. I will explain why I choose to call myself a victim. Well, because for me, it is important that the blame of the wrongful/harmful actions that happened to me in the narcissistic relationship, should fall where it belongs.
I quote Wikipedia here, about victim blaming: “Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially responsible for the harm that befell them”. In a narcissistic relationship, I experienced this constantly. It was essentially my fault, (according to the narc), that he abused me with gaslighting, pathological lying, cheating, future faking, constantly broken promises, silent treatments, withdrawal of affection, and a hundred other mind games. Therefore, I now at least in front of myself, call myself a victim. And here on the blog. (I do not yell it from the roof tops, no). I am not ashamed anymore, about what happened to me. It wasn’t my fault. None of the things I did and said, made me deserve the crazy-making emotional abuse, that had me brainwashed and in such a fog, that I could barely escape with my sanity intact.
If you were narcissistically abused, it wasn’t your fault. Remember that. Repeat that.
I am still a victim. In some ways. Why? I am out of the relationship now, aren’t I? Yes. But just like a victim of other harmful actions (e.g. of physical violence), can suffer long-term consequences of being a victim, so have I. There are some wounds within me that I fear will never heal, from this experience. Other wounds have already started to heal.
I believe it is crucial for a person’s healing process, to be allowed to call themselves a victim, when having been subjected to awful treatments, treatments which bear strong resemblances to those used in “actual psychological torture”, (for example unlawful torture of prisoners). For so long, I was denied not only my subjective experience of the abuse, but also the objective reality of what was going on. By objective reality I mean facts, like the fact that the narcissist was with another girl, having sex with her, and that he wasn’t in some other “made-up” location. Because I was denied these things, (my experience aswell as facts), it has been necessary for me, to be able to speak up and call myself a victim of all that. When other people try to deny me that right, (even if they are well-meaning in their intentions) I feel somewhat re-traumatized. Like my experience wasn’t valid, that maybe I did something to deserve all that abuse… And I simply refuse to accept that, anymore. I accepted it for four years from the narcissist, but no more. Not from anyone.
With this reasoning, it follows that the narcissist is, well, a narcissist. And I was the victim of that person. There could be a polarization implied here, that he is “the evil, dark one”, and that I am somehow “the light and good one”. I don’t see it in complete black and white. (He’s dark grey and I’m beige? :))
I do see that he was a completely broken person (emotionally). Was he evil? Well; he had no conscience, no empathy, no remorse. So yes, I’d say he was “evil”. Not “Hitler evil”, but emotionally evil, to women. And of course there were “reasons” for him being that way (his childhood, etc).
But that’s not my “problem”. He’s an adult and could have sought therapy, to solve his issues. (Which I begged him to, numerous times, and he refused).
Am I evil, or good? I’m not a saint, that’s for sure. I have some issues. But I’d say I am “mostly good”, I am certain that I have a a conscience, empathy, and remorse, and I go out of my way to not hurt people. I would say I’m at least 80 % good(?), if I had to make an estimate…. 🙂 So, the way I see it, there is a polarization, but at the same time, there isn’t. The narcissist was just very “far out on the darkness spectrum”, but not all the way out (like, the “he’s not Hitler” – example). I’m pretty “far out on the light spectrum”, while not all the way out (Like… I’m not..Gandhi/Mother Theresa, etc. Just a person who’s making a choice to always try to do what is right and good. That’s all we can do, right?)
I also had some issues from my childhood, which probably made me easier to target as a victim, and made it easier for the narcissist to manipulate my wish to fix things/(call it codependency those who want to. It’s a sort of “trending” word now, I think…). However, just like someone being attacked/robbed by a violent person in a dark park without streetlights, it still wasn’t my fault. I was still a victim.
Now, when do I shed this “victim status”? Do I, ever? When can I drop this word victim and take the title of survivor? After all, “victim” is a much more “sad” word, right? And “survivor” is a “stronger” word. And I do not want to be the perpetual victim, (that the narc painted himself out to be, as you may recall). You may have noticed, that my blog name is “SurvivedNarc“. So in some small ways, I am already a survivor.
But by saying I survived, I mean I “made it out alive”. I’m still breathing, walking, even working. Even doing some healing, moving forward. (As some of you know). But I do feel, that in order for me to call myself a Survivor, I need to feel that. Really feel the word ring true in my ears, fall naturally off my tongue, rest with ease within my heart. I am not there yet. I have to feel a little bit more whole. I have to feel I’ve moved forward so much, that the abuse doesn’t make me shudder and cry and rage within, when thinking about it. I need it to be a more distant memory. I need to be able to think about it and simply shake my head at it. And be able think about how very happy I have become, and how far I’ve come, since then. Not quite there… But I’ve started the journey. I reckon I might be somewhere in the middle. Between Victim and Survivor.
I am on my way there.
Where are you?
💜Love and healing thoughts to you💜/SurvivedNarc