Victim or Volunteer – Part Two
The devaluation. People often regard this as one complete stage that follows the glorious seduction of the golden period. It is in fact made up of two parts. First comes the stranger period. It is so called because to you it seems like you are dealing with somebody completely different to the person that you know and love. This is when the transition occurs between the seduction and the insidious abuse that is just around the corner. This stranger period should be regarded as the calm before the storm and if you are among the few who recognise it when it happens it is a clear signal to you to get out. Most do not of course recognise it. They perhaps see it as the relationship moving beyond the honeymoon period and since there is no horrible treatment per se, they do not realise that the stranger period (which is still a stark contrast to the golden period) is in actual fact a warning. The stranger period is at the beginning of the period of devaluation and is a clear marker that there are far worse times ahead.
You are unlikely to query this shift from golden period to the stranger period in any great detail. Should you have done so? Should you have paid greater attention to us (just as we always have demanded)? Should you have wondered why we did not answer your telephone call with the enthusiasm that we once did? Ought you to have questioned why we seemed less interested in doing things with you? Did you see it and put it down to us being tired? Maybe you just thought it was because we had had a rough day at work? You asked if we were okay and we assured you that we were, but there was no conviction in our responses. They were flat and other worldly but you did not press any further. Why not? Perhaps you should have done? Perhaps if you had done so you would have taken greater heed of what it was signifying or was it asking too much of you to realise that was coming? Nobody has any idea of what this stranger period signifies when they first encounter out so why would you be any different? Perhaps the view that you failed to heed this warning is a harsh one?
What then of the devaluation proper when the darkness descended and the abuse came? Of course it is the false default setting of our kind that everything is your fault. That is the way that we have been created. That is the way that we conduct ourselves in order to protect our fragility from criticism. We must project, blame-shift and remain unaccountable whilst ensuring that you are regarded as culpable, liable and blameworthy. It is part of the matrix of control that we deem necessary to apply against you. Yet, if one strips away this all to readily applied blame what then? Would the objective observer reach the conclusion of victim or volunteer? What do you think? Do not think that this is one of our standard exercises of attributing blame, I have already conceded that such blame-shifting is one of our key manipulations, but I am lifting that usual approach and posing the question as to whether during devaluation you might be regarded as a victim or volunteer?
The first time we doled out a silent treatment which lasted a day? Should you have known then what you were dealing with and distanced yourself? Is that unrealistic? What about when there was the second period of being frozen out? Or the third? Maybe not after those, after all, you dealt with them didn’t you? Perhaps you ought to have realised when we lost our temper with you? When those savage words and insults were shouted at you? That is emotional violence. That is abusive. Why did you not walk away then? You stayed. Could it then be argued you volunteered for more dressings down? How about when we began to gaslight you? We toyed with your reality, confusing and bewildering? Did you recognise what was going on? But you are clever, resourceful and independent, surely you knew what was happening? Besides, this was taking place alongside the shouting matches and the cold shoulders. Surely the alarm bells were ringing now weren’t they? Did you hear them and ignore them or did you just not hear them? What about the times we took your car without asking? Ate the food you had set aside? Stopped you sleeping properly by elbowing you all night? What about the repeated stopping out late and the flirtation with other women? Surely you noticed all of that, in fact we know you did, because we made sure you did so to enable us to get our precious fuel. So, you experienced all of this and you still stayed. Does that make you a volunteer as the abuse continued?
What about the first time we shoved you back during an argument? No? How about the second time when that shove sent you into a wall and you banged your head? No? Surely when that first slap stung your cheek, then you must have realised what was happening and yet you stayed after that. Does that make you no longer a victim but a volunteer instead? Of course nobody ever asks to be treated that way. You are not volunteers in that sense but given you realised that certain behaviours towards you were wrong, unpleasant and downright nasty, you obviously spotted them so why did you remain and allow yourself to be subjected to even more? You are your own person, surely, you should have realised and walked away? You might refer to not being able to because of money, housing, accommodation and children. Perhaps they are considerations but when pitted against your own safety and sanity, which should be protected first?
Accordingly, reflecting on all that happened to you, the repeated manipulative and abusive behaviours which were never isolated examples but rather repeated and increasing violations against you, could it be said that you were a victim or did you in fact volunteer by remaining in the firing line? I would welcome your observations.
Putting aside my usual blaming behaviours I would offer you this conclusion. To volunteer is to be able to exercise a degree of decision-making and control over your own person. You were never allowed that control. We took it.
39 thoughts on “Victim or Volunteer – Part Two”
I didn’t know he is a narcissist but I knew the way he started treating me wasn’t right and some of his behavior frightened me. This is when I started googling things like controlling manipulative boyfriend, silent treatment, blaming, putting downs etc and the most common advice i come across was to run away. Ending things up was the right thing to do but I was worried about his reaction and hesitated a bit to long. He sensed it and discarded me first.
Most empaths will teach you that none of the narcissistic abuse was our fault, that’s an agreed upon reality in the current NPD discourse. You, once again, put a mirror in front of us, and ask to take responsibility.
I think reality is somewhere in the middle, this time, and it’s complex.
I personally never saw myself as a victim. I was always aware of the fact that I’m one step away from being free if it went too far. Either I could step out the door and drive away, which I’ve done several times, distancing myself from both narcissists, or I could mentally submerge my mind elsewhere, be it work or pleasure, and Ive done that many times.
Nevertheless, we are all embedded in a sociopolitical reality that we can’t entirely escape from. There are larger forces at work like social norms that hold us in place and control our behavior to a degree.
Then there’s empathy, which created the social framework in the first place, I think the biggest motivator here to volunteer, to try and heal this small part of it. It’s the role of empathy to go to great lengths to find ways to fix what’s broken and destructive to the healthy social framework. It’s the reason why empathy, the trillions of mirror neurons evolved in our brains, and created the current civilization.
So, no HG, it’s not because you have us under your control, it’s solely empathy that has control over us.
Victim or volunteer? I think it’s a sliding scale based on your awareness of what you are dealing with, which is two-fold: you need to know what the NARCISSIST is, and you need to know what YOU are. Only when you have all pieces of the puzzle, connect them to finally see the bigger picture, *and stay regardless*, one can say that you are a volunteer.
Why do empaths get entangled? The answer lies in the victim’s childhood, I think.
Some were raised by narcs and learned to associate love with abuse. Any abuse dished out by the narc partner feels familiar, and we are built to seek the known.
Some were taught that love had to be earned. They naturally blame themselves for their supposed failings and try harder when the narc raises the bar and changes rules as he pleases.
Some were shown that they were never good enough. They suffer from low self-esteem, or do not have any sense of their own worth, and believe whatever the narc is projecting onto them.
Some were neglected and became co-dependents. They put up with the abuse, forever seeking validation from the narc.
Victims probably fall into several categories, to varying degrees.
Narcs are not superhumans. They are just excellent observers and listeners. Empaths reveal their wounds subconsciously, or willingly during the love-bombing phase. Narcs know where it hurts, and they seek to psychologically drag their victims back into their childhood where helplessness and hopelessness prevailed. That’s how they create a sense of omnipotence in their victims, that’s how they achieve compliance.
It’s on us empaths to work on ourselves… to free ourselves from these shackles!
Yup. What she said.
Except for needing to know what he is. Unless Matilda meant that he is unhealthy for you generally. You do not need to have the label of Narcissist to know that it is detrimental to your being to stay with him.
True, you do not need a label. Abuse is abuse, and it does not really matter how and why the abuser is disordered.
I, for one, have an insatiable thirst for knowledge with regard to this. Because I want to outsmart the next one, to never be a victim again. I want to know everything: every dirty, little trick in their books… every thought… every delusional assumption or interpretation of reality… down to which areas of their brains get activated when and why. I want to be prepared, to feel confident in my judgements of others.
Haha. God help your next love interest. But seriously, dont let your experience make you hard(er) lol. I see a lot of posts saying never again, but you need not give everyone the hairy eyeball. Enjoy life, be aware and trust your instinct. Everyone should not lose out on your passion and fire because you gave of yourself to someone who was really not capable of valuing it. Narcs may be tragic but their happiness is not an Empaths responsibility. Showing the world their passion and strength is.
One false move and he will be shredded! 😀 😀
The experience has changed me considerably, and part of me wants to never try again. However, I know this meant that he was victorious, which infuriates me so much I forget my fears!!
Yes, the one thing I have learned is to trust my gut instinct. With hindsight, I can say it has never failed me.
Excellent post Matilda. Everything you said is the reality a lot of victims suffered in childhood at least for me. Then when they are adults they have to learn to take responsibility for their own choices. It’s really hard to unlearn what you’ve been taught. I’m not sure unlearning is ever finished at least for me but it can get better. I say “at least for me” as much as I can because I know this does not fit everyone’s circumstances.
Thank you, 12345. Yes, it is hard to change perceptions of yourself which were burned into you at a young age… an ongoing struggle.
Those who are responsible often were victims themselves, passing on their pain, with or without intent. The deeper you dig, the more you understand, the less you blame. I have reached acceptance, and it feels wonderful. 🙂
Exactly Matilda thank you for posting ! This is why I visit sites like this I want to figure it all out to stay out! I am dealing with the shock and slow acceptance that my N does indeed have NPD. I’m trying to push aside the ever present denial and understand why I willingly ..although unwittingly sometimes went along with it. Hopefully by educating ourselves about narcissism we can …mentally, physically and spiritually separate ourselves from our tormentors. God bless! S
You’re welcome, Shantily. It is hard to face the reality of the situation at first. I remember it well. But once you start peeling away the layers, it gets easier. Not sure if you can ever be indifferent towards someone you loved deeply, but you certainly can be emotionally and physically distant enough not to fall prey to him again.
What’s that old saying….fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
HG- I love that image you have used. She reminds me so much of the woman I was once. I suppose that sounds vain. I feel repulsed that he hurt that sculptured face and regrets, huge regrets for being suckered in against everything my core was screaming out to me. Those delicate and beautiful bones, clavicle and fine build was tapped on frequently by him with a thud out of the blue with his cruel fingers along with (look at you, chicken bones why don’t you put some weight on). Other times whilst people were around (yeah she is petite and you can’t fatten a thoroughbred) a complete contrast. Back to private: TAP TAP TAP (Heavy and hard fingers poking my bones) TAP TAP TAP until I yell, Stop it your hurting me! TOO LATE= So that’s the way you feel BITCH I will never touch you again you F*CKING SLUT. My full lips= I betcha any guy would like them wrapped around his C**K huh? Would you, would you do it? How many could you take in your mouth? Huh, Huh? You would wouldn’t you? You know if you did what will happen don’t you. I keep my jealousy in check, don’t ever push it will you or that place I have control over will f*ck you over and you won’t have your pretty face or lips anymore will you? Don’t ever put me to the test, that’s a warning.
I HATE HIM WITH EVERY FIBRE OF MY BEING.
I LOVED HIM WITH EVERY FIBRE OF MY BEING.
I LOATH HIM AND HIS APPEARANCE MAKES ME VOMIT.
I cried looking at that woman.
We are volunteers who do not realize such. We hang in there despite the abuse because we still think we can control the narcissist in the same way that we (falsely) assumed we could control our narcissistic parent whom we could never please either. No matter what we did we could never get the love we deserved. Until we realize this, we are forever doomed to stay to stay in the abuse cycle. You cannot control a narcissist. You can only identify one and get out. But generally before I do this I like to reduce them to rubble in some way as payment for all the shit they put me through.
Awesome. Thank you for your words. Rubble, my new fav word =).
My N never held a gun to my head or forced me to be in any situation. ( although I wouldn’t put it past him ) I could always walk away at any time. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I hate to see myself as a victim. I may not have been able to predict his wickedness or foresee the level of viciousness that he had in store for me. But I knew …!!!(because he showed me repeatedly) the calm would never last, it never did. Ultimately I have to take responsibility for “giving our relationship ” one more go, for not protecting myself, for stepping one more time into the ring with him ….Because when that bell rang and it was always ringing, I was the one that laced up my gloves on my own …and I stepped through the ropes for …the millionth time
#unhealedwounds #fatherissues #unrequitedlove #codependency
I agree, we are not forced to do anything.. we always want to give it another opportunity…
we fight on .. we want to equally win.
And perhaps we are.
Of course I was to blame. I never felt comfortable with him, not even in the golden period, which lasted 2,3 months. There was always something unsettling about him, I just couldn’t take the love bombing for real. I didn’t even like him at the beginning. He is handsome, but I thought he was too weird, too young and too needy. I still remember the moment I felt I was in love, it came like a wave, out of the blue. The next moment,literally speaking, he changed. He became distant and quite mean. It was as if he had sensed my feelings, although I hadn’t shown anything. One month later I left him, he went crazy, he lured me back. That was my major defeat- because I had, by then, fully realised something was terribly wrong but,still, I went back. And the 2,5 worst years of my life began.
Of course I was not to blame. Just as your last paragraph says. I grew up in chaos, chaos was what I knew best, and he woke up the ghosts. I remembered them all, thanks to him. It was impossible to control my life. I dived into the twilight zone. I acted and felt like never before and it was impossible to get out of the pit, although he was neither my first narcissist (as I know now) nor the first abusive person in my life. How had I defeated the others? I desperately tried to use my old tactics, but nothing worked anymore. I lost my strength and my eternal youth, because of him. I know I will never be the same again. I have gotten over him, because I “met” you, but I am a worse person now, and it is not my fault. Or it is.
Because you see, HG, I feel there is never one truth.
Powerful. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Love.
How are you getting along with your holistic approach and the new things you were trying? Are you noticing a change or is it too early? I wondered if where you body went, youre mind would follow, and it seemed you were trying more relaxation techniques. I asked Big Bobby to find Vinnie to tell Tony that I looked for you and hope you are well.
Hi NarcAngel! Ya, Lil Toney gave Big Tony the message 😀
Thanks So much for asking. ❤ I’m doing much better. I’m on a strict routine now. Which makes me nostalgic of my old habits: Late nights, alcohol, fun, and not so wise decisions. But this sacrifice is worth it. I finally have a bit of calm in my life. It takes time to process and truly accept it.
How are you? You’re not being your naughty funny self lately. Bring it back girl. Bring it back.
The same exact experience in the beginning with mine. There was always something off about him and like you said “unsettling”. I grew up in an abusive home with two alcoholic parents and Dad was violent with Mom. I had been in abusive relationships prior and thought it would never happen to me again. I was so very wrong. I kicked him out after a year and a half. He was younger and very handsome with a perfect body and all the skills but there was always something weird. The golden period wasn’t even all that golden. And yet, he somehow took complete control of me. It is amazing how they are able to manipulate and control even those that are aware it is happening and think they are playing the game as well.
Katatone666, true. For a long time,I was sure he was a borderline. Early on, when trouble began, it slipped my tongue and I told him what I thought. He didn’t comment or react. But from then on, he started throwing little hints at me, subtle, almost undetected signs, that he was indeed a borderline. Veryfying, thus, my “diagnosis” and pushing me to act accordingly. I was completely mislead-I, “the experienced, mature woman”. It took me over a year to finally understand that he was not a borderline but a narcissist. What a shock that was.
M and katanon666
The one i know- is handsome, young, gifted, brilliant mind, charming, adorable.. I know him for 10 years.
8 years of dream- like life, 2 years of nightmares…
I am much much older .
he became a narc
M, Your comments about ghosts and twilight zone. I could not agree more. Years later and still, every day is a battle. Have not seen the N in a long time but still fighting my way out of the fog. I hope one day I do. He ripped open so many wounds. And then poured poison into them. Each day is a fight to actually feel alive. To feel anything beyond going through the motions. It’s like I am rewriting my life. Like a stranger in my own body. It has to get easier. I don’t comment here often but every once in awhile a comment really speaks to me. Yours did. Thank you!
Shootingstar, thank you for your comment, I am moved. I absolutely understand how you feel. Absolutely. “Re-writing my life”. Exactly. “Re-reading my past as well”, I could add. I questioned everything I had experienced by then-what was real? What had just been a subjective interpretation of mine? Had my happiness been hapiness? Had I been loved by those I thought? Were they all abusers? Had I loved them or was it just a selfish journey? Too much thinking and too much apathy at the same time. No life outside this dark microcosm inside my brain. I am sorry to hear your painful battle goes on… But, each one has her or his own pace. It will pass. It will go away. Not 100 % maybe, but it will fade. One day we suddenly wake up and we realise that we have moved, slightly, just a tiny step, but enough to change our perspective.
I wish you the best.
Ohhhh. You were doing so well until the end, when you gave the volunteers an out by taking the credit. I wonder how many took your last paragraph as being charitable instead of an example of superiority.
HA, NarcAngel, you are right! How impertinent of him! 😀 😀
I believe one of the comments I received most was, “Take responsibility for your actions, your a grown woman, you made your own decisions, live with it.”
AME…Same except for swap grown woman with mature woman, the rest is the identical.
Yours is a Lesser, of the violent kind. It angers me to read what he has put you through… can you not remove yourself from his presence/influence?
Matilda, I have a plan. Soon, very soon. Cannot say much more he could be under any name on this forum, or his influenced dummies. Soon. I think he is a psychopath. I am not sure about the lesser. Thank you Matilda, very soon, soon.
That is good to hear, Purple! Yes, be vigilant and careful, calm and prepared… you will get there! Good luck, Purple!
Bravo! Even if you took something from us, we allowed it. We are volunteers after a certain point. I appreciate this blog very much as I think all need to take ownership. I know my narc won’t take ownership but who cares. He’s a lunatic and a hurt and wounded infant. I would love to find blogs about a narcs childhood. How a person becomes a narc. Do you have any?
You will find information about my childhood through the blog and my various books. There will also be specific ones available in due course (they are being written).
I am also interested to know how one become a narcissist..
Hi maria, not sure if you’ll get this as HG doesn’t post all of my comments and maybe you won’t find it in the shuffle. I’m any case, since we haven’t been directed in anyway (theres so many years to read) and there are so many blogs, I’m committed to you that when and if I find info., I will share w you. I read alot of his stuff, comments as well.
I didn’t begin as volunteer but I quickly became a volunteer. Red flags were everywhere. I was in complete denial. I didn’t want to see the truth. Taking ownership is part of healing. Will I ever do it again? I’ll never say never but I have grown in self trust and self love. One foot in front of the other.