Victim or Volunteer – Part One

 

VICTIM OR VOLUNTEER _PART ONE

 

I seduced you. There is no doubt that this happened. I was the protagonist and I brought you under my spell. But let us go a little further back. I chose you. I identified you as a prospect and then undertook my investigative work to determine that you had what I was looking for (you did) and then I began to gather the material that would aid my seduction of you. You had no idea that you had walked into my sights. You had no idea that my gaze followed you around the room, that I observed where you worked, where you lived and began the careful assimilation of information about who you are from your friends and your online presence. In fact, your social media contribution was instrumental in allowing me to ascertain that you fitted the profile that I require in those I target. Not only that, your tendency to plaster your life over the internet provided me with a plethora of material to use in my seduction. More than most I felt I really did know you before I even met you. There are enough warnings about remaining safe on-line, plenty of guides about how to be secure in your internet dealings and to chart the waters of cyberspace in an enjoyable yet cautious manner. Not that you paid any regard to this as comments, photographs, location tags and such like were thrown like broadcasted seeds out into cyberspace. You posted photographs which showed inside your home, it was easy enough from your frequent location tags to work out the neighbourhood where you lived and then using the photographs to identify which was your house. You didn’t see me sat in the car outside as I waited one morning for the confirmation that was where you lived. I had a good look through your windows as well seeing as how you opened all the blinds and that hedge meant nobody saw me taking note of what lay within you house. Some might say that such an approach meant you asked for what happened. Would it be uncharitable to suggest that your lax approach to sharing your life on social media caused you to stand out as a ready target?

It was not difficult to engage you. You are after all a bright and vivacious person with many friends. Indeed, those friends enjoy talking about you to people and they offered up more information about you. Perhaps you should re-consider who you trust with information about you. I was always pushing on an open door with you and even the surprising hesitancy you showed when I suggested we sit in a booth together in that bar was soon overcome as I began to mirror you.

Did you not think it strange that I just happened to like jet ski-ing and was apparently a member of the same club as you, that I loved Thai food and enjoyed dance music? Our mutual love of rugby (I had to swot up on that admittedly) provided the opening for a date at a rugby match. Did you not think it was unusual that we clicked on so many levels or were you just swept away by the fact we did and therefore never gave it a second thought? Some might suggest that this was opening yourself up to my charms rather too quickly or are they being unduly critical of you?

We attended the rugby in the afternoon and I had already arranged dinner at a restaurant I knew you often frequented. You expressed such delight at this surprise by planting a huge kiss on my lips. I knew you are an excitable person but did you ever stop to think how, out of the thousands of restaurants in this city, I knew this was your favourite? You actually did ask me, as we dined, how I knew about this place and I explained a client had recommended it to me. When you explained it was your favourite I feigned surprise and added that I just thought you might like it. You did not pick up on how I was able to secure a booking on a Saturday and an excellent table to boot, but then how were you to know about the slipped notes passed to a member of staff. After all, I move with an air of considered confidence so it all fitted together didn’t it that I would command such close attention from the waiting staff through the evening.

You even missed the fact that somewhat inebriated I was able to tell the taxi driver where you lived. I had become somewhat amused at how easy this was proving to be. Your readiness to down glass after glass of wine in the company of someone you had not long ago met. Was that remiss of you or was it understandable given the way I made myself seem so familiar to you through my background work on you. I decided to let slip your address to the taxi driver, even though you had not given it to me, yet you completely missed this. As I helped you into the taxi, ever the gent, you missed the almost reptilian smile I gave. I didn’t. I saw it reflected back at me in the window of the taxi.

I had earlier plied you with plaudits and listened to you offer me up even more information, telling me where you worked, what you did there, information about your colleagues, taking me through your relationships with your family, your favourite musicals and so on. I logged it all as you opened up to me, pouring so much knowledge in my direction. There are those who might consider that to be a natural thing to do, the social lubrication which makes the interpersonal relationship easier and who is to say they are wrong? You accepted my compliments with good grace and returned them which pleased me considerably. I had to stop myself laughing out loud as you declared those phrases which told me that all lights are green.

“I feel like I have known you for years.”

“This is wonderful; we have so much in common.”

“You know me so well, it is fantastic.”

I threw a few of our well-used favourites back at you,

“I think we were fated to meet.”

“I’ve never clicked with anybody the way I have with you.”

“I know it is only the second time we have spent together but I feel a connection with you.”

I may as well have stood on the restaurant table and waved a huge red flag in front of you with klaxons blaring in the background. You did not notice. Was that negligent of you? Ought you, as a self-professed intelligent and independent person, to have seen these warning signs and acted on them? Perhaps you did and decided that the risk was worth taking. If that was the case, I know that there are people who would regard you as consenting to our entanglement with some degree of knowledge that something was not quite right but you were happy to waive this concern, it was too tempting to miss out on someone like me. Was that how it flashed through your mind?

The dates came and went and my tendrils wrapped around you. I stayed over in your house on the second date. You yielded readily to my overtures and we engaged in frenetic, athletic love-making which enabled me to play one of my aces. It was following one such energetic coupling that you held me and with sincerity shining from your eyes whispered that you felt you were falling in love with me. I smiled and nodded because after all, love comes quickly with our type and I was positively delighted that you had given this indication even before I had opportunity to play that particular card. Did you replay that conversation and all the other beautiful ones we had that evening of love-making? Of course you did. You always do because the recall of such scintillating times causes a soaring sensation in your chest. Did you evaluate what this meant? Did you consider it against other relationships in order to benchmark your feelings? Some might suggest that the cautious and sensible would do so and apply some slowing touches and undertake some verification of everything that you were being told, but you did not. Was that slipshod of you? You were given the signs. You were handed the warnings. They were plain enough to see. Many of them were conventional in nature. I only hid them in plain sight, as I always do. Perhaps you are at fault for not paying heed to them? Then again how could you be expected to resist me? I have done this so many times and you (surprisingly) have not been seduced by my kind behaviour. I bet you have said the label attached to my type less than half a dozen times. How could you be expected to put up any resistance when you are being flattered and wooed in such a convincing manner? Why would you stop someone from being so pleasant? Who would? Maybe it is an entirely unfeeling and harsh judge who expected you to know better and remain vigilant?

You let me in. You opened the door and left it open whilst providing me with a key to it and the back door too. You allowed me to permeate every element of your life from your bed to your buddies. Should you have listened to that one friend who cautioned you against moving so quickly? She was just bitter wasn’t she? After all, that is what we told you and why on earth would you have any reason to disagree with us? Your family all felt I was wonderful, even your sister who in the past has been notoriously difficult to please (actually she isn’t, you just need to know what to say but that’s a different story) so you could be forgiven for deeming their reactions as an accurate weather gauge of who I was. How could you have known what was coming? You are no clairvoyant and who would not have taken advantage of being chosen by such a wonderful, charming, magnetic and loving person as I? All my friends spoke highly of me. Did you not pick up on how rehearsed they often sounded when lauding my attributes? No, never mind, it was too much to expect you to do so wasn’t it.

On went our relationship, two entwined lovers, the world at our feet, happiness all around us, a beautiful and enchanting romance. Who would not want such a thing? You have to have an open heart haven’t you otherwise you can never be happy? You have to trust don’t you otherwise you will never find anybody? You have to bare your chest and lift your throat to the world. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and so on. Anybody else would have done the same, surely? Are you to be judged by the universal standard and forgiven for not seeing a predator making his way towards you, snaking his tendrils about you and sinking those sugar-coated fangs into your naïve neck? Or ought you have noticed but became too caught up in your fantasy of perfect love that you blinded yourself. Does that make you culpable? Then again, did you see the signs but actually ignored them, content to brush them to one side because your heart told you this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be with me.

Were you a victim?

Or did you volunteer?

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54 Comments

  1. It amazes me how you mock us normal people for having hearts and ignoring the warnings because we so desperately wish to fall in love because we actually know how great that feels. Yet you need us. Normal humans could still manage to survive day to day with you “fuel”. But you could never live without fuel or other people I should say. Yet you’re the superior? 🙄

    1. I never felt that way about HG mocking us – empathy etc. I. My consultation with him I felt the utmost respect and a real partner giving the keys to help me and telling me where to look , he saw me going in a spirale , tried to get me to GOSO before I banged my head on a wall that he saw coming .
      I don’t usually step in debates but I think it is an unfair comment that is probably indirectly intended to your Narc .
      I might be wrong .
      Have a great day !

  2. I almost fell for this once. He drew intense feelings from me… a dopamine rush for sure, but I knew something wasn’t quite right. I was able to focus my attention on another and recover, but the vortex he created… wow! The irony is that I would not take it back. It was such a deep heedy experience that I will always remember. And I have him to thank.

    If what you speak is true, I feel sad for him. Why? That intensity I felt… it was amaaaaaazing. To not feel that? Ever? So sad. So very sad. It was like a soul orgasim that lasted for months.

  3. Victim 100%. All of us. Why? Because we have no idea what we are up against. It is our nature to look for the good, give second chances, and forgive. Sociopaths, psychopaths and narcissists know this and target us because of this. They are incredibly skilled at their manipulations. Whether it be seemingly innocent flirtation to get us to slowly drop our guard or over the top declarations of love and admiration they deploy insidious tactics in order to hook us to what is essentially their drug to keep us coming back.

    In THEIR mind we are volunteers because in their twisted and deceitful way they warned us. Those veiled warnings were a test to see how much we have succumbed to the lie.

    Psychological and emotional abuse is horrifically insidious because it allows for plausible deniability in the abuser’s mind and leaves no marks. Even when a malice obsession comes into play the victim still runs a risk if returning.

    The victim also gets blamed by outsiders who have not endured the mental assault by an abuser because they have never been targeted. In their minds how could we stay, go back, try again? They are operating on logical thinking whereas a victim is operating on emotional thinking clouding their judgment and silencing alarm bells.

    Victim.

    I did not volunteer for this shit.

  4. I volunteered, simply because once I realized what I was involved in I stayed until it was too late. The pitfall of being an empath is that we ultimately hold on to this dilusion that we can “save” them. So I cannot claim to be a victim, I knew all along what life I chose. Now that I am away, I am having withdrawals from this personality type as it is the ultimate high for an empath. I hope this makes sense.

    ~Mari

  5. I volunteered to be a victim. I did this by ignoring my inner warning alarms because I thought his actions were isolated events. I thought his words were the result of a bad day. I became a victim when he had so entangled himself to me, that I was left with no means of escape.
    I did escape 3 years ago. I’m still dealing with the damage he had done. I loved him though. I still do. No one will ever compare. I’ve tried. I’m left to accept the fact that I may never have that kind of passion , love and loyalty to any other man. That’s how good it was.

    HG: Would you be so kind to address the dynamics of the relationship between the narc and his non biological children of his primary in a future article?

  6. Once you have spent time here , I mean a lot of time , once you have consulted with HG, I mean a lot of consultations, once you have gone NC twice, once you have let the doors open to hoovering , once you have wished to be hoovered, once you have gone back, once all that has happenned and you drive 1 hour to spend 24 hours with him … you are there voluntarily – you are not a victim. You know.

    1. You are absolutely right Journey. I stopped feeling victimized when I escaped. Now I just feel pathetically weak at times. I’m 4 months into my 4th NC. I DID invite hoovers many times. I feel like I love him, but I fear I’m just giving myself reasons for not staying NC. It’s been 3 fucking years! How long do I need to keep torturing myself? Weak, weak, weak….

      1. Cindy , as long as the benefits outweighs the costs then it’s like an addiction before it swings in the dark side. The issue is that the swinging in the dark side is very insidious and we don’t see it coming.
        Right now I am still in observer mode because despite we talk everyday and text I see him every 8-9 days so I can come back in reality.
        I known though, that if I see him many days straight and spend time with him much more I won’t see the swinging coming.
        So sadly volunteering for the experience I guess.

      2. OMJ, How do you know when you’ve entered your dark side? Does the mask slide off in a fit of rage? When he makes you cry?

      3. Cindy you know you slided in the dark side – when you no longer have distance between you and what they do.
        You slide when you «  forget » they are Narcs and you start finding them excuses.
        You sliding in the dark side when you start imagining they will change.
        You start sliding in the dark side when your emotions dictates your actions.
        Going back to golden with golden eye and instead of golden distance .

  7. Rugby eh? Definitely a Brit thing. Don’t think you’d have seduced many Americans with that.

  8. A child is not a volunteer. A sensitive empathic child born into a narc family, growing up mentally and physically tortured and traumatised, is not a volunteer. The adult that the child becomes is not a volunteer. Normal relationship experiences were denied them. They may also be in a culture that offers them no other options and they are transferred from one abusive situation to another as they are simply a piece of property.

    When the reality of the child’s experience is persistently denied, how can the adult make a valid assessment? When the child has been conditioned to endure devaluing, the adult they become will continue doing so. If there is never any protection, but rather social enforcement of toxic narcissistic abuse, how can any person be a volunteer?

    Taking personal responsibility for actual choices is important. This, however, comes with a set of criteria to demonstrate that informed decision making power exists.

    Deflection of accountability and blame shifting by narc perpetrators is just a continuation of the abuse. I believe this is the usual pattern.

    1. Leslie, I don’t know if you were a child born into a narcissist family. I only know what you have shared in reference to your relationship. I don’t see you as a volunteer but I dont see you as a victim either. A victim of the society you grew up in, yes! The culture you live in gives you no choice. BUT from what I have read, they haven’t made you a victim in your mind. Change will happen someday and it will be because of women like you who haven’t been broken.

    2. “ A child is not a volunteer. A (remove sensitive empathic) child born into a narc family, growing up mentally and physically tortured and traumatised, is not a volunteer. The adult that the child becomes is not a volunteer. Normal relationship experiences were denied them.’

      This is generally accepted as reasoning for the adult behaviour of the empath. Would this not apply to narcissists as well?

      1. Narc Angel

        It does apply to the narcissistic child, they were not a volunteer. They were groomed and layers upon layers were placed upon them until it is woven into their subconscious to behave in the manner they do. They have no ability to feel empathy and a “connnection” so it makes sense they would feel the world is against them and become selfish vs selfless

      2. NA, I see where you’re going with this question. I’m interested in your opinion. I know from your comments that you can separate the abuse from the benefits of the narcissist. Where do we draw the line though? The narcissist is a victim in childhood but it shouldn’t excuse the abuse in my opinion. I say that but then I struggle because I understand that it is survival to them just as an adult victim acts on survival instincts.

        In my opinion there should be a right or wrong answer. A victim should be held accountable once they are aware, otherwise they are volunteers. I see that there are circumstances that this is not the case. Metal health and culture, like Leslie’s situation, being examples. As far as the narcissist, I think there has to be a line drawn on what is acceptable. The problem is who decides what is acceptable and what is not.

        1. Mercy
          I was just reflecting and probably shouldn’t answer because I find myself tired and in a darker place lately, but here goes. It just struck me (as it often does and was the case here ) that some of the things we say and the way HG writes the articles, can amplify or highlight how similar both sides can be, and yet we are horrified to think so depending on our place at the table. I have always kept things compartmentalized. Maybe thats what some people do – split thoughts and experiences into manageable snapshots and sound bites instead of splitting completely apart themselves. It allows things to be examined with logic instead of being overwhelmed with emotion, and then be put away and still be able to function reasonably. You’re right, I do separate (not excuse) the abuse from the benefits. I choose to. I choose to because I can see that both sides come from a place of pain but react to it in very different ways and I don’t want it all to be for nothing. I want to be fair and still see good where there is good instead of excluding it due to hatred or predjudice of the source. I think we have to draw our own line on what we accept for ourselves and those we are responsible for as no two situations are the same. I hated Stepnarc for who he was and what he did and yet I do not hold that same hate for my little brother. The one I held and changed, the one who reached for me. The one I protected. And yet he is like his father (less visible violence). I have mourned in a way the loss of my brother. I do not excuse his behaviour yet I do not blame him. He is the product of his genes and environment just as I am. I cannot hate him. Then there is my mother. It is hard for me not to hold her just as, or more accountable than Stepnarc when logic says Stepnarc and my brother had NPD and she she was the one who had choice, and yet I have never turned my back on her completely. So I keep them all in different compartments and try to keep what good I can find to celebrate in each because otherwise the world is a lonely place. That extends to those outside of my family as well because I cannot (will not) deny that there are many things I enjoy in my life because these very different people exist. And they are still people despite being called monsters. Easier for me perhaps because I do not bind through sex and find it hard to believe any sex could be worth losing my mind over, but there appears evidence to the contrary. I have always thought the sex as more of a distraction from self for the empath than any magic on the part of the narc. They are just people – blood and bone, and not the last person on earth. I think we draw and maintain our own lines according to what we deem acceptable. We have to. They won’t, and imposing our will on them to do so has never changed anything. Well those are my long and rambling thoughts presently. Hope you can make some sense of them.

          1. NarcAngel
            Sorry to hear your tired and in a darker place lately. Sending you some positive energy! ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️

          2. NA, I think what you are describing is called survival. We have to accept that there are things we can’t change (your brother), discard those that hurt us (StepNarc), and maybe forgive those that don’t have the ability to see the harm they caused (mother). It’s exactly as you said, we have to draw our own lines because we are no longer victims or volunteers, we are survivors. As survivors with the awareness of what was done to us, we have to find what works for us individually so we can move forward.

            As far as sex goes, I’m on the same page as you. I don’t understand some of the comments about the mind blowing sex and never had better. I’ve always had good sex with my partners so I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because I don’t have hangups burden me about what’s right or wrong while in the moment. My partners always respond well to that. The sex was great with BS, we explored new things together, but it was great like a trip to Vegas is great. Yea the trip was fun and exciting but I don’t want to live there.

            I appreciate your response and especially your explanation of how you compartmentalize things. This is something K pointed out to me and I see this as a very positive way of dealing with things that can overwhelm our emotions.

          3. Mercy
            When I read NarcAngels’s comment about how she compartmentalizes, I thought of you. Removing the emotion allows us to learn and move forward faster. It is a very helpful tool.

          4. K, I’m sure NA could teach us all a thing or two about compartmentalization. She is the Queen of organizing! I need to shadow her too. She would 🤮 if she saw my closet!! I love the IDEA of organizing. It’s my follow through that sucks!

          5. NarcAngel,

            I’m with Windstorm in hoping you find yourself in a less dark space soon – but I commiserate with you – I’ve been in a gloom’n’doom mood myself. Maybe, it’s partly the winter – I feel like I haven’t seen the sun much and the freakin’ snowbanks are so high where I am that I feel like I’m taking life in my hands just walking a block or two – cause I can’t even see if there’s a pick-up truck speeding around the corner – that’s how much snow there is. And more keeps coming – we are running out of room to put it places when shoveling or plowing.
            I hope you feel better soon!

          6. “So I keep them all in different compartments and try to keep what good I can find to celebrate in each because otherwise the world is a lonely place.”
            I love that, NA. A hard-fought compromise.
            I hope you are feeling better. Wishing you well. There’s much tragedy in your life and you came a long way in accepting/relating to the darkness of human behaviour. There should be a reward for having put up with all of that, don’t you think? After having gone through all this shit it would be nice if you would find something like finally understanding the meaning of life. Getting it all, no problems to deal with, just wisdom. Yeah, heaven is not such a strange concept after all.

          7. Shesaw
            Thank you Shesaw. I believe my reward is seeing it for what it is and being able to accept and navigate around it. Many never will. That is why this place is so important. For the education and for engaging with people like you.

      3. You know, I think that it does but here’s the catch: an empathic person who is drawn to dysfunctional relationships can change. Why can’t a narcissist? It’s hard to feel empathy for them because they are so intent on destroying others and they really do not care.

        I mean, you could say the same about people who are otherwise abused. They don’t all grow up to abuse others, so why does a narcissist get an excuse of “but they can’t change”?

        1. Writeitout
          But that’s just it – we don’t really change who we are at the core do we? We continue to be empaths because we cannot change that. We just remove ourselves from their sphere. We do that because we see a benefit for ourselves in doing so. I am an empath so I can feel empathy for them but not condone what they do, and I do that at a safe distance for myself.

          Narcissists do not change who they are at the core either. They continue to be narcissists because they cannot change that. They do not remove themselves from us because they see no benefit to themselves in doing so. I don’t consider it an excuse. I consider it fact that they do not have true empathy (just cognitive) and so are unable to care about the outcome for us. They are considered disordered and in the DSM for a reason. We are not. It may seem unfair, but if there is to be change, presently it can only come from us. Hoping for them to change is futile and that is highlighted here by having a narcissist tell you that the only way to success is no contact. To get out and stay out. It’s the abuser telling us it will not stop on their end, and you can’t get much clearer than that.

          There is the addict and there is the drug. The drug doesn’t stop being a drug. The only course of change that can happen is if the addict chooses to stop taking it.

          1. I understand what you’re saying here NA but I’m not on board 100%. Narcs do have the ability to distinguish right from wrong even if it isn’t right or wrong from their perspective. We all have a responsibility as humans to live within these boundries. A narcissist who maliciously hurts someone cognitively knows the pain he is causing. He knows this is wrong and as walking, talking, breathing person his responsibility is to refrain from the malicious act. We can not excuse him because of his disorder. If he could not distinguish right from wrong and acted of his own free will, he would be locked up in a mental institution. A narcissist needs fuel to function-yes, I’m just not convinced that fuel can only be supplied by abuse. And I’m not convinced that they all, lesser to greater, can’t alter their behavior in some way. Is it that they can’t or they don’t want to? 

            As the subject of narcissism becomes more widespread I think we will get answers to that question. I trust HGs wisdom on this subject. He has proven to me over and over that he has the answers. I think what he is doing with SM is pivotal in providing answers for future research. If he can alter his behavior maybe his experience will open avenues that haven’t been explored yet. I don’t have this hope because I want to save my narc, I hate BS and wish he’d get hit by a train, I have this hope for their victims. 

            You are right though, at this time, as empaths we are the ones that have to change. It’s our responsibility to protect ourselves.

          2. Mercy
            They can’t alter their behavior. Control is central to the self-defense mechanism that is NPD and that control guarantees their safety/fuel. They are missing the emotional strand of empathy so they cannot feel the “wrongness” of their actions, nor can they put themselves in another person’s shoes. Malicious acts provide them with fuel and are necessary for their survival. I found these two articles very helpful in explaining the narcissistic perspective.

            https://narcsite.com/2018/08/31/do-narcissists-know-what-they-are-doing-the-lesser/

            https://narcsite.com/2018/09/01/do-narcissists-know-what-they-are-doing-the-mid-ranger/

          3. K, thank you these reminders are helpful. The last couple of weeks have been hard for me to get a handle on my emotions. Thoughts of the hurtful things he did keep creeping in my head when I’m alone. I’m having alot of moments of crying and feeling sorry for myself. Then comes the frustrations of not being able to move on and feel normal again. It’s me, not him. That’s the truth too. He’s gone, the abuse has stopped and I need to let go of the injustice of it all. If I conform to the way of thinking in the articles you shared, then I feel like I’m giving him an excuse for his behavior. In my mind I feel like that’s giving him a free pass , just one more injustice. “You abused and manipulated me, you took advantage of my kindness and permanently fucked my head up but I’ll give you a pass because you didn’t know any better”. This is where my head is and I know it’s emotional thinking at work.

            On the subject of them altering their behavior, I understand they don’t feel the wrongness but can they learn? I’m not saying learn from their empath partner. I don’t think someone in a relationship with a narc could teach them right from wrong. Too much fuel potential. An example would be a lesser learning in a clinical setting. Do you think this is possible? If there was some incentive to alter their behavior could a lesser or mid do it, key word being incentive?

          4. Mercy

            No.

            My husband was an ULN I altered one behavior and another began.

            What I mean is he use to like to throw things at me. One I had enough and picked up a cannon shell he had and threw it at him, I hit him between the eyes and thought I killed him. To say I was angry was an understatement, a piece of glass could have hit my child. He never threw anything at me again…..what he did was begin to use his fists and catch me in ways like when I was getting something out of the refrigerator he would slam the door a few times. Broke my ribs once while his family encouraged this behavior.

          5. Twilight, I’m sorry you were treated that way. Nobody deserves that type of treatment but thank you for sharing. I see what you mean by them resorting to another behavior. I never experienced physical abuse but now that you’ve pointed it out, I did experience BS using different tactics when one form of punishment wasn’t getting the results he wanted.

          6. Mercy
            I wrote a much longer response to your previous post but there was an ice storm here and when I hit send it froze and then disappeared, so who knows if it went through. What I will say in response to what you wrote here is this:

            1.You are not giving him a free pass, you’re giving yourself one. It happened. You can’t change it. It felt personal but it wasn’t – it’s so impersonal that he will do the same thing to someone else. It doesn’t excuse him for what he did, or for you to recognize that he is limited in the way that he operates. I see that as you valuing and respecting yourself in seeing, but not accepting it. I see that as not excusing him but as raising yourself up -nothing else.

            2. It may be possible for them to learn but they would need a reason to. What would be their motivation? To make is feel better? We know (but still do not recognize fully) that they are not concerned with what we want because it is such a foreign concept to us not to care about others, but it remains true for them just the same. They remain having a hold over us if we allow ourselves to keep our focus on them even if it is by finding ways to change them. To me THAT is the only thing inexcusable.

          7. NA,

            “You are not giving him a free pass, you’re giving yourself one.” Thank you so much for these words. I needed to hear this today. Looking at it from your perspective (respecting myself) gives me a place to start.

          8. NA, in response to your second point, I knew as soon as I hit send in my question to K that it’s impossible. Sometimes I have to talk things out to “get it”. What would be a narcissist incentive to change? Fuel. What does fuel inevitably turn into? Abuse. And now I’m back to the original question which I’ve just answered for myself. Can they learn? Yes if the incentive is fuel.

            So now I know when HG answers with that frustrating one word response “fuel”, he is just eliminating a bunch of useless words haha

          9. NA,

            I do find though that we must find ways to make them realise that what they do is unacceptable. If we (the world) give up, we give them a free pass because supposedly ‘they can’t change’. That’s an easy win for them and then it’s open season.

            I know you are talking about the personal relationships, and I do agree 100% with you that WE have to draw the lines, and not let them have a hold over us. That is very powerfully said.

            But on a broader level, I believe we must not stop to find ways to stop their abuse. I think it is a very good thing that gaslighting, coercion and emotional abuse is criminalised in some countries. As far as I know, at least it is in Australia, Ireland, England/Wales (Scotland to follow). It creates awareness and discussion, there will be false accusations on both sides and it will be hard to prove things, but at least it is being seen as a crime and there will be debate and learning about it. So there’s a reason for them to change (to avoid jail). If society needs a law to prevent them from abusing, and to make them aware of what they are doing, even if it is only a 10% that gets caught, then that’s what we must go for.

            And to be very honest, I am far done with the excuse that (aware) narcissists can’t change, since HG is challenging everyone’s reality here by stating that he is changing behaviours, where he always stated it will not happen. But okay, lets wait and see if he IS able indeed.

          10. But that being said, I do applaud him for making the effort. It must be very hard work.

          11. Shesaw
            I agree with you. I’m not advocating for total acceptance and giving up or in. Far from it. We must push forward with education, exposure, and with anything that promises to help them become more prosocial. I’m just for beginning by recognizing what is in each of our own backyards first and moving forward collectively. Thats why it is important to get the word out about this place and HG’s works. There is nothing else out there like it presently, and it works. I think it is our best bet to grow to a movement for change.

          12. NA,
            I am feeling a bit rebellious lately when it comes to narcissism. Not sure yet if that is a positive emotion or a negative, but yesterday it fueled me in my response to you (I had to make a point, you know! 🙂 ) . But nowhere in my mind I was thinking that you were advocating for total acceptance. Sorry it came across that way.
            Yes, HG has a lot to tell the world and I have benefited greatly from his knowledge. I learn a lot from other sources too. The blend is what makes it interesting to me. I do mention this site regularly to others, by the way (preparing the spirits for the movement 🙂 ).
            Yes! I agree that change starts personally (own backyards). The movement will follow!

          13. Shesaw
            I’m glad you’re feeling rebellious (as you put it) and offering your opinions! And no, I didn’t take it that way. I was just expanding on my thoughts of acceptance. We are all part of the movement.

          14. Mercy
            You are in a bad place right now and you have every right to feel sorry for yourself and cry. Read and post your way through your misery and don’t stop until you feel better. It is absolute Hell and, once you feel better, you will move forward, feel less frustrated and you will have better control of your feelings.

            You were abused, manipulated, taken advantaged of and fucked badly and you have every right to be pissed off; it is an injustice. Feel your emotions; don’t bury them. You recognize your ET at work and that is a step forward.

            It isn’t so much about giving him a free pass or an excuse, it is more about understanding his behavior. Once you understand, then you realize it wasn’t personal and it wasn’t his fault. He was created by his genes and parental abuse. We are all faultless in this dynamic.

            Most narcissists are lessers and Mids, so they have no insight, awareness or the ability to alter their behavior because the self-defense mechanism that is NPD won’t allow it. I have read about CBT being used but it would have to be court ordered/forced and I think the narcissist would manipulate the process to show “improvement” (false).

            In a court ordered scenario, staying out of prison is an incentive for some narcissists to “change” (read: facade maintenance) but not lessers or malignant ones. They will go to jail (control) rather than bend to the will of another.

          15. K, thank you for this. It helps listening to readers that are further along in the healing process. I know I’ll experience different emotions just like someone grieving a death. You know, we talk about the illusion so much but sometimes I think that word loses its meaning. I say it so often that it’s meaning becomes almost tangible but it’s not. I feel I experienced 7 years of nothingness. Like a child that had an imaginary friend. My relationship with him makes me feel so insignificant, like my footprint in this world blew away in the sand. I know that sounds dramatic but that is how I feel when I’m in my dark place.

            I actually do feel alot better today. After reading what you and NA had to say, it really opened my mind up to look at it from another prospective. I’ve been thinking about both your comments these last few days. It was very much personal to me even if it wasn’t to him. Accepting that I couldn’t have done anything to change the outcome does help me let go of some of my anger.

            Sorry to unload but you said to post through my misery ☺️. Just taking your good advice. Thanks again!

          16. Damn I spelled perspective wrong again. HG that WAS auto correct this time!! You know I know now!

          17. You are welcome Mercy
            It is not dramatic at all and I understand how you feel (the dark place). It does feel like 7 years of nothingness, a ghost or a figment of your imagination. That is dissonance and it resolves itself when you get your ET under control.

            I am happy to read that you feel better today and that you are looking at it from a different perspective. If you can, try to remove the emotion and look at it as objectively as you can. The emotion will automatically sync back up but, if you keep doing this: using logic, then eventually the logic takes over, you accept it and then you can move forward. It WAS personal and it WAS real but as time goes on you heal will from that mindfuckery.

            Don’t apologize for unloading, keep doing it because, if you don’t work through it, then you can’t move forward. And everyone here understands you and will validate your experience. That’s what we are here for.

  9. I am ashamed to say that I was very much a volunteer. I’ve known this narc most of my life and I saw the signs very early on. The constant contact, constant compliments – from my appearance to my intelligence to my character – this all came before our first date. The affection, the “connection,” the implication of a future together – I remember telling my friend it was so strange that he never asked how I felt about him. It was just a foregone conclusion that I wanted to be with him and that I felt the same for him. I never denied it, I was more than happy to go along with his plans. I loved the attention and praise and was pleased to serve it right back to him. The fact that it all moved at light speed was crazy too, and when I asked him about it he told me, “all good things do.” So I marched along, one red flag after another. I was so aware, but it felt so good, it was worth the risk. I threw caution to the wind because I had the safety net of my marriage. I’m no victim. I’ve no one to blame in this but myself 🙁

    1. Joanne, do you blame yourself for his actions too? It good that you recognize the part you played but don’t excuse him for what he did.

      1. Mercy, no, I only blame myself for willingly entering into this relationship. The way he treated me, well, he has no excuse at all for that (outside of just “being a narc.”)

        1. Joanne, I’m glad you see it like that. There is a fine line that we walk when we know the truth and it’s easy to blame ourselves for everything. I don’t think blame is the answer though, finding the reason why we were in this situation is more productive. We live and learn but once we let go of the guilt we can really start healing.

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