Sometimes even the professionals do it. They try to shame you into thinking the emotional abuse was your fault.
If only you weren’t an enabler. What did you allow this abuse to continue? Why did you take it?
Why didn’t you see the warning signs?
You need to get a lot better at saying “no.” It happened because you don’t set boundaries.
Blah, blah, blah.
I don’t know about you. But I’m getting pretty sick of hearing this. Especially from some professionals.
Who should know better.
It is true that we have to take responsibility for our lives. We do have to learn to say “no.” We do need to pay attention to boundaries.
But blaming and shaming does no good. Especially when someone needs to recover from narcissistic abuse.
Blaming also doesn’t take into account that deceitful people are called “con men” for a reason. They are very good at conning people. You. Me. Even the experts.
Yes, con men can fool even trained professionals. People who know to look for signs of personality disorders. People who know what to look for.
If someone with years of training can be fooled, so can we.
So why do some mental health professionals feel compelled to shame us?
As if we didn’t get enough blame for everything under the sun from the narcissist. Now we’re getting more?
Here’s why that makes me angry.
The reason you fell for the con in the first place is because a con man (or a con woman) targeted you.
People without empathy don’t have the full range of emotions. But they sure know how to mirror our emotions.
You love ice cream. They do too.
You like ducks. They do too.
You like to stay up until 2 am. They do too.
Your favorite sports team. Coincidentally, they like it too.
This mirroring generally happens early in the relationship. You and this amazing person just sort of click. Instant connection.
You feel as if you’ve found a soul mate.
Narcissistic Abuse – Is It Your Fault?
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Eventually, though, the mask slips. You catch a glimpse of the darkness behind it. But this doesn’t happen until you’re completely drawn in, and you’ve invested a lot of time and emotional energy in this person.
Does this happen because you’re to blame?
Not really. You are a target.
It’s true that you’re chosen for a reason. Maybe the narcissist was envious of something you have. Or something that you’ve accomplished.
So does this mean we shouldn’t accomplish anything, to avoid becoming a target?
Should we take the blame because we’ve done something good?
Or, maybe the narcissist sees you as an easy mark.
This may be because you don’t have a strong social support system. (Something often seen in workplace bullying.)
But why don’t you have support? Is it because the narcissist has destroyed it?
Oftentimes this is what happens. (Especially in a workplace setting. Or in a close social circle.)
You think all is well. Meanwhile, the narcissist lays the groundwork for all out war.
He or she engages in character assassination. Behind your back.
Bits of truth mixed in with lies.
Enough people fall for it. All of a sudden, you have no support system.
Is this your fault?
I don’t think so.
So why do some mental health professionals insist that it is?
That the abuse is all our fault. That there’s something fundamentally wrong with us, because we didn’t see it coming.
It is true that some of us are narc magnets. But this doesn’t mean we’re fundamentally flawed. It just means we may attract disordered individuals.
Some of us are very good at attracting these types of people.
So the trick is raising awareness of narcissism. Learning to spot the warning signs. Not trusting too quickly.
Mental health professionals shouldn’t be playing the blame game. We need a helping hand. An emotional boost. Not a kick in the stomach.
Overall, a good therapist should make us feel better. Not worse.
It’s true that sometimes we need to be challenged. Sometimes tough love is called for. The responsibility for change may fall upon us, depending upon the circumstances.
We may need to forgive someone who’s hurt us, if lack of forgiveness is holding us back. We need to move forward.
But telling us we’re defective, because we’ve been conned, is cruel. It’s mean. It’s unnecessary.
Because no one is prepared for the full onslaught of malignant narcissism.
For a normal person, It’s hard to get your head around the level of deceit a morally disordered person is capable of.
Malignant narcissists are very good at what they do. Especially the coverts. (These are the ones who hide their disorder behind a meek, mild and saintly exterior.)
So telling us to feel ashamed of what happened is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Please understand that I’m not a mental health professional. Just someone who’s survived a nasty attack by a morally disordered person. (So don’t make major life decisions based on what I write.)
But I’m aware enough to know that not all therapists are necessarily good for us.
You don’t have to believe online therapists. Be careful who you believe.
Shop carefully if you choose to see a therapist offline. They may have their own issues. If you feel you need professional help, then by all means get it. Just be aware that narcissists also exist in the mental health profession.
Be well. Be kind to yourself. Avoid the shame throwers.
For More Reading
I’m convinced that the more we know about malignant narcissism, the better off we’ll be. Hopefully it will help us spot these fakers and also help us move quickly to lose one if we see those familiar patterns.
If you’re interested, I’ve written two books on narcissism, which you can see below. The one on the left explains what’s behind the apparent rise in adult female narcissists. The book on the right is a guide to forgiving a malicious deceitful person who won’t take responsibility for his or her actions.
Why Narcissistic Abuse Is Not Your Fault