by Joni Abilene
When I was pregnant with my second child, a boy, my narcissist and I decided to go on a Colorado vacation. At the next prenatal checkup I asked my doctor if it was safe go, and she said it was, but since I was in my third-trimester it would be advisable to make frequent stops. Actually, she didn’t advise, she insisted. She told me not to sit for long periods of time because there would be a risk of blood clots—the altitude would add an extra danger. At home my narcissist told me it was too bad, we wouldn’t be making any extra stops.This is the point where I can hear everyone yelling at their computer screen, I hope she told him to F-off! Believe me, I did feel that way. But I also knew arguing was pointless. Narcissists love a good argument. Why? Because they crave attention, even negative attention, and they love to win. They will lie and turn things around in their favor so fervently that it’s almost always counterproductive. They will always put the blame on you. You did something wrong. You asked for this. You’re the one who wanted the trip. Why did you have to get pregnant? Why are you so weak that you’d have a chance of getting blood clots in the first place? It’s never the narcissist’s fault. Always yours. And if you persist, they will yell and they will threaten. I knew instinctively the only way I’d be able to follow the doctor’s orders was to enforce those road-side breaks randomly and secretively. I used my daughter as scapegoat—she had to pee, she was crying too much, she was going to be sick. This allowed me to get out and stretch my legs throughout the trip, as ordered, and my narcissist never knew.
So, why would anyone stay with a narcissist? It’s tough to answer this unless you’ve been in the situation yourself. I really despise the word ‘doormat.’ It’s such a derogatory term. It renders people useless and puts all the blame onto the victim. The truth is, spouses of narcissists are so caught up in denial and emotional manipulation that they don’t even know their own wants and needs, so even if they have the chance of freedom, they are too dis-empowered to make the choice. There’s a lot of fear and shame. In fact, shame is the worst emotion of all for a victim. Think about the last time you went out and asked for a job, or tried to get a house, when you felt like complete and total shit.
When we shame people, we blame them. When we shame them, we take away their power. When we shame them, we tell them they’re not good enough. What we should be doing is empowering victims through positive re-enforcement. You’ll leave when you’re ready. You are strong enough. You have the resources. I’m here for you.
Thank you for reading.