From Feeling Like a Victim to Finding Your Power

It’s time to clean out the closets and give away or return everything you don’t need. If you’ve been dealing with a narcissist, chances are you got some gifts you’d like to return. So where’s the line for the narc gift returns? Where in the world do we give all this crap back?

victim, power, thrive, narcissist, narcissism, survivor,

I’m not talking about material things–I’m talking about all the emotional debris dumped on us by critical, judgmental, narcissistic people. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need any more guilt trips, shame storms or arguments with flying monkeys about who I am, what I believe and how I choose to live my life.

One of the greatest sorrows of human existence
is that some people aren’t happy merely to be alive,
but find their happiness only in the misery of others.
-Dean Koontz

Sometimes it’s hard to get rid of the toxic waste dumped on us by the narcissist. It’s not as easy as taking a tacky vase back to the store. You might even wonder where to take it, but remember emotional things can only be discharged emotionally. So in order to stop carrying the baggage of abuse, you’ll need to get your power back by embracing the truth.

It might seem easier to hold all the pain all inside and not make any waves, but remember how the twin towers imploded on 911? They imploded because they could only hold so much stress. People can only hold in so much heartbreak and disappointment. If you don’t figure out how to let it go, your health could implode. Many survivors of narcissistic abuse will testify they’ve paid with their health. Maintaining a narcissistic relationships is too expensive if it’s robbing you of your health.

So if you want a healthy year, you’ll want to return some of the things weighing you down. These things might not be tangible, but they certainly are things and the affect they have on your health and relationships is very real.

Guilt has no place in your wardrobe—give it back to the narcissist. Guilt is only for the times you purposely did something to harm another. Let me rephrase this idea of guilt–you should only feel guilty if in your heart you meant harm to another human being. This guilt comes from your conscience because it goes against the natural laws of the universe to wish ill toward another person.

That said, many narcissistic people have no conscience or they have destroyed the one they had. Narcissistic people lack empathy for how they treat other people and yet, they love to evoke your empathy and conscience to do their dirty work. The narc sees your empathy as something he/she can leverage in their manipulations to abuse of you and others. Just say no to narcissism. Don’t let the narcissist use you to harm others.

The narcissist probably realizes you are too smart to listen to what he/she says. This is where the flying monkeys come in–once again as leverage to manipulate people. When the flying monkeys come to pressure you to shut up by saying you should be ashamed of yourself for telling the truth or sharing your story, this is inappropriate guilt. Don’t bite on it.

You can start standing up for your own conscience this year. You don’t have to feel guilty for sharing your pain or telling your story. The other day, I heard another writer say they felt pressured to change the story they were writing because a sibling remembered events differently. Think about, if you are writing what your sibling remembers, then it’s no longer your memoir–don’t let those narcs mess with your mind.

Shame happens when you don’t feel good enough. Chances are the narcissist programmed your buttons for this, so don’t apologize for breathing or listening to your own music. There’s no shame in being yourself at every level of your life. If you hear the narc’s put downs in your head, rebuke them immediately.

I will not let anyone walk
through my mind with their dirty feet.

Yep. Gotta return this one too. No one is blessed by obligation—not the obligated, nor those who wish to use them. Just don’t. Ignore other’s expectations, but come with the intentions with what you chose to give. Beware this not only happens in families, but it happens all across society whether in churches, clubs or schools. Don’t let anyone–not even a so called friend, bully you into meeting their needs at the expense of what you feel you can give. Learn to say no to the things which damage your relationships and steal your time.

We can’t determine how successfully
we are living the Christian life
by who is unhappy with us.
If we feel responsible for other people’s displeasure,
we are being controlled by others, not God.
This is a basic boundary disturbance.
-Henry Cloud

If you just send those three things back, it’ll definitely make some room in your life for better dreams, but the best way to get your power back is to stop feeling like a victim. No healthy person likes to think of themselves as a victim. Most of us realize only little children are victims. Most adults understand they are responsible for our own choices. At the same time, an attack from the narc and flying monkeys could leave you feeling like a victim. I know, it’s a terrible feeling.

Some of you might remember how I got some hate-mail this last summer from one of my sisters. I honestly felt like a victim at the time because she attacked me and called me a liar on my public wall. Well I was recently given the opportunity to write down a time I felt like a victim. My instructor told me to start with the words, “I felt like a victim when…”

I began to write it like this:

I felt like a victim because my sister attacked me and called me a liar on my own FB wall, even though I was not a liar and I had been more than kind to her. I had called her after two years of no contact and sent her a birthday present and agreed to let her back onto my social media because we both had agreed to talk privately if we had a disagreement, but apparently she was more interested in publicly shaming me. I felt like a victim because she broke our agreement and I felt like a victim because she disrespected me and talked about me to other people instead of talking to me.

After writing this out, I hoped my instructor could see how I was victimized. Is this how friends treat each other? I looked at my instructor for some agreement, but he just had a twinkle in his eye and it bugged me when he didn’t seem to agree. Then he gave me a second assignment. He told me to write about the same incident, but this time start with the words “I chose.” Hmmmn… I wasn’t sure where we were going, but I started writing.

I chose to unfriend my sister after a boundaries violation. I chose to let her go because she was disrespectful. After two years, I chose to give her a second chance and so I chose to call her on her birthday. I also chose to send her a gift. After what seemed like a sane conversation, we both agreed to discuss our future differences in private. I chose to let her back onto my social media. When she broke that agreement and showed disrespect, I chose to unfriend her a second time because she failed to act like a true friend. I chose to write her a private email in an attempt to communicate. I chose to stop writing when all she could send was long rants, personal attacks and hate mail along with threats to write a book about me and what a terrible sister I was to her. (Hmmn… go figure.)

Am I a victim? NO. I’m an empathetic person who loved my sister enough to give her second chances until she proved she was not safe to have contact with.

The second time I wrote the story, I realized I never was a victim and I never will be again.

If you’ve been hurt by someone you loved and felt like a victim this last year, try this little exercise and reframe the event.

Start by writing “I felt like a VICTIM WHEN… Write down all the reasons you felt like a victim, then rewrite the story and start with the words, “I CHOSE…

If you’re like me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how much power you actually have in your own life. It will unload that victim baggage faster than you can say Happy New Year!

It’s gonna be a wonderful year because you know what narcissism is now and you know that you are NOT a victim–you are a benevolent human being, worthy of love from others who are as caring as you are. It’s time to stop throwing away gifts, phone calls, money and love on narcissistic people who have no ability to keep their word or care about how you feel. You are in charge of your own life. Remember the words of Maya Angelou who said, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”

You must not ever stop being whimsical.
And you must not, ever,
give anyone else the responsibility for your life.
-Mary Oliver


  1. This is great wisdom. I have a lot to clean out after having been married to a narcissist for 20 years and dealing with his family. The “I chose” activity is one I will do. I’m struggling forgiving myself for having put up with his behavior for so long and letting go of being a victim. This was a powerful and helpful article.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sarah,

    I wouldn’t be too hard on myself if I were you. We’ve all been taken unawares by narcissistic people. We empaths want to help and love people out of the goodness and generosity in our hearts and sometimes it takes years for us to catch on to the narcs because they can use two faces.

    Like Maya Angelou said, “When we know better, we do better.” I really like knowing that I can choose what I focus on and what I allow into my own life.

    I also think after being married to a narcissist for twenty years, you probably deserve some sort of endurance medal! So if I were you, I would celebrate how patient you have been and how wise you have become! You are resilient and brave! That is to be admired!

    Peace and freedom to you!



  3. This is wonderfully helpful Cherylin! Thanks for sharing more of you hard earned wisdom, and for giving us all guidance and substance to work with in our healing journey. Am looking forward to more of your posts in 2018. Thanks also to those who have posted comments as these are also great pearls of wisdom and experience with which to identify with. God bless you Cherylin in the coming year, and all who contribute to your posts. Caroline, Scotland.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Caroline!

    Your encouragement is very heart warming! Thank you so much for your comments throughout the year! I too appreciate the insights of those who comment. They often send me on a web search to learn more and sometimes it even turns into another blog.

    What is really funny is some of my family members have thought all these blogs are about them and they try to figure out what I meant by this story or that, when in reality I’m often writing about an incident told to me by a reader.

    We need all of our stories. Stories heal us and by sharing our stories we in turn, heal others.

    Happy New Year to you!

    Peace and freedom!



  5. Thank you Cherylin for your lovely and encouraging reply to my comments.
    Happy New Year and much good cheer in 2018.
    Yes Peace and freedom!


    Liked by 1 person

  6. The “I chose” re-framing is a great way to eliminate our victimhood mentality. Yes we have scars and broken hearts from narcissistic and other character disordered people who treated us badly and unfairly but the way they treated us doesn’t define us It defines them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Cathy,

    Yes, I agree. Reframing is a great tool! We are not defined by our wounds, we wear our scars proudly, but we also shine like stars when we stand up for the right though the heavens fall. Stars shine the brightest in the darkness!

    Peace and freedom to you!



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