As soon as you start to tell the truth
about what happened to you, it seems like
the entire universe starts to work against you.
But if you pay close attention,
it’s not the universe; it’s the narcissist.
It just seems like the universe because she keeps recruiting more and more flying monkeys to attack you. Remember there’s a cycle to narcissistic abuse. First, there is the Love Bombing and Flattery Stage; then there is the Being Used for Narcissistic Feed Stage, then as you begin to wake up, you will enter the Telling the Truth vs. Liar stage.
This third stage is where everything turns into a mudslide. You and the narcissist will end up in a messy disagreement; then the narcissist will start involving as many other people into this disagreement as possible. People you are related to, people you went to school with in third grade, people you met on the subway and people who live five states away, but who can still access you through social media. You can see why so many survivors feel overwhelmed and feel like crawling into a blanket fort and refusing to come out.
These attacks begin as soon as you start to tell the truth—any part of the facts, however small. The narcissist will anticipate and try to do damage control through lies even before you open your mouth. While you might call it the truth stage, for the narcissist this is the denying stage. Notice I didn’t say denial, because most narcissistic people are not in denial as much as they are just plain liars trying to deny their misdeeds.
During this Truth Telling vs. Lying stage, the more truth you tell, the more lies the narcissist will put out. It’s like a fake news service that tweets lies 24/7, and it’s ugly. This could also be called the character assassination stage because that’s what happens to many memoir writers who are writing their story.
The other day a friend told on herself. She blogged a chapter about her mistakes in dealing with the narcissist. In response, she was sent a message by someone who is supposed to be a professional informing her that she is the narcissist. Can you see what happened here? My friend isn’t a narcissist. A narcissist would never write a chapter detailing his/her own mistakes. It just won’t happen because a narcissist can’t imagine they’ve ever made a mistake—in the narcissistic mind, everything is always someone else’s fault.
The second problem with a message like this is that professional counselors are busy people who get paid to listen to people’s problems all day long. They don’t go trolling on the blogs of memoir writers to diagnose them for free. In early 2017, 1800 professionals broke this rule to sign a petition declaring the current US president has narcissistic personality disorder, but they were heavily criticized because counselors are not supposed to diagnose anyone but their clients. So any message from someone who tells you that you might be the narcissist is just more gaslighting.
We who are NOT professionals, use the term narcissist loosely because we’ve read the traits of Narcissism in the DSM-5 criteria. When we call someone a narcissist, we aren’t making a clinical diagnosis; we are acknowledging the truth for our sanity. When the person we are dealing with lies constantly, manifests a lack of empathy and imagines the rules don’t apply to them, whether they have a full-blown NPD diagnosis or not, for our practical purposes, it doesn’t matter. Without empathy, without honesty, without respect, we’ve got nothing to build a relationship on–thus we label them as narcissistic.
If you get discouraged about telling your story and go back to bed and wait for the flying monkeys to settle down and the narcissist to disappear, an unfortunate thing will happen; your story, your truth, and your honor will be lost. No one will ever know what you went through. No one will ever discover what they have in common with you. No one will ever find your story and sigh and cry and breathe to know that they are not alone. And no one will ever understand why you had to change your phone number and email address and move to the Yukon.
When you start to tell your story, those who want to control you will do everything they can to discourage you. They will attack your character and accuse you of being the narcissist, but remember unless such a diagnosis was given to you by your counselor, the charges are bogus. So go ahead, tell your messy story. Tell on yourself, but by all means, tell on the narcissist because standing up for your truth and telling your story, will set you free.