12 comments on “Stay Out of the Ring!

  1. That’s a great post! I’m realizing I’ve put myself or not taken myself out of these situations at times soon enough. It has been a choice-except with my family when I was a kid. Getting out of the victim mode is tough I think. I’m not quite there yet but aware now.

    • Hi Robby,

      I hope you are well. I agree, It is very difficult to get out of the victim mindset. There are many blogs on the internet that are filled with people’s hatred for their abuser without any understanding of how they ended up in their abusive situation. I know for me, I spent the majority of my life in the victim mindset, never owning my contribution to my situations. It’s great that you understand your contribution to your predicaments. It’s truthfully the first step toward leaving the victim state and making the necessary changes to not end up in the same predicament again. When we continue to blame our abuser, we are still handing our power over the our abuser and not seizing our own power and doing what we need to do to prevent another recurrence of the same environment. Being stuck in the victim state is what leads to a history of serial abusive relationships.

      Best wishes on your healing journey, Robby. I hope things are going well with no contact with family.

      Stephen Bach

    • (((Carrie)))

      I’m so sorry that you had to endure such a horrific experience. Those memories are impossible to ever completely let go. Find strength in knowing that you have made the changes necessary to not let a similar situation ever happen again. Many lessons in life are incredibly painful. The key is to heed those life lessons and not repeat the past.

      Stephen Bach

  2. Thank you for the kind words 🙂

    I love the analogy and the perspective. You have great insight into the dynamic.

    I think that it’s important for us to admit to ourselves that we have been a victim, because narcissists often portray us as the victimiser while they are doing the punching, it’s often their excuse and justification for punching us – we made them do it, they were defending themselves against us – and as long as we buy into their version of us we’re stuck in the ring, trying to prove to them that we’re not who they tell us (and everyone else who will listen to them) we are by allowing ourselves to be punched in the process.

    When we realise our part in the scenario, then we can access our strength and wisdom of experience to no longer be the victim anymore.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi anupturnedsoul,

      You are very welcome for the kind words. 🙂

      Thank you for your complement :). Although, I would gladly trade ever last bit of insight I have for never having a need to develop such insight in the first place.

      I think you bring up a very interesting point: There is an incredibly high level of enmeshment required to sustain abusive relationships. In order to stay, we assume responsibility for our abuser’s behavior. They mirror our belief that we are responsible for their behavior when they tell us “Look at what you made me do!”. It leads us to having to walk on eggshells around our abuser, because we have accepted responsibility for their behavior. We believe that it is our job not to ‘set them off’, when we have little understanding of what does ‘set them off’. As victims, we stay enmeshed because we believe that they are truly good people, assigning positive aspects to their persona that they truly don’t possess. We find it impossible to believe someone could be void of empathy, thereby creating the rationalization that our abuser is truly empathetic and is ‘just having a bad time’ right now and they truly do cherish us for how wonderful we believe we are. This is codependent thinking, and is very unhealthy.

      One of the aspects I was hoping to portray with this analogy is that abusive people must ‘win’ at all costs. Losing is not an option. Every interaction is cold and calculated. They literally see it as their job to win. It’s a clinical mindset that is void of all emotion. If they think they might lose, they will rewrite events to make it so they win in their minds. They will only be ‘human’ when they see that we might stop being a source of Narcissistic Supply. This is exhibited during the love bombing phase and any other hoovering attempts they make to get us back into our role so they can subject us to more abuse and extract more narcissistic supply from us. We are only a tool to be used and later disposed of when they no longer have any use for us or have found a new and better source of narcissistic supply.

      Being an empath with a long history of codependency, believing that there were people – many people – in the world that were truly only out for themselves and only existed to take advantage of and manipulate others to do their bidding was one of the most difficult concepts to wrap my head around. But until I accepted that there truly are evil people out there, it was impossible for me to continue to heal. I had a history of looking at everyone with rose colored glasses. Not anymore.

      Stephen Bach

      • I think that your analogy portrayed exactly what you were hoping it would. You are skilled in getting your point across, you’re very talented, I hope you know that.

        Have you considered how much of yourself you project onto the narcissists. What I mean by that is that the good which you imbue them with is yours, your nature. So don’t be hard on yourself for seeing the best in them, in their worst, because the best which you saw belongs to you and shows you who you are. Those rose-coloured glasses were just looking in the wrong direction, at others instead of yourself.

        I used to think the same way about the insight gained from growing up with narcissists and the mess it creates. I sometimes still do, but these days I tend to focus on the gift in the curse of it rather than the curse. I’ve spent too long feeding attention to what it took away from me, what I never had, rather than what it gave me, what I have. Time to shift the balance of the scales.

        Society has been living through very narcissistic times, the times they are a changin’… and people who have your sort of expertise and experience have a wealth of living wisdom to share 🙂

  3. Hi anupturnedsoul!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful complement! I have become quite aware that I have a unique skill to get my point across and to see these topics with a clarity that few others seem to have. I think my skill in this area is related to the ‘blessing of the curse’ you mentioned. I have spent my entire life in hyper vigilance, constantly analyzing every aspect in my primary relationship and attempting to find new and better ways to communicate my needs within that relationship in the simplest and clearest way possible to a person who had no interest in listening. I didn’t learn this skill because I wanted to, I learned it because I HAD to. It’s a skill that has also served me very well in my role as an engineer. The ability to take highly technical concepts and distill them down to basic concepts that anyone can understand is a very useful skill in the engineering world.

    Another benefit of my understanding of narcissism is that I can spot narcissists in the workplace within the first 5 minutes of meeting them and take measures to manage my interactions with them. Where I currently work, there is a manager who is terribly narcissistic. When he is in a meeting, the only opinion that matters is his. It’s horribly annoying to me, because I can see right through him. I was once in a meeting with him where he committed to accomplish a task with the customer. It was a task that was vital to the task I was trying to accomplish. A few weeks later, I saw him talking to another coworker and asked him how it was going with the customer. He told me that the customer had chosen to go in a different direction. I was never told. I looked him right in the eye and said “So you failed in your task to accomplish what we needed with the customer?”. He bristled, and repeated his comment that “the customer decided to go in a different direction…”. I again said, “So you failed in your task?” I could see the anger brimming inside him and walked away. The truth was, he did fail in his task, but he was completely unable to admit his failure. My pointing out his failure made him angry. He literally can’t handle admitting he may have failed. I used the word ‘failure’ intentionally. It was a way to validate my assessment of his nature.

    Your comment about me ascribing positive characteristics to others is very apt. I’m not sure if you have read this post -> https://thenarcissistsson.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/who-loves-a-narcissist/; it attempts to explain my understanding of the dynamic between an abuser and the abuser’s victim. I do believe that we ‘project’ our positive aspects onto someone who doesn’t have those same positive aspects. I was once told by a wise blogger that using the word ‘project’ when discussing how a codependent ascribes positive characteristics to a narcissist is not the best idea because many codependents are extremely concerned that they may be narcissists and telling them that they exhibit a narcissistic behavior can send them into a tailspin. The classic Freudian concept of projection involves assigning negative traits onto others and then treating that person as if they have those negative traits. It’s a prime tool in the narcissist’s toolbox. I agree that I did the same thing, but in reverse: I projected positive traits onto others and treated those people as if they actually had those positive traits when I would tell myself ‘they didn’t really mean it’ or ‘that’s not what they meant’. It’s applying rose colored glasses to people that don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. It’s a required part of the dynamic between the narcissist and their abuser, and is portrayed in the analogy put forth in this post. It’s all about mirroring. The narcissist projects their negative traits onto us, which mirrors our internal belief that we are terrible people, while we project positive traits onto the narcissist, which mirrors their internal belief that they are wonderful people. It’s the dance that the narcissist and codependent must perform, and is the only way the dance can continue. If I stop applying positive aspects (narcissistic supply) to the narcissist, they will become enraged or find someone else. If I stop applying positive aspects to the narcissist, I will soon see them for who they truly are and will leave the relationship.

    I have recently felt that I have a wisdom and ability to communicate that wisdom that few others possess. I have been thinking about how I might best be able to share that wisdom in addition to this blog. I’m not sure what the best avenue may be, whether that be writing a book, becoming a counselor, or giving lectures on abuse. From my experience, my thoughts seem to resonate very strongly with just about anyone I engage who has been through an abusive situation. I am beginning to feel I may have found the next chapter of my life’s work.

    Best wishes to you, anupturnedsoul.

    Stephen Bach

  4. “Did I not purposefully overlook the true nature of our interaction in order to continue in that interaction, expecting him to stop? Did I not place unreasonable expectations on his behavior, expecting him to be someone he wasn’t?”

    Wow. I just read that 10 times. I think it might be time to let go of my anger and take some responsibilty for years of confusion.

    I stepped out of the ring a couple of years ago, leaving my NM and XNH behind.

    My boxing days are over.

    • Hi Nearly!

      I’m sorry that you had to endure a life of narcissistic abuse. It’s way unfun, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

      Glad to hear your boxing days are over! In my opinion, there’s nothing to be gained by staying in the ring.

      I have found that staying angry and in the victim state prevents true healing from occurring. Like you, I was raised in a narcissistic household, and had no idea what normal was. While it is true that I was mostly ignorant of how dysfunctional my relationships were, I also had to accept that there was a piece of me that refused to accept that I contributed to my predicaments during all that time. I always knew something was wrong, but I refused to do what was necessary to protect myself.

      Best wishes on your healing journey.

      Stephen Bach

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