Emotional Abuse: The Rules of Engagement
"The victim of emotional abuse dismisses his own pain: The victim learns to not trust his own feelings. He ignores his own flushes of rage and shamefully swallows words he wished could be spoken. Never feeling safe from criticism or safe to tell the truth, the victim remains vigilant for the slightest sign of disapproval, waiting for the whisper of collusion among peers. The victim grows accustomed to distorting his feelings to appear properly socialized."
I know I am caught in this spot lately of wondering what is safe to say? I ask myself am I retreating too easily? Am I saying too little or not enough? One thing in my recovery I have noticed is I am often ignored when I speak up.
It is something that worries me and I am not sure why it is happening. It is something that troubled me when dealing with the flying monkeys and mind slaves in the family how entire paragraphs in letters would be ignored, how they couldn't wait to get away from me because I was breaking "the rules" and daring to question Queen Spider. Even the other day in a group [not any group related to my church thankfully], I told some people they were being RUDE with their bragging, and they were, and it's just like they stepped over me, ignored what I said and kept bragging. I should have gotten up and walked out instead of sitting there tossing a few sarcastic barbs that were ignored as well.
The last sentence really jumped out me. "The victim grows accustomed to distorting his feelings to appear properly socialized". Here the Aspie cloaking can actually leave one more vulnerable. Your mask of social acceptance and "fitting in" can become a prison of sorts. You fear speaking out and the resultant judgments. For too long, I hid my true feelings not to have people "get mad" at me. I was so used to being invalidated by the family too. I still think about how I sat in that group, a knot building in my stomach. I am glad I spoke up but failed to make the right choice when I was ignored. What do fellow ACONS think reading this?
"Normalizing the abuser's behavior doubles the victim's pain: you're inferior for being targeted and more so for being upset. The advice to "get over it" isn't instructive or soothing to any degree; it's merely the statement of a desired result. No one says how to "get over it."
These words don’t heal; they compound the hurt.
Collaborators make excuses for the aggressor's behavior, providing weak advice to avoid their own discomfort while simultaneously adding merit to the aggressor's behavior. Defending the aggressor merely moves the collaborator out of the line of fire, until the aggressor wants something from the collaborator.
When victims repeatedly receive such advice, the advice becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as to how the world really works. When aggressors go unchallenged, it is how the world works. Emotional abuse demands others alter their perceptions of themselves in order to accommodate the aggressor's self-perception. Those who do diminish themselves to meet the aggressor's needs become victims. "
One reason my relationship with my brother is dead in the water, is because he told me to "get over it", ie: get back in line and take more abuse. If he had shown me just one iota of loyalty things could have gone far different. I had endless people telling me to forgive and forget while no one ever told my mother to treat me better. My brother never would even dare to tell her to change her ways. No one has ever corrected her. When I would stand up to her with the family in the midst, I would be ripped down and shredded as they played a "who could lick her boots" faster game. We are told to diminish ourselves by endless collaborators and these collaborators sadly are whom give the narcs so much power to begin with. One thing I know is I let these people with no loyalty have too much of a place in my life. They dug holes deeper for me and helped the narcissists and hurt me just as much.
"If a victim can recognize the camouflage of abusers who he is "supposed" to trust and "should" love, if he can recognize the feeling of being engulfed by another's narcissism, then he has the resiliency to emotionally defend himself. If a victim can decide whom to trust and then act on those decisions, the fallout will repel aggressors.
Resiliency acknowledges the world is not an "all or nothing" proposition. Resiliency acknowledges that everyone will have conflict—emotional or physical—throughout his or her life. Resiliency acknowledges there will be a cost. The former victim may lose a "friend," may "cause problems," and may even be perceived as "not nice." These may seem like monumental challenges, but if the victim's own self-diminishment does not eliminate the pain, he must, logically, look outside of himself for the cause of the pain.
Doing so lifts the burden the victim assigned himself, but also presents a hard decision: to define one's self, there is a cost. Accepting that cost separates "us" from "them," for "they"—the aggressors—always measure risk and reward, remaining unwilling to fight, but only win.
The courage to withstand those conflicts is necessary. We must be willing to accept conflict, win or lose, to begin creating our own self-definitions."
I am getting better at seeing narcissists out there and learning who to avoid. As an adult I don't have to associate with anyone who takes snipes at me, or who rips me down in front of others. I automatically distrust braggarts. Recognizing the camouflage of the abusers has opened the door for me to find a happier life with people who treat me with respect. One thing that will happen to an ACON that goes NC, is when the fog disappears, they will see the ones who joined their narcs in ill treatment. What you learned by getting away from your toxic family will be applied to your outer social world. I don't want to tolerate being invalidated by anyone. It is better to be thought "not nice" and to remain true to yourself.