“You come from a good family, Paula. How did you let this happen to you? Why didn’t your family do something to help you?”

I get questions like this occasionally, and appreciate them. I know it’s not easy to understand sociopath/narcissist/emotional abuse, and for someone to actually ask me, to come right out and ask me, takes courage.

Questions like these indicate that people really want to understand. Questions like these should not anger or hurt our feelings. These questions give our voices permission to be heard.

How would you answer these questions? How have you answered these questions?

Namaste!
~Paula

Category:
abuse, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, mindfulness, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, Recovery, Sociopaths
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Join the conversation! 43 Comments

  1. Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was
    extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as welll am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything.
    Do you have any recommendationns for inexperienced blog writers?
    I’d really appreciate it.

    Reply
  2. When I look back on how I was raised I see why this happened to me, not once or even twice but three times. The last was the worse & the longest (year wise). I was raised that the man was the “head” of everything…house, money, rules, etc. I never learned what I should expect or accept as “right” from a man. So I married controlling, abusing men. Sure, some of it was my “fault” since it took years to figure it all out and then truly believe that I deserve better. I am better, smarter and braver than all that mess!

    Reply
    • Ditto Scarlett & even though it took me 50 years to figure it all out, I have!
      No going backwards ever again! Undoing the dysfunction is my top priority especially for the sake of future generations.
      I wish you continued love, light & good health (mental,physical & spiritual.)
      We deserve to live fully & wholly & that is the gift we give ourselves :)

      PR xoxo

  3. Take my hat off to you, being able to handle these questions with such grace. I think that when you have found peace and joy and healing, you should guard those things… Going back is fine as long as it brings growth and you can let it go afterwards, as well as keep a healthy frame of mind during your introspection. It doesn’t make a difference though. Why (after years of working through the memories & emotions & finally some healing) would you allow the breaking down of what has been accomplished? Don’t ever pick up those chains again. I always try to discern the motives of the person who asks the question. If its a hurtful question its definitely not worth going there.

    Even the most horrible situations can give birth to new life, what was meant for evil can be turned around and something beautiful can exist out of your ‘bad choices’ and his bad treatment. How on earth could you have known exactly what would happen, especially if he hid it so professionally.

    Sometimes people who are raised with integrity, in a loving home, cannot fathom how another person could purposefully wreck lives. It’s out of our grasp. We don’t go looking for faults in everyone we meet. Yes, we see faults but why focus on them? We believe the best in people mostly until proven wrong. This trait can cause us a lot of pain and disappointment, and we don’t know how to channel it from day one, but its not supposed to be a bad thing, its only dangerous because we live in such a broken world. Its also a gift because it ensures that however we walk out of a situation, we may have taken blows, we may not have been perfect but we know we have given it our all, we believed our motives to be pure, our hearts committed and we can wash our hands and walk out saying we did our best, we couldn’t have done more and we never, never deserved that treatment.

    Reply
    • That was so beautifully put :)
      Thank you, we need to appreciate our tragedies as triumphs.
      That is the truth!

      Love & Light
      PR xoxo aka awareb4

  4. Lucky for me I came from a very dysfunctional home so it’s no mystery why I attracted a lying, cheating, asshole. :-|

    Reply
  5. sometimes your parents are a sociopathic themselves, so how can they teach their kids to look out for it?

    Reply
  6. I was not abused as a child. People like us tend to have more empathy, honesty, and compassion than most people. We end up trusting because that’s just how we are. No one has really asked me how I got involved with or how/why I stayed so long. I was very young when I got married and I made excuses for the behavior. I see it now, and the pattern of manipulation. One day I sat down and wrote everything I could remember, and I realized it wasn’t me. (as he told me all the time) it was always my fault when he was angry. Here is a short article that makes sense also. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight/201404/who-falls-dishonest-people-not-who-youd-expect

    Reply
  7. Hi Paula,

    I did a whole life review & it was extremely hard & finally realized I was primed for abuse as a small child.
    My Uncle abused me & I protected him, not the other way around.
    I lived for years with the knowledge of that & carried it with me to adulthood.
    My father was an alcoholic & I was never protected like I should have been. I married a full blown Narcissist with many addictions & after he discarded me (19 yrs) later, I was swept off into the arms of the Covert Narcissist/Socialized Sociopath for 10 yrs. Finally I was made to’See’ my life in all it’s gory details & here I am :)
    I have started writing my blog/book & yes it does trigger but, I feel, deal & heal from that as I go.
    I have an ‘Awareness’ page on Facebook & I will be putting up your details & wonderful posts so, hopefully more people will find you & begin the healing process via understanding & knowledge & support. I was on ‘Dating A Sociopath’ blog but, it has gone private? The Sociopath in that scenario seems to have had their effect on another helpful yet stymied blogger? :(

    Thanks for being another luminary along my path:)
    You have made a huge impact with your words over the course of my own journey. I have followed your advice & am doing well :)

    Love & Light :)
    PR xoxo

    Reply
    • Hi Awareb4,check out the book,Women Who Love Psychopaths by Sandra L. Brown it is very helpful and very healing. It helped me a great dealin my healing process.

      love and light to you

      Ivonne

    • Thank you for that recommendation I will be sure to have a read.
      Love & light to you always.
      :) xoxo

    • I hate that your past was your past, but you are amazing today! You’re here, and you’re helping others. I’m thrilled that you have a page! Please share a link to it do we can all follow. Thank you, PR! Namaste!

      P. S. I stopped following Dating a Sociopath several months ago because the self-confessing sociopaths that frequented the comments would follow me to this blog and comment. Not healthy for me or others, so I had to detach. Nikki is a very well-informed and informative writer/survivor. I hope she’s just taking a break so she can write her book. It’s something she has wanted to do for some time, and I know her blog is very active and keeps her busy.

    • Aww Thank you so much Paula :)

      My blog is still developing but, the link is http://awareb4.com/
      My Facebook page is Awareness of Disordered Minds & Surviving Toxic Personalities.

      P.S. I was always at loggerheads with Nik re her allowing the Sociopaths to play on her site.
      I also truly hope she is well & writing her book as, everyone that creates & grows awareness against the Character Disturbed should be encouraged always.

      Bless You Paula & Love & Light Always :) PR xoxo

  8. I handle it every day. My ex shot herself in my bed, but lived with no apparent physical damage, then moved on. It was her third attempt in her life, and she is a malignant narcissist. When I could no longer take the stress of her irrational behaviors, I told her she would have to move out. Suicide attempt is how she responded. I have been in therapy ever since.

    Reply
    • Wow. What a spectacle she made of herself just to guilt you for setting boundaries. It is not your responsibility to carry that guilt, Shagustus. I hope your therapist is helping you. Sending you lots of positive vibes and energy…you deserve it!

  9. I totally agree with that previous anon about them being slick guys!
    I disowned my family after I got out of that abusive relationship. They appear “good” on the outside, but inside they are just as rotten and sadistic, and I learned in therapy that I’ve been in denial about the “bad side” of my family.
    Anyway, because my family *appears* so normal and 5 years later I am doing amazing…

    I tell people that it’s like getting struck by lightening. He caught me in a vulnerable moment (a rainshower if you will), and because my family wasn’t there for me, I fell super hard and was lucky that it only lasted 10 months.

    I’d even fairly recently had a class with a unit on signs of abusive relationships, and he was every single checkbox. But he was a slick salesman/con artist and totally gaslighted my better judgement.

    It was bad enough that I left him with a suitcase and a few personal objects, and started totally over.

    I wish I had listened to my gut, and I wish I had friends who weren’t so easily turned against me by him. But hindsight is 20/20

    I just tell people that it taught me more compassion because now I know that anyone can get struck by lightening. Even best case scenario, if family and friends had been there, it would have been really hard and I am not sure that I would have walked away with any more possessions. Sometimes, when you need out, you need OUT. I can only aspire to help others in the ways that I wish I had needed help 5 years ago.

    Luckily it’s been a long time since anyone has asked me “how did you LET that happen to you”, and nobody has asked twice.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Anonome. I’m so glad you are in a great place today and are able to help others. Fine-tuning our intuition is huge. Namaste!

  10. So far I haven’t had anyone ask how it happened, although I was told, “Well, you picked him.” Twice by the same friend, once after already explaining to this friend how people like this operate. It was very hurtful.

    As much as I’ve tried to talk to the people around me, to educate and get the information out there, it’s been met with invalidation. “No, he’s not a sociopath. No, he’s not narcissistic. He’s not a sadist.” I’ve all but given up trying to get people who have never experienced it, to understand.

    Reply
    • Wow, Constance, that would be so hurtful to hear “Well, you picked him” from unsympathetic friends. But you’re right…unless someone has experienced these disordered people firsthand, they are clueless and really can’t relate to our pain. They only begin to wake up to it when they themselves are targeted. By trying to convince someone that a person is a sociopath, narcissist or whatever, I think we come off looking crazier than the person we are trying to describe. So we just have to sit back and let everyone learn the hard way – the disordered person may eventually decide to target them. In a family, such as is my case, everyone eventually will get their turn to battle my sociopathic sister. All they have to do is be there when the mask slides off. That’s when they are destined to become the next target. My brother recently witnessed our sociopath sister majorly lying to cover up something sneaky that she did when caught red-handed. She shifted blame to me, but my brother asked me about it to make sure she was lying and I defended myself with the truth and confirmed that it was a big lie. Now that he witnessed the lying performance ( a very convincing one, I am told) I predict he will be next on her list to be devalued and discarded. She is after our Mom’s money and affection, and her siblings are standing in the way of her getting everything. So she works hard to turn our Mom against us. Our Mom will never get it and doesn’t see through her actions, even though I’ve tried my best to explain it to her. Sad, very sad. Like you, I’ve all but given up. It’s just not worth the pain.

    • Telling people, who know what he’s done to me, how he treated my child, and we now know that he killed pet of the ex before me,they still invalidate. I will continue to put information out there, but convincing people is not up to me. I hate to think that they have to experience it themselves in order to understand, it is a painful experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone. The meme “They’ll think I’m crazy until they realize I’m right” comes to mind.

    • Yes. It’s okay that people think we’re crazy. I had to accept THAT a long time ago.

    • Keep in mind that the process of convincing others can be triggering. So always step back from the “argument” when you sense that uncomfortable feeling of anger and anxiety coming over you. Your body and mind will thank you and so will your future self.

    • Constance and Middlechild, I think it is the healthiest and best practice NOT to try convincing anyone who isn’t interested in understanding. In addition, looking like the crazy person isn’t fun in the moment, but, in hindsight, I am able to laugh at myself and learn from my mistakes when it comes to informing others. Bottom line, we can’t convince anyone of anything; all we can do is never waiver our truth. People who doubt us encourage us to doubt ourselves and our own understanding. The sooner we let go of convincing everyone, the sooner we can get to a new stage in healing. :)

    • Too right. Other than informing the people around me when necessary (he’s still stalking/harassing me) I don’t talk about him to the people around me. I leave that for the support groups, or venting on here, to others who understand.

    • I agree. Stick to people who “get you” and won’t doubt you. :)

  11. It is interesting because I had a bad feeling about my abuser. I cancelled a date we were supposed to go on, because I felt like he didn’t like women. I had met him online but we had a friend I went to school with in common. He left me a very mean text a couple days later. Fast forward 8 months later, he wrote me and apologized, asking to go out. If I would have known what I know now while I was sitting there on my first date! He was a male third grade teacher, and the most evil person I ever met! My theory is people like this hide it so well, you don’t even see it coming! I also think for myself I talked myself out of my instinct. I do a lot of reflecting now, years later. My friends never met him, my family never met him, I am the only one to know what he looks like… I never met any of his friends or family either. So if the never meet, how would friends or family help when they do not know the person well? These are just thoughts since I can only relate to my own experience. My experience with this man lasted about 3.5 months…. But the mark is left forever

    Reply
    • Wow, Anonymous. You captured their essence and why our upbringing, family and/or friends really don’t factor into the equation when we choose empathy and understanding over our natural intuition and gut feelings. We simply do not want to believe someone like this exists. We don’t want to believe it, because we weren’t raised to immediately distrust others. And the mark is lasting, but we can use it to empower us and propel us to joy. :)

    • hello Anon – you hit the nail on the head… I also had a bad feeling about the narcissist for me he was part of a group, he talked constantly about himself – I watched him one time while we were out together and saw him talk over people – bring the conversation always back to him – I watched him in particular sort of wince at times – this was a huge red flag for me – but I still fell into the trap almost all abused people fall into – when the manipulative covert abuse started to gain momentum and I started to fight against it – I chose to appeal to our shared social group for some help censuring what was happening – all the narcissist had to do was confound that conversation with the notion that I was crazy – that I was a fool – that I was the abuser – this together with the narcissist contacting people directly appealing to them that I was the abuser – and that spelled the end – he continued with these public attacks until I went no contact and withdrew from all out shared spaces – this has cost me hugely – but it has helped me regain my sanity – the others – the group – peoples friends and their families have very little chance to understand or to see what happens during instances of narcissistic abuse – we in a way have to forgive them for this – after all they are as manipulated as we were… they continue to be manipulated – in a way we need to be thankful that we have escaped…

  12. My mother disliked him right from the start, my brother liked him. My brother defended him my mother disowned me. Neither one understood. My mother thought disowning me would make me choose her over him? protect her from getting hurt? because she thought it was the right thing to do anyway, when in actual fact she played right into his plot and handed me to him on a silver platter. My brother is borderline N himself so what can I say.
    Not many people have asked how it happened, it took a long time to get my mom to understand and she is really trying and helpful now. Someone told her that it was like a drug addict for me so she thought she should cut me out of her life. Still don’t quite understand it myself but it is what it is.
    You know the two people that stuck by me, never criticized me, just loved me and never let me down or made me feel it was my fault was my son and JC’s sister.

    Reply
  13. Well, I come from a dysfuntional family so I have never been asked these questions —lol :)

    Reply
    • Because most people are clueless and don’t understand abuse. None of us are dysfunctional. Our pasts, good or bad, do not define us. There is no sign that says, “Hey! I want to be abused!” on our foreheads.

  14. Being a target of an abuser has nothing to do with one’s upbringing. These abusers are predators and con artists. Anyone who has the ability to empathize, forgive, and love is open to being a target. My family warned me. I chose not to believe their fears; they didn’t see the person I saw. And they didn’t! They saw the person my abuser was hiding from me, the one he wanted them to see in order to isolate me and use to triangulate my family members against me. Highly complex manipulations but not intelligent or smart. Primitive at their core.

    Reply
    • I beg to differ……….if you were abused as a child, and were so to say primed from a young age to look up to people who abuse you….and who are very clever with hiding it from you….then you will fall into that trap again and again, until you realize where the real abuse started to make you attracted to such personality types.

    • Eclecticspice I agree as in my case & after lots of therapy that the child abuse left me with a feeling of low self esteem & self consciousness that in turn led to lack of confidence as I grew up. I also felt very unprotected & came to accept the unacceptable from partners etc…i viewed my family dysfunction as functional & it perpetuated through generations.
      That was my journey & its not everyones but, definately skewed my perceptions of what love is. Love was abuse for me but, now I ‘get it’ & do understand it. That’s my lesson & it is hard but, at least I know now & can heal properly & no longer think I’m less than anyone else or better either. :-)
      Love & Light PR xoxo

  15. Laura, have you looked into blocking the email address from your inbox? I used to do those online-type stuff, too, but not anymore. I can refer you to a great site if you’re interested. Her name happens to be Laura, also. :)

    Reply
  16. I have to unapprove your comments until I can get to my laptop to edit your name. :)

    Reply
  17. You posted your full name.

    Reply
  18. You were either logged in or you completed all of the fields to enter a comment. It’s clear on the comments section that you can post anonymously. You do not have to provide any information. All first-time comments go into moderation so I can vet that it isn’t spam or an attack on anyone posting.

    Reply

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