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Are You a Magical Thinker?

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

Written by Narcissistic Abuse Expert Randi Fine

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

Ever since the 2006 publishing of Rhonda Byrne’s book, The Secret, the positive thinking movement has exploded. The basic theory behind The Secrete is that positive thinking manifests in abundance. I believe that optimism is crucial for our emotional well-being and employ it daily in my own life. That said, I also believe that optimism without the benefit of realism is delusional. Unrealistic optimism or fantasy can cause small problems to turn into bigger ones. It can leave us defenseless when in harm’s way. It can cause us to overlook issues that should be addressed. Lacking healthy coping skills, narcissistic abuse victims typically resort to some method of denial or delusional thinking as a way to escape their realities. One method used to do that is known as “magical thinking” or “Pollyannaism.” Magical thinking is a childlike state of mind, one of naiveté that tells the abused person that wishing will make it so, that everything in life has a happy ending, Beyond all rationale or evidence to the contrary, the victim refuses to believe her abuser is all bad. She remains convinced that he will magically transform into whoever she wants him to be, and when he does, all her problems will be solved. Some typical rationales of narcissistically abused magical thinkers are:

  1. There must be good in him. No one is all bad.

  2. She cannot possibly be that manipulative, or smart enough to mastermind the things she does.

  3. He doesn’t mean what he says.

  4. She is just a product of her upbringing

  5. Things will be better next time.

  6. He can change.

  7. If I am perfect or love her enough she will change.

  8. If I can make him see how much he hurts me he will stop doing it.

  9. I know she loves me, she just doesn’t know how to show it.

  10. If I pray about it things will change.

  11. He really doesn’t want to hurt me. He just needs help.

There is no track record or evidence to back up any of those rationales. They are all unfounded hopes and possibilities. If the narcissist wanted to change, he’s been given ample opportunity to do so. Hindsight shows that he is neither willing nor committed to being any different or that he cares to examine his behavior. We should all have faith, hope and an optimistic outlook about our lives. Abuse victims should never stop believing in a better future. But nothing will change until they are willing to acknowledge and accept the reality of their situation and then do the work required to overcome it.

This is copyrighted material. May only be shared with writer's permission and proper attribution.

Randi Fine is an internationally renowned narcissistic abuse expert and coach, and the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.

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