The Top Twelve Excuses NPD Victims and Survivors Use For Not Getting Help
Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert
Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine
The following twelve excuses are the ones most commonly used by narcissistic abuse victims and survivors that prevent them from getting the help they need. Which excuses, if any, are holding you back and why?
1. I fear the unknown. The devil I know is better than the devil I don’t know.
You may think you know the narcissist but that is impossible. No one truly knows a narcissist. The narcissist is a false self, a psychological construct, not the true self--the self-loathing child trapped inside. With NPD, there is no specific personality to know or behavior pattern to predict. The personality shown to you has been carefully tooled to solicit narcissistic supply from you, and only you. Narcissists are consummate actors, master manipulators, and pathological liars. You cannot take anything you’ve heard at face value, and you have no idea who the narcissist is or how he or she behaves when you are not around.
Narcissistic abuse gets worse over time. The personality you have not yet met, but will eventually meet, will be even more vicious than the one you think you know. Even more crucial to understand is, the longer you stay with the abuser, the more damage (sometimes irreparable) will be done to your mind, body, and soul. If you want to be loved, heal your trauma, and live in peace, there is only one way to do it—take a leap of faith into the unknown. Anything is better than the way you’ve been living, and the future possibilities you can create are endless.
2. I have hope that the situation will get better. Anything is possible. People can change.
As I explained in the last paragraph, people with NPD get worse, not better over time. Contrary to what you may read or hear from those who do not truly understand the nature of this disorder, narcissists cannot possibly change. Don’t let these misinformed or magical thinking “professionals” mislead you into thinking that can happen.
For someone to get better from a personality disorder, they must understand two things and have remorse about them. First is the understanding that something is wrong with them or that anything about their behavior needs fixing. Narcissists are blind to the fact that something is wrong with them. This lack of understanding cannot be reasoned with. If told that something is wrong with them, they rage and then project the blame back on the target who suggested it. Secondly, narcissists feel entitled to treat others any way they wish to without ever feeling remorse. Other people are seen as unfeeling objects that are there to be used and abused.
Without the willingness to understand either of those concepts, without any honest introspection, there is no possible way for their behavior to change.
3. I can do this myself. I don’t need someone to help me move past this. I’ve done it before, and I can do it again.
Narcissistic abuse targets the subconscious mind. Narcissists use brainwashing tactics and the strategic methodology of psychological warfare to condition, program, and break down the will of their targets. Most of this is done without the target’s conscious awareness. For every manipulative or abusive maneuver that is noticeable, there are at least twice as many tactics that are not.
Trying to think or rationalize your way out of your confusion and pain will only create frustration and self-blame when you cannot do it. What you know or understand intellectually is not what you feel emotionally, and it is impossible for you to align the two. This is not a deficiency that you have. It is simply impossible to do. You may achieve some level of recovery, but it will not be long term. Unless you are deprogrammed, these issues will creep up again and again in your mind and adversely affect you for the rest of your life.
You have been programmed to think and feel a certain way, and no matter how hard you try you will not be able to stop doing that without the help of a professional who is experienced and skilled in this very specific area. It is simply unwise to think you can do this yourself.
4. It will cost too much money to get a professional to help me. It costs nothing if I do it myself.
Some professionals will be fair and reasonable with their fees, and some will overcharge. Don’t be fooled. The fee structure has nothing to do with the person’s level of competency. Read reviews. Thoroughly investigate the professional to be sure that the person is a good fit for you. Most professionals who practice in this area of expertise offer thirty- minute consultations for free or a nominal fee. Use the opportunity to evaluate the professional for yourself.
You do not have to spend a fortune to get the help you need. Search for someone who is truly invested in guiding you towards the finish line, not someone who charges exorbitant fees for an expensive course and leaves you largely on your own, or someone who wants to keep you in therapy for years to come. A dedicated professional will provide you with strategies, tools, and resources that you can eventually use on your own and will stay by your side with great patience and support until you are ready to venture out on your own.
Ultimately, you will save more money than you will spend.
Left untreated, narcissistic abuse manifests itself into disease. Not only that, but narcissistic abuse also often results in legal problems that are costly to remedy. Prevention is the key.
5. I have tried therapy. It didn’t help and/or it made me feel worse not better.
You are not alone in this experience. One would think that educated, qualified, licensed mental health practitioners know how to recognize and treat all mental health issues. That is untrue. When it comes to narcissistic abuse, there is no formal education or training that qualifies professionals to help people overcome it. And even if they do recognize the condition, it cannot legally be diagnosed in its entirety since it is not considered a diagnosable condition by the American Psychiatric/Psychological Associations. The process of changing or adding a condition to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) is painfully slow.
Narcissistic abuse defies logic, and it is very difficult to understand. The most effective treatment will come from a coach or counselor who has personally experienced narcissistic abuse, has many years of experience treating it, and is not bound by the antiquated restrictions of the APA. If you have not tried this route, I suggest that you do.
6. I have no support from friends and family because I have alienated myself or have been alienated from everyone who cares about me. No one understands what I am going through, everyone sides with the abuser, no one believes what I tell them, and/or I have a toxic family that has never supported me.
If you have one friend or family member that supports and listens to you without judgment, you are more fortunate than most people who are going through this. Most people will not understand your suffering or believe what you tell them about your experiences, simply because it is difficult to believe.
Everything about narcissistic abuse is counter-intuitive—it defies logic. Most people are logical thinkers. They relate what they know about life and what they have personally experienced to everything they hear, and this causes them to justify the unjustifiable. Ultimately, some responsibility or blame will be assigned to you.
In addition, no one outside of your home sees the same personality of the narcissist you see. The personality they are shown is one that is thoughtful, caring, charitable, and considerate. They cannot begin to imagine that the abusive behavior you are describing is really happening.
It is commonly believed that relationships require the effort of both parties to function well. Those with that mindset will automatically assign some responsibility for the problems you are having to you. But narcissistic abuse is not a two sided, evenly matched relationship. There is a perpetrator and a victim. Victims who operate from a strategically conditioned mind, one that is not of their choosing, bear no responsibility for what is happening to them.
The best support comes from professionals who will give unconditional support to you in whatever way is needed, for however long it is needed.
7. Why bother fixing this? I want to keep our family together for the sake of the children. I am willing to sacrifice how I feel to keep the family together—it’s better for the children to have an intact family.
If you have children, it is imperative that you address this problem and take whatever steps are needed to improve it, immediately. Narcissistic grooming begins as soon as the children are born and gets more destructive to their emotional, psychological, and physical health the longer they are exposed to it. Without intervention, the damage will adversely impact them for their entire lifetime.
The longer you remain in this stressful environment, the sicker you will become in your body, mind, and spirit. If you physically survive, you will eventually become powerless to advocate for and protect your children. If you don’t, your children will be handed completely over to their abuser. There will be no buffer for them while they are constantly subjected to and must endure horrific levels of abuse.
The stress and tension in the household environment is palpable to all its members—especially the children. Children require consistent emotional and physical safety with unconditional love. They would rather have separate homes with divorced parents than to constantly bear the pain and frustration of this disruptive, toxic environment.
8. I feel guilty judging or “outing” my narcissistic parent’s behavior. No matter what has happened, my parents do love and want the best for me. No parent is perfect. They did the best they could do. Family is forever.
Narcissistic parents admonish their children to never reveal what goes on behind closed doors to anyone outside of the family. The punishment for doing so is harsh, so children dutifully comply. We take this conditioning into our adulthood and obey, regardless of the situation. We believe, without question, that we must protect and defend the very people who have never protected or defended us.
Regardless of that fact, healing and recovery from narcissistic abuse has nothing to do with blaming, judging, or outing your parent(s). This process is all about how you experienced your childhood environment, what it takes for you to overcome the trauma, and how to protect yourself from this day forward. There are no right or wrong answers. As you go through the process of healing, you will gain more clarity, and become more and more empowered to make decisions that are in your own best interest.
Unfortunately, narcissists are virtually incapable of loving, caring about, or wanting the best for anyone (including their children) but themselves. Becoming a parent does not guarantee that the person has maternal or paternal instincts. This is especially true for narcissistic parents. In most cases they are narcissists who are playing the role of mother or father because children bring them an abundance of narcissistic supply. Parents such as these are abusers first. They have no empathy for their family members or anyone else. And they do not do their best, simply because they don’t care to.
Healthy, loving, committed families are forever. Toxic ones led by narcissistic parents are not. The choice is ours to make. The ten commandments tell us to honor our father and mother, so we think we must, but there are many ways to honor parents. They don’t have to take an active role in our lives to be honored.
9. We are supposed to love everyone. Who am I to judge another?
As I stated in earlier paragraphs, healing from narcissistic abuse has nothing to do with judgment. It is about facing the truth of your past or present experiences and acknowledging the impact they are having on you.
We each have the right to tolerate or not tolerate abusive treatment. We can choose to love those who have hurt us, but not accept the abuse or subject ourselves to it. Loving someone and being their doormat are two different things.
We are each entitled to have boundaries, and we each bear responsibility to ourselves, in honor of the gift of life we’ve been given, to love and protect ourselves. No one has the right to deprive us of those things.
10. Divorce is against my religion and out of the question, so what’s the point?
In terms of marriage, the tenets of your religion are based on the holy matrimony of two committed people. But what constitutes a marriage? Is it truly a marriage when only one of you is committed to your marriage vows and the other could care less about them. Is it truly a marriage when you marry someone who has falsely represented his or herself as someone who loves and cares about you, but you discover that his/her true intentions are neither loving nor caring? Is it truly a marriage if your spouse has been unfaithful to you or consistently lies to you? And is it truly a marriage if being in a relationship with that person is a constant threat to your health and well-being?
Marriage to a narcissist is a bait and switch situation. Everything about it is a lie. I hesitate to believe that God or any Supreme Being would endorse such a relationship, expect you to work out unresolvable issues with an unreasonable person, or condemn you to a life of abuse. You deserve much better.
11. I don’t want to hold grudges. We are supposed to have forgiveness in our hearts.
Healing is not about holding grudges or carrying malice in your heart. It is a journey we take within ourselves to remove blockages, put the past in the rear-view mirror where it belongs, and gracefully strive to become the best version of ourselves that is possible.
Forgiveness is not about telling our abusers that they are forgiven for all the bad things they have done or letting them off the guilt hook. People who refuse to take responsibility for their wrongful actions should not be given a pardon or free pass to repeat the behavior.
Forgiveness is a beautiful thing that we give ourselves as a reward, once we have completely worked through the conflict. We cannot forgive our abuser until we fully accept that we cannot trust him or her with any aspect of our well-being. We should never rush into forgiveness until we have completed the healing process and risen above the resentment. That takes time.
Forgiveness is about releasing the grip of resentment that keeps us stuck and hinders our well-being. It’s a promise we make to ourselves to release ourselves from the negative emotional hold we have allowed our abusers to have over us.
12. My abuser is not all bad. He/she does have a good side. Maybe I am seeing things wrong. Maybe I’m the one with the problem as he/she says I am.
Narcissists are masters at giving us validation and whatever else we need when they sense we are about to pull away. This tactic is known as intermittent reinforcement. It is used to confuse us into thinking that they are not as bad as we thought they were, with the intention of keeping us stuck in that abusive relationship. Though the abuse is mostly intolerable, we are fooled into thinking that their good side is here to stay. It never is but victims buy into this ruse again and again. That explains the good side you think you see.
Since you’ve been groomed by the narcissist to doubt your perception, you are never sure if you are seeing or interpreting things the right way. To gain a clear perspective, pay attention to your abuser’s behavior patterns, not the lies, manipulations, and propaganda he/she spoon-feeds you.
Narcissists cannot see that anything is wrong with them. If someone must be blamed, it will always be you. With narcissists, accusations are confessions. Whatever they accuse you of they are doing themselves. You may not be perfect, but you are unlikely to be the one who is causing all the problems in the relationship. Do not buy into the deception.
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 and Recovery Second Edition, 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 the official companion workbook Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: A Comprehensive Workbook for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse. Randi Fine is 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.