Narcissists and sociopaths confuse and jumble everything around them. They charm their ways out of trouble, they fool people, they rationalize their bad behavior in ways that seem logical…and they keep getting away with it. So many times, we put up with it for months or years before we finally speak out. Then, people don’t believe us. Or they blame us. Or worse yet, they turn the crime around on us for not speaking earlier. Then, you sit there feeling helpless that you’ve been through so much crap, you finally say something…and nothing happens.
I have learned the hard way that you must report or speak up about anything disturbing and it is up to YOU to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Since you can’t control the abuser and make them stop, your only hope is to cut contact so they can’t hurt you any more. Unfortunately, our humanity works against us here. We want to give people chances, we want to fix them, we want them to get help, we want to believe things will get better. Here are some real life reasons why you have to report any violence, abuse or neglect.
1. If you do not report it, and the abuser does it again, then you finally report it after multiple problems, the law is only going to treat it like a first offense. The abuser is going to get leniency despite previous abuse because there is no recorded history of abuse. They will not face the full consequences of their repeated bad behavior.
*Real life example: my narcopath ex has been arrested multiple times in different states. At least one of his arrests was expunged for good behavior. But, he has a very long history of trouble making! He’s assaulted and attacked multiple people who chose not to report. So, he got one arrest expunged because on paper, it looked like a first offense. When he was arrested for assaulting me, it too looked like a first offense because the previous arrests were expunged or in other jurisdictions. Worse, there was no paper trail for most of the bad behavior. The court did not understand the magnitude of the problem.
2. You are more likely to get help if there is a history of documented abuse. If it isn’t documented, the people who can help you are not going to be able to. If there is a proven history, you are more likely to be believed and get the services and assistance you need. This is especially important if you would like a protective order. The courts have to know that there is a history so they have the basis to get you that order.
3. If you know there is abuse and you go back, you will find that judgmental people will fault you. Most people do not understand the emotional, financial and psychological reasons an abuse victim will give the abuser more chances. If you later try to tell people that you’ve been dealing with abuse, you will hear things like “well why didn’t you leave sooner?” or “you must be lying because if you were abused, you would have left sooner.” When you need help, you will find that some less understanding people are going to put you on the defense and back you into a corner explaining yourself. Once you know there is a problem, it is important to be strong and get out as fast as possible or else you will be blamed for allowing it. It’s not fair, but it happens all the time.
4. If you know the narcissist is questionable, neglectful or outright abusive against someone else and you don’t report it, then you can be blamed. Narcissists work in gray areas, and even when you feel like something is wrong, they can talk you out of it and make you feel like you are over-reacting. Don’t let them do this! Trust your gut!
*Real life example: my narcopath ex was rough and controlling, as well as mean and neglectful with my child. I used to tell him I didn’t like it, and he’d accuse me of being too wimpy and making my son into a wimp. I knew in my heart that he was in a gray area of abusing my son without actually crossing the line into abuse, but the narcopath very logically told me that he wasn’t really hurting my son. At that point, he hadn’t really. Then one day, he did attack my son in a way that was not questionable at all. I made a police report and kicked the narcopath out of our lives, but I was not able to get help with the police because there was no proof of the prior weirdness. Plus, people blamed me for letting the earlier stuff slide, and for letting the narcopath stay when I didn’t feel comfortable. Onlookers were more interested in blaming me than blaming the narcopath who attacked.
The court of public opinion is brutal. When you are dealing with a narcissist, you will find dozens of people with a loud opinion about you and the situation despite the fact that they aren’t involved and don’t know all the facts. Sure these rumors don’t matter, but you also don’t need them flying around about you when you have bigger problems to deal with. You can be as blameless as possible by reporting abuses or anything that makes you uncomfortable.
The legal court is all about justice, and for that reason often misses the mark. They want documents and facts, but abusers don’t always leave proof. It is important to be methodical about collecting what you do have, and ending the situation. When you want the law to protect you and take you seriously, you have to take steps to show that you too are taking your safety seriously.
Statistics say it takes a victim up to 7 tries to leave an abuser. That is 6 tries too many! Don’t waste any more of your precious life or your children’s lives hoping a narcissist will change. They won’t. They will just make things harder for you the longer you stay. If you are dealing with a narcissist, trust your instincts, file reports for any crimes as soon as they happen, and leave. It is very hard to do, but if you don’t it’s even worse in the long run.