People who have been abused by narcissists hear all kinds of ridiculous and cruel comments from people who have no clue. I’ve been told that it’s my fault I was abused because I married the narcopath, that it’s worse for me to talk about the abuse than it was for him to abuse me, that I made my choice so I must face the consequences.
How about…he shouldn’t be an abuser?
Let me just say that victim blamers have something wrong with their thoughts. I think many of us have encountered that judgmental bully who says “well, you shouldn’t have married him,” or “you’re the one who chose to marry him,” or some other comment that basically blames you for unknowingly getting involved with an abuser.
Yes, technically we did choose the abuser, but it was hardly an informed choice! If I’d had any clue how narcissists and sociopaths worked, I would have gladly run the other way. If I had the full information and the full story, I would have been able to make a better choice. Self-righteous people who want us to think *they* have never made a bad choice love to treat us like we were idiots who willingly made the bad decision to cavort with sociopaths.
I’m sick of being verbally beaten over the head with this idea that I “chose” the abuse. There is a big difference between making a choice to do something you know is wrong–like steal from a store, lie to others, slash someone’s tires–and making an innocent bad choice when you don’t know you are doing something wrong. A narcissist appears to be wonderful, fun, interesting, honest, responsible and so many other good things. A sociopath is even better at putting on the act. What’s a nice girl to think when Prince Charming is putting on a show for her? If she hasn’t experienced a sociopath, she’s never going to realize what’s going on. Even if we have experienced a typical abuser, the sociopath can fool us because the sociopath is so much better at knowing the right things to say. A sociopathic abuser will often seek out former victims and cozy up to them. The sociopath will pretend to be a victim to gain a vulnerable person’s trust. After I divorced a controlling covert narcissist, I thought I would be smarter the next time. Instead, I encountered a highly intelligent sociopath who used the fact that I’d been abused before to mirror me.
Furthermore, it is a reality that people who have been abused once are more likely to be abused again. The more you have been abused, the higher your chances of re-victimization. This isn’t because you are purposely trying to be abused! It’s because abusers–especially sociopaths–know how to pick you out of a crowd. They can read body language, recognize low barriers, recognize a person who is hungry for love, and recognize a person who has given up. It’s also because we learn patterns and don’t know any better. We often have no clue that relationships aren’t meant to be miserable and controlling and we don’t know how to recognize a good partner even if we do know something is wrong. How can a person know something they don’t know!?! Sometimes people go through several cycles of abuse before they realize they are repeating a pattern or that it’s not normal. This is especially common for people who were abused as children. We let bad behavior slide because we are used to it and haven’t seen anything better.
Someone who gets involved with an abuser once isn’t looking to be abused. Someone who gets involved with multiple abusers isn’t looking to be abused either. That’s not how it works. The psychology behind repeating cycles of abuse is far more complicated than just mindlessly blaming the victim for uninformed choices.
Frankly, anyone who tells a victim of narcissistic abuse that they are responsible for choosing the abuser is lacking empathy and sense!