Wednesday, April 5, 2017

6 Ways to stop sabotaging your relationships after narcissistic abuse



Trauma and self sabotaging our relationships are common after narcissistic abuse







Dear Narcissist Problems,


       I have a big problem... I was in relationship with a narcissistic person for 10 years. I can see now all the things that my ex was doing to me and I learned a lot about narcissistic personality disorder. But recently I just had a situation with my friend and I’m a bit confused. We’ve known each other for 3 years she works in the same place as me. It’s a bit silly of a thing but a few weeks ago I asked her to bring me my bread machine back which I let her borrow as long as she needed and if I needed it back I would let her know.

     So I asked her to bring it back to me because she was going on holidays and I needed it before she went. She said that's ok just remind me. I did ask her again and got no response then the next day I asked again and she said she was very busy and she wouldn’t be back home after work.  Tomorrow she's going on holidays and anyway I can’t go to pick it up from her house. I said I’m very busy as well and I don't have time to go to her house to collect it (she borrowed it from me and took it from my house).

     Then she rang me upset that she doesn't like my attitude about it and why do I have a problem collecting it from her house. When I started explaining my point she interrupted and said “you know what stop it” I asked her to let me finish but she didn't and I just hung up. She rang again but I just text her I’m upset at the moment and I don't want to talk because I don't want to say something that I will regret later. She texted me some stupid thing like “if you’re angry bang something.”

     When she came back from holidays she was pretending that nothing happened. Which upset me the most because she wasn't nice to me. I just stop talking to her cause I need some time to think about it. But every single time I just feel upset I won't say sorry because I didn't do anything wrong just ask for something that belongs to me. A few situations happened over time when we have known each other but she never apologizes.

     I feel very confused she recently called me a bitch in front of my work mates and I’m so angry at her but she doesn't care. I feel like she has narcissistic behavior but I think I might be wrong. On the other hand I feel the way I felt when I was with my ex-partner. She's quite dominant and she intimidate me. I feel like I have to be careful about things I’m saying because she might get upset. Please give me some advice here...

Sincerely,

“The Bread Maker Bandit”

 Analyze your relationships to see if you might be sabotaging yourself

Do you have a question about a narcissist or healing from narcissistic abuse? Submit your question here: I have a question

Have a legal matter and want free anonymous advice from lawyers in your area? Ask A Lawyer here: I have a legal question



Dear “Bandit”,

     There is a saying that if you want to get rid of a jerk friend then loan them $100 because you will never see them again. Well, I’m not so sure you loaned a jerk friend a bread maker. While I don’t want to say ignore red flags of abusers I do want to say we can’t start searching for abusive behaviors in everyone we meet after we’ve had a relationship with a narcissistic personality disordered abuser. As I read your story I started to wonder about the timing of your asking for the bread maker back.

     Yes it is your bread maker but I am not so sure your coworker was trying to hold it hostage. It very well maybe that they were just running out of time to get ready for a trip, and well it’s a bread maker. From the view point of your “friend” maybe it seemed to her as if she had all of these things to do which she probably told you about and she couldn’t wrap her mind around you wanting a bread maker back in that moment.

    At first I thought that she had hung up on you but then after reading your letter again I realize that you had hung up on her.  Putting myself in her shoes I think that I would be upset with you too.  Maybe she had explained numerous times that she couldn’t deliver the bread maker and nothing she could say was going to change that. We still need to be able to negotiate with people and meet them half way before labeling them a narcissist. After narcissistic abuse we need to remain open to putting ourselves in the shoes of others. This does not mean that you should allow people to use you but rather examine our own behaviors that could be contributing to any relationship problems. 

     I know this can be very hard after narcissistic abuse and we tend to look for the first sign of bad behavior to bail out of a relationship but we need to work on making sure we are being fair. Put yourself in the coworker’s shoes for a moment. She might have had this trip planned for a while so how long did you know about the trip? Was it a last minute deal or have you known for weeks?

     Personally, if I had told a friend I was going on a trip weeks in advance and then suddenly they needed their bread maker back the day before I left it would put me off a bit. Especially if there had been fair warning that I would be leaving town.  I’m not trying to blame you for your fight with the friend but by putting myself in your coworkers shoes if my friend said “here borrow this bread maker for as long as you would like” and then 24 hours before leaving on my trip that I might not be ready for they demanded their bread maker back.

     This also brings another question up for me. Did the friend take the trip with other friends and you were hoping to be invited? I can see how that would create a tension and a sudden demand for a bread maker. From my viewpoint on the situation I see both sides being slightly offended so you are both at the point of taking jabs at each other. Her with her hanging up and text message and you with your ignoring. It really does take two people to keep the line of communication going.

     I’m not saying you have to give this person another chance to be in your life or that you should deal with people who are disrespectful towards you. All I’m saying is to put yourself in the shoes of the other person before deciding they might be a narcissistic abuser. As for calling you a bitch, that is very disrespectful especially in front of coworkers BUT were you pushing any buttons such as bringing up the bread maker because you’ve been simmering in the bread maker anger since her trip?

     My advice is to reanalyze the situation and really reflect on it from both perspectives without her being mean eating you alive. Yes the bread maker is yours and your friend is most likely very aware of that but given the circumstances perhaps she thought you were being demanding and unthoughtful. I could understand needing something like a debit card or medication, a car, or anything else of extreme importance before someone goes on a trip but I’m trying to figure out an emergency need for a bread maker. I guess the biggest factor in the whole situation is, did she give the bread maker back when she returned from her trip? I really hope this somewhat helps.

     As for just getting out of the 10 year relationship with a narcissistic abuser there is a lot of work that goes into healing. It’s going to take a lot of support and also a lot of work trusting others to give us perspective on situations. I highly suggest if you are not in therapy to please seek a qualified therapist to help you work through your past relationship so you don’t keep repeating the same cycle with everyone you meet.

      Personally, I spent many years so afraid to trust people that I did look for reasons to push them away which is exactly why I say reanalyze the situation and get therapy. After these relationships we are so broken that we question absolutely everything and can even sabotage ourselves unknowingly. This is actually very normal behavior for victims of abuse where we subconsciously create situations to where we victimize ourselves.

Victims of Narcissistic Abuse often repeat the trauma 









     There was an article published in the Psychiatric Clinics of North America written by Bessel Van der Kolk MD called “The Compulsion to Repeat the Trauma Re-enactment, Revictimization, and Masochism. I will leave a link to the article below because I think it really might help you. This article describes what happens when we do not work through our trauma in that “the trauma is repeated on behavioral, emotional, physiologic, and neuroendocrinologic levels, whose confluence explains the diversity of repetition phenomena. (1989). The articles main focus is on how and why victims of abuse repeat the trauma perhaps due to our addiction to the abusive stimulus or our lack of ability to know how to proceed in life beyond that point.

     Van der Kolk stated that “Many traumatized people expose themselves, seemingly compulsively, to situations reminiscent of the original trauma” and he calls this “repetition compulsion”. So it’s not to say that we want to find fault in any and everything but first we must recognize that this is a very real possibility especially considering the situation with your friend of 3 years. I would not be ashamed if this is what has occurred but rather I would look at it as a wakeup call to get out there and work on the coping skills you might need.

     As abuse survivors, and with such long term abuse, our entire bodies have become used to that constant stimulus. The constant fight or flight, the anxiety, and turmoil almost becomes like a drug addiction as in it becomes a compulsion to seek that stimuli of abuse. This article also mentioned that “self-destructive activities were not primarily related to conflict, guilt and superego pressure, but to more primitive behavior patterns originating in painful encounters with hostile caretakers during the first years of life”. I know this sounds totally cliché but “what was your relationship like with your parents? I would examine that as well but with the help of a professional and in a therapeutic setting.

     This study also observed that of adults who had recently been in a traumatic situation “57 percent showed behavioral re-enactments, and 51 percent had recurrent intrusive images.”(1989). since you were essentially broken and traumatized by your relationship with the narcissistic abuser it is totally normal for you to re-enact that situation to where you are in conflict. The conflict itself probably released some anxiety for you and I wouldn’t doubt if this type of scenario happens a lot for you because it is normal behavior after being abused which is exactly why we need to seek professional help.

     It was brought to my attention that I should clear something up before proceeding onto the 6 ways to stop sabotaging your personal relationships. First, when I mention to seek therapy or professional help this has to be done before working on the second step which is responsibility or ownership of our actions. A soon to be life coach who has been studying and healing from narcissistic abuse for years mentioned that we can't be responsible for our actions if we are not aware of them. This is true, rather she said that we can only be held accountable for our actions. After examining the two definitions I realized she is right. Others can hold us accountable but in order to take responsibility we need to be aware of what we are doing.

     Further, In order to fully understand and make use of these steps trauma therapy would be required as it is abusive to suggest a victim of abuse would held responsible for behavior they are not aware of due to being abused as a coping mechanism. 


Some Helpful books on Trauma and Truama therapy






6 ways to stop sabotaging your personal relationships:


  1.   Examine your life long relationship patternsMany of us sabotage our relationships without even realizing that we are doing it. When this happens we perpetually place ourselves in situations that are unhealthy or toxic. When you examine your life long relationship patterns you want to go all the way back to your childhood and start with your relationship with your parents. Being victims of abuse we need to be very aware of the possibility that we may be contributing to our own demise.
  2. Be accountable for your role in the problems. It can be very easy to blame others for our relationship problems. We might even be escalating tensions and the destruction of our relationships by ignoring our involvement in the creation of the problems that are occurring. When you are in conflict with another person try to see past your hurt feelings and analyze if possibly you are also creating hurt feelings by your own behaviors and reactions. Be patient with yourself during this process and realize that you are not responsible for how you have learned to cope after abuse but you are still required to hold yourself accountable for your actions. You will learn about these dynamics in trauma therapy 
  3. Examine your expectations for the relationship. Whether you are trying to make a friend or if you are dating someone you need to really assess your expectations of that specific relationship. For instance, are you wanting to get married but your partner is only at a stage where they would not be comfortable talking about marriage. If your partner is not ready for marriage then constantly talking about marriage would definitely create an atmosphere of tension and eventual sabotage. Slow down and take it easy before rushing such an important relationship. Further, if we are expecting too much from our friends we might become overbearing and start to drain our friends causing them to shy away from the friendship. It would be good in this situation to ask yourself your motives for loaning personal items out to people for long term. Are you loaning people your things in order to have some kind of attachment or reason to communicate?
  4. Practice Patience yet don’t let others violate your boundaries. We can’t expect everyone to be perfect just as we are not perfect. We all have flaws and sensitivities. We can’t go through all of our relationships only looking for abusers and then bailing out at the first sign of trouble. Learning how to work through our relationship problems will help us create healthy relationships. However, if someone is clearly crossing boundaries and intentionally hurting you or using you then of course you shouldn’t put up with that behavior. When we begin to have problems and the other person is not willing to work on a solution then this is a good indication that this is a toxic relationship. Be patient with those who are willing to work on their own behavior and remember actions always speak louder than words.
  5. You Show people how to treat you!  Start paying attention to the way you are allowing people to treat you.  It is important to remember that we might actually be teaching people how to treat us by how we treat ourselves and by the behavior that we are willing to accept in others. When we continually allow people to disrespect us or put us down then it shows the world that this is acceptable behavior and it will only attract toxic people into our lives.  
  6. Set boundaries and enforce them. This course of action is especially difficult for victims of abuse as many of us have grown up in abusive homes. We have not learned the skills needed to build boundaries and then enforce them. We sometimes feel embarrassed by enforcing and keeping boundaries. This is something that each of us needs to assess and then work on so that we can’t stop sabotaging ourselves. If we are upset that people are crossing boundaries it will be meaningless if we don’t enforce them.

       As for the “Bread Maker Bandit” this might be a situation where you are not dealing with a narcissistic abuser but rather failing to set clear boundaries in your relationships. Again, I am not trying to discredit your perception of the situation with your friend but if you are not in therapy please consider exploring the possibility that you are now sabotaging yourself and your other relationships. Good luck to you on your healing journey!


Regards,







Read more at Narcissistproblems.com

Facebook