Invalidation and narcissism: Why they slowly erase you

8 minute read

Invalidation and narcissism go hand in hand. Ever get the feeling you’re invisible? Like you are entirely worthless and just don’t matter? If yes, you know all too well the obliteration that inevitably comes from narcissistic invalidation. It is the default modus operandi for pathological narcissists, underpinning all forms of abuse, whether physical, psychological, mental, or sexual. The effects are horrendously damaging and disempowering.

Invalidation is used to slowly erase you. After all, when you’ve been emptied of your identity, full compliance to the narcissist’s demands is almost guaranteed. There’s little left to fight with.

BUT…the very fact you are reading this now means you are not down and out. You are still fighting for you.

And in this battle to reclaim your life from narcissism, raising your awareness of when they are abusing you, sets in motion your release from the nightmare.

This article is the first instalment in a two-part series on invalidation and narcissism. In this piece we expose why they do it, and how to spot it in action.

invalidation and narcissism slowly erases you

Keep your eyes peeled for part two, where the focus will shift to how it impacts on you, and how to narc-proof yourself for the future through self-validation.

Defining validation

As human beings, we have basic needs, to be loved and to belong. These social needs are just as essential as other survival needs like food, shelter, and safety.

Connection to others and being accepted is at the core of belonging. And being validated by others is an integral part of having these needs met.

So, what is validation?

It is being present and supportive of another’s experience, by acknowledging their thoughts and feelings without attempting to change them.

In being validated we feel accepted by others and we also accept ourselves. We feel heard, seen, and understood. In short, we feel valued.

Appreciating emotional states of others however hinges on the capacity for empathy.

Invalidation is the product of an absence of empathy, hence being a natural space for the pathological narcissist to operate from.

It is the act of purposefully denying, rejecting, minimising, negatively judging, and/or ignoring your expressed experience, thoughts, actions, or emotions.

Invalidation can be overt as is typical in aggressive bullying tactics. It can also be covert, subtle & insidious. Gaslighting is a prime example of just how sneaky invalidation can be.

If a resounding ‘yes’ arose for you in feeling invisible and worthless because of the narc’s abuse, you know, from experience, how bereft the absence of validation leaves you, and how very central it is to your survival.

Sadly, the vulnerability this causes only amplifies the power of invalidation…which is precisely what the narcissist wants in order to feed their needs.

Let’s delve into this some more…

Conceptualising narcissistic invalidation as supply

Once you understand the disordered thinking driving the narcissist’s invalidation, you can begin depersonalising this very personal attack. Truly you will.

By seeing through their mask, in time you develop understanding that their dismantling of you has very little to do with you as a person. Rather, it has everything to do with them as a person.

So here we go…

To protect themselves from facing the reality of their true selves, the narcissist creates a mask, their ‘false-selves’, which is all about being beyond reproach. Maintaining their fragile make-believe world depends on reinforcing beliefs held that they are ‘perfect’.

Disproving the reality of who they are without the mask, drives their existence.

This results in the fixation to constantly source supply. For the narcissist, this is their validation.

losing yourself through invalidation and narcissism

Unlike emotionally healthy people however, the pathological narcissist’s version of validation is not contingent on acceptance and understanding. Letting things & people be without the need to change them is not something the narc can do.

Rather, validation (and by this I mean validating them, your needs are completely irrelevant to them) is all about controlling and manipulating you into giving them the hit of supply they constantly crave.

Because supply is needed for their survival, they will score it at any cost. The hunt for validation is an obsession for the narcissist.

This is how it plays out…

Narcissistic invalidation in action

Denial

Thing is, being perfect is not a thing.

You and I know this, but the pathological narcissist cannot accept this.

It’s therefore unsurprising that pursuing substantiation of being such a mythical being is fraught with difficulties that cannot be resolved.

To handle these inconveniences, during the genesis of their disorder, the pathological narcissist divided the world into two extremes: the good and the bad. The perfect and the deeply, irrevocably flawed. The black & the white.

This need to allocate people, things, and events into one of the two extremes due to the inability to intellectually integrate both negative and positive qualities in the one entity, is referred to as splitting (for more on splitting read From ‘soul mate’ to worthless: What’s behind the narcissist’s 180? ).

Obviously, the pathological narcissist allocates themselves to the all good/perfect category. And those who validate this view are of value to the narc, often idealised.

However, anyone who does not support this view is rejected, devalued and assigned the ‘all bad’ label.

This stunted and polarised thinking of the pathological narcissist is actually quite simple once decoded (albeit completely illogical and disordered, of course).

It goes like this: to retain beliefs in always being right and superior means that anyone who knowingly or unknowingly challenges these points, must be wrong and inferior.

Facts and logic don’t play into it. The ONLY thing that matters is that your thoughts, feelings, and experiences are negated (read The narcissist’s word salad: Stop biting now for an example of this in action).

Devaluation takes place by invalidating you, which to the disordered mind of the narcissist, validates their elevated status.

Unfounded contrariness reaches new heights in the world of the narcissist!

And this is the foundation of narcissistic invalidation.

In their minds, by denying you, in relation to whatever, means you cannot catch them out on their own denial about who they really are.

Diversionary tactic

So, we’ve established the narcissist’s obsession for validation of the false-self, in order to deny the real-self, as the driver of their compulsive behaviours (I know it’s a mouthful!).

Thing is, that whilst they madly try to protect themselves from reality, simultaneously, a level of awareness of their truth shadows their existence.

This makes them hyper-sensitive to anything that has the potential to bring this to light. In addition to denying the truth, invalidation is used to exert and maintain control over you.

Anytime they feel suspicion you may be sniffing out who they really are, by invalidating you, your attention is diverted to refocus on what’s wrong with you.

It works every time until you wise up to their game.

It is so effective because through the abuse, the narcissist has been training you to react emotionally to any triggering that targets your vulnerabilities. The programming is undertaken for the very purpose of derailing you, of diverting you when required (read Reacting vs. responding: Overcoming legacy of abuse and narcissism for more on this and how to stop being their puppet).

See, in this way they are controlling you by avoiding accountability and silencing any potential threat to their fragile belief system. By voiding you, your experiences, thoughts, and emotions, they make the issue go away.

The ultimate red herring!

In doing this, they are also erasing all that makes you, you.

losing yourself because of narcissistic invalidation

Spotting narcissistic invalidation

So, now we’re clear why invalidation and the narcissist go hand in hand, let’s check out examples so you can pause, assess when it’s happening, and learn to detach from their abuse thereby neutralising its impact (for more on how to do this read Emotionally unhook yourself & starve the narcissist of supply: Here’s how).

The starkest example is the cycle of narcissistic abuse where the narcissist displays great awareness of how to intentionally apply validation, and it’s opposite, to manipulate you (for more on the intentionality of narcissists read Proof the narcissist abuses you intentionally and will never change).

During idealisation when you were love bombed to hook you into being a reliable source of supply, it was ALL about validating you. To successfully reel you into the relationship the narc was hyper focused on making you feel acknowledged, valued, listened to, cared for, accepted, and understood.

Enter devaluation and discard, and the flip has taken place (more on this is within From ‘soul mate’ to worthless). Validation, no longer needed once you are hooked, is ditched. Invalidation becomes the norm to break down your strength and identity so that you remain dependent and compliant as a source of supply. Now you face relentless:

  • Arguments about seemingly everything you express citing that you are illogical, your view is groundless and invalid, perhaps even crazy irrespective of facts
  • Rejection, dismissiveness, and/or your needs, thoughts, and emotions are ignored
  • Judgements that you are being defective in some way

In each of these scenarios you can see how denial and diversion are at work.

The inference in all of these are that you are wrong, and they are right. That you are flawed and of no worth to them.

Drilling down further, you know these tactics are being used when you hear things like:

  • You shouldn’t feel that way
  • You’re over-reacting/too sensitive
  • You take things too seriously
  • You’re wrong, that isn’t how you feel, this is how you feel…
  • You have no right to feel that way
  • I never said that/that never happened/it’s all in your head
  • It wasn’t that bad/it could be worse
  • You have things so much better than others
  • You should be grateful for everything I do for you
  • Nobody else agrees with you/has a problem with it
  • There’s something wrong with you/you’ve got big problems/you’re crazy
  • Get over it already
  • I’m not going to talk to you about this

Conversely…you could hear nothing at all. Crickets.

Body language, and silence however, are just as potent in negating your worth, arguably more so than carefully selected poisoned words (learn up on this in No Contact vs. the narcissist’s silent treatment & ghosting: The differences).

When we internalise it

Ultimately, narcissistic invalidation serves to convey that your value exists only within the context of the narc’s own needs. Any incompatibility with this is not permitted.

Devastatingly, the invalidation you are punished with conditions you to comply by suppressing all that makes you, you.

When your own needs, thoughts, experiences, and emotions are voided to be replaced by those of the narc, you have effectively been erased.

Know that even if you feel somewhat transparent already, you can reclaim all that is you.

You do this by first practising building awareness of their abuse and detaching from it using tools provided in links.

Gorgeous ones, do not let yourself go. Keep up the fight for yourself.

The world needs you in it. You need you in it.

For more tools on disentangling from the narc read:

As promised, more info is forthcoming on narcissistic invalidation where the spotlight shifts onto you. How it affects you, and how to conquer its power for good by developing your capacity to self-validate.

free yourself from invalidation and narcissism

As always, please share your thoughts, experiences, and insights on the issues in this article in the comments below. The more we share, the more we teach one another and help those in need to take their step towards freedom.

With gratitude,

Maggie

bir4d

Bibliography

  • Greville-Harris, M., Roelie, H., Anke, K., Dieppe, P., & Lynch, T.R. (2016). The power of invalidating communication: Receiving invalidating feedback predicts threat-related emotional, physiological, and social responses. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 35(6), 471-493.
  • Meredith, E. (2013). Emotional invalidation: An investigation into its definition, measurement, and effects (Doctoral Dissertation). University of South Florida, College of Arts and Sciences. (3589666)
  • Rowan, J. (1999). Ascent and descent in Maslow’s theory. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 39(3), 125-133.
  • Witkowsky, G. (2017). The effect of emotionally validating and invalidating responses on emotional self-efficacy (Doctoral Dissertation). Walden University, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations. (10279871)

18 thoughts

  1. Thank you Maggie. Your information was very enlightening. My son is the nsrcasist and is using his children (my granchildren)
    To control, manipulate and see revenge on anything I do that he does not agree with. What do you do?

    1. Dear Anonymous, this is such a hard situation. I feel for you. I imagine you must be quite distressed. It is difficult to provide any advice without a full picture. I do recommend though reaching out to local providers who could give you advice on the particulars of your situation. You could start with reaching out to DV services or counsellors and seeking referrals. Again I really feel for you – it is heinous to my mind that children are so often pulled into scenarios such as this as pawns in power plays, rather than the precious beings they are deserving of all the love available to them. Sending light & love their way and yours Anonymous. Maggie x

  2. I am interested in any information regarding adolescent narcissism (AN) and the effects of the abuse for siblings of the suspected AN as I see narcissistic traits in my step son (which is a very difficult position to be in without feeling like the proverbial evil step-mother), but I really worry for my son. They are 8 and 5 and the behaviour goes beyond sibling rivalry but is also complicated by the fact my step son has an alcoholic and violent mother who is well known to police and likely exposed to alcohol during pregnancy and he was awarded to his father full time at 2yr after being neglected by government agencies, mother is back in his life as she claims to fall back on (and off and back on) the wagon and he (AN) loves being with her, he is spoiled there with material things new motorbikes and PlayStations and unsupervised do whathe wants play time where he comes home telling stories of playing GTA (r18) and home
    Alone and parties where people get into fights and arms are broken with spades, or bottled over the head or being taken to act as a lookout while entering places they should not be with cousins etc (breaking into pre-k rooms -why I don’t know); or trying pass on what he has learnt to my 5yr old such as how to remove a petrol cap to sniff petrol or how to hide lollies to steal them from
    Shops. I have tried to get Dad to stop attendance but told he won’t stand between them as his son loves his mum and it would hurt him more to deny him seeing her as he misses her if he can’t see her and of course Mum is promising she is back on the wagon at the times she takes him- and there seems to be resistance to inform child agencies as retaliation is guaranteed as vehicles have been keyed and windows smashed- not the type of community I was raised in coming from
    the other end of the country to meet my son’s father. My step son however mostly ignores my son unless we prompt him that his younger brother is patiently waiting his attention/friendship. Dad pushes the boys to ““be brothers” and to play together, I’m happier they play near each other as opposed to “with”each other in all honesty; as I
    See my son gets emotionally depeleted after time with his half/step brother. When they play AN must choose the game, always competitive and he dominates – and must win always -either good guys vs bad guys and he plays too rough to hurt my son, or if I say they have to be in the same team he ends up encouraging vandalising something like bashing the fences or cars with sticks. I over heard them the other day Playing and my son was playing with his fav super hero the flash and decided it was his birthday and invited big brother – to which AN completely ignored the five times he asked and finally on the sixth time after I interjected and asked him at least say yes or no, he finally Said “my guys will only come if I
    Like the cake” so my son asked what cake he wanted and he replied vanilla so my son Said it was a vanilla lava cake will your guys come and the response was “”eeew gross we would never come to your party unless it’s to smash your cake”. Turns out he had the same attitude at my son’s actual 5th birthday party he refused to play the party games (there were older kids as well not just 5 year olds), he refused to sit and watch the magic show entertainment and I had to take a bottle of water from him which he was bottle flipping which was inconveniently distracting and he refused to sit at the party table for food and the cake/birthday song – so we allowed him to sit out.and no fuss was made at the time but it’s all examples
    To the lack of interaction he will extend.

    When playing superheroes he will refuse to
    Let my son be his fav super hero – while AN can be Batman (his/AN’s fav) my son must be the hulk even tho he doesn’t like the hulk- every time (he only has one superhero interest -the flash) There are times my son has been upset and it’s because they can have the exact same LEGO sets but AN will Tell him his LEGO Batman is the real Batman but my son’s isn’t cos it’s not genuine Batman yet both packs were brought at the same time same
    Place, but AN’s is supposedly genuine while my son’s is not or “lesser” and being 5yrs it seems
    To be very important to him and he will get mighty upset. AN has showin him the trailer for Steven Kings “it” which I’m furious abt (AN saw this at his mothers and now we have gotten him
    Over the nightmares and it no longer scares him
    He uses it to scare and traumatise my son) he also draws pictures at home where people Have vertical pupils in their eyes like snakes instead Of round pupils and gives them to my son and I find he will then not want to get a toy from his room
    Or go to the toilet by himself after saying he’s scared of pennywise (I’m sure it’s a covert reminder in the pictures AN draws for him as he proudly informs his dad he did a picture for his brother to make sure Dad knows he’s being nice) but I note in his school books his drawings of people have regular round pupils in their eyes.
    I have drawings from them both after they have sat down and drawn together in their room as I prep tea and I’ve Complemented them asked why my son did not draw a colourful picture like AN And the reply, AN said I was only allowed to use the grey felt pen.
    While playing tag when my other son (12yrs) was staying (shared care 50/50) he mentioned AN was bullying so much he felt he needed to tell him
    To back off his little brother which is a noteable thing as my other son and AN usually team up
    As they are better matched for outside games partly due to the exposure of age inappropriate activities at his. mums and naturally an 8yr old has more developed motor skills and coordination skills than a 5yr old so usually those two are thick as thieves so for my son to say he didn’t like how AN enjoyed making my son sad and thought he was being a bully on purpose thingingnhe was cool was pretty significant. Since starting school AN has pushed him at school and there seems to be such a blatent dislike and intolerance of him and I see my son doing all the compromising to please both AN and his father to Meet the “brothers are important and must stick to ther and show love” attitude (which derives from the fact Dad misses his brother who tragically Died in their teens)
    I guess my questions are everything I read tells me Kids can’t be narcissistic but yet adolescence is the description of narcissism, and it’s not defeat
    I see in my son it’s sadness and denial of his input or contribution to anything.
    Sorry for long post but things are getting so bad and I can feel shunned for saying I worry my 5year old is experiencing emotional narcissistic abuse but I see him shrinking into himself and withdrawing/givingnup cos he is just talked over, shut down, denied and/or ignored constantly as he is pushed to be with his brother and I say “pushed” because he would rather be near adults than alone with AN (which for me is another concern- happy
    To be alone with biggest half brother but.very reluctant to be out of hearing distance while alone with AN)
    Am I horrible for seeing narcissistic traits in my step Son? Are my concerns an 8yr old is a narcissist unrealistic and/or mean or improper? Are the concerns for my youngest biological son over-protective?have I become the proverbial evil step mother? Who do we go to to fix our family which clearly is currently in an impossible state…. id really like your comments/help…?

    1. Dear Kelly, I can feel so much angst in your words, I really feel for you. The situation you describe sounds challenging.
      I imagine there are a multitude of other nuances that are relevant in the dynamics that are forming. For instance, the relationship between you & your partner as co-parents; how long you’ve been together as a family unit; the relationship between your partner & each of the children involved, both as individuals & as a family unit; what parenting styles you lean towards; & the challenges faced by each of your children, again as individuals & as part of the family unit.
      Additionally, the particular challenges faced by your stepson in terms of history & what he may be currently exposed to when not with you & your partner is likely to be highly relevant as to how he is behaving. Understandably, it sounds like he could do with some help processing what no child should have to process.
      Equally understandably, all of the above combined will impact on all members of the new family unit, and this too could do with some help in processing healthy ways of being together. Seeking out support locally to work with your family on individual and group dynamics would be helpful via family therapy. Appropriately qualified therapists could then also assess any additional needs that might exist.
      In terms of NPD, it isn’t ordinarily diagnosed under 18 years of age. The key reason for this being that during adolescence, some of the troubling behaviours which could be indicators of NPD are also just normal developmental behaviours for teens. Similarly, acting out to seek attention/help etc. prior to hitting teen years, due to exposure to damaging situations can also present as troubling behaviours. Having said this, getting help can only be a positive for all of you as the dynamics are clearly impacting your sons, your step son, you, and I imagine also your partner. In terms of practical stuff you can do now while you lock in a family therapist, there are things you can do. Focus on role modelling & rewarding empathy, accountability/open ownership of issues, openness in relation to emotions/thoughts, fairness & equity, honesty, kindness etc.
      Dear Kelly, as I said, I really feel for you. You will get through this, and all your boys will thank you for the compassion you have for them. Pursuing better ways of relating together will build life skills for all of you which will be indispensable – this challenging time can be a catalyst for great growth as individuals & a family unit. Sending you strength, courage, light & love on this journey. Maggie x

  3. Great article! I’m confused on one of the bullett points “I’m not going to talk to you about this”. Do you mean as a from of stonewalling? I said this after 3 days of word salad…and then walked away from relationship. I did not use as a control tactic but for self preservation.

    1. Dear Cathy, love it. Thank you for asking the question!
      Yes, exactly. When the narcissist uses this it is as a form of stonewalling or withholding. In either of these scenarios the narcissist uses these to control & manipulate through punishment. It is invalidating because the message is ‘You are only worthy of info/response etc. if I deem it is useful for me. You, as a person have no rights to information/discussion, unless I decide this is the case. Furthermore, by making it clear that I am the only one who can determine what is OK/not OK to discuss, over time, you will internalise this & cease challenging me’. The narcissist uses this as one of the tools in their kit for managing their supply & the relationship.

      In your case, it sounds like there was no stonewalling or withholding on your behalf. Making the statement after three days of word salad sounds like you tried. And tried. And tried. And eventually realised, ‘this is going nowhere, I’m done’. Hence you conveyed your decision, and followed through on it by ending the relationship. In your scenario, you were using the words in a literal sense. There was no multi layered meaning/intent, no manipulation.

      Your question is an important one because all too often we second guess ourselves. Many words, actions & behaviours that narcs display can on the surface appear similar to ones emotionally healthy people might also display in certain circumstances, with this being a prime example. Pathological narcissists use this fact to make us doubt ourselves, and encourage others to doubt us as well. The litmus test when reflecting in situations like this is always intentionality. Which is precisely what you have done. You know narcs say it to control. You know you said it for self-preservation. MASSIVE difference.
      Kudos to you Cathy for making the choice to take care of yourself and say no more. Your strength, clarity & determination is inspiring. Sending you light & love on your healing journey. Maggie x

    2. Maggie thank you for your reply, I appreciate the time.

      It’s difficult as there is certainly never any empathy shown from my stepson to praise or reward, he is exceptionally self absorbed.

      There are other behaviours which I guess I’m concerned abt as well which maybe I am fearful
      Of the “labels” of other personality disorders they may fit and it’s very hard to approach as it feels like my partner gets defensive if I try to discuss with him -that and the incidents are so taboo they are simply “unspoken” and this in it self makes
      Me wonder if top-toeing around my partners denial is significant…. but that’s another rambling anxious tangent I guess…

      The other troubling behaviours are cruelty to animals and his interest in it. We had six baby chicks and we had very stirict rules abt their safety and care, and one day I noticed my step son coming out of the room they were kept it and he just had that look abt him as if he had just been caught. It turns out he had put the cat in there and when I asked why reminding him why this was a rule we had for their safet he replied he was also staying in the room because he wanted
      To watch how the cat would hunt and if he really eats them and what parts he eats first. I was mortified at his interest and his desire to be an audience to it.
      Another incidence of behaviour that I can’t seem to get over I’d when he locked himself inside our ensuite with our kitten and we could hear her meowing and were banging on the door for him to let us in then partner went to get a pick to unlock
      The door when he wouldn’t open it. It turns out he had been pouring bleach, shampoo, boo oil, cloudy ammonia all items he could find in the shower and cleaning cupboard supplies all
      Over the kitten and she was obviously meowing in distress. He had also used the nail scissors to cut her whiskers and eyebrow whiskers. I thought the kitten was going to die that night but she made it thru somehow. When we got into the room
      Finally he had jumped out the window instead of opening the door, and I grabbed the kitten which had so much ammonia on her the fumes were burning my eyes! I held her under the shower but as she had layers and layers of shampoo and
      Boil oil as well as the chemicals it seemed
      Forever to get it all washed from her fur. I thought sh was blinded as her eyes had gone cloudy white and her breathing was raspy, it was so horrible.

      I guess his behaviours and as I said I simply never witness any empathy from him and it all seems so
      Extreme. I certainly do not enjoy parenting him and I do NOT want his influence around my youngest son and I justDo not trust him at all.

      It feels like too much… I guess it’s a dynamic where I’m contemplating breaking up the family unit but it’s feels heartbreaking to leave on the premise I don’t have a healthy relationship and can’t bomd and parent my step son, to reach a
      Point where u have to honestly say you don’t trust or like the behaviours of a kid and don’t see him
      Wanting to be a nicer person as he grows is hard because it’s not how adults are supposed to be… but the truth is it has been going on so long I’ve reach the point I have to be honest and say I
      Don’t like him, I don’t like him influencing my son
      And IDon’t trust him- at all- with animals, with kids or in individual play/activity.

      Maybe this post is me coming to terms with giving up on our relationship and family, sorry if I’m off topic and hijacking your articles off topic…

      I’ll
      Have to work on finding local support I guess to figure it all out I guess

      1. Dear Kelly. This is such hard stuff. You haven’t hijacked anything. I fully appreciate how concerned you would be with the behaviours you describe – they are unequivocally distressing. Please be gentle & kind with yourself, feeling the way you do is completely understandable. Protecting animals & children, protecting any being that is dependent on us doing so, is our responsibility. Sometimes doing so needs a little extra help. The path to getting to the place where vulnerable beings are protected in your situation, I believe does need professional, appropriately qualified support that takes into account the whole picture. Beyond protecting those who need it, I suspect you getting support for you would be invaluable. You sound somewhat alone in a complex, emotionally wrought place. You shouldn’t have to be. Again, be gentle & kind with yourself. You will get through this. Maggie x

  4. This article is very informative. I am done with my Narc ex wife with 5 years of toxic relationship. I escaped alive from death bad. Since healing myself with multiple web sites and getting more information and understanding about the fate of Narc for which I was kept confused during married life. Am getting educated with such articles to have better knowledge and to improve life. Though am going to trauma but still on the path for recover myself.

    1. Dear Nizar, it’s wonderful to hear you have set yourself free, well done. And kudos on the proactive steps you are taking to heal yourself from the trauma. I hope your actions to move forward have empowered you with a sense of strength and hope for all that is waiting for you on this journey. Welcome to Narc Wise Nizar. Sending you light & love, Maggie x

  5. Thank you Maggie, for inspiring me. Am in Texas and looking for any social organisation to join for healing purposes. Just because trauma is sound grounded and feel difficult to heal.

    1. Dear Nizar, what a great idea. Support groups and social organisations in general would be so healing. Connecting with others is definitely powerful, and doing so with others who share similar experiences and can identify with one another’s stories is particularly so. In terms of what is available locally to you, you could ask for referrals from services (social workers, counsellors etc.) near you, or make a call to your national DV line. All the very best finding something that works for you Nizar. Maggie x

  6. Dear Maggie,
    Thank God I found your site. I feel like I’m drowning, almost past the point of no return. I’ve been with my narc for 12 years, married, with one child. I’ve tried to leave him three times and never had enough knowledge or support to stay separated. There’s nothing more in this world that I want, than to divorce him. But I am stuck. Even after reading widely about narcissistic abuse, I have still been feeling crazy and torn in two.

    Your article is so insightful, and your wisdom pierces right through the fog and layers of lies and deceit. It’s like you’ve been living in my house. For the first time, I actually get it. The invalidation IS the supply!

    I am terrified to tell him I want to separate because in my country, once the separation agreement is signed, there’s a 2-3 month delay until a court order would take effect to kick him out of the house. I’ll have to live with his emotional implosion with all the associated abuse & hoovering all that time… Here, you have to be separated for two years before you can divorce. Don’t know how I will survive.

    Until then I will read your amazing blog and pray. Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom with the rest of us!!

    Gratefully,
    Alex

    1. Dear Alexandra, I am so thrilled to hear from you. Thank you for sharing some of your story with us here on Narc Wise. Firstly, let me say, I know, we all know, that terrible feeling of drowning. I sometimes liken it to quicksand the way it pulls you in & down, faster & faster, and you feel unable to cling onto anything solid that might help you pull yourself out…all the while suffocating. OK, that was a very dark picture to paint – yet this is exactly how it feels. And the point here is simply, you are not alone dear Alexandra. We, get it. My next point is do not let go of the fact that although you feel you are almost at the point of no return, YOU ARE NOT THAT POINT. Hold this tightly.
      Clearing the fog sufficiently to find your way to knowing there is a way out and you CAN make it happen is where you are at. This is wonderful. The next thing is to figure HOW to make it happen. This must be done with your safety & the safety your child as the top priority – obviously you are aware of this. You are also aware, that staying because of the fear is equally not a safe option. Forgive my ignorance, I don’t know what cultural & legal environment you are working with. Is there no way for you & your child to remove yourselves during that 2 to 3 month period post the initial separation? Do you have Domestic Violence support service in your country – a national or local hotline, or community based group? There are many, many services around, at times underground depending on the environment, but help is there. I urge you to seek it out Alexandra. I too will pray for you, and send you all the strength, courage, light & love you might need on your journey to reclaiming your freedom. Maggie x

    2. Dear Alexandra – I forgot to thank you most humbly for your very kind and generous words. They mean the world to me. Maggie x

  7. Dear Maggie,

    Thank you for your kindness and for being that touchstone of truth I need so desperately. I will hold on to that affirmation and will try to convince myself “I CAN”.

    I am seeking support locally and there is a domestic violence support system where I live. I need legal advice before I do anything. I’m terrified. I just don’t know how to survive the hoovering engulfment stage.

    In any case, until the day comes when I can finally escape, I will hold on to your words and will come back to read them often.

    You are such an inspiration!

    xx Alex

    1. Dear Alex, I am relieved to hear that you are getting support, thank you for sharing this. Yes you can! You’ve got this! Take every care of yourself Alex. Much belief in you coming your way, Maggie x

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