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Victim of Abuse: Rescue Me NOT! Back Off!

Uploaded 9/14/2022, approx. 12 minute read

You see someone trapped in an abusive relationship with a narcissist, suffering narcissistic abuse day in and day out, languishing, withering, shriveling. I'm out of synonyms.

You want to help her. Maybe you're secretly in love with her. Maybe you're a family member or just a well-meaning colleague. You feel the urge to save her, to fix the situation somehow, to extricate her from the camp of prisoners of war, from this count, from this extermination camp.

You know that if she wouldn't live soon, she would die. She would die mentally. She would die physically. She would not be the same person ever again.

Maybe you have known her for decades. Maybe you've just met her.

But still, you feel this uncontrollable urge to just barge in, take her by the hand, drag her to a better place, to save her, fix her, messiah complex, which suddenly has awakened in you.

You didn't know you were capable of such thoughts and such actions, but you feel compelled. You feel driven. You feel out of control. The pity, the mercy, the empathy, the heartbreak are too much to contemplate.

Even as a witness, even as an observer, it's overpowering. It's overwhelming. Maybe you're saving yourself, actually. You can't just stand by when people are molested and tortured and humiliated and abused and traumatized. You have to do something. You're a good person.

And so today we are going to discuss why this is a seriously bad idea.

My name is the iconoclastic Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, you guessed it, Narcissism Revisited. I am also a professor of psychology, so you'd better listen to me because I am the authority. And you should listen to the authorities. Not a very popular message on YouTube, mind you.

Before we go there, I would like to clarify something. In a clip, a short clip, which I posted on my channel and Richard Grannon posted on his, I said that the borderline has a God fantasy. She imagines herself to be God.

And I received an avalanche, a borderline tsunami of protests and corrections and criticism and attacks and death threats and what have you. I'm a borderline and I never ever thought of myself as a God or as a divinity.

Well, honeys and bunches. There are two types of grandiose fantasies.

First of all, to make clear the borderline, exactly like the narcissist, she has a false self. She is grandiose, exactly like the narcissist, but the locus of the grandiosity, the content of the grandiose fantasy is different.

While the narcissist imagines himself to be omnipotent, omniscient, all powerful, perfect and brilliant, exactly like God, the classical Old Testament God, if you wish.

The borderline imagines herself to be irresistibly beautiful, amazingly emotional, perfection when it comes to empathy and the capacity to love and care. The locus of her grandiosity is kind of gender rolled, gender stereotyped. Her fantasy is more feminine, if you wish, while the narcissist fantasy is more masculine.

That is not to say that there are no borderlines who are men and not to say that there are no borderlines females who harbor or maintain masculine fantasies.

It's just to say that the narcissist fantasy is outward directed, is directed at the world, at his audience and public, while the borderline's fantasy is directed inwards.

But both fantasies involve a fantastic, inflated, grandiose and self-aggrandizing view and perception of themselves, a self-image which is unrealistic.

The narcissist self-image is a combination of Napoleon and God, the borderline's fantasy is, I am the best person who has ever lived. I am perfection when it comes to emotionality and relationships.

That's all I meant to say, so both of them have god fantasies. These fantasies are crucial for the sustenance and maintenance of the borderline and narcissistic structures, and in the absence of these fantasies, the narcissist experiences mortification, falls apart mentally, and the borderline experiences suicidal ideation.

Mortification leads the narcissist to become a borderline, in effect, and the collapse of the fantasy, of the shared fantasy, in the case of the borderline, leads her to decompensate and act out. She becomes a secondary psychopath.

The borderline's fantasy is focused on an intimate partner who is supposed to regulate her internal processes and external regulate. The narcissist's fantasy is focused on his need to prevail and to feel superior, triumphant and victorious.

Enough said, watch the content that I've made with Richard Grannon in Bucharest, the interview I gave him, the seminar we gave together.

Now back to the topic of saving, fixing, rescuing the victim of narcissistic abuse.

The victim is there, you are here and you feel that you can extricate her. You are her savior, you are her rescuer.

This is a classic Karpman Drama Triangle. I have a video dedicated to it. Of course, I have a video dedicated to every topic known to humanity and many topics known only to aliens. Okay, I'm in a good mood as you can see. I hope it doesn't bother you too much and let's get straight to the point.

If you witness narcissistic abuse and you like or love the victim and you want to save her and you want to rescue her, remember this, she doesn't want your help. She resents you for offering your help.

The shared fantasy she has with her abuser is her refuge. The shared fantasy she has with her abuser is her comfort zone. The shared fantasy she has with her abuser is her life.

She doesn't want you to barge. You're uninvited. Your advice is unsolicited. Your attempts to rescue and fix and save her are unwelcome.

She dreads loneliness. She prefers to be with an abuser to being alone. She has abandonment anxiety and she has five common fallacies.

Number one, my abuser defines who I am. My abuser made me. Whatever and whoever I am now, I have become through the agency and the help and the contributions of my abuser. I and my abuser are one, one organism, one entity, one unit, inseparable, a cult, we against the world.

This is known as shared psychotic disorder or folie à deux. It's essentially a kind of trauma bonding.

When you try to break this attachment between the victim of narcissistic abuse and her abuser, you're entering a minefield. Both of them are going to turn on you and against you. You're going to alienate both of them. You're going to make enemies of both of them and they're going to collude and collaborate in destroying you. Be careful.

The second fallacy, which characterizes the victims of narcissistic abuse is "I'm lucky".

I'm worthless and broken and damaged goods. I'm lucky to have found even my abuser.

If I leave the relationship, who else would want me? Where will I find another partner? It's a miracle that I found even this partner.

If you offer the victim of narcissistic abuse an alternative, if you tell her, listen, leave him and come with me, she's going to suspect you. Her self-esteem is so low. Her sense of self-worth is so dysregulated that she can't believe that she is lovable. She can't believe that she had attracted your attention and interest and care, let alone love. She would suspect you of some ulterior motive. She would become paranoid.

The third fallacy of victims of narcissistic abuse is what I call the best of all worlds, emulating Leibniz. Who else?

The victim of narcissistic abuse keeps telling her so. Life is harsh. Life is nasty and brutish and short and it sucks. Life doesn't get much better than this, than what I have.

What I have with my abuser is the best possible world. The grass is always greener on the other side of the relationship fence, but that is merely an optical illusion. This, what I have right now, is as good as it gets.

And if you try to drag her away from what she has, the pittance that she has, the little that she has, she would regard you as a usurper, an invader, someone who is trying to deprive her of what little she had accomplished when it comes to relationships. Someone who is trying to reduce her to misery and loneliness yet again.

She found a partner. Yes, he is abusive. Yes, he is jealous. Yes, he may be physically violent, but he is a partner. The alternative to a partner is no partner. The alternative to togetherness, however painful, however harmful, is loneliness.

She doesn't want that. She has abandonment anxiety. She is a victim for good reason.

And so when you attempt to show her the alternative, to demonstrate to her that she doesn't need to be in such a relationship, that she is trauma bonded, that her thinking is unclear, that she should move away in order to regain consciousness and the ability to judge properly, she would regard you as a serious threat. She would fend you off and even become aggressive.

The next fallacy of victims of narcissistic abuse is my partner is not worse than other partners or other people's partners. Every other partner I may find, hell, every other partner I've ever found will have flaws and quirks that I will have to get used to. And I will have to accommodate him all over again.

I mean, what the heck? Yes, the partner I'm with right now is abusing me. Yes, he's a vainglorious fool of himself in your face obnoxious narcissist. It's all true. So what? All other men or women are exactly like this. There's no one better than my partner because everyone sucks. Better stick with what I know. No one guarantees that my next partner will not be worse than this partner. So why bother.

And finally, there's a general pessimism about the world in victims of abuse. I call it "Happiness? Bah."

Life, victims of abuse will tell you, life is a serious business. It is not about the selfish pursuit of elusive happiness. You need to compromise. You need to numb your emotions. You need to lower your expectations. You need to get rid of over-selectiveness. You need to not be choosy. You need to eradicate your standards.

Life is about meeting your obligations. Life is about getting on with it, a stiff upper lip.

At best, in life, at best, one can expect companionship and mutual support in old age. Anything more than that is wishful thinking. Anything more than that is Hollywood. Anything more than that is self-defeating and destructive and should be avoided.

And that you are trying to poison her with optimism, to inculcate in her belief that she deserves better, that's a minus. It renders you the enemy because you are entering a territory where you cannot fulfill her wishes and expectations. You are bound to disappoint her. Life is bound to disappoint her because "Happiness? Bah". It's nonsense. There is no such thing. These are old wives' tales. They are folklore. They are meaningless. It's a myth. No one is happy. People are adapted to life. You take it as it counts.

These are the five fallacies, the five firewalls, the five defenses that are going to hinder every attempt you make at introducing the victim of narcissistic abuse or reintroducing her to reality without the filters of the abuser.

Any effort you make to take her out of her life and introduce her or bring her to a new life. Any wish to revive her, to allow her to extricate herself from the undue influence of the abuser. All these attempts are going to be rebuffed. She's going to hate you and resent you for having kind of forced her to face her predicament.

She spent a lifetime denying and repressing and avoiding. And here you come and you abscond with her fantasy and you take away her hope. The only hope she has, false as it may be, when you are taking her head out of the sand, pulling it, pulling it viciously, forcing her to open her eyes and glare at the burning sun.

That is inexcusable. That is bullying. That is horrible. In many ways, you are no better than her abuser, she says to herself.

Don't go there. Don't attempt to become a rescuer or a fixer or a savior.

Because your target, the victim of narcissistic abuse, she doesn't want to be fixed. She doesn't want to be saved. She doesn't want to be rescued. She wants to wallow in her misery, which she knows best.

She knows the ropes. Everything is predictable. Her abuser is manipulable. She can survive. It is her comfort zone.

Let her remain comfortable, she says. Until she has hit rock bottom and ready for your assistance, any intrusion by you will be perceived as vile, cruel and abusive.

Ironically, you may find yourself in the role of the abuser while her abuser becomes the rescuer and the savior.

Again, watch my video from Karpman's Drama Triangle. It's very instructive. Have fun, rescuers and saviors and victims.

Oops, almost forgot the most important thing, the most critical fallacy.

It's when the abuse victim tells you, what you call abuse is not abuse, it's proof of love.

My abuser is abusing me because he is attached to me, because he feels possessive, because he loves me, because he is jealous when I look at other men, because he wants to be integrated in my life to the maximum.

My abuser abuses me because he can't help it or because I provoke him.

But whenever he does abuse me, it just goes to show how deep his love runs, how important I am to him, what a critical figure I am in his life.

The moment he stops abusing me, I feel abandoned, I feel neglected, I feel that I'm not seen, better to be abused than to be ignored, better attention than no attention.

This is the sixth, possibly most critical fallacy.

Very often when you try to help an abuse victim, they spin a yarn, they create a narrative which tends to rationalize the abuse, justify the abuse, minimize the abuse, reframe and recast the abuse as a form of love, as an expression of limerence and infatuation, as a fear of loss or as momentary lapses and relapses in the abuser's life.

Generally, he's a great guy, but sometimes he loses control. And frankly, I may be, to, blamed for that. I do provoke him unnecessarily from time to time. I make it happen. See what you made me do? He keeps telling the abuse victim, the abuser keeps saying, see what you made me do? And many victims buy into this gaslighting.

So these are the six fallacies. And these are six defensive walls. It's extremely difficult to penetrate them.

On many occasions, abuse victims don't want to be helped. They don't even perceive themselves as victims of abuse.

They perceive you as an intruder, as a threat to the equilibrium that they had created with the abuser, the peace of mind and peaceful life. So they think.

And so be ready, be ready to be rejected, be ready to be insulted, be ready to be attacked if you try to help what you perceive to be a victim of abuse, because she may have an entirely different view of how things stand.

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