Lesson One – Understanding how and why narcissists want to destroy the identity of their victims
I am so glad you decided to take this course, and pray it helps you greatly on your healing journey!
Before we delve into your healing journey, you need to understand this aspect of abuse – how and why it is perpetrated on victims.
Why do narcissists work so hard to destroy their victims’ identity?
Destroying a person’s identity is just one more tactic narcissists use to gain control of their victims. They love having so much power over someone that they can obliterate their identity. That alone is great, but what makes it even greater to them is that once their victim has lost their identity, the narcissist can manipulate this person any way they choose. A person in this situation has been abused to the point of not knowing what they truly want, think or feel, so they allow the narcissist to determine those things for them. This means the narcissist can shape their victim into anything they want them to be, and the victim will not complain or protest. A narcissist in this situation has free reign to do whatever they wish, because they convinced their victim that they know what is best for their victim. They also convince their victims that they know their victim much better than the victim knows himself or herself, so it’s only natural for a victim to go along with whatever the narcissist says.
How Do Narcissists Destroy Their Victims’ Identity?
To accomplish their goal of destroying their victim’s identity, narcissists primarily use gaslighting tactics. They tell their victims that they do not really feel that way about certain things, and instead they feel thiis other way about those things. Over time, the narcissist repeats the lies constantly and with such conviction that the victim in this situation accepts the lies as truth.
Another tactic narcissists use is shaming their victims for their feelings or liking or not liking the things they do. They tell their victims things like only an idiot would feel that way, or no one else in the world would feel the way they do about a certain topic. My covertly narcissistic ex husband told me this often, and I cannot begin to describe the terrible shame I felt for feeling like the only person in the entire world who felt as I did about whatever the situation at hand was. They also say things like only someone with no taste would like whatever the victim likes or dislikes whatever the victim dislikes. They also make snide comments like, “Wow.. I used to have an outfit just like that when I was in high school!” or, “I guess that’s nice if you like that sort of thing.” These statements are said to take the joy out of a person for enjoying something so that they no longer enjoy that thing. As an added bonus for narcissists, said repeatedly, such statements can heap enough shame on a person to where they decide they no longer feel the way they once did, and adopt the narcissist’s view.
Similarly, narcissists also make their victims feel unworthy of love because of their “flawed” views, beliefs, feelings, opinions, thoughts and needs. They treat victims like they think or need such things just to hurt the narcissist, so until they “improve” their perspective, the narcissist will not love them.
Narcissists also make their victims feel wrong for not thinking exactly like the narcissist or at least how the narcissist says they should think. Narcissists do not see different as simply different, but they see the different person as having something deeply flawed and wrong with them.
They also tell their victims they know them better than they know themselves. This is a very sinister tactic, because it makes a victim feel that they must be incredibly stupid since they do not even know themselves. This creates a tremendous amount of shame and willingness to listen to the narcissist who has made them think this way. I know because I have experienced this. My overtly narcissistic mother used to say this all the time when I was growing up, and for many years, I believed it. That is quite common with narcissistic parents. Children look to their parents as much wiser than them, almost god-like. This means that the children believe whatever their parents tell them, in particular during their young and formative years. Telling children this is a very effective way for narcissistic parents to destroy their children’s identity.
There is one last thing you need to know before moving on to the second lesson. Just because you are struggling and in this place now does not mean something is wrong with you. Something very wrong and abnormal was done to you, and you responded normally to abnormal circumstances. You can be healed from this damage! You can get to know the real you, the special, wonderful person God made you to be, and you can get to love that person!
When you are ready, you can find this lesson’s reflections at the link below. You can print them out or complete them on your tablet, phone or computer. If privacy is an issue, I recommend completing them on your tablet, phone or computer, and saving them in a well hidden, preferably also password protected location.
Rediscovering Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse- Lesson 1