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Monday, July 23, 2007



by Kathy Krajco
I think the misplaced sympathy out there for narcissists comes from people wishing to push unpleasant stuff out of their minds so that they have but selective awareness of an event like narcissistic abuse.
When we say that narcissists lack empathy, we mean exactly that. In plainer language, they are brutal, treating those they abuse subhumanly. Their callousness is something one must see to believe. Often the victim cannot get his or her mind around it and goes into a state of shocked disbelief of their own eyes and ears. When narcissists see that they are drawing blood, they get sadistic. This behavior makes no sense till you remember why narcissists do this. They are stomping you down to elevate themselves. In doing this, they are morally trampling you to have something to thump their chests about and give a Tarzan yell. They get HIGH on treating others like dirt. So, keep a tight grip on that fact: they don't do it because it's evil; they do it because it makes them feel good. They are sick in the head. They have unbearable pain/shame inside that keeps trying to surface to consciousness on them. This pretending to be grand by stomping you is just their way of killing that pain by keeping it repressed. Abuse is an addiction with narcissists. 

The more they degrade you, the bigger dose of this high they get. Which is why they are sadistic. So, here you have them abusing their victim in cold blood sadistically. Then, when the victim complains, they turn around with their little Wouldn't-Hurt-a-Fly mask on for the bystanders, whining about their need to "heal." Yes, THEIR need to heal. Some folks don't know a joke even when it slaps them in the face like that. Right out of the bystander's mind goes what's on the other side of that coin - what that angel-faced narcissist just did to that victim. 

In other words, they take this "Poor-Little-Me" act out of context. More important, the bystanders thus avoid having to know what they know about such phony face changes = that the narcissist is diabolical and laughing up his sleeve. All they let themselves see is whiny angel-face before them right now. Because it's warm and cuddly and doesn't rattle their cage or require them to do anything about anything. Or cross this guy they are suddenly afraid of. Ah, that whiny little angel-face he has, upon whom they misplace their wretched sympathy. Then they go off and correct the VICTIM for wrongdoing. Yes, that's right: some folks don't even know a joke when they tell it. The victim has sinned by feeling angry or wanting a divorce or wanting to retaliate so as to make the abuser stop it. THAT'S the only sin the ugly bystander sees. Nothing the narcissist did gets a peep out of him or her about it.


At 2:59 PM, Anonymous said...
I saw the same thing with my ex. She was very pushy, but if anyone ever pushed back, she became this huge victim. Same dynamic.Here is the thing I finally discovered: With this dynamic, you can never win and this technique keeps them from every growing and moving out of the narcissism. If every time they are challenged on some statement they make, they retreat into victimhood, it means that they are avoiding the substance of the argument. It is a truth avoidance mechanism. They aren't interested in any truth. They are only interested in being heard and and seen and if someone disagrees with them, then wilt into victimhood.As usual, it is always about image.   
At 3:45 PM, Anonymous said...
I've had some of these apologist bystanders in my life, and I have absolutely no use for them. In my opinion, they are the only ones in the room more cowardly than the narcissist.I have come to believe that when they take the narcissist's side because they are afraid of the him, at least half of them are trying to convince themselves that they are righteous, rather than afraid.They take the path of least resistance, and when they are giving you that "You overreacted" crap, they are trying to believe it themselves, so they can push down that voice inside them that says, "You're afraid of the bully, you're just a little coward."And they are little cowards, too, those bystanders. If it isn't your battle, fine, then stay out of it. Otherwise, shut the hell up. Don't try to calm me down or play peacemaker just to hide from your own discomfort.   
At 5:08 PM, Anonymous said...
Two-faced, relentless sadistic abuse and butter-wouldn't-melt con artistry sounds like the N I know. But you can't blame bystanders for not seeing when even the target of abuse is repeatedly taken in by the lies, denials and gaslighting.
At 5:50 PM, Kathy said...
"...you can't blame bystanders for not seeing..."Not seeing what? That he's insincere? I think you can blame them for that. And yes, the victim unsees too. Only because the victim doesn't WANT to see, not because it's hard to see as you imply.The victim has very strong temptation into denial. Much stronger than the byestander. Much better excuse.But even the victim will eventually face facts and tell you that he or she is angry with themselves for refusing to see what was staring them in the face. So where is the byestanders confession to that effect? And the bystander has no excuse for saying, "I'm going to the north pole" and turning to head off south. It's preposterous for their only criticism to be OF THE VICTIM. It's preposterous for their sympathy to be FOR THE VICTIMIZER. And I have too often said how absurd it is to regard feeling as a sin. There is no excuse for anti-logic. I understand the bystander's fear of the narcissist and fear of getting involved. That is legitimate. But then to turn around and find the only fault you find IN THE VICTIM - that deserves contempt. Virtually every victim gets this treatment from bystanders. Narcissists just play them like fiddles.   
At 12:21 AM, Anonymous said...
on the topic of bystanders trying to calm you down or be peacemakers...... When you've been targeted one too many times and actually speak up for yourself, suddenly the bystander is there trying to "make things better"Where were they before? That is the big question. Because they could have said something a multitude of times before, when all sorts of stuff was happening, but they didn't. They only say something when they can say it and feel like they know better, that they know more, that they are more mature, or have more insight into the world and human nature than you do. Some bystanders honestly want to make you feel better, because then they feel better; you know the type, the people pleasers. But I have found the majority of bystanders are in it for the moment of celebrity that they feel when they get to use there powerful problem solving and peacekeeping skills.What I hate about bystanders is that they actually try to make you quiet down, like its a crime to show any emotions good or bad. I would like a bystander to ackowlege the targeting, but if for some reason they are in denial about that, then really can't they just let you say your part. Why can't they be your witness and hear your story? Deal with the discomfort of knowing that there is "bad" people in this world. These are the same people that say "turn that frown upside down!" in a non ironic way.  
At 2:13 AM, Kathy said...
I think these comments about the bystanders nail it.Add it up: they do nothing to counter the abuse, only speaking up to stop the victim from feeling free to do anything to put a stop to it or even act like it is happening.Those actions speak louder than words. The bystanders take the evildoer's side. There is no denying that. That is contemptible, not matter how holy the halo they put on it.They are enablers of the abuser. Like accomplices who work the situation for him to allow him to keep getting away with it. They shut the victim up for him. They call the victim naughty for even just feeling his anger, thus helping crush the victim into abject submission to the abuse. The term "innocent bystander" is an oxymoron. Like Hitler, narcissists know they can count on a high percentage of people to do this for him if he just puts on his whiny victim mask so that they can PRETEND they are righteous, not traitors betraying you to abuse. After studies of the contemptible behavior of the bystanders during the Holocaust, an inscription was placed on a monument to it (in Israel I think) that says something to the effect: 'Never again be a victim; never be a perpetrator; and never, never, never be a bystander.' Amen. Bystanders suck. To make them stop blaming the victim for rape, society had to make it politically incorrect to do so. It's about time society did the same thing with all forms of abuse. Bystanders won't stop serving as a proxy for abusers till people get slammed for doing it.  
At 3:50 AM, Anonymous said...
Witness the shameful abandonment of the victims and opponents of Saddam Hussein and his tyrannous regime by the 'Stop the War' coalition in Britain.It is impossible to appease a bully, which is why so much of this conflict-resolution crap plays into the hands of psychopaths. They are simply not singing from the same hymn-sheet as everyone else.  

At 4:21 AM, Kathy said...  
Woah! Thank you for that balm on my jet lag. As you can see, I'm operating in your time zone!Seriosusly, I agree. It's the same thing on a massive scale. A way of looking the other way and masquerading this ugly and callous betrayal as the opposite - as, of all things, "humanitarian concern."No matter where you go in the world people do this. Narcissistic and psychopathic bullies who become dictators like Hitler, Stalin, and Hussein are cynics who exploit this mass behavior like every narcissistic bully does on a smaller scale. The Islamofascist movement is collectively behaving just like that.And how can we expect Muslims to stand up to it when they see the West afraid to? I think the only hope is to shame people for behaving this way, because reason and true morality bounces off the forehead of a hypocrite. I say to them: If you want to stay out of it, fine. Your choice. But when you turn on the victim and demonize those who do have the courage to step up and take action (for the offense of putting your cowardice to shame by their example), you are sinking to the gutter
At 11:39 PM, Kathy said...
Join the club. I doubt there is such a thing as a victim of a narcissist who doesn't beat themselves up over having put up with it for so long. At some point you have an epiphany and see what you've done = the horrible "asked for it." By doing that, we give the N a carte blanche to abuse us; we lay down to make a nice door mat; we make it OK to abuse us because there is no response to that abuse. No complaint. No demand to even just stop abusing us. How abject. And so on.

I'm sure I don't have to describe how low we feel when we realize what we've done - how it actually TEMPTS the abuser! It's like staking out a lamb in the backyard of a wolf.
Then we alternate between anger at ourselves for it and anger at those influences in our life that trained us to think it is evil not to be a spineless wimp who keeps turning the other cheek and bending over for it with a smile. But the pain subsides. Since we are not narcissists blame doesn't kill us. We can let it lay where it may. We accept our responsibility and ARE FAIR WITH OURSELVES. Because we were influenced and trained to make this mistake. The important thing is that we stop making it.Ironic, eh? We have to repent turning the other cheek. I don't know whether you're there yet or not, but you will get there. To the point of being at peace with yourself about it. (Largely because you don't do it anymore.) Also, notice what the bitterness has been about here. Not about bystanders keeping out of it and doing nothing - about the bystanders landing on the VICTIM. Trying to supress the victim's complaint and turn the victim into docile victim, a glutton for punishment who just keeps taking it as though it ain't happening. THAT'S what makes the victim furious with the bystanders, righteously furious. We see right though them, and it ain't a pretty sight. But that isn't what you're talking about.   
At 6:01 AM, Anonymous said...
thanks kathy. the second post i tried didn't get through and was pretty elegant last night- let's see if i can get close now. i said something about how innocent bystander IS an oxymoron. it makes me think. i hated being an 'innocent bystander' only i choked on the word innocent. i felt helpless- but mot innocent.shoot i really can't remember what else i said. something about how having the words to put with it all is helping. anyway thanks for your site. thanks for being here. jt  

At 6:05 AM, gh said...
Ah, thanks for this one, Kathy -- always a good reminder. When I divorced my N, certain friends and family seemed to go out of their way to continue nurturing a relationship with him -- and he with them, for what better way to perpetuate abuse than to try to lure away the people who should be there to support and encourage the victim?At first, I excused it, thinking as one commenter said above that I could hardly blame them for being taken in by his act when I myself was taken in for so long. They were just being good people for giving him the benefit of the doubt, right?Then it hit me -- to give *him* the benefit of the doubt, they had to deny that same benefit to me. The day one of my supposedly oldest and closest friends berated me for not taking my marriage vows seriously and not doing enough to try to make it work, a light switch flipped. *I* didn't do enough?? All my ex had to do to save the marriage was to stop abusing me. He wouldn't/couldn't/didn't do that. In pointing the finger of blame at me this supposed friend necessarily had to accept his song and dance that he was trying everything he could and had to reject (or, better, turn a blind eye) to my side of the story.There is a time, sure, that you can excuse the bystanders for not seeing. WE do our part, no doubt, to cover for the N while being abused. But when you speak out about the abuse and the bystanders choose to blindly accept the N's stories, this is the ultimate betrayal. All you can do then, I think, is run from these "innocent" bystanders as fast as you can. They'd rather see you continue to suffer than to have to give up their comfortable ignorance.

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous said...
Once again I am struck by the intelligence, sincerity and similarities between yourselves and all of the rest of us. I believe and have been shown this CELLULARLY, that narcissistic abuse only happens to the BEST of us, and hopefully we each can take our journey of healing and make something astonishingly beautiful of our lives.

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous said...
Hey Guys, Stop! There we go again blaming everyone but the cruel manipulator who's evil makes no sense and totally diarms all within reach of it. What my son said out of hurt and pain toward his brother who he loves but does not like is, "I can't do anything because he'll burn my sh__!' That's crude but it is the bottom line, we put up with it to survive and protect our property.
Narcissists manipulate, throw unreasonable and frightening tantrums, lie, and cheat (and usually this is how they treat those they claim to love) to get the things most of us would just ask for. 
They don't make any sense and they frighten us. It is easier to be angry at ourselve or those others who innocently stand by because it is safer than showing anger toward such a creature that makes no sense and we have no idea how they will react.
Let's focus on putting the blame where it is due.

At 11:05 PM, Anonymous said... Thank you for all the comments on bystanders. My psycho ex turned so many people against me who I remain disgusted with as they had the audacity to tell me to calm down and not be upset. This sick man tormented me on the Internet for months and got a large group of people to help him. Never trust anyone who tells you not to be angry. You have a right to your anger.


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