If you’ve read anything about narcissists and recovering from narcissistic abuse, you know that the best thing to do when you’re trying to get away from a narcissist is zero contact. The reason for this is that a narcissist is insidious.
I’m a big fan of horror movies. Even if you’re not, you’ve probably heard of the movie Insidious, it’s had a lot of sequels. (I’ll try to keep this spoiler free!) I started thinking about how in Insidious, the little boy is haunted by an evil ghost. In photos, his mother noticed that the woman in a black veil kept getting closer and closer to him. It’s one of the creepiest parts of the movie. Little by little, the ghost is getting close enough to touch the little boy. So slowly and imperceptibly to the naked eye! You can only see the ghost in the photos.
Obviously the little boy’s mother was scared. Is there an evil ghost in a veil stalking her son?! Finally, in the very last photo, the scary old woman’s hand is nearly grabbing the boy’s shoulder. His mother stopped taking photos after that.
The word insidious means: “Proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects” and “treacherous or crafty.” Nothing describes a narcissist more perfectly. When you start to have even the slightest bit of contact with the narcissist, it might seem harmless at first – in fact, like any cycle of abuse they are usually extra nice when they’re trying to trick you into letting your guard down. Some might even apologize for what you’ve told them they have done to you, although it’s just a trick. The narcissistic personality does nothing wrong, and they have no problem pacifying you. They likely don’t remember or don’t care what they’ve done to hurt you in the past, the point is to get what they want.
If you have found the strength to go no contact with the narcissist, the the ultimate prize in this game is YOU. Even if he or she threw you away, called you horrible names, devalued you, divorced you, told everyone you were a horrible person, it doesn’t matter. As soon as it is your choice to not speak to them, they simply have to be in your life again. They can move on – you cannot. This is why you have to avoid returning calls, text messages, block them all social media, and never let your guard down. If you only do it 99 times out of 100, just like the little boy in Insidious, the narcissist will grab you from behind, latch on, and mess with your head until you start to think you were wrong about all that emotional abuse that you used to be so sure that they subjected you too. Maybe you overreacted, maybe you’re being unfair, everyone makes mistakes right? They wouldn’t want you back in their life if they didn’t care!
WRONG. Back away from the phone. A narcissist cares about three things: themselves, their reputation/the way they are perceived by others, and winning. As soon as they have control over you again, they’ll stop wanting you.
Unfortunately it’s a lot harder to go no contact with a parent than it is to go no contact with your abusive ex-spouse. And that brings us to where we are today. The evil woman in the veil (aka Cruella) has got her claws back in her son, Bruce. After over a year of little contact with her and zero one on one contact, just two weeks after his therapist thought he was doing well enough that he didn’t need to come any more, he agreed to have brunch with her.
It’s hard not to just go, WTF kid?! Are you doing too well you have to go and mess it up for yourself?
But I understand. I have a parent who is very self centered and never empathized with me as a kid and just like Charlie Brown, you always go to kick that damned football and they always pull it away at the last moment. Every single time, you are surprised. Even if you’ve done it hundreds of times before. We are hard-wired to trust our parents, I think it must be biological.
We can’t stop him from spending time with her. He starts college in a week, his mistakes are his to make. It just makes me so angry because just a couple months ago, she posted a photo on facebook from many years ago. In it, she had a giant bruise on her arm that she had gotten during fitness bootcamp. She wrote this long, completely false story about how Sebastian had “beat” her for the last time the day she got that. She said all these things that were completely untrue, even lying about what she and the kids had done that day. She lies about everything, even inconsequential things! Supposedly their neighbor had witnessed it but did nothing. Sebastian hadn’t even gone over to her house that night (this incident allegedly happened after they separated.) So we of course get sent it, by more than two people actually, and even Bruce was like “what the hell, that never happened!” It’s hard for me to understand how he can look past that. So a couple Saturdays ago, Bruce left the house and spent over EIGHT HOURS with his mother. Just his mother, not even his mother and his sister. He didn’t tell Sebastian much about what happened, just that “she kind of took responsibility for everything she had said and done.” It’s just a trick though. Sadly I know that, and Sebastian knows that, but Bruce can’t or won’t see it.
It’s hard for me to understand, even knowing we are programmed to trust our parents, that he can just let her off the hook for lying about Sebastian beating her, just a couple months ago! How can he just look past that? He lives with this father, he loves his father, he knows that his father never beat his mother, yet he has apparently forgiven her for posting on facebook that Sebastian physically abused her!
The saddest part about it, if you have been hit by a loved on or spouse, you know that you don’t proudly take photos with your bruises prominently displayed, grinning like you think you are the hottest person in the room! You hide them, you cover them up with makeup, scarfs, and sweaters even in the summer – you are ashamed. You are terrified that someone might see and figure it out. It’s just another example of how this vile, disgusting creature lies and portrays herself as a victim in order to get attention. All she cares about is people on facebook, her so-called “friends,” telling her how brave and strong she is, how proud they are that she got out. It’s despicable, given that she actually hit Sebastian many times and also disgraceful because there are so many people that die every day because of spousal abuse. But there’s nothing this woman will not say or do to get attention. There’s no lie she won’t tell. She will throw anyone under the bus if it means that people will praise her. It makes me sick that Bruce is opening himself up to this evil woman again and it makes me even sicker that there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.