Sanctuary for the Abused
Thursday, December 22, 2016
How to Help Those Abused by a Narcissist
Those abused by narcissists usually need two kinds of help: expert help and comfort/validation.
The expert help needed varies. Narcissistic abuse and slander inflict psychological injury (not to be confused with mental illness) and therefore the victims often need psychological counseling. Women abused by their husbands or boyfriends often need practical advice and help getting themselves and their children away safely. (A qualified TRAUMA-certified counselor is necessary. Domestic Violence Centers often provide free counseling; and you do not need to be a resident)
Children need help from Social Services. In any case the victim may need legal advice. Especially when the abuse is a bully in the workplace in a private institution (e.g., a parochial school), the victim has usually been lynched and needs pro bono legal aid. Indeed, no lawyer expects to profit battling the interminable stonewalling such a secretive institution throws up to escape accountability. The same goes for narcissistic abuse in the form of pedophilia.
When signing up for any group, I also suggest using a screen name and an email address from a free webmail account like you can get at Yahoo or Gmail. This is just a precaution when interacting on a message board: Remember that you never know who all is out there reading your posts. You don't want any weirdo trying to contact you, so it's best to be anonymous. You do this through a free webmail account under a screen name no one would recognize. You can create one of these webmail addresses just for group memberships. Through it nobody can find out your real name or where you live. Doing this also helps keep your regular email account free of spam.
Comfort anyone can give. The word comfort comes from the Latin word for "to fortify." That's what comfort is. It's the strengthening embrace that supports a person weakened by injury or abuse. It's the strengthening embrace that helps them to their knees and then to their feet. It's not rocket science. All it takes is compassion.
Those abused by a narcissist have had their self-esteem brutally bludgeoned by a bully who jumps up and down on their back to break it and then thump his or her chest.
What they need is someone to be there.
To say that the narcissist's value judgment was wrong.
They need somebody to treat them like a human being.
Somebody to say that they are NOT nothing and that stomping on them is NOT nothing.
Somebody to say and show that it matters.
That's all. Any real human being is qualified to lend this aid. And it's not too much to ask.
All you have to do is listen. Show that you're listening by responding now and then. Say something that amounts to "Boy what she did to you really sucks," showing that it makes you sad or angry or both to hear about it. Then just show that the victim means something to you, that he or she is NOT a hunk of dirt in your eyes. It's not hard. It's easy and natural.
What the victim doesn't need is any more criticism or fixing. They don't need you to tell them how they should feel. They don't need you to act like it didn't happen. They don't need any preaching that they should forgive an unrepentant abuser who fully intends to keep right on abusing them. If you need to do things like that, then you are the one with heavy-duty needs and are in no condition to fulfill anybody else's needs.