In my own little slice of the world, this is what I have observed and learned from other victims: there is a cycle of abuse that does manipulate the victim into behaving in ways that seem strange to outside observers — as if they are "asking for it."
And since people love to blame the victim (it's a kind of "whistling in the dark" to assure themselves that no abuser will ever sic on a strong person like themselves), they leap to the conclusion that this is so, that the victim is "asking for it." But in the cases I know of, it never was.
In fact, this behavior is the reaction of normal people to abuse. Many perfectly normal people get trapped in the cycle of abuse. The victims of narcissists behave exactly the way the victims of all torture and brainwashing do, exactly the way all hostages do.
We see it in the Stockholm Syndrome, named from an incident in which hostages took the side of their captors and clung to them! All hostages exhibit symptoms of the Stockholm syndrome. Since the Middle Ages, inquisitors and torturers (executioners) have known and capitalized on this bizarre phenomenon in the hapless victims at their mercy. All the tortured cling to the torturer for dear life. Who else can they appeal to? Before you know it, the victim is offering him- or her-self to abuse in an effort to appease the tormentor! Yes!
It's like throwing an attack dog a bone to save your leg = a desperate effort to offer the abuser anything — anything — he wants in hopes of reaching his cold, cold heart.
The Abominable Inquisition understood this phenomenon and deliberately exploited it to break the victim's back with the unbearable shame the victim feels at being reduced to doing such a self-degrading thing. But the KGB proved that you needn't even lay a hand on the victim to reduce him or her to such an abject state of submission. It's famed method of mentally breaking people deliberately accomplished the same thing (in about one month) to establish mind control.
Why do normal people do this under duress? What else can they do? You're taking right-side-up people and putting them in a pervert's upside-down world. You're taking people acting on normal human premises and having those reactions play right into pervert's perverted premises.
The abuser always makes the victim totally dependant on him before he starts abusing. So, what is the victim going to do? She has no choice but to try to soften a stone-cold heart. This is nothing but appeasement. The helpless have no other option.
We see this happening on a massive scale today in the bizarre efforts to appease the Islamofascist mobs and terrorists the world over. "Don't make them mad! Don't think badly of them for what they do. Apologize for making them abuse us by making them mad at us. Blame ourselves for everything they do to us. Bend over for it with a smile. Suck up. Then maybe they will soften and like us and stop abusing us."
Pass me the puke bucket, please.
The West has no excuse for such cowardly appeasement, because the West isn't helpless. The western nations are just unwilling to stop squabbling among themselves, get real, and unite against a common enemy (a problem the West has had since the Fall of the Roman Empire).
But the victims of narcissists often are helpless.
And even when they aren't, when they can and do try to fight back, some holier-than-thou comes along and says it's a sin. Then the whole world gangs up and jumps on the victim's back saying, "Yes, stop it. Stop fighting because that's a sin."
Who has a strong enough backbone to stand up under that? This merciless suppression of any effort at self-defense breaks the victim's back. Then these same holier-than-thous turn around and say, "See? She just takes it. So, she likes it. She's asking for it. She's codependent."
Perhaps they are the ones who need their heads examined, not the victim they thus play Catch-22 with.
How is she to take being "IT" in this game of "being damned if you do and damned if you don't?" How does one wrap a sound mind around it? Is there anything more her spouse and society could gang up and do to drive her crazy? It is no wonder that this universal oppression depresses her.
Then we blame the victim for that too. Because God made women to smile all the time.
It is not natural for a person to take abuse. Our instincts prompt us to fight or flee. By "flee" I mean abandon the abuser, which usually means divorcing him. By "fight" I mean strike back to hurt the abuser so he has some reason not to abuse you again — fear that you will bite back.
But society blocks this common sense in our genes by infesting our brains with a virus — the stupid idea that divorce or fighting back is wrong. Especially when her abuser goes around putting on an Academy Award act of how hurt he is, and all the bystanders buy it to deck themselves out in their nicey-nice act.
Of course he's hurting: the poor big baby doesn't want to lose his combination punching bag and Mamma.
Yes, society is getting involved and on the wrong side. What choice does society leave the victim? She must choose whether to (a) be a bad person or (b) bend over for it.
Every person's most precious possession is her self-concept — the picture of herself she carries inside, the image of herself as a good person. People will do anything to preserve it. They would rather die than lose it or have it taken from them. So, she usually chooses to go against nature and be a good girl = put up with the abuse = keep turning the other cheek.
But it's a Catch-22, for then we say she is a bad person anyway — for thus "asking for it." Now we say she's codependent and has a martyr complex.
But I see no self-masochism in this victim, do you? I just see a normal human being in Catch-22.
What is Catch-22? It's the English translation of the Italian phrase for the 22nd "malbowge" ("evil pouch/pocket") of Nether Hell in Dante's Inferno. That's the lowest pit of hell, the place where the treacherous, the traitors, get to experience their sin on the receiving end. It's where Dante put Judas priests, the likes of people who invite a family to dinner and then lock them in a tower to starve to death, as well as Julius Caesar's "friend" Brutus, and of course Judas Iscariot.
I think it was the prophet Ezekiel who got really sarcastic in rebuking those "from whom there is no peace" for thus pursuing her in this never-ending attack "crying, 'Peace! Peace!'" So, her abuser tramples her and then the bystanders pile on. First by society's taboos against fighting back and then by blaming the victim for docilely submitting to abuse. When everyone gangs up on her like this, how can she not be overwhelmed by that tidal wave? What is she to do?
We know the answer. Instead of curing her by eliminating the cause, oppression, we drug her with Prozac.
And so the cycle of abuse rolls on. Like a steamroller. Over her most precious possession, her concept of herself as a good person.
The victim will feel shame for bending over for it, to the extent that he or she failed to resist as much as possible. So, the victim must never be condemned for fighting back.
But, come on, knuckling under to abuse isn't the same as liking it and wanting it. Normal people may knuckle under. But only sick-in-the-head people could like it and ask for it. So, my hunch is that cases of codependence in narcissism are either rare or never occur.
But by mobbing the victim like everyone around her does:
· jumping on her for fighting back or wanting to leave him
· then jumping on her for just taking the abuse instead
· then jumping on her for being depressed
· jumping on her for complaining
· jumping on her for saying anything about it
· jumping on her for anything that doesn't amount to acting like it ain't happening
· by thus PERSECUTING her...
...the "nice" people around her often do what the narcissist couldn't = break her back. I mean that morally. They demoralize her, making her what they say she is, mentally ill.
For that, their future home is Malbowge 22. (It's very cold there. Very, very cold.)
And so, both the deliberate abuse of her mate and the ambient abuse of the phony bystanders often do mental damage. The resulting mental disorder is described by the Medieval legal and theological term "reduction to a state of victimhood," because it was actually a judicial sentence executed so as to bring it about. It was the ultimate punishment of an age that laid awake nights thinking of ways to make punishments worse.
But remember that a mental disorder is not a personality disorder. In fact, both individuals and society wound us all, and most people suffer from some mental disorder at some time in their lives. For the most part, those who do not make matters worse by abusing their minds with lies, live normal lives. They get over it or manage it on their own. Not so with personality disorders. Since we don't blame veterans for suffering post-traumatic stress, we shouldn't blame the abused for suffering reduction to a state of victimhood.
"I have all the characteristics of a human being: flesh, blood, skin , hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip"
Gareth Edward(s) Rodger
Masks Of Sanity is an online blog offering advice, support and education for those who have fallen victim to the Psychopath/Narcissist. (NPD)
We explain why Narcissists behave the way they do, how they operate and how you can protect yourself from the Narcissist in society, in the home and online!
You can find my own personal experience with a psychopath in the links on the right. I have a very personal understanding of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I am proof that there is hope after abuse!