Sometimes I lay awake at night and ask why me? Then a voice answers nothing personal, your name just happened to come up. Charles M. Schulz
Why me? I know it may sound a bit whiny but I am sure I am not the only one who has asked myself this question in the aftermath of narcissistic abuse. I mean, there must have been something wrong with me, surely. Otherwise, how could I have ever let myself be manipulated to such an extent and not even realise I was being manipulated?
I read a lot of books in my quest for an answer and it has left me with so many theories that my head is still spinning trying to decide which one applies.
- I am a co-dependent. According to Ross Rosenberg in his book The Human Magnet Syndrome, Co-dependents are attracted to people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and vice versa, like two opposite poles of a magnet. I found many similarities between my behaviour and that of a co-dependent, and indeed, I was willing to dance the dance and supported his dysfunctional behaviour with my own dysfunctional behaviour. It may be the case but my marriage of 20 years previous to my relationship with him had been a ‘normal’ relationship. So am I really a co-dependent?
- I am an empath. Many blogs or books will tell us that the reason we are attracted to narcissists is because we have a lot of compassion and understanding. We are emotional sponges that can feel other people’s feelings and are willing to put our own emotions aside in order to fulfil their needs. However I can be a cold hearted bitch at times, so am I really an empath?
- It was just one of life accidents. At the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Seminar that I attended in June of last year, Sam Vaknin told us that there was no common denominator between victims of narcissistic abuse. Some of us are old, some are young, some are intelligent, some are not, some are beautiful, and some are not. There is nothing that links us together (apart from our experience with a narcissist). We were targeted because we were there in the wrong place, at the wrong time. It had nothing to do with who we were as people and it wasn’t personal. It was purely business. The narcissist had a goal in mind and we were there to enable them to reach that goal.
- I am too emotionally flexible. Shannon Thomas in her book Healing from Hidden Abuse says that many victims of Narcissistic Abuse are extremely emotionally flexible and that is why narcissists can take advantage of us. When they start misbehaving, we normalize, minimalize and rationalize. We make excuses for them and always try to understand why they may be behaving in such a careless and hurtful way while not really looking at the bigger picture. I can shut out people pretty easily, so am I that flexible?
- I am weak and a pushover. That is what I think most people’s opinions of me were at the time. They were surprised. “I thought you were strong. You do kickboxing. You were in the police. How could you let that happen?” That is a good question!
- I was a good source of supply. This is HG Tudor’s (the most malignant narcissist of them all!) opinion. Fuel is the ultimate goal of the narcissist and they will target anybody who can provide them with the supply that they need in order to fill in the empty shell that they are and achieve their goals. Fuel comes in many forms. It can be money, knowledge, financial status, and social status, a bit of arm candy, devotion, admiration, fame, notoriety, anything that we are able to provide. I think I did a good job of providing fuel but, he had many other sources.
Maybe it was a combination of all these that lead me to become entangled in his web of deception and mayhem. Maybe it was something else. I once told my therapist that it must have been divine retribution for all my past sins! I will never really know.
What we need to bear in mind though, is while we are lost into our introspection, we forget the most important thing: there is nothing intrinsically wrong with us but there is definitely something wrong with them!
We shouldn’t change who we are but use our experience to help other people and (it may sound a bit narcissistic!) make the world a better place, shielded from the harm and devastation that narcissists are causing time after time.
Prevention is better than cure!