There’s a particular, overwhelming feeling that takes over us, survivors of narcissistic abuse, when we come to grasp the mind boggling, horrifying truth about the individual we were in a relationship with and the reach and depth of the damage inflicted upon us. You could refer to it as anger, powerlessness, hopelessness, hatred, vengefulness, sadness, resentment, depression, anxiety, confusion, despair, solitude, isolation, a sense of unfairness, emptiness, void. But the truth is, it’s all of those things, compiled into one solid block of darkness laying heavily on your shoulders, crushing you down with, sometimes, unbearable pressure.
If I had to plug out one single emotion out of the ones mentioned above, I would say “powerlessness” is the one that all the other ones derive from.
Powerlessness comes from a range of different and accurate findings:
- The narcissist lacks or has little capacity for empathy, therefore, he or she doesn’t care about whatever pain or destruction they have inflicted. Hoping for a sense of justice through empathy to make them come around is a dead end.
- The narcissist’s sense of self is dependent on what their sources of supply reflect back to them. They create the fake personas they need the world to see (as many as needed) and then live off of these people’s regurgitation of the lies they’ve been fed, giving the narcissist the illusion of a sense of self and some emotional regulation. Victims are pawns in this smoke and mirrors trick. However, as a primary source of supply, there comes a day when the mask falls off. Once you see the monster in all its true colors, that becomes the only thing you can reflect back at them. They can’t take that hit (though you, unfairly, are expected to). So, when that happens, they will practice blame shifting, try to gaslight you into the belief (or at least reasonable doubt) that you are the monster and they are the victim. If that doesn’t work,they will resort to other manipulative tactics, to include intimidation and violence. Anything to avoid exposure and consequences, and also for psyhchological survival. So, you see, no amount of reasoning and logic can make them step away from their stand. They aren’t one bit concerned with logic or character, right or wrong. There’s one thing and one thing only they are focused on: their agenda. Victims are, therefore, powerless in that debate of who is right or wrong, abuser or victim.
- The abuse resulted in damage to, potentially, all areas of a victim’s life. There may have been financial abuse, your health is probably in bad shape, along with your career, hobbies, interests, relationships, family life, spirituality. You need to rebuild your life, virtually, from scratch. There isn’t much that can be done about the past damage, there’s no accountability to be owned by the narcissist AND you’re perceived as the destructive one in the relationship.Once that narrative is established, the narcissist then needs to prevent exposure. His mask may have fallen off right in front of you, he’s aware it’s happened, he knew in advance it eventually would, but… they can’t afford to get publicly exposed by you. This is when all of the narcissist’s true colors will show their face in full attack mode, as he puts in motion the strategy of damage control. He does that by spreading that narrative in which you are the monster and he is the alleged victim, filled with malicious lies and manipulation, in what is known as the smear campaign. What this does is: it discredits victims, keeps the abuse hidden, creates further abuse by proxy through the creation of flying monkeys (people who will buy into his narrative) and, as the icing on the cake, they have the added benefit of collecting significant amounts of supply, through pity parties and being the center of attention. Victims can’t win this game. This was put in place long before the mask fell off, so trying to give explanations and unmask the narcissist will only serve to prove his point to people who have long before already bought his narrative and been “warned” about “ways”. The smear campaign is one of the most insidious forms of abuse and leaves victims feeling frustrated, hopeless and powerless. Nothing effective can be done, other than refusing to engage.
- Once that narrative is established, the narcissist then needs to prevent exposure. His mask may have fallen off right in front of you, he’s aware it’s happened, he knew in advance it eventually would, but… they can’t afford to get publicly exposed by you. This is when all of the narcissist’s true colors will show their face in full attack mode, as he puts in motion the strategy of damage control. He does that by spreading that narrative in which you are the monster and he is the alleged victim, filled with malicious lies and manipulation, in what is known as the smear campaign. What this does is: it discredits victims, keeps the abuse hidden, creates further abuse by proxy through the creation of flying monkeys (people who will buy into his narrative) and, as the icing on the cake, they have the added benefit of collecting significant amounts of supply, through pity parties and being the center of attention. Victims can’t win this game. This was put in place long before the mask fell off, so trying to give explanations and unmask the narcissist will only serve to prove his point to people who have long before already bought his narrative and been “warned” about “ways”. The smear campaign is one of the most insidious forms of abuse and leaves victims feeling frustrated, hopeless and powerless. Nothing effective can be done, other than refusing to engage.
- Additionally, you may actually be scared of the narcissist. This is to keep you silent, to make you see yourself as weak, vulnerable, under their control. If you do muster up the courage to expose them regardless, guess what? No one believes you.
So, you see, the stage is set for you to feel completely powerless.
Your hands are tied, your lips are sealed, you feel devastated and most, if not all, areas of your life are in ruins. From this feeling of powerlessness, all the other ones sprout. And as you carry the block of darkness on your shoulders, some questions arise. “So,will there be no justice? No accountability? Is this really all there is to it?”
“Will there be any negative karma attached to the narcissist as a result of the abuse?”
I guess we all want to believe that we live in a fair universe, with a fair God (for those of us who believe), that the battle between good and evil is ultimately won by good, that superheroes end up overpowering villains, that the evil witch ends up smashed by a house that fell off a tornado and melts, leaving no trace other than red slippers that ultimately has the power to bring us home.
I’ll stick with the power in the red slippers, simply because no one can prove they aren’t magically effective and because, ironically, ending the abuse does leave us with a gift: the possibility of bringing ourselves home, though we are the ones who need to walk the path, to understand that we had the power all along – and it’s in us. But everything else lies in what you choose to believe.
I have watched quite a few videos on the subject and happen to agree with some of the points.
Firstly, the idea of karma does involve a sense of inherent justice, therefore, it is neutral in nature and can go either way, depending on a person’s deeds.
But if you believe in karma, then you’d logically have to accept that, if you wish bad karma on someone, you’d get some bad karma yourself. Your karma may end up being less impactful, because you haven’t actually created destruction, just wished it upon someone else. But is still comes from a negative place.
I don’t think this is really the point, though, nor is it the most practical or effective way to move forward. But it’s still worth noting, to help us understand our intentions from a more philosophical frame of reference.
From a psychological and emotional standpoint, however, feelings of anger and revenge are an important part of the healing process. They carry as much validity as acceptance and it’s human nature to experience an entire range of emotions, including the negative feelings in question here. It is natural and expected to feel a need for justice, which may express itself through anger, resentment and revenge, particularly in the aftermath of something as destructive as narcissistic abuse. Acting or not acting out on such feelings is what ultimately separates good from monstrous – in other words, people driven by the boundaries of character, from people driven by the assumption that such boundaries exist outside their scope of functioning and responsibility; to be bent, broken, minimized or simply ignored.
As unsatisfying as I’m aware it is to realize, I’ve come to understand that there IS karma attached to the behaviors of narcissists, though not necessarily what we may expect. The narcissist behaves in the ways he does because he is trapped inside a loop of internal functioning he can’t escape from. Outwardly, he experiences the instabilities in relationships (they don’t seem to care, I know. I’m simply stating the fact). Inwardly, he is doomed to repeat the cycle all throughout his life. You may argue that a lack of self awareness or awareness of the cycle itself keeps a narcissist from experiencing the sense of doom, and that would make sense. However, the pull, the need for supply is real, and they do experience severe discomfort and panic in its absence, which in turn makes them slaves to their own agenda.
We get to step out of the madness – emotionally and psychologically crippled, with destruction surrounding us and a life to be rebuilt from scratch, yes… But we have the option to be survivors after being victims, of experiencing peace and joy after healing, of making something positive out of our nightmare, by helping others through empathy and compassion.
The narcissist can’t step out of it, there’s no leaving, pausing or taking a break from the madness. They spend entire lives exhaustively looking for and trying to secure supply, with no sense of purpose or self, hiding behind masks, creating fake personas, covering up their lies and tracks, plotting manipulations, being dependent of others for emotional and psychological survival.
Am I saying we should feel sorry for them? Absolutely not. Am I saying we are better off than narcissists? In a way I am, but I feel like this would be like comparing apples to oranges and I’m not necessarily trying to draw a comparison at all. Instead, what I’m trying to say is that there is at least one type of karma we can know for sure is in place in the lives of these individuals and, while it may not be exactly what victims and survivors may perceive as being even close to evening out the scores, it is still a whole lot better than trying to cope with nothing but feelings of powerlessness and and a sense of complete lack of accountability. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that, being oblivious to their self imposed prison, keeps them enslaved and their poison (denied accountability) ultimately becomes their bondage. What they sew in the lives of victims, they reap in the form of slavery without awareness.
Finally, victims and survivors can rest in the peace of knowing that this would be happening to them with or without us ever being in the picture to begin with. It isn’t our doing, we can walk away with character and dignity, to lead purposeful and fulfilling lives if we so choose, because the narcissist may be unaware of what he’s missing out on, but we are not. And we get to make these choices.
It may be the cliche in this tribe, but if you still struggle with feelings of revenge, the best revenge is, indeed, to choose to – and live well. To do the one thing the narcissist ultimately tried to keep you from doing. It’s the ultimate act of rebellion, freedom and empowerment.
And if bad karma chooses to find its way to the narcissist, that’s between the two of them. If karma is real, then it’s designed and bound to act, so you don’t need to worry about it at all. If it isn’t real, on the other hand, then I hope you’ll agree that wasting your time feeling trapped inside the doubt and feelings of powerlessness, does nothing to you other than keeping the abuse alive, yet this time it is self imposed. Either way, it isn’t worth your time and energy.
Rebuild. Heal. Live. Thrive. Do good. And let good karma find you as it hovers looking to create balance, or simply rejoice in your awareness and acknowledgement of being a decent, empathetic and good human being.
If you would like to explore a similar perspective on this subject, here’s a video from the “assc direct” YouTube channels, where you can also find a multitude of other content being discussed on narcissism: