After having an experience with a narcissist, I've decided to show others where they can find support online.
What Is Malignant Narcissism?
Experts who study human behavior are divided over just what constitutes malignant narcissism. It appears to be a subset of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a condition described in the medical Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR).
However, this condition goes beyond that, because people who suffer from it also have a sadistic streak. Some professionals believe that malignant narcissists are really just high-functioning sociopaths, as the distinction between the two is blurred.
Finding Help Online
Where do you turn when you've been betrayed in some of the worst ways imaginable?
Life is full of hurts, upsets and disappointments. This is a normal part of the human experience.
But what I'm talking about is much different. An encounter with a sociopath or a malignant narcissist leaves you gasping for air and wondering if you'll survive.
You will survive, but healing is a process that takes time and fortitude.You'll have your good days and your bad days. You'll even be able to trust again, and to realize that most people are fundamentally good.
Every painful experience, if channeled properly, results in growth. Over time, you'll even be able to see the blessings of your walk through this valley of darkness.
Believe it or not, you'll even be able to forgive the person who's harmed you. But how do you get from here to there, and move beyond the trauma?
Many victims turn to online forums, such as lovefraud.com and outofthefog.net. Both offer plenty of good advice, anonymously.
In my humble opinion, anonymous online support is among the best ways to get your bearings after cutting the narcissist loose.
The Benefits of Online Support
One of the biggest benefits of online support is that it's anonymous. You can receive feedback and advice from others who've been there. Many people who've never encountered a narcissist or a sociopath might find your story hard to swallow. That's because the personality disordered are capable of such outrageous behavior, and are so adept at manipulation. So what you're recounting seems too bizarre to possibly be true.
However, the folks you meet online need no convincing. They know just what you're talking about.
Also, narcissists are very persuasive. One of their more sinister traits is the way they rally people to their cause. Unfortunately, it's possible that if you cry on someone's shoulder, the narcissist will hear about it. This gives him or her more insight into how best to attack again.
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So online anonymity is very beneficial, given the circumstances. The moderators who run one forum strongly suggest you don't reveal your true identity or too many identifying details. That's primarily because your tormentor might find them.
The Lovefraud site is primarily for people deceived by romance. There is a lot of good advice. If you are confused as to whether someone's behavior is disordered, this can shed some light on that question.
The site owners have lived through similar situations. This is a very non-judgmental platform to air your concerns.
The only caveat is not spending too much time here, or on any forum, as a recovering victim. The idea is to eventually move on and to find a new focus. Later, when you've reclaimed your life, and grown from the experience, you can return to the forum from time to time, in order to help others.
Out of the Fog
Out of the Fog is a superb forum that contains a wealth of information on malignant narcissism and the tactics they use. It is a very active community and the people are very helpful.
The name of the site describes the light bulb going off in your head moment, when victims realize they've been taken for a ride by someone who doesn't possess a well-developed conscience. This is a painful experience, but it's also liberating. You know what you've been dealing with and every instinct in your body tells you it's time to sever the cord. You no longer miss this person, or wonder if there was, perhaps, something you could have done, to avoid their wrath. You realize there was nothing you could have done to fix what is missing, in the heart and the soul of the narcissist.
The Friendship Blog
The Friendship Blog is a moderated forum is run by Dr. Irene Levine, PhD., who gives excellent advice to women suffering the loss of a friendship. Many of the other recovery forums deal almost exclusively with romantic breakups. Dr. Levine's site helps those who've lost their best friend, or a significant friendship.
She notes that women's friendships are intense and complicated. Female friendships become increasingly important as we age, and Dr. Levine recognizes this.
Be Careful Online!
A word of caution about online forums is in order. They are populated with narcissists, no matter which topic is being discussed. The Internet and social media sites are extremely attractive to people with personality disorders, as they can talk about themselves and boast of their accomplishments on a massive scale.
Malignant narcissists like to abuse others. They troll the forums looking for victims. Be very careful if you decide to strike up an offline relationship with someone you met in a forum.
Actually, there are some signs to watch for, when you "meet" someone online, according to psychologist Dr. Sylvia Gearing, Ph.D. These red flags include spending an inordinate amount of time posting on Facebook (most normal adults won't update multiple times a day), having an excessive number of Facebook "friends" and putting up too many pictures of themselves. Be especially wary if these photos show immodest dress or suggestive poses.
Watch Out for Narcissists on Facebook
Beginning the Recovery Process
The day you recognize what you're dealing with, and make a firm resolution to break free, is the day you begin to recover. Freedom means either no contact or as little contact as possible. Sometimes it's not possible to totally avoid certain people. If that's the case, then interact as little as you can. Don't provide them with any more information about what you've been doing, since you've cut them out of your life.
Recovery comes in stages. Some days are better than others. The hurt feelings might surface again if something else, even if it's not related, happens to upset you.
Be patient with yourself. This will take time. Reach out to old friends and try to find new outlets for your energy. Do things that make you happy.
Eventually, you'll begin to spend less time on the forums. The topic of malignant narcissism won't interest you as much. This means you are cruising along in the recovery process.
Forgiving the Person Who Hurt You
This is necessary if you want to move on, which is the only solution when it comes to narcissists. If you pray for people, put this person at the top of your prayer list. If you don't pray, just send them well wishes.
Eventually, you will reach the point where this doesn't hurt you at all. In time, as you look back, believe it or not, you'll probably find a few blessings in all you've been through. If nothing else, you'll be able to help others negotiate a similar situation. Few people understand the world of malignant narcissism unless they've experienced it first hand.
My grandfather used to talk about "the school of hard knocks." This is where you'll learn some of the best lessons of your life.
How to Spot a Narcissist Before You're in It
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.