The past two weeks in the blogosphere have been a bit tough for me. Not sure whether it’s been a Google algorithm update but I have seen my traffic plummet by 80 percent, which virtually made me cry – all the progress and hard work of the last year lost.
I was contemplating to quit. The omnipotent Google quite mercilessly decided that I should disappear in digital obscurity and that my voice is not relevant. I have been feeling like the mythological Sisyphus, having just rolled my boulder up the hill only for it to slide back where I used to be maybe a year ago.
I was thinking about all the people that had reached out to me since I started writing about narcissists and my experience recovering from a relationship with one. All those people telling me that my posts helped them to make sense out of the mad experience that is a relationship with a narcissist. I guess there will be much fewer such people reaching out now since far less people would be able to find my blog. That means more need for self-motivation, more feeling as if I am writing just for myself and that no matter what I do, I am not getting anywhere.
Funnily enough, Google has treated me like a textbook narcissist – showing me the love, giving me all that lovely traffic, have my blog grow to the level where it was really becoming interesting – and then – pulling the rug right from underneath my feet – “haha, I was only joking. You are not going to make it. Sorry that you built up your hopes. I didn’t really mean that you and I are real friends. Was just messing around.”
It brings back memories. But I still feel I have quite a lot to say about the matter of narcissists – recovering from relationships with them, being raised by them, struggling with them at work and in a family environment, and all the terribly damage it does to your psyche, which is further exacerbated by the fact that the society in general is largely ignorant about the issue.
So I decided to take a deep breath and continue – despite the fact that my traffic is nearly dead. I don’t know how long is it going to take to recover from this near annihilation and whether it will ever happen.
But anyway. Let’s have a look at what I was originally wanting to write about today – the feelings of wanting revenge, feelings of resentment, hatred and anger that many people struggle with in the aftermath of a relationship with a narcissist.
Many people admit to fantasizing about taking revenge on the narcissist. Some even go as far as researching options of how to get a revenge on a narcissist.
Many (the goodie, new-agey ones in particular) blame themselves for having those feelings and many are shamed and blamed by others for admitting those feelings.
I am not going to give you a ‘how to’ for getting a revenge. I certainly don’t think that acting upon those feelings is the right thing to do. But I want to have a look at where this desire for revenge comes from, how to understand it, and most importantly why it is absolutely wrong to blame and shame yourself for feeling this way.
I believe that in this ‘revenge’ debate, an important piece of information is missing. Let’s start with the following question:
Why do these people feel that they want revenge?
They feel that they want revenge because they failed to get justice. Justice betrayed them. They were used and duped by a narcissist or a psychopath. They were led through the pedestal – devaluation – discard cycle totally oblivious to the fact that they were just a character in a script written by someone else. First, they were led to be believe that they were in a super serious committed relationship, then they were put through the ‘maybe I will keep you and maybe I will not’ humiliation of the devaluation phase, and eventually, they were thrown out like a piece of garbage. No explanation given.
Eventually, they found that the person who pretended to be their best friend, their soulmate, was, in fact, their worst enemy. They found that the individual they trusted with all their heart was happily smearing them, gaslighting, enjoying their struggle, laughing into their face, flirting with others behind their back and frequently much worse (I described my own maddening experience in this article).
I bet that if you were sold a car and found out that the car had no engine, you would be unhappy. Now imagine you would ask the seller to replace the car or explain the situation and he would laugh into your face. Then you would ask others to support you and they would tell you that you were crazy. Even the authorities would tell you that. They would refuse to acknowledge that you had been duped. Perhaps the seller would tell them that you took the engine out yourself or that you bought the car knowing it had no engine. They would choose to trust the fraudster. You would feel duped and let down on top of that.
This is exactly what happens to the majority of people that have been taken on by a narcissist. They were duped and used, discarded and laughed at, but instead of getting support and sympathy from the society, they were usually further victimized. The narcissist started with his subtle smear campaign early and by the time the victim figured out what had happened, he had long persuaded everyone that the victim was the crazy one. Now they are angry for two reasons: First of all, they have been duped. They have been manipulated by the narcissist to commit and invest into the relationship, to build their future life-plan around it. And then, the narcissist just discarded them laughing, telling them that he had never really been all that serious about them and that they must be crazy if they trusted his “I have never loved anyone like I love you” garbage (“people just say this stuff, it doesn’t mean anything, you silly.”).
What makes their anger worse is the fact that whilst they know that what the narcissist did was completely off, everyone else thinks that the crazy and unstable one is them. Why? Because they are angry! The narcissist told everyone that the ex has anger management issues, didn’t he? So their absolutely justified anger at being duped and discarded is seen as evidence that they are wrong and the narcissist is right.
That is seriously a mad situation and if you had been subject to it, no surprise you developed revenge fantasies. Revenge is us desperately trying to take justice into our own hands when everything else has failed. The narcissist messed with your mind, the society let you down, so what else do you have? For many, this struggle involves authorities, lawyers and divorce courts – the official organs of justice – agreeing with the narcissist and branding the actually victim the culprit.
I do believe that for normal people, the need for justice is deeply ingrained in our mental blueprint. We feel empathy for other people, we want to believe that the villains get punished and the good guys get rewarded. We want to believe in happy ends. And then we encounter a narcissist or a psychopath and we see that it doesn’t work like that at all. We see the manipulations and the lies and the poor treatment and we scream that we have found a villain. We want to warn the society that there is a toxic individual. And the society laughs at us because the narcissist wears the loveliest mask.
Previously, I have written about the situation of a child of a narcissistic parent. It’s pretty much the same. The child had been rolled all over by the disordered care-giver but instead of sympathy and help from others, the child only got further victimized, branded a difficult brat that is ungrateful to his or her awesome sweet mother. No surprise the grown up child is resentful and angry. You would be a Buddha if you weren’t.
Anyway. As I said in my earlier article on anger, I believe that we should channel our anger into activities that could increase the awareness and understanding of these disorders in the population. In the future, hopefully, no one will have to deal with those terrible feelings of injustice because everyone will understand what a narcissist is, how it behaves and how to spot it.
For now, if you are still dealing with feelings of anger, hatred and wanting revenge – my advice is be kind to yourself. Understand that behind your desire for revenge is actually a desire for justice, which has been denied to you. What is wrong about wanting justice? You have been terribly duped. You were sold a car with no engine and you were told it was a Ferrari. You were sold the ‘love of my life’ romcom story only for it to turn into the most horrible prank. And then you were told by the society that indeed you were the one with issues. It’s ridiculous. It would be strange if you didn’t feel any anger. You were duped and played with and the society failed to recognize that. You were not given justice – something every normal human being deeply wants to believe in.
You are not a bad person that you feel anger and think about revenge. Acknowledge those feelings and find how to channel them into something that will make the world a better place – perhaps by helping to spread the awareness about psychopaths, narcissists and their behaviour in relationships.
Anyway. I am going to try to figure out how to deal with my anger about being virtually erased from the surface of the digital world by Google. It sucks. I can tell you that. But how do you take revenge on Google? It’s omnipotent. It’s the digital Universe conspiring against you.