How a smart person can get sucked into abuse Part IV

Part I here. Part II here. Part III here.

This post has been written in my mind a dozen times over the last couple of weeks, and I just can’t get the tenor right.

I’ve done a lot of thinking and research and talking with people over the past six months, trying to come to terms with the way my relationships developed and died and what my role was in both the building and the tearing down of them.

I made a comment on a blog post written by a woman who is searching for meaning in her relationship with (what sounds to me to be) a Narcissist. Another commenter said that nothing is black and white and no one knows the whole story but those who are living it. She went on to say that EVERYONE is “doing the best they can” and that I am wrong to say this woman should kick the asshole to the curb, no matter how he treats her.

Really? Hitler was doing the best he could? What about Ted Bundy? Or Charles Manson? Or a father who molests his daughters?

She replied back that, yes, their actions were wrong, but they were all doing the best they could with their knowledge and life experiences. She went on to say that she feels sorry for me that I can’t sympathize and understand that we are all doing the best we can and that we are all broken.

WTF? Did Mark do the best he could when he used me to finance his drug and alcohol addictions? Was trying to choke me to death his “best?” Was Dale doing the best he could when he had sex with other women, watched porn for hours on end, lied to me, beat my son and did everything he could to destroy my self esteem? Was the Narc doing the best he could when he lied to me, gaslighted me, yelled and screamed and brow beat me and my son for hours at a time, trying to make me believe I’m crazy? Really?

Here’s what I’ve learned after three long-term failed relationships:

  • There IS evil in this world. It can come in very pretty packages, all sparkly and smelling good, but it’s still evil.
  • There are people who are perfectly content to live their lives hurting others. They feed on the pain they cause. They get a thrill with every lie told, every tear they cause to fall, every soul they destroy.
  • There can be no forgiveness without repentance. The best I can hope for is to deny them the power to hurt me any more. I do not forgive them for their actions. They will have to settle their accounts with whatever awaits them after death.
  • The only person I can change is myself. Begging, pleading, yelling, demanding, nothing will change a person who does not want to change, therefore I changed the way I reacted to the men who were abusing me: I left.
  • There’s no shame in leaving an abusive partner. People who try to shame you are not worth the time to explain to them why you left.
  • Some people are broken. It’s not my job to fix them. I don’t have to “understand” them, nor am I under any obligation to take their shit – I can put myself first for the sake of my mental and physical health and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I was the perfect victim when my first husband found me. I was timid, socially awkward, naive enough to believe I Knew Stuff About Life and eager to escape a home life that was abusive. I had been groomed to be compliant and to give in to the needs of men. I did not have a voice or will to go my own way. I still believed in True Love and Soul Mates and thought that I could love someone so much that they would change for me if they weren’t quite Perfect. My notions of Love were built around fantasies from movies, music and books. Coming from a dysfunctional family I had no real picture to judge against.

I believed that everyone has good in them somewhere and it was my job to find that good and bring it out. I was on a mission with Mark – I thought I could see the diamond under the coal dust and was determined to make him shine. I continued to believe his lies because I couldn’t fathom how a person could profess love and then hurt their supposed Soul Mate in such deliberate ways. I refused to believe his actions instead of his words. I couldn’t understand his addictions and violent behavior.

When I left, he was still largely a mystery to me. I never resolved my feelings for him, but I understood that the reason he chose me was because I was compliant – I let him get away with horrible things, didn’t stand up to him or speak up for myself until the final declaration as I ran out the door.

My relationship with Dale was similar in many ways. I was able to disagree and I thought that I would be heard and respected instead of just ignored like I was with Mark. I was unprepared to have my opinions laughed at and shrugged off. I was surprised to be told that I was immature and ignorant. The feelings of failure over the demise of my first marriage played right into his hands – I was determined to make this one work! I would do whatever it took to make him happy so that he could make me happy by being happy. I know, right? It made sense at the time.

When the Narc came around with his declarations of undying love and talk of Soul Mates I was so eager for a Real and Healthy Relationship that I fell for his lines, devoting myself completely to him and his notions of how life was supposed to be lived. By the time the crazy-making started I was so confused and turned around I didn’t know which way was up. Starting a blog and documenting the abuse made the situation clear and the support of the blogging community helped me find the strength and courage to leave for good.

I’m at the point right now, six months Narc-free, that I’m still angry, but I can see my part in each of my relationships was to be a doormat. I lay there, flat and compliant, while they walked all over me. I put up no fight for my rights, I allowed them to be in charge and then whined (usually to my diary or only in my head) when things didn’t go the way I thought they should or I got my feelings (or pocketbook) hurt. My compliance allowed them to continue to hurt me and feed off my emotional pain. Because I kept my mouth shut, constantly searching for the diamond under all the coal dust, afraid of what people would think if I left or spoke out, each relationship went on much longer than it should have; I have only myself to blame for that.

All I can do from this point forward is speak my mind, tell my story, hope that just one person will see them self in my words and get out of an abusive relationship before it’s too late. By telling my story, I unmask the Monster, reveal them to the light of day where they burn up like vampires at dawn.

About the Author

Sofia LeoIt’s a textbook case, and I have been a textbook victim. We read our scripts and stayed in character to the very end. I am angry. Between three men, a Psycho, a Socio and a Narc, I have lost 25 years of my life to Domestic Abuse. I refuse to be a victim any longer. I have taken over control my destiny and speak out in the hope that just one victim will see their life in my story and escape their abuser. For the moment I am writing anonymously as I sever all ties with the Narc. I will not give him the satisfaction of breaking me.


  1. Sofia – Thank you for this series. It’s raw and heartbreaking, and filled with strength.

    1. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to post here, Melanie. It’s been a wonderful adventure to share my story in a place my Mom doesn’t read πŸ™‚ She doesn’t know all of the details because it would lead to some painful conversations that will do no one any good and this was a great chance to get most of the story out. I really wish that people were more horrified, that there weren’t so very many who can totally relate to my story. Some day…

  2. Sophia, I’m not sure what I can say now that I haven’t said to you already, so….((hugs))

    1. Just reading means a lot, Twindaddy πŸ™‚

      1. Good! That’s about all I can do from way over here!

        1. You do plenty with your kind words and commentary – give yourself a little credit πŸ™‚

          1. Um, I make you laugh? Maybe? I hope? Just a little?

            1. LOL! Yes, you do make me laugh, and smile and sometimes hit my head on the keyboard because I said something in haste that was cruel or biting. You’re a gem, I tell ya!

              1. Well, let’s forget about that little incident. I overreacted…

                1. Ah, but you didn’t overreact – I made a sweeping generalization that I should not have made and offended who knows how many Good Men out there and for that I am sorry. Made me stop and think and that is always a good thing πŸ™‚

                  1. Ok…I won’t argue about it any more then.

  3. JackieP · · Reply

    Obviously the woman who said ‘everyone is just doing the best they can’ has never been in an abusive relationship. Or you could take it another way, everyone of those narc’s were doing their best to destroy you. Then her comment would make more sense. People who know nothing of an abusive relationship and have no empathy should really think twice before making condescending remarks. Sounds like one to avoid.

    I’m glad you’re out of it. But you know that all ready. So I’ll just give out hugs.

    1. Actually, she prefaced her comments by saying that she had been both abused and abuser and hinted that she had some mental issues that are now under control. She claimed that we are all “broken” and basically I’m a heartless bitch for advising someone to get out of a harmful relationship instead of sticking it out based on the sparkles he projected from time to time like her husband did. Whatever. If it matters, she’s into the BDSM community – maybe the rules of basic human kindness don’t apply there?

      I’m still pissed off about it but have stayed away from that blog in the interest of not starting a flame war. That’s some real Self Control right there πŸ™‚

  4. Your writing is so true . I can understand exactly what you are saying. I was the same sucked in and controlled right from day one, naive, innocent and vulnerable. Since starting to blog I have written away my life. And feel so much lighter in the head for doing it. Congratulations

    1. Writing has kept me sane, that’s a fact. We have to get our stories out there, if only to help one other person to avoid or escape from one of these monsters.

  5. One thing I had to learn after escaping my narcissistic family was a balance, well I’m still learning. Now I tend to want to fight or stand up for myself too much, there is a time to fight for ourselves and a time too let things go (This is in my marriage not to a narcissist) My poor Hubby put up with a lot of fighting from me for a long time, because I had no idea when to back down. It still happens at times to. I was silenced for so long with the father and then every abusive narcissist I dated before I met Hubby. Do you find that hard?

    1. Do I find it hard to know when to back down? Pretty sure I’ll never back down when I feel I’m being stepped on. Ever again. I guess it depends on what the subject is and how important it is to me. For instance, I will defer to The Boss or The Other Boss in order to keep my job, but they will not be allowed to step on my Core Beliefs (not that they would – they are both Good Men.) I will defer to those who know more about a subject than I do.

      What I will not do is defer to any man with a romantic interest (not that I see that happening any time soon.) I will never again “go along to get along” if there’s no return on my Boredom Investment. I mean, it’s a pretty sure bet that any man I might get involved with won’t share my hobbies and interests, or at least will share them in a passing way, and I likely won’t like to do everything that he likes. If he asks me to attend an Event (for instance) that I am not really interested in, I will go and have a good time for his sake. If, however, I attend numerous Events of his and he does not reciprocate, well, that’s the end of that and he can go suck it. My life will never again be on hold for the needs of someone else if I don’t get the same consideration.

      Also, those “jokes” that I put up with before? Nuh-uh. Ain’t happening EVER again. Those comments about me “being too sensitive?” Yeah, that ain’t happening, either. All that Narc crap will be shot down immediately and no attempts at gaslighting, deflecting or diminishing of my feelings will be tolerated. I didn’t do it to any of my abusers and I won’t tolerate it from anyone ever again.

      Wow. Guess I’m still holding on to some anger, eh? πŸ™‚

      1. I understand, for me, being raised by the narc. has put me on the defense, and i can see “narc” in everything, even when it isn’t “narc” behaviour. I feel bad for my Hubby when I do that. I also tend to take so many things personally that really aren’t personal in and outside my marriage.

        I hate the abuse disguised as a “joke!” It’s no joke. The father threatened to drown the mother to make her kidney failure go away, in the form of a “joke.” I’m still not recovered from that one 5 years later.

        Yep you still have some anger but justified and keep blogging it helps for sure! Now you have the freedom to get angry and get it out!! xo

        1. The father sounds like a truly horrible waste of skin. I’m so sorry you had to grow up with that monster and that the mother is still under his thumb.

          I hope I don’t go too far, but I do sometimes see Narc behavior around me and it does piss me off. I have been trying to keep my mouth shut and think about it later. So far only one outburst at the young asshat at work, no damage done because he is young and stupid and it’s not my job to school him. Although I wish I could…

          1. Yes the father is a pretty cruel person, he was also very abused himself, but as we both know we all have choices and he refused to look at himself. That’s what makes me angry.
            Hubby pointed out to me that he thinks the father is also beating the mother. It never dawned on me until he mentioned it and then I began to remember some things.
            I’ve thought of blowing the whistle on him as there are some other major things I’m concerned about.

            That’s amazing that you’re able to stop and think about things before you react…I wish I could do that more often. I’m learning though!

  6. I guess some people don’t necessarily have the ability to see a bigger picture, or think that everyone should be like them – ie stick it out with the abuser or whatever. We know that the world doesn’t work like that. And congrats to you for stepping away from the argument.

    Sharing our stories is how we can help ourselves and therefore each other.

speak loudly, donkeys are sleeping

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