Sunday, June 10, 2007


Conventional wisdom says that many ask Must I leave him? because they are "co-dependant" or "inverted narcissists." That is a fancy way of saying that they are gluttons for punishment, that they get some masochistic pleasure out of being abused. The line is that they seek out narcissistic mates. In other words, they are mentally ill themselves.

There is such a thing as the "martyr complex."

But beware, this explanation blatantly blames the victim. And any explanation that blames the victim should be viewed with healthy skepticism. Why? Because it is anti-logical.

Remember that society used to blame the victim for rape, racism, and every other form of abuse. Different forms of blaming the victim pass in and out of vogue, but blaming the victim is as old as the Bible (illness or misfortune was punishment for sin) and goes on forever. It starts in the school yard and continues in the workplace. Every time the big guy hits on a little one, everybody agrees that the little guy "asked for it." Nobody ever asks, "Now why would he do that?" For, they readily believe that the little guy is so stupid or crazy as to have poked his finger into that big guy's eye. But if you try to say that the big guy just attacked without being provoked, they never fail to skeptically ask, "Now why would he do that?" See the double standard?

Saying that a mate reluctant to leave a narcissist is co-dependent ignores the countless ways that normal people can end up in a crucible, through no fault of their own.

For example, much of what we know about narcissism has come from families in which the poisoned fruit ripened during the last fifteen-to-twenty years. These families were formed after World War II, when there was a shortage of men, and women alone could not support themselves. Doubtless, many women settled for husbands they would not settle for in today's world. Divorce was both financially unfeasible and taboo. Also, if a woman has a narcissistic father, she has no way of knowing that all men are not like that. She has been raised to view his dissatisfaction with her as her fault and to put up with being treated as inferior. She also has feelings abused from early childhood. Bruised feelings. So they are more sensitive than most people's feelings. Narcissists target women like this as easy prey because their self esteem is easy to puncture.

Narcissists need not be exceptionally intelligent, but they are exceptionally experienced, because they have been playing this game since childhood. So they are diabolical. Therefore, unless a narcissist is manifestly brilliant, he is bound to be underestimated and thought incapable of cunning and duplicity. It is amazing how little suspicion he arouses as he goes to great lengths weaving a web that traps a mate by isolating her from other people and making her financially, socially, and emotionally dependent on him. Then suddenly the honeymoon is over.

Plus, there is such a thing as the cycle of abuse.

Kathleen Krajco