facebook-pixel I’m a Victim of Narcissistic Abuse, But They’re Calling ME Crazy
I’m a Victim of Narcissistic Abuse, But They’re Calling ME Crazy

Narcissistic abusers & their flying monkeys (enablers) accuse victims of being overly sensitive, cruel, and crazy. BTR can help you find safety and peace.

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When women find the courage to speak out about the narcissistic abuse they have endured, many find that they are immediately buffeted by family, friends, clergy, social media personalities, and their abuser. They are told that they are crazy, overly emotional, and even abusive.

Jennifer joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to empower women to identify and seek safety from the misogynistic scripting that is keeping them in a harmful and abusive situation. Listen to the free BTR podcast and read the full transcript below for more.

Why Does My Narcissistic Abuser Call Me Crazy?

Disturbingly, many narcissistic abusers employ the abusive tactic of “turning tables” on the victim. This means that they gaslight her into believing that she is the problem in the relationship. This “table turning” is not only perpetrated by abusers, but by their flying monkeys (friends, family, and others who enable the abuser).

Abusers may blame women with phrases like:

  • Why do my habits affect you so much?
  • You’re the controlling one.
  • If you weren’t so ____, I wouldn’t _____.
  • You’re always overreacting.
  • You’re such a sensitive person.
  • Why are you so jealous?
  • You always get like this when you’re on your period

But What if I Actually Am the Abusive Narcissist In My Relationship?

The table-turning and gaslighting can be so insidiously effective, that many women often believe that they are the narcissistic abuser, rather than their abusive partner.

Anne explains,

“If you’re thinking, ‘Am I the narcissist?’, take a step back and take a deep breath and think about your intention for safety, peace, and truth.”

Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

Often, the “abusive behaviors” that narcissistic abusers accuse their partners of, are actually safety-seeking behaviors.

Perhaps you have checked your abuser’s phone: that was not to control or harm him, but to secure the truth about his behaviors, because he won’t tell you the truth. Perhaps you have reacted to his infidelity with anger, intense sorrow, or even rage. These are normal human reactions to betrayal.

Abusers will use your healthy human behaviors to make you believe that you are actually abusive and crazy.

How Can I Stay Grounded In The Reality That I’m Not Crazy?

If you are seeking safety from abuse, chances are that you will be called crazy by your abuser, his family, and his other enablers. This is understandably devastating. But you can find peace in the assurance that seeking safety from abuse is the exact opposite of crazy. Harming and betraying someone that you supposedly love? That is crazy.

You can stay grounded in reality by:

  • Joining the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group
  • Journaling and practicing mindfulness
  • Working one-on-one with a BTR coach
  • Repeating truthful affirmations to yourself, like, “I choose safety for myself because I am worth it.”

Finally, try to accept the reality that your abuser and his flying monkeys will probably tell really hurtful lies about you, including that you are “crazy”. Don’t let this stop you from seeking safety and peace.

I want women to know: fine, let everybody call you crazy. You get to safety.

Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Narcissistic Abuse

At BTR, we understand the utter frustration and confusion that comes with being deemed “crazy” by a narcissistic abuser. It is a disgusting reversal of truth and is abusive in and of itself.

Women who are seeking safety from a narcissistic abuser need support to process the trauma, ask questions, and receive validation for the many painful feelings and experiences they endure.

Join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group today and find women who understand what you are going through, who want to hear your story, and help you find the safety you deserve.

Full Transcript:

Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.

I have Jennifer on today’s episode today. She is a member of our community and she follows us on social media. We have accounts on Instagram @BetrayalTraumaRecovery, we’re on Facebook and can find our page if you search Betrayal Trauma Recovery, we’re on Twitter @BetrayalTrauma, and you can follow us on Pinterest. So, she has been watching a lot of these things on social media and she contacted me and said, “You know what, I’m seeing a lot of misogynistic language here that is common and floating around that women are believing and keeping them stuck in the trauma.” She wanted to come to talk about some of the things she’s seen on social media, some of the things she’s heard in her own life, some of the things she’s observed from YouTube videos that are sort of self-help things or other situations like that.

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Before I get to my conversation; if this podcast is helpful to you will you please rate it on Apple Podcast or your other podcasting apps? Every single one of your ratings and reviews helps women who are isolated find us.

We would love to see you in the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group today. These are live group sessions. You can hop on multiple times a day in every single time zone. .

Now on to this week’s conversation.

Welcome, Jennifer.

Jennifer: Thank you.

Anne: What made you think, “Hey, I ought to contact Anne and really want to talk about the misogynistic things I’m seeing on social media”?

Misogyny Is All Around Us

Jennifer: I think it started when I actually had a friend kind of point it out or just acknowledge it and I had never noticed it before because it was just so normal. I had heard these phrases or words and terminology used quite often and so I never stopped to think about how the way words were used or how we talked about women in our everyday language was actually very damaging to women. So, I just thought it would make a good conversation because maybe there are other people who haven’t realized that yet also.

Anne: I think it’s interesting that it’s not just men who use this type of language. It’s women too.

Jennifer: Right, I mean I still catch myself using terms or phrases or just making assumptions about other women. I’m catching myself; I’m trying to shift how I speak.

Misogyny Encourages Victims to Question Themselves

Anne: Can you state the specific example that brought this to your attention on Facebook?

Jennifer: There were a couple. One of them was, “Hell hath no fury like that of a scorned woman, or a woman scorned”, and then the one that was really personal to me was “happy wife, happy life”. That one was actually shared the night before my wedding at the rehearsal dinner. My then father-in-law gave a toast and he shared his advice to each of us, my then-husband, and myself. Then he had given me some advice, and then to my then-husband the only thing that he had to share was “happy wife, happy life”, and that was it.

Narcissistic Abusers Seek Power Over, Not Power With

I, at the time kind of laughed, I never stopped to think that that just seemed off. I felt like throughout our marriage I felt like my husband had that mindset but it wasn’t in a genuinely authentic way of, “I want to live in a way that we can both be happy and be comfortable and be safe”, but it was like, “if I can just fake it so that you aren’t annoyed with me or upset with me or hurt by me. If I can kind of put on this façade and you are happy enough then whatever I can get away with as long as you are happy it’s okay.” So, I think just that mindset. I’ve started to process that the mindset that he grew up with and that other men have in their minds, that if we can just keep women placated and we can just hide these things that we’re doing, then it’s okay to do them. 

Anne: Yeah, that’s really good. Let’s go back to “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” for a minute. Is that Shakespeare?

Jennifer: William Congreve, an English playwriter and poet. The entire quote reads “Heaven hath no rage like love to hatred turned. No hell hath fury like a woman scorned.”

It is Not Crazy To Feel Angry When You Are Betrayed

Anne: Let’s talk about this. So, this is the classic, a woman should not be angry when she’s been seriously injured by her husband. It’s not appropriate for her to be super mad about it. It’s not super appropriate for her to be really sad about it. The appropriate thing is for her to be understanding and forgiving, basically, or something like that. Because, I’m very angry, you’ve got to get out of my house, which is an appropriate reaction, would be weird. I keep thinking of people who would like to perpetuate these misogynistic themes about women, people who expect women to not actually be human.

Jennifer: Right, there is no room for women to be human. Right.

It is Healthy To Feel Pain & Anger As a Victim of Narcissistic Abuse

Anne: Yeah, you would have to be some kind of weird robot to not be very upset and angry when you find out that you’ve been lied to. I mean, you think about a man when he finds out he’s been lied to by a business partner. How mad he would be and how appropriate everybody would think that situation was, and the wife is way more important and way more intimate than a business partner, so why is it that she can’t get angry and be angry? 

Jennifer: Right. I’m just thinking of the context that this phrase is often used in, and I think maybe it’s used in many different ways. I hear it a lot of times almost used sarcastically or to provoke humor. It’s kind of used maybe facetiously or in a way that kind of mocks women as it implies that women are emotional and that’s not acceptable or appropriate. Kind of like you were saying before, but I just think it’s almost their pain or their anger is mocked, or ours as women or just in general, like emotions that women feel, is comical in some way. That’s how I kind of hear it used.

You Are Not Crazy For Being Human

Anne: I agree. That it’s overreacting, that it’s nonsensical, that it should be different. You know what’s interesting about it is it’s their expectation of women being robots that is the nonsensical thing.

Jennifer: Correct. Yes.

Anne: That is nonsensical, that is what should be mocked. Like, “oh, so you think women should just smile and sit still and look pretty”. Okay, so in your thinking about this did you come up with some other things that you’d seen?

Jennifer: I did. I started to just make a list of things that come to mind, and I just jotted a few of them down and I’ll just read them off.

Misogynistic Messages Enable Narcissistic Abuse

Boys will be boys.

Wear the pants in the relationship. I think that one is often used when people are talking about a woman who has a strong personality or just has opinions and speaks them and is not quite all the time. I’ve heard that used like, “Oh, she wears the pants in the relationship.”

She’s crazy.

You’re too intense, too loud, or too bossy.

Women are impossible to understand.

If Momma ain’t happy no one is.

It is Not Crazy or “Man-Hating” To Expect Honesty & Respect

Those were just a few. Oh, and then this one, and this is just kind of a general observation, but I’ve noticed that when we as women want or even demand accountability and respect I think we often get the label that we’re man-haters or that we’re bitter women when in all reality we’re just asking that men take accountability for their actions and that we are treated with respect.

Anne: Yeah, it’s not that much to ask. To say that a woman expects respect and fidelity in her marriage, and to not be lied to and manipulated and abused, that’s a pretty low bar.

Jennifer: It is, and it’s really common. I mean, if you think about how often people mock, I’ve even seen on a BTR post people mocking the idea of fidelity or expecting a husband to not use pornography. That is so often that people almost think it’s a joke. Like, wait, you’re asking your husband to not use porn. Like, who do you think you are, or all men do this. You would think it would be really basic, but it’s not.

Trauma Mama Husband Drama Helps Victims of Narcissistic Abuse

Anne: I’m going to take a little break here to talk about Trauma Mama Husband Drama, which is the picture book for adults that I wrote that is beautifully illustrated. It’s amazing. I really appreciate those of you who have rated it on Amazon.

Okay, now back to our conversation.

Back in the day before I married when I was single, so I was in my late 20’s. I remember my mom saying, “What do you expect? You have these super high expectations. What do you want from a man?” I remember saying, “Well, it’s pretty simple. I just want someone who I want to call and when they call me, I am happy that they called. Like, it’s not that complex, Mom.” This was before I understood sex addiction or abuse or anything like that. I feel the same thing about this. That men are trying to say that women’s reasonable expectations and some women are trying to say it too, that women’s just reasonable, normal expectations are too much.

It is Not Crazy To Expect Your Partner To Tell You the Truth

Jennifer: Right, we’ve really lowered the bar. I feel like the bar for how women are treated has been lowered in so many ways.

Anne: Yeah, to the point where it’s like you can’t expect them to be faithful, you can’t expect them to tell the truth unless apparently, you’re perfect. You have to be a “Stepford wife robot” in order to merit a man to completely tell the truth to you, to be faithful to you, to be all of these things, otherwise if you do or say anything that someone could construe as not quite the right thing, then you could get blamed for this.

Jennifer: Right, it’s like it gives the man permission to act out in abusive ways if you’re not that robot.

Narcissistic Abusers Label Ex-Partners As “Crazy”

Anne: I think the most common is “my crazy ex”. I would say that when men say, “Yeah, she was controlling, she was crazy, she just asked me a ton of questions, she just wouldn’t leave me alone”, and stuff like that; that seems like a very red flag for an abuser, and in fact, Lundy Bancroft says in his book that any time a man claims that he was abused it is a red flag that he was an abuser himself or that he is an abuser himself. Why do you think that is?

Narcissistic Abusers Use DARVO

Jennifer: Well, abusers in their very nature are always trying to put on a show for other people. They always want to be perceived as the victim and they are really good at manipulating the situation to deny, attack, reverse the victim and the offender, so they use truth and they twist it. They turn it against the victim in order to confuse the victim. They try to put the victim and the offender on the same even playing ground. I feel like they do that to try to minimize their abuse towards the victim and then create this illusion that the reaction the victim is experiencing from the abuse is actually abuse when it’s not.

Anne: Right. If a woman is very concerned and worried, and she just found out that her husband is using porn and she’s wondering if he is having an affair, her motivation is safety, peace, and truth. So, if she’s trying to look and see what he’s got going on on his phone it’s because she is desperate for safety, she’s desperate for truth, whereas if an abuser is going through his victim’s phone he is looking for ways to manipulate her or harm her.

Safety-Seeking Behaviors Are Not “Crazy”

Jennifer: Yes, and you described it exactly how it is. In my marriage, I used to do lots of those safety-seeking behaviors like looking through his phone, or trying to drill him with questions, or monitor his behavior, all those kinds of, you know, what would be labeled as controlling behaviors, and they were. “Why are you so controlling?” I got that a lot, but the reality was I was doing those things in order to try and create safety for myself. To exist in a safe way. My intent was not to gain power over anyone, it was just to feel comfortable and safe in my own home, whereas my husband’s behavior was he was using that against me in order to hide his own behaviors and to deceive me.

Victims of Narcissistic Abuse Blame Themselves

Anne: I think this is where a lot of victims of emotional and psychological abuse and sexual coercion get tripped up because they might watch a popular narcissist YouTube channel for example, and in that YouTube channel somebody might say, “Okay, here are 7 things that narcissists do,” and as you’re listening to them, you might think, I have done that. I have tried to isolate my abuser from his flying monkey family because every time we get around his family, I end up more abused because they end up believing him and they end up putting him down, so am I the narcissist or am I the abuser?

Narcissistic Abusers Turn Tables On Victims

In one popular narcissist video that I recently saw, the YouTuber was suggesting that narcissists can never answer this question: Why is it so difficult for you to admit your flaws? Supposedly, if you ask a narcissist this questions and they can’t answer it then it’s proof that they are a narcissist, and that might be the case, but in an abuse situation if an abuser asks his victim, “Why is it so hard for you to admit your flaws?” then he’s gaslighting her and trying to make her think that it’s her fault, that she’s got flaws. Like, “Yeah, so what, I looked at porn but why is it so hard for you to admit your flaws?” That would be a question an abuser would ask a victim in order to trip her up.

Victims of Narcissistic Abuse Often Wonder If They’re the Offender

A lot of these YouTube channels on narcissists or other things, if you don’t interpret what they are saying correctly then you might think, “Well, am I the narcissist because I don’t think I would answer that question because he’s asked me that and I’m like, ‘what are you talking about?’ You just cheated on me and you just lied to me for 20 years and now you’re asking me what my flaws are, excuse me?” At that moment a victim shouldn’t play into that. A victim should not say, “Oh, you’re right, I didn’t do the dishes and so I deserve to be lied to.” Like, no.

Jennifer wrote down a few more questions from this type of YouTube channel.

Jennifer: Yeah, this one really stood out to me.

Narcissistic Abusers Gaslight Victims

“Why do my differences threaten you?” I think that that, maybe it’s not worded just like that, but I think the general sentiment is used quite often. Like, “Why do my hobbies like porn or these inappropriate games or books, comics, video games, or whatever they may be that I like to do, why do they threaten you? Why do you feel threatened by me looking at this photo?” I think that one is really misused against victims quite often.

Anne: Yeah, so if you have watched some of these popular narcissist videos on YouTube and you’re thinking, “Am I the narcissist?”, take a step back and take a deep breath and think about your intention for safety, peace, and truth. The other thing is look at your behaviors. So, if your behaviors are in line or they are consistent with known abusive tactics, for example, isolation. Look at your own behavior, if you’re like, “Man, I really have been trying to isolate him from his abusive family because I’ve thought that if I can separate him from his flying monkeys, then maybe we would have a chance”, right. Maybe he would stop being abusive to me and things would be okay.

Victims of Narcissistic Abuse Can Seek Safety by Separating From Abusive Behavior

The problem with that is that trying to control an abuser’s environment is never going to bring you safety. The only thing you’ve done there is that you have now isolated your own self with your abuser in your house. You’ve separated him perhaps from his flying monkeys that are enabling him or whatever, but now you’re still with an abuser. You’re not away from him. So, I want women to think about if your desire is for peace, if your desire is for safety, if your desire is for truth then you’re actually going to have to detach and walk away from the harm rather than barricade yourself in with the harm.

Victims of Narcissistic Abuse Can Find Support

Jennifer: That’s a good point. Another thing that I think is important to note is if you’re looking at these questions or if you’re hearing these things on these videos and you’re reflecting on yourself and asking yourself, “Am I doing these things?” that’s probably a sign that you’re not a narcissist because narcissists don’t have that awareness. They don’t reflect on themselves; they don’t internally process things that they can do to improve themselves and how they treat other people. So, I think just the fact alone that you’re reflecting or that we can be asking ourselves these questions is a sign that we’re not a narcissist. Hopefully.

Narcissistic Abusers Manipulate Others

Anne: Hopefully, right. I did hear a story from a woman in our community who said her husband who has exhibited serious abusive tendencies, including physical violence, actually went to a therapist and asked the therapist, “Am I a narcissist?” and manipulated the therapist. The therapist said, “The fact that you’re here asking this question means that you’re not”, and then he went back and said, “I went to therapy, the therapist said I was not a narcissist,” and used that to manipulate his victim. So, it’s so complex and difficult and the most important thing is standing in your own truth and getting to safety regardless of what other people are saying all around you, which can be really daunting when maybe your clergy, maybe your family, maybe people all around you are like, “What is wrong with you? Why are you saying these things or doing these things? Chill out?”

BTR Advocates for Safety First

Jennifer: Yeah, that is a good point and it also reminds me of everything you talk about on the podcast. I think it always comes back to establishing safety. So, establishing safety before you make big decisions, establishing safety before you make any decisions before progressing in the marriage or not, but also establishing safety before you assess whether you are a narcissist. It’s just interesting how it always comes back to safety. I think that’s just the take-home message- safety first.

Anne: Any other things that you’ve observed from the community, or scripting, or things your parents have said or your clergy or people at your church or anything that is misogynistic?  

Misogyny Is Rampant in Popular Media

Jennifer: Well, when I was pondering about this, I did have a funny scene that came up in my mind from The Office. There is an episode, it’s called Women’s Appreciation, and Michael, the boss of the office is saying all of these things about women, lots of sexist comments, and he’s unaware. Angela, one of the employees says, “And when we get mad you always ask us if we’re on our periods,” and he says, “I know. I have to know whether you’re serious or not.” It’s funny and comical, but it just reflects the reality that women are just not taken seriously in general. Their emotions are not taken seriously. They are expected to suppress them, or if they are expressing them there must be an underlying reason other than them having valid concerns.

Narcissistic Abusers Minimize Victims’ Concerns

Anne: Right, so you don’t have a valid concern. It’s not concerning. You’re not justified in being angry about your husband using porn, so you must be on your period.

Jennifer: Another example that I thought about, and this is just kind of in general and like in a professional work environment. So, in the industry that I work in, I work with a lot of men as my peers and colleagues, and I notice that I started to kind of suppress some of my natural emotions or just the way I express myself or thoughts that I’d had that maybe weren’t in line with what a man would want to hear. I just started to try and filter myself so that I was accepted to what men wanted to see or hear because I wanted to be perceived as smart or I wanted to be taken seriously because I felt like if I had any type of emotion; I’m a single mom so I had lots of stress of trying to work a full-time job and then my son would get sick and I didn’t have anyone to help me take care him. Just if I showed any kind of weakness, and that’s not even a weakness. There I go again, but if I had shown any kind of emotion then I assumed it would be seen as a weakness by my colleges.

Misogyny & Narcissistic Abuse in the Workplace

Anne: Absolutely, it reminds me of the book How to be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings- Non-threatening Leadership Strategies for Women by Sarah Cooper. Have you ever heard of that book?

Jennifer: I haven’t.

Anne: I just want to read the Amazon description. “In this fast-paced business world, female leaders need to make sure they’re not perceived as pushy, aggressive, or competent. Sarah Cooper illustrates how women can achieve their dreams, succeed in their careers, and become leaders, without harming the fragile male ego. Chapters include, among others, “Non-threatening Leadership Strategies for Women,” “How to Ace Your Job Interview Without Over-acing It,” and “Choose Your Own Adventure: Do You Want to Be Likable or Successful?” It even includes several pages to doodle on while men finish what they’re saying. Each chapter also features an exercise with a set of “inaction items” designed to challenge women to be less challenging.”  I think it’s really cute.

Emotionally Healthy Men See Women As Equals

The reason why we bring this up and the reason why we perhaps get accused of being man-haters is not that we hate men or that we don’t appreciate men. I would like to share that now that I know what emotional safety looks like, amazing healthy men have come into my life who I really rely on, who care about me, who treat me with respect, who really respect my opinion, and respect me and they think I’m incredible. It’s been so amazing to be around good men, and I have several in my life now and interact with them frequently and it is a delight. So, I actually have more faith now in men than I’ve ever had, which is cool.

Misogynistic Scripting Keeps Women Stuck

That being said, the reason why we bring misogyny into this is that when women are trying to get out of an abusive situation, this misogynistic scripting that they hear from perhaps a therapist, even a female therapist, or clergy or friends or family, it keeps them stuck in the abuse. They don’t see that it’s this fog of misogyny and abuse that is harming them. It also keeps them from getting to safety, so the reason that we have to talk about misogyny is that if they don’t start seeing what it is it will not help them get to safety.

Can you talk about how misogyny kept you in your abusive situation?

Misogyny in the Faith Community

Jennifer: In my marriage, we were really active in our religion and in our faith community, and I would just want to have this marriage that I had learned about and had wanted for so long that was based on equality. I wanted this positive happy relationship, but I was getting a lot of messages about a woman being like a helper and being needed to keep her husband from acting out, using pornography, or other behaviors. So, I felt like I got responsibility whether it was in how I maintained our home and how I spoke and interacted with my husband or in my sexuality. There were so many different ways in which I wanted to help him. I wanted to make it better because I felt like that was my job. Part of me felt like I as a woman had this duty to prevent this man from going through these behaviors or acting out in certain ways.

Flying Monkeys Blame Victims For Abuser’s Choices

On top of that, I was just getting a lot of messages from my in-laws who just kind of casually share these stories about how if a woman doesn’t keep her man happy then he’s going to find it somewhere else or go somewhere else. Even though part of me knew that wasn’t true, there was a part of me that really believed that that was true and so I just continued to try and fix myself so that I could fix our relationship, but in reality, as we talked about the most important thing that I needed to do at the time was to get to safety because safety allowed me to have the clarity that I needed to see what was actually happening in our situation, which was I was being emotionally abused and manipulated.

Victims Can Heal From Narcissistic Abuse After Seeking Safety

Once I was in a safe place I could really wait and see what he was going to do. If he was going to make changes or not, and I could have the clarity to make decisions, whereas when I was in an unsafe situation I just felt confused and I just felt like we were going through these cycles of turmoil and chaos and it was going nowhere.

Anne: Yeah. In the faith community the: pray for your husband, a faithful woman can bring to pass miracles, so have you prayed? are you reading your scriptures? are you filling your home with spiritual things because if you did that he wouldn’t be acting this way are common and really harm women because they’re not true.

Misogyny In Clergy

I did talk to a man whose wife had had several affairs and he went in and told his faith leader this and the faith leader did not say, are you having sex with her, have you lost weight, are you being a man of God? They didn’t ask him any of those questions. They said, “Oh, that can’t happen. You should probably file for divorce if she continues to have affairs and she won’t stop.” Isn’t that interesting?

Jennifer: That is so backward. That is the perfect example though of how this standard the world has for women. Like we have the higher expectation. There is a higher expectation for us that we have to carry the weight of a man whereas men get off so easily.

Victims of Narcissistic Abuse Deserve Support

Anne: “Yeah, like, well, that can’t happen. You shouldn’t be treated like that, you don’t deserve that, you need to get out.” That’s how women should be too. “You don’t deserve that, you shouldn’t be treated that way, you need to get to safety.”

Jennifer: I think that should just be the norm. That needs to be the new normal. That woman should be expected to be treated with respect.

Anne: Mind-blowing with that, but also that women should be able to speak their mind, they should be able to tell their opinions, they should be able to hold boundaries without people saying they are an abuser or they’re the problem too. It goes kind of both ways.

Accept That They Will Call You Crazy

Jennifer: Absolutely. Have you ever seen that Nike commercial that came out this year? I think it’s Serena Williams who is narrating it and she says, “If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we’re nuts, and if we dream of equal opportunity, delusional. When we stand for something we’re unhinged. When we’re too good, there is something wrong with us. If we get angry or hysterical or irrational, we’re just being crazy, but a woman running a marathon was crazy. A woman boxing was crazy. A woman dunking, crazy. Coaching an NBA team, crazy. A woman competing in her job, changing her sport, landing a double cork 1080 or winning 23 grand slams, having a baby, and then coming back for more; crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, and crazy. So, if they want to call you crazy, fine. Show them what crazy can do.”

I just love that quote.

Seek Safety Regardless of What Your Abuser Says About You

Anne: I want women to know that fine, let everybody call you crazy. You get to safety. When you’re not being emotionally and psychologically abused and you’re not in this fog and you can see straight, you can be a lawyer. You can be whatever you want or do whatever you want. The world is open to you and it is an incredible place, and if you genuinely want to be a stay-at-home mom, there are options for you to figure out how you can make a living and work from home or get assistance from your church or from your family so that you can stay at home with your kids when they are young or whatever it is. There are so many options for you. You are brave, you are strong, and you can do it. You can do it, and God sent you down here with amazing talents and he wants you to use those talents to improve the world. So, don’t let anybody tell you that the extent of your talents is laundry or whatever. You have a mission that you were sent down here to this earth to accomplish with the talents that you have.

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My heart goes out to all of you who are dealing with this very difficult situation. I know that it seems impossible and it seems just overwhelming, but there are women who have been through it and they could see the light at the end of the tunnel and we hope that we can get you to that point too. We care and we are here for you; and until next week, stay safe out there. 


  1. Nell

    Dear Anne,
    I cannot begin to describe how much your podcasts mean to me. I am a 65 year old professional woman who has been married for 35 years. Your podcasts have helped me to finally understand what has really been happening to me all these years. In my heart I knew my husband’s severe pornography addiction made me feel awful, degraded and invisible. But the prevailing sentiment from my husband, friends and family was otherwise. I did everything I could to be enough at the expense of my self worth and dignity. When I heard you say that secret pornography use in a marriage without the consent of one partner was abuse the lights literally came on. I’m not sure where I’ll go from here- 35 years is a very entangled life but I know for sure that right now you and btr are my lifeline.
    With all gratitude and love.

  2. Anonymous

    They are pathological. The saddest part is this person who broke my soul never even existed. Mine went so far out of their way to hurt the parts of me they promised to always protect. It’s disgusting. They planned how they would leave before they ever said “I love you” to me. I was just practice for them. It hurts my heart to say all this, but it’s better to admit the truth than blame yourself.

    No one is perfect, but they are unreasonable people who have lied to you for your entire relationship. They don’t care about you, they only cared that you were useful. They bided their time and built your relationship up to be everything only to break you as much as possible so they could call you crazy. They cover insane things they did instead of honesty. I won’t go into details but they abused the law, programs for needy people, the sympathy and feelings of everyone. They ruined my life and my future, abused me in the ways they claimed to be abused and planned it so maliciously it broke me as a person.

    I am trying so hard to build myself back, but everyone is leaving me now and I’m just too broken. All I feel is sad anymore. I have so many plans and dreams, finally have goals for myself, but I’m too depressed to function. I don’t know what to do anymore. Why did you do this? Why do it in such a cruel way and dangle hope like that. You don’t know what it did to me. Well you probably do you planned it while I planned a future for us. You should be ashamed, but you’ll always be the “victim”, even if you’ve done the cruelest most damaging things anyones ever done.

    I carried our emotions for years. You’re just an over privileged, fake person, it’s just a cover. How you could claim to be a feminist or even decent human being anymore is beyond me. The things you did are just evil. I sometimes think I’m over you and out of tears, but it still hurts just as much everyday. You broke every promise you ever made. Even the ones I framed (you knew how much it mean to me – home, our little family). But it’s all broken.

    • Katie

      People don’t seem to understand how soul wrenching and psychologically damaging to not only find out you were used and lied to for years, but then to be labeled the abuser on top of it!

      It honestly broke me just trying to understand what was happening, even after months of research and therapy I could still barely accept I was abused and that this person I spent every day with for so long was always putting on an act. Lying to me and manipulating my family and using all my deepest pain against me.

      Nothing has ever hurt as bad or broken me in ways I never imagined I could be broken. I don’t understand how people like this exist or live with themselves, but I guess they really don’t have empathy or a real conscious. You want to pity them, but the damage they do and the way they disregard the suffering of others for their gain with no remorse is unforgivable. They are soulless shells of people.

      • Tpc

        Agreed Katie. Recovering and understanding narcissistic abuse had been by far the greatest struggle of my life. Try to remember you’re not alone, it’s confusing, terrifying even when you see their true colors. There’s so much support out there for people who’ve gone through the same things, it can be hard to see sometimes but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. You matter, they are the broken ones… they thrive on pain when you just wanted love

        • BuddhaChestsOLies

          It’s mind blowing when you look back on all the lies you believed implicitly over the years. Their whole identity is lies, they need manipulation to play the victim while still having power and control over you the real victim. You’re better off not digging, you’ll make yourself sick trying to figure out what was real and what was part of their twisted games to extort or use you in whatever way they wanted. Just try to understand there’s no figuring it out, some people are just evil and will do whatever it takes to get what they want regardless of the pain and suffering they inflict, they’ll always be the victim in their own minds

      • Anonymous

        I don’t feel like I have the strength to face anything anymore.

        All I do is sit here and try to feel normal. I have two grandparents struggling, everyone struggling and I still feel so crippled thinking about my ex. It’s easier to put things in perspective now, but I’m a little ashamed of how much it broke me. It’s hard to feel so used and manipulated, no one sees it coming but there’s always a part of me that wants to fight it.

        It’s hard knowing your life and everything they promised mattered so little. All those fake actions like everything else about them, they were always going to make make you into their next victim story. Use you like some stepping stone for their growth. It just hurts so feeling to be messed with in such twisted emotionally triggering ways.

        Please just move on, I already had too much, now with all this and me not being able to support people I love the right way because of it . . . you have no idea what you took from me. I don’t care if you ever read it, I know it doesn’t matter to you, but I didn’t deserve this from you of all people it’s been like a nightmare and how your could be so cold and set me up. I feel so gross, the ways you were with me up until you left make my skin crawl. But I need to let it go for me. I honestly don’t know how to feel normal anymore I’m so tired of thoughts of you and the insidious ways you hurt me to my core popping into my head and making it hard to breathe. I’m done please just drop it and leave me alone. You stole my life what else do you want?

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, reading this instead of venting all the same feelings and frustrations helped me tonight.

      I don’t m is about you but I’m ready to move on and let go completely. I’ve held onto the hurt for too long, I’m working hard on me now trying new things to feel whole and not live in shock and pain anymore. We’ll probably never know the whole truth about them, I doubt they even really know what’s real after awhile. They’re masters of rewriting history to fit their narratives… it has to be exhausted to try to keep all the lies straight, but we don’t need to worry about them or cater to their every need while being neglected and used. It’s time to let go and think about how I can do Better in the future and not allow myself to ever fall for a soulless manipulator again. I hope you can do this same hope things have gotten better since you wrote this. Take care 💚

      • Anonymous

        I wish this weren’t true for me. I feel so pathetic, I drove around all night thinking trying to escape, but no matter where I go, I cry alone in the car. I see reminders of my ex. I don’t think I knew a real person, but I miss the lie I loved.

        I never mattered. I’ve had to face the hardest times of my life while trying to cope with this crippling pain from all the things they did. How far they went to hurt me and ruin my life in all the ways they promised to always be there. I want to give up everyday, I keep telling people I’m trying and don’t better but I can’t even work and am barely hanging on. I feel so trapped and alone and I can’t explain to anyone why it hurts so deeply.

        I’ve never felt so hurt and depressed for so long, now everyone else is leaving my life too and I keep wondering why I try. I just want to be in a coma and not wake up I wish I never existed

        • Anonymous

          My ex still posts things saying I’m the abuser and I used emotional abuse, manipulative narcissist tactics to never have to look at him or talk again. It might feel that way to him, but it’s empowering for me. You can be safe and not have to fight or hear about how awful they think you are. Women have suffered enough, they shouldn’t have to make their abuser comfortable when they’ve leaving. In fact, that’s just another way to control her or try to get her not to leave.

          • Anonymous

            Unfortunately narcissists don’t play by the rules. My ex abused the law, made me out to be some monster while still writing me love letters for months. They can justify anything they do with a little reinforcement from their enablers.

            I was lied to, manipulated. It’s been like a nightmare.

        • Anonymous

          I’m grateful for Betrayal Trauma Recovery. Thanks for sharing. Hope things have gotten better. CPSD after emotional abuse can be devastating even with treatment. It’s never an easy road for survivor’s. Take care

      • Anonymous

        It’s nice to look back instead of having to say it all… funny thing is this is someone else’s post… it’s crazy how abusers all follow the same cycle. I hope things are getting better

    • Katherine Geneva-Leigh

      Oh god this made my heart ache, I know just what you’re feeling and how awful it is. I don’t think I’ll ever be fully healed after Narcissistic abuse, they are master manipulators. One of the worst mind F’s with mine was she claimed to be the victim of Narcissistic abuse her whole life!

      It’s like she was preparing me or foreshadowing exactly how she would torture me. All these things her parents, sister, and best friends she has cut out of her life did to abuse her was a more tame version of what she did to me. I know I have a form of ptsd, they break your reality, flip 180 degrees and go out of their way to hurt you as deeply as possible.

      It’s all about projection, power, and control. People don’t really matter to them, they could be stitching had made promises to your inner child one day and labeling you their next Abusive Narcissistic the next. The only time they feel, show the anxiety they claim to have is when they’re in danger of being caught in a life, and everything is a lie to them.. they are shameless attention seekers, you’re really better off not digging into their double/triple lives. I feel so used and ashamed for loving her, her whole life was about mental health issues and I knew that going in. But I thought she was so kind, brave, and the most genuine person id ever met.. she’s a monster.. but anyone who gets too close and sees it needs to be cut out and worked into her latest horror story, her excuses for not living and not facing her real issues.. it’s so sad that I do understand her not wanting be like her mentally Ill relatives who made her this way. But to lie to yourself and everyone, to pay to lie to therapists, to break down and throw insane tantrums when your adult friends might not agree with your opinion or think you’re uncool?? Everyone is just their supply, or another flying monkey, their friend are just people they keep at arms length and tell victim stories too for validation, or flirt with and justify later as your fault somehow.. they have no accountability and never will. Some part of them is stuck in a state of arrested development they can never grow beyond crying for attention and living in fear of anyone they get too close to. I know I was just convenient now… she knew how she would get into my head and leave me, what victim card she would play before we even started dating. They really do plan out how to grow and try to transfer their issues, the lengths she went to see so ridiculous it might be funny if it didn’t ruin my life.

      • Kloe

        I needed to read these today. Hurting so bad again I can’t pick myself back up like I used to. I have to work again but it’s like I’m cursed since my discard, everyone keeps dying around me and I feel so isolated. Why do they need to destroy you to make themselves stronger? All I wanted was love and the partner I was promised not to be used and tossed away and treated like my life doesn’t matter and I’m the crazy one for complaining about it!! I was tortured and mislead at every step and now I need it to
        Just end so I can heal and do the things I need but I can’t.. help? 😑

      • monkeySmudger

        I’m so sorry, you’re not alone there is help emotional abuse survivors all over. I finally had a breakthrough in therapy today and admitted I couldn’t put groceries away or cook without breaking down crying. The scars abuse leaves behind can supine you sometimes, narcissistic abuse should be a crime

        • Anonymous

          I am alone though in all the ways that matter. Emotional abuse and ptsd stole the parts of me I loved and needed to function.

    • Anonymous

      You’re dealing with actual psychopaths in some cases, they’re close enough in the spectrum anyway. It’s impossible to justify to reconcile with the things they did to you, they made you love a lie.
      That’s a convince to phrase, an easy way to minimize the trauma of truly loving a narcissistic. No one deserves to be dehumanized and used for some stunted child’s sense of power and control. Praying for all the survivors who know there’s no justice or peace and the best we should can hope for is that our scars don’t itch when it rains

  3. Julianne

    Married 30 years and 4 adult kids. Same script as everyone else here. I’m grateful to have the knowledge, but in the abusive moments it still hurts and rips open a fresh new wound. Every time I metaphorically get back up, he metaphorically knocks me back down. I’m afraid I won’t have the strength to get back up again someday. I’m working to get out, finances have made me stay. I love my kids but wish I never married him.


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