I am a man whose life was impacted by a person with Cluster B personality disorder. In this blog post I will refer to that person as a narcissist because that was the first term that let me understand his manipulativeness, deceit, and lack of empathy.
My cousin, “Monster” sexually molested me. I figured that I would just rip off that particular band-aid rather than hem and haw over it because it is not an easy thing for me to admit. This bit of personal information has been reserved only for those who are close to me. That list is a small one as I am very guarded when it comes to my emotions and feelings. At a certain age most boys are taught to be strong. They are taught that expressing emotions and feelings is something girls do. Those are not lessons you want to learn when you are naturally sensitive. The amount of pressure I felt growing up as somebody who naturally shares their emotions or feelings to all-of-a-sudden being taught to suppress them because it was the “right” thing to do was indescribable. This internal conflict led me to become very guarded with my emotions and who I let see them. It is something that has made life more difficult than it should be but it is also something that has helped me out sometimes too.
Monster is eight years older than I am. Adulation would be an accurate way of describing how I felt about him growing up. My brother and I used to get so excited when we would go see him and his sister. Of the four of us Monster was the oldest and I was the youngest. The rest of us all looked up to Monster. He was the funniest. He was the coolest. He would make us feel special just by hanging out with us. We wanted his attention and time. We would do anything he wanted. At my young age, I had no way of knowing he was a Cluster B. None of us did. Hell, most adults wouldn’t know either. I used to wonder if his parents knew or not but it turns out his father is one too. The term Narcissist is well-known but the reality of what it really means remains elusive for most. Monster is a narcissist, and I got to see narcissism up close and personal for more than 35 years of my life.
During those 35 years I always experienced abuse from Monster whether past sexual abuse or contemporary emotional abuse. I also witnessed lying, cheating, stealing, and the manipulation of others. I also unfortunately watched history repeat itself with Monster’s nephews. But eventually the scars that formed from all that I experienced and all that I witnessed hardened and turned into something else; knowledge. It is that knowledge that I hope to impart onto others. We can only heal when we can label our history – our abuse. Monsters need to have labels and names.
As I stated earlier, most adults do not know what narcissism is. They know the term but not the beast, and mark my words it is a beast. Most adults hear the word narcissist and they think it is merely a person who is full of themselves, a parody to laugh about but no one to fear. My God, if only that were true! Chances are if you are reading this you were in a close relationship with a narcissist and are just now trying to pick up the pieces. I have good news for you, you might not be there yet but at some point, after much reflection, you will be able to pick out Cluster B’s in your everyday life. Once you obtain that superpower, life becomes much easier because will not let their toxicity into your life and you will keep them at arm’s length where they belong. Unfortunately, with the good news I also have some bad news. As I said earlier, most people think a narcissist is just somebody who is full of themselves and because of that they will never truly understand what you went through or continue to go through if you have divorced a Cluster B who you had a child or children with. You can tell family or friends all of the awful stories but they will never truly understand unless they have been in some form of close relationship with one and made it out the other side. Think about your stories. They’re pretty unbelievable, aren’t they? How could somebody be like that? Before you met this beast you would have thought the same thing if somebody told you a story like the ones that you tell now. Thus, people often think you are a major part of the problem. Believe me I was not part of the problem, unless you consider a child molested by a Monster the problem.
You’ll tell your stories to others and they will try to give you advice on how to deal with the situation. But the problem with their advice is that their advice is rooted with the belief that the person you are dealing with is logical and that their logical solution will work on somebody who is anything but logical. Another belief of theirs will be that you can change them, that they can change, or you can just ignore (Grey Rock is great but some things like children being harmed cannot be ignored). Listening to such erroneous advice from people who love you can make your recovery from this very difficult. Something like the loss of a loved one or being physically abused is something people can wrap their head around. Narcissism and the mental and emotional abuse that happens in its destructive wake are difficult for the uninformed to wrap their minds around.
You need to find support from people that do understand Cluster B’s whether it is from a page like this or a support group. Here is why it is paramount that you do have that support system in your life; if you rely solely on those who cannot wrap their head around what you went through you will start doubting the validity of your feelings. You will start to think that if they can’t see it then maybe you are overreacting. Those feelings of doubt are what the narcissist used to control, gaslight, and emotionally abuse you (and the children). It is hard to reach this point of awareness about Cluster Bs but until you do, Monsters will continue to control and emotionally abuse you. If you want to put the pieces back together and stand strongly on your own again you will need to find a support system that understands what you went through and will continue to endure as long as a Cluster B is in your life. You need a support system who will share stories that are all too familiar but validate your feelings rather than cast shadows of doubt on them.
Please do this for yourself and put yourself and your children on the path to recovery.
One Mom’s Battle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children. Please consider a donation to help with our efforts.
History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2011, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother (Tina Swithin) navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth with over 100-chapters in five different countries. In 2014, One Mom’s Battle achieved non-profit status which will allow the group to take their mission to the next level.