Thursday, 15 June 2017

Adult Children of Narcissists: Survivors or Transcenders?

Survivors and Transcenders

I believe that many people who were abused as children do themselves—and the entire struggle—a disservice when they refer to themselves as "survivors." A long time ago, I found myself in the middle of a war zone. I was not killed. Hence, I "survived." That was happenstance ... just plain luck, not due to any greatness of character or heroism on my part. But what about those raised in a POW camp called "childhood?" Some of those children not only lived through it, not only refused to imitate the oppressor (evil is a decision, not a destiny), but actually maintained sufficient empathy to care about the protection of other children once they themselves became adults and were "out of danger."

To me, such people are our greatest heroes. They represent the hope of our species, living proof that there is nothing bio–genetic about child abuse. I call them transcenders, because "surviving" (i.e., not dying from) child abuse is not the significant thing. It is when chance becomes choice that people distinguish themselves. Two little children are abused. Neither dies. One grows up and becomes a child abuser. The other becomes a child protector. One "passes it on." One "breaks the cycle." Should we call them both by the same name? Not in my book. (And not in my books, either.)


  1. Hi Lisette,
    Wow! Well, if we weren't clear about the everyday CHOICE between good and evil before, we are now! Fortunately, there are people who refuse to muddle the facts with double-speak and excuses, when it comes to the twisted activities of abusers. Andrew Vacchs is one of those people. We might all want to take a moment to consider with deep appreciation, the "transcenders", he has so aptly defined. While never forgetting, of course, that people within a dysfunctional family unit who become abusers for kicks and personal gain have CHOSEN this destructive behavior. Society should be ashamed of them for the havoc they wreak on all our expectations for a common decency. You've selected an effective piece to illuminate the very special and unique qualities of those advocating for others to overcome such adversity and personal suffering. Thank you so much for keeping this valuable space open for us to freely discuss having survived, as well as figure out how to manage our lives in the midst of ongoing familial abuse. I don't know what we'd do without people like you. It takes a very special kind of enlightened spirit, a transcender, to step up and encourage others. xoxo
    - I Tried

    1. good post, I tried, yes some transcend their child abuse to stand against evil and stand up for what is right, they help others, in showing the way out. We have a literal crisis especially in America with people without consciences or empathy ascending in power, and gaining positions of influence, the narcopaths are impacting many areas of life for the negative and the worse is the toll taken on children and their futures. Some do manage to crawl out of the craters and to make a stand for others and throw them a lifeline.This blog I read years before I even started writing about ACON issues on my blog. It is a blog that is honest and tells it like it is. The reality of life among people who are sociopathic and malignant narcissists. My life has not been easy but I hope I too have helped others and let them know they are not alone.

    2. Hi Peep. I hope you don't spend too much time wondering whether you've helped others. I know you have. I started running into blogs about narcissism at a time when I was feeling overwhelmed, finally, by others' infuriating behavior. For my whole life, I'd been making excuses for certain people who used casual conversation as a weapon, double/triple standards to criticize, moving goal posts, unexpected opposite reactions, etc... I was sick of this creepy smirk on the faces of these same unreasonable people when I must've looked confused by their demeaning tactics. I had been targeted for mistreatment by my "mother", probably from birth, and always wondered why she never let up on her negative opinion of me. I guess I figured I could handle her brand of mean as long as I lived far away from her. (That turned out to be wrong.) But mostly, I didn't know what to do with other people who I expected more from and who certainly made it clear they expected MORE from me, which is when I began my search.
      I don't know how I found your blog, but your writing about malignant narcissism is quite good and you sharing your experiences has been very helpful to me. You cover narcissism so thoroughly and explain their cold and maliciously calculating ways very well. In addition to your writing, you help people through posting your artwork. One time I visited your blog and you had posted a self-portrait from a much earlier time in your life. I got all choked up. The innocence, simply drawn into this girl, really touched my heart. It's a captivating piece. I really appreciate you sharing your artistic endeavors; your style has a nicely engaging charm that I find very soothing.
      As far as the larger society goes, you write as well as anyone out there about the manufactured chaos that's keeping us divided at nearly every turn. The 'developed' world looks right now like a system of weirdly declining societies, where self-centered rightness and accompanying hostility seem to be trickling-down to replace civility. You understand these destructive trends and document it well on your blog. You're right in your follow-on comment below that people have been able to effect change in the past. I sure hope that's still the case, because we're losing so many of our common spaces and institutions where we used to participate in collective goals. Hopefully people will keep coming together to share ideas/solutions before we get too much more isolated, divided and cruel.
      People like you, with the courage to blog about having nowhere to turn when "family" means pain and suffering, provide the rest of us with someplace where we can turn. You open the door to people who've had it slammed in their faces by people who were "supposed to" care. I always hope that those of you who do all this writing and research, the Transcenders, enjoy the company! :) - I Tried

  2. Hi I Tried,

    I appreciate your kind words.

    You know, if fellow ACONs like yourself (other transcenders) never came forward to discuss N-FOO abuse then what I write here on House of Mirrors would not be validated. I would feel like a bag lady who is scrawling rants on handy scraps she finds around the park bench, and that would be tragic. Thanks to you and other commenters who bravely share their experiences, HOM is not tragic - it’s transcendent.

    This blog has amassed over 4,000 comments from ACONs around the world. What WOULD be tragic is if our voices were silenced. We need to be heard; no matter how uncomfortable it makes the guilty bystanders and silent abusers feel. Yes, society should be ashamed of our abusers and the havoc they wreak, but society is not there yet. The powers that be just don’t get it. Truthful reports about narcissists' private behavior are still treated as symptoms of psychological problems in the person telling the stories; by naming the problem, you become the person with the problem.

    The abuse inflicted by these human predators on their prey and on society as a whole should be treated as a worldwide health crisis. Narcissists and sociopaths have poisonous tentacles that influence every aspect of civilization - they make society money and they cost society money. They keep the wheels of “crazy” in the world spinning. Crazy drives the economy. I won’t go into detail about my opinions about how their pathology influences everything from human trafficking and the production of street drugs to billion dollar corporations and the supreme courts, but let’s just say that peace, respect, fairness and honesty do not make money.

    As for Mr. Vachss; he is truly one of a kind. I wish we could clone him and put him in every city and every town in every country around the world. But since that is not possible (well, maybe someday, when we are all holograms) we have to be our own personal advocates and we have to continue to enlighten society that evil is a choice. And if someone CHOOSES to hurt children without ever feeling a modicum of remorse then they are evil. To the people who clutch their pearls at that word: GET OVER IT, EVIL EXISTS.

    ACONs need to keep-on speaking our truth precisely because society doesn’t want to hear it.

    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” ---- Arthur Schopenhauer

    It's my experience that we are currently at the second stage… only one more to go!

    1. It is other ACONS who threw me the life line mentioned above, I could have remained in the narc game and I knew what was coming as the total ruination of my health. This society for the sake of family tells so many to accept evil, to sit there and take it.

      ACONS are a community we have validated each other and offered each other comfort and support especially in a world made dangerous and socially isolated by narcissists. Other ACONS who have been maligned or under the smear campaign juggernaut, sometimes are the only others who can really get what has happened. We should not be silent. All positive changes in this society were by those who did stand up and who spoke out. The Civil Rights movement, the disability rights movement, they stood against those who wanted them silenced. Those were societies transcenders too. There's many in our society who do not want the techniques and behavior of narcissists exposed because they are either narcissists themselves or who benefit from wicked deeds and dishonest living.

      One thing I have noticed about narcissists, even ones who are strangers to other narcissists will take up for and defend them, instead of the victims.

      I am disturbed too how societally ACONS have been silenced. The ire of society and the powers that be seems to be focused on the ACON victim while defending the wicked and the powerful. As you point out narcissism runs the money show, and makes the money and there's many "invested" in not having too many open discussions about these societal injustices. Their pathology indeed brings worldwide pain to so many. Even there you don't have the narcissists themselves to worry about but their sycophants and enablers.

      All progress in society has been standing up against evil and injustice. Look at history, when slavery was in place and women in cultures were treated like chattel. Human beings along the way changed things by saying "This is wrong." Some spoke out at great cost. This has been the battle of evil vs. good in society. Those who stand up for malignant narcissists have chosen their side.

    2. Me too. It is other ACONs like Joanna Ashmun, Kathy Krajco and Anna V (the pioneers, in my opinion) who threw me a life line and pulled me out of the N quick sand. I shudder to think where I would be without this information. It literally is life-saving and life affirming. The poor little narcissists like to keep us down, so they see knowledge = power as “threatening” and mask their rage at our empowerment as us hurting THEM. I guess their victim act is all part of the con. No con artist wants his tricks revealed.

      It truly is archaic for society to tell people to just shut-up and put-up for the sake of “family.” But she’s your mother?!! Again, it’s that DNA thing. If anyone else in society did to us what our FOO did we would be encouraged to press charges and sue. How about these amoral moralizers say to the MNM,“But she’s your daughter. Why do you want to hurt her?!!” When you look at it closely, you will see that society spends 99% of the time criticizing the abuse victims’ behavior and next to zero time looking at the narcissist’s behavior. Motherhood, for example, appears to be an impenetrable sacred cloak that few have the guts to lift to see what lurks beneath.

      Yes, all positive changes in society were by those who stood-up and spoke-out and risked censorship and ridicule and heavy handed threats and punishment by “authority.” It is difficult for ACONs to start speaking-out because in corrupt and tyrannical NFOO systems we were trained to keep quiet since birth. I know that many ACONs – including myself – lurked on blogs for a long time before getting the nerve to leave a comment. It’s only when we break the cycle of silence that we can start to gain clarity. Peep, you are someone that has helped people to see the truth and speak the truth. I find it so absurd that anyone in a civilized society would be threatened by an online community that validates survivors (transcenders) of emotional abuse; especially when most of us write anonymously. Why the hell would we make this weird shit up if we are remaining anonymous?!

      As the late Joanna Ashmun wrote: This stuff is hard to talk about in the first place because it's weird, shameful, and horrifying, and then insult is added to injury when we're dismissed as overreacting (how many times have we heard "You're just too sensitive"?, deluded or malicious, as inventing stories, exaggerating, imagining things, misinterpreting -- it goes on and on. The fact is that there is next to nothing anyone can do to modify a narcissist's behavior and the only useful advice I ever got (first from my non-narcissistic parent, later repeated by my Jungian analyst) was "Get out and stay out."

      Narcissistic abuse IS wrong. The plight of ACONs is not something invented by a deluded few. Those who deny the victims their freedom and rights to tell their stories are the ones who are deluded. The tide is turning. I can sense it. I see ACONs coming out of the woodwork and having their proverbial day in court. And those who stand-up for the malignant narcissists have indeed chosen their side – the wrong side. Get ready to rumble!