Escaping Narcissism

By Alana HuxtableFebruary 16, 2021

Being stalked and slandered by a narcissist is one of the most horrible things to experience.

It isn’t a pleasant feeling when the person you’re trying to avoid, turns up out the front of your house, follows you (including interstate), repeatedly rings from a silent number and hangs up when you answer; sends you hate mail, has their friends contact your own family… and then ultimately, when their narcissism and stalking are blocked and they fail, they smear your name.

No, it's not pleasant. Incredibly, to friends, their smoke screen is effective and they are viewed as victims to be pitied because increasingly, you want less and less to do with them as this bizarre and concerning behaviour escalates.

WHY does this behaviour occur? It stems from an intense desire for control over you and your life. There’s a delusional sense of entitlement, self-importance and even jealousy that exists at the root of it, which is why the behaviour becomes so irrational and bizarre. They portray a grandiose facade, believing they are extremely important; yet have nothing to really show for this self-perceived image and are in reality, very insecure.

They don’t respect boundaries. Everything is always about them. In fact, whatever you do or whatever happens in your life, is always viewed with a filter of how it affects them negatively – even when it comes to normal or celebrated life events! It’s irrational and not characteristic of typical people.

My experience of narcissists is that they are selfish. When you respectfully highlight the boundaries and the fact they’re being crossed, that fires them up to engage in more extreme and irrational behaviour to get their way. It’s important to point out the boundaries assertively, because it shows self-respect… but my experience is that when you do, they invade your boundaries even more because they think it’s their God-given right. Who does she think she is?! I’ll show her!

If you dare to say “no” (even politely) and set boundaries of any type, it’s like setting off an atomic bomb in the narcissist’s eyes. They fly into a disturbing rage as they realise they can't control you and that you are actively resisting their "hoovering" attempts. Even if you are not verbally expressing anything, you are essentially saying “no” firmly through your actions, your silence and by refusing to get ensnared once more into the traumatic vortex of the relationship.

The more you step away, the more they hate it and refuse to accept it, so instead, they keep coming at you. They become more determined, more spiteful, more frustrated that their behaviour isn’t working, and they engage in more extreme actions! Progressively, their harassment and other unpleasant behaviour make you want to escape them for good.

I’ve been on the receiving end of narcissism and it lasted for many years despite my best efforts to have zero contact. In the end, I even relocated interstate - twice. I didn’t care for any “drama” but when it comes to a narcissist, they just keep bringing it your way.

At the time, I knew the behaviour was extreme. I knew that the stalking was unpleasant and concerning. But because there was a prior personal relationship that seemingly started out fine, I didn’t consciously know it was narcissism. At that age, in my early 20s when it all began, I don't even think I knew about 'narcissism'.

I didn’t like the extremely toxic actions that were directed at me, but when the person is known to you, you can easily rationalise and try to play down the behaviour in your own mind. Rightly so, because people often make mistakes, and everyone is capable of doing the wrong thing at times. There IS such a thing as compassion, and empathy, after all.

For too long, though, I was too compassionate and it was just an opportunity for more toxic and destructive behaviour waged against me that never ended. It was irrational, extreme and ongoing. Most concerning was the INTENT: to selfishly and unreasonably control, and when that repeatedly failed, the intent was to damage, destroy, and win at all costs (again, that failed spectacularly).

As the narcissist becomes more desperate, they try to get ammunition and support from peers, as they paint a completely different picture; one of victimhood, and having been hard done by, due to you wanting nothing to do with them.

In my case, they even went one step further than that, and deliberately pedaled LIES about me. I maintained a dignified silence, while they controlled the dialogue and ensured there was no available avenue to defend myself. I was depicted as "manipulative" and "controlling" because I was gradually cutting them out of my life as a result of this intense and alarming behaviour. They went even harder core than that, and completely slandered my name and character in multiple other ways.

In reality, cutting ties was the only choice available to me, if I wanted to put an end to the never ending toxicity and torment. All those people who heard my name being slandered didn’t know it was slander (or perhaps they preferred not to know). They also didn’t know about the stalking, hate mail, or repeated hang-up calls I endured before the ties were completely cut. By depicting me as the villain, the narcissist aimed to make their lies the 'perceived reality' to achieve their toxic goals, and had hoped to damage or destroy my life in the process.

Nothing I did or said, changed it. No level of reasonableness or decency from me mattered. It just got worse. Their toxicity spread, and I had to cut ties with other people connected with the narcissist because they were brainwashed, which made those relationships strained or toxic too. People have a tendency to "gang up" and attack in numbers, thinking there is a good reason to do so (let's be clear... there is never a good reason to do that).

While the act of cutting off the narcissist was tough and my name was slandered for having the courage to do so, this action was the best thing I could have ever done for myself and my future. It meant that I could enjoy my life. It meant that I could function like everyone else. It meant that I could be free of bullying and toxicity by the narcissist and their 'gang', while they concurrently portrayed me as the perpetrator.

I'm human, and at that time I was also still young. It was an extremely difficult thing for a young person to deal with, and I had to dig deep and stay true to myself. Around that time, my father also tragically died, at which time the narcissist intensified their stalking behaviour. It was a lot to deal with emotionally but I got through it. I'm strong. I'm a fighter.

Being human, though, I'm certainly not perfect, and there was one time that I slipped up, after completely cutting ties. I chose to communicate again (crazy I know). I even tried to find it in myself to forgive. Still being my younger self and having not yet understood that I had been subjected to extreme and ongoing narcissism, this decision resulted in me being exposed to the exact same behaviour that I had escaped from in the first place. I had somehow hoped that the narcissist would have learned some lessons, and I'd hoped that their behaviour would have changed for the better. Personally, I wanted to seek some peaceful closure to that chapter of my life, even though I didn't really want to have much to do with them.

Little did I realise that you can never get closure with a narcissist. They just carry more resentment toward you. Despite their toxic implosion due to their failed campaign, there were no learnings they took from the experience other than doing more to cover up their behaviour so others wouldn't notice. Consequently, I cut off contact again and kept it that way. On the one hand it was a big mistake to resume contact. Yet on the other hand, it also showed me that they are incapable of change and I guess that's my closure.

I always try with people... but ultimately, I'm too self-respecting, secure and confident in myself to suffer fools. Life's too short! If you’re ever on the receiving end of this type of ongoing behaviour, that’s called narcissism. Get out while you can (and STAY OUT!).

One comment on “Escaping Narcissism”

  1. I truly feel for you Alana. Your experience has been horrible.
    Conversely, I am in the unfortunate position of having a daughter and a daughter in law who consider my husband of 47 yrs, father of five, grandfather of 14, to be narcissistic. He can be a bit selfish, and self centred, and doesn’t like to be corrected, but he isn’t a narcissist. He is generous, talented and friendly, and I have known him since he was 17. We are now 66 and 67. I believe he is on the autism spectrum, though we have never worried about any diagnosis, as I am not concerned about him, I am not frightened, intimidated, or threatened in any way, despite what the girls think. Things don’t necessarily get done the way I would prefer, but he does his best for us, and he’s good at what is important to us.

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