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  • Dana Arcuri

When the Fog Lifts: Awakening to the Truth about Abuse


During a coaching session with my client, she said chapter four in my book, Soul Rescue, was profound. In tears she said, “Your story validated me. I felt seen, heard, and understood.” After this, I realized how much my own story has an impact on trauma survivors. Despite my desire to not want to “rehash narcissistic abuse,” the truth is that when I share my hard rock moments, many people resonate with my story. They say, “Me, too.” It helps them to not feel alone. Keeping that in mind, this is why I have decided to share chapter four from my sixth book, Soul Rescue: How to Break Free from Narcissistic Abuse & Heal Trauma. Whether my books can help one person or a million people, my mission in life is accomplished.


In 2017, I started to see things that I hadn’t noticed before about my birth family. Gradually, month by month, there was a shift. At first, it was subtle. During interactions with my siblings and mother, I observed odd words, actions, and behaviors from them. I continually caught them red-handed in blatant lies.


When I confronted them, they had ‘selective amnesia.’ How convenient of them to randomly forget what they had said and done to me. Selective amnesia by the narcissist and flying monkeys is when the real crazy-making three ring circus reaches toxic proportions.


My abusive siblings and mom innocently objected, “I don’t’ know what you’re talking about,” “I don’t recall doing that,” “It’s your imagination,” or “You must be confused.


No, we know exactly what we’re talking about. We know precisely what happened. We clearly understand what they said and did. It’s not our wild imagination. We are not confused. We’re not the crazy ones!


Actually, when the fog lifts everything becomes crystal clear. It’s when we have a light bulb AHA moment. We comprehend our conscious reality. We can no longer unsee the harrowing, unspeakable things that our family, spouse, partner, or ex did to us.


Selective amnesia by harmful people is blame-shifting. According to FreeDictionary.com, “Blame-shifting is when someone shifts the blame from person to person.” The root of blame-shifting is when an abusive person fails to take responsibility for their cruelty.


It’s a manipulative tactic to take the attention off of them by accusing us of being the problem. Blame-shifting is when a person does something inappropriate and they dump the blame onto someone else. They avoid taking accountability for their own revolting words, actions, and behaviors.


Signs of Blame-shifting:


· Play the ‘Victim Card’ – The narcissist and flying monkeys twist your words. They take a half truth and spin it into a web of lies. For example, you might ask your narcissistic ex-spouse to stop ridiculing you. Since the situation paints you as a victim, they are quick to turn the tables. They pretend they’re the victim and you are the bad guy. Rather than they own up to their deceit, they choose to deny it and continue deceiving you. They cry, “Poor me. I’m the one suffering,” during their pity party. Instead of the toxic person addressing your legitimate concerns, they bring up or fabricate stories about something completely unrelated to the topic of discussion. They are merely back-peddling. It’s another attempt to try to wiggle their way out of the fact that you caught them in lies.

· Minimize the Facts – After the fog lifts and you awaken to the truth about abuse, the narcissist and flying monkeys will minimize the facts about what took place. They will discredit you. They will undermine your own perception. They will accuse you of being insane. Even if you took the time to explain yourself, they will cast all blame onto you. If you communicate to them how much they’ve hurt you, they will laugh at you and jokingly say, “Something is wrong with you. Perhaps, you need to see a shrink?” Or they will dismiss your valid emotions and concerns by snickering, “You need help,” “You are too sensitive,” or “Calm down!The blame is no longer on them for misbehaving, but on you for reacting to their misbehavior. Ironically, if you ever criticize a toxic person the way they regularly criticize you, they will freak out, become enraged, and verbally attack you.

· Denial & Deceit – When a person, such as the narcissist denies the facts of their despicable behaviors, they will go to extremes to deceive you. They are dishonest and will mislead you. Why do narcissists lie? As the cliché goes, because they can. Seriously, many narcissists do lie and they lie constantly. They lie about their education, they lie about their achievements, and they lie about extramarital affairs. Most importantly, they will lie about how they have abused you, hurt you, and intentionally inflicted pain onto you.

· Lame Justification – Just when we wonder how low can the narcissist go, they stoop even lower. Despite their nonstop cruelty, they will create lame justifications for their hideous actions and behaviors. For example, they may rant, “Well, it’s your fault because you quit calling me,” “I only did that because you ticked me off,” “Why can’t you love me like everyone else? Just let it go!” “I have no need to apologize. You’re just intolerant!” Or “You are nothing without me!

· Guilt-Tripping – Another bag of tricks is guilt-tripping the scapegoat. This clever act is how they manipulate you and gaslight you. It’s crucial that you keep in the forefront of your mind that when you are dealing with an abusive person, they have a very different conscience than you. The manipulator has no conscience. They are immoral. They’re deliberately using your conscience against you when they use guilt-tripping. Their banking on you feeling guilty for things you have never done. They are keenly aware that you have a sound mind. They play mind-games with you and your good conscience.

· Escalated Arguments – When a narcissist and flying monkeys see that you are onto their sly tricks, they will argue with you. This is their final attempt to find a way out of getting caught. No matter how much they scream, cuss, and fight with you, their arguments are to trip you up. They want to provoke you into more conflicts. Remember, they crave narcissistic supply. This is why they are projecting and gaslighting you. They need you to have a negative emotional reaction to them. It feeds the fuel with them. Don’t participate in the drama, denial, and dysfunction. Walk away.


When you come out of the fog, your healing journey can be accelerated. One by one, you connect the pieces of the puzzle. You begin to see the gaslighting, manipulation, and bullying for what it truly is; psychological abuse.


Gaslighting & Manipulation

Two elements of blame-shifting include gaslighting and manipulation. According to Dr. Robin Stern, the author of the book, The Gaslight Effect, “Gaslighting is the systemic attempt by one person to erode another person’s reality by telling them that what they have experienced isn’t so- and the gradual giving up on the part of the person.


Gaslighting is a subtle form of emotional manipulation that often results in the recipient doubting their own perception of reality and their sanity. In addition, gaslighting is a method of manipulation by toxic people to gain power over you. The worst part about gaslighting is that it undermines your self-worth to the point where you’re second-guessing everything.


The biggest hurdle most scapegoats face is the fear of doing something wrong by going grey rock, no contact, or upsetting the narcissist if you distance yourself. You walk on eggshells. You don’t feel safe. You don’t know from one minute to the next how the narcissist will react to you. At any moment, they can explode!


You feel smothered. You constantly question your feelings, perceptions, and memories. A small, suffocated part inside of you wonders whether you’re going crazy. This is exactly what the narcissist hopes for; that you question your mental faculties. Although you may question your emotional wellbeing and you might feel unbalanced, there is still hope.


On the website, LoneWolf.com, “Inspired by the 1940 and 1944 films, ‘Gas Light,’ where a husband systematically manipulates his wife in order to make her feel crazy, the term gaslighting is now commonly used to describe behavior that is inherently manipulative. Gaslighting, at its core, is a form of emotional abuse that slowly eats away at your ability to make judgements. Essentially, a Gaslighter spins their negative, harmful or destructive words and actions in their favor, deflecting the blame for their abusive deeds and point the finger at you. This is done by making you feel ‘overly sensitive,’ ‘paranoid,’ ‘mentally unstable,’ ‘silly,’ ‘unhinged,’ and many other sensations which cause you to doubt yourself. Commonly adopted by psychopathic, sociopathic and narcissistic types of people, gaslighting tends to eat away at you slowly until you realize that you’re a shell of the former person you were.”


15 Subtle Signs of Gaslighting & Manipulation


1. You are accused of being paranoid, insane, & too sensitive.

2. You constantly second guess yourself.

3. Toxic people silence you.

4. The narcissist calls you irrational & a drama queen or king.

5. The toxic person accuses you of lying.

6. The narcissist & flying monkey’s victim-shame & blame you.

7. The manipulator insists they’re the victim & you are the perpetrator.

8. You are told that you are the problem; not them.

9. The narcissist & flying monkeys have selective amnesia.

10. The toxic folks use lame excuses to justify their spiteful actions.

11. They use religious gaslighting & scriptures as a weapon to hurt you.

12. They twist a half truth into a full-blown lie.

13. The narcissist & flying monkeys bully you, stalk you, & retaliate against you.

14. They bait you & provoke you into arguments with them.

15. Even if you have clear evidence about them bullying you, they will deny it & not take responsibility for themselves.


Healing the Wounds Ignited by Gaslighting & Manipulation


Gaslighting causes us to doubt our own memories, perceptions, and judgments. It throws us psychologically off balance. It’s like being in the Twilight Zone. If you feel as though your self-esteem, confidence, and dignity has withered under the flame of gaslighting, you are not alone.


Almost all of us, including myself, have experienced gaslighting and manipulation more times than we can count. The problems arise when gaslighting and manipulation is a frequent shadow that trails behind our relationships. The good news is knowledge and awareness are the first steps to heal and rebuild a strong perception.


While it’s true that in some situations we genuinely can be overreacting, or might genuinely be exhibiting irrational behavior, it is also important for you to listen to your gut. Your intuition doesn’t lie.


Do you trust your intuition? Wikipedia defines intuition as, “The ability to acquire knowledge without recourse to conscious reasoning. Different fields use the word ‘intuition’ in very different ways, including but not limited to: direct access to unconscious knowledge; unconscious cognition; inner sensing; inner insight to unconscious pattern-recognition; and the ability to understand something instinctively, without any need for conscious reasoning.


When you’re dealing with a narcissist and flying monkeys, do you have a heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach? Do you feel physically ill? Do you feel weighed down, oppressed, or depressed? If so, it’s signs that you have unconsciously picked up on deception and ‘foul play.’


If something doesn’t feel right or if something feels ‘off,’ learn to trust your internal warning signals. They are alerting you to danger. Some physical signs are a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, anxiety, perspiration, a migraine, nausea, or vertigo.


Your body is screaming for you to pay attention. Do not dismiss it or deny your conscious reality. Instead, learn to trust your intuition.


The JADE Technique


Are you tired of being treated like a punching bag or doormat? Are you at your wits end? Today, it’s time to learn credible tools to outsmart toxic people. It can help you to increase your peace of mind and to remain calm despite the chaos going on around you.


When someone puts so much energy into blame-shifting you there’s a temptation to explain yourself to them. It’s normal to want to defend yourself and to prove your point. Here’s the problem; this is precisely what they want you to do. It’s not because they care to hear your explanation.


Rather, they want you in the hot seat and squirming. The aim to discredit you. They will intentionally dump all the blame onto you. Their motive is for you to have a meltdown. They want you crying, yelling, and swearing. They want you to lose it so they can say, “See, I told you she or he is crazy!”


The narcissist and flying monkeys accuse you of doing things that they’re doing. They are infuriated that you caught onto them. By sucking you into conflicts and drama, they’re consuming your energy, time, and watching you to see if you fall for their bait. Then they will use your emotional reactions to prove their own points by hissing, “Wow! Look how bitter and angry you are.


The goal is for you to not fall for their provocations. Instead, learn to practice the JADE technique. JADE is an acronym and it stands for:


J = Justify: Don’t try to justify yourself to toxic people. It’s unproductive.

A = Argue: Do not waste your energy arguing with toxic people.

D = Defend: Don’t waste your breath trying to defend yourself to those who don’t care.

E = Explain: Never explain yourself, especially to those who discredit you.


The goal of the JADE technique is to take back your power. To stand up for yourself without needing to defend or explain yourself. It’s essential to not engage in this ridiculous mind-game with abusive people.


By not participating in their tactics, you can put more attention onto what matters most to you. YOU. Your life. Your health. Your sanity. Your future. Your purpose. You can focus on your healing journey. You can make positive intentions to seek comfort and to practice self-care.


To order your copy of Soul Rescue, here's the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09M2DFM98

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