It can be really tough when we see through someone’s behaviour, and recognise it for toxicity, and yet, others don’t.
Especially in narcissistic families, when the scapegoat realises the parent is abusive it can be isolating and frustrating that others in the same family can’t or won’t acknowledge how unhealthy the behaviour is.
The same applies when someone is in an abusive relationship, and they keep accepting obvious and transparent lies, or emotional or physical abuse, without disengaging from the relationship.
It’s because the unknown, or rather the thought of the unknown is MUCH more terrifying than the current reality, however toxic and abusive it might be.
Adult children on narcissistic parents often ask ‘why can’t my sibling see it? Why do they think it’s okay?’
It’s such a heartfelt question and has so much pain attached to it that it can be overwhelming for the client. Naturally it touches me too.
Here’s the thing. We repeat patterns we know because they’re comfortable. Change is something everyone struggles with, and drastic dramatic change, such as leaving a partner or refusing to be abused in a toxic family system, is terrifying.
How can you help? Don’t judge, allow their process, occasionally notice behaviours you don’t agree with, but refer to self rather than them. When we try and prise someone’s eyes open, they merely shut them more tightly, most likely blocking us out too.
Hold that person in their space, and move at their speed. And when they finally open their eyes, you can be there to help them understand the new way of seeing.