- Was I abused?
- Dealing with narcissists + toxic people
- What to do if kicked out
- How to document abuse
- Restraining orders
- How to leave abuse
- Why is it hard for me to leave my parents?
- Trying to change your abuser: it’s a trap
- Therapy + mental health
- Life skills
- Someone I know is being abused
Was I abused?
First off, you are not crazy.
- A simple test is to apply the golden rule: is the potentially toxic person treating others the same way that they themselves would like to be treated?
- Emotional abuse is abuse.
- Many abusers need to hurt and control others to feel safe.
- Don’t worry about other people “having it worse”. You are not competing in the Abuse Olympics (which do not exist). If your victimizer is consistently acting against your best interests, then it is abuse.
If your “normal meter” is broken, then you may find these links helpful:
- I found this checklist for pathological narcissism to be much more accurate than the DSM… – A list of narcissist traits
- PSA: NO, YOU ARE NOT “SENSITIVE”
- The Purpose of Abuse, and Why Posters Should not Categorize Their Abuse as “Less Severe” than Other People’s Abuse.
- How to tell if you are being abused
The RBN wiki has a list of common acronyms.
Dealing with narcissists + toxic people
- Grey rocking and selective grey rocking explained – Grey rock refers to boring your abuser away. Selective grey rock is basically making fake buttons for a psychopath to push so that they are distracted away from pushing your real buttons.
- Medium chill – this technique refers to giving off the impression of holding a conversation without actually having a conversation with real substance to it.
- 5 ways to deal with a narcissistic parent
- Assertiveness strategy for dealing with Ns
- “Cheat sheet” from “options you may not realize you have” thread
- Setting boundaries with nRelatives
Many people find that the best approach for dealing with toxic people is to stop interacting with them.
- Are you nervous to go NC with parents? Here’s what you need to know
- Advice on writing final letters to your abusers
- Draft of form letter for flying monkeys
- “Even if my parents did change—it doesn’t matter now”
- Get a letter from your nParent after going NC? Play bingo!
- Going NC is not about us “punishing” our narcs
- How to deal with the dreaded letter from your N
- How to stop giving a f-ck about your Ns
- Is it fair to deprive your kids of their grandparents?
- Reasons to go no contact
- Stop justifying your decision to go NC
- Structured contact
- Tactic to stop the most persistent flying monkeys from pushing you into resuming contact
What to do if kicked out
If you are a minor, go to the police and document what happened. Child abandonment is likely illegal in your state/province.
If you are an adult, your parents may be legally required to give you a set amount of time (e.g. 30 days) to move out by. One option is to sneak back in after the drama has died down and then start transferring your government documents and other important possessions out of the house. Afterwards, you should start putting together a plan to move out.
- PSA regarding “I’ll kick you out on the street!” (for all ages)
- In the US: dial 1-888-290-7233, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929), or text the word SAFE and your current location (address, city, state) to 69866 to locate the nearest Safe Place.
How to document abuse
To record phone conversations, you can use Google Voice, Android apps, or paid iPhone apps. You can also record in-person conversations on your smartphone (e.g. voice memo), although you should check the audio quality beforehand as the audio may not be good enough if the phone is in your pocket. In states with two-party consent laws, secretly recording conversations without the other party’s consent may be illegal. The exceptions are:
- There is generally an exemption in the state law (e.g. Illinois) if there is (A) reasonable suspicion that the other party has committed or may commit a criminal offense and (B) there is reason to believe that evidence of that offense may be obtained by the recording. If you aren’t sure if secret recordings would break the law, do your research on your state’s laws.
- Non-private conversations can be recorded, e.g. it is obvious that the conversation is taking place in a public area where others can hear the conversation.
- Consent from the other party is obtained.
If there are injuries, go to a doctor or nurse. If the professional’s opinion is that the injuries are consistent with abuse, have them write it down in the victim’s medical records (and/or in a letter to you). You can also take photos/videos of the injuries.
Stalking (from the RBN wiki)
- Information on Stalking (Information on Calling the Police Included)
- Documenting information when you are being stalked and/or harassed
- How & what to log if you are being stalked or harassed – Please keep in mind that the users in RBN are not lawyers and for legal advice pertaining to your situation, you should consult a professional familiar with the laws in your country/state/province.
- Restraining Orders 101
- The Justice For Children.org website has a guide on protective orders at justiceforchildren.org/pdfs/protective-order.pdf
- Restraining order FAQ (frequently asked questions) for California
If your restraining order has been violated, document the violations. If the violations are serious enough, go back to court with evidence. The court will punish the restrained person harder and harder until they comply with the court order. If you fear for your safety, talk to the police to see what they can do.
How to leave abuse
Leaving your parents as a minor (<18)
Think about where you want to live:
- Job Corps. This is a US government program that provides housing, job training, some money, and health benefits. It will help you finish a high school equivalent education and some programs teach you how to drive.
- Live with a friend or relative
- Live on your own and pay rent. This will allow you to pursue emancipation.
- Military. In some states/provinces, you can join the military at 16 while also finishing a high school equivalent education.
- Couch surf
- Youth shelter
- Foster system
- Other – vagabonding / homelessness, live in a van, psych ward, youth jail, etc. (These options are a little extreme.)
Then, research ways to get there:
- Ask for permission.
- Trick your parents. Some abusers want to hurt you, so you can pretend that they would “hurt” you by forcing you to do _______.
- Leave and hope that your parents don’t use their legal powers to make you go back.
- Get a restraining order against your parents.
- Run away repeatedly. Talk to the police because they likely do not want to waste their resources putting you back into an abusive household.
- Go to the police, because most forms of child abuse are illegal. You should usually go to the police before Child Protective Services as the police are less likely to fail you.
Leaving your parents as an adult
In addition to many of the options available to minors, here are some options:
- Job Corps if you are under 24 or disabled.
- Seasonal jobs tend to be easier to get. Coolworks.com lists various tourist season jobs (see this discussion thread). Other jobs include elections polling worker (only a few days of work), UPS driver from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and night shifts (e.g. stocking shelves).
- Teach ESL online. See this article and r/OnlineESLTeaching
- Teach ESL overseas. These jobs are easy to get and they often provide accomodation.
- Or, just get a normal job- some tips here.
Why is it hard for me to leave my parents?
It is very normal for abuse victims to want their abuser to change (or finally love them), to want their abuser to apologize, or to want the world to see who their abuser really is. There are different explanations for why this is:
- Trauma bonding (see “Trauma bonding” vs “healthy bonding”)
- Stockholm syndrome (Wikipedia)
- An ‘addiction’ to the abuser
After leaving, many abuse survivors find that there is some social stigma attached to not loving your parents.
- Despite what thinkpieces and ignorant people say, it’s 100% okay not to love your family. Your parents destroyed any chance of you loving them and it’s not your fault you can’t turn those feelings on magically.
- Repeat after me, just because you pushed a baby out of your vagina or had your stomach cut in half doesn’t make you a mother
- Mother’s day is for good moms
Trying to change your abuser: it’s a trap
- “Abuse doesn’t stop after you’re 18”
- Realizing that your words to your parents will never sink in
- Anyone else ever hit with that realization that anything you’ve said to your nparent(s) has never and will never sink in?
Therapy + mental health
Finding a therapist
Psychology Today has a directory of mental health professionals. Many people report negative experiences with therapy, e.g. being invalidated by their therapist. One tip is to find a therapist with experience dealing with children of (“cluster B”) personality disordered parents.
- Searching for a therapist: things to look for and red flags
- Tips on Finding A Good Therapist – Share Them!
- Is My Therapist Good or Not? 12 Questions a Former Psychotherapist Asks
- If you haven’t read about complex PTSD, you should!
- Complex PTSD from Narcissistic Abuse
- Why can’t I get on with my life? (left-term effects of abuse)
- From “I’m unhappy, I suck” to “I’m unhappy, why, and what do I want”
- A tip for adult ACoNs reprocessing their trauma.
- Undoing the illogical connections in your brain
- How to overcome panic attacks
- The meta-analysis “A Meta-analysis of Treatment Outcome For Panic Disorder” (doi:10.1016/0272-7358(95)00048-8) found that cognitive-behavioural therapy had the largest effect sizes compared to pharmacological treatment (drugs) and combined treatment (CBT + drugs).
Getting off addictive psychiatric drugs
WARNING: please do NOT suddenly discontinue psychiatric medications as it can be very dangerous to do so.
- Directory of practitioners that will support people who want to taper from psychiatric medications
- Peter Breggin MD: Psychiatric Drugs Are More Dangerous than You Ever Imagined – Youtube video
- The Withdrawal Project has lots of information on getting off psychiatric drugs.
- Small subreddits: r/BenzoRecovery r/antidepressants r/AntiPsychiatry
- The Youtube channel “How to adult” is dedicated to exactly that.
- If you simply search Youtube or Google for “How to X”, you will probably find a guide for doing that thing.
- Life skills subreddit – r/RBNLifeSkills
- A guide to financial subreddits
- An adult’s guide to hygiene
- Feminine hygiene
- General home upkeep
- Half an hour a day for one week
- How do you do basic chores?
- How to clean and keep organized
- How to clean without anxiety: places for stuff
- How to clean your house
- Suggestions on keeping an apartment clean
- Use Dingtone or Google Voice if your cell phone service is cut off. You will only be able to take/make calls when you have wifi/Internet access.
- How to create a “bounceback” email from an anonymous provider
- How to block people on Facebook, even after they’ve blocked you
- Protecting your eLife from your narcissist
- Can we do a “how to act in a corporate environment” post?
- How to talk to your boss if your abuser is attempting to sabotage your work relationship
Starting out on your own
- Tips for starting out on your own – getting your government documents, getting your mail, how to rent, etc. etc.
- Advice for a crazy-free wedding while surrounded by your nFamily (because narcissist family members love to cause drama at their relatives’ weddings)
- Tips for ACoNs that are planning a wedding
Other People + Relationships
- For thoughtful speech, pick two: needful, kind, true
- How do you know who to trust?
- Setting boundaries
If you want to go to college without taking money from your parents, you’ll want to look into a dependency override that will make your eligible for more financial aid. Finaid.org has a good overview of dependency overrides. Getting a dependency override is discussed here and FAFSA advice is given here. Also see people talking about their experiences here and here.
- How to File the FAFSA without your parents’ information
- Paying for College and Abusive Parents – Some Resources
r/PovertyFinance has a wiki with links to resources.
- Free meals: Charities, churches, and other organizations provide free or heavily discounted meals. You can look on Google to find out where this is happening in your city.
- Food banks: The people who donate to food banks would definitely want to see abuse victims use the food bank to help them get on their feet. Bring ID, pay attention to the food bank’s rules, and bring things to help you transport the food. If you are living in a household with a partner or kids, say so and you will get more food.
- Dumpster diving: Pizza shops (e.g. Little Caesars) will throw out perfectly good pizzas in a pizza box. Places that sell sandwiches will throw out what they can’t sell (or send it to a charity). Show up 1-2 hours after closing time and look in the dumpster if it’s unlocked. For more information, you can try places such as Reddit and r/dumpsterdiving if you have questions. See the thread on “Dumpster Diving – A Great Way to Get Free Food”. Or instead of dumpster diving, you can try asking the employees. Do not eat dirty food.
- Food stamps (now called SNAP): US citizens and homeless minors can apply for food stamps.
- Living in a van: This is basically homelessness, except it costs more and is nicer than a shelter. See the r/vandwellers wiki and Living in a car 101.
Someone I know is being abused