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  • Lynn Catalano

Narcissistic abuse is emotional abuse



“Wrecking Ball Relationships”

Do I regret writing my book while my father was still alive? No. You see he was never going to come back to me. He had walked out of my life for the final time long before the book came out. He had yelled at me on the phone and hung up. He was done with me. Had I never written my book, our relationship would have been in the exact same place. I had grieved our relationship years ago. He wasn’t the father or the person I saw through my mother’s eyes.

Children of narcissists grieve twice. They grieve the relationship they thought they had and the transactional, emotionally unavailable one they got.


People have no idea what actually went on with him as my father. He wore his mask well. I didn’t write about the worst times with him in my book. I felt that sharing certain words and actions of his had no benefit to the reader. They only served to embarrass and shame him. Believe it or not, that was never my goal.


I suffered emotional abuse

You see, I suffered emotional abuse from him for years. He tormented me and my children saw everything. He stopped talking to his grandchildren when he left me too. My mother’s family was bullied and harassed, and every holiday together was ruined. They had an easier time cutting ties. My mother’s siblings formally cut ties with my father 6 years after my mother died. They had enough of his bullying and ruining every holiday together.

Learning that my father suffered from narcissistic personality disorder brought clarity to my situation. All of a sudden, everything made sense. He was a professional at giving people the Silent Treatment when he didn’t like what happened, or when he was confronted or perceived an offense. He gave it to his siblings, people in the community and me.


Just because you knew him as an acquaintance and he was nice to you doesn’t preclude what happened to me.

I wrote about this in an earlier post

“I found my only choice was to come forward and tell my truth about what had occurred.

I had 3 strikes against me right away:


1. My narcissist was my father, and he was well-known, often in the newspaper, a community volunteer, and overall big fish in our area.

2. My mother suddenly died so my father told everyone that I didn’t want my father dating women – a convenient yet untrue story. This became a smear campaign.

3. My father’s family refused to believe anything I said and victim-shamed me. This just compounded the abandonment I’d already suffered from my father.


When your narcissist is charismatic and known to wear a mask, that is behave differently in public than behind closed doors, as mine was, it makes it all the more difficult to come forward. People only knew him as this great community leader. People have no idea what happens at home, behind closed doors.”


Invisible Wounds


Emotional abuse is hard for people to accept. They didn’t witness it. There are no visible bruises. It’s sometimes not believable due to his very public persona. They knew him as a completely different person. Domestic abuse refers to abuse that happens in the home. While not every domestice abuse situation involves physical abuse, they all feature constant emotional abuse.


When a person is abused verbally, there are no visible scars. The wounds are deep emotional ones and they’re invisible. That doesn’t make them hurt any less. Being demeaned and told that you’re worthless and unloved is a terrible feeling.


Don’t underestimate the affect this type of abuse has on you. Many people who experience emotional abuse don’t seek help and excuse the behavior away. My father tried to make me feel like I was being overly sensitive for experiencing this trauma. This is just typical gaslighting from the narcissist. They don’t want to shed a light on their horrific behavior. They just don’t care about you.


Since I’ve been coaching people 1:1, I’ve found that survivors of narcissistic abuse need to experience all 3: clarity, validation and comfort. For those of you who are looking for a quick fix to this problem, you didn’t get here overnight. You’re going to need to do the work to survive narcissistic abuse.


I’m currently in the midst of leading my first group coaching program. I launched this group program in order to help more people who weren’t able to participate in the 1:1 program. It’s a great success. As a result, I’m launching the second cohort of the group program on July 19, 2023. We will meet once a week for an hour over 3 months for a total of 12 sessions covering the concepts of narcissistic abuse and providing strategies for you. These strategies will help protect your mental and emotional health as well as navigate narcissists or any high-conflict people you may encounter. I’m keeping the cohort small so please message me right away if you’re interested. (lynn@lynncatalano.com)


Learn more about me here: https://buff.ly/3wf6tgQ

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