In my experience it has been far harder to deal with the Flying Monkey, than with the actual abuser(s). I felt far more confused, hurt and unbalanced after encounters, than I did for example in the aftermath of no contact.
Even when survivors distance themselves from a toxic person, we often still hear their voice in our heads, drowning out our own inner-voice and reaffirming the doubt that was planted a long time ago. In effect, we have a bully in our head.
Anger is a very powerful emotion. One which society tends to feel is bad and self-indulgent. Yet it has the potential to benefit our relationships.
Parentification and infantalization are strategies to make the victim feel both responsible
Whether by denial, lying or being covertly abusive – phrasing what they say very carefully to intentionally hurt you – an abuser will use gaslighting as just one weapon in an arsenal of many. The tactic is used to alienate and isolate you from others, most especially your loved ones or co-workers.
The silent treatment is commonly used by narcissists and sociopaths. It is dished out as punishment, and means the victim ceases to exist in their world.
Realizing the true extend of the toxic family, and understanding that what happened was in fact abuse is a long and difficult journey. It is only the first step on our road to recovery, but it really is the most important one. That first step toward a better, more healthy life.
Growing up with an emotionally unavailable parent is far from normal. Yet in order to survive you will have convinced yourself that things were normal.
Just like Narcissus and Echo needed each other, so the narcissist and the enabler have a symbiotic relationship.
Isolation is a typical tactic of the abuser. It is also one of their best weapons. You become more reliant on him or her for companionship and connection.