The Narcissist: I love you!
The truth and definition behind these three words: I am in my manipulative validation mode because I want you to BELIEVE that I love you so that you will trust me, become vulnerable, tell me secrets that I can use against you, and once I have gathered all the information I need I will use it to control you, hurt you, betray you in every way I can because I need more than just you. I will disable you, and EXTORT your love and life! I need you for what ‘you’ people call supply – then as my farewell I am going to hurt you more and probably destroy you so I can find the next person that I can use and abuse and get away with it all! It is as simple as this BUT it will be the worst thing you ever experience in your life but it gets me ‘WHAT I WANT.’ What happens to you through the process is just collateral damage and I don’t care because I am not wired that way – BUT I need what I need, and want what I want, so I go for it! I will project all on my darkness onto and into you as well. You will have to go through a long healing and recovery period after I am gone because I have really messed with your head and with those things you call emotions so have fun with that. I am pretty thorough with my methods so don’t try to mess with me. I have moved on to someone else long before you even knew it and I have many people that will say I am about as near perfect as a person can get. You just don’t get it that I don’t care, and until you do get this you will be stuck with me living on and on in your mind. Oh, and by the way I have waged a ‘smear campaign’ with behind your back and destroyed your integrity. So all those people around you like your friends, family, and co-workers think YOU are crazy and have abused me. It is your fault because you trusted me enough to share sensitive information and I used that against you. One last thing, feel free to contact me as much as you want and I will be glad to fool you more and pull you right back into the abuse!
Seriously this is what a Narcissist would say to us, but they don’t because it would give their game plan away and they would lose out in life! They are predators that have to live among us and with us, so they do this for a reason and that is to benefit from their manipulative actions and hide their abusive nature. They source people out to use or basically harvest what they can from people because they make themselves whole by stealing our life and love away from us because they just can’t survive without us. They are dysfunctional and need us as a component to be functional! They have the advantage because they come into our lives knowing the truth that we are only an object for them to use. They have been using and abusing people all of their lives and are seamless with their game to trap us into this abuse.
Our recovery depends on getting these creatures totally out of our lives and our minds by just accepting what they are. We can’t define ourselves through the actions of these creatures but we can understand what happened, and learn some things about ourselves that made us vulnerable, and move on for our own good. So that BURNING question that everybody asks: “Are Narcissists really aware of their behavior and do they know what they are doing is wrong?”
So to start a little comparison of normal versus the emotionally detached Narcissist! Most normal people don’t put too much thought into their everyday actions and behaviors or basically think about how you behave on a regular basis. This is because there is a moral code, or code of ethics, empathy, emotions, respect and so many other things that are part of a belief system that is in place and guides you (the normal person) through life. Basically this is what drives your behaviors throughout your life. The process also includes an accumulation of our ‘personality traits,’ emotional state, our self-esteem, and our past experiences that are definitely guided by a societal norm that includes morality, laws, doing the right thing, not hurting our fellow human being, etc., etc. Much of this depends upon our upbringing and basic life lessons too. There are times that we act and react and sometimes we get angry and say things that hurt people but we generally resolve these situations – after all we are human and can be hurt, but we also love, feel the pain of others, and many other things that make the human condition unique but good. Let’s just say we have a default setting that is internalized inside of us that keeps us on track.
NOW a Narcissist’s is biological like us and has general default settings in life too. Their default settings consist mostly of dysfunctional and negative emotions such as, anger, being aloof, smugness, frustration, boredom, obsession, addictions, envy and contempt of all people. All of this is born out of an extreme insecurity and lack of a real personality and seriously there are different theories that try to explain this but none of which point to the Narcissist wanting to get help or change. Because these feelings are part of the Narcissist’s everyday experience, their brain (like ours) creates neural pathways, so that when new stimuli (people) come into their world through their mind AND senses, their brain filters the information through these ingrained pathways (just like it does with our mind and senses.) The more we think a certain way, the stronger the neural pathway becomes. Again a Narcissist defaults to their negativity, insecurities, delusions and dysfunctional outlook to process life and people. From there they have created and perfected a facade in a very surface manner to attempt to fit in. So that to me is awareness that they know they are flawed and they have had to learn how to con people to be accepted in our world. BUT they can’t for long because their envy, dysfunction, and hate seeps out and they are totally out of control because they need ‘supply’ so badly.
So when your Narcissist is interpreting his/her environment, they are interpreting it through those filters. When you do something and the Narcissist reacts in a rage, it’s because that neural pathway that leads to anger is well traveled and the Narcissist is constantly interpreting other people’s interactions and intentions as negative and threatening to his/her sense of self. A Narcissist is obsessed with how others perceive them – it is all about protecting their image so lying is a tool and also as normal AND as important to them as breathing. But what goes hand in hand with this is that they do not see the world and people as anything but objects to serve a purpose or supply them with anything and everything they desire. They have shut down all NORMAL reality and replaced it with this self-created and magnanimous façade and use it like a marketing tool to ‘fit in’ and find their next AND next target/victim. BUT they also wear it like a suit of armor in battle to hide their many flaws and if they are made accountable they will attack the very thing they need to survive – people. Their façade is a double edged sword in reality and very flimsy.
ALL people are objectified to serve them because the Narcissist creates an image that is omnipotent and above the laws of mankind but they are very needy and dependent on us. The levels a Narcissist will stoop to achieve this is abusive and derelict. Their life is a huge lie that is wrapped up with a huge bow to look like it is an amazing gift to all man and womankind! They have to process a great deal to keep their dysfunction at bay and protect themselves from exposure always having to look over their shoulder because in time life WILL finally catch up with them and expose them with the truth of what they REALLY are. If they can get away once more they will try, they are very adept at escaping exposure and accountability with more lies. But age will also slow them down as well as KARMA and there will be nobody there for them to abuse for supply and that will destroy them. Let them meet their own future AND destiny.
Because the Narcissist needs to be admired and considered superior, any slight to them, real or imagined, will travel down the loathing and anger paved neural pathway and incite the Narcissist’s rage and fury and this makes them destructive and hateful creatures. Remember underneath the façade is a VERY insecure creature that protects its dark secrets with its life! So in this manner the Narcissist’s behavior has become their habitual way of thinking or pattern AND survival that is protected by that very flimsy mask or façade. They control their targets/victims in every imaginable manner they can to extort what they can and for as long as they can. This is just a natural function and not something the Narcissist thinks about consciously, NOR does the Narcissist care about any of their actions because everything they do is self-serving. All of the lies, manipulation, betrayal, emotional and psychological attacks, etc., are all part of this as well. The Narcissist is not thinking that he/she has overreacted or acted badly with any of their outrageous and negative behavior. The Narcissist is just always looking at how your behavior was offensive to them because in all of this delusional process they have to blame everyone else to achieve a functional cohesiveness in their own minds – again part of that façade to keep themselves from looking inward. Of course the Narcissist is dangerous because of their distorted and dysfunctional personality and disordered world, but this is how they are wired and that is not going to ever change. This also includes the ‘loving’ manipulation they use to hide their extreme flaws and insecurities that pulls or better yet seduces their targets/victims into their darkness. So are they aware – YES! They have to have some sort of cognitive awareness to carry out this well designed plan out and function in our world. They HAVE to have the same things we have but at a magnanimous level since they are an empty void, AND they need 24/7 attention or supply to feed that empty void.
A Narcissist’s life is totally filled with extreme anxiety and they need to alleviate this anxiety – this is what drives most if not all of their behavior. They are one huge walking contradiction with the same desires to have emotional security but they are cut off at the knees because they do not experience emotions, love or human bonding – that is the big contradiction. SO do they know and understand emotions – or use them to abuse? The bottom line is that they are a disaster in ANY relationship! They use humans to reap the benefits that they couldn’t achieve based on their REAL persona! BUT they also have a strong need to be DISTANT at the same time because they don’t fit into the ‘normal’ and the Narcissists knows this and defends themselves fiercely to protect their dark secrets. They do know how to go into battle and will drive you to the point of insanity to protect themselves. Chaos and crazy making are the other bombs they use when they devalue and dehumanize their targets/victims. They really need correctional adult supervision or a full time adult babysitter.
On top of all of this the Narcissist needs to rid themselves of their extreme anxiety through blaming and shaming everybody. Nothing is ever the Narcissist’s fault and they transfer everything onto a target/victim. They use their wild stories about how they are always a victim of a TERRIBLE relationship where they gave their all and had to “run for their lives.’ BUT check out their story closely as far as a timeframe and you will see that they ran right into the arms of another person immediately – nobody does that after ending a relationship. Their actions are purely self-centered and they are driven by these distorted survival techniques. Couple that with the fact that they are COMPLETELY out-of-control trying to always get their fix like an addict so they get always get caught.
The Narcissist derives their sense of self-worth from the people and things in his/her environment, the choices he/she makes and the things he/she does. All of this is created and achieved through the extreme manipulation used to seduce people into the Narcissist’s life that add more of the substance they need to reinforce their façade. Most if not ALL of the time the Narcissist isn’t thinking of anyone else because everything has to support the Narcissist’s survival and ‘game plan’ as well as juggling many sources of supply. The Narcissist has MANY façades to support and fulfill their needs, AND always a spare source of supply to fall back on. The Narcissist is always thinking, ‘how does this make me look,’ or “how does this benefit me!” and of course ‘what can I do to get to what I need.’ They are very adept at observing a potential target/victim and shape shifting to fit exactly or morph into their lifestyle with a well know clinical phrase called ‘love bombing,’ or the door that opens your heart and mind to their world.
Hurting (and destroying) you is ALWAYS the unfortunate repercussion that the Narcissist never even considers, nor does he/she even care that they destroy a person through their manipulation – it is more like a conditioned function. A prime example of this is the Narcissist’s lack of connection to their own biological children when they move on or better yet run away from a spouse or partner because they have been busted. So in these two respects the Narcissist is not totally aware of his/her behavior because they are not wired or they conditioned themselves not to care. BUT the Narcissist is conscious of the deception they use to get what they want, and know when they have to run, so again they just do not care as long as it supports their needs and they don’t look back because they can’t AND they HAVE to have newer supply to survive. So we can say that the Narcissist has basically conditioned themselves to be abusive to get what they want. Narcissists naturally devalue their targets/victims as well by their daily doses of managing them down. Do they know right from wrong? Well the Narcissist will outwardly lie to cover up their deception as well and that is a conscious defense mechanism of theirs and if that doesn’t work and they are threatened with accountability they will rage and apply blame to their target/victim to alleviate any and all responsibility being placed on them to the point of destruction. So in the end it is always your fault and the Narcissist defaults back to their grandiose self through the use of many different tools to avoid accountability and runs away from exposure. It SEEMS like a cognitive function in making these choices.
We all understand that if we want ‘something’ to happen we must do ‘something’ to achieve the desired result and so does the Narcissist. If you look at the manipulative aspect of a Narcissist, YES they are aware that they are manipulating you, just part of the covert operation to seduce you in. So you must believe that when they want something from you, they will tell you what you want hear, or do what they need to do to get what they want, knowing full well that he/she is lying, betraying, as well as the Narcissist has absolutely no intention of delivering on any promises that they made WITHIN the manipulation process. The Narcissist wants ABSOLUTELY everything on THEIR terms and they don’t concern themselves with how you will feel about it OR anything about YOU. You are ONE of MANY opportunities that the Narcissist uses to get everything that they want – but they are seamless with the seduction to get you to give into whatever it is they want and make you think you are their ‘one and only!’
Think about the distorted behavior of a drug addict. They will lie, steal, cheat, and manipulate to get their next fix. They most certainly know what they are doing is wrong, but they don’t care, because THEY NEED THAT NEW FIX. This ‘not caring’ has been going on so long that every time they find themselves in a moral conundrum, it gets easier and easier to justify their behavior. All they concern themselves with is getting their next hit or fix, regardless of the consequences to anyone else. The Narcissist in an amazingly similar fashion does EXACTLY the same thing AND all the Narcissist concerns themselves with is obtaining their much needed supply and this outweighs all other considerations.
Most people are guided by their conscience (and usually with a healthy and good conscience,) and stable/good people govern their actions based on real feelings, healthy morals, compassion and the ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes. But what happens when you don’t have any type of moral compass, or when you lack empathy? When none of that is present what is left? To answer this question you need to know exactly what you are dealing with and the level of their emotional impairment. In this instance and article we are dealing with an emotionally and psychologically abusive Narcissist that is dangerous to people and life in general!
A Narcissist does not have the availability of real emotions or empathy as it concerns people or the human condition/connection – people are only objects to the Narcissist. So if you’ve never experienced or KNOW empathy or good emotions before, how do you know they even exists? Because it doesn’t exist for the Narcissist, they tend to think that when you display or express emotion or empathy, your behavior is a put on and false. Your behavior is just as much of a mystery to them as the Narcissist’s behavior is to you – this is how deeply they delude themselves. The only big difference is that the Narcissist isn’t sitting around thinking about your behavior, he/she is only thinking about themselves. Often times the Narcissist is quite surprised that their behavior has offended you, because your reaction and how it would affect you, never even crossed their mind. Secondly they are not feeling any adverse reactions like you do to the ‘love loss’ because there is no love, no loss to them, no feelings, and again no emotions. The game just goes on with them. But then again how did they get to the point that they can make this comparison if they don’t know emotions or empathy? Again there is a cognitive process going on that drives their conscious mind.
So basically what this amounts to is falling in love (or loving depending upon the relationship) with a zombie that is always after your brain. BUT this zombie is manipulative, shrewd, seductive, and one big lie that will extort whatever they can get from you. This zombie is also very envious of life, angry to the point of rage always boiling at the surface and ready to attack at any real or perceived insult that threatens their fake mask of sanity. So you have a creature with out of control needs, a horrendous temper to protect their insanity toward people and life, a liar, manipulator, and thief, etc., all bundled up in a love story! It is an incredulous and hideous process to have dealt with one of these creatures.
So is a Narcissist aware of their behavior and that what they are doing is wrong? Yes and no. Some of their behaviors are so ingrained in their neural pathways that they’ve become habitual and they usually don’t give it much thought – BUT that doesn’t make it right OR they are unaware of what they do. But when a Narcissist is stalking prey and trying to get what he/she wants AND in the moment that Narcissist is aware of what they are doing. The Narcissist has perfected their attack and knows that they are misleading you, but they just don’t care.
All of us are able to rationalize and justify our actions to some degree, a Narcissist just does it on a grander and very delusional scale. Mainly because they are missing or completely void of integral emotional components that impairs their ability to consider the feelings of others. Because a Narcissist doesn’t consider how their actions will affect you, there isn’t really a right or wrong component included in their decision making process. Since your feelings were never even a tiny consideration to him/her, when the Narcissist hurts you they can easily absolve themselves of any wrong doing, because hurting you wasn’t something they necessarily intended to do, it was just part of the collateral damage to get what they wanted. If you are hurt that is your fault. I remember my Narcissist’s mother saying to me one time that ‘so and so’ (my Narcissist) would lie when they were a child if they did something that would hurt somebodies feelings, because the little Narcissist wanted to protect the feelings of others. No consideration of what the little Narcissist did that was very wrong that hurt the person (accountability,) but somehow there was goodness in lying to cover up the truth. I am sure my eyebrows were raised at the time! Now that the little Narcissist is all grown up and they do it on a magnanimous scale and destroy families. Trickledown effect?
The bottom line is, whether or not a Narcissist is aware their behavior is wrong is just irrelevant as it concerns us. The question you should be asking yourself is, ‘Why am I still involved with a person who displays this destructive Narcissistic behavior?’ ‘What am I getting out of this?’ AND most importantly ‘When am I getting out of this?’ When these ‘what’s and when’s’ appear in our vocabulary it is usually too late because at that point we realize that we have lived in a horrible battle zone called emotional and psychological abuse and the damage is done.
The emotionally unavailable behavior of a Narcissists quite clearly points to the fact that this is a relationship that is totally one-sided. The façade to cover up the Narcissist’s delusional and harmful aspects describes the reality of the destruction and damage they impart onto their targets/victims. They blow hot and cold in their relationships, they’re self-centered, they have an entitlement mentality and they don’t take responsibility for any of their actions AT ALL. They have a difficulty forming attachment bonds with others and tend to have huge emotional walls built because of their disorder that doesn’t allow any real bonding to occur. They can’t even form a real bond with their biological children and can dump them just as easy as anybody else! The Narcissist will fight you tooth and nail to escape from being exposed even if this means completely destroying your integrity and leaving a family behind.
Narcissists have a weak, fragile self-esteem and completely depend on others for validation and their sense of self-worth. Narcissists need to feed off of the admiration and esteem of others, like people need oxygen to breath and water to drink. Without it they withdraw and spiral into a deep depression this is why they form their longer term relationships to assure the availability of 24/7 supply. But they will sneak out and find more sources of supply when they have the opportunity to do so. This need makes them predator-like and willing to say and do whatever’s necessary to obtain another’s affections so they get what they want quickly and seamlessly.
When Narcissists do engage in long term relationships, the most prevalent thing that is missing is a sincere or REAL emotional bond. Many partners, targets/victims of Narcissists have said that they never really could get close to them and therefore never really knew them at all. I for one NEVER really knew my Narcissist at all! Narcissists are not nostalgic about any one person, place, or thing. Nothing seems to hold any deep sentimental value or emotional attachment for them. They compartmentalize everything and everyone as a source of supply, and can have many different supply sources going on at one time (different relationships.) Each source of supply gets their own personalized relationship with a Narcissist because they are so adept at shape shifting to fit exactly into a particular situation that benefits or serves them. They lie, manipulate, con and lack the ability to feel empathy or remorse so they do what they want without a conscience. They have poor impulse control and engage in high risk behavior all the time. Narcissists have a high sense of entitlement and a very smug demeanor of getting what they want and not caring. Their emotions are either nonexistent, or so far off the emotional chart that they don’t even resemble anything near the ‘real’ human connection.
In the end of my connection to the Narcissist I knew, I was totally in shock with the truth as it became apparent to me. I had believed that there was betrayal and lies, but I never knew the extent of this betrayal, and not only to me but to this Narcissist’s previous relationships that included a family and children. This Narcissist lacked morality so much so that if I were to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 and 10 being an ethical and highly moral/good person, and 1 being low or next to no morals, my Narcissist would be in the minus thousands and more. My Narcissist was/is a derelict that wears an amazing mask, façade and armor. This Narcissist has literally destroyed many people with horrendous lies that I can’t even begin to wrap my head around as to why a person would act out in the manner this Narcissist does. There is so much dysfunction and chaos attached to this Narcissist’s past that virtually extends into every relationship, friendship, family connection, job, involvement in organizations – or basically EVERYTHING. If you would connect the dots in each of these situations there is such a strong pattern that is so apparent especially around derelict sexuality (betrayal) and how this Narcissist has attempted to destroy so many peoples integrity to escape accountability for their lifestyle. It is not in my realm to understand and I don’t want to understand because all I needed was the truth to close the door and I did just that. That is what we MUST do to move forward and heal.
So ask yourself what type of connection would you still want with a Narcissist? Do you want to be their savior and healer, or save yourself to be free again to love and heal from the damage inflicted onto and into you? Think about what you gave and what was given in return. Think about the dark shadows this Narcissist travels to get their fix from life and other human beings. With my Narcissist it was/is sex sites and a constant search for a fix with strangers betraying everybody and anybody, but then the next day this Narcissist will be preaching on a pulpit and hiding behind religion, morality, ethics, etc., and blaming and shaming people for what this Narcissist does and has done.
It is an awful perception and reality when you know you believed as you have been taught to believe in people and love and then find out that your mind was raped by one of these creatures AND they are out there raping someone else’s mind. BUT unfortunately you have to push this aside so that you can recover from this abuse completely or live out your life with the regret of being abused by a Narcissist. You can’t save their next target/victim because they are imprisoned by the same manipulation and abuse that you were. You also have to accept the fact that you MUST protect yourself from this creature pulling you back into the abuse, because once you have wounded them they have a new game plan to destroy whatever they can as it concerns you to avoid exposure. Luckily for me, my Narcissist knows that I know something that can be so completely devastating to their existence and like a coward my Narcissist ran off with only a few minions still praising and supporting this Narcissist – BUT still abusing newer targets and still trying to bury all of abuse inflicted on me and many others. I used my voice and allowed it to grow in a manner to share my experience and it has become very strong and it will keep growing as long as this abuse is still going on. This is their world and one we cannot share any part of, so please internalize this description and picture of what a Narcissist is and release yourself from any blame or shame and accept that they are disordered and not fully functioning human beings and unfortunately you fell into their trap. PLEASE go no/minimal contact and run for your life and never stop to turn around and look back! Forget about everything Narcissist and give yourself the self-compassion you need to heal and move forward! Greg
“Am I crazy?” “What is WRONG with me?” “I feel empty and worthless!” “I can’t move on and I am stuck in this nothingness and lost the ability to rejoin life!” These are the burning questions, thoughts and comments from many targets, victims and SURVIVORS of this abuse AND basically trauma responses and trauma triggers. This is important because too many targets/victims are not achieving complete recovery and living in total despair.
This is a theory that is an offset of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and that is Post Traumatic Narcissism Syndrome (PTNS) which I am defining in real terms. PTNS is a condition in which the affected person’s memory, emotional, and physical systems have been traumatized just like with PTSD but while STILL being in the relationship with their Narcissist. PTNS is more apt to be described as an ‘ongoing’ or day to day trauma experience from the abuse and not a diagnosis BUT in time will develop into PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder!) For targets/victims still in the abuse cycle, certain flashbacks of the abuse turns up repeatedly with endless variations from so much that has occurred in the past and present. It is personality altering and targets/victims can display many signs of this trauma that can seem as if they are suffering from some sort of disabling psychological issue – WHEN in fact they are showing the signs of the abuse/trauma. A Narcissist will even use this against a target/victim during the discard by pushing them so much so to capitalize on target/victims reactions in a manner to set them up and look like they are angry or raging mad, overemotional, obsessed OR crazy! It helps the already backstabbing Narcissist’s ‘smear campaign’ waged against the target/victim in the end. The truth of course is that the Narcissist has pushed the target/victim to the edge and hoping that they fall off.
There was an old term that described the trauma that soldiers experienced in previous wars called ‘Shell Shock’ that sort of gives a similar representation of what it is like to live in this ongoing war zone with a Narcissist. Shell shock was a term coined to describe the reaction of some soldiers in World War I in response to the trauma of the ongoing battle. It was a reaction to the intensity of the bombardment and fighting that produced a helplessness, panic and being scared, an inability to reason normally, sleep, walk or talk. Being in a psychologically abusive atmosphere like that with a Narcissist is like being in a battle where the target/victim is constantly attacked with ‘psychological bombs.’ The target/victim can only take cover and without the ability to deal with the lateral damage because they are unaware of the real enemy AND when they are going to attack!
Targets/victims tend to remain in a large part totally controlled by the abusive Narcissist, keeping their mind and emotions in bondage because of the psychological bombs the Narcissist uses or how the Narcissist psychologically pounces on their target/victim without warning as if in a war. Unfortunately the target/victim doesn’t realize they are in a war zone though. This elicits a terrible and terrifying combination of helplessness and rage, AND unbearable feelings that had to be suppressed for the target/victim to stay in the relationship. These are the symptoms of PTNS or again the day to day trauma struggles.
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Narcissism Syndrome: Flashbacks or constant awareness of the cruel behavior, lies, manipulation, betrayal, etc. and basically the trauma associated with it all and trying to rationalize all of this as ‘that promised love.’ Hyper-arousal as it concerns the fear of most everything that concerns the relationship AND even personal safety. Fear seems to be all around you as if you can’t trust your own natural instincts to reason why you are feeling this way or why you can’t resolve this constant fear. It can be overwhelming in the sense that it causes such anxiety as it concerns simple things you were able to do so freely prior to the start of the devaluation phase from the abuse. Hypervigilance is a response of the fear you feel, or a type of scanning your immediate environment for constant threats as it concerns life and especially when the Narcissist is in your presence. Irritability that seems to surround so many normal things that are just part of your daily life. Depression and guilt or that feeling of hopelessness and anxiety. Multiple physical complaints like sore muscles/bones, headaches, exhaustion and feeling like you are always coming down with something. Feeling numb like you are physically there in your immediate environment but not actually feeling it. An impaired concentration and memory loss. Forgetting simple everyday things. Avoidance and isolation from family and friends. Disturbed sleep patterns and distressing dreams and exhaustion! Your mind is always in a pattern that is like the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome but you don’t know why! Clinically it is simply described as being in ‘the fog’ but it describes many confusing and fearful experiences directly related to the relationship.
I remember in my personal situation that in one breath I was looking forward to us getting together (the anticipation) and even excited, about being together when my Narcissist arrived for the weekend. BUT then I also remember a deep overwhelming feeling of anxiety that would set in too. I accepted and ignored the anxiety as part of the reality of this relationship for some reason. I guess I didn’t know what to do with this feeling because it was tangible to me, but unexplainable as far as any one thing I could put my finger on. If I had to explain it something was terribly wrong but I just couldn’t explain EXACTLY what it was at the time, BUT I took ownership of it. It was the WHOLE RELATIONSHIP and the reason I couldn’t put my finger on it is because I would have needed thousands of fingers to accomplish this task because it was the deep seated psychological abuse that had imprinted itself in my mind and heart and NOW manifested as anxiety. A Target/victim cannot accomplish this with a simple ‘ah ha’ and walk away because by the time they realize the truth it is too late and the abuse has manifested itself and disabled them. They are already in the battle zone experiencing the shellshock and there is no cover for them or way to escape! It is this consistent fear that nothing around me was right, that everything could/would go wrong at any given moment BUT then again maybe not. That is a shrewd and seamless battle plan (manipulation) on the Narcissist’s part like they are playing hide and seek with emotions through this horrendous manipulation so we are never on solid ground. Would it be the ‘love bombing’ or the horrible psychological pounce?
This is that cognitive dissonance – one reality verses the other – the confusion that is ALWAYS there and what debilitates our normal reasoning to see the truth. I would feel anxious around my Narcissist as if any minute something was going to go wrong and it usually did – that was the conditioning that the Narcissist is so adept at. I would feel so alone and as if I was only going through the motions of our time together and almost pretending to be a part of something that was real but then again not real at all – pure CONFUSION. I wasn’t an individual anymore, because my worth was diminished to that of an object or objectified. I was of no more importance than what that Narcissist wanted or needed from me. Just like a car, a washing machine, or whatever, and there were many other objects in this Narcissist’s life as well. We all had our roles and we were none the wiser as far as knowing that this was a huge sham, scam, con job, etc., BUT we were all chained to our roles psychologically.
I felt like I was in front of a judge waiting for my verdict AND with every single thing I tried to do. It wasn’t my insecurities, it was the constant managing down that became a given. What I devised as plans AND before we got together that made me so happy were changed when my Narcissist was there and in front of me. I would just put myself into a task but feeling anxiety and exhausted for some reason. I would even hope at times that there would be an argument so all of this would stop and my Narcissist would leave because it was overwhelming at times. I always knew everything I did would be questioned, made wrong, and turned into something where my motives were questioned. Then there were the out of nowhere arguments that might come up where I was accused of something I didn’t do and then the rage. I could never engage in a personal conversation without feeling like I was being interrogated or led into a situation where I was made to feel insignificant and whatever I took the time to do in good faith was destroyed. I NEVER FELT COMFORTABLE with the person that said they loved me more than life itself. Seriously after my Narcissist left there would be this wave of relief that would flush over me but yet I was right in there trying to get this relationship back on track and working. I would seriously have to take a nap because I was so exhausted after my Narcissist went home! This was an extremely angry person that was seriously scary BUT I tried to be a savior in the name of that once perfect PROMISE of real love. It was so dysfunctional from the get go and it required some amazing psychological magic for this Narcissist to disable me as much as they did to keep me hanging on. Yes I take responsibility for some weaknesses within me but it is not just ME as in my fault, this is why it is called ABUSE. That is why terms like ‘brainwashing’ and ‘gas-lighting’ are used in the clinical definition of this abuse. WE ARE NOT STUPID OR WEAK PEOPLE! We are human beings just like the men/woman that experience trauma from war, or an accident, or a terrorist attack. Trauma is not a normal aspect of life, it is induced upon a person from a terrible event that happens into their life! Nobody wants to be traumatized. Narcissist traumatize to control their target/victims and gain that power they need over people!
Unfortunately what I just wrote is what makes people wonder just why we stayed or allowed this to continue. Well very simply a Narcissist is just shrewd enough to have tricked us into that perfect love first and then dangled it in front of us, giving a little, taking a little, giving a lot and taking a lot. This is emotional and psychological abuse. It was CONDITIONING to keep us in the cycle of abuse, or controlling/conditioning us. They are very good at their ability to con people because it serves them in every way. They harvest people for THEIR needs ONLY, this is their way of life and survival and they have to be this good to live among us. They also have to wage that destructive war to escape responsibility and exposure or they would be cast off forever.
So how does this relate to a Narcissist and abuse? A Narcissist is a person who deprives their partners of the ability to feel joy and love as a separate person in relationships or basically sucks the life out of them. They deliberately attempt to destroy or compromise the separate identity of another person or objectify them. They immobilize their target/victim, numb them or whatever term best describes what they do to break into our hearts and minds, gain our trust, and then extort what they can. The longer the relationship continues, the narcissist not only becomes less considerate, but actively crueler in MANY different subtle to very overt ways. Many victims end up feeling hollow because the narcissist squeezes them like a boa constrictor wrapping itself around its prey. The emotional deprivation, physical and mental torture can result in a type of soul murder. Brainwashing their partners into believing they are the problem keeps the emotional bondage going. The Narcissist conditions the target/victim into this role through constant managing down, punishment tactics, betrayal, manipulation, lies, and a vast arsenal of tools. This leaves survivors not knowing what they want and what they feel, or what they have done and what has been done to them and what they NEED to do.
A target/victim might question whether the abuse really did happen and accept a role as being the source of the problem from all of the blame and managing down by the Narcissist! Acknowledging victimization and being abused is crucially important to the person’s ability to control obsessive thoughts of the past and recover. The survivor can then begin to separate and achieve independence from the Narcissist and release all of the negative messages the Narcissist planted in his/her head, heart and soul.
It is also important that you do not turn this new awareness or acceptance against yourself. For example, “I am SO angry at him/her, but I’m even angrier at myself for putting up with it and how stupid I am for not seeing any of this!” Use self-compassion to forgive yourself. AGAIN this is that message that the Narcissist has tattooed on your head that YOU need to blame yourself and feel worthless for anything and everything. Just practice being alert or aware to self-blaming and change the negative thoughts when you hear them cycling through your head. Tell yourself to stop and say out loud ‘get out of my head.’ Break the thought process with a counter process like voicing the TRUTH to yourself that this was abuse. Similar to this is constantly questioning the Narcissist’s ‘personality disorder’ in a manner that you try to analyze them, their motives, or better yet comparing them to a normal person with healthy personality traits. Trying to figure out why they can’t love or why they ‘faked’ loved, or why they would so overtly abuse your love is futile. Simply put Narcissist’s are disordered and they act out against people AND it is just A FACT OF THEIR LIFE and you can’t change them or heal them. You have to purge all of this out of you and find your “OK” with this even as insurmountable as the task is, or you will be chained to the abuse forever. This is about you and only you now and surviving means that you must rejoin the real world and trust again as well as love again. You do not deserve a prison sentence for life by locking yourself up in your mind that was totally distorted and disabled by what amounts to a not fully functioning human being or better yet a real life monster.
You must break the cycle to completely put yourself in a space to understand that their every motive was to pull you into their negativity and darkness as well as to extort what they could even your goodness. They will string you along with promises to ONLY draw you back in to punch you in the heart and brain one more time, and another time, and as often as you give them the opportunity. They will put bait out there to fool you into believing that they care or love you only to ‘bait and switch’ your thought processes once again to dehumanize you, make you wrong, make you react to them, and hurt you – THEN use it against you. They want the reaction because it keeps you connected to them and processing their abuse. That is their gift to good people – abuse and destruction!
Another step in recovering from this abuse is recognizing that you are angry and admitting it. It is essential to uncover those raw feelings, so you can begin the process of healing. Know where the anger is coming from inside of you. Any emotions that you repress are harmful and will keep you trapped and powerless to face the situation or feel real happiness again. Acknowledging the anger that is usually disguised as depression and anxiety allows you to decide what to do about it (complete awareness of the situation and acceptance,) and then dealing with it by raising your thoughts to a higher plane of knowledge instead of staying within the cycle of emotions that keep you connected at the hip to this Narcissist. The Narcissist accepts all attention as supply – especially the negativity that they have forced onto and into you. This is what powers their omnipotence and gives them substance as well as makes you fear their retribution and helps them escape from being exposed.
Another step is to understand why you are so angry. Are you angry because you have been hurt, used, extorted, is it emotional damage, is it financial damage, etc.? The fact is that a Narcissist has emotionally impoverished and disabled you AND taken whatever else they could get their hands on, they are basically thieves of love and life. Are you resentful because the Narcissist has moved on within a few hours or days of the discard? Are you angry because of the huge ‘smear campaign’ and loss of your good integrity? All of these are valid reasons to be angry BUT this is what this predator does to everyone and you did not sign a contract with them to be abused, they conned you into their derelict lifestyle. You are a victim of this abuse, you didn’t ask to be abused, or knew from the very day you met them that they were a Narcissist or any of the above. Yes it is just so hideous to believe that you could have been conned so completely and lost many years of your life – BUT these creatures are out there looking for their targets because they need people to feed off of to survive. It is wrong without a doubt, but unfortunately until the awareness of this abuse is taken to a higher level and these creatures are made accountable for their actions, they will keep on abusing. They have an edge and advantage by blaming us for their actions and saying WE are the abusers, or crazy and turn the tables around on us to avoid exposure. They have been ten steps ahead of the game like any intuitive career criminal is – they leave no fingerprints!
Remember that that your emotional roller coaster ride and mood swings are/were directly related to the stress of living in a battle always dodging the Narcissist’s land mines which can feel like a mental health disorder. Basically the Narcissist has disabled you AND made you mentally ill with all of their brain washing, gas-lighting, manipulation, conditioning and managing down. That is all real, but YOU have the ability to change and fix all of this with the truth and reality of KNOWING what is fact now. Educate yourself, see the patterns through the voices of other targets/victims and survivors. The trauma is real and also disables you – understanding your enemy shuts the battle down.
Once your anger is purged out of you and in the open (or surfaced) it is less likely to cause problems for you. If it stays bottled up inside of you it will keep you in the gravitational pull of the Narcissist. This is ambient abuse where the abuse has found a permanent home in you and will stay there until you evict it once and for all like a deadbeat tenant that doesn’t pay rent and is destroying a rental property. It is necessary for you to make these changes because you are the one who has been disabled, or made sick by the existing situation of this abuse. The Narcissist is not there to help you recover they are the perpetrator. Your ability to live and enjoy what you are doing, reviving your daily living patterns, and your recovery from PTNS and PTSD are constantly influenced by emotions that keep you connected to this Narcissist. Nurturing yourself when you are hurting is imperative. Devote time each day to doing things that make you feel good. Establishing a daily routine is essential to your mental health. Get professional help if needed. Invest in your well-being ALONE so that you can create what you need, deserve, and want in a relationship with yourself. You are recovering from an extremely traumatizing situation that may have been your reality for years. PLEASE invest in yourself because this is your life and you deserve happiness, love and acceptance.
A little bit more to help understand this process! If you overload an electrical system at home by pulling too much energy (or too much stimulation,) the circuit breaker activates and shuts everything down. The human nervous system is also an electrical system, and when it is overloaded with too much stimulation OR too much danger, as in TRAUMA, it also shuts down to just the basics. This is that feeling of numbness, or being in shock or feeling totally empty inside. Targets/victims should see a professional to help with this trauma but that is not always possible.
Most people have not experienced so much primary trauma/psychological abuse (daily) like a target/victim of this abuse does at the hands of a Narcissist. Those that have experienced trauma through a life changing event like a terrible accident, school shooting, etc., see a professional counselor immediately and thoroughly tell their stories and purge out the horrific images. A target/victim of this abuse can partially work through their feelings by involving the people they are close to. They do it by telling their story hundreds and thousands of times and that is how they reach out for help. They need to talk it out and repeat the traumatizing aspects of this complete loss that can involve many years of their life. That is the means by which a target/victim begins to dispel the feelings of distress attached to all of their memories and the deep psychological damage. This trauma includes cognitive dissonance or the polar opposite realities that there was real love, but there wasn’t and this becomes compounded after the discard when the truth unfolds! Just more trauma to deal with!
This is for family and friends! The more that these traumatizing feelings CAN be encouraged to come out the better. Unfortunately the best friend, family member, or whomever the target/victim talks to cannot be there in the capacity that the target/victim needs them. If the target/victim is STILL in the relationship they are living through trauma every day and the person you once knew may seem so different – this is a sign that this person needs your help desperately. It will become overwhelming to hear the stories over and over again. Also if a person has NOT experienced this abuse the stories will sound so incredulous that they may respond negatively to the target/victim in a manner that puts more blame and shame on them. It is a catch twenty-two for the target/victim because there seems to be nowhere to turn and sometimes they become one of the lost that never recover. What may seem like too many complaints from the target/victim and they should ‘just move on’ is a desperate cry for help that gets lost because of the severity of the experience and need to talk. But the reality is that there are therapists that deal with trauma that are available and a good source to seek out. Also there are survivors and other targets/victims on different sites that will help, share, provide guidance, etc. The more you feel and expel the more you heal and move forward. The point here is to purge it all out and then close the door completely to the Narcissist and the abuse and move on to healing, setting boundaries and desensitizing all of the negative messages.
This abuse is so destructive at so many levels. Imagine the child of a Narcissistic parent that grew up with this abuse. The child is reared in a manner that they believe they are worthless, they never had a chance in life to grow up normally with unconditional love and acceptance to walk out into the world and grow or survive without confusion, fear and feeling worthless. The same for the spouse of a Narcissist that stayed in the relationship because of marriage or children and after many years they are discarded, disabled and destroyed by the years of psychological abuse. How do they get back to life after 25 years of marriage with a Narcissist? It doesn’t matter about the length of time because this abuse is universally debilitating. This is a hideous abuse and our voices are imperative in getting a message out to the world that help has to be available to targets/victims. We can’t define or give a prognosis based solely on a definition of what a Narcissist is. There has to be tried and true standards and a methodology set up that is completely about recovery and making life changes. They are predators and abusers period. Energy must be put into recovery methods for the abused! Please start with no/minimum contact and use your voice so the world understands how dangerous and destructive a Narcissist is! Become a survivor that shares your knowledge to help heal others! Greg
We hear the term “Share your voice”, “Find your voice”, etc. quite frequently in recovery. As a writer on the topic of recovery from narcissistic abuse, it’s one I use frequently without ever directly talking about what “your voice” actually means and the power it holds and why so many abusive people respond to it aggressively in an attempt to silence it.
First of all, your voice, isn’t just the audible sounds coming from your vocal chords. That’s just a vehicle that pierces the Silence. Your voice is actually more than that – It pierces the silent atmosphere that boundary violations, disrespect, marginalized treatment and abuse thrive in. It’s an audible right that you claim by speaking up, to say that what you have to say, and that the truth you have to speak as if it is worth BEING HEARD; even if YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO THINKS SO. Other names to describe “your voice” are: assertiveness, worthiness, truth, honesty, your reality, your side of the story, your feelings, your validation, your weigh in, your vote, your opinion.
While you share your voice in many situations, we are going to discuss situations where your rights and boundaries are being violated and where you make the decision to assert your “voice” in order to protect yourself, have your needs considered equitably and to be involved in matters of importance that concern you.
If you were raised in a dysfunctional / narcissistic household, you were taught at a very early age, many messages about your voice: “Kids should be seen; not heard”, “Your opinions don’t matter”, “Be Quiet! , “You don’t say that about mom, dad, aunt Sue, Uncle Charlie”…etc. Kids have such a keen ability to see the obvious negative and subtle messages about people and their true character. We often hear the term, “Out of the mouths of babes” , which illustrates the brute honesty that kids approach the world and the people in it. If you were an honest kid, who called things like you saw them, asking questions that made sense logically but were met with disdain, you were likely also branded the “scapegoat” in the family.
Scapegoats pick up this dysfunctional family moniker for being truthful and outspoken about realities that those living in a dysfunctional cycle do NOT want to see. In order to silence the harshness of the reality that you’re asking them to face, they will label YOU the troublemaker and do anything within their power, and as adults they have it, to SILENCE YOU.
How does it feel to be silenced? It’s Frustrating. Hurtful. It sends the message that you don’t matter. You wonder why others get to express their feelings and thoughts, even when you see that they aren’t honest, and yet you are shut down, forced to eat your words, shamed, told you are bad, inappropriate, starting problems, or ARE the problem. It’s isolating. You learn very early on that sharing your voice, your truth, your thoughts, your feelings are a bad thing and that you’re a “bad person” for doing so.
Overcoming scapegoat labels and the continual messages that your voice is caustic, is a terrible legacy. It sets you up as an adult to be the person who will be easily silenced when confronted with abuse. How else does abusive behavior continue but with a complicit, silent partner who has learned to excuse the unexcusable, to defend the undefendable and to agree to hide the secrets of a person whose life would be destroyed by the truth if only YOU were courageous enough to share it.
Narcissists purposefully choose those who are vulnerable to keeping secrets and not sharing their voices. They want to know they’ve chosen someone with whom their secret is safe. What’s their secret? WHO THEY REALLY ARE. A narcissist doesn’t dare risk showing their unmasked, bullying, abusive, lying, cheating, immoral, perverted, addicted, conning, conniving selves to someone who is confident to tell on them and who is carrying a bullhorn ready to blast it out to the world what happens behind closed doors. That’s too much a risk of exposure that would send their shanty house of cards crumbling to the table.
The narcissist is VERY AWARE when you are speaking in an assertive powerful way and will take that powerful speech as a threat to their abusive system. If you begin to assert your rights in conversation or “demand” in words or action that your needs matter as much as the narcissist’s do, you will begin to be seen and treated as a THREAT.
Narcissists will use any and all tactics available in their arsenal of abusive techniques to get you to stop speaking up:
1. Preventing You
Someone preventing you from speaking is in effect, shutting down your voice. No one can hear you when the narcissist is preventing you from speaking. Ignoring you when you’re talking, talking over you, changing the subject, bringing it back to themselves are all forms of preventing you from sharing your voice. Prevention can also include: Making fun of you in front of others so that you stop speaking, Isolating you entirely, and Legal abuse where a narcissist obtains gag orders or other injunctions against freely speaking. – all these verbally abusive statements send these messages: YOU DONT MATTER. What you have to say is of no importance to me or anyone, just be quiet. I have the power over you to silence you. Don’t share your voice.
Examples: “Shut up!”, “Who asked you?!” , “If I wanted your opinion I would ask for it”.
2. Shaming, Blaming, Projecting
Here, the narcissist doesn’t just attack superficial qualities about you, they go for the core of you. By “punishing” you with shame, blame and projection, they are brainwashing you to associate speaking up with a defect of your character at your core. Calling you names, bullying you with verbal abuse, Blaming you for “always” being wrong, or starting problems, assigning motivations to your actions that only you could know about, and projecting their flaws onto you are effective ways to get you to stop sharing information.
Examples: “You’re such an attention getter! You always start drama! Why can’t you just leave well enough alone. Youre so selfish to bring this up! Narcissistic even! You always just want to tell lies to get attention!”
Narcissists are very scary people when they aren’t getting their way or fear exposure.
When you’re in a relationship with them, they’ll threaten abandonment, physical abuse, breaking your things, sharing private secrets with others, leaving you or “pressing charges” /accusing you of things that you’ve never done. The list of threats go on and on, but basically they’ll use whatever they can about you, against you until you stop speaking up, speaking out or sharing your voice either with them directly or with others.
When leaving them, they will literally do anything and stoop to lows you didn’t think people could stoop to. We’ve onlly seen or heard about them on one of those made for tv movies, where people are hired as hit men, or husbands are run over in their cars or poisoned by vengeful narcissistic ex partners or family members. These people are not just your normal, exit strategists. They go for the KILL. Sometimes, literally threatening the life of their former targets. Which shows the level of fear they have of exposure, the greater the threat, the more they feel they have to lose.
Examples: “If you tell x, Im going to _______” , “You Might not want to do that . . . ” , “If you do or don’t do ___, I will _____”
4. The Smear Campaign
This is that “special” little coupe de gras, “parting shot” of the narcissist that you’ve likely never encountered until your departure from a truly malignant /diagnosable narcissist.
Whole articles cover this particular “entity” that is part and parcel with your experiences with a narcissist. Let me address it with brevity. A smear campaign is the narcissist’s last and only chance to CONTROL YOU and the PR SURROUNDING THEMSELVES.
It’s things that companies deal with frequently when letting go, key employees who may walk away with a tale or two to tell about the “inner workings of the company”. They have a reputation to keep afterall with the community, so they frequently will ask employees to sign a “Non disclosure agreement” usually in return for a pittance of cash to buy your silence.
If narcissist’s had this tactic legally available to them, without tipping their hand that they are aware they’ve openly abused you, they’d hop on this. Instead, they take the dirty criminal, rat’s route in an attempt to win the same outcome as the one done by legal means.
Narcissists are aware that the first person to speak out and secure their position in the annuls of “public opinion” is the one who will appear to be the genuine “victim” and they know that the “Best defense is a good offense”. In the unraveling of an interpersonal relationship, the narcissist will begin paving the way, LONG before you realize that your “relationship” is on the decline. They’ll plant seeds of doubt about YOU in others’ minds to discredit YOU so that whenever you decide to start talking about them, you won’t be believed. Usually your own people first. They know that by destabilizing your support system against you, that it will destabilize you to find yourself lacking the support you need to fight, when they launch their second blow: the public tribunal.
Here, the narcissist enlists people you DONT KNOW by using sympathy about how you are so crazy, hard to handle, irrational, and how the poor narcissist just can’t deal with you alone anymore, or they might get them to provide “witness statements” about your “crazy behavior” to gang up with them, as their defenders and YOUR oppressor.
You come to discover that you have not only a fraudulent narcissist on your hands but a troop of accusers, blamers and crucifixionists ready to hang you on the cross for actions that aren’t true against you. You turn to your own supporters and find many of them switching ranks and joining forces with your abuser.
Targets end up fighting a smear campaign battle when we’re least ready to handle it. Exhausted from the battle and abuse of our relationships, we aren’t prepared to fight another battle so soon, just to share the truth. The smear campaign wages battle against your character, destroying your reputation, your relationships, your finances, and ultimately your health.
Here’s an example from my own story as an illustration of threatening and the smear campaign:
At my 3rd year with the narcissist, I had a life threatening event that caused me to take my needs more seriously. I was finding my voice, in response to coming face to face with my own mortality. I began asserting my need for follow through from the narcissist who had made me many promises regarding our relationship. When I began speaking up, we began having many “fights”. I was unknowingly challenging the narcissist’s need to have all the power in our relationship and his unfair need to not be asked to be responsible for his promises to me. As long as I was willing to idly sit by and passively accept what he gave me without complaint, then we would have continued to be in a relationship. When I began speaking up, I began “rocking the boat of our abusive, one sided relationship”.
The narcissist kept upping his ante and moved into a more strategic abuse mode to shut me up, because he realized that I was not as satisfied with lip service as I had been in the past. He began threatening to have me fired (no I did NOT work for him, he was interfering with my job to a private employer) he threatened to send private pictures of me to my employer to paint me as an “immoral” character so that I’d be fighting to keep my job instead of fighting him to make good on relational promises. At each step of this escalating abusive dance, I reacted with emotional upset over the things I found him capable of doing to harm me, whereas he, was coldly detached from me as a person; especially someone who he had proclaimed over and over to love deeply. It became apparent to me that, in his eyes, I was just an object who deserved to be destroyed. He became more and more psychopathic in his desire to silence me, ultimately threatening to have me killed.
When you finally find the courage and strength to sever the relationship with an abusive narcissist, you find that you’re no longer under the will of an oppressor. With your freedom, you decide that you no longer have to watch what you say, carefully construct your words, and you aren’t forced (punished) for sharing truths about the narcissist that they can’t admit and can’t stand hearing about themselves. The things you remember now, because you can without punishment, are how the narcissist WASN’T sensitive like they said they were, they WEREN’T honest, like they claim, they AREN’T faithful, kind, or a caring person. In fact, they’re just the opposite of who they say they are: They’re dishonest, immoral, scary, rude, selfish, unthoughtful, inhumane, jealous, possessive, shallow, insecure, immature, petty, problematic, chaotic, trouble making, and quarrelsome. You escape and you’re a built in enemy to a narcissist. You hold the power to ruin them in the eyes of everyone they’ve fooled, with the truth.
In the end, It’s up to each target to decide what truths they want to speak or where they want to share their voices. Being in touch with who you are, what your truth is, and who you want to share it with is a decision that only you can make. Whether or not to share the truth about the narcissist that abused you is also your personal choice. The timing, the details, the audience, are all factors to consider when telling the truth about your abuser. I caution you to give the decision some careful thought and consider the consequences.
The Narcissist’s mind is very disorganized BUT compartmentalized and precariously balanced to meet his/her NEEDS always! We all have our roles to support their grandiose world of lies AND that is what our worth to them comprises. We are only there to ‘feed’ the Narcissist because they NEED us to regulate their false sense of self-worth by consuming Narcissistic Supply from us and others.
We are only lifeless objects in their world! Narcissistic supply is like a drug that the Narcissist is addicted to. Any threat or interruption to their flow of supply compromises the Narcissists psychological integrity and ability to function. This is perceived by the Narcissist as life threatening. It is what is clinically known as Narcissistic injury. A Narcissist needs supply 24/7 so more than likely you are not the ONLY person having a relationship with them – you may be their main source but that doesn’t guarantee anything but disaster. Narcissists are known to have multiple relationships going on at the same time. They are so good at hiding these affairs or the supply on the side, but they are just too needy to be careful enough and they eventually get caught. The Narcissist I knew was/is still on every dating or sex site looking to connect with anybody and pretending to be in a relationship. It gives me material to help educate people about the reality and truth as it concerns a Narcissist! The truth is what we need to internalize and then move forward.
That grandiose, omnipotent and false self is nothing but a concocted and ever changing role the Narcissist creates so that they fit into our world like puzzle pieces. Consider the fact that ‘normal’ people BELIEVE in love and relationships and basically trust that the person they meet and grow with will be normal in return. Most ‘normal’ people are aware of jerks, but many are not aware of a predator called a Narcissist that abuses relationships. Narcissist’s create different roles to match the needs of the next AND the next person that they are conning into their world. We are only a reflection in the
Narcissist’s many mirrors that reflect that grand image back to them and makes them feel real. The Narcissist is incapable of feeling, or experiencing emotions, love, growth or any human dynamic that involves any type of relationship with another. Relationships to them are a means to an end and that is basically extracting supply or conning people into believing they are real participants in a relationship so the Narcissist can extort what they can. The Narcissist has fully mastered the dynamic process of conning the world with the ever changing charades they play with life because the payoff is huge AND the only way they can survive in the REAL world. Their image is also important in this process so they APPEAR to be normal, moral and good because they have to keep their personal demons at bay through their projection (that ‘fake good,’ the accurate ‘bad’ and the ‘real ugly’ projection that seeps out and defines them!) This concept is very hard for ‘normal’ people to understand because we are wired with empathy, love, trust, acceptance and many other qualities that enable bonding and growth with other human beings. The Narcissist depends upon creating and imitating this bond through lies, manipulation and that façade to gain our trust and acceptance into their world because they harvest people to supply them with ALL of their needs.
As rigid as this definition sounds it is merely the truth that any relationship we have with them is based solely on our interpretation, acceptance and belief in that Narcissist’s facade. The Narcissist just plays along as a con artist does. The love, dreams, promises, relationship, marriage, biological children, etc., is just part of the fiction as personal and believable as it all was to you! We are just the ‘new supply’ because this Narcissist is fleeing from their last criminal act of abuse and if you think back they were coming out of a relationship when they met you, and whose fault was it as far as it concerned that last relationship – their ‘ex’s’ fault! Yes they are akin to criminals. We HAVE to accept the truth and define them in the realistic light of what they are to detach from any and all emotional connections. You could get more love from a rock then you could from a Narcissist.
A Narcissist will completely lie to your face, without flinching, and there is absolutely nothing you can do but believe them because you perceive it as a normal conversation and trust that you are talking to a normal and honest person – ESPECIALLY in the beginning when they are charming or seducing you into their world. In fact the Narcissist does not even consider that their lies are lies at all. They ARE the truth to the Narcissist because it is all part of their working agenda to con you in or just what they need to do. It is THEIR ‘game’ and facade that they need to emulate to seduce you into their disorder and support their agenda. This is just your turn to be used and abused because of your unfortunate connection. You were at the right place at the wrong time – or better yet at the wrong place at the wrong time and you are now the latest target/victim. You believe them, because we generally believe people and many of the Narcissist’s lies do not sound or feel like lies because their lies are all encompassing and personal as it concerns seducing us. There are little lies, bigger lies, hideous lies and everything in between – they are ONE BIG LIE.
Unfortunately on this journey the Narcissist will betray, manipulate, prey on your vulnerabilities and make you pay for your involvement with them. Their hate and envy burns inside of them and surfaces as if it is your fault that they are as disordered and they take you down into their darkness. They blame and shame you for their indiscretions in life. WHY – because in time you make them face reality and they SEE their REAL reflection in your eyes. They can’t accept the truth so they act out and make YOU and your amazing love wrong, and disable it as well as you. When you hurt they feel accomplished in the fact that they forced you to feel their pain as retribution for how the world has wronged them. They will never see anything else but fault in people and life and without empathy or the ability to love THEY JUST DON’T CARE! It would be like trying to house train an alligator and inviting it into your home as a beloved pet. It will eat you when it gets the first opportunity because that is what it does and it doesn’t feel anything but perhaps full after its meal! It doesn’t love or regret its actions, it just feeds off of whatever it can get – so does a Narcissist. The Narcissist is adept at luring you into its trap so it is more predatory than the alligator.
We just don’t perceive most things people tell us as ‘out and out’ lies meant to deceive us into an abusive situation, YET ALONE a person whose entire life is built on one huge series of lies to extort and destroy people. Narcissists are pathological liars. From the very beginning of your relationship you placed your trust and hopes in them, derived your energy, direction, stability, and confidence from your association or relationship with them AND it was real to YOU. The Narcissist played right along and even encouraged this special relationship with them, BUT AGAIN this was all fictional and part of their agenda. Unfortunately lying is the Narcissist’s ‘norm,’ so the Narcissist wonders what the problem is because they pretend to be so supportive, pretend to love you, provide you with the benefits of their amazing charm and personality – so they are providing you a service and so what if it comes with a price?
The Narcissist believes they are worth it and then some – you got something out of this so what if they disabled your life completely. If goes far beyond the lies because you are dealing with a creature that is completely void of empathy and can rationalize their lies, betrayal, or how they extort your life out from underneath you and everything else, right down to the damage they have even imposed on their biological children because they are malevolent, and malignant abusers or a NARCISSIST. They completely walk away from their families without a thought except to blame. They will PRETEND to be a loving parent after the fact but that is just more of their façade to maintain that saintly appearance to the outside world. This is their mindset and how they are wired and there is no changing them. This is their Grandiosity that is built right into that façade and every other facade they personally create.
The Narcissist I had the misfortune of knowing had numerous one night stands the first year we were together (and basically all throughout the relationship) – these were more like perverted hookups with anybody that said yes to the Narcissist’s advances from sex sites AND sight unseen. I learned all of this after the fact of course and didn’t realize I met a deviant because the con job was just so seamless and complete with the moral package and everything else. In reality my intuition was questioning that there was a possibility of an affair(s), but I NEVER realized the extent of it and was shocked when I found out the truth – AND who wouldn’t be especially when it is compounded by that HUGE façade of love and embellished by the many other lies.
The second year this Narcissist started another relationship and tried to hide it from me. It is not a matter of them looking for BETTER supply, it is them looking for ANY and constant supply so multiple relationships are a very common occurrence with them. These were not normal or savory people, instead they were people whose lives bottomed out and were consumed by drugs and alcohol, sexual addicts that frequented online sites, etc., and to a Narcissist ‘any port in a storm’ is the norm or easy prey when it comes to supply – especially supply on the side. In reality my Narcissist was no better than the ‘extra supply’ they sought out on the side, BUT very adept or amazing at hiding the truth because it was a lifelong pattern and part of the Narcissist’s dysfunctional disorder. This Narcissist even put a previous marriage (and family) in harm’s way because of this pattern and was caught in the act. Again who was at fault and who was blamed? Did it matter that there were children involved and the embarrassment to them? Basically no to all of it and the ex-spouse was lying because none of this ever happened, just like none of this ever happened to me. Just for a point of reference it was my Narcissist’s mother that revealed these stories concerning the ex-spouse and asked if I knew anything or could shed light on the situation.
To go a little deeper into the reality with my personal example, one of these affairs was with a man that is a known drug addict and dealer, as well as a known criminal that ran a shady business that conned money out of people with shabby and overpriced work. The Narcissist’s mother was one of these people that suffered from the shabby work and THAT is how my Narcissist made the sexual connection (after meeting with the man to get him to do corrective repairs.) It shows the depth of a Narcissist and how they would use ANY opportunity to connect with supply – even if that supply caused the Narcissist’s own mother damage. When I asked why – my Narcissist’s answer was that it was a matter of being seduced into a sexual situation because this man said how gorgeous my Narcissist was. Well now that is a perfectly viable reason for sure – if you are not a fully functioning human being and think the world is just that stupid.
The truth is my Narcissist seduced this loser into the situation because it was easy to do so and that was simply BOTH of their patterns – or two con artists meeting each other and doing what they do best. My narcissist chased after this man and even ended up working for him and lied about that too. I didn’t matter in any of this, nor was there any thought given as to the harm it would cause me and this exact same pattern that existed when my Narcissist was married (prior to us meeting.) No wonder nobody believes us because our stories ARE so incredulous and we sound weak for putting up with this. Who would believe that all of this was going on? I had no concept that is was as extreme as it was. But they are horrendous liars and hide seamlessly behind these lies as well as their out of control world! We sound like we are the ‘crazy ones’ telling these stories or like our life was a three ring circus and somehow we enjoyed the negative attention. When we find out the truth, it is many years later and by then too late because the damage has been done to us!
A Narcissist is an addict to supply so these ‘hookups’ were basically ‘water finding its level’ or where the Narcissist SHOULD really go to meet supply and satisfy their needy addictions. They belong with people at their dark, disgusting, and low level as well as they should stay there and leave good people alone. BUT they need good and amazing people like us to shore up their façade and to make the Narcissist feel some sort of delusional goodness by being at OUR level. It was difficult for me to actualize just how totally perverted this Narcissist was BUT that is because I ‘believed’ in them at the time. Now I know better, and unfortunately I didn’t live in the same community that my Narcissist did and I never knew that this was just my Narcissist’s pattern and what they were/are known for being.
A Narcissist finds acceptance in their consistent one night stands and believe that they are ‘all that and a bag of chips too!’ I don’t mean to make light of an abusive person or situation but this is the truth I had to learn and internalize before I moved on and so completely away from this monster. It raised me to a higher plane that displaced all the negative messages, the blame, and from me being everything from crazy, jealous, dysfunctional and worthless. I along with a prior ex-spouse became a casualty of this Narcissist’s wrath and of course our integrity was smeared by this Narcissist in an attempt to destroy us to avoid exposure. Just what they do! I can recall the crazy stories and lies about my Narcissist’s ex-spouse having affairs, lying, being crazy, etc., etc.
The Narcissist creates a viable support system with their minions or cult members that the Narcissist also lies to and they are none the wiser to this creature’s agenda of abuse or that they are participants in shoring up the Narcissist’s façade of purity and goodness. The Narcissist creates their own little world of lies and fictitious stories that includes a ‘support team’ or minions that they charm into their life also. So if you were to question anything about them and ask one of their minions, they will support the Narcissist’s many lies and say just how amazing they are. That Narcissist is a very shrewd and manipulative creature that controls their complete environment picking and choosing the RIGHT people to support that ‘big lie’ that is their life. The Narcissist will also pull their little minions and soldiers in by enlisting them to support their smear campaign when the time comes that he/she needs them to fight and protect that façade so the Narcissists slithers out of more abuse.
Within the Narcissist’s support system, he/she also expects awe, admiration, adulation, and constant attention commensurate with his/her outlandish stories, assertions, and lies. AGAIN a team to support the Narcissist’s agenda. The Narcissist uses their many ‘surface’ people/friends to reinterpret reality to fit the Narcissist’s fantasies AND lies. Simply put the Narcissist easily charms and seduces these minions to carry out his/her claims to be infallible, superior, talented, skillful, omnipotent, and omniscient. It could be aptly defined as good public relations as far as the Narcissist is concerned because they are basically selling a product – THEMSELVES! In actuality if you were to get real with one of these support minions they could not tell you much more about the Narcissist except what has been drilled into their heads (the lies!) The relationships are just surface friends that don’t go deep by any means nor will you find any sense of history as it concerns the Narcissist’s past because the Narcissist keeps their past away from their present and vice versa AND again based on lies to hide anything unsavory or abusive.
NOW if you were to connect to the very people that were in a past ‘relationship’ with (intimate) you would probably hear the hideous truth about this creature! I sure did – but after the fact unfortunately. Seriously in all of the years that I knew my Narcissist I never met ONE friend from the Narcissist’s past because there were NONE. There were lots of stories about these amazing friends but none materialized! I would always hear this though AND out of the blue like my Narcissist was trying to prove something: “Look at all of the friends I have on Facebook and look at how many you have.” Always a confabulation or a very flimsy ‘image’ of the truth.
These ‘many’ friends were the Narcissist’s cheerleaders that always respond to a picture or event with a compliment and that is as deep as it went. There were no family or exes among the many Facebook friends my Narcissist bragged about. After all was said and done in my personal adventure with a Narcissist I realized that our real role is to babysit these creatures, entertain them, pay their way, and even play ‘love’ with them until the truth becomes apparent about how dysfunctional and dangerous they are. Unfortunately we pay a huge debt for our connections with them.
A Narcissist is not a normal person acting on normal human premises. Look at the many ways you have been punished throughout your relationship say for instance with the silent treatment. This is to make you out as unworthy of consideration from the Narcissist or like dirt beneath his/her feet. Every action or better yet reaction is there positively or negatively to deflect from the truth of what they are and what they are doing behind your back OR learning the truth of their past discretions. They HAVE to constantly deflect from the truth that is why we are devalued AND finally discarded because the truth becomes so apparent and they see it reflected in our responses!
Lies always fill in the blanks and you ACCEPT what they say at face value or you are severely punished. This is the conditioning that a target/victim deals with on a regular basis. Couple this with the managing down constantly to make you feel like you are the disordered one and always over-reacting, jealous, and worthless. The Narcissist is again posing in that mirror, with their pretend grandeur with respect to you and your reactions. Your reactions MUST always reflect their grandeur. They do take an active role in all of this to the point of even believing their delusional depiction of whatever saintly character they are imitating because it is a working part of their con and serves their purpose. They have no reality so whatever opportunity arises to create a working personality they will jump right into the role because of the opportunity of new supply and a new con job. We are the believers that they need so they shrewdly interview us to see just what opportunity is there within us. Add the seduction and the Narcissist has the makings of new supply!
The Narcissist is also an egomaniac and feels so deserving of getting whatever they can from people and life without earning it – this is part of their infliction and what makes them a Narcissist. They are BETTER than everybody, deserving of EVERYTHING they want in life, and above reprise for their actions. It is of no concern to them if they abuse people or break the law to do so. They act out the part of royalty who feel insulted by the ‘ordinary,’ or dealing with unworthy subjects, like you expecting his/her majesty’s affirmation or attention – you are just one of their subjects. It is all part of the fictional novel going on in the Narcissist’s childish mind, that magnanimous work of fiction about themselves in which he/she is the star of a great masterpiece all about themselves. Little children do the same thing in their play fantasies. The Narcissist totally IDENTIFIES with the fictional character that he/she creates in that mirror that is us. You have but a bit part in this show as a character (one of many) that exists to reflect the Narcissist’s greatness through your interactions with them period (and serve their every need!) They will always share how amazing they are and how they have so many friends, how their family and children love them, etc.
BUT in reality what they share are usually bits and pieces of small truths that really concern the direct opposite and just part of the ‘charm’ and seduction. Their family rejects their hideous actions or perversions that they have inflicted on them but it is always somebody else’s fault. Everybody else picks up the slack for these creatures like raising a family, paying the bills and keeping up the real responsibilities in life. The real relationship with them is no give and all take, no love, just nothing but serving the Narcissist – the rest is their fictional story that you believe and locks you into what you believe is a relationship and unfortunately love.
You will fall out of grace when your eyes reflect the disdain of their lies and manipulation and you will enter a battle with them where they will destroy you for making them face the reality of who they really are. They will just run off after they have destroyed your integrity and start up a new life of abuse with someone else. Yet, deep down inside, the Narcissist is aware that their life is a sham, and they are vulnerable as far as being exposed that is why they did a ‘hit and run’ with you and every other person they abused. They are always a step or ten ahead of the game and have gathered up every bit of personal information they can use against you to destroy your integrity so that your voice becomes weak and unheard when you start to speak out. Their out of control life is a constant reminder of how unstable their amazing world is AND how weak and feeble they really are! Clinically this is described as the Narcissist’s Grandiosity Gap.
The Narcissist can pretend to know everything, in every field of the human condition and is seamless with all of the knowledge that spills out. Again they are all confabulations and lies that the Narcissist prevaricates to avoid the exposure of their real ignorance. Their knowledge is just copycat information that has no basis or has been earned from real life lessons, or out of compassion and backed up by empathy. The Narcissist only resorts to numerous prefabricated ‘imitations of life’ to support their God-like omnipotence. What goes on in the shadows is what really exists and that is their vast neediness and out-of-control lifestyle that betrays all of life and love.
The Narcissist’s life sounds unusually rich, embellished and complex. Their achievements and stories are NEVER commensurate with their age, education, or job history. Their stories NEVER seem to add up, BUT they are remarkable with recalling their lies and stories to support their facade. Their failed marriages and relationships are always such woe-be-me stories where they are the one that suffered under the weight of abuse. That should be a clear sign to all of us when they start begging for our sympathy, but we want to believe and a Narcissist loves to seduce us in with their sympathetic stories.
I recall when my Narcissist met someone new because I was just too wise to the lies, there was a post on Facebook where the new target was praying for my Narcissist because of family problems – a sister having surgery, a biological child in jail, AND the familiar Narcissistic attack on MY integrity that I abused my poor Narcissist because of one mistake the Narcissist made. This one mistake was a 3 month affair that was real, but the new target didn’t realize that it was one of at least 25 or more affairs that I learned about. The new target was shouting out for prayers to help my poor Narcissist. That is beyond crazy to me and it is ridiculous and irresponsible for an adult or anyone to use Facebook to put this type of personal information out there without the truth to back it up.
BUT this is what the Narcissist wants and pushes the target into advertising for them or supporting their ‘smear campaign!’ Unfortunately the new supply didn’t know that my Narcissist was in a relationship with me while all of this was going on. I had no interest in getting the truth out to this new supply, because they were acting out for the Narcissist and I wasn’t going to join in on a delusional battle to open myself up for more chaos and crazy making – enough was enough! I am years past my abuse but my passion lies in helping other people achieve their ‘ah ha’ moment about a Narcissist and this disabling abuse. Whatever I can say to help all people understand this abuse and raise awareness I will do it. If I can speak through my experiences to explain the ‘crazy’ because I have a strong voice, I will explain that crazy at whatever expense or cost. It is worth it if it brings this abuse to a level where people know the early warning signs as it concerns one of these creatures, as well as desensitizes the belief that all of our stories are too incredulous to be true!.
Please if you recognize these patterns in your relationship move on. If you hear a loved one or friend describing their relationship in the manner described in this article be there, listen, support and get them away from this abuse before it destroys them. This abuse is never singular in nature because it affects complete families. No/Minimal contact to start on the road to recovery and back to a real life! Greg
Narcissists are controlling and manipulative creatures and extreme con artists that are hard to identify. Most targets/victims don’t get it until it is too late and even then they do not know what hit them or they were abused. So with that in mind many times targets/victims of emotional/psychological abuse naturally seek out answers on their own. This is how they come to the realization that they are in an abusive situation or relationship! It can be a hit and miss for many targets/victims that may BELIEVE that THEY are still the problem AND damaged. Be it through a search on the internet or reading a book, openly talking to friends/family, or whatever trying to get to some sort of answer because they are confused, hurt, and damaged by their connection with another person.
THIS is the start of the road to recovery and what helps break the cycle of this abuse, but it can be ‘hit and miss!’ Education is information, information is power, power grows to empower and individual to move forward. Without this process a target/victim will feel like they have been dumped into a heap of trash and readily accept the blame and shame as well internalize the destructive messages the Narcissist has imprinted on their minds for a lifetime. Unfortunately not every target/victim will come to the realization that this was abuse and they were with a Narcissist as well as many will not achieve full recovery! Many good and loving people are left disabled by this abuse and never regaining a healthy perspective to join back into life as they once did.
I did this search myself because I could not understand why so many things in my life had changed, especially the NEW and negative perspective about MYSELF and where was this coming from! BUT there was a coefficient here and that was the person that was romantically involved in my life was the person telling me EVERYTHING about me was wrong.
I was feeling very isolated, confused, and told I had many issues by THIS person that said they loved me so completely AND ALL OF THIS was because of MY personal issues. I knew something was not right, in fact I believe I knew something was horribly wrong but I was carrying the weight and responsibility of this problem as well as accepting blame and doing all the work to fix things? I was losing myself bit by bit and piece by piece and not even realizing it. What was new in all of this was that I was experiencing issues concerning me being this disordered person and I was so confused that I couldn’t think rationally. I never had any sense of these issues in previous relationships or with my life in general BUT I did have insecurities and wounds as we all do!
That was scary to me and in so much as I couldn’t believe something was wrong with me, I also couldn’t deny that something was wrong with me because the person that said they loved me SO MUCH was telling me that my actions were disordered and destructive by playing off of my personal wounds AND creating many new wounds. Why would somebody that loved me steer me wrong or make these things up? This shrewd creature knew how to access my weakness and push buttons to disable me using my vulnerabilities. Looking back I can see that the ‘love’ was not even any part of the equation and was buried so deep behind all of the personal attacks and blame. It was more like I was fighting to save myself from drowning AND I was but just never realized how dangerous all of this was and that it was purely psychological abuse that was directed at me by this Narcissist.
BUT then again I was able to recognize some things about this person that loved me so completely that were very discerning. This person was VERY angry and so much so that I would be RAGED at for things out of the blue. Anger and rage were really such a strong indicator to me that this person was not quite right, especially since the attacks were delusional in nature! But anytime or every time I would bring something up it was always met with MORE anger, or some off excuse, or I was overreacting AND it was ALWAYS me! This is the conundrum that I was stuck in – knowing I was really OK, and even believing that the person I was with was disordered, but I was losing the battle by losing ‘me.’
I was going back and forth trying to establish ONE REALITY and couldn’t do it. Loving and forgiving always seemed to win in the end of an attack and I was constantly revolving back and forth in this cycle of abuse. How could someone take me down so completely to disable my ability to reason especially as it concerned my personal well-being? Well because I allowed them to. No I didn’t want to be abused, but I allowed my weaknesses to be used against me. The Narcissist knew how to embellish my weaknesses and bring them to the surface in a manner that made them seem insurmountable and real. This is what psychological abuse is all about and that is the abuser controlling a target/victim through fear, intimidation, and managing the person down completely.
On top of this I saw myself becoming isolated from friends and some family and how did this happen? I was told that they concurred that I had issues/problems and again by the person that loved me so much (my Narcissist.) It just seemed that the signs were all around me, but why didn’t I see that I was defective and disordered like I was told by the person that loved me? I was always confused and the Narcissist could confound my every action by hitting me below the belt so that reality was deflected and I would accept all the blame. This is what I call their ‘hit and run’ approach. For instance they get caught in a huge lie and when you try to make them accountable they will attack you using every weakness they can tap into even making fun of you physically if all else fails. In the end you are drained emotionally and physically and the original argument is lost in all of the diversionary tactics the Narcissist uses.
Nothing is solved except that you are so emotionally beat down and that process is what becomes imprinted on your mind. After many of these discussions or arguments you give up your individuality bit by bit and have it replaced with messages that no matter what ‘YOU are worthless.’ The Narcissist drives this point straight through your vulnerabilities and makes you feel that no matter what THEY did you must take responsibility and fix YOURSELF because YOU are always to blame. On top of it you are never able to rectify the original concern or problem, so you are left invalidated and worthless. Bull’s eye that is where the Narcissist was aiming with their attack. BUT then they will attack another vulnerability and that is the ‘love’ they tricked you into believing and they say they love you so they can pull you right back in to repeat the cycle of abuse like they have been doing over and over again.
On top of this there were arguments ALL THE TIME! I was accused of infidelity, lying, playing games, and even some issues that made me out to be sexually perverted. None of this was real and ‘projection’ or what this Narcissist was doing. I knew it, but again why did I allow it to become a concern and real issues in my life. I was managed down so far with the “I love you/I hate you” scenario that I couldn’t be anything but totally confused – it was a mental war zone. CONFUSION was another reality that seemed to never allow me to compose any one thought before another situation came to light! This is a hard concept to put into words, but the Narcissist is so seamless with their lies and manipulation that they can seduce you into any and every belief that will fulfil their agenda even to the point of destroying their target/victim!
My emotions always worked against me. Where did these dysfunctional emotions come from because my normal emotions never posed a problem in any life situation? Again the catalyst was the person that I was in a relationship with, the one that ‘loved me’ and convinced me that I was so perfect and could never do anything wrong, the person that said we had SO MUCH in common – a Malignant Narcissist that lives in a delusional world where every thought, word and action is based on lies. Too bad that they don’t come with warning lables!
SO the fact was that I HAD MANY QUESTIONS about the person that loved me so much and their infidelity, their consistent lies, their interactions with my friends and family, their changing/loss of so many jobs, their substance abuse issues, their family staying away from THEM, their chaos, the incredulous stories to cover up lies around accountability, and many other things. How does this work that I am the disordered one here when this Narcissist had certifiable issues and so many problems in life? This is the saving grace in all of this because the Narcissist is so out-of-control that they ALWAYS get caught in their horrendous lies and betrayal, and THAT is what opens the door to the truth of who is disordered.
Unfortunately it takes time to see the real person behind the amazing mask. It was if the person that loved me was blaming me for what they were and I got it finally. This is what pulled me into a direction to define what was going on here. I knew the truth about myself but why wasn’t I acknowledging that truth and defending myself. Why was I taking on the burden of all of this and accepting an unrealistic role that this person that loved me so completely now flip flopped in an about face to define me as totally defective? Well it was love, cognitive dissonance, brain-washing, a false belief or to sum it up psychological abuse and basically defining a destructive and malignant Narcissist that was maligning me through fake love and abusing me. BUT I stayed and kept interacting with all of the chaos and abuse and in the end it was damaging!
Now to the reason why I brought all of this up. If we do not deal with the facts that reveal the truth about our situation, then we will spend the rest of our life spinning our wheels and STILL stuck in the abuse and blaming ourselves AND traumatized. This will reflect upon our lives and thought process forever if we do not desensitize the entire situation as well as the negative messages that were imprinted in your mind. There are two truths that we have to identify with. The first truth is that we were in an abusive relationship that disabled us and harmed our psyche, distorted our reality, and highlighted everything and anything negative about us – THAT IS NOT NORMAL in any type of relationship PERIOD.
We believed in and trusted that love but there was none. We lost our belief system by a horrendous betrayal from another human being. The second truth is how we got here or introspection to identify what is wounded ‘inside of u’s so that we can fix that as well. Those wounds opened doors that allowed the Narcissist to gain access to all of our vulnerabilities. The Narcissist EMBELLISHED or highlighted these vulnerabilities and brought them to the surface to gain power and control over us. What was inside of us (our insecurities) were used as a tool to disable us and we allowed them to see all of them because we trusted this love.
At first that Narcissist LOVED our imperfections and even tendered them, but now that this shrewd creature has this knowledge, it becomes a loaded gun that they aim at us to keep and hold us hostage. They even use the familiarity of the relationship to be ‘in the know’ about personal issues we may have with friends/family and use that information to their advantage to backstab and triangulate. Our mind has been blind sighted and tricked by the seductive love bombing SO we trusted that we would be loved completely and normally. Those insecurities and wounds are real, but now the Narcissist has manipulated you to believe that they are complicated issues and you are the disordered one and they aim to disable you. The Narcissist didn’t reinforce love for the sake of loving back, instead they reinforced love to access our complete trust so we would hand over our lives and from there they were going to suck the life out of us by controlling us.
If you are a dark and toxic creature that can’t love and has no empathy what can you offer to a normal person WITH unconditional love and empathy – NOTHING! So why is this Narcissist there and pretending that they can love us so deeply? Because they have an agenda to extort our life and love and USE us as supply – THEY NEED US. That is their part in all of this – they are disordered and NEED us for supply. How do Narcissists do this? By making your target/victim ‘believe’ in them AND that they are real through their fake love.
The Narcissist knows this part of the seduction is the most important aspect to completely blind us through the strong emotions of love. From there they have to gain control over us to maintain our cooperation as a viable source of supply so they devalue us because they can’t love and they can’t maintain the façade! They do this by personalizing and embellishing those vulnerable parts that we opened up to them and gave them complete access. Their dark side loathes love AND people, and that always surfaces. They transform that love into fear and dependency like every abusive person does.
When you hear the words they (Narcissist) never loved you, those words feel so EMPTY and unbelievable because you are still in the fog because your personal emotions still won’t allow you to access the whole truth that this is purely abuse. I guess that is where the saying ‘love is blind’ comes from and this perfectly describes the situation with a Malignant Narcissist. This is also why so many people can say that our stories are so similar because it is a three step process this Narcissist uses to abuse – love-bombing, devaluation, and discard. Unfortunately it is not as simple as those three words because it is a deep psychological abuse and the Narcissist has accessed and awaken damaged parts of us and manipulated them to make us believe that we are completely damaged.
These damaged parts are the catalyst that the Narcissist builds their abuse on! These damaged parts that were always there also must be healed in the process of recovery. The Narcissist has to be removed from the situation once we realize their part in this. They won’t change, nor do we have any need to fix them, they will always be an abuser and will only plug you right back into the abuse if we ever go back to them in any form or fashion. They are garbage and need a discard just as they discard good people so easily.
Simply put look at what school bullies do and how they act out and harm people. Perhaps they will openly make fun of an overweight child so much so that their weight is all this child can see and it blocks out their normal reality and the other good and positive attributes they really have. The child is overweight but that doesn’t completely define them, but the bully see’s this weakness and takes advantage of it to gain control and overpower them with their distorted need for attention. The overweight child cowers to the emotional abuse from the bully and accepts their role because they fear the outcome of the embarrassment and believe they are defective because of their weight and this becomes their reality as far as how they perceive themselves.
This message from the bully becomes imprinted on their mind and they react accordingly to avoid the pain and basically try to become invisible, even accepting the bullying. As adults the strong emotion of love distorts our reality enough that we believe what the Narcissist says about our vulnerabilities too.
We have to accomplish some basic steps in a specific order that starts with healing from the abuse and purging all the negative messages from the Narcissist out of our mind. That can be a very tangled mess to deal with because the reality that you/we loved our abuser sends a message that you/we are/were to blame and weak. You are not weak because no matter what you are here today because you were strong enough to defeat the abuse and that is a strong message that you ARE a survivor. Even if you were discarded that is because you were too strong for this Narcissist and they could no longer control you. You have the wounds from the battle but those will mend.
Next after you have healed the wounds from the abuse it is time to concentrate on what may need healing at a deeper level. We all have insecurities and wounds. Normally they comprise what makes us who we are, but some of them need to be tweaked so that we have healthy boundaries that do not allow us to react in a manner that we self-destruct when a toxic person crosses our path. This does not happen overnight, but it is so necessary to heal ourselves.
Narcissists are masters at playing mind games AND they play to win and take no prisoners – it is a matter of survival in their world to avoid detection of who/what they are! They are poor losers and if they don’t win they will react in a fit of rage and stomp away like an angry little child. The only way for any person to win is to not play in the first place.
Everyone to the Narcissist is their opponent, UNFORTUNATELY nobody realizes that they are playing a game with the Narcissist and that is where the Narcissist gains the advantage ALWAYS! The Narcissist is playing this game for themselves so they can deflect you from seeing the reality or avoiding the truth about themselves – they DO NOT self-reflect, they self-DEFLECT. They do this with the expectation that they won’t have to take responsibility for their behavior.
Narcissists hope that by not taking responsibility for their own actions by using blaming, shaming, projection, denial, etc. you will do what you have always done-forgive the narcissist, make excuses for the narcissist’s behavior, claim the narcissist couldn’t help themselves because they were having a bad day, or justifying their destructive behaviors through your empathy and love. It keeps you in a cycle that deflects away from their reality and distorts YOUR reality – this puts the burden onto and into you. You never have an opportunity to be an individual, or to understand how they are actually pulling the wool over your eyes. They are betraying every aspect of your life and you are too busy babysitting their every whim. They know how to confound and confuse their targets/victims, as well as condition them through their little temper tantrums, punishment and silencing if you don’t play exactly the way they want you to! You HAVE to stop wanting to play the ‘game’ with them and eventually they WILL run away to find a new playmate.
The narcissist is a master of phony empathy. They appear to take you in, appear to understand everything you are experiencing, and appear to genuinely be able to put themselves in your shoes. They observe and react with a resounding smile, approval, and unconditional love. All of this causes you to let your guard down and truly believe there is a genuine give-and-take in your relationship and a love that exists that is just for you. It is overwhelming to meet someone that is so much like you, so connected to your thoughts, and so reactive to meet your every need. BUT once your guard is down, they will pounce on you.
They wait until you are perfectly comfortable with them and your guard is down or even perhaps having a low moment in your life but now the time has come to manage you down and gain even more control through their devaluation process. Narcissists perfectly execute an unexpected psychological pounce because their purpose is to wear you down, to humiliate you, and make you feel small and inferior. A narcissist is not going to allow you to have feelings for YOURSELF and they are going to make you believe you are selfish and wrong for wanting ANY attention. Narcissists do not tolerate individuality because people are objects for them to use as they see fit.
A good example of this is when I was going through a very rough period in my life. My Mom had fallen at 88 and broke her hip/pelvis and had to be taken from her home to an elderly care unit. I was totally torn apart by all of this and looked to my romantic interest (Narcissist) for support. I was told I was a big baby and only thinking about myself and trying to get attention by bringing the subject up. My Narcissist said that this was not a ‘unique’ situation in life and I needed to man up and basically shut up.
My Narcissist went on to say “Do you ever ask about my Mom and how she is doing.” Of course I always did, BUT I fell for it and asked once again. My Narcissist said “She is fine and actually just took a bus trip down to Florida with a group and having the time of her life!” Meanwhile my Mom was told she would never walk again because they could not operate on her hip at her age. My Narcissist was well aware of her situation even knowing that she may not survive the fall in itself, BUT this is what this Narcissist had to inflict on me to pull any and all attention away from my personal needs during this sad time and belittle my concerns with the story about the Narcissist’s Mom ‘having the time of her life!’.
It was like a “gotcha” to show some sort of sick Narcissistic move to make me feel diminished or that “psychological pounce and PUNCH!” This is what the devaluation phase is all about and that is breaking down your spirit completely and invalidating every aspect of your being. Losing a parent is unique and personal, but a Narcissist loathes that attention is taken away from them so they will minimize the situation and make you feel WRONG for loving your own parent and asking for support or love to help you through it.
Another twist – a Narcissist ALWAYS loves to make you feel that YOU are crazy, especially if you try to confront them, bring up past issues or behaviors, or expose them when they are doing something appalling. Basically YOU are told that you have an overly active imagination, you don’t know what you’re talking about, they have no idea what you’re talking about, or that you’re simply making things up to cause problems.
They’ll tell you that it’s obvious that you are the one who is crazy (and tell you that everyone around you agrees with them about you being crazy). FURTHERMORE, they will claim not to remember any of these events, even flatly deny that they ever happened, and will NEVER accept the possibility that they might have forgotten. This is extremely aggressive and infuriating AND a tactic called “gas-lighting”, a common technique used by abusers. Your perceptions of reality are continually undermined so that you end up without any confidence in your own intuition, memory, processing your thoughts, or reasoning.
The Narcissist will up the game to include destroying your soul, your ego, your accomplishments and any belief system you have that does not agree with their beliefs. The way the game is played is for them to try to turn everything about you and everything you do, into a complete failure. The Narcissist has the reasoning of a child – but they act out like a controlling and demanding parent (more so toxic.)
No matter what your real age, you are never allowed to reach a viable emotional age with them especially one that allows for your individuality or growth with them. You will always be treated like a stupid child, a bad child, a silly child, etc., and you will always be reprimanded and put in your place to honor them completely and NEVER question them! Consistent managing down is what all of this amounts to!
Rules and the Narcissist! ONLY the Narcissist gets to make up rules as they go along and they are ever changing! The Narcissist doesn’t tell you ANY of the rules OR any the new rules and they do change them whenever it suits them. They are in charge therefore the Narcissist always win the game. You will be penalized and severely punished for breaking the rules, even if they chose not to tell you the rules. It is a completely fail safe system that works completely in their favor because no one is ever the wiser to their delusional and dysfunctional world. We are there living in it, reacting to it, and YES even trying to work within their system, but unfortunately we are not aware of the real agenda because they love us and we are only applying the ‘normal’ rules and it isn’t a game to us.
Everything with a Narcissist is competitive and every life situation is a competition that requires “one-upmanship”, to beat their opponent. It always involves a “payoff” for the Narcissist that usually means hurting you somehow. Again their delusional world is like a battleground with them against us. They keep track of real AND imaginary things you do, have done, or might do. It is a reactionary relationship with them!
It may seem like a Narcissist has to put a great deal into this false persona and basically they do. But it is simple for them and just a pattern they have used all of their lives. They are very accomplished liars. Their complete persona and their entire world are totally based on lies. Their positive attributes and alleged actions are all made up in order to get other people to give them their fix of narcissistic supply-praise, adulation and accolades.
Lastly what supports their lies is DENIAL. It is important to recognize that the Narcissist will never acknowledge that any games are being played AND the important point here is that it is up to YOU to stop playing. There is absolutely NOTHING you can do to fix them, the situation or heal them! You will always be told you are wrong, they are right, and that you are in need of some serious help. You can’t get them to acknowledge or take responsibility for their words or actions because they will always say they didn’t do it or it never happened. They have to or they would have to face real accountability and retribution for their actions!
The point here is that what I described is a Narcissist and how they abuse. They are not fully functioning human beings. They do not connect on ANY level with human beings except to use them as supply. We can describe this as a superficial relationship, but it goes far beyond superficial because it is a toxic and destructive relationship that will completely drain you and disable you and your belief system.
Your responsibility is to get your ‘ah ha’ moment and understand that they are the defective ones that emotionally and psychologically inflicted some deep wounds that have severely affected your psyche. BUT that is where you start on your road to recovery. There is another type of healing that involves your personal wounds that the Narcissist sourced out and used against you. Healing involves you and only you closing all of those wounds permanently through healing!
Whatever that Narcissist has said to you that has deeply hurt you or wounded you is not a real observation, it was your vulnerabilities that you shared with them when you trusted them. They twisted, tweaked, and distorted these vulnerabilities to use against you and define you. They were so supportive in the beginning, but that was also to gain your trust and the knowledge of your weaknesses to use against you. You open up your heart along with all of your wounds and gave them the opportunity to find any and all of your weaknesses AND they are looking for them.
They DO NOT have the ability to understand pain, sorrow, being vulnerable or apply empathy – they only want access to your weaknesses to use them against you. This is what we have to heal within us – those weaknesses that they have constantly pointed out because they are real and within us and now they have made them come to the surface that we lost trust in our own reality. They are master game players and used their keen perception to always be on top of their game. They took these weaknesses and embellished them to even make you think you were mentally ill and even fear yourself and your way of thinking. It is a very sick game that these Narcissists play, BUT it is a game that requires other players and you have to totally opt out of participating! They will attack you at any and every level they can, even making fun of you physically and they can be VERY cruel!
This is what I took away from this. The abuse and the Narcissist were there in reality but the Narcissist is completely one of the walking dead. The abuse made me realize that I had inner wounds that could disable me especially if a monster like this was allowed access to them. When that monster got in there my wounds became the very ammunition this Narcissist magnified and used against me. If we do not desensitize this damage that connected us to our own weaknesses we will forever feel weak, worthless and traumatized. Recovery requires that introspection to find these wounds and weaknesses that we have been carrying around with us and to deal with them in a manner to diminish them completely. But by this monster accessing my weaknesses I also was able to access them too and see how they could work against me and work on them and heal my personal wounds.
Those wounds were MINE, the Narcissist sought them out used them against me by embellishing them to make me believe that I was completely damaged. No we all have wounds that need to be addressed with love and self-compassion. A Narcissist has neither love nor compassion – they have an agenda and a plan to use and extort people through their weaknesses. The Narcissist is so completely damaged that they are far more fragile than we realize, but they beat us to the game or the truth by attacking our vulnerabilities and diverting us away from the truth of who and what they are. No/minimal contact ALWAYS!
Those words were carefully chosen for what really happens when we are coming to trust a narcissist. The narcissist literally “wins” “power over” our ability to trust ourselves and demands we trust them despite their behavior; Strong arming us out of it. What a maladaptive (and controlling) way to gain trust.
It’s entirely lost on a narcissist what types of positive actions are required to EARN our trust and that we have a choice in the matter.
This is how they gain control of your trust:
By cleverly phrased explanations, sometimes “too much information” (too many details) or by telling you you’re silly, paranoid, or simply can’t trust others…they get you to doubt yourself when you’re questioning valid red flags. You literally mind wrestle between trusting your own gut instinct or trusting the narcissist.
Secondly, they exploit a strength of targets in that we frequently extend the benefit of doubt to others in an act of goodwill. They feel entitled to exploit what they think we “owe them”. Although they don’t deserve it, we give it to them blindly because we are accustomed to giving that to people who don’t exploit it. In the process of doubting ourselves and ignoring our intuition, because of their sheer will and our exhaustion or desire to be loved (or not abandoned) we give up (and lose) our internal locus of control.
The narcissist needs us listening to THEM and not ourselves. Being divided and extending the benefit of doubt to the narcissist gives them the upper hand. Instead of believing in and helping ourselves to avoid the disaster before us, we’ve simply made it easier for the narcissist to abuse us.
But, Why do they do this? You might ask. It’s the first stage of grooming you as a target; an object to be controlled. “Good” targets will ignore themselves and listen to the NPD; which gives them our trust (control) and causes us to stop trusting and protecting ourselves.
Tip: Ultimately, if we maintain good boundaries and keep clear headed, we are not going to let a narcissist cross our boundaries and cause us to question ourselves no matter how twisted or exhausting their mind games are. Pay attention when you begin wrestling with yourself and fighting your intuition. This is a warning sign. It is healthy to trust ourselves so well that we respond to and act on our intuition quickly.
2. They Argue With and Belittle You Out of Your Feelings
When your first doubt about the narcissist creeps in because you see that their actions are very different from what they’re telling you, before their abuse has kicked in fully at this stage, you feel safe and comfortable enough to speak up to them about it as you always had with others.
However, a narcissist, not amenable to “attack” or “criticism” or “being called out on things”, will shoot back with a deflection technique. Any maneuver to avoid discussing your doubt about them. So they may belittle your feelings or you personally for having them. They may deny entirely that they are doing what you are witnessing, they may call you names, shutting you down from talking about it further or make you doubt some aspect of yourself as if you can’t trust anyone.
The result is that you are no longer discussing what you felt or observed, but you are now feeling horrible about yourself or confused; probably both. This will happen repeatedly until you get to the point where In the future, you will remember the exhausting tirade or shame attack you endured when bringing up a similar issue in the past and you will avoid doing so again. The narcissist effectively wins the power they wanted to have over your feelings of mistrusting them by getting you not to talk about it.
A narcissist will only do 3 things with your feelings:
1. Ignore them or downright deny they exist
2. Argue you out of them or belittle them
3. Get you to the point where you shut your feelings down and stop sharing and/or having them
Tip: Our feelings and concerns matter and are worthy of our attention and those that love us. Recognizing that we have the right to express and ask questions that we feel are important to our safety and well being. Taking care of ourselves by asking questions is perfectly allowable in a Healthy, fair and loving relationship. Someone who respects you will honor your feelings and not attempt to wrestle you out of them especially so that they can gain leverage to exploit you.
3. They Isolate You
Any abusive schema involves isolation because the lesser the outside influences on you, the better chance that the narcissist will gain complete control over you.
4. They Get You to Focus on Their Words ONLY and Not Their Actions
Flattery, Declarations of soul mate love early on, Lip Service, Hype, Tall Tales, Exaggerated Stories, Stretched truths (Which later turns into broken promises, put downs, shaming, blaming, projection, statements about who they know you really are, or what you’re “really” doing, ie: verbal abuse.)
Early on, the sweet, flowery and charming words are meant to put you at ease. It’s the one part of the relationship where we “feel loved” by them. When spoken by someone who truly loves us, these words usually mean that we are cared for and treasured, but with a narcissist these are words used with one purpose: to manipulate us. This feeling creates intimacy and safety.
It occurs during the stage most know as “love bombing”. By creating a positive dependency on their words, the narcissist’s behaviors can easily slip under the radar. His/her excuses and justifications are much easier to swallow when he/she has been buttering you up with sweet nothings. And sweet nothings is all they are.
Dangling the carrot of their “love” (approval) if you let them demolish your boundaries and get your trust despite all the evidence to the contrary is nothing more than manipulation to get you to do what they want instead of what’s best for you, which would be to look at their actions, hold them accountable and if they can’t cut it: walk.
Narcissists are perpetually lazy creatures, thus they want to get the greatest rewards for the least amount of output. What better way to get you to trust them quickly than to flatter you into submission. A notable quote has stated it perfectly,
“You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”
Tip: Always pay attention to someone’s actions. Ignore the words. Actions will tell you EXACTLY who a person is regardless of what words are being said. Actions reveal patterns and habits which reveals the person’s character over time.
5. They Bust Over Your Boundaries With Relentless Tenacity
They demolish your boundaries so many times, that eventually they just wear you down. They’re like the used car salesman, who comes on strong, and despite your protestations, come on stronger. Eventually you come to believe that their relentless pursuit “means something” and you forego your sensibilities that this is simply a well played tactic of someone trying to sell you a bag of shit.
Your reservations = the narcissist NOT getting their way with you; and remember, their agenda is what it’s all about. A narcissist WILL NOT stick around for posterity sake if he or she has summed up what you can do for them and found you to be “worth nothing”. Remember, Ultimately NO ONE is worth anything to a narcissist other than what they can do for them. As they use you up and suck you dry, they’ll see your value decline and throw you away as quick as they swept you off your feet.
Tip: Boundaries are necessary to our survival and well being. They protect us from harm and people whose intent it is to hurt and use us. If someone is coming on very strongly, especially early on, assert your right to decide for yourself and pump the brakes. You don’t have to go quickly just because someone else is “insisting” you “should”. Pay attention to how someone responds to your assertiveness. If they refuse to listen and respond to your limits, they don’t respect you.
Just how the walls, framing and structure of our homes can come crashing to the ground when hit by a bulldozer, our boundaries, which separate us from others, (the walls that hold ourselves inside us and keeps others at a safe & healthy distance) are completely demolished in a narcissistically abusive relationship.
Here’s an example:
Whenever we try to talk to the narcissist about something they did that resulted in us feeling a certain way, regardless of how nice we are or how much responsibility we take when we try to talk about it, the narcissist whose identity renders them incapable of taking any responsibility and see all feelings as criticism and thus a narcissistic injury, will deflect our concerns and throw a red herring, not see them as valid, won’t listen to us, will twist it and turn it back on us, etc. ANYTHING that will prevent them from having to acknowledge that our feelings are valid, important or exist or that they in any way have any responsibility for behaving in a manner that impacts our feelings or having to take them into account.
We want to talk about something they did and how we feel about it, but they deflect with well YOU do this…avoiding taking any responsibility for what they did and switching the issue from what we felt to how THEY feel. As a result, we don’t feel heard, which diminishes trust and goodwill…we are frustrated, dont feel listened to or more importantly heard. Our concerns go unresolved. They mount. Our emotions are nearly completely shut down just as the narcissist is. We explode which gives them justification in their eyes to abuse us further saying “see! YOU really have a problem with anger!” (projecting their emotions onto us because WE CAN FEEL them). It’s an exhausting mind screw. No other way to put it. And why over complicate it by using some textbook term to describe it?! It’s a Mind Screw! It’s exhausting, burns us out and makes most of us never want to argue like this with another person again in our lives.
How boundaries are at play in the above example is this (think in terms of separation and responsibility): by playing into the twist of focus, shame and blame we’re allowing our boundaries to be crossed and taking responsibility for the narcissist’s disordered behavior. (being overresponsible) By chasing the red herrings (narcissists irresponsibility), we allowed a narcissist to drive our thinking all over the place, (think for us) we allowed them to assign their flaws to us (define us) and battled them to hear us (rather than listening to ourselves) without realizing that it is a lost cause (acceptance) because we didn’t understand how very different they are (irresponsible/disordered) from us (identity boundary), we allowed our emotions to be neglected (rather than tending to our feelings) and played with and allowed our rights to be violated by not standing up, (protecting ourselves) walking away (holding the narcissist accountable) and refusing to remain (respecting our own worth) in the company of someone who doesn’t respect us.
[Please note: by “allow” we are discussing responsibility; NOT blame. Targets of narcissists are in an abusive relationship where there is an extreme power imbalance, punishment & reward system, stockholm syndrome and brainwashing, as all victims of abuse we “allow” things to happen due to the abusive schema]
Let’s face it, some of us didn’t have very strong boundaries when we first encountered a narcissist; nevertheless, the trauma of this abuse wears us down over time and causes us to resign easily to repeated boundary violations from a narcissist. They’re determined to get their way and we are sick of fighting. Plus, we’re used to putting ourselves last to please others and we constantly acquiesce. This is the “boundarylessness” of narcissistic abuse and what we call “forced codependence”. It’s the lowest point in the narcissistic “relationship”; having none of our own needs met, having the narcissist demand that theirs are or else they punish us with rage or silence, having hatred, blame and shame projected upon us with no defense (no boundaries) and accepting all of it while feeling hopelessly worthless, loveless, lonely and stuck in a cycle of learned helplessness.
When the foundation of ANY structure or being is destroyed, the whole house will eventually fall down. Eventually, if the narcissist doesn’t discard us first, we are utterly so worn down, we must exit this abusive, boundaryless existence to save our souls, our lives and our sanity.
Once we leave these relationships, we can finally assess the true damage of the trauma. As we would had our home been rammed with a bulldozer, we stand staring at the remains, the rubble and a few valuables that can be salvaged, we realize that our home is no longer our home. We begin picking up the pieces we can salvage, experiencing tremendous sadness, grief and a feeling of disbelief of the reality before us. Overwhelmed, we look at it all, our identities, our love, our beliefs, our views, our trust, our hopes, dreams, good names, reputation, sanity and souls….and in utter shock & grief decide to just raze the rest of the structure and start over.
We build our new homes with the foundation, structure and “walls” of boundaries. Boundaries save us. They are the demarcation lines between ourselves and others that define who we are, who we aren’t, what we are responsible for and not responsible for and what we will allow to happen or not happen in our lives in order to live in harmony. It is our strong foundation. They hold us together and protect us from the outside world, elements, and people who mean to do us harm. Our boundaries keep our worth “inside of us” so to speak. We decide who comes and goes based on what we want going on “inside our homes”.
By having strong boundaries we are making a statement about what we believe we’re worth. If we feel valuable, we are going to want to protect ourselves with good boundaries. Just as we don’t leave diamond earrings laying on the front porch of our new home, we don’t allow our valuable selves to be in the company of an exploitative, abusive, narcoholic. We protect what we value with boundaries.
What lessons have you learned about boundaries as a result of having them destroyed by a narcissist?
What examples can you give of boundary violations that occurred during the relationship with the narcissist?
How did you build your boundaries back?
Psychological trauma is the damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event like emotional and psychological abuse.
One of the debilitating aspects of this abuse that is so damaging to targets/victims is the trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from being in this relationship! DEFINITION: Trauma means “injured” AND the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds a person’s ability to cope or integrate the emotions involved with that experience. A traumatic event involves one experience, or repeating events with the sense of being overwhelmed that can be delayed by weeks, years, or even decades as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances. Eventually this can lead to serious, long-term negative consequences that can even be overlooked by mental health professionals especially if psychological abuse is at the root of problem but not actualized as trauma inducing.
This is very important for targets/victims of this abuse because if the clinician fails to look through a trauma diagnosis to isolate the problems as they relate to current or past trauma, they may fail to see that trauma victims, young and old, organize much of their lives around repetitive patterns of reliving and warding off traumatic memories, reminders, and affects. This is very true for many targets/victims that have not addressed the trauma correctly and the negative messages and associated trauma becomes imprinted on their minds for many years. The trauma will trigger memories of the abuse and pull the target/victim right back into the debilitating feelings associated with the abuse. This may not always be on a conscious level but in the sub-conscious where it is always available unless we disable it and enable our old and real belief systems that life is good.
Normal bonding is a biological and emotional process that makes people more important to each other over time. Unlike love, trust, or attraction, bonding is not something that can just be lost or abruptly stopped at will. It is cumulative and only grows and increases but rarely decreases. Bonding naturally grows with spending time together, living together, eating together, being physical, having children together, and even during stress or difficulty. Bad times bond people just as strongly as good times, and sometimes more so.
Bonding is in part why it is harder to leave an abusive relationship the longer it continues. The bonding makes it hard to enforce normal and even healthy boundaries, because it is much harder to stay away from people we have strongly bonded with. An important point to understand is that when leaving a long relationship, it is not always useful to base your decision to leave by how hard it is to break this bond, because it will always be hard. This is especially true in an abusive relationship. Secondly with an abusive relationship only YOUR bond was/is real and based solely on the growth through YOUR love for this person. There was no love reciprocated with a Narcissist just a need to use you as supply or objectify you to meet his/her needs. Leaving or moving on for a Narcissist is a simple act once they have found new or better supply!
Moreover, experiencing extreme situations and extreme feelings such as abuse tends to bond people in a different way. ‘Trauma bonding’ is a term that defines this bond when a person has experienced abuse in a seemingly loving relationship like one with a Malignant Narcissist because of the continual shifting to blaming and the devaluation involve. The ‘love bombing’ in reality is ‘love bonding’ that creates the connection to the Narcissist even though it wasn’t real. So unfortunately the target/victim plugs all of their normal AND learned life experiences into this love – TRUST being right on top of the list. With the devaluation, the distorted and negative aspects of this love also bond and this changes the reality to accepting the good, the bad and the ugly or basically submitting to the abuse because of the extreme manipulation and control methods of the Narcissist
A good example of this distorted love is if a child grows up in an unsafe/abusive home. It makes unsafe situations in the future have more holding power and almost acceptable because it is what they know and have accepted as their normal. This example has a basis beyond any cognitive learning and it is neither rational nor irrational. If targets/victims can come to see that part of the attraction or falling in love included this dysfunctional or irrational bonding, while very unwanted and horrendous, it became a natural process or basically surviving because of this distorted love/abuse. Then maybe they will be able to understand the reality of the dysfunction and manage the situation more intentionally with understanding the reality of the situation or the ‘trauma bonding.’ We have to dig down very deeply to break this negative attachment and the distorted messages.
Intense relationships where distorted love is involved tend to hijack all of the target/victims relating capacity and rationale. It is like a continual state of being so worn out, managed down and burnt out AND always feeling a need or in the position to fix the wrongs to make it right again by accepting the blame ALWAYS! You forget what is really right as it concerns you because you are always having to explain, react, and keep a peace to keep your sanity. Becoming attached or falling in love with a very chaotic and inconsistent person makes it simply impossible to form a consistent reality based connection that goes beyond the feelings of fear, loss, the worthlessness that was imposed on you, feelings of blame and shame, or even normal and good memories beyond the trauma that comes with devaluation. When separated from the abusive partner, the urge to make contact is usually intense because it is the chaotic connection that is alive and makes the connection with them (as horrendous as it is) tolerable in any circumstance. In simpler words your normal reality has been manipulated and managed down to accept a role where you operate within the dysfunction because it has desensitized your rationale.
This is the bond with them and in reality it has always been this way with the Narcissist. Love connected you to this first and that love was manipulated in a manner to manage you down and control you completely. This is hideous dehumanization and such an intense betrayal to a normal human being that if not corrected it can diminish and disable the target/victims perspective of the world, people, and love through their entire life. True recovery requires such a deep desire to dig down deep inside and dispel EVERYTHING that this Narcissist has damaged. It is just not falling out of this distorted love.
Some of the signs and symptoms of being stuck with this trauma. The target/victim and survivor can come to find that it is almost impossible to relate to anyone, even family or friends, except superficially. This trauma creates a feeling of being totally alone, and totally empty, and very damaged. Then is seems that going back to the primary abuser will help you overcome it or fixing this to make everything right again AND release from the pain associated with being separated from them. It SEEMS normal in this state of trauma to believe that even though something is so horribly wrong that leaving isn’t an option even though it is real and there is something horribly wrong with staying. Most of the relationship was a huge manipulation that managed you down to accept a submissive role, feel shame, etc., and then processing all of this along with that blame AND real love you believed in. You didn’t outwardly accept this distorted love, you were TRICKED/CONNED into it or psychologically abused. The Narcissist said to you in the beginning “I love you,” he/she didn’t say “I love you and I am going to ABUSE you,” but that was their agenda.
To go a bit further complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a common problem for survivors of abusive relationships. The symptoms which are many include a feeling of emotional numbness or feeling like one of the walking dead. You feel like you are completely engulfed and surrounded with this self-protection like the aftermath of a destructive tornado that completely destroyed your entire house. In reality it is despair. You lose faith, hope, joy as well as the love you THOUGHT was real. This was all real to you, the memories, the time together, the emotions and everything else that you were conned into believing. It is a hideous abuse because you gave love, you believed in love, you believed in them, you gave yourself completely to this love because this is what we grew up believing was normal and then this Narcissist destroyed this image of real love and damaged this belief so completely that you are trying to heal from this.
That complete distorted thought process has to be removed from your psyche to rebuild your belief system. It is a matter of realizing now that there are two types of love, ‘real’ and ‘abusive.’ It is compartmentalizing and understanding that real love can and does exist as well as predators and distorted love. It is putting your trust back into yourself so that your new lessons will keep you safe from one of these monsters should you encounter one again. It is also you putting your trust back into yourself so that you can establish a real life that includes REAL love. It is you believing more in yourself than allowing this abuse to define you forever.
Now a little further! There are many obstacles and many distorted messages or the feeling of being in shock. Unfortunately this is a normal part of the process that is directly related to the abuse that requires some time, education, and deep soul searching to correct. Why are we in shock when we had a real sense of this? Well we didn’t want to believe that we were basically with a destructive monster and we were only justifying, apologizing, fixing, and living in the shadow of fear and control. Who wants to believe that the love they invested in is such a total sham or abuse? Who even knows how to believe in a manner that precludes all reality and a belief system we all grew up with that allows people to love normally. It sounds like brain-washing and basically it was. It is necessary to correct this trauma to destroy the negative messages and purge the blame from this Narcissist out of our heads – and it is of vital importance to do this in the beginning or whatever stage you are at now! Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen and many stay locked up in this trauma their entire lives.
If I could give an example of a devastating shooting at a school where lives are lost. What is the first thing that is done after the event? The school provides the surviving students with trauma counselors so that the trauma doesn’t manifest itself in the survivor’s lives forever. Overcoming this hopelessness from the trauma doesn’t happen overnight, it takes intervention, hard work and awareness or defining it for what it is – TRAUMA. No one ever imagines they will be witness to a terrible shooting, nor do we believe we will be in an emotionally/psychologically abusive relationship with a Narcissist, but both are real and both yield trauma. We are aware that these situations can happen, but we don’t have the tools right there with us to recover if we experience such a traumatic event. It also takes a willingness to try, fail and still persisting to get through this. Most importantly, it takes a strong will to have self-compassion to fix yourself to move forward. Another important aspect is realizing that the abusive Narcissist is not part of this equation. They were/are the attacker in this situation that acts out to harm good and unsuspecting people. As personal as this situation was, as well as how this love felt familiar and real, you are still dealing with a highly disordered creature and a predator. This is self-help not yourself and the Narcissist’s help. They will only bring more trauma into your life and pull you back into the abuse.
You CAN be in control of this situation! BUT you will slow your progress to a screeching halt if you go to the trouble of fulfilling the no contact rule and then obsess about making contact. It totally defeats the purpose of no contact if you keep an ongoing dialogue and connection. As they say you can’t see the forest for the trees!
Think about the reason why you may obsess about these monsters and make contact. It is because we want them to validate all of that emotional expenditure that we provided through loving them and NOW the pain and having to grieve the abuse and some sort of closure! It won’t happen because this Narcissist would have NEVER put you in this position in the first place if he/she REALLY knew love or better yet REALLY loved you. REMEMBER they are ABUSERS and they aren’t going to turn around and fix this or you because their agenda was to control, disable and harm you. If you think they are going to suddenly realize your worth, when no other human being in this world has any worth to them beyond an object to use, then you need to do a reality check until you get to the point that you understand that they are destructive and dangerous to you and your life.
Seriously ask yourself if you could imagine your Narcissist saying: “I’ve been emotionally unavailable, I’ve had NUMEROUS affairs, I intentionally manipulated you, gas-lighted you, tried to drive you to the point of insanity, ignored and silenced you, blamed you for everything, projected darkness onto and into you, constantly ignored your needs, used you, extorted and stole from you, and made your life a living hell AND I WAS ABUSIVE. Then imagine them saying that they suddenly realize your worth and how valuable you are to them and they want to be together with you to fix ALL OF THIS. First why would you want a person that has taken you down so far to ever be any part of your life and secondly they are NOT emotionally available for you or anyone and they are off and abusing their next target/victim! They are like criminals living out a life of crime. Don’t forget how they smeared you, your name and then tried to destroy your integrity to avoid exposure and the truth of what they are. How could you forget ANY of this in a manner to accept them back into your life – and then how many times have you accepted them back into your life to end up abused over and over again. You must move TOTALLY on and away from them being anything in your life. Forget them completely so you can start recovering because it is integral in surviving this abuse AND moving forward.
To truly move forward to recovery you can’t make your abuser (the Narcissist) the focal point of your life AND your recovery. They are what they are and you have had personal experience which more than enough defines their character and agenda! You have to make YOU the focal point of YOUR life. This time of grieving, healing, and regrouping with you is an opportunity to get real about the relationship that has just ended and you have to look at you and your relationship with open eyes and the reality that it was abuse. So many times, I have heard targets, victims, and survivors say that they want to be able to get past it all, to move on, and they want it all to just be over with so they can live again. The wanting is only part of the battle, a very important part, but the rest of it takes longer and demands introspection, education, support and the need to accept that this Narcissist was AND always is a potential danger if you let them be any part of your thoughts OR life. There is no magical kiss from the prince/princess Narcissist that will awaken you from this this doom, because they are the one that gave you the apple that poisoned you in the first place! Your own care, love, and self-compassion will awaken you and return you back to a fulfilling and real life!
Now some clinical information about the Common Features of PTSD from emotional/psychological abuse. These are consistent symptoms that identify the abuse as a psychiatric injury and different from a mental illness. That is an important differentiation to make so that you don’t internalize a message that says you cannot overcome the effects of the trauma and live with it as YOU being the sick one. The Narcissist is definitely the dysfunctional person in this equation that disabled you!
• An overwhelming desire for acknowledgement, understanding, recognition and validation of their experience.
• Fatigue with symptoms similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
• Extreme anger from feeling the injustice and almost seeming ‘manic’ instead of motivated for recovery purposes, “obsessive” instead of focused, and “angry” instead of passionate to fix yourself and regain order and reality in life.
• A desire for revenge.
• A tendency to cycle between reconciliation/forgiveness and anger/revenge where objectivity and reality become a causality.
• Feeling extremely fragile, where formerly the person was of a strong, stable character.
• Numbness, both physical and emotional (inability to feel love and joy.)
• Hyperawareness and an acute sense of time passing them by.
• An enhanced and hypersensitive awareness.
• A constant feeling that you have to justify everything you say and do.
• A constant need to prove yourself, even when surrounded by good, positive people.
• An unusually strong sense of vulnerability, victimization or a feeling of persecution!
• Occasional intrusive visualizations connected to an extreme anger.
• Feelings of worthlessness, rejection, a sense of being unwanted, unlikeable and unlovable.
• A feeling of being small, insignificant, and invisible.
• An overwhelming sense of betrayal, and a consequent inability and unwillingness to trust anyone, even those closest to you.
• Depression with occasional sudden bursts of energy accompanied by a feeling of “I’m better!”, only to be followed by a full resurgence of the symptoms a day or two later.
• Excessive guilt about your situation and why you can’t overcome this.
A couple other facts about trauma: Intellectually, you lose from 50 to 90 percent of brain capacity, which is why you should never make a decision and why you feel so lost and empty when you are “in the trauma zone.” Emotionally you don’t feel anything and your spirit is disconnected. Physically all your systems shut down and you run on basics. When your system starts to recover and you can handle a bit more stimulation and energy, THEN real thoughts emerge that will guide you back to reality and help you process the information and start on your road to recovery!
Trauma can be caused by a wide variety of events, but there are common denominators. There is frequently a violation of the person’s familiar ideas (belief system) about the real world and of their human rights, putting the person in a state of extreme confusion and insecurity. Recovering from a traumatic experience requires that the painful emotions be thoroughly processed. Trauma feelings cannot be repressed or forgotten and should be treated immediately or as soon as there is a realization that you are caught up in the trauma. If they are not dealt with either directly or at any other point in your recovery, the distressing feelings and troubling events replay over and over again in the course of a lifetime, creating this condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Every bad moment in your life will connect you with those negative messages that the Narcissist manipulated you into believing and you will feel those old feelings of worthlessness. You will always feel like you are not good enough. Events do not always define you especially negative ones, but sometimes we define ourselves through these events especially after this type of traumatizing abuse. The Narcissist taught us to blame ourselves and if that message is still cycling in our heads from this abuse we will let it define us forever. Whatever inner resources people need to mobilize to achieve recovery, they still should not try to accomplish this task alone. Depression and trauma are ‘disconnective disorders’ and they do not improve in isolation. To fix them you have to be connected to others and accept that there is goodness and real love out there.
Today I can clearly see that early intervention is so vital. Trauma is real and debilitating in situations like this abuse that is born from a hideous betrayal of a person’s spirit and belief system. It can shut you down completely and keep you locked up in isolation because your replaced belief system from the abuse doesn’t trust that there is goodness in life. Sometimes we don’t see this until many years after the fact. This is not recovery, this is living in fear because of a traumatic event and this is what this abuse does and what the Narcissist wants. A Narcissist cannot live or survive on their own, they need us (people) to feel alive and be alive, but they are predator that feed off of people. We don’t need people to survive, we want to enjoy people, like them, and even love them. There should be a sign around a Narcissist’s neck that says ‘danger, do not feed this animal because they will completely devour you!’ The Narcissist has stolen enough from you, so don’t allow them to take anything else from you, especially other people and love. What this Narcissist forced into your head can be desensitized and you CAN recover completely. It all starts with you and a journey away from what they are and what they have done. You deserve the love that you gave so freely and unconditionally. It is still there and with self-compassion you CAN and WILL give it back to yourself. No/minimal contact always!
The all or nothing advice we give about avoiding a narcissist altogether, isn’t because we’re unhealthily encouraging black and white or either / or type of thinking or advocating that healthy boundaries can’t be used with general run of the mill people who “irritate” you.
This advice is given because the bottom line is that a narcissist ISNT run of the mill and with a narcissist there is NO HALF WAY. The common “get along” tactics that are useful and helpful with healthier people will not only not work with a narcissist, but will likely BACKFIRE; ALWAYS leaving you in a position that if you make the decision to have any interaction whatsoever with a narcissist, the entire interaction will blow up in your face and cause emotional distress.
The narcissistic personality disordered psychopath is the first “throw away” person I’ve encountered in my life. By throw away, I mean, the only person that I would not consider salvaging, giving an inch to, or letting remain in my life. I entirely throw them away, lock the door, and block their re entry in all ways possible.
Let’s consider why we must be so absolute when it comes to setting such a permanent boundary with a narcissist:
1. They lack empathy
Without having experienced what it’s like to deal with someone without the capacity to empathize, we take for granted that we possess this much needed human trait and we’re somewhat naive that other human beings could possibly be void of this sign of being “human”. We underestimate the danger of a sociopath and/or psychopath, we extend benefit of doubt when it isn’t deserved, we employ fairness when that’s not reciprocated, due to decreasingly poor boundaries we get our wires crossed. We take too on much responsibility (forced codependency of narcissism) and repeatedly doubt and blame ourselves when these empathy problems show themselves, instead of realizing the problem exists in the other person and will try to fix it; not knowing we’re dealing with a lack of empathy and are inexperienced as to how to handle ourselves when confronted with this information.
Empathy problems present themselves in a number of ways:
a. We dont feel listened to or more importantly “heard”
b. Lack of feeling heard or seen creates “intimacy” issues
c. Intimacy issues along with the realization emotionally that the narcissist refuses or can’t empathize with us, causes us to feel insecure in the relationship
d. The insecurity in the relationships drive conversations regarding trust that are again not listened to, heard or responded to (thus there is no resolution)
e. Lack of resolution leads to frustration and expression of feelings and acting out on the part of the target that allows the narcissist to use and shift the focus and blame (deflection) back on us which causes….
f. An anxious feedback loop. This cycle of lacking empathy is at the core of EVERY argument with the narcissist because the arguments themselves exist due to the narcissist’s lack of empathy.
Sound confusing? Imagine LIVING it. We chase our tails in these relationships. No wonder we end up feeling crazy and confused. It is crazy and it is confusing. It’s just the narcissist who introduces this and continues this throughout the entire relationship which includes the time period FOLLOWING the actual cessation of the relationship.
If people dont respect us or are not willing to show us respect, then there’s just not much more we can do.
2. Their negativity will bring us down instead of our positivity lifting them up
They say, “Misery loves Company” well I say, “Narcissists love to bring happy people down.” What BETTER type of power trip to a narcissist’s ego than to take a naturally happy person and by their own “amazing abilities” turn them into a shell of their former selves while walking off “wearing their skin”? You know that they WANT to see you laying on the sidewalk, crying out in pain because you’re “nothing” without them; just as they told you (or insinuated many times).
Once your boundaries are eliminated, you become a narcissists free for all playground. Whatever good things they want to pick out about you to use, enjoy, toy with, show off, and just as rapidly and intensely abhor us for them is just another HUGE reason to not have to deal with these shenangigans on an ongoing basis.
They’ll take what the like about us and discard the rest, treating us as a cafeteria plan of THEIR choosing instead of a person with a whole and complete identity.
They’re always complaining about something. They’re always at odds with someone whether a family member, co worker or someone in the general public. So many opportunities for the narcissist to whine and stir the pot with never ending chaos. These people would be unhappy at Disneyland! The happiest place on earth!
Their personalities are dark clouds of accumulated shame, addictions and perversions. They feed their thoughts of power, sex, worldly success, vanity, who’s who, delusional dreams of unlimited popularity and/or beauty or money. Blech! They actually are the people among us who boast about how their life would be a GREAT REALITY SHOW! Uhm…Says WHO? Oh yes, the narcissist. The one person self hype machine.
Narcissists are vapid and one dimensional. They lack emotional depth and context. They aren’t fun conversationalists. They’re draining, negativity will feel like a smudge left on your world when they walk away. I personally think, smudge itself is easier to clean away than a narcissist.
LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LET A NARCISSIST SUCK THE JOY OUT OF YOU WHILE DUMPING ALL THEIR TOXIC NEGATIVITY INTO YOUR SOUL
3. ITS FUTILE TO CONSTANTLY DEFEND YOUR BOUNDARIES AGAINST SOMEONE WHO CANT RESPECT THEM
Narcissists are the ONLY ones allowed to have rules in limits in the relationship. They dictate. They speak for “US” whether we agree or not. They bulldoze. They refuse to respect the demarcation lines between ourselves and them. They view us as possessions owned, not wonderous additions to their lives. They can’t be truly grateful because they feel entitlted to it all. Yek!
Our boundaries are the ones that even if existed upon meeting a narcissist, surely will NOT once we’ve spent enough time in their company.
Personally, I was able to tell many romantic parnters no, or express my desires and opinions in prior relationships. The narcissist however, just beats us down. Exhausts us. The constant drama, arguments, disrespect, demands, ego games, silence……I can easily see why just acquiescing (waiving the white flag of surrendering your boundaries) seems like a “peacekeeping” decision.
Even if you learn to establish healthy boundaries and that’s a Sign of Health but you are engaged in constant battle with a person who whole heartedly believes it is their right to not only challenge those boundaries but to destroy them if they want, It’s a sign of health to recognize futility, know when to throw in the towel, and refuse to participate in any relationship that isn’t reciprocal and/or enriching to your well being.
There’s a certain emotional intelligence in being able to recognize when things are a losing battle. Our responsibility is not to teach another adult how to respect our boundaries. That’s up to the narcissist. Since the narcissist is heavily invested, in fact lives to blame others, this is a no win situation. We will constantly have to repeat ourselves about what we can’t tolerate and theyll continue to ignore us.
This is the same premise as “fool me once, shame on You, foo me twice, shame on me”. The first time they ignored our saying, “Please don’t speak down to me.” or “Please don’t call us names” was their one chance to show us they respected our need to not be called names. The second time, they do it is an indication that they will continue to do this, and if they do, we are ALLOWING it.
Establish just ONE BOUNDARY and walk away for good!
Just say, ‘NO!’
Because that means:
NO MORE MANIPULATION
NO MORE DRAMA
NO MORE GAMES
NO MORE ARGUMENTS
NO MORE PUT DOWNS
NO MORE NARCS
We live many years of our life with certain expectations about the integrity and intention of others. I don’t think any normal person regardless of their level of self esteem, expects to be so blindsided by and at odds metaphysically with the narcissistic person. Sure, self esteem issues may lead us to stay far longer putting up with a person who treats us poorly or is the root of our not asserting boundaries to protect ourselves, but narcissistic abuse goes far behind an assault on our self esteem. It attacks the fiber of who we ARE; our identities.
Think about this. Prior to meeting a narcissist, did you have any trouble whatsoever with YOUR identity? Did you know who you were? Did you know your strengths and weaknesses? Did you know what scared you or what you longed for? I can nearly guarantee that you had your identity quite together prior to a narcissist entering your life. One of the reasons narcissists target those they do, is to rob us of the good qualities that make us so “attractive”; not just our vulnerabilities or weak points. Our solid identities are their lifeblood.
Most targets are likeable people; reliable, dependable, lovable, stable and trustworthy. If we weren’t, we would not be so shocked and stunned to find how opposite a narcissist is to us and how the only way they could have possibly gotten close to us is by weasling their way into our heads and hearts via lies and manipulation.
Instead of returning to our previous selves in tact after the relationship ends, our identity is in a state of limbo; in flux and malleable which is very scary. While our core characteristics have remained the same, we’re suddenly needing to assimilate the new lessons and awareness into our selves going forward but we don’t find the experience a smooth, straight line or quick journey towards integration.
One is the Loneliest Number
Being on the receiving end of a person who lacks empathy shows a reality to the human condition that we didn’t want to believe existed. Watching people side with your abuser, disbelieve you and even worse, bully or smear you along with the narcissist is highly traumatic and isolating. It’s within our human nature or socialization to side with the crowd. The abuser gains momentum by getting to the crowd earlier and then playing up to them which is their perverse talent.
Targets have always connected with people based on truth and integrity. It’s shocking and defeating to have so many turn against you, even the one who said they “loved” you, for such an obvious lie, while you’re forced to stand alone and come to terms with the reality that “as long as you know the truth, nothing else matters.” That’s not an easy place to be in. We may find that we doubt ourselves due to the mob mentality because it’s so hard to stand on our own. When we’re escaping an abuser, we need validation and desperately want to return to “normal” but we find that our old normal is NOWHERE to be found.
We’re Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don’t
We know we need people, we know we shouldn’t isolate, but that’s all we feel the urge to do. Extending ourselves, risking, trying, trusting, analyzing, putting energy into others seems like an overwhelming feat, even after we’ve done a lot of work on ourselves to return to emotional health. It’s not always that another narcissist comes along, but they were so damaging to us and our interpersonal relationships that new ones seem formidable to participate in. The risks we’re willing to take with our hearts, minds, souls, and identity after the life sucking narcissist rips through our lives is far less than ever before. We can get stuck in a juxtaposition between wanting and not wanting people close to us. We risk pushing away people who can really be there for us because of the exhaustion and anxiety from our prior abusive experiences.
We Suffer Our Own Identity Crisis
We knew who we were before, why is it that we are having such a hard time successfully being ourselves now?
A person with an identity crisis targets someone who doesn’t and the target ends up experiencing one themselves. How does this happen? Lack of boundaries while in the relationship certainly explain why we give up who we are in order to try to keep the narcissist happy. (Yes, this is called codependency and yes, it is a requirement of a narcissistic relationship)
But why do we have identity issues once we are free?
We were defined and controlled while with the narcissist. We were further defined by others as the smear campaign was in full effect. We began to notice that the stress, abuse & mistrust and the toll it takes in every area of our lives. We feel weakened, less than, less capable, and more damaged. Which only reaffirms that who we formerly thought we were, is no longer showing up to handle things we used to be able to handle. Where we used to have stability, we now experience flux; sometimes severe and sometimes rapid.
Who are we NOW, then? Why can’t we be the same as before? Why did we have to change when we weren’t the person with the personality disorder?
It Feels as if Our Baseline Never Returns
Every new action or decision we take as a reflection of who we are is like starting all over again; relearning to Live. Be. Breath. Each new decision opens a can of worms and turns into a major overhaul of who we are. When your world views have been changed so drastically by trauma, it begins to feel like our “baseline” is a moving target or that we’re chasing the foxes tail. Just when it seems we’ve reached our place of stability, something comes along and shakes it up causing us to make changes when that’s the last thing we want to do is change something else about ourselves or our lives. It feels as if its a wound whose bleeding never stops. If it’s not some new way were dealing with our coworkers treatment of us at work, it’s the question of how much responsibility to take in a situation with inlaws, or other family members.
The identity and boundary work required after narcissistic abuse is daunting and exhausting. We feel the urge to sift through all the rubble just in case we miss something crucial to our never going through this again. We HAVE to show up to boundary challenges – or we may begin to notice how many people we’ve been tossing away, for valid reasons, but suddenly realize no one is there. We can get paralysis by analysis wondering if we did the right thing.
If before our lives were driven to meet goals in areas like finances, career aspirations or fitness and nutrition, NOW our goals focus on never being victimized again. The struggle to have power over our situation after such a random act of abuse consumes us, takes all our energy, all our focus and throws our lives out of balance.
We Have a Hard Time Seeing Results and Staying Positive
How long do we have to practice doing the “right thing” or making the right choices to live a healthy life before we start reaping the rewards and seeing the positive results of our continued efforts? Our newfound knowledge of narcissistic people carries over into our everyday lives. We suddenly notice how narcissistic the office gossip is, or that annoying supervisor that throws everyone under the bus. We want to run, escape, avoid them, yet the financial difficulties of making decisions to leave unhealthy environments catches up with us and causes anxiety. Or we worry about being seen as unstable when all we want is that every elusive, “healthy environment” or peaceful atmosphere.
While we feel that we’re drowning in our own ineffective efforts to regain our life and identity that we know realistically we’ll never have again, we’ll catch wind of the narcissist having the time of their lives, seemingly unaffected by the same abusive relationship that left us feeling crippled. (albeit they claim THEY were the abused ones) The constant realization of the injustice of the situation is enough to make us want to throw up our hands in despair and “give up”; whatever that means. We didn’t ask for this struggle, we didn’t want it and we certainly didn’t deserve it, yet here we are, asked to manage it and thrive.
Don’t let anyone tell you, you aren’t trying hard enough. If you have survived a narcissistic relationship with your thoughts in tact…YOU ARE TRYING HARD ENOUGH! Telling someone whose life was placed in a blender and pureed for an extended period of time that they aren’t trying hard enough to be positive or “get over it” is like restarting the blender. Yet again, it falls on our shoulders to take responsibility and set a boundary between ourselves and the person who stunts our growth by judging or pushing where we need listening and affirming, to say, “Ill do the healthy thing and cut off my only source of support”. While it’s smart and good for us, its just another difficult choice to deliver ourselves defeat and loss at a difficult time in our lives.
Recognizing the level of damage we’re still experiencing after narcissistic abuse isn’t heartening news. It’s quite easily, depressing and hopeless. But once you identify and feel the feelings in the aftermath of this abuse, it paves the way to overcome the damage and build the bridge back to a hopeful future, freeing ourselves of the affects of this abuse once and for all.