What Makes Narcissism So Damaging?
With narcissistic abuse the only person who realizes there is a problem is the person closest to the stealth narcissist, who is forced to suffer extreme psychological abuse (very subtle emotional blackmail, mental abuse and psychological manipulation). Narcissists twist literally every little detail back round onto the victim. This abuse is so well hidden within communication dynamics that the partner often doesn’t pick up on it and is left scratching their head wondering ‘is it me?’ When the victim of this abuse eventually begins to develop awareness of the manipulation it gradually dawns on them that they have already been abused long before they anticipated and the people that they turn to for help have already been made to believe it’s them who has issues – they’ve already been turned against the victim by the narcissist.
The narcissist makes their partner feel like they are the one with the problem while projecting an innocent saintly persona to everyone around them. They will make their partner look bad and completely destroy their reputation in order to protect their false sense of self. The narcissist has already attained the trust and belief of everyone around them and anyone close to their partner that they are likely to turn to for help. The partner feels like they are suffering alone, no-one around them can see what the narcissist is really up to.
Narcissists use cleverly hidden emotional blackmail, mental abuse and manipulative linguistic patterns to force their partner to question their own sanity, behaviors which people that know them would never ever dream of them even being capable of.
They have everybody around them fooled by their pathological lies and delusional manner WHILE wearing down at the psyche and soul of their partner who, over time, becomes depressed, loses self-esteem and feels like their soul is being worn down until they eventually seemingly become devoid of emotion themselves – this then further backs up the narcissists claims that their partner is the one with the problem.
When arguing with a narcissist, a partner will usually be left at a dead-end. Their logic appears to be incompatible with that of the narcissist and they always get outwitted. The narcissist will go on to state how they took the partner into their life and ‘saved’ them when they needed it and make the partner feel that they are forever indebted to them. They make them believe that anything bad was all in their imagination and that they are paranoid as well as mentally ill.
Narcissists also have multiple partners, secret affairs (sometimes within the family) or even a complete secret life with someone else. They recruit friends and family who are fooled by the innocent persona they project to defend their false self. They convince their partners that discovered secrets are just a result of paranoia or suspicion. They will use special occasions such as holidays or even funerals to get away with their infidelity, times when the victim least expects it.
Whenever the partner questions the abuse, lies or secrets that have been discovered then literally everything gets twisted back round on to them, they are then the one being accused of the abuse, lies and cheating. It’s a plain and simple defense mechanism which offers no logic or information on the subject and has to be kept secret in order to uphold the narcissists pathological self. Narcissists come up with one-line defense mechanisms rather than offering any logical explanation for their behavior (it’s all in your head, that didn’t happen, I don’t know what you’re talking about, I never said that). Statements like these are an instant sign of fear and guilt and make it clear that they’re not willing to even talk about it, they are not willing to take the risk of slipping up.
However, in private the narcissist’s attitude towards their partner will be ‘either let me get away with it or get out of my life’. They make it clear that everything is about them while their partner’s feelings, needs, wants and desires are completely disregarded and they will totally discard their partner in the process with no empathy whatsoever, seemingly being cold-hearted and sadistic. Anyone who knows about the narcissist’s secret life is sure to be blackmailed or manipulated into keeping quiet, sometimes through proxy. Even when a narcissist does slip up, they claim that they have a communication problem and didn’t mean to say it, they will deny their secrets until the day they die even if they’ve already been discovered.
It’s important at this point to understand that the narcissist on some level must be conscious of their abuse, mind-games and manipulation or they wouldn’t hide it from everyone, it has become their way of getting through life and is buried deep in their subconscious. However, they still know the difference between right and wrong and good and evil but deep down inside they just don’t care – protecting their true (and self-denied) emotions is more important.
The narcissist will make it clear to the person closest to them that they understand they have a problem, that they simply don’t care and are not willing to do anything about it even if that means losing the people closest to them in their life. Narcissists have no empathy.