We all have an expiration date with a Narcissist! Understanding the attachment to a Narcissist! The denial and cognitive dissonance that distorts our normal reality.
Almost every target/victim that has been abused by a Narcissist goes through a long and arduous period of emotional denial. The denial is based on the emotional connection (love) because a target/victim hangs on to the belief that this Narcissist loved them and it is very hard to let go of that. A normal person just can’t turn love OFF – but a Narcissist can turn it off just as easily as they turned it on because love is a tool they use to con people! They DON’T love because they don’t have the emotions or empathy to support it! So we all had an expiration date that was set in stone by the Narcissist when something newer came along.
Because there was LOVE involved with this person (the Narcissist,) we believe that they could have NEVER committed the atrocities that stand before us! Love is a VERY strong emotional attachment! It is virtually impossible to TRULY accept the hideous reality that the person who claimed to be the love of your life, or a parent, brother/sister, or even your loving best friend is actually a Malignant Narcissist that ABUSES you. No way, this was the real thing, this person totally LOVED you and you loved them. It was SO REAL and you just can’t ascertain that someone could be that adept at conning you into LOVING them and then being so toxic in your life! You try to justify this over and over again and you keep returning to this powerful emotion that you shared reciprocal LOVE with your Narcissist. Yes you do feel love because you are NORMAL and can love – but that is all you are feeling the love YOU have for THEM!
You have to think back and recall just how uneasy you felt in this relationship, how YOU were continually accepting the negativity that always seemed to be present when you were together. Think about the lies, betrayal, put downs and so many other things that just weren’t normal to a loving relationship. You worked your hardest at rationalizing and justifying this LOVE and continually tried to fix this distorted relationship (love) rather than accepting the truth from your intuition shouting out at you. You STILL keep justifying that it was love and you must have overlooked something or other that could have fixed everything! WHO was making you try so hard to fix this? Who was telling you everything was wrong and it was YOUR fault? Who never put an effort into allowing you to voice normal concerns? Who silenced you over and over again and why? The truth is that this could never have turned out any different than what it did because it was meant to be temporary! What about the new supply and how quickly this Narcissist JUMPED right into that relationship! Where is/was the love that you kept fighting for? It was NEVER there in the first place!
Then ask yourself how many times you had to reassure yourself that everything WOULD be OK if you did this, that or any number of different things! Also the many important ‘personal’ things concerning your needs that were always dismissed to make and keep this Narcissist happy and it was NEVER enough. How many times were you so confused about crazy statements, arguments, accountability, or the many lies that you probably justified or ignored? What about affairs? Were there any or many? Did you always feel as if you had to explain yourself for most everything you did or said no matter what? Did you feel any sense of normalcy with this person after the ‘amazing love’ in the beginning? Did you feel like parts of your life had mysteriously disappeared and it isn’t the same as it used to be. You always felt so frustrated in general, confused, anxious, you felt tired or exhausted from day after day of arguments that had no basis, and just the general feeling of unhappiness. Or maybe you feel shabby about yourself or worthless. Is it a feeling like things have spun out of control in your life and you are WONDERING WHY this has happened! You haven’t done anything different than you have in the past (as it concerned your previous ‘normal’ relationships,) but YOU are always working on something or other to get this relationship right! What is the coefficient here? Where is the distress AND stress coming from? Why do you always feel so ANXIOUS and CONFUSED? If you think about this and compile a ‘distress list’ of all of the crazy making and chaos from this relationship it will be hundreds of times longer than a list that would outline the good things that showed this person (the Narcissist) was actually reciprocating with love.
I think most of us know the root of the problem, but trying to get past the emotional stronghold has been the problem and what kept us believing in the huge lie we were living. Through all of this we twisted and tweaked our thoughts so much so that we were able to justify most everything in a manner that made us change our behaviors and basic beliefs to meet the needs of this Narcissist so we could keep believing in what we were conned into believing – this love. We believed that WE could change things to make this relationship right again – but who was telling us to change and WHY? We took charge of trying to make things right and make changes! We ACCEPTED the blame that was handed to us. We accepted silence to avoid arguments. We accepted lies to avoid hearing the truth. We possibly believed that more LOVE would heal! Was it love that would heal this? Just exactly what WAS this love? Was it totally one sided? Could you even ascertain what this relationship was OR were you always wondering?
Was there anyone else (like the Narcissist) involved in the process to make this relationship work or right again or was there actually someone that was making everything wrong (the Narcissist?) Did you ever have a firm grip on this relationship as far as security and a future? Were you ALWAYS walking on thin ice and feeling that at any given moment it would break and you would fall through and drown? Were you giving EVERYTHING you had and received nothing in return? What if ANYTHING actually CHANGED with the extreme attempts that you made to fix this relationship! You and I changed as a result of all of this – we gave most of ourselves away because we were dealing with a psychological abuser and terrorist that PLAYED with us in a cat and mouse manner, and they were so good at it! Yes we changed and lost so much of ourselves in this horrendous game only because we were conned into BELIEVING A HUGE LIE by a manipulative and self-serving creature! So much of our belief system was shattered as well as our innocence as it concerned how another human being could hate and deliberately destroy another human being’s life. THEN we realize that we loved this monster that did all of this. That is the mistake we have made MANY times, the one where we start looking inward and applying blame to ourselves in many ways, as well as denying that this couldn’t be real love and the whole vicious cycle starts and repeats itself over and over again. It is OUR emotional bond that has us attached at the hip to the Narcissist and that is what keeps you hanging on.
These were just some ‘examples’ and observations as it concerned my relationship with a Narcissist and ONLY the tip of the iceberg! It is also familiar or very similar to what many other targets/victims have experienced. Ask yourself how you feel today (post abuse?) Let’s say it is a few months to a few years AFTER this relationship ended. Do you still feel very alone and just so worn out. Do you feel a sense of worthlessness like you don’t have a place in this life like you use to? Do you feel hurt by many things that surrounded the relationship and can’t get to a real closure yet? Are you still wondering WHY? Do you feel like you are avoiding life in many ways like getting back out there with friends and you definitely don’t want to think about getting into another relationship? Are YOU the spouse that has accepted ALL the responsibilities as far as raising the kids from this relationship and still enduring the highs and lows because of the lack of involvement from your ex and regular bouts of chaos? Do you keep tabs on what and where your ex Narcissist is in life and feeling that they have moved on and doing good and you are JUST STUCK? Do you feel disabled in many ways?
With all of the extreme confusion that surrounded the departure of this abusive Narcissist from your life you were left with significant and distorted messages that put the heavy burden of the blame onto and into you and those messages are still living in your mind and heart! This is the same confusion that always surrounded every aspect of the relationship and has now has reemerged and turned into more denial of the real truth with the discard. This denial has planted itself firmly in your life and keeps you in a constant state of limbo in your mind and your heart. It is really a chaotic conflict that keeps cycling back and forth inside of you. Consequently instead of confronting the reality (or truth) you keep turning to every other avenue to reach a closure that ISN’T based on reality and you BASICALLY reject that you were abused by a predator. You don’t really see that it was abuse because you were conditioned to see it as something about YOU that caused everything disparaging in this relationship. When a person is physically abused with a blackened eye for example, that singular action undeniably DEFINES it as abuse to you personally, as well as anyone that sees the damage. With psychological abuse there is no one singular action that leaves an outward bruise. Sometimes you are not even aware of all the actions and words that are harming you. The bruises are on the inside as well as the many scars that build up. It makes it extremely difficult to express the damage that lives in your heart, soul and mind because they are so many there in every level of your life. So where do you start to reconcile?
This is basically conditioning as in being ‘brainwashed’ by a very manipulative and cunning person AND a pro at it! That Narcissist wanted you to BELIEVE that they REALLY loved you at first, but when they REALLY got to know you in such a personal/loving manner then all of a sudden they realized that YOU really had all of these horrible issues and that YOU were REALLY defective and abusing them. REALLY? They have been sending this message to you subtly from the very first day they met you and then stepped it up with the devaluation and discard because that expiration date was inevitable. The Narcissist has been out there securing MORE supply probably the same day they met you! So look at the focus and where it was aimed – at your vulnerable loving heart and mind! Why doesn’t a Narcissist just take the goods and run when they are caught? Why do they have to play such harsh psychological games to harm people? Why do they have to destroy as much of you as they can? So they can keep abusing new people and avoiding exposure by destroying the evidence or the last person they abused!
Simply put this is just part of the agenda that enables them to MOVE ON by blaming you (devaluing) and then discarding you! This is them getting away with their abuse. This very astute con artist got everything they wanted with their big love scam and they needed to move on and find better supply because you just weren’t serving them and they got bored and went out looking for something better! There was never any real love! They were ALWAYS looking for more supply even when things were supposedly good. So when you reached your ‘expiration date’ they were off to a new target/victim and unscathed because they had an alibi (blaming everything on you) like every criminal does and dysfunctional people that believe them and support them! Their alibi enables them to avoid exposure by discrediting you completely! Job well done and the Narcissist is off and running. Don’t try to make them accountable because they will start a war with you that will literally drive the point home that if you play with them they will discredit you with words (LIES) that can damage you for a lifetime. This is their lifestyle, this is their disorder, this is always what they do, this is their pattern, this is abuse, and THIS IS A NARCISSIST!
You are disabled by their HUGE con and not truly capable of accepting any part of the reality because of the constant brainwashing which now becomes your vulnerability in all of this! The TRUTH or reality of the situation that it was abuse becomes suppressed and surfaces as anxiety, depression, self-blaming, worthlessness, fear, and trauma – the VERY messages that were pounded into your head and now your heart. Rather than confronting this reality, targets/victims entirely go into a place of denial like they were conditioned to do by their abuser. It is not that you are just that stupid or that much of a fool that you totally allowed this relationship to put you here. You were CONTINUALLY managed down by seamless manipulation slowly but surely and day by day until all of these scenarios became a way of life for you. Little by little you accepted your role with this Narcissist. Now little by little you must purge these negative messages out and replace them with the truth and positive messages about yourself! Introspection will become your next step in recovery once you actualize the real truth of your situation. You will look for your personal weaknesses and create new boundaries and a healthier lifestyle. That is when you will put the emphasis TOTALLY into yourself to move forward without any singular thought of this Narcissist.
You were akin to being a personal lab rat for this Narcissist that was reinforced and shocked so many times that you learned how to respond to the stimuli that was presented to you. You were confined in a cage with a water bottle and a dispenser that would basically give you a few pellets of food when you responded the way you should have. Your life was totally controlled by another. If you didn’t respond correctly you would be shocked with a jolt of electricity that drove the point home to change your behavior to get that life sustaining food. Even when you were performing normally you were still shocked now and then to comply with whatever NEW conditions were set for you. This was basically behavioral modification to make you serve a destructive creature that was so very clever with their deception and choice of poison to get you to this place BUT hid it all behind a mask of sanity like they were your savior and the GOOD person.
SO today you are left with all of those messages that modified your beliefs about this relationship and yourself. Seriously it is very sad to know this and to have to believe this. NOW you are free and out of that cage but you are still left in that mode of trying to respond the way you were conditioned to and hanging on to the wrong beliefs. This is what psychological abuse is all about – conditioning and control! It sounds a little bit crazy of course, but positive/negative behavioral modification is part of our everyday life. That is why there are laws, rules and regulations to protect good people and avert crime. But behavioral modification to gain power and control over another person in a manner to subjugate them is psychological abuse, sadistic, and basically terrorism! This is a Narcissist’s modus operandi or mode of operation that they willfully choose to extort life and people!
At some point in your relationship the evidence of your Narcissist’s highly disturbed/distorted personality reared its ugly face, especially once this Narcissist was no longer invested in you (the devaluation and discard phases.) Then the Narcissist no longer makes a significant effort to keep his/her invented and fake mask of deception on. Then total denial is no longer possible with you but the damage is already done. The floodgates of reality suddenly burst wide open and a whole new set of inconsistencies, horrendous lies, manipulations, criticism, rage and emotional/psychological abuse flows through to the surface of your consciousness and becomes a new reality! Unfortunately the behavioral modification and psychological abuse still keeps you locked up in that cage hanging on and believing. If there is no one there to totally release you and stop those messages they stay with you for a very long time and you want to run back to the comfort of that cage and keep pressing on that bar in hopes that you will receive a few pellets of reinforcement where there is none! You hold on to the distorted beliefs that this was love and you bend so much so that you practically snap in half.
It is virtually impossible to absorb such painful information AND the truth all at once. Your heart still yearns for what you were persuaded to believe during the ‘love bombing’ that this WAS somehow love! Your mind is still overwhelmed with the memories of the so called good times with the Narcissist. Yet, the truth about the infidelity, the constant lies and deception, the manipulation and the backstabbing, the constant breakups and returns can no longer be denied because the truth is staring at you in the eyes! You can’t undo the damage AND everything you have learned about the Narcissist. You can’t return to the point of original innocence and the total blindness. The ‘end result’ is this contradictory existence and a HUGE internal battle clinging to the denial or accepting the real truth. How many times did you do this in the relationship by returning to a day or two of fake happiness and then it was right back to the same old same old? This is the definition of cognitive dissonance!
Cognitive dissonance is this inner contradiction concerning the target/victim’s attitude towards their abuser (the Narcissist.) It is by far not logical or normal thinking, but more of a defense mechanism for coping with the extreme deception, domination, control and abuse. Targets/victims engage in cognitive dissonance, in an attempt to reconcile the contradictory actions, words and behavior of a toxic or disordered individual that has taken over their lives. Yes taken over their lives!
The denial takes on several different forms. First it can manifest itself as hanging onto the idealization (believing it WAS love) or still hanging onto the false hopes and beliefs from the trap that lured you in (the love bombing!) It can also shift in a manner that we do blame ourselves for what went wrong with the relationship or perhaps even shifting the blame to the person that the Narcissist was cheating with or the new supply (the ‘other’ man or woman) instead of holding the Narcissist accountable for their actions! It is by far easier to blame someone you’re not emotionally invested in than someone you love, particularly if you still cling to that person or relationship. Remember the ‘new supply’ is no part of this and they are being conned and psychologically abused as well. It is only a matter of time that the ‘new supply’ will be in this same place!
Have you justified infidelity during your time with this Narcissist? Did you hold onto the belief that after this lurid ‘new’ affair was over with that things would go back to normal – or even after the discard the Narcissist would return to you because THEY LOVE YOU! Did you justify or deny that the affair or the new supply exists in a manner that they are just not real or temporary as it concerns your future and getting back with the Narcissist so you just accept or justify this! Do you sit there, waiting and believing that your Narcissist is going to knock at your door and come back to you? How many times did this Narcissist do this to you during the course of the relationship by always using deception to cover up so many lies and betrayal? That is the REAL message right there! You are not anything real to this Narcissist and replaceable! In time you do actualize the truth that they aren’t there in any normal sense of a viable relationship!
So more than often target/victims project the blame back onto themselves as they were conditioned to do all throughout the relationship and accept things that they normally wouldn’t. After all it was YOUR fault as we were made to believe! We got there because we accepted all of the Narcissist’s projection of blame and began questioning ourselves AND our emotions led us there. What did we do wrong, to drive them away? What was it about us that was so wrong or lacking that made the Narcissist become so negative or unhappy in the relationship? Was I not good enough, smart enough, virtuous enough like the Narcissist claimed, hardworking enough, beautiful or handsome enough, sexy, worthy, submissive enough, didn’t I give enough, do I REALLY have issues like this Narcissist said. Did I, could I, should I, if I? It is always the same coefficient from the Narcissist constantly managing you down and it always became OUR issues and never holding this monster accountable for what was only psychological abuse. We never get it that we were just ANOTHER object for this Narcissist to use and discard. We only believed the lies and fell into this abuse so we live with the distorted thoughts until we purge them out of us OR until we actualize the truth and get help to move away from all of the negative messages that modified our behaviors in such a destructive manner. THERE IS NEVER any closure with this Narcissist because it was all an agenda that ends with destruction and they are not going to take responsibility for their abuse and be exposed for who and what they are.
When a target/victim experiences cognitive dissonance, our rational ability to actualize reality or accept the knowledge about the psychopathy as far as it concerns the Narcissists doesn’t fully sink in on the powerful EMOTIONAL LEVEL. Plus we never had ‘real time’ experience or knowledge about this personality disorder to help us understand what was happening to us! Consequently, we continually move back and forth between that old idealized fantasy that was pounded into our mind and heart and the pathetic reality of the NEW truth about this disordered individual that terrorized our world and try to rationalize it. This is such a confusing process as well as an emotionally draining one too. Just remember that initially, when you were in the idealization phase and LOVED so ideally the fantasy was that this Narcissist could love you and that he/she seriously committed to loving you. Then, once you were devalued and/or discarded, the fantasy still remains that he/she is capable of LOVE and loving others, BUT just not YOU. You feel that you weren’t right for him/her, but NOW someone else can be SO RIGHT for them and it only reinforces the distorted messages. Narcissists don’t know love or feel love with ANYBODY they are only looking for supply. There will be MANY more and newer ‘others’ in this Narcissist’s future but ALL of them are just new objects to use and throw away! Everyone has an expiration date!
This is the fantasy (manipulation) that the Narcissist tries to convince every target/victim of once they enter the devaluation phase and that it is the problem is never with the them (the Narcissist.) Narcissists do truly believe this because they never see anything wrong with themselves or their behavior, so if they are no longer vested in or excited by a person, the Narcissist concludes it must be your fault because YOU were deficient or defiant and didn’t serve them in every way they deserved to be treated – omnipotence. That is where the incredulous stories and lies come from as it concerns the Narcissist pinning this all on you (smear campaign!) Then WHO has ever tested the Narcissist by trying to completely expose them, and were they successful. What law protects a target/victim and makes the Narcissist’s accountable with criminal charges! The Narcissist is a clever thief and usually has minions that claim his/her innocence and turns it back onto us! Karma and time will get them for sure because their lies do catch up with them!
Because you put up with the emotional and psychological abuse from this Narcissist you were with for such a long time and because the devaluation phase was also so long and drawn-out, you have absorbed AND accepted these particular beliefs despite everything you NOW know about this Narcissist’s inability to love or even care about others. In time and with no contact, the rational knowledge and emotional beliefs that this was real love will merge so you can accept this duality of what you believed and what is really the ugly truth. The last bits and pieces of this totally distorted illusion of this Narcissist loving you will diminish so the real healing CAN begin! BUT you have to put the effort there to stop the messages as well as anything that concerns them or you will constantly spin your wheels and stay stuck in this victim mode and BLAMING yourself. The reality here is that this was abuse!
Cognitive dissonance is part of the disabling process of being a target/victim of a personality disordered Narcissist and doesn’t occur in healthy relationships. When there are two healthy individuals in a relationship there are good and bad parts as it concerns two separate personalities merging. But by far one or the other person doesn’t have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality or a mask of sanity that hides a malicious, abusive and destructive person. In a healthy relationship, there is a certain level of transparency, so basically, what you see is what you get and it is pretty consistent, flaws and all. ALSO healthy relationships aren’t based on emotional/psychological abuse, control, domination and an insurmountable mountain of deliberate lies and manipulation. Furthermore healthy relationships don’t end abruptly, as if they never even happened because normal people can’t detach so quickly from deeper relationships and JUMP right into another one UNLESS it was completely built on deception and basically one partner is a Narcissist! Cognitive dissonance happens in those cases where there is a horrendous contradiction between a reality and an increasingly implausible fantasy which when fully revealed, would be too painful to accept, so much so that you would rather cling to parts of the fantasy than confront that sad reality and move on.
So what is related to this cognitive dissonance is that the Narcissist still has a form of power over you and the Narcissist’s distorted standards still have a place in your brain AND heart. Call it ambient abuse! Even though you may reject the Narcissist on some level, on another the Narcissist’s opinions still somehow matter to you (those old message still playing in your head!) Narcissists are frauds, their actions, words and opinions are distorted and delusional with a personal and self-serving agenda attached to them! The Narcissist’s connections to others, especially the ones the Narcissist CLAIMS to be “the love of their life,” are only empty, controlling and abusive bonds too. But if you stay emotionally attached or you still care about what the Narcissists thinks or feels, then you are giving a highly disordered person too much power over you.
Completely cut those imaginary ties and cut the cord that still connects you to a pathological Narcissist, as well as his/her disordered supporters and their abnormal and distorted frame of reference AND games. Nothing good will ever come out of allowing a Narcissist and his/her pathological defenders or minions having a place in your life, heart, or mind. The connection between the Narcissist’s and their followers/supply is a disordered perspective that messes with your healthy life AND creates the intense inner tension or cognitive dissonance. To eliminate this means to free yourself body, soul, heart and mind from this Narcissist, their followers and their opinions, standards AND games. What they do, say, think or believe and the silly mind games they choose to play simply does not matter OR belong in your world. What they post on social sites is just another mask they use that hides the truth and them begging for attention! Totally disengage from anything and everything that concerns the Narcissist. I did a long time ago and I am very clear about my situation and the real truth. I do not connect to THIS NARCISSIST at any level, I pull myself away from ANY and EVERY situation or connection that might exist. Everything this Narcissists does or projects is just more and more layers of ridiculous lies to protect themselves from exposure and the real truth of what they are. I absorbed all of that information a long time ago and saturated my mind with the truth that this person is dead inside and really a monster! These are words I never believed I would use in my lifetime to describe anybody BUT that is only the truth as it concerns this person so I can say them now! I can also say I am repulsed by this person and their lifestyle. It is all so clear now and that is what moved me forward to live and love again! This was the first step to my recovery but a very important one for clarity!
What does any connection with a Narcissist yield? Just blame, shame, sadness, frustration, a sense of defeat, doubt, constant and conflicting thoughts, many lies, mistrust, feelings of worthlessness, distorted emotions, betrayal, destruction, and ABUSE. PLEASE internalize that despite how intense the emotional upheaval might be, it is so worth getting your freedom back to live life as you should – otherwise what other option really exists? Remember this if you remember anything, you are not weak, stupid, you are vulnerable and struggling to find answers so it is particularly distressing when your normal reality has been intentionally corrupted by what you believed was just a caring and loving human being that turned into this MONSTER! Please remember that your emotions bond you to this creature and that is what you have to actualize by accepting the truth about them as far as the fake love they offered that you believed in – it wasn’t real it was a trap. This is where you must start by rationalizing the truth and rejecting everything about this Narcissist. A relationship and love does not involve bargaining parts of your life away to meet anybody’s needs! No/minimal contact PLEASE. Greg