From My Book: From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist.
We have to face the truth about our relationship with a Narcissist – as painful as it may feel and painful it will be AND there is no getting around this – BUT if you have been with, known, or lived with a Narcissist for a significant portion of our life, then you are very much accustomed to pain and being managed down and that is what you are continually working through or all of that brainwashing, manipulation or emotional and psychological abuse. This pain feels very different, lonely, isolated, and scary. You can get through it. Most importantly, you can’t ever go back to the world of Narcissistic lies and betrayal. We can never go back, we have to go forward – WE HAVE TO.
We must be able to recognize that this relationship wasn’t based on love, but upon control tactics (fear, shame, and guilt), unmet emotional needs, dysfunctional dependency, brain-washing, betrayal, constant managing down and projection. WE have bought into the lies that this Narcissist has told us! “No one will ever love you as much as me.” “You’ll never find anyone as wonderful as me.” “You’re crazy if you think anyone else would want you.” “You don’t know how lucky you are that I put up with you.” “You owe me after everything I did for you.” GUESS WHAT they believe this BS and nonsense because they are disordered and damaged and have created this false persona that supports their delusions and failures. They leave a trail of destruction that goes way back to the first days they were able to speak. We were managed down to accept these lies hook, line, and sinker and sadly pair this brainwashing with a very small handful of good memories. This brainwashing was a very powerful, distorted belief that kept us (and keeps us) from moving on and then disables us AFTER THE FACT making it difficult to have a happy, healthy relationship with someone new because of that negative and consistent conditioning that erased our spirit, belief system, and personality. It also has a traumatic effect on a very important relationship and that is the one with OURSELVES.
Despite the relentless abuse, rage episodes, mind games, projection, gaslighting and demoralization, SOMEHOW we believe we are still in love with these Narcissists on some level and possibly feel we will always love them. These messages continuously play behind all of our attempts to reach closure and YES through our recovery. This is part of recovery and we must live it! This attitude or thought process is evidence of how the emotionally abusive Narcissist brainwashes or programs their targets to keep believing in them – that was the huge con, love bombing, or whatever we call this horrendous manipulation they tricked us into believing. It is akin to an addiction, and our addiction is to the drug of our choice and that is this Narcissist that conditioned us to be dependent on their emotional manipulation by using love as the bait to gain our trust. A drug alters our mind when we ingest it, and the brainwashing, programming, and conditioning from a Narcissist ALSO alters our mind when we ingest and internalize their messages. Like an addict that will continually justify their returning to the drug of choice EVEN though it is damaging their mind and life and is basically destroying them – it is the addiction message that keeps the addict going back. That message is also in us and what causes us to relapse. The message has altered our mind to believe in the Narcissist against all of the odds and truth that they are bad for us. In time with education and support we will deprogram this message and be desensitized to it. But we have to always be cognizant of the fact that the message is in our subconscious and destroy it so it doesn’t start replaying itself or we will fall backwards into the abuse pattern again.
It is a fact of life that it takes time to grieve the loss of a significant relationship and that includes normal and ABNORMAL ones. No matter how abusive your Narcissist is/was, you still need to mourn the loss of the love you believed in, because it was portrayed as normal to you (just more of the brainwashing.) This may be confusing because ending a relationship with an abuser should ultimately feel like an act of liberation and freedom, but for many it is also experienced as a huge loss. It is not the reality of the loss of the destructive Narcissist, but the loss of the ideal fantasy image that was first IMAGED or constructed in your head by the ‘love bombing’ agenda. You are only wishing back a mirage that never existed. In reality this is just a false image that had very few fleeting moments of real sanity. The man or woman as well as the relationship you loved and miss do not exist! What exists and remains in your mind is the ‘what ifs,’ or if I only did this, that or what not, or worked harder to fix this’ THEN everything would have been OK. That is just DENIAL of the real truth.
Add up all of those ‘what ifs’ and look at them closely. For example, “if only he/she weren’t so crazy,” or “If only he/she weren’t so cruel,” or “If only he/she wasn’t such a liar,” or “if only he/she wouldn’t have cheated,” Or “if only I would have tried harder to make this work.” None of that is realistic because no person should feel inclined to take blame for such outrageous justifications! There or no “ifs” when somebody is sadistic and dehumanizes you and your reality. There is no fixing this when the person does not know love and uses it to manipulate you, control you, condition you and HURT You.
Now think about what you could do to help them or what you have already done so many times to correct all the problems. Now put a spin on the real perspective that the Narcissist feels omnipotent and superior, follows no rules or laws in life, lies, manipulates, etc. Will this Narcissist all of a sudden turn over a new leaf because you are hurting and haven’t they hurt you many times before? WELL, even when this Narcissist is hurling the most abusive poison at you, in their mind, they believe that they are being magnanimous for pointing out the error of your ways, so you can improve yourself and be the person THEY DESERVE. In their mind, you should be grateful that they take time from their busy schedule to criticize, abuse and be condescending to you. When they cheated on you it is because you deserve it for not meeting their every need and they justify it as being your fault that they had to find WHAT THEY NEEDED elsewhere. They see nothing wrong with it, or that they lied to cover it up, BUT you better never do the same thing to them. By the way, factor into this equation just what is it that you did wrong in the first place? Nothing! The sun rises and sets on them. They create all the rules and never abide by any of them. This is what a Narcissist does – AVOIDS reality and allow themselves the freedom to do anything they want at will because they are completely entitled to do so no matter how it may harm somebody else EVEN their own biological children! So how do we fix any of that? We DON’T.
You DON’T bargain with someone so that they treat you well. Being treated with kindness, decency, consideration, respect and acceptance should be a prerequisite for an intimate relationship (or any relationship,) not something you are rewarded with for meeting one of the Narcissist’s unreasonable demands or if the Narcissist is trying to manipulate you into fulfilling their agenda by making you a source of supply. Either a person is capable of a reciprocal relationship or they are not. It doesn’t matter what you do or how nice, patient and understanding you are with a Narcissist. They are what they are, a controlling, cruel, abusive, and an emotional bully. You can’t appease a bully or persuade them to be nice to you. If you do, they will only see you as weak and bulldoze you all the more and that is what the Narcissist does in the devaluation stage. A Narcissist will always devalue and discard EVERY person that has some sort of relationship with them. They are omnipotent and superior in their own minds. In the reality they are damaged, dysfunctional and destructive abusers – but you will NEVER get them to see this. Know this completely so you can break free from this cycle of abuse and move forward to recovery. No/minimal contact. Greg ❤