A Narcissist’s love is a distorted and desperate love that erases your personality and destroys your belief system and traumatizes your life.
From my Book: From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist.
Intense relationships where distorted love is involved tend to hijack all of the target/victims relating capacity and rationale. The victim is in a continual state of being so worn out, managed down, burnt out, devalued, AND then always feeling a need to fix the wrongs and make the relationship right again by accepting the blame! You forget what is really right as it concerns you and your needs because you are always having to explain, react, and keep 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 healthy reality based connection because of the fear, loss, the worthlessness that was imposed on you, feelings of blame and shame, or even normal and good memories above and 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 then that love was manipulated in a manner to manage you down and control you completely. This is hideous dehumanization and such an intense betrayal for a normal human being that if not corrected it can diminish and disable the target/victims perspective of the world, people, and love throughout 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, totally empty, and very damaged – you tend to isolate yourself. Then is seems that going back to the primary abuser will help you overcome the intense pain or fixing this to make everything right again to release from the that horrible 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. 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 then trying to believe in that real love that you once knew with them. You didn’t outwardly accept this distorted love, you were TRICKED/CONNED into what you believed was a NORMAL love or emotionally/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 real 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. 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 but you must still grieve it and try to heal from this too. That complete distorted thought process that has destroyed your normal belief system now has to be removed from your psyche to rebuild and return to that old and healthy 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 someone was 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. Yes this was completely abnormal to your world! 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! Yes some must stay in minimal contact because of biological children, etc. – but minimal contact means that you can no longer allow or invest in any type of emotional connection with them and only business as necessary. Greg