So many conflicting thoughts, so much confusion! In reality it is the manipulation, control and abuse from a NARCISSIST that disorientates your thoughts and disables your reality.
From my Book – From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist! @ https://www.amazon.com
Narcissists will degrade their victims, rip apart their self-esteem, and basically erase their personalities! In turn this will basically blind you and make resistance to their control strategies difficult and impossible to detect. This is what psychological abuse does distorts OR diverts your reality and it becomes your ‘new normal.’ They use tactics such as sarcasm, belittling, cruel and constant criticizing, bullying, name calling, berating, excessive blaming, gas-lighting, screaming, raging, threatening, deflecting, ignoring, silencing, isolating, humiliation AND dehumanization. Over time, the constant verbal and emotional attacks weaken the target/victim and erode their sense of self confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem while it enables the Narcissist to feel more powerful and, hence, more and more in control over your reality and life. It is this constant managing down that breaks your spirit completely. You are not experiencing a relationship you are experiencing a reactionary connection with them where you are STUCK constantly explaining and defending yourself in an attempt to return to those days that you were affirmed and loved by this creature. There was no love because that was just another manipulation to gain your trust to make you vulnerable to the Narcissist’s abuse!
The Narcissist purposely seeks out and plays on your vulnerabilities, fear, guilt, compassion, and values to get what they want. They have gained your trust by making you believe they loved you. This could include threats to end the relationship, silencing or a “cold shoulder,” punishment or other fear tactics. A Narcissist believes and projects an attitude of being omnipotent or all powerful but basically they are really trying to conquer their targets/victims. They need to be in control of others and must have everything their way or they will resort to threats or any other methods to achieve total submission in people. Eventually, the target/victim loses the battle and becomes a prisoner to the Narcissist and the abuse. Just imagine the number of years a target/victim is subjected to this hideous brain-washing and the resulting damage!
Your mind is always trying to process this duality that exists because unlike the Narcissist you possess empathy – you love them and believe in them but on the other hand you don’t like what they do to you and you find yourself buried under all of this as you try to sort through it and make this relationship cohesive again. Is it ‘you’ or is it ‘them?’ How can the person you love and vice versa have changed so drastically? They haven’t changed, you are only seeing the truth about who and what they are. You just don’t completely get it YET. What exists is cognitive dissonance. In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. The theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how we strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals tend to become psychologically uncomfortable and they are motivated to attempt to reduce this dissonance, as well as actively avoiding the situations and information which are likely to increase it. The struggle exists within loving this person and trying to avoid the unavoidable and consistent managing down (or the dissonance.) How do you avoid this when love is the reality that you are hanging onto? You do this with education and knowledge to understand that you are dealing with a personality disordered person that will no change nor do they want to change.
Narcissists intentionally promote feelings of anxiety and despair in their targets/victims by making impervious threats and using intimidation, bullying, and lies. This unfortunately can cause the victim to submit to the unreasonable demands or pathological bullying by the Narcissist. The Narcissist will also isolate their target/victim to deprive them of any outside support which further reduces their ability to resist and give into their disordered demands as the victim’s reality is distorted. The Narcissist will keep the target/victim unaware of what is happening perhaps by taking complete control of the finances, making plans that are unknown to the victim, tell lies about them to others, being distant, withholding feelings, etc. This strategy leads to the target/victim becoming totally dependent on the Narcissist for validation and information because of the isolation. That information will of course be distorted and damaging to the target/victim.
The Narcissist will insist upon controlling their partner’s time as well as their physical environment to try to curb their NORMAL or natural behavior, reality, and feelings of independence or better yet their individuality. They may even insist on their partner, friend, or family member on giving up certain hobbies, social engagements or even work related activities further isolating them. They may also insist that their partner move in with them or away with them to a new location which AGAIN further isolates the victim from their family or friends. Abusers may convince the target/victim that aspects of the target/victim’s character or behavior are totally wrong or they have issues, which takes the focus off what the Narcissist is doing or diversion tactics. Using isolation of the target/victim, the Narcissist can then control what type of information, stimuli, and reality the victim has access to. They will triangulate to place wedges between you and close family members or friends pitting you against each other with lies attached to familiarity that they have accessed by knowing you. When you actualize exactly what they are doing you TRULY see how disordered and deviant this person is.
Drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts are used to keep the target/victim unsettled and anxious. This behavior leaves the target/victim feeling like they are always on edge and a slave to the Narcissist’s many moods. Targets/victims are always waiting for the other shoe to drop and can never know what is expected. Targets/victims remain hypersensitive or hyper vigilant, waiting for the Narcissist’s next rage, mood change or attack! Living like this is extremely confusing, demanding, disabling, and anxiety provoking, causing the target/victim to feel constantly frightened, unsettled and off balance or the ‘walking on eggshells’ or as I call it ‘walking on shards of broken glass.’ These are the distorted messages that find a home in our heart, mind, and reality.
A Narcissist will deliberately start arguments and be in continual conflict with their present supply to allow the Narcissist freedom to live their ‘out of control’ lifestyle to seek out other supply as well – this again is basically CONTROL. Narcissists are addicted to chaos and drama since it creates excitement and they draw deluded attention from it (supply is positive or negative attention). They will walk away in silence to drive their point home and further punish you. They are not giving any of it a second thought and are probably off seeking other supply to get their hit because it is like a drug to them. These are very disordered creatures that enjoy inflicting pain on their loved ones to feel some sort of disordered power over them.
Needless to say we are human and even though situations like the aforementioned seem too incredulous to be real because we know our own truths, it still has an effect on us. Somehow, we have to deal with the distorted messages and wonder why the Narcissist is attacking us in such serious ways and we question ourselves as if we have some part in all of this. WHY? Because we are normal human beings that strive for consistency and try to work through things and a Narcissist is not a fully functioning human being and does not have these reasoning powers. Over time these levels of craziness find a place deep down inside of us that make us wonder if we ARE crazy OR crazy for hanging on and trying to resolve any of this. I knew that none of chaos and crazy making had anything to do with me because I knew my life and none of this defined my reality, but the constant question of “why would I be attacked so viciously” would keep me in a constant haze as well as overanalyzing the situation trying to end the conflicts. I remember saying to my Narcissist that we needed a miracle, but there was no miracle that could have fixed any of this! The real miracle was when I accepted the truth and was free from this monster – and YES monster is what describes this person.
You are left with so many conflicting messages that keep you trapped in extreme emotional confusion because this is what the Narcissist wants. By doing this the Narcissist uses us like a yo-yo on a string, constantly forcing you down and then pulling you back up again – perpetual, disordered and dizzying motion to control you and keep you off balance. You don’t have time to clearly think or see the forest for the trees. This is a person that initially proclaimed a real love for you that you invested in AND believed was real. Suddenly that image turns completely around and what was love is now contempt through subtle BUT direct attacks of your integrity to erode your well-being. From there the Narcissist escalates these attacks and they turn into rage, silencing, and punishment to take you completely down and finish the job or the devaluation phase AND then the smear campaign to destroy your integrity.
People do not intentionally hurt people, as well as take advantage of their love or betray their trust! Narcissists will and do FOR SURE! When someone’s actions are unexplainable and fall outside your normal realm of understanding, belief system or moral code, it is not because you ARE the bad person OR you deserve this behavior, INSTEAD it is because there is ultimately something wrong with THEM. Somehow you have to internalize and encapsulate this message so that you steer away from the tendency to blame yourself as well as to assure that you don’t in turn apply compassion to forgive your abuser for harming or destroying you because this was intentional. This is why it is tricky as far as putting the correct spin on the truth! You must also consider your personal safety at all times!
Even though you have labeled them as the Narcissist and they more than likely are, YOU are the one having to deal with sorting this out and finding peace with it because they have moved on and left you with all of the distorted and disabling messages. It will take some time to just understand how someone could possibly be so deceitful, and destructive no matter what! I can say that they (the Narcissist) is definitely the one with the problem, BUT the pain doesn’t go away, nor does that erase what you believed was real! This is not a reality that we have past experience with and you have to adjust your belief system to include this now. This is what novels about creatures and monsters are written about that send a shiver up your spine. The fictional horror movies we have watched are now real to us and one of these creatures existed in our personal world. We can’t just close our eyes or pull a blanket over our head to resist seeing them because they are reality now! Accepting that is an insurmountable process and the truth we have to travel to get to!
You will come out of this. You will form new and strong boundaries. You will reflect on your own inner conflicts and resolve them. You will grow with the knowledge that there are bad and even evil people out there that can and will destroy you. You will learn to differentiate the reality of good and bad in life and seek out the goodness in others and return it naturally as it should be. You will find what is important in life and live with an inner peace from knowing this horrid adversity. It is a life changing reality when someone psychologically rapes and terrorizes your mind. It is an unnecessary evil but you now realize it existed in your world and you will protect yourself at all costs from returning to this Narcissist or allowing a similar toxic or abusive person into your life. It all starts with no/minimal contact to break the chain around your neck! It also requires that you accept the reality of a Narcissist and NEVER return as in trying to figure them out, understand them, and feel a need to help them or associate with anything that concerns them. Put all of that away so you can put positive energy into yourself and your recovery! Greg