What are we grieving? The many stages of comprehension. This is a longer read but an important one that you can absorb over the weekend.
What are we grieving? The many stages of comprehension. This is a longer read but an important one that you can absorb over the weekend.
From my Book – Greg Zaffuto – Author – From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist!
It all begins with the nightmare of going from being in love (idealized) to being hated (devalued and discarded.) Then discovering the web of deceit and lies at so many levels. Next coming to terms with understanding that you were only an object or Narcissistic Supply and somehow that has to make REAL sense to you. You begin to understand that everything you shared in your past, the memories, dreams and plans were corrupted by the Narcissist’s disordered agenda AND this relationship/love was only real to you! Then you realize what was real to this Narcissist was an agenda to extort what they could through this manufactured love AND THEY USED YOU. You hear a term called gas-lighting which basically describes someone (your Narcissist) trying to make you believe you were mentally disordered or INSANE!
You realize that you don’t have the ability to create real closure. You are not able to let go with love but instead you HAVE to let go with an ‘understanding’ that the person you loved is severely damaged and dangerous and you have to somehow accept and live with this. Your belief system is completely shattered. You hear your Narcissist boasting about having sex with a new person, or perhaps married, or they gone on with their life so quickly, and they are BRAGGING about it to intentionally hurt you and now that feels like a NEW stab to your heart. You start to get nostalgic for what could have been, and you only lose touch with the reality that they are disordered and you start questioning yourself AGAIN. You wonder what it is that YOU did wrong. It is a vicious back and forth cycle that only leaves you so confused and frozen in time. All of these thoughts and more become a part of detaching from this monster BUT unfortunately the coefficient that you loved them is in the mix as well and you are vulnerable and broken! The Narcissist is woven into your memories and your life in very conflicting ways and it is just too confounding BUT TODAY YOU REALIZE THAT NONE OF IT WAS REAL!
You would have to take a course in psychology that deals with personality disorders to completely internalize that they are a Narcissist and disordered to understand the rationale behind this abuse. You probably have never even heard of a Narcissist or associated them with psychological/emotional abuse AND that you were with one. On the other hand, you still have many mixed messages from this Narcissist saying that YOU are the disordered one here and to blame for everything, so you ARE questioning your own mental capacity trying to establish where the real problem lies. IS IT YOU OR IS IT YOUR EX? It is like being on a roller coaster ride through hell and you have to figure all of this out on your own. You have to somehow put this all together in a short period of time going from loving this person to now accepting that they ARE the predator and you were prey. It is just an insurmountable feat to pull this together in your mind especially when you are already so vulnerable and worn down by the many years of this abuse. BUT NOW you start to realize that you were a target/victim of emotional and psychological abuse and that is just a new level of confusion and more that you have to deal with and somehow sort out.
Narcissists can be your mother/father, brother/sister, wife/husband, boyfriend/girlfriend, the mother/father of your biological children, a friend, or boss, and more than likely you have spent MANY years with them as well. You may be financially or legally connected to them. You need a lot of time and an education to process this. You start crawling your way out of this and then you realize that this Narcissist has BRANDED YOU as the abuser, defective, mentally ill, as well as destroyed your integrity by using familiarity against you. They are out there SMEARING your good name to everyone that is important to you. You are really starting to see this monster behind the mask and you LOVED this creature? This is more like psychological rape and you are left there alone to pull yourself together and find some sort of help, but where do you start and what fires do you put out first. It is no longer a matter of the denial, it is reality and you have to face this and try to function in your day to day world as if you are the healthy individual you once were. You end up stumbling and picking yourself up over and over again! It seems like there is no end to this and then anxiety and depression set in.
When you start out on the journey to recovery you are faced with some very difficult objectives and that is picking up all the pieces of your shattered life and trying to put them all back together again. It would be akin to trying to put your house together after a hurricane totally destroyed it. Everything that WAS your life and memories are now shattered and strewn over a hundred-mile radius. You try to sift through the rubble and damage to save what you can, but it is almost impossible to dig in AND through all the piles of debris to find anything familiar or savable. Your whole world is so distorted from the damage that this hurricane caused and you can only see the resulting damage from this disaster and now you have to put this all back together to achieve a cohesive normal ‘YOU’ again and basically do it all by yourself! You basically feel fearful from all of the uncertainty that lies before you.
You start the process of recovery in disbelief, fear, and shock! The shock in essence numbs you temporarily from going completely insane by giving you the ability to separate yourself from the totality of this disaster or some breathing room – it is nature’s sedative. Once the dust settles though you start to see the whole picture standing before you and now reality sets in. As you are setting out on this journey your emotions are going to be overwhelming as you try to understand all of this and they get in the way and confuse you. You are trying to sort through pure chaos and you are going to respond to it with tremendous ambivalence, anger, hatred, vengefulness, and MANY other negative feelings. Along with this you will be doing some deep soul searching trying to put perspective on so many opposing thoughts that don’t correlate with the love you believed in AND it creates a huge void and a great sense of being so lost and alone in all of this.
Your reactions are actually quite normal, and this is just you being a human with confusion, emotions, and empathy striving to find that cohesiveness. You are dealing with two CONFLICTING realities – you were in love and believed it was real for so long, but the reality is that there never was a real person there that loved you because it was a manufactured love and hideous con job because this person was severely disordered. You MUST experience all of these feelings and crazy emotions to move forward to understanding the REAL ‘whys’ as they concern all of this. Even as confusing as all of this is it is a necessary process to actualize and organize what you can! This is how you move forward and that is a learning process that includes the truth that has disabled you in the first place.
You MUST learn everything you can about this disorder and the psychopathy of a pathological Narcissist. You are not dealing with a so called normal breakup where two people move forward with closure. You are having to leave this relationship and whatever love you believed in with ONY an understanding of something very unfamiliar to you (a Narcissist/psychological abuse.) This will all come together when you start to see the patterns emerge and get that ‘ah ha’ moment. This is where you connect the dots and where you begin to bridge your situation to being abused by a Malignant Narcissist! There is nothing normal with abuse nor do you have much experience from your past to compare this to unless you were a victim of this abuse before. You are dealing with hardcore psychopathy here and a personality disorder. This is exactly why you have such a hard time wrapping your head around all of this! This is real, and you need a helping hand to put a perspective on all of this.
You will return to the past to recall, remember and review many details. This is not you obsessing but instead a viable part of the process that is very necessary for recovery and healing. This is all new material and you are starting from square one to internalize what this abuse is and connecting it to what you thought existed but did not exist (the love, relationship, memories, dreams, goals, etc.) So, you must actualize what really existed and replace those emotional connections with the stark reality of the truth. You must now emotionally detach yourself from the disordered Narcissist that you loved and grasp the reality of this massive deception that eroded your being and world. It is hard to separate from the emotions and accept the reality of the situation, BUT you have to tell yourself that you loved a monster. You didn’t know they were a monster, because they are predators that manipulate their prey into the abuse. BUT every time you start remembering the love you believed in, you must now turn those thoughts around and say that you were psychologically and emotionally raped by a monster and predator. You can’t be kind with your thoughts and give the Narcissist the benefit of the doubt because there are NO doubts that Narcissists are destructive abusers to everyone. ANY benefit of the doubt that you allow the Narcissist only keeps you connected to the abuse and will not allow the closure you so desperately need to move forward! You were a target/victim of ABUSE!
You must constantly tell yourself and reinforce that this was not a normal or real person that COULD love you. You have to accept that it was a huge lie and most importantly that it had nothing to do with you because the Narcissist managed you down to believe that you are to blame and the disordered one! You HAVE to accept that it did happen to you and there is no rhyme nor reason to it because Narcissists are character disordered and in a class of their own. They are dangerous to human beings and destructive and you are so FORTUNATE to be FREE of them. You are a testament to this very fact because you have experienced their psychological abuse and have been severely damaged by a relationship with them. You have to completely switch off from thoughts that pull you into believing they will change or you can fix them – YOU CAN’T!
Now you have to actualize that there is so much goodness in you and seriously that is what this Narcissist wanted to own and destroy and that is why they targeted you. You ARE a good person and probably an AMAZING person so don’t ever lose touch with this because the Narcissist told you differently. They are disordered and negative and they live with this premise to make everyone else around them unstable by managing them down. THIS is what psychopaths do to their targets, manage them down to nothingness to control them.
You have to create a discipline to stop looking at the ‘what ifs’ or ‘could I have done this or that’ or that somehow you caused this abhorrent treatment. You have to stop yourself from trying to obtain information about what they are doing through social media OR trying to make any type of contact with them. You seriously have to just stop thinking about them as being anything real to you and concentrate on YOU. Tell yourself that this is DONE! Yes, there are situations that you must stay in contact with them, but again you must separate the emotions and break the chain that binds you to their psychopathy and keep it to the business at hand. Ask yourself what it is you would want back (as in fixing the relationship?) Do you want to enter back into the abuse to experience more dehumanization, lies, betrayal and extortion? No of course not! Lock into this message and put your happiness first! Remember that a Narcissist will ALWAYS use chaos to pull you back into the abuse to have control over you so NEVER allow it again.
Now as far as connecting to the reasons WHY you were the target of this disordered Narcissist – in a nutshell it is because they are predators after prey pure and simple. With this type of encounter with horrendous abuse we definitely have a strong desire to re-evaluate our life and behavior. Again this is normal and can be progressive in your recovery because it is your desire and ability to grow, transcend and move forward learning from the situation and looking inward. The encounter will provide a spark to grow and evaluate your inner self to correct anything that kept you tied to the abuse and you will correct all of that with introspection and boundaries – but that will happen once you traveled through the truth with REAL KNOWLEDGE that this was abuse and you are no longer vulnerable and caught up in the distorted emotions and confusion. Acceptance will move you forward, anything else will pull you right back into the confusion as well as more abuse and you will only have to start at square one AGAIN!
Try not to be your own therapist and psychoanalyze yourself because we are not trained to do this. Seek out a QUALIFIED therapist to do this instead if you need personalized help. Also, the world is still out there and as much as you don’t want to get back to that world you HAVE to or you will be frozen in the confusion and fear! Find people who will emotionally support you and do not make you doubt yourself. Those people who try to tell you or imply that you are somehow at fault are going to make you only start blaming yourself again. They are seriously not the people you want to help you through this. AGAIN, you are dealing with a character disordered Narcissist and they are an anomaly and aberration and NORMAL rules do not apply to them nor normal theories. You need to pull out the big guns to end this battle. Friends and loved ones are not qualified to do this. They can love and support you, but they can’t fix this. You need to seek out other targets and survivors that understand.
Lastly the question or arguments of what a Narcissist is. Are they evil or disordered/sick? My thoughts are they are possibly both, but it doesn’t matter. What really matters is that you recognize the pattern of this abuse so whether you believed you were abused by a demon or a personality disorder you were abused and you must free yourself of them forever. You must accept this and stop trying to figure any of this out beyond accepting the truth about their actions that describe who/what they are and diverting all of your attention to your recovery and growth! They are not going to change, rescue you or do anything but abuse you more! You can do this – I promise. No/minimal contact to start on the road to recovery, freedom and a healthy mind again. Greg