Some insight into the ‘brainwashing’ from a Narcissist and the associated cognitive dissonance.

Some insight into the ‘brainwashing’ from a Narcissist and the associated cognitive dissonance.

From my Book: Greg Zaffuto – Author – From Charm to Harm and Everything Else I Between with a Narcissist

You are/were completely duped, lied to, betrayed, and disabled by their HUGE con job and not truly capable of accepting any part of the reality because of the constant confusion from the gaslighting and brainwashing which now becomes your vulnerability in all of this! The TRUTH or reality of the situation is that this was clearly the MANY cycles of abuse that becomes suppressed and surfaces as anxiety, depression, self-blaming, worthlessness, fear, and trauma – or the VERY messages that were pounded into your head and now your heart at so many levels that you could have NEVER managed them or worked through them. Rather than confronting this reality, targets/victims entirely go into a place of denial where they accept the blame as reality 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 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 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 did not 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 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. This is the CHARM to HARM effect to keep you running in circles.

SO today you are left with all 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 to the way you were conditioned 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, betrayal, manipulation, criticism, rage, and emotional/psychological abuse flows through and surfaces in your consciousness and becomes a new horrendous reality! Unfortunately, the behavioral modification and psychological abuse STILL keeps you locked up in that cage confused and dazed because you believe and hung onto those beliefs and tried to fix the so-called problems for so long. Now you realize it was ALL a lie or the polar opposite of what you believed and that is very hard bridge to cross over. If there is no one there to totally release you and stop those messages they stay with you for an exceptionally 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. This is why education and knowledge are imperative to help you gain the clarity to move forward to positive solution.

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/CHARM stage’ and believing 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/returns can no longer be denied because the truth is staring at you in the eyes! You cannot undo the damage AND everything you have learned about the Narcissist.  You cannot 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 confusion, deception, domination, subjugation, 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 process takes on several different forms. First it can manifest itself as hanging onto the idealization (CHARM/love bombing) by believing it WAS really love, or still hanging onto the false hopes and beliefs from the trap that keeps luring you back (the Narcissist continued CHARM or throwing us a little bone now and then to keep us believing). 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 are 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! So, this is my best attempt at explaining cognitive dissonance on a ‘personal level’ or the push pull cycle that keeps us on the hamster wheel of confusion. Remember we can and do break out of this cycle of abuse with knowledge, education, support, and using our voice to get there. Together we heal! Greg

Posted on March 4, 2021, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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