That extreme confusion from that constant back and forth ‘CHARM to HARM’ or clinically what is called ‘cognitive dissonance.’
That extreme confusion from that constant back and forth ‘CHARM to HARM’ or clinically what is called ‘cognitive dissonance.’ How we get manipulated and stuck in between the complete POLAR OPPOSITES of the Charm and Harm! A Narcissist intentionally inflicts this duality upon us to keep us confused, disoriented, constantly performing for them, and walking on those eggshells, but we NEVER find any sense of reality as far as OUR part in this relationship with them!
From my Book: Greg Zaffuto – Author – From Charm to Harm and Everything Else in Between with a Narcissist
This is a person we cared for, loved, or basically believed in no matter what the relationship was! But they demeaned us, hurt us, and made us feel wrong and worthless! How can both of these things coexist and be true. What did we believe in that now makes us feel so confused and lost – is it us? NO this is what emotional and psychological abusers do to people – tear their victims down piece by piece to control them. It is NOT you it is ALL them and the abuse situation! Unfortunately, we bonded with them and that tugs at our heart and messes without mind and makes it so hard to cross that bridge to the REAL truth that they abused us.
Most every conversation you have or had with them always seemed to leave you confused and drained. You and ONLY you were left with the burden of trying to figure out what they have said or basically what the heck just happened. It was like a hit and run accident and you are/were left in shock trying to gain a foothold of the incident. A basic conversation would go from zero to a hundred miles per hour and in a direction that put you in the path of an unavoidable crash, AND you were not able to control the direction you were headed in. FACT – it was meant to be that way!
You ask yourself how did this all start and what led up to it? You will end up spending hours, or perhaps even days, obsessing over the intent of the message or argument. You exhaust all your emotional energy to accomplish absolutely nothing – it was pre-planned to be this way by the Narcissist. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to it, but there is as far as it concerns the Narcissist that is controlling you. They do not care so there is no reality – but on the other hand YOU believed in this person and do/did care. You are left at such a conflicting place with polar opposite thoughts that only confound and confuse you – so you only try or tried harder to fix what you couldn’t.
Let’s look at this confusion. Everything they have absorbed or learned about you was being utilized in a manner to push certain buttons to keep you controlled and under their thumb. They know how to charm you because they know your likes and they also know how to HARM you because they also know your weaknesses and insecurities! The connection with them is built around your very persona and how they can and will manipulate it to control you. There is no you in any of this and there is never a real person behind the Narcissist. Narcissists like psychopaths are always going to pull you in a direction that makes you feel ridiculously small AND defective. This is the rhyme to their reason and again that is control!
So, what about these ridiculous and crazy arguments, etc. You could have NEVER kept up with the original conversation (or argument) in a realistic manner because it was basically nonsensical in your mind and had no real basis of reality. But it served a purpose as far as the Narcissist is concerned to deflect from something or the other, or there was an agenda to it, or to demean and dehumanize you – control, control, CONTROL. BUT it served its purpose because it confounded or confused you and forced you to process the CRAZY information with no real success. You will have many rebuttals going on in your head AFTER THE FACT because you feel a need to defend yourself or rationalize what happened. Basically, you are trying to fix the situation, but was it an argument because you really didn’t do anything but yet you feel like you did something, BUT WHAT IS IT YOU DID??
BAM, this is exactly the place a Narcissist wants you to go to – total confusion and insanity – THIS is the emotional/psychological abuse that disabled you. They have drawn from the vast wealth of knowledge they have gained from observing you and use it consistently to maneuver you into a place of confusion and isolation. There are many reasons behind each of these scenarios, but they are basically to manage you down and to control you. However, you will try to resolve this because you feel you need to address what happened and more than likely to defend yourself hoping for resolution but in the end, you’ll find that you are the person apologizing. After a while, these crazy arguments will have you stuck in the confusion so much so that you have lost all perspective of your relationship, as well as your value in the relationship. You are always responding to the Narcissist’s crazy making and never participating in a reciprocal or real relationship. You are being emotionally and psychologically abused! Again, this is because of the bond we have with them – or the bond we were manipulated into believing and what keep us or kept us attached at the hip trying to find cohesiveness where there was NONE!
With all that being said, your mind is always trying to process a duality that exists – you care or 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 confusion. How can the person you have come to care or love and vice versa, have changed so drastically? They have not changed; you are only seeing the truth about who and what they are. You just do not 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 monster and trying to avoid the unavoidable and consistent managing down (or the dissonance.) How do you avoid this when there is a bond or love is the reality that you are hanging onto?
So again – whatever they may have done to you was done with intent no matter how it may have hurt you AND they just do not care and feel justified in their actions. There is no real relationship or love as far as the Narcissist is concerned. They live in a perverted and out of control world and take whatever they can from people with NO CONCERN to the harm they inflict on anybody else. AGAIN, WE MUST UNDERSTAND that there is no real relationship with them! We BELIEVE there is BUT we are all just taking our turn as supply and even though we are their PRIMARY source that still doesn’t mean that it is real by any means.
So, in a nutshell what does this cognitive dissonance do to us on our journey forward? 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 may 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 do not correlate with the care or love you believed in AND it creates a huge void and a great sense of being so lost and alone in all of this.
You must constantly tell yourself and reinforce that this was not a normal or real person that COULD care, love, or bond with you. You must 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 must 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 (in time you will clearly see this). You are a testament to the very reality and truth that 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 must 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 and disabled temporarily. You ARE a good person and probably an AMAZING person so do not 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 must 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 must 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!
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 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. 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 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! No/minimal contact to start this important journey. You can and WILL get through this confusion if you empower yourself with knowledge, education, support from other victims/survivors for clarity, and using your voice to gain the information you need to move forward! Greg