We must be able to recognize that this relationship was not based on love, care, or friendship but upon control tactics (fear, shame, and guilt), unmet emotional needs, dysfunctional dependency, brainwashing, betrayal, constant managing down and projection from the Narcissist to accept all of the blame – or emotional and psychological ABUSE!
From my Book: Greg Zaffuto – Author – From Charm to Harm and Everything Else in Between with a Narcissist
WE have bought into the lies that this Narcissist has told us! “No one will ever love you as much as me.” “You’ll never find anyone as wonderful as me.” “You’re crazy if you think anyone else would want you.” “You don’t know how lucky you are that I put up with you.” “You owe me after everything I did for you.” GUESS WHAT they believe this BS and nonsense because they are disordered and damaged and have created this false persona that supports their delusions and failures. They leave a trail of destruction that goes way back to the first days they were able to speak. We were managed down to accept these lies hook, line, and sinker and sadly pair the brainwashing with an exceedingly small handful of good memories and somehow, we hung onto this. This brainwashing was an immensely powerful and distorted belief that kept us from moving on and then disables us AFTER THE FACT making it difficult to have a happy, healthy relationship with someone new AND WITH OURSELVES.
Despite the relentless abuse, rage episodes, mind games, projection, gas-lighting, and demoralization, SOMEHOW, we believe we are still in love with these Narcissists on some level and possibly feel we will always love them. These messages continuously play behind all our attempts to reach closure and YES through our recovery. This is part of the recovery, and we must live it and resolve it too! This attitude or thought process is evidence of how the emotionally abusive Narcissist brainwashes or programs their targets to keep believing in them. It is akin to an addiction, and our addiction became this Narcissist because of their negative conditioning that made us try to fix our situation with them and make this a cohesive relationship once more. A drug alters our mind when we ingest it and brainwashing and programming/conditioning from a Narcissist ALSO alters our mind when we ingest and internalize their messages coupled with the emotional abuse they inflict. Like an addict that will continually justify their returning to the drug of choice EVEN though it is damaging their mind and life and is basically destroying them because the addiction message keeps the addict going back. That message is also in us and more like a distorted dependency that causes us to relapse until we desensitize it completely. The message has altered our mind to believe in the Narcissist against all the odds and truth that they are bad for us. In time with education and support we will deprogram this message and be desensitized to it. But we have to always be cognizant of the fact that the message was conditioned or programed into our subconscious, and we must destroy it so it doesn’t start replaying itself or we will fall backwards into the abuse pattern again. Love is a powerful emotion and that is what this Narcissist used in this conditioning to gain our trust and keep us believing in them.
It is a fact of life that it takes time to grieve the loss of a significant relationship and that includes normal and ABNORMAL ones. No matter how abusive your Narcissist is/was, you still need to mourn the loss because it was portrayed as normal to you (just more of the brainwashing.) This may be confusing because ending a relationship with an abuser should ultimately feel like an act of liberation and freedom, but for many it is also experienced as a huge loss. It is not the reality of the loss of the monster Narcissist, but the loss of the fantasy image that was constructed in your head by the ‘love bombing’ agenda. You are only wishing back a mirage that never existed. In reality this is just a false image that had very few fleeting moments of real sanity. The man or woman as well as the relationship you loved, and miss do not exist! What exists and remains in your mind is the ‘what ifs,’ or if I only did this, that or what not, or worked harder to fix this’ THEN everything would have been OK. That is just DENIAL of the real truth that is was all lies and manipulation.
Add up all of those ‘what ifs’ and look at them closely. For example, “if only he/she were not so crazy,” or “If only he/she weren’t so cruel,” or “If only he/she wasn’t such a liar,” or “if only he/she wouldn’t have cheated,” Or “if only I would have tried harder to make this work.” None of that is realistic because no person should feel inclined to take blame for such outrageous justifications! There or no “ifs” when somebody is sadistic and dehumanizes you and your reality – only the truth that it was abusive.
Now think about what you could do to help them or what you have already done so many times to correct all the problems. Now put a spin on the real perspective that the Narcissist feels omnipotent and superior, follows no rules or laws in life, lies, manipulates, etc. Will this Narcissist suddenly turn over a new leaf because you are hurting and haven’t, they hurt you many times before? WELL, even when this Narcissist is hurling the most abusive poison at you, in their mind, they believe that they are being magnanimous for pointing out the error of your ways, so you can improve yourself and be the person THEY DESERVE. In their mind, you should be grateful that they take time from their busy schedule to criticize, abuse and be condescending to you. When they cheated on you it is because you deserved it for not meeting their every need and they justify it as being your fault that they had to find WHAT THEY NEEDED elsewhere. They see nothing wrong with it, or that they lied to cover it up, BUT you better never do the same thing to them. By the way, factor into this equation just what is it that you did wrong in the first place? Nothing! The sun rises and sets on them. They create all the rules and never abide by any of them. This is what a Narcissist does – AVOIDS reality and allow themselves the freedom to do anything they want at will because they are completely entitled to do so no matter how it may harm somebody else EVEN their own biological children! Also remember they are NOT wired with empathy, they cannot bond, love, or even care about people – all their needs come from EXTERNAL stimulation or objectifying people to use them. So how do we fix any of that? We DON’T.
You DON’T bargain with someone so that they treat you better. Being treated with kindness, decency, consideration, respect, and acceptance should be a prerequisite for an intimate relationship (or any relationship,) not something you are rewarded with by meeting one (or many) of the Narcissist’s unreasonable demands or if the Narcissist is trying to manipulate you into fulfilling their agenda by making you a source of supply. Either a person is capable of a reciprocal relationship, or they are not. It does not matter what you do or how nice, patient and understanding you are with a Narcissist. They are what they are or a controlling, cruel, abusive, emotional predator, and bully. You cannot appease a bully or persuade them to be nice to you. If you do, they will only see you as weak and bulldoze you more and that is what the Narcissist does in the devaluation stage. This predator will always devalue and discard EVERY person that has some sort of relationship with them. They are omnipotent and superior in their own minds. They are damaged, dysfunctional, and destructive abusers – but you will NEVER get them to see this or admit to it.
The whys that you reacted as you did to this Narcissist are personal to you just as they were personal to me, BUT you must get to them so you can move forward with new boundaries! You must stay on course every day with some kind of support like you are in a recovery program with strong objectives and follow this path completely to recovery. There are many online support sites to accomplish this. You must accept that when you fall that you have to get right back up with a new lesson. You also must stay on course with the truth that this was abuse. You have to deprogram those messages that keep playing in the back of your mind that this was real love, and you can fix this. You must get back to reality, and the way you use to live and love life – AND you will because you know that way of life! YOU ARE THE HEALTHY AND AMAZING PERSON HERE and have the ability to make healthy changes once you deprogram the old messages. No/minimal contact ALWAYS! Greg