Day 23- Discarding, the Look upon My Face….Priceless!

Day 23

More than three plus decades later, my narcissist returned to claim his lost love… of course I believed it! The first time around, he ended our young love by inviting me to a party.  It was soon after I arrived, I realized he had invited me to the party to meet his new girlfriend.  It was the most humiliating and hurtful moment of my adolescent life!  So why am I still talking about something that happened more than thirty years ago?  Because I believe I was being set up, and groomed for the same scenario.  I think my narcissist enjoyed twisting me up into an emotional knot and would have given his right…arm for the opportunity to invite me to another party and introduce me to his fiancé…while still dating me!  This is the end game of a relationship with a narcissist, idealized, devalued and discarded.  They are like automatons, repeating the same behaviors over and over again.  Nothing I did or didn’t do can change what they are, my therapist has help me understand the damage to them was done long before my relationship.

Your Assignment

List all the things you think you did that contributed to the failure of your relationship with your narcissist. Try to remember you are dealing with a mental ill person, a disordered person, a person who cannot operate within the framework of reason. Forgive yourself.

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Day 22- Limited Energy and Devaluation-From Hero to Zero!

Day 22

Ok, so one day I am the answer to all of his prayers. Then just like that…I am the scourge of his very existence.  In the unyielding narcissist relationship drama, I was so confused. How could I have gone from hero to zero in what seemed liked moment?  I kept asking myself how this could be true.  The emotion rollercoaster caused so much internal and external devaluation that by the time I declared, “Enough!” I barely knew myself…

So if the narcissist needs is an addict and needs this narcissistic supply (NS) in a human form, then why upset the stable NS apple cart? The short answer is that the narcissist is an adrenalin junkie. We already established, narcissist are addicts and hunters. Adding a third component; narcissist are also adrenalin junkies.  This is actually a good thing for many victims, as the narcissist get bored easily and moves on.  In the meantime, sadly, narcissists cause tremendous pain for the people that try desperately to love them.

Given their nature, despite their long term commitment “love” lies, the narcissist knows from the inception of their budding love-relationship, they will not be a long term player. However, he-she will say whatever it takes to secure their victims; because he/she cannot stand to be alone. So long before the narcissist is ready to inevitably discard you, this is very soon after he has secured you, he send out what experts call a narcissistic signal. The signal is directed towards people he-she thinks will be high grade narcissistic supply.  The invitation to play his-her game, disguised as an overture of profound romantic interest is direct and powerful.  Once the signal is returned from a potential new source, the narcissist begins the arduous task of evaluating each source. The moment he finds a source he deems a higher quality that the one he is presently using, he begins the devaluation of the old source as well as the idealization of the new.  This is a very efficient use of his/her limited personal energy.

Looking back now, I remember the moment I saw “her”, that there was something unsettling in the air, as they conducted their “business-like” affairs. Soon after I met her, he became more critical, mean-spirited and unreasonable towards me.  It felt like I was dealing with someone shackled, depressed, and furious at my very existence.  Oddly enough, when I tried to leave, he initially would beg me to stay.  I think looking back it was because he had not fully secured this woman, and did not want to risk losing a perfectly usable source of supply for the unknown.  As soon as he knew the source was secure, he became vicious. I think I ended it, not just because of the abuse, but because I knew, just like when we were kids…I had been replaced (story for another day).

Your assignment

Part of healing is discovering truth. You don’t need a private detective to reflect on the moment you went from hero to zero.  Remember this is his-her lens…not yours.  This is their pathological character, not yours.  It is important to be real with your own assessment of yourself.  Just as you are not “ideal,” you are equally not reflection of this “devalued” person.  Ask yourself; how much of my self-esteem comes from other people’s evaluation of me?  Embrace, rejoice and celebrate all your good things.  Work to shore up things that you do not like about yourself.  Knowing yourself is the first line of defense to protect yourself from narcissistic abuse.

Day 21- Limited Energy and Idealization!

Day 21

I loved and still miss the reflection of myself in his eyes. He saw me as impeccable! Everything about me; resonated back from him into my psyche, as sheer perfection. He saw me as smart, sophisticated, beautiful and more. I began to see myself through that lens. It felt so glorious to be so wonderful.  So how could I have been so flawless one moment and so worthless the next?

So why does the narcissist idealize his victims? The simple answer is because he has limited energy.  The ongoing drive to be CONTINOUSLY on the hunt for new sources, while maintain old sources of narcissistic supply drains the narcissist’s personal energy resources.  As I began my research I learned the narcissist is an addict.  His drug of choice is narcotic supply (NS).  NS is anyone who adores, praises and glorifies the narcissist. The narcissist is also a hunter.  He-she relentlessly hunts for a NS.  The narcissist as the addict/hunter is always in pursuit of new fix/prey.  These addiction, hunting variables manifest in the personality disorder consumes TREMENDOUS AMOUNTS of ENERGY to manage.  Using complex physiological mechanism the narcissist idealizes his victims, thus convincing himself that the people he snares represent the highest quality of NS available.

The narcissist like the hunter uses a tremendous amount of energy to seek out, court, and secure his-her supply-prey, while maintain the old supply. So the narcissist idealizes his prey telling both himself and his victim that she-he is the most unbridled work of perfection he-she has ever known.  This allows the narcissist to deem the new NS a high grade supply. This has a huge effect on both the narcissist as well as the prey.  In part letting go of the narcissist, is letting go of the ideal vision of oneself.

Your Assignment

You are special. There is a beautiful reality to you. Get to know yourself by using some of the ground work your narcissist laid out.  Make a list of all the things you like about yourself. Enjoy writing about the best of you!  Make a list of all the things you would like to improve.  Become your own best friend by getting to know yourself.

Day 20 Take the Day Off!

Day 20

With the help of a very good girlfriend, I realized I need to take the day off!! I need a reprieve from the postmortem relationship analysis. This is not easy.  In all honesty, I cannot manage the idea of a full day. So I am going to take a few hours.  A day trip to the mall, and lunch with a friend.  This is probably the most normal thing I have done for a while.   I had to work very hard NOT to think about my narcissist or even bring it up again in conversation. Just like going to the gym, I had to discipline myself NOT to think about him.  I had a really nice afternoon, but it was exhausting!

Your Assignment

Take the day off!! Allow yourself a reprieve from the post mortem relationship analysis. This might not come easy.  If you cannot manage the idea of a full day, take an hour and work to self-discipline yourself NOT to think about your narcissist, but in the future mentally plan for a full day off.  Write a poem. Read a fictional book. Watch a funny movie. Go out have lunch/dinner with a friend. Be kind and loving to yourself.  This is a process.  Like any other kind of process, you will take one step forward and two steps back.  Realize and embrace your ability to control yourself.

modern narcissism painting

Day 19 Change Your Habits-Change Your life

Day 19

Change your habits, change your life.  The time for change is now! I realized I had to make substantial changes.  In the first two weeks, I ran to therapy almost three times a week. I joined a boxing gym.  I am now at day 19, attending therapy twice a week.  I committed to boxing classes, five nights a week for the next three months.  I am feeling far more in control.  My therapist has indicated that I have a long road ahead of me.  Getting out of the emotional purgatory of narcissistic abuse is my challenge.  Life is a habit, and I am determined to break the habit of loving people who continue to hurt me.

Your Assignment

Change you habits, and change your life.  Do something different.  Make a list of five people you know that you might like to get to know better.  Invite one of these people out for coffee, to see a movie, to work out together, a walk, or bowling are some examples, just to give you ideas.  As you allow yourself to get to know other people, try to NOT talk about your past relationship.  Take a class.  Join a reading group.  Try a different restaurant or coffee house.  Get up ten minutes earlier and read.  Go to bed earlier so you can wake up rested.  Feel yourself gaining control over yourself… you can amlost think of it as emotional dieting.  

Day 18 Define Your Terms!

Day 18

There is an entire lexicon developed to be able to speak about the phenomena of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome.  It is a thing. For example; the term “love-bombing,” (one of the first terms I learned) is what narcissist do to capture the attention of potential prey.  The term predator –prey is very common in all the literature describing NPD. And like any predator, he/she knows how to bait the hook to capture his-her intended target. In this case the target, prey was me.  He used attention, generosity, time, and promises of a future.  He focused on my every need.  However, while giving; he was also collecting data, determining vulnerability, accessing weak inroads all to be used to hurt me later.   I felt our connection was so special…it inspired my narcissist to do and say all these amazing things. My narcissist used “love bombing” as bait to capture and manipulate my heart.  He sent me cards, gave me expensive gifts, called and texted routinely.  Each interaction, he made me feel as if I were his ideal woman.  As soon as I was hooked, he slowly began to withhold the former mentioned generosities as a kind of reward and punishment.  Trying to understand the devolution of the relationship was maddening.  Every time I would try to speak of the changing behavior, I was met with overactive rage filled interactions and cruel dialogue.  It was always …”there is nothing wrong. You are just making problems and acting crazy…” This is how the conditioning begins!  

You assignment

There are many ways to gain some insight into your torturous last relationship.  The most valuable is therapy; private or group.  Internet research, and of course the library are both good sources of information.  Get familiar with the lexicon, as you begin to define the terms of NPD, you will begin to gain insights into the world of narcissistic personality disorder as well as your attraction to the collateral damage of the abuse that is sure to follow.

Day 17- Know When Friends and Family Cannot Take Your Obsessing, and Stop.

Day 17

My love life has been the topic of most of my conversation with friends and family for far too long.  I know everyone is happy I finally ended the relationship.  I know they all see a difference.  I feel a difference.  The stress of keeping it together while being mind-twisted is over!  Still I miss the IDEA of what might have been.  I am fighting with reclaiming reality over fantasy.  This is not an easy battle.  Leaving is easy.  Healing, maintaining discipline, and staying grounded in reality is a struggle.  However harrowing, this is my struggle.  The good news is I have developed a good relationship foundation with my therapist.  I have changed the everyday dynamics of my life.  I am studying, journalizing, exercising and getting back to the business of living my life.  I think this is a good start.

Your Assignment

Remember this your issue.  Friends and family may lose their patience.  It is not that they are uncaring, or empathetic, they simply will not understand the obsessing.  You might hear things like “it is only a man, it just a relationship.”  This is why I say it is important to find a qualified therapist or support group to help you understand your part in this really toxic relationship dance.  Limit your conversation about the relationship.  Try to open yourself up to other topics of conversation.  Be mindful that while others can and want to support you, that there is a fair limit of what friends and family can tolerate.

Days 16- Why am I Still Obsessing!?

Day 16

My brain continues to try and make sense out of the postmortem relationship wreckage.   Trying to make sense of it all has become consuming.  Why did I believe his words when his actions did not match?  Was I really as “crazy” as he made me feel?  What did I really want that was so unreasonable?  Could I have made it better by giving more? For the past year and a half, I have been in such a funk. I have been confused for so long…what really happened?  I stayed far longer that should have stayed with him, in the face of blinding contradiction and mistreatment.  I have plenty to think about in terms of my own behavior, still those first six months were so amazing! How could my perfect love story have turned so bad?

It was one of those moments of clarity when I heard Richard Gronan’s video on why we people obsess after being in an abusive relationship.  It is import for each of us to understand why things go wrong so that we DO NOT make the same mistake again.  After the initial “love-bombing” a relationship with a narcissist is a stream of contradictions, half-truths, and out and out lies.  However arduous, this flow is broken by moments of “good-times.” It is difficult for the rational mind to accept that the person you love is using reward and punishment like a conditioning tool.  Still the ebb and flow of narcissistic “love,” resembles reward and punishment to be sure.  I am obsessing.  While there may be deeper reasons as to why I continue to obsess, I think that there is truth in trying to understand what went wrong so I will never allow myself to be in this place again.

Your Assignment

Understand and give yourself permission to obsess for some time during the day until you reach your 90 day goal.  Do everything you can to understand your own behaviors, as well as those of the person that you allowed to take so much from you.  Be mindful to give yourself both permission as well as limits to obsess.  Remember, each moment you give to your narcissist is time lost to you…

Day 15- Who am I Still Obsessing Over?

Day 15

The cyclone manifest out of perfect conditions.  Called forth into existence, the cyclone expresses little judgment or understanding for it nature.  It is what it is.  The cyclone projects no empathy for the wreckage it leaves behind.  The cyclone has no love for the people it annihilates.  Some people may find cyclones exciting, interesting to study.  However it is difficult to withstand the wake of its fury unscathed. The cyclone experiences no guilt, remorse, not a second thought for those sucked up into its wrath. The cyclone says unto itself, it is not my fault I am what I am!  After all I was called into this powerful being by the very landscape that now complains about my very existence.  The cyclone turns into a heavy storm even after it dies.  This was my life with my narcissist.

Your assignment

Try to imagine and write about your narcissist as a force of nature.  What were some of the dynamics; lightning, thunder, earthquakes?  

Day 14-Get Plenty of Rest to Manage Grief and Jealousy

Day 14

I started crying when I left the boxing gym.  Despite his mistreatment, why does he feel so right to me?  Why do I feel so alone when he is not my life? A wave of grief rushes over me as I think about him with another woman.  I just can’t help but to think about the courtship.  Does he feel for her at this moment what he felt for me just a few month ago?  Is it possible that he thinks of me?  I know I am just an interchangeable cog in his ever turning clockwork.  How could I possibly feel so deeply about someone who is incapable of feeling anything for me?  I am tired today.  When I am tired it is difficult to manage the grief and jealousy.   Today is one of those days that I really have to keep grounded.  I have to remember that his cruelty while familiar is not normal.  I have to be my own best friend, as well as my best parent.  Would I be happy if my son were in a relationship like this…would I advise him to stay? The answer is NO!

Your Assignment

Be good to yourself. Stay rested.  It is ok to grieve your loss.  It is ok to allow yourself to let that scary feelings of separation rush over you.  Do not run from it, grief is part of the process. It is with the help of a good therapist that I began to understand my grief was deeper than this relationship.  I invite you to be your own best friend and best parent.  Think about, and perhaps write yourself a letter.  Write down what you would advise a friend or your own child to do in this circumstance.