However precious, to you, time is irrelevant for the narcissist. As we have discovered and discussed, the narcissist lives in a world of fantasy. He is a made up character, playing a part in his own twisted story. You and I are minor characters, interchangeable readers on his stage. While the center figure, (the narcissist) may look different as people do, their character and stories seems to be very similar. The narcissist’s “tale” is a three act play, and I have found that research substantiates, which opens with idealization, continues with devaluation and ends with… ta, ta taaahhh the discard! The narcissist relates to reality by means of this false-self, that is by definition a fabricated narrative, an artificial placeholder, actually suffocating what little remains of a person that might have been. If we believe the research and respect the scientific method used to obtain the research about narcissism, then it makes sense, that time is as irrelevant to the narcissist as reality itself. So while time may not be important to the narcissist, TIME is the MOST IMPORTANT asset each of us non-narcissists wields. When I began my journey, 90 days turned into a much longer, richer experience. Time is on my side only if I remain resolute about change, and moving on with your non-narcissist life. While there is so much more to know about the narcissist and the why of it all, there is also so much more to uncover from within each of our own hearts. If you have managed to go no contact for 45 days, congratulations! You are 45 days addiction free of a powerful human toxin. That is 45 days closer to NORMAL.
Day 45 Your Assignment
This is a time of reflection. Congratulate yourself and realize that if you have you have now managed 45 days of NO CONTACT, and if not just keep trying. As always, if you need help, I say the help of a licensed therapist is so valuable and important as you work your way out of the narcissistic fog. Together, therapy, your own research, journaling, friends old and new are all life lines out of a pattern of abusive relationships!
If I were going on vacation, I might put a timer on various lights in the house to give the illusion of someone is home. I would have no internal struggle with this kind of “I am not vulnerable” acting. Yet in my personal interactions with people, men in particular I hate to admit, I may give the impression that I am vulnerable. Why? Well that is a big question! While I am not sure of the answer to that question, I am sure of the following dynamics. I have come to understand, narcissists, abusers in general are looking for EASY prey, VULNERABLE targets. Abusers know their target audience. Hunters gauge their territories, sniffing out alone and vulnerable prey. Abusers are constantly hunting for opportunities. Opportunities exist when a person presents themselves susceptible, and alone. Narcissists, as we discussed in earlier blogs have limited energy, they look for the least amount of resistance, so that they ALONE will be the ones in control. The more people in your life, the more difficult it is to isolate you and control you! (Note to reader… understand, as you are reading my thoughts, I am talking more to myself, you the reader are a part of my journey, discoveries and this kind of ongoing conversation of healing I am trying to hold inside my head. I have said this before and I tell you this again, I am not a professional therapist, nor am I trying to present myself as any kind of authority. I am sharing my thoughts, insights and understandings motivated selfishly by trying to make sense out of the craziness of my painful childhood first love revisited and I provide assignments that I found helpful in self-reflection and trying to overcome the narcissistic abuse that so profoundly affected me. I had never considered therapy, nor did I have much faith in Googling my deepest childhood traumas. Yet each day as I read, listen to videos, and give myself to the healing process of therapy, I am deeply moved by the shared experiences of childhood trauma that is common to most of us trying to love people that will simply never love us back! That is not to say if you came from a sweet and loving family you are immune to abusers. Abusers and their victims come in all shapes and colors. So we must do all that we can to help keep each other safe…) I went no contact with both my parents almost nine years ago. They were a toxic mix of withholding emotional support and criticism. The currency of their love was far more than what I could afford. I carried much of the trauma of my youth, into my adulthood. I was in some ways the walking wounded, and like the empty house, or lone walker on a dark street I put myself in the wrong place…
Day 44 Your-Our Assignment
Learn to keep yourself safe. Present like you are busy and well-connected. Do not feel the need to tell the new casual work acquaintance or someone you just met at a social setting you spent your weekend alone. Do not let on your family relations are strained until someone proves that they are worthy to know your REAL story. It is ok to give strangers the impression you are not alone. You are not obligated to share your truth until you are certain (as you can be) that your truth will NOT be used to hurt you. Avoid stranger danger. Be safe!
All narcissist, without exception abuse. I say this again…all narcissist abuse!!! When a narcissist is acting externally very loving and caring and it appears that there is no way they could be a narcissist and only in retrospect do you realize they were just setting a trap. Love Bombing, on the surface is when you’re inundated with time, attention, gifts, and romantic gestures all in hope of making you feel as if you are THE ONE! Who doesn’t want to believe this is true? How are you able to discern that when someone is being so over the top nice that this could possibly be abuse? While there are many kinds of abuse, let’s talk about manipulation. Manipulation is abuse! So back to “love-bombing”…with the helpful insights of my therapist, I began to understand manipulation is abuse. So if I were an enemy spy, out on an intelligence gathering mission how would I do it? Well, I might endear myself into the good graces of my target. I would side with my enemy, making him believe we were like minded. I would offer gifts and gestures big and small to show my loyalty. I would earn his trust and confidence by showing my vulnerability, all the while gathering lintel for my “homeland” operations…by any other name “love-bombing!” This is a very difficult concept for me to accept, because it means I have to admit that I allowed myself to be in a position to be manipulated-abused, with information I GAVE about myself! It is unthinkable for most people to use sensitive information to hurt each other, however the narcissist uses this information like a road map! By virtue of sharing the tender experiences of my youth, my vulnerably and fears, my narcissist knew exactly and without mercy how to use this information to make me feel bad and ultimately manipulate my life! I gave my narcissist all the ammunition he needed to hurt me time and time again! This is one of the examples as to why it is important to be somehow be healed from childhood trauma before we enter into relationships with others. Abuse can be very subtle. I know that I felt very bad about myself much of the time I spent with my narcissist, despite all the “I love you” phrases exchanged (just like home)! What are some forms of abuse I experienced; lies, shaming, belittling, name calling, ignoring, broken promises all that worked to make me feel unworthy, unappreciative or just crazy!
Did you give information about yourself that was later used to hurt you? The reason for this exercise is not to shame ourselves, it is a reminder that we must be very selective as to whom we share our deepest emotional vulnerabilities and secretes.
My narcissist was one of those high functioning successful types. He started at the bottom and charmed his way up (and in the end down), the corporate ladder. He was a powerful character in his industry, yet he was PROFOUNDLY insecure. I knew it because I was close to him. Knowing about his insecurity was not a good thing for me, because the fact that I knew about his insecurity emphasised his perceived vulnerabilities. Through the watching the Sam Vaknin’s (self-proclaimed narcissist turned therapist) videos I discovered the narcissist’s ego function are suffocated and buried deep within the psyche. In other words narcissist need people outside of themselves to perform these internal functions. What are some of these ego functions? Here are some; reality testing, boundaries, impulse control, judgment, and object relation to name a few. (look for later blogs that will describe the 12 ego functions) It is ironic that both normal and very powerful/successful people may not be able to regulate their internal ego functions. But here is where it gets really weird for the narcissist, the false self is the only one relating with the world, the real ego or the repressed ego for lack of a better word dead! As a result the narcissist thinks of the people performing these functions as somehow internal to him. So in a weird and complex way like the codependent it seems the narcissist merges with his nearest and dearest. As a result of this weird merge it is difficult for the narcissist to see others as people with their own needs, desires and preferences.
Day 42 Your Assignment
When you think back on your relationship, ask yourself were you his/her ego. In other words when you really think about him/her regardless of all the “success” bells and whistles was your narcissist really insecure. Did he need you (and other people) to feed him reality? Was there conflict when your reality feeding was different than other people’s reality and were you always at odds with these other people’s input with him in the center orchestrating? Like how exhausting!!! Think about how nice it will be to find a fully functioning person!!!
I notice that any stressor or grief becomes a kind of a conduit between me and my obsessive thoughts about my ex-narcissist. It is almost like a default setting. For example; if I feel anxious, about other relationships, like a misunderstanding with a good friend. I think about my ex. If I feel sad, like when my dog died. I think about my ex. If I get angry at a situation that has absolutely nothing to do with my ex… I think about him. While I am not sure why, based on my research here is my best guess. (Yes I said a guess, Hey! I am not a professional…lol). It is almost as if the emotional trauma nerve center in my brain works to protect me against harm. (Some of this I gleaned from watching Spartan Life Coach) Because, so much of the hurt rendered by the narcissistic relationship remains a mystery, it makes a kind of odd sense that every time I experience something unpleasant I find myself not only dealing with the unpleasantness of the moment, but I experience it amplified or through the lens of the unanswered narcissistic “head fuckery”. Does this resonate true for anyone else? My therapist suggest that the narcissistic relationship is like a security blanket. She further suggest that clinging to the blanket is fantasy driven. Either way, or some other way I am mindful that stressors can provoke obsessive thoughts about the narcissist…
Day 41 Your Assignment
Notice when you are upset, do you think more about your ex? If so I would be curious to hear about your experience.
In the idealization part of my relationship, my narcissist would say things like “We are twins, you are so much like me… we grew up the same way… that is why we are so good together.” In the devaluation stage he would say “We are twins, you are so much like me…we grew up the same way…. We could never make it work because so alike”. Of course the beginning of the phrases are the same, however the underlying thoughts are polarized opposites depending on his mood. When he felt good about himself, it was positive. When he felt bad about himself it was negative. The Narcissist projects. It is an easy way to rid himself of all the internal rage. Projection is a simple defense mechanism… The narcissist does not, cannot think of himself as weak, stupid or unfaithful so projects those feelings onto their target. He merges with the target and it is this kind of merge that makes him like a codependent with a twist. The target is eager to accept the Narcissist’s projections this is called introjection. So the target internalizes and rides the cycles along with the narcissist. The narcissist relieved by his projection causes the target to endure his internal conflict. It is complicated to be sure!!!
Day 40 Your Assignment
Really think about the idealization and devaluation stages of your relationship. Try to imagine all the positive and negative dialogue. Ask yourself who he was really talking about. While here try and separate your thoughts about yourself both positive and negative and those prescribed to you by your narcissist.
Despite his success, I know my ex was mired in this pattern. One minute, he was happy walking on air, then the next moment lost in a cascade of anger, frustration and self-loathing. Why is his internal cycle of self-idealization and self-devaluation important to me? Because the Narcissist projects his feeling unto his nearest and dearest in an attempt to rid himself of these internal conflicts. I have learned from my research, Narcissist live in this kind of conundrum. It goes something like this; consciously he thinks of himself a renaissance man. He is hard working, good natured, driven to success. He is steeped in, and motivated to securing “the good life”. However, (here is the rub) these attributes or characteristics are driven by his FALSE self, a narrative, a fantasy. By design flaw, the false self is not reality based. As a result, the false self CANNOT interpret reality consistently or wisely. In contrast, (here is where it gets really murky) UNCONSCIOUSLY his internal landscape is rage filled, fear laden and barren. The narcissist’s true self cannot reconcile these two very divergent parts of himself. Why? Two reasons, the first reason is that the true self is lost, underdeveloped, thwarted by the false self and as a result has no real ability to self-reflect. The second, more important reason is that the anxiety of merging the conscious and the unconscious threaten the Narcissist with unbearable anxiety. In short, his internal script is pathologically fueled with a deep irrational fears of abandonment and annihilation. This split between his conscious and unconscious gives rise to rise rage. However, reconciling his conscious and unconscious threatens with destructive levels of anxiety. As a result of this internal split, the narcissist manifests a self-inflicted patterns of self-idealization and devaluation projected unto his nearest and dearest.
Day 39 Your Assignment
Think about the pattern of idealization and devaluation as projected unto you in your relationship. Try to remember if you can identify the self-inflicted pattern. Ask yourself this…were the criticisms of you really a reflection of you or of him? Were you acting crazy, insecure, jealous…. or were these a reflection a clue if you will as to what was really going on inside the head of your narcissist?