Category Archives: mental abuse

The Icy Stare of Your Abuser

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The “blank stare” of the narcissist is agreeable disconcerting and creepy.  It is like you are being looked at but they are not really looking at you as a real person.

These eyes are looking in the direction of your face and yet those sinister eyes are not focusing on you. The narcissist is looking to find themselves in that river of water like Narcissus in the original Greek mythology.

They are thinking only of themselves as you stand before them, attempting to convey something that they vaguely recognize as human emotion.

If you are angry, they will hit every possible painful button you have, in order to elicit more anger from you.

They are aware that the anger hurts you and they drink it like a drug.

If it is sadness that you are laying before them in some last ditch effort to drag some semblance of humanity out of them, then they will push every possible button you have, in order to draw out every last drop of sadness in you.

They will continue doing whatever will work until your shaking body cannot tolerate another tear dripping uselessly from your eyes.

Then as you are crying or yelling or pleading with them, they will stare at you as if nothing that you are feeling has anything remotely to do with them.

It occurs to me, after some recent study of Paul Ericson’s research on micro-expressions, that they might be holding their face completely still in order to control those expressions that might give them away.

The monster that lies beneath that blank, emotionless stare is far more sinister than just a robot that functions like Spock from Star Trek, with all logic and none of those pesky emotions.

No. It’s not a complete lack of all emotion that narcissists feel. That would be much more harmless, and not nearly as dark.

But it’s a frightening lack of Spock style logic that is actually happening beneath those blank and ice cold eyes. Those eyes that you would swear shone black for just a micro-second a minute ago, but then … that must have been your imagination running away with you….right ?

The real monster peaks out through that blank stare. It watches you from behind those eyes almost in a trance as your display of pain feeds its hunger.

As the energy drains from you, the monster feeds.

The monster is constantly hungry. If It gets too hungry it rages, so it must continually feed.  And you…their favorite source of food…are their primary meal.

Those cold eyes drink your blood like a vampire feeding with its teeth sink deep into the victim’s neck, sucking the dripping blood as it runs greedily down their chin.

If you were to imagine a starving vampire’s feeding frenzy…that would be close to what is going on behind those eyes…that emotionless, responseless stare…that fleeting glint of black, covering all the white in their eyes…then subsiding into an icy cold hazy, glazed over look.

This is a look that you should run from when see it.

That blank stare when you are pouring out your emotion to them. That stare that happens when they deny any accountability for the hurt they have brought into your life.

That icy cold anger that is conveniently covered over by a blank expression from two glazed over eyes. A state that looks almost inhuman in its lack of perceivable emotion.

The cold state of the narcissist is concealing the fact that they are trying to keep the beast from coming unhinged. They don’t really care what you are saying. They are drinking in your pain.

Narcissists and psychopaths enjoy negative supply at least as much as positive supply.

As long as they are the one causimg you to feel the emotions, then they have food.

Sometimes you can create a narcissistic injury by disagreeing with them, or by expecting to be treated as an equal to them. The state that comes from their trying to conceal their contempt for you will create one of the icyest stares of all. You have questioned their authority to Lord over you. After all would be nothing without them… would you?

You owe them for your very existence…and more importantly…you owe them big time for allowing you access to their presence in your life.

Make no mistake…the narcissist considers you are getting a great blessing to be allowed within their presense, never mind allowed to be a part of their inner circle.

You have been extended a great gift from the narcissist’s point of view. You had better act right and give up any ideas of re-attaining your personal freedom.

The beast that lies behind those black eyes is not a tolerant one. It expects your complete obedience no matter how confusing their needs might seem to be for you to meet.

That icy state is to dehumanize you…to make you feel beneath them. If you continue to question them, then the narcissist or psychopath will have to teach you a lesson. It’s for your own good of course.

You have to learn. After all, the beast cannot be questioned. Those eyes warn you not to press the issue, less you take on a harsher lesson rather than just a warning.

 

PTSD and Retraumatization from Abuse

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PTSD is a term most people have heard, but often they do not really know what it means.

If you tell someone you have PTSD, it may be hard for them to know what you mean by that, unless they have it themselves or maybe they have a close friend or family member with it.

People with PTSD have trouble with relationships, but not for the reasons people think.

Once you have been traumatized, and then re-traumatized by triggering situations, you feel generally unsafe and there is a natural tendency to want to retreat…back up your steps and run for cover.

People with PTSD can be re-traumatized by people who do not understand, and by people who are more concerned with their own agenda than really understanding.

When someone with PTSD has certain triggers, and explains those triggers to someone, it is important that they are validated and respected. If someone wants to care about a loved one with PTSD, they need to really listen to that person, when they talk about what triggers them. 

*A person that intentionally uses your triggers against you is dangerous to your mental well being. 

But then there are people who just don’t want to listen to or respect your boundaries. Your perceptions are not of an significance to them. 

Everyone has personal boundaries, but people with post traumatic stress disorder can suffer severe re-traumatization when a loved one does not honor their trigger boundaries.

Some triggers cannot be avoided, such as loud noises that may occur independently from either person. However, talking someone into going to a loud dance club, or guilting them into going to fireworks, when it has been made clear that loud noises are triggers, is abusive.

People who have PTSD from the military, and people who have PTSD from domestic abuse have different causes for their symptoms, but some things are the same.

The fight-or-flight mode is activated by the amygdala. If the brain perceives a threat, even if that threat is not real, the amygdala will send chemicals into the body like adrenaline and cortisol.

 The feeling in the body of a “perceived threat” and a real threat is exactly the same. The same physiological responses occur, including blood pressure elevation, and feeling of extreme fear and the feeling that you have to act right away.

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Someone who had their jaw fractured by an abusive boyfriend, who suddenly stormed towards them in a fit of anger, may be triggered by someone coming quickly into their personal space, especially if that person is angry.

Once you have asked someone not to do certain things which trigger you, it is a terrible feeling when they still continue to do them. It feels very violating, and only serves to break the trust bond.

Relationships need to be based in trust. Intimate relationships, as well as friendships and family relationships have to feel safe. If one person does not feel safe, then there is a lack of understanding and a lack of trust.

Without both parties feeling safe, the relationship will break down. People with PTSD can find it difficult to trust again, after others have invalidated them about their symptoms.

Sometimes someone will disbelieve you, minimize your trauma, or accuse you of trying to manipulate them with your explanations about your trauma and your triggers. This is very painful and re-traumatizing.

People who have PTSD or C-PTSD from abuse were invalidated as part of the abuse process. Their emotions were minimized, disregarded and made fun of.

To have someone close to you minimize your PTSD, or disbelieve you is re-traumatizing. It gives  the victim into an emotional flashbacks or actual sensory flashbacks.

You can only tolerate being traumatized and re-traumatized so many times.

Soldiers that come back from war only to be disrespected by civilians, or invalidated and ignored by the Veterans Administration, are being re-traumatized.

It is a way of invalidating a person’s reality. This has negative effects on the person’s mental and emotional state.

People with PTSD can be perfectly good and caring partners and friends. They just need validation, respect and understanding.

But after repeated re-traumatization, a person feels isolated and too vulnerable to take a chance on trusting another person again. This leads to self isolation, depression, and often suicidal thoughts.

Evolutionary psychology tells us that our subconscious brain feels threatened by the potential that we would be completely isolated, shunned or thrown out of the social circle.

A Little Evolutionary Psychology

In the past, humans lived in social survival groups called tribes.  Being accepted and included by the tribe was critical for survival. Being shunned would have meant death !

Our primal brain  (called the reptilian brain) perceives rejection by the tribe to be potentially life threatening.  When we are feeling a similar kind of threat, it triggers the fight or flight response in our limbic system of the brain. The amygdala becomes active and send all kinds of alerts and chemicals into the body.

Technically, we could survive living alone and isolated these days, but we were not meant to live in isolation… especially isolation due to “mobbing” or “scapegoating” by the tribe.

This is one of the reasons that scapegoated family members, suffer such severe mental and emotional trauma.

People with PTSD need to feel that they will still be accepted by the Tribe (family, community…whatever applies to the situation…).

They need to know that their personal reality will be validated, even though it may be very different from that of other people. The experiences someone with PTSD has endured may seem strange to people that have not ever had that kind of trauma in their reality.

Isolation can cause death by suicide or “failure to thrive.”

Self isolation will almost always cause severe depression. But being re-traumatized is just as bad, and the brain will try to lead people away from that pain.

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Our primal brains are designed to take us away from danger, or perceived danger….and towards pleasure. But the “away from danger” is the priority.

Re-exeriencing the feelings of danger, fight or flight chemicals and physiological responses, is not something that anyone could tolerate on a regular basis.

We were not built to feel in danger all the time. Being in a state of hyper-arousal all the time depleats the immune system and causes mental disorders.

People with PTSD need understanding and validation.

They need their loved ones to be sensitive to their triggers, and to pay attention to what the person asks and needs. 

Otherwise. the relationships cannot continue in a way that is safe for the PTSD sufferer. The person with PTSD will shut down and crawl inside of themselves. No healthy relationship can be sustained without safety for both people. 

 

Hoovering

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The loneliness after leaving an abusive relationship can be overwhelming. This feeling, combined with the chemical addiction to the relationship often drives people back to the partner.

Narcissists know this all too well. They have played the game many times before. They know just how long to ignore all of your texts and your calls.

Even if you are the one that chose to leave, the abuser is a master at hoovering you back in. They know the pain you will suffer from the withdrawal from them.

The hoovering usually occurs between 3 and 6 months after you have stopped hearing anything from them. They may even have paraded their new prey on facebook for you to see, but this new partner will not stop them from wanting one more go at you.

If you think they hurt you the first time, you are in for a higher level this time. If you left them, they will be sure to punish you fully, and then discard you in the cruelest possible way.

If they discarded you the first time, make no mistake that they will escalate the devaluation phase, before discarding you like the garbage they think you are.

The narcissist’s skill of cold empathy (cold reading), will enable them to woo you for a time. They will give you their honeymoon phase ( idealization phase) one more time…and make you think that they now appreciate the real you, more than ever.

Buy when that first glimmer of darkness crosses their expression, and their eyes glare at you…like predators do…your gut will tell you that you have made a mistake…you are in danger.

That feeling of danger will frighten you, and you may try to tell yourself it is in your imagination. After all…your view of reality hasn’t been that good lately. Has it?

You haven’t been remembering things quite the right way recently. Have you?

Who are you to question this person who was so gracious in taking you back?

This person who…changed their ways just for you….gave up the other women because you are the only one who understands them.

Or do you?

There is something dark surrounding you….pressing down on you….

It must be that you are mentally unstable. After all….he mentioned his concern about your mental health just the other day…

Narcissistic Victim Abuse Syndrome

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The aftermath of an abusive relationship can seem more painful than the abuse we actually withstood during the relationship itself. The darkness of the predator looms over us, both in our conscious minds and in our dreams.

Weird nightmares awaken us in the darkness of the early morning hours. The shadow of the psychopath seems to be palpable and real. It is as if they have burrowed their wau deep into our subconscious brains.

In many ways that is true. The gaslighting has affected our subconscious. Cognitive dissonance has created confusion, as our brains struggle to sort out who we were actually in love with….the false image that never really existed?    or the person that actually inhabits that body that slept next to us at night?

You feel violated….raped…like your emotions and your soul have been violated in a crime.

It is an invisible crime. No one can prove it ever happened. The evidence is left in the form of PTSD, depression, nightmares, anxiety and often times  suicidal thoughts.

It would not surprise me if a good percentage of suicides could be attributed to some form of narcissistic abuse. That is… if anyone knew what they were looking for.

Even the victims often have no idea what has happened to them.. Why their brains are no longer functioning the way they used to. .. Why they have lost their motivation to live.. to work….to socialize. ..  to take care of themselves….

It is a “failure to thrive” syndrome. The narcissistic has stripped their victim of their dignity, their self esteem, their sense of self….and their confidence in their ability to perceive reality properly.

Narcissistic abuse Syndrome is….

PTSD

C-PTSD

Depression

Anxiety

Hopelessness

Confusion

Loss of ability to prioritize oneself

Suicidal thoughts

Nightmares

And difficulty finding anybody….including therapists…who can understand or help at all

Lack of validation of your trauma

Executive function problems

Fight or flight responses

Emotional flashbacks

Desperation.

This is why it is so important to spread awareness and to validate the victims. The tendency to want to self-isolate is strong.

Some level of solitude is needed for introspection, but too much isolation can be destructive.

The psychopath infects the victim with a virus-like program to self destruct. They want to leave you broken and crushed.

You are not alone. None of it was “all in your head.”

Share your experiences with people who will validate you. Having your story disbelieved by people willonly re-traumatize you.