Getting on with your life after existing in a day to day, ongoing altered reality, can be extremely challenging. Narcissists and other abusers influence the way you perceive yourself and the world around you .
Their goal is to control your perceptions, your feelings and your thinking process. This conditioning is a kind of brainwashing and uses similar techniques that cults use to control their flock.
Isolation from others that would support you, and give you a different frame of reality than the narcissiat wants you to have, is a go-to technique used by most abusers. It may not be obvious to you that they were doing it, or are doing this to you.
You may notice that you are unable to spend time with your friends or that you no longer have access to people that would spend time with you. The abuser finds ways to prevent you from inviting people to the house or interacting with them socially outside of the house .
Abusers are often jealous, envious, disruptive of your relationships. They create drama and chaos, in order to cause dissention, and discomfort to you and to others that would otherwise help you.
They may tell you they feel threatened by your friends or that you should not trust certain people.
Sleep deprivation is another go-to technique of abusers, to control you. When you are sleep deprived, you don’t think as clearly, and you don’t have the energy needed to combat the gaslighting and other mind control tactics that are being used on you.
You may not notice that they are intentionally sleep depriving you. There are a variety of ways they can do this and be unaccountable for it .
Gaslighting is often difficult to recognize and it is extremely dangerous psychologically to your mental clarity and mental well – being.
It can be out and out lying about things that have happened, or extremely subtle with no words at all. Conflicting realities can be presented with body language, and non – verbal expressions, or by lack of response when there should normally be a response.
You will start to feel like your ability to understand what is going on , has been altered. You might feel like your memory is not as good as you think it is.
The narcissist will mirror something back to you that does not seem like an accurate version of who you are, what your values are, or what your real personality is. You might feel like they seem to be perceiving you as a completely different person than who you believed you were.
This is because they want you to be confused. They want to break down your self esteem and your sense of who you are.
It is psychologically dangerous. Many of my clients experience depression, panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, and even suicidal ideations, after long term, on-going gaslighting.
To not be able to hold onto a reality about your own identity is terrifying. The constant interferance with your perception of reality leaves long term effects after you are no longer in the relationship.
If you are still in a relationship with, or have contact with the abuser that was gaslighting you, please be aware that it takes resilience and constant re-orienting yourself back into reality as you know it is.
The longer you are in a gaslighting situation, the more difficult it can be to re-wire your brain and to reduce the panic attacks.
Anytime something is associated with the gaslighting that your abuser did to you, it will cause an emotional flashback to how it felt at the time. Your fight or flight mode will kick in, because your brain recognizes it as a threat to you.
You will run into narcissists sometimes in your day to day life. You don’t have to be in a relationship with them, for something they say to trigger you. It happens to many people who have been in abusive relationships. Try to limit the length of the interaction and amount of contact you have with anyone who does things that reminds you of the gaslighting that you went through in the abusive relationship.
Abusive relationships can be marriages, romatic or sexual partners, family, friends you lived with, or anyone who targeted your mind with cruel or malicious intentions.
All abusers do not appear to be disordered to others. Many of them appear to be good – hearted people or pillars of the community. They are pastors, therapists, social workers,l doctors , and lots of other roles where they can gain the trust of others.
They do not want to be exposed for who they really are, and that they have no real empathy for others. Posing as a humanitarian, an intellectual, a church member, an honest business man or woman, etc. gives them the cover story that they need. It creates a narrative for who they want people to think they are.
Once you have this realization that this person you trusted, was actually scheming against you, it can be a shock.
Even more so, can be the shock of the realization that there are a percentage of people walking among us, that look and seem like everyone else, but they are manipulators that sadistically target people with the intention of destroying them.
The recovery from on-going abuse is a process. You can get your proper perception back about who you really are. You can gradually reduce the emotional flashbacks, and navigate your life in a positive direction.
It takes time to get back on the right path for you. For many people, it takes re-wiring beliefs in your subconscious that go back to your childhood .
You are an independent, soveriegn individual person, with a unique set of gifts, skills and possibilities.
No one has the right to try to mislead or diminish your life. You have the right to mental clarity and to see things for what they are.
Recovery from gaslighting, verbal abuse, and on-going abuse from a psychopath, a narcissist or a narcissistic borderline takes a while.
It is an on-going, day to day process. Your brain will fall back into the narcissists reality because you were conditioned to be in that reality. It is familiar and what is familiar can seem safer to your brain.
But new realities are out there. New ways of perceiving yourself and your place in the world are possible for you.
Never give up on yourself . If you were not special, and if you did not have significant value, then the narcissist would not have bothered targeting you.
They are looking to take something away from their targets. They want to crush out the light that you have, so you cannot share that light with the world.
Annie – gentlekindnesscoaching.com
Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse is probably not an exactly accurate term. There’s not exactly a finish line or a point that you can say, “There! I did it! I recovered…..I was sick before. But now…well, now I am completely well again.”
The first problem with that is you weren’t completely well to begin with. If you had been, then you would not have been taken in by a predator.
Predators seek out the wounded and vulnerable. They seek out minds that are conditioned to be affected and persuaded by them.
There is a healing process that takes a long time. It’s an up and down process, kind of like going up three stairs and then down one. …then up four and down one.
Don’t worry about the back stepping, or what seems to you is going backwards. It’s part of the recovery process and every client I’ve worked with has described something similar to that experience during their healing process.
As you move up slowly out of the muck, the mud, and the dark pit of sorrow the narcissist left you in, you will find that there are many things to learn. Your progress will feel like it’s going upward sometimes, and forward some times, and backward or downward at other times.
It is the nature of the aftermath of this kind of a predator. The pain after realizing that the person you trusted was completely untrustworthy the entire time you were with them, is extreme.
You will feel deeply betrayed, because they got you to share your deepest , most personal thoughts with them.
It is like the bible quote “do not give your pearls to the swine (pigs).”
But you did. You gave your best pearls and treasured inner emotions and thoughts to the pigs.
It wasn’t your fault. You were conned. You were manipulated by an abusive, dark person that is a good actor.
You wanted to believe they were for real. You needed to believe they were for real.
Because of this need, you overlooked signs that you might have otherwise noticed.
You rationalized their inappropriate behaviors. You made excuses for things they did, and told your self that this person was just diffetent…intense…broken…in pain.
They told you that they had never met anyone like you. ..They said you were special.
You needed to be special to someone. You needed to be seen and heard the way this person seemed to see and hear you.
And they did.
Well…in a way they did.
They used their skill of “cold empathy,” a term coined by Sam Vaknin, the author of Malignant Self Love; Narcissism Revisited.
You can find his book on Amazon and excerpts to read on Google.
Anyway, this abuser could listen and understand you in a way that other people you know cannot. There seemed to be a special closeness that you never had before and you feel like you will never have again.
Part of you misses that aspect of the relationship. But another part of you knows it was never real.
And therein lies the complexity of this recovery. The cognitive dissonance between the person you though you were in a relationship with and the monster they actually turned out to be.
Yes. They did turn out to be a monster. They intentionally hurt you. The entire relationship was a game to them.
It was a campaign of war against your psychological well being.
They guided you onto a path of danger. There were so many losers that you incurred.
These predators will damage every aspect of your life that they can. This can include financial ruin, misguided direction in work or school, emotional breakdown, physical illness, and suicidal ideations.
This person that seemed so safe, turned out to be the vampire that you had to invite into your house before they could enter. Once inside, they would eventually remind you that you were the one that invited them in. …as If this implies some unwritten obligation you have to them.
That is an illusion too.
Your entire reality was messed with. The way you grew to doubt your own perception of the world around you…that was their intention too.
They systematically drive you nearly insane. They wanted you to question whether or not you could accurately assess things, or tell which way you should go.
You were conditioned to distrust your own intuition.
Somewhere inside you, there were alarms that told you that something was not normal about them. The narcissist explained those alarms away for you, as if they were helping you.
You thought you knew who you were , going into the relationship….or at least that you had an idea who you were.
They made you doubt that too. Eventually, over time, you believed that they knew you better than you know yourself.
What is the main thing in the tool box of the devil ?
These are deceivers of the worst kind. They seek out the vulnerable. Then they hunt you down like an animal.
Hunters never have good intentions for the prey they hunt. The hunter treads gently at first, so as not to scare the prey off. Then they attack it with all they’ve got.
The game is to take down the prey. To overcome it. To trick it. To outmatch it. Then to destroy it.
This is a huge undertaking to overcome. There are many levels of complexity, including the old emotional wounds from your childhood that the narcissist instinctually tore open.
You won’t really recover and go back to the person you were before the abuse.
You will incorporate the things that happened to you into the stronger, wiser person that you are becoming.
There is no finish line you are trying to reach. It’s just living each day, as you grow and learn to live again.
At some point you may have felt that you would never love again..that you would never open yourself up to be vulnerable again by ever trusting anyone.
That is part of the recovery too. It’s a day by day process of living. Life is about connections with others.
You can define what those relationships are to the best of your ability. You can set boundaries.
You can learn the red flags of narcissists and psychopaths.
But in the end, there are no guarantees in life. Not for anyone.
Life is about both the known and the unknown.
Part of your recover process is to learn to embrace the unknown. You will learn to be okay with not being able to control everything.
And you will be okay. Tomorrow is another day. There are amazing people to meet and experiences to have.
You must walk the path you create. You’ll hope for the best. You will find those worthy of your time, love and energy.
And occasionally….hopefully not too often….You will cross paths with one of them…The dark intentioned ones.
You’ll know them by their eyes. You have to look. If you feel that urge to look away, then either run or look right in and see what is there to see.
You crossed paths with an abuser and you will always carry the scars.
But your future awaits you. And the unexpected can be good as well as bad.
It’s okay to be vulnerable at times. And it’s okay not to always know the right thing to do.
After all, you’re only human.
Why does your narcissist accuse you of cheating out of the intention to cheat?
If they do this, and there is no basis for it, then your narcissist is projecting their own intentions onto you. They are either cheating on you, or they know that they would.
Why does your abuser accuse you of being underhanded or “sneaky”?
If you are being accused of being deceptive, or of going behind their backs, and there is no basis for this, then guess What? They are being deceptive with you. Plus they are just deceptive in general.
Are you being spied on by your partner who accuses you of “being up to something”?
Do they constantly think you are doing things behind their back?
Have you been loyal to a fault, and given them no logical reason to see you this way?
They are projecting their own bad qualities on to you. This is their way of making you “pay” for their machinations and insincere behaviors.
It is their way of dumping the accountability for their actions into you. It is a kind of “blame shifting” called “projection.”
Anyone who is not cheating on you, and has no thoughts about cheating on you, has no reason to even think that you would cheat on them. Unless you actually bring the subject of cheating onto the table, there is no reason for someone to assume you would be doing that.
Unless someone has evidence or reasons to think you might be deceitful and plotting against them, there is no normal reason to accuse you of these traits.
If you started the relationship with your partner with good intentions towards them, and they started the relationship with good intentions towards you, then why should they suddenly accuse you of having changed?
These sudden accusations, with no basis in reality, are the narcissist’s way of justifying their own actions and intentions.
They will justify spying on you, and obliterating your personal boundaries, in the name of “protecting themselves” or “keeping you in line.”
All the while, they are redirecting your attention towards defending yourself, instead of observing the narcissist’s behavior.
They will dump shame and guilt into you , in order to avoid any accountability for their own treachery.
The narcissist will never be accountable for their own actions, mistakes, behaviors or for their own short-comings. Instead, they project their bad qualities onto you, in order to make your life miserable.
They will accuse you, and become paranoid about your intentions, in order to put you on the defensive.
While you are busy trying to convince the narcissist that you are not “up to” anything, they are getting away with whatever behaviors they want to. This includes accusing you, spying on you, isolating you, and making you feel like you live in a prison camp.
They want you to be too busy catching your breath that you don’t have time to see what they are doing to you. And they most certainly do not want you to ever know that their behavior is intentional, in order to distract you from seeing things in realistic perspective.
You do not deserve to be accused of things that don’t even fit your personality. This just shows you that the person does not really know you anyway.
Plus, there is a double standard at work here. While the narcissist becomes indignant and accusatory of you alleged intentions, they feel perfectly entitled to do all of the things they are accusing you of, and more.
It has nothing to do with you. You have done nothing wrong if you have done nothing wrong.
As silly as that sounds, the narcissist will actually make their victim feel guilty for things they are not doing wrong. They will twist reality around in the victim’s mind until they feel like they have done something to deserve the accusations.
Make no mistake. This kind of treatment is emotionally abusive. This kind of gaslighting is psychological abuse.
Any kind of gaslighting or psychological abuse is damaging to your well being in the long run. Even in short time periods, gaslighting can cause harm to you.
Abusive relationships can drag out much longer that outside observers can understand. One of the reasons is that the double standards, the gaslighting and the other psychological abuse can cause the victim to become imprisoned in a mental hell.
Recognizing this kind of abuse, and being able to put labels on it, can be a Step toward freedom.
The effects of psychological and emotional abuse can last long after the relationship has ended.
This can make you vulnerable to being targeted by another abuser.
Remember that all predators do not present themselves the same way initially. Learn the red flags of predators and how to identify abuse.
Realise your personal worth and know that you bring value to any relationship. This knowledge will help you to protect yourself from future predators and abusive personalities
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.