abuse, abusive relationships, domestic abuse, narcissistic abuse, Uncategorized

Overcoming an Abusive Relationship

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.

Another deception.

What is the main thing in the tool box of the devil ?

Yep.

Deception.

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.

 

 

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abusive men, abusive relationships, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, Uncategorized

The Dark Triad Type of Predator

There is a type of predator that is so dark, that the results of any relationship with one of them is the destruction of basically everything they can possibly destroy in regards to you and your life.

These narcissistic predators will cause their victims to sink into such a pit of darkness that you will have  have moments where you believe that death might be a welcome relief.

They drive their victims to having deep depression and often suicidal thoughts. You will find yourself questioning whether you were mentally unbalanced the whole time, rather than wanting to think that the abuser caused it on purpose.

This type of dark creature appears nearly normal in public, so that no one suspects anything is wrong with them. They might even be well thought of in the community as a humanitarian, a scholar, an artist, or a leader.

Little do their circle of associates know that there is a dangerous contempt and rage seething at their core. There is a resentment of authority and an extreme obsession with manipulation and control.

The rage usually only occurs once the curtains are drawn and the doors are locked. However, it is always lurking just below the surface of their well constructed mask.

The Dark Triad Predator lures their victims into their battle field by covering it with roses, Christian crosses, bibles, yoga mats, money, or whatever else will hold your attention just long enough to keep you from looking too deep into their eyes.

They don’t want you to see it yet.

No. Not so soon. These things must be carefully times.

Showing the rage too soon might cause fear or horror to creep into your mind prematurely.

That just wouldn’t do, now would it?

In order to disguise the creature that lurks beneath, this abuser avoids your glance.

Sometimes they will acknowledge your look while turning to the side or pointing to something alternate for you to look at.

It’s too early to let on.

They don’t want to reveal it yet.

Occasionally, in a bold moment, they may look right at you while in the midst of a vivacious monologue about themselves. But if you really looked…

But you didn’t,  did you?

All evil things come to those who wait, particularly if the waiting is being done by a target of this predator.

They will carefully monitor their vocal tone so as not to allow a glimmer of that rage  to seep through.

They don’t want you to hear it yet.

These predators will use slight of han, smoke and mirrors, and other tricks to get you to see the image they want you to see.

The image they want you to see is the good hearted person you have hoped for. It’s not time for you to look too deeply.

They don’t want you to see it yet.

Their conversations will engage, charm, and lead your mind towards imagining hopeful things for the future.

They are lying because they don’t want you to see the black pit that lies before you. Its just beyond the next step you’re getting ready to take.

The ground is getting ready to open. There is a gaping black hole just beyond where you’re standing, and the abuser won’t let on.

No, they want to lead you forward in the way that any great leader leads others. They promise rewards for believing in them and hint that it is best never to actually question them.

No. It’s better not to question them.

Not out loud.

Not in your mind.

Not at all. Not ever.

Little by little you learn to keep your opinions, your ideas, your suggestions and your gut feelings about things they say to yourself. You are being groomed.

You are being trained. You are being brainwashed. You are being indoctrinated into their world.

This is life with a dark triad personality. The three elements are narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellian personality.

Their world only really consists of them. Everyone else is a pawn in their great game of chess.

But they don’t want you to know it yet.

No. They don’t want you to see the blackness in their evil eyes. They don’t want you to hear the fury that is lying just beneath their well crafted exterior.

But most of all, they don’t want you to see what you are standing on. The fire that burns beneath the ground is building and the heat is increasing.

At a certain point, you will have reached the point of no return. Yes, maybe you could have made a polite, yet firm exit earlier on, but it’s too late for you now.

Even attempting to step a toe off that unholy ground would singe your toes and spread up your foot. No. There is no painless way out.

There is no way out from their clutches without severe losses. One of those losses could be your children. It could be your sanity. Or it could be your life.

Yes. Your life as you once knew it to be is no more. You can never go back. Not ever.

Moving forward from this point on will be pain, loss, grief, and extreme loss. So many losses.

But what do you know? The floor has been covered with those roses for some time now. Petals of softness under your feet.

Yes. Perhaps a thorn or two may have drawn a few drops of blood from time to time.

How many times you ask yourself? That’s funny. You can’t really remember. It’s like your memory has been affected.

Even when you try to think about stepping off of that predator’spredator’ s grounds, you don’t really see the edge of things. Maybe you’re tired. Maybe your perception has become a bit confused.

The edges have become blurred, haven’t they? The concept you once had of yourself has also become blurred. Blurred against what you wonder? Blending between yourself and who exactly?

You wonder who this dark stranger is. The one that spits vile words at you for reasons you cannot understand. Perhaps you are not as intelligent as they are to understand why they rage? Maybe.

Or maybe the person you thought you were being lead by is not the person you thought they were. Maybe, they are not a normal person at all.

You try to remember the things that once drove you. What sparked your passion ? Why has your brain been fully focused on the wants and desires of this one individual?

What happened to the person you used to be? It’s like you have been eviscerated. But how? You can’t remember now. Besides there’s no time for that.

The creature needs to be fed and looked after. After all, you wouldn’t want to upset him would you?

You know what could happen if he feels you are not doing you very best to serve and obey him, don’t you?

No?

Maybe you need a reminder, he roars at you. After all I’ve done for you and given up for you?

“I’m so sorry,” you mutter, with your head down. Your eyes look down at your toes, without dating to raise themselves up.

You don’t dare look into those eyes. You know the ones. They used to be a soothing brown, or perhaps a lovely blue.

But not lately. No. Not for quite some time.

Those eyes are black holes. That dark stare frightens you. No. Better to keep your head down, or at least look away.

You can pretend you’re like a little girl who’s been naughty. Maybe that will garner some human instinct in the creature.

But deep down, you know it won’t bring any humanity out in him. No. Nothing can brought out if it were never there in the first place.

There is only cruelty. There is only punishment. There is only shame. There is only them.

They wanted it that way all along. For you to be blurred with them. But why do they loath you so? Why aren’t they happy you have sacrificed yourself for Then?

You were supposed to do it. They were entitled to your submission. It’s not a gift of love. They don’t have to appreciate you.

You belong to them. They believe that you must obey them. They don’t see it as a choice. After all, they are so powerful. Once they will something to come about, it must come about.

You are merely a shadow of themselves. They have attributed their most loathsome qualities into you. Now they can spew all their contempt and hatred your way.

And when the sun shines again, it will not shine for you. And it will not shine for the creature.

As the sunlight dances off the beauty of the day, it dances for the person that does not exist. It shines for the illusory image that the creature covers itself with during the day.

As for you. You’ll have to hold the hand of that person that does not exist. And pray the creature lurking beneath does not come out to feed tonight.

Keep your head down. Avert your eyes. Speak carefully. Walk gently.

And whatever you do…. don’t look into their eyes.

You won’t like what you’ll see.

…..image from Pinterest

dark poetry, devaluation, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, gaslighting, mental abuse, narcissistic abuse, Uncategorized

The Icy Stare of Your Abuser

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.

 

emotional abuse, healing from narcissistic abuse, mental abuse, Uncategorized

PTSD and Retraumatization from Abuse

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psychopath image

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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ptsd bed

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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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psychopath bed

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.