The Jekyll and Hyde Narcissist. You never know what you're going to get. So you walk on eggshells. You are careful what you say and do. They are mean. They are nice. The back and forth makes you dizzy and unsure of what's real. This guest post discusses the long term effects that this type of person can have on you.
AFTER THE HONEY MOON, LOVE BOMBING PHASE...here comes the Jekyll and Hyde personality...what happens when you stay with an abusive narcissist over time? I did, as did my now wife, so here's what we found out:
By Honey Moon period I mean what happens when you first meet someone and are just getting to know them, and that period of time right afterwards....but before you realize that he/she has a Jekyll and Hyde personality. Or perhaps after the person cheated, or hurt you terribly, begged forgiveness, and you forgave them....so things became great for a while. Sex is the best ever.....but, OH NO, they start back into behaviors that hurt again and again.
I am going to discuss a particular type of dysfunctional narcissist that often gets his/her hooks into us emotionally, and because of this Jekyll and Hyde personality, we go through cycles of horrible times and make up times. I'm going to talk about what they are like. I know there are a lot of people on this page who will recognize this kind of person.
When you meet someone, or you go through a make up period, your brain chemistry gets flooded with chemicals that make you feel great...but, chemicals are not tools for thinking about whether something is a good idea or not, so, when we do what makes us feel good at the moment, no wonder things go so wrong.
I'll skip over the good feelings of meeting and making up and go right for the problems. What I say here applies equally to both men and women, though for convenience I may use only one gender, usually the man.
So, after the honeymoon after meeting or making up, now he/she is Jekyll and Hyde...suddenly, here comes unexpected anger, or other behavior that should cause you a lot of concern...but the problem is that although the alarm bells should be going off, they don't. The red flags are obvious, but you decide to overlook them. How does that happen?
YOU RATIONALIZE......this is a word you should know. It means when we see something we know is wrong or bad or upsetting or should be alarming, we smooth over our own feelings by making up reasons for the behavior that make it seem not so bad, or even good. But, changing the label on a bottle of poison so that it reads “strawberry jam” doesn't make it less poisonous.
I've found a lot of rationalizers play a good game of “yes, but.” Yes, he/she blows up and I get scared, but he had a very bad childhood. Yes, he uses drugs/alcohol, but he's under a lot of stress. And so forth. This sort of rationalization leads you down the wrong path to a dead end.
I'm not talking about someone, for instance, who is a good, kind person, and has a bad day, so loses his temper, and apologizes for his behavior. That's normal. However, this Jekyll and Hyde personality is not remorseful, and in fact, will likely blame you, or justify what they did, or come up with excuses. Or, they apologize, but do it again and again. You are in trouble if this is happening.
Rationalization gets to be serious when you are in a dysfunctional, narcissistic marriage/long term relationship because you will tend to do it more and more , as more and more bad things occur. His excuses, plus your excuses for him should wear thin, but they don't, so you stay when you should go.
You become aware that the person has a dark side, but if you rationalize you will say that this is not “the real him/her,” and perhaps decide that if you just love them more you can change them/fix them. But, you can't. Perhaps they are financially irresponsible, or are a cheater, or a liar, or unstable, or engages in substance abuse, or....or any other thing, that when it happens, it is like a different person. The key here is that IT ISN'T A DIFFERENT PERSON.....it's the way he/she really is when not on their best behavior. It's their personality, not a one off problem.
This kind of person has you constantly up and down, happy and unhappy, like a teeter totter or like being on a ferris wheel, going up and then down. This creates a huge amount of anxiety in you because you are walking on egg shells and you never know what will happen next to set him/her off, or he/she will do it again. It can affect your sleep, physical, and mental health as well. The thing is, when you excuse this behavior in them, you set yourself up for the next “hit”. I often say that dysfunctional people get their hooks into us, but in truth, we put the hooks in ourselves and keep them there.
Now, Jekyll and Hyde may apologize afterward, it's true, but unlike a normal person, this doesn't stop it from happening again. It just INITIATES THE HONEY MOON PERIOD again, which will be followed by another incident.
YOU FOCUS ON HIS “POTENTIAL” rather than what's actually happening...this is an example of making excuses/rationalizing for Jekyll and Hyde, and probably worse, you might agree with him/her and blame yourself for the problem. Now you are in full blown co-dependency because you decide you can control his behavior if you just do this, or don't do that. But you can't, and it's a trap.
YOU EXCUSE HIS ABUSIVE CRITICISM, OVERT OR IMPLIED. Jekyll and Hyde people can be incredibly critical and abusive, alternating with being Mr. Nice. My wife says of her ex husband that she was always sort of a roving target for his negative comments, which came out of no where. Implied criticism comes with looks on his/her face, acting disgusted, disappointed in you, and other such acts.
YOU THINK THAT IF YOU LISTEN CLOSE ENOUGH YOU CAN LEARN TO DO WHAT HE/SHE WANTS, and so have a good relationship. By this time, you have lost all perspective, and are tolerating things you should never tolerate. Instead of putting the responsibility on him/her, you have put it on yourself. He blames you and you blame you, so you agree on something, at least.
HE HAS YOU THINKING YOU NEED TO BE PERFECT. This follows from the criticism above, and is another toxic element.
YOU WISH YOU COULD SOMEHOW READ HIS/HER MIND so could avoid the problem in some way....or if you could just anticipate what he/she needs and wants, etc. This is co-dependency, because you are not taking care of yourself and your needs are forgotten. If he/she has been saying things that are more or less, “You should have....”, and you know that you couldn't have known or anticipated this, and that it's unreasonable to expect this.....good, you have realized that he/she is manipulating and abusing you.
HE EXPECTS CONSTANT ADMIRATION and demonstrations of approval and gets angry or upset when he/she doesn't get it, then your Jekyll and Hyde person is certainly a Narcissist.
HE/SHE EXPECTS YOU TO PROTECT THEM FROM ALL LIFE'S DISAPPOINTMENTS and is very angry when you can't....it's not possible.
HE/SHE ENGAGES IN SPLITTING...that is, idealizing you, and then demonizing you. Humans don't usually live up to some far fetched ideal, so when you don't, he/she attacks you verbally and/or nonverbally. One thing I could never get through to my ex wife about people, is that you have to be reasonable in your expectations, but Jekyll and Hyde people expect you to meet their expectations and make you pay the price when you don't.
If any of the above sounds familiar, you are dealing with a very disturbed, highly narcissistic person with whom you won't be happy. You'll notice that it's really all about them, and if they can get you to buy into that and make it all about them, and leave your own reasonable needs behind, they will. If you have been doing so, time to rethink.
**Reprinted with permission from Soulmates in Hell. Originally published on December 1, 2015.
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Greetings, my warrior survivor friends! Welcome to my blog. I'm Julianna, the owner and creator of this site. Check out the My Story section to read about why I started this blog. Thanks for stopping in. And feel free to comment on any post, share your own thoughts and stories. I would love to hear from you!
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