Narcissists are masters of illusion. They spend their time perfecting their skill set in order to lure us in. The below guest post explores the Narcissistic Illusion that is a Narcissist's entire deceptive way of living.
An inherent part of any narcissistic relationship is the illusion...that the relationship is not what it seems to be, but rather, during the initial phase, called “love bombing”, the narcissist feeds the victim a false view of himself, their relationship, and the future.
This is a form of brainwashing that is intended to give you a feeling of certainty about the choices you are making, and to make you feel confident and safe. This comes in the form of extremely positive statements about the victim to the effect that the victim is everything the narcissist ever wanted, that they have never met anyone like the victim, and never felt this way, and that the victim is perfect. That the praise is way over the top, and comes far too soon, is a sure sign of love bombing.
This makes the victim feel that they are in the driver's seat in the relationship...namely, that the power balance in the relationship, which should be equal, is actually far in the favor of the victim, since IT APPEARS that the narcissist wants the relationship so much that the victim is extremely treasured and exceptionally special. The victim LOVES this level of attention and it seems so sincere that the victim believes the narcissist's lies, setting up the illusion. This is love bombing phase is called by therapists “the idealization phase”.
The victim is now set up for the biggest disappointment of their life since they believe, quite reasonably, that they have found the perfect partner...it is the fulfillment of a dream. We have all heard that if something seems to be too good to be true, it is, and we all know this saying, but the narcissist is an incredibly good actor and extremely convincing.
What happens next comes as a shock...the narcissist begins to change and instead of showing admiration for the victim, they show contempt, disdain, negativity, and abuse...and, they tell the victim that THEY are to blame. The victim is now in what therapists call “the devaluation phase.” The victim can do nothing right at this point and, in fact, the confusing thing is that what was once praised is now criticized. In fact, now the victim is despised for the very qualities that were admired...for instance, the victim's independence and self reliance is now criticized as not paying enough attention to the relationship, and so means requiring the victim to get the approval of the narcissist for nearly everything. This causes the victim to walk on egg shells...which therapists call “hyper vigilance”. This, in turn, produces high anxiety in the victim.
In addition, the narcissist begins to show contempt for the victim in that the narcissist's fidelity is reasonably in doubt....guarding the phone, hiding surf history, sexy emails, lost time...and any mention of this is met with anger and accusations that the victim is irrational...crazy.
Now, you might wonder why the victim doesn't leave at this point? Some do, but most don't. The reason is that the victim still believes the illusion that the narcissist gave them early in the relationship....AND, the narcissist gives the victim just enough positive attention, sort of a mini love bombing, to keep them hooked until the narcissist is done with them. In addition, by now, the victim has lost all their self esteem and has no confidence, and is beaten down, depressed, and stressed...barely holding on. The narcissist now convinces their friends and family that the victim is mentally ill.
By this time, the victim has lost all sense of self and is in the control of the narcissist, and focused on the wants and needs of the narcissist, and pleasing the narcissist, with their own needs left behind. The victim has lost much of the ability to reason for themselves, because they have been GASLIGHTED, meaning, the narcissist has caused them to doubt their own mind, thinking, and perceptions, by manipulating the victim into thinking they can't trust themselves to understand and know what is happening in their life. In this way, the narcissist makes the victim think that they need the narcissist just to survive since they are helpless without the narcissist. The narcissist makes the decisions for the victim. This, too, is part of a new illusion...the illusion of helplessness.
At some point, either the narcissist discards the victim, or the victim is in such pain that they leave, but since the narcissist has turned all their friends and family against the victim (called “flying monkeys” by therapists), they don't know who they can trust, and it is likely that these people will do the victim more harm than good. This produces isolation.
Now, the destruction of the victim's life is complete because not only are they beaten down, depressed, stressed, and in pain, they are also alone, and fearful of having a new relationship for fear that they can trust no one. This keeps the victim in the control of the abuser even in the abuser's absence, since it give the narcissist the opportunity to “hoover” the victim by love bombing them again. Hoovering is the term used by therapists to refer to any form of manipulation meant to “suck the victim back in” to the narcissist's life, and is named after the vacuum. The victim now has to either face the harsh reality of life and begin to reconstruct a new and better life, or fall back into the illusion, be abused, and discarded yet again...and again...and again...
In order to begin a new life, it's necessary for the victim to give up the illusion and realize that the narcissist is a con artist and never loved them, that it has been a lie all along, done for the express purpose of doing the above, of abusing and hurting them. This may be the most difficult moment of your life since it destroys the beautiful dream that never was. You will still want to believe it was true, and that perhaps the narcissist does love you, that you could be happy, if only.... You can cling to that illusion if you want to, but if you do, your misery will go on and on.
Once you realize that the narcissist has been abusing you, and that there is nothing wrong with you and never was, and that the narcissist has been deceiving you, and that the narcissist never was the perfect partner, so there is no getting back what never was, then you can begin to STOP TRYING TO PLEASE YOUR ABUSER.
It takes a long time for you to get better...a very long time. It's slow and gradual, and having no contact with the narcissist is the best, and only way to begin. If you have a child, and must do minimal contact, I suggest you read the post on our Facebook page under the Notes section about how to do this.
You will slowly begin to understand, and slowly begin to trust yourself again. Narcissistic abuse CAN be healed. I have healed, as has my now wife. Life can be better, and happier, and the evil reality of the narcissist can and will be but a distant memory. Your life has been touched by a deep evil and by a liar and a predator. On this site's Facebook page, you will find friends who truly understand what you have been through and can provide support.
Talk to them...post your thoughts...regularly. It's liberating and validating. You'll notice that now you see the red flags of narcissism that you once missed. If you are love bombed again, you'll know you are with a narcissist and exit the situation. You'll get stronger with time. And independent again. And then, you will be ready for a new relationship...a genuine one. I know. Been there, done that, got the marriage license to prove it.
**This was reprinted with permission from Soulmates in Hell and was originally published on October 7, 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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The content of this site is told from the blog author/owner's personal experience of dealing with a male Narcissist. Narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths are both male and female, and come from all walks of life. Furthermore, the content contained herein is not intended to be a replacement for medical or legal counsel. This blog's sole purpose is to provide support to those who have endured Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse.