Everyone says they want the Truth. Period.
But in many cases, sadly, as Jack Nicholson so impassionately yelled during the courtroom scene in the 1992 flick A Few Good Men, "You can't handle the truth!"
I know I couldn't handle the Truth... At first.
How IS one supposed to come to terms with the bitter Truth that they're the victim of DV? After all, you genuinely believe your Love will conquer All. You are blind. You have been so isolated that the violence, whether it's verbal, emotional or physical, becomes the norm. It is expected. But, as odd as it sounds, when you're in the midst of the storm, you don't see it as violence.
"He only lashes out when I do something to piss him off," you might tell yourself. "If I can just get it right, he won't hurt me."
Well, guess what, it doesn't matter WHAT you say or do, your abuser will find SOME reason to continue to inflict cowardice acts of violence against you. And THAT is the Truth.
It makes the abuser feel in control. It gives him/her the power to continue playing his/her Game. For you, it's your life. But to him/her, it's a Game.
It wasn't until I was safely on the opposite shore that everything began to make sense. After months of gaslighting, triangulation and manipulation, I was lucky to trust my own gut about anything. And I mean ANYTHING.
My sense of self had been methodically eroded to the point that I wasn't even sure about who I was anymore. I was a shell.
Seeing your situation for what it is can be a VERY bitter pill to swallow.
My abuser was a MASTER manipulator. Looking back, it is truly frightening how someone can lie so easily and have so many different masks that one wears depending on the situation and conversation.
The foundation of a narcissist's means for maintaining the advantage in this warped Game is communication. As long as the abuser can control the information coming in and out of the relationship -- and, YES, that includes controlling YOU -- how you speak, to whom, and about what -- then the independent circles remain in tact and none is the wiser.
Hell hath no fury like a narc who finds out you have spoken to someone about your relationship.
"What happens b/t us is no one's business but OURS," mine would always say. "It's a private matter."
Private my ass.
Soon as I rose from the Toxic waters of our 'relationship,' I stood on the shore gazing back and couldn't believe how many individuals he had confined in little bubbles dangling from his marionette strings.
Let's look at the ways by which a narcissist, a.k.a narc, controls communication both within and without the relationship, shall we? Then you can make up your own mind. Take the pill. Or don't.
First and foremost, UNDERSTAND THIS: Attempting to have a conversation with a narc can quickly resemble an endurance challenge. For the abuser, conversations aren't about listening or communicating, they're about WINNING and furthering their Agenda. When you attempt to confront your abuser about his/her lies, behaviors or anything else that seems wonky, odds are it will get flipped on you. In the end, you are left doubting yourself, doubting your own ability to distinguish fantasy from reality and wondering why you even attempted to get any semblance of understanding or answers from your abuser. You're left exhausted and no better off than you were before you said a word.
So, here are some common tactics used by the narc when "conversing":
Upended Projection: Before you even leave the starting line behind, your abuser will already have projected your doubts, concerns, etc... back onto you in order to make him- or herself look like the victim. Never for a minute believe you are dealing with a rational person who has a conscience or ability to feel emotions as you do. I promise you, you are coming from an alien place. The narc goes by a totally different set of rules than you. And that WILL NOT change.
Shifting Blame: It doesn't matter what you are trying to discuss, you will quickly find yourself on the backside of things shouldering the entirety of blame. The conversation quickly disintegrates as the narc goes on the offensive and verbally pummels you pointing out every fault, insecurity, and weakness you possess to make you feel responsible, hence, putting you on the defensive. Remember, NOTHING is the narc's fault. In his/her mind, he/she IS the ultimate victim.
Veering Off Topic: You may have approached the conversation talking about one thing, but before you know it, the narc has veered way off topic. Instead of concentrating on what YOU would like to discuss, the narc will take the conversation in another direction, shift the blame, and project leaving you on the defensive. It doesn't matter if you have hard evidence to support your concerns, the narc will veer off topic to regain control of the situation.
Loud and Proud: Odds are the narc may also adopt an indignant attitude that you even had the gall to speak to him/her about your concerns -- especially if you challenge him/her. The abuser will demonstrate an absurd amount of anger over this 'injustice,' raise his/her voice and become increasingly animated. If you continue to push, the situation is likely to become violent. To avoid further animosity, you wave the white flag. The abuser wins and is further empowered.
Interruptions Abound: Narcs are notorious interrupters -- especially when they are fighting to retain control of a conversation -- or, as they view it, confrontation. If you think the narc is even remotely interested in what you have to say, think again. The only time they are silent is when they're plotting. Narcs constantly interrupt in order to deflect and veer the conversation in a direction that favors THEM. It doesn't matter the situation or environment, there is ONE RULE: It is the Abuser's way or no way. No exceptions.
Silence: Commonly referred to as the Silent Treatment, this is a last-ditch effort by the narc to teach you a Lesson. A genuinely cruel form of mental abuse, the intended goal is to make you feel unwanted, unloved and unimportant. And it works. The last thing you want is for the person you love to cast you aside and refuse to speak to you. You're left wondering what you did wrong when, in fact, you have done NOTHING. And the real bitch of it is, 99.999999% of the time, the narc EXPECTS you to apologize for what YOU have done and, by god, you had better offer the apology exactly as he/she expects or you are right back at Square One.
I cannot say definitively, nor would I want to, that my abuser used each and every one of these tactics on others -- I can only speak to what I endured. But I CAN say that he had a story for Everyone and the role I played varied depending on who he talked to. For example:
If it was potential supply, I was a stalker.
If it was his mother, I was crazy.
If it was his ex-wife, I was socially awkward and shy.
If it was a "mutual" friend, I was the only one he ever truly Loved.
For me to even begin to fathom the web of deceit he had patiently woven was a HUGE pill for me to swallow. There isn't a chaser in the world that can take that aftertaste out of your mouth. It lingers and influences ALL aspects of your life... As far as I've come, I still taste hints of it.
Yeah, I sat there with my little glass of water in one hand and pill in the other for quite some time.
Eventually, I realized I hadn't the luxury of a choice b/c the situation was going to kill me one way or another.
I've always been an advocate for Truth no matter the circumstance. It is better to know the truth than prolong a lie that makes for unbearable heartache. The trick is garnering the strength to swallow that bitter pill. Then, finding the strength to move forward.
"No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the Path."
~~ Gautama Buddha
In Peace and Love,