"I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed a few times since then."
~~ Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Somewhere along the way, I fell down the rabbit hole.
Chasing an illusion I discovered an absurd world where nothing was as it seemed and all its elements had been methodically positioned by a patient hand.
For those up top, it can be difficult to fathom what happens as you tumble down into an abyss shrouded in domestic abuse; especially since they tend to lose sight of you before long. But, then, you lose sight of you, too.
Contrary to how things may seem to the outsider, there IS a Method to the Madness. And it is VERY disturbing to put it mildly.
Narcissists are very patient. They take great care in honing the skills it takes to snag, keep and (eventually) discard supply when it no longer serves his/her needs.
So, how exactly does a narc "break" their victim? Here's a few of the sadistic, systematic ways:
Fantasy vs Reality: Narcissists are MASTERS at presenting a false self to the unsuspecting Supply. All the traits you have sought in a partner, or potential spouse, I guarantee you will find in the narc. Deep down they are void of any semblance of health and normalcy. Emotion? No, they don't feel it like you and I. Conscience? Nonexistent. Entitlement? Abundant. Remorse? Zilch. They are a mirror. They mimic. Especially when they see traits in you that trigger Envy in them. They present this false self to pull you in. Once you are secured, the cycle of abuse begins very subtly.
Idealize, Devalue, and Discard: The Narc's Cyclical Relationship Trifecta:
Idealize: Narc's like to swoon their supply in a whirlwind of affection, attention and compliments. They come on strong -- it's referred to as "Lovebombing.". Before you know it, you've been swooped up and placed on a beautiful pedestal designed just for you -- or so it seems. You can do NOTHING wrong in the eyes of your adoring partner. They brag on you to family, friends and strangers to the Nth Degree. He/she seems the Perfect partner. All is beautiful and right with the World.
Devalue: As quickly as you were crowned the Perfect One, the devaluing phase isn't nearly as swift, but it's close behind. Little by little the pedestal on which you've become so comfortable is chipped away with criticism, put-downs and silent treatment. Just when you think you've naturally met and exceeded your partner's standards, those standards change and they keep changing. You will NEVER measure up. Over time, as you are put and kept in your "place" through the narc's covert and overt abusive tactics, your sense of self and confidence are destabilized leaving you more and more void of YOU.
Discard: Just like a child with a new toy, once the newness wears off the toy is cast aside in favor of something newer and shinier -- this is the discard phase of the relationship. It is during this time that the narc starts scouting for new supply -- if he/she hasn't already. You are no longer fun. You have caught on to things that don't seem right and have exerted what strength you've left by asking questions you shouldn't, which only incur more abuse. Despite the narc's sense of entitlement to find new Supply, he/she will undoubtedly exhibit excessive jealousy and anger towards you. Please DO NOT mistake this for caring by any stretch of the imagination. The constant calls, text messages, Facebook stalking and surprise "visits"/chance "meetings" are intended to simply "keep track" of you -- an element commonly employed by narcs to ensure the paths of current and future Supply do not cross. Once the narc secures additional Supply -- You're Gone. Discarded. Forgotten. That is, until things do not work out with the new Supply -- in which case, the narc returns to Lovebomb you once again to convince you he/she made a mistake and you really are Soul Mates. And then the cycle begins AGAIN.
Gaslighting: Yeah, I've mentioned this one before but I cannot stress how important this element is to the narc's methodical, insidious breaking, reconditioning and ensured control of the new Supply. Most humans can only tolerate a certain amount of bullshit before they break. Narcs are Masters at taking that breaking point and twisting it to make the abused seem Nuts, Crazy, Unstable, etc... Framing the victim as unstable adds fodder to the stories and lies they've already started telling about you -- but more about this in a few. The Goal is to make you doubt yourself. Anything the narc can do to twist things to make you come undone, I Guarantee he/she WILL.
Triangulation: Again, another element I have talked about previously. Just know that the narc's methodical triangulation extends beyond to include people you may not even be aware of or know. My abuser was such a master he had EVERYONE fooled. And I mean EVERYONE. From family to complete strangers... How he kept all the different stories and lies straight is beyond me. I can only imagine how exhausting it must be to have to keep up so many plot lines.
Smear Campaign: This is where it gets REALLY sadistic. Odds are, your abuser has been painting you as something you're not to others for quite some time. By the time you figure out what is going on he/she has already laid a firm foundation on which to present your "Crazy Ass" to the world.
You may be portrayed as Unstable, a Stalker, a Cheat, a Liar, a Thief, Crazy, Nuts, Bipolar, etc... The narc holds NOTHING back when painting a false you to his/her captivated audience. "Awww, you poor thing..." they say to him/her. If they only knew. It takes time for the narc's web to untangle... It may not happen when you exit Stage Left, but I promise you it WILL happen Eventually. There DOES come a time that all those who swallowed the stories and lies must Realize what they were fed WAS a bunch of Shit.
"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill."
~~ Gautama Buddha
Near the end I was grabbing at tufts of grass, loose rocks, whatever I thought I could reach as I continued to tumble down to the bottom of the rabbit hole.
But it all finally started to make sense. There was a reason for all of it. That didn't make it any less painful to deal with or a less bitter pill to swallow -- but I could finally see there was a Method to the Madness. And I was no longer the trusting, open-hearted woman who initially took the tumble.
I was confused. I was hurt. I was heartbroken. I was shattered.
And he, well, he never stopped smiling.
But that's OK. I learned a valuable lesson. One that I will never forget. And despite all the pure Hell I went through, I learned to Forgive. Without forgiveness, I couldn't have made it this far. May he one day conquer his Demons.
"Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."
~~ Gautama Buddha
In Peace and Love,