So I haul my ass to therapy. This sums up the reason: “You don’t know why you’re exhausted. You’re fighting a war inside your head every single day. If that’s not exhausting, I don’t know what is” Author unknown.
My therapist says I must imagine myself to be like a rock in the ocean, and not the sand, with the sea swirling around. A rock stands still in both storms and peace – a sand swirls around and gets caught up in the sea. I must react to the message not the emotion. When my ex threatens to sue me for financial support three years after the divorce I must respond with ‘You can speak directly to my attorney…”. Instead of reacting with any form of emotion, deal with the visible… I see that ‘x’, I see that ‘y’. The reality is that I think he is pissed when he writes that to me anyway, and when he sobers up the thought of suing my dries up as well.
My therapist says a deep rooted message has been planted, more than likely by my mother, that I need to take care of people. He agrees on my self-diagnosed Google disorder that I am suffering from a degree of Stockholm syndrome where I align myself to my ex. He says that I need to realise that by not responding, or rescuing does not mean I am a failure.
I tell him that I need my ex to be okay because if he is ok then I am ok – he jolts up wide eyed and tells me that I have just uttered a textbook co-dependant statement. Oh yay.
He is right when he says that perhaps it is more about my girls being okay than actually about my ex being ok. He tells me that I mustn’t encourage news. If it is urgent then the girls will tell me.
He tells me my ex is a Narcissist – he takes no accountability for his own actions. He recalls things in a completely different way to other people etc. Even my therapist tells me he was terrified for me when I left my ex, and the stories I told him in therapy gave him chills up his spine.
Ok – sigh. End of sessino – I’m okay again
I google “Narcissist”. My turn to get chills up my spine. Not everything pertaining to a narcisissist is applicable. Not everything is severe abuse. I battled to find an exact fit, and then realised that there is a path in the middle – it’s not a black and white description – there are shades of grey all over. I’d kind of associated a Narcissist in my head with a conscious decision to engage in that sort of behaviour – I’ve come to realise it’s more a personality trait than a deliberate series on events. An unconscious manifestation of text book behaviour.
This is what I took out of it – things that are applicable to me:
Narcissistic Rage: This Is What Happens When You ‘Discard’ An Abusive Narcissist First (https://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2017/03/this-is-what-happens-when-you-discard-an-at busive-narcissist-first/)
Unfortunately, what would otherwise be a path to freedom can be complicated by the predatory nature of malignant narcissists, whose severe sense of entitlement combined with an unnerving lack of empathy are intrinsic to their disorder. This is a dangerous combination that can result in the abuser sustaining what is known as a narcissistic injury (a threat to the narcissist’s sense of power and control) and subsequently, narcissistic rage
This type of injury and rage manifests in different ways. According to Dr. Sarkis, narcissistic abusers are likely to do everything possible to win back their victims if they suspect they are on the verge of leaving. Yet this also applies to after their victims leave, as well. To explore what can happen when a survivor leaves his or her narcissistic abuser first and how survivors of narcissistic abuse can protect themselves in this vulnerable stage of their healing journey, I’ve listed the four main ways in which narcissists can act out their “injury” and pose potential harm to their victims, as well as some ways you can empower yourself during this precarious time.
Stalking and harassment. (yes, yes, yes)
The narcissist will perceive your escape as an abandonment. Narcissists rely on narcissistic supply (anything in the form of praise, money, gifts, sex, attention, etc.) to survive their daily experience. They are “addicts” that zoom in on vulnerable targets – anyone they perceive to have high degrees of empathy and compassion – and exploit those targets for all they’re worth, sucking them dry emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Narcissistic abusers are known to stalk their former victims months, sometimes even years, after the ending of the relationship, especially if their victims discarded them first. They might harass and stalk you in person, through e-mail, texting, phone calls, voicemails. They may stalk you on your social media platforms. Their messages can range from threatening to love-bombing, and may vacillate between rage and tenderness, causing a confusing cocktail of emotions for their victims who simultaneously may want to be left alone but may also be concerned about whether the narcissist’s performances of remorse, pity ploys, or apologies are in any way authentic attempts at accountability.
The usual advice given to the survivor is to go No Contact with his or her abuser – but the sneakiest of narcissists will find their way around the barriers you place. It is actually very common for an abusive ex to linger far beyond the expiration date of the relationship, because abuse is all about power and control.
When stalking and harassment takes a severe emotional toll and you feel you are being retraumatized, unable to move forward in your journey to healing, it may be time to consider taking legal action.
Never forget: the time when an abuse victim is leaving an abusive relationship can be one of the most dangerous points in the abuse cycle. Please take care of yourself and do what you feel is most emotionally and physically safe as well as practical for you. Don’t discount your intuition, either – it can save your life.
Devaluation and Jekyll and Hyde hoovering. (yes, yes, yes)
After the breakup, the character of the narcissistic abuser can become disturbingly clear – and dangerous. Malignant narcissists will usually attempt to sweet-talk you back into the relationship with promises of change, faux remorse for their misdeeds, and feigned accountability for their actions. They may romanticize the relationship and re-idealize you, taking back all their hurtful words and actions in one fell swoop (or cleverly constructed text message). This is known as hoovering, and it is when, like a Hoover vacuum, the abuser attempts to “suck” their victim back into the abuse cycle.
Yet when you fail to comply with their demands to meet up, reconcile, remain friends or you resist the idealization in any way, abusive narcissists revert back to their true, vindictive selves. Pulling the signature Jekyll and Hyde moves they subjected you to during the relationship, they devalue you all over again, engaging in name-calling, cruel insults and demeaning remarks about your personality, your lifestyle, appearance, talents, career – anything and everything they can pull in to make you feel small, undesirable and unworthy.
For you to say “no” (even politely) and set boundaries is akin to setting off an atomic bomb in the narcissist’s eyes. It sends them into a frightening rage as they realize they can no longer control you and that you are actively resisting their hoovering attempts. Even if you are not verbally expressing anything, you are essentially saying “no” firmly through your actions, your silence and by refusing to get ensnared once more into the traumatic vortex of the relationship.
Your abuser had, after all, hoped that you would react just as you had all the other times you had reconciled with them after incidents of abuse – denying, minimizing or rationalizing the abuse while accepting the crumbs of their love-bombing efforts. Instead, they are left with a void in which they must try to secure other supply, lest they have to confront any need for possible self-evaluation.
Even if they are securing other supply after the break-up, it doesn’t mean they are done with you yet – they may still continue to harass and stalk you, taunting you and debasing you in order to regain a sense of power and control. They may text or call you while they’re with their new partners, to further minimize, provoke and compare you. They may swoop periodically in and out of your life through these hoovering tactics, so they can gain supply in the form of your emotional reactions.
Post-breakup triangulation. (less of a yes, yes, yes and more of a sort of)
Once the narcissist has secured new supply, they’ll want you to know about it. That is why, on the No Contact journey. Survivors who “discarded” the narcissist first may have an emotional advantage, in that they may be more fully connected to the reality of who the abuser is. These survivors may have resolved some of the cognitive dissonance that arose during the relationship, and successfully battled the fear, obligation and guilt (FOG) that occurs due to the traumatic nature of this form of relationship. They know why no new victim should ever be envied, as these new victims too will also go through the same horrific cycle.
Still, any survivor is still vulnerable to post-breakup triangulation (the deliberate manufacturing of love triangles to control and devalue you) whether online or in real life because survivors are still in the process of healing from their “addiction” and trauma bond to the narcissist.
Smear campaigns and threats (yes, yes, yes and yes)
If you discarded the narcissist first without warning, they are sure to be desperate to reframe the narrative about you as soon as possible. This is because in breaking up with them first, you unintentionally ‘exposed’ who they truly were as well as the hidden nature of the abusive relationship – and exposure is one of the narcissist’s greatest fears. Breaking up with a narcissist threatens their very sense of security because it could potentially rip off their false mask and reveal the true self to their harem members.
Many narcissists begin the smear campaign even before any devaluation begins by sneaking in hints to their family members or friends about your shortcomings or projected abusive traits (which are in fact their own) and provoking you publicly throughout your relationship. Smear campaigns are often staged successfully when the narcissistic abuser has access to both his or her harem group as well as your social network..
The narcissist may still find other ways of slandering you – shortly after you leave them, they may threaten to release your personal information, such as private photos, text messages, videos or otherwise confidential discussions; they may stalk and harass you online; they may contact others who know you as a way to gain information about you. The means in which they can desperately try to regain a sense of control over your life are endless – but the portal to inner peace is not as impossible to reach as you may think.
What to do:
Build support networks that help to validate your experiences and strengthen your resolve to detach from the toxicity and focus on your own inner peace.
Envision yourself being in a better place than the situation you’re currently in. Know your own worth and celebrate being finally free at last from your abuser. In knowing your inner power and trusting in your ability to survive seemingly insurmountable odds, you’ll realize that you are much more powerful than you might think. You were powerful enough to leave your abuser and survive the abuse – don’t underestimate how powerful you can be in thriving after i
The Destructive Force of Narcissistic Injury – What is it? How does it affect leadership and relationship? (https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201608/the-destructive-force-narcissistic-injury)
When narcissists feel that they have lost or they feel rejected or abandoned, they don’t forget it. We have all felt abandoned or rejected at times in our lives, and most of us get over it with a little time and processing of feelings. We move on. But the narcissist does not do this. Narcissists are not enough in touch with their own feelings to move on. The issues remain in their mind as “It’s all your fault.” “How could you do this to me?” They want to strike back.
The counter attacks and force of disdain and rage from the narcissist can feel like you are being bullied with no restraint. It can come in the form of emails, texts, letters, verbal abuse, social media attacks, or in-person abuse. Their narcissistic rage seems to come out of nowhere and can leave you feeling confused and afraid. “What will they do next?” “Why did that person do this?” It really makes no rational sense because it is clearly the projection of their own feelings onto others.
The lack of accountability in the narcissist is astounding. When you expect they will see the error of their ways and apologize, you will find them defending themselves. Somehow, they find a way to make it all about you and it becomes your fault. “You made me react that way.” “You did this or that to create my rage.”
Will I Ever Be Free of You? How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist, and Heal Your Family. Published by Atria Books, a division of Simon and Schuster.(https://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/divorcing-narcissist-book/#.W5eG1PZ9iw4)
Could access the content – but the title just sums up how I feel. Will I ever be free of you???
Why It’s So Hard to End a Relationship with a Narcissist (https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-couch/201608/why-its-so-hard-end-relationship-narcissist)
People often laugh at the outrageous behavior and comments of a narcissist, but what you are actually seeing may be the unraveling of an unstable personality. As a narcissist further unravels, they can become more and more destructive, to themselves and to others. Shaw told me that this is one of the hardest things for people involved with such individuals to believe:
But here’s the reality: When a narcissist moves along a path of potential self-destruction, they have no problem destroying anyone and everyone on that path with them. (yes.)
Go ahead and feel sympathy from a distance and empathy from another continent, but do not tell yourself that you are “the one” to heal the narcissist.