Psychopaths, narcissists, and sociopaths are experts at flattery & charm. Although it feels amazing at first, this idealization is actually responsible for just as much damage as the abuse itself. They set a trap, and it’s a trap that no unsuspecting victim could hope to escape from.
1) By idealizing you, they can expect this attention & adoration to rebound very quickly. Their love-bombing ultimately results in a very quick bond, one where you fall fast and give back all of the “love” you are receiving. In your mind, this individual truly becomes the most passionate, perfect soul mate you could ever imagine. You feel and express this love on a daily basis.
2) You share your excitement about this relationship with all of your friends and family. Often times, they already have a front row seat for this constant flattery. Sites like Facebook ensure that the mutual idealization is visible to the world. It feels good to have our vanities stroked, ignited by all of this public praise.
3) The emotional abuser slowly begins to back away. At first it’s subtle. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but something feels different. They don’t text/call quite as often, they seem less interested, you start to feel like a chore, and they’re always late to see you. However, due to #1 and #2, you are determined to continue the idealization. You ignore the worsening behavior and actually idealize them further, hoping to restore your dream. You don’t want to be like their crazy ex. You want to be easy-going & forgiving.
4) You continue to tell your friends, family, and self just how amazing your partner is. Even though the relationship is getting progressively worse, you’re sure that enough love and positive energy will fix everything. At this point, the psychopath can do whatever he/she desires, and you will continue to speak highly of them.
5) The psychopath’s abuse becomes much worse. The triangulation begins. You are punished through silence & criticism. You are called crazy and hyper-sensitive. And eventually, you are abandoned. Throughout all of this, you continue your desperate attempts to save the relationship. You find yourself crying, pleading, and denying reality. This person has become your entire life. You have no one to reach out to for help, because they all believe your relationship to be perfect.
6) After the abandonment, you begin to put the puzzle pieces together. You discover psychopathy through a Google search and start thinking “Oh my god, this is uncanny.” The more you learn, the angrier you get. Everything falls into place, you are validated beyond belief, and your truth has changed forever.
7) The trap. No one believes you. After all of your positive enthusiasm about the relationship, it doesn’t make sense. How could you have been the victim of abuse? You were happy – you were elated. Your partner was amazing and treated you so well. You said it yourself! If things were really so bad, why were you praising them during #3, #4, and #5? Instead of being a victim, you sound crazy, bitter, and unable to handle rejection.
This is the emotional abuser’s trap. They are invincible. They groom you to shower them with praise & adoration, so you effectively checkmate yourself once the abuse begins. Survivors often find their own friends taking the side of their abuser. It’s devastating, and this trap is the final nail in the psychopathic coffin.
To avoid this, do not try to defend or explain yourself to anyone. Yes, you need to share you story, but you need to share it with people who know what you’ve been through. Stick to recovery forums and journals. If you seek out therapy, be sure they understand the mind games of manipulators. They must be familiar with Cluster B personality disorders, otherwise you may just experience more victim blaming. You don’t need someone telling you to “get over it” or “breakups are part of life”. You need someone who will help you unravel this hell and set you on a path to peace.
You are not crazy. You’re not bipolar, insane, hypersensitive, jealous, or needy. You’re a survivor of emotional abuse – and you can escape this trap. Just remain calm, patient, and always kind to yourself. Someday you will be able to talk about this experience eloquently and believably. Do not worry about convincing others of your story right now. This is what the psychopath hopes for. By putting you on the defense when you are at your most damaged, you seem guilty & unstable by default.
So say farewell to these games. You are not alone. Share your story with people who get it, and slowly you will find that this nightmare becomes nothing more than a strange, distant memory. The psychopath does not matter. It’s the subsequent recovery journey that changes everything.