3) When you no longer have his attention, you actually experience withdrawal
Because you are addicted to him, and no longer getting your “fix,” you experience intense anxiety. Withdrawal from him may lead you to become fixated by his every action, wondering what he is doing, trying to please him, and obsessing on how to save the relationship. Your addiction, however, only causes him disgust, despite the fact that he dispensed you the enslaving elixir.
4) You are ignored, then attended to, but then ignored again, so you lower the bar for yourself
While a narcissist may emotionally discard you, he will still keep you around for when supply is low.
Now that you no longer have your full fix, you will take what you can get. While a narcissist may emotionally discard you, he will still keep you around for when supply is low. So he may give you a glimpse of affection here and there, giving you hope that he is coming back to you. This further declines your self-esteem, however, making you think you are only worth sub-par affection.
5) You second guess yourself and question your sanity
To keep you within close reach, he will gaslight your every request. While this seems counter-intuitive, the manipulator is puppeteering you. You may ask him to join you for a dinner party, but rather than simply declining, he will denigrate your friends and even scold you for having an interest in them. But because you are still in love with him, you now question your choices in friends. You withdraw from them in order to please him, and he further reigns in his puppet strings. Slowly, you second guess every choice of yours, making you more dependent of him, which is the narcissist’s ultimate goal.
6) You feel guilty and are always apologizing
As you now second guess yourself, anything you do to repair the relationship feels like a mistake. If your narcissist is threatened by you experimenting with a new approach, he may experience narcissistic injury, erupting into an extreme rage or placating you with deafening silence. So you apologize, retreat, and feel bad for trying something new. Unable to move, you walk on eggshells, now feeling captive by your abuser. You fantasize about breaking free, but you feel hostage due to his masterful gaslighting.
7) When you mention divorce, he will retreat into victim mode
When you mention divorce, he will stab at your ability to function as a human being and insist you could never get by without him.
Now that you have tried everything but failed, you want to give up and end the marriage. But when you mention divorce, he will stab at your ability to function as a human being and insist you could never get by without him.
Rather than taking responsibility for his actions, he will blame you for a multitude of infractions: you don’t want to have sex, you want too much sex, you’re lazy, you’re fat, you’re insane, you’re unstable, and you should be LUCKY that he has stuck around to support you. After all, no one else would ever tolerate you but him.
Now you’re giving up, how could you do such a thing, how could you do that to the children, how could you do that to him, you are so selfish. And because your sense of reality is so distorted at this point, you actually feel bad for him, so you stay.
And so the cycle continues.
If you are a victim of gaslighting, you must remember why your narcissist does this. Their distorted sense of self and their fear of being exposed that they are no longer truly special gives them the ammo to play ultimate mind games. You aren’t the problem—they are. Do not succumb to his manipulation—you are worthy of love and safety, and narcissists gaslighting will only prevent you from realizing it. You must break free before your sanity is ultimately compromised.