Living with Abuse: Why Didn’t I Ask for Help?

Living with Abuse Why Didn't I Ask for Help

When he found out I’d been abused in silence right under his unsuspecting nose, a dear friend asked me, in shock: “But why didn’t you say anything? Why didn’t you ask for help?” And, in that moment, I couldn’t find an answer.

There were a lot of reasons, popping up one after the other, or entwined together in a noose that had strangled me for months. Too many to pick apart and explain in a few words.

Why Didn’t I Ask for Help?..

1. Because I didn’t understand

At first, I didn’t tell because I didn’t know what to say: I had no idea I was a victim of abuse. He’d never raised a hand on me, after all: I’d never heard of emotional abuse, so I couldn’t recognize it. I was confused, in pain, nothing made sense – his angry outbursts, his irrational, cruel behaviors, his swings between two completely opposite personalities, his alleged cheating with literally any willing woman he could find… but he could be so affectionate at times, and was always kind and charming to everyone else.

I didn’t know that those abrupt shifts between the loving guy and the monster were the classic cycle of abuse. I didn’t know that living every day in fear and anxiety, walking on eggshells trying to not ‘make him angry’, is a classic symptom of an abusive relationship. I didn’t know that claiming I was responsible for my own mistreatment because I ‘made him angry’ is the go-to excuse of abusers. All I knew was that I felt I was living an absurd, surreal nightmare, and I didn’t understand what was going on.

 

2. Because I didn’t know who to tell

I didn’t tell because, even if I’d known what to say, who could I have told? The abuse often starts when the victim is somehow isolated from her support network, for instance after having moved far away from home: and, both of us being travelers, we had just moved to a foreign country where our only contacts were a couple of old friends of his.

I was cut off from my friends and family: but, while I was used to travelling alone and therefore to being cautious toward everyone, this time I had a weak spot. I had a person I relied on, that I thought I knew and I could trust: but that person was him. Sure, we’d made new friends, nice people, but I’d only known them for a few weeks: I wasn’t comfortable sharing with them such a delicate personal problem. And they were friends of both of us – it seemed unfair to drag them into all this, putting them in an awkward position.

 

3. Because I wanted to protect him

I didn’t tell because I wanted to protect him and the life we had built together. He had a scintillating reputation with everyone: we’d been together for almost a year, and he’d consolidated that good reputation with me too. I sincerely believed he was a normal good guy: he obviously had a few issues, he was going through a difficult time – even though I couldn’t figure out why, since objectively our life was pretty darn great. Yet, he was always angry and unsatisfied, so he had to be deeply unhappy.

Surely he couldn’t control it, it was the only logical explanation: who would deliberately choose to behave in such a cruel way, and why, if not because of some deep-seated pain? Of course, he was having fun every day at the bar with buddies and girls, but maybe I was the only one he felt comfortable showing his pain to. I felt sorry for him: how could I make him look bad in front of all his friends because of that? I just had to keep his secret and try to offer support, to cheer him up until the difficult time had passed.

 

4. Because I thought it was my fault

I didn’t tell because he convinced me it was my own fault. He was kind to everyone and only turned into a furious monster as soon as he was alone with me: every little thing I said or did could cause an outburst. As much as I always obeyed him, did everything he wanted, bent over backward to please him, it was never enough.

Hoovering: Ways A Narcissist Reels You Back In

Hoovering Ways A Narcissist Reels You Back In

 

Hoovering. I love that word!

I’m not talking about vacuuming the floors.

I’m talking about hovering in abusive relationships. Narcissist hoovering.

It’s such a brilliant word because it absolutely sums up what it means. It does what it says on the tin.

1) Narcissist hoovering

This usually happens after an episode of abuse. Or, when you are threatening to leave, or have recently left an abusive relationship.

The narcissist fears they’re losing control over you – it’s their greatest fear.

A narcissist has to have control over you to make themselves feel better about themselves.

The way they do this is to hoover you back in.

They tell you:

I love you

I’m sorry that’s not the real me

I’m going to change

It’ll never happen again

2) Love hoovering

They’re so loving and attentive.  Envelope you with this positive emotion and they love-bomb you with all their might.

You get their nice side back again.  The one you first fell in love with.

You believe that maybe this time they will change. That’s the lie that makes us go back to them and stay for way too long.

It’s what we want to believe as we have this fantasy man (or woman) in our heads.  The one we hope they’ll become with our help.

Don’t listen to a narcissist when they hoover you.  It’s just a manipulative tactic.

They’ll say whatever they need to say to suck you back in.  They’ll be loving and nice only as long as it takes for them to regain control over you.

Then the cycle of abuse will return.

3) Covert narcissist hoovering

Hoovering can also happen when you leave an abusive relationship and try to go cold turkey and have no contact with them.

Even if you’ve cut them off, changed phone numbers, they’ll somehow find you and send you a random text.

Why are you doing this to me when I love you, have promised I’ll change and need you now more than ever? 

They guilt trip you.  They want you to feel sorry for them and bad about leaving them.

It might even be after you’ve been discarded by them. Dumped in a cruel and cold way.

Narcissists do this when they no longer feel they are getting what they need from you.  Then move on to their next supply.

Someone who will let them manipulate them and won’t question or call them out on their behavior.

Quite often before they do their final discard of you, they’ve already lined up their next supply.   They dump you, then go on to a new parasitic relationship.

They’ll be with this new person parading around on social media and you’ll think:

Did they ever love me?

Maybe I was to blame for the abuse?

Because they seem so happy together.  It really hurts when they discard you and more so because they’re rubbing salt in the wound.

4) Narcissist hoovering techniques

Then out of the blue one day, you get a text.

How are you? I miss you!

That’s the vacuum cleaner coming out.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

They’re hoovering you.

They want to keep you dangling just enough to be plan B if this new supply/relationship doesn’t work out.

Or, it just gives them a sense of power to have control over you again. To still have you dangling there, even though they’re with someone new.

Don’t fall for the vacuum cleaner and their hoovering techniques!  Don’t let them reel you back in.

No matter what they’re saying to you when they’re hoovering you – and I know they can be the most loving, beautiful, wonderful person when they are.  DO NOT listen to what they say.

Narcissists are arch-manipulators. Don’t listen to their words, especially when their actions aren’t aligned with them. They’ll say whatever they think you want to hear and then do the opposite.

Don’t believe them when they say:

I will change this time

I promise it will never happen again

Chasing the Narcissist

Chasing the Narcissist

Back in our parent’s day, men chased women. Women had the goods, men wanted the goods, so they pursued. That’s just the way it was. Times are very different now, the need to pursue is simply, just, antiquated thinking. “The goods” are a lot more easily acquired and with the simplicity of finding a mate online, you can pick and choose which relationships you want to put your energy into.

A male friend of mine, who is in his mid-30’s, had been chatting with a woman online and they were making plans to meet for the first time. He lived right downtown and she lived in the west end. When he proposed that they meet somewhere in the middle, she quickly replied that if coming to her end was going to be a problem, then they might as well not bother. He responded with, “Ok,” and never contacted her again.

He explained that he’s not interested in a princess, who expects to have everything done for her. He wants someone who’s autonomous and pulls their own weight. As we move closer to equality, this is the new normal and definitely a more progressive way of thinking.

 

Chasing the Narcissist

Chasing, while in a relationship, is something that needs to become a thing of the past as well. In dysfunctional relationships you often see one partner blowing hot and cold and the other writhing in agony, begging for their return. There needs to be a mental shift, where if someone walks away from you, you not only show them the door, you close it, lock it and throw away the key.

You know you are part of a dysfunctional relationship when the ending of it completely destroys you.

That’s not to say ending a relationship shouldn’t hurt, that you shouldn’t feel a vast array of emotions, but it shouldn’t have you abandoning yourself, contemplating suicide, and acting out in ways that are harmful to your well-being.

When you chase after someone that has tossed you aside, it’s not empowering and you, along with the other party are not treating you as a person of value. If someone doesn’t value you and behaves in that manner, you should simply not engage with them – period. It makes absolutely no sense to stick around and try to change someone’s mind about you. If they devalued you once, they’ll do it again. Those who know their worth, simply walk away from people that mistreat them.

 

The same holds true when you take someone back after they’ve hurt and abandoned you. Some people may not be physically chasing, but if you’re just so damn grateful that they’ve come back, that you leave the door wide open, no questions asked, you’re in the same boat. You can’t control whether or not someone leaves you the first time, but if you give them another opportunity, then you’re making a conscious choice and it’s on you.

If you have to convince someone you’re worth it, it’s already over.

When someone has shown you that they don’t care about your suffering, that has to be the line – you can’t go back – you cannot keep forgiving that kind of behavior. Once someone has broken your trust, it’s gone and it will never be the same.

Consider also, the effectiveness of the action of begging someone to return to you. If you’re involved with a Narcissist or a Psychopath, you’re appealing to someone who’s ability to feel empathy is either non-existent or severely impaired. You’re looking at them woefully with tears in your eyes, begging them to take away your pain, but they cannot compute what you’re trying to tell them, or what you’re going through. It’s either in their best interest to stay, or it’s not, nothing else is going to matter, not your feelings, not the morality of it – nothing but their whim at that moment.

The Only Working Way To Effectively Deal With A Narcissist In Your Life

The Only Working Way To Effectively Deal With A Narcissist In Your Life

Ideally, nobody wants to associate with a narcissist. After a tiring day, there isn’t a single person who would voluntarily sit at a pub and digest the exaggerated life stories of their partner. It is dangerous on levels much deeper than just simple boredom.

This disease is not a rare one. As the alienation and loneliness of our century heighten, our society produces more individuals who care only about themselves. The loss of empathy, a negligent upbringing, and general developmental inputs, all contribute towards the creation of a narcissistic monster.

One should be quite prepared to bump into more than one supreme narcissist throughout their lives. Once you have the mental preparation and are aware of narcissists, it is much easier to filter them out of your potential social circle. Narcissism has certain set patterns that people don’t stray out of. One might refine it, disguise it, wield their self-obsession through myriad avenues, but if you keep a keen eye, then you will not miss their true nature.

 

The first and most effective way to keep yourself from harm’s way is avoidance.

Prevention is much better than cure. Imagine trusting a narcissist, spending a significant part of your life investing in their friendship, and one fine day, they trample on you to achieve their own well-being. In order to avoid this probable future, avoid these character types. When you meet a self-obsessed human being, know for a fact that they will stop on account of no ethics or morals. So, pick your luggage, don your sneakers, and run for your life!

You probably think we are going overboard, and blowing things way out of proportion. But if you do your own research and read a couple of case studies, it will be sufficiently evident to you. Narcissists will not just speak about themselves. They will make you feel immense guilt for not catering to their wants and desires. You will be emotionally abused over and over again. Your torso will have bullet wounds, but you will still be made to feel like you are the one holding the gun.

 

Growing Through Your Emotions

The smaller you become, the larger they get. They will feed off your space, your emotions, et all. Every time you raise legitimate concerns, a narcissist will turn the words on their heels. Before you know, your own argument is racing back towards you at optimum speed. Unless you have recognized their trait, they will use you to achieve things they want. These people make you revere them, or pity them, or love them, or hate them- but do not for once believe that all of this does not play to their benefit. It is akin to the use of drugs. The validation you bring to their life is of utmost importance for them to function. They always need an audience and their desperation borders on severe addiction.

 

 

They Stick To Their Character

It is nearly impossible to show them that they might be wrong. They are perpetually insecure about being anything less than the best and therefore refuse to break character. Honestly, if your narcissistic friend was a character in a novel, he/she would be the flat-est character to have ever existed. Imagine asking a regular cocaine user to suddenly abstain from it. It will drive them ridiculously crazy. Psychological diseases are not very different. Having received undeserved validation over time, they grow into self-righteous entities who refuse to believe your judgment. You could tell an addict that heroin is ruining their neural capabilities completely, but they would not believe you, simply because they cannot feel it themselves.

It is useless to hold up a mirror to a narcissist because instead of analyzing his own character, he will spend all his hours admiring his chiseled face.

 

 

Cut Them Out For Good

Have you heard of that age-old saying: ‘Out of sight, out of mind’? Well, it works. Why invest in somebody when their character stinks of destructive agencies. Why willingly walk into the lion’s den? What possible excuse can you give to your future self when it is wounded and tortured by the self-obsession of a friend who cannot see beyond themselves?

How to Use the Gray Rock Method (Safely) In Dealing With Toxic Relationships

How to Use the Gray Rock Method (Safely) In Dealing With Toxic Relationships

The Gray Rock Method can be a very effective way to handle a narcissist who you have to still interact with on a regular basis.

Communicating with a narcissist can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it matters that they comprehend what you’re saying. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt exasperated when trying to have simple conversations with narcs who have become agitated and who are actively gaslighting. 

Gray Rock method explained

They will be thicker than concrete walls, intentionally trying to misunderstand you and assume the worst of you, in every single word. You find yourself feeling hopeless like you’re unable to make your point – and if you’re like me, it’s especially frustrating because you probably have no problem communicating with literally everyone else in your life.

I mean – honestly, this has happened to me more times than I can count during conversations with narcissists – and I am a writer who communicates for a living.

So awhile back, I wrote this post about the only way to effectively communicate with a narcissist, and in my experience, it’s the truth. In the post, I mentioned the Gray Rock Method, so I thought I’d offer a bit of background and explanation of where it came from.

Who invented the “Gray Rock” Method?

As far as I can tell in my research, the “Gray Rock” method was so named by a person named Skylar in this p0st, written in 2012.

In part, Skylar says the gray rock method is, “primarily a way of encouraging a narcissist, psychopath, stalker or other emotionally unbalanced person, to lose interest in you.”

 

How does the Gray Rock Method differ from the No-Contact rule?

Skylar says that the difference is “you don’t blatantly try to avoid contact with the disordered individual.”

Instead, she advises, you allow contact but only gives boring, monotonous responses so that the mentally-unwell person must go elsewhere to get their need for drama gratified.”

Skylar adds:  One might say that Gray Rock is a way of breaking up with a psychopath by using the old, ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ excuse, except that you act it out instead of saying it and the psychopath comes to that conclusion on his own.”

 

Why does the Gray Rock Method work?

According to Skylar: “There are gray rocks and pebbles everywhere you go, but you never notice them. None of them attract your attention. You don’t remember any specific rock you saw today because they blend with the scenery. That is the type of boring that you want to channel when you are dealing with a psychopath. Your boring persona will camouflage you and the psychopath won’t even notice you were there. This method strikes at the heart of the psychopath’s motivation: to avoid boredom.”

What are the most important components of successfully using the Gray Rock Method?

  • Rule number one when it comes to practicing the Gray Rock Method is to never tell the narcissist you’re doing so. If you do, he’ll definitely figure out a way to use it against you.
  • Never ask questions of the narcissist and don’t offer any “committal” responses – just say things like “hmm” or “mhmm” – keep it casual.
  • If possible, discuss only “safe” topics, such as the news, social media – fashion, cooking, etc. Nothing that would be personal – even if the narc begs you for it. Drama free is the way to be!
  • Try to be distracted during the conversation so that you don’t have to directly look the narcissist in the eye the whole time. Make it something simple like doodling in a notebook or checking your text messages, or something more complicated such as knitting a scarf or working on a document for work. If you focus a bit more on your activity, you won’t be as directly affected by the narcissist’s attempts to manipulate you during the conversation.
  • Most importantly during this practice, keep your head in the game and don’t allow the narcissist to get inside your head. Narcs are expert “guilt-trippers” and have no qualms about making you “feel bad” so that you’ll try to justify or defend your intentions – don’t fall into the trap.

 

What else should I consider before I try the Gray Rock Method?

One important thing to know about the Gray Rock Method is that there is a level at which it can become unsafe for you psychologically – and that’s when you begin to experience symptoms of dissociation.

8 Things To Expect When You Break Up With A Narcissist

Ending a relationship with a narcissist is incredibly difficult, for many reasons. Your loyalty, compassion, and desire to be true to your promises make it hard for you to consider leaving the relationship. The narcissist can also make it hard for you to leave because he wants to be in control of the decision to end the relationship. As long as keeping the relationship is the most important factor to you, the narcissist has free rein to dominate you and your decisions.

Caretakers are most likely to leave when the narcissist crosses a line that they finally can’t or won’t tolerate. But over the years, I have found it hard to predict when a caretaker will leave. The client whose narcissistic husband suffered a stroke and became physically abusive didn’t leave. But the client whose husband moved his pregnant girlfriend into the spare bedroom, saying she was an old friend from college down on her luck, did file for divorce. Caretaking men seem less likely to leave than women, perhaps because of the extra burden of responsibility that men culturally feel to take care of women.

When caretakers do leave, they find it is difficult to stick with their decision due to feelings of guilt or pity for the narcissist. And if the narcissist doesn’t want you to leave, (s)he’ll keep pressuring you to change your mind, often with those same old promises to change. The narcissist can make your life extremely arduous in order to keep control of you and the relationship.

Will the narcissist ever be the one to leave?

Sometimes a triggering event will motivate the narcissist to leave. These are usually life-altering events for one of you. If you become ill or incapacitated or unable or unwilling to participate in the life the narcissist has designed, that may prompt the narcissist to leave. Even a positive event, such as having a child, can upset the delicate balance of the relationship, especially if it requires the narcissist to be more responsible and emotionally involved. Illnesses, aging, and job losses or promotions can act as triggers for the narcissist to suddenly abandon the relationship.

Regardless of who makes the first move to leave, here’s what you can expect at the end of a relationship with a narcissist:

1. Blame

When things don’t work out, the narcissist puts the blame entirely on someone else. You were on a pedestal at the beginning of the relationship. You were wonderful and perfect, and the narcissist was thrilled to have “won” you as a mate. Now that the narcissist sees the relationship as broken, damaged, and ending—and it’s all your fault.

(S)he says you’re too fat or too needy or too happy. You have wrecked things, destroyed the trust, ruined the best thing you ever had, crushed his love. You’re unappreciative of all he has done for you. You would be nothing without him/her. You have single-handedly destroyed all the two of you have built. You’re selfish and demanding. Overnight you have become the most despised person in the narcissist’s life.

Obviously, that is shocking, hurtful, insulting, and thoroughly unfair and wrong. When the narcissist reaches this point, (s)he will no longer listen to you or give you any consideration and may no longer be willing to even speak to you. If you apologize profusely enough and beg for reconciliation, you may get back together for a while, but things between the two of you will probably never be good again.

 

2. Attempts to convince you you’ve made a mistake

After months or years of being told you’re wrong and having your decisions devalued by the narcissist, you are probably prone to second-guessing yourself. And the narcissist will certainly try to convince you that you’ve made a mistake. (S)he tries charisma, coaxing, persuasion, and then intimidation, goading, and outright provocation to get back in control of the relationship.

The narcissist will say, You just misinterpreted what I said. Of course, you should know that deep down I love you; why do I have to say it all the time? What about all the good times we’ve had together? You look at the negative too much. You don’t understand the stress I’ve been under lately. You take things too personally. You’re overreacting. You’re too emotional.”

Married to a Narcissist? Here’s what you can do!

“When we meet and fall into the gravitational pull of a narcissist, we are entering a significant life lesson that involves learning how to create boundaries, self-respect, and resilience. Through trial and error (and a lot of pain), our connection with narcissists teaches us the necessary lessons we need to become mature empaths.”
― Mateo Sol

Any relationship is challenging. We grow in relationship and things change with time; so do we. But a relationship with a narcissist is perhaps the toughest one to maintain, especially when it’s marriage. The narcissist spouse is always self-absorbed in themselves, indifferent towards your needs, can ignore you as if you don’t exist at all and insensitive to your emotions. They would even become abusive, both verbally and physically and never apologize for that. Such a relationship will leave you getting hurt, lose your self-worth and might turn destructive.

Negotiating with a narcissist individual is literally impossible because the narcissist would never want to be responsible for their behaviors and adjust with their spouse.

Married to a Narcissist? Then what can you do?

Either you finally break away from the marriage which leaves you devastated, losing faith in yourself and on others too. The other option you can think of is adjusting but you should remember that your narcissist spouse will never change and this is going to be difficult than you imagine. It will cost you your emotions. So, you must learn the correct strategies which will guide you because unless you follow them, you will end up getting drained yourself. It will be more painful to live together than breaking away.

Narcissism is a personality disorder. So, don’t expect your spouse to change for you even after seeing you suffering. While it’s true that narcissists are extremely difficult to handle, just don’t start hating them even if you have a million reasons to do so. What you should do is change your attitude towards them.

One must remember that a narcissist person is not a sadist no matter how similar they are in inflicting pain upon their loved ones. Both of them will hurt you but their reactions are different. While hurting you, a narcissist person will not understand that you are in pain but a sadist person will definitely understand your pain and will seek pleasure from your suffering.

It’s easy to fall in love with a narcissist. They will make you king or queen of their worlds. They will worship you and pour so much of love that you are bound to reciprocate. After marriage, your narcissist spouse will reveal their true colors. All the flowers, chocolates and sweet nothings of courtship are gone. It’s all insults, abuse, harsh criticisms and ignorance for you.

This makes you feel you are losing your self-esteem, you are being used and you don’t value yourself. You try to give more to please your significant other but you find yourself drained. Now, it’s time for you to take the call. It’s either you stay or you quit.

Before taking any decision, you must understand whether the problem you are having with your spouse is because of narcissism or not.

 

Here are the ways to identify narcissism in your spouse:

(1) They lack empathy. It’s not possible for them to understand others’ problems.

(2) They are extremely egoistic and proud of themselves.

(3) They will expect their loved ones to do everything for their benefit but they will not reciprocate in return.

(4) They are always seeking admiration from others.

(5) They are jealous of others who are flourishing well.

(6) Lying comes natural to them.

(7) They are violent, often verbally and physically. They abuse their spouses and don’t even feel sorry for their actions.

If your spouse displays at least some of these characteristics, then it’s definitely narcissism.

 

When you are married to a narcissist, an imbalance is created in your family life. Since you choose not to leave your significant other, here are the things you can do:

(1) Fuel up their ego. Cajole with all the sugar-coated words to make them do things. Once their ego is well-fed, they will do what you want them to.

(2) Always bring up the positive sides of your partner. Praise them for some good deed they have done. This will make them do these again.

How A Narcissist Deals With A Break-up: The 6 Stages and After Effects

How A Narcissist Deals With A Break-up: The 6 Stages and After Effects

What happens when you break up with a narcissist?

When you break up with a narcissist, you have to be prepared to take an emotional roller coaster ride. It is not an easy task by any means.

You might have already gone through other sources of information on this subject like other articles, or the advice of a trusted therapist. All of them would have told you that the best course of action is to cut ties completely.

This has consequences. The narcissist is addicted to the ego boost they receive from you and just like a junkie with his heroin, if you cut off their supply, they’ll begin to experience symptoms of ‘withdrawal’.

They’ll immediately start looking for their next fix so they’ll take one of two paths. They will go away, with no thought for all the pain and hurt they’ve caused and.

Or, they’ll come right back and single-mindedly pursue you till they can get you back. They cannot handle loneliness and someone has to be around to constantly validate their feelings.

 

The break-up represents a threat to the narcissist

If you stick to your resolve to cut off any forms of contact, this will automatically represent a threat to the narcissist. Much like a wounded animal, they’ll lash out by doing something insane.

They’ll pretend like they’re the best person on earth if that’s what it comes to and they won’t stoop to levels like blackmailing you with threats of suicide and self-harm if nothing else works out.

The narcissist will keep coming back if there is even the smallest chance of getting a fix from you or the way you react to their actions might even give them enough to keep them going.

Understand that the narcissist knows perfectly well that they are hurting you. But they simply don’t care about anyone but themselves. Even the smallest reaction from you will make them come running, so be very careful.

Don’t underestimate how patient a narcissist can be. The narcissist won’t mind waiting if they think they can somehow worm themselves back into the place they held before. They’ll keep at it till an opportunity presents itself and come back without any apology or explanation.

They might have secured a fix somewhere else but once that runs out, they’ll come back to you for the kick they get out of knowing that they hold power over someone. Your action of casting away all ties will shake them to the very core so they’ll pull out whatever trick they can come back with to re-conquer you.

But if the narcissist realizes that you’re on to their game, they’ll begin avoiding you just in case you decide to reveal their true face to others. Chances are they’ll stop contacting you and since they don’t have any scruples, they’ll be able to move on to another victim quite fast.

 

They’ll bounce right back to you

Gear yourself up for a prolonged struggle about your decision to break-up. They won’t like how it affects their social standing and that they’ll now have to find someone else to take your place. They’ll suddenly be very nice to you and even pretend to have changed. They’ll keep coming back ‘just to talk’ on some pretext or another but what they’re really doing is trying to slowly manipulate you into falling for them again.

 

Like life, the break-up is a cycle

The narcissist will deal with the ‘downs’ of the break-up by creating a cycle wherein it is followed by the ‘ups’ of getting back together. This cannot be avoided if you are in a relationship with a narcissist. Even if they leave, they will return. If they’ve hurt you, they’ll apologize and put in a lot of effort to get you back only to hurt you again.

They are well-versed in using your kindness and love to their advantage. The whole act of hurting you, then getting you back is like an addictive game to them and they’ll need to keep doing it to be satisfied. As mentioned earlier, don’t react to any of the tricks they play. Even the smallest rise from you will give them satisfaction so just stay away and don’t feed the addiction.

Leaving a Sociopath – 5 Break Up Musts

Leaving a Sociopath – 5 Break Up Musts

Leaving a sociopath is no ordinary break up.
It’s an escape from terror, abuse, and harm.
We’re not in denial. – We’re scared out of our minds.

 

After this breakup, going for coffee, or each other’s weddings five years down the road is not an option. Being friends with a sociopath is not a possibility. If we’re trying to be friends we don’t understand what a sociopath is or we’re still under the sociopath’s spell. This means: we’re in for more harm.

Sociopaths are not friends with anyone.Sociopaths do not love. The terror we go through trying to leave them, whether it’s to end a faux-relationship of five months or fifty years, is nothing like an ordinary break up. – Faux means “fake” in French.

 

There Will Be Doubts

We’ll second guess the breakup. Doubt will come in waves – our human, trusting, loving hearts try to rationalize the insanity of what happened. Don’t doubt it even with confusion spinning our minds. – The crazy happened. It was all lies. A sociopath’s “normal” is lying – they do not love.

There will also be fear – possibly terror. There are steps to take to protect ourselves when leaving a sociopath. If we call, email, text, see them or hook up we’re in danger. Leaving this nut-job will be one of the hardest things we ever do. But we can do it! Understanding how they think is key. 

Doubt and fear mix in a hollow, heavy pit in our stomach. As normal, loving humans, we grope for something to make sense. It won’t – until we think of it all – the whole “relationship” – the way a sociopath does. 

Fortunately, sociopaths are easy to spot once we know the signs.  

Understand why we believe the lies of a sociopath. They lie – always. Always. Even about things they don’t need to lie about. They tell the truth on rare occasions. At those times we feel we’re on a gigantic Tilt-o-Whirl. Hold onto that one phrase uttered by the sociopath that is so unusual we can’t comprehend it. The one-liner that makes us reel, things like You only think you love me. Or, If you knew who I really was you wouldn’t love me. – Those strange things they say, are who they really are.

Push the clouds aside and look for that snippet of what feels right. Base everything we do, every decision we make while escaping on what’s best for our lives, our safety and well being. Lean towards that clarity, keep breathing, trust our guts and break away safely. 

 

Leaving a Sociopath – 5 Break Up Musts

 1)  As soon as the door shuts, have our door locks rekeyed. 

Rekeying costs less than changing out the hardware door knobs and all.

Find a locksmith online or in the good old Yellow Pages and get them over to our place as soon as the scammer is out. We’ll feel a whole lot better. 

Do not let him or her back to pick anything up. Ever. Nothing. Never. Throw it output it on the street – whatever it is. If he or she walked out the door with any of our things – it’s best to let them go, especially if it’s only a CD or a sweater.

If we discover major items missing – jewelry, audio equipment, money – maybe we make a police report. – And then there’s possible immigration and marriage fraud or violence. Carefully consider what, how, why and when to report – or not. – Reporting doesn’t always help and then some reports are mandatory for our protection – like notifying USCIS about green card marriage fraud. 

There’s a balance between walking through fire to save ourselves
and walking through fire for no greater purpose.
Find your balance.

 

2. Go No Contact and Non-Threat

Go no contact. Make it impossible for them to reach us. Do not reach out to them. All contact with a sociopath must stop. There’s great risk in staying connected to the sociopath behind the mask. We must block the sociopath, we must not contact them. If they do reach us, we cannot respond. There are profound reasons for this. – In divorce have our attorney handle all communications. – We do not. Doing so could hurt our divorce case.  – Contact destroys our abuse claims in court.

No contact is not a casual suggestion. No contact saves our future.

Change our phone numbers. Maybe get a new phone. Block them on our phones, email, and all social media. Block everyone we know who knows them. – Use the “block” functions.  Sociopaths usually try hard to stay connected. It’s so common it’s got a name: Hoovering, like the vacuum cleaner brand.

The Silent Treatment and No Contact…. What Are The Differences?

The Silent Treatment and No Contact.... What Are The Differences?

A lot of people tend to think that when we go ‘No Contact’ with a narcissist, we are behaving in a similar manner as they do when they give us the ‘Silent Treatment’. The two are so very, very different and are done for very different reasons. We need to look at what motivates someone to initiate the Silent Treatment or No contact.

The Silent Treatment

When a narcissist gives us the silent treatment they are doing so as a punishment, to invoke fear, obligation, guilt or remorse. Remember that these disordered personalities are all about power and control. It is a means employed by these disordered individuals of showing their displeasure or disapproval. Have you done something to deserve it? Probably not. Most of the time, the victim has no idea why they are being treated in this despicable manner. They have done nothing wrong. Any attempt to resolve the situation by discussion is thwarted. Their contempt for you is blatantly obvious. The narcissist’s ego is very easily upset. It takes so very little to ignite their fuse. The silent treatment is a passive aggressive form of emotional abuse and has been described as mental murder. When you are on the receiving end of the silent treatment your very existence is not recognised by your abuser. They will not speak to you, look at you, answer your phone calls or answer your texts. This makes a target feel that they are dead to their abuser. The narcissist knows exactly what they are doing, they know how this behaviour is making you feel and yes, they may enjoy seeing you suffer. Basically, they just do not care how they make you feel. In their sick and twisted mind, you have upset them and you deserve it.

 

No Contact

When we go no contact with an abuser it is done to protect ourselves, to give us time to heal and recover, not to punish or hurt anyone. (When there are children involved, minimal contact is advised. Keep one line of communication open, preferably in writing.)

No contact has often been described as removing the drugs away from the addict or the alcohol from the alcoholic. The narcissist was our drug and when we need to become clean we have got to stay away from the drugs or the alcohol. For many, this may last a lifetime. Some alcoholics may be alcohol free for years and just one drink will see them back in their pit of despair. Likewise with the narcissist, just one conversation, letting your guard down can be enough for you to let the narcissist back into to your life. Make sure you know that you are strong enough before you have any dealings with the narcissist. For many that time will never come. So be it. Losing the narcissist in your life is not a loss, it’s a gain. You are gaining freedom. You are gaining strength away from these dysfunctional individuals. You are getting your life back. You cannot stop them treating people the way they do but you can stop them treating you in this way.

Know that someone who truly loves you would never want to hurt you, would never want to see you cry or be the cause of those tears. Know when enough is enough. Know when to walk away.


Written by Anne McCrea
Originally appeared in Narcissist and Emotional Abuse 
Printed here with prior permission.
 
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The Silent Treatment and No Contact.... What Are The Differences?

Narcissists, No Contact and the Spaghetti Technique

Narcissists, No Contact and the Spaghetti Technique

You’ve done all the right things. You’ve broken up with your Narcissist, you’ve gone no contact and you’ve done your very best to put your focus back on you. But much to your chagrin, your Narcissist is pulling out all the stops, throwing everything at you to try and illicit some type of response.

Unwittingly, throughout your relationship, either through sharing, or information gathering, you have given your narcissist all kinds of clues about your emotional triggers, what your greatest fears are and your most painful hurts.

Your Narcissist knows you. They’ve been doing reconnaissance since the day you met. You may have thought you were getting to know each other through the exchange of information, but really what was going on was that your narcissist was engaging in something much more sinister. They were looking for a way in and the best way to control you. Whether this is conscious behavior or subconscious behavior, a narcissist knows just what information is important enough to be remembered and stored for future use.

So when you’ve finally had enough of their abuse and you tell them to buzz off, don’t be surprised at the extent to which, a narcissist will attempt to hold on.

 

The Spaghetti Test

When a Narcissist is bent on getting you back they will throw everything at you to see what sticks, much like a chef will throw pasta against the wall to see what hangs on and what bounces off. They will pull no punches and you will see everything you’ve ever said thrown back at you in an attempt to weaken your defenses.

Many of us go into no contact feeling strong and determined to be done with all the madness and then out of nowhere a text message comes in. You’re determined not to open it, but you see it’s a picture. You cave and open it up. It’s a picture of the restaurant you went to on your first date. You roll your eyes and think, pa-leeeeeease, but somewhere, very deep inside, you feel one tiny heart string being pulled. You don’t respond, but your mind starts to travel in that direction. Your phone buzzes again, it’s another text:

 

Do you remember our first date? It was here. I miss you. We need to talk

You are determined not to respond, because this isn’t the first time you’ve been here and you know how hard it is to get yourself back to this place, where you’re fed up enough to actually take action to end it, but you feel it, there it is, another heart string pulled.

Your Narcissist has determined that this was a failed attempt, since you didn’t respond, so they decide they have to up their game. They don’t want to seem too eager, because that would reek of desperation, so they wait a day, maybe two, hoping that the seeds they’ve just planted might take root.

They’ve tried sentimentality – that didn’t work, so now they’ll try the connection tactic and your phone goes off again.

I’ve never felt like this before. I can’t breathe without you. I’ve never felt this kind of connection with anyone. What we have is special and I don’t understand how you can walk away from us.

At this point you’re upset that they are making you feel things and that they just won’t go away. A part of you is a little happy that they aren’t giving up without a fight and that the shoe is on the other foot for a change, but you’ve made up your mind, you’re done and you want these messages to stop, so you tell yourself it’s ok to reply. You justify breaking no contact because you aren’t giving in, you’re telling him to stop.

Alex we are over. Please stop contacting me. We both need to move on.

At this point your Narcissist has gotten what they wanted – contact. It doesn’t matter that the contact was negative – they got you to respond, which was their goal. So they make a mental note that feeding you a dose of guilt got the job done, so they throw in some more.

Angela we’re not done. You said you’d always be there for me. Was that a lie? You said that you’d always love me – were you lying then too? I need you and I’m not giving up on us.

10 Rules Of No Contact With A Narcissist

10 Rules Of No Contact With A Narcissist

In any reading you may do on ending a relationship with a narcissist, you will see No Contact recommended at every turn.  Let me explain it a bit. 

No Contact means the obvious no calling or texting, driving by their home or finding out about them through secondary sources.  It’s also following these essential rules:

  1. Deleting and blocking them from your social media.
  2. Deleting and blocking any friends you have in common.
  3. Deleting and blocking them on your phone or even better…
  4. Getting a new phone number.
  5. Getting rid of old texts.
  6. Getting rid of gifts, mementos or any reminders of your relationship.
  7. Telling friends and family you do not want to hear updates about the narcissist.
  8. Writing down the hurtful things your narcissist did and keep that list handy when you are feeling vulnerable and feel the need to contact him.
  9. Remembering that you are not the disordered one in this equation.
  10. And, most importantly, no peeking or checking up on the narcissist.  Ever.

Some of these suggestions are unrealistic when you are co-parenting or your lives have been so enmeshed that blocking friends is not possible.  Totally get that.  But for many of us, doing all of the above is very possible.  Not only is it possible, it is the only way to survive regaining your life post narcissistic abuse.

 

Nothing good comes from checking in to see how your abuser is doing.   If on the rare chance your abuser is single, you might idealize him, feel tenderness and lose your resolve.  If they are with someone, you will come undone.  And believe me when I tell you that they are with someone or trying to be with someone or the classic with someone and also trying to line up their next source of supply should their current someone not work out.

As a quick side note, it won’t work out.  Please logically take that fact in and also let it sink deep down to your very core.  He is not treating his new someone (or the one he is texting in the bathroom while his current someone is waiting patiently for him) better than he treated you.  It’s not possible.  The mask may stay on longer but he is the same disordered, sick man he was with you.

My point to trusting me on No Contact is this: Contact = Pain & Reliving Trauma.   I have not peeked in eight months.  Why?  I do not want to look at his narcissistic face ONE MORE TIME. Ever.  I live so happily forgetting what he looks like and having his features just erase from my mind.   As if my relationship with him was all just a very bad dream.

Anyway, my No Contact record of eight months and counting is something I am very proud of and makes me feel strong.  Seeing him smiling on a future-faking trip?  Or with his children that I loved with my whole heart?  Not at all helpful to me as I recover from the trauma of being with someone disordered in this way.

I would have thrived post-narcissistic abuse in the Pride and Prejudice era.  With letter writing and brooding whilst looking out my window onto the lovely English countryside. The idea that when something was done, it was done.  And that you had space and time to grieve and heal.  Living in a time where you can check up on the narcissist via Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat anytime and anywhere is tempting but counterproductive to the healing process.

The bottom line to No Contact is caring enough about yourself to heal fully from the trauma created intentionally by the narcissist.  You deserve that.  Quite honestly, he’d love knowing you were looking for him.  I urge you to not give him that hit of narcissistic supply. Okay, true, he won’t know that you aren’t peeking.  But YOU know that you aren’t. That’s what is important.

Yes, Virginia, there are monsters in this world.  Sadly, they look an awful lot like that charming man who sold you a beautiful dream and left you with a nightmare. Stay strong; stay No Contact.  It’s a gift that will allow to regain control of you life.  That girl you once were?  She’s still inside of you and she is going to do amazing things.  She will feel strong again.  And you will absolutely love again.  I don’t always know much, but I promise you that.

How To Break Up With A Narcissist

How To Break Up With A Narcissist

How To Break Up With A Narcissist?

Excerpted from The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People By Judith Orloff

In my psychiatric practice, I’ve seen how hard it is for my patients to break up with a partner who’s a narcissist.

Narcissists can make you fall in love with them so hard that it feels like you’re giving up a part of your heart to leave them. And they use every manipulation in the book to get you to stay.

On the surface narcissists can seem charming, intelligent, caring—knowing how to entice and lure their way back into your life. But once they reel you back then they revert to their egotistical selves. Their motto will always be “Me First!” Everything’s all about them. They have a grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement, crave admiration and attention. They can also be highly intuitive, but use their intuition for self-interest and manipulation.

Narcissists are so dangerous because they lack empathy, have a limited capacity for unconditional love. Sadly, their hearts either haven’t developed or have been shut down due to early psychic trauma, such as being raised by narcissistic parents, a crippling handicap both emotionally and spiritually. (The damage of narcissistic parenting is outstandingly detailed in Alice Miller’s Drama of the Gifted Child). Hard as it may be to comprehend, these people have little insight into their actions, nor do they regret them.

To find out if you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist, ask yourself the following questions from my book, Emotional Freedom.

 

QUIZ: HAVE I BEEN IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH A NARCISSIST?

  • Does the person act as if life revolves around him?
  • Do I have to compliment him to get his attention or approval?
  • Does he constantly steer the conversation back to himself?
  • Does he downplay my feelings or interests?
  • If I disagree, does he become cold or withholding?
  • If you answer “yes” to one or two questions, it’s likely you’re dealing with a narcissist. Responding “yes” to three or more questions suggests that a narcissist is violating your emotional freedom.

    Narcissists are hard nuts to crack. With these patients, the best I can do is align with their positive aspects and focus on behaviors that they agree aren’t working. Still, even if one wants to change, progress is limited, with meager gains. My professional advice: Don’t fall in love with a narcissist or entertain illusions they’re capable of the give and take necessary for intimacy. In such relationships you’ll always be emotionally alone to some degree. If you have a withholding narcissist spouse, beware of trying to win the nurturing you never got from your parents; it’s not going to happen. Also, don’t expect to have your sensitivity honored. These people sour love with all the hoops you must jump through to please them.

    If you’re trying to break up with a narcissist, use these methods from my emotional freedom book to get your power back.

     

    1. Don’t Fall For Their Manipulations

    They will use every trick in the book to get you back so be prepared. Narcissists are really convincing. When you are ready to leave, stick to your convictions and move on to a more positive future filled with real love.

     

    2. Set Limits

    Since narcissists have no empathy, nor can they really love, you must leave them cold turkey and endure the pain. Set limits and say “no” to them and in your heart. Then gather all your strength and keep walking into the unknown towards something better.

     

    3. Focus on the Future

    Once detached from a narcissist it is extremely important than you focus all your positive energy and thoughts on doing good things for yourself and the world. Don’t let your mind wander to the past or to what he is doing.

     

    4. Be Kind to Yourself

    Treasure yourself. Be very kind to yourself and know that you deserve a loving relationship with someone who can reciprocate that love.

     

    My view on life is that every person we meet along the way, loving or not, is meant to help us grow. Do not beat yourself up for getting involved with a narcissist.

    But please learn what you can from it, including setting healthy boundaries and saying “no” to abuse, so you don’t repeat this lesson again. It is very emotionally freeing to heal any attraction to abusive people so you can have more true love in your life.

    Closure Without Contact

    Closure Without Contact

    All survivors and victims of psychopathic evil know how extremely difficult it is to cut ties with a psychopath.

    This might sound odd but the lure of a psychopathic trap is such strong that it will leave you addicted and scarred, all at the same time.

    And then once no contact is established, survivors find themselves trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered heart and find direction. Many survivors write that what they want more than anything is to find closure, to find a reason as to why they had to go through all these.

    Some hope that they can somehow obtain that closure from the psychopaths. Others are convinced that closure is absolutely impossible. All survivors wonder, at some point during their recovery journeys, if they will ever find a way out of the darkness.

    The good news is,closure is absolutely possible. And NO, it will not come from the psychopaths! It must come from within yourself.

    The following 7 ways will gradually help you move towards closure.

    This road map does not have a timeline, and many of the points overlap.

    1. Try to let go of the illusion

    The first step in healing from psychopathic abuse is to stop all contact with the psychopath. Immediately and abruptly cutting all sorts of contacts from them is necessary – block him/her on all social platforms, avoid physically confronting him/her anywhere as far as possible. This will serve as a general platform to gradually lose your grip on his/her image.

    And the only way to do that is to let go of the image you had of the person you loved. Unfortunately and sadly, that person never existed. It might take you a lot of time and effort to come in terms with the reality. You will repeatedly try to tighten your grip on the person as much as you know you have to let go of him/her.

    He or she was only an illusion, a mask the psychopath create in order to manipulate you and use you to their advantage. As inconceivable as it might sound, the only way to find freedom is to stop holding to their fake image and believing in the illusion.

    I clearly remember the beginning of the encounter I had with the psychopath; I thought he was all i ever wanted. We had too many similarities we connected so well and I believed he understood me more than anyone could. It almost felt like a perfect dream. Slowly as I discovered the numerous novel ways in which he had deceived me, I realized it always was too good to be true.

    I eventually dawned on me that everything was a farce, except for my feelings for him. I was real, and my feelings were real. And in the midst of the intense pain, I held on to the light—the light of truth—that was just barely left in my soul. Letting go of the “dream man” he pretended to be brought me closer to my own heart.

    The faster you can do away with the fake image he/she put up, the closer you will be to healing. 

    The Deafening Brutality of the Narcissist’s Silent Treatment

    The Deafening Brutality of the Narcissist’s Silent Treatment - By Kim Saeed

    Feeling included is crucial to the human experience.  Humans must feel connected to each other to be happy, even introverts who enjoy a large amount of independence.

    According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the need to belong and feel accepted falls under the basic needs of food, water, and safety.  In fact, this need can be so strong, it can override the needs for food and safety.

    Psychologists consider the silent treatment a form of abuse. 

    It’s a popular form of mental torture used by Narcissists, whereby they cut their victims off by not talking to them for extended periods of time. Sometimes days or weeks, which keeps the victim in a constant state of fight-or-flight, during which they feel isolated and rejected, as well as physically sick.  The body’s physical reactions to this mental anguish are real. Headaches, stomachaches, and a general punched-in the-gut feeling.

    When the Narcissist ignores, shuns, and ostracizes you, it’s more hostile and aggressive than if they’d verbally attacked you.  Because this type of abuse is harder to specify, it can be harder to heal from. 

    When someone is ostracized it affects the part of their brain called the anterior cingulate cortex.  Silent treatments trigger what is called “Social pain” in this part of the brain, which also detects actual physical pain.

    The depth of pain from the silent treatment depends upon the intensity of the Narcissist’s ignoring.

    The pain detected by the brain consequently makes the victim feel lonely and rejected. It lowers their self-esteem and the victim thinks his/her life is unworthy. It causes great harm to the sentiments of the victim. This condition may even cause critical conditions and permanent damage to the victim’s psyche.

    Narcissists use the silent treatment as an aggressive measure of control and punishment for something his or her partner did; a sadistic form of “time-out”, ostracizing the victim as motivation for them to behave. 

    It is the ultimate form of devaluation, causing its target to feel voiceless, alone, dismissed, negated as a person; invisible.  The detrimental effects of this type of abuse include:

    Emotional: Since it is a form of social rejection; it provokes a mix of negative emotions including: Frustration, intense anger, and eventually, resignation and despair.

    Psychological: Low self-esteem, a sense of loss and not belonging, increased stress and loss of control.

    Behavioral: The constant fear of receiving the silent treatment casts a shadow of uncertainty in your life, you begin to second-guess yourself: Am I doing the right thing? Am I saying the right words? You try hard to avoid it, which changes you onto a person that is no longer YOU.

     

    Examples of the Silent Treatment:

    • You point out that something they did was unacceptable (i.e., cheating, lying) and the Narcissist leaves and stays gone for a week.  Then, comes back to your door as though nothing ever happened.
    • The two of you exchange text messages regarding an important issue.  The Narc texts “Bye” and you don’t hear from them again for five days.  Or, they say they’ll come over then never show up, nor explain their absence afterwards.
    • You sit down beside the Narcissist to talk about something that’s bothering you and they proceed to read the newspaper.
    • You ask the Narc a question, and they carry on as if they didn’t hear you, even if you repeat the question a second or third time.
    • The two of you get into an argument.  The Narc packs their suitcase and stays gone for a month with no attempt to contact you and ignores any texts you may send them.

    If your partner has used this form of emotional abuse to get you to comply with their demands, you should consider using the opportunity to initiate No Contact. 

    Do not reward this passive aggressive abuse tactic, as it will lead to them doing it even more since they derive a sense of satisfaction (if not “guilty” pleasure) at seeing the negative effect they can have on you.

    Specifically, don’t send pleading text messages or lengthy emails asking them to respond to you or explain how much they’re hurting you.  From their perspective, it proves to them that they are highly important, even more important than you are to yourself. Implementing NC during the silent treatment would put you back into a place of power because when they prance back onto the scene believing you’ll fall to their feet, they’ll encounter nothing but the sound of crickets…