Friday, April 5

Idealize, Devalue and Discard- The Narcissistic Cycle

Idealize, Devalue and Discard.  The three most horrific words for anyone who has ever been involved and ensnared in the cycle of a narcissistic relationship.

At the beginning of your relationship, was he everything you ever wanted? Your knight in shining armor?  I bet he was.  Did he shower you with so much affection and praise?  Did he seem to genuinely listen to what you had to say?
I bet he did, perked up ears and all.

Narcissists are the absolute masters of charm and manipulation.  They have the uncanny ability to mirror back to you exactly what you desire, want and need.  Make no mistake, the narcissist cares nothing about you.

When your relationship first starts with an N, all the normal euphoric emotions that one normally feels when starting a new relationship is there.  However, there is an overwhelming feeling of disbelief on the victims part.  The N, once he as deemed you a viable source of supply (please see previous blogs), will come on so fast and strong you won't know what hit you.  You are in disbelief that this person feels so strongly about you right away.  Their charm and constant doting affection is nothing you have ever experienced.  It really seems too good to be true.

We know how that saying goes..............

Idealization is the first phase in this constant cycle that is the Narcissist.  The "pedestal phase" as many refer to it.  This is when the N is totally and utterly pulling out all the stops to get you hooked.  He would move mountains for your very happiness.  He loves everything about you and lets you know it.  He is in constant contact with you, making plans, wanting to see you.  He can't get enough of you right?  Wrong! He can and he will. Soon.
Once the N knows that his supply is on the hook, he slowly reels you in.  Now begins the real nightmare.

Devalue is the second phase.  I personally am not sure which phase is worse, devalue or discard.  They are both terrible.  Now that you are hooked, which with all that attention and loving being thrown your way, was probably fast, get ready because it is time to meet the man you are really with.

The N will either rapidly or slowly and insidiously begin to tear that pedestal out from under you.  He will do it with everything he has in his arsenal.  His arsenal is stocked, locked and loaded.  Stocked with his hatred and rage and inability to take responsibility for any of his actions or misgivings.  Forever angry and blaming anyone but himself because he hasn't accomplished much of anything.  Did I mention the N has a twitchy trigger finger? Research has shown that most N's develop their disorder in early adolescence.  It is often a direct result of abuse or neglect.  Mostly if not almost always from the mother.

The N's inability to maintain the "mask" of this charming impostor he projects, allows you to see just who he truly is.  His own inner turmoil, low self esteem (contrary to popular belief N's do not have the high self esteem they show the world) and fear of abandonment, facilitate the N's very own abandonment.  What he once found so amazing about you now becomes poison tipped barbs that he will hurl at you for seemingly no reason at all.  This causes immense confusion in victims.  They are unable to comprehend why this happened.  How could you be loved one minute and so viciously detested the next?

This is when the N will use everything you have ever confided in him against you.  Remember the N is a predator and he sized you up splendidly in the idealization phase.  All the time he listened so intently and pressed you for more information on your life and your past and your current and future goals, was all field notes my friend.  Research if you will.  All of that time and research will culminate in the final and devastating destruction of the victim.  The N will criticize everything about you, from the way you look, laugh, sleep or eat.  Nothing is out of bounds for this soul sucking sportsman.  He may come right out and criticize you harshly or he may do it very sneakily and underhandedly try and disguise it like he only wants to help you.  He doesn't and he wont.

The N will emotionally detach from you, make excuses to spend less time with  you or come home late or not at all.
All of a sudden his work becomes all engulfing.  What the N is doing is devaluing you.  He is doing this because he is is irreparably broken inside.  A true modern day zombie void of anything other than primal urges and instant gratifications.  He is doing it because he doesn't really want to do all that is required to maintain his supply.  He needs the supply like a drug, he knows this and resents it.  N's get bored VERY easily and like any drug addict needs more and more each time to maintain his high.  The euphoria felt at the onset of any relationship will eventually wear off as it is proven that surges of chemicals in the brain cause this feeling and do not normally sustain such high levels.  Most people by that time, that are in healthy relationships have grown to understand and respect one another and the boundaries that are set.  They have developed and nurtured a loving relationship that creates a fulfilling lifestyle for those involved while still maintaining autonomy.  You will never have this with an N.  It is impossible they will not allow it.  They look at people in these relationships as weak, whipped or pathetic.  This is all because the N's emotional and developmental stages were stunted in childhood/adolescence by some traumatic event.  Not everyone who experiences childhood traumas develop Narcissistic Personality.  He will tear you down in his mind because he resents his dependence on you.

Discard is the third and final phase.  Just when the N has torn you down to the bowels of hell with his harsh words and in many cases acts of violence, he will discard you.  Once he has sucked every bit of your energy and life out of you he will throw you away with cold blooded heartlessness.  Throughout the devaluing phase the victim has tirelessly tried to figure out what they did to make the N turn on them.  The N has made it very clear throughout the devaluing phase that everything was the victims fault.  EVERYTHING.  The victim is tired and repressed.  By this point they probably have become so withdrawn they have little to no social life left.  The N has succeeded in isolating and degrading the victims self esteem to match his own.  Since the victim can no longer provide any source of supply, the N will then leave them without a second glance.  But mark my words they never leave you unless they have already secured another source of supply.  Read that again and again.  It may not be another lover, it can be anything or anyone a new friend, old friends, anything that at that given time the N perceives to be a greater or better source of supply.  They are always looking for better supply. Always. They are opportunistic to the core.  The N will make his final strike at you and vanish, if he lives with you he will pack up and go all the while either giving you the silent treatment or a deadly devalue combo.  He will leave, no closure, nothing.  Just a barren wasteland in his wake.

If he comes back and he will, if you take him back, rinse and repeat.

As always I write from experience and hold no degrees or certifications pertaining to this disorder.
My experience in life with N's on various levels is they come back, they always come back.  When their supply is low or enough time has passed that they believe you have recharged and may offer supply anew, they will come back.
(See Narcissistic Curtain Calls)

If you have experienced a relationship on any level with one of these personalities, it was sure to leave lasting marks.  If you are still involved with this type of personality on an intimate level you need to cut and run and fast.
Your very existence depends on it.  You will never ever live up to the unrealistic expectations forced upon you.

In many of my blogs I use the pronoun he, but Narcissists can be and are female as well.

Tuesday, January 29

Melanie Tonia Evans

I wanted to share a blog from a woman who I truly believe has understood Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This article is very true to life and describes perfectly what most people who have dealt with NPD have experienced. I hope you find it as useful as I have.  Her name is Melanie Tonia Evans.  She is a worthy read.

Monday, January 28

Narcissistic Curtain Calls

So here you are. You have finally freed yourself from the clutches of the N. You are moving on with your life, maybe you have met someone new. Maybe you are finally getting to meet yourself again or for the first time. Either way you feel better. The fog that surrounded you is finally lifted.  Then out of the blue, the N is back.   What now?

Again I am not a therapist nor do I pretend to be such. My writings are based on my own walk through hell with an N. My experience is my credential and I intend to share it.
Perhaps you ended it with your N, perhaps your N ended the relationship with you. Their final D&D (devalue and discard). D&D is a classic cycle of abuse that all N's display. All of them. They build you up, place you on a pedestal and tear you down so hard and fast you never knew what hit you.  So what do you do when the N comes knocking for more D&D?  I will tell you what you do. You run like hell. That little voice that keeps nagging you, that voice that is screaming for you to run. DO NOT ignore it!!!

Let us look at what makes an N tick. Let us break them down to the bare bones of what they really are. In this breakdown we will be able to see exactly how the N operates. The N will ALWAYS operate the EXACT same way every time.  It is all they know.
Narcissistic individuals have one drive and that drive is them. Their survival, their self preservation, their needs and their wants. That is it. It will always be it. N's live on Narcissistic Supply (NS).  It is as vital to them as air. Without a constant stream of NS, you will begin to see the mask the N wears slip away. And what is underneath is terrifying.  In many articles and books dedicated to this specific type of individual, the word monster is used often as a descriptor. To date, in all my research and my years of experiencing this personality type, monster is the most accurate term.

What you need to wrap your head around is that to the N you were nothing more than supply. Do you get that?  This is one of the most crucial points that you need to understand if you ever want to make peace with your experience and get the N out of your life for good.  Some N's will make you their Primary Supply (PS).  In my case I was PS in the role of a long term and at times live in girlfriend .
At the beginning I provided the exact NS that was necessary.  I was available, I was doting on my N.
My N came on hard and fast. Seemingly out of the blue were letters stating he was in love with me. At the time I was swept off my feet, he spoke of marriage and kids right away.  He "appeared" to be everything I wanted in a partner.

The way the N works is very calculating, like a machine.  They are master manipulators.  They are so good at manipulation, that most people never realize they have been manipulated until it is too late. As I wrote in my previous blog, N's are attracted to other types of personalities. Usually but not limited to co-dependent types. They know your weaknesses, it is like they smell it. A shark to a drop of blood.  They will come around, size you up to see if you would make a good Narcissistic Supply Source (NSS). If they decide you are worthy, get ready for the ride of your life!  I mean it. It is a ride you would never buy the ticket for if you knew what it was you were dealing with.

My story is pretty much like all the other stories I hear and read. You would actually think we were all dating the exact same person. Once you know what an N is, they become so easy to see. No matter what mask they have on you can see them clear as day. They become so obvious and so predictable it is eerie. The N that I was involved with was no different than what you read about. No different. The gas lighting, the bait and switch tactics, the convenient way they deny things they have said in attempt to make you doubt yourself and what it was you actually heard. Family members of my N actually used Hansel & Gretel as a reference to their dealings with this N. The stories that are so twisting and deep you really do need breadcrumbs to find your way home.

The abusive words, the infidelity and the broken promises all come with the territory of the N.  My N and I would have arguments and he was able to go from full on rage to loving and so sorry in an instant.  It was scary as hell.  I also found that I too was experiencing rages.  Rages that were so out of character.  I have my fair share of inner anger that I have worked very hard to control.  I have devoted years to understanding my abuse and what comes with it.  Before I met my N, I believe I had properly dealt with the residual anger from my childhood.  With him and through him, it resurfaced.  I truly believe it came as a direct result of being involved with someone who acted as a trigger.

I do not believe a person is born as a narcissist.  I believe they are created.  Usually as a direct result of some childhood trauma they have experienced.  There were times when my N's mask would slip and I could see the wounded child underneath.  That is what would get me.  The times when it appeared that his guard was down and he shared some of his past.  However it wasn't really a true reveal.  Not the kind of reveal that people who genuinely care express.  It was only after a particularly brutal D&D that my N would try and express some kind of humanness.  Research shows that people with this personality are basically a lost cause.  The reason being is they never really truly admit that there is a deep problem within themselves.  Do not misunderstand them when they tell you they know they have a problem.  Really think to yourself how and why this "epiphany" is occurring.  I will almost with 100% certainty guarantee that it was you at some point that called them out on their behavior.  It was you who made overt observations and expressed them.  The N will use what you said and flip it as their own self realization.  But make no mistake, it isn't real.  Most N's despise the thought of therapy.  Those who agree to go to therapy are usually doing it only to appease the offended party.  Did your N agree to therapy only to seem uninterested after a few sessions?  I bet they did. Therapy is hard with an N.  The charm that they have perfected throughout their life will be on full display and finding a good therapist that wont fall for their games is difficult to find.  You may even find yourself re victimized in therapy by your N and the therapist!

There is some debate over whether or not an N actually knows and maliciously carries out his abusive behaviors or are they running on auto-pilot.  In other words this is all they know and act accordingly without a second thought.  That their manipulation is as natural as breathing.  The jury is still out for me on that one.  I have seen my N viciously spray venom that seemed 100% premeditated.
It is widely stated that this personality all though appearing to be confident and steadfast is anything but.  Deep down they really do hate themselves.  They project that hatred on their supply.  Deep down I believe they really do want what all human beings are designed for and that is love.  They just severely lack the emotional depth.  They have created this false self for so long that they no longer know how to get in touch with their buried real self.  They are in constant emotional chaos and discord.

OK so now we know a little about the N.  When you end a relationship no matter what kind of relationship with an N, they will be back.  They are creatures of habit.  They will try and test the waters and see if their ever constant supply, the supply that always took them back and forgave their misdeeds will do it again.  Why?  Because it feeds them.  They know they treat you like dirt and each time you accept these behaviors, you are making them GOD like in their mind.  They know they can do anything to you and you think they are just so wonderful that you accept them back.   This return is called the Narcissistic Curtain Call.

DO NOT buy the ticket to this show.  Do not be an active audience member.  Please.  Just when you are feeling better, just when you have begun to start new, they will show up.  It is sick how they know. They do know.  They are like a fine tuned predator, they sense it.  They know you better than you know you at this point because they have trained you that way.  Through out your time with the N they have manipulated and lied.  Cheated and denied. Everything they have been doing to you has made you a puppet of sorts.  They know exactly what to say and when to illicit the exact response they are looking for.  To an N an argument or a great day equals the exact same thing. Supply.  Ever notice how after the honeymoon phase wears off (and it always does even in healthy relationships) and things fall into that comfortable way, that the N will start fights and create chaos just to have some kind of excitement?   They will find more supply, they always do.  Most of them have multiple sources at once.  Each one serves a purpose.  To create supply for the N.  When the N reappears and tells you they are sorry, that they cannot live without you, and they will I promise they will, DO NOT engage.

In the psychology field and those familiar with these personalities No Contact (NC) is the recommendation.  Some of you may have children with your N and that makes NC difficult.  You must limit it to the absolute basics.  Your very survival depends on it.  For those of us who have no children with the N, initiate NC immediately and do everything in your power to stick to it.  There is a fog around you, referred to as the NFog.  You must clear yourself of this in order to begin thinking clearly and rationally again.  The N has polluted your environment with their own waste and you MUST regain your balance.  They have kept you off-kilter for so long, with their withholding of information, their last minute plans, all the things they have done designed to destroy your normal balance.  Get it back.  Take control of you.  The biggest supply you can give an N is control over you.  No wonder they think they are God.

So your phone is ringing and the texts are bleeping and it is the same old dance.  The same promises over and over. The I am so sorry song.  The N doesn't mean any of it.  I am sorry to be so blunt but it is true.  Their supply is low and they are reaching out to what they know works.  Please do not do it.

I received numerous emails regarding my last blog.  Emails from people that have found themselves in this kind of scenario.  Some are intimate relationships others are dealing with a narcissistic boss or co-worker.  As always I am moved and deeply touched by your stories and your bravery in telling them.  I always say it is YOUR story to tell.  I will always tell my story.  Always.  Silence is the greatest victimizer.  Do not worry what your N is doing.  It is most likely something self serving and superficial and by now you know this is not you.  You are not a vapid shell, you are strong and have so much more to give then these emotionally handicapped people will ever be able to give.

Reacquaint yourself with you.  Get to know you.  I bet you find you are pretty damn fabulous!

Friday, January 18

Co-dependency and Abusive Relationships

It's a new year.  A time to reflect and a time to make changes.  I have decided to start my own blog.  It was a long time coming.  An outlet if you will.  A lot of you on twitter know that I am an open advocate against childhood sexual abuse, child abuse, and abuse in any form.  This is something that I hold very dear to my heart.  I am a survivor.  I am a survivor.  It feels so good to write that and proclaim it.  I have been overwhelmed by the amount of people that have reached out to me regarding their own abuse.  I cannot express how amazing you all truly are.  To be able to speak about and express what happened to you is one of the many steps to healing the unbelievable nightmare you experienced.

For my first blog I wanted to air my feelings on co-dependency and abusive relationships.  I want to make it clear that I am not a therapist.  I have no clinical qualifications, I have not attended any school to become a therapist.  I am strictly writing from my own experience with childhood sexual abuse and the manifestations that come with it.

I have been doing a lot of self discovery over the years and I have realized finally that the two main adult relationships in my life were just plain awful.  The last relationship was by far the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life.  I wondered why these two relationships were the way they were.  Part of trying to pick up the pieces requires a person to really take a no holds barred, brutally honest look within themselves.  It is so very easy to want to blame the other person 100%, but the truth is each person contributes their fair share of the good and the bad.  This realization led me on an incredible search within myself as well as an equally incredible realization about my partners.

After years of being in an increasingly unsatisfying relationship, I began to really wonder why it was the way it was.  Why would I stay in an unfulfilling relationship for so long?  I began reading about the effects that childhood sexual abuse can have on a person as they become adults.  Furthermore I began to gain an understanding that there are always residual effects or aftershocks from sustaining such a trauma.  I lived in denial for years about the effects my abuse had on me.  Years!  In my particular case I have learned that because of the abuse I had gained some traits that were less than desirable to the life I wanted to live.  When I am in a relationship I become co-dependent.  Most people think that co-dependency means that a person cannot be alone, or that they need to be in a relationship at all times.  That was never my case.  I have spent many years as a single gal, and truly do enjoy my own company.  However, when I would get into relationships I would let my own needs and wants fall to the wastebasket without a second thought.  I would spend most of my time worrying about the other person, I would make their needs and wants a priority over my own.  Sure you may say that is OK, and for some people they may even desire that.  I will tell you from experience it is not healthy. It is no way to have a relationship.

My co-dependency comes directly from the fact that due to my childhood trauma I am picking the wrong type of men. I would choose men based on the only role model I ever knew early on.. a damaged and in desperate need of help man.  I spent the years trying to help this person figure out his life and heal his scars. I will say this now with utmost certainty that you CANNOT heal someone who is not willing to heal themselves.  Cliche, I know but it is the hard facts.  A fact that took me many precious years to finally understand. Years that could have and should have been spend healing my own scars and learning to love myself for the beautiful woman I am.

When I tell you I became obsessed with trying to heal this person, I think it may just be an understatement.  In trying to heal this other person, I discovered some other things.  I began to feverishly take to the Internet to try to understand why this person was
the way he
was, why did he say the mean things he did, shut me out, make me feel like dirt and just plain be so disrespectful it was absurd. Why when I was around him did I also feel the need to be hurtful and lash out on the same level as this person.  My research led me to without a doubt become convinced that I had become enmeshed with a narcissist.  Yes the dreaded N.  Again I reiterate that I am not a therapist and in no way certified to make any diagnosis.  But in my search for the reasons why and the answer to the question "Why does he do that?", I stumbled upon something that finally made it all make sense.  Through this discovery it opened a wormhole of sorts. A doorway into myself.  I learned that my co-dependency is a perfect magnet for narcissistic individuals.  Through this destined for doom relationship, I realized that until I got to the bottom of what was causing me to be co-dependent in relationships, I was certainly going to attract more of the same.  If you have ever had the experience of an N than you know what a living hell it can be.
This is my first blog and I assure you there are more to come.

I want my fellow survivors to know that I have not crossed the bridge completely just yet.  I am still on this journey of self discovery and healing.  I am putting myself out there, in a brave move to let others know that it is OK to talk about it.  It is YOUR story to tell.  There are others walking this exact same road and you do not have to do it alone.  Know if nothing else, there is someone out there just as hurt and scared and scarred as you. Someone who is just now after 35 years beginning to navigate her way from the darkness to the light.  I will hope and dream for all those who have been abused.  My hope for you is that you can someday begin to move from victim to survivor.