An In-Depth Guide To Narcissism For Victims And Survivors

My first story was written about my incredibly toxic “push, pull” relationship with a narcissist nearly two years ago, and yes, shamefully, I’m still trying to heal.

But… that doesn’t mean that I still love my abuser, because I don’t and one day, you won’t either.

When I debuted my first blog post about my abuser, I wasn’t educated enough to know how sinister it would get after I left him or that he was even a narcissist – ending the relationship was in fact the beginning of a whole new chapter of abuse; abuse that I would later on need psychiatric help for.

I’m not here for sympathy, I’m here to try and educate anybody who thinks they may be dealing with a narcissist, because believe me, you will need the support if you’re thinking of breaking away because some serious shit is about to go down.

I learned (the hard way) that narcissists aren’t just people who like to look at themselves in the mirror, or who just want an ego boost; no, it’s mind-blowingly disturbing how they operate with their manipulation tactics, leading you to the brink of insanity and in some cases, contemplating suicide, trying to commit suicide or even committing suicide.

I’m going to talk about the three stages of being a victim of narcissism and give you real examples, because frankly, the internet has a severe lack of information on this personality disorder and the detrimental consequences it has for the person on the receiving end of it – during and after.

Please note that I sometimes refer to my narcissist as ‘he’, but narcissism occurs in females too; men are also abused.

The ‘Idealisation’ Stage

‘Lovebombing’

He’ll be the one chasing you, he’ll shower you with endless compliments, send you complimentary messages and convince you that if you were his, he’d treat you like royalty.

He’s Prince Charming himself.

And… it gets better!

He’ll listen to everything you seek in a relationship and promise to give that to you and that’s precisely what he does.

He holds the same dreams and values as you do, so when he tries to rush you in to moving in with him, marrying him or having his baby, you don’t question it because he’s already laid his cards on the table and he’s perfect for you anyway.

He shows you off, calls you his and makes everybody around you believe that he truly adores you and he makes you believe that too.

And just like that, you’re hooked.

‘Mirroring’

Have you ever felt like someone has just understood you? Who agrees with absolutely everything you say and lets you let your guard down without judgement?

They’re incredibly good at listening and they want to know what makes you tick because this is what they’ll do to gun you down later on, to mentally torture you and make life feel like it’s not worth living anymore.

Basically, if it feels too good to be true, it usually is.

‘Hypersexuality’

Sexual addiction, porn and fantasising.

They’ll tell you that you’re the best they’ve had and you’ll feel exactly the same way – absolutely nobody can beat the sex you two have, not ever.

Where has this guy been all my life?!

They’ll introduce kinky sex, painful sex, sex you would never dream about telling someone else because you know that it’s not classed as ‘normal’.

They also love porn; mine loved watching and making porn, he would demand nude photos and videos and kept everything of me and would often show or discuss our sex with his friends either in front of me or behind my back – most of the time I was left feeling humiliated and degraded; he saw me as a piece of meat who was only there to satisfy his needs, nothing more.

He wouldn’t look at me during sex, he was there for one thing and one thing only and I had to perform 100% all the time – if I didn’t, he would threaten to go elsewhere or say that “we just weren’t how we used to be”, which left me feeling used and guilty.

The ‘Devaluation’ Stage

‘Mask Slipping’

Now that they know your love for them is secured, it’s time for them to really be themselves; it could be weeks, months and sometimes even years before they begin to show their ‘true colours’.

Your once ‘dream guy’ has either gradually or suddenly become emotionally vacant, he ignores you, won’t respond to your calls or texts and you’ll probably feel like he’s involved with someone else.

Because he is; he’s already sniffing out his new ‘supply’.

‘Gaslighting’

You may or may not have heard this term mentioned before, but ‘Gaslighting’ is where the narcissist will plant seeds of doubt, misplace facts, refuse to take responsibility for something they’ve done or deny something has even happened, even when you know something is up.

A narcissist will play the victim to your accusations and make you feel guilty for even thinking they could do such a thing – outbursts of anger and threatening behaviour whilst demanding their innocence are common and this only goes in their favour during an argument.

You’ll be accused of being paranoid, distrusting, unkind, insecure, stupid or overly sensitive and you’ll soon begin to believe them; they may even accuse you of cheating or getting up to something yourself.

You’ll always have a gut feeling that you can’t seem to ignore, but your narcissist reassures you to the point where you feel absolutely crazy for thinking that person who once adored you could do such a thing; you’re left feeling confused, guilty and apologetic whilst questioning your own judgement.

Please be aware, this cycle repeats itself many times.

Lying

This goes hand in hand with every narcissist because lying is all they know.

They’ll lie about almost anything; they’ll even argue that black is white and tell you you’re insane for thinking otherwise.

The most crazy part is that you’ll believe them.

No lie is too big or too small, they don’t care about getting caught out because they can rely on the good old gaslighting technique to keep you where they want you.

‘Walking On Eggshells’

Self-explanatory.

You keep your mouth shut because you don’t want to rock the boat and your opinion doesn’t count anymore; in fact, your mere existence doesn’t matter at all anymore.

You may as well be dead and they still wouldn’t care.

Friends and family will notice you’re more apologetic than usual and you feel like everything you do is wrong or stupid.

Is it me?’

Before I continue, please let me stress to you that none of this is your fault.

There’s a high chance that you’re reading this because you feel like your narcissist is the way he is because of you, but you’re wrong.

I treated my abuser better each time he wronged me; I almost rewarded him for his bad behaviour because if I weren’t such a “paranoid” mess, he wouldn’t be doing such horrible things to me, right?

But the bottom line is that I never wronged him, I always loved him and treated him properly throughout the entire relationship; I never cheated, never even thought of cheating, I spent every minute of every day caring for our child whilst he didn’t bother, yet I was made to feel as though I was the bad guy.

But it was okay for him to treat me that way… and that was okay because it was “all my fault”.

‘Narcissistic injury and rage’

Narcissistic injury occurs when their ‘true identity’ has been revealed or exposed; narcissists don’t like being ‘called out’ for their behaviour or to be made aware that they’ve been ‘sussed’ by their victim.

They’re great pretenders but underneath all of that front, they have extremely delicate ego’s which, if threatened, can lead to narcissistic rage.

Narcissistic rage can happen after any narcissistic injury and this can include one or more types of abuse; verbal, physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, financial.

It occurs when their core instability is under attack; when they believe that your next move will completely shatter them in to a million pieces – when you’ve bullet pointed every single thing they do as a manipulation tactic and you remind them that they are the problem.

Not you, them.

But wait… how dare you accuse them of being such an awful person?!

Two years of abuse felt like ten and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut anymore, I needed someone to hear me.

After exposing my narcissist through social media and this blog, he would verbally abuse me, call me names, call me worthless, anything you could possibly think of, just to get a reaction.

He would bait me with all sorts, telling me he’d cheated, that it was all my fault and that he never loved me anyway; he’d send pictures of girls he’d slept with, who he was going to sleep with, who he’d been talking to, who he’d inroduced our daughter to behind my back.

The list is endless.

I would always respond with the same rage which only led to people believing him more; that I was insane.

They were right, because he’d made me that way.

The worst part was being told I was embarrassing myself or that I shouldn’t be airing my dirty laundry on social media; after so long of being told to shutup and that I was stupid, everyone else was saying the same to me too.

He would always win and I went back to feeling worthless every single time.

The ‘Replacement’ Stage – First Stage

This stage is by far the worst; you think you’ve regained control by exposing your narcissist, but you are so very wrong.

Brace yourself because you’re going to need a shit tonne of therapy and help once this is over; if it’s ever over.

‘Silent Treatment’

Your narcissist will either go completely quiet or quieter than usual to make you suffer; to encourage you to break the silence or beg for them to speak to you; they’re fuelled by your pain and they’ll stop at nothing to make sure they’re back in control.

‘Identifies new ‘Supply”

This usually happens when they’re giving you the silent treatment because they have an addiction for constant admiration.

Their next victim was already lined up way before you left and they’re being told exactly the same things he told you when you were together – this is lovebombing all over again; this could even be a former partner that hasn’t escaped the cycle of abuse or believes that things will be different this time around.

You’ll despise their new ‘supply’, you’ll become enraged with how well they’re being treated in comparison to how you were treated and you’ll believe that you really were the problem and that they’ve found real happiness.

“What do they have that I didn’t?”

Their new supply is no competition, remind yourself that you were once that person and that this will soon end badly.

‘Smear Campaigning’

So imagine this… your narcissist telling everybody (including his new ‘supply) that you’re everything you’re not and that they’ve been the victim for the whole of the relationship.

For example, in my case (and I didn’t find this out until later), my narcissist told people that at home I was lazy, I was controlling and secretive, I didn’t help provide financially, I did basically the opposite to how I really was.

He told people from the very start that I was like this behind closed doors, so later on when I exposed him for his behaviour, it just looked to everybody that the way he’d spoken about me the whole time was in actual fact, correct.

All of those enraged messages I’d sent him telling him I wished I never met him, that I hated him and wished he would disappear forever, he showed to his friends… he never showed them his behaviour towards me.

This makes it harder for people to believe you when you tell them how abusive your narcissist is, because they’ve already seen proof of how you behave and in their eyes, you’re “just as bad”.

At this point and I’m not kidding, I wanted to die. I was desperately screaming out for help and nobody could hear me.

‘Projection’

Everything they’ve done, you’ve apparently done too which is what makes their behaviour ‘acceptable’ – obviously it’s not acceptable.

You’ve caught them lying, cheating, doing unexplainable and unimaginable things and have concrete proof, yet they’ve not found a single piece of evidence to justify their claims of you lying, being unfaithful and God only knows what else, but you’ve done it whether you like it or not and that’s that.

Nothing will budge them on this so don’t even waste your breath trying to argue with them.

‘Repetitive conversations’

When confronted with their behaviour, they’ll always get defensive (because it’s never their fault… right?).

They’ll deny previous conversations about such behaviour and they’ll change the subject or bring up something completely irrelevant, which leads to you feeling utterly exhausted and insecure, more so than you were before (even though the reality is that the victim keeps on bringing up the same topic, because the narcissist’s behaviour is a problem and not because you have issues).

‘I’m the victim’

Somehow, someway, they’ll always get you to feel sorry for them.

And sadly, you do. Because you are a good person with feelings.

Their behaviour isn’t their fault you see (it never is) and they’ll try and blame it on their past or a previous bad experience for being that way.

They may accept they have a problem and tell you they need help and you begin to feel as though you’ve hit a turning point and you can fix them; you feel guilty for their behaviour because you believe it wasn’t intentional and you want to help them get back to being how they once were so you can both be happy and in love again.

‘Saving their public image’

Narcissists are far from stupid; they’re master manipulators, so all the time you’re screaming about how awful they are, they’re playing their image down by not retaliating to your angry outburts on social media; they’re painting themselves to be the bigger person and more mature than you and it’s believable.

Of course it is, it’s plain to see you’re the one with the problem.

Being ‘Discarded’ by or ‘Discarding’ your Narcissist

If your narcissist discards you, it’s an almighty blow of confusion and pain.

The person who once worshipped the ground you walked on is now threatening to kill you, to tell lies about you to anyone who’ll listen, threatening you with the law or in my case, trying to have my children removed from my care because I was crazy and incapable of looking after them.

Because I was no longer any good to him and because I had him all figured out, he got rid of me – I no longer served a purpose and he wanted to destroy me in any way possible.

But be warned, a narcissist will always come back.

The Replacement Stage – Second Stage

‘Hoovering’

Something I experienced way more than I should have – but the ‘Grand Hoover’ technique is probably is the riskiest manipulation tactic you’ll ever fall for; it’s make or break right now and you need to know that this gets gruesome, should you choose to allow it to happen.

It happens when you think you’re well shot of your narcissist or they’re at least at arms length from you – when you think it’s all over but in reality, it’s only just beginning.

It usually begins with just a normal message; a “Hi, how have you been?” and you’ll think nothing of it until you’re deep in to a conversation about how happy you once were as a couple, how it was at the beginning and how your narcissist has come to realise how lucky they were to have you, or they may ‘accidentally’ (bullshit) message you.

They’ll message on a birthday, Christmas, any event that could possibly take you back to a fond memory of them, they’ll use your children (even if they’re not theirs) to pull at your heart strings such as “Tell *name* that I miss them and I have some toys here when they want them. Or shall I bring them over?” was the most common for my narcissist or he would pretend my daughter was in danger in his care to provoke a reaction from me.

They’ll make absurd accusations of you doing things you didn’t do (like stalking them on social media when you clearly haven’t) and the list goes on.

Basically a narcissist will stop at nothing to suck you back in to any form of relationship with them; good or bad.

Don’t fall for it.

Before you know it, you’ll be lovebombed again and the whole cycle will repeat itself; I went back to my abuser many times until he tried to punch me in the face whilst holding our baby.

Even then, I’d still go back for sex because he made me believe our sex was like no other and that we had a special connection… he still had a hold on me.

‘Going No Contact’

The only way to escape a narcissist.

For as long as a narcissist has contact with you, they have a supply to feed their ego – they need this to live, to breath and to function.

Without you, they can’t breathe; you are their oxygen.

No contact is the hardest and most gruelling stage of escaping a narcissist because it’s like recovering from a drug addiction but with no medication.

You go ‘cold turkey’ and have withdrawal symptoms like a normal drug addict would – you know this person is bad for you but you need your fix; it’s all you’ve been used to for the past however long.

Trauma Bonding

The term used for someone who returns to their abuser because just ‘leaving’ doesn’t heal your wounds.

The highs were really high and the lows were really low, it was a constant rollercoaster and you miss that.

This is how abuse works.

The same person who made you feel at rock bottom is the same person who can make you feel on top of the world and you’ll always hope they change… but they don’t.

The longer you hold on, the more you’ll lose yourself to someone who doesn’t care, who never cared or who will never care.

The whole cycle will now repeat itself with someone else.

____________________________________________________

What to expect now

After losing my home, jobs, friends and family by being isolated by my ex narcissist, I’m making a slow and steady recovery back to myself.

As a result of the abuse, I now suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and regularly have nightmares of my ordeal with a narcissist; I take medication to sleep and I’ve started counselling.

I’m very sensitive, I don’t talk to new people or make new friends, I like my own space and I feel suffocated by people if I’m around them for too long.

I recently had a restraining order taken out against him after receiving death threats, I changed my number and I have panic alarms in my home case he ever decides to show up (narcissists know no boundaries and think they’re above the law).

I joined Facebook groups for victims and survivors of narcissism and already, it’s helped; nobody will judge you and you’ll always have someone to talk to.

Even after escaping, I’m still not free but one day I will be and you will be too; time really is the best healer.

For anybody who has ever told someone for speaking up about abuse on social media to be quiet, please rethink about how that person may feel when they post it; it’s a cry for help and your negative input can have a serious effect on their already low self-esteem.

That person needs kindness, now more than ever.

Be kind, always.

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