You realize you’re in a war, right?
Ok, so maybe no actual firearms or tanks are involved, but you are definitely in a bloody battle for your sanity.
I hate to dredge up the painful reality of it all, but your toxic, self-absorbed partner is using the three best-kept secrets used by narcissists world-wide – against you! Secrets that, when used proficiently, can bring other human beings to their knees – regardless of status, intellect, education, or material wealth.
…dirty secrets that can (and often do) result in their unsuspecting partners becoming so broken and dysfunctional that they lose everything – careers, children, homes, licenses (such as those required to perform as doctors, attorneys, and therapists), bank accounts, and worst of all, their sense of self.
Below, I offer an insider exposé that will have you screaming, “Victory!!” – or at the very least, make everything clear so that you’ll feel empowered to detach from the madness, reclaim your good judgement and reason, and move towards your new life.
- Narcissists will not appreciate anything you do to accommodate and placate them.
I know you work hard to please your partner. I sure did, back in the day when I was “green” narcissistic supply. I could go into the hellish details of all I did for him and his family, but I’ll spare you.
Narcissists want you to believe that even your best efforts are not good enough. The reason they do this is so they can keep you scurrying about for their approval, but never quite receiving it. Before long, you’re doing the work of three people, yet not being acknowledged for it.
Maybe they really liked the chocolate cake you made them last year for their birthday, but after that, each time you made it for them, there was something wrong with it.
Or perhaps, once upon a time, they said you looked pretty when they picked you up for a date, but ever since then you can’t seem to dress right, the colors you wear are all wrong, you’ve gained weight, etc. Why can’t you just dress like the new secretary at their job or the new CEO who always looks so sharp?
Do you work two jobs, keep the house clean, pay most or all of all the bills, take care of their errands, and/or cook dinner most nights, but never receive even a simple nod of approval?
This cruel tactic works in two ways – 1) it ensures you will be willing to do whatever they ask at a moment’s notice (hoping they’ll show some sign of appreciation), and 2) destroy your confidence and self-esteem as you develop the belief that nothing you do is ever good enough.
Even if you are highly successful in your professional life and have friends and family who’ve always appreciated what you’ve done for them, the narcissist doesn’t want you to feel any pride or sense of accomplishment – because if you did, you might realize they are using you and consequently decide to do something about it.
“Blow, blow, thou winter wind Thou art not so unkind, as man’s ingratitude.” ~ William Shakespeare
Want to know if your partner’s a narcissist? Stop catering to their excessive demands and see how they react.
- Narcissists DO know exactly how to reel you in
Narcissists truly do have a sixth sense when it comes to snagging people into relationships with them, and it doesn’t have anything to do with their target’s status, wealth, or intelligence. These toxic individuals are able to detect vulnerability and loneliness in others. Generally, these states of being originated in childhood and/or early adulthood and were intensified through unsuccessful relationships and life events.
Narcissists and other predatory types can detect vulnerability in people through visual and auditory cues such as facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. People who feel vulnerable often avoid direct eye contact with others, tend to look downward a lot, speak in softer voices, and/or are overly nice and accommodating upon first meeting them.
Even if a potential target doesn’t display the above behaviors, narcissists can alternately determine if a person is a good target through other behaviors and traits such as: high levels of trust, compassion, cooperativeness, and tolerance (traits which they gleefully concede they can take advantage of).
They then use their target’s vulnerability to reel them in, and also to keep them enmeshed in a toxic relationship through psychological manipulation which targets their victim’s emotional wounds and destroys his or her self-esteem.
“What we don’t resolve, we often repeat” ~ Sigmund Freud
If you’ve been hurt in the past and/or have a history of choosing partners who end up being detrimental to your well-being, know that this cycle can be broken through committing to yourself and your recovery.
- Silent treatments work best after you’ve isolated yourself from your friends and family
Once the honeymoon/love-bombing phase begins its dismal decline, the narcissist then starts blaming your relationship problems on your outside influences, which may include: parents, grandparents, siblings, other extended family, exes, best friends, and even children.
After the isolation stage has been successfully implemented, silent treatments can be employed with maximum benefit to the narcissist. After ensuring you have no emotional support, the narcissist can then criticize you without bias.
This is the same technique that was used in North Korean POW camps. It was not uncommon for a soldier to wander into his hut, go in a corner, sit down, pull a blanket over his head, and die within two days.
Despite minimal physical torture, the death rate in the North Korean POW camp rose 38%, with half of the soldiers dying simply because they had given up.
How did this happen? The “ultimate weapon of war”. One that your Narcissist uses against you quite regularly.
The North Koreans’ objective was to “deny men the emotional support that comes from interpersonal relationships.” To do this, the captors used these primary tactics:
- Withholding all positive emotional support
They used negativity in its purest and most malicious form. The soldiers had nothing to live for and lost basic belief in themselves and their loved ones, not to mention God and country. The North Koreans had put the American soldiers into a kind of emotional and psychological isolation, the likes of which had never been seen.
Aside from the silent treatment, does the simple act of walking through your house to go to work seem to induce a psychotic rage in your partner? They want you to feel sorry for being alive. To be so overly anxious that you feel you’re always one minute away from tragedy.
“The sadistic narcissist perceives himself as Godlike, ruthless and devoid of scruples, capricious and unfathomable, emotion-less and non-sexual, omniscient, omnipotent and omni-present, a plague, a devastation, an inescapable verdict.” ~ Sam Vaknin
If your partner punishes you by regularly utilizing the silent treatment while being overly critical on the days they are in your company, you can be certain he or she is a sadistic, malicious narc-type who doesn’t deserve your devotion, empathy, or compassion.
How to turn it all around
While there’s no way to turn it around with your narcissistic partner, there is good news…though it will require making some hard choices.
Perhaps, as a result of this part of your life, you will completely turn your life around for the better.
Maybe you will become more successful and find the perfect, non-disordered partner for you.
Perhaps this experience will allow you to tap into other areas of your life – allowing you to become more creative and fulfilled.
Maybe this happened so you could free yourself from your past and your wounds, and vow to never let another person to mistreat you…
But, it all requires detaching from the narcissist in your life. Once you’ve done that and created some distance from the relationship, you can move forward towards healing and see that black clouds often do have silver linings.
Copyright 2016. Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach
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Rath, T., & Clifton, D. (2004). How full is your bucket?: Positive strategies for work and life. New York: Gallup Press.