Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse, By Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach.
To understand more on how a narcissist takes control of your mind, these are the theory’s behind cognitive dissonance and the different parts that play a significant role in how easy it is for your mind to be sucked in by narcissistic people.
One of our basic emotional human needs discovered by Tony Robbins is Love and connection, which is the strong human need to love and connect with someone or something.
Beliefs are thoughts in our minds that influence our own attitudes, actions and behaviours. The power of choice to what we do and do not want to believe, beliefs are only thoughts and not real, and once we have more understanding on these, we then have the power to change them to work for us. If you grew up with two parents remaining together, so you believed that how it’s done, or your parents were separated, so you wanted different for your children, or religious or various other factors, your beliefs in relationships might be you stick together no matter what happens, that relationships are hard and you have to work at them, which yes relationships can go through rough patches, and good people who communicate and compromise can work things out, when you’re with a toxic person, you need to change those beliefs and realise you don’t have to stay. Core Beliefs are formed in early childhood, other beliefs are formed within our minds, through our own personal experience or what others tell us to be true, why even if you have the same beliefs as another the interpretation of those varies from person to person.
Values, good values in good relationships are honesty, loyalty, respect, understanding and self-discipline.
Narcissists look for those beliefs and values in people either on a conscience or subconscious level, then they cause massive conflict with those beliefs, causing you confusing thoughts and to doubt your own judgment and thinking abilities.
When you meet them, you will most often be on the receiving end of love bombing, and this is to manipulate and influence you. Doing favours for you, as when someone does favours for you, your perceptions of that person are good, and your feelings are extremely positive towards them. Overwhelming you will receive adoration and attention from them, manipulating you to spend more and more time with them. And why wouldn’t you? You feel a great connection, truly understood and very loved meeting one of your human needs. They gain your love and trust with flattery, attention, commitment, promises of marriage, and they’ll try to move the relationship on very quickly, things like “If I moved in we’d see each other more and I could really help you around the home, share bills.” Or. “If you move in with me, you can stop working, and I’ll take care off all the bills.”
Any personal problems or outside situations you are having, in the beginning, they will be there to help any way they can, they want you to think you’ve met the kindest person ever and admire them. Most will even drop hints subtle or obvious of just how amazing they are for you. They might continuously shower you with gifts or trips.
This is all manipulation to confuse your mind, which causes cognitive dissonance and then induced Compliance. Cognitive dissonance is a state of mind, when your own thoughts are conflicted, where there is conflicting, beliefs, realities or thoughts. Narcissists help you at the start to gain admiration from you, and they will then at some point, use this against you to break down your boundaries. Gaslighting with words such as.” After all I did for you.” Or words to that effect. With most narcissistic people once you are hooked, they’ll actually no longer be doing anything for you, yet they’ll constantly remind you of things they have in the past.
You’re used to spending so much time around them, often dropping your hobbies as they so desperately wanted to be with you and they make you feel so good about yourself in the beginning, then they’ll just disappear on you, again manipulation of your mind, as you lived that life, that reality when they wanted to spend so much time with you. Then you are left believing it’s your fault. They’ll start putting you down, insulting you to manipulate your self-worth further and gain more control over your mind. All those first promises they suddenly change to, they’re not ready for marriage, they never said that, or you took it out of context. This is all a form of gaslighting, which is an insidious form of mental abuse to get you to doubt your own reality.
To start they matched all your beliefs and values, you lived the fairytale, and your mind believes it as it’s seen at that moment that exact reality. Then when they change into someone you don’t recognise and they cause you pain and hurt you. You might have had enough and try to end it, and they’ll bring back all the charm they had in the beginning, causing cognitive dissonance. When they say things to you like. “Why do you have to make life so hard.” Or “if only you’d have done this.” Then threaten or intimidate you, even sulking or giving you the silent treatment, so you try really hard, begging with them, pleading with them, doing all you can to make it up to them, then they give you the reinforcement of playing nice all the charm they had in the beginning, your mind is getting trained by them to believe it’s all your doing for any problems or conflict within the relationship, that in actual fact there is nothing wrong with them and everything wrong with you, so you change your behaviour time and time again, walking on eggshells trying to please them, so they don’t throw a massive tantrums which cause you pain. When your mind perceives something like pleasure, a good emotion, when you’ve been trained how to act and when you act exactly how they want they will reward you, causing induced Compliance in your mind. When you don’t do exactly as they please they punish you, through many manipulation tactics, causing induced Compliance as those punishments cause you great pain, so you do all you can to avoid that pain.
The ups and downs release cortisol from the stress and dopamine from the highs, these are highly addictive natural chemicals the body releases, and you do become addicted, once addicted it becomes increasingly harder to walk free. You will have, or you will reach that point where you break free, learn about what’s happened to you and never go back.
Cognitive dissonance within your mind has variables.
When your beliefs are being contradicted, as the narcissists have to lead you to believe one story, then delivers another that contradicts the first belief, with intermittent reinforcement of the first story, causing psychological, mental stress within your mind, that stress releases cortisol which is addictive in itself. Yet to reduce the mental stress of the reality that’s so painful your mind chooses to believe the less mentally stress full idea to relieve yourself of the painful thoughts leading you to downplay the abusive behaviour from the narcissist, which of course is helped by the narcissists carefully chosen blame-shifting words of ”it wasn’t that bad, it was your fault, that never happened, it didn’t happen that way, you made me do it.” and the rest. As you seek moral support from the very person you don’t see is persuading you that your reality isn’t real, you don’t change your beliefs to the truth of the situation, and your mind unwittingly sticks to your original belief. Which gives you the brain fog, when you can see something yet you can not believe it to be true or really see it.
Induced compliance of forced compliance.
After a narcissist, preforms dissonant behaviour towards you, ( lying ) they find ways through manipulative words to get you to agree to their way of thinking, their reality and their truths, even though these are not factual, as the narcissist doesn’t want to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and is never accountable. They gaslight you psychological through words, actions and sometimes moving items for their own self-justification. So even when you know, they said or did something they will twist it all around, leaving you getting more and more confused. They will tell you or show an example of when they treated you right. They will intimidate you. Threaten you, and they will use many manipulation tactics, so you are forced to comply with their ways of thinking, as your mind believes this will cause you less pain. Either from past hurtful actions of their behaviour towards you. Fear of reactions. Leading you to walk on eggshells around them, forcing you to behave how they want. All while you don’t see what’s truly happening to you.
The severity of the threat on the devaluation of the forbidden behaviour. With some narcissistic people, this can be down to when and where you sleep, who you go out with, where you go, if you work, what you wear, how long or the colour of your hair, when you have sex together when you answer your phone, so when you’ve been programmed to know you’ll get punishment from the sulks, the silent treatment, arguments, never-ending questions, threats, and all the other manipulation tactics they use to cause you mental pain and negative emotions. They get you to unwittingly conform the their way of living and their way of acting, behaving and thinking, it stops you from being true to who you indeed are and what you genuinely want to do for fear of the consequences to your actions of living a free life and how you should be able to live.
Changes in the desirability of your freedom of choice, this part is what makes it so difficult for people to walk free form narcissistic relationships. The free choice aspect of cognitive dissonance occurs when you are faced with a difficult decision when they always appear to be an aspect of rejection or discomfort to what you choose, so you might want to go out for you, yet you know the narcissist will make it difficult, and it’ll cause arguments and upset, yet if you don’t go out you’ll feel anger and frustration that you didn’t get to do what you’d like, yet know you’ll not get negative reactions from the narcissist. When you decide enough is enough, and you want out, yet if you stay you believe you can help them and get the good times back although you fear them and their negative behaviour towards you if you leave it’ll also cause pain, the fear of the breakdown of the relationship, pride and ego damaged as your own beliefs that you could make it work didn’t happen, feeling guilty for leaving them, or in fear of what they might do from threats of. “you’ll pay if you leave.” or “I’ll make you wish.” Then if the narcissist was the one to leave you. You’ve got the thoughts of freedom yet those thoughts of no one else will love me, I’ll be alone, again mostly from the toxic words the narcissist drilled into your mind. So you think you want them back to help comfort you from all this pain, most often they are with someone new, again this causes your thoughts to go into, what was wrong with me? What’s so special about the new? Social norms and judgment from others also play a part, worrying what others will think of you, and when you don’t open up with the right people, you’re left with so many negative thoughts, the difficult choice between getting help and support and the effects it might have, or isolating yourself from the world.
These thoughts can be resolved by changing the challenged beliefs, getting out of the situation and away from the narcissist is an extremely difficult thing to do, yet the longer you are away the clearer you own mind becomes, psychological dissonance slowly fades, and psychological consonance is restored, especially when you seek out moral support from those who’ve lived the same and at one point shared those same contradicted beliefs, your reality becomes restored, and your future becomes so much clearer and brighter.
Music can also help classical music can be the best. Any music you personally enjoy will also help.
When you make a choice for no contact, or limited contact if you can not go no contact due to having children together, the more you are away from them, the more your mind can start to think clearly, the trance they put you under slowly fades, the fog lifts, and you can start to think and act for yourself again and do what’s right for you and what makes you happy, they more you connect with those that have lived it and understand it the more you can put reality back into your own mind, the more you learn about narcissistic behaviour and the effects it has on you the less you’ll ask, why are they doing this to me? Especially with smear campaigns and endless games of those narcissistic people, you just can not seem to shake off. The more you’ll see their pattern in behaviour, what they are doing, the more you’ll be able to laugh at how unbelievable yet believable their behaviour and true nature is, the less it’ll impact on your life and your emotions, and the more you will come to realise you never even knew them to let alone loved them, it was all an illusion of mind trickery, and you can get control back of your mind, your thoughts and your feelings to reach the place of I’m in control of my own happiness and my own life now. You can, and you will.
More on cognitive dissonance.
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