Was it all an illusion?
Warning some triggers words, those that trigger, write them out if you can as those are the areas to work on so they no longer trigger you into pain, so you can find strategies to keep your sense of happiness and wellbeing up.
So is a relationship with a narcissist all one big illusion?
We fall madly, truly and deeply in love with the most amazing person we have ever met, yet is it real?
Those first few days, weeks, months and some lead us down the garden path for decades, we believe we’ve met to most amazing, kind generous, loving person, some may seem to have had a real hard time, with everything their ex or their parents put them though, and they tell us all their pity plays, as they are always the victim or the hero and they are never the villain and we believe we know we can make them feel so much better, now with some people like ourselves that have been with a narcissist this could be true although to start most will blame themselves, so just watch out for previous patterns, which of course survivors can have as they hadn’t learned how they should be treated and accepted behaviour they never should have, just like us, often if you had narcissistic parents you fall for narcissistic partners as you believe it to be normal so if the person you are dealing with exploits others and feels entitled, you’re not dealing with someone who’s been a past victim or had possible PTSD you’re dealing with a narcissist, some survivors can still be very guarded, so just observing words and behaviour, do they admit to mistakes? Or question things? Or do they always blame all others? Most importantly, listening to our instincts, even when we are unsure as to what they are telling us, they are usually right, whether you got together with the victim narcissist or the grandiose, it was all an illusion the narcissist just manipulates us, from beginning to end, and most will try even after the relationship had ended.
Narcissistic people start off by finding out everything they possibly can about us, from friends, family, social media, conversations with us and stalking through our social media, they will mirror all our likes and dislikes, they may come along as our hero, to good to be true, and yes, unfortunately, they are too good to be true.
They will then slowly manipulate us through gaslighting, projection, silent treatments, verbal abuse, pity plays, lying, cheating, threats, physical abuse to slowly take away our self-esteem, self-trust, self-worth, our belongings.
That’s nothing compared to the fallout once we do finally escape them.
Once you are out, they somehow manage to fill every single bit of your headspace. You know it was all lies, all a great big con. Still, you’ve been left with so many questions. Endless emotions that seem to be taking control of your life, even now you’re free of them, how is it possible they still have so much control over your mind, the trauma bond and all that manipulation do not help you to process it all, to be able move forward, and it’s an uphill battle to start.
Not only have you got to wean yourself off them due to the trauma bonding, which is as hard as coming off any drug, you also need to rebuild your life from scratch and learn the whole relationship was a complete lie and an illusion, the person you fell in love with never truly existed.
An illusion has several meanings, and the narcissist delivers each one of these.
Illusion is an instance of a wrong or misinterpreted experience. We live the reality of the beginning when they treat us so well. Most deliver their promises to start, so when their admiration face fades, the one that seeks attention and acts so nice, and we get their hurtful face the envious one that seeks to destroy us, due to their manipulation, we misinterpret it as something we had done when we did nothing, it’s who they are.
Illusion a false belief or idea. Again with their two faces, we are led to believe that false reality is them, which it truly is them, both sides, that’s who they were in that moment which makes it all the harder to see that no matter how nice they can be, they are also extremely hurtful. Some are extremely dangerous. The bad side is not worth living through for those odd moments of their friendly side. No one deserves to be abused, and no one deserves to be treated so wrong.
Illusion, a deceptive appearance of togetherness. With all the false promises that they make, often to start, they might have wanted to spend so much time with you and promises of future plans together, just to walk away from each and every promise in the future.
So just how do they do what they do to us?
Some say being with a narcissist is all an illusion, which yes it is and not it is not. We live that actually life. We live those actual moments while we are with them on a day to day basis. As confusing and as hurtful the experience is, the reality we lived was real. What is the illusion is the narcissist. What they do to us, hideous mind games, to distort our memories, our realities, to sell us something that isn’t even real, yet because it feels real because at that moment when they are treating us so well, we live that reality it’s hard to see the extent of the dire situation we are indeed in. Before we know it, we are in deep and have to climb our way back out.
If the narcissist in your life was a parent, boss, friend, family member, neighbour or partner, the person you met, or the nice side to that person that you think you know, is not who they truly are, they can idealise us and raise us so high, so we genuinely believe they are a loving, kind, compassionate person, who will always look out for us and be their for us, this might not always be the case with parents depending on where they are on the spectrum, but as we are raised by them, we don’t know any different and even though we might find their behaviour towards us extremely hurtful and wrong, it can take years before we realise this isn’t how we should be treated, as for friends, bosses and neighbours, we might know some thing is not right, but as we believe people are genuine, and they seemed like genuine people when we first meet them it’s hard to see through the illusion of what they indeed are, a partner will go all out in the idolisation stage to raise us so high, so we get tripped into falling head over heals In love with them.
Narcissists idealise us to draw us in like a moth to the flame, and once they have us close enough, we get burned with their devaluation stage. When we aren’t doing exactly what they want, exactly when they want, outcomes their envious face, they become jealous that we have a mind of our own. They seek to take us down, yet as we live the reality of the idealisation stages, even though it’s all an act and an illusion to suck us in. Our minds become confused, and as they manipulate with all of their tactics, so we tread carefully, walk on eggshells and do all we can to help them while slowly destroying ourselves. Yet, we just do not see it, especially as bam the nice admiration seeking face is back, idealising us again and making us feel great again, this reinforces within our minds that it must be us, it was never ever you, they confuse us by treating us better than anyone ever has, to then treat us worse than anyone ever has.
We fall in love with the lies of the person they sold to us. Then we have to deal with and overcome all the lies they deliver us.
Then out of nowhere, the narcissist hits us with the devaluation stage, verbal abuse, put-downs, telling us, “you can not do that.” The overt or the covert. “I wouldn’t do that if I was you.” The silent treatments that cause us so much psychological pain, we question what on earth we did wrong and most often chase them, to avoid the drama and pain and to restore peace, then they will project and blame-shift and gaslight with. “You’re insecure.” “you’re just too sensitive.” “If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t.” “That didn’t happen.” If only you’d.” “You look fat/too thin in that.” The overt. “I wouldn’t wear that if I was you.” The covert.
The lie after lie, the cheating, false promises never delivered, which again is turned onto us. They exaggerate everything they do well or do good, even making things up, so we question ourselves. “I did that for you last week.” “How can you not remember.” ” you’re losing your mind.” And the classic. ” you’re going crazy.” And “you need help.” How many of us end up in therapy due to all the manipulative mind games a narcissist throws at us to take us down? Then, of course, they shall provoke an argument, especially when theirs a special Occasion happening that they’ll not be the centre of attention of, or when they are trying to take escape any part of their wrongdoings, they will push, prod and poke, at all our, insecurities, vulnerabilities and weaknesses, all the things that matter most to us, as these are the things we shall most passionately defend so that we react.
You’re going to feel defensive around those who are offensive. E.S.
￼The narcissists will either downplay or forget what they did, and make a huge deal about what we did, so we take the blame and feel at fault. They will then guilt trip, pity play and triangulate to break down our boundaries one by one. All this leaves us in a state of confusion, questioning our self-worth, our beliefs, our thoughts, our feelings, our opinions, our realities, our abilities, our trust, and so many more, often leaving us with anxiety, trauma bonding, depression, CPTSD and health issues. Which then, when they top it off by smearing our name to those around us, and we are left so disorientated, them telling us. “We are going crazy.” We actually genuinely feel like we are, not understanding it’s those very people telling us this, that’s sending us this way, and even when we get a break, to escape them and the fog lifts, those what seem to be never-ending smear campaigns and mind games, with the help of the narcissists flying monkeys and enablers, who just do not see, like we once did not see, often isolated from any support, feeling like no one will ever understand, even the authorities seem to think we appear unhinged when we try to report them, and it’s soul-destroying and devastating.
You are far from alone. This is happening to millions of people around the world, who understand exactly what you’ve been through as they’ve lived through the same, people are out there that want to help and support you through this, people have survived and moved onto a much, much happier more peaceful life and you will too. With awareness growing, people will get involved less and less, and one-day young children will get the help and support they need so future generations don’t develop this disorder in the first place. Unfortunately, narcissistic psychopaths are born. But these types are the minority, narcissists and narcissistic sociopaths seem to be a growing epidemic in modern-day? Or is it just with social media and people being able to speak up and speak out, it’s just a growing awareness?
After devaluation often comes the discard. Again this most often is another illusion, as days, weeks, months, or even years later they can reappear, to try and suck us back into their lies, they come at us full of lies and false promises to change. Like many, if you’re not recovered, you take them back. The average is seven attempts to get out and stay out of this kind of relationship, so you are not alone. We want to believe in that good person we think we see. When they come back all charming, we want to make it work, only to learn time and time again, it’ll never work, they are who they are, and we realise enough is enough, we are worth so much more, it’s time as difficult and painful as it is, to walk away and rebuild our lives, because the short term pain in doing that, far outweighs the long term pain of the cycle of abuse they put us through.
The discard stage, this again is another illusion that holds us back. Back on that painful past, that does not serve our happy future, and most of us do it. With everything we’ve been through, it’s almost normal to do it, but at some point, you need to make a conscious effort to say enough is enough. No more, it’s time to move on from this and stop dwelling on this. Yes, we all need to learn about NPD, we all need to gain that clarity and understanding of what we have been through, so we can learn from it and grow from it, and this makes people different time scales, depending on how long and how much they have personally been through, we need to process the pain, the grief. We need to let it go and move on. For most, there comes the point when they can still read, listen and learn about it. It has no impact on their present or their future. The triggers slowly fade as they’ve created a new life. For others, there comes the point when they walk entirely away from learning about it, which is ok so long as they understand and know enough not to fall back into it. What we focus on is what we become. No, I don’t mean you focused on abuse, so you got abuse. Nobody deserves to be treated that way when our minds are focused on the past. We stay stuck in that past, when we focus on fear, on the what-ifs, on the what will they do next, we are living things within our minds that are not happening at that moment, when the smear campaigns hit, if we pay attention to them instead of ourselves and our truths, we focus more and more on why are they doing this? Why is this happening to me? The more we learn about what they do, the more answers we have to those whys. At the same time, we must focus on ourselves, on our new dreams on our new future on what will go right for us. The past is done; it happened. It needs leaving in the past, the present is the moment to find and create new things to be grateful for, to imagine a future of our dreams as the end is not yet written, and we have every opportunity and every possibility to write it as we now want to live.
As you move through recovery, the realisations of what truly happened can hit you one by one, and make no mistake, they can hit hard, what you’ve been through, what they’ve done, what you’ve put up with, just how insidious they indeed are, as the trance, the spell, the fog they put you in and under living under the illusion of their reality, working through our own guilt of being an enabler at times as we truly believed them and didn’t know or understand what our very own insecurities were shouting out at us. Make no mistake, none of this is your fault whatsoever ever. No one asks for this. No one deserves this, we just get sucked into their games, and we do our absolute best to try and help and support them, believing they are a genuine person, not seeing, knowing or understanding the truth or the actual reality, due to their many manipulation tactics of our minds. And our minds are incredible things, as we see one reality, the illusion of the narcissist that plays nice, their admiration face, and they do it so charming and so convincing as that’s who they are in that moment in time. Yet, it’s an illusion, a cover-up, an act. They don’t truly know who they are, why they change from one person to the other, from black to white, and with some, this can take days, months, weeks or even years, depending on what needs of theirs are being met. When they do all they can to portray themselves as a good, kind, loving person when all they are genuinely doing is matching our likes and our dislikes, learning all our weaknesses which everyone has, learning all our insecurities, learning all our strengths, goals and dreams, so they can match them, false promises to help and support us, to further down the line, Rip them wide open, one by one, take us down and try to destroy us, to devalue who we are little by little, as they feel criticism, or no longer in control, or jealous of us, so they feel a need to take us down. Some act on impulse others is extremely calculated, especially the malignant narcissist. As the narcissistic personality disorder is on a spectrum, some of them are severe. Still, no matter which kind or to what extent you’ve been through, we are individuals with different tolerance levels and different pain thresholds, so it was as severe as it was to us personally. There are those who, once we understand what they are and what they do, we can learn to limit our time with them, respond and never react, Observe and not absorb others. However, no contact is the only way. It’s not always easy. Still, it’s a must. If you haven’t left or you are about to, the time of leaving is the most dangerous time. You are at most risk, as they have lost control, so low end, high end or anything in between, do not let them know you are leaving, create a plan of escape, enlist any friends, family, authorities, domestic violence support groups for help. To make sure you get out safely.
You know you are an honest, unconditional loving kind of person that wants to help others, and you do not want to change.
The strength of character you have, is often why the narcissist picked you out in the first place, meaning you have every ability to start your life over and make it bigger and better than it ever was before.
You can learn to trust your instincts, rebuild your self-esteem and self-worth, rebuild your bank balance. They never can. It’s a journey, but believe me, if you work at it, and you keep working at it, you will get to where you want to be. Now is the time to do what you want when you want, without having to answer to anyone. Create new dreams just for you, get any help and advice you need moving forwards. You are not alone in this. Stay strong and keep going, stay no contact or grey rock, always and forever.
Yes, you might have to process some pain but do not stay stuck on it, write things out, scream things out, grieve, you’re allowed to grieve, then step out of that negative past, and go watch something or do something that makes you smile or laugh, find a photo or think about something that shifts your state of mind out of the pain and onto something that brings you inner joy.
As much as we need the answers to our whys? As much as we need to give ourselves closure, and as much as we need to learn about these people so we can avoid them in the future.
The most important part of recovery is learning about ourselves.
Write down all the good things about you, find them and write to them.
Write down the things you enjoy doing for yourself.
Write down where you’d like to be six months from now.
Get creative and make that vision board, or take a picture collage of your future something that makes you smile and have it as your screen saver.
Now think about three things you a truly grateful for in your life, no matter how big or how small.
Think of one thing you’re working towards to become, have or do six months from now, and take action on it today, again, no matter how big or how small, and recognise that achievement.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
Ways to stop missing the narcissist.
The two faces.