￼The catch 22 in communication with a narcissist, with a narcissist, you always seem to be in a lose-lose situation whatever you choose, will only ever be right temporarily, leaving you walking on eggshells, second-guessing your behaviour and fawning to theirs. Narcissists often send two or more messages from their actions and words, that can be actions contradicting actions, words opposing words, actions contradicting their words when the narcissist denies the truth as what they are saying doesn’t match up with what they mean when it seems like they care while they are invalidating our feelings. With all their gaslighting, it’s extremely difficult to see what’s happening and read between all the conflicting messages so we can listen to ourselves and our instincts.
A narcissist will say they love you while they deny those things they did to hurt you.
Gaslighting is often a covert form of control without the use of coercion. In many cases, a narcissist causes emotional distress by confusing and bewildering those around them. As they cause so much pain yet make out, we are to blame for the pain we are in, leaving us in a position where it’s extremely difficult to respond. Still, it’s also extremely difficult to resist. So we might not know what to say to them or with the build up of emotional stress we might react to them, if we resist we fawn to their negative treatment of us, when we stand up for ourselves the narcissist will then home in on our reactions to distract us from their actions, once the narcissist has us in that emotional state where we react, through sadness from the pain, anger from the confusion they will turn all the blame on to us, to keep the truth hidden from us, avoiding taking responsibility for what they did to us. To respond to them in a manner that makes sense because they don’t make any sense it can be incredibly difficult to respond within our own minds trying to work out what they are actually telling us through the narcissists love bombing, idolisation, gaslighting, when they tell us they love while they treat us like they hate us we start to respond within our minds that in some way they must have done something wrong for them to hurt us because they love us to distract us from all the painful things they do to us which causes that cognitive dissonance within our minds￼.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
With a narcissist, you find that no matter what you respond to the narcissist, you will be wrong; you become trapped in a situation where you cannot resolve it. However, you feel like you cannot opt out of it. Fear, obligation, guilt, financially or isolation are a few of the many reasons people think they can not work their way out of a toxic relationship, and it might be hard at times. Still, there is always a way, and the short term pain of leaving is far better than the long term pain of staying.
With a narcissist it often feels like we can not get to the bottom of the matter, no matter how we approach them, when we approach them, how we express ourselves to them, try to solve issues with them, as they distract us from observing the truth of the matter, instead, we begin to absorb the narcissist’s reality, Often only realising what we’ve been through once out of the situation and looking back at all the events that happened or things that led up to specific situations or particular sentence has been said. We begin to see all those red flags we missed, we remember all those times we knew but didn’t know what our instincts were telling us, or through those lies from the narcissist we shut down our instincts by making excuses for their behaviour, we had hope, we wanted to see the best in them, or help them, not fully understanding we were helping them hurt us.
The silent treatment is often a very covert hidden form of that confusion as it is a form of gaslighting they train you over a period of time that if you don’t do XYZ for them, they are going to punish you by falling silent on you, however, on many occasions you might not actually know what you need to do for them so by doing something or not doing something they can still fall silent on you.
Causing arguments before you go out, before a special occasion, so it brings you down, and once you’re down, you can feel sad, lonely and misunderstood, while the narcissist seems happy again and questions, “what’s your problem.” Yet if you try to explain, they don’t see your reality to them, it’s your fault, working harder to please them before future events don’t stop them, by any longer going out doesn’t stop them, they just find new ways to hurt you.
When they say things like, “You’ll never find someone like me.” It leaves us questioning and doubting ourselves and not their behaviour. It often keeps us trapped in that situation, as we’ve lost who we were to them, changing ourselves to please them. It’s still not enough for them. We no longer feel enough, believing that we don’t deserve any better, believing that if we leave the relationship, we will not find happiness. We will not find somebody else, yet staying in the relationship is a harrowing place to be. ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
When in a relationship with a narcissist, they can say things to make you believe what you want to believe so that they can further control over you without you realising that what they’re saying isn’t true if they said it in the way they meant it we would no longer put up with it. As they say it in a way that distracts from the meaning that often causes cognitive dissonance within our minds due to other manipulation such as idolisation, love bombing, future faking, false promises, false apologies, most of which is some form of gaslighting which is to distort reality beliefs our opinions our feelings into what the narcissist wants us to believe so that they can maintain their control over us.
With most narcissists, this is an impulsive behaviour as they have a need to remain in control of all aspects of their lives, including the people around them they feel that sense of entitlement to be allowed to do with a please with the lack of empathy to care who they hurt, they turn on the charm to con people which is to persuade people to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do or convince people to believe in something that isn’t true, A lot of this is done with the power of the words distract someone from the true meaning of their true intentions, as the words play on our emotions we can become emotionally addicted to them, wanting emotion validated by them not realising that they are the very person invalidating our emotions because they say in such a way that twist say from the truth it’s a very confusing place to be.
Twelve things narcissist say that sounds like they care to distract us from their intent. ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
”I don’t want to argue with you.”￼
This is quite a reasonable request as most people don’t want to argue with people we ourselves might say to people I don’t want to argue with you. This is because we don’t want to argue with them. Narcissistic people seem to thrive off drama. They thrive off chaos if they cannot have control over an aspect of their life they will create that drama they will create that conflict between people, they will create that chaos in someone else’s life because they are envious of other people to make sure that people do not have control of their lives to make the narcissist feel more powerful and superior. They say I don’t want to argue with you because they don’t want to discuss whatever it is you want to discuss, whatever issues have cropped up, so if you’re going to discuss finances, they want to control, if they can’t have the control of the conversation or if they have something to hide they don’t want to talk about it openly and most often if you push the subjects they will then come at you with things like word salad, projection, anger, rage. They will turn round and say to you I told you I didn’t want to argue and then fall on the silent treatment causing that psychological pain within us, blame ourselves￼￼￼￼￼, doing all we can to make it up to them, fearing bringing conversations up, because they didn’t want to discuss an adult conversation.￼
”If only you hadn’t.”
They can then pin the blame on us when we tried to have a serious conversation. They told us “they didn’t want to argue,” so we tried to have an adult conversation, which leads to an argument when trying to discuss serious issues or when we’ve called them out on their behaviour. They come at us with if you hadn’t, so we become distracted from their behaviour and focus on ours, slowly learning not to be ourselves, while they continue their destructive behaviour.
”￼ I’m sorry you feel that way.”
Suppose we try to discuss our feelings. I’m sorry you feel that way almost sounds like they care because they use the word I’m sorry￼, so we are led to believe they are sorry. It’s followed with YOU. They lack the empathy to care, so they’re not sorry they just say this to appear sorry. If you question them, you’ll be wrong. If you leave it, they often escape accountability.
”I was only joking.”￼
I was only joking is something that many people can say, which is why when people say it to us, we can take it that they were only joking, with most people when they do something as a joke when the other person doesn’t find it funny. They speak up about the fact they didn’t find it funny. They would feel bad for hurting someone’s feeling and explain they would not do that to them again, however with a narcissist, most often, they weren’t joking. They felt some form of criticism. Hence, they wanted to hurt you in some way to criticise you for bringing you down. Still, they don’t want to be held accountable, so they say I am only joking take the responsibility away from them and pass the blame on to you for how you’re feeling, they tell you that you’re overreacting or being too sensitive, making us doubt our feelings, with a narcissist they’ll often do it again, testing our boundaries.
” You know I love you.”
With this or something similar to￼ this, such as “don’t you know I love you”, it distracts us from whatever behaviour or actions they take towards us, and leads us to believe that they do love us like because we are questioning them we are questioning their love for us, how people love is individual to them, peoples meaning of love can differ, with a narcissist, it is often conditional love if it’s if it’s a meeting in need of their own they love you, if not they don’t, the object consistency, with us we care when there is conflict or distance, most often with conflict or distance and the narcissist will no longer care.
”After all, I’ve done for you.”￼
After all, often to guilt us into feeling obligated into doing something for them, if you question them as to what they’ve done for you, this questions their sense of entitlement, the belief they are special they can then come after you or fall silent on you, when we look at what they truly did it’s often very little.
” It is what it is.”
When they’re not accepting responsibility, but not passing, a case of let’s leave it in the past, they might use “you’re too hung up on the past .”
”I’m sorry if you.”
When they apologise with the negative meaning behind it, they say I’m sorry, which leads us to believe they are sorry, then the negative if you, again we look to ourselves, if we question them it can be “I said I’m sorry, what do you want from me.”
”Let me explain.”￼￼
It sounds and leads us to believe they’ll explain. However, they are just saying this so that they can explain in a way that leads us to believe their reality and not ours￼
”I’m sure it’s not that bad when I.”
Completely dismissing our feelings in a way that sounds like they care about us, However by saying it wasn’t that bad when often when it was, they are belittling our feelings, they might even compare with something they’ve been through and claim that their experience was far worse than yours. Hence, you feel like you can’t call them out on it because then we would be invalidating their feelings, not understanding there in validating ours. ￼￼￼
”You need help.”￼￼
It sounds like they are being caring, kind and supportive that you need might need help, often when they’ve sunk us to the depths of despair, we can feel like we need help, by thinking we need to get help and them telling us we do, it almost sounds like they care because we can be feeling anxious, we can be feeling depressed, we can be feeling slightly crazy from all the gaslighting they’re putting us through so we can feel like we need help and then they will tell us we need help if you go to get that help, they’ll use that against you in the smear campaigns by telling other people that you’re crazy￼. The help we need is getting away from the person who’s making us feel so drained, mentally, emotionally and physically.
“You made me do it.”
No, you didn’t make them do anything. We can potentially make people feel upset or make people feel angry or make people feel annoyed if we have done something intentionally or unintentionally to make someone feel that way. We would try to do our best to understand and make it up to them; however, their reactions are on them just like when the narcissist baits you into a situation where you react to them their actions were in the wrong and our responses if we responded in a toxic way are inappropriate. However, within the dynamics of a narcissistic relationship, due to their gaslighting words, we end up taking the blame for the entire situation. At the same time, the narcissist escapes all accountability. We work hard to please them while they further confuse and further their control over us.
When you can no longer be yourself around someone when you can no longer feel safe around someone, when someone brings the worst out in you, and they claim you bring the worst out in them. Yet they deny all they do while claiming your crazy. It’s time to step out of their games, clear your brain, and begin to see your own reality again.
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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.