Why Does Narcissistic Abuse Cause Us To Question Ourselves?

Narcissistic abuse has so many layers to it. Ultimately the narcissist uses many manipulative methods to gaslight us into losing who we are, and feeling as though we’ve turned into them, often at that point, they walk on us, as they don’t want to mirror their toxic side that they projected into us, often why once out, the fog lifts, we begin to find ourselves, the narcissist then reappears to take us down again.

Narcissists aim to control those around them by whatever means possible for that narcissist, to charm others so they can exploit others, to set the environment, so we become emotional, and then they’ll ask,” Why are you in a mood.” stir up feelings of jealousy then say ” You’re jealous.” promise you something to then say ”I never said that.” cause intrigue then when you ask they say ”I’m not dancing to your tune.” drive you into the depths of despair then say ”You’re crazy.” as the environment they’ve set matches how you feel. The things they say, we begin to dismiss their actions and work harder to fix our behaviour. Things may change when the narcissist offers those intermittent reinforcements of play nice. However, it never lasts, and as we don’t recognise the root cause of our pain to be that of the narcissist, we continue to live in pain, trying our best to please them while they continue to do their worst and hurt us.

We end us feeling so crazy, full of self-doubt, believing we’re not even worth those crumbs of hope a narcissist offers, where even making a simple decision becomes painful within.

Cognitive dissonance is the state of having different thoughts, feelings, beliefs or attitudes. As our true self is brought into question time and time again, while the narcissist conditions us through their projection that we are not who we once believed ourselves to be, it’s a very confusing place to be.

Belief disinformation.

When your beliefs are being contradicted, as the narcissist leads you to believe one story, in the beginning, they love bomb, and idealise the future, mirror who we are, they are a con artist selling us our dreams, to then deliver another reality that contradicts the first reality and the person they led us to believe in, 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 stressful 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, understanding and validation from the very person you don’t see are persuading you that your reality isn’t real, you don’t change your beliefs to the truth of the situation. Your mind unwittingly sticks to your original belief. This gives you the brain fog when you can see something, yet you can not believe it to be accurate or really see it as we are gaslighted to see the good within the narcissist. The toxic of the narcissist within ourselves, as a narcissist, is continually setting the environment, so we unwittingly play straight into their hands.

Induced compliance of forced compliance.

After a narcissist performs 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 recognise their toxic behaviour, accept responsibility for their own behaviour, they lack the empathy to be remorseful for their behaviour, they don’t want to repair any damage caused, as they’ve projected the fault and blame onto to, so with the narcissist’s projection they themselves believe that we are at fault, so they are never accountable. As they are projecting the toxic side of themselves onto us, they then see that side of themselves they don’t like within us. 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 or their behaviour towards you. Fear of reactions lead 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. We continue to look for the good in them, as they mirrored us in the love-bombing stage, they reflected ourselves back, however somewhere we lose seeing that within ourselves, yet still try to see it within them. They will create an environment to cause us pain. Then they blame us for the pain they caused.

Forbidden behaviour. 

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 to 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. The more we fawn, thinking we’re protecting ourselves by dressing how they want, the more we lose who we are to them, the easier it becomes for them to control us. They can make you feel guilty for visiting family, so you slowly no longer visit family, becoming isolated from support.

Free choice.

Changes in the desirability of your freedom of choice, this part is what makes it so difficult for people to walk free from narcissistic relationships. The free choice aspect of cognitive dissonance occurs when you are faced with a difficult decision when there always appears to be an aspect of rejection or discomfort to what you choose, the double bind, catch 22 where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, so you might want to go out for you, yet you know the narcissist will make it difficult. They’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 hope to get the good times back. However, 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. 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 from them, the clearer your own mind becomes, psychological dissonance slowly fades. 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. 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. You can start to think and act for yourself again and do what’s right for you and what makes you happy. The 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 genuine nature is, the less it’ll impact on your life and your emotions. 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.

What happens to you in a relationship with a narcissist? https://youtu.be/rYPEzn9vg84

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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.

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More on cognitive dissonance.



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