Narcissists Rationalize Their Mistreatment of You and Belittle Your Concerns

I have come to the conclusion that a narcissist has the emotional equivalent of a 4 year old. It is as if they are a child trapped inside an adult’s body because everything is all about them. They are the sun and the whole planetary system revolves around them. They walk all over you as if you were no more than a blade of grass under their foot. If I ever had a legitimate concern about my health, (for example, I would experience strange pins and needles in my extremities) my narcissist husband would dismiss it as nothing, however, his plantar fasciitis (annoying heel pain) seemed to be the end of the world!

Even issues I had about our relationship were played down by him. One time, I expressed concern to my husband by saying that I can’t help but feel like I am “walking on eggshells around him.” He looked indignant at me and callus. He scoffed at me without any concern for my feelings and said, “that sounds like something your Mother would say.” Then he asked, “Has she been filling your head with this kind of psychological jargon?” This is just another example of a narcissist showing his lack of empathy. He never asked me any deep questions about WHY I felt the way that I did. He was just offended that I had anything to say that made it apparent that our relationship had issues that he was ignoring.

The vasectomy talk went much worse. When we were first married, he told me that he would have a vasectomy after we decided we were done having children. Well, when that time came after our second child, he refused to get the surgery. He put it off and said maybe in a year. Then after that year came and went, I brought the topic up and he said that he still was not ready and that he didn’t appreciate me pushing him!  I was sick of being on birth control pills and they were making my hair fall out in clumps. So, I expressed my sincere concern about the serious side effects of pills, like cancer as well as stroke and deep vein thrombosis for women over age 30, but he did not care. He is even a doctor and knows the risks but still downplayed them. He made me feel like I was making a big deal over nothing. He insisted that I just stay on the pills anyway. He was really upset that night, so I just bit my lip and let it go. I waited yet another year, then all hell broke loose.

The night I dared to bring it up for the third time in a 2 ½ year time span, I was in tears because I already knew how he would respond to me pleading for him to get the surgery. He reacted with no emotion except irritation and anger. He was offended, indignant and upset that I brought the topic up on a “weeknight when he just wanted to relax and watch TV with his wife.” I was having medical problems at the time and serious anxiety symptoms that I contributed to the pills, as well as the continued hair loss. I was really meek and tried to convey my depth of concern for my health by continually taking the pill. I humbly asked him to reconsider and have the surgery. He responded with no concern for me, no hugs, no understanding, no empathy. Obviously. Instead, all he thought about was himself and how this conversation was “ruining his night.” He even went as far as to say, “we have discussed this before, you are pushing me again and now I may never be ready to have the surgery. But if you want to go ahead and have your tubes tied, then be my guest.” I was horrified, not because of the $10,000 price difference between a tubal ligation vs. a vasectomy, but that he would suggest that I was the one being unreasonable.

He had a warped way of thinking that I could not wrap my head around.  I then asked him why I should continue to risk my health by taking the pill and he responded by saying that “he risks his life every day driving to work” and he has a much higher likelihood of getting killed on the road than I do of having complications from the pill so I should just “take one for the team.” I was flabbergasted at his comments, then it got even worse. He continued to elaborate that if he got the surgery, I would be able to get remarried and have more children with someone else if I ever decided to leave him, but that he couldn’t if he wanted to. I could not believe what he was saying!  Up to that point, I never even considered that possibility as an option. He thought so little of me and did not trust me, which was the real reason he refused the surgery he once promised to have. He was a liar, a fraud. He thought only about himself and his needs and wants. It was abundantly clear to me how our marriage would be moving forward at that point on. It wouldn’t.

I then said that if he refused to get the simple procedure, I was going to go off of the pill, and we would just have to use condoms. Boy, he hit the roof!  He was horrified that I would even propose such a solution. He said that he would not even consider using condoms with his wife. So, I was held hostage, I had no choice but to stay on the pill because at that moment I realized that he did not care one ounce for me, for what I wanted and whether I felt healthy or not. It was his way or no way!  As such, I decided that as much as I love my two children, the only thing worse than staying on the pill was having another child with that man who cared nothing for me.

The whole night was an eye-opener, my narcissist had the cunning ability to rationalize his mistreatment of me in the most despicable ways. I learned that I may have no choice but to leave him at some point, but the final straw was yet to come.

So, the moral of this memory is…if you feel like your concerns go unheard by your partner, than it is time to consider the worst. He or she does not really love you or respect you, this is a common indicator of a narcissistic relationship.

 

 

 

 

Narcissists Have Unrealistic Expectations and Do Not Believe in Change

One of the biggest indicators of narcissism is a preoccupation with things staying the same. They operate the same in every relationship they enter and narcissists do not believe in change as an individual. The reason for this is because they feel that they are perfect and have no reason to change. One time, I made a comment of how “relationships change and people grow as they go through life” and he could not comprehend what I was saying.  Instead, he got irate and said “I like what we have, our relationship should always be in the honeymoon phase!” I responded with a gentle laugh and said that he cannot be serious, but sadly he was.  It is nature’s truth that nothing stays the same, even a child can figure that out by witnessing the leaves changing from green to brown, and falling down.  I went on to say that it is not natural to never alter your views on life as you grow older. The people you meet, the places you visit, the successes as well as the failures all teach us about who we are and how to better ourselves. Personal growth leads to a more fulfilling life.  But in that moment, he looked at me like I had spiders crawling out of my ears.  I knew right then, that it was going to be a bumpy ride!

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A typical trait of narcissism involves the “preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love” according to Sam Vaknin, self proclaimed and clinically diagnosed narcissist. This preoccupation manifests itself throughout everything narcissists do. Their view on life is considered by them to be the “correct” view, no matter how distorted their opinion of the world actually is. Thus, we the victims, must go along with the narcissist’s beliefs or else face punishment which may consist of silent treatments, rages, attacks, put-downs, pouting, guilt trips, etc.

Whatever your situation, the narcissist is obsessed with his or her idea of success. Whether the success be financial, supreme intelligence, gorgeous looks, or even relationship status, the ultimate control is key. In my situation, my narcissist was certainly obsessed with his retirement portfolio. He researched stocks and bonds every day. He spoke about retirement a few times a week despite the fact that he was 43. He defined success as retiring at 50. He was in a big hurry to go nowhere.  I always supported his goals, however, my family does not believe in retirement and feel that when you retire, your mind shuts down and you die sooner. Anyways, the thought of him not going to a place of work during the day and being around me even more, I admit sent shock waves throughout my system. I would push that thought as far away from my mind as possible. I desperately clung to the hope that he would change his mind as he was so prone to do.

We must learn to recognize that narcissists have a preoccupation with things staying the same. They are stagnant, repetitive creatures. Have you ever noticed that your narcissist constantly repeats him or herself? Mine was so predictable, I knew what he was going to say before he even opened his mouth.  And if you choose to stay with yours, it is a certainty that you will never be able to change your situation or to grow as a human being. I needed to break free from the chains my narcissist clamped around me, so that I could be unrestricted to grow and thrive as an individual has a right to.

 

During the Relationship With a Narcissist, You Become an Expert at Lying…Mostly to Yourself

How have you allowed yourself to stay in this abusive relationship so long? The answer is really quite simple, you lie to yourself. You fool yourself into desperately believing that things will get better, that he or she will change. How could those glimmers of greatness that your partner exhibited in the early stages of your relationship have faded away forever? It is because he or she was never that person to begin with. It was all a façade to snag you in the first place.

Also, it is due to the cycle of the “pedestal and the pit” that I discussed in my post, The Ways That Narcissists Abuse. For example, he isn’t terrible all of the time right? If he was, it would surely be easier to leave him wouldn’t it? He is smart enough to realize that if he is bad for too long, you will get fed up and go. So he will throw a bit of sweetness your way, just to wet your appetite to keep you hoping that he may return to the wonderful person that you thought he was in the beginning. You lie to yourself every day. You do not trust your gut feeling that he may just be a terrible person, a narcissist with no soul.

But then that has other consequences, you start to question your own judgment. How could I have made such a bad decision in choosing this person to share my life with? I know that I sure did. I couldn’t come to grips with my awful luck with men until I faced the cold truth and realized that I had been lying to myself all along. I chose to ignore the red flags waving in the breeze when I first began to date him. The fairytale blinded me! I do not blame myself nor do I blame you for falling prey to the unobtrusive spider. However, I want to open your eyes to what I recently discovered, you need to ask yourself the hard questions. You need to figure out what your weak spots are and wipe them clean so you never get stuck in this situation again.

As if lying to yourself was not bad enough, you begin lying to all those people you hold so dear. You don’t lie to be malicious, you lie to keep them from worrying about you. Or you lie to make them see your partner as a good person. You would hate for your friends and family to see him as he really is, so you make excuses for him, you cover-up for him. That is what I did. I felt ashamed that I was trapped with this manipulative and uncaring human being, so I overcompensated with tales of his good deeds or nice words, and conveniently left out the bad parts, and the hurtful comments that he dished out.

This kind of editing is not all that different from what people do on social media sites, I guess. But, I could not live a false life like that anymore. I needed an escape, I needed to live an authentic life where I was comfortable living the way I wanted. The truth, no matter how much it hurts, will come out. Nothing will scare off a narcissist like the truth. So I say, let the truth rain down and clear those muddy waters!

Victim has false sense of control in a narcissistic relationship

It’s beyond my control…I realize that now.
You cannot control someone else’s behavior, you can only control your own.

Being in a relationship with a narcissist makes you feel that if you behave differently, it will stall or stop their maltreatment of you. You feel that your actions can help to control their cruel behavior. This is a false sense of control. You are stuck inside a cage.  The narcissist is the one holding all of the cards, they are the puppet masters. You are merely a pawn in their game. Even if you do everything exactly the way they want, they will still find something wrong, something is your fault, or you could have done something better.

Nothing will ever be good enough for a narcissist. Therefore, you walk on eggshells because you never really know what will set them off. However, along the way, you have learned some of their triggers. Because when a narcissist feels offended, slighted, or not in control, they will struggle to regain that control by using a multitude of tactics like belittling, challenging, denying, raging, gaslighting, lecturing, pouting, threatening or giving the silent treatment.

As a result of this schooling, you are determined to avoid making these “mistakes” in the future and subconsciously go to great lengths to avoid stepping on these land mines again. This is how narcissists use abuse as a way to gain control over you. They may do it obviously or they may do it subtly, for example by saying “You look so much prettier with your hair down.” A seemingly innocuous statement, however, it lets you know that they want you to wear your hair a certain way. If you don’t conform to their expectations, then they keep mentioning it and eventually may even say that you don’t care if they find you attractive because you refuse to wear your hair the way that they like it. You are basically a dog to them. A dog that they don’t particularly like. They want you to be subservient to them. The narcissist is omnipotent, a god (in his own eyes). They expect ADMIRATION, RESPECT and COMPLIANCE at all times.

No matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get it right. You are desperate to please, you find yourself constantly going to the narcissist for their opinion or help because you become afraid to make even the simplest decisions for yourself. This inability stems from the constant struggle you have with the narcissist not approving of your past decisions or opinions. So, to avoid any future issues, you just go to the source, so you “don’t have to hear it” if they disapprove of your choice, because they are going to be the final say on the matter anyway. For example, he would question my clothing choices for going to see his family or out to a restaurant. He wanted me to wear a dress every time. Even if it was a casual restaurant. He hated when I wore jeans, even though I always looked fashionable with high heels and a fancy top. He also hated anything that looked “like a hippie.” Well, that killed me because I am bohemian at heart and love that style. He tried to make me into something I am not. Narcissists strip away the strongest parts of you that they used to admire because it threatens their control over you.

It was exhausting to be involved in a narcissistic abusive relationship. Talking to a friend about my decision to divorce him, I compared my relationship to that of a horse with a broken leg. I believe that as difficult as it was, and how I hated to, there was no other option but to kill it and walk away. My hand was forced, it was beyond my control. For if I had stayed, I would have surely died inside. It was me or him. As much as I loved him, (the illusion of what he was and our future) I love myself more.

Ways that Narcissists Abuse

What are the ways that narcissists abuse their victims? Where do I begin? In my relationship, his preferred abusive tactics included belittling me, challenging me, denying, raging, lecturing, over-reacting to perceived criticism, pouting, threatening me or giving me the silent treatment. The abuse was not continuous, there were times where we got along great (as long as we were doing what he wanted to do.)

I began to notice that the abuse would occur in any circumstance where he felt like he was losing control over me or the situation. Thus, he abused me to control me. In each of these circumstances, he made it seem like I was the one at fault, that I was the unreasonable one. The abuse would continue until I apologized to him for whatever he felt that I did wrong.

Any time that I stood up for myself or asserted my opinion, (that was conflicting from his) he would abuse me. If I ever played devil’s advocate for anyone that he was having problems with at work, by pointing out how they might feel or why they may have said what they did to my husband, he would get offended and say that I was not “on his side.” He was incapable of understanding other people’s emotions and felt that people were out to get him. So when I tried to point out that it was not the case, he would get angry with me and say that I am defending them and not him. So how does the abuse start in a narcissistic relationship?

Pedestal and the Pit– Narcissists are fast movers. They meet their victim and groom her to believe that she is the most wonderful, funny, intelligent and beautiful woman in the world. The narcissist will shower love, attention and praise on its victim at dizzying speeds. They will want to commit quickly, pronounce everlasting and perfect love within a month of meeting. This early phase is called love bombing. The narcissist places its victim on a pedestal for all to see, but then after he has hooked her, he will knock her down into the pit. He will devalue her, belittle her, shame her into believing she is worthless, stupid, careless, and disrespectful. Then when he sees that he is pushing her too far, he will put her back on the pedestal so she stays put. This cycle of the pedestal and the pit continues for the duration of the relationship.

Gaslighting– Narcissists use this stealthy method of abuse to disorient the victim in order to make the victim feel like she is going mad. The term was named after the classic 1944 movie “Gaslight.” This film featured a husband dimming the gaslights of the house and when his wife asked him about it, he would say that they weren’t. He would hide items from her, then make her think that she did it. In short, gaslighting is crazy-making abuse. The victim feels like she is losing it because events are happening and the narcissist is denying anything is wrong. An example is when a narcissist hits the victim and then denies ever doing so. In my case, my narcissist would lose items and blame me for taking them. And if it was obvious that I was right about something that we had disagreed on, he would change his statement and claim that he was the one who was right, even using my exact language. It made me so furious! Gaslighting occurred daily in my relationship. He would use the toilet in the upstairs guest room, not flush, then when I would ask him about it, he would deny it was him. I know it was not me or my kids. Gross.

Projection– The narcissist projects his own feelings and insecurities onto his victim. If he is cheating on his partner, he accuses his partner of cheating. If he is lying, he accuses his partner of lying. The narcissist cannot accept responsibility for his own thoughts and actions and projects his own mental garbage onto the unsuspecting victim. The narcissist is the one who feels that he is the victim in the relationship.

Lectures– My narcissist would go on and on about whatever was bothering him that I did. He would find fifty ways to say the same thing until I would break and just accept everything as my fault and apologize, even though I did nothing wrong to apologize for. He would treat me like a child that was behaving badly. I always felt intimidated and scared of him when he would go on his rants.

Guilt trips & Pouting– Used as a way to let you know his wants and he will make you feel bad for not giving him what he wants. They commonly use “always” and “never” statements. For example, my narcissist would constantly tell me that he never felt that I cared about being intimate with him, (despite the fact that we were intimate at least 2-3 times a week! I felt that after 7 years of marriage, he didn’t have anything to complain about!) But he did not feel that it was enough. On the nights that I just wanted to go to bed due to the extreme exhaustion of taking care of my children and him, schooling and everything related to the house, he would pout and guilt trip me to make it seem like I did not care enough about him because I wasn’t giving him enough “attention.” Please! So he would keep pouting until I relented and just “did it.” I tell you, that when he would pressure me that way, I felt as if I was being raped because I did not want to have sex, but had to in order to shut him up so that I could finally go to bed in peace. And looking back, I really HATE him for that. This is an example of Sexual Abuse.

Financial abuse– Occurs when a narcissist has all the control over the financial matters in the household. In my case, he never put my name on the checking account. I asked many times if I could be on the account but he said that if I wanted cash, I had to ask him for it. (Which I never did.) He said he didn’t want me to be able to write checks and possibly overdraw the account. This so-called concern of his was unfounded because I am very financially responsible and would never do such a thing. So, I had no access to any money. We even had a debit credit card but he refused to give me the pin number. He let me use the credit cards and he would pay them off but if I was charging too much in any given month, he would make sure to speak up and let me know that I need to cut back. He was so paranoid about the money, he would check his banking, credit card statements and retirement accounts each day!

Silent treatment– Used by the narcissist to induce your fear of abandonment by withholding his attention and affection. When the narcissist comes around and starts talking again, you feel relief and the anxiety dissipates. I call this form of abuse “Dark and Broody.” My narcissist was a professional at being dark and broody. I knew when trouble was lurking because he would get all quiet and look like a dark storm was brewing inside of him. Then after the storm, he would come out with a secondary form of abuse like rage, threats or lecturing me. During his dark and broody stage, I would get sick to my stomach at the fear of the impending doom I was about to face.

Verbal abuse– Insults, put downs, aimed to wound the victim’s self esteem. These words cut like knives, hand crafted to strike at our most fragile self. Narcissists reach into their arsenal of the victim’s phobias, weaknesses and disappointments in order to use against them to mutilate their soul. Once, when all was calm, I asked my narcissist why that when he was upset, he would say the most cruel, untrue things to me intending to hurt me. He responded that sometimes he doesn’t play fair and that he would work on that in the future. However, he never stopped using his malicious verbal daggers on me when we had disagreements.

Physical abuse

Rage– Rages occur when the narcissist yells and uses body language to intimidate its victim to get the response that he wants. I hated when he would fly into a rage in front of the children, which he did many times. My narcissist would work himself up into a rage when he felt threatened. He was like a tiger in a cage, pacing back and forth in the room, just gearing up for a feast. Then he would fly into a rage over some of the smallest things. One night, after book time with the children, I wasn’t responding to one of his requests fast enough and I commented that “I guess I cannot do anything right.” And he freaked out and started yelling at me in front of the kids. He screamed that I was “being disrespectful and that he deals with bitchy nurses all day and that the last thing he wants is to come home to a bitchy wife!” It was horrible. My 3 and 6 year old were scared, then my son asked me “Mommy, why is daddy yelling at you?” My heart was broken for them. I had to scurry them off to their bedrooms and I promised that I would be back to tuck them in. Then I had to go back to the kitchen where he was, pacing back and forth, he was physically vibrating, ranting loudly, calling me a bitch and making comments like, “Now I see why your ex almost hit you” stuff like that. Bringing up distressing moments of my past that were told to him in confidence, totally unrelated to our relationship, were designed to inflict pain. This is just one of the many examples I have of what a narcissistic rage can look like. Scary stuff.

Threats and manipulation– Narcissist uses intimidation, to get his victims
to doOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA as he pleases. By using fear to control or influence is serious abuse. My narcissist would threaten to put our home schooled children into public school and send me to work if I did not go along with something he wanted to do. If I ever had any complaints or seemed too tired during the day, he would say “Are the kids too much for you to handle mommy? You are too tired to have any time to give to your husband, maybe you need a real job so that you can see how easy you have it now, and I can stay at home.” He would tell me that he came first and the children come second. I couldn’t believe it when he said that to me. What a distorted view of a family relationship. Narcissists are the most selfish creatures on the planet. Children need unconditional love and support, and yes, dad’s should take second fiddle to the children.

Tit for tat– Narcissists will do nice things for you, but with strings attached. There is no such thing as a altruistic narcissist. There is never something nice done for someone without an expectation of a return. My narcissist would attempt to buy into his co-workers good graces, at least for a while before they could no longer stand to be around him. He would buy lunch for his co-workers once a month, because he expected that they would be nice to him in return. I told him that he did not have to do such things for people to treat him well, but he believed otherwise. Then when a co-worker would have a problem with him for whatever reason, or he considered them to be moody he would ask me, why? I told him that just because he buys them lunch doesn’t mean they are going to treat him like a king every day. He couldn’t wrap his head around that notion.

There are so many ways that narcissists abuse their victims. Abuse techniques that Sam Vaknin has also noted include: “Wounding “honesty”, ignoring, smothering, dotting, unrealistic expectations, invasion of privacy, tactlessness, sexual abuse, physical maltreatment, humiliating, shaming, insinuating, lying, exploiting, devaluing and discarding, being unpredictable, reacting disproportionately, dehumanizing, objectifying, abusing confidence and intimate information, engineering impossible situations, control by proxy and ambient abuse.” (The Mind of the Abuser-Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love)

In a nutshell, narcissists are evil creatures void of empathy, they can be male or female. However, there are 3 times more male narcissists than female. If you can identify any of these methods of abuse occurring in your relationship, you need to take warning. Only you can save yourself.

Once a narcissist, always a narcissist. They never change, but that is a topic for a later date.