Here is another brilliant piece written by my friend, Jill Lillis, who is going through her own process of recovery and redemption. I find her insights incredible. I hope you do, too.
It seems important at the place I have arrived at in my journey to continue on as the Spirit leads me in greater understanding and awareness of the mind and workings of a person with NPD, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Sometimes it seems that I AM continues to confront you with something you would prefer to avoid. No matter which direction you choose, the path ultimately leads to the same impasse, one with perceived challenges that you would do anything to avoid dealing with. Yet when you attempt to retreat or find another way, the path seems to disappear before you and somehow, you must overcome what has been placed before you.
It’s an important part of your journey. After you have had several tantrums, flung yourself down in defeated despair, attempted to medicate yourself out of the feelings you are having, and perhaps just withdrawn into your “safe place” of feeling nothing at all…you may (or may not) finally realize that you *have* to figure this out. The situation may seem like a prison cell with no outlet, and it may seem that someone else, someone who does not have anything good in store for you, holds the keys and all the power over your life.
When you have become enmeshed in the web of a narcissist, you can be assured that this did not happen suddenly. Among victims of narcissists, there is a growing group of us who have learned firsthand the characteristics of a person with NPD, and one of the ways we keep ourselves safe from ever flying into the web of a narc again is to continue to support one another with awareness, continually pointing out the red flags and behaviors that baited us in at one time.
A narcissist is a person who feeds on the life energy of others. The term many survivors use is “emotional vampire” which is incredibly apt. They cop your mind. Like a sorcerer or sorceress, they draw a bead on you and begin to weave their spell. Often they are very attractive or otherwise charming people. They are supernaturally apt at choosing their victims—they have an unerring radar for giving, caring, empathetic people. Once they have assessed you, they begin to exhibit whatever words and behaviors they almost instinctively know will win you over. Bids for sympathy, excessive flattery, offers of security….all illusion…
The manipulations of a narc are like the bite of a spider that anesthetizes the fly in its web. Then they proceed to wrap you up in silken cords of confusion, deception and mind games so they can complete the act of sustaining their life by sucking yours dry. The fly has been paralyzed but surely knows that nothing good is happening.
Unlike the spider and the fly, when you are in the grips of a narc, you have become the undead…and often you may feel that death would be preferable.
Narcissists thrive on drama with themselves at the center of it. This provides them with a sense of personal importance and power that they lack, for the reasons that caused the personality disorder to develop in the first place. As you become aware of the inconsistencies in their presentation, or call them out on behaviors that you, now involved enough in their lives to notice, become confused by, you will suffer wrath that is disproportionate to the event.
A narc is heavily invested in believing their own bullshit. They exist only within the image they have projected to you and others. If you do or say anything that might cause the illusion to be revealed they will go batshit crazy on you…sometimes flamboyantly, sometimes in a slow, poison dart, sneaky snake squeezing you in its coils kind of way.
When you live with a narc, eventually you become the enemy. You are one of the only ones that now see the man or woman behind the mask. It is impossible for them to maintain the image non-stop. By now, you have been treated to behaviors and words that are the complete opposite of what was originally presented to you. You have been through the confusion, the shock, the anguish. They have to discredit your word in any way they can. Even to yourself. They manage to make you question your own perceptions through the use of the “gaslight treatment”. And they begin the “smear campaign”. The smear campaign is when a narc spreads lies about you behind your back. When you finally begin to seek help or try to talk to others about the narc’s abuse or perhaps illegal or immoral behaviors, you may find that the narc has already painted this picture of YOU in such a convincing manner that in the eyes of all your friends, co-workers, religious supports, you have become the abuser, or a very mentally ill person.
A narcissist can only feel significant if they are receiving either your adulation or your anguish or even your anger. If they are not provoking a strong reaction from those around them, they feel non-existent. In order to maintain enough of what is termed “narcissistic supply”, they will sometimes take lovers on the side. They will engage in risky behaviors to provoke a sense of excitement that enhances their sense of being alive when inside they are restless with the feeling of fear. As far as I can ascertain, the only two REAL emotions a narc is capable of are fear and anger. I have seen them react with a total lack of real emotion when confronted with the death of a close friend or relative. They can turn on the crocodile tears at will though.
A narc has no conscience, although they can mimic all of the higher emotions very convincingly. They will violate any boundary you set, and many boundaries that should not even need to be set. They will violate your need for dignity, privacy, family and friends if it suits their purposes. They will use your every resource: physical, emotional, financial, time and knowledge to advance their own desires. They will sometimes give something back but that is a mere token to keep the doors open and make themselves appear reciprocal. Or make promises to do so that are never kept. Helplessness, bad luck, and other excuses are the order of the day for why you are always giving and they are always taking. You are to them a commodity for their use, and fear the rage that occurs when you refuse a request!
Now to the deeper question. How is a narc able to maintain their power once their machinations have been revealed? How do they attain it in the first place?
Now we are going to what, for me, has become the root of the matter. It has to do with ENERGY. We are energetic beings. Our bodies are the shell for our consciousness. It is where we interface with the physical world and the vehicle through which we interact with it and with one another on many levels.
Narcs are energy predators, wolves in sheep’s clothing, unless, like some megalomaniacs, the Jim Jones and the Hitlers of the world, they have so much power that they don’t need to hide their psychopathy anymore. Those with the power of a regime or a gun or brute force, charismatic gang leaders and cult icons have attained the height of a narcissist’s ideal existence of unlimited supply…and will even, when it seems the rug is about to finally be pulled out from under them, lead their followers to kill themselves, rather than risk their ever escaping and seeing the narc for what they really always were.
This is the death that the narc fears more than physical death. The death of the image they have created, that they need desperately to believe in, that can tolerate no perceived competition…
They must be the most significant person in any scenario.
The quirk of a narc is their ability to draw you in. I think of books or movies in which a beautiful sorceress or handsome sorcerer uses their words and potions to appear very good and innocent and beautiful.
They trick one or another of the main characters and that person (or persons) comes under their power. Sometimes they are even an ugly old crone in reality, and avoid mirrors because the mirror reveals the reality, not the illusion.
When you have been with a narc long enough, you often become the mirror they despise. Because you begin to see them for who they really are and if your words and interactions focus on that, they begin to despise you. Yet, like a cat with a mouse in its claws, they will not release you until you are very damaged. They will not release you unless they believe they have crippled and maimed you so badly that thoughts of them will still dominate your life. The discard is usually done in the most devastating manner they can conceive, and if they think you have any chance at all of developing a happy life without them, or if their current source of supply should become unsatisfying to them, they will cycle around back into your life, claiming they now see the light, promising you all the things you told them you needed from them, yes, you were the one they loved all along and they were so, so wrong to hurt you and discard you!
And so it goes. Until you are possibly too damaged to ever trust another human being in an intimate way.
Another reason one remains in the relationship…love bombing…when the narc realizes they have gone too far and feels you are withdrawing from them, they go over the top and return to the intense love bombing that won your heart at the beginning. You believe this. Or perhaps , they have also presented themselves to you in such a way that you feel a strong desire to help them, heal them, or save them in some way. They choose natural nurturers for this very reason. Here is what you need to know: It will *never* happen. It is not within the nature of the beast. A narc is incapable of knowing what it is to be truly happy, or to feel the warm energy of real love. Whether narcs are born or made, or a combination of factors, it has been proven that they have as much chance of changing as a pedophile.
There is only one possible path to freedom. No contact, or contact as minimal as humanly possible. No responses to their provocations or their enticements. Every word or action they take is a barbed hook with some kind of bait on it.
You cannot win, because your motives are for good, and their motives never will be. Never. If you let them back in on any level at all destruction of some kind will follow.
Like any predator, they come equipped with the energetic equivalent of claws and teeth. Once you have opened your inner self to them, they insert their energetic hooks and you will have one hell of a time getting those barbs out of your soul.
I found myself wondering often about the how and why of my situation. I was miserably unhappy yet seemed emotionally paralyzed and unable to extricate myself.
This is the hidden facet of an abusive relationship with a sociopathic person. There is stranglehold that comes upon you in the realm of your energetic being.
We are not taught how to protect ourselves from energetic assault.
I do not believe this is a thought out process on the part of the narc. It is an inherent part of their nature to seek out prey. Almost instinctive. In the realm of the subconscious.
Here is a quote from an article on emotional manipulators that touches on this:
Emotional manipulators somehow have the ability to impact the emotional climate of those around them. When an emotional manipulator is sad or angry the very room thrums with it – it brings a deep instinctual response to find some way to equalize the emotional climate and the quickest route is by making the emotional manipulator feel better – fixing whatever is broken for them. Stick with this type of loser for too long and you will be so enmeshed and co-dependent you will forget you even have needs – let alone that you have just as much right to have your needs met.
However you choose to define it, they have an innate ability to negatively impact you and will condition you to never challenge them in any way. If you were raised with any neglect or abuse at all, you will almost unconsciously fall into old patterns of appeasement.
It is important to recognize that they are indeed predators, and literally anyone else in view is prey. They feed on others’ fear and hurt. It enhances their sense of personal power. STOP feeling sorry for them. STOP believing that your love can heal them. STOP believing that they have repented of their wicked ways. STOP believing that they view as anything other than a plaything that they choose not to take care of in any way. STOP believing that you will ever achieve any personal forward motion in your life as long as you are under their influence and power. STOP believing that any action or words of yours will hurt anything other than their ego.
Or you will be a victim for the rest of your life.