Posted by 785548 , Wed Jul 04, 2012 02:38 PM
Overcome the love locking you in.
Deal with the Abuse.
Is your partner a narcissist? You may not know how to tell, but even worse, you may be thinking that you are the crazy one. Narcissists work hard to distort our reality to make their reality feel safer.
So what is a narcissist? Someone who preens in front of the mirror all day in admiration? NOT! Ask yourself this: is your partner intensely angered by anything that seems to suggest that he or she might have a flaw? Narcissists will do anything, including brutalizing their own family, to maintain their own feeling that others see them as without any flaws. And, narcissists have extreme and illogical sensitivities, sometimes connecting the most minute observations with their intense fears of being seen as flawed. Narcissists will strain every muscle to meet their own "flawless" image, and demean or destroy anyone or anything who casts any doubt on this image. If you see this dynamic in your partner, family member, coworker, or friend, you are very probably dealing with a narcissist.
Overcome the Love Locking You In
Many of us ended up in relationships with a narcissist because, in the beginning, our partners held up a false front. Many of us felt or thought that we had met our soul mate; found the perfect partner; met that one special person in the universe. It's no surprise that we can fall in love with someone like this!
Later, usually after we've made a binding commitment like marriage, or sometimes after children being born, a job change, or other major life changes, our narcissist partner shows a completely different side. The person who was once perfect now can become angry, demeaning, demanding, and harshly critical. When alcohol or drugs are involved, the substance abuse usually takes a big step up, too. I talk about this dynamic in my book on disordered behavior, Meaning from Madness. From someone we have deep feelings for, these actions are brutal. Yet we may still have strong feelings of love pulling us to that person. Talk about being torn!
At some point, many of us realize this situation needs to change, but feelings are not chosen. How can you overcome the love that pulls you to a narcissist who is abusing you? While you can't turn those feelings off like a switch, you can learn to understand where those feelings come from, and how our minds create them, and then set the stage for new feelings to develop - hopefully toward someone who's better for us. At first this issue was a chapter in my book, Tears and Healing, but it was so important it eventually became its own short book, In Love and Loving It - Or Not! The really sad part is that our minds create these feelings so that we'll be motivated to engage in a relationship that meets our emotional needs, yet those same feelings can end up locking us in, pulling back again into a broken relationship that just can't fill those needs! Its like a trap, one that we need new understanding to get out of.
Deal with the Abuse
Narcissists, like all disordered people, aren't just hurtful. They also spin our reality to make theirs less painful. They project their problems onto us, and blame us for what they do. After a while it becomes hard to distinguish what is real from what is being projected and what is being distorted. We begin to doubt our reality and question whether we're the crazy ones. What's more, narcissists hide their problems very effectively, concealing their disease from most people, causing us further confusion.
The truth is, THEY'RE NOT RIGHT. But they feel better when they can get us to carry the burden of their illness and their behavior.
Dealing with this situation is complex, and people need some idea of "What do I do now that I know I'm dealing with a narcissist?" For most people, there are important values, beliefs and obligations that have to be carefully thought about. Abusive relationships are very hurtful situations, and significant decisions have to be faced, then resolved. Tears & Healing holds a light up in this dark place. Written from the inside perspective of someone who has been through the hell of being emotionally and verbally battered by a spouse, this book addresses the major issues that we all must wrestle with. Tears & Healing begins with the most difficult issue: abusive partners constantly work to distort our perception of what is happening and what is right and wrong, until we doubt our own judgment so much we can't make decisions. It then addresses the process of detaching to find safe space and to regain a sense of right and wrong, and searching to understand what we, as people, need in our lives - needs that often must be simply put aside to survive in these brutal situations. It deals with love, and the conflict of being in love with someone hurtful to us. And it addresses the intense feelings of obligation that many of us have, which keep us locked in situations that are beyond what any person should endure. Tears & Healing is an intensely personal and validating guide through this maze of thoughts and emotions. The reader reviews below can give you some sense of how liberating Tears & Healing has been for many, many people.
As I said already, dealing with feelings of love is a huge barrier for many. My book, In Love and Loving It - Or Not! , addresses these issues. It explains how and why we fall in love; what we can do to get out of love with someone hurtful to us; how we can make choices so we are more likely to fall in love with someone good for us; and how being in love relates to the different, chosen actions of loving. Many of the people I help to deal with their abusive situations need this kind of guidance.
After talking personally with many people in phone consultation, I found that people also need a way of making some sense of their abusive narcissist partner's actions. Though their actions make no sense from the perspective of a healthy person, there is something inside them that motivates them. After explaining this many times, I wrote a companion book, Meaning from Madness, which explains what makes abusive people act as they do, explains the psychological defense mechanisms they use which cause them to see a different reality than we see, and explains how alcohol and drug use - so painfully common among them - compounds these disordered patterns. I consider Meaning from Madness to be the second essential piece of this puzzle, and there is a link to its page on the right of this paragraph.
About the Author
Richard, 21CP is a writer, inventor, engineer, and athlete. A survivor of a marriage that turned abusive, he forged a path through confusion, love, obligation, and emotional damage to safety and truer life. His experience and insight, shared in Tears and Healing, originated in his contributions to online support groups for people in relationships with a partner who has borderline personality disorder. He has been a respected contributor and mentor in these groups for the past four years. His writing and publishing work now includes <a href="http://dakeithpress.com/">four books, and he continues to help people through books, daily email messages, and phone consultation. Not a mental health professional, his perspectives and guidance "from the inside out" have been especially relevant for people in abusive relationships.