*Trigger Alert* – Read with caution
The Narcissist strips us of our self-esteem and instills in us feelings of unworthiness. We are left a wounded child, one who has developed an exaggerated need to feel loved, accepted, worthy. We take on the blame of the problems in the relationship; believing that everything is our fault. After all, that’s what the Narcissist tells us. We live on the brink of insanity, unable to function day-to-day. Some become suicidal.
Have you been told the following by your partner?
- You’re lucky I keep giving you another chance.
- No one would want to be with you except for their benefit (i.e., sex, money).
- All of our problems are your fault.
- You’re crazy, it’s no wonder your relationships have been failures.
- If you would just listen to me, we wouldn’t keep having these problems.
- See, even your own family doesn’t want you.
- No one would ever put up with your crap like I do.
- People tried to warn me about you, but I didn’t listen.
- Why can’t you look like________.
- Why can’t you fix_________ (insert feature or body part).
- See how _________ treats her husband?
- I’m not attracted to you anymore.
- I don’t love you anymore.
- I wish you would die; get into a car accident; ___________.
- All of your friends are losers.
- It was my bad luck to have met you.
Aside from being a form of domestic abuse, these comments are not only meant to take away your self-esteem, they are part of intentional, strategic psychological torture.
The following is an excerpt from the book How Full Is Your Bucket: **
Following the Korean War, Major William E. Mayer, who would later become the U.S. Army’s chief psychiatrist, studied 1,000 American prisoners of war who had been detained in a North Korean camp. He was particularly interested in examining one of the most extreme and perversely effective cases of psychological warfare on record – one that had a devastating impact on its subjects.
American soldiers had been detained in camps that were not especially cruel. They were given adequate food, water, and shelter. They weren’t subjected to common physical torture. In fact, fewer cases of physical abuse were reported in the North Korean POW camps than in other prison camps during major military conflict.
Why then did so many American soldiers die in these camps? They weren’t hemmed in with barbed wire. Armed guards didn’t surround the camps. Yet no soldier ever tried to escape.
When the survivors were released to a Red Cross camp, they were given the chance to call loved ones…very few bothered to make the call. Mayer described each man as being in a mental “solitary confinement cell”.
Mayer discovered a new disease in the POW camps – a disease of extreme hopelessness. It was not uncommon for a soldier to wander into his hut, go in a corner, sit down, pull a blanket over his head, and die within two days.
Despite minimal physical torture, the death rate in the North Korean POW camp rose 38%, with half of the soldiers dying simply because they had given up.
How did this happen? The “ultimate weapon of war”. The one that your Narcissist uses against you every day.
The Ultimate Weapon
The North Koreans’ objective was to “deny men the emotional support that comes from interpersonal relationships.” To do this, the captors used these primary tactics:
- Withholding all positive emotional support
They used negativity in its purest and most malicious form. If a soldier received a supportive letter from home, the captors withheld it. All negative letters, however – such as those telling of a relative passing away, or ones in which a wife wrote that she had given up on her husband’s return and was going to remarry – were delivered to the soldier immediately. They also delivered overdue bills from collection agencies.
The soldiers had nothing to live for and lost basic belief in themselves and their loved ones, not to mention God and country. The North Koreans had put the American soldiers into a kind of emotional and psychological isolation, the likes of which had never been seen.
If you have been destroyed by unrelenting negative reinforcement, you may be wondering if there is any hope. The good news is “yes”. The difficult part is taking matters into your own hands. You’ll need to dig deep down inside of yourself and get out of the relationship. Don’t remain in your self-imposed solitary confinement.
*Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours ~Richard Bach*
The Narcissist never rests. Everything he says is to wear you down and isolate you from everyone in your life, all the while tearing down your soul. The reason he does this is so you will come to depend on him for small bits of false praise and believe he’s the only person that will ever accept you. After a while, you start to accept this as truth. You feel that no one else loves or wants you. You feel unattractive. Many people lose their friendships, careers, finances…because the Narc succeeds in taking everything away from them. This further drives home the illusion that you aren’t worth anything. The reason these things happen is that you sacrifice everything in order to keep the Narc with you. You throw away your better judgment to prove your love for the Narcissist and give them everything they want. Then, when everything is gone, the Narc leaves you high and dry…on to their next source of supply. Meanwhile, you are left in the ashes of your dreams…feeling exactly what the Narc wants you to feel: worthless, unlovable, and undesirable.
Steps to Take:
- Recognize what is happening.
- Find a way to get yourself out of the situation.
- Go No Contact.
- Get counseling.
- Surround yourself with people who see the good in you.
- Become selfish for a while. This means cut out all negative people from your life; do something that makes you happy, no matter how small; pamper yourself; say “no” to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable; make your happiness a priority.
As impossible as it may seem, there is hope. Take your life and future back into your own hands and get away from your negative, soul-killing captor.
**Rath, T. & Clifton, Ph. D., D. (2004, 2009) How Full Is Your Bucket?, Gallup Press, NY