How often do we hear the victim of abuse say they just can’t stay away from the Narcissist? They know logically that the N has abused them horribly and they should hate him for what he has done to them, yet they are drawn to him, actually feel like they might die if they can’t speak to him.
I remember thinking it was like he had cast a spell on me or something. I have read on other sites and from experts on the topic that it is because we are still in love with the image the narcissist presented in the beginning, which could account for some of it, but logically that doesn’t make sense. People don’t understand why the victim is so upset or continues to go back, drop the charges of abuse, defend the abuser even. Society loses sympathy for the victim out of frustration and lack of understanding. Even more frustrating is that the victim can’t explain it either; the most they can come up with is “I love him/her”.
It has been 3 years + since I left and I still fear that if I saw him he would still be able to control me. I like to think I would tell him to Fuck off or better yet; not react at all, but he had such control over me at one point that I have never been able to explain; how can I be sure he couldn’t do it again? It was so out of character for me to allow anyone to control me and yet it happened, how? I think the control the narcissist has over the victim is what keeps people like me trying to figure out how they tick, it is the one thing that has plagued me all this time.
The other day I had an aha moment, I didn’t find information that I had never heard before but for some reason, this time; the pieces fell into place for me. I had read Eckert Tolle’s book, The Power Of Now; where he talks about the way our brain lies to us and can keep us stuck in the past, stuck in unhappiness. It is all stuff I have read about before and I am sure you are familiar with also. What we were told as children, good or bad effects what we are as adults. We know that the brain is very powerful and can heal us, defeat us or bring us great success depending on the information it is fed. But that is where the tricky part comes in; the brain has great capacity to learn new things and absorb information but what if the information is a lie? We hear about subliminal messages used in advertising, many students listen to tapes while sleeping in order to learn material for school, it is no surprise that the power of suggestion is very real and well…………powerful. The only information the brain has is what it has learned from the past whether it is information we feed it information someone else feeds it; so when you worry about the future your brain is putting that worry in your head from past experiences; something that might never happen in the future.
I used to be a worrier, I worried every time my son was out of my sight, I could get myself so worked up I was crazed with worry, calling hospitals, the police, the highway patrol and that was when I had nothing to worry about. When he got involved in drugs etc I was paralyzed with worry until a girlfriend suggested I pray, she helped me write-up a prayer that I taped everywhere I might be and I said it like a mantra, praying for God to keep him safe and putting my faith in a higher power. At first it didn’t do much good but after a while I became calmer and the anxiety left me (for the most part) and as it turned out my son was fine. I haven’t worried like that since and I certainly have had reasons to but what I did with that mantra was reprogram my brain to have faith it will all work out as it should. I know why I was so afraid, because I had my baby taken away from me when I was barely 17, and then my first husband had his motorcycle accident and spent the next year clinging to life. I had no control over either of those incidents and they left me feeling vulnerable and left a huge impact on my brain; panic was my “go to” emotion when I felt things were out of my control. Recently when my son was heading back to BC from Sask I felt that old panicky feeling building in my gut and I changed the way I was thinking quite easily. I was relieved to hear he had made it to Vernon but I had functioned all day and hadn’t been plagued with fear all day.
I have said before that we have control over what we think. Victims say, “I can’t stop thinking about him”, but you can…………it isn’t easy to retrain your brain but it can be done. Many people don’t want to do the work necessary, it is easier to give in to your brain. Unfortunately it becomes harder and harder to fight it because every time you think about it you are embedding it deeper into your brain, whose only source of information is what we put in it. See how it can become a vicious cycle? When I was plagued with thoughts of how happy he was with his new woman I would force myself to think about how it was with him and I; only now I put her in my place and I envisioned her sitting at home alone crying, her being told she was irrational and paranoid, over time it I retrained my brain.
Still the question remains; how did the narcissist gain this control over us to begin with?
Brain washing. I know it sounds melodramatic and like something out of the movies, that’s what we used to think about narcissists and psychopaths remember? and they exist.
During the Korean war it was common knowledge that prisoners of war were brainwashed, it continues to this day but it is given different names, in some countries it is called “reeducating” , on web sites about abuse it is referred to “gas lighting” or “crazy making”. In the late 70’s and 80’s we heard about parents who resorted to kidnapping their children who had been brainwashed by cults. Often times the youth went back again again and the parents would end up hiring professional “deprogrammers”.
Those of us old enough remember Jim Jones who convinced hundreds of people to drink cyanide poison mixed with grape Koolaid and Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped and claimed she had been brainwashed, but those were long ago and sensational stories and not what the victims of domestic abuse suffer.
Or is it?
In Part 2 I will draw the comparisons and let you decide.