Brainwashing – Part 2

Ok, so I established that brainwashing exists and is possible, or I hope I did.

Now, before I start I want to add a little bit of a disclaimer. I am not saying that everyone who has been with a narcissist/psychopath has been brainwashed; I am just laying out the information I have accumulated and letting you decide what fits and what doesn’t. For me it was a big AHA moment and explained a lot, although I still have to digest it for a while because just like when I discovered he was (most likely) a narcissist and then psychopath it is hard to get your head around the knowledge. Every time I have an epiphany it takes time to absorb it, I still find myself struggling with the fact that he has no feelings, never loved me, and now to think he brainwashed me; that is pretty huge. When I say I struggle with him not having feelings, it is not that I don’t believe it on an intellectual level, but my brain still wants it to not be true. I don’t miss him, don’t long for him, and the only dreams I ever have of him are terrifying nightmares. Just wanted to clear that up.

In the 1950′s, psychologist Robert Jay Lifton studied former prisoners of the Korean War and  he discovered a set of steps used to brainwash the prisoners in war camps.

1. Assault on identity

2. Guilt

3. Self-betrayal

4. Breaking point

5. Leniency

6. Compulsion to confess

7. Channeling of guilt

8. Releasing of guilt

9. Progress and harmony

10. Final confession and rebirth

In the war camps and especially in cults once the victim adopts the beliefs of their tormentor they are rewarded with better treatment and are relatively content with their life because they feel whole again with new beliefs taking the place of their old ones. Like I said in part one, parents had to kidnap their children to save them from cults.

The narcissist never rewards, only briefly and then he changes the rules again. The victim is constantly reaching for the carrot and never grasping it, they are never good enough and then are discarded after having been stripped of everything they ever believed of themselves and given nothing back except to be told they are evil, wrong, bad and responsible not only for their own pain but the behavior of their tormentor.

Why isn’t the narcissist happy when he finally breaks his victim? My theory is that he derives great pleasure from the tormenting, the process of “converting” his victim, it is a source of ns. As we have stated before the narcissist is empty of emotions for the most part and imitates the emotions of others, to be able to instill sadness, pain, fear in a person gives him a sense of control and power. He insists the victim conform to his way but once they do he no longer has interest in them. He may scream at them that he hates their crying and that they are too sensitive, too emotional but that is what feeds his ego, once the victim gives up and stops reacting he quickly loses interest. He is looking at a shell of the person he met, he is looking at a reflection of himself and it’s pretty ugly, so he goes looking for fresh supply; someone with their feelings intact, someone who will bleed for him and he discards the victim. He has stripped her of everything that made her who she was and puts nothing back. Is it any wonder the victim feels so lost, empty, and that he is the only one who can put her back together? The victim is lost, disoriented, unsure of everything, even how she feels.

I have been there and I still get frustrated with victim’s fresh out of a relationship with an N or someone still in the relationship and unable to accept the N for what he is. I remember going to a forum or reading an article and having a sense of relief, I had the answers. I would feel confident I could stay away now that I had that knowledge, yet later that same day I would be stricken with a panic attack, horrible self-doubt and doubt my sanity. So many times women read an article and have an epiphany and two weeks later read an article that says the exact same thing and have another epiphany. They need the information over and over again because as soon as they are alone their mind starts repeating everything the N said to them. “It is their fault, if they wouldn’t have said this or done that then things would be ok”. Everything they read that made sense now means nothing as the narcissist’s programming takes over the brain and the brain goes where it always does, to what it knows. With time, reading the information over and over again and rehashing the relationship over and over again, the victim eventually, hopefully, reprograms their brain and they heal and feel whole again. But it takes time, a lot of time.

How does the narcissist do this?

Remember the steps below are the steps used to brainwash cult members and prisoners of war; I have just adapted them to suit a domestic relationship, the techniques are the same.

First of all, it requires isolation from other positive influences like a person’s support system of family and friends, sleep deprivation and often malnutrition. Physical abuse is not necessary to brainwash a person but it helps, even a perceived threat of death or physical harm will amplify the effects.

It makes sense that it is easier to brainwash someone who is isolated, not just because people might tell the victim that the abuser is actually abusive BUT they will derive feelings of self-worth from doing a good job at work, from earning their own income, from things as simple as being told they look nice that day; all of that undermines the abusers attempts to strip the victim of their identity.

I don’t know about everyone else, I think JC was especially evil and I think he did study up on mind control.  In my case all three were present, isolation, sleep deprivation and malnutrition, especially in the last 2 years. I was isolated, he often kept me awake by badgering me about perceived transgression on my part, making noise, like playing his guitar in the bedroom while I tried to sleep, or decide to sort his paperwork out on the bed while I am laying there trying to sleep and just because I was so upset I couldn’t sleep. I developed the ability to sleep under any conditions and could will myself to sleep. He left his son and me at home where we ate porridge and rice all week while he ate microwave meals he bought at the corner store. When I left JC I was told by the doctor I was anemic, no wonder when you consider my diet.

Breaking the person down

Assault on identity. After initially loving everything about the victim in order to hook them the abuser starts a slow, subtle and insidious attack on everything about them. The victim sees it as him being picky or irritable and at first lets it slide not realizing that it is eating away at their self-esteem little by little. Before too long  their thoughts and beliefs are wrong, they are stupid, they aren’t allowed their own feelings, they are wrong to feel the way they do, even things they see with their own eyes are denied. The barrage of criticism dumped on the victim can last days, weeks, months on end, with brief doses of acceptance and praise when they conform to the beliefs of the abuser. They learn that if they conform to the abusers beliefs they are granted reprieve from the abuse, but only briefly, as soon as they give their abuser what he says he wants he changes what he wants. The victim ends up confused, disoriented and exhausted. At this point they don’t know what they believe any more.

Guilt. Everything the victim does is bad, from the smallest acts like they brush their teeth wrong to how they dress, or for looking at another man, even if they didn’t. the victim becomes almost paralyzed, afraid to do anything for fear of being wrong. They feel guilty because if only they weren’t so bad this wouldn’t be happening to them. I remember when JC and I first moved into the house he was always complaining because I never helped him in the shop, but I worked full-time plus did all the cooking and cleaning inside the house and the yard work outside. I tried to explain to him that I did everything else in the house why should I have to clean up his shop also but as you can guess that went over like a lead balloon. So feeling guilty one day I stacked all the firewood he had split. When he was splitting it I had mentioned I thought it was too long but he insisted they were the exact length they should be. When I went to stack it the pieces would not fit cross wise in the wood room beside the house so I stacked them length wise. He came home, noticed I had stacked the wood, checked and gave me shit for stacking them the wrong way. “Now he had to restack it all, I should have stacked it cross wise.” Of course any defense on my part was over ridden and I just gave up. Anything I ever did, clean the car – it wasn’t good enough, I said dumb things, I assumed things I shouldn’t, I felt things I shouldn’t, I didn’t show enough appreciation, you name it……I didn’t do it or did it wrong. I got to the point where I was afraid to say anything for fear he would cut me off and twist my words. I became a nervous wreck at the thought of approaching him about anything.

Self-betrayal. Out of self-preservation the victim denounces their family and friends who hold the same beliefs they do. This instills more guilt in the victim, forcing them into self-inflicted isolation and a belief that if they left they would have no one to help them.

Agreeing with the abuser I remember screaming at JC, “You are right, I am a horrible person, what ever you say, just leave me alone, if I am so horrible why don’t you just leave?” and he would come to me and comfort me, say I was too hard on myself. My natural instinct would be to push him away, but I wouldn’t, because I knew that would only start the abuse again, so I would allow him to comfort me because it gave me a reprieve from the barrage of abuse.

Breaking point. This is where you hear the victim say they are having a nervous break down. The victim experiences uncontrollable sobbing, deep depression, disorientation, they have lost their grip on reality, feel alone and empty. At this point the person’s sense of self is pretty much up for grabs. In cults, with prisoners of war it is at this point they rebuild the person, instilling their beliefs which the victim accepts –  trying to end his inner torment.

Salvation. As the victim reaches their breaking point the abuser offers some small kindness, shows remorse even, or

bathtuboffers up some form of an apology, “I am sorry you made me do this to you”, they do something nice for the victim, it can be something very small and insignificant but the gesture is exaggerated in the victim’s mind and the victim shows gratitude totally out of proportion to the gesture.

One incident I can remember very clearly was nearing the end of the relationship, my truck was not running. I had to walk a long way to the bus and everywhere I went was by bus and took hours, I had no money and my cell phone had been disconnected, every morning I hoped and prayed my truck would get fixed and everyday I was gutted when it wasn’t, I was at my breaking point, it seemed JC was blocking me at every turn. I called him from a phone booth one day in tears, tired from trying to get the right bus to where I needed to go and had just discovered the bus I needed had just left and my pass would expire before the next bus. Kato had been locked in the house all day and would need to pee, I was sobbing and he said he had to make a run out-of-town to fix a broken down company truck and he would pick me up on his way. He sounded so concerned and I had mixed feelings, it meant I had to leave Kato locked up even longer but I really had no choice.

I waited and waited where JC told me to, I was used to waiting for JC, he always made me wait hours. I was watching the traffic zoom by when I heard a semi honk behind me when I turned around he was kneeling down with Kato standing there wagging his tail like crazy. Just typing it now brought me to the point of sobbing, I had to stop typing because I was getting the keyboard wet. 🙂 But I can remember the relief, the immense gratitude I felt for JC’s effort. He knew I would be worried about Kato, it is one of the kindest things JC ever did for me. He had brought dog food and water for Kato. I must have thanked him 10 times and I fell in love with him all over again, my hope for the relationship was restored. I thought, “He must really love me to do something so thoughtful” I went to show my gratitude and gave him a hug and said, “I love you.” I was gutted when he pulled away and didn’t say it back.

Another time we were living in a 2 room dive that only had cold water. We were going to the local Tim Horton’s late at night to wash and I so longed for a nice hot bath, I used to love to lounge in a hot bubble bath.

JC had built a kind of shop behind the cabin we were living in and put up black plastic for walls and told me to stay out of it. He banged and hammered away in there for a couple of days and then asked me to come see what he had been doing. He pulled the plastic back to reveal the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. He had built a room out of scrap wood, one wall even had an old window in it, he had found some plastic ivy that he strung through the rafters, the floor was made of pallets, there was an old fireplace insert off to one side with a fire flickering, it was winter and cold outside but as soon as the plastic was pulled away the warmth of the fire enveloped me and drew me in. It took me a minute to absorb what I was seeing and then I saw it in the corner, an old iron bathtub filled to the brim with hot water and bubbles; the stream rising like arms pulling me into it, surrounding the tub were a half-dozen stubby candles flickering, a towel was draped over my old rocking chair across from the tub and an old carpet on the pallet beside the tub completed the picture. I was speechless, in awe of the scene in front of me and half expecting it was some cruel joke. I hadn’t seen anything that beautiful in my life and the fact that he had gone to that much work to surprise me filled me with gratitude for years after.

Just to complete the story the way he had heated the water was with the burner off of an old barbecue. I was so thrilled and he had said, “Get in, it’s for you.” I jumped in and slowly lowered myself into the hot water, it was heaven, and then I realized my ass was getting hotter and HOTTER and HOTTER!! I stood up and started dancing in the tub, then it dawned on JC, he had forgotten to shut off the burner!! I light-heartedly teased him about trying to cook me alive. We actually had a good laugh, I was almost giddy with joy at being able to have a bath and fell asleep in the tub and didn’t wake up until the water chilled, but the fire was still burning and the room was toasty warm. After the first night JC modified the system and devised a network of piping that went from the tap down through the fireplace and into the tub with a shut off valve so I could lay in the tub and add steaming hot water as the bathtub cooled. The two nicest things JC ever did for me bought him a lot of forgiveness from me and totally obliterated much of the abuse.

 Enter the Guilt. The victim feels guilty for thinking ill of the abuser, look at the nice thing he did for them and the relief of being in the abusers “good graces” reinforces that the victim just has to stop doing wrong and listen to the abuser and everything will be ok. And that is when the abuser starts feeding his belief system into the victim’s psyche.

The last 2 years with JC it was my truck, he would tamper with it, it would break down, he would gallantly offer to fix it. He’d put his arms around me, “It will be ok Babe, we’ve gone through worse and we always make it through, don’t we?”  I had learned that getting angry or nagging got me no where so I became very grateful for any effort he made, didn’t mention fixing the truck for weeks, didn’t cry about it and waited patiently. 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks went by with the parts in the driveway going rusty. I didn’t expect him to work on it during the week so as his days off approached I would casually mention I had customers waiting for pick ups and did he think he would get to my truck on his days off. He would say he was bringing his tools home on his last day of work. He would work on other people’s vehicles, he would put straight pipes on my truck (yeah it looked great but it wasn’t running so I wasn’t making money) If I said anything I was ungrateful for not praising him for the work he DID do. A month went by and the 2 months, the whole time I was dying inside, everyday I lost more of my independence and I literally felt myself dying a slow death. Just as I would get to the breaking point he would fix it so it ran for a day or two and then it would break down again. My spirit broke, I stopped fighting it, I didn’t cry, I didn’t get angry, I was a zombie. He would come to bed I would spread my legs, he wouldn’t come home all night I wouldn’t react. He would still give me shit for crying everyday but I kept track and I knew I didn’t cry. His lies became more blatant, like he didn’t get home until after 8 on a Saturday when he was supposed to pick his sister up at the bus at 3, had called and told us both he was on his way and then never showed up. When he did pull in at home at 8 he said he had been at the bank until 7:30. I said, “The bank closes at 3 on Saturday”. He argued that his was open later. The next day I actually borrowed his truck and went to the bank to check what time they close on Sat, 3:00. But I never said a word to him about it.

It was at this point JC discarded me and it seems to me many other victims are discarded at this point, he has drained the person of their self-worth and usually material wealth also and that is all he wanted so he discards the victim for a fresh supply.

Whereas cults and captures have a purpose to their brainwashing-converting the victim to their beliefs the narcissist has no other purpose to his torture than to derive supply and once he has it he has no interest in putting the person back together, they are pitiful in his eyes.

* Contrary to popular belief the victims are NOT weak going into the relationship, the narcissist does not like weakness in people, it is not what he seeks, he despises weakness. He needs a strong person, a person who has a strong sense of their self-worth because it is through the destroying of the victims self-confidence and identity that the narcissist gains strength and his sense of self-worth.

In Part 3 I will discuss how a person recovers from brainwashing.


19 thoughts on “Brainwashing – Part 2

    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Greeneyesopen, mine used to say “I am not about to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.” I knew I wasn’t stupid, my God I graduated top of my class when I went back to college but after a while with him I couldn’t put two sentences together because he was always correcting my grammar and twisting my words, or using double meanings and misinterpreting what I said. We would end up arguing over grammar or the meaning of a word instead of what I was trying to say. Frustrating to the point of making a person crazy.
      Thanks for commenting, glad you got something out of it.


  1. Vanessa

    It’s mind boggling reading the range of tactics they use. They are so insidious it takes time to work out what is actually happening. I realised only after a couple of years in the relationship that my xN would set up a situation where he could harm me covertly, then come to my rescue. The night before I commenced my own job, something happended to upset me, it varied. I was then tired and fragile and trying to cope with work. I resigned from two jobs whilst with him as I couldn’t cope after years of a solid work history. He wanted me to have no money and rely on him for it. He tried it just recently and I rejected his fake concern, stating “why are you trying to rescue me from the very thing you did to me in the first place ?” I also realised that he enjoyed my pain and when I struggled it made him feel stronger. If I enjoyed anything outside of hiim it was difficult for him to hide his disappointment. The nice things he did do, and they became less and less, I realised wasn’t because he loved me, it was credit for what he was going to get from me later on. If you have good will you are easier to manipulate. Delaying fixing your truck I think was to prevent you from having your own income and social outlet also. The tactics are so similar just in different scenarios. Thank you for putting together the information, it was very enlightening and said clearly what I try and communicate to people when they ask….”why did you stay so long?” Maybe I should reply have you got a couple of hours whilst I explain the range of brainwashing tactics in the N’s tool box.” The things I know now I didn’t realise for some time, I thought they were just coincidence. I wouldn;t, then that is, in my wildest dreams believe that a person I chose to love would do them purposefully.
    Look forward to your next post.
    Thank you so much. This is really helping me.


  2. bluescitygirl


    This made me realize even more ways he used me. It’s like you are in my head. You are at a point in your journey where you can break it down into pieces if you will and articulate it well. You are a lot further in the process and you can string thoughts together and put the pieces of the puzzle together for me. Then I can see it. I’ve gotten a lot of it on my own but I wasn’t aware of how each move he made was truly methodical. This article made me cry because it is so accurate…the part about sleep deprivation….I was so floored when I read this it took me a day to figure out how to reply….I’m in a bad place right now emotionally. I’m not sure how to get out of it but I’m trying. Thank you for taking the time to put what you have been through into words. It reminds me that even though I am the one seeking psychiatric help….I’m still not crazy…I’m just trying to deal with a load that sometimes feels far too heavy for me alone.

    Much love,


    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Blues, I am so glad I can be of help to you in your journey. I too just now put more pieces together researching this. Like you I knew what he had done, and why I reacted the way I did but once I started reading about brainwashing it was like all the pieces fell into place. Things made more sense. but at the same time it is very hard to accept that they are that evil, it took me a couple of days to digest it. It is no wonder it takes us so long to recover when you finally look at it with a clear head and can see what was happening.
      When you are in it you are so busy trying to keep your head above water and deal with all the chaos you can’t process it all. And like the article I was reading said, that is all part of the strategy, to keep your mind so busy that you can’t think clearly and it is easier to break you down.
      I knew a lot of the drama was on purpose but I thought it was more of a smoke screen to keep me off balance so I wouldn’t catch him doing whatever he was doing but then he seemed to leave evidence out for me to find so that didn’t make sense.
      I know I say we have to concentrate on ourselves in order to heal and I still believe that but when you know why you are a basket case it is easier to deal with it. I think anyway.
      I am always reminded of JC and my relationship when I hear the Rihanna song Stay

      The reason I hold on
      cause I need this hole gone
      funny you’re the broken one but i’m the only one who needed saving
      Cause when you never see the light of day its hard to know which one of us is caving.

      Its been 3 years for me and I am definitely over the worst of it. The only thing I am left with now is the financial devastation and my health, which is stressful enough. I tell myself that he didn’t realize what he was doing, that he wasn’t purposely trying to destroy me because that is so hard to accept that someone would purposely want to destroy you. It;’s hard to not take that personally lol you know what I mean I am sure. I know I will survive and I don’t cry any more or even get angry any more but I really wish he wouldn’t have destroyed me financially. It is so unfair that he goes off and lives off f her money and I am left struggling to buy food. There was no need for him to do that to me.

      But that is what i always tell people, don’t try to make sense of what they do. They are narcissists, they never make sense
      You will make it. You are a very strong woman and it may seem you can;t carry the load but somehow you will and then one day you will be through it and look back and wonder how the hell you made it through, We never know how strong we are until we are tested. Every day for almost 2 years I thought I couldn’t make it another day and I did it. Not one of those days did I feel strong but I must have been cuz here I am, I survived. So will you.
      much love and prayers to you.


  3. Carrie Reimer Post author

    Vanessa, I’m glad it helped. Yeah, JC always found a way of preventing me from working. For years I just thought I had bad luck with vehicles breaking down. Who would purposely keep you from working? that doesn’t even make sense; but that is the thing with N’s we try to make sense of what they do and we can’t because we don’t think like that. I think JC had many reasons for not wanting me to work, he would want me to work but at things he told me to work at, not things I loved to do or that I really made decent money at. He didn’t want me to have the ability to leave, he loved to have me in the “owing him” position, and it was my independence, it made me equal and I got a lot of gratification from my job, I loved my job and he destroyed everything I loved, plus i had a nicer truck than his. After we split and my truck was in a tow yard because I couldn’t afford to get it out. It had broken down on the side of the road (after he had done an oil change 5 minutes prior) I had it towed and then couldn’t afford the bill. He said he would pay the tow bill and never did. it was 2 days from them selling the truck and he said he had a “friend” interested in buying my truck for the cost of the tow bill. I knew what he was doing, he was trying to get my truck and I told him I would die before I let any friend of his get my truck. I called his step dad and his step dad got my truck out. Eventually I did lose my truck but at least not to him.
    I have found that when I tried to explain what he did, people got a glazed look in their eye and you could tell they had checked out; either they thought I was making things up, or I was nuts. Unless you go through the whole process from start to finish people don’t understand and I have yet to find a person who hasn’t been through it that cares enough to listen to it from start to finish. I have found with my mom I have given her little snip its over the course of 3 years and she is finally getting it, my brother shuts right down.
    If you tell people your ex made it so you had to quit your job or if I say he tampered with my vehicle so I couldn’t work, people can’t believe it.
    Only people who have been there understand.
    One time I was at a girlfriend’s house and she had another friend there and the woman had lost an eye. I asked how, she was hesitant to say anything and then she started talking about her abusive ex. I listened and said I understood because I had been there. We ended up talking until 3 am and even then we could have gone longer. Everyone else there just sat in silence. people were crying, her and I hugged. She said that it had been 5 years and she had stopped trying to explain it and just held it in. my friend had no idea what she had been through. It was a wonderful experience, two strangers talking about something so deeply personal and I think everyone there came away with a new understanding and appreciation for women who go through this.
    That’s why it is so important that people have support groups or forums on line where they can speak openly and be understood. When you know you are understood you feel validated and that you are not crazy. if everyone doubts you then of course you doubt your own sanity. That in itself can drive a person back to the abuser.
    I am so glad you are finding something useful here.
    Big hugs


  4. tulips

    Oh my gosh – I’ve been admittedly reading your site for the better part of the day. I hope that obsessing like this is not bad for me and my mental health….I know I have to move on and forget a lot of this, but I can’t stop reading. It seems that you are writing about my relationship.

    It’s like you understand all the nuances that I have trouble explaining to friends, precisely because it was a gradual chipping away at my self esteem. You said N’s hate weakness – it seems so crazy that they would make people feel weak! I remember many instances of crying and he would go cold or near the end “you’re having a pity party for yourself” and “why don’t you leave and have some self respect.”

    He would actually blame ME for not letting HIM get sleep, but he would drop bombs on me at midnight, like how he had cheated and lied about it for 8 months. Naturally, I wouldn’t be able to sleep after that!! But this is always how the fights went. Otherwise, he would withhold sex or affection, and act like it was normal. We didn’t have sex at night for the last 3/4 of the entire relationship. I read an email from his friend to him saying I was showing red flags by not “letting” him sleep and it was messing him up at work….That he has so much going for him outside of me. (!!) If only people knew how things really went down.


    1. Ness

      Hi Tulips, I read day and night too about the condition. You’re trying to understand the unexplainable. I still read about narcissism sometimes but it’s become alot less now. None of the things you have said you endured with this person is normal. I experienced the cheating, constant lying and finding things out months later either because pieces of the puzzle came together for me or he told me to hurt me. He did the friends thiing too, they feed people information they want to and they are so good at enlisting people into their own pity party. Unfortunately the other night I picked up the phone when I had a call from a different number. It was him again,…crying…I have become alot harder to him. I immediately told him to stop his crying and I wasn’t interested in his pain. They bring you to this because there are many times, and mine did it too when you are distressed and they look and speak at you with disdain. I went back 6 times to get exactly the same treatment after I fell each time for the faulse promises and sweetness. If they treat you like that, they will never change, it’s in their DNA and he obviously does not deserve you. My X still believes he can do this again,get me to return to the fold, the latest is we are both better than other people “special potential” that is …..whoa…this is what they think of themselves…they are special. You are not alone, it really does take time to process all of this. Do what is right for you. I am still healing but things gradually improve with time if you can eventually mostly get them out of your head, These so called friends will be shat upon sooner or later and then possibly have the insight to realise it wasn’t you. This site is a great support as you have women at different stages of their healing that can help you. Good luck, I know what you’re going through.


    2. Carrie Reimer Post author

      tulips, I don’t think it is unhealthy to read about others experiences because it validates what you went through and reaffirms you are not crazy or alone. If months down the road you are still obsessing then I would get concerned but I think it helps a person stay no contact to read about them and remind ourselves how bad it actually was. We tend to forget the bad stuff and remember the good times and need to be reminded how insane the relationship was. People will tell you to “just forget it and move on” , but they have not been with a narcissist, anyone who has knows no one “just moves on” after going through hell like that.


  5. tulips

    Thanks Ness! Yep – I went back 4 times (I think…since a few of those were “unclear”). It is so good to know that others have gone through this. In September I remember walking around thinking I might need to be checked into a psychiatric hospital. I have never felt that off in my life. I ended up going to therapy for “anger management” — what the therapist never got to was that there was a REASON I felt the way I did. I don’t walk around like that all the time! You said he is still calling you. I am worried and sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know he won’t stay away forever. Thank you for the support. I am so grateful. I hope to be of service to other women one day through this experience.


    1. Ness

      Hope my comment helped a little. If you have left and gone back then you can see how he has done it before. That helped me this time. When I rejected him he sent me e-mails from an unblocked source including a photo of his apparently latest girl. He has been trawlling through dating sites for 3 months and hundreds of women. Also let me know how many times he has had sex! True or not, this is the vindictive part of the narcissism. I just keep blocking as I go and now I am in the middle of moving over my whole e-mail account. I had to deal with alot of anger too, I now write positive affirmations, stick them on the wall and stop myself from thinking negatively about myself or others. You’ve been trained to put yourself down and I think the anger is normal, although others couldn’t understand what was going on with me for a while. It was mostly angry at myself and I projected out to others at the slightest provocation to me. Especially men.
      The anger only hurts you, it locks you in. It did me. As far as returning, with me he will always return when I have worked so hard to get back on my feet and I’m about to have some enjoyment in life. Right now I am on holidays and about to move into my own apartment. Also, my parents house is now on the market (they passed away 2 years ago), so there is an upcoming inheritence that will change my life radically. Carrie wrote to me one night when i was feeling desperate and it really hit home. I have been strong ever since. I questioned my sanity also. I hope you keep strong and keep moving forward. You deserve better!


      1. Carrie Reimer Post author

        Ness, I am sorry you lost your parents but to get the inheritance will certainly change your life for the better, give you a fresh start. Imagine if you were still with your ex, he would make sure to spend every dime of it before he left you again. You can be assured when you get the money, if he knows about it, he will ramp up his efforts to get you back. I am very pleases to know that i was able to make a difference in your recovery and help you be strong.
        All the best to you and thank you for your excellent comments and advice to tulips.


    2. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Tulips, they almost always make a curtain call as you know but now you are armed with knowledge you never had before. You can be strong, stay no contact and if he does get through to you and you have any self doubt, come here and get reinforcement. We will talk you through it and remind you what you are dealing with. They can be so convincing and play on our emotions so well we need someone who will remind us of what we are dealing with. I am actually afraid of ever seeing him again. Not that i think I would go back but i just don’t want to even hear what he would have to say. I know it would be hurtful and to be honest I am afraid of the black cloud and evil, the negativity he has surrounding him. I don’t want it in my life. My life is positive now, even when things aren’t going well it is not like having that black cloud of evil hanging over my head all the time.
      I remember not knowing if we were split or not, We broke up about every 6 months but some times I wasn’t sure. it sounds crazy to say you aren’t sure if you were split or not but for most of our relationship I was unsure.
      The only time I knew for sure was when I moved out, even then he would always contact me and we would be dating and then he would end up moving in with me again. I would assume that if we were having sex and he was living under my roof we were a couple again but then he would have personal ads etc. I let him stay with me once before he went to Africa and I told him he could stay but if he was staying in my house and using my computer I expected the respect of him not having personal ads on the net. I assumed he would abide by my request because it was the decent thing to do. hahaha
      But we were having sex every night, he was staying with me every night, I assumed we were back together, we were saying I love you, planning his trip to Sudan, everybody thought we were a couple but when he got involved with a woman while in Sudan and I was upset he said we were split up.
      They like to keep the victim uncertain, that why they can screw around and say “But we were split up” or they can hang it over the victims head. “Why would I want to commit to you when all you ever do is bitch and cry” Or
      “we aren’t in a relationship you have no right to be upset if I date someone else”
      He would dump me in the morning and then show up that night like nothing happened and every time we did break up he would beg me back so I stopped taking it seriously and that’s when he discarded me for good. But even then he still showed up a year later saying he always loved me.
      Head games!!! power plays, ego strokes.


  6. Mark

    Although I’m sure it will happen. I am not looking forward to the day evil walks back into my life. I am working and praying really hard that I will be in a much stronger place at that point. I don’t want her back at all, but it’s the tricks they play that isn’t normal on any human level that still mess with you. I don’t want to look into the abyss of hell ever again!
    I just had a scare recently with an “aha” moment about this after putting more pieces together. I caught her being in contact with her ex boyfriend after us being together for 5 years. Totally hoovering tactic. She made it clear he wants her back and I really don’t care anymore. I’m sure she sees him as far too “weak” (thus the final discard) but will still use him for whatever supply she can. I’m sure he doesn’t know she’s a narc so I honestly feel sorry for him. She demeaned and belittled him to me while with her. Made me feel so special how I was the one. (soul mates) LOL! I’m sure she’s doing the same with the next victim.
    My point is to never look back. Prepare yourself for a manipulative, maniacal and deliberate hoovering tactic in 5 days, 5 months, or 5 years. It doesn’t matter to them. They always return to an old corpse seeking more “supply” just like a serial killer would. However, you’re alive. Stay alive, and stay away! Refuse to let them feed off your energy or soul in any manner. This is the ONLY option and answer.


    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Mark, For a long time I felt as you do, that I was afraid to ever run into him because I was afraid I would succumb to whatever power he had over me but I no long feel that way. I don’t worry about that because I know I am seeing him with honest eyes now and I know myself and I love myself and I like myself and I really don’t think there is anything he could say or do that would work on me.
      The reason we feel they have so much power over us is because we were victims. As much as I say that it is not the victim’s fault they were abused, they didn’t know what they were dealing with. We allowed it to happen. That may seem like a contradiction but hear me out. If we had no control over what happened to us then how can we ever protect ourselves from it happening again? That is what scares us and we l;earn all we can about the narcissist in hopes of being able to pick one out of a crowd because we are afraid if we don’t pick him out first he will work his evil powers over us and we will be helpless.

      The secret to being safe from a narcissist does not lay in him, it lies in us. Yes we need to learn all we can about narcissists in order to heal and understand it was not our fault but then we have to look at ourselves and really analyze what we are made of. What lies have we been told about ourselves that we are still believing? Those are the lies the narcissist will pick up ob and keep telling us if we don;t heal those old wounds and dispel the lies in our own minds.

      Over the course of the past 4 and 1/2 years I have examined every single part of me, I have taken every trait and every event in my life and honestly analyzed it to see where I was at fault, where I wasn’t at fault but was blamed, things I have done because I wanted to be accepted and loved not because I really wanted to do them. I got rid of a lot of shit that was not mine to pack and I accepted things about myself that maybe aren’t that pretty but I can live with it. I know that my ex would never get that kind of hold on me again, nor would anyone else. Not because I am so attuned to narcissists but because I am so attuned to me.
      Thanks for commenting


      1. Mark

        Hi Carrie,

        Thank you for the response, advice and encouraging words. She holds no evil powers over me. She is just the essence of evil plain and simple. I am thoroughly disgusted finding out who he really is. This is my greatest difficulty. It was very difficult but forums like yours have helped. Thank you for sharing your personal and inspirational story to help others such as myself.

        Warmest Regards,


        1. Carrie Reimer Post author

          Mark your are welcome and thank you for kind words and words of encouragement to others. United we stand and by speaking the truth we will put the spotlight and the shame and blame where it belongs, on the narcissists of the world. The more people who are aware of them the less power they have.
          It is so hard to accept evil like this exists but once you meet it you never forget. They say that 20% of the population are narcissists, and there is no way of knowing exactly because most of them are never diagnosed. Scarey!!


  7. Pingback: Brainwashing – Part 2 – Parental Alienation

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