The army has studied why some people are more susceptible to brainwashing and now all soldiers are educated in the techniques used and how to protect themselves from being brainwashed should they be captured. A person is less likely to succumb to brain washing if they are aware of the techniques used, in the case of domestic abuse if a person sees the beginning signs they need to get out of the relationship immediately. Even if you think you are on to what they are trying to do and are strong enough to not fall victim; brainwashing is so insidious and subliminal no matter how strong you are eventually it will get to you. Besides, if a person is using those techniques on you they are obviously not a good person and no one you want to be involved with. Right ?
Don’t laugh. Some of us think if we know what the narcissist is doing we can somehow control it or avoid the abuse. I was one of those people. After being no contact for 3 months the second last time JC and I split, I was doing well, feeling much more myself, my business was off to a great start, I was paying for my truck repairs and not surprisingly, my truck didn’t need as many repairs! I was feeling stronger, confident and back to my calm rational self. When he called and said he had been 6 months to live and asked to talk to me I thought I was immune to his manipulation, after all we had been together 8 years and I knew all his tricks and now I was self-sufficient and would just walk at the first sign of his old ways. Just another lie I told myself. For one thing I hadn’t been away long enough (there is no time long enough) to be immune to his manipulations and hadn’t healed enough. Plus I had under estimated how evil and vengeful he was and I was still assigning him emotions normal people would feel and had not accepted that he had no conscience, guilt or morals.
When he apologized and took total blame for the relationship failing it was easy for me to see how I had acted out of character, now that I was back to calm and rational and he was being so open and (I thought) honest I immediately opened up and was willing to take my share of the responsibility. I didn’t realize it but I was stepping right back into the spider’s web, I had a false sense of confidence because I had always been able to land on my feet whenever we split in the past and now felt even more capable; what could go wrong? haha
That was my biggest down fall, a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous thing and to ever think you have the N figured out or the upper hand with the N you are sadly mistaken.
The army’s research showed that people who meditate and can remove themselves from the situation mentally are less likely to succumb to brainwashing. That makes sense and if you are in a relationship and trying to get out but it is going to take time the best way to protect yourself would be to find a way to meditate on your good qualities and what you know to be true about yourself and not listen to what the N is telling you. I did none of those things.
I wondered why the abuse got so much worse the last time, how was he able to crush me when he was not able to break me for 8 years. What was different? They say that a person with a strong belief in a higher power are less effected by the brainwashing techniques. When I read that I had another epiphany. Prior to our break up in 2008 I had a very strong belief in God and every time JC and I split I relied on God to get me through and I always did better without JC in my life. His attempts to destroy me didn’t have the desired effect. BUT when he came back to me and begged me to take him back I was in the midst of having to get out of my mobile home and had nowhere to go, I was leaving it in God’s hands and felt something would come up. Then JC called me one day from Saskatchewan and said, “I don’t know why I am calling to tell you this but something inside me said I should” and he proceeded to tell me about the house for sale in Sask for $5000. I was hesitant because I didn’t want to move to Sask but I called the number he gave me and talked to the guy with the house. The guy seems legit, he didn’t want money up front, I talked to him 3-4 times and he had me thinking I was moving to a fully equipped house in Sask , fenced yard for the dog, the whole 9 yards. JC kept coming up with all these opportunities for me to make money out there and I thought this must be what God wants for me. My mom and step dad were selling my trailer and I was feeling thrown to the wolves; I told myself it was meant to be. I told the fellow with the house I was giving all my furniture away and only bringing what I could fit on my truck, he said to call him when I was on my way and he would go and air out the house. I was to stop by, have dinner with him and his family and then he would take me over to the house.
JC flew out to help me load up and drive out to Sask, I thought seeing as he had never helped with any of our previous moves, he was really trying to change and be supportive. He was awesome, arrived and took over; telling me to go lay down, I had worked too hard. We left the next morning and he said to call the guy with the house, I had planned to call once we were on the way but JC pulled over so I made the call. The guy answered and said, “Carrie, I have good news and bad news.” I asked what and he said, “I guess I should have called sooner but someone made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and I sold the house yesterday.” I said, “Yeah it would have been nice to call seeing I gave away everything I owed”. Then he said he was coming to a mountain and would lose phone reception and call me right back. Keep in mind he is on the prairies where you can watch your dog run away from home for 3 days and
there isn’t a mountain any where in sight.I never did talk to him again, he never answered my calls. The minute the guy told me he had sold the house I thought,”My God what have I done? I am at JC’s mercy again.” I immediately suspected he had something to do with it but didn’t listen to my gut, my mind told me he would never do something that evil. His attitude changed immediately, remember he had proposed and asked me to move to Sask with him but now he said, “Well, you might as well ride along with me for a couple of weeks and take a little vacation.” and the abuse started like a switch had been flipped. It was while on that “vacation” I found out a bunch of things he’d been lying about and now I was homeless. Who knows how he orchestrated it but I know he did. I don’t know if he planned it or it was just an unexpected bonus for him but when I lost that house I lost my faith in God. I had been so sure it was God’s answer to my situation that I had not questioned it. A house near a lake, the town was called Blaine Lake, cheap, fenced for the dog; everything I had prayed for and then JC calling to say he had heard about this house and when I still didn’t make up my mind proposing and coming up with all these money-making ideas for me. Then in a heart beat he didn’t think I should move to Sask, there would be no way for me to make money, it was too cold for Kato, etc etc. Without my family, without a home, without my belief in God, it was so much easier to destroy my faith in a fair and just world, I felt very vulnerable and yes reliant on him.
It is actually quite amazing I survived. It gives me chills thinking about it and I hear my mind saying, “It is crazy, it is just a bizarre combination of circumstances that just happened at the same time. But my gut is telling me it was a devious plot on JC’s part. Impossible to prove and why waste my time trying but it shows me how evil and to what length these people will go to gain control over their victim and how fragile we all are.
Over the course of the next year and 1/2 he systematically destroyed every thing of value to me and every means of independence until I was a shell of the person I had been. I know my story is at the extreme, but there are women who have been through worse and some maybe got out before it got that bad, none the less the victim is left feeling void of everything that made them who they were. Is it any wonder the victim of abuse refuses to leave her abuser and feels he is the only one who can save them and give them back their identity.
Without proper care after leaving the narcissist the victim is very vulnerable, they need to have it reinforced over and over again that they are good people. They are very susceptible to suggestion, any negativity can be extremely dangerous because the victim is so empty and sensitive to any ridicule. To have people not believe them or blame them is the absolute worst thing that can be done to the victim, often times the victim is hanging onto their sanity by a thread. You hear of people who see someone about to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge and by standers will taunt them to jump……to not believe the victim or blame them is like telling them to jump.
If they seek out a man to make them feel worthy they are sitting targets for the next abuser who comes along telling them how special they are. For a brief time they feel special again but they become immediately dependent on the new lover for their self-worth, even more dependent than they were on the first abuser. When the abuser withdraws his affection and admiration the victim is devastated again, worse than before and a vicious cycle can ensue resulting in bad relationship after bad relationship. Even a decent guy could do things that the victim takes the wrong way because they are so sensitive to every hint of disapproval from the man and are looking for signs of abuse. That is why no contact, and no dating for a long time after leaving the N is so vital to the victims recovery.
What can family and friends do to help the victim?
BE THERE! do not give up on them. Speak the truth without blaming them, they have been blamed and lied to for however long and they need honest, sincere caring people who reinforce that the victim is a good person and the relationship is totally dysfunctional. That they are not thinking clearly right now and you are afraid for their safety.
They say that a narcissist will recruit other people to help them destroy their victim and just as I had reached the point of not reacting to his blatant disregard for my feelings and boundaries, his sister came to live with us. I think his plan back fired; I was away to see my son for 3 days, during which time he had his sister come to stay with him. He complained bitterly about me the whole time, showed her his version of the finances, and told her outrageous lies. By the time I got home she was on his side. I had felt the tension when I got home. She followed me inside and came right out and said, “Where do you see you and JC in 5 years?” I said, “I guess that is totally up to JC.” She replied, “He told me he doesn’t see being with you.” It was like a knife cutting through my gut. Then she started telling me all the shit he’d been telling her for 2 days, I rebuttalled with honesty and she thankfully she recognized the truth when she heard it. Things he had said hadn’t quite added up but what I was telling her made perfect sense. She stayed, he was very generous with her at first and they spent a lot of time off by themselves but she started questioning him on things that didn’t add up and they started to have fights.
I asked her if she wanted to make some money and come to work with me, so we truly spent all our waking hours together and I think he saw his plan falling apart, her and I were developing a friendship, not what he had wanted. I still think he thought she would side with him, he would show her pictures of the latest woman he was talking to on the net, laughing about using it as his screen saver so I could find it anticipating how I would react. She didn’t see the humor. My truck was always breaking down and she got very suspicious, the more she questioned him the more his mask dropped. When he didn’t come home one night she couldn’t believe I wasn’t reacting, she said she would be furious, I just shrugged and said “not much point.” I was very ill so she called him and told him he needed to take me to the doctor and he said to tell me he was on his way and to get my coat on. When I didn’t get ready to leave she kept saying, “JC is going to be here any minute you should get ready.” I told her I was going back to bed and to call me when he pulled in the driveway. Hours went by and when he finally got home he didn’t even check on me or ask how I was. She said he sat down at the kitchen table and started cruising the internet looking at porn. It was her that found the speaker wire, caught him switching the batteries out on my truck and was witness to all the other crazy making tactics he used.
It is easy for one person to feel they are crazy, not so easy to make two people doubt their sanity. Watching how she reacted to his abuse of me gave me strength and a clearer vision of reality and having her there reaffirming I saw what I saw and heard what I heard, gave me the strength to leave. She flat out said,” I am afraid to go to work with you because I think he will kill us both just to get to you.”
The abuser wants to eliminate all possibility of his victim receiving clarity of the reality she lives with him.
Family, friends and the victim all find it hard to understand why a person is so vulnerable when they leave the relationship and why they ask over and over again why he hurt them, what they could have done to change the outcome, why they cry constantly, feel lost and don’t know what to do, like they will never be themselves again. But when you realize the person has been violated at the deepest soul level; how else could they feel?
The up side to the whole thing is; that once you wade through the quagmire and do the hard work of putting yourself back together victims often say it is like a rebirth.
When I finally started to heal it was quite literally like a rebirth, it was the rebirth of my identity. I understand that some people may not know how to put themselves back together and those people might never heal totally if they don’t get help. Many things can help, counseling, reading and educating yourself, yoga, meditation, exercise and a lot of self-reflection. It is an opportunity that not everyone gets because you have to be reduced to nothing, stripped of everything you thought made you who you were.
When we are born we have no choice in what is instilled in us about ourselves and much of what we are is what others thought we should be. This is the opportunity to decide who you want to be. I didn’t know what I was doing, the magnitude of it all, but it worked. Victims find themselves dealing with much more than the pain of the narcissist, they end up dealing with stuff they have been packing for years and as an adult when you look at some of the beliefs you have had about yourself you realize there are things you never should have packed. Personally, I liked a lot of things about myself and some things no so much, I have changed what I can, given up some things and am much more aware of the good traits I have, more forgiving of my flaws and at peace with who I am. I don’t take shit from anyone but I don’t act defensively, I can express myself clearly and firmly and I don’t roll over and bare my belly any more. There is true peace in being happy with who you are without a need to have anyone tell you that you are a good person. I am not saying that I don’t still need to be appreciated, or complimented but it no longer defines me.
Your rebirth awaits you! There is a sun behind the clouds, believe!!