When you hear women’s stories of their relationship with a narcissist and where they are left by the narcissist when the relationship ends you hear the same complaints.
1. They were strong independent women and can’t believe how dependent on the N they’ve become
2. No matter what they had going into the relationship, they are left destitute or fighting for what is rightfully theirs.
3. They feel alone, that people don’t understand what they have been through and unable to explain what they have been through or why they stayed, which doesn’t help them get the empathy and support they need.
4. They feel judged and blamed by society, friends, family and of course the narcissist.
It is obvious that the narcissist’s main method of controlling the victim is through finances.
I had never taken shit from any man, I had always maintained control in relationships. I hate to put it that way, it is not that I was controlling, (there is a difference) but I protected my best interests and never handed over control of my money or life to anyone; before JC.
When you have money, equity, credit it is a lot easier to stay independent and self-sufficient so it makes sense that the N would focus on gaining control of the finances in the relationship. It’s not like you were stupid and just handed over the money, it is obviously not a habit of yours to meet a man and hand over your money and your assets; if it was you wouldn’t have had anything to hand over to the N. It isn’t that he put some sort of spell on you or hypnotized you (although it can feel like it at times). He is a master manipulator and pathological liar who knew exactly what buttons to push and how to kick start your natural instincts to do what he wants. You were working under the assumption you were dealing with a normal loving partner who only had your best interests at heart. You had no reason to believe that he was out to destroy you, even when his actions indicated that was his intention his words belied his actions and you became confused and more easily coerced.
Once the downward spiral starts it gains momentum quickly and before you know it you are totally under his control, destitute and wondering what happened.
I have researched how the N got this power over the victim to manipulate them into giving up everything for the N and it really is very simple and comes down to the narcissist using our natural instinct and responses against us. Either they have studied it or they have picked up on it through trial and error. The huge advantage they have over us, the victims, the average normal person; is that they do not feel like we do, they do not have guilt or a conscience and do not respond to stimuli like a normal person so they are immune to these techniques and can use them on others. They may not know why it works, they just know it does so they use it to get what they want.
You can be aware of these normal automatic reactions and protect yourself from falling victim to your natural knee jerk reactions.
First, think back to when you first met the narcissist, it is probably in the first meeting or first few dates you felt you had met your soul mate, once that feeling is embedded in your physic it is very hard to erase it. How does he (she) do it?
They mirror you back to yourself. I watched a video this morning on how to make someone fall in love with you and keep them forever (or as long as you want). This guy swears he can teach anyone how to get someone to fall in love with you in 3 simple questions, in other words, in a matter of a few hours you can have someone “head-over-heels, can’t-believe-their-good-fortune, heart-pounding, can’t-stop-thinking-about-you”, in love.
Most of us remember the narcissist as being totally self-centered and talking about himself, only interested in himself but if you think back to when you met him I am willing to bet that was not the case. The majority of victims will say that the narcissist was attentive and wanted to know all about the them. When you hear how simple it is you will really feel foolish, it is effective communication 101, but something most men don’t do. Most men feel they must impress the new woman so they talk all about themselves and their accomplishments etc and women have been taught to listen politely and be agreeable, so when a man shows an interest in them and wants to know all about them, they are flattered immediately.
All the N has to do is ask a simple casual question like, “what brought you here today” or “what do you do for a living.” They only have to get the victim talking about themselves and then find out what they are passionate about. ie: what they do for a living or what they would like to do for a living. Not fire 20 questions but casually ask and then wait to see what the victim says and feed it back to them almost word for word. If the person says they love their job the N goes with that and feeds it back to them, “So you love your job, what exactly do you love about it?” Or if the victim says they hate their job the N would respond with, “You hate your job, what else would you like to do?” when the victim says they are passionate about animals and would like to work with animals the N simply feeds it back to the victim, “You are passionate about animals and want to work with them, what brought out this passion for animals?” that gets the victim expounding on themselves and what they are passionate about and because the N is feeding them their own words they feel totally understood.
It doesn’t matter that the passion is related to their work because it activates that part of the brain related to passion, consequently the victim now feels passionate in the N’s company and associates passion with being with the N. If the N is nodding his head, looking at you with interest and seems impressed with your passion you will feel you have met your soul mate, that he accepts you and loves you just the way you are, you have just met the man of your dreams. I remember thinking I had to keep dating JC because I had never had anyone love me and accept me like he did. I was not that into him, it was that he was that into me.
Interest + Values + Passion = Love of your life.
Once they have you hooked into believing they are in love with you, they use something called the “Benjamin Franklin Effect” read more here and that is to get you to do a favor for them. They get you to invest in the relationship, it may not be financial, more than likely it isn’t anything very big, because they want you to do it willingly. they will word it in such a way that you don’t feel pressured to do it and then they show appreciation for your effort. (by the way, this technique is used by businessmen when they want to influence people and is taught in courses on how to manipulate people for business or personal gain)
For instance, on JC and my first real date (we had talked several times on the phone prior to our first date) he mentioned he had just bought a new car and had no way of getting his old car home from the place he had bought his new car. I offered to help him the next day. It was nothing for me, it wasn’t a date, I was just going to meet him the next day and drive his old car back to his place for him. We met up the next day but he decided we didn’t have time to drive the car back to his place so we just moved it to a friend’s who lived close by, then he had to leave to go to his mom’s for the weekend. He was very grateful for the favor but I still owed him the favor of getting the car home to his place which led to another date. (pretty tricky. It also works if you can get a person to commit to helping you in some way because most people strive to keep their promises and will feel they owe you) He could not believe I was willing to do that for him. The next time we saw each other he asked me to come for supper and we would move the car, the minute I walked in the door he dragged me into the bedroom and we didn’t end up moving the car until the next morning, making me late for work. I was now; subconsciously really invested in the relationship and more apt to invest more.
In business they teach people that if they have an adversary they want to win over, get them to do you a favor; something as simple as lend you a book, give you the phone number of someone, anything small. The minute they invest even in the smallest way they will start to be more interested in you and convince themselves they even like you. It is cognitive dissonance, when a person does something out of their comfort zone and rationalizes why they did it, they have to like the person because they did a favor for them. the more they invest the more they are apt to do and the more they convince themselves they like you. try it!
It is a proven fact of human nature that if a person invests in a relationship they are more likely to stay in the relationship and invest more; obviously the problem will automatically grow all by itself. The more you invest the more you are inclined to invest, the more committed you are to whatever you invested in. Make sense? the more you invest and lose the more apt you are to invest even more trying to recoup what you have los or justify losing what you have already invested. Rationally you would think a person would cut their losses and not invest more into a losing proposition but that is not human nature. Human nature is to rationalize the loss so they can accept it. Cognitive dissonance comes into play once again. The victim can not accept that they gave up control to someone who is evil so they refuse to see the evil and convince themselves that the person did not do it on purpose, is not evil and does not intend to destroy them.
To the outside world the victim is being stupid, allowing the narcissist to use and abuse them time after time, but the mind is doing what it does naturally; changing the way it views things to accept behavior they would not accept otherwise. It is rather confusing to me because it doesn’t make sense but there are many things about the human mind that don’t make sense and that is why we have to be very aware of our natural reactions to situations and correct the behavior we know is damaging to us. When we feel the impulse to invest more into a losing proposition we need to be aware of our tendency to cognitive dissonance, remove ourselves from the situation so we can think clearly and stay true to our values and boundaries.