Tag Archives: Brainwashing

Rewiring Your Brain For The Holidays

(It has taken me a week to write this post, I started before Thanksgiving but I have been going through a depression lately due to my health and being denied disability yet again. I simply have not been functioning, the house didn’t get cleaned, I didn’t answer the phone, I withdrew. I am ok, just grappling with this living day to day lifestyle I am forced to live with. This is not the life I saw for myself and I struggle with being alone, not with being without a man during the holidays, I am ok with that. It’s the not being with my boy and my granddaughter. When you only have one child it’s just the way it is sometimes. Anyway, here is the post I have been working on)

brain-ewired

It’s that time of year again; Thanksgiving, with Christmas in hot pursuit; and you are already anticipating how lonely and sad you are going to be. If you are in contact with the ex narc he is taking every opportunity to rub salt in your wounds by making a big deal of gift giving, attending functions with the new woman and showing the world just how happy and in love he is.

The little voice in your head is repeating the mantra, “Maybe it was all your fault.” “You are going to be so lonely” “You will never love like you loved the narcissist ever again”, “If only he would have loved you like you love him”, “If only he was the man you met” (but he is with the new woman, he is that way with every woman when he first meets them, until he has them firmly hooked), “All you wanted was for him to love you”, “Maybe if you wouldn’t have confronted him about the other woman, not coming home, the personal ads, not having a job, or whatever else you confronted him on; he would be with you this Christmas and there is always the, “What if the light finally went on for him and new woman is reaping the rewards of all your hard work?”.

You have a whole month to get yourself really depressed by Christmas and you could come up with many reasons why it is the narc’s fault. 

You would be correct that he is to blame for much of your pain and I am not trying to diminish the narc’s responsibility for your pain; but if you ever want to get past the pain you have to somehow start viewing the whole experience with realistic eyes. You have to keep bringing yourself back to reality. 

You allowed yourself to get sucked into the fantasy, you didn’t realize it was a fantasy but it was and in the end you were lying to yourself as much as he was lying, in fact; in the end you were the one doing most of the lying, he was showing his true colors and you blindly refused to see or accept it. It’s hard to give up your dream, your fantasy. I know, believe me I know; when I was going through it I was thinking, “Yeah, it’s easy for you to say that, you have never loved like I love my ex. What we had was special, I loved/love him with my whole being, with every fibre of myself.” I truly never thought I would stop loving him, I clung to my pain and to that “love” like it was my lifeline. I thought I had to know what he was doing, I had to love him; loving him had become as much a part of me as breathing, eating, functioning day to day.  Even if I could talk to him once a day I could function, but go no contact? The thought of it was enough to put me into a panic attack.

We had a pattern, he would say it was over, I would move  out, he would start being nice, call to see if I had eaten supper, my truck would break down and I would have to call him to rescue me, we would be friendly, I would pretend to be casual, he would try to get sexy and I would pretend to say no, we would end up in bed, I would assume we were back together, he would stay the night and not leave, and the cycle would continue. After we had done it half a dozen times I thought, that is just the way we are, we will never really break up. The last two times we got back together I didn’t believe his lies but I told myself, “It can’t be my fault if he hurts me because he is lying, how can it be MY fault?!” It was easier to believe the lies than walk away”

The moment I knew I had to let go of that dream was when he was gloating to me when his ex died and had spent the last 15 years of her life pining away for him, stalking him, warning the new women in his life and the whole time she would have taken him back in a heartbeat. She couldn’t let go of the fantasy, even though she could recite everything he did to her and how much he hurt her, you could tell when you listened to her that she still loved him and had sacrificed the rest of her life to revenge, she had become her pain, it became her identity. I could relate; she had lived to love him and ended up living to mourn the loss of him. I was not going to be like her, I was not going to go to my grave caring what he was doing or who.  Spend 15 years reciting all the ways he hurt me and packing venomous hatred that would slowly kill me? I don’t think so!

  Before my ex, I used to believe that we had no control over what we thought; victims say it all the time, “I can’t stop thinking about him and the new woman, I can’t stop wondering if I was to blame.” Although it is easier to just let your mind take you on these pity trips and keep you in victimhood, you CAN change what you think about if you are diligent about making yourself face reality. Every time your mind starts to lie to you, repeating the same mantra over and over again, you have to argue with it (if you are out in public it is best to have this argument in your head and not use your outloud voice). 

It won’t be easy, breaking bad habits seldom is, you have been brainwashed,neuro pathways were formed in your brain and every time you are triggered to think a certain way your brain takes the path of least resistance, it goes where it knows, which embeds those thoughts or beliefs even deeper in your brain. But all is not lost, the brain CAN be retrained and new pathways can be made and over time and practice you will develop healthier and deeper pathways than the ones left by the narcissist. Here is an excerpt from an article I read on the topic of trauma survivors; 

Here is how it works: as a young person, probably around the age of 15 or 16, you learned to drive a car; this took a great deal of intentional thought and effort. Remember how you gripped the steering wheel and carefully executed every action? Now, you hop into the driver’s seat without giving it a second thought. This is because your brain laid down a neuro pathway for the completion of this task; from start to finish, a set of synapses occur to complete the action.
In trauma, a similar pathway is set down; it can even be additionally ingrained due to shock or intensity. Therefore, when a single trigger or set of triggers occur, the emotions associated with the trauma are revisited.

But, due to neuroplasticity, this does not always have to be the case. New pathways can be created through changes in behavior, environment and neuro processes. Not only is the brain capable of creating new pathways, it is designed to do so. The brain is highly resilient and desires flexibility. The brain functions at its best when it is limber and rich with options. The incredible thing is that the human brain has a very real desire to heal itself.

Creating new pathways necessitates a great deal of awareness, mindfulness and acknowledgment of the present. Yet, in time, these new pathways will eclipse the old, thus allowing trauma survivors. 

You can find the full article here:

5-prcent

95% of the time a person is thinking with their subconscious mind, that is scary when you think how twisted your thinking became after being with the narcissist, the warped way he expected you to view things; is it any wonder you are having trouble dealing.

I know personally how a person’s mind can lie to them. I have shared before about being anorexic/bulimic for almost 20 years and how when I looked in a mirror I saw fat, it didn’t matter how much weight I lost, feeling skinny was as fleeting as my next meal. I weighed myself 20 or more times a day, being up a pound could send me into a tailspin and depression and self doubt. It took me years before I could look in the mirror and see that I was not fat, every time I looked in the mirror and thought I looked heavy I would tell myself that my mind was lying to me, I was not fat and prove to myself that I was not fat; I threw my scale out, (no contact with the scale), that was a huge step! and I gauged if I was gaining weight by how my clothes fit, I joined a gym, I ate healthy and I allowed myself to “fail” once in awhile.

I still have cognitive dissonance when I paint something or write something; I never think it is any good at the time I am doing it, but later I will see something I painted and find myself thinking it’s pretty good and then realize I painted it, or I enjoy reading an article that sounds familiar and  realize I wrote it.

I admit I still have a ways to go on the self confidence front. I used to think I was the only one who had self doubt, but you know what? I think almost everyone has it from time to time. Narcissists have learned to monopolize on everyone’s insecurities and then criticizes the victim for being insecure and needing reinforcement.

Some people would disagree with me but I believe self improvement is a lifelong process, you never finish the job and if there is something you don’t like about yourself you can always change it.

So what does all this have to do with Christmas and being happy through the holidays? Being sad and lonely is totally a mind thing, your mental attitude can be helped a lot by how you view your life, if you believe the lies your mind is telling you and if you let go of your expectations.

Most families are NOT having a Norman Rockwell Christmas and you and your ex certainly didn’t have them. People on FaceBook post pics that would make you think otherwise, but believe me, there are more family fights and tears through the holidays than any other time of year and a lot of it is because of expectations and disappointment.

If you have children you have a responsibility to make it special for them, you can fake it for a day or two for your kids can’t you? I know it is hard, it seems the narcissist is all you can think about or talk about but if you can put your mind to something else, anything else (except finding another man) I think you will find people are much more supportive and friendly to you. People are uncomfortable around unhappy people, people get bored hearing the same complaints over and over again. Yes, you need to talk about it but you also have to learn to not talk about him/her, it’s all part of retraining your brain to think about other things.

You will never regret time spent on self improvement but trust me, you WILL regret the time you waste obsessing about him and what he is doing. If you are going to be alone through the holiday season think about volunteering at a soup kitchen, seniors home or animal shelter, places are always short of staff through the holiday season. If you have money, how about contacting your nearest women’s shelter and adopt a family this Christmas. I have already done that this year, a woman with 3 children just left her abusive ex with nothing. I don’t have much money but it was amazing what I was able to find when I dug through cupboards and I painted them each a Christmas bauble.  To help someone else always makes me feel better, it feels good to do nice things for people, and most people are very appreciative.

But no matter what happens, remember Christmas day only has 24 hours, just like any other day and you can do anything for 24 hours.

neuroplasticity_300

 

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Put A Spell On You

hypno heart

With a show of hands; how many of you have said or thought, “It’s like he put a spell on me, I can’t resist him, even when I know he is toxic.” ?

You might be closer to the truth than you know.

Quite by accident, early in my relationship with James I discovered he had downloaded a book off the internet, “How To Get Any Woman Into Bed”. He had been frantically printing it off before work and when it stopped printing, he grabbed it and went out the door. Later that day I went to print something and the printer was out of paper, I reloaded it and it started to print page after page of this instruction manual.

Of course, me being me, I confronted him on it the minute he got home and he said he had downloaded it for work. “For work?? you are a mechanic!” I was pissed and indignant. We had just moved in together, he certainly didn’t need a manual on how to get me into bed, so there was only one other explanation. I said, “And how many women are you trying to seduce at work?” He said the techniques could be used in business also, it was all about influencing people.

I asked, “Have you ever heard of the book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People?”

I had read the part that printed off and it was all about how to seduce any woman, wherever you happened to meet them and I threw it away. It was months later I was in the bathroom and one of the drawers wouldn’t close all the way. I pulled it out to see what was stopping it and there was the complete manual stuffed under the drawer. So I read it.

Right on the first page was a disclaimer stating that the techniques in the manual were covert and deceitful, that a man should never use them on a woman he wants a relationship with, only women he wanted to bed for a night. So the author had some morals and boundaries, but was rather naive to think that a guy who would use the techniques to seduce a woman would have the moral fibre to not use them on a woman he wants to see more of. But that is beside the point. The point is, there are sites out there that offer this information, whether a psychopath/narcissist studies up on how to manipulate women or comes by it naturally, I don’t know. But any man who would utilize the information has got to have some serious issues with respecting women and setting moral boundaries.

How would a man hypnotize a woman without her knowing it? there are many ways apparently, subliminal messages, putting them into a trance, power of suggestion. The main components of hypnotizing someone is; isolation, relaxation, repetition, trust. Remember the many hours you spent with the narcissist/psychopath staring into each others eyes, his voice soft and almost trance inducing? how he repeated over and over how much he loved you, how you were soul mates, how at first you weren’t event that attracted to him but over time you couldn’t live without him?

I remember part of the manual talked about stroking the palm of the woman’s hand in circles  while repeating something, so that whenever you did the same thing or said the same thing she would automatically want sex with you and not even know why herself.

When a person goes to a  professional hypnotist show, say in Vegas, the hypnotist can get people to cluck like chickens at the snap of their fingers but at the of the show he reverses the trance he put the volunteers in so that they don’t spend their lives acting like a chicken every time someone snaps their fingers. But what if someone had the ability to hypnotize you to love them and want to have sex with them and never reversed the spell they cast on you?  The only way you would be able to break that spell or control they have over you would be to have no contact with them. Right?

As with most victims of a narcissist I broke us with James many times; I am sure you can relate when I say, I was determined to never go back, he had done it this time, this time he had crossed every boundary and there was no way I could ever go back. But the phone would ring and when I answered and heard his soft, sensual voice call me Babe, all my resolve would fly out the window. Or I would run into him somewhere and think, “He’s not even that good looking, I don’t even know why I was attracted to him. I am safe to talk to him, he can’t get to me any more.” But within minutes of being in his company all my resolve would have melted away and I was putty in his hands again. I often felt I was under some sort of spell because it didn’t make sense, it was like I had no control over my logical, rational mind.

I am not saying that all narcissists hypnotize their victims, but I am saying it could be possible for someone to do that to an unsuspecting victim if they wanted to control them. And is it not conceivable that a narcissist is so adept at manipulation that he inadvertently developed the ability to hypnotize people without even really knowing that is what he is doing? Call it hypnotize, mind control, brainwashing; it is all the same thing, it is mind control, making a person do what you want them to without them knowing you are doing it. It is used daily in advertising, the army uses it, people use it to quit smoking, get over phobias, etc. It is nothing new.

It is much easier to hypnotize someone who is willing and open to it and most of us would have been sitting ducks for the covert narcissist looking for his next victim.

I know that during my time with James he had some control over me, how he did it, I am not certain, but I do know this, it was only when I was in contact with him that I lost control of my own feelings and actions so I chose to stay away and with time grew afraid of the power he once had over me. Even now I have no desire to “test” myself to see if he still has the power to make me go against everything I know to be true.

Society is reluctant to believe believe the victim of a psychopath could be hypnotized or brainwashed, it sounds so sensationalized and theatric; not something that could happen to an everyday person like them. I think that is why the victims of abuse have such a hard time being believed or finding someone who is sympathetic to their pain. Everyone wants to believe that it could never happen to them, that the victim must be to blame in some way for their own abuse. To accept that a person could be hypnotized, brainwashed, controlled in some way against their will or without their knowledge is a very scary concept and would make everyone vulnerable to the evils of the world.

Patty Hearst is a famous case of a victim saying they were brainwashed and society refusing to accept that defense.  Now I know that I would not have robbed banks for James but I did accept a lot of activities I would not have prior to meeting him, which was totally out of character for me.

I am not saying that all victims of abuse have been hypnotized or that all abusers are narcissists or psychopaths either. I think there are many reasons why a person may end up being abused and just as many reasons why an abuser is an abuser; that is a topic for another post.

I only present this angle as an explanation as to why some victims find it so hard to break away from the narcissist and again, why no contact is so vital to the victim’s recovery.

While researching this possibility I came across something else very interesting called the Halo Effect, you can watch the video on it here which is also a form of mind control if a person knows about it. The narcissist definitely uses it to his advantage, whether he realizes fully what he is doing or not it is always part of the narcissist’s tactic to hook his victims. It goes a long way  to explain why we stick around even after their mask drops.

Tell me what you think in the comments below.

Happy Easter

easter bunnyeaster

Here we are, another holiday that we envision the ex is having a wonderful time with his/her new partner, and THIS year he might be pretending to be the sweet generous guy you met, just like he pretended to be that sweetheart with you, he is going to do it with her. 

If you are torturing yourself thinking about how he is treating her so much better than you, then don’t forget to tell yourself the whole story, don’t forget the part where out of the blue he jumps down her throat about something stupid. Don’t forget when Christmas comes and there are no presents under the tree for her, don’t forget to think about how she is going to be so shocked and confused the first time he flies into a rage over some perceived slight, don’t forget to envision her cooking a nice family dinner and he doesn’t show up. 

You do have power over what you think about. Thoughts of him/her may creep in but as soon as they do, change how you think about him, it is fine to think about him, it is normal to worry that with her he is different, but it is not reality; you have to fight the lies and tell yourself the truth. Our minds can be our worst enemy, making us doubt ourselves and beat ourselves up, we are not always honest with ourselves so when we start telling ourselves lies we have to argue with our brain. It takes works, we have to be diligent, it’s easy to slip into a pity party, “She’s getting everything I wanted and never got”. Even if she was, it does you no good to think about; you are only torturing yourself BUT I’ll tell you a little secret the narcissist doesn’t want you to know.

Ready?? It is impossible for someone to change over night. No one can change over night and think about it; what did you do to make him turn so nasty just to you. It must have been something really really horrible for them to treat you with such loathing! Even then, if it was THAT bad why didn’t they just leave you? They went and found your replacement first? Normal healthy people don’t do that, normal healthy people need time to recoup after a love relationship ends, they can’t fall madly in love with someone else within a week or two. 

The narcissist is make believe, just like the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. The only way he could change over night is if his Fairy Godmother twanged him in the middle of the night and I hear there is no such thing as a Fairy Godmother, just like there is no such thing as a narcissist with a heart. Unless he has met Dorothy, the Lion and Toto and he wears a suit of armor and goes by the name of Tin Man and they are hopping up the yellow brick road with the Easter Bunny looking for a Wizard so they can get the Tin Man a heart. 

The new woman will believe she is Dorothy for a while, she will believe the fantasy just like you did. She will happily hippity hop down the yellow brick road with the Tin Man believing she can buy or beg him a heart but she will eventually end up just like you. 

So this Easter, and tomorrow and the day after, keep reminding yourself that he was a fantasy and never will be any more real than Easter Bunny. 

I wrote this post at Christmas this year but it fits for Easter too.

Personal Growth and Resilience – According To Scott

Orange butterfly , isolated on white

If you see yourself in this comment please do not be offended because I don’t even remember who has done this but I have had people come into the blog and post a comment asking how to heal. Three or four people including myself will give informed, honest replies.  Later, I will receive an email from the same person asking the same question. It is as if they think I have a secret formula that I don’t share on the site and if they message me privately they will be privy to the secret of healing.

They broke up with the abusive ex 2 weeks ago and want to know why they are not healed and how long will it take? will they ever be able to date again? how will they ever trust a man again? They want to “fast track” their healing, and who can blame them, it feels horrible to hurt like that. It’s scary to hurt like that, you fear that you will never stop hurting.

I really hate to break it to them that I don’t have a magic potion that can be sprinkled like fairy dust and make the pain go away. In fact I have healed for over 4 years and still am healing. I don’t want people to think they are going to hurt like this for 4 years, but healing is not an overnight sensation, it takes time and if you put a band-aid on the pain by dating too soon you more than likely will be here again.

I have said it many times, it takes time to heal, be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself and stop putting pressure on yourself to “just get over it.” Yeah its’ maddening that he appears to have gone off with the ‘love of his life” and isn’t suffering in the least while you are in so much pain you can barely function. That train of thought will only make you hurt more; you have to (yes I said HAVE to) do a lot of self counseling and remind yourself over and over again that he is disordered, he doesn’t feel like a normal person and the fact that he can leave the relationship with you and immediately find his “soul mate” is proof he is disordered. If you were able to walk away without a backwards glance and find a new love you would be disordered also. Your pain is a sign that you are a normal, feeling, caring human, unlike the devil in disguise you have been sleeping with.

growth is painful

Personal growth is often brought on by some traumatic event but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience if you tackle it with the right mind-set. If life was rainbows and unicorns all the time there would be no need self-reflection and we wouldn’t want to change or better ourselves. Maybe you aren’t experiencing what I did, but some of you may be able to relate. The extent of the damage done by the narcissist varies according to how strong the victim was, how long the relationship lasted, how evil the narcissist was and if the victim had a support system. The first few times JC and I split I was in a lot of pain but it was not until the last time we split that I felt I had been stripped of everything that made me who I was.  I know now that JC wanted me back because he had not done a good enough job destroying my soul; I had been able to carry on. By the time he was done with me the last time I can’t even describe the state I was in except to say, I was empty and didn’t even know who I was any more, nothing gave me joy, nothing about myself felt natural, I had no confidence.

The only thing I can compare it to what they do to cult members, they break the person through brainwashing. I did a series of posts on the topic of brainwashing last March you will find them here:

Brainwashing Part 1

Brainwashing Part 2

Brainwashing Part 3

Brainwashing Part 4

person growth 1

I don’t know when it happened but at some point my healing (my reconstruction or rebirth) stopped being about my ex and more about me. I stopped trying to find the “old me” and started trying to be “the best me”. It stopped being a painful process and became an adventure and I began to enjoy the challenge. I continue to research, explore, and evaluate my beliefs, boundaries and personality traits and I expect this journey to continue until the day I die.

Scott got me thinking about this subject, (that’s what I like about Scott’s blog; he gets me thinking) when I read his post today.

I hope those of you trying to be your old self will embrace the opportunity to be the best you, something the narcissist can never do. A narcissist does not see the need to change or improve, everyone else should change to accommodate him. What a shallow, one-dimensional, limiting existence; to never grow, to always be disappointed by the people in your life, to go through life expecting someone else to make you happy and it never happens. He/she is on an endless merry-go-round of trauma, drama, disappointment, and unmet expectations, surrounded by inferior people. In his desperate attempts to control his partner and his unreasonable expectations of someone else to provide his self-worth and happiness he lives a pitiful life where he can never let his true self show because he knows society will reject him if he ever did.

But YOU, you CAN change, you can grow, you can find pleasure in yourself, you can find happiness and you  can be awesome!!

new life

Punch Drunk

boxing ring of life

Punch drunk that’s the way I felt when I finally left the WOSPOS. Not that he beat me every day, (like he said, it’s not an abusive relationship, I don’t come home and beat you every day) not physically anyway, figuratively. He was on a mission to destroy me and he dedicated years to his goal.

I literally felt like a boxer in the ring, one who is getting the snot beat out of him but he is just too stubborn to stay down. Even when the crowd is yelling for him to stay down he grabs the ropes and pulls himself up again.

ropes

Swaying, shaking his head trying to focus, blinded by the sweat and blood in his eyes he swings wildly in the direction of his opponent and misses.

down box

He gets knocked down again and struggles to get up, even his opponent is saying to him, “Just stay down.” but he gets up again, too punch drunk to give up.

rockyIn a boxing match they make the fighters stop but there was no one there to stop me,  and I kept getting back up until I could no longer make my legs work and just didn’t have the strength to fight any more.

That was when his sister was the coach in the corner saying, “Don’t go back, walk away, he’s going to kill you, give it up now.”

When you leave a relationship after the battle of your life and the person still will not let you get strength back, when he is still telling you to stay down, you’re a loser, you will never win, you are garbage and I am disgusted by you, it is very hard to think positively; yet it is so very important to get out of the cycle of negativity. Day after day, week after week, year after long year you were faced with negativity, his infidelity, his lies, stealing, lost jobs, denial, gas lighting, character assassination, slander, blaming. Negative Negative Negative. You have been stripped of all your hope and optimism.

I remember sitting there and realizing what I was missing the most was hope. I had none, NONE! it was amazing to me and really scarey because I had always had hope, I always looked forward to the future, and was curious about what was around the next corner of my life’s journey. But I sat there and could not see one positive thing, not one way to make my life better and it just kept getting worse, my heart attacks, no place to live, the WOSPOS messing with my head because of course I was still in contact because he had taken all my hope. I had never in my life handed over my hope to someone, and I didn’t do it willingly this time either; he stole it and I wanted it back.

Whenever I had left in the past I had no problem getting back on my feet, I had started over so many times I just knew i would do it again, but this time it didn’t happen and I was shocked. I had always been able to think, “I need a new sofa” and one would appear. I would pray to make $300 that day and without fail by the end of the day I would have made exactly $300.” But this time nothing was coming together and it pulled me deeper and deeper into despair and hopelessness.

i think back now and realize how close I came to sinking into a dark abyss and never climbing out of it.

I am sure there are people who wonder why I can’t “just move on” but they have never been on the edge of that abyss, they have never felt the pull of depression drawing them into a dark and scary place where they know they will never find their way out. They have never clung to the edge of the cliff and had someone step on their fingers and laugh.

The first step to pulling yourself out of it is to get rid of the one who is stepping on your fingers. The thing with N’s is they are so full of dark negativity that even once you removed them their darkness lingers, cloaking everything in evil. It seems too powerful to fight alone, it’s scary, you don’t want to fight it, you want to give up because it is a formidable opponent, its what night mares are made of.

The hell holes I lived in didn’t help build my optimism and I found that getting the job at Ccon and then subsequently buying the cabin at the lake were HUGE steps towards building my hope back up.

I am full of hope and optimism now, I believe good things will happen to me, I don;t wait for the other shoe to drop any more. I don’t worry that my vehicle is going to break down, I know I will find a way to buy food, I haven’t known how I was going to pay my rent all year, every month I have made it through. Some good soul donates $20, $30, sometimes hundreds of dollars and I get caught up with my bills, then I get behind again but I get by.

I have stopped living in fear, I stopped expecting the worst and starting knowing I deserved the best and would get exactly what I need.

When you step back and look at where I was 4 years ago and where I am now; I am actually in a worse situation now. I don’t have a job, I have had 2 heart attacks, I had to put my two dogs down, I never know how I am going to make it month to month, I got rear ended last week and got whip lash, damaging my already damaged neck, I have so many bills I don’t have a clue how I will ever pay them, I could have to move if the cabin sells. Depending how you look at it, my life seems pretty dismal. i was in way better shape in 2011 and so severely depressed I could barely get off the couch. So why am I so optimistic?

I changed my way of viewing things. Instead of viewing it from a place of “lack” I view it from a place of abundance. Here is a Christy Whitman video that will probably explain it better than I can. Christy Whitman.

Believe me it works but it does take work, it is hard to change those voices in your head, especially when someone pounded them in there day after day after day. But we all have the power to change. Something the N does not have the power to do. He is doomed to a life of negativity and everyone who crosses his path is doomed to the same. Rise above.

Brainwashing Part 3 – Recovery

Did the narcissist know he was brainwashing you? How does he know how to brainwash a person? I think in some cases the narcissist knows exactly what he is doing but more than likely if you could find one that would give you an honest answer; which is about as likely as finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; they would say you were crazy to think them capable of such a thing. When a person’s whole existence is reliant on controlling others they learn at a very young age how to manipulate and what buttons to push to get the reaction they desire.

Many times the victim of a narcissist will describe them as a misbehaving 3-year-old in an adult’s body; which is more accurate than they think. Think about a 3-year-old when he wants something, they will resort to anything to get it; now put him into a 200 lb male body and what do you have? Your ex. Throwing tempter tantrums, punishing you, destroying your stuff because he is mad, lying, hitting you, telling you he hates you. A 3-year-old wouldn’t know anything about brainwashing but if he was left to his own devices that is what would eventually occur, but we put our foot down and most 3 year old’s learn respect, boundaries and they develop a conscience and empathy, by the time they are 4 they understand that their actions can hurt other people. Narcissist’ brains are wired differently than most people and they never develop a conscience. I remember looking at JC crying about how much he loved me and at times I was reminded of a game I played with the kids when I had a day care. “Show me your happy face, now your mad face, ok now show me your sad face.”

It is important to keep reminding yourself that the narcissist does not and will never have a conscience or empathy which means he is capable of doing ANYTHING to get what he wants. Any emotions you think you see are an act,  as much as your mind wants to believe he is innocent and this is all some bizarre misunderstanding, you are dealing with an evil, conniving psychopath and you are fighting for your life, your future and if you have kids, their future also. Do not become a statistic, I think every single woman who has died at the hands of their significant other knew they were in danger but ignored the warning signs and their mind overrode their gut “fight or flight” instinct.

I know JC read magazines like “The Scientific Mind” and “Psychology Today” and was forever on websites dedicated to techniques for getting women into bed, getting women to do anything you want etc. Either way, if they didn’t know what they were doing they have learned that it works and they will do it again.

Whether they meant to or not; they did it, and we are left fighting inner demons implanted into our psyche by them. How do we recovery from it? and how can we avoid it? Because it is so subtle, it is very hard to detect if you are not aware of the techniques used. Any of the techniques by themselves would not result in a person being brainwashed and that is why the victim is unaware of what is happening to them.

As I have been reading the last few days I can find very little on brainwashing being used in domestic abuse cases and most of the information pertains to prisoners of war and cults, but if the same techniques are used and attain the same results it only stands to reason many abuse victims are subjected to brainwashing. Society in general does not believe a person can be brainwashed, whether it is soldiers or cult members let alone domestic abuse victims. The reason people don’t want to believe in brainwashing is because if they believe it then it might happen to them. It is the same attitude that garners abuse victims very little sympathy; generally people do not want to believe it is possible to gain that much control over a normal healthy individual. As long as they are blaming the victim they do not have to face the possibility that it could happen to them and it relieves them of responsibility to do something about it.

Societies tendency to not believe the victim adds to the influence the abuser has over the victim, it makes it easier for the victim to believe she is crazy, everyone she tells about the abuse looks at her like she is crazy. So she goes back.

The biggest step in recovery is admitting and accepting that you are a victim of abuse and mind control, you can not heal when you continue to tell yourself lies.

There are things JC did in the beginning of the relationship that I found strange but basically I chalked it up to a quirk in his personality not as a brainwashing technique and it might be co-incidence. One that hit me today was they say that the brainwasher controls all aspects of the victims daily life; when they sleep, eat, how they dress, what they think and feel right down to when they use the bathroom. It was probably our 3rd or 4th date when JC went in the bathroom and stayed in there for like an hour. I wondered what the hell he was doing in there but of course I didn’t want to be rude, maybe he wasn’t feeling well, when it got to be over an hour I asked if he was ok and he said yes but was in there another full hour. For our entire relationship he would spend hours in the bathroom, I would be on the other side of the door begging to use the washroom and would resort to peeing in a bucket. I stopped keeping my makeup and contact lens in the bathroom so I was able to get ready without using the bathroom. It was very upsetting for me, I figured it was a control issue and was proven right when I got a place with two bathrooms and there was no longer an issue over getting in the bathroom, he no longer took forever in the bathroom.

I thought abusers isolated their victims so it was harder for them to leave, plus there are no neighbors close to run to or to hear the fighting, it never crossed my mind that the abuser isolates the victim to brainwash them or drive them crazy.

I thought JC was just being argumentative and critical and like all victims of this kind of abuse I thought he had stopped loving me and I wanted to do whatever it took to have him love me again. It never entered my mind that he was criticizing me trying to make me lose my identity; I didn’t think it was evil, I just thought at worst he was an asshole.

The untrue accusations, jealousy, suspicions I chalked up to insecurity on his part, and I thought if I proved my unconditional love to him he would eventually see that I was not going to leave or cheat on him. (because all his earlier girl friends had and I was special, my love was special) Now I find out that it is a common tactic of the abuser so your focus is on him totally and your mind doesn’t have time to think of anything but him. If he can keep your mind occupied with thoughts of him, it doesn’t have time to think logically and reasonably and it is easier for him to manipulate how you think and fill your head with lies.

The continual badgering about things he perceives  you did, are thinking, or planning even when you have explained clearly and proven without a doubt that he is wrong. Things he seemed to understand once you explained it and then the next day he is on you about the same thing again and you keep thinking, “If I could just explain better he would understand and stop torturing me about it.” Boy! did I ever have that figured wrong! The more a person tells you that you are a certain way, repeatedly accuses you of thinking a certain way, the more you start to believe it of yourself.

Another thing that will probably ring a bell for most of you is people are much more apt to stay in a relationship that they have invested in, the more time a person invests in the relationship the less likely they are to leave. They think I have too much time invested to walk away now, what if he is just about to change and I will have wasted all that time? Even more so when they also invest money into the relationship, the victim feels they will never get their money back if they leave so they stick it out and will even invest more money; similar to a gambler who keeps gambling to win back what he has lost, he feels it has to pay off sooner or later. Cults often use this strategy by making new members invest large sums of money, they know once people make a financial commitment they will be more committed. How many of you invested money into the abuser? I read some where that only about 5% of victims of domestic abuse come out of it better off financially than when they went in and at least 75% come out of the relationship far worse.  If you follow the theory of brainwashing; the N isn’t just a cheap son of a bitch who’s looking for a free ride, he is actually using one of the techniques used to brainwash people, which leads to another technique; keeping the person dependent on the abuser.truth defense

There is such a lack of education and so many misconceptions out there that we don’t know, no one knows; the depth of evil the woman is dealing with. Consequently the victim doesn’t get the support she/he deserves and (probably doesn’t even know herself), she needs.

Ideally the victim would go away to some all expenses paid spa and be pampered, fed well, exercised, and exorcised.  There would be a team of psychologists, counselors, yoga gurus, life coaches, hypnotists and beauticians. After 6 months the woman would emerge self-confident, strong and ready to tackle anything the world throws at her.

Sadly the facts are that the victim leaves the relationship financially destitute, with the narcissist spewing venomous bile all over them, or he is stalking her, she is trying to get her feet under herself, get a job, take care of the kids (who by the way the N is now trying to get custody of and turn against her) she may be afraid for her life, she is crying constantly, overwhelmed with her situation, can not find anyone who is sympathetic to her cause and even doing the things she needs to for herself just don’t seem worth the effort. People are telling her to “just get over it”, “find another man” That was my mom’s answer to my financial woes, “hopefully you will meet a man with money.” Great! so my only hope of having a decent life is to prostitute myself to some man with money when the thought of being with any man turns my stomach. Thanks for the advice.

The woman feels unattractive, old and can’t put a full sentence together let alone partake in witty conversation with some guy she doesn’t know.  The future looks very bleak. I know I looked horrible, I felt like I had been dragged through a cow backwards (don’t ask me where I heard that saying, I probably made it up), I was skinny, grey, my teeth needed fixing, my face was drawn and my confidence was at zero. And they are supposed to be out trying to get a job.

Overwhelmed with all the above and then usually she is guilt ridden on top of it all.  At first her anger gets her through, or shock, but after not too long she starts to feel guilty, she can think of a hundred things she did wrong, or should have done or not done. The N’s voice is ringing in her ear saying she is selfish, crazy, paranoid and she can remember times she acted totally out of character and crazy, screaming at him like a mad woman. When these times of guilt hit you have to remember WHY you were that way.

Personally, I have always been a good communicator, I can usually express myself concisely and I try to stay on topic, give the other person time to talk, acknowledge what they are feeling, well; when JC and I started dating he said I was so calm, rational and easy to talk to, not like his previous girlfriends. So how did I end up a screaming, crying maniac? for one thing every time I tried to talk he interrupted me, corrected my grammar, misconstrued what I said, twisted my words, changed the topic, walked away, or came at me with his fist raise. Every time I was looking forward to something or had something special happen in my life he found a way to ruin it, the promises he made and never kept. It was enough to drive any woman or man crazy. You must remember the WHOLE picture and not just the parts where you were wrong. Yes I know, the narcissist is never wrong or at fault and you don’t want to be like that, you can see your faults and you are willing to admit them and make amends. All you have to do is be honest, the truth will set you free.

There was not a lot of material on recovering from being brainwashed. The articles I read said that the fastest and most effective method is to do exactly the same thing the abuser did, break you down to nothing and rebuild the person, but they cautioned that it is far too painful and really unnecessary. The core you is still buried and the longer you are away from the abuser (ie: NO CONTACT) the more your old self comes back.

There is a lot a person can do; one of the biggest steps is admitting it happened, being honest with yourself. We are all so used to believing lies, the ones he told us and more importantly the ones we told ourselves. You have to accept what has happened, accept you will never get closure and turn your attention from him onto you.

You have been programmed to believe it was your fault, no one will love you, people will get to know you and realize whatever it was that he saw that made him turn against you. You have an irrational fear that you will be alone forever more because he told you that no one would love you and accept you like he did. Tell yourself it is the bullshit it is. Think about pre narc times, you had friends, and lovers, you were capable and self-sufficient, that person is still there you just have to find her again and you have to be patient with her; she’s been through a lot.

Healing is mainly on your shoulders I am afraid; you are going to have to educate yourself, seek support groups, online forums, (be aware of what kind of forum you join as some of them are stuck on man bashing and staying in the relationship, they just want a place to bitch, you want to heal, not stay stuck in the past) talk to TRUSTED friends who listen without criticizing. If you have friends who insist on telling you all the details of the N’s new life, tell them you don’t want to hear it, it hurts……..and if they don’t stop you will have to cut them out of your life for a while. If they do not respect that, they are not your friend and more than likely if they are coming to you and talking about him they are keeping him filled in on your life. You don’t need it. You may think you want to know what he is doing but it never feels good and always sets a person back in their recovery.

You have to diligently replace the video playing in your head telling you lies about yourself and his new relationship, with positive reinforcement. Every time a self depreciating thought enters your head combat it with a self appreciating fact about yourself. Keep doing it, yell over top of his voice screaming you are not worthy. Fake it til you make it. Eventually you will believe you are worthy of love and every thing else good in this world.

Lower your expectations of yourself, that may sound contradictory but we are all high achievers and expect more of ourselves than we ever expect of other people, give yourself a break, don’t set yourself up to be hurt. If there is a family birthday and he is going to be there, excuse yourself, explain briefly that you do not want to be in his company but you would love to see the person for lunch at a later date or whatever. To go and see him with his new woman, or even if he goes alone, no good ever comes from seeing the N. And stop telling yourself the lie that by not going he is “winning” and you are “losing” or that you “have” to be there. You need to learn that you don’t HAVE to do anything and sometimes you don’t have to be the understanding one who compromises.

Realize that no one that I know of has ever starved themselves to death or died of not sleeping. If you can’t eat make sure what you do eat is healthy, take a supplement, drink some Ensure, your appetite will come back. If you can’t sleep in the bed, try turning on the TV and sleeping on the couch, or stop trying to sleep and getting yourself frustrated because you are watching the clock tick down 3:00, 3:15, 3:25, 3:32…… get up. Sure you will be tired tomorrow but eventually you will sleep.

Avoid alcohol, a glass of wine is a great relaxer but more than a glass or two can be dangerous, that is when the drunk 2 am phone calls happen, when you just HAVE TO tell him what you think of him. Always a regretful decision, nothing worse than being drunk and slurring your words and giving him one more thing to criticize you over.

Be aware of friends that refuse to let you heal, believe it or not there are friends who like you broken, they enjoy your pain and suffering and will feed it if you are not careful. If a friend insists on bringing up your ex even when you have asked them not to or they bring up the subject when you finally are managing to have a good time; it could be time to curtail seeing them for a while. A good friend will take their cue from you, if you don’t want to talk about it, they won’t.

I have put a bunch of links below to many of the posts I have done on the topic of healing. Instead of repeating myself I thought it would give those interested some reading material this weekend. Don’t worry, there won’t be a test. 🙂

Also I took the liberty of altering the 12 steps from AA. The original is in black and my version is in blue.

THE TWELVE STEPS OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

THE TWELVE STEPS OF RECOVERY FROM NARCISSISTIC ABUSE

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become
unmanageable.  I admit I unwittingly got into an abusive  relationship and that my life was out of control. 

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to
sanity.  I have come to the realization that contrary to what the narcissist thinks he is not God and that it is possible for me to restore my sanity and become whole.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we
understood Him. I have made a decision to remove myself from a dangerous situation and trust God has a better plan for my life.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.  I will make an honest and fearless inventory of myself and I will only own what is rightfully mine to pack and not accept untruths I’ve been told about myself.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature
of our wrongs.  I admit to myself and others I know I can trust, that I am only human and have made mistakes, seeking forgiveness from ourselves first and foremost. 

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. I am ready to work on the areas I want to improve, give up traits that do not serve me well and fully appreciate my many admirable qualities. I accept that my personality is what makes me unique and I will only change things I see need to be fixed. I will never again allow someone else to dictate the person they want me to be. 

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.  I promise to take responsibility for my own safety by starting to trust the gut instincts that God gave me and not drown them out with self-doubt.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make
amends to them all.  Make a list of all the things the narcissist did to harm me, forgive myself for allowing it, knowing that from this day forward we will not settle for less than what we deserve. In moments of self-doubt I will reread the list until the self-doubt dissipates. 

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do
so would injure them or others.  I will try to reconnect with family and friends I have lost while with the narcissist, explain in a calm and rational manner what I went through, give a heart-felt apology to those I may have hurt, explain what I am doing to get my life back on track and ask for their support. If they can not give the support I accept that they may not believe me because I have gone back to the N so many times before and it may take time for them to see I am really serious this time. Know that if they refuse it is not me but their own misconception and issues that prevent them from being there for me and find another source of support.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly
admitted it.  In all things I will act and speak the truth and trust that the truth will prevail no matter what the narcissist is doing or saying. The only thing I have is my integrity, I will not stoop to the level of the narcissist but hold my head high and believe that the truth does always come out eventually. Through my actions people will see I am a person of integrity and will have no choice but to respect me. I will trust that the narcissist’s mask will drop and he will be revealed to be the monster he is, all the while knowing that some people will always believe the narcissist and it is not my fault nor responsibility to warn them or change their mind.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with
God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us
and the power to carry that out.  Whether it is God, karma, or a higher power I will take time daily to clear my thoughts of the narcissist and whether through prayer or a mantra replace the negative beliefs instilled by the narcissist with positive thoughts of what I want in my future. Every day I will find something to be thankful for.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to
carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our
affairs. Once I have experienced a rebirth and reach a level of true appreciation for myself and the world around me I will share my experiences with others to help raise awareness about domestic abuse and  I will be a beacon of light for others who follow behind me, showing them the way to recovery and true healing.

Copyright  A.A. World Services, Inc

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http://wp.me/p1wKh3-pJ               http://wp.me/p1wKh3-2M0              http://wp.me/p1wKh3-1dD

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Well that is it for now! Part 4 I will discuss how a person can protect themselves from being brainwashed and what family members and friends can do if they think a loved one is in an abusive relationship.

Have a glorious weekend!

Hugs

Carrie

 

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.