Falling for a Narcissist: A Victim Perspective (Pt 4)

Recap

Having found their ideal partner in phase 1- the (Idealization) phase, only to be dropped from a great height in phase 2 – the (Devaluation) phase, the victim is usually devastated and exhausted by the time the narcissist is ready to move into phase 3 – (Discarding) phase.

The Discarding Phase – Discard and Destroy

While the empathetic victim has bonded with the narcissistic partner, no such bonding has taken place for the narcissist, which may explain why they find moving on quickly, comes so easily to them. While the victim may be wondering why the narcissist became involved in the first place, and whether they ever felt affection towards them at all, the answer is simply No. This entire debacle was nothing more than a game to the narcissist, who feels no love or empathy whatsoever. The closest the narcissist will ever come to love is in phase one – the Idealization phase, which happens over and over again with every victim the narcissist encounters. It isn’t the victim themselves that the narcissist is captivated by, it is the process – they are euphoric in phase one – draining the positive emotions and esteem from their victims, feeding off the victim’s positive energy supply, while the narcissist themselves are devoid of feeling.

 

While some narcissists are known to leave the relationship as quickly as they entered into it, without so much as a second thought; others, as was the case in my experience, don’t make it that easy. It isn’t enough for them to just walk away from the wreckage once they have taken whatever they wanted. They will often go to great lengths to cause the victim further damage. Narcissists do not take any responsibility for their own actions; someone else is always to blame for the problems they encounter, including the problems they create for themselves. In phase-3, it is the victim who the narcissist has decided is at fault. The narcissist is often full of anger and hatred. Phase 3 can be particularly devastating for the victim if the relationship has had a family, as the narcissist will use anything they can, including children as leverage, to cause as much pain and drama for the victim as possible.

 

The narcissist is an expert manipulator who will use the victim’s own disclosures against them. Disclosures which may have been offered by the victim during the 6 Stage process in phase 1, (Building Rapport & Qualification) has been strategically banked ready to use at a later point; and that point is now; phase 3 – where nothing is sacred. While the narcissist may have shared some of their own, sometimes untrue, sometimes embellished secrets during the idealization stage; they are banking on the victim’s integrity – and fully intend using it against them. Where the victim has boundaries and limitations about sharing information disclosed to them by the narcissist; and are naturally cautious about what things they are prepared to use in a fight, the spiteful narcissist has no such boundaries and will stop at absolutely nothing to discredit the victim.

 

The narcissist will use anything and everything as leverage – effectively holding the victim to ransom; using twisting truths and blackening the victim’s name. The victim is likely to feel exasperated by this. They may have shared some intimate secrets to their apparent soul mate in phase 1, only to have those secrets used against them by the devil in phase 3. The paradox being; the victim doesn’t feel able to fully deny the accusations being leveled against them by the narcissist, knowing there is an element of truth in what is being said about them, so they flap around trying to explain the explainable – looking increasing guilty; while the cool, calm crafty chameleon, scratches another point into his/her chalkboard.

 

Where most people couldn’t be bothered to drag up negative information about a former partner, preferring instead to put the experience behind them and simply move on; the narcissist gets a thrill out of finding whatever they can to discredit and humiliate their victims. There is no time limit to how long this will continue; either until the narcissist has completely destroyed the victim’s reputation or until another victim takes the narcissist’s attention away from them, by engaging the narcissist in the process in phase 1. Wherever possible, the victim should sever all ties with the narcissist as soon as they can. The narcissist is desperate to control the situation and will continue to email, text, call, and stalk the victim for as long as they can get away with it. My advice to a victim would always be; protect yourself; do not engage and do not respond. Seek support and advice.

 

In one encounter, 6 months after the relationship had ended, having severed all ties; the hounding had all but ceased. I was contacted by another victim who had fallen foul of the same abuser and who having happened across my details amongst some paperwork, contacted me, desperately seeking answers. At the time she was experiencing the back end of phase 2, our mutual abuser was already in the process of taking another victim through phase 1.

We were able to identify more victims, all remarkably similar in appearance, all given the exact same ‘pet name’ in phase 1, and all devastated and struggling to understand having shared a similar experience. There is no doubt in my mind that there were more victims that we didn’t learn about, and there will undoubtedly continue to be more victims at the hands of this abuser. 

In order to break the cycle, we must first understand the process used to lure victims as explained in part 1.

‘It is no coincidence that narcissists and victims find each other’ – narcissists are actively seeking people to target! It is always for the narcissist’s personal gain. If you can recognize the process; learn how to respond to it, you can learn how to avoid it.

Victims often believe they were targeted because of something about them. One victim assumed they were targeted because they had shared photos of themselves in a bikini. If the narcissist is looking to relieve someone of their money, then they will look to target someone with money, regardless of what they look like – it’s not so much about the victim, the victim could be anyone that fits the narcissist’s desired profile – it’s very much about the narcissist and what they want from the victim. For example; if a narcissist has an interest in children – they will look to target a parent with a child, as explained in my S.T.A.N.D a toolkit for prevention training, which is now available online Here.

Narcissists target people who can provide whatever it is they need, and they know upfront exactly who they can and cannot target.

This week is ‘Mental Health awareness week; thankfully we are getting much better about talking about mental health and mental wellness. We are more open about mental health now than at any time previously, which is fantastic. Now we need to improve on that by spending an equal amount of time raising awareness about the impact of trauma; how it is experienced in the body and how it affects the mind. We need to discuss more openly, how victims deal with the effects of trauma, what trauma looks like in the aftermath of abuse, and how it impacts a victim’s life moving forward.

 Mindfulness is frequently prescribed for people experiencing mental health issues, and while mindfulness is useful and certainly proved helpful for me, it was only part of the solution. Learning to listen to the emotional responses in the body, feeling the emotion in the core, recognizing what that feeling meant for me as an individual, learning to trust, not override my instincts, aided recovery.

Hurt people – hurt people!

How we feel about anything is everything!

Our emotions act as an indicator; an internal navigation system, that warns us about impending danger and keeps us safe. On the whole, society still takes a negative view of emotions, discouraging people from expressing how they feel. People are still seen as ‘weak’ and told to “pull themselves together, “not to wear their hearts on their sleeves’, “stop overreacting” “Don’t bring your problems into work, leave them at home” ‘Don’t get emotionally involved’ – ‘don’t let your heart rule your head’, the list of how we discourage people from listening to their emotions is endless.

However, If people were encouraged and supported to better understand and deal with the negative emotions that pain them, fewer people would feel the need to mask their pain with food, medication, alcohol, drugs, or self-harm.

If you have experienced Narcissist abuse and you are interested in supporting others and raising awareness of behaviours that lead to Manipulation, Exploitation, Abuse and Coercive Control, check out my CPD certified online training course;

STAND, a toolkit for the prevention of Grooming Behaviours.