Have you seen the movie, The Matrix?
If you haven’t you might want to rent it because at some point during the movie you may well have the first lucid moment you’ve had in a long time and realize, I’m not crazy.
The movie takes place in a futuristic society where there is no illness, everything seems peaceful and perfect, and life is the perfect level of pleasant all of the time. What the characters don’t know is that they are being fed a group fantasy by cognizant machines while their bodies are used as an energy source. In other words, their life source is being sucked away while they are being assured that all is well.
If that isn’t the image of a narcissistic relationship I don’t know what is. Narcissists are emotional vampires, using the emotions of the people around them until there is nothing left but a human shell – a body drained of everything but the instinct to survive.
Survival means accepting everything that is said and done as being truth even if it is such an obvious lie that you literally have ignore scientific facts. Early on my husband wanted to join a softball team. He needed a mitt but we were very broke, having a hard time even putting food on the table. There was just no way.
A few days later he came home with a mitt. Not just a cheap mitt but a good quality one. “Wow, I thought we decided we couldn’t afford it?” I said, trying to keep my voice even.
“I didn’t buy it,” he said with a charming smile. “When I got to the car after work it was on the front seat.”
I was suspicious, “Was the car locked?”
He nodded, “Yes it was. Strange, isn’t it? I guess it was just a God thing.”
Please understand, I am not naive and I am not intellectually impaired. I do very much believe in a spiritual word and a God that does miracles. I have experienced them. I just didn’t believe this was one of them.
“You are kidding.”
His brow lowered and his face darkened, “You don’t believe me?” He yelled incredulously. “So, you don’t think God can do miracles, or is it that you just think He won’t do them for me?”
Now I was stuck. If I said I didn’t believe in miracles I would be lying. If I said that I did but I didn’t believe He’d done one for my ex I would be implying that he wasn’t important to God. It was a no win situation and I did what anyone in a relationship with a narcissist would do in that same circumstance – I soothed his ruffled ego and agreed that it was amazing that God would provide like that.
At some point I allowed myself to believe it because it meant that life would be calm. I liked calm a lot.
We all know that it was a lie. He had bought it himself even though we didn’t have enough to pay bills. I saw the receipt later and it wasn’t billed to the Universe. It wasn’t the first time that it happened and it wouldn’t be the last. The lies continued to the very end. In fact, they continue to this day.
At some point you need to stop believing in fairy tales and begin facing the truth
Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid
Being part of his fantasy world is not something that you have to do. Like Neo in The Matrix you can unplug and begin to experience reality. It isn’t easy, and it will take some serious will power because you are, all of a sudden, going to be swimming against the current.
Focusing on the truth is hard at first. I was so used to accepting the lie as truth that just thinking about disagreeing threw me into a panic. It helps to have someone who you can trust that is discerning and can encourage you in seeking the truth in every situation. Don’t beat yourself up when you slip once in a while. It will happen – just get right back on track and keep going.
Don’t Accept the Blame
A narcissist will rarely admit to wrong doing unless it will benefit him in some way. Here’s what I mean – a narcissist might admit to wrong doing if it will make him look humble in front of others, thus making them think that you are crazy when you say he is a narcissist. He might admit to wrong doing if it will cause you to do what he wants. There are many reasons but I think you get the idea.
It’s important that you refuse to accept the blame for what he does or what happens in his life. You have probably found yourself the scapegoat for the times he was fired from a job, the months he couldn’t pay a bill, and the fact that he hasn’t bothered to visit his mother in ten years.
Don’t Trust Him
Forgiveness is an important part of your healing but there is nothing about forgiveness that requires you to trust a thing he says.
One of the best descriptions of a narcissist that I have ever read comes from Halcyon.com –
…narcissists can't be counted on not to do somethingjust becauseit's wrong, illegal, or will hurt someone, as long as they think that they can get away with it or that you can't stop them or punish them…
At the same time they are eerily competent when it comes to getting other people to trust them. During a marriage counseling session the counselor looked at me directly and said, “You are the immature one in this relationship.”
I was devastated. How could anyone say that to me?
Less than two months later I caught him cheating again and kicked him out. I saw the counselor at a church function where everyone knew what had happened. I looked at her and said somewhat bitterly, “Who’s the immature one, now?”
You Are the Example
The most frightening revelation to me was that my children would take my cues in how to deal with their father. If I accepted his lies as truth they would, too. If I accepted the blame for the things he did then they would, too.
Once I started to defend the truth things got pretty violent. To this day if you stubbornly speak the truth rather than accepting his lies he will get violent. Everything is fine when he is placated with his own version of reality.
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