When the narcissist shamelessly, pathetically begs for your attention and admiration, that’s your cue — to run fast, run far. But it’s OK if you want to push him down a flight of stairs first. Who wouldn’t?
The murder of your soul starts slowly, so slowly you may not even notice it. Notice that you give up yourself so willingly to appease, to seek approval, to make him happy, to get his approval, his kindness – if just for a few minutes, you feel good because you made him feel loved, good, and special. But, then where did you go? Your soul seeps out slowly as he pulls you toward him and then pushes you away. Turns you on like a switch when he wants you. When he is done playing with you, he will put you in a box on a shelf and shut the door, taking you out only when he wants to play again – only when he needs you to make him feel good about himself. Slowly and insidiously your soul is sucked from you, pulled away from your true self and placed in a container. A container he holds. He doles out pieces, pieces of you, and you grab at them and try to hold onto them as if they were gifts of love, compassion, and your ‘one-ness’ with him. Soon he doles out criticisms, anger, and judgmental comments. These are the negative pieces from the container, but you still grab at these as if they were gifts of love because these criticisms are followed by the words you so want to hear “I love you. I am so sorry. I am only trying to help you. I can only think analytically. I am not good at this or showing you or telling you that he I love you….that’s just who I am” he says.
The isolation begins. You start to lose sight of who you are, who you have been, who you used to be, and who you want to be. You only want to focus on how to manage him, manage his feelings, so he is happy, contented, pleased – so he won’t leave. Because if he left his first wife, what makes you think he won’t leave you? Why do you think you are immune to his behaviors? You need him to approve of you, so that he will not be angry with you, and so you won’t lose anything else – no other pieces or parts of your soul will be murdered or sucked from you. All the while you are losing pieces of yourself and your soul to this black hole of confusion – to this vortex of evil and darkness until you can no longer see a way out, no longer see the light, joy, and the goodness of life. Everywhere you look you see losses. You lose touch with your family, with your children, with yourself. You tell yourself that you are doing this for them – the children, the family – to give them a ‘better’ life. You are living a false and painful life. You isolate yourself because you feel so badly about yourself and who you have become – your false/inauthentic self. You do not want anyone to know. You are ashamed. He isolates you more because he wants to own you and possess you. You are his property. You hide because you are living a lie, and you are afraid that your loved ones will see the false self. See that you are acting. You have just become the perfect pawn in his game. He will divide, conquer, and consume you. Your loneliness and isolation becomes palpable. He can feel it, almost taste, and it gives him power! Make no mistake – this is his game and he will win at all costs – that is his goal! He is not pursuing a healthy, nurturing loving relationship – he is playing the game, and you my dear, are the ultimate prize!
Isolation leads to a fragmented self, a loss of self as you are further beaten down into submission.
You start to believe that it is your fault he cannot give you more….give you what you need. But, if you listen really close, you will hear his true words – he cannot give you more because he IS incapable – does not matter why or why not – it’s truly not you. It is him. You are not innocent here. You gave yourself up earnestly, but you did it in the name of being good, kind, and loving – and because you wanted to protect yourself. Protect yourself, so that he would not take any more of you, so that he would not yell and scream at you, so that he would not belittle you or steal your last bit of self-respect. Ironically, you give up pieces of yourself (and ultimately all of yourself) in order to hold onto some semblance of self-respect and a shred of self-esteem. Why? Because YOU love him. But, he told you and showed you ALL along what he could and could not give – these are the signs – the warning signs you should have seen them. So, then is it really your fault because you were not ‘schooled’ in his game. You thought you would help him and love him, and then he would give you the safety and love you so craved. But, he could not and never will because he IS incapable!
With that realization – the realization of the TRUTH – the isolation takes you deeper into the pain and confusion.
His game is always to confuse, to catch you off guard, and to startle you. Confusion is his power.
Sometimes life doesn’t give us Hollywood endings, so we have to create our own. This fictional memoir introduces Clarissa Daring, whose granddaughter Olivia abruptly went missing from her cottage in the little village of Gales Ferry. Clarissa is warm, gentle, and loves her family; she also isn’t altogether all too fond of toads. Toadcraft is something to which Clarissa is no stranger. From her youth in the rural mountains of New Hampshire to the boys her granddaughters bring home to dinner, Clarissa is able to put into words that sense we all have that something just seems off about a toad. This is a story of how Clarissa ended up saving not only Olivia, but Olivia’s sister Anne as well.
We’ll post an excerpt soon.
It’s hard for emotionally generous people to burn bridges. And yet, that’s what you gotta do to get rid of the embarrassing rash on your life known as the narcissist. It burns like iodine on a knife wound, and I assure you it makes no more sense to keep a toad in your life than it does to deliberately infect and pick at that knife wound in order to keep it sore and in your life as long as possible.
Bridges keeping alive a relationship with a toad benefit the toad, and only the toad. They’re really unhealthy for you. So, whether you blow it up in a blaze of fireworks, quietly burn it in a private bonfire, or reduce it to a pile of rubble in a final earthquake of ceremony and pomp: Get rid of the bridge allowing the toad access to your heart. That bridge leads to Misery, and Gaslighting, and Lies and Manipulation and Torment — all places where he lives, and where sane folk don’t wanna go. Look at it, closely: it’s not even that great of a bridge.