Why I’ve held off on posting “Breaking Through: A Narcissist in Therapy, Part 2”

I know I promised to have Part 2 up right away, but when I started to write it the other night, I found I couldn’t continue because in my current state of mind, it was just too triggering–and too complicated for me to try to explain why.

I also had to think about the way I’d present Part 2, which is going to be lot more dramatic and eventful than Part 1, and I knew the back and forth patient/therapist dialogue of Part 1 would not work for the second post.

Part 2 will be told from David’s point of view, in narrative form. I am doing it that way because much of what David will experience is internal and can only be told from a narrative point of view, so the reader can vicariously experience the feelings David experiences, with maximum impact. I don’t think a dialogue would be as effective in getting his complicated emotions across, especially since much of what David experiences cannot be expressed in spoken words.

No promises, but I hope to have the second part up over the weekend.

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10 thoughts on “Why I’ve held off on posting “Breaking Through: A Narcissist in Therapy, Part 2”

  1. Here is my question/confusion. In everything I’ve read on NPD so far everyone has described the three phases that an N goes through. I do believe this because my ex husband has gone through each phase to a T twice in the last year and I was left so confused by it that my research led to this site and so many others. I am still trying to understand however if the phases are already planned out by the N or if they just happen bc the N can’t control their emotion. On so many sites the N is described as evil and the phases are planned. The “trick” or “lure” you in with love and infatuation with you. But could it be that at that moment they do see you as perfect and their words of love bring out your words of love and for that fleeting “perfect” moment they do truly believe what they are saying, until of course you do the littlest thing and burst the “perfect” bubble sending them into the next phase in which they are so disappointed in you that they try to emotionally hurt you. I guess what I am trying to get at is, is it Calculated or can they just not help it? Does it depend on the N? All of the promises they make and future dreams and plans they’ve made with you, is there a possibility that they really believed they would happen or do they know from the start exactly what they are doing? Really trying to understand!

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    1. Wow, this is a complicated question but it’s a good one. Yes, they go through the three phases, and I also think intention varies depending on their place on the spectrum (a low spectrum would have no idea what they’re doing or why or even know they’re doing it at all, but a malignant narc would be fully aware of what they’re doing but could care less if it hurts you or even enjoy watching you suffer if they are sociopathic.)

      But in general, I think the three phases can be explained like this. I think most know to some degree what they are doing, but don’t know why or know how to stop doing it. They might be so deluded they really think “it’s for your own good” or they know it isn’t for your good, but are compelled to do it, as if they’re being controlled by forces beyond their control. As I said in my post, I don’t think in most cases a narc makes a conscious choice to be a narc, because it’s made in childhood in response to unbearable trauma. But they still know what they are doing, if that makes any sense. It’s like an intelligent robot who has been programmed to perform certain actions, knows they are performing those actions, but has no idea why or that they perform those actions because they have been programmed to do so. The same is true of any mental disorder. If you suffer from OCD for example, you might be fully aware you wash your hands 57 times a day, but not know why you do it. You might even wish to stop but you can’t.

      Narcs do whatever they need to do to get supply. They love bomb or hoover you and that gets them positive supply. But because you can’t fill their expectations of perfection (it’s an emotional need–cognitively they know you cannot be as perfect as they want), after awhile of being nice to you, even loving, they start to devalue you. Remember, you are just a mirror to them. Their devaluation of you brings them supply (your negative emotional reaction) because the niceness they showed at first no longer gets them the fix they need because you have shown your faults. So they are compelled to abuse because it makes them feel as if they exist, since all you are to them is a mirror, not a real person.

      I don’t know if I explained that very well. I hope it makes sense.

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  2. Wow, right back at ya! You did an excellent job explaining that! Just really trying to truly understand my ex-husband who I’ve done this dance with for 20 years. I thought after our divorce he would leave me alone (he even remarried someone else, right away) but he hasn’t and I could never understand why he would come to me and love me with everything he had and then dig for my flaws and discard me like I was nothing to him anymore. I am just starting to understand (your blog is definitely helping) and I guess a part of me does wonder if the vulnerability he has shown me at times is real or not. I know it shouldn’t matter and my role as an enabler and care giver has got to stop no matter what (for my own health and sanity) but I just can’t fathom that everything he has told me is a lie. When he looked me in the eyes and said he cried on a beach for four hours mourning the death of our marriage and wanting to try again (that is how he sucked me in this last time) that those words had no truth to them. Thank you for responding!

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    1. Here’s the thing. I think that the emotions your ex husband showed you on the beach were probably genuine. He really didn’t want to lose you–because you offered easy supply to him, and a narc feels like nothing without that. It wasn’t because he loves you, he loved what he was getting from you. Unfortunately for you (and for him to), he would be compelled to start the abuse again once he knew he had you back. They can’t help themselves, it’s in their programming. Only somehow undoing that programming could make them stop doing those things and running that same cycle over and over (or alternatively, learning mindfulness through something like CBT/DBT, even though the narcissism still exists and they have to make a conscious effort to not abuse).

      You’re very welcome and I glad my blog is helping you. Writing it helps me!

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  3. P.S – I think he is low spectrum bc in our last conversation he actually said to me that he has no idea why he keeps doing what he is doing. He said his therapist said its bc he didn’t adequately morn the loss of our marriage and hadn’t completely let me go. While this might be true I know for a fact that everything he does and has done for the past 20 years, points to some disorder, something is not right in his head. I know his childhood contributed and I can’t help but think that I did as well (I’m the one that had an affair first).
    Sorry, I’m blowing you up!

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    1. Every person is an individual and can’t be put in a box. It’s not that simple. That’s why labels can be so damaging, because they assume things about a group of people, assume they are all the same and will act in predictable ways.

      Your ex’s therapist was probably right. He was probably grieving, and if as you said, he was low spectrum, he may have even had a small capacity for genuine love. But he was probably primarily grieving the loss of supply you provided, though he might have believed what he felt was “love.”

      It’s very sad and even sadder that this disorder itself keeps one from being insightful and remorseful enough to want to heal from it.

      A narc is actually in the best position for therapy to work when they have suffered a grave loss and are at their most vulnerable. At the time your husband was crying on the beach after you left him, he was temporarily without his false self and feeling the emptiness that’s always there and that your leaving triggered. It’s at times like this, that a narcissist sometimes realizes it’s they who have the problem and enter into therapy. It’s sad if he didn’t use that opportunity to try to get to the roots of his NPD.

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  4. I agree on the labels, I think it’s because I am just now figuring this out and trying to wrap my brain around everything. It’s a bittersweet pill to swallow to finally realize what he is doing is not my fault but that he also never truly loved me and probably never will. His beach revelation actually came in January when he was on his honeymoon with his current wife (this is actually a long painful story). From January to June he was involved with me (infatuation phase) and actually left her and was talking about divorce. When he was in his infatuation phase he seemed so vulnerable and honest. He confessed to being obsessed with me and not a day going by that he didn’t stalk me on fb(I know unhealthy), that he never loved his current wife just used her as a rebound to get away from me, that he didn’t really know what was wrong with him but he wanted to get help for himself and us. He told me everything I needed and wanted to hear. But in June he started to go back to his devaluation phase and turned cold (has done this to me over and over again for so many years but I never knew why, thought it was my fault). He frantically started looking for “dirt” on me. Same cycle over again! I called him out on being back with her and he turned on me and went cold. That is what led me to all of these sites bc of this endless cycle and the fact that this time I knew that it could not possibly be my fault and something had to be wrong for him to do this again (he did this last summer to right before he got married) to myself and our children! I’m now I’m 99% sure he went back to her even though he has admitted to her that he loves me, she still wants to be with him. Arggg, I’m just so confused about what is real and what is not. Sorry that I’m venting on your page. Probably need to find a good forum to get advice. Do you know a good one?

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    1. That story actually made me tear up a little. I feel for both of you. Obviously he is repeating the same thing with his new source of supply. Ever hear the phrase, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”? Narcissists are insane that way.

      Don’t feel guilty about venting. I encourage open discussion including venting, because this is painful stuff to deal with.

      I know of an an excellent forum, where both people with NPD (self aware, obviously) and victims of narc abuse post and the forum is surprisingly very civil and respectful. I used to post on it myself but rarely do anymore. I learned a lot there, and both groups were learning from each other. You should definitely visit there and share if you want. The narcs there will actually help you understand why they act as they do.
      http://www.psychforums.com/narcissistic-personality/

      Let me know what you think. Even if you just lurk, there’s a lot of great material from both the “dark side” and the victim side.

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  5. Oh, I could write a book if I went all the way back to the beginning, maybe that can be part of my healing process. God, despite everything the passion between us in all of the phases has always been so intense that I almost feel like despite the pain I will never feel that with anyone else (maybe I have my own disorders to deal with). I feel we are both victims. He is a victim in that I feel that he wants to love me so much but his disorder (whatever it may be) will not allow him to. I am a victim in that I have allowed this insanity to circle around me over and over again, at least now I am beginning to understand it and stop it. Thank you again, and I look fwd to continuing to read and learn from you!

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    1. N’s have a way of getting us (especially if we’re sensitive types or empaths) to feel very strongly about them and have very mixed feelings of love and hate toward them,, which is of course what they want. Having buried their own feelings, they feed off intense emotion of others, which is why they’re drawn to HSPs and empaths and people with BPD (who tend to be very emotionally unstable). In the beginning, their love can seem so real and passionate. No one is better than a narc at discerning exactly what you need/want and giving that to you–until they no longer do and then it’s devastating beyond belief. Sometimes I think Narcs are actually empaths who nevertheless use it for their own purposes or against you. Narcissists are very, very sensitive and easily hurt/offended. This usually manifests as rage or silent treatment. So my theory that they are empathic may not be wrong. The problem is they have empathy, but they have cognitive empathy which they use for their own benefit and to suss you out and feed off the emotion you give them, rather than to share in your emotions. I know it sounds really weird but theoretically if one can be healed, I think they could become real empaths because they have the innate ability to sense what you are feeling and give you what you need so you give them what they need. So it’s common for us to have very powerful emotions toward them. I do myself.

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