Thursday, September 10, 2015

“OH GOD....I THINK I'M HAVING A NERVOUS BREAKDDOWN”


This single sentence means a lot to me. My now wife said it when I first met her, after a 26 year marriage to a narcissist who just about destroyed her. But, this can happen to you in just a matter of months. How does the narcissist drive you crazy?

To begin with, what I noticed about my wife, which had been true in my marriage of my own NX, was that her life was totally out of control. That's what gives you that feeling of craziness....feeling that things are out of control. And you feel that way because your life IS out of control. It's chaotic. You have no security and are always on guard. You walk on egg shells all the time. You're depressed. You're angry. The feeling is one of DISPAIR.

I told my wife what I'll tell you....you're not crazy, though the narcissist called you crazy, and told your family and friends this as well. No, you're not crazy....you're just reacting normally to a crazy situation. You have a psychological injury called “narcissistic abuse syndrome”, which has been proposed as a new diagnosis, since therapists are seeing so much of it these days.

What having NAS means is having some or all of the following: PTSD, nightmares, high anxiety, flashbacks, phobias and fears, eating disorders, keeping secrets, panic attacks, feeling numb, disassociation (standing aside and watching yourself, feeling distant from the present reality), depression, guilt and shame, not being able to remember some traumatic situations (amnesia of traumatic situations), cutting or other self harming, and, isolation and loss of contact with friends and family.

You've become the target of character assassination and slander...to yourself, your employer, and your friends and family. It's like being in an emotional hurricane of lies, hate, manipulation, and betrayal. You are so beaten down that you feel helpless. That's LEARNED HELPLESSNESS and is the end result of NAS. But, if you learned it, you can unlearn it. I watched my now wife become strong, happy, and confident again. You feel helpless because you see the narcissist as powerful and yourself as weak, but that's what the narcissist WANTS you to believe.

First, go no contact with your narcX, or if you have minor children, have the absolute minimum contact via email only, and then only respond to reasonable questions about health, school, and visitation. These are your first boundaries and it all begins with boundaries, starting with NO CONTACT.

Boundaries are a statement of what you will and won't do and will and won't tolerate. Boundaries are not about controlling the narcissist, it's about gaining and keeping control of YOUR OWN LIFE. You communicate your boundaries clearly and YOU ENFORCE your boundaries. Yes, the narcissist will have a cow, will do everything to break down your boundaries including using others to help, and even go into a rage. If you need to, get a restraining order.

So, hey, what's begun to happen here? You're regaining control of your life again. You're reversing the “out of control” feeling you used to have. It feels good...it feels strong...it makes you smile. It's hard at times, and frightening at times, but hang in there. And, oh yea, the narcissist will do ANYTHING to distract you from regaining control, including “hoovering” you.

But, here's the thing....the narcopath HAS NO POWER TO MAKE YOU DO ANYTHING once you are not in your exN's immediate presence. He can only manipulate you into doing what he wants. That's why you adopt the policy I call “Detach and Observe”. You step back inside yourself and start observing him carefully and calmly. You state to yourself what he is trying to do and why. Notice that this is the exact opposite of the feelings I first described above. It's also “being in control” of yourself and life.

Now, the narcissist FEELS the loss of control, and that's very frustrating to him...it feels like failure to him, weakness, and powerlessness. No wonder he redoubles his efforts for a time. But, you maintain good boundaries and no contact and just go on. The thing he really hates is to be irrelevant to your life...which is why you “gray rock” him. That means having the same emotional reaction to him as a “gray rock”.....you show him nothing in any way.

Then, you begin to move on with your life. You morn the loss of your innocence and the loss of time, but do it in private or only with your most trusted friends. It will take time, but the beginning of recovery is certainly losing that feeling of losing your mind. You didn't get to that point over night and you won't recover over night. But you will recover. And, no, you're not crazy and never were. And, oh, BTW, he's not crazy either. Just evil.

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