Cognitive dissonance (not for people in their first steps of recovery!!!!)

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jen79
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Cognitive dissonance (not for people in their first steps of recovery!!!!)

Will stop when you start to think in terms of "this AND that", instead of "either or", "this OR that".

I told you I am working on my shadow. And the thing is, I am this and that, I am vain and slobby, I am irresponsable and responsable, I am weak and strong, I am hateful and loving.

Dont start to talk right away about the narc now. First think about those things within you.
Any word, trait that creates a strong emotional response within you, is something you dont want to own, positive or negative.

Once you do this, even if your ego is screaming at you, you will start to feel relieved, and maybe you will see how this trait could serve you and what it wanted to do with you, maybe protecting you.

And then, when you have done that, look at the narc.

He is evil, and good. Both of it. The dissonance and intrusive obsession doesnt come from, I swear, it doesnt come from, you not accepting that he is both of it, but you not accepting that you have certain traits too, that are contradictory.

And once you can accept that, you will accept him too, the way he is or was. He was and is both of it.

I can really recommend to start to read about shadow process, I made such an incredible shift the last days.

It also works the other way around, what you admired in others, and maybe in your narc, are the traits that wants to be expressed within you, that you project onto others, cause you dont want to own them, in case you think you really lack of these traits.

Big hugs to you all

helldweller
helldweller's picture
what am I looking for
I have thought long and hard the past two years about the possibility that I don't actually want a committed, stable relationship. Maybe life with the narc was exactly what I was looking for. In all of this "worrying I'll always be alone" I've been nagged by the possibility that I just may not really want to be with someone in a real way. Was his lack of committment, freedom, etc the part of me that was missing? I know for a fact that he was insanely jealous of the fact that I was married and had children. Is that because it's what he reallly wants but can't do? Do *I* really want his freedom and can't do *that*? When I first married my ex husband (not a narc)I was obssessively wifely, maternal, the whole bit. I absolutely insisted on a proper, stable family life to the exclusion of all else. When he didn't act the way I wanted (and granted, he was an alcoholic and very uncooperative) I used that excuse to stay married to him (as he wanted) but have emotional affairs behind his back with other men. Don't get me wrong, I needed love that he wasn't giving me, but what was I really looking for? Why didn't I leave? Why didn't the narc leave? Why didn't I leave the narc? I find myself now actually considering giving it a try with my ex husband again. He is sober, clear headed, very loving to our daughters and me, hard working, dedicated to us. I know it will be a long time before I am clear enough to make a decision on this, if ever, but I already find myself getting the creeps thinking about being attached to someone who really is stable. Have I been trained to be uncomfortable with stability by the narc? Or is it the real me? No, this thread is not for beginners. It's very scary for me.
neverlookback
neverlookback's picture
Regarding husbands
How does one go back to your husband who is verbally cruel, mean and abusive when I know that is why I was sooo taken with the psychopath that entered my life? My husband is not pathological or a sick sexual predator, but he IS abusive, HUGE controller. I told my husband you will NEVER have the power ever again over me to make me feel like I am a person of no value or worth, I am ON to that little tactic of yours. I see so many insecurities in my husband, actually gets mad when another man or anybody shows me attention so he has to put me down as to make me feel I am NOTHING and he is superior and SOMETHING. Wonder why they cant figure out the SIMPLE equation to the problem, its really very simple, you treat your partner with kindness, emotional support, show them they have value, recognize them in a loving way, show them you are proud to be with them. Being verbally abusive to someone does the OPPOSITE the abuser starts to appear UGLY, insecure, needy, demanding, and you want NOTHING to do with them, it destroys marriages. Why cant they figure that out?
becsta777
becsta777's picture
NeverLookBack
My husband was abusive too, nothing was sacred - he put me down for everything I did, the way I looked, cooked, smiled, talked, my friends. I thought every part of me was ugly, my breath was bad, I was a failure in bed, I was stupid. It all happened so gradually that I didn't notice he was trying to control me until he banned me from seeing my friends. His reason was that he could tell they all wanted to use me in some way and I was too stupid to see it. I'd already seen a couple of my friends banned from seeing ME in the past when they were with controlling men and I realised where it was heading, so I was able to get rid of him. Of course, I was lucky - he was only over here on a tourist visa as we hadn't put in the paperwork for a residency yet. He was always threatening to leave me (I was 6 months pregnant) if I didn't do what he wanted, so one day I let him go and he took off back home. Of course, 24 hours later he was wanting to come back but he needed a sponsor letter from me and I wasn't going to give it to him! Then I met the narc! The reason I'm here... Its funny what Briseis said below, that maybe your husband is a narc too - I've often wondered if mine is also a narc...but just with different narc traits to the second narc.... eg. my husband still sends me weird or abusive texts out of the blue while the narc hasn't tried to contact me at all. I guess I have a child with my husband...but I always felt as though we were possessions to him, not actual real people.
Briseis
Briseis's picture
Well . . . you DON'T go back
Well . . . you DON'T go back to him. I wouldn't. I wouldn't encourage you to go "back" to a man who is abusive to you. Narcs come in many flavors. They don't have to be a sick sexual predator (mine wasn't, at least with me) and they don't have to beat the shit out of you or end up in prison or even be "pathological" enough for people to think "Ooooh gawd he's a nutjob!!" MOST Narcs fly under the radar. They are just husbands and fathers who treat their families like crap, who may not even call names but are destructive to their wives and children's self esteem. If your husband is a HUGE controller and abusive, what more do you need to know? You don't like THAT kind of crap either! Frankly, your husband sounds like the Narc that brought you to this board, except you are married to him and ON TO him. And perhaps because he does not display dramatically revolting character traits, you haven't pegged him as a Narc yet?
onwithmylife
onwithmylife's picture
HELLDWELLER
your comments struck a nerve with me. i think one of the residue effects of loving a NARc is that you wonder if you can ever again have a loving,normal, stable relationship with another man. I have often sought an answer to that question. When I was in the throngs of a relationship with EXNARC I would ask myself do i really want this constant turmoil, roller coaster ride and I would say no, yet I continued on with him for 15 years and whenever he discarded me ,would try and go out and meet some normal guys for coffee, but no one clicked with me or visa versa and I kept telling myself he is better than nothing, than struggling by myself, as I do/did not have much of a life. I would consider getting back with my ex, but then they say your ex is an ex for a reason, but he does not want to get back, other than keeping a longterm friendship ,so I am forced to get on with my life. So much for me is the lack of any strong support system, I have no parents alive, and a son and sister living elsewhere ,plus a few friends scattered throughout the country so many times I feel truly ALONE and very LONELY.Our relationships with these men would meant to uncover our childhood issues with one or both parents i firmly believe, he reminded me of my dad who dies when i was a young teen and felt so comfortable with and he had issue with his mother,never getting him the unconditional love he so desperately sought.this is all simplistic but you know what i mean. Have you talked to your exhusband about your feelings??
helldweller
helldweller's picture
onwithmylife
I have started to talk with him about my feelings. I was so shocked because he said to ME: "I am afraid to be with YOU again because I don't know if you'll go lookng for someone else." I was apalled at first, but then I realized that he was only putting into words my very worst fears. Was it the instability I was attracted to? But I thought he WAS stable when I met the narc. I thought he was! That's what I wanted. But did I know deep down he wasn't? It's so odd, because when I met my ex husband, he didn't drink. He was very athletic and said he didn't drink because of fitness. It took almost three years before he started drinking again and admitted to me he was an alcoholic. I truly believe that I somehow KNEW he was an alcoholic. Maybe in the way he acted, the way he carried himself, I don't know. I remember thinnking, "He feels like home." The narc felt like home, too. Even though he was SAYING he was stable, looking to settle down, for committment and a home and family, did I KNOW he was unstable?
becsta777
becsta777's picture
helldweller
I always feel an intensely strong chemistry with the narcs I've been involved with (2 so far) in both situations after I met them a few times I began to have obsessive thoughts. I couldn't stop thinking about them as I walked or did my daily routine. Then we got involved and they revealed to me that they also felt an incredibly strong pull towards me. This thread has been talking a lot about codependence and how narcs and codependent personalities are intensely attracted to each other. Another thought is that we were abused perhaps emotionally in childhood and therefore unconsciously keep repeating our childhood over and over by getting involved with people who abuse us. Its a deeply ingrained habit that needs hard work to get over. The hardest part is that we may not feel that same high level of chemistry and synchronicity with men who are good for us. I know I dont. I've started to look at things differently now, I know that the next time I feel intense chemistry with someone I'll need to be suspicious. This can be fixed though, we can work on building a better relationship with someone who we dont feel as much chemistry with but who is much better for us. I'm sure of it!
Briseis
Briseis's picture
Becsta777
Have you read much Sam Vaknin? He has a term called "inverted narcissism", and it's pretty controversial, I admit. Basically, an "inverted narcissist" is NOT a Narc themselves, but a person who finds themselves INTENSELY attracted to Narcs and psychopathic types. And of course, Narcs and psychos LOVE them too LOL! I think "inverted narcissism" is a kind of extreme codependence? I am just hashing it through my head, here, not offering a professional opinion. "Inverted narcissism" isn't a professional term anyway, more of a descriptive term that unfortunately makes a lot of sense. There really ARE victims out there who seek out Narcs right and left. My two major relationships have been with these idiots. I have been attracted to them like flies to honey. Or shit :D My father is a Narc. I was conditioned from birth by a Narc, and it has seriously effed up my ability to select decent men to be in relationship with. Helldweller made a really good point, I can't remember if it was on THIS board or AARN, but she mentioned that she doesn't know if she just doesn't feel attracted to a decent down-home guy because she doesn't want THAT kind of relationship. Maybe on the surface . . . but deep down, there is a desire for the overwhelming drama, the push-pull. I relate with that. For me, I discovered I'm terrified of intimacy with a man. At least I KNOW IT, am conscious of it, and thus am avoiding it flat out for the time being, rather than finding a man that it is IMPOSSIBLE to have any intimacy whatsoever WITH and acting it all out unconsciously. My relationships with men were patterned upon my relationship with my father, who is a Narc. It only follows that my deep seated patterning results in me gravitating toward PDIs. Inverted narcissism? Well, not any more. Probably because I am fully conscious of this patterning, and am simply avoiding it altogether until I get my shit together :D Just some thoughts I had when I read your post :)
darkspark
darkspark's picture
Clarification please :)
B - I'm wondering what you specifically mean when you say 'terrified of intimacy'. Is it an anxiety thing (like panic, worst case scenario thoughts) or is it more subtle? I don't love drama. I would choose isolation over instability any day. But I have a history of not being able to attach to people in an intimate, long-term way. I can love my friends, accept them and understand the give and take. A committed relationship - after about 3-4 months - just make me feel like I've been thrown into a river with a boulder around my neck.
Briseis
Briseis's picture
I'm terrified of losing
I'm terrified of losing myself (in an intimate relationship). I have this automatic response (so it seems) to abandon myself and forget myself when I get into a love/intimate relationship. It is knee jerk, I think. I am terrfied of that happening again. Do I trust myself to have that NOT happen? Not yet. In fact, I feel quite fine avoiding the whole issue, and working on my relationship to myself. Perhaps in that, my relationship with myself will "cure" this intimacy problem I have. I relate to that sense of bondage or entrapment in a love relationship. The thing is, the two major ones I've had have been with pathological people. The dynamics demanded I self-obliterate. It takes two to tango. And right now I need to tango with myself :D
darkspark
darkspark's picture
Thanks for that
so the fear of intimacy is in the here, as a protective measure from the past. Sort of the extreme opposite of poor boundaries. This this where I am too, now. I'm trying to pry myself out of the house, but it's still very much in the planning stage. Right now, I'm trying to get to the root of why I am the way I am, and I keep coming up blank. I'm not co-dependent, I don't have a PD, I'm not the child of a PD. Yet I've never been able to feel that long-term intimate, everyday, up in your business love that partner relationships require. I'm great with the honeymoon stage, but 3-4 months in either I'm giving them the 'lets be friends' or they are giving me the same. I can love my friends and accept them for everything they are, but I also need a lot of space and quiet time. When I don't it, I'm cranky and unreasonable and I end up driving people away. I wonder, are there just some people who don't attach to one other person? Is it 'normal' to be not normal? Or are those of us who are purposefully unattached have some sort of hidden dysfunction or childhood trauma? Just thinking out loud here. Maybe I'm wondering off into too many questions land... :)
becsta777
becsta777's picture
darkspark
I wonder sometimes if we all get too caught up in an "ideal relationship model" that is perhaps unsuitable for us as individuals. I know a few couples who have been together for years yet do not cohabit because they need their space. I've also been told that the key to a successful cohabitation is having a third adult live in the house to balance the equation and make it more of a 'pack' situation. Somebody also told me once that when you start sharing food, then you will both fall in to the typical male and female roles and the duties associated. Thats just a couple of thoughts, possibly nothing to do with what you were saying. I can pretty much relate to your words though, I often feel like just being friends a few months into a relationship - unless its with a narc and then I'm obsessed and would probably be interested in a joint suicide plan if thats what he wanted! I guess it might help to do some work on trust - trusting yourself and trusting the world. Thats what I've been trying to do anyway. I've also been reading a lot about emotional health and fitness which has done wonders for my recovery. much love xoxo
darkspark
darkspark's picture
thanks Becsta777 :)
I really relate to this: I often feel like just being friends a few months into a relationship - unless its with a narc and then I'm obsessed and would probably be interested in a joint suicide plan if thats what he wanted! Anytime I've been in a relationship with a nice and normal person, it's usually me who wants to be 'friends'. If its an emotionally unavailable guy, a flat out jerk or a narc - I'm attached like a leech. I had given up on the idea of having a long-term romantic relationship when the N came back into my life. It only took a short time for me to become convinced that I had FINALLY made that permanent connection. In retrospect, I can see that I was desperate to hand over my power and responsibility to someone who was telling me what I wanted to hear. Then when it failed, it was back to feeling like damaged goods. I've got a small bunch of friends with various emotional issues, but they all seem to know that they want permanent relationships and they are all in them. I'm happy for them, it's not jealousy I feel. It's just that I look at them and think, what do they have inside them that I seem to be missing? I will look into developing trust, and keep looking at general emotional health in rather than wait for the definitive answer to fall out of the woodwork. Thanks for your reply!
becsta777
becsta777's picture
Darkspark
No problem! So nice to be able to help each other out. i read a great book that talked about why some of us feel chemistry with toxic people and lose interest with those that are healthy and probably good for us. Its easy to read and helps quite a lot in working on the problem. Its called "reinventing your life - the breakthrough program to end negative behaviour and feel great again - by Jeffrey E Young and Janet S Klosko"...You dont need to read the whole book either, its designed so that you read just the chapters that are relevant to you. it definitely gave me a new perspective on my habits! Much love and luck to you xoxo
darkspark
darkspark's picture
many
many many thanks, Becsta777! I will be seeking that book out.
Briseis
Briseis's picture
Thanks Blue :P I just
Thanks Blue :P I just realized . . . I have much more a fear of self obliteration than I do of being single and unpartnered "for the rest of my life". If keeping my SELF means I am unpartnered for the rest of my life, then I can live with that. Of course that is rhetorical, I have no idea what life is going to bring my way. I had a dream last night that I was gonna boff an old boyfriend (and was reeeeeeeaally lookin' forward to it :D ), so things may indeed be alive and well deep down there :D . How strange, though. It used to be that I didn't have that "fear" of losing myself in a partnership at all. The partnership was more important, not my Self.
blueeyes
blueeyes's picture
LMAO..Boff?
I haven't said that word since Teen Wolf came out. LMAO. I remember that feeling, deep down going to meet a boyfriend. Why am I soooooo happy to see that side of you? I am so happy. I wish I was right there with ya. You know, Over the part where I NEED to care for me. Right now, I NEED and WANT to take care of myself and the kids ONLY. I have to because like you, I cared for a relationship that had nothing for ME in it for MANY years. I'll fend men away with a long 2x4 with a nail at the end of it :D Now, I am not saying I don't wanna boff. Cuz ya know I do, someday. My sexuality was never missing r damaged, that was always healthy. Go figure. I think there is someone GOOD out there for EVERYONE. If you take care of YOU then I believe it just happens at the right time and for the right "Good" reasons. As opposed to "teaching us a lesson". You know what I'm saying?
gettinbetter
gettinbetter's picture
Nope you really dont know
Nope you really dont know what life has in store for you right around the corner. I met my husband and we married in the same year we met and are still married 14 years later. A couple of years ago if you would have told me that the Narc and I would reconnect and he would make a massive hoover attempt and then suddenly disappear and that I would finally find the answer (that hes a Narc) to what happened all those years ago I would have said you are on crack but it happened it really happened. Conversley something equally good can happen just like that!
blueeyes
blueeyes's picture
briseis,
A huge AMEN!
becsta777
becsta777's picture
Briseis P.S
Oh, and I am also terrified of intimacy. I love the drama too...at least its never boring. I remember dating an Environmental lawyer once - wealthy, handsome, interesting, smart, lots in common. I just felt NO chemistry at all. I was bored. I could SEE that he was all that and a bag of chips, but I just didn't 'feel' it with him. I was awful to him and he ceased contact with me. Instead, I feel attraction to idiots. What a dilemma!
becsta777
becsta777's picture
Briseis
I HAVE read about inverted narcissism before actually, but was unsure about whether it applied to me. It was because Vaknin stated that inverted narcissists seek out ONLY narcs for relationships that made me think perhaps I was not one - however I'm re-evaluating all that now. I'm in my early 30's and I've been in around 10 relationships lasting over 6 months although nothing ever lasted beyond 16 months. Most of the men I was involved with were weak guys who let me push them around and I ended up resenting them for it. My most mutual 'loving' relationship was with a guy who had a drug problem and we were blissfully wrapped in each other for over a year, pushing away friends, family, everyone. When I was with the narcs, I felt like these were guys more worthy of my affection, like they were Mr Right. I considered them normal because they stood up to me, eventually dominating me and I respected them for it I suppose. I knew being with men who I didn't respect was wrong, so I felt that therefore, the narc must be RIGHT for me. My father is also a narc. Although I don't remember him physically or sexually abusing me, he is a known pedophile and our relationship is distant. I keep him at a distance. If I do see him, I leave the visitation exhausted from keeping up mental shields to keep him out. When I was a child he manipulated me terribly and also used emotional outbursts to get his way. I was betrayed by him repeatedly as a kid and have little trust for men in general. I read somewhere that inverted narcissists can use the demise of a relationship with a narc to really look at themselves once they are 'broken open' and I have to admit that this last relationship has done just that. I was involved with another narc in 2006 and when that ended, I really started to look at my life and change it. I guess I didn't change it enough, because it seems this last experience was sent to really drive the message home. When I feel an attraction to a guy now, I'm really suspicious...while I haven't met anyone yet who has sparked the obsessive thoughts, I'm sure its only a matter of time and when it happens, hopefully I can deal with it in a safe and sensible way.
gettinbetter
gettinbetter's picture
Me too Becsta
Im not sure it entirely fits me though parts of it are SO ME. What I have read is that it exists the same way Narcissism does on a continium with shades and degrees. So for me I dont think Im a full blown IN but I think I definitely have tendencies. Just like some people have narcissistic tendencies but dont have full blown NPD. It sounds like you as I did read the stuff on codependence and you went down the list going check check check. Its definitely me to a tee.
becsta777
becsta777's picture
Sick of it & Briseis - totally
YES! Its like the codependent book was written just for me. Same with my book on low self-esteem. The more I think about IN now, the more I believe I am IN. All those 'weak' guys I was with, I would always lament to my girlfriends that I didn't really like them, that I was just giving it a go because we were such good friends or because it made sense for us to be together. My experiences with Narcs has been traumatic and hurtful. I believe one of my earliest boyfriends was a narc and he only ever acknowledged me as his 'girlfriend' when it suited him. He was so lovely in the beginning and, well - you know the story. I think all these years I've been avoiding the narc because I didn't want to be hurt, because I KNEW I'd get hurt. I felt there was something wrong with me because I couldn't hold onto the narcs, that I must have been too needy or something - but it was doomed from the start. And I NEVER acted needy anyway, I've always been more of a 'hard bitch' than anything else. For years I've been trying to work out what is wrong with me and relationships...and over the last few days...wow, the pennies are dropping. Thank you so much ladies - so much gratitude and love to you :)
gettinbetter
gettinbetter's picture
I bet you feel the same way
I bet you feel the same way you did when you found out the narc was a narc. I remember I was euphoric but my immediate thought was ok now I'm gonna fix him. I mean everything is fixable right? Spoken like a true codependent but seriously that was my very first thought. I'm having to learn there are some things I just can't fix.
onwithmylife
onwithmylife's picture
HELLDWELLER
I kinda think second guessing can probably drive you crazy on top of the Narc thing! I really do not think you stopped to analyze whether either man was stable or not . My ex-husband did not feel like home but he EXNarc should did, as I mentioned relating to my Dad's early death for me. we were immediately comfortable with each other, but in retrospect my ex-husband and i did the whole dating thing and now i see that ,that was the NORMAL relationship whereas i remember flipping out very soon over the EXN and I felt like I was walking on air, never felt like that with my ex-husband, it was more down to earth and in the end even though we have been divorced for many years, that was the REAL relationship with a man, NOT the illusion of one with the Narc. Let me know if you and your ex-husband get back together, would be interested in knowing. I realize i need now the person who appreciates the woman I am NOW, if that makes sense to you, not the woman I was 20 or so years ago.?All i know now I will observe the actions ans see if they match to the words, if not run for the hllls, it tells you if someone is the genuine article or not!!
betty2020
betty2020's picture
This is a very interesting
This is a very interesting and enlightening thread. Co dependence exist. Trauma bonding exists. To say that everyone comes from past codependency issues would be dangerous. Codependency or inverted narcissism is an unhealthy degree of self sacrifice. Why would someone neglect their own needs for the sake of others? *For acceptance from lack of self esteem *To avoid confrontation or rejection out of fear *To gain attention and adoration out of acts of loyalty *To control others by the display of selfless acts in order to get our needs met. Trauma Bonding (Stockholm Syndrome) is a situation when the person is involved in an abusive relationship that creates a bond or dependency on the abuser. Why? Because the abuser is both the tormentor and the rescuer. They will set up situations to deliver catastrophic psychological blows to the victims psyche in attempts to gain control. One moment they will torment and torture, the next moment they will bandage the wound. This conflicting message (brainwashing) creates a bond or connection with the abuser that gives the victim a sense of false security and need for dependency. Although both terms are related, they are not identical. One can become codependent without being abused. One does not create a trauma bond if they have not been traumatized. How you view yourself as becoming dependent is not what should consume you. We could travel to the ends of the earth in search of this question with no real explanation or answer to this fact. Maybe there was an incident as a child or maybe it was the result of an abusive relationship. Maybe both. Bottom line is that it has a negative impact on our lives and gives way to unhealthy relationships in the future. Breaking the cycle of this bond or dependency is the real issue at hand. xoxo Betty only one way to go...Forward (tm?)

only one way to go...Forward (tm?)

gettinbetter
gettinbetter's picture
I going to the book store
I going to the book store today. I have been trying a little at a time that when I have the urge to control something to back away. Just this week I had a fit of paranoia that the narc was gonna show up months from now and do something horrible to me. My last communication with him was not nice. I all of sudden had this overhwhelming urge and need to control the possibility of that thinking if I text him and make nice maybe he wont do that and that I can control what might happen in the future. I DIDNT DO IT YEA ME! That is huge to me becuase I felt compelled to do it but i didnt give into it. I told myself sick of it you cant control what he is gonna do. He is gonna do what he is gonna do dont sacrifice yourself again just to try and control an outcome that may or may not happen. I hope no one thought I was suggesting that if you are involved with a narc that you are codependent but for me codependency fits. So Betty I appreciate you making that suggestion to me.
betty2020
betty2020's picture
Oops, this was meant to be
Oops, this was meant to be posted under sick of it post for Jen. sry ...:( only one way to go...Forward (tm?)

only one way to go...Forward (tm?)

michele115 (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
OMG Jen!!!
I was wandering aimlessly - I wasn't looking for shadowing or anything!!! Look where I landed: http://www.goddirect.org/index.htm
michele115 (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Thank You Jen...
I have to say this was a really really good post!