One of the first things the narcissist will do after having ensnared you is to cut you off from your intuition. They’ll do that by making you doubt your feelings and putting majority of your trust into what they say.
The process can begin innocently with you asking what they think of your hair cut or outfit. While still in the love bombing stage, they will tell you they love it, that you are beautiful, handsome, just perfect. This of course will soon begin to change.
As your involvement deepens, the questions you ask the narcissist will likewise grow deeper and more complex. For example, you may ask him or her about what they think about how you handled an edgy situation at work. You may ask their opinion about a family member, or input into a circumstance involving your child.
Slowly, their support will wane. In its place, subtle, but no less cutting, criticisms will begin to distort the idyllic picture.
Origins of Self-Doubt
As a target of abuse, you’ve been trained to doubt your feelings. It’s a vile form of relationship indoctrination that’s devoid of sustenance. The goal is to not celebrate your best qualities but to mold you to become who the narcissist wants you to be. That presents a challenge to say the least, and not only because it’s unfair. What the narcissist likes changes like island weather.
If you are a young empath who has not yet learned how to guard your gifts of integrity, decency, honesty, deep listening and ability to tune into other people’s energies, you may be an easy target of abuse. You will want to please your partner. And they will want to make their feelings your responsibility.
One moment they want you to be lively and fun and another to be quiet and receptive. Today, they want you outgoing and tomorrow domesticated. You should be sexy, so that they can show you off, but not to draw too much attention, or they’ll fall onto a jealous rage. They want you to have your own opinion and next moment to do as they say. Their vision for how you should be is a moving target — impossible to nail.
The one thing that remains consistent is that the narcissist wants you to submit to their will without question.
Tuning Into Yourself
Anger, sadness, grief… these are not your enemies. They are your allies and emotional messengers. They exist to communicate to you that something is out of balance. Likewise, if you feel expanded, open and joyful, those feelings let you know you are on the right path. If you follow them, they can lead you to truth.
Your feelings are threatening to the narcissist who needs you to keep buying into their superiority paradigm so that they can control you. In order to wiggle yourself free from their tight grasp, you will have to start to pay attention to how you feel, decode the messages those feelings carry and slowly learn to trust yourself again. The more you do it, the clearer the voice of your intuition will become.
Your feelings may be intimidating, but they have a lot to teach you about the alignment between your soul and circumstances. They are your friends. They are your soul’s navigation system.
The narcissist will of course be the first one to slice you at your neck by evoking, and encouraging, self-doubt. They will keep the rope around your neck, tightening the noose, each time you pull back or dare to question their supreme divinations.
But the rope is not real. It exists only because you have bought into the narcissist’s fear mongering tactics. What keeps the dynamic in place is your desire to please. The narcissist uses it to extract supply from you. Much like the mythical vampire, they have no self-restrain and will keep taking until you drop from exhaustion or walk away. Hopefully, it will be the latter.
The Disease to Please
Instilled in childhood, the desire to please is a trauma response or a coping mechanism used to avoid conflict. Intense emotions can feel too threatening to express. It can be much easier to just shut them down.
Growing up in abusive families tends to breed aggression or submission. It can be really hard to find the middle ground and assert yourself in a way that is non-harming to others while honoring your needs. It’s an essential skill to learn.
The slow burn of anxiety or damp, grey sadness are symptoms of deeper issues that are calling for your attention. Something needs to be realigned. Something is way out of tune. While it is impossible for a child to swap households, as an adult you have choices.
Path Back to Self
The first step is to try to understand what those nagging feelings are trying to communicate. Ignoring them and pretending that all is well will leave the doors open to more abuse. When you are doubting the validity of your emotions, the narcissist can explain, rationalize, even apologize…
Their rationalizations and excuses, their shaming and blaming are tactics they use to divert your attention from what is happening. They will do anything they can to make you believe that you are the problem. Their reason is your treason. Don’t listen to their empty words that only mean to serve their needs. Instead, listen to yourself by remaining connected to how you feel.
Should your sight clear, revealing to you why it’s best to make fundamental changes, take note of them. Before cognitive dissonance derails you, write down or voice record your insights. It’s a crucial step. Externalize the musings of your mind. It will help you feel lighter by offloading repetitive thought-forms and leave valuable insight markers on your path.
I hope this post was helpful to you and look forward to meeting you in the comments. Feel free to share this article with anyone who may benefit.
If you are suffering from the shock of being subjected to narcissistic abuse, have a look into my FREE three-step SOS program available on my website.