The narcissist cyclic web

I see…patterns, and cycles which repeat themselves, are likely to continue doing so.

I made a choice not to get spun around in another loop around the track.

In the last year, my confidence took a swan dive, but I found a route back.

It started off mildly enough. They’ll lean in as if they’re listening to you, but really, they’re just intensely studying the myriad of ways they can make you believe that their presence in your life can solve all of your problems. My father is a master manipulator. He knows when to charm, and when to be vulnerable enough for you to drop your guard. Truthfully, he never shares anything that’s truly personal. If you really take stock, you’ll hear the same 5 stories on repeat. They’re on cue, you see. They’re his ‘story’ and he’s sticking to it. This is the Oscar-winning version of his life narrative, that will make you consider him endearing enough to believe the lies scattered amidst the truth.

It helps me to see why I was so prone to believe their tale. It took me years before I could separate myself from the narrative that my father had spun around me, with me inside, as a part of the character that he had carefully pieced together. I was never present for my own sake, but rather to promote the facade that worked along with his self-image.

I have now had every type of narcissist in my life. I asked myself today, what are the odds of this? Quite high, actually. My own psychology was primed for being accessible to theirs. I have only now seen the connection. There has always been a direct line between how my father viewed and treated me, and how I viewed myself, and allowed others to view and treat me. Manipulation had been so normalized that I did not learn how to defend myself against it. Even as I write this, I still doubt myself, saying, no, I am the crazy one. He is fine, but, me, I am the crazy one. I wish I could wish it away so lightly. I can’t. It is a self-serving psychology that will make him twist truth, perform (well, act, really), and invalidate any version of me or the truth that combats his own self-image. This is done with the charm of a genie, alluring and ever so subtle.

I had to come to terms with the fullness of being both genders, so I gave each of them their own moment to shine. As a woman, I had never understood the shame, disdain and discomfort I felt because of what I was called…woman. I had to embrace all that was woman, and get to the root of these feelings. It was at the core of this period of uncertainty, that the first exploitative relationship occurred…my first battle with narcissistic abuse as a self-aware adult. Fortunately, I got out of it within a short enough timeframe, but there were still threads of the pattern quilted to my soul.

Within the last year and half, I experienced another bout, in the valley of my decision to call out the man in me. Instead of continuing to keep him silently skulking in the shadows of my psyche, I chose to free him…to be seen, outside. I thought it would have meant just a few rainy days, but instead it was a torrential downpour of microaggressions, projection, invalidation, and being emotionally sidelined.

At these formative points, where I was the most vulnerable, I was also more receptive to the inroads that manipulators and narcissists often take to latch onto me. It isn’t my fault that people can be deliberately unkind, unempathetic and selfish toward others. However, it IS my fault if I allow them to have access to my mind, body and emotions that they shouldn’t have.

No part of me could survive without disciplined boundaries…neither the man, nor the woman. I had to begin to ACT firmly, decisively and without doubt whenever I was confronted with manipulative tactics from others. I had to believe myself, my experience, and act accordingly.

I want to leave you with some resources if you feel like you have dealt with or are currently dealing with a narcissist. Firstly, let’s get a definition in place. There is a difference between pathological narcissism and people who are self-absorbed. It’s not the same. So, to be clear, I’m referring to someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.

If you feel like you are in a relationship with someone like that, these are resources that helped me -> Dr. Ramani on YouTube, and there is this book also, which is a short but brilliant read that works you through and out of it.

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