Narcissist’s Relationship Cycle Decoded and What To Do About It - Part 2 of 3

Uploaded 4/12/2022, approx. 31 minute read

But how does he bring these outcomes about? How does he convince you to become his mother? How does he engage you in what Sander called in 1989, the shared fantasy?

He creates a fantastic space, fantastic space exactly, which reflects the space in his mind. His mind is a fantastic space, so he creates an external fantastic space, and then he invites you in, enticingly, alluringly, in the love bombing and maybe grooming stages. A honeymoon, permanent honeymoon, never to end, and he invites you in, and you can't resist.

But very early on, it becomes clear that he expects you to be much more than an intimate partner. He expects you to be his mother. He expects you to mother him, to fulfill some maternal functions.

And so, at this stage, some potential intimate partners walk away, but the majority don't.

And the question is, how come? Why do people lose their sense of self-preservation and self-defense in the face of the narcissist's shared fantasy? What is he offering to them that is so irresistible?

And the answer is, he offers self-love.

Now, that sounds totally counterintuitive. I've just said earlier that the narcissist is incapable of loving himself, mainly because he has no self, but also because he perceives himself as a bad, unworthy object.

So how can he offer you self-love?

Well, through the dual mothering or dual mothership mechanism.

And here's the deal that the narcissist offers you as an intimate partner. He says, you're going to be my mother. You're going to mother me. And this time, you're going to allow me to separate and individuate. And I'm going to separate from you by devaluing you. I'm going to individuate by discarding you. And I'm going to do so from an empowered position, not as a helpless child anymore, but like as a boundaried adult.

So it's a bad deal on the face of it. The narcissist lets you know pretty early that if you don't conform, he's going to dump you. He's going to devalue and discard you.

He needs to do that. There's no other way to reenact, to replay the separation and individuation phase, except by separating from you and by individuating.

So he needs to devalue and discard you. These are compulsive acts. They have nothing to do with you. They have nothing. You're not guilty. You're not to blame for having been devalued and discarded.

The narcissist did this because you're a mother, maternal figure, and he needed to let you go the way he failed to do with his biological original mother.

But he offers you self-love as a lure, as a bait, as an enticement.

He says to you, listen, you're going to be my mother. You're going to mother me. You're going to be a good enough mother. Regardless of what I do to you, you're going to stick around. You're going to love me unconditionally the way my original mother, my biological mother, had never done. And then you're going to let me separate and individuate.

I, on the other hand, says the narcissist, I'm going to be your mother. I'm going to mother you. I'm going to give you the unconditional love that maybe you had never received.

I'm going to idealize you. And then I'm going to let you have access to your idealized version. I'm going to create this ideal of you. I'm going to Photoshop you. I'm going to remove all your flaws. I'm going to regard you as perfect and brilliant and beautiful and amazing and unprecedented.

And then I'm going to give you my intimate partner, my source of supply. I'm going to give you access to the idealized version of you in my mind.

Through my gaze, you're going to see yourself as an idealized, can do no wrong person. The way a good mother does, a good mother idealizes her child at the beginning. It's difficult to survive the first year or first two years of a newborn's life. So the mother idealizes the newborn to a large extent.

In the eyes of the mother, the child is always beautiful, always amazingly intelligent, always super clever and smart, always surprising and so on.

So the narcissist does the same. He idealizes you the way your mother might have done or maybe never did. It gives you access to this idealized version and it's very addictive. You fall in love with yourself through the gaze of the narcissist.

The narcissist idealizes you and then you fall in love with this idealized rendition of yourself. You develop self-love in many cases for the first time in your life.

Ross Rosenberg uses the phrase love deficit when he discusses co-dependence and I largely agree with him. This love deficit is what the narcissist compensates for.

He says, come to me, I'm going to love you as a mother does. I'm going to render you blemishless and flawless and perfect. And then you can cover up for this love deficit. You can finally love yourself as you always should have done.

And very few people can resist this proposition because it's a second chance. The narcissist is interested in a second chance to re-enact separation and individuation with his mother, with a mother figure.

The intimate partner of the narcissist is interested in a second chance relieving her childhood, this time idealized and self-loving.

So in the relationship, there are two mothers. You are the narcissist's mother, allowing you to test you, to abuse you in order to demonstrate to him your unconditional love, allowing him to devalue you and discard you so as to accomplish separation, individuation finally.

And on the other hand, he is your mother. He allows you to see yourself as a loving mother would see you. And so you fall in love with yourself. That is, of course, the reason relationships with narcissists are so difficult to untangle and unravel because you're not in love with the narcissist. You're in love with the way that the narcissist sees you and only he sees you this way.

So he has a monopoly on your self love. It's an intricate danse macabre, difficult to break. It is an integral part of what people call trauma bonding.

The trauma actually is a small part of it.

The intermittent reinforcement, the narcissistic abuse, the pain, the hurt, the cruelty, the nastiness. Yeah, they all exist and they all create some form of bonding because intermittent reinforcement, hot and cold, loving hating, ambivalence, here today there tomorrow.

This lack of predictability renders you dependent on the narcissist because only the narcissist can take the pain away. He causes you pain, but he's the only one who can take it away.

So you become dependent and this is the trauma bonding.

But the big part of the trauma bonding with the narcissist and only with the narcissist is this addiction to your image in the narcissist mind, your newfound self infatuation, self-limerance and self-love, which you had never probably experienced before.

In your relationship, the narcissist engages in extreme abuse, usually verbal, but sometimes physical.

I mentioned one reason it is to test you. The other reason is to push you away in order to not experience the pain and hurt, the inevitable pain and hurt of love.

But there's a third reason the narcissist needs to devalue you and discard you as symbolic acts, reifying or representing the original's failed separation and division.

So to do that, the narcissist needs to convert you into an enemy, a persecutory object.

When you first meet on the first encounter, the narcissist takes a snapshot of you exactly as if he had a proverbial camera or smartphone in front of his face. He takes a snapshot of you and then he internalizes this snapshot. He converts it into an internal object, one of many in his mind.

And then he gets to work on this object. He photoshops it. He removes all the flaws and the wrinkles and he renders you perfect, ideal.

And then he continues to interact with a snapshot, never with you. All his internal dialogue is with the snapshot. All his emotional investment, cathexis, is in the snapshot. All his expectations are directed to the snapshot, all his needs are met by the snapshot.

You don't exist. The narcissist is incapable of perceiving other people as separate because he had never been allowed to separate. He had never experienced separateness.

So he cannot experience your separateness. He regards you and treats you as something internal, as an extension, as an artifact, as a figment, as an object, internal object. So he never regards you as an external object.

The problem is the snapshot is static. Otherwise, it would threaten the narcissist.

Remember that the narcissist has separation insecurity, abandonment anxiety. So he needs an internal object which is permanent, immutable, always there, will never abandon him, will never threaten him, will never challenge him, etc.

So that requires the snapshot to be static, never changing.

But you do change. You have new friends. You go on trips. You have a job or a career. You find new books and new movies interesting. You try new dishes. You change, you evolve, you develop all the time. Change is a good definition of life, a good synonym to life.

As you change, you begin to diverge from the snapshot. You begin to deviate from the snapshot. There's daylight between you and the snapshot. There's a gap opening, an abyss sometimes between you and the snapshot.

And this angers the narcissist and threatens him. Because any sign of autonomy and independence and growth and evolution and self-development, these are harbingers, potential harbingers of abandonment and hurt and disintegration and mortification and injury, narcissistic injury.

The narcissist regards the very fact that you're alive and consequently changing, he regards this as a threat and he begins to resent you. He begins to develop paranoid ideation. You're doing this on purpose. You're changing. You're becoming worse, not better. You're deviating from the stability that he labored so hard to establish in his mind. You're threatening the precarious balance of his very, very sick inner landscape.

So you become a persecutory object. You become an enemy, which makes it easier for you to devalue you and to discard you.

Of course, the whole thing is geared towards separation and individuation. All these mechanisms, all this inability to perceive external objects, all this internal objectification, all these things, the final aim is to convert you from an idealized image, a perfect image, a good enough mother to convert you to a persecretary object and an enemy so as to allow the narcissist to separate from you by devaluing you and by discarding you.

And then free of you, free of this symbolic mother figure, he believes that he would be able to individuate.

In narcissistic abuse, the narcissist acts as a ventriloquist. Ventriloquist, he animates the internal object that represents you, his intimate partner, the victim, and he misattributes to this internal object his own voice. I call it self-gaslighting or self-confabulation via attribution error.

At first, he creates this internal object in himself and this internal object is animated and represents you. And at first, this internal object is ideal. And then he has these dialogues with the internal object and he tells the internal object what to say. He dictates to the internal object the internal object's part in the dialogue, which is ridiculous, of course. And then he convinces himself that the voices emanating from the internal object are the internal objects, not the narcissist's.

So he tells you what to say, that when you say it, he attributes it to you, not to himself. Even though he was the one who put the words in your mouth, in your proverbial mouth, in the mouth of the internal object that represents you.

And this creates mayhem in the narcissist's mind. The narcissist is actually conversing with his own fears and with his own anxieties via, through the agency and mediation of the internal object that is you.

And so you become the repository of his fears and anxieties. The external object, you, the actual partner, is erased. It is supplanted by an introject, by a representation, by an avatar, by an internal object. And this internal object acts as a self-object, object representation.

But this internal object in the dialogue with the narcissist allows the narcissist to experience taboo areas. His emotions, his fears, his anxieties, harking back, going back to his early childhood, allows him to reenact his early childhood.

But as he uses this internal object, which represents you, your avatar, to interact with, the internal object becomes the seat and repository of everything that's negative in the narcissist's mind. And this leads to devaluation and discard.

The narcissist also usurps the roles of harsh inner critic, sadistic superego, rigid conscience in you.

In other words, in a desperate attempt to suppress any sign, any hint of independence and autonomy in you, in a desperate endeavor to convert you into an Egyptian mummy, to mummify you, to freeze you, to avoid the inevitable abandonment.

In this convoluted mindset, the narcissist begins to tell you what to think. He begins to suppress your speech. He begins to condition you. Operant conditioning, like Pavlovian dog, begins to condition you to have specific cognitions and engage in specific speech acts. He takes over your mind. He invades it, like an invasive species. He monopolizes and colonizes it. He inhabits it.

And so he takes over some mental functions. It's an insidious process, almost imperceptible, glacial. You don't notice it, but gradually you are thinking more and more as the narcissist does.

Gradually you agree with him all the time. You end up agreeing with him all the time. Gradually you lose your own opinions. Gradually you become a mirror or an extension, actually, of the narcissist.

And the narcissist takes over some functions, most notably your inner critic. The narcissist becomes this voice in your head that tells you that you're wrong, unworthy, bad, blameworthy, guilty. You should be ashamed of yourself, your're a failure. You acted in an evil malevolent way, you're malicious.

And I'll come to it in the second part.

Narcissist uses a technique known as entraining. It's a repetition of phrases and words in ways which are essentially musical.

Narcissistic abuse is a form of music very similar to rap in a way.

This synchronizes, literally synchronizes. It's been proven in the last 15 years in numerous studies, EEG studies and other studies. The narcissist synchronizes your brainwaves with his brainwaves via the process of abusive entraining. And your brains become entwined and tangled to borrow a metaphor from quantum mechanics. They become one. Your brain becomes one with the narcissist.

And this is not a metaphor. That's not an allegory. Literally, this happens literally. Your brainwaves become utterly reflective, cloned, identical to the brainwaves of the narcissist.

So the narcissist takes over your brain. It takes over his victim's ego boundary functions. He becomes your external locus of control and your reality testing.

You refer to him, you resort to him when you want to orient yourself. He becomes your authority, your guru, the person who is end all and be all.

And he assigns to you the emergent role of a victim and the other role of a mother. You're acting in the narcissist's script, in his theater production, in his play, in his movie.

We'll come to it in the second part when we discuss the aftermath of the relationship and what you should do because these voices are with you for life. He had implanted himself in your mind and he has no intention of going away willingly.

Nor will he fade. These voices don't fade because they are you. These are implants and you had not rejected them immunologically. You had accepted them and so they had become part of you.

I said repeatedly that the narcissist uses you actually, leverages you as an object representing his mother, kind of a totem or I don't know, a photograph or a three-dimensional hologram of a maternal figure, a mother figure, which stands in for his original failed biological mother.

Separation individuation requires two very important psychological processes. The first one is dissociation.

By the way, it's not disassociation. Stop it. You don't disassociate. It's not disassociate. You dissociate and it's dissociation.

So separation individuation requires dissociation and objectification.

Even when you're 18 months old, that's precisely what you're doing. You dissociate and you objectify mother in order to obtain separation individuation.

And when the narcissist attempts to do this much later in life with an intimate partner, he deploys the same two strategies, dissociation and objectification.

You see, prior to the separation phase, the child is in a symbiotic state with a mother. I mentioned it before. He is merged with the mother. He's fused with her.

Actually co-dependence, people with dependent personality disorder and borderlines attempt to return, to regress to this stage in life. They attempt to recreate a symbiosis with the intimate partner. They attempt to merge and fuse with the intimate partner.

So prior to separation, there is this symbiotic state. And in the symbiotic state, the child regards his mother as a part of himself, exactly like his hand or his feet. The mother is a part of himself and he, of course, is a part of mother. They're one and the same. There's no distinction in his mind.

So to separate from mother, the child needs to cut off, to amputate this part. Of course, this is mental amputation.

But this mental amputation is dissociation. The child dissociates the mother. He cuts her off. He unravels the symbiosis. He destroys it by simply forgetting half of it. He pushes her away mentally. He puts her in a prison cell beyond the firewall.

It's the first internal boundary that the child creates, it's his first experience with a boundary. So dissociation is a critical phase. He cuts her off and then he objectifies her.

Think about it. The symbiosis implies that mother and child are the same. They are not even internal objects. They are not objects. They are one and the same object.

To be able to separate from the mother, the child needs to see the mother as an external object, as not him, as out there.

Indeed, this is what he does. He dissociates her. He cuts her off. He exits the symbiosis and then he begins to see her for what she is out there, not him, an external object. He objectifies her. He renders her an external object.

And so dissociation and objectification continue well into adulthood in a pathological narcissist. He would tend to dissociate you in the relationship and he would tend to objectify you. Regarding you as an external object is too threatening, but he would still convert you into an object, an internal object.

He would dissociate you. He would not be in symbiosis with you beyond the love bombing and grooming phase.

So love bombing and grooming creates symbiosis, merger, fusion, but then he instantly dissociates you, which is very painful for the intimate partner and objectifies you as an internal object.

And from the minute he had created the internal object, you might as well not exist. You're no longer in his mind. I mean, you are in his mind, but nowhere else. You're not out there.

Similarly, separation and individuation requires transient grandiosity. To separate from mommy, to take on the world, you need to be as a child of two years old, you need to be grandiose. It takes grandiosity, which is a cognitive distortion, which is an impairment in the perception of reality.

A child who is two years old, clinging to his mother's legs, terrified of venturing out even one step, suddenly lets go and begins to walk outward away from mommy, takes enormous courage. It's a massive trauma.

And to overcome this, the child becomes transiently grandiose, taking on the world all by his little self, which is perceived by him to not be little, to be big, godlike. This transient grandiosity, known as primary narcissism, vanishes after a while, except with pathological narcissists.

When this transient grandiosity survives into adulthood, we have pathological narcissism. And the grandiosity survives into adulthood because the mother doesn't allow the child, the bad mother, the dead mother, the narcissist mother, does not allow the child to separate.

So the child needs to be on a permanent state of grandiosity, permanently attempting to separate. Any attempt to separate requires an added dose, an injection of grandiosity.

So it becomes habituated, the only way the narcissist knows how to relate to a world which is potentially ominous and hostile and threatening because mother tells him so. Mother tells him, don't separate. I'm the only safe base. It's not safe out there.

Narcissism is a failure of separation individuation, owing to a lack of boundaries between the child and his mother.

So when the narcissist comes across a mother substitute, also known euphemistically as intimate partner, when he comes across a mother substitute, he tries to recreate the ancient dynamic by forcing this mother substitute, this replacement of the original mother, to merge with him by absorbing her in order to eliminate her object status, her individuality, her autonomy, her independence. It's like he absorbs the maternal figure, you, in order to feel that he has an internal safe and secure base from which he can venture out, separate, develop boundaries and individuate by discarding and devaluing this internal mother figure and consequently you.

And to do that, he needs to convert you into a persecutory object, into an enemy. Narcissist aggressively and grandiosely converts his partner into a self object, an object representation, eliminating her ability to separate from him, at least in his mind.

He doesn't fear abandonment because he's here. He's not going anywhere.

Narcissist violates all the boundaries of his intimate partner, negates her agentic autonomy. And again, by the way, I am reminding you, this applies to female narcissists as well. They would do it with a male intimate partner if they're heterosexual.

I coined the phrase narcissistic abuse in 1995 to describe precisely these inexorable, compulsive, ineluctable, uncontrollable processes in the narcissist's mind.

To the narcissist, his insignificant others, his non intimate partners, so-called intimate partners, you, his spouse, his girlfriend, his lover, even his business partner, his family of origin, people around him.

To the narcissist, everyone is raw material, raw material to extract narcissistic supply from. It's a mining operation like Bitcoin mining or proper mining. So the narcissist minds narcissistic supply from raw material known as human beings, you included as his intimate partner.

Of course, it never works.

And this leads to the question, why? Why does the narcissist keep repeating these cycles?

And if the whole idea is to separate and individually, once he had separated from you, discarded you, devalued you, replaced you, why does he hoover you? Why does it come back for you? What does it want you back in his life?

And even more interestingly, why does he keep trying the same thing with other women? Why had the separation? Why do the separation individuation attempts keep failing all the time? Why can't the narcissist get it right?

Finally, he found an intimate partner who stands in for his mother. He idealized her. He made her addicted to him or actually to her idealized image in his eyes. And then he devalues her.

He abused her to test her. She proved herself to be a good enough mother.

Then he devalues and discards her to accomplish separation and divideration and then it fails. He cannot accomplish separation and divideration.

Why? What's happening?

And to understand that, we need to go a bit back into the entraining phase.

I told you that the narcissist entrains you as an intimate partner. He uses the cadences and tones, tonalities and rhythms and harmonies of verbalized, narcissistic abuse, kind of rap music. And this is musical and he creates entraining.

Entraining is the synchronization of brainwaves of two brains or more.

So your brains become one. They become enmeshed. You share the same brain.

Narcissistic abuse, verbal abuse accomplishes this.

And he induces in you a dream state, a dream state. It's surrealistic.

By entraining you, he takes away your self-awareness because there's no self there anymore. He controls critical psychological structures in your mind. He takes over your unconscious.

He mirrors you as a loving mother would and he inserts himself as an intractable introject into your mind the same way your mother did. He becomes a voice in your mind, which is as powerful as, for example, the voice of your mother, sometimes more so.

And as opposed to your mother, whose voice is dormant until needed, his voice is ever present, ever talking, ever active, providing a rolling commentary on everything you do and don't do. Directing you, preventing you, suppressing you, encouraging you, pushing you, pulling you.

The narcissist's introject is hyperactive because he needs to keep you in control. He needs you for the process of separation and individuation. He needs you to play the good enough mother and to never abandon him, never mind what he does to you.

So he needs to own your mind. There's no other way to accomplish your subservience and subjugation to his whims and misbehavior, except by controlling your mind.

Unbeknownst to you, you don't realize it, but you've become a mind slave. You've been brainwashed. It's a form of mind control. You've been enslaved.

And so when you cry for help, no one gives you help because the narcissist is nobody. It's an absence.

And so if you shout, nobody is killing me, like the story of Ulysses and the Cyclops, you know, nobody is killing me. No one will come to your help.

You do, at the beginning, in the lock bombing and grooming phase, you're deceived into believing that the narcissist is an entity, that he exists. But as you get closer to him, as you get more intimate with him, you realize that there's nobody there. There's nobody there.

This is the most shocking thing. There are two things that victims suffer mightily about and way after the relationship is over with the narcissist.

The first thing is the realization that the narcissist had never existed.

It was a piece of fiction. It was a story, a narrative. It was a drama, a theater play. You were co-opted into a shared fantasy which bears little resemblance to reality and has no contact points with reality. So you've been transported into a nightmarish dreamscape.

That's the first shocking realization of the victims.

And the second shocking realization is that it's not about you. You're totally interchangeable. You're a commodity. You're like raw material.

The narcissist needs someone like you, a figure, an emblem, an icon, an avatar, not you. The narcissist is totally immersed in his mind. It's a form of virtual reality.

It's no wonder that narcissists are so interested in the metaverse and many, many leaders of tech companies are actually highly narcissistic. The narcissist has a metaverse inside his mind. He has a form of extended reality inside his mind.

And so he invites you into this metaverse never to exit. It's a feeling of being trapped and a feeling of not being seen for who and what you are and feeling of being abused and used.

And when you cry for help, there's no one there to listen to you because you don't exist anymore.

The narcissist has taken away your existence, had rendered you two dimensional, a cartoon figure, an animated icon in his mind. You inhabit the netherlands of his mind.

The narcissist ironically regards himself as a dream come true. And he becomes your dream. He regards himself as God's gift to you.

And initially you agree with him. He's perfection, reified, the ideal intimate partner.

All victims of narcissists describe the narcissist in the love bombing and grooming stages as ideal, perfect partner. Someone they believe is their soulmate could cater to their deepest needs and would always accept them as they are and love them and idealize them. I mean, this is irresistible.

The narcissist first idealizes you, but again, it's not about you. It's about him.

If you are ideal and you had chosen him, then he must be ideal too. The narcissist idealizes himself by idealizing you, a process known as co-idealization.

You remember that when you deviate from this internal representation of yourself, from your avatar, from your snapshot, from the interjected internal object that represents you in his mind and with which he exclusively interacts. When you deviate from this, he has to devalue you. He has to devalue you in order to explain the discontent and disillusionment and disenchantment and the discord and the fighting and the arguments and the betrayal and your wish to break up ultimately and so on.

In his mind, he is the ideal partner after all. So something, someone must be having a bad influence on you. Your girlfriends are influencing you badly or you're crazy and stupid or probably a narcissist or that's projection, or you're going through a phase or a crisis and you will get back to your senses soon enough, the erotomaniac defense.

But you on the other hand, you wake up, you increasingly regard the narcissist as your worst nightmare. You cannot believe that he is so divorced from reality. Yet he is totally so.

You begin to realize that he has been having deleterious and pernicious effects on your mind. You begin to hear his voice in your mind. You're beginning to be able to tell the difference. You're beginning to unshackle yourself, disentangle yourself, disentwine yourself. You're beginning to break free, emancipate yourself and you convince yourself that all it takes is to walk away, no contact.

And to some extent it is so, but the narcissist is embedded in your mind. And if you don't do something about it, it's going to be embedded, remain embedded in your mind forever.

And so this leads to the second part.

This discrepancy that opens up between you and your narcissist in partner.

You regard yourself as a victim and he considers you a winner of life's lottery. He considers being in your life a privilege for you. You're privileged to have him in your life. You're the luckiest girl on earth and he resents what he perceives to be your constant carping and complaining. And you resent his callousness and indifference to your suffering as well as his unwillingness to change. And so you react to his nightmare aspects while he fully expects you to react to him as you would to a dream come true.

And this mismatch in perceptions and expectations generates another type of narcissistic abuse, which is intended to annihilate you as a constant source of frustration and leads seamlessly and directly to devaluation and discard and separation and individuation from an external, now persecutory, object, from you.

Now this is a crucial observation.

To recap, let's see, we have another half an hour.

To recap, the narcissist needs you to be his good enough mother. He tests you. He needs you to give him unconditional love so that he's ultimately able to separate from you and to become an adult, an individual, something he had failed to do with his original mother.

So he abuses you to test you and then and so on, ultimately you reach a stage that he is ready to separate from you.

You are unhappy in the relationship. He is unhappy that you are unhappy because he thinks you're crazy, you should be happy and privileged. He is very unhappy with the way you deviate from the snapshot, from the avatar.

And this unsettling threatens the balance of his mind, which is anyhow precarious, the equilibrium, or mere stasis. They are not the strong points of the narcissist's psychology.

So you become a threat. He begins to regard you as an enemy, persecutory object, begins to devalue you, wants to get rid of you, wants to get rid of you.

But then, and then he does. He discards you and he finds someone else, a replacement.

And this raises again two questions.

Ostensibly by discarding you, he had completed successfully the separation individuation. So why does he repeat the very same behaviors, the very same cycle with the next partner?

And the second question, he had separated from you. He had individuated. Why does he come back? Why does he try to hoover you?

And the answer is very simple. The narcissist separates and individuates from an external object, from you, really out there. It's the first time and the only time that he sees you as separate from him because you had become an enemy, a persecutory object.

So he can't regard you as an internal object. It's too threatening. He begins to see you as an external object and then he separates from you, discards you, etc.

And he feels relieved and happy and safe, finally.

But the same way you cannot get rid of the narcissist's voice in your head, the entrained internal object, the abusively entrained internal object. The narcissist is in your mind and you can't get rid of this voice, talking to you. It influences your behavior and so on.

The same way the narcissist cannot get rid of your snapshot. He cannot get rid of your avatar. He cannot get rid of the internal object, the introject that represents you in his mind. He cannot get rid of your representation in his mind.

He can get rid of you as an external object because you are the enemy now. He can get rid of you and good riddance, but he cannot get rid of your presence in his mind because he still idealizes you as a mother figure.

Remember that the narcissist separates from a mother. So even when he separates from you, even when he devalues you and discards you, he does this as he would from a mother. You remain a mother figure and the narcissist is unable to devalue a mother figure.

So he devalues the external object, which is you, but never the maternal internal object, which represents you in his mind. He is still enmeshed with this internal object in a shared fantasy and he doesn't know what to do because no child separation and individuation is an infantile process.

No child would devalue his mother. It feels unsafe. It feels dangerous. It feels wrong. No child would do that.

So the narcissist remains stuck with an all good idealized, wonderful Madonna like maternal internal figure, which represents you. Even though externally you had left him or he had dumped you or abandoned you and externally you had become an enemy.

And this discrepancy, this dissonance between the external object, the discarded, devalued, hated, resented, loathed external object, which is you, former intimate partner, and the internal object, which is also you. It's much more you than you than the external object. This internal object is cathected, invested with the narcissist emotions, including love, and he can get rid of this internal object.

He can't devalue it. He can't discard it. He can't separate from it. So separation, individuation fails because of this internal object.

The entire relationship with the narcissist is intended to recreate the dynamics of the conflict with the narcissist mother during the formative years, but this time around with a different outcome and different power matrix, remember?

So successful separation individuation is accomplished via the twin acts of devaluation and discard from an empowered position.

So the question is having failed to separate from the idealized internal object that represents you. The narcissist is forced actually to remain attached to you, to remain connected to you somehow.

And this explains hoovering. I'll come to it in a minute.

Narcissism, remember, is a missionary religion. It's replete with the deity, the false self rituals, obsessive compulsive rituals and addiction.

The shared fantasy is similarly populated with idealized images in the narcissist mind. These are Olympian gods. One of them is you.

The shared fantasy is the mystical experience of the narcissism religion.

Shared fantasy is a regression to an infantile phase prior to separation and individuation from the mother.

There's a merger, there's a fusion, an oceanic feeling, enmeshment and government.

And there are no initially resentment and hatred, which come much later as prerequisites for the devaluation and the discard.

So when the narcissist got rid of you as an external object and remains attached to you as an internal object, this brings on the hoovering behaviors later on.

When he tries with another partner, he goes through the same thing because he hadn't separated. He failed to accomplish separation, individuation with you because you're still in his mind as an idealized, demanding mother, a good enough mother.

Why would he let go of a good enough mother? He's attached to you. He's bonded. So he fails to accomplish separation, individuation with you and he moves on to the next intimate partner and he fails with her as well. And he moves on and he fails with her, etc.

He never succeeds because separation, individuation is not only with an external object, but also with an introject, the internal object.

And the narcissist idealizes the internal object and renders it immutable, renders it perfect, unchangeable.

So any attempt to get rid of the internal object would generate a normal separation in security, enormous abandonment anxiety because a narcissist doesn't have object constancy. He is unable to relate to external objects.

And so his only object constancy is with internal objects. Internal objects are not going to abandon him. They're not going to hurt him. He controls them.

So any attempt to discard an internal object would bring about terrifying and paralyzing abandonment anxiety. Narcissist doesn't dare to venture there. He doesn't even even try.

So he's stuck. He's stuck with your idealized internal representation. He's emotionally invested in this. He cannot get rid of it. And so he cannot separate from you and he needs to return to you in the future, hoovering.

And when he tries with someone else, he goes through the same process exactly.

His attempt to separate individuate is doomed because he never tries to separate individuate from the real object. And he cannot separate individuate from the internal object, which is to him his only reality.

The only exception to all this is mortification. And I will discuss mortification as a strategy in the next part.

Now let me make a note where we start and I will be open to any questions if there are any survivors out there.

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Deprogram the Narcissist in Your Mind

Narcissists play the role of a good enough mother, adopting a maternal role and idealizing their victims. They regress their victims to infancy, merging and fusing with them, eliminating their individuality and appropriating their individuality. The narcissist creates an introject, an internal representation of the victim, which is muted and spews out words attributed to the introject by the narcissist. The victim has an introject of the narcissist in their head, which is fully active and talks a lot, becoming a second, harsh, sadistic inner critic. The current advice to recognize and embrace victimhood is counterproductive, as it freezes the emergent roles allocated by the narcissist, and the locus of control remains in the narcissist's hands. Victims need to extricate

womanmotherNarcissist's Partner: Admire Me, Play with Me, Mother Me

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the three stages of a narcissist's interaction with women: admirer, playmate, and mother. Narcissists are incapable of adult intimacy with women and instead seek a mother figure, as their only experience of intimacy with a woman was with their own mother. When women refuse to adopt the role of a mother, narcissists resent them and may push them away. Narcissists are more focused on possession and control than romantic jealousy, reacting like a child when their partner shows interest in other men.

Your Role in Narcissist’s Shared Fantasy is Why He Hates You (hint: you make him feel himself – and human)

In summary, the narcissist's intimate partner plays a crucial role in the shared fantasy by fulfilling the roles of admirer, playmate, and mother. This allows the narcissist to experience maximal grandiosity and feel safe enough to separate and individuate. However, the intimate partner's presence also leads to the narcissist's self-hatred and inability to maintain meaningful communication with both the outside world and himself. The intimate partner ultimately becomes a threat to the narcissist, as they make the narcissist feel human, which is something the narcissist does not want to be.

How Narcissist Sees YOU

In this transcript, Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the narcissist's point of view and how they perceive their significant other. The narcissist takes a snapshot of their partner and idealizes them, but as reality sets in, they begin to change the way they see their partner. The narcissist sees themselves as a victim and their partner as an abuser, constantly blaming them for things and accusing them of being manipulative. The narcissist also accuses their partner of being self-destructive and lacking self-awareness, and may plot revenge if they feel humiliated or shamed.

Making Sense of Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissists are the result of early childhood abuse and are in a constant state of grief and mourning. They create a shared fantasy with their intimate partners, where they reenact their childhood traumas and use vicarious trauma and narcissistic abuse to weaken their partners. This cycle of abuse and trauma is meant to resolve the narcissist's unresolved conflicts with their mother figure and restore a sense of power and control. The only solution for those involved with a narcissist is to go no contact to protect their mental well-being.

Paranoia, Narcissistic Mirroring, and Narcissistic Reflection

Narcissists tend to react with paranoia when they feel threatened, but these attacks tend to fade and the narcissist frequently homes in on new agents of persecution. The narcissist's paranoia is a grandiose fantasy aimed to regulate their sense of self-worth. The narcissist's partner tends to encourage their paranoid or threatening attention, and this is a game of two. Living with a narcissist can tilt one's mind toward abnormal reactions, and even after separation, the narcissist's partners typically still care for the narcissist greatly.

Why Narcissist Devalues YOU (Hint: Wants YOU "Dead")

Narcissists devalue their partners as a form of self-defense and control. There are two types of devaluation: preemptive and reactive. Preemptive devaluation occurs when a narcissist is in a transitional state between overt and covert narcissism, and they devalue potential sources of supply to prevent the overt side from using them against the covert side. Reactive devaluation is a response to a perceived threat to the narcissist's grandiosity or control. Both types of devaluation are harmful to the victim and serve to maintain the narcissist's sense of power and control.

Can Narcissist Truly Love?

Narcissists are incapable of true love, but they do experience some emotion which they insist is love. Narcissists love their significant others as long as they continue to provide them with attention, or narcissistic supply. There are two types of narcissistic love: one type loves others as one would get attached to objects, while the other type abhors monotony and constancy, seeking instability, chaos, upheaval, drama, and change. In the narcissist's world, mature love is nowhere to be seen, and their so-called love is fear of losing control and hatred of the very people on whom their personality depends.

Narcissist Between Shared Fantasy and Pathological Narcissistic Space

Narcissists appear unpredictable and complex, but they are actually simple, with the emotional age of a two-year-old. They are trapped between their need for a maternal figure in a shared fantasy and their desire to explore the world through a pathological narcissistic space. When they become disillusioned with either space, they transition between them using four strategies: termination, deception, undermining intimacy, and persecretory object fantasies. This constant movement between the two spaces creates the impression of unpredictability and capriciousness in the narcissist's behavior.

Victim of Narcissist: Move On!

The narcissist lives in a world of ideal beauty, achievements, wealth, and success, denying his reality. The partner is perceived as a source of narcissistic supply, and the narcissist pathologizes and devalues them to rid themselves of guilt and shame. Moving on from a narcissistic relationship involves acknowledging and accepting painful reality, educating oneself, and gaining emotional sustenance, knowledge, support, and confidence. Forgiving is important, but it should not be a universal behavior, and no one should stay with a narcissist.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
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