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Do not behave inconsistently. Do not go back on your word. Be firm and resolute.
The narcissist engineers impossible, dangerous, unpredictable, unprecedented, or highly specific situations in which he is sorely and indispensably needed. The narcissist, his knowledge, his skills or his traits become only ones applicable, or most useful to coping with these artificial predicaments. It is a form of control by proxy.
Stay away from such quagmires. Scrutinize every offer and suggestion, no matter how innocuous.
Prepare backup plans. Keep others informed of your whereabouts and appraised of your situation.
Be vigilant and doubting. Do not be gullible and suggestible. Better safe than sorry.
Control by Proxy
If all else fails, narcissist recruits friends, colleagues, mates, family members, authorities, institutions, neighbours, or media – in short, third parties – to do his bidding. He uses them to cajole, coerce, threaten, stalk, offer, retreat, tempt, convince, harass, communicate and otherwise manipulate his target. He controls these unaware instruments exactly as he plans to control his ultimate prey. He employs same mechanisms and devices. And he dumps his props unceremoniously when job is done.
Another form of control by proxy is to engineer situations in which abuse is inflicted upon another person. Such carefully crafted scenarios involve embarrassment and humiliation as well as social sanctions (condemnation, opprobrium, or even physical punishment). Society, or a social group become instruments of narcissist.
Often abuser's proxies are unaware of their role. Expose him. Inform them. Demonstrate to them how they are being abused, misused, and plain used by abuser.
Trap your abuser. Treat him as he treats you. Involve others. Bring it into open. Nothing like sunshine to disinfest abuse.
The fostering, propagation and enhancement of an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, instability, unpredictability and irritation. There are no acts of traceable or provable explicit abuse, nor any manipulative settings of control. Yet, irksome feeling remains, a disagreeable foreboding, a premonition, a bad omen. This is sometimes called "gaslighting".
In long-term, such an environment erodes one's sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Self-confidence is shaken badly. Often, victims go a paranoid or schizoid and thus are exposed even more to criticism and judgement. The roles are thus reversed: victim is considered mentally disordered and narcissist – suffering soul or victim.
Run! Get away! Ambient abuse often develops into overt and violent abuse.
You don't owe anyone an explanation – but you owe yourself a life. Bail out of relationship.
The Malignant Optimism of Abused
I often come across sad examples of powers of self-delusion that narcissist provokes in his victims. It is what I call "malignant optimism". People refuse to believe that some questions are unsolvable, some diseases incurable, some disasters inevitable. They see a sign of hope in every fluctuation. They read meaning and patterns into every random occurrence, utterance, or slip. They are deceived by their own pressing need to believe in ultimate victory of good over evil, health over sickness, order over disorder. Life appears otherwise so meaningless, so unjust and so arbitrary…
So, they impose upon it a design, progress, aims, and paths. This is magical thinking.
"If only he tried hard enough", "If he only really wanted to heal", "If only we found right therapy", "If only his defences were down", "There MUST be something good and worthy under hideous facade", "NO ONE can be that evil and destructive", "He must have meant it differently", "God, or a higher being, or spirit, or soul is solution and answer to our prayers", "He is not responsible for what he is - his narcissism is product of a difficult childhood, of abuse, and of his monstrous parents."
The Pollyanna defences of abused are aimed against emerging and horrible understanding that humans are mere specks of dust in a totally indifferent universe, playthings of evil and sadistic forces, of which narcissist is one - and that finally their pain means nothing to anyone but themselves. Nothing whatsoever. It has all been in vain.
The narcissist holds such thinking in barely undisguised contempt. To him, it is a sign of weakness, scent of prey, a gaping vulnerability. He uses and abuses this human need for order, good, and meaning – as he uses and abuses all other human needs. Gullibility, selective blindness, malignant optimism – these are weapons of beast. And abused are hard at work to provide it with its arsenal.
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and searcheurope.com.
Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com