Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode 42 · 4 years ago

Abuse Fog

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is understanding. Today's narcissist brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom and now here's your host, Christine Hammond. Today we're going to talk about how to come out of the abuse fog with a narcissist, and if you haven't listened to my podcast on trauma bonding, I would strongly encourage you to listen to that one first, and the reason for that is because it very clearly explains what a trauma bond even looks like, which will then help you to understand an abuse fog. So start there. If you haven't listened to that, go back, listen to that and then come back and listen to this, because this one kind of picks up right where that one left off. So again I'm going to tell you the story, and it's going to be the same scenario. Katrina's husband finally goes to counseling. So now his name is John and he's in counseling with me and it finally hit John. After years of wandering what was wrong and who is crazy and how did this happen, the reality of the behavior of his wife, of his narcissistic wife, finally hit him like a ton of bricks. It was so overwhelming to him at first. He was shocked, he was frustrated, he was disgusted with himself, he felt to meaned. But there it is. The answer that was longed for was never fully considered until this very moment when everything became clear and he finally realized that his narcissistic wife had been abusing him. And again, if you haven't listened to the podcasts on this seven different ways a person can be abused, please do that prior to this one as well, because...

...it will help you to understand what abuse looks like, because abuse is not just physical. It can be verbal, emotional, mental, spiritual, sexual, financial. So there's many different ways that a person can be abused. So please listen to those series as well. So at first for John it seemed as if everything was kind of falling into place, like his whole entire life was starting to make sense. And the problem is that the way he had written his life was not actually the life that he had been living. So there was this intense fear that subtenly appeared from from his narcissistic wife's glance. That started to make sense to him. This there was an increase in panic attacks over not responding to a text fast enough to satisfy his narcissistic wife. There was this constant state of anxiety at night without any relief, despite numerous efforts and methods that he tried to calm things down. Finally, this abuse fog that he had been in the middle of an abusive relationship was starting to clear and all of the methods and behaviors that she employed to try to rope him in by gas lighting and twisting the truth and manipulating him, all of that fogginess started to dissipate. So it was really a very precious moment when he finally realized it, but unfortunately it did not last very long because neither the circumstances nor the relationship with his wife had even changed. So the temptation is to allow this deep depression to sink in, because it very quickly rises into place and causes a person to just be stuck in a state of inactivity. This is precisely what your abusive narcissist is counting on, quite frankly,...

...that the spouse, their victim, even after they realize that they're being abused, will be so damaged that they're going to be unable to react or to leave. But it doesn't have to be that way. So I'm going to talk about the seven different steps of how to come out of this abusive fog, and these are the seven steps that John had to walk through himself in order to get to the other side. So first he finally started to realize he was trauma bonded with his narcissistic wife. He came in to see me, I identified him as being in an abuse fog and then we started the process of trying to clear that up. So the very first step we took was knowing the type of abuse that was being used. There are seven major types of abuse, physical, verbal, emotional, mental, sexual, financial and spiritual. So I had him do an inventory of each type of abuse, and there's actually a checklist I have that's available on my website. You can email me at grow with Christine at GMAILCOM and I'll be more than happy to send you out that checklist for yourself so that you can see what it looks like. So he did an inventory to understand exactly what the tactics were that his narcissistic wife employed, because most people have a couple got tactics. Most abusers and they really refuse to like learn any new ones. They're not very creative. They don't expand out. Now, sociopas are very creative and so they will expand out. If they're finding like one abuse of tactic isn't working, though, quickly move to another one. narcissists are just not that good at it. So for John, what was important was that he learned what twisting the truth look like and he learned what gaslighting looked like. You, and he learned what name calling really was and he learned what coercion...

...into sex, into sexual acts that he was uncomfortable with, look like. So he knew what the abuse was and we called it by name. The next step was that we have to study the abuser. So everyone has weaknesses and vulnerabilities, including an abuser. In this case, the Abuser has mastered the art of learning the victim susceptibility and what their strengths and weaknesses are. But the reverse must happen in order to keep the fog away. So you have to really see, like you can't believe the mask of the narcissists that they are perfect. So look for signs of defensiveness, some repeated words or phrases, some nervous gestures, some emotional reactions as kind of like signals for some potential weaknesses or vulnerabilities. Most likely these are going to be fairly obvious when you kind of look through it. In the past these subtleties were used to reinforce submission, but now they should be utilized to reveal some vulnerability. So study the abuser. You might think you know them, but when you start looking at them through an abuse Lens, things start to change. So number three, we're going to begin with the end in mind. So what exactly is the endgame here? Is it to get away? Is it to stay in the relationship? And if a person doesn't know, and John Definitely did not know, then what we said was we were just going to table the decision for thirty days. We're not going to make any decision about whether to stay or leave for thirty days and instead we're going to use this time to gather more evidence and then make a decision at the end of that period. The decision that you make at the end of that period has one of three options. Can either stay, you can go or you can postpone.

You can revisit it for yet another thirty days. This technique gives the fog a deadline instead of feeling like it will never end, which is really important because if you know that the end is near and that there's some kind of time point in which you're going to make a decision, it helps to move forward in that number four, be patient. It's going to take some time, energy, effort in strategy to escape from an abuser, depending on the type and the amount of abuse, that could be days, it could be years to get away. It depends on the circumstances and if kids are involved it could be even more complicated. There will be plenty of time later to process the wise. Please do not try to understand why they do what they do at this stage. It is a waste of time and does not get you moving forward. For now, the focus must only be onlooking for that little bit of window in order to get away, to get a break, to get a separation, whatever it is. You need be patient and on constant alert until that moment actually occurs. So number five, I asked John to think strategically. The abuser has perfected this win lose strategy where they always win at the expense of the victim, always losing, because you know, and narcissist can never lose, so they must always be at the top and they must always win. Big Wins without practice are not very likely. We know this from sports. Similar to the reasoning behind practicing before a sports game, like you have to do, you have to practice in order to have a win. So start with some small, unspoken victories and then work up to your larger ones. So an example of that might be when you know that the truth is being twisted, you can start off by a small win...

...of saying in your head, oh, they're twisting the truth. I'm listening to them abuse me right now and they're twisting the truth, so I don't have to believe anything they say. The next step in that would be then now, okay, they're twisting the truth, and now, instead of just thinking it in your head, maybe you counteract it a little bit more and say I know this isn't the case, and maybe you even have a piece of evidence. It could be an email, it could be a text message, it could be a recording, it could be any one of a number of things that proves that the Narcissus is actually twisting the truth. And then the step after that is, I'm not going to take your twists any longer, I'm not going to tolerate it, I'm not going to put up with it, and you walk away and you leave the narcissist which they hate, to be abandoned. So that will really like wake them up a little bit. So, like, while the overall focus needs to be a long term goal, taking short steps like what I just explained along the way is very helpful in building your confidence. Next, the six step for John was to emote quietly, so the ability to think clearly is so much easier if emotions of anxiety, anger, sadness and fear are released. Don't dismiss these emotions or ignore them, pretend that they don't exist. This is very, very, very common I see with clients who have been abused by somebody is that they dismiss those feelings and they don't ever tap into them, because these emotions are essential and motivating a person to change, meaning you, motivating you to change. However, a buildup of unreleased feelings can sometimes result in like a volcanic like explosion. This is not what we want. This is definitely going to be used for the worst by the narcissists, because that's what they're waiting for, is for you to explode so that they can point the finger and say, see, I'm such the victim, look at how you treat me,...

...no matter how they started the fight. Instead, find safe places to let out the emotions. So the first part is being aware that you're having these emotions. The second step is releasing those emotions, but do it privately, do not do it in front of the abuser. Crying is an excellent way to do this. I have some clients to do what I call scream therapy, which is they get in their car there by themselves and they just scream and they let it all out. It's a way of forcing some of the emotions to come out of their system. Their clients of mind like kickboxing or some type of more like what I would call an assertive sport, hitting a tennis ball, anything that really can get out some aggression out of their system. So there are a lot of different ways to release some anger. Through all of this and sadness and frustration. Some of my clients like to paint. They really do enjoy and they they create the some of the best paintings in the world. Quite frankly, are done out of anger. Just look at Picasso's paintings. So there are a lot of ways to release anger that can be done quietly and privately without the abuser knowing or being part of that. Please do that, because it's self protection at this point. And the last step is to be at peace with the abuse fog. We keep reliving the moment when the abuse fog was lifted and things became clear. This is an essential moment, whether it's happened in a therapy session or happen with a friend or it happened alone. Just keep reliving it as a way of reminding yourself that this is all real, this is a real thing. This can be done daily if needed, in order to remain on task, because you don't want that fog to resettle back in. Instead, you've got to fight it, because it's a waste of energy and effort if you allow that fog to keep coming back over and over again. Don't be upset at it...

...because it keeps reappearing. Be Thankful that it's there and use it kind of like as a warning sign. Hey, I need to relive that moment when I realize that the abuse fog was there. This is my warning sign, because I feel the fog starting to settle in again, that I need to go back to that place where I became fully aware of what was happening to me. This will help you to be able to see what you need to be doing and keep things and it's proper perspective. This will keep you from getting overwhelmed and having too many options, which can be just too much. So in the end of all of these seven steps, John's decision was that he was finally going to leave. It took him a while, but he finally made that decision. It was definitely easier to do this physically when he had already made these changes mentally and he knew for sure that when he left, he was leaving for good and he wasn't going to be drawn back in. Because when you leave a narcissist and you make a decision to go, you must follow through all the way to the end. If you don't and you cave and you return, the narcissist now knows that they can constantly draw you back in over and over and over again, and every single time you do that you lose a piece of yourself. You lose a piece of your confidence, you lose a piece of your strength. Do not do that. That's how the narcissist maintains power and control over you. So use the fog to regain some perspective so that the best possible outcome can be realized. John did this. He was able to get come out of the abuse fog and he started to live a very healthy, happy life outside of it. This is not permanent, it doesn't stay forever and it can absolutely go away.

Thanks for listening to understanding. Today's narcissist with Christine Hammond brought to you in part by Psych Central, that Coom. For more information, visit grow with Christine. THAT COM.

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