Emotional Manipulation Tactic #16 – Devaluing

Devalue: To reduce or underestimate the worth or importance of.

In my research I found that there’s a common pattern the Narcissist abuse follows. It’s a dizzying whirlwind or “crazy wheel” that includes three stages: idealization, devaluing, and discarding. This cycle can repeat numerous times, spinning a merry-go-round of emotional vertigo for those caught in such relationships.

In the beginning of a relationship with a narcissist or a person affected by a personality disorder, one may describe the initial infatuation stage as the “honeymoon stage.” The emotional high can feel like a drug cocktail as potent as cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy, all rolled into one noxious dose that lasts a few weeks, months, or in some cases a year or more. Targets of narcissistic abuse report feeling as if they have found their soulmate and can’t believe their good fortune that this seductive lover has elevated them to soaring heights upon a pedestal. Idealization or “Love bombing” is a phrase describing this stage, in which the narcissistic person may smother the target with praise, courting, intense sex, vacations, promises of a future together, and essentially, idealization as the most special person ever.

Just when they’ve realed you in, the devaluing starts. Even if you’re perfect, they will find something to nitpick about you because doing so devalues you and lowers your self-esteem. Eventually, there’s a threshold of self-esteem where you begin viewing your abuser as your savior and the best thing to ever happen to you, and this is their constant aim – to keep you below that threshold (check out Stockholm Syndrome).

The ultimate goal for the narcissistic psychopath is power and control over you. They do this because they are secretly afraid you will leave/abandon them – a narcissist greatest fear. When your self-esteem is low enough, you will then eventually fear to lose your abuser even if they were the one who put you down there. Your self-esteem takes such a beating, you feel you won’t be able to do any better; you don’t feel attractive so you might as well stay.

During my marriage it came to a point where I was terrified to leave and start my life over, having such low self-esteem and an even lower self-image. If my husband wasn’t demeaning my intelligence, it was about my physical appearance and weight always making me feel inadequate. Nothing was good enough. Nothing I did was acceptable. I could go on here for pages…..

Once I found the courage to leave, faced with the reality that my life depended on it, I was then catapulted into the discard phase. To say our year of divorce was acrimonious is an understatement. Even now, to this day three years later he continues to make my life a living hell, while using our children as weapons.

(Sorry to digress here….)

I’m convinced, not only in my own personal experiences but also with other women from my divorced wives group and various narcissist support groups online, that it’s nearly impossible to co-parent with a narcissistic psychopath. Hating to be a Debbie Downer, but I’ve heard so many stories with so many women having had the same experiences. A narcissistic psychopath will NEVER take accountability for their actions. A narcissist only thinks of themselves and will use the children as a means of control and contact. It’s a game, one that a narcissist must WIN, no matter the costs. Ok, so I’m done ranting here…… So how does one move on and survive?

Survival

Survivors can heal and move forward with the help of psychotherapy and by sharing their story with others through various support groups online. By narrating one’s story and resolving the trauma of the emotional abuse, sharing the dynamics of abuse empowers survivors to lessen any cognitive dissonance remaining as a result of that emotional abuse.

I found this to be true in my case. By sharing my story and learning about the narcissistic emotional manipulative tactics was a huge awakening – like a veil being lifted. It wasn’t me. I did everything I could to save our marriage. In fact, I survived 30 years with a narcissist! More importantly, through my research and in speaking my truth with others who had been down the same path I eventually learned to forgive myself and move forward. Give me a medal and pat me on the back!

My advice to those reading my blog who have found themselves in similar shoes…… Hold on to that inner spark of strength; have faith in your guardian angels; and listen to your inner spirit who will guide you. As Oprah once said, “You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.” It’s time to break those chains that bound you to those negative and devaluing tactics. Slowly, over time, armed with knowledge of the various emotional manipulative tactics, survivors can understand the relationship cycle they endured and move forward with enough protective armor such that they can jump off the crazy wheel of emotional abuse and be just fine.

Believe in yourself!

Dear Narcissist’s Future/New Girlfriend

heart shaped red neon signage

Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

Dear Future Girlfriend,

I am truly sorry for your loss.  Right now, everything is great as you’re in the honeymoon phase. But soon his veneer will slip, and you will be under his control. Whatever view you had of yourself before you met him, imagine a shadow and a husk of that. Whatever strengths and talents you imagined yourself possessing before you met him, shatter them all and start over from scratch. Your confidence and self-esteem will hit rock bottom because of the way you will be treated and manipulated.  You will lose yourself.  When he tells you that he loves you, he really means:

He loves knowing that through gaslighting, and other mind-game tactics, he can make you question your own memory, perception and sanity.

He loves the power he has to get you back whenever you threaten to leave, by throwing a few words of affirmation your way. He loves watching how quickly he talks you into trusting him when he turns on the charm, deceiving you into thinking, “this time, he will change”  He loves that he can make you feel he’s doing you a favor by being with you and throwing a few crumbs your way.

He loves enabling his self-serving behavior through verbal abuse and relishes how easy it is to diminish and manipulate you.  He loves the power to take advantage of your kindness and the pleasure he derives when he makes himself feel huge in comparison to you, taking every opportunity to devalue you with harsh words making you feel small and insignificant.

He loves how easy it is to throw a smokescreen over whatever it is that you bring up and use another issue as a diversion from the actual topic.  He loves to get you flustered, make you act “crazy” over not getting what you want from him, making you repeat yourself.

He loves having you to project onto deflecting all the issues about his own actions by shifting the focus onto something irrelevant.  He loves knowing how effective his tactics have been to keep you in pain when you keep telling him how much he hurt you.

He loves that you are there to blame, making you feel guilty to accomplish his goals and desires.

He loves deriving pleasure from depriving you of anything that would make you feel special and worthwhile with his harsh words and snide comments. He loves to exert his charisma and charm highlighting his positive attributes all the while devaluing yours.

He loves that he can isolate you through a smear campaign, keeping you from others who may nourish you, and break the spell of thinking they ever loved you; He loves making you mistrust them and that no one likes you.

He loves being the center of your universe, regardless of how he mistreats you. He loves alienating you, draining the energy from your life at risk of losing more and more of what you most value and hold dear.

He loves fixing and shaping your thoughts and beliefs, controlling your mind, so that you think of him as your Supreme Being.  He loves being in control of you like an addiction.

He loves how skillfully he manipulates others’ opinions of you through third party reinforcements, getting them to side with him as the “good” guy or “good” parent.

He loves how he can use his power to keep you down, doubting and second-guessing yourself, questioning your sanity, obsessed with explaining and defending yourself while projecting his own insecurities onto you. 

He loves you so much he will become obsessed with you, stalking your every move, always afraid you might abandon him.

He loves making you fearful, keeping you in your place. 

He loves the way he feels when he’s with you. Due to how often he hates and look down on others in general, mirroring feelings of self-loathing.

He loves to dismiss and punish accordingly with judgement and shame until you learn your “lesson,” and to take your place as a voiceless object, a possession 

to serve his pleasure.  He loves using you as a punching bag, to make himself feel good by making you feel bad about yourself or that you deserved it.

When he says he loves you, he actually loves trivializing what he did that hurt or embarrassed you, or how little time he spent engaged with you or the children.

He loves taunting and provoking you, over everything you say, any hurts or complaints you share to keep you on the crazy wheel, ever trying to explain yourself, ever doubting yourself with his altered reality tactics.  He loves to ride the crazy wheel.

He loves the way he feels when you are with him, more specifically, regarding you as a piece of property he owns. He loves the extent to which you enhance his status in the eyes of others.  He loves thinking others are jealous of his possessions.

He loves that he can make you feel insecure at the drop of a hat, especially by giving attention to other women.  

He loves you because, due to the self-loathing he carries inside, he needs someone who won’t abandon him.  Meanwhile he will be seeking comfort in others’ arms.

He loves the power he has over you and the feeling he gets from winning the game, regardless of the effects in has on you or the family.

Wishing you all the best,

The Ex – wife, mother, survivor