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!

Staging #3 – Gun

gun metal barrel

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January Journal Continued . . .

Not bothering to knock, using his key Scott let himself into the master bedroom, and approached me again with his phone in hand recording.  Clearly, Scott had carefully planned and orchestrated what he would say next.  Dropping the bombshell Scott said, “I’m afraid of you. I don’t feel safe in our home because you have a gun in your room!” 

Stunned, I stopped putting away the laundry, shocked at his comments. Had I heard him correctly? I asked, “What did you say? A gun?” 

In my bewilderment, Scott replied, “I know you have a gun in your room, and I’m notifying my attorney immediately.” 

After Scott turned around and strutted out of my bedroom, perplexed I searched my bedroom.  Sure enough, in the top drawer of my dresser Scott had planted a BB gun under some clothes.  The same gun we had used to shoot the iguanas to scare them away from relieving themselves in our pool in Puerto Rico!  It was an air pump BB gun, relatively harmless.  But Scott just accused me of having a gun in my room and recorded it, stating he was now afraid of me! Thus admitting at the same time that he had broken into my room earlier and gone through my drawers and clothes.

I contacted my attorney Bob the next day and asked him what to do?  With a chuckle, Bob said, “Carefully place the BB gun in a plastic bag avoiding making fingerprints and hide it somewhere safe.” I was completely dumfounded.  Had Scott really just staged something in an attempt to frame me?! Hell Yes! I didn’t think it was funny.  Not at all.  

My intuition was right.  And that was just the beginning.  I had every right to be afraid.

Certified Financial Divorce Advisor (CDFA)

money pink coins pig

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January Journal Continued  . . .

It was time to put my support team together.  After loads of research I learned there was such a thing as a Certified Financial Divorce Advisor.  That was exactly what I needed. I was still working on the hundreds of interrogatory questions and needed help, especially with the financial portion.  And so I hired a Renee, and asked her to review our taxes since, when living abroad, were very complex.  Scott’s company had provided the firm KPMG to prepare them annually. And I had many, many questions.

CDFA

The role of a Certified Divorce Financial Advisor (CDFA) is to assist the client and lawyer how the financial decisions made today will impact the client’s future.  And, after divorce how to best position your assets.

Back when we lived in Puerto Rico, Scott told me that KPMG had miscalculated our taxes as part of the tax equalization process and we owed $60,000.  I was shocked.  That was nearly our entire savings and we supposedly had to pay that money back to The Company. In all the years since, it never sat right with me.  Our taxes had always been around just a few thousand dollars that we either owed or received in return, not $60,000!  And the check for the payment was written to our local bank, not to the IRS, not to The Company.  When I had questioned Scott about it then, I was dismissed.  Scott said, “You don’t understand finances. You’re stupid when it comes to numbers.  You don’t know what you’re talking about.”  So now I asked Renee to look for that transaction and documentation.  Nothing.  I then asked my attorney, Bob, to add that to a second set of interrogatory questions for Scott.  

When Scott saw I’d hired the CDFA (using our joint accounts), in retaliation he began bombarding me with requests for my business records and receipts.  I crafted as a hobby and for stress relief.  I was crafting like crazy at the time!  Sometimes I would sell my wares at craft shows.  I spent more on supplies then what I made back in sales.  But Scott always refused to claim my income, concerned that it would raise red flags with the IRS.  Then Scott accused me stating, “I know you’re hiding money.  You’re a spending whore,” amongst other choice insults.  My hiring Renee spooked Scott — he was unusually assertive and angry. 

Renee was a huge help.  But I never got the answer about the missing $60,000 from Puerto Rico.  All of our Puerto Rico bank statements also mysteriously disappeared at that time during the divorce. We even went so far as to subpoena the Puerto Rican Banks. They refused to respond stating they were a US territory and needn’t comply with US rules and regulations.  Later I also hired a PI – to look for hidden funds.  Just for a domestic sweep (within the US) cost $750.  To do an international sweep I was told would cost thousands – thousands I didn’t have access to at the time.  I’m sure Scott got away with it all.  Living internationally, it was easy for Scott to stash cash.

 

 

Obituary – death of a marriage

broken heart love sad

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January 8 – Obituary

I packed my father’s things and brought him home from the hospital today.  I set up interviews and hired a nurse to assist him over the next few weeks with his medications in preparation for his surgery.  There were just too many for him to keep straight.  

Obituary

After dinner my father pulled out one of his yellow legal pads and handed it to me along with a perfectly sharpened No. 2 pencil that he always managed to have around as a retired engineer.  As we sat there together, he asked me to help him write his obituary.  Somehow, it comforted us both.  He had lived a good life—married to the woman he loved for over sixty years.  He and my mother had raised three wonderful children and were surrounded by grandchildren in their later years.  He had run a successful company for years that he later passed down to my brother, Greg.  He had travelled the world, sailed the seas, and still went skiing even into his eighties.  He was truly blessed with a full life and loving relationships.

That’s when I realized I didn’t quit my marriage.  I survived it.  I know deep down I am making the right choice.  It is hard to accept that my marriage had failed.  But I knew Scott wouldn’t be there for me to the end, holding my hand if I ever got ill like my father had for my mother.  Scott isn’t the type to hang in there when times get tough. Scott proved he was nothing like my father; Scott lacked compassion and integrity.  I deserve more.  I deserve better.  Filing divorce papers was like writing my own obituary:  “We had good times, raised three kids, travelled the world, blah, blah, blah…”  

Big Mistake

During the conference call with our counselor at the hospital I told Scott that I planned on returning home on the 11th and would prefer that he move out.  I wasn’t surprised when Scott refused.  Scott was not willing to look for an apartment claiming that we needed to save money.  Aware of Scott’s abuse over the years, our marriage counselor assisted us with this agreement as we hashed out the details.  Scott asserted with our counselor during that conference call that he will remain in the house, agreeing to sleep in the guest room until the divorce is final. Scott assured us both stating that he wanted the divorce to be an “amicable and peaceful process.” LOL

Having Scott remain in the house was a huge mistake. . .  I had no money of my own, all of our finances were joint.  And for the sake of the children I was forced to stay in the marital home during the divorce process, even when he refused to leave. I had asked for a monthly stipend, that he of course refused.  It wasn’t until later that I learned in order to get a mortgage, you need to show income for at least six months.  By his refusal, he essentially locked me in his invisible prison.  

I suffered through stalking, verbal and physical violence, hidden cameras, malevolent financial intrigue, and his flamboyant and unpunished violations of court orders.  I lived in a House of Horrors and was imprisoned in a dungeon built by his malice. Months following resulted in court hearings and appearances for Exclusive Use of the Home, and Personal Protection Orders – all because he wouldn’t leave or let me leave.  For the narcissist, its all about control — and in this case, about revenge.  How dare I abandon him.

I had no privacy, no safe place. He broke into my bedroom, my car, my files, my emails, –  stating it was his house/his property and that he had every right to invade my privacy whenever he felt like it.  On more than thirty occasions, he carefully orchestrated devastating attacks designed to make me look crazy, even staging events trying to put me in jail.  He set out to destroy me, just as he always threatened.  Words cant even begin to describe what I went through that year.  But somehow, I survived and lived to tell the tale. .