I was addicted to the highs and ignored the lows. I ignored all those times I felt so worthless as if I didn’t matter to him at all and I embraced those times where he showered me with attention and affection, even if those times would be few and far between. I was like a bird in the winter searching desperately for crumbs that would keep me alive. He was the one in power because he was the one who could either dole out the crumbs or withhold them.
When I found out about narcissism it didn’t solve my problems. It wasn’t a magical solution anymore than a doctor telling the heroin addict that his drug of choice is addictive and destructive. O.K. yes I know I am caught up in the addictive Web of illusion produced by the narcissistic reality, but how do I get out?
Although educating myself was helpful and necessary my problem required much more than education alone. Identifying the problem was only the first step and it was a big one because it actually penetrates the illusion that there ever really was a Mr. Perfect. Suddenly I could see that he was every bit as flawed as I was; only he had no clue. He was off dancing in the sunset with someone else who also didn’t have a clue while I was the one who was feeling everything. I was feeling everything he never allowed himself to feel. That is why my life was so chaotic with him. He suppressed his emotion and I expressed it.
The expression of negative emotion was taboo in his world. It was a sign of weakness, and narcissistic personalities despise weakness in themselves and others. The more I expressed this negative emotion the more pathetic I was to him. I slowly lost my status in his eyes of being a strong, capable being. Instead I was a weak, pathetic, emotional basket case.
This is narcissistic abuse in a nutshell. The narcissist denies his own negative feelings and projects them onto the person closest to him and then he attacks that person for their weakness. This way he gets to express those negative emotions through his surrogate outlet without ever claiming them. Meanwhile the surrogate is not only getting hammered by these psychically transferred negative emotions but also the subtle attacks on their character by the narcissist. The process, over time, breaks down the psyche of the one who is doing the feeling work in the relationship.