On a daily basis, the narcissist provides his victim with endless opportunities for misery, pain, and frustration. From petty defiance and his refusal to meet the basic human needs of his spouse, to blaming his every failure on her and projecting all his garbage onto her… the crazy-making circus of the narcissist is in full swing.
This destructive, not to mention toxic, pattern of behavior makes for endless days of wishing you could simply sprout wings and fly away, or possibly just be lucky enough to slip into some kind of coma, where this never-ending, insufferable bullshit just doesn’t exist. But, alas, these daydreams never come true so, you’re left to deal with the daily onslaught of despair-inducing tactics completely conscious. Bummer.
The one upside is that, after a while, you come to expect the daily misery. Anger, resentment, and depression are absolutely normal for the staus quo. It becomes “just the way life is”. Nothing less. Nothing more. Until… you start to get fed up. Your survival instinct kicks in, and your emotional brain starts to shut down in defense against the constant pain of rejection and disregard. You withdraw from the narcissist. You stop giving him the almighty supply that he needs to survive and, of course, this makes him take notice.
While the narcissist lacks empathy, he does possess a skill called “cold empathy”. This is the ability to read the subtle, nonverbal, emotional cues of others of the people around you (like empathy) but, instead of processing the information received in order to establish or maintain a connection with the person you are ‘reading’, the narcissist can only see the emotional cues of others as it relates himself. This ‘cold empathy’ helps the narcissist to determine which of his nasty tactics. he ought to be using in any given situation, to try and exert the greatest amount of control.
His cold empathy skill alerts the narcissist to the fact that you’re fed up and shut down, long before you’ve even realized for sure that that is, in fact, what’s going on with you, and he unconsciously acknowledges that drastic measures will have to be taken before he loses his life-giving supply. And so… something strange begins to happen.
You notice that the narcissist is acting – well…nice. He tells a joke, and you laugh with him. He says something insensitive but, before you can even open your mouth to protest, he is sincerely apologizing for his thoughtless comment, and are you ok? You’re taken aback. Where did THAT comes from?, you wonder. You’re immediately suspicious…as you well should be…but his kindness and new-found sensitivity persist throughout the day.
Something inside of you softens a bit.
If you knew better, you’d run while you still had life in you to do so… but you don’t know any better, so you climb into bed at the end of the day, and instinctively reach for your mate. He wraps you up in his arm and caresses your back, and your shoulders, and your face. You sigh and close your eyes. A small smile playing on your lips. He whispers in your ear, “I’m so sorry…for everything. You’re safe now. I love you.”
For the first time, in you can’t even remember how long, you really, truly, DO feel safe…
Oh…you poor thing. How I wish I could spare you what is about to come.
The next day, or so, is a whirlwind of love and kindness and romantic moments. You can’t remember ever being this happy before. The narcissist has transformed into the soul mate you’ve longed for your whole life. It seems as though your dreams have all come true, and you’re floating through your days in a heady bliss.
But then, the dark clouds start to gather above, and the narcissist’s facade slips. An insensitive remark, but this time no apology- no understanding. Little by little, over the course of the third day, the narcissist’s loving mask is completely torn away, and you’re face to face with the same malicious, spiteful, and petty man you know all too well.
Your heart splinters, and shatters inside your chest. The pain so acute, you’re sure you’ve possibly collapsed a lung, or are having a heart attack. Every last bit of joy and light is sucked from the world and you’re plunged into a dark void unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. You reach out to the narcissist- show him the tears he’s caused you to cry- but he just turns his back, indifferent to your anguish, and walks away.
There is nothing left for you to do but scream in utter despair. Why? How could he do such a thing? How could anyone play such a cruel trick on another human being? Is he evil?
You try to get angry… you want to rage against the narcissist’s foul trick- just pack your bags and get the hell out. But you’re feeling too hopeless. Trapped. Lifeless.
What’s the point? Everything you loved and held dear was gone now…never even existed in the first place. Why even bother doing anything? And as you resign yourself to life in the dark, by the side of your narcissist, he realizes that his plan was a success. You won’t be leaving him anytime soon. Not as beaten down as you are now.
You’re not going anywhere… you’ll stay right where you are and continue to feed the narcissist his supply, like a good little girl.
In the back of your mind you wonder what the hell happened to you? How did things get this bad? And the answer is…
You’ve been love-bombed.