Since we now know what gaslighting is, and what it looks like… the next (and arguably the most vital) question is:
“Why? WHY does the narcissist do this to me?”
I bet a lot of you are asking yourself this very question, or have asked yourself this question, many times in the past. Today, I want to answer that question for you, based on my personal experience, wisdom, and understanding.
Now, before I do that, I want to tell you that the answer I’m going to give you is one that has the power to completely change your situation, and even your entire life! If you let it. And so, the first thing I want to do is pray that my writing be guided by my highest self, so that my words flow with only love, compassion, and work only toward the highest good, for the well-being of all. I also ask that (if you feel comfortable doing so) you take a deep breath and a quick moment to just open and center yourself, before continuing on, so that your highest self can receive the message I’m giving you, with only love, and compassion, for your highest good, and well-being.
The second thing I want to say, before giving you this answer is that I believe that you are reading this article, because you are ready to hear the information in it. I do not believe in coincidence. Everything works toward our highest evolution, in the quickest way possible, so if you find yourself reading this article, then it is because you are at a point in your experience when this information can give you the most benefit, and (again) work for your highest good.
The last thing I want to say is that, under no condition, do I want any of you to understand my answer to mean that you should stay in an abusive situation. If a person is committed to dragging you down, and dumping on you, you are not doing anyone any favors by staying in the relationship. My intention is that my message to you might bring you a greater understanding in order to expand your perspective and increase your capacity for compassion, and unconditional love.
But, once again, unconditional love does NOT mean allowing someone to abuse you. As a matter of fact, the truth is that, when you allow someone to hurt you, you are not only exhibiting a lack of self-love, but also you are NOT unconditionally loving the person who hurts you. [*I mention this because I know a lot of us trick ourselves into believing that, by staying, and suffering through his abuse, what we are really doing is showing our narcissist “unconditional love”, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you’d like to hear my message as to why that is true, then be sure to read my next post Unconditionally Loving A Narcissist)
My hope is that my message to you today, will give you a tool to cope- when dealing with the narcissist in your life- for as long as you are stuck in your toxic environment, give you the truth of why you should start making your SAFE Escape Plan, and give you peace of mind and understanding, if you have escaped the narcissist, but are struggling to process what has happened to you. Furthermore, I hope that this message can change the way you look at any person in your day-to-day experience, that perhaps isn’t the most pleasant person in existence.
But enough of prefacing… let me get on to answering the question at hand… (LOL)
“Why does the narcissist gaslight me?”
The shocking answer is this:
The narcissist isn’t doing anything TO you.
WHAT?! Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? It’s the truth though.
Like I said above, everything in your life is there to help you reach your highest potential at the fast possible rate. And that includes the narcissist. In general, most of you are probably aware of the fact that when other people treat us poorly, it isn’t about us… it’s about their problems- or their shitty experiences. But what if I told you that it all goes much deeper than that?
See, all of the articles I’ve read, concerning narcissism, and the reason behind the narcissist gaslighting you, mention “power & control” as being the motive behind this particular tactic. And, perhaps, on some level (or on one level) that might be true… BUT, from my own experience, and what I’ve learned about narcissists, my experience is that there is a deeper reason.
It is my belief the narcissist gaslights his victims to avoid being held accountable for his shameful behavior. And, that’s because a narcissist is terrified of accountability. To a narcissist, taking responsibility for a wrong action, means they are capable of committing a wrong action in the first place. The trouble then arises because the act of taking responsibility undermines the delusional perfection of the narcissist’s false self. And while taking a hit to our pride, may not seem like such a big deal to you and me, to a narcissist, it literally spells annihilation. Why? Because the false self is the ONLY self the narcissist is aware of.
Look at it this way; You are you, right? That’s pretty straightforward. But who is ‘You’? For the purpose of this article, we’ll define ‘You’, as “all the beliefs, values, personality traits, styles, likes & dislikes, passions, causes, etc., that make up your personality.” The perfect, false self IS “ME”, to the narcissist, and he truly believes his self to be infallible. That is the foundation of who he is…of his entire being.
Now imagine if someone tried to present information to you, that suggested that everything you absolutely believed about yourself, and your place in the world, was false. A delusion…evidence that, basically, your entire reality was fake. That’s quite a frightening thought, don’t you think?
Now, add to that the fact that, on some very, very, deeply buried & repressed, unconscious level, you knew the information the person was trying to present to you, was true… that becomes a thousand times more terrifying, doesn’t it? Can you imagine what you might be willing to do, in a moment of utter terror and panic, to protect your reality? I mean, when someone calls us a rude name, or tells us we’re a crappy person, or something, it might hurt our feelings for a moment, but ultimately, we know that what that person is saying isn’t true. We KNOW, and are secure in the truth of our reality. This is not so for a narcissist. Their absolute panic, and terror, comes from the fact that they do not have that solid knowing…that secure foundation of truth.
Truly, I do not envy their position, nor would I wish this horrifying disorder on anyone. Ever.
So, what I am getting at is this… firstly, the narcissist gaslights (among other tactics), in order to confuse, and beat down his victims enough, that they will no longer attempt to destroy his reality (and his sanity along with it). If you’ve ever witnessed someone trying to force a narcissist to be accountable for his behavior, you’d be amazed at the twists and turns, and maneuvering these people can do, to avoid taking responsibility. They will excuse, and explain, rationalize, and justify, and then outright lie, if that doesn’t work.
If all else fails, and you’ve got him trapped in a corner, where his only options are accountability, or striking out at you- HE WILL STRIKE. And, in that moment, you can SEE the panic in his eyes. I’ve witnessed this personally. If forced into taking responsibility for even the most insignificant of transgressions, my husband will literally clutch at his chest, as though he is having a heart attack. Really, he is having a panic attack, and desperately trying to repress acknowledging WHY. I can’t even begin to imagine living that kind of nightmare. Not that that excuses any of his abusive behavior, mind you. At all. But, to understand what is going on, is to detach from the abuse, and its effects, because I realize (on a very tangible level), that his abuse IS NOT PERSONAL. It is survival, and nothing more.
MY husband is trapped in a nightmare of his own making…and I say that because, no matter how terrifying the prospect, the narcissist can ALWAYS CHOOSE TO HEAL. They simply do not, out of fear. They do not have the strength, or the courage, to overcome their fear of fear. Their denial of the truth is the ONLY thing that keeps them in bondage… but they can’t find the humility to come out of denial…thus, their despair, and misery, is and always will be… endless.
Personalizing a narcissist’s abuse, is what causes us so much pain. It is what shatters our self-worth, and self-esteem. It’s what causes us to engage, or try to futilely “argue” with our narcissist, desperately trying to get them to “see” the error of their ways, or see how deeply they wound us. But the harder we try to force them to “see”, the harder (and more viciously) they fight back. It is the only response they know.
Again, this isn’t to excuse, or condone- NO ONE has the right to hurt, or abuse you, and you have no obligation to stay and endure such abuse- but to help bring you to a greater compassion, and a greater understanding. One that has the power to liberate you from your pain and the shame you feel as a result of personalizing, and internalizing, the narcissist’s abuse.
One last time, I’d like you to imagine the scenario above, where I asked how you would feel if someone was showing you evidence that you were not who you believed yourself to be, and your entire reality is delusion. Now imagine that the reality that person was presenting to you…the reality that, buried somewhere way deep down inside, you could sense, was the truth….imagine the utter fear that you’d be feeling in that moment….the panic…the terror.
And then… imagine that the true reality was…. that you were a monster.
To your peace & freedom,
~The Narcissist’s Wife