by Dr. Denise Glassmoyer
Quite simply lying is a survival skill for the narcissistic and getting caught in a lie doesn’t faze him! Whether you are in a relationship with a narcissistic, leaving one, or recovering from one, your survival depends on understanding clearly that he will continue to lie to you as long as you allow him to be in your life. Commonly, when caught in one of his many lies he simply stays the course and tell more lies until you either believe him or are too exhausted to continue to confront him.
Let’s face it, being the recipient of a steady diet of BS is devastating to both your emotional and physical health. Living in the darkness of deceit requires you to spend an inordinate amount of emotional and mental energy constantly questioning what is real and what isn’t. Deception chips away at your sense of self and robs you of your ability to trust yourself and those in your life who are most deserving of your trust.
Discovering that you’ve been deceived and uncovering the truth will do little to help you regain your sense of balance and clarity; when you catch him in one of his incessant lies and confront him he will respond with various tactics intended to silence, confuse, and convince you. Remember, the narcissist lacks empathy because he (she) never progressed to the stage of development where the conscious had a chance to develop. If you are trying to preserve a relationship and confront the most recent betrayal, there is a good chance you will end up in retreat; scratching your head and wondering what’s real, what isn’t, and what the heck just happened. A frustrating and confusing cycle that will eventually disconnect you from yourself and the wisdom of your intuition. Instead of just acknowledging and accepting that you’ve been lied to AGAIN, you must consider that ongoing attempts to fix this relationship will be at your peril. If you are being lied to, you are not the problem! No matter what he tries to tell you...you are not the problem...you are living in an impossible situation.
Never forget that the narcissist is driven by one thing and one thing only…getting his needs met! In his mind his self-serving ends justifies any means. He simply doesn’t have the coping skills to deal with reality or to be in a healthy adult relationship. Lying is and always will be effortless for him. One of the hardest things to swallow is that although he knows he is lying, he does not see himself as a liar. You must realize that without insight there can be no change. One thing a narcissist definitely doesn't have is insight; In fact, lying is so essential for survival in his grandiose, fantasy world that it is woven into the very fabric of who he is.
He lies by omission, commission, and twisting of information. If you try to have a conversation with him about you feelings and about how his behavior has affected you…stand-by... because in a matter of moments you will find yourself drawn into a dark worm hole where he will attempt to force you to accept that his lies are the truth and your feelings are wrong. If he can divert you from how you feel and and pull you into his sick world of twisted FACTS he wins. Remember, he needs admiration, appreciation, praise, validation, and adoration the way you and I need air. He will literally do anything to get it and lying is one of the most used tools in his arsenal.
Gaslighting, a form of brainwashing, is a particularly dangerous tactic regularly used by your deceitful narcissist to unbalance you and erode your sense of reality. The name comes from the 1944 movie starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. This is a chilling movie and worth watching if you are in a relationship with someone who regularly distorts reality and challenges your experiences and perceptions. This is one of the most insidious and damaging forms of emotional abuse. Gaslighting is a steady stream of lies told to you about you, your thoughts, feelings, perceptions, experiences, and reality.
If your partner lies to you on a regular basis your relationship is already over. Reach out for professional help and formulate your exit strategy. This relationship, by design, will rob you of everything you value; most importantly your emotional health and sense of reality.
by Dr. Denise Glassmoyer
Toxic relationships are manipulative relationships. He manipulates, you go along; not realizing that each day you are losing more and more of yourself. Manipulation is used to gain power over and control you. His words say one thing; his actions say quite another.
In the book, The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life, Dr Robin Stern identifies several types of manipulators. One that I find particularly interesting is what she calls the Glamour Gaslighter; a person who manipulates by creating a fantasy to draw your attention away from what is REALLY happening.
Imagine for a moment that you discover husband or boyfriend has been chatting and texting flirtatiously with several old girlfriends, or that he has betrayed your trust in some other way. You've seen the texts pop up in black and white on his phone or have first hand evidence of another type of betrayal. When you try to address the issue with him he deflects, perhaps accuses you of being jealous, making excuses, or minimizing his untrustworthy behavior.
You're understandably upset and want to address the problem with him in hopes of getting some real and honest answers. Rather than coming clean and apologizing, the Glamour Gaslighter creates a romantic fantasy to deflect your attention away from the issue at hand. Although you know something is wrong, you know you've been deceived,he shows up with roses, a gourmet meal, candles etc. and professes his undying love and commitment to you. He's likely to ask something like, "Why would I want to talk to anyone else when I love only you." Deep down you feel confusion and unease as you wonder why this nagging feeling in your heart and the pit of your stomach doesn't go away.
Your Glamour Gaslighter has deceived you in the name of love. He has caused you to question your instincts and to ignore your feelings. The very person who caused your pain is the same guy who is now rescuing you from it. As he puts his arms out for you to come to him, he tells you how much it hurts him to see you upset (as though he didn't do the very thing that hurt you in the first place).
You push aside emotional pain and confusion as your mind floats back to the early days of your relationship when he won your heart with similar romantic gestures. For a moment it feels as though everything in your relationship is well again. You relax into the false reality he created just for you and enjoy feeling close again...still, deep within you there is a sense that something is terribly wrong. IT IS!
Romantic time spent with someone you love is a wonderful thing. However, when a romantic fantasy is created to distract and numb you from painful feelings of disappointment and betrayed you are being played! The Glamour Gaslighter's brand of manipulation in the one of the most confusing. You disconnect from yourself in order to reconnect with him. You know something is terribly wrong, but in this moment you decide to just enjoy the fantasy as he reminds you of how lucky you are to be with him.
When his cyclical bad behavior returns, you are understandably upset...AGAIN. You try to talk to him but rather than listening to you and empathizing with your experience, he creates another romantic fantasy and draws you right back in.
This stealthy form of manipulation is used to control you and over time will cause you to question yourself, your reality, your thoughts, your feelings, and your perceptions. As he skillfully executes his powerful brand of deception; he silently insists not only that you buy into the false romantic fantasy but that you do so in a way that convinces him that you are his.
On some level you know you are being manipulated and yet you find yourself over and over again going along for the sake of the relationship. Besides you've been longing to re-connect and feel close to him. For a moment he pretends to actually give you that.
Articles by Dr. Glassmoyer
A man with a narcissistic personality can wreak more havoc in your life than you would have ever thought possible. When you go out the first few dates with a narcissistic man he can be incredibly charming and over the top demonstrative. Often successful and meticulous about his appearance he is will stop at nothing to win you over.
This type of man often has a history of short relationships and a trail of broken hearts. When a narcissist initially falls for you, he falls hard. Convinced that he has met the woman of his dreams, he promises you the world. He's the guy who shows up with dozens of roses along with promises of undying love and eternal commitment.
The narcissistic man has a finely honed fantasy image of his ideal woman which you and every other woman are compared to. When he meets a woman that he deems worthy to temporarily paint into his fantasy image he will court her in a way that is hard even for smart, intelligent women to resist. If you can maintain your head amidst the fairy tale world you have stepped into, you may notice that the incredibly pampering things that he does for you are the things that he actually wants for himself. For instance, it you love shrimp but he loves lobster…guess what he will whip up for you? The biggest best lobster he can find…which seems incredible until you realize that you told him that your favorite thing in the world was shrimp. He pretended that he didn’t hear you; he is the ultimate authority now on what you like and don’t like.
This is the same guy who in a short time will grow to resent you for not being appreciative enough of all he has done for you (no matter how appreciative you are, you could never be appreciative enough). The trouble is that a narcissistic man has an internal sucking vortex of neediness for admiration, appreciation, and special attention. No matter what you do to make things special for him, he will remember the times that you didn’t do something he wanted. It’s quite likely that he never told you what he wanted, but if you were the perfect woman he thought you were you would know his every wish, desire, want and need.
With his finely tooled skills at getting his needs met, he will maneuver you away from family and friends. He’s quite accomplished at making your newly isolated life with him appear to be the perfect scenario for both of you. He pampers you into submission and once he has you where he wants you, look out. The narcissistic man can be equally as ugly as he once was charming.
Narcissistic men are often described as emotional vampires. They prey on their victims, seduce them, and then literally suck the life out of them (all the while tearing them down) until the woman barely has the strength to run. Narcissistic men are master manipulators. Early on he will learn what you need and want; what makes you tick. You could be quite easily deceived into believing that his lavish displays of attention are because he loves you and just wants the two of you to be as close as possible. Sadly narcissistic men are for the most part unable to engage in emotional intimacy. They do not know how to love, love is simply a feeling they get when they have a source to temporarily fill up the dark emptiness inside.
Your relationship is literally all about him. Before long he will tell you what you think, feel, and perceive with such authority that you might for a minute think that he may know you better than you know yourself. When your relationship ends…six months, three years, even ten years later he will be out on a date so fast it will make your head spin. He is empty and must find another source to survive.
Rather than telling you that he is the luckiest guy in the world, he’ll ask “Are you the luckiest woman in the world?” Crazy as it sounds he believes it. As long as you conform to his internalized ideal woman he will continue to shower you with affection. The problem is that every time you go along, rather than express your own truth, he becomes more and more convinced of his ability to mold you into who he needs you to be. This dynamic can only go on for so long before you begin to lose sight of who you are. The smart, confident woman who came into this relationship slips away little by little, day by day until one day you are hit with the stark realization that along the way you have lost yourself. You have sacrificed so much for him, yet he tells you that you never did anything for him and that you don’t appreciate anything.
Narcissistic men are quite cunning about getting their needs met and can justify any means to that end. A Narcissistic man often has “friend” relationships with old girl friends and flirtatious encounters with other women that he keeps in the wings just in case you don’t measure up. It is impossible to measure up when you are with a narcissistic man. He will continue to move the target in his attempt to gain power over you. He will continue to invalidate you and trivialize your accomplishments as he moves more and more away from you to have his needs met elsewhere.
A narcissistic man is a guy who never grew up emotionally, many have the emotional maturity of a 7-8 year old. The narcissist doesn’t know how to be ok unless he is literally sucking the life force out of someone. When his needs aren’t met he has a tendency to whip up all sorts of drama to get what he wants. At the end of the day he will project all his bad behavior and emotional shortcomings on you. He will likely describe you as selfish, unappreciative, a drama queen, uncaring, insensitive etc. Generally he will describe himself to you as he accuses you being those things. It doesn’t matter what you do….the more you do for him, the more he expects until there is very little of you left.
If you are a nurturing, caring, kind, beautiful, smart, sexy woman BEWARE! You are the perfect target for an emotional vampire. His ways are cunning and crafty and you will likely still be shaking your head in disbelief six months after he has moved on and obtained his next source…he will be absolutely SURE she is the perfect woman…the woman of his dreams. It all goes terribly bad when he discovers that she, like you, is actually a real person and not the ever adoring pet that he was hoping for.
Many people ask me about the term “emotional affair” and are curious as to what distinguishes it from innocent friendship. Healthy friendships do not exclude one’s wife or husband; emotional affairs to varying degrees do. In an emotional affair either the relationship itself or the intensity of the emotional bond and the duration of the relationship are often intentionally hidden from the spouse.
Although an emotional affair might begin as an innocent friendship, over time a close emotional bond can develop as the two increasingly turn to one another rather than to their spouse(s). Although many emotional affairs involve mutual interest and emotional attraction, in some cases one person may not actually be interested in the other and yet continues to encourage the others’ interest in them for the sake of boosting their own ego. Individuals involved in an emotional affair often rationalize to themselves and others…”but we’re just friends.” This rationalization may feel like an absolute truth, particularly to the unfaithful spouse who is “just” enjoying the attention and adoration of someone outside the marriage without reciprocal feelings.
An emotional affair is characterized by infidelity that occurs through the sharing of intimate and personal thoughts and emotions. With today’s technology emotional affairs can occur without face to face contact and are sometimes limited to phone conversations, text messages, and online chats. Because of the lack of contact, some people engaged in an emotional affair do not believe that they are being unfaithful or even that they are doing anything wrong. They rationalize that the relationship can’t be wrong if there is no physical intimacy.
Emotional affairs are a form of infidelity that often causes significant damage to the marriage or primary relationship. The wounds of emotional affairs run as deep and sometimes even deeper than the wounds from affairs involving physical intimacy. Although the faithful spouse may sense something is wrong, they often are unclear about or completely unaware of the unfolding dynamic. While minimizing the relationship to themselves and others, they often intensify their spouse’s pain with accusations that the faithful spouse is being controlling or feeling and acting jealous.
When a person in a committed relationship or marriage finds him or herself drawn to another person on an emotional level, it would be wise to consider that emotional affairs are a form of betrayal and can have similar consequences as physical affairs. If you are married or in a committed relationship and have heard yourself say, “but we are just friends” I invite you to step back and consider these seven dangers signs that your friendship may actually be an emotional affair.
1. Find yourself reaching out to this person to share life’s ups and downs…often before you share them with your spouse?
2. Keep secrets, delete texts, talk when your spouse is not around or “forget” to mention contact with this person to your spouse?
3. Discuss problems in your marriage with this person?
4. Believe this person understands you better than anyone, including your spouse? Or that your interests are more compatible with this person than
with your spouse?
5. Fantasize that this person will always be there for you; that if all else fails you will have each other?
6. Lie or tell half truths to cover up contact with this person?
7. Fail to tell your spouse about the relationship or you minimize the closeness in the relationship?
If these danger signs resonate with you, it is likely your marriage may be suffering as a result. Although it can be difficult to let go of the support, adoration, and spoken or unspoken fantasies that you have come to enjoy, the relationship must end. Transparency and truthfulness are essential for a healthy marriage; neither of which can exist if one person is in an intimate emotional relationship with someone else. If you value your marriage end the emotional affair and begin the process of rebuilding trust and healing the wounds of betrayal.
If you are a faithful spouse and believe your husband or wife is involved in an emotional affair, confront them and let them know in no uncertain terms that it is not OK with you. Make it clear that the relationship must end. Consider making your feelings known to the “friend” as well. Shine a light on the secrecy of the inappropriate relationship even if your spouse continues to rationalize, “but we are just friends.”
Is it me?….a question asked by many who come to therapy (often alone) with a desire to improve their marriage or primarily relationship. The asking of this question suggests that this person likely has a willingness to be introspective in the quest for positive change. Although one partner’s change can have a positive impact on a relationship; healthy, sustainable relationships flourish when both partners are willing to be introspective and to take responsibility for their part when conflict arises.
Let’s face it, we all dig our heels in at times. The nagging “Is it me?” question seems to be most often asked by the partner who is more likely to yield (Y) and to compromise for the sake of the relationship. An unyielding partner (U), on the other hand, may have difficulty compromising and consequently less likely to ponder the “Is it me?” question at all. Unyielding partners often approach their relationship from a win/lose perspective and interact with the intention of gaining compliance from their spouse. When this type of yielding/unyielding dynamic (Y/U) defines a relationship, conflicts may only be resolved when the yielding partner completely acquiesces to the wishes of the other. This lopsided approach may help keep the peace in the short term, but will interfere with the development of mutuality and emotional intimacy that is so necessary for the long term. Consistently yielding to one’s spouse is simply not sustainable. Although it is unrealistic to expect that every argument will be resolved to the satisfaction of both partners, it is realistic to expect balance over time.
So….back to the question “Is it me?” The answer is that neither the solution, nor the problem lies with one partner alone. Perhaps other questions may be more productive:
Am I expected, or do I expect my partner/wife/husband, to give in all the time?
Do I feel uncomfortable talking with my spouse about problems or issues affecting our relationship?
Have problems remained unresolved in the past?
Have I given up trying to talk to my wife/husband? Does it seem that he or she has given up trying to talk to me?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it is likely you are in a Y/U relationship. If so the following methods of communicating and asserting control may be familiar:
COUNTERING is communication specifically intended to block further communication. The unyielding partner may use it to invalidate the thoughts, feelings, and experience of his/her spouse.
U: I noticed the car is running a little rough.
Y: Yeah, I noticed the same thing the other day.
U: You don’t know anything about cars. You don’t know what you are talking about.
Y: I was simple agreeing with you.
U: You never agree with me.
DISCOUNTING is communication that devalues the other by saying the other’s experience is wrong.
Y: I felt sad when you yelled at Tommy when he didn’t play well at his game.
U: (An unyeilding partner might respond with any of the following):
You’re too sensitive.
You’re so rigid.
You just love to create drama.
You’re just trying to start another argument.
BLOCKING is communication intended to shut down further communication.
Y: It doesn’t feel that this has been resolved, I’d like to set a time to talk more about this tomorrow.
U: You always have to have the last word. -or- You always have to be right.
BLAMING accuses the other of some wrong doing as justification for the unyielding spouse’s behavior.
Y: I’d like for us to spend more time together.
U: Why are you always attacking me? Maybe we would spend more time together if you’d start pulling your own weight around here.
Do you see similarities here to how you and your partner communicate? Check back for more article in this series and learn how to break free of dysfunctional dynamics in your relationship.
Live your Moments, Lover Your Life!
Are You Doing Any of These Things Trying to Reduce Your Anxiety?
If you are suffering from anxiety you’ve likely tried many things to try to help yourself feel better. Stop right now and take an inventory to make sure that you are not making any of these critical mistakes in your attempts to make yourself feel better. Doing these things will likely increase your anxiety.
The WHY Question
If you are like many people you may believe that your anxiety will go away once you figure out why you are anxious. Asking why fuels rumination which subsequently fuels anxiety and it’s close cousin depression. The answer to the WHY question is simple; you are experiencing anxiety due to living life from an anticipatory perspective. You can learn a new way, but for now an attitude of patience and compassion towards yourself will go a long way.
Simply put, avoidance fuels panic and anxiety. Avoidance sets you up for the false belief that you have more control than you do of the events of life. Entering into a control mode is a slippery slide. With this orientation towards life you’ll find yourself setting up all sorts of rules that MUST be followed to keep yourself “safe.” Rigidity sets in and anxiety increases. Avoidance and control will not reduce anxiety. Ultimately, avoidance and control increase anxiety. When we avoid anxiety, we avoid life!
Let’s face it…life is uncertain. Life is full of ambiguity. We never know what’s around the corner do we? (You may have just felt a surge of anxiety just reading those words). Rather than simply accepting the inevitable uncertainly, many see it as a problem that must be solved. Anticipating future events is an endless cycle that leads to a near constant state of hyper-vigilance. Responding to challenges and problems, even traumatic events, has very little to do with anxiety. Anxiety and anticipation feed one another and are always future oriented.
What Should You Do Instead?
Make a commitment today to learn to live your life free of rumination, avoidance, and gut wrenching anticipation by learning to consciously bring your attention to the present moment with an attitude of acceptance and curiosity. There is no reason to allow anxiety to rob you of another moment!
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“Live your Moments, Love your Life.”