I really would like to pick the brains of psychological professionals, regarding this topic. It’s such a huge problem which affects so many aspects of our lives, including our past, present and any future we might have. It’s a huge factor in whether we have self-confidence, or not. Whether we do well with a challenge, or not. I’m really struggling with how to write about this, so maybe I’ll just wing it. Maybe it’ll form some sort of intelligent banter along the way.
Rejection. Can you remember when you were first hit with that overwhelming anxiety, associated with the fear? When you met someone new, for instance, and wanted to hide in a hole, instead of confidently extending your hand and introducing yourself? It’s difficult for me to pin point the first time. I know I was a little girl, but I don’t know when or why I became unsure and scared of rejection. I honestly believe it began prior to school years, as a little child or even a toddler. All I remember throughout school, is being afraid. I wonder if it starts from our parents or siblings treatment of us? Oh lord, THIS could definitely buy some psychologist that new yacht he’s been dreaming of!
We can fake confidence…sort of. We can fake a smile. We can fake anything we need to, generally. But, what we can’t fake our way out of, is our – very present – poor self-esteem. We can’t fake looking like we are confident, when we are laden with a lack of confidence. It shows in our body language, our stance, posture and even in the way we walk. It shows in how quickly we look away, when someone looks into our eyes…even for a second. I can fake being “ok” when I look someone in the eye, especially when I am first meeting someone. I know how to act, but I quickly feel examined and “unworthy”. I feel threatened, quickly looking away, and have a difficult time maintaining that eye-contact, naturally. Why is it so hard to trust that we are likable? Why is it so hard to understand that it’s ok if someone doesn’t like us? A fear of rejection stemming from our early years, translated to a type of self-loathing, later on. Somewhere, somehow, it changed.
This is exactly, and I mean EXACTLY what so many Narcissists and Sociopaths zero in on, when choosing their subject. It’s not just our lack of self-confidence that shows…it’s our innate fear of rejection that they see. When they see that part of so many of us, they know we will do ANYTHING and ENDURE ANYTHING to keep from feeling or being rejected. What we think of as “love”, is actually our OWN FEAR OF REJECTION! When we met the Narcissist/Psychopath, who was right there with everything we needed… Love, Affection, Attention, hugs, kisses, presents and so-forth, that translated to us as ACCEPTANCE (Aka: love). He/she gave us everything we’ve ever wanted, going way back to when we were children.
I’m taking breaks in between these posts, as it’s very emotional for me to think about. I have to examine myself while writing these, which is not an easy undertaking.
I would love to hear your ideas. I do realize that in adding your thoughts, you will also be delving into the painful task of self-analysis. You’ll have to remember difficult times in your lives, too. Remember, you aren’t on the chopping block, here. You’re already accepted. Don’t worry :)
Recently I’ve been dumped into a challenge at work. Apparently I’m being seen as a “hero” by some, but all I really did was go to upper management to ask a “question”. His reaction prompted me to ask the corporate guru’s. The rest will play out over the next upcoming weeks. I’m in the lead here, with others looking toward me for direction. I truly cannot explain any further about the ins and outs of everything. I will say, however, I predict a big change in management-whether getting new management or that they will have a change of heart (legally) as pertains to the treatment of employees. (This particular scenario has gone on, unquestioned, for years!) Either way, “legally” they will have to dip into their enlightened pocket-books, as a result.
This particular situation, is a direct test of everything I have learned over the past number of years. Standing against injustice, whether toward me or others, against the perpetrators. Speaking out against manipulation and lies, etc. We all have federal law on our side, here. Not to mention State law. Regardless what happens to me as a result, this is the beginning of the end for this type of thing in this company. It’s not as bad as it sounds. No deaths or anything have occurred at work. They are just dipping into our entitled earnings, while pulling their “management” strings. They trust that they have our fear working in their benefit. Not any more…
Please pray for direction, for everyone involved.
Thank you :)
For someone like myself, who was born and raised without the World wide web, being without the internet has been rough. This post, by the way, is completely being done via a broken phone. Its hard to see what I type, so please excuse the broken text, misspelled words, and gibberish :)
I hope this finds you all exactly where you should be…moving forward in your healing, wherever “forward” has brought you, thus far. There are no wrong ways to move forward in this process. The only wrong that can possibly be done is by giving up. Any other step is a good one, even if its miniscule.
Enjoy your weekend! Be sure to include smiles, laughter and peace of mind.
A great post about flying monkeys (aka: friends of the psychopath or narcissist). Be sure to read this post, and see if you can relate…
Originally posted on Madeline Scribes:
Dorothy: Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!
I was reading a status update on Facebook from my new friend Martha. She wrote that the “flying monkeys” at work were starting to be nicer to her, probably because the Narc was either losing her grip on them, or had moved on to another victim. They had been shyly asking for her help and gravitating towards her for some time and she was still avoiding them at all costs. She’s a smart lady. She knows, just like I know, that once you’re a flying monkey, you’re always going to be a flying monkey. Flying monkeys never change.
Scarecrow: First they (the Flying Monkeys) took my legs off and they threw them over there! Then they took my chest out and they threw it over there!
Tin Woodsman: Well, that’s you all over!
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My internet and computer are down, aside from my phone. Until i can get back, here is a fantastic article, for people who think they know it all about psychopaths, or survivors who think they “get it” now…
Reality hits when you least expect it, and also when you believe you are finally knowledgeable enough to avoid it. You can avoid getting dinged by toxic individuals by learning to believe in and trust yourself.
You hear the word “vulnerability” in various contexts. The word, however, always means the same thing. To be “Vulnerable” means there is a notable weakness. A crack in your armor, which can be exploited; being prone to attack. Children, aging adults, and even shoddily protected computer systems, are vulnerable. Computer hackers are guilty for the recent security breaches in many of our major shopping chains, across America. Millions of people’s’ identities are at risk, due to the exploitation of those vulnerabilities found by these perpetrators. Pedophilia is rampant across the globe. Elder abuse, whether in a private home, or state-run facility, often times goes without notice.
The exploitation or abuse isn’t just limited to those who are obviously (to the normal human) vulnerable or weak, or unable to protect themselves. Those who have been previously abused, neglected, attacked or have low self-esteem or lack of confidence, are seen as vulnerable and “weak” by the same depraved individuals, who are looking for someone to use for their self-gratification. It doesn’t just stop there. Are you a giver? A peacemaker? Do you have a selfless nature? Humanitarian? Are you naturally, highly empathetic? These wonderful qualities are seen as weaknesses by the social/human predator, as well. They aren’t seen as “wonderful qualities” by the Sociopath/Psychopath. In fact, the human predator is an astute student in human nature. They interpret these qualities, very analytically. They see “behind” the exterior, into the deepest recesses of our behaviors, exposing our actual needs behind the selfless acts. This is how they are able to mirror us so well. Creepy, huh?
For instance; Are you a selfless giver? A psychopath or Narcissist could interpret that as, “She needs approval and acceptance”. Empathetic? “She needs to feel understood, loved and cared about”. Those of us with less than ideal self-confidence, are especially subjective to becoming targeted and victimized. We are easy to see and weed out from the rest of the herd.
In the past 3 years, I have come to realize that no 2 psychopaths’ personalities are exactly the same. Their M.O. is ALWAYS the same, as in; Love-bombing, manipulation, mirroring, tailoring responses to mesh with our deepest desires, scheming and lying. Some Narcissists and Psychopaths (though very few) aren’t cheaters. However, they ALWAYS gas-light their targets. Some choose those whose vulnerabilities echo their inert weaknesses. Others want to go after the more self-assertive variety. The thrill is in the conquest, after all. The fact remains in that we all, as humans, have some sort of vulnerability. Some of us make the search very easy, while others take more time to ascertain.
Remember…even the Titanic, which at the time was considered “unsinkable”, met with a rogue iceberg which was able to find the slightest weakness in the hull of the ship. The rivets used were iron which degraded in the sea water, weakening the hull enough to be ripped apart by a huge block of ice. Even those of us who are coined with the phrase “unsinkable” and “unmovable”, have a vulnerable area.
Now, the conundrum… We are encouraged to be more vulnerable, by “relationship experts” and the likes of them. I can understand why this is. If we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable at all, we won’t be able to find true human connection. When two people are vulnerable and in turn, protected by each other, then we are able to allow and accept emotional intimacy.
Normal people shudder at the thought of exploiting any of these areas or people, for personal gain. But those people ARE out there. Sociopaths/psychopaths and narcissists, never show vulnerabilities. At least, ones that are obvious to normal people. Predators are secretive. They cover their tracks. They are exemplary schemers and liars. They manipulate you and others around them, so they don’t appear to be anything but how they want others to see them. Lets think about them, for a second. Do the Narc, Soc, or Psychopath truly have “no” vulnerabilities? Or are they just skilled at covering them up? They have skills, that’s for sure. Silence, whether from their chosen victim, or themselves, is absolutely necessary to insure their success. The pro-social Psychopath knows that if they talk too much, for instance, they take the chance of unveiling their true nature and in turn lose their cover. They will be seen for who they truly are, and what their desired end is. They would be unmasked. Was your ex-psychopath or Narcissist very open about their past, or what they do with their time? If they were, how easy was it for you to pick out the lies? The vast majority of them, are NOT open with you about ANY area of their lives…except for those tidbits that would be useful to further gain your trust. Even those things are carefully placed, without revealing too much information to you, and are still dusted ever so slightly in lies.
The #1 vulnerability that the Narcissist/Psychopath has is INSECURITY!!! They are afraid of exposure. They are afraid that the rest of the world will think them less than exemplary human beings (barf). We all know they are incapable of true decency, without the need for schemes. However, they still need constant ego buffing and adulation. They are afraid that someone will know the truth about them. Everything they do stems from this insecurity. I don’t feel the least bit sorry for them, or any inkling of pity. They choose to do what they do, and they know EXACTLY what they are doing. It’s planned, and malicious.
That leaves us with the daunting question of, What can we do to protect ourselves? Especially when different vulnerabilities are seen as exploitable, depending on the personality of the individual predator. I mean, one predator might want an easy-to-find catch. He/she’ll go after the one whose self-confidence is shaken. They want the conquest without the battle. How about the type who only wants the “hard-to-get” prey? They go after those who are self-assured, successful and strong (as they would appear to normal individuals). The same is true, however. Both types of predators find and exploit vulnerabilities. Given the time (and some are quite patient), they will expose your vulnerabilities, no matter how hard or easy they are to see. Again, what can we do to protect ourselves?
First, know their tactics. They always come on strong, giving us the person we’ve always longed to meet. The one we thought didn’t exist. The empathetic, caring, self-effacing gentleman. Gifts will abound. Favors. Etc. They will be loving and attentive. It’s easy…WAY too easy to get caught up in the fairy tale. I think it’s important to take strategic steps back, during the initial days. Revisit what has been said or done, away from them. Learn the phrases they say, or the responses they have to what YOU have said. The twists will be so subtle, it’ll be hard to distinguish at first. Believe me, even in the beginning, they will slip a little bit. How do they make you feel? Do you feel elation, only to be met with a sudden bout of shock? What shocked you? What was your response..even silently? I can’t express this enough… LOVE BOMBING SHOULD NEVER, EVER BE CODDLED!!! You should NEVER allow for it. If they are trying to push too much, too soon, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE walk away from them!
This is such a wide-open topic. I would love to hear your ideas… What are some ideas you might have, to protect ourselves from being targeted? Remember, we will ALL be targets. Not all will become victims…
My ex heard about my blog. I told him that I help abuse survivors. He, to my knowledge, has never viewed this blog but he did use the fact that I have it, as ammo to ridicule me and berate me. I want to see if he has read it or is still, currently. If so, maybe he can benefit from it too…
Emotional abuse is one topic he knows about, directly and indirectly. As both a childhood sufferer and as an adult perpetrator. I have never labeled him, though I could most definitely assign one or two. If he reads this entry, I’ll hear about it.
Now, I label you, dear sir. No I don’t hate you, though I wish I could. Are there clinical signs and diagnoses? If there are, I have never heard about them, as pertains to you. However, I know the characteristics. Even if the psychological diagnosis isn’t there, the fact remains that the characteristics are enough to know I walked away in the nick of time. There are enough to raise the hackles on the back of my neck. There’s enough to make me walk away from you completely, without ever looking back. You did me a favor, you and your spiteful retaliatory nature. You and your anger, directed at me for NOTHING. What was I made to pay for? The fact that you needed a smoke-screen, to hide your true persona? Or was it to hide something else? The fact that you are/were emotionally unavailable, for whatever reason, caused you grief…not me. Living your life, hiding behind a lie, had to be excruciating. Normal people aren’t afraid to show themselves to the rest of the world. Normal people don’t have to create an alternate reality, to hide behind. Manipulating others around you to believe an alternate reality, a smoke-screen, is cheap entertainment at best, for you. It’s cheaper in the long-run, however, to be true to yourself and trust others to accept you, too. It costs less, both monetarily and socially, to choose to allow closeness and intimacy. But then again, there are those who are completely unable to form true human attachments. This is your actual identity.
Again, I don’t care whether or not there has been an actual diagnosis. The characteristics you show behind closed doors, away from peers and friends, is enough to raise suspicions, pointing to these very real, clinical variants. Its enough to know that you are toxic, as a whole. Not just to me, but those friends and co-workers who are at your disposal. Those who don’t realize they are being used.
There are so many things I want to say, yet I cannot chose just one subject. I ramble anyway, so I suppose this post will be no different.
Since November, I found myself trying to believe in another man. I didn’t try, though. I just “believed”. Stupid move on my part. He was handsome. He seemed sweet, caring, thoughtful and considerate. He was, toward others and in the beginning, toward me. If he hadn’t treated me so well in the beginning, I wouldn’t have held on as long as I did. As time went on, he still did the sweet things (as long as he wasn’t angry with me) for me… including me in his outings with friends, being attentive, etc. I saw red-flags in the beginning, which made my gut stir. At the time, those red-flags seemed trivial, so I put them on the back burner. However, I made it a point not to forget them. Some made me go “huuuhhhh?!”. I trivialized them, when I should have trusted my instincts. After 3 dates, he stopped me and admitted “I love you…I’ve loved you for a long time…”. We had barely spoken prior to going out for the first time. We talked a lot together, after…at least for a few weeks. He didn’t know me enough to proclaim his “love” like that. I didn’t know him…at all. I informed him that it was too soon for me to express something like that, since I barely knew him. “I don’t feel that way toward you. I’m sorry”. Love bombing? Definitely… For “his” birthday, he bought “me” hundreds of dollars in new clothes. He makes quite a bit of money, so it wasn’t something he couldn’t afford to do. At the time, I was warmed by the gifts, especially because it was his birthday and he was buying ME gifts! I still felt uncomfortable, though. Very uncomfortable. I was uneasy accepting them…but I still thought “Oh my gosh! What a wonderful man!”
He repeatedly said to me, “I’m not trying to buy your affections..” without provocation. I never asked. I just kept remembering everything I had read, and he was fitting the persona to a “T”. He wasn’t trying to buy my affections, per-say..but he WAS trying to buy my allegiance and trust. Still, I waited. For what? For what inevitably followed? For that, which I could have stopped before it began?
As time progressed, it became increasingly clear that this man is entirely superficial!! He was very private and silent about his day, with me. There was never a conversation started by him, which would express his elation about getting off work early, or any funny anything that might have happened. Friends share all their experiences. If we get off work early, it’s usually an unexpected treat which we share with our best friends. In the beginning, he told me, “I want you to feel comfortable talking to me about anything…” I thought he was sincere. What the reality was, however, I was unable to talk to him at ALL! He formed conclusions with nothing to base them on, and always held me accountable. I was placed on ignore every week, 2-3 days at a time…all because he “thought” I was saying “something bad” to him, about him and so forth, all because he was “mad”. The thing is, I was only allowed to get 2 words of the first sentence out, and then the shit hit the fan. He always tried to smooth things over the day before a planned public outing with friends and made sure to take “happy” pictures. I was always polite, and smiled for the camera..yet I was miserable. His friends and family saw and heard about the “happy” couple…always. When we left and were alone together, often times within minutes, his persona would change. He would be withdrawn, sullen and put me on ignore again, just out of the blue. Or, he would become angry and accusational. Soon, I realized that the “relationship” was nothing but a smoke screen for him. What he was hiding, I may never know. I remember every time my gut would stir, and why. I remember those times, very vividly. Some were very subtle, yet I noticed…and I remember. There were enough to alert me to those things that SHOULD have made me RUN! Yet, I believed…trivialized…
The end of this time was shocking, but not unexpected. I know his name…yet it doesn’t matter. He has enough characteristics to label him, yet it doesn’t matter. I will say, he went through great lengths to manipulate the opinions of others. Everything he portrayed to others, was to later support his story. He made enough money to buy the right things, even those I never received, to appear as the perfect man…in what he “believed” was the perfect relationship (even though he knew the truth) who was scorned and jilted by his “crazy” girlfriend. Poor guy. There were other things…crazy over the top things…that he did to support his “story”, which were out-right LIES! I could go into all of those things, here. It just doesn’t matter. He offered couples counseling, and to pay for it. I agreed, since he was showing a desire to work on things. What it turned into was another chosen avenue to support his already established lie. Within the first meeting, he expressed to the counselor that he “just didn’t understand” “I didn’t know she was miserable” “I thought we were doing just fine”…lies right out of the gate. After the second, he used what was said in counseling, as ammo against me. I called the counselor and told him, “I don’t feel safe or comfortable continuing with him, in the same room together.” I explained to the counselor what had happened and he let me know, “I am sorry to see you go, but I understand. And in fact, it’s HEALTHY!”
There was absolutely no affection in this relationship, except in the beginning. There was no “understanding” or admitting fault on his part. He put his arm around me affectionately for the camera and for on-lookers. When we were alone, it was entirely different. There was nothing for me in the relationship. That is, except for misery, walking on egg-shells, anxiety, etc… Why did I stay as long as I did? Every time he smoothed things over and offered a pseudo-apology, I found some hope. His apologies were always, “I’m sorry for my part in things”. Nothing personal. Nothing real. Always superficial, yet I still found a reason to hope. That changed. A few months ago, I started putting things into place to make an exit.
Good things: 1) Although I didn’t squash it when I should have and instead, placated the toxicity… I still paid attention. I never once allowed him to dictate how I was supposed to view things, though he tried. I recognized the manipulations and blatant gas-lighting (http://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/gaslighting-definition-techniques-and-being-gaslighted/). 2) Though I was becoming increasingly confused, I recognized this, too. I recorded the few actual conversations between us, not to use against him later, but to remind myself of how and why things were bad for me. It kept my CORRECT perceptions and actual experiences at the fore-front. Though I didn’t start out this way, I made sure to talk to my Mom, and a close friend about the abuse, within the first couple of months after the abuse was so clear that I couldn’t ignore it. I let SOMEONE IN THE LOOP! I wasn’t silent at ALL!
Bad things: 1) I am learning and getting better in some areas, but in others I still have to work to be free. That’s pretty much it in a nut-shell.
The first day we met with the counselor, the counselor said to me, “I just love your vulnerability!” I’m not sure exactly what he meant by that, but I do know and understand that the “vulnerability” is the very thing that is making me a target. It’s been ingrained in me from the beginning of time. It’s that which I need to become stronger in. Vulnerability isn’t the same thing as “needy”. This will be the topic of my next post…
Today, I’m a bit emotionally numb, still. But I’m not destroyed.
I wanted to address this topic, as I think it is a huge factor in how abuse survivors heal. It’s also major in the general populous, as negative self-talk keeps people from achieving their dreams, fighting for what they believe in and so-on. As I begin this post, I think about all aspects surrounding habitually negative, self-talk. Where it begins as children, continues throughout adolescence and on into adulthood. I believe we learn to cling to it, through conditioning, from the beginning of our lives.
It’s our own self-flogging ritual.
Negative self-talk is pure poison. It’s decrepit in it’s design, implementation and is highly toxic to individuals, as well as society as a whole. It robs us of our dignity and self-confidence, while keeping us from thriving in an, otherwise, wonderful existence. It’s addictive, paralyzing and highly contagious for many around us, including our own children.
With all of these things, why in the world to we cling to it? It’s so very difficult to shut off the repetitive drones, going off during the calmest and quietest of times. It’s imperative for our own well-being, to fight to resolve it and overcome.