This is the first article I have found that effectively communicates the reality of narcissistic and psychopathic abuse from the abuser’s perspective. To help you understand the mind of these evildoers you’ll need to understand about; Gaslighting, a primary tactic of mind control used by psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists, borderline and other abusive personalities.
Gaslighting is a form of thought control. The goal is to silence the partner’s voice. Because of its effectiveness an abuser uses it habitually as a quick fix to end a conversation, he doesn’t want to be in, and more specifically, to redirect the focus to what he calls the victim’s issues e.g., nagging, being too emotional or too controlling. Gaslighting can also be used just for kicks to see the victim squirm. It can cause the partner’s brain to go into doubt, confusion and ultimately, it makes the victim feel—she is going crazy.
This form of thought control conditions and trains the victim to not do what is natural—such as to feel that her thoughts, feelings, ideas and opinions are valid. The victim also is conditioned to not protect herself (especially from her abuser) because when she tries to bring up his issues he shifts the blame onto her. Gaslighting is a form of psychological torture.
Using Gaslighting habitually prevents the abuser from developing empathy and compassion— key elements of what it means to be human. The abuser’s emotions become numb so he doesn’t feel vulnerability and pain. The result is a range of behaviors, which, on one side of the spectrum, consist of narcissistic tendencies and on the other side, can become a full-blown sociopathic disorder.
I hope you enjoy the article as much as I have. My desire is to help increase awareness that the victim needs our compassion, patience and support as they share their “crazy” stories and go through the long and treacherous road of recovery.
What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You”
By Athena Staik, Ph.D. published on PsychCentral.com 3/2016
Dear Codependent Partner,
What I’m about to say is not something I’d ever say or admit (to you), because to do so would end the winner-takes-all-game that is my main source of pleasure in life — one that effectively keeps you carrying my load in our relationship. And that’s the whole point.
When I say “I love you” I mean that I love how hard you work to make me feel like your everything, that I am the focus of your life, that you want me to be happy, and that I’ll never be expected to do the same.
I love the power I have to take advantage of your kindness and intentions to be nice, and the pleasure I derive when I make myself feel huge in comparison to you, taking every opportunity to make you feel small and insignificant.
I love the feeling it gives me thinking of you as weak, vulnerable, emotionally fluffy, and I love looking down on you for your childlike innocence and gullibility, as weakness.
I love the way I feel knowing that, through the use of gaslighting, what you want to discuss or address will never happen, and I love this “power” to train you to feel “crazy” for even asking or bringing up issues that don’t interest me, effectively, ever lowering your expectations of me and what I’m capable of giving you, while I up mine of you.
I love how easy it is to keep your sole focus on alleviating my pain (never yours!), and that, regardless what you do, you’ll never make me feel good enough, loved enough, respected enough, appreciated enough, and so on. (Misery loves company.)
(It’s not about the closeness, empathy, emotional connection you want, or what I did that hurt or embarrassed you, or how little time I spend engaged with you or the children, and so on. It’s about my status and doing my job to keep you in your place, in pain, focused on feeling my pain, blocking you from feeling valued in relation to me. I’m superior and entitled to all the pleasure, admiration, and comforting between us, remember?)
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when you are with me, more specifically, regarding you as a piece of property I own, my possession. Like driving a hot car, I love the extent to which you enhance my status in the eyes of others, letting them know that I’m top dog, and so on. I love thinking others are jealous of my possessions.
I love the power I have to keep you working hard to prove your love and devotion, wondering what else you need to do to “prove” your loyalty.
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I’m with you. Due to how often I hate and look down on others in general, the mirror neurons in my brain keep me constantly experiencing feelings of self-loathing; thus, I love that I can love myself through you, and also love hating you for my “neediness” of having to rely on you or anyone for anything.
I love that you are there to blame whenever I feel this “neediness”; feeling scorn for you seems to protect me from something I hate to admit, that I feel totally dependent on you to “feed” my sense of superiority and entitlement, and to keep my illusion of power alive in my mind.
(Nothing makes me feel more fragile and vulnerable than not having control over something that would tarnish my image and superior status, such as when you question “how” I treat you, as if you still don’t understand that getting you to accept yourself as an object for my pleasure, happy regardless of how I treat you, or the children — is key proof of my superiority, to the world. You’re my possession, remember? It’s my job to teach you to hate and act calloused toward those “crazy” things that only “weak” people need, such as “closeness” and “emotional stuff;” and by the way, I know this “works” because my childhood taught me to do this to myself inside.)
It makes me light up with pleasure (more proof of my superiority) that I can easily get you flustered, make you act “crazy” over not getting what you want from me, make you repeat yourself, and say and do things that you’ll later hate yourself for (because your niceness!). Everything you say, all the hurts you share and disclose, you can be sure, I’ll taunt you with later, to keep you ever-spinning your wheels, ever explaining yourself to me, ever-confused trying to figure me out (until you learn your lesson).
(To break the code, you’d have to look through my lens, not yours! That you can’t figure this out, after all the ways I’ve mistreated you, to me, is proof of my genetic superiority. In my playbook, those with superior genes are never kind, except to lure victims!)
I love that I can make you feel insecure at the drop of a hat, especially by giving attention to other women (but also my friends, family members, work, children, etc. … the list is endless), taunting and making you beg for what I easily give to others, wondering why it’s so easy for me to express feelings, affection or compliment others, that is, when it serves my pleasure (in this case, to watch you squirm).
I love the power I have to get you back, by throwing a few crumbs your way when you say or threaten to leave, then to watch how quickly you return when I turn on the charm, deceiving you into thinking, this time, I’ll change.
“I love you” means that I love fixing and shaping your thoughts and beliefs, being in control of your mind, so that you think of me as your miracle and savior, your source of life and sustenance, so that you keep bouncing back to me, like gravity, no matter how high you try to jump or fly away.
I love that you make me feel like a god, focused on making me feel worshiped and adored, sacrificing everything for me, seeking to please none other, and inherently, with sole rights to administer rewards and punishments as I please.
I love how I can use my power to keep you down, doubting and second-guessing yourself, questioning your sanity, obsessed with explaining yourself to me (and others), professing your loyalty, wondering what’s wrong with you (instead of realizing that … you cannot make someone who derives a sense of power and pleasure from feeling scorn for others … and you!).
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I see myself through your admiring eyes, that you’re my feel-good drug, my dedicated audience, my biggest fan and admirer, and so on. You, and in particular, your looking up to me, unquestionably, as your never-erring, omniscient, omnipotent source of knowledge is my drug of choice. (You may have noticed how touchy I am at any signs of being question; yes, I hate how fragile I feel at any sign of thinking that you, or the world, could judge me as having failed to keep my possessions in line.)
And I love that, no matter how hard you beg and plead for my love and admiration, to feel valued in return, it won’t happen, as long as I’m in control. Why would I let it, when I’m hooked on deriving pleasure from depriving you of anything that would be wind beneath your wings, risking you’d fly away from me? It gives me great pleasure to not give you what you yearn for, the tenderness you need and want, and to burst your every dream and bubble, then telling myself, “I’m no fool.”
I love that I can control your attempts to get “through” to me, by controlling your mind, in particular, by shifting the focus of any “discussion” onto what is wrong with you, your failure to appreciate and make me feel loved, good enough — and of course, reminding you of all I’ve done for you, and how ungrateful you are.
I love how I skillfully manipulate others’ opinions of you as well, getting them to side with me as the “good” guy, and side against you as the “bad” guy, portraying you as needy, never satisfied, always complaining, selfish and controlling, and the like.
I love how easy it is for me to say “No!” to what may provide you a sense of value and significance in relation to me, with endless excuses, and that I instead keep your focus on my needs and wants, my discomforts or pain.
I love feeling that I own your thoughts, your ambitions, and ensuring your wants and needs are solely focused on not upsetting me, keeping me happy.
I love being a drug of choice you “have to” have, regardless of how I mistreat you, despite all the signs that your addiction to me is draining the energy from your life, that you are at risk of losing more and more of what you most value, and hold dear, to include the people you love, and those who love and support you.
I love that I can isolate you from others who may nourish you, and break the spell, and I love making you mistrust them, so that you conclude no one else really wants to put up with you, but me.
I love that I can make you feel I’m doing you a favor by being with you and throwing crumbs your way. Like a vacuum, the emptiness inside me is in constant need of sucking the life and breath and vitality you bring to my life, which I crave like a drug that can never satisfy, that I fight to hoard, and hate the thought of sharing.
While I hate you and my addiction to your caring attention, my neediness keeps me craving to see myself through your caring eyes, ever ready to admire, adore, forgive, make excuses for me, and fall for my lies and traps.
I love that you keep telling me how much I hurt you, not knowing that, to me, this is like a free marketing report, which lets me know how effective my tactics have been to keep you in pain, focused on alleviating my pain — so that I am ever the winner in this competition — ensuring that you never weaken (control) me with your love- and emotional-closeness stuff.
In short, when I say “I love you,” I love the power I have to remain a mystery that you’ll never solve because of what you do not know (and refuse to believe), that: the only one who can win this zero-sum-winner-takes-all game is the one who knows “the rules.” My sense of power rests on ensuring you never succeed at persuading me to join you in creating a mutually-kind relationship because, in my worldview, being vulnerable, emotionally expressive, kind, caring, empathetic, innocent are signs of weakness, proof of inferiority.
Thanks, but no thanks, I’m resolved to stay on my winner-takes-all ground, ever in competition for the prize, gloating in my narcissistic ability to be heartless, callous, cold, calculating … and proud, to ensure my neediness for a sense of superiority isn’t hampered.
PS: I really, really need help — but you CANNOT do this work for me (not without making things worse for both of us!). Remember, we’re co-addicted to each other, so we’d never go to an addict to get help, right?
Only a therapist, with experience in this, stands a chance, and even then, only if I choose to really, really, really let him/her! (That’s because I’d have to face my greatest fear that, not only am I not superior to everyone and thus not entitled to make and break rules as I please, but I’d also have to own — that my own actions, thoughts and beliefs about myself and others — are THE main cause of the suffering in my life … and changing them, THE solution. I could not would not ever want to do this for the sole reason that, from my worldview, only the feeble-minded and weak do such things!)
By Athena Staik, Ph.D. published on PsychCentral.com 3/2016