Many people who are in an abusive relationship will not realise for some time, possibly even for as long as they live, that their "beloved" is an abuser, and that they have been their victim..
Usually, by the time a person begins to question the dynamics of their relationship, their perception of reality will have been sufficiently warped that they already see themselves as being at least as guilty as the abuser..
The narcissist, when meeting a new target, will "mirror" their target in every way, so the unsuspecting victim will feel like they have met someone whom they can connect with in every way..
The new couple will appear to have the same belief systems, likes, dislikes, lifestyle choices, skills and talents, and even the same issues/past traumas etc..
The predator can wait as long as it takes for the victim-to-be to submit to their advances, and their facade will never falter during this stage: they will always seem like the most perfect catch the victim-to-be could ever dream of..
But this is all an act..
The narcissist is simply not capable of feeling what they claim to feel for their unsuspecting victim-to-be. Their goal is to lure their prey into their trap, and to gain as much background information on them as they can..
You see, they need total devotion from their partners, they have an insatiable need for attention (and for a slave, a door-mat, a punch-bag, a bottom-less wallet/purse..).
So in order to gain total control, and an ever increasing upper-hand in all the mind tricks they will play on their victim, the narcissist creates a deeply intense and closely dependent relationship between the two of them..
They appear to bare their souls, tell their victim they feel like they've known them their whole life, that they are their soul-mate, meant to be together forever, and that they could tell them anything..
And in response to this charade, and you'd be surprised at how difficult it is to see through it when the narcissist is quite literally being everything the victim has ever longed for in a partner, the victim reveals their innermost being to their abuser..
So without realising that they are being prompted, they tell of their hopes and dreams, their fears, their past traumas, their family and friendship history, and all about their past loves..
It is quite shocking to think that a person can leave themselves so vulnerable by off-loading this amount of highly personal information to anyone, let alone someone they usually know very little about..
And it is this soul-bearing that can keep a victim trapped, and even blind to the truth, and in an abusive relationship for so long..
And it isn't merely the power that it's given the narcissist over them, by having such deep inner-knowledge of a completely unsuspecting victim, but the fact that the victim themselves is aware that they trusted this person implicitly, and willingly shared so much of themselves with the narcissist..
Even long after the mind games and life-destroying tactics of the abuser have taken effect, the victim seems to always look back to the initial stages of their "relationship" with longing..
The victim truly believes that they had met their soul-mate, their one-and-only, their one-true-love, the love-of-their-life, or whatever it was they longed for..
And any time that the victim begins to question the relationship, or the narcissistic abuser, and threaten to end the relationship, then that wonderful wonderful person whom they met will magically reappear.. (but only for as long as it takes for the victim to give-up their thoughts of leaving, and re-submit to the narcissist..!)
And so the cycle begins again, but the narcissist will undoubtedly find some devious way to punish the victim for daring to try to leave him/her..
So the key to figuring out why a victim may struggle to see themselves as being a victim, is due to the incredible fraud they had fallen victim to in the beginning..!
I personally found this to be the most compelling obstacle, the fact that I truly believed there was this wonderful man who lurked deep inside the monster I kept having to deal with..
I saw that wonderful man less and less, until he only returned at the times I was in the process of ending the relationship..
It took some convincing for me to finally accept that he had never existed. That the man I'd met was a fraud, a fabrication, and that the narcissistic abuser would never, and could never, ever be that man..
I was lucky...
I'd had access to the internet on my phone so utilised a resource I never thought I would ever do, I contacted the abusers ex-wife..
(When I met him he'd told me of how badly he had been treated by his ex's, they were all "bitches" as he'd put it, and he was such an angel..)
Early on in the relationship, and after a lot of trouble from his ex's, his ex wife had sent me a message on Facebook simply stating:
"When the day comes that you feel like you're going crazy, concerned for your own mental health, and fear that no-one will believe you, then get in touch and I'll set you straight!"
So when that was how I felt, that I was going crazy, that no-one would believe me as he portrayed such a false image to everyone, I contacted her..
Her response was:
"Get away and stay away..! Break ALL contact now.!"
"Move away! NEVER let him know where you are, Go for help to any agency you can, and Never show him you are afraid of him!"
She empathised and showed me proof that he had instigated all of the trouble between us.
He had always followed a pattern: would stop harassing her and his other ex-partners whilst he was being showered with attention by his "new love", but always contacting each of them to tell them how happy he was without them, and how much better his new love was than each of them etc..
They each sighed in relief when he would meet a new woman, hope and pray she would put up with him for a long time as it gave them respite, for as soon as he stopped receiving enough of his new loves adoration, he resumed harassing each of them..
I was cautious of course so insisted on seeing proof of everything I was being told. And as I did I became totally bewildered at how I could not have seen what was right before my eyes all along..
But that is the nature of this beast - the incredible deception...
So, given this insight, I spent days on end researching my own symptoms online. I would input a range of scenarios that had occurred, things I had done or said, things he had done or said, but I kept being directed to websites saying the exact same thing - Narcissistic Abuse..
This all alarmed me as I applied this to myself, took blame for all that had occurred and thought that I was a narcissistic abuser! So it was with the intention of seeking help for myself, as even if the narcissist had done all of these tings in his past, I must still be bad as I felt so similar to him, and believed that the "real" him was the persona who had wooed me in the beginning..
So when when I attended the multi-agency resource centre and was met with the same reaction as from his ex's, and the same alarming advice as from across the web, something clicked with me..
The local Women's Aid group and the local Police all seemed to "know" exactly how the relationship had progressed, exactly how he would react to my seeing them etc, and exactly what I was going through at that time. In honesty, I still doubted it all after returning home, and again even after visiting women's aid offices the following day.!
But the police officer's genuine concern for my safety finally convinced me..
So for me there was now no doubt, the whole world, except for the narcissist of course, was right about what I had become involved in, and I knew I had to get away..!
I suppose it might have been very different if that police officer hadn't had experience with similar cases -
He had recognised something in me, and what hit home most was that he seemed to be expecting a very long and nasty battle to commence. He didn't seem to believe I would actually be strong enough to end the relationship, or to withstand the abuse that would follow. That was why he placed a "marker" on my home address and mobile phone number, so that any call to my home or from my number would be picked up by their system and have an emergency response team with me in minutes.
It was that level of concern, his presentation of factual evidence that it's when a victim tries to get away that life-threatening violence occurs, and his preparation for a long battle, which was just about enough to bring me to my senses..
But even having said and considered all that, I still, at that time, could not imagine my life without this narcissist in it..!
I had no future plans, no idea how I would live, or cope even with not being part of the narcissists life, regardless of how awful he had made me feel, and how much I knew he was destroying the person I was..
My thoughts still focused on what I must have done to attract a narcissistic abuser, still allowed my mind to wander back to thoughts of self-blame, and seriously unhealthy what-if's etc..!!!
All of the research and professional guidance says that recovering from narcissistic abuse can take the rest of a persons life, and that many of the scars may never heal. This can be hard to imagine, even as a person is running from their narcissist, as they will likely have very little knowledge of the reality in which they have been living..
Yet in time a person will begin to recall who he or she is, to know what their own beliefs are, what their own fears and hopes are etc, and begin to sever the diseased parts of them that were infected by the narcissist.
But whilst a person is still living their LIE..
Whilst a person is still an Unsuspecting VICTIM..,
and/or still a Willing VICTIM of a narcissistic abuser..
There can be no concept in their mind for them of either -
The desperate need for Change..
nor their Need for Recovery..
Thanks for reading, be happy and stay well.. :-)