All of us have encountered a relationship with a narcissist, whether we realize it or not. The fact is, most of us never realize it until years later, if ever. No one wants to admit, especially to themselves, that they have fallen victim to the games people play. The programming and manipulations are incredibly subtle. We have been indoctrinated, manipulated, and made to feel incredibly small, and have been trained to believe we are unworthy. Without realization, our will has been stifled, and we are forced deeper into codependence. We have been tricked to believe we cannot possibly exist without them and we owe our very existence to them. They now own us.
A typical tactic used by most narcissists is to isolate their victim from family and friends, not allowing their perspective to influence the victim. Oftentimes, they will make the victim feel guilt and shame, for even thinking about seeing friends and family, in very subtle measure. They will speak convincingly, tearing down the bonds the victim shares with others, making them out to be unworthy, forcing them to believe others aren’t good enough for the victim. They twist the victims’ own words of something they said in confidence to deplete the value of others.
The victim’s self-esteem and worth have been eliminated and they are solely dependent on the believable god-like abuser. So, where does the victim go from here, with living as nothing but a pawn in a fatal game? Enter Stockholm Syndrome. Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological response from the victim, where the mind creates a fantasy through survival mentality, and they begin to identify with their abuser. They find feelings of trust and even adoration toward the abuser.
They have been brainwashed to believe in absolutes, brought by manipulations and subtle fear tactics of their abuser. The projections of self-doubt, shame, and guilt have become a false sense of reality for the victim. The mental abuse and constant beat downs slowly become their reality. They begin to think as their abuser does as per their training. They, themselves, become the manipulator and the narcissist in time. They have become so lost in a life that is much easier when they don’t have to think, just do what their told, and find relief in the simplicity.
Unfortunately for the victim, they are doomed to this existence, and for many, rehabilitation and deprogramming may never be possible. It takes a lot of effort and time to unbecome what was forced upon them. I write this article from this very perspective, being the victim as a child, and becoming the narcissist as an adult. My saving grace was my conscience. I found myself seeing the damage I had done to an individual. Somewhere deep inside me was regret, guilt and shame. I made up my mind right then and there that I would not allow myself to live as this monster I had become.
It literally took me years of constant deprogramming myself through awareness and realization, changing many thought processes, habits, patterns, and beliefs. This is how I learned to heal the ego. This is the part of myself I hated for years, and I’m still coming to an acceptance of my past with unconditional love. Will I ever fully overcome my former self? I can only say, I am a work in progress, and I cannot speak of my tomorrows. For today, I can only give myself love and continue forgiving myself. I know I was a construct of another person, and I will continue offering them forgiveness the rest of my life.