Friday, October 5, 2012

The abuser as victim

The narcissistic abuser uses many methods to gain narcissistic supply. Initially he presents a "false self" for his victim to gain admiration and adulation. During the course of the "relationship" the narcissist will extract other things from his victim such as gifts or money when the initial narcissistic supply begins to wane.  He uses pity plays to extort favors from his victim. While the victim is being coerced into helping the narcissist financially, the narcissist  must keep up some type of facade. To do this he will engage in insincere acts of intermittent reinforcements. After a bout of narcissistic rage, the narcissist feels good after "projecting" all of his maladies on to his unsuspecting victim. She is left dumbfounded and an emotional wreck. She is eager to do what she can to get back on the narcissist's good side. He at this point relies on two things to help him gain the tangible things that he wants to coerce from his victim.
First he will blame her for everything that is wrong within the relationship. He will explain that he is doing nothing wrong and that her emotional outbursts and retaliation are driving him away and making him feel badly. He will claim to be the victim. He will tell everyone that will listen that he is being victimized. Any additional narcissistic supply is always appreciated. What may be strange is that the narcissist actually believes his own delusions. As wonderful and magnificent as he is, his behavior is to be tolerated without question or reciprocation. At this point he will use the victim's guilt  to "con" her  into giving him what he wants. I might feel better if you could buy me this pair of sunglasses (with a $250 price tag). The victim so anxious about the opportunity to get in the good graces of the narcissist and alleviate herself of guilt,  will comply. She will do just about anything to calm him down and stop the horrible name calling and blatant abuse he takes out on her. You may think this is like a child acts when they want something their mother won't buy for them.  If you are thinking that, you are absolutely correct. Early on the narcissist learned how to get what he wants and never truly maturing into adult emotions and responsibilities he reverts back to his earliest form of manipulation. If you want the tirade to stop and to get some peace, you had better give me what I want. Remember the victim is just an extension of the narcissist, there for his immediate gratification and nothing more so she better act accordingly.
If this doesn't work, he will play the pity card. Why are you so angry with me? I love you and all you do is hurt me? You have broken my heart. The victim, who is still not fully aware of the full magnitude of the narcissist's covert abuse is confused. Yes, she is angry with him but, maybe she did do something to hurt him and make him angry. She thinks " he says he still loves me, maybe he is sorry for what he has done to me for the umpteenth time, certainly if I do what he wants, he will not be so unhappy".  What did she do to get his so upset and hurt him so badly?  The victim now feels like the abuser and is riddled with guilt and self doubts. What the victim doesn't realize at that point,  is she is being manipulated again by the pathological narcissist. He knows she is genuinely good and caring and those things can be used to play her heartstrings. He will be able at this point to con her into just about anything, whether it be sexual or financial. She is ripe for the picking. He knows what he wants and he knows just how to get it. He has honed his craft over a lifetime, first from his early infancy and now well into adulthood. The abuser has now convinced the victim that he is in fact the victim. The actual victim feels badly about making the person she loves so depressed. The narcissist may feign tears and talk about suicide, anything to get her to be the one to take on the guilt. She represses her anger and need for vengeance because of her own guilt. The victim has now been conned to believe that she is  the perpetrator and now the narcissist will use this for his personal gain as long as he can. The victim keeps hoping if she acquiesces to the abuser's wants and needs that he will return to the idealized "false self" persona that she fell in love with early on in the relationship . This temporarily may happen. He has secured his narcissistic supply and is pretty smitten to have been able to pull the wool of her eyes one more time. He feels superior to her and will reap the rewards that she gives to relieve herself of her guilt.
To the outsider this behavior is not understandable. Why doesn't she just leave, why doesn't she just stop putting up with his nonsense?  The answer is in the manipulation and the narcissists conditioning of his victim. There was a study conducted, I don't know by who, I can't remember the full details but, it   showed how manipulation and classic conditioning work. The study was consisted of a mouse inside a cage that everyday would receive food and water when he went to to the corner of the cage. This went on for several weeks. One day the mouse returns to the corner and in place of the food and water, he receives an electric shock. The mouse is confused and of course the shock sets off discomfort and anxiety. He is hungry and wants the food and water he expected to get. He returns to the corner and is again shocked. He scurries away and stays away, not wanting to be shocked once more. The next day he returns to the corner still craving food and water but,  is shocked again. This happens for a few days until one day when he returns to the corner and is given the food and water (intermittent reinforcement. The mouse is calmed and gratified once more. Thankfully the shocks have stopped. Now the mouse can have his food and water everyday again without the shock, or so he thinks.
This same conditioning is exactly what the narcissist does to his victim. The food and water are the equivalent to  his love and approval. When the victim first met the narcissist, the relationship was inebriating. Feel good hormones were released (endorphins) all during the idealization phase. The narcissist was charming and loving. Now he is abusive and volatile. The victim will do just about anything to return to the state when everything felt so good and the narcissist was so perfect but, much like the mouse she will only be shocked and see that "false self" from time to time, when the narcissist fears that he has completely turned his victim off. He better do something charming and sweet, or the victim is sure not to put up with anymore of his outlandish behavior. By quickly reinforcing her behavior he has not  allowed her to see that he uses her pity and guilt as weapons against her.His abuse is covert and serves a distinct purpose, to gain what he wants at all costs. If the narcissist plays the victim or pretends to be the one who has been hurt, the victim feels guilty and does whatever it is the narcissist wants. When she does so, the narcissist gives her  intermittent reinforcement. Temporarily the victims is calmed and the narcissist is satisfied until he wants something else, or is found to be guilty of bad behavior.  It is a sick and twisted game. What is really  sick and twisted about the game is much like the lab experimentation, only the experimenter knows it is being conducted. This devaluation phase is quite different then the idealized phase but, still the narcissistic abuser is able to extract his supply and with his victim looking to do anything to please the narcissist, he  begins to scour for a new victim to begin the  cycle all again. He will start the idealized phase with someone else, while he is in the devalue phase with his current victim. When the current victim is discarded, the new victim will move into the next phase and he will secure a new victim. All of this for his gratification. I have one person that sees me as wonderful and the one that doesn't see me as so wonderful, I can manipulate and take what I need. The narcissist that I knew always said "drink until the well runs dry". I never understood the full magnitude of his mantra, until now.

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