Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Narcissist's Pivot

There is a dynamic that consistently manifests itself in many abusive, manipulative relationships, one that might seem counter-intuitive at first.

We have a clear image of the abusive narcissist, the controlling egoist.  They threaten, they induce fear, through blows or hateful language.  They traumatize and belittle their partner, as a way of maintaining control.

But that's only part of the equation of gaining power over another soul.

Many abusers do not always abuse.  Because at a certain point in a significant proportion of abusive relationships, the abuse stops.  Suddenly, the raised voice and the clenched fist are gone.

The monster fades from view. There are apologies.  They offer up sweet promises.  It was all a terrible misunderstanding. They seem to have become a different person.

For the abused partner in the relationship, this is the hook.

"Oh, thank God, it's over."  "You know, maybe they're not so bad after all."

There is relief, such addictive relief, that maybe things weren't as bad as they seemed.

And so, despite the tears and the bruises, people stay in those relationships, clinging to the hope that it might be OK.

But the compulsive narcissist remains a narcissist, and what appears to be a respite is just another tool in the toolbox of the one who wants to control you.

Remember this, my friends, in this political season, as suddenly someone changes their tune.