Six years ago we worked on a very special project with Betsy Wuebker of Passing Thru called: The Narcissist: A User’s Guide. What made this collaboration with Lori Hoeck and Betsy Wuebker so special is all of us have had past experiences with the narcissistic personality. This is a topic we all felt the need to share it with the world.
All of us shared common ground in that we never realized what was wrong with these relationships other than they were just wrong. The best example I can give is being in a relationship with a narcissist is like being in a cult; they’re charming, charismatic, they manipulate people in such subtle ways that you as an individual don’t know what hit you until the damage is done and it’s far too late.
The Phantom Menace
Before what I was going through had a name for me to hang on it I often saw many parallels between the relationship and the Star Wars series. Emperor Palpatine (aka Darth Sideous) is a classic example of a narcissist. He manipulated Anakin through fear and crafty intimidation, probing at Anakin’s weaknesses and making Anakin believe he (the Emperor) was the only person who cared and could fix the situation.
The Emperor would have power, he would have control, he would rule the Galaxy! It didn’t matter what he did to anyone else.
This type of person brainwashes you into thinking you can’t do it on your own. They tear you down even though in their minds they fully believe they’re building you up. Every word out of their mouth is a carefully calculated knife meant to slice away every last shred of self-esteem and confidence you have. The Narcissist wants his or her followers to be totally dependent on them.
Attack of the Clones
Leaving a narcissist isn’t easy. Like Sith Lords they’re skilled in putting you in your place and keeping you there. Want some examples? Here is a sample straight from the Guide:
- “You are not living up to your vows”
- “You promised you would never leave”
- “Your leaving will hurt others at the company. Don’t you care?”
- “You know I have a huge job change upcoming. Why are you doing this to me?”
Oh yes, when you try to leave you may end up thinking it’s much easier to stay where you are rather than break free. You’re already at your lowest point, you’re vulnerable and chances are you no longer know which end is up.
Another side of the narcissist’s many-sided coin as you depart is a cold shoulder and withdrawal—if you are lucky. Part of them will be glad to be done with the ego-draining drama your newfound insight, confidence, and resolve are causing them.
They will always try for control and try to assume the former controls and dynamic, but part of them will realize it will only deplete them more.
Some would say that physical abuse is worse than mental or verbal abuse. In my opinion, the latter two are worse. They leave scars no surgeon can heal. And long after the physical scars are gone, chances are the mental ones will never go away.
Many of us here are writers, we understand the power of words. Words have the power to bring down whole civilizations faster than any nuclear bomb ever could. Just reduce that to a smaller individual scale and you can imagine the destruction involved.
Revenge of the Sith
What is the definition of a Sith Lord? Here’s what Wikipedia had to say:
Characterized by their single-minded pursuit of power and disdain for sentient life, they are an alliance of warrior mages who use the dark side of the Force and serve as counterparts to the Jedi Knights.
The Sith are portrayed in various Star Wars media as individuals who use the dark side to attain power at any cost. The Star Wars prequel films establish that they draw upon strong emotions, both negative and positive, as the source of their power, and care only about themselves. This is in contrast to the Jedi, who are portrayed as forsaking emotional attachment in order to serve others and the galaxy as a whole.
Starting to see the connection? Even after you’ve left your Narci it’s not over yet. Once they realize they don’t have any control over you, they’ll still try to find ways to worm back into your life.
Be prepared for a lot of massive mood swing attacks ranging from despair to all out rage. And guilt. Massive amounts of guilt. But what you have to realize through all this is – and this is very important:
It’s Not Your Fault.
Repeat this mantra over and over to yourself. Write it on a sticky note and tape it to your forehead. Carve it into stone. Whatever you do, remember it.