Gareth certainly fit the bill on our trip to the Eiffel Tower in France He had told me "The day I take you to Paris you will know I will propose"
On Valentines day he presented me with two tickets to Paris. He was working by this time and was earning enough to cover the expense a trip like this would cost.
However the next day I was given instructions on what not to spend money on for the rest of the month, instructions to be careful "because I know what you are like" or "You'll spend my monthly earnings and ruin the possibility of us going on this trip" "make sure you don't use any money unless it is for food £40 is enough to live on a week for 4 of us"
Narcissists will always try to justify their bad spending habits - They say everything they buy was for work, a necessity or "Now that I have given up my freedom by living with you I deserve to pay out / splash out for *whatever*" but everything you buy is because you are selfish or wasting money.
Narcissist's have "careers" but they say others have "jobs"
Narcissist's work weekends they are "dedicated employees," but accuse others of "neglecting their families."
When Narcissist's are late for work, it's because a disaster-emergency happened to them. When others miss work, the Narcissist says, "they were lazy and couldn't get out of bed."
So right after the the narcissist has done something he perceives as a sacrifice for which you should worship him for, he attacks - digging his fingernails into your spine to devalue and demean you - to make you feel as if you have to work for his gifts.
"If you do this or don't do this, you won't get this"
"if you do this action , you won't get this reward"
This is called a Behavioural Modification Procedure, much like when you are training your dog to sit or lie down, if they do as they are instructed to do they receive a treat, if not they receive a punishment in the form of "a negative consequence"
So here I was not realizing I was having my behaviour modified for the Nth time, any gut instincts I had I ignored.
I was excited, apprehensive and nervous. Why? because Gareth had told me the day he takes me to Paris is the day I will know for sure that he will propose.
Love/Hate Push/Pull Relationship
We had discussed commitment several times, I am an older woman, 7 years older than he, and I have two children. I expect I feel as some would in my position, that as the relationship progresses, you are living together you want some form of commitment you want to know that you are going to spend your life with the one you love, and you want a father for your children.
I also realised there is little point in being with someone long term unless the relationship is going somewhere, or you both agree on a future or not at all. This might not be in the form of marriage it isn't always so for everyone and that is perfectly fine too, but in my situation this is what we had discussed and agreed on and what I thought we both wanted.
However narcissists are deathly afraid of commitment and intimacy, they are threatened by it because it exposes their weaknesses.
So they distance themselves from it and hold you at arms length , and thus begins the push me / pull me game. They draw you close , perceive that you will not meet their needs then they push you away and the cycle continues over and over and over again until you say "NO MORE!"
Oh he noticed my outward emotions, knew I was apprehensive, he was secretive about what we would be doing in Paris and why we were going, he would stare at me during the course of the run up to our trip, he was studying my emotions and body language , he wanted to know exactly how I was feeling and why.
Gareth was and still is obsessed with NLP & psychology , he would earmark pages in his books to try and impress me.
He Mostly presented me with the very acts he was commiting AGAINST me such as: Mirroring, Rapport & manipulation it was all for his own appetite of superiority over another human being. IE: "haha, I am showing you the very thing I am doing to you and you have no clue, look how SMART I AM" etc
Seduction was a favourite subject of his and his collection of books on the subject ran into the hundreds. He had even joined a seduction forum and website.
A lot of Narcissists are known to study their prey for hours at a time much like a lion does before a kill this is because a lot of them are obsessed with psychology and seduction techniques. They love to play psychologist.
Animals & Humans learn to associate certain behaviours with an event . Every time you give a command to your dog, the dog obeys and earns a treat , the dog learns in time that by obeying to certain commands good things will come out of it.
BF Skinner a psychologist who researched behavioural modification and worked mostly with rats coined the term "Operant Conditioning"
An Operant Conditioning sequence has 3 components.
1. An Antecedent (A command or cue signaling the animal to perform a behaviour)
2. A Behaviour (The dog rolls over /doesnt roll over)
3. A Consequence (reward or punishment)
Operant learning is known as Thorndike's Law Of Effect. This law states that if a consequence is pleasant, the preceding behaviour will become more frequent.
Imagine a lab rat in a glass enclosure, every time the rat presses on a lever it receives a food pellet. The rat is more likely to press the lever in future because it is a positive reinforcement.
If the rat pressed the lever and instead received a shock, the rat would be less likely to press the lever in future.
This is called "Positive Punishment" as the rat is performing a behaviour and as a result received a punishment.
Negative punishment - If the rat has been trained that by pressing the lever will yield a food pellet, then all of a sudden the rat presses the lever and no food pellet comes the negative punishment has been applied. The rat will be less likely to press the lever because the food pellet has been removed.
If the rat has been trained that every time he presses the lever he gets a pellet and then presses the lever and instead gets shocked , the rat will more than likely press the lever again - this is called "Negative Reinforcement"
So the rat keeps pushing until they drop into despair or die.
So why are these rats continuing to push the lever that delivers a shock?
The rat experienced a pellet of food in the very beginning if it had shocked them the first time they had pushed the lever, the rat wouldn't push it again because it had learned first time round that pushing the lever delivers the pain.
Once the rat has learned to associate something with a pleasurable outcome it will be a desirable outcome forever.
You must first determine the behavior you want to work on. You must deliver the consequence that will either increase or decrease the frequency of the behavior. Third, you must introduce the commands or cues you wish to elicit the behavior
Narcissists work in much the same fashion and much like the rat at the end of the experiment, the victim ends up in a ball in the corner of their dwelling dropping into despair.
Despair is a natural response to threat or actual loss, especially when you have little or no control over outcomes. When denial breaks down, despair sets in.
Denial has many stages the first stage of which will display itself as Anxiety, Resistance, Regret , Frustration , Fear , Anger etc.
Then comes Bargaining, negotiations, pleading to try and change conditions before we give up.
A narcissist loves to push the boundaries of our emotions, anything to crush us and disable us.
A narcissists attack on our emotions are not always prominent , not always noticable, because of the underhanded way it which the punishments are delivered, it is sneaky and delivered subtly.
Kathy Krajco coins it perfectly
"You'll get nothing but treats like that for awhile, and then suddenly one day you'll get a painful shock instead. When you greet him, he will give you nothing but the stink-eye and look away, refusing to speak to you.
After your shock wears off, you will suffer wondering what terrible thing he thinks you did. You will try to make him give you treats again."
But he will always be unpredictable. He will be able to get mad at ANYTHING or to praise you for ANYTHING. It's totally arbitrary, because he can make anything good sound bad and vice versa. He can judge you as "too this" or "too that" at his whim.
But you will keep pushing that button till it kills you.
It's a very common game. One narcissist told me that "the best part is that you never even get to know what you did" that made him mad."
That's because it wasn't anything you did that made him mad. His anger, like all the faces he puts on, is just a pumped-up put-on to draw the reaction from you that he wants." Source
We get to Paris and I find we are in the worst accomodation possible, Gareth said hardly anything whilst we were there, and acted in a way that made me feel I had done something or said something wrong to offend him. (Typical Narc Attack - you do nothing at all to provoke his wrath yet he will show it anyway to belittle and demean you)
He wouldn't of course tell me why he was giving me (his favourite punishment) "The Silent Treatment"
Every time I would enquire as to what I had done so I could rectify the situation he would sink deeper and deeper into his mood of contempt and would speak less and less often. He would NEVER tell me what was wrong, his answer would always be "Nothings wrong, im fine" yet his body language and actions spoke louder than his words.
This would cause a great frustration inside of me which would progress to anger, which led to him smugly telling me "You are the crazy one, you are the one shouting and acting like a mad woman"
it's called witholding & blame shifting , and he does this purely for his enjoyment. The narcissist loves being in control, he enjoys pushing you away because you see... it's all about HIM! He projects his failures and wrongs onto you, you are the mirror image of himself he can throw his failures onto so that it appears YOU have the problem not him.
I wasn't having much fun, but I still felt this was going somewhere, because the next day we would be at the top of the Eiffel Tower and I was sure he would propose as he had said he would.
Gareth knew from walking me all over the place I was tired , I had worn my nice heals and boy were my feet aching, I was mortified when he suggested walking all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower instead of catching the elevator. Sure there was a queue but geez walking in the wind and cold with heels on when you already have sore feet? The elevator is worth the wait in my opinion.
Every now and then I would stop to catch my breath, and Gareth would jeer how unfit I was or how I should hurry up, & maybe if I gave up smoking and ate less I would be able to get up there faster.
When we reached the top we walked around looking at the view and taking pictures, he became very affectionate and watched my face like a hawk. After around an hour he suggested we walk back down.
I felt foolish and upset near on the verge of tears which I was holding back so as not to show my emotion. But I also felt maybe he had planned to propose down at the bottom or at night, during dinner, on the walk back, or the next day.... I lied to myself, tried my best to CONVINCE myself that he would be true to his word.
I was disappointed and I couldn't understand what had happened. It felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I was in shock and deep denial.
That night he took me to a fancy restaurant and I remember vividly him sitting back in his chair staring at me with a smile on his face and asking me questions such as "are you ok? you sure? anything wrong? he did this throughout the entire meal.
He had pulled his plan off to perfection. - "Hang the CARROT out in front of her and WATCH her reach for it, watch her anticipation, watch her disappointment, all the while PRETENDING he wasn't doing it. "
As someone once put it to me
"How good he felt to know that you wanted him--the perfect man--and he wasn't going to give it to you. Wow, the perfect pain! "
The Push/ Pull concept the narcissist uses is an abusive manipulation technique. He will be nice enough to bring you close to him then WHAM he pushes you away leaving you reeling in confusion. It is his form of punishment and devaluation.
So here we were sitting in the restaurant eating dinner by candle light. I sat there for the rest of the evening trying to judge his behaviour, had I done something wrong? what do I need to do in order to be worthy of his affections and approval?
If you are in love is it really this hard to have to ask for commitment? I didn't know where I stood, I just wanted a CLEAR CUT ANSWER as to where we both stood in each others lives. He would never give it to me, he witheld giving me the answers so I started to appease, placate, fish for answers where there were none. No one should EVER have to settle for confusion, you have a RIGHT to know where you stand!
The carpet has literally been yanked out from under our feet as we become forced to live in this delusional hell and dont' see the TWISTED, WARPED behavior for what it really is. We push that lever time and time again because we HOPE there will be a positive consequence, it is desirable to us, we have had it delivered to us before so surely it will come again?
It is all a game, a ruse, a narcissists secret test we have to meet and pass without knowing the rules.
After the shock wears off, you will go over and over in your mind every little thing you have done to try and find what you did that displeased him so. You might even study every conversation you have had leading up to the devaluation, the situation and how he spoke to you - EG:- you start to Over Analyze because you are trying to rationalize his behaviour. The sad thing is you CANT rationlize it because it is pathological in nature.
You ignore your instincts even when they sound the alarm.
After over analyzing the situation you still come no closer to figuring things out so in desperation you begin to try and appease the narcissist.
You are sure if you can just find out what the problem is you can fix it. You become the appeaser, the peacemaker! and in some cases you might find yourself doing what you know is morally wrong & selfish to focus on the narcissist thereby centering all your interest and attention on him. It is a delusion which leads you to believe you can fix the wrongs, buy some time , so you can get at the treats he dangles in front of you.
"The narcissist-appeaser is afraid of his god. He quails at the narcissist's ability to bring down hellfire and thunderbolts on those who displease the narcissist. His fear of the narcissist's wrath is what leads the appeaser to justify his assumed role of priest and his selection of sacrifices to his N-god." Source
Don't fall for it! because you will find yourself chained at the ankles. You will forever be trying to reach for that treat, Forever trying to placate him, plead with him, and in the process you are being conditioned ever more to play his cat and mouse games.
Every controlling-type man wants power, but he must feel it to know he has it. Inflicting control, and witnessing someone being controlled, is how he succeeds at sensing power. Loss of control equals powerlessness. And powerlessness, to a Controller, feels like death. Source
Get out NOW or it will come full circle and begin again. If red flags are going up LISTEN, if your instincts tell you to run ... RUN get the hell out of there and never look back.
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"I have all the characteristics of a human being: flesh, blood, skin , hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip"
Gareth Edward(s) Rodger
Masks Of Sanity is an online blog offering advice, support and education for those who have fallen victim to the Psychopath/Narcissist. (NPD)
We explain why Narcissists behave the way they do, how they operate and how you can protect yourself from the Narcissist in society, in the home and online!
You can find my own personal experience with a psychopath in the links on the right. I have a very personal understanding of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I am proof that there is hope after abuse!