She was a teenager when she met him. He was damaged goods. But he was beautiful… on the outside. Any young girl would have thought the same.
He had already learned the art of manipulation. He was no longer tender. Way past that one.
It started out bad and stayed bad. Rotten does not become fresh. She was too young to know such things. The stars in her eyes were far too bright.
How does a boy become rotten at such a young age? Is it genetics, temperament, environment? His cake had been baked with all the ingredients to make a perfect narcissist. Is that a bad word? Believe it, one of the worst!
Living in a home with a doting and pampering grandmother and mother. Coupled with an emotionally unavailable grandfather. The icing on the cake: an alcoholic father who abused the family and then disappeared.
The boy had no discipline. He ruled the household. Recipe? That one had a double cup full of environment.
Girl meets boy. Boy manipulates girl. Girl eventually marries boy. It’s an old story. For whatever reason, she was what he wanted. And so it began. If a narcissist wants someone, they will use any form of abuse to control them until they no longer want them.
These are four techniques narcissists use:
#1 – Control
The young lady had a mind of her own but harsh control changes your thinking. She could no longer make sense of the world. Life became a maze. Her life dragged on, year after torturous year.
#2 – Fear
She schemed for years about how she and her children could get away but saw no clear path. From day one he instilled fear of what he would do to her and the children. She saw no way out. Her thoughts were tangled.
#3 – Isolation
She was isolated from family and friends. Embarrassed and afraid, she kept secrets. There was no help. His greatest weapon. They appeared to be the perfect family. He was known to be a wonderful person outside the four walls of his home. Inside everyone lived in dread of what would happen next.
#4 – Discard
Ultimately, it all exploded, a nuclear weapon that flattened her world. Everything she had loved, her home and her children, were scattered in one night. She did not love him. When he said, I don’t want you anymore, that part was a relief, such a sweet relief.
But her home was gone. He made sure of that. He took everything. The children’s lifelong home was disassembled. There was no home to come back to anymore. He took anything and everything and used it as he wanted. It was, after all, only about him. No one else mattered.
Their story ended. The story that had started so long ago. The story that should have never been. The ending was the beginning for her. She was able to begin to heal from years of abuse. Is she scarred? Of course, but there has been recovery. There is happiness. Laughter has returned. She can breathe!
The children still carry wounds. Under such conditions, the mother can never be everything she needs to be. There were parental deficiencies. Their world view is skewed. That can be ameliorated to an extent, but some things get hard-wired.
Mental Health issues are usually solidified as they grow into adulthood. They are prone to depression, anxiety, and panic. Even their own personality issues. Substance abuse is always a concern.
Maturation is an issue, as is underachieving or overachieving. The voice they hear in their heads is their father’s. Still, they have resilience. It has protected them in the harshest of times.
For the young woman who fell in love with the wrong young man, strong parents had protected her mental health. For the children, all they knew was the cruel chaos into which they were born. As adults, they have their mother. Their father will only want them if they can make him look good. Usually, they can’t or won’t.
In the end who loses the most? The narcissist will keep seeking his next fix, his next supply. He finds happiness only in the moment. The techniques narcissists use can rob an individual of their self-worth. But the family he left behind can still love. They have each other.
Rita Richards, LCSW, is a Clinical Social worker in North Carolina. This story originally appeared on Medium.