Autorin: Kim Saeed
I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Dr. Rhonda Freeman, a neuropsychologist who advocates for narcissistic abuse survivors. During our discussion, we talked about how what seems like love with a narcissistic individual is really more of a combination of trauma-bonding and addiction.
Maybe we started out in love with the narcissist, but then it turned into something else.
Maybe you’ve heard me speaking of “toxic love detox” before, and maybe this term resonated with you.
But I bet you would never guess howaccurate it really is.
What happens if you take away a drug from a person who’s addicted?
The person feels the withdrawal.
More specifically, withdrawal from the brain chemicals that generate feelings of pleasure while being close to the narcissist and feeling like we have their approval.That we matter to them.That they’ll choose us over someone else.
Serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and norepinephrine.
It’s like a “Happy Brain- Brew.”
And our Ex has taken it away from us … leaving us addicts without their drug.
This causes stress, and you’re put into a “fight and flight” mode.
And as a result, all you can think of is getting them back and the withdrawal is excruciating.The punched-in-the-gut feeling, the debilitating grief, the feelings of unworthiness, the sheer panic and fear that’s our constant companion.The uncontrollable crying.
It’s not only addiction, my friend. Some of those feelings are PTSD [Posttraumatic stress syndrome] triggers that are firing off.
Over time, you became bonded to the narcissist. Traumatically bonded. And this traumatic bond is much stronger than the regular attachment of normal relationships.They were deeply entangled into
your life, heart, and soul (you may even have children together).
Getting away from that cannot be easy.
That is the first thing you need to know and accept. It will be the most difficult thing you’ll do in your life because not only are you addicted, your self-esteem and feelings of worth feel like they’re ENGRAINED in the narcissist’s acceptance or rejection of you.
The second thing you need to accept is the fact that a person who is addicted to a narcissist CANNOT be around the toxic person and recover.
And recovering is obviously something you want.
Why would you want to waste more of you precious time?
Why keep your children in an unhealthy environment?
Why look back on your life a year from now and feel the sting of not having taken action to free yourself?
Why wait longer than reasonably necessary for the right partner to come along after you've done some healing work?
Trust me, you want to recover as fast as you can.
But how, exactly, is the relationship with a narcissist like an addiction?
Addiction can be characterized by the repeated, compulsive seeking--- use of a substance, behavior, or activity in order to reach euphoric states in the brain-- despite negative consequences (meaning harmful consequences to the individual's health, mental state or social life).
Addiction is accompanied by physical or psychological dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and tolerance. This is why the more the narcissist abuses and abandons us, then the more we tolerate just to have them back in our lives even though the abuse gets worse and worse.
Generally, there are six common indicators of all addictions:
1. The Object of Desire. There is always an “object” of desire (which creates the ‘high’) -- the ‘object’ being— the activity or relationship that drives the addiction; which ignites obsessive thoughts and drives compulsive behavior. In this case, it’s the narcissist and their “approval or acceptance” of us.
2. Preoccupation. There is an ongoing obsession with the object of desire; a reliance and dependence, which drives the addiction.
3. Compulsive Behaviors. There is a compulsion to satisfy the urges and cravings; to keep the ‘high’ going; and satisfy the obsession that drives the addict's behavior. (This partly explains checking the cell phone obsessively and spying on the narcissist’s social media).
4. Lack of Control. When there is addiction, there is a lack of control over thoughts, compulsions, or behaviors. This is apparent when addicts try to stop or decrease their chosen addiction— a loss of control is a hallmark and a central defining feature of addiction and dependence. It’s also why narcissistic abuse victims often lose their jobs or accept infidelity inside the toxic relationship.
5. Dependence. There is a dependence on the object of desire, physical or psychological, or both: so that only one thing can satisfy the desire and fulfill (at least temporarily) the addict.
6. Negative Consequences. Addiction is always accompanied by harmful consequences. In fact, addiction to the narcissist causes some of the
worst consequences I’ve ever seen, such as:academics who can no longer read printed material because of the long-term neurological damage to their brains; people losing their jobs, homes and
custody of their children; people being arrested because they wanted to warn a narcissist’s new partner and it turned out badly; people being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder when
it’s really C-PTSD; people’s children committing suicide (you would be shocked at the number of people who follow me whose children committed suicide).And the list goes on.
These are some of the real, possible consequences of not stomping your addiction to the narcissist.
You may feel like you are at your “bottom”- or close to it. You may feel like this is your darkest abyss ever faced. You may feel like this is something you may never get through.
I say to you honestly and with no hesitation, if I did not stagger and hobble and withstand through the quicksand of withdrawal as a result of my own addiction to a narcissist, the toxic patterns in all my future relationships would have continued with no ending; and you would not be reading these words at this moment.
But now, my life is better than it’s ever been...and I'm not the only one. If you’re ready to take the brave steps of taking control of your life, stomping your addiction to the narcissist, Consciously Disengage with The Toxic Games, Rediscover Yourself, Move On And Leap Into A New Life.
"Sometimes you have to die a little on the inside first in order to be reborn and rise again as a stronger, happier version of yourself." I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that this is
one of the truest statements ever...
You have to let go and accept the feeling of not knowing exactly where you’re going next, and train yourself to love and appreciate this freedom. Because it is
only when you are suspended in the air, with no destination in sight, that you force your wings to open fully so you can fly. And as you soar around you still may not know where you’re traveling
to. But that’s not what’s important. What’s important is the opening of your wings. You may not know where you’re headed, but you know that so long as your wings are spread, the winds will carry
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