I’m insecure and I need a lot of attention. I’m very sensitive and in some ways, very broken. One of the hardest lasting effects of being with a narcissist is just how deep the insecurity goes. Narcs use “gaslighting” to manipulate those around them. If you aren’t familiar with the term, here’s the definition:
“Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim’s an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. The techniques used in “Gaslighting” by the narcissist are similar to those used in brainwashing, interrogation, and torture that have been used in psychological warfare by intelligence operative, law enforcement and other forces for decades. The intention is to, in a systematic way, target the victim’s mental equilibrium, self confidence, and self esteem so that they are no longer able to function in an independent way. Gaslighting involves the abuser to frequently and systematically withhold factual information from the victim, and replacing it with false information. Because of it’s subtly, this cunning Machiavellian behaviour is a deeply insidious set of manipulations that is difficult for anybody to work out, and with time it finally undermines the mental stability of the victim. That is why it is such a dangerous form of abuse. The emotional damage of Gaslighting is huge on the narcissistic victim. When they are exposed to it for long enough, they begin to lose their sense of their own self. Unable to trust their own judgments, they start to question the reality of everything in their life. They begin to find themselves second-guessing themselves, and this makes them become very insecure around their decision making, even around the smallest of choices. The victim becomes depressed and withdrawn, they become totally dependent on the abuser for their sense of reality. In effect the gaslighting turns the victim’s reality on its head.”
Every day, I question myself several times. Did I do this or that well enough? What am I doing? Why did I say that? Did I do enough? Why didn’t I do more? Am I a good mom? A good wife? A good sub? Does Papa love me? Does Papa want me? ….the questions and internal battles that rage inside my head on a daily basis would probably drive most people insane. It drives me insane sometimes. Then enters the moods. You’re being stupid. Stop being ridiculous, I tell myself. Putting myself down for feeling or thinking one way or the other. It’s maddening. Another step to reclaiming myself and getting better is knowing this and the origin. Being a submissive sometimes doesn’t help me work on my decision-making skills or boost my insecurity but rather lets me hide behind being a sub. I’m scared to make decisions and I question my ability to do so. I’m scared to stand up for myself, even now, even with Papa. I question the validity of my feelings and with enough “pep talk” convince myself to accommodate everyone and everything else. The hardest part? Trying to figure out how much of this is driven by my natural personality and how much is habit from being broken down over several years into submission. I’ll never really know the answer to that. All I can do is go forward.