Everything starts with mirroring, and idealization.
You sacrificed yourself trying to absorb every bit of guilt the abuser throws at you in order to maintain the relationship as it was before.
You then were discarded like a bag of trash in a matter of days.You are left alone, guilty, feeling drained and very confused. Your identity gone.
How did this happen?
A very harmful manipulative technique. It is relentless, long term. Also known as Crazy Making.
They devalue your opinions, ignore them or deny them. They accuse you of being completely crazy, jealous or of being guilty of everything.
They deny things they promised, or events that happened. “I never said that” or “That never happened”.
They create a situation of anger within the victim for others to witness so that they can, later on, accuse you of overreacting, or of being jealous, or of having “anger management issues“.
They hide things, deny they ever did what you know they did, or they even destroy signed papers telling you that you never did signed them.
They tell you “you see things that are not there” they make you doubt your memory.
They try to isolate you while they accuse you of isolating them.
This is so ridiculous and out there. Normal innocent people wouldn’t even think that someone, who by the way may be a relative a partner or a friend, could ever do this intentionally so the victim of gaslighting ends up believing what the abuser is saying creating terrible damage to their self-esteem, eroding bit by bit the identity of the victim.
This creates a complete mess. Survivors have to work on themselves once they’ve left the relationship to regain their stolen identity and self-esteem, self-worth, self-trust and self-respect.
2. Everything is About the Abuser
Your world revolves around every need, cry, sob story, pity ploy, victim playing, or new whim of the psychopath.
Your agenda is long gone and forgotten. In fact, you forgot you had a right to have one. That you have a right to even express your needs or ideas. The abuser’s twisted mind sees you as an object. Everything revolves around the manipulator. By then your world view is so distorted by the constant complains and projections that you are flooded with constantly, that you start to internalize the guilt that the abuser makes sure you feel. And then your self-esteem goes on a downward spiral with feelings of inadequacy and of being less than because anything you do is never enough to fulfill the abuser’s needs, who makes a point of letting you know that you are not doing enough ever. Meanwhile, the devalue phase is operating in full. The abuser will ignore you, leave you guessing, feeling like you now became a detective trying to see what is happening. You now not only turned into a desperate investigator which you never were before but you feel awful for doing things that were unacceptable before. Your identity eroded a little more.
Sometime along the way you realize there’s nothing else you can do and that’s where the already mapped out discard is imminent. To the victim, this is a complete surprise but we know it’s part of the cycle of abuse. It was planned long ago but the devalue phase is so much fun for the narcissist who is enjoying every bit of your desperate effort to please them.
3. Reality Twisting
The abuser twists your reality bit by bit. A methodically planned execution that takes patience and time. These personalities will go to the extent of bending your perceptions, your beliefs and everything that makes you you.
Suddenly you are not as independent as you were before. You no longer take pride in your kindness and open-mindedness. You are unable to grasp why you now are plagued with guilt, shame and feelings of not being enough, “I’m not ok” Everybody else is ok but me kind of mentality. The crazy part is that you always took pride in your independence, your happiness, your positivity. Now all of that is gone.
Your identity eroded. Stolen. The psychopath took your empathic gifts and tried to internalize them. He steels them but they don’t stick. The abuser may even use your gifts when their chameleonic personalities require them to groom other victims but they need more. Constantly. From other sources as well. Because nothing is never enough.
Meanwhile, your reality is what the abuser worked hard to instill in you. Pessimism, disgust, negativity, judgment.
What to do?
By now they discarded you if you realized what they were doing all along. If not you need to leave. Regain your identity. Go to therapy. Work on your self-esteem. Self-care to show yourself that you are worth the time and attention. Learn about psychopathy and narcissism. Start your journey, your own agenda. Rediscover yourself. You will go through a journey similar to the ave phoenix a rebirth of an even better, wiser and more caring spirit.
References: Iñaki Piñuel “Amor Zero”and “Psychopath Free” Jackson MacKenzie