Healthy relationships provide an environment in which each partner can safely express feelings and opinions without fear of being mowed down and told they’re absolutely wrong every time. Relationships which involve a narcissist are very different. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you already know too well that no matter what emotions you share, they will be immediately invalidated by the narcissist. You already know that your feelings absolutely do not matter to the narcissist. What is completely messed up is that the narcissist will make you feel even worse by manipulating your words and twisting them around. This is known as gaslighting, and is a devastating form of control for the narcissist.
In the mind of the narcissist, any time you express concern about a situation in which you were emotionally railroaded, somehow you are always made to feel that you are “wrong”, “stupid”, or “making things up.” It’s enough to send anyone to Crazy Town.
After the honeymoon phase is over, the narcissist quickly moves to the devaluation phase, and will criticize you whenever you reveal your emotions. You aren’t allowed to be upset, to mention that something he or she did really bothered or hurt you, and if you do, the narcissist will turn the situation around so that he or she can blame YOU for the entire incident. Phrases like, “lighten up”, “I didn’t say that”, “you’re so sensitive!”, “you’re crazy”, or “can’t take a fucking joke”, are common with narcissists and provide them with a means to convince you that the abuse never took place, or that the incident was all your fault, and that somehow you started it.
If you are unhappy about something and you mention it to the narcissist, be prepared to be berated. It doesn’t matter if other people witness the emotionally abusive behavior, either, because then the narcissist will maintain that the others are somehow defending or in cahoots with the partner who is being abused. If you’ve ever been subjected to gaslighting, it’s one of the most frustrating behavioral aberrations around. The narcissist is incredibly good at being manipulative, and never takes responsibility for harsh words or actions, because in his or her mind, the rules don’t apply and he or she never does any wrong. Don’t ever hold your breath expecting the words “I’m sorry” to escape a narcissist’s lips. The concept is foreign to him.
You will find the situation confusing, and if you are an empath, you will probably try to offer to fix the situation and take the blame to appease your narcissistic partner. By this point, however, the narcissist is disgusted with you and regards you as having little to no value. The narcissist will see your effort to repair the situation as a sign of weakness, which further feeds the narcissist’s feeling of superiority.
After a while, the partner of a narcissist who has endured gaslighting will have experienced so much emotional invalidation that, even after realizing the relationship is toxic, will begin to believe that one’s instincts are wrong.
The best thing you can do if you are in a relationship with a narcissist is to LEAVE, heal, and practice NO CONTACT.