Do we really heal after covert narcissistic abuse?

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Yes, in time.

The experience of being involved with someone who is a covert abuser takes time to process. You are subtly and unknowingly groomed, mind-controlled and manipulated to fulfill the needs of the covert abuser. You have entered into a GAME that you didn’t know you were playing until it is almost too late.

This is why many of these relationships may last for a long time. Dr. Jordan Peterson talks about how people can understand and eventually comprehend tragedy but when someone they love (and believed loved them) acts with malevolence it is shocking and causes trauma. It seems unbelievable that this could be true. This is why so many targets of covert narcissists suffer from CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

It is nearly impossible at first to wrap your head around the fact that this person is calculating, deliberate, callous and plays mind games to cause you harm. It is done in such a secretive, insidious way it is nearly impossible to detect it at first.

The covert abuser specializes in intermittent reinforcement after the idealization phase. There are unspoken “rules” that you will learn as time goes on.

This “trains” the target to patiently wait for love, respect, attention, sex, harmony in the relationship. They will walk on egg shells and be obedient for a time not to cross the covert abuser. He or she has been programmed to understand that any slight (either real, perceived or inadvertent) will be punished.

In a romantic relationship with a covert abuser, the target will be the recipient of triangulation, stonewalling, intermittent reinforcement, gas lighting and silent treatments when he/she strays from the “rules” of the covert abuser. Any confrontation will be met with revenge and pay-back. The target up’s their efforts to calm the beast or begins to distance. When the relationship is still in full force, the covert abuser will slowly come around and temporarily “forgive” their target. But it is a ruse. The abuser NEVER let’s anything go,can never be pleased, they are injustice collectors. When confronted by the target, perhaps a rule will stop only to be followed by a new rule that you are never informed about. They will save their vindictiveness for the next time and there is ALWAYS a next time.

The target learns how to wait out the cycle until the day comes that they can no longer tolerate the abuse. For a long time, the target has cognitive dissonance caused by the dichotomies of the abuser. They love the abuser but hate the game. The target keeps patiently waiting for the days all will be loving again. By the time the devaluation is in full motion, the target does not realize that the covert abuser has often already sought targets to play the game all the while managing down your expectations and dosing you with breadcrumbs. You will eventually realize, as time will prove, that shipped has sailed.

The covert abuser (just as most narcissists and psychopaths) will play the GAME and keep up the CHARADE for as long as you keep playing. The addicting relationship can go on and on until and ONLY UNTIL the target snaps out of the trance. It is often a slow, disheartening realization that there is only one solution. STOP PLAYING. Incorporate self-care. Join a support group. Live in your truth and trust your judgement. Stand up for yourself.

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