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Cognitive dissonance can make us gaslight ourselves

When we are in this confused state, we tend to try and rationalize the narcissist’s behaviors.

We want to believe that the narcissist is a good person with good intentions.

It is the way we emotionally protect ourselves when staying in these toxic relationships,

by only focusing on the good times and making excuses for the bad or confusing times.

But we only end up gaslighting ourselves by making constant excuses for the abuse we endure.

It is the way we make ourselves feel at peace even when the good times become few and far between.

Because we desperately don’t want to believe that the bad is true.

Image by Afif Kusuma

It can feel so confusing when the narcissist treats us right and makes us feel good in one moment.

And then the next, they act the complete opposite which can make us feel uncertainty or immense pain.

We subconsciously want to get back to the good feeling, so we tend to believe our own gaslighting.

Believing that the relationship or situation we are in is 100 times better than it actually is.

We tend to turn a blind eye or deny the facts to the unfair actions of the narcissist.

And believing that their intentions is not bad by rationalizing their behavior away.

This way of thinking combined with the trauma bond, can keep us in toxic and abusive situations for years and even decades.

The worst part is, we can blame ourselves believing that we are overreacting and seeing things wrong.

Or we can feel that we are not enough and work harder to do things to try and please the narcissist.

The narcissist gaslights us encouraging us to believe this narrative,

so that we choose to remain in the relationship.

But ultimately, we are taking responsibility for their poor behaviors.

If we did not experience the gaslighting and cognitive dissonance, we would immediately see the truth so much clearer.

And maybe, we would not have remained in the abuse cycle for as long.

When we are trapped in the relationship, we convince ourselves that what we are experiencing is not abuse.

But if we were to tell our trusted friends in detail what we were experiencing,

they would convince us that it is definitely emotional abuse.

Image by Alex Green

Do not be afraid to speak up to supportive loved ones,

it is important to seek validation for your reality to give yourself the strength to leave toxic situations.

Cognitive dissonance for the narcissist

The truth is also sad for the narcissist, they too feel cognitive dissonance.

If you leave the relationship with the narcissist, instead of them dealing with the real reason you left,

they may tell everyone that they’re glad you left because you were abusive to them.

This way of thinking makes them feel better about the situation,

because they do not want to take accountability for a failed relationship.

And they also avoid appearing as the bad guy to the outside world.

They want to be the victim, so that means they have to convince themselves that you are the abuser.

And they try and get validation for this narrative from the outside world by convincing everyone else too, that you are at fault.

If you were in a romantic relationship with the narcissist, they may gaslight themselves into believing that you must be having an affair.

They do not want to face or admit to themselves, the bad they’ve done;

they do not want to deal with the responsibility of the real reason you left.

And it is easier for the narcissist to believe that you must be having an affair,

instead of facing the true facts of the real reasons you actually left them.

Narcissists want to only focus on the good they’ve done and they expect their victims to do the same.

They believe that they have done nothing wrong and are entitled to have done all they had.

And to rationalize their cognitive dissonance of why you left them, they convince themselves that it must be you who is the problem.

They are so self-absorbed and insecure; they cannot see all the good that you have actually done in the relationship.

Because accepting the truth would mean that they are flawed and you are right.

And they will never give over that power and control.

Instead, they will move onto the next relationship trying to make you jealous,

convincing themselves that you lost a good thing and that the failed relationship was your fault.

Don’t fall for it.

And don’t fall for their fake apologies if they pretend to understand where they stuffed up later in the future when they attempt to hoover you.

Most narcissists don’t care for their wrongs, they only want back into your life to punish you for leaving them in the first place.

You are seen as back up supply when they have no other.

And they will exhaust all manipulation tactics to convince you to let them back into your life.

Your wrong doing is all the narcissist ever focuses on, and their wrong doing will always be deemed irrelevant.

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Awareness is power.