Narcissistic Abuse Normalized in the Making of our Generation

WOW, I JUST HAD AN EPIPHANY!

As I sat, reading articles to post for The Red Flag Society readers, in the back ground I had “I Love Lucy”.  Now some of you know that show (OMG, I’m showing my age, aren’t I?)

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During that time and era (just before mine I need to say), a family use to sit around the black and white TV and watch shows together.  Back then, this was considered quality family time.  But I wonder, what is it that they were watching?

Most of the shows that were “family” oriented, did not truly represent life as it was, but how everyone wanted it to look like.  Take shows like “Leave it to Beaver”, the Cleaver’s couldn’t be more perfect to what a “normal” family was suppose to look like back then.  “Ozzie and Harriet”, “Father Knows Best”, all these shows represented what society thought was a perfect family life and how life was to look to the outside world… even if that wasn’t what was going on.  I know, because I grew up in a home with everything looking perfect from the outside, but what was going on inside was no Cleaver family, that was for sure.

There were other shows like “The Honeymooners” and “I Love Lucy” that made a joke of  this type of abuse.  “Bang Zoom to the moon Alice…” and the never ending antics of Lucy and Ricky on I love Lucy, loving, fighting, perfect family, then abuse, fear and suppression.  These were prime time family shows.

Every morning when I woke up, had my coffee and sat down at my computer… I started to notice that I usually had “I Love Lucy” on in the back ground. It became a routine I think? I Love Lucy for me was a “comfort show” when I was a child.  It was my ultimate favorite!  I watched it all the time and I even felt that Lucille Ball was like a family member that help raise me. I’ve made jokes of this with friends and family in my adult life, however I don’t think that many understood what I really meant by that.

When I was a child I had the opportunity to have an introduction to Lucille Ball’s Studios (Desilu Productions) through my Grandfather… I remember how excited I was the whole day before, I couldn’t wait to go to her studio and meet her and I couldn’t talk about anything else… I really thought I was going to meet Lucy and tell her everything that I thought about her, her show and why I loved her so much.  My Grandparents sat me down and tried to explain to me that she wasn’t married to “Ricky” (Desi Arnaz) anymore. At first I was upset about this. I was like 7 years old and didn’t understand, “not married anymore”.  I now think they didn’t want to get embarrassed when I asked, “Where’s Ricky” when at the studios. But, I guess they didn’t know my feelings were on the contrary…. Even as a child, I thought Ricky was a terribly awful man and really didn’t want to see him, meet him or be anywhere near him.  I remember thinking how he was so terrible to Lucy, always yelling at her and making her scared to tell him things. Hmmmmm….

Now, those of us that have seen this show know Lucy was a prankster.  Ricky use to belittle her, make her feel bad about herself… put down her talents (even though her talents were bad singing, or always wanting to be in his shows…)

In I Love Lucy, Lucy was not suppose to be a talented women for show biz.  She was to play the role of the doting loving wife, that supported her husbands dreams and was suppose to abandon her own.  For which, she did not!! She rebelled and did everything possible to pursue her dreams, whether achievable or not.  As a result, she was ABUSED!!

At the age of 7, I did what I thought to be the respectful way of introduction of myself to Ms. Lucille Ball.  I sat down and wrote her a letter about how much I loved her and how excited I was that I might just get to meet her. How I thought she was funny and talented and how GLAD, I was that she got rid of that “HOT HEADED CUBAN” husband that was so terribly mean to her.

Well, my grandfather read my letter and said…. “Oh No, No, No, you can’t give this letter to Ms. Ball representatives….” and he made me re-write the letter with now his guidance. You see Grandpa was a bit of a control freak too, however socially appropriate. My new letter now avoided any mention of how I felt about Ricky Ricardo and how glad I was that he was gone.  I was only to say how much I loved Lucy and that was it.  I remember being so angry at my grandfather that day, because he wouldn’t allow me to say what I really felt and I really meant it! I didn’t like the way he treated her, it seemed wrong even to a 7 year old. I thought he was mean, hurtful, a bully, he made fun of her, her dreams, and he put down for all of her wants and needs with the excuse that he was the man, breadwinner and husband.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I Love Lucy was a classic!!  It was one of my favorite shows growing up and now it is still what I consider a comfort show that I put on in the back ground… It eases my mind…. and makes me feel at home.  It gives me those warm fuzzy feelings.

Now you tell me, what’s wrong with that picture???

My association of “Comfort” is the same of what now we understand to be “Abuse”…  And, as a child I was trained to think that that behavior was acceptable and even found “comfort” in my association being part of the Ricardo family.  I was learning that a man could and would treat a woman as Ricky treated Lucy on their show and it was ok?  When I tried to voice my feelings about it at 7 years old, I was told that my feelings were “unacceptable”.  Funny however, I was trying to express how I thought that behavior was “unacceptable”. My thoughts and feeling about that type of behavior were suppressed and I was lead to believe that my interpretation was incorrect… which really wasn’t the case. Evident as to some of the struggles I have today with narcissists and my association with them.

Even though this was just a TV program, and suppose to be funny… I knew then it made me uncomfortable.  I see now the programming I experienced.  I was made to think it was acceptable to treat someone that way and should I have feelings to the contrary, they were wrong and unacceptable to speak.

So begins the steps of conditioning the personality to accept narcissistic abuse. 

There were many bricks placed in the making of my foundation by watching shows just like this one.  My rearing was a confused mess, so please understand it when I say… much of it was learned from sitting in front of a TV and a very erratic  family interaction. Shows such as this were programming me to believed the rights and wrongs in life. What was acceptable or not and what our perception of what made us feel good and bad were all a part of the conditioning normalizing this bad behavior and personality disorder.

As I was sitting at my desk years ago, I wrote bits of this article,  While I was sitting there writing, I wrote about how I had I Love Lucy on in the background and I heard Ricky yelling at Lucy for one of her pranks.  I watched as she and Ethel coward in the corner, because they were so afraid of upsetting their husbands and tried to get out of the way of the RAGE.  

Ricky went off yelling in Spanish. I’m sure what he was saying wasn’t that bad, because we are talking TV 50 years ago. But, if we don’t understand Spanish, (which I don’t), we have no idea what he is saying to her, other than by the “tone” of it. I think we can all agree his face blowing up, his eyes popping out of his head, the veins protruding from his neck, all clearly indication that what he was saying, wasn’t good, no?  It was my understanding on the show, that Lucy didn’t understand Spanish either, therefore her reactions were as a result of the “tone” as well, not the words. She was reacting to the ABUSE, not even understanding what was being said. We can see her reaction is upset, frightened, cowering… and ABUSED!!! She can’t even respond, because she doesn’t understand what he is yelling about.  And, should she try… he would stop her….

Now mind you, after all is said and done, Lucy and Ricky always made up and the I love you” always returned making everything OK again… Really?

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This reminds me of every time I suffered the abuse from my narcissist and foolishly forgave him like nothing ever really happened.  It made it “OK”, it made it tolerable, it made me a “willing victim” to come back for more.  I forgave the unforgivable.

I believe that many of us that have suffered from narcissistic abuse were raised with abuse as an underlying normal, acceptable behavior. Such has attributed to fragility in our self-ego’s, respect and psyche.  We go through life accepting or fighting off these abusive behaviors to avoid being hurt by them.  Both  type of responses have the same objective…

The example of narcissist behavior and it’s being acceptable as displayed in I Love Lucy, is a clear example of how society made this normal and acceptable.  Our parents may have thought so as well.  Therefore, we developed the disposition to accept it, or fight it. I know that I have found numerous ways to justify it to myself and others, while the Rickys in my world performed this roller-coaster rides over my head and trashing my heart.

In I love Lucy, Ricky clearly Loves Lucy, hence the title it’s self.  He does however never allow her to evolve without him, nor offer support, love and confidence to achieve her dreams that were clearly neglected and his behavior reflected his insecurities and fears of losing his control… over her!!!

Did you ever notice how some of the people that Ricky apologized to for “her” behavior, took pity on Lucy, offered her support and were a little pissed at Ricky for not recognizing that she had a right to her dreams, be them achievable or not?

If you view this show in today’s age and think about some of what you have read here, you will see it so very differently.  The clear cut programming of a narcissist to a victim, representing that love was the bond, by using abuse.  I personally believe that Lucy and Desi lived out a lot of their real life issue through their show, love and jealously, control and abuse. The truth here is that Lucy was truly suppressed on every level possible the talents that Desi never really fully achieved.

I mean no disrespect to one of the most brilliant woman Ms. Lucille Ball, I loved her dearly….  But, as a result of her show…. millions of people have suffered abuse, accepted it as normal and tolerated it  much longer than they should have.  Thanks Lucy… for the insight?

It is what it really is…. Narcissist Abuse Normalizing and Conditioning in the Making… 

(some excerpts from my site “The Red Flag Society” made many years ago)

The Carrot and Stick Tactic

Have we forgotten what LOVE is? I hear so many people, to include myself, say how much they love their narcissist. I loved him with all of my heart, every beat, every breath. I never felt this way about another person. And, I have never been as hurt by another like this in my lifetime.

I had forgotten what love is…

The feeling of being with someone that loves you as much (if not more) than you love them is an incredible feeling. A healthy relationship with someone where you set goals, plan holidays, vacation, build a life together, have equal strengths and directions, is all a good recipe for a healthy journey. This doesn’t happen with a narcissist. It doesn’t, it will never. They are not capable!

In the beginning, they will say anything and act it out during the love bombing stages. After all, they can only make the effort for a short time, so they give it their all and then ride the wave. If it doesn’t work out, I can guarantee they will say, it’s because of you.

Familiar??

  • “Where have you been all my life”
  • “I’ve never felt this way before”
  • “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you”
  • “You really get me”
  • “We are soulmates”
  • “I don’t want this to ever end”

It’s all BS…. It really is!!  As you live through the nightmare of having a relationship with a narcissist, you will become more and more confused about whats right and wrong.  You forget what it’s like to be loved with respect and fidelity.  I have, I certainly have throughout this past many years.

Each narcissist has a list of lines that they use over and over. They learn whats works for them.  When you are in a vulnerable state, it’s very hard to see through the facade that they create.  You believe their stories, promises and sweet words.  None of these are backed-up with actions, integrity or character.

Actor

They are a character played in a theater built just for their amusement.  They are an actor that performs to entertain themselves.  They have learned what to say, what to do, to render the results they want.  This is where you come in… You are the supply!  You have something to offer that they want, or need. Be it attention, money, status, support, sex or just a punching bag.  They get a kick out of what they can get away with.

They find all that is vulnerable within you, and then they fill those voids (temporarily) to suit your needs.  This is the beginning of it.

  • Offer you something you want or crave.
  • Make you want it more than you did before.
  • Then take it away, but dangle it ahead creating the desire.
  • They make you work harder for it, to fix it, make it better (but this is impossible)
  • Then they toss you to the curb when you no longer serve the purpose.
  • Oh, don’t forget they will come around again “hoovering”

All of this to repeat the cycle.  Act II, III. IV and so on.  The play remains playing as long as your in the audience.

You see, when we are in a vulnerable state, we seek that comfort and validation. I swear they can almost sniff it out… A narcissist knows how to play this part very well, it is instinctive and a well formatted script.  Don’t kid yourself, its all well planned in their head.

Love bombing…

When we are being love bombed, it feels euphoric. During love bombing you feel overwhelmed with the attention, adoration and the chemistry spikes. All of those little special things, sweet texts, attentiveness, flowers, pet names, thoughtful gestures, gifts, great sex… all of it comes flooding in, faster and faster as they increase their attack on your core emotions and vulnerabilities. These are all manipulation tactics that are laying the foundation of their future games of strategy.

Yup, your getting set up for the staging of the show to come…

Very quickly you are groomed to fit their needs.  You fall so head over-heels, it’s like an addiction to everything they are. You want more and more, and have no idea that the narcissist is full of false promises. You invest yourself into this relationship, because you feel that they are investing themselves into you. They will put forth the persona that you need them, they want whats best for you.  They will help move you, do the manly things around the house, like hang a mirror or fix the car. They will make small gestures to show their feelings, however they are not feelings, they are a plan. They are chameleons and mirror everything that is needed and desired in the heart of us. They start to pick up our lingo, habits, hobbies, anything that makes you more obviously connected to them.  They become an attachment to “your” life.  Generally because they don’t have one. They need to cling to a life that they can feed from… this is why they are called “Emotional Vampires”.  They suck the life right out of you.

They tantalize us with the promise of a brighter future, a relationship where we are deeply validated and taken care of. We get used to the daily praise and laser-focused attention.  The sex during the love bombing and initial idealization phase is explosive! The relationship has the perfect balance, a steady up-climb and the goal at the top, is your soul.  You think it’s being fulfilled, but it actually is being raped.  Yes, raped!!

The narcissist knows exactly how to bring us to greater heights. They are Pros at it!  It’s what they live for, how they live.  They have learned over a lifetime this technique and it serves them to catch you up, spin you around and then make you feel like hell, so if they come back around, they have you wanting something you know you don’t.

They’ve studied who we are, what we like and learned to mimic it.  Little do we know, sex and intimacy will later be used as ammunition.

Narcissists are skilled artists of manipulation. They will flatter you with attention, gain your trust and adoration, then start their field of games. Now that you are properly seasoned, “Let the games begin”.

Carrot and Stick Tactic

One of the foundations of their strategy is how they lure you in and then punish you for falling for it 1 out of 3 times. This simple manipulation technique is to elicit certain behaviors desired by the narcissist. One day everything is great, and just because you added one additional word to your sentence, the words become scrambled, the narcissist takes flight with rage and anger and you haven’t a clue what you did or said wrong. WACK!! You get the stick!

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Next time it might be different, you actually might get the carrot, if you succumb to the submissiveness of doing everything their way. What a wicked game they play, leaving your wanting and waiting. They punish you for having the love that they created. You become convenient for them, then without warning, they come back with the punishment to condition you when you try to express your needs. Don’t have any, not if you want to remain on the good side of this Mask Predator!

I went through this with my ex-narcissist. He would promise me the world, then he would create an argument, when I would confront his words that were not supported by his actions. He would become extremely defensive with such intensity. It use to make me feel like, “It’s you or me babe…” And, you can count on it, it was him!

“The only person that gets angry hearing the truth,

is one that’s living a lie”

Just when you start to realize what is going on, that things aren’t as they appear, the gaslighting begins.  “I can’t stand your manic behavior”, “Your crazy”, “It’s all in your head”, “Pump the brakes…”, “You know your the love of my life, and if you don’t know how I feel about you, then shame on you”. You start to think, “Is there something wrong with me?”, “Did I do something wrong” and you find that you start to question yourself and your cognitive dissonance starts to play a game on you. You loose grasp of the reality that you know is going on and are being convinced by the narcissist that it’s you.

I once read this on a web site, making it a cross reference to cognitive Dissonance.

“There’s no earthly way of knowing, which direction we are going. There’s no knowing where we’re rowing, Or which way the river’s flowing. Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is a hurricane a-blowing? Not a speck of light is showing, So the danger must be growing….”  
~ Willy Wonka, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 

Cognitive Dissonance.  Do yourself a favor, read about cognitive dissonance and how it creates an alternate belief and confused state.

By definition…

Cognitive dissonance is “the psychological discomfort a person feels when he or she holds conflicting beliefs about something simultaneously.”.

As a result of cognitive dissonance, we enter into a state that keeps us attached to our abusive partner, despite knowing that they are incapable of loving us.  The confusion is wanting to believe them, and knowing the truth nonetheless.  It doesn’t make sense. Many people suffer from narcissistic abuse and cognitive dissonance keeps them trapped in the cycle.

We find it so hard to let go of our dreams and all that we believed our relationship to be. And, it was all a lie, it wasn’t real!  The narcissist is an actor and we fell for it.  The question remains, Why?  For that answer, we need to seek down deep within ourselves. What has us so confused that we believe something that is outside our beliefs, factually presented in front of us. We see it, we know it, we chose to allow someone to influence our belief system to the extent that they are able to cause us to believe something that we know not to be true.

Their actions and words don’t match up. If you address them about their conflicting facts, words, actions… They go into a melt down mode because you have inflicted narcissistic injury. This is guaranteed to occur should you dare to challenge them.  Know, if you chose to not accept their lies, infidelities, erratic behavior, they are sure to say, there is something wrong with you (gaslighting). They may even be able to make you believe it. You are blamed for the argument and then they will go into the silent treatment without regard of how it leaves you feeling (no closure, isn’t that a pin pinching your ass?). This is a conditioning to lower your expectations and make you compliant for the crumbs that you are yet to be minimized to in the near future. You feel like a sitting duck for the abuse and be careful when walking on those eggshells, a crack in any one of them will set them off, even if your not the one that crack it.

Be aware of the Carrot and Stick tactic.  You are chasing something that will never be. This is an act of control and a tool for the narcissist to trick you right into their web.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Fool me three times, then I’m the fool!! 

Don’t be a fool!  There isn’t enough time on earth that we should waste all the precious gifts we have to offer the right person, on one that doesn’t deserves it. We can’t change them, cure them and we didn’t create them.  Let them GO!!

When Twice Wasn’t Enough

I got lost in this world and can’t seem to find my way out.  I have been betrayed for so long, the pain is so deep within me that I can’t see my way anymore.  I have been living a lie, first with you and a woman, to only have you do it again with another.  I forgave you once, then you found another to recreate the scenario that burns my soul to ashes.

How can anyone endure this hurt?  How have I fallen in love with a man that doesn’t really love anyone?  It’s not my belief that you can’t, I don’t want to believe that you can’t.  The only love I have ever seen you display is one of addiction.  Not of the soul.

If she only knew… If I only knew…  The frightening part is, I did, and I am sure she does too.

I awake with nightmares of yesterdays, wondering if the dreams are real, or are my todays? I can’t remember a time of peace.  My head has been twisted to see only the façade that you have created.  I wanted to believe in you, but you are not believable.

A trickster, a joker, a con…. Why?  What is broken so down deep inside of you that you must hurt anyone that dares to love you?  I thought I knew you, but I really don’t… either you have changed, or I have awoken. I believe the latter.

Be patient you say, be patient for what?  For you to create another vicious crime against another heart?  And then what?  Come back to me?  Come back to me for another fill, affliction, assault on all that is good and giving?  That’s not going to happen.  Not this time.

I used to think that there was an ounce of integrity that I could support, defend, profess… despite all your downfalls.  You destroyed even that, leaving a little girl with an empty dream of who she once thought her father was, that became unmasked before her. How frightening for this beautiful child… how sad for her to love the unlovable.  Despite my silence, these thoughts and feelings I share with her and anyone else that was taunted to love this masked man.  I can see the same pain in her face, hear it in her voice, the twisted thoughts of reality that confuse the obvious.  I have felt these same feelings in my soul, while keeping them silent…  Loving a man that walks without leaving a trace of established foundation.  It’s all sand… and it washes away with every tear you create in those who have dared to love you, with every hot aired wind that reels from your lying lips.

Let go, I have… I have let every bit of the belief free of who I once thought you were.  I have seen the twine unravel and find that there is nothing but an ugly ball that requires another to mask the chameleon to fit in to a world that some might see as real, until the mask falls again… and it always does….

Erased

The days turn to nights, and nights to days
The first sign of light, the challenges raised
To love with every beat, my heart dares to take
My mind rips apart the moment I wake
I’ve loved you from the moment, I looked into your eyes
Never did I think, you’d be riddled with lies
A man that so many have tried to posses
Has left a path of stories that have yet to be professed
I’ve dreamt of you a lifetime, hoping to find
A gentle man that loved me, that was good and kind
Never would I have thought that life would disguise
The pain that was hidden far beneath those eyes
I held you so closely, to my breast as you sleep
To feel the peace rise, from the days that repeat
The cycles turn swiftly, our nights in your head
As one tries to love you, aside you in bed
My soul was opened, doors having no key
For there is no one else to compare to for me
We’ve danced in the moonlight and made love to the songs
Of every moment in life, even the ones that’ve gone wrong
You know not why I love you, I have made my plea
But my words are all broken and you no longer hear me
You are in my dreams, my gentle man I say
I beg you to remember and not walk away
Know that I love you, for all that we are
The years passed quickly, but haven’t changed us so far
I know that you love me as you remind me you do
But then you push me away for something to do?
How many times I’ve heard you love me too much
But when I share the same you tell me not such
Your words are twisted, and actions run wild
While I stand here watching, feeling as lost as a child
I can never be what repairs you, for your life lived in the past
I only have to offer this role I’ve been cast
To feel empty in love, while you run your path
Knowing all that I have given can be erased in a wrath
Please hear me, please know… I’m as confused as you
For all that I say, and all that I do…
Was for you