Abusive relationship partners are often relentless. They hate to miss an opportunity to denigrate and dominate. And over time, their victims can begin to see themselves in the same negative way their abusers cast them.
Willfulness has a positive and negative side. A strong will can be one’s foremost asset. But it can also be a great liability. A properly formed and guided will is essential for sound character.
There are many ways to abuse power in relationships. That’s true whether you’re talking about workplace relationships, intimate relationships, or even political and governmental affairs. So many times we face imbalances of power. And that’s why character matters so much.
Abuse victims learn the hard way that interest doesn’t equal regard. Unfortunately, they learn it after they’ve been exploited or mistreated.
Recovering from gaslighting effects and regaining one’s sanity after an abusive relationship isn’t easy. Victims frequently mistrust themselves and worry about making the same relationship mistakes again. And getting the wrong kind of help can easily re-traumatize. Empowerment begins with understanding what really happened and why.
When we try too hard to understand we inadvertently revoke the power we have. Understanding can’t itself empower. Taking action empowers.
Relationships with heartless characters follow a typical course. You get seduced by the tremendous interest someone shows in you. And most importantly, you mistake the interest for caring. Only later do you realize how utterly expendable you are, especially once you’ve outlived your usefulness.
A manipulator can be so confident of someone’s likely response that they don’t hesitate to show their hand. But most of the time, manipulators get their way by hiding their true agendas. They’re out to win, dominate, and control, but don’t want to appear so. They cloak their aggressive intentions in a variety of clever tactics. And these tactics produce the “gaslighting” effect.
Grandiose narcissists so wantonly use and abuse because they have little heart. They lack empathy. And they have little shame. And the more lacking they are in these things, the more easily they exploit.
Some see the narcissist as “a legend in their own mind.” And because the way a narcissist views their self-worth and capabilities is almost always inflated, it can indeed be a pretty ugly picture when their grandiose illusions are shattered.