It is difficult to gain our self confidence back, after we have had our brains twisted around by a relationship with a narcissist. They are masters at getting what they want, by whatever means available. This means altering your perception of reality.
If you are in the right reality, then you will see that the things they are doing are wrong. You will not comply with their requests that are taking advantage of you. Little by little they will make your world revolve around them and their needs.
Their methods are very subtle and you do not even realize what is happening. They are very good at making you feel like they care about your needs, at first. One of the ways they do this is to criticize the other people that have injured you. They will tell you that other people you tell them about were abusive to you and it was not right for them to treat you that way.
They will listen to you about people that are in your life now, and talk about how the people you interact with are not treating you properly. They get angry about how other people are treating you and encourage you to stand up for yourself against those people, or remove them from your life.
There are a couple of reasons for this. When they are telling you that other people should treat you with more respect and kindness, it gives you the illusion that they are planning to treat you with respect and kindness. Why would someone talk about how people should behave, if they did not believe in behaving that way themselves? Why would they talk about how people do not appreciate you, if they did not feel that you deserved to be appreciated?
That is the deception that confuses you. You think about how they told you that other people should treat you better. If makes you feel like they have great respect for you and that you will be treated very well by them. You feel safe and protected by them.
They do not want other people taking advantage of you and using your talents. They want to use you for themselves. If other people wear you out and use you up, then the narcissist cannot get anything out of you. They want your time to revolve around them, not other people. They want you attention to revolve around them, not other people.
They will tell you to remove yourselves from toxic people, or people that they tell you are toxic to you. This is like a slight of hand by a magician. “Look at my right hand…” and the whole time they are doing something with their left hand. They focus your attention on what bad things that other people are doing, in order to lure you into their trust zone.
You will notice that a narcissist will talk about other people a lot. The last person they dated, was selfish and abusive to them. The one before that was also selfish and not kind to them. Everyone takes advantage of them and no one really values them the way they should be valued.
Everyone is out to get them and take advantage of them. This makes you feel sorry for them. They bring you onto their side by making you feel sympathy for them. You begin to feel their anger at these other people who have taken such advantage of them. You want to make up for the abuse this person has had in their past.
If you have a history of past abuse, then it is even easier for the narcissist to elicit sympathy from you about how mistreated they are. You feel their stories like they are your own. You equate these people that have taken advantage of them, with the people in your past that have injured you.
There is no reason for you think that the abuser is exaggerating the stories or even making them up. It is so sad that everyone seems to be taking advantage and being so disrespectful of this poor person. They are intelligent and seem so compassionate and fragile. You feel that this person is delicate and sensitive to people being mean to them.
This is all setting you up to obey them. You want to make up for all the terrible things that are happening to this person. You want to show them that there is still love in the world and they are worthy of love. You begin to do all you can for this person, in order to show them that they are not doomed to a life of abuse.
You think that they will appreciate your efforts to be helpful and caring, because so many people have been unkind to them. You think they will love you because you are the one that finally showed them the love and caring that they needed. It never occurs to you that they would take advantage of you, because they clearly know how bad it feels to be taken advantage of.
They will never be abusive to you, because they know the pain of being abused and mistreated. You trust them because they have experienced such mistreatment in their lives. They now have you, in their lair.
The more you do for them, the more they want. They are needy and draining. The tell you that you are the “only one” in their life that is helpful and caring. You are the “only life that they have” that is worth anything.
This makes you want to do more and more for them. Soon your life revolves around this person completely. When you mention that you have to take care of something for yourself, they make you feel guilty. They remind you that you are the only one they can count on and they need you.
Your jobs, dreams, friends, family, hobbies, etc all fade away slowly. Until there are no things left of your life. You are no longer an individual person, with needs and feelings. You are the other part of the narcissist. You are their on-call task doer and property.
They feel entitled to you and entitled for you to do whatever they want, whenever they want you to. It does not matter if you might lose your job, your friends, your health, your sleep or your mind. You must keep doing their bidding, or they will withhold their affection and love for you. They will threaten or imply that the relationship is hanging by a thin thread. The only way yo save the relationship, is to always agree with them and always help them.
It is an insidious thing that narcissists do to their victim. It can take years for your brain to recover. You doubt yourself and your perception of reality. This level of mental abuse can take a long time to heal. The first step is to read things like this that make you see what really happened…or what is really happening.