I love Halloween. Seriously, for me, Halloween is my favorite of all holidays, trumping even Christmas. In fact, I love Halloween more than my birthday! “Why?” you ask? Because you get to be whomever you wish to be, even if it is for just one night. Halloween allows you to be who you keep hidden away inside of you. That adventurous part of your spirit that, any other day of the year, someone would look at sideways and think, “Why is Indiana Jones standing in the teller line at the bank?” The thing is, for the narcissist, Halloween occurs every single day of the year, but not for the same reasons.
As we’ve already established, the narcissist initially employs something called the love bombing phase to not only lure you in but to set that hook by giving you the most amazing connection with someone you have ever experienced. In essence, the narcissist is wearing a mask; however, unlike a mentally, emotionally, and psychologically healthy person, the narcissist is not expressing an inner want or fantasy by being someone good whom they keep secreted away, a positive reflection of themselves. They are, instead, wearing a mask in an effort to obscure the truth from you. They are hiding the hideousness that lies silently beneath their beautiful and alluring exterior: they are, in fact, a monster.
I’ll never forget when I first met my narcissist, Julia. The manner in which she love bombed me absolutely blew my mind! I had never, with anyone else, been subjected to such an astoundingly breathtaking barrage of love, attention, affection, passion, intimacy, sex and sexuality – I honestly felt as though I’d won the relationship lottery! I even commented such to a close friend of mine. He replied, “David, in all the years I’ve known you, I’ve never seen you this happy.” Unfortunately, that happiness was very short-lived and here’s why: the initial love bombing phase is meant to do nothing more than to get you to lower your defenses and prepare you for the next phase: trauma bonding where the narcissist will employ a series of carefully orchestrated events in which you and they go through a seemingly endless relationship gauntlet of painful, perhaps even excruciating experiences together, followed closely by positive events. This punishment/reward dichotomy systematically builds a connection with the narcissist that, over time, becomes almost impossible to break. And this is why, once executed, it becomes inconceivable to leave the narcissist. And, if you do find the courage to leave, you will generally return over and over and over again, ad nauseum. While I know we’ve already covered this dynamic more than once in previous posts, I say all this to set the tone for the core message of today’s entry: the narcissist always wears a mask.
My narcissist, Julia, did such an amazing job of initially love bombing and subsequently trauma bonding me to her that, even after the first six months, when the love bombing phase was coming to an end, I still held on, holding out hope that the person I had met and fallen in love with was sequestered away inside this once amazing girl-turned-monster. But she was no longer there, at least not as a genuine person. You see, the love bombing phase is where the narcissist effectively puts on a mask, becoming someone completely different, a polar opposite of who the narcissist truly is. How effective is the love bombing and subsequent trauma bonding? Enough that even four years later, I was still holding out hope that the side of the narcissist I had initially met and loved for the first six months of our relationship, was a real person. And over the next four years, I consistently turned a blind eye, hoping and praying that the true personality of my narcissist was whom I had first met and loved instead of the absolutely abysmal person I found myself emotionally and psychologically shackled to. To be fair, my narcissist had consistently shown me who she truly was for those four years, I just chose to believe in the better part of her I had once seen, the part that didn’t actually exist within any realm of reality or fantasy. Despite the multitude of horrors and aberrations to which I bore witness, I still embraced a misplaced faith that she was actually a good and decent person. Yes, trauma bonding is that powerful.
The thing that continues to give one hope, when involved with a narcissist, is the incessant string of hoovering phases that invariably follow each discard phase wherein we see faint glimmers of the person we initially fell so hard and fast for. It gives us hope that the amazing, beautiful, loving person we fell in love with is hidden somewhere inside of our narcissist, trapped and desperately trying to once again obtain their freedom. Unfortunately, they are not. They are not a genuine person or persona, per se. They never were. They are an illusion. The person the narcissist was pretending to be, unlike us on Halloween, is a shadowy reflection of their antithesis and not their true self. They were wearing a mask when they met you and deceived you into believing that you were both of the same soul. Unlike Catherine and Heathcliff, in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, where she exclaims, “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same,” the narcissist’s and our souls are polar opposites. Our souls are good and pure, while the narcissist’s is sullied, tainted, and blood-stained with 1,001 unforgivable sins of deception, infidelity, and betrayal. Although, at the time, you would quite literally be willing to wager your life that this is not the case, going so far as to assure and reassure with absolute certainty that their love is just as pure and pristine as yours. Don’t deceive yourself, my beautiful. It isn’t.
So, it appears that you and I aren’t the only ones who enjoy wearing masks for fun. However, unlike us on Halloween, the narcissist does not do so to express their true inner desires, dreams, aspirations, or beauty. On the contrary, they do so in an effort to lure in unsuspecting victims, like you and me, so that they can obtain someone else to add to their [reverse] harem, thus furthering the feedings of their self-absorbed ego and id. Imagine that. Even after all of the atrocities the narcissist perpetrated against us, even after seeing the hideousness of who they truly are beneath their mask, at their very core, we still chose to love them year after excruciating year. We were in love with a monster.
Now, on a lighter note, my costume this year was indeed Indiana Jones. My good friend Deana was my Marion. And yes, that is the headpiece to the staff of Ra around her neck. 😉
(You can click the pic for a larger image.)
Best. Halloween. Ever!
Happy Halloween 2019, everyone!