Provocation, Happiness, and Numbness


2016-12-01 by Object of Contempt

In a normal relationship, closeness and reconciliation happens by being open about our hurts and flaws.  Not so with an emotional abuser.  The openness itself is a weakness in the abuser’s eyes.  They use it to strengthen their grip, and weaken a victim’s resolve.

The natural, reasonable outcome of emotional abuse is anger, grief, and shame, among other emotions.  They are not wrong. However, expressing that pain to an abuser and expecting empathy is futile.  In terms of narcissistic supply, the expression of these feelings usually represents one of several things.  Among them are:

A) Feelings and expressions that tell the abuser they got away with something… The victim hasn’t left, and all he can do now is say “ouch”.

B) Feelings and expressions that are provoked to exert control, or for pay-back.

The abuser will always get satisfaction.  If the victim expresses his pain, the abuser knows she has the upper hand.  If the victim is quiet, then the abuser can go on abusing without any consequences at all.  And of course, the victim (particularly a male) can be easily portrayed to others as the abuser simply by exhibiting anger, no matter how reasonable.

Abusers do not provoke their victims all the time.  Regardless, after the idealization phase is over, happiness will definitely be suppressed.  This isn’t a matter of forbidding happiness, but one of “managing down” the victim’s expectations.  “Happiness” is allowed when it fits the abuser’s expectations and desires.

The victim rides a rollercoaster of provoked anger without resolution, and expected happiness while being emotionally starved.  The outcome is numbness.

Part of the victim’s cognitive dissonance involves believing that this is all normal.  It is a surrender of self that allows us to think we are happy, and not really so miserable after all.  For a while, perhaps a long while, this may enable a victim to cope.  Unfortunately, this also means staying stuck in the abuse.

Victims can convince themselves that this numbness is actually the absence of pain, rather than a loss of sensation.  For a while, I was convinced that this numbness was part of a regular, good life that I should just be grateful and happy about.  This was a delusion.  I couldn’t stay that way.

Emotional starvation leads to emotional emaciation.




7 thoughts on “Provocation, Happiness, and Numbness

  1. It hurts. Almost unbearably, at times. Being in so much pain can make you feel crazy. I know, I have been there. I wouldn’t wish this loneliness and pain on anyone. Except maybe an abuser.

    I’m sorry you are going through this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. MJ says:

    Boy, I relate to this. This was part of my reality for years and years. I’m so sorry that it’s part of yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Emotional starvation leads to emotional emaciation.” ~Too true. ((HUG))

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear brother in Christ, I want to let you know that I am taking a break from blogging for awhile, again. This isn’t a New Year’s resolution, it’s just that I made a resolution last year, on January 1, 2016, that I would finish my memoir before the year was through. This did not happen, not even close. And when I looked back over the past year and asked myself WHY I did not achieve my goal, what stood out in my mind were all the hours I spent in a typical day, reading and commenting on blogs.

    For this reason, I have made my blog private temporarily and unfollowed all of the blogs I was following. I miss my blogging friends already! Hopefully I will finish my manuscript and be back soon. God bless you in this new year! And thank you again, so much, for the much needed kindness in the comment you left on my blog three days ago! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. contendingearnestly says:

    I understand completely. I actually ended up physically sick due to the ongoing, unrelenting stress of being married to a narcissist. My kids are all raised and I am now in the middle of a divorce after 41 years of marriage. I am sorry you are experiencing the devastation of this kind of relationship. I am healing. There is hope. I am trusting the Lord. He is always trustworthy, His word is always true, Rom_8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” I see this happening in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to get sick seldom, but it happens fairly frequently now. The stress is more than just a crushing weight on the soul, but also a strain on the physical health. That’s no exaggeration whatever people may say!

      Liked by 1 person

      • contendingearnestly says:

        That is absolutely no exaggeration! My body completely broke down and many doctors and specialists had no answers. I have improved and am hoping to improve even more as my divorce is finalized and I no longer have to have any contact with him and my life and finances are no longer under his control.

        Liked by 1 person

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