Narcissists use control to keep others close to them. It often stems from a fear of abandonment. They believe that everyone, given the choice, will leave them. And so they create an environment where they are initially adored, then feared. This dichotomy creates what is known as a trauma bond. The victim is drawn in, like a drug addict, by the amazing feelings the narcissist gives them of love and adoration. When the drug (love) is withdrawn, the victim seeks to chase the next high. This can lead to them doing anything and everything to get the love back. Including handing over all control of their lives to the narcissist.
Current thinking in neuroscience and attachment theory tells us that in a dangerous situation, we are hard-wired to preserve our attachment relationships above all else. After a person has attempted fight, flight and freeze, they will often surrender as a final defence mechanism.
This involves appearing compliant, as though they are making autonomous choices to behave in the way the abuser has asked them to, when in reality they are utterly subservient to the abuser’s will. When the victim survives the attack with their attachment to the abuser still intact, their brain records it as a success and automatically behaves in the same way again next time.
Being compliant and abused leads the victim to feel worthless and often guilty and ashamed for allowing this to go on. This is further exacerbated by society who say “well why don’t you leave them?” Guilt and shame further erode the self confidence of the victim and leave them feeling unworthy of love. As love is a basic human need, victims often feel like they are better off staying and chasing the high with the narcissist, than leaving and being on their own. Knowing that in order to keep the relationship they must behave in certain ways and be completely subservient, they further surrender. They essentially hand over everything to the narcissist. Financial control. Parenting. What they wear. And how they think. Including how they think about themselves. They become co-dependent.
This surrender is the ultimate separation from your soul. Your true self is a constant resource of love, knowledge, wisdom and joy. When you become co-dependent you cut yourself off. You look outside of yourself for external validation. You don’t trust yourself any more and second guess every decision. But your true self knows exactly who you are and what you truly want.
You literally do sell your soul to the devil.
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