When the Em-path meets the Narcissist.


In the movie Gaslight, the newly married Ingrid Bergman moves into her Aunt’s home and begins to notice strange goings-on: missing pictures, strange footsteps in the night and gaslights that dim without being touched. The entire movie she fights to retain her sanity and it makes the watcher crazy because we want to yell; It’s the husband!! It’s the husband. She can’t see it.

This is what it’s like when the Em-path meets the Narcissist; Strange goings on. The gaslight in the mind of the em-path dimming without explanation.

This is how it starts and this is how it began with me. Love-bombing.  Large gestures of love and generosity like trips. Big presents like motorcycles. Heart felt sorry’s that come with flowers. Assurances of always being together.

Things begin to unravel but in the mind of the em-path, my mind, none of it makes any sense. Gifts are now withheld. Attention is withdrawn. Other women are constantly brought up. All kinds of circular conversations take place. Stands are taken! Provocations are made over and over and over again and then the em-path, me,  is accused of over emotionalism and reactivity.

Friends watch in horror, just like when we see the lights dim in Gaslight. They yell, “You are not crazy, it’s your MAN!”

I could not hear it.

The only thing that made sense to me was that I was too demanding, too reactive. I needed to grow up, and fess up, and do a lot of meditating.

So, I did.

I spent months meditating and becoming the absolute perfect girlfriend; giving, loving, forgiving, complimentary, easy going, compliant, non reactive and half brain dead.

Things got worse. I felt my soul dying from the withholding of love I was getting/not getting.

I did become the observer of myself. I watched as all sorts of crazy go on. I watched myself getting kicked out of the house for raising my voice in protest at yet another provocation. At midnight. After drinking. In hysterics. 45 minutes in the car. It would have been easy for me to crash the car and die.

Wow. I watched that.

I watched how in moments of love and happiness a hammer of painful, vengeful words fell on me, out of the blue, and then I was accused of taking the low road and deciding to allow my feelings to be hurt.

I watched myself explain basic human feelings of compassion and kindness. That should have been a sign. One should not have to explain these things we intuitively know as humans.

And still I grovelling because I was under the Narcissist’s spell and I was addicted.

I was confused and that is entirely what the Narcissist is trying to do. They thrive on making you think you are fucking nuts.

Then I did something weird, having to do with the ex girlfriend I had been “living with” for two years.

I called her.

What she said threw a wrench into the whole thing. I asked, “Why is he obsessed with you?” and she said, “He is not obsessed with me. He is obsessed with controlling me”.

Control had never entered my mind. How was this true?  What I was looking at didn’t look like control, did it?

The Narcissistic will control the ex by quickly bringing in someone new, me. She will look better, they will look happier. Me. I was never more than a thing, a pawn, brought in to control the ex.

And she is there to control me. She is IN the relationship with us. Her name is brought up daily, in the most inappropriate times.  It feels very crowed and when I ask that she be let go, I am total I am jealous.

This is how she is there to control me and I am there to control her.

And her daughter remains in the will, so that even after his death; he controls them both.

The lovebombing, all the gaslighting, all the crazy making; it is all Narcissistic control.

My sister. She gets through, finally, somehow. She shows me how this man has been, without me knowing, dimming the lights, moving the pictures, making sounds but telling me it’s silent. She turns on the real lights in the room and then it all begins to fall into place; everything that confused me, everything I thought was my fault, all the ways I was used to feed the narcissist’s hunger for control.

Ingrid Bergman’s character was no dummy. Either am I and either is anyone who gets Gaslit. We don’t believe it because we think people are good. We don’t see it because we can’t imagine people who love us actually feed off manipulating us. That’s why we are Em-paths and not Narcissists.

We don’t see it until we do. Only then is there no going back.

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