The facility with which psychopaths and narcissists lie, the facade they produce to fool people initially plus the cruelty they are capable of, all add up to a level of unpredictability that can be crazy making for their victims.
Let's look at these things in turn.
The victims of psychopaths and narcissists are subjected to a constant barrage of lies. Initially you believe what they say because, firstly, you don't know that there are people out there who lie the way these types do. And secondly, you don't expect that this person in front of you that you like/admire/love would actually lie to you, because you wouldn't do it to someone you like/admire/love.
But then you begin to notice that things are not as you believed. This person is not as responsible or reliable as you thought. But they do seem to have reasons and justifications for their behavior - so you end up tolerating it, although at times it can be infuriating. The second aspect is that psychopaths and narcissists will present an image of themselves as almost perfect when they meet new people. They know that first impressions count and once we form an opinion about someone it tends to stick. Or at least, it can be difficult to change.
When you met the manipulator first, you thought they were the ideal partner, or teacher, or mentor, or therapist or whatever, so you naturally trust them. But then they start doing things that are 'out of character'. But because it's out of character, you put up with it, or justify it (to yourself and others) or dismiss it. Then over time, things get worse, the good behavior at the start of the relationship gets less and less, and the bad behavior becomes more and more common.
When they are behaving badly, you wish for the good times to return. When the good times return, you are relieved. Things are back to 'normal'. But then the bad stuff happens again, for seemingly no good reason, and you can't understand it. There is no way to make sense of it.
You watch the manipulator act in public as if they are a fantastic person, and you know that behind closed doors they act like a tyrant with you. You want to be with the great person you met at the start, but this other person, who can be horrible and uncaring, keeps showing up. Sometimes the nice one is with you, sometimes the bad one. But you never know who is going to walk through the door. This is one of the reasons why people talk about 'walking on eggshells' around the psychopaths and narcissists.
And the cruelty and nastiness is not something you can understand either. How can someone be so cold and callous to others? This person can be caring and considerate one minute, and then do terrible things the next. Why would a person do these things to you? How can they do that and live with themselves?
And just when you think things can't get any worse, they do. Psychopaths and narcissists can do things that are so unbelievably bad that you wouldn't dream up these things in a month of Sundays. And yet these types have an unending repertoire of things they are willing to do to you to upset you.
The only way to make sense of all this is to study psychopathy and narcissism, to understand the motivations and drives of these types, to realize that they do not have emotions the way you do, to comprehend that they think very differently than normal, feeling human beings.
This is not an easy task, and it takes some time for the ideas to sink in. For example, it's impossible for a feeling human being to know what it's like not to have emotions. They just can't turn off their own emotions. This makes it very difficult for people to come to terms with the fact that psychopaths do not have emotions in the same way as others.
Learning about psychopaths and narcissists is fundamental to being able to make sense of what was done to you without your knowledge.
Until the next time...
P.S. A quick reminder that you can get a whole lot more tips right now in my ebook, 54 Practical Tips For Dealing with Psychopaths and Narcissists
Photo courtesy Andy Cope on Twitter