Runboard.com
You're welcome.
Are you walking on eggshells with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
Welcome to our Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Psychopath Survivors Group.
A Learning, Resource and Support Forum.

runboard.com       Sign up (learn about it) | Sign in (lost password?)


Page:  1  2  3 

 
LynnS Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 10-2008
Posts: 2215
Karma: 170 (+170/-0)
Repost: Splitting: When the N's Black & White World Becomes Ours


This thread is a repost from another section of the forum. Colombina brought up the extremes she's experiencing in interpersonal situations in another thread, and I thought this might address the dynamics involved in that kind of reaction post-N.

Lynn

--Log in or sign up to see linked image content--
This illustration of Alice in Wonderland is by Arthur Rackham.

"They were indeed a queer-looking party that assembled on the bank—the birds with draggled feathers, the animals with their fur clinging close to them, and all dripping wet, cross, and uncomfortable."

~~From Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



The Alien

by Lynn S.

Where is he from, some alien nation?
What Frankenstein designed this creation?
For the monster he is, I'd like to give credit.
I'd use other terms, but I'd have to edit.

Just who do I thank for bearing this gift?
If I could find out, the kick would be swift.
I'm not always vengeful or given to spite,
But someone should pay, because he isn't right.

Who cooked up this mess that plopped in my lap?
That's who I would like to pay for this sap.
For all that he's done, who'll pick up the tab?
A monster's not born, he's made in a lab.

So was it a chemist? A genius of sorts?
Perhaps a computer with electrical shorts?
Whatever it was, it won't stake its claim.
But I wouldn't either for something that lame.

His origin's foreign, I don't know the source.
He thinks that his blood is quite royal, of course.
If that be the case, well, then let him eat cake.
But I'm sure that someone has made a mistake.

I still think he's come from an alternate plane,
A place where it's normal to be quite insane.
I wish he'd go back and get new circuitry,
But they probably won't take him without [sign in to see URL].

© 2003




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


From Winning Teams:

[sign in to see URL]

quote:

"Splitting is a Freudian defence mechanism in which an object or idea (or, alternatively, the ego) is separated into two or more parts in order to remove its threatening meaning.

Freud referred to splitting as a mental process by which two separate and contradictory versions of reality could co-exist. This conceptualization of splitting defines an ego that allows reality to be both acknowledged and denied. Splitting is a defence mechanism present in all narcissists and codependents. They see people and situations in black and white terms, all bad or all good, with no shades of gray."



--------------------------------------------------------------

For an essay by Lynn on Splitting, see the second post in this thread called, "The Black Hat: When the Narcissist's Black and White World Becomes Ours"


Last edited by LynnS, Jun/17/2010, 6:26 am


---
"The best way out is always through."--Robert Frost
Jun/17/2010, 6:16 am Link to this post  
 
LynnS Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 10-2008
Posts: 2215
Karma: 170 (+170/-0)
Re: Repost: Splitting: When the N's Black & White World Becomes Ours


Splitting: The Black Hat: When the Narcissist's Black & White World Becomes Ours

by Lynn

I castigated him. I referred to him as Satan's spawn; an alien; a monster; and a lot of other derogatory terms. I later realized that in doing so, I was doing to him exactly what he inevitably did to everyone in his life. I was thinking about him in black and white terms. I was engaging in splitting.


I think it's safe to say that splitting occurs all the time in the Narcissist's world. It's present in the Idealization the N engages in, and also in the subsequent, inevitable Devaluation. That one turned my head all the way around. How could I be terrific and suddenly be the bain of his existence? How did it go from "You're Great" to "I Hate" in what seemed like a split second?

Idealization and Devaluation
 
The tendency to cast women initially as the Good Mother and then as the Bad Mother at some point in the relationship is a classic example of splitting. The N goes around looking for the idealized 'good mother'. I shall raise my hand. I volunteered for that duty in a lot of ways. Then I became her antithesis, the Bad Mother who would not give the whiNy N what he wanted and deserved.

In hindsight, I can see now that while we all split things into 'good' and 'bad' in times of stress as a defense mechanism, the N lives in this world permanently and pathologically. It's black and white, idealized and devalued, good and bad, and people all fit into one category or another. If you're not on 'his page', you're bad. There is no room for a person to possess both good and bad qualities, do both good and bad things, or have weaknesses and strengths simultaneously. Once we become 'bad' in the N's mind, we're cast out. This is the mentality we are exposed to through the N. It is split, right down the middle and he makes the rules as to who fits in which half depending on how well people meet his needs. This is, I think, because the N cannot embrace his own weaknesses. That would threaten his self-image. Any weaknesses and the associated shame for having them is summarily dumped on the nearest target as 'theirs'. This blame and shame dumping helps the N restore his image to 'Good'.

When The Target Splits

Our reaction coming out of the relationship may contain some of the same kind of thinking initially in reaction to having that world view imposed upon us by the NPD'er for any period of time. This seems to be common among targets, so I will talk about this from 'our' perspective.
 
I think splitting is usually a neurotic, temporary defense as opposed to a pathological one if a split occurs on the part of a target. There are exceptions, of course, such as is the case with someone with a personality disorder of their own, most notably Borderline Personality Disorder since Borderlines also engage in Splitting as a defense consistently. However, most of us have likely not 'split' the world like that prior to encountering the N, but suddenly we're doing the very same thing.


Out of self-preservation, in a world where we suddenly become the 'bad object' in the eyes of the N, we may first adopt that as the truth, trying to make sense of it all, trying to take the blame. Then later we might counter that notion by going in the opposite direction by demonizing the N. In some cases the order of those reactions may be reversed, but whatever the order, we react in extremes. For me initially, I was angry, but deep down I felt to blame for his rage and that I was the cause, and 'bad', just as the N would have had me believe. Then, I rebelled at that notion out of a need to reassert that I am not 'all bad' after all and I had to find out what was so very, very wrong with him.
 
The Narcissist is insistent that there is a white hat and a black hat, so it's my thought that in response, we choose a hat. His view is extreme, so our reaction is extreme. We question whether we are really that bad and start thinking we are. It is us? The reaction then turns to its polar opposite when we start to fight for our emotional lives, at least it did for me: if there was a 'white hat' here, it was mine. He then, owned the black one.
 
When this happens, we, too, have split. He gave us a steady diet of that notion really. For the sake of self-preservation, when we are shattered, I think it's a healthy one to adopt. Seeing the N as 'bad', allows us to reject the notion that we are bad. Instead we focus on his disorder, his flaws. He's bad. Not us.
 
In the process of a healthy recovery, I believe this is quite normal. It gets us through the tough times and the shattering. The period of time we need to maintain a split notion of good and bad is ours individually. During this period, we are angry. Very angry. Somewhere along the way, though, if things get back to balance, we start understanding that nothing in the world is that split. It's not easy to get there, though.

The Process
 
It was a three part process for me, the parts of which I have moved in and out of over time.
 
I Started:
 
A) Taking all the blame for the demise of the N relationship, which at least I tried to do in the beginning. That was clearly what he wanted me to do and I couldn't believe anybody would be that mean or vindictive without a [sign in to see URL]. the reason must be me
 
Then:
 
B) I blamed HIM for every bad feeling I ever had which I did for months once I figured out he was disordered. At this stage, I had a very hard time recognizing and accepting my own flaws. I was very, very hard on myself for being human. I had to see myself as 'good' or it meant that I was 'bad', just as the N wanted me to believe. Yeah, kinda narcie.
 
I Arrived At:
 
C) The place somewhere in between where I was able to simply accept that he was who he was and that I was not perfect, either, but that my weaknesses were OK and did not make me 'all bad' any more than my strengths and heart made me 'all good' in comparison to him. I separated my self-concept from him and his world view. At least I could embrace both strength and weakness as acceptable because I wasn't disordered and also recognized that sadly, this was something he would and could never do. (continued in Post 3)



---
"The best way out is always through."--Robert Frost
Jun/17/2010, 6:16 am Link to this post  
 
LynnS Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 10-2008
Posts: 2215
Karma: 170 (+170/-0)
Re: Repost: Splitting: When the N's Black & White World Becomes Ours


The Black Hat (cont.)

The Aftermath
 
I still work to not own what was not mine to own (his disgruntlement and dissatisfaction, or these days, other people's occasionally) and yet own what is mine to own. I own my temporary yet narcissisitic reactions which still occasionally rear their head,. I own my unhealthy defenses, my imperfections, my weakness, my inconsiderate actions, and ground myself in [sign in to see URL] is never black and white. I am flawed, I'm not perfect, and I am not all bad because of it. I also own that I'm strong and capable and empathetic but I'm not all good because of it. And the Narcissist? He's flawed, he's imperfect, but he can't accept that in himself, so he blames everybody else and pronounces himself perfect; as a result, any good qualities he might possibly possess are overshadowed by the insistence that he is all good. That's how he copes. I don't. We are different. He owns the black and white world. That's his coping mechanism, and I don't use it anymore if I can help it, though I'm not always successful in that resolution. People are not usually ALL of anything. When I vent once in awhile, as I did in The Alien poem, you might think I'm contradicting that belief. I'm not nor is any target who castigates the N initially, in my opinion. It's a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.
 
When we are shattered horribly by one who insists it's all somebody else's fault; some 'bad' person is to blame; that we are never enough, and things are never right; that everything is polar; it's very hard to come back to center again. The extreme thinking creeps into our psyche. In addition, I believe those defense mechanisms we employ during the shattering do come back to haunt us sometimes,especially in times of stress. Eventually, if it is not our own world view to begin with, we do come back to center.

Triggers
 
Sometimes in the trials we encounter in life we get caught up in that splitting again. Something someone does reminds us of how the NPD'er reacted and even if it's not an N, we react as if it were. Confrontation may feel threatening due to the extremes involved in confrontations with the narcissist. We trigger. When we react to them we feel 'blame', and we go to that old world where somebody was solely to blame, and to feel anything even close to 'blame' seems like we're again being made into 'the bad guy'once again. I have thought a lot about this reaction and here is what I have come to in assessing this tendency. I think that if we haven't yet released the hold of the N; if we have not let go of the anger that keeps us attached to that N; if we do not realize that our anger is still giving him power over us, even in his absence; then somebody who may not deserve it, through being flawed, making a mistake, or being a little selfish in our eyes steps in to give that anger a voice in the N's absence. We react to that person as if he or she were the N.
 
We always can find that person who 'reminds us' and reignites the anger. People mess up and all do selfish things once in awhile or do things we think of or perceive as selfish or unempathetic. Normal people sometimes do bad things. We may perceive things as 'bad' which aren't intended that way. We all even do narcissistic things or reject things that we want to see as narcissistic on the part of others to avoid feeling our own blame or shame. That doesn't always make them 'an N', nor us.
 
I think after awhile, we learn to not always immediately jump to "if you 'did this' and 'made me feel this way', you're bad, you're an N, I'm angry, and that is that". If we have learned to discern appropriately, that reaction is less likely over time. However, reacting like that, is in a very real sense, splitting. It's reinventing the N experience perhaps. I think that though it's hard in times of conflict to not see things as 'the white hat" vs "the black hat", eventually we stop reacting that way so consistently. Whether this person we are in conflict with is an N or not becomes less the issue. We do not have to immediately split the world like the N does into categories of good and bad people at the first sign of discomfort in order to survive. Discomfort happens as a result of human interaction, and 'bad' isn't really the issue. The issue is knowing what is good for us.
 
Embracing weakness and flaw existing simultaneously with strength is something an N cannot do; but we can. That's where center is, that's reality. Most of the world is made up of rather colorful people, not people who are all one shade and though the world is not a kind place always, I don't think that there's a split-thinker or an invalidator or a Narcissist hiding under every bush. I tend to believe in the possibility that someone is simply in a defense mode which is not pathological rather than believe that everyone who does something that makes me uncomfortable is an N. That's usually about me and my triggers more times than not. Or maybe they are being selfish. (As if I'm not that way myself occasionally). We can learn to embrace each other in all our weakness, humanity, and flaws, as well as all our strength and compassion, and for everything in between.

The Question of Evil
 
Do I think the N is Bad? That is probably a question on your minds at the moment. Aren't there 'bad people'? Isn't there evil? The short answer is, Yes, I do think there is evil. Even so, regardless of that belief, I have to admit that the N did a few good things in his life, so he's not entirely without purpose. Yeah, it pains me to say that a little since I'm not a saint, but I have to concede, he did. Even if he had not, it isn't really the thing I worry about. I don't have to see him as All Bad to be safe or to know that his presence in my life is not healthy for me, and it isn't. I've done my share of demonizing him over time to get that 'all bad' poison out of my own system and yes, it did serve a purpose for a time and sometimes it still does. Today, though, I don't need to do it day in and day out or be hypervigilant and on the lookout for 'bad people'. I don't necessarily want to surround myself with people whose actions are destructive, but that isn't because 'I'm good" and I only should associate with 'good people'.
 
I'm as imperfect and flawed as you can get. However, I don't deserve to be treated like that's all there is to me. I'm also strong and capable and I don't expect to be considered special because of it either. I'm also a lot of things in between.

So, what it comes down to for me is not about being able to recognize 'bad people", but rather to be able to recognize people who do split the world like that, consistently and pathologically; to be able to discern and to know when to walk away and when to react; and most importantly, to trust that I do have the judgment to know what is safe and good for me and who is not likely to fit into that picture. All that's left is to have the courage and compassion for myself to act upon that knowledge. That's where safety is to be found. It lies in my own hands.


---
"The best way out is always through."--Robert Frost
Jun/17/2010, 6:17 am Link to this post  
 
msnala Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Registered user
Global user

Registered: 05-2010
Posts: 1073
Karma: 8 (+8/-0)
Re: Repost: Splitting: When the N's Black & White World Becomes Ours


N always did tell me that there is no in-between,that everything is either - or,that's it,end of subject. Now I understand where that came from.

Thank you,Lynn,for posting this. emoticon

---
"Being defeated is often a temporary condition.Giving up is what makes it permanent."-Marilyn vos Savant

"When you know yourself,you are empowered.When you accept yourself,you are invincible."-Tina Lifford
Jun/17/2010, 6:24 am Link to this post  
 
Had Enough9 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Head Administrator
Global user

Registered: 10-2008
Posts: 10494
Karma: 484 (+484/-0)
Re: Repost: Splitting: When the N's Black & White World Becomes Ours


bump
Jul/7/2010, 12:12 pm Link to this post  
 
bestgrlever Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Registered user
Global user

Registered: 11-2008
Posts: 347
Karma: 10 (+10/-0)
Re: Repost: Splitting: When the N's Black & White World Becomes Ours


Thank you Lynn, this could not have come at a better for me.

I've made a couple of major life decisions in recent weeks, and endured a few blows to my ego and sense of self at the same [sign in to see URL] my reaction to this upheaval has been to careen back and forth emotionally and look frantically around for someone/something to "blame" for my insecurity and feelings of uncertainty. I've been picking fights with friends, pushing men away/cutting them off completely, and feeling generally terrible about myself. I feel like an N.

This post really gives me some insight into how I've been treating myself and other people - I don't think I am a pathological "splitter," but I learned from an early age that I'm supposed to be perfect, and everyone else is supposed to be perfect, and when someone falls short of [sign in to see URL] potentially react in more than one inappropriate way.

Post-N I have experienced several different types of triggers - when I sense that someone is lying to me, or hiding something from me, I flip out. When someone appears to be making selfish decisions and ignoring my needs, I flip out. When someone imposes their will on me in what I feel is an invasive/demanding way, I flip out.

This gives me hope that by being aware of this stuff, I can move past it, get back to my center, and hopefully even define and become comfortable with a kinder, more forgiving me.
Jul/7/2010, 2:06 pm Link to this post  
 
Colombina Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Registered user
Global user

Registered: 03-2010
Posts: 1992
Karma: 79 (+79/-0)
Re: Repost: Splitting: When the N's Black & White World Becomes Ours


Thank you Lynn for re-posting it. I loved your poem! I know it is a venting poem, but I just loved it.

I was running tonight and was thinking that I am not yet detached from N. Sometimes it feels like I am free, but it doesn't stay. In the guts of my guts I KNOW, I still hesitate. I am scared to make this final plunge. I procrastinate. I do not know how it feels when you take this plunge, but I know I am not there yet. It is like with quitting smoking. I wanted to, and I even did it for short periods of time, month or two, but then would return back to my addiction. And then one day I just knew "it has to be done now". I just felt that the only true moment is now. I am trying to get this feeling again about N and I am not catching it. But I know I will. For the time being I continue changing hats, even introducing other colors (for the sake of exercise) but deep inside I know - while it is all about hats and color, it is not about me and life. It is about hats and color.

Thank you for all your guidance!
Col



---
"Every journey has a secret destination of which the traveler is unaware". Martin Burber

I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand. Proverb
Jul/7/2010, 8:43 pm Link to this post  
 
LynnS Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 10-2008
Posts: 2215
Karma: 170 (+170/-0)
Re: Repost: Splitting: When the N's Black & White World Becomes Ours


Bump

---
"The best way out is always through."--Robert Frost
Nov/30/2010, 10:38 am Link to this post  
 
Affectionatedragon Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Banned user
Global user

Registered: 11-2008
Posts: 4540
Karma: 71 (+71/-0)
Re: Repost: Splitting: When the N's Black & White World Becomes Ours


I would say that I'm at a point where I'm 99% indifferent.
However I still see N as wearing the proverbial black hat. I think it's going to be permanently stuck on his fat head, just to keep me from that detest-full state of mind of "it wasn't that bad."

---
"Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity." Mark Twain
Dec/28/2010, 4:47 pm Link to this post  
 
FelixQ Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Registered user
Global user

Registered: 12-2008
Posts: 1085
Karma: 22 (+22/-0)
Re: Repost: Splitting: When the N's Black & White World Becomes Ours


Thank you for "bumping".

Felix

---
Don't let the screen name fool you, I'm a woman! :-)
Dec/28/2010, 9:54 pm Link to this post  
 
Page:  1  2  3 





You are not logged in (login)
http://bnarcissisticabuserecovery.runboard.com/t24062