“It’s like you’re two persons; One moment you can be this angry, resentful person, a bit later, you’re this sweet person; the one I fell in love with”.
“I love you when you’re the lovely, caring girl that you can be…..Send my regards to the gentle, other version of you”.
What’s going on here? Why is the narcissist talking about you this way; as if they perceive you to be two different people? To understand this, we must first dive deep into who the narcissist is.
The Real Self – The False Self
As many of you know, the narcissist has a False Self, that is, the image, the mask. This is an actor. A surface. A charming/successful/rich/athlete/family man, or whatever he wants his image to show people. The narcissist believes his False Self so much, that he has little to no knowledge about his Real Self. According to many articles I’ve read, the Real Self seems to have been “shrunk”, some time in the narcissist’s childhood. You see, a “Real Self”, doesn’t just include happy-go-lucky feelings. There is also sadness, imperfections, anger, despair, loneliness and a range of darker feelings, from light grey to the completely blacked out cellar room with no windows, not a glimpse of light. All of this, a person usually experiences. Some people have more light within them, others more darkness. But we all try to be a “whole person”, with all nuances, as best we can. Almost all people. The narcissist is not included in this. He only wants to see light and bright colors projected on to the screen of his Self. The Real Self, with all of its ugly or scary emotions, is thus repressed, deep down into the subconscious.
Using You as A Canvas
But, can a person really live like this? No negative emotions, all cheerful, live in technicolor, every day? Of course not. Life does contain hard and deep emotions, whether we like it or not. We can run from it all we want, chances are it will catch up to us. But the narcissist, what does he do? He keeps on running…
I like to think of it this way: The narcissist had no proper training when it comes to processing his own emotions. (I work with abused children, so this following bit, is my “expertise”) : When you’re a child, you need the following aspects, emotionally: A healthy adult who “mirrors”; confirms and sees you for who you really are. The adult should also give you credit for the good behavior, and a healthy, constructive criticism to less desirable behavior.
But, in lots of literature, I find that: a narcissist, who was either excessively “spoiled”, and received no kind of limits for their behaviors, or on the opposite side of the range; was severely neglected/abused, did not receive such healthy mirroring from adults. This is why it’s not surprising that narcissists have no real self image, and no way of handling their own (negative) emotions. The only way they know, is to repress negative emotions, in an extreme way. There was no room in their childhood for real emotions. Perhaps their parent was a narcissist, or had other disorders.
So what does the narcissist do with all these repressed emotions? Obviously, they can not remain buried. Emotions have a way of not accepting that and the subconscious will find a way to release these emotions, even if the conscious mind of the narcissist fights that, tooth and nail. The narcissist will use you, instead. They may not even be aware of this. But I believe they’re using you as their canvas.
Remember all those shades I talked about previously? All from light grey; perhaps a slight that made them feel shame, to the darkest cellar black; when someone criticizes them harshly. All these emotions; sadness, rage, frustration, regrets, shame, all of it. They splash it onto you, their canvas.
Before, on the canvas of your soul, there were colors of Red; deep passion, Pink; innocent joy, Bright Yellow; your most cheerful, sunny self, Ocean Blue; your creative, dreamy self… All these thousands of shades that were You; the narcissist splashes over all of them, with all the dark colors from their subconscious.
This way, the canvas of their soul remains clear, wouldn’t you agree? Most likely, when this has happened, you can see Narc sporting a rather white/neutral color: “Why are you so upset all the time, I don’t get it.. Me, I like to just be happy”, the narcissist may say.
“Well of course, you like to be happy, you have projected all your darkness onto me!” You may think… or you may not think that at all, cause this is very hard to see, when you’re in the middle of it. I only saw this myself, towards the end. The way the narcissist “splashes” his dark emotions all over you, to get rid of them, is of course by abusive behaviors; gaslighting, cheating, lies, broken promises, silent treatments, etc. All of this is designed to make you feel despair. So that the narcissist gets an outlet for these emotions, since he can not feel them himself. Not only does the narcissist need to get rid of the emotions, he needs to experience them, live them vicariously, through you!
I remember one time in particular, I said to the narcissist: “It seems almost like you enjoy seeing me suffer, like you need it… ” He denied this, of course. But when I proceeded to say, that I felt the worst I’d ever felt in my life, he asked curiously, almost with a hint of expectation in the tone of his voice: “Do you think you may be depressed?”
The Conclusion: The Two of “You”
So, if you never had a disorder/mental illness where you had a split personality before, you do not have it now, either, “just because the narcissist says so”. The fact is, the narcissist manufactures all of this. By behaving in unacceptable ways, breaking you down, until you crack, and you start behaving like “a mad person” sometimes. And that’s your soul resisting their abuse, is all. The abuse is: their stealing of the canvas of your soul, and painting it all over with dark colors. They will submit you to appalling behaviors, that are bound to cause you to act out in grief, even rage. And then they will blame you for it, and talk about how they can not handle “your dark side”. You can also think of this as the psychological term “Projection”, if you will.
The reasons that you’re sometimes still behaving like “that sweet person”, can be several; the narcissist may have subjected you to a 2 weeks silent treatment, so the first day back in their grace, you’re initally “a sweet person”, out of fear of losing them again. Later, the anger about their treatment of you, may resurface, naturally. Another reason is that you used to be “that sweet person”, a lot of the time. (Remember, all your shades; all the bright/happy colors you had, before…)
You are not two persons. The narcissist is! The narcissist can’t bring together their False Self and Real Self into a complete person. That is why they project all their darkness onto you, forcing you to “live it, for them”, and perhaps later may accuse you of being “two persons”. Do not accept this. Nobody can tell you who you are, except you.