If you think something is missing in your life, it is probably YOU. Robert Holden
I have been fairly unwell this past week with a chest infection and have been very tempted to contact him to ask for his support. Luckily, around the same time, a follower from Australia sent me an email and recommended that I write a list called “When You Miss Him” outlining all the reasons why I ended the relationship, in order to stay strong in my resolve to keep “No Contact”. This advice was accompanied by a link to a You Tube video made by Dana from Thrive after Abuse (see below, at the end of this post). I watched the video with a keen interest and started writing my list immediately after.
I decided that I would make it the subject of my next post. I began my list with “Things He Said” with the intention of continuing with “Things He Did”. However after I finished writing, I read through the list again and I thought that it did not fully express the sense of distress that I had experienced. The words sounded mild and innocuous. In my head, I could replay the scene and get the full impact, but how could people truly understand the effect that these words had had on me at the time?
It is said that communication is 7% verbal and 93% non-verbal – including tone of voice, volume, speed, gaze, gestures, facial expressions and proximity. This non-verbal aspect is what almost entirely represents the speaker’s message and intention. This is also what highly manipulative people use to confuse and control.
People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are notorious for never following up on their words. In linguistics terms, I would say that their semantics does not match their pragmatics especially when they are engaged in the process of devaluation. For example, when I was still in the idealisation stage and I asked him: “Do you love me?” he would answer: “Yes, of course I love you.” and that would make me feel happy and elated. However, those same words: “Yes, of course I love you.” in the devaluation stage had a completely different effect on me. They made me feel uneasy and confused. Why? They were the same words?
It is all down to non-verbal communication. Let me demonstrate:
1. “Yes, of course I love you.”
- Context: idealisation stage
- Tone of voice: soft and gentle
- Volume: low
- Speed: slow
- Gaze: deep and meaningful
- Gestures: one hand on my shoulder
- Facial expression: smile
- His Intention: to reassure me, make me feel happy in order to hook me
- Effect on listener (ie me): elation, happiness
2. “Yes, of course I love you.”
- Context: devaluation stage
- Tone of voice: annoyed and slightly abrupt
- Volume: high
- Speed: fast
- Gaze: dead fish eyes
- Gestures: shoulder shrug
- Facial expression: blank or frown
- His Intention: to “pretend” to reassure me, but mainly to shut me up so he can continue texting his ex or prospective girlfriends
- Effect on listener (ie me): confusion, cognitive dissonance
I have to admit that he had the unsurpassed gift of making kind and caring words sound like intimidation or threats, if he chose to. When I couldn’t sleep, I would sometimes ask him to say nice words to help me wind down. He would say: “Relax, you’ll be ok!” in such an irritated tone of voice, that I would become even more restless and was sure not to sleep – which might have been his intention all along as people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often use sleep deprivation as a way to control.
Below is my “When I Miss Him” list.
Context: devaluation, tone of voice: disdainful or exacerbated, volume: high, speed: fast, gaze: piercing, gestures: arms waving around, intention: devalue and unsettle, effect on listener (ie me): distress, anxiety, sadness
“When I Miss Him“
- “I’ve had a thousand women and not one was crazy like you.”
- “You’re anxious because you want to.”
- “You’ll never leave me because you’re too afraid to be alone.”
- “Maddy says when I have more money, I don’t need to date an older woman.”
- “If I go to prison, I’ll go because I killed you, not because I hit you.”
- “I swear to God, if YOU don’t change, I’m going to leave you.”
- “All my friends know you’re crazy.”
- “You don’t want to kill yourself, you just want my attention. You’re faking.”
- ” You’re not depressed. You’re just feeling sorry for yourself.”
- “Where is the Pascale I met?”
I don’t believe that I need to continue this list. I feel that I don’t miss him so much anymore….