Muddy water

They muddy the water, to make it seem deep. Friedrich Nietzsche

Being in a relationship with a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is never what it seems. What you see, is rarely what you get. From the onset of the relationship, they will act aloof and their actions will always be surrounded by an aura of mystery, so you are never quite sure what they are up to. They may appear deep but in reality there is no essence to them. They are shallow and can only engage in superficial relationships. Everything they say or do has no depth. It is all about smoke and mirrors.

I dived into my relationship with him thinking that I had found my soulmate and that we had a profound connection, but I ended up smashing my head on the rocks. The water is muddied, so you cannot see what lurks at the bottom. You enter it knowing of the  danger but you are willing to take the risk because it looks so tantalising and full of promises.

Narcissists constantly obfuscate reality, so it leaves you in a persistent state of confusion. Your mind is blurred and you become incapable of making rational decisions based on what you see or hear because the truth is permanently obscured. This leads you to experience what is known as cognitive dissonance, which is a feeling of tension that comes when you are confronted by two conflicting thoughts at the same time.

Cognitive dissonance is very damaging because as a result,  we alter our behaviour in order to reconcile the two conflicting thoughts in our mind. We end up doing things that we would never have thought we would ever do.  In my case it meant, accepting something as the truth when I could clearly see that it was untrue. Why did I do it? Probably because I wanted my head to stop spinning. I wanted to quieten my mind. I wanted to rest. I wanted to sleep. So it seemed easier to pretend to myself that whatever story he had told me was true. So even if I saw a text from his ex-girlfriend pop on his mobile phone screen, he would convince me that he was not in touch with her or he would concoct a very unlikely story to explain why she had texted him and I would “believe” him.  He was an expert at plausible deniability.

I recently finished reading a book by Zari Ballard: Stop Spinning, Start Breathing. She was in a highly toxic relationship with a narcissist for about 13 years, who put her through hell and back and had her doubting her own mind. She writes that “Victims are manipulated into uncertainty to the point of second-guessing even the cold, hard facts.” It is something that I also experienced many times and did not fully understand until after the relationship ended.

Zari’s book is full of practical tips and exercises on how to stop the constant whirlwind in our head and become more grounded. Zari also writes a blog about Narcissistic Partners and the Relationship Agenda, should you wish to get more information.

Do not get fooled by muddy water.


  1. What you say about narcissists appearing to be deep but having no essence to them is just so true. My ex pretended to be super-spiritual because he knew I operate on a spiritual level and was looking for someone like-minded to love and spend the rest of my days with. Before too long, he hated that part of me and lost of semblance of spiritual interest himself. Only at the end of my marriage did I realize that he was NEVER interested in such things and was the most superficial human being I’ve ever had the misfortune to know! Keep writing. This is great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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