Are Past Traumas Impacting Your Present? Discover How Narcissists Isolate and Divide

Past traumas often cast a long shadow, influencing our thoughts, behaviors, and relationships. The profound impact of these traumas can be particularly evident when we find ourselves entangled in relationships with narcissists. Thais Gibson, the founder of The Personal Development School, has extensively explored the insidious tactics used by narcissists to isolate and divide their victims. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the strategies narcissists employ, the reasons behind their actions, and how to break free from their grip. She collected this outstanding information due to her Integrated Attachment TheoryTM known as IAT, a modern version of the Attachment Theory developed by British scientists Bowlby and Ainsworth in the 1960s. Combining it with her Ph.D., 13 certifications, and training and research, Thais’ IAT is perfect for healing in today’s society. 

The Path of Narcissistic Relationships

Narcissistic relationships tend to follow a well-worn trajectory. Gibson’s work has shed light on how these relationships often begin with what is known as “love bombing.” At the outset, narcissists shower their targets with affection, attention, and adoration. They make you feel like the most cherished person in the world, winning your trust and devotion.

However, beneath this façade of affection lies a sinister motive. Narcissists are master manipulators, and their ultimate aim is to foster dependency and reliance in their victims. They want you to become as dependent on them as possible, whether financially, mentally, or emotionally.

The Isolation and Division Tactic

Once a narcissist feels they have you under their control, they begin to employ a destructive tactic — isolating and dividing you from your support network. This tactic aims to strip away your sense of identity and independence, making you increasingly reliant on the narcissist. Here are some key tactics they employ:

  • Stripping Away Your Identity: Narcissists work to erode your sense of self by taking away the things that matter most to you. This could manifest as poisoning your relationships with family members, close friends, or colleagues. They may cast doubt on your connections, convincing you that those you care about are not good for you. In doing so, they aim to alienate you from meaningful relationships outside the narcissistic dynamic.
  • Planting Seeds of Doubt: The isolation and division tactic involves a consistent pattern of planting seeds of doubt. They may repeatedly emphasize what others are doing wrong or why certain aspects of your life, such as your job or your friendships, are inadequate. Over time, this repetition and emotional manipulation can lead you to question and eventually adopt their distorted perspective.
  • Invading Your Thoughts: Narcissists aim to dominate your thoughts and attention. They want to ensure that you are constantly preoccupied with them, leaving little room in your life for anything or anyone else. You may find yourself walking on eggshells, always trying to please the narcissist and avoid their wrath.

Creating Dependency Through Intermittent Reinforcement

To make matters more complex, narcissists employ intermittent reinforcement, a psychological technique akin to what keeps gamblers hooked to slot machines. In the context of a narcissistic relationship, intermittent reinforcement refers to the cycle of alternating between positive and negative behaviors.

At the outset of the relationship, you experience the “love bombing” phase, characterized by deep connection and affection. However, the narcissist later withdraws these positive behaviors, leaving you craving that initial connection. This cycle is highly addictive because it triggers dopamine and oxytocin responses in your brain, creating a profound emotional dependency on the narcissist.

Recognizing the Red Flags and Healing

To break free from the grip of a narcissistic relationship, it is crucial to recognize the red flags and embark on the journey of healing. Gibson’s insights offer a roadmap to recovery:

  1. Awareness: The first step towards healing is awareness. Recognize that you may be in a state of narcissistic abuse, which often involves a relentless pursuit of validation and a loss of your sense of self. Awareness allows you to see through the manipulative tactics and understand the nature of the relationship.
  2. Regain Independence and Identity: Reclaiming your sense of independence and identity is paramount. Reflect on what aspects of your life have been taken away or sacrificed in the relationship. It’s essential to rebuild these aspects, whether it’s your career, financial control, personal interests, or emotional well-being. Rediscovering who you are is a vital step toward healing.
  3. Rebuild Your Support Network: Narcissists thrive on isolating their victims. Reconnect with family members, close friends, and supportive colleagues. Rebuilding a sense of community and fostering healthy relationships is essential for your recovery. Seek feedback from people you trust and respect to gain a more balanced perspective.
  4. Reprogram Core Wounds: Narcissistic relationships often leave deep emotional scars, such as feelings of inadequacy and an inability to set boundaries. Address these core wounds by seeking healing modalities and support. Consider engaging in courses or programs that focus on reprogramming and healing from narcissistic abuse.

In conclusion, past traumas can significantly impact your present, especially when entangled in narcissistic relationships. Thais Gibson’s insights from The Personal Development School shed light on the tactics narcissists use to isolate and divide their victims.

By recognizing these tactics, regaining independence and identity, rebuilding your support network, and reprogramming core wounds, you can break free from the grip of narcissistic abuse and embark on a journey of healing and self-discovery. Remember, healing is possible, and with the right guidance, you can reclaim your life and build healthier relationships