“MY HUSBAND JOINED A CULT AND TRIED TO SACRIFISE US” Read the title on Priscilla Adipo’s story, aired on Ebru TV

Priscilla believes her husband hurt her for seven years, eventually abandoning her with her two kids for another woman because of a cult.

However, the story paints a picture that fits well with a narcissistic abusive marriage.

Putting in mind abuse is not restricted to physical violence. In fact when you see a person get physically violent with their victims, you can be sure other forms of abuse are already at play, the physical part of it is just the ultimate show of control and power. A crown to already existing abuse which could be emotional, mental/psychological, sexually, even financial.

 Now let’s objectively look at why I say this is a typical case of narcissistic abuse.

Red flags I picked out that are typical with relationships that end up abusive

  • The relationship was rushed. Now, you have to note that not every rushed relationship ends up abusive. It takes more than one thing to make it abusive. Like we will see in Priscilla’s story. But narcissistic abusers are known to rush intimacy and have their victims hooked early enough. Once they spot a potential victim, someone they know may be the least suspicious of their cunning and manipulative nature (I have previously talked about traits narcissistic abusers look for in their partner); they pounce and want to commit you down as soon as possible. Jack, Priscilla’s husband new this too well. Within two months they were married and had their first born within the first year of marriage.
  • Notice how jack spotted her in a Matatu, followed her to her home and professed his love for her and intentions to marry her on that same day he first day he met her. Now, who professes love to someone they barely know? A narcissistic abuser on a mission does. The sound of someone saying they love you and want to marry you sounds like sweet music to the ears and these are words sure to grab the attention of many women. This is something a narcissist knows and uses to their advantage very well. Given many victims of narcissistic abuse could be suffering from codependency or having low self-esteem issues, (I have talked about this before), these words grab their attention more than anything. They play on repeat in their heads that they are blinded to any other red flags that the narcissist could be putting out. I know this because I have been that woman before.
  • Charm and charisma that is almost surreal. Now, every woman wants a charming and charismatic man. Nothing wrong about it. However, the kind of charm and charisma a narcissist exudes in the initial stages of the relationship can be sure to make you confused at the same time flattered. They idealize you, creating an atmosphere of intense passion and adoration. While at it, they are slowly taking your mind off anyone else and bringing you closer to them. You find yourself thinking about them only, spending more time with them at the cost of spending time with other people that could be equally important, eventually, you find yourself isolated and your only cycle or confidants is your partner. Subconsciously, they have managed to isolate you from the rest of the world, which is a perfect strategy for them. Jack played the card of a charmer perfectly.

Traits of a narcissistic abuser that are portrayed by jack

  • Master manipulator. Narcissistic abusers will have you questioning your own sanity. They will distort your perception of reality and make you lose your identity and self-worth. They do this through their constant lies. Listening to Priscilla tell her story, Jack’s lies stand out so obviously. He managed to even make Priscilla believe he was the victim in the whole narrative. He lied about working on a pastor’s divorce case every time he was away while he was having an affair even planning to wed another woman.
  • They use your words against you. Narcissists listen out for words that they could use in future against you. For Jack, the fact that Priscilla mentioned her suspicions of him joining a cult was a perfect thing for him to use so he wasn’t blamed for his actions. Which worked perfectly to his advantage.
  • Lack of empathy and selfishness. This is typical of narcissists. Their actions against their partners show a lack of empathy and are pretty selfish. What best describes Jack’s actions other than un-empathic and selfish? He knew his actions were hurting his wife but continued. He couldn’t care less what his wife felt as long as his own needs and pleasures were met.
  • Coming up with little acts of kindness amidst the dominating emotional draining. Again, typical. To get their victims hooked while leaving them confused and doubting their sanity, narcissists throw in little acts of kindness that usually leave the victims wondering if this is abuse or not. For Jack, Priscilla tells how he could pay house rent and come home with food. For someone abused, it is hard to believe that a person that doesn’t love you could still be kind sometimes. But this for the narcissist has nothing to do with pleasing you; it has everything to do with making sure you are not going anywhere.
  • They rarely admit their mistakes. And rarely do they apologize. They will always blame it on you or someone/thing else. There is nowhere in Priscilla’s story we hear Jack owning up to his mistakes. When confronted, he quickly shifted the blame to an imaginary cult. He puts the blame on some woman at work for introducing him to the cult. He ends up as the victim in Priscilla’s eyes, which is the whole purpose, prompting her to stage war against imaginary things while the real cause of her pain is sitting next to her.
  • Narcissistic abusers are good at violating boundaries and breaking rules. They act in ways they know are unacceptable and violate their victim’s boundaries. They know you can’t take them having affairs but still go ahead and have affairs. They know lying is wrong but still do it. Something Jack did constantly throughout this marriage.
  • They are great actors. How they come up with and tell their lies, how they cry and make you feel sorry for them when they know you have found out about them and could something about it, how they play the perfect partner in public while they emotionally even physically torture you behind closed doors…they act the parts perfectly that it is almost impossible to read through their selfish intentions. This acting can’t be missed with Jack.

The cycle of narcissistic abuse that is obvious in Priscilla’s story

Just like any other form of abuse, narcissistic abuse comes in cycles. Narcissists engage in a familiar pattern of behavior that is meant to keep their victims in their claws. This cycle takes three stages; idealizing their victims, devaluing their victims and finally discarding them.

  • Idealizing. Here is where the narcissist puts you on a pedestal. This is the initial stages of the relationship. Like in Priscilla’s case, you literally become the envy of many. They love bomb you. Shower you with irresistible attention, praise you and how perfect you are. It is a whirlwind or hungry passion. They adore you. But this is just to have you in their control. They know by doing this they will make you trust them and open up to them, tearing down the walls that you may have previously had against love. This eventually makes it easier for them to manipulate you. This is something Jack did perfectly; managing to make Priscilla believe he truly loved her and could never hurt her out of his own will. This, like many such relationships, was not to last.
  • Devaluing. This is now when they reveal their true colors; who they are. The abuse starts. The emotional torture begins. They fast get bored with pretending. They already have you pinned down with marriage, pregnancy or a child, they know the last thing you will think of once you see who they are is leave. At this point the victim has no idea why the sudden change for the worse. They are confused. In the midst of all the devaluing there are little acts of kindness here and there. They take you to the edge and bring you back with these little acts of kindness making you perceive them as your savior other than your abuser. This will go on for as long as the abuser wishes.
  • Discarding. It gets to a point when the narcissist doesn’t see any more value in their victim and this is the time discarding happens. They may leave home, tell their victim they don’t want them anymore, or bring other partners and relationships in the picture while completely ignoring their spouse. Something Priscilla’s story paints perfectly. They leave you for someone else. Now, it is important to note not every narcissist leaves completely. Many will have someone else, be rarely home, make you the loneliest married person but still maintain the status of “married” to you. So, you are married for others to see but the marriage is more or less dead within. Let’s also not forget how narcissistic abusers will leave and come back multiple times. We call it hovering. They will leave but when they feel like coming back will work to their benefit they come back only to disappear whenever they feel there is nothing more you are offering their selfish intentions. It becomes a very confusing and exhausting journey for the victims. As we all know, Priscilla’s story ends in total abandonment of her and her kids. She was discarded at a point when she needed him most, at the time her mother died.

Now,

One very unfortunate thing is how the story ends with Priscilla still believing this man hurt her because of a cult. You can hear her blame other women, blame the cult, blame the devil but barely her husband who is the one that acted out all the hurt against her.

Even though everything points to a narcissist just playing his cards well against his victim, Priscilla still thinks this is the work of a cult and the devil. Which realistically translates as denial of one’s own reality. I know the imagination of her man hurting her out of NO will of his own is a little comforting than the reality of knowing he hurt her because he was just selfish and abusive.

Which brings us to the question, are Christians using religion and faith to numb pain while escaping reality?
Are we at a point where the dictum “religion is the opium of the masses” is starting to make sense more than ever?

Do we realize just how religion has been used to elongate periods of pain more than alleviate it?

BY JACKIE WANGWE

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Categories: Psychology

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