“The mind in conflict with itself is dangerous to itself, and of course, by extension, to everyone else in all dimensions. Therefore, indeed, beloved friends, beware of those that come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Beware of the viciousness of the ego within your own mind.” (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Lesson 22, Page 266)
Ah, those sheep. They are so handsome, so sexy, or even when they are not, there is something about their character that draws you in like Little Red Riding Hood thinking it is Grandma. In psychotherapy, we talk about countertransference and transference issues. This is when a characteristic of the other person, makes us think of someone else and we transfer those thoughts onto that person. For example, Little Red Riding Hood is so focused on her ego telling her “This is Grandma’s house, so the person answering the door MUST be Grandma.” Her gut feelings told her that she had “Big Eyes,” today and “Big Ears,” and “Big Hands,” but little red’s ego kept insuring her, in compliance with the wolf, that he was in fact her Grandma.
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf
The pathological liar is a covert narcissist, an addict, a psychopath, a sociopath, a gaslighter, or you could say a spin doctor. No matter what you attribute it to, if you are listening to someone who is trying to make you believe something, that you know in your heart to be untrue, this person has prepared their case very well. You may love them, you may have given birth to them, they may be your parent or grandparent, nonetheless, you must trust your soul. Learn from this and grow.
Phantom Thread is a 2017 movie directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis as the Controlling Narcissist (Reynolds), Vicky Krieps as the Victim in his trauma bond (Alma) and Lesley Manville as his sister, and dominant female ally (Cyril). The film is well-done in many respects, showing the trauma bond that is created between perpetrator and victim. However, there are some key moments where I felt that Daniel and Vicky came out of character. One scene was him giggling with her in the bathroom, with bowl on his lap and asking her to kiss him. It didn’t feel real to me. Another scene was when she was telling him about the egg dish and again there seemed to be an odd moment between the actors. I was also confused about how the director brought us into the movie. Was there another woman at the beginning of the film that was his girlfriend (I thought his wife, due to the time period) or was this Vicky’s character and we are later going back in time when he meets her in the next scene? We also hear Alma talking to some guy that we will later learn is Reynolds doctor. It was confusing because we see her (the girlfriend) for a brief moment, get to know the character Reynolds, his sister and then suddenly he is meeting his victim or next one, Alma and says he is not married. I already knew he was a controlling narcissist by now but not sure about the women.
I met with a woman, I will name “Annika,” (a favorite pseudonym of mine), who told me some details about her life story with men. She gave me permission to write about her story here. I am going to write this in “first person,” as if it were a memoir. She is not a client and, I say this, so if my clients are reading this, they won’t think it is their story. I am breaking this up into different parts. I start with this aspect of her journey: coming back from being in a trauma bond after the break-up with a covert narcissist.