Thank you so much for sharing. There are so many of us who have been victims of this sort of abuse at the hands of a loved one, and many people don’t seem to take it seriously or gaslight us when we try to bring it up.
I too am a survivor of narcissistic abuse. My mother is a (passive-aggressive, covert) narcissist. She ticks all the boxes: invalidation, shame and fault finding, triangulation and isolation, unhealthy comparisons (pitting siblings against one another to the point of estrangement), discrediting valid feelings and reactions, competition with daughters, “just joking” when making a point to embarrass her children or accusing them of being “too sensitive” when confronted. Jekyll and Hyde (everyone outside our home thinking she was awesome, but behind closed doors we were expected to normalize the dysfunction), forcing her daughters to walk on eggshells, gaslighting, smear campaigns, grooming enablers/flying monkeys, a complete disregard for personal boundaries, and of course, she was never ever wrong (even though she was the worst kind of manipulative, victim-shaming bully). She never took responsibility for anything that was her fault and lashed out at anyone who tried to make her. She liked to control the narrative of conversations, outright instructing us not to talk to one another about certain topics. She liked to say, “Let’s just not tell [insert person]. I’ll (she) talk to them.” This allowed her to plant seeds of doubt and lies for her future smear campaigns. She also faked an illness for decades and used it as a means to emotionally and financially abuse the people around her. This sickly old lady victim facade often worked well for her.
She liked to create avoidable drama and messes that were usually expensive and time-consuming and put extraordinary expectations and expenses onto certain children. Her daughters were expected to do more while she and her minions treated us worse and worse. By the end, when I finally cut her off, her favorite things to say to me were, “Your brothers are just easier to love.” Or “I just don’t understand why you can’t let it go.” Let go of decades of abuse. As to imply she wasn’t that bad. Followed up with a few guilt-trips and accusations that I deserved the treatment she dolled out. Wow. She also groomed my youngest brother to be her most devout and abusive flying monkey. If anyone crossed her, she would cough up a few tears (pretending to be the victim in the situation and accuse the other person of being a bully) and he would storm into the situation and threaten anyone who cared to question mommy dearest.
In comparison, my ex-husband was “narc-light.” Many of the same tendencies you detailed here about your own. Going from love-bombing to cold indifference for no reason whatsoever. I didn’t even realize what he was until after I’d been out of the relationship for a while.