“The Party” Depiction of a Narc encounter

You’ve been invited to a party, but you realize on the day you’re pretty sure the party is happening that you’re not sure what kind of party it is or what time you should arrive. Well, you’re smart and you’ll give it your best shot. So you dress in a kind of neutral casual-dressy style and show up at seven.


As you come up the walk, you can hear the sounds of a party: music, laughter and you think, “This is going to be a great party.” When you come up the stairs you can smell aromas coming from the house and again you say to yourself, “This is going to be a great party.”


You ring the bell and your host emerges wearing a bemused, enigmatic smile… and a tuxedo


“You’re late,” he says. “I’m sorry. You didn’t tell me what time the party was.” “I thought you would figure it out” he says. “Well I am here now,” you say . Your host looks you up and down. “That may be true, but you are not dressed properly.” You look down at your elegant, if casual, clothing and then at his black-tie formal wear. “Yes, that’s true. But I’m not that far from home. I can just go and change quickly and be right back.”


You desperately think about what’s in your closet that would fit with formal wear and how long it will take to press it. You add up the travel time, wonder what you’ll have to do to your hair to look right, how to change your make-up…. after all this still seems like it’ll be a great party……Your host shakes his head. “But then you’ll be really late.” Dinner will be over and I was COUNTING on you to sit right beside me at the head table.”


Your heart sinks. Your one chance and you blew it! Inside your head, you say several unflattering things about yourself, your abilities, your intelligence, and your potential, but out loud you declare, “Honest, I’ll be back in 45 minutes. I’ll be perfect. Can’t you wait? You cannot imagine how you’ll be back, but you want so badly to be the guest of honor.


Your host shakes his head. “Well, I don’t know. But what are you planning to bring to contribute to the dinner? I’ve told you how much I like those special, individual nineteen-layer cakes you bake. I thought you’d know to bring one for every guest.”


Behind him you can still hear the laughter and the music; you can still smell the exotic foods, and you can still see the champagne in his glass. And you still think it’s the greatest party ever and you still want to be the guest of honor.


That is what an emotionally unavailable relationship feels like. You’re just never quite good enough to get admitted to the party. You get seduced by the clear, often indirect and unspoken, message that something is just a little wrong. If you can fix that, the implied promise goes, you’ll be the guest of honor and win the door prize: love…


But when you “fix” what was “wrong” the first time, something else is a little “wrong.” And when you fix that, something else will appear.


Your host has no intention of making you or anyone the guest of honor. Your host also has no ability to make you the guest of honor – or even to open the door to let you in. Your host is suffering from emotional unavailability. This is the inability of a person to reach out and make a heart connection with another person.


What is so unsettling and painful is that you end up with the clear belief that this somehow your fault and that it’s your responsibility to fix it by being perfect. If it isn’t fixed, you’re not perfect enough.


You did not break it, you don’t have to fix it.


You say to yourself that you would never get caught in a situation like that, it seems obvious… until – you are in the middle of it….. it doesn’t start out with unreasonable demands of perfection. If it did, you’d walk away after the first five minutes. We all get sucked into emotionally unavailable situations because the process is subtle and progressive.The demands move a little at a time, inching you away from your power base, shifting control of the situation to the emotionally unavailable person. This person doesn’t want love as much as he or she wants CONTROL. Emotions are unsafe; control gives the illusion of safety.

It is perfectly reasonable to expect an emotional connection with someone with whom you are in a relationship. We expect police officers to enforce the laws, teachers to teach, etc.. These expectations put us into a particular mind-set when we’re around those people.

Over time you expect a relationship to grow and deepen. When your partner turns out not to be making an emotional connection, it causes trauma; that is why these relationships are so painful. The trauma then does further damage as it undermines your expectations about yourself and YOUR abilities to make connections. As illogical as that may seem, it’s human nature to look for the flaws in ourselves when things don’t go as we expect.

We end up being traumatized twice in these relationships; once by the loss and abandonment and again by the loss of our own confidence in ourselves. That is why the end of these relationships can be so much more painful than the end of a fully realized relationship.. We ruminate about what we could have done differently to make it work….”

This is the way disorientation works. And the gradual erosion of all we understand and know by messing with our normal expectations and reality, by subtly shifting the goalposts. Why, in the end, we can no longer trust ourselves. Our psyches were gradually shaped to respond in a certain hostage-like manner, and our cell kept getting smaller and smaller. ~Invicta

Excerpted from “EMOTIONAL UNAVAILABILITY” by Bryn C. Collins

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