Cognitive Dissonance-The Pain of Psychopathic and Narcissistic Abuse


Cognitive Dissonance-The Pain of Psychopathic and Narcissistic Abuse

Cognitive dissonance occurs when we hold two conflicting beliefs in our minds at the same time. This conflict causes feelings of tension. If you have been the victim of a narcissist or a psychopath then you know the sting of cognitive dissonance.

Narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths have the ability to confuse those of us who have been so wiling to trust them. Those of us with high empathy naturally trust others. This beautiful quality makes us targets for predators like psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists.

I want to thank Tricia from Seattle who wrote me and asked me to do a video on cognitive dissonance. She is a professional educator with a Masters degree who recently kicked a psychopath out of her life. She wanted to better understand her cognitive dissonance so she could be better understand how her mind rationalizes information she finds conflicting. She is tired of attracting narcissists and psychopaths into her life.

Those of us who are codependent and or love addicts may hold unrealistic ideas about love in our minds. This romanticized view of love makes us more susceptible to narcissists and psychopaths. Reframing our ideas about authentic love allows us to better protect ourselves moving into the future, and increases our chances of attracting healthy people into our lives.

Children of narcissistic parents, who are now suffering with codependency symptoms, may be struggling to learn how to love themselves after narcissistic abuse. Narcissists tend to attract people pleasers, or codependent personalities. Because codependents are eager to please, because they seek outside validation, they are easy targets for narcissistic lovers, and friends.

It is not easy to learn how to love yourself after narcissistic abuse, but with the right codependency recovery tools it is possible. It is even possible to find love after codependency.

Lisa A. Romano is a Certified Life Coach, bestselling author, and mentor. She is also the creator of the expert praised 12 Week Breakthrough Coaching Program.

Her books are;
The Road Back To Me
My Road Beyond The Codependent Divorce
Codependent Now What? It’s Not You-It’s Your Programming
Loving the Self Affirmations 1 & 2
Quantum Tools To Help You Heal Your Life Now

To learn more about Lisa A. Romano please visit

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  1. I struggle with BPD. The stigma of narcasism in those with BPD is a hard pill to swallow, but at this point in my recovery Im beginning to deal with and work on my narcissistic qualities. Not all with BPD are 100% narcissistic. Some can bepverly- empathetic yet narcissistic- causing a lot of cognitive dissonance. Narcissistic traits such as manipulation can. be but. aren't necessarily something planned out by the person with BPD. We learned to naturally look out for ourselves first because of trauma or neglect. It's a huge step to admit I have some of these negative, self- centered tendencies thanks to your podcast. I've been through repeated early childhood trauma and was raised by a mother with BPD,. I was raised by 2 addicts who I lost to suicide in the year 2012 (yes both) I want so badly to be a better person yet my behavior is never good enough in my eyes because I struggle with it so much. I've been in recovery and therapy for 3 years. I will not raise my son in complacency. Hedeserves much better. I want people to know that BPD can be helped, but it takes intense, long-term work.

  2. I had a very easy childhood, stable, supportive and a good example of parents who demonstrated how a couple should engage with each other. If anything my parents over indulged me and made me feel possibly too special. I fell for the love bombing and mirroring of a man with high level NPD. I feel I have good base of emotional stability but I'm definitely sensitive and highly empathetic, However I've always seen it as an advantage. Most of my friendships are very close relationship and my trust once given is loyal. In the past I have gotten very stressed about my friendships if we had arguments. Not so much anymore. Is that a sign of codependency? I suppose I'm asking is there something I'm missing. I've had a very easy life, with a lot of opportunities and mutual support. How was I so vulnerable to a narcissist?

  3. I have to stay off Facebook and I was wondering if there is away to still be in the group or is there is something similar on the web?

  4. I struggling with decision making .
    fear. I am about 2m post breakup with covert narc. I am realizing how totally brainwashed I am. Any ideas how to move on? I am feeling nuts, pardon the term.

  5. This makes so much sense! The whole punishing ourselves because we believe the abuse was our fault. Still struggling with this

  6. I was at a gathering a memorial for a musician..I met this man I would have never believed he was a monster after speaking with him crying sitting hugging he went to the bathroom.a older woman who I thought was an old woman walked up to me and said look at my face she looked old and haggard.She said I'm 45 yrs old if you don't want this face to be yours you'll run away from this man run fast run far and she walked away he came back .such a nice guy such a nice guy such a like long hard road in time I looked into the mirror and saw the same face of that lady from so long ago.the muscles actually can't turn in a smile..I am working on that I put a lughtr or mascara across my mouth between my teeth and nod my head up and down going ha ha ha ha…sounds crazy lioks crazier but I want to smile again Could of would of if only changes nothing..that woman knew..all I could see was this great guy

  7. Thank you! I tried to leave my Narcissistic/sociopath 11 times. Had I not found you, I don’t think I would be alive. I had no idea what was happening to me. You have helped me to identify, acknowledge, understand, and begin the healing journey. This has been the scariest thing I have ever done. The most difficult thing for me; is trying to forgive myself for falling victim to this psychotic being. Foolish is stamped on my forehead.

  8. Good and honorable people project their goodness and honor onto others in relationships, and thus they blind themselves to all the red flags warning signs that were there from they beginning in the narcissistic psycho-sociopath.
    It's easy to do because we all need love, so the blinders are on to reality, until bowling ball sized alarms drop on us in a reality check.

  9. Oh my gosh, I had horrible stomach & ear aches as a child. My mom would pour hot oil in my ears. I would get weak, throw up and pass out. My mother would make me stand in a corner after a horrid 30 minute beating. My Mom would pass out from beating me. I dealt with every abuse imaginable and parents fighting, alcoholic step dad, witnessed murder at age 7. My mom hated me. The police were at my house every day & night and a police officer lived next door and no one helped me. I have so much empathy, I cant stand to see bugs/insects hurt or killed. Its too much and I can't get it to a healthy level. I have been used by friends and others. I help others all the time. My grandmother (My Dads Mom) was in a wheelchair and she said my mom threw me against a wall at 6 months and walked away. She would drown me BC I cried as a baby, and that went on until I ran away. My family is also Irish but I thought we were Cherokee until 4 years ago. My mom still wont accept she is Irish. There was so much disfunction with the women in my ancestry. I can relate to everything you said. I left my Mom at age 13 and she kidnapped me back at age 16. I left my small hometown when I was 21 and didn't have a relationship with my mom until I was 42. Its still bad and she depends on me so much. She wants me there constantly. How can I break it off or fix it? How can I let go of the pain?

  10. How do I heal from narcissistic abuse and get rid of some of the traits I see in myself

  11. I suffer from this. My crush put me in a pedestal then put me down when he saw my imperfections. One minute I say he is a jerk then the next minute I say he still loves me.

  12. Thank you writer & thank you Lisa. I have found that hearing your same body of work again, as layers of fog lift, reveal truths blocked by the fog of disbelief. We learn most importantly about ourselves but also the predatory mind of those enaged in life long deciet. Cognitive dissonance is your first race into unrequited love with a disorder we didn't even know existed. We say ouch. I'm not doing that again. And I really don't think we will. Ouch should always be indicative.

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