Cognitive Dissonance 

Thanks to the darling husband, I’ve been able to expand my educational horizon.

“Cognitive dissonance is a concept in social psychology. It is the discomfort felt by a person who holds conflicting ideas, beliefs or values at the same time. In this state, people may feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. Reacting to this unpleasant state, people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance was developed to predict and explain how people reacted to this situation.”

Narcissistic abuse causes cognitive dissonance. Then they use it to keep you in a constant state of chaos. I don’t know if they all do, but mine could rationalize anything he wanted to. He could later contradict his rationale and make that sound 100% rational. At first, it was a trait I liked about him; the ability to make sense out of certain feelings, emotions, events, ect. I would say “he kept me grounded” when I’d over react or have so much emotion about something and couldn’t think rationally. But the other side of the coin was revealed and when I would think or feel a way about him or his behavior, he’d rationalize it 100%.

I guess eventually I stopped turning to myself for insight. Because he always rationalized the things I was clearly over reacting about. After five years, not trusting myself or my reactions and questioning everything around me became normal. Before we separated, he just knew I had to be listening to someone else. “Who’s filling your head with all of this?” “You need to stop listening to whoever you’re talking to and come to your senses..” <<<< so he knew I couldn’t think without his rationale. Somehow, from somewhere, I finally found my voice and I didn’t have to listen to anyone else.

I woke up one day and realized it was almost crippling. Where would I turn for rational thinking when I couldn’t think rationally? How was I supposed to feel or react to things when the “voice of reason” wasn’t there to tell me how? When it came to him, I learned. His rationales no longer made sense at all. In fact, a lot of what he said didn’t even make sense anymore.

Cognitive dissonance remains a daily part of my existence. Every single new situation. Every single person I know or meet. I think this is why so many victims escape only to find themselves victims again. We’re so busy telling ourselves that we are being hyper vigilant and we have to learn to trust people again. I have found the better I know how my psyche was taken hostage; the better I am at trusting myself and hopefully someday, other people.

 

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