Read a post on the DoNM board recently from a gal who, after a long period of NC with her NM, received an email from her NM which, at first glance, seemed to be sincere. At first read, it seemed her NM "got it" a bit and was willing and wanting to make amends and start over. Upon further scrutiny - and with a bit of added information about her NM from outside, trusted sources in her life - it's pretty clear to her and the rest of us who've read about it that her NM's motives are far from pure. No surprise there given that her M is an N. The thing is, this person is concerned - worried even - that she doesn't feel more open and trusting toward her NM and worries that she is a "cold, calloused" person.
I think this is one of the cruelest parts of having an NP - they make us doubt our very normal, healthy perceptions and reactions to things. Let's say, for example, that every time you encounter a certain person, they slap you in your face, hard. It would be normal, healthy and completely rational then in this instance to experience anxiety and suspicion any time you encountered this person or had to be around them, would it not? Yet our NP's and the other N's in our lives would have us believe that it was US who are somehow "off" or otherwise wrong to react the way we do. They would probably attack us and label us "too sensitive" or say we were "over-reacting". My NFOO would probably also claim the other person was "just kidding around" and berate me for being unable to take a joke. Bottom line, we are made to believe that WE are the ones in the wrong when the truth is anything but.
At nearly 35 years of age, I still am quick to doubt myself and my perceptions. Though I may know with total certainty what I feel in my gut, all it takes is one little word to trigger that doubt and I start thinking to myself, "Maybe they are right. Maybe I AM over-reacting, too sensitive, etc." It's one thing to suggest that maybe the other person didn't mean it the way it came out, that it was just a misunderstanding or whatever and another thing entirely to state flat out that another's perceptions are wrong or that they are otherwise over-reacting. The first scenario allows the victim another way of looking at things whereas the latter invalidates the victim's experience and, in my opinion, kills the spirit just a little bit more.
Little by little, I'm learning to trust in myself and my gut feelings but it's been a long, hard road and I still have a ways to go yet. I hope that, with time and continued work on my part, I can finally reach a place where I am confident in myself and my feelings and not so easily swayed by others.