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  • Lynn Catalano

Signs You’re Experiencing Cognitive Dissonance



What is cognitive dissonance?


We all experience cognitive dissonance regularly, looking at those people we know who are walking contradictions or hypocrites. It can come off as easy as when your health-conscious, everything-organic friend gets breast implants or when your anti-establishment cousin joins a private club. Cognitive dissonance is when you have 2 very different beliefs about something at the same time. It is incredibly common to experience this phenomenon when you’re in a relationship with a narcissist.


Simply put, when you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, they tell you one thing today and then deny it tomorrow. When this happens, you are experiencing cognitive dissonance.

Narcissists use cognitive dissonance to their advantage. This is another way narcissists like to keep you off-balance, dizzy from the rollercoaster of their relationship. You don’t know what to expect from them one day to the next. This is especially true when you’re trying to understand how this person keeps claiming to love you even though they continue to emotionally abuse you.


Cognitive dissonance is also described in a relationship with a narcissist as doubting the reality of what actually happened in the relationship due to the narcissist’s tactics of gaslighting, the silent treatment, blame-shifting, and projection. This is intentional. People who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) say and do cruel things to provoke a reaction out of you. They create drama and cause chaos where there isn’t any. They love to shift the blame as they will never accept responsibility for their actions. These techniques keep you off balance.


The Narcissistic Abuse Cycle


Cognitive dissonance manifests as the love-bombing affection given by narcissists one day only to be ignored and receive the silent treatment the next day.


What are the signs of cognitive dissonance?

  • Second-guessing yourself – difficulty making decisions

  • Constantly apologizing for things you haven’t done

  • Withdrawing from social interactions

  • Doubting your own memory

  • Inability to trust yourself


How to overcome the effects of cognitive dissonance


  1. Journal to record how you were feeling when it happened

  2. Find your support system of friends who care about you and will listen

  3. Practice self-care, give yourself some grace

  4. Learn to set healthy boundaries

  5. Talk to someone who gets it like a narcissistic abuse recovery coach.



If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, either romantic or in your family, it’s time to say enough is enough. They are not going to change. You have to change.


If you haven’t made any changes, if you’re still in that toxic relationship, questioning yourself, 2024 is your year. Change is uncomfortable. It’s much easier to stay where you are. But change comes from uncomfortable places.


Don’t step into another new year in this toxic situation. Often, we stay in these cycles of abuse because we don’t believe we deserve something better.


You do deserve better.


I have a group starting soon. I have a limited number of seats available for serious people who want to be able to recover from this and never be in this situation again.



This is your chance. Don’t wait another day.


This is why it’s so important to talk to someone after you’ve suffered this type of abuse. But not just anyone. You need to find someone who’s familiar with narcissistic personality disorder. You see, I didn’t get here by accident. I didn't set out to become a narcissistic abuse recovery coach. But after I’d suffered this kind of abuse, I realized that my story and my experience could help so many people who’ve suffered similarly. When someone tells me about their struggles and their story, I’m not just understanding. I really get it. I’ve been there. I’ve felt those same emotions, that same rage, and loss.


I can help you.


Don’t suffer in silence from narcissistic abuse, let’s talk.


Click here to book a free session with me. Don’t wait another day.


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