Most people recognize that relationships end for all sorts of reasons. Some are nasty, some are amicable and some are mutual. But they generally follow the same pattern – relationship ends, one or both parties grieve and then move on.
Getting over a relationship with a Narcissist is a much different kettle of fish. Depending upon the duration, the impact of such a union could have profound emotional, psychological, spiritual, physical and even financial effects on its victims.
Once a partner does manage to break free and gain the much needed emotional and physical distance, either by choice, necessity or abandonment, they are often left with some devastatingly painful questions like – Did he ever love me? Did I mean anything to him at all?
What one must always remember is that Narcissists do not love. They do not form normal, healthy, attachment bonds to anyone. To a Narcissist, their partners are objects, a source of supply, nothing more. And coming to terms with the fact, that you meant nothing, to someone who meant so much to you, is incredibly painful. Realizing that you were lied to, duped, conned and manipulated all along, is enough to send even a saint into a psychotic rage.
I think the hardest thing to get over is the deliberate mind fuck, the psychological warfare that the Narcissist uses to keep his victims emotionally invested in him.
Narcissists are generally angry, miserable people and they love to project their misery onto those closest to them. Once the honeymoon phase is over and their true colours emerge, their victims are saddled with trying to understand what’s happening in the relationship. Why are they pulling away? What did I do? Why is he treating me that way? Why are they ignoring me?
This kind of emotional torture is exasperated by the Narcissists hot and cold routine. The mixed signals of I love you one day and hate you the next, has women not only questioning their sanity, but their sense of self-worth as well. They are pathological liars and will lie about even the most insignificant things. If their partner catches them in a lie, they will often, either spin another set of lies or fly into a Narcissistic Rage and even put the blame on you, to keep you off balance.
They use a form of psychological intimidation, called Gas Lighting, where they present false information to their victims, which makes them doubt their own memory, perception and even sanity. They will often say something, then sometimes even in the same conversation state that they didn’t say that.
A Narcissist will take no responsibility for anything. He will criticize your appearance, abilities and your very existence. Everything has become your fault and you cannot ever please him despite your best efforts. The closer you try to get to him the further he pulls away. Then once you start to pull away, he will turn up the heat and start his pursuit once again. This constant beat down erodes their victim’s self-esteem leaving them feeling completely confused, off balance and drained of all their emotional resources.
Everything is all about him, always and this consistent pandering to his every need and want, often pushes his targets into Co-dependent behaviours. These women get so wrapped up in the relationship and trying to fix it, that they lose themselves. They have stopped thinking about their needs, their goals and their own happiness. All of their energy is spent on trying to win back the man they fell in love with. What most fail to realize is that that man never existed. The Narcissist pulls the old bait and switch. The man they met in the beginning was an actor and the man they are with now, is the true man behind the mask.
Many get caught up in seeking the emotional validation of –am I good enough – from someone who will never give it to them. This validation seeking can go on for a long, long time. There is nothing more soul destroying and degrading than jumping through hoop after hoop trying to prove your worth, to someone who will never see or acknowledge it.
Narcissists are akin to a psychological parasite. Once they get inside your head it’s almost impossible to get them out. They spend the early part of a relationship learing all about you, what makes you tick and what buttons to push to best manipulate you later on. They pay keen attention to your vulnerabilities, your fears and what causes you the most hurt, as a means of control, for a Narcissist must always be in control. They will go to great lengths to isolate you from friends, family and other sources of support.
Once a relationship with a Narcissist ends, most women are left with the enormous task of weaving through all the lies and the abuse and building themselves back up. Their sense of self-esteem and self-worth will have been virtually annihilated. They have to rediscover who they are.
Being free of such a monster should be considered a blessing, but what often happens, after prolonged exposure to this type of abuse, is that many women will actually pine and grieve for the return of their tormentor. They have come to believe that love equals pain and that they are deserving of this type of treatment. They’ve placed the Narcissist so high up on a pedestal, that even crumbs of his affections and attention are better than nothing at all.
A Narcissist doesn’t like to throw away any sources of supply, so he will continue to play this game with you indefinitely. The more pain that the Narcissist can inflict upon his partner, the less respect he has for her and he devalues her source of supply. If a Narcissist does leave, it’s because he has found a new source, but he’ll usually be back to throw you more crumbs and prolong your suffering.
The abrupt and heartless manner in which he leaves his partners is bone chilling. When a Narcissist is in stage one, the over-evaluation phase, with his new target, he focuses all his energies on securing that new source of supply. The fact that he has left you in emotional turmoil, a spiraling depression or perhaps even financial ruin, will have no impact on him. It’s all about him- it always was. These men are happiest when they have at least one or two women pining for them, who they can run to, at any time for sex, money or an ego stroke.
If at some point the victim decides to end the relationship, the Narcissist will experience what Freud calls a Narcissistic Injury. This is any slight, real or imagined, that threatens the Narcissists false belief, that he is special, superior and unique. The Narcissist may rage or grieve over your parting, but one must always remember, he is not grieving the loss of the person in his life, he is grieving the damage done to his ego, the lost source of supply, the efforts it took to secure that supply and the anxiety he will have to face to obtain more.
The grieving won’t last long though, since he does not take responsibility for anything, your leaving won’t resinate with him as I’ve done something to make her leave. He will immediately start telling himself – ‘She’s nuts, she thinks she can do better than me. I’m better off without her. She’s damaged anyway,’ as part of the devaluation process. And just like that you are discarded in the Narcissists mind, regardless of the amount of time, or the amount of suffering you may have endured.
When a normal relationship ends, both parties usually go their separate ways and move on. When you’re involved with a Narcissist the relationship ends abruptly without notice or it never ends. They like to keep a hold of you, they are control freaks and they will do that, by offering you the friend card. This friend card entitles them to unlimited supply of your attention, affection, ego strokes, or sex, with no responsibility or commitment. It also stops you from being able to move on.
They almost always seem to have an innate sense of exactly when you might be getting over them and just like that, they waltz back into your life, as if nothing ever happened. The loving, caring man is back and you may be thinking, finally ________ (insert name), has realized my worth and things will be different this time. Don’t be fooled. The actor is back, just long enough to take control of you and your emotions again. If you engage for any reason, it won’t be long before the mask slips and the real McCoy is back to further torment you.
Once you have managed to get out – stay out. Stop all communication and burn every bridge behind you, thus souring the milk of your Narcissistic Supply. It’s better to covet a Narcissist’s indifference, than their toxic form of love.
Your involvement with a Narcissist has likely changed you in ways you could never have imagined. Make the decision to break free and stick with it, start to rebuild your shattered self image, regain your power and dignity and most importantly, learn the lesson that you were meant to learn from this encounter. But that’s another blog!!!!
Q. After the relationship ends, can I still be friends with a narcissist?
A. Would you be friends with Ted Bundy knowing what you know about him? Would you be friends with someone who cannot care about you? Would you be friends with someone who disrespects you, looks down on you, views you as non-human and wants to control you?
What’s the motivation for wanting to be friends with a dangerous person who will destroy you if just given enough time?
The heart of this question lies in the fact that you cannot have ANY kind of healthy relationship with a narcissist because you cannot set boundaries high or firm enough that they won’t eventually barrel over and demolish. These dark traits aren’t ones the narcissist picks and chooses to use based on the deservedness of who they target and the fact that they tell you they won’t hurt you or “want to be your friend”. What a narcissist means by “being your friend” and what YOU mean by “being friends” are such two different realities that they will never ever be reconciled or copacetic.
They are driven to act out their entitlement, rage, shame, competition, power and envy on others. They have an agenda and you are a means to an end, not a human being. This is who they are and will never change.
Narcissist’s will play the friend card when they want to manage down YOUR expectations, all the while demanding that they have free reign to all areas of your life, time and resources as if they’re your intimate partner. If you ever get upset about things as a “friend” they will remind you liberally that you accepted this watered down version of a relationship on their terms from the get go.
The potential harm, danger and consequences of allowing a narcissist in your life is too great. There are too many unforseen, immeasurable lows that they are quite capable of stooping to that cannot be predicted; their disorder is a malevolent wild card. The only thing predictable about their behavior is that it will be toxic and it will be unfair to you.
We’ve been told enough times to be careful of the company we keep. We are responsible for the choices we make about who we let close to us and who we keep at a distance. We keep our distance from narcissists because their “closeness” causes us to go off track, our focus is forced to shift to them, their dramas, their flattery & manipulative charm, and before we know it, our lives, peace and sanity are HIJACKED. We’re always forced to defend ourselves or offer our time and resources to “help”, love and care for someone who ultimately doesn’t want help, but just wants someone to drag into the drama with them to share in it with them and take the burden of it, because they won’t be responsible for it.
We must keep our distance from people with out of control egos and selfish agendas to use us as their own toys, playthings, past time or ego prop.
It isn’t natural to desire to be close to a predator who has the potential of such danger towards us. Our responsibility is to PROTECT OURSELVES from a predator.
Being friends with a narcissist is fool hardy and ultimately speaks volume as to our beliefs about what we believe we deserve to have around us. If we’re comfortable being in the presence of these dark people, we’ve got more work to do to look out for ourselves and our value.
What’s the narcissist mean when they say they “Want to be friends?”
Codependency: Don’t Dance!
by Ross Rosenberg
The “Codependency Dance” requires two people: the pleaser/fixer and the taker/controller. This inherently dysfunctional dance occurs when one partner is a Codependent and the other a Narcissist or Addict. Codependents usually do not know how to emotionally disconnect or avoid significant relationships with individuals who are selfish, controlling, and harmful to them. They habitually enter into relationships with a partner who perfectly matches with their relationship pattern or “dance style.”
Codependents are naturally the followers in their relationship dance. When their passive style is paired up with a partner whose dance style is controlling and self-confident, the dance sizzles with excitement – at least, in the beginning. After many “songs,” what was once mesmerizing and exciting usually will transform into a dance that is defined more by drama, conflict, and feelings of being trapped. Whether the two are mesmerized or infuriated with each other, the compulsion to dance with their partner continues; neither wants to sit the dance out.
When a codependent and narcissist come together in a relationship, their “dance” unfolds flawlessly: the narcissistic partner maintains the lead and the codependent follows. Because the codependent gives up their power, the dance is perfectly coordinated. No one gets their toes stepped on.
Typically, codependents give of themselves much more than their partners. As a “generous” but bitter partner, they seem to be stuck on the dance floor, always waiting for the “next song,” at which time their partner will finally understand their needs. The codependent confuses care-taking and sacrifice with love and responsibility. Although they are proud of their self-described strengths – unselfishness and endless compassion – they end up feeling deflated, used and yearning to be loved, but angry that they are not.
Codependents are essentially stuck in a pattern of giving and sacrificing, without the possibility of receiving the same from their partner. When they dance, the Codependent fulfills the “dance role” by allowing their self to be led in any direction that their Narcissistic partner may lead. The Codependent pretends to enjoy the dance, but really feels anger, bitterness, sadness and loneliness for not taking an active role in the dancing experience. The Codependent is often pessimistic and doubtful that they are good enough to find a dance partner who will love them for who they are as opposed to what they can do for them. Their self-doubt and pessimism turns into a form of learned helplessness that keeps them dancing with their Narcissistic partner.
Naturally, the Narcissist is attracted to a significant other OR companion who matches up with his self-absorbed, selfish, and entitled dance style. They are naturally attracted to dancers who lack self-worth and have low self-esteem – Codependents. They intuitively know that they will be able to control their dance partner and, therefore, also be able to control the entire experience.
All Codependents want balance in their relationships, but seem to consistently choose a partner who leads them to chaos and resentment. When given a chance to stop, dancing with their Narcissistic partner, or comfortably sit out the dance until someone healthy comes around, they typically choose to continue their dysfunctional dance. The Codependent dares not leave their Narcissistic (…) dance partner for they lack the self-esteem and sense of self-worth to sit the dance out. Being alone is the equivalent of feeling lonely, and loneliness is too painful of a feeling to bear.
Without self-esteem or feelings of personal power, the Codependent does not know how to choose healthy and mutually giving partners. Their inability to be in a relationship with a balanced and healthy partner is usually related to an unconscious motivation to find a person who is familiar…someone who reminds them of their powerless childhood. Many codependents were children of parents who also danced the dysfunctional dance flawlessly. Their fear of being alone, compulsion to control and fix at any cost, and comfort in their role as the martyr who is endlessly loving, devoted, and patient, is often connected to the parent role they observed early on in their childhood.
No matter how often the Codependent tries to avoid “unhealthy” partners, they find themselves consistently on the dance floor mesmerized by different songs, but with the same partner. Through psychotherapy and, perhaps, a 12-step recovery program, the Codependent begins to recognize that their dream – to dance the grand dance of love, reciprocity and mutuality – is indeed possible. Through therapy and a change of lifestyle, they build self-esteem, personal power, and motivation to finally find dance partners who are willing and capable to share the lead, communicate their movements, and pursue a shared rhythm.
I have come to the realization and understanding that I am a co-dependent sort of person. Having thought long and hard, researching, reading about co-dependency I have thought back over my life and I know now exactly the point when the seed of co-dependency was planted.
I was about 9 years old. I was sitting in the family room in our house in Hollywood, California watching TV with my 9 year old twin and the other kids who were also twins, 2 years older. My father was in Arizona doing whatever that he needed to do to start a business there. Or he could have been in Oklahoma at a family reunion that we knew nothing about…..(story for another day).
We were all watching TV, I don’t remember what show was on and I heard my mother come down the stairs and ask, “can someone please come help me!” She was wallpapering a room upstairs that was once just the attic but she had converted into a “room”. My siblings and I ignored her at first. I think I was the only one who heard her. She repeated, “Please! Can someone please help me!” She had such pleading in her voice and desperation too. I knew my siblings heard her…they twitched or moved or something so that I knew they heard her, but they pointedly ignored her pleadings.
I couldn’t do that. She, my mother, was pleading! So I went. I got up and went to her. And then, my life was forever altered. And not in a good way.
You may be feeling crazy because you love a narcissist and are afraid to leave the abusive relationship. It will be easier to help yourself leave the more you know about codependency and narcissistic personality disorder. Abusive narcissists require someone who is willing to cater to their needs and to give up their own desires. Narcissists are self-destructive people with concealed low self-esteem and insatiable needs for attention and nothing to give. They parasitically attach to a giving, supportive person who avoids center stage and thrives on taking care of others.
Expecting something from an abusive narcissist who has nothing to give can make a codependent feel crazy. Trying to pretend that the narcissist is someone he or she is not can drive you wild. So what is codependency? Codependents are people who have spent years negotiating with reality concerning particular people from their past and present. Codependents spend years trying to get…
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