Narcissism Relationships/Breakups: Part 3
Narcissists are serial offenders. They need continual replenishment to fill their emptiness. They frequently revisit the wells that previously quenched their thirst. Their prior victims are often eager to oblige.
As Narcissist victims, knowing that we are not alone is no solace.
We are dealing with and living through the aftermath of those revisits in very personal and real pain. It is as though we seek to torture ourselves when we allow the repeat ‘hoovering’ of what Narcs seek that is within us. The love, heart and soul that they lack.
Have you been here?
Anyone in a relationship with a full-blown Narcissist knows what I am talking about. Such a relationship is not characterized by the normal ups and downs of most relationships but by dramatic and relentless upheavals. Many Narcs are addicted to the chaos they create in their lives and the lives of others.
Throughout our ordeal the initial overflowing feelings of being ever so special were tested again and again by the ideal Renaissance Love … the wo/man who pursued us with fervor and rising lust. We were no longer the luckiest person in the world to be so perfect for our Mr/s. Perfects. Increasingly they made sure we were aware of their displeasure’s with their criticisms and outbursts of anger.
Like a roller coaster, the breathtaking descent began
Abruptly at the very height we had been manipulated to believe would soon arrive. So abruptly were we jolted that we could not accept what was actually happening. How did this special journey we thought we were sharing reverse 180 degrees … and why? When we reached bottom, thankful for reprieve and a chance at redemption, with our Narc at the controls we found ourselves reversed again for no known reason, plunked into the roller coaster seat and buckled in once more.
Totally confused and spent by the devaluation phase of a typical Narc pattern, we allowed them to continue to suck out of us every ounce of what we had to give them. Eventually, with our special fuel depleted, nothing more could be had from us. Time for the giver and destroyer of happiness and trust to move on yet again.
How do we get off such a volatile and frightening roller coaster?
The answer: not easily. Narcissists keep us on the track as long as they can control us and we can be of use to them. As we try to jump off to save our emotional lives and physical well-being (yes, physical ailments start to surface) we are sucked back in by apologies and promises offering glimmers of hope. Narcissists are confident we still love them after all. Just one more ascent we think … this time we will have a gentle happy ending. Or so we naively believe!
The dizzying and dark pattern of a relationship with true Narcissists is idealize, devalue, discard. Their even more devastating returns and repetitions of the cycle with the same ever-hopeful individual while grooming others to be their future victims are inexplicable to patient friends. They wonder how could you let this happen … and more than once.
The answer is quite simple.
If such an experience is the first one for us, we don’t see the individual for who s/he really is until it is too late. Until we are caught in the web of lies and the uncanny ability to manipulate and control us. We want to believe the lies because we love them and the seductive magic they create.
If we are reluctant to share our experiences with our most trusted acquaintances, if we feel ashamed of accepting our Narc back time and time again in spite of some level of hopeful happiness, if our self-esteem suffers, if we are in more emotional pain than pleasure, if we give more than we get, then we must ask ourselves if the relationship is healthy, mutually supportive, and open in every way. If it is not, we then know what to do.
Narcs can sparkle and shine.
Those of us who seek a fulfilling relationship must be vigilant to not establish a self-destructive pattern as the result of attraction to a Narcissist. That attraction can be triggered by our own dysfunctional past. It can be our pattern to resist and conquer.
Do not allow a Narcissist to shadow our positive space. Multiple involvements with Narcs could become a deadly habit. Stress and remorse and shame can affect the body’s systems enough to bring us close to death. Stress comes arm-in-arm with a Narcissist. And stress can kill. Beware.
Narcissism and Relationships/Breakups: Part 2 of a series
Narcissists are difficult to spot because they wear numerous differing masks throughout their lives as they draw in the various people they groom for varying purposes. They must hide the empty spaces inside themselves, those vacuums normally occupied by a heart and soul. They passionately cover their self-loathing which they eventually project onto us, their victims. (Either they were born that way or life experiences in their younger years tragically shaped them. They are somehow victims themselves.) The emptiness they hold within compels the constant replenishment of nourishment via the emotional energies of others. That same emptiness that does not allow them to truly love.
Narcissists are expert at hiding their true identity while they groom their new victims.
Clever, Narcs exhibit characteristic charming personalities when in pursuit, operating behind near perfect projections that many of their targets find difficult to resist.
Narcs veraciously consume all the love and adoration they can extract from others, leaving the victims drained and devastated. A Narcissist’s need in this regard is insatiable. A Narc can never sincerely reciprocate in kind with the precious emotional commodities they determinedly seek.
Once victims’ precious fuel is successfully depleted.
The Narc unceremoniously discards them and attention moves to the next victim … a new treasure chest of nourishment for the Narcissist to ‘hoover’ in order to fill the emptiness. Be sure, a Narc always has one or more potential victims being groomed in the wings, being cultivated to fall for counterfeit charms. The Narc will move on, neither holding us gently in their thoughts nor harboring regrets, continuing to use the energy sources that others supply. Amazingly, a Narc often will attempt to return to the dismissed victim for yet another cycle when other fuel sources are low.
Very few things in human emotional life are more exhilarating than being pursued by a Narcissist. Not many experiences in life are more devastating than being devalued and discarded by one who we thought truly loved us. A rollercoaster ride with a Narcissist leaves us emotionally gasping for life … having had our sacred inner and outer selves sucked away. Our self-esteem? Crushed.
Other metaphors can be applied to such an experience.
One is the vampire who preys ruthlessly on others. Like the emotionally drained victim of a vampire, we may be so vulnerable and wounded ourselves that we want and even consciously allow the Narc to return to repeat the ravaging cycle.
As we draw closer to someone we hope for love, truth, honesty and respect in the developing relationship. With a Narcissist, though, there should come a time when we must nudge ourselves to think and think again. As we fall more and more under control, we must wrestle with ourselves and walk away once the signaling behaviours morph into a cohesive set of red flags. Learn to recognize Narcissists:
- They show little regard for the feelings of others
- They are arrogant, aggressive and controlling at times
- They are grandiose
- They have a self-perception of being unique
- They have a sense of entitlement to special treatment
- They need admiration
- They are withdrawn and mysteriously unavailable at times
- They are critical of us
- They insult us
- They become angry when they are questioned about their actions
- They have a fragile ego
- They tell lies and manipulate us
- They lack empathy
- They must always be right
- They blame others
- They are unaware of their hurtful behavior
- They cannot apologize sincerely, if at all
When we consider such signs we cannot imagine loving someone who exhibits them.
But somehow many of us have managed to. The narcissistic mask had been cunningly crafted to draw us in. We now must determinedly walk away, push through the pain and heal. For most of us the time will again come to seek a new relationship.
Perhaps a valuable lesson has been learned: No relationship is worth repeated, emotional, and often physically attendant pain. Unfortunately, considerable wounding may occur before the Narcissistic mask slips. Truly, ‘no relationship’ is better than one with a Narcissist.
Narcissism and Relationships/Breakups: Part 1
Narcissistic … a word bandied about very loosely these days … aptly applies to someone who creates ‘crash landing’ breakups.
The painful relationship reality some of us must deal with is that we are involved with partners who live their lives within the framework of Narcissistic Personality Disorder … NPD. Studies reveal that this operative disorder affects approximately 1%  of the entire population and affects more males than females.
 Wikipedia; Narcissistic Personality Disorder
NPD is the base of many problematic relationships.
Its patterns are the answers to many of our questions about difficult relationships and their ensuing breakups. ‘Narcissistic’ is more than a descriptive adjective. The word also is the handle for a very real medically classified psychological disorder too deep and complex for the majority of us to successfully manage in a relationship. It is wise to be vigilante of what we may be dealing with when confronting disturbing behaviours.
When we find ourselves moving toward the conclusion of a repeatedly pain-filled relationship with such a partner we likely don’t know how it came about. What happened to the exceptional love we thought we had shared with another? In addition, we are shocked at how a connection we felt so deeply could be so abruptly severed. Such puzzlement’s are characteristic of a Narcissist-involved breakup.
In our particular version of a roller coaster ride with a Narcissist (our Narc)
We held on tightly for dear life, not knowing whether or not we would be hurled out of our seats at any moment … our emotional and physical structures dashed to the ground. Our vulnerable cores smashed into nearly unrecognizable pieces as our Narc kept us on the edge of our seats while s/he was at the controls of the scenes, the thrills and the chills.
Initially our emotions were ecstatically driven upward, driven up to the peaks of orgasmic rushes. In anticipation of reaching mutual joy and commitment, we reveled in being pursued. And very much looked forward to consummation in the relationship we had always dreamed of. However, those exhilarating occasions became less frequent as our Narc entered into the customary devaluation stage of the relationship… pretend to idealize, then devalue and then discard. Repeat, repeat, repeat. The Narcissist pattern.
Up to that point, thrilled and mesmerized by the seemingly endless and, oh, so thrilling steep inclines we never looked too far beyond our seats … maybe secretly fearing that what we might experience ahead would cause us to plummet to the ground. What we endured because we could not anticipate! Were we right to make excuses for the narcissistic bad behaviours which made us (and others) targets for lash out and deception; for manipulation during and after the frightening, sudden, and disturbing steep declines? We labored more to please and to earn approval which was, in tandem, increasingly withheld. Our Narc had us totally entangled in the classic exhilarating web of rising to the heights followed by cycles of release and fall, followed by still other rises. Each time our hopes soaringly renewed and painfully dashed.
Ultimately, we did plunge to the ground …
The inevitable outcome of the narcissistic game Narcs inflict upon their victims. Anyone who has lived a relationship with a Narc knows well this roller coaster ride. It is a pattern repeated with a series of victims. The joys, confusion and suffering of the latter are a Narcissist’s fuel-source.
The time comes when we must pull away for our very survival.
Escape from our roller coaster ride in some semblance of one piece, emotional and physical selves at a tipping point. Because Narcissists definitively emotionally abuse their victims and can be physically abusive as well, most often we are left with our self-esteem in shreds. We are totally confused as to what happened, what we must have done wrong, and why our hearts and guts felt so mutilated. Much, much time would be needed to recover, to put our pieces back together again, before we attempt another relationship.
The new danger here is that we might seek a relationship too soon in the aftermath of our devastation. With hope for personal re-affirmation, let us not seek or fall victim to the appeal of dramatic enchantment, of ascension to dizzying heights and the multiple successive thrills of another roller coaster ride with a yet another Narcissist. Better to look for a partner who will ride with us in stable and mutual commitment.