First Christmas Without the Narcissist?

It’s the Christmas season and the forums abound with people who want advice on what to do about their Narcissistic partner.  Some struggle to go No Contact, while others consider letting the Narc back into their lives, all for the sake of the Christmas spirit.

Detaching from the Narcissist is no easy feat.  Moreover, the spirit of the holiday season brings with it a certain nostalgia that will lead many to make the regrettable mistake of expecting a “Miracle on Narky-fourth Street”.

Ladies and Gents, I implore you to recall Christmases past with your Narcissist.  Remember that particular mean streak they reserve for only special occasions?  Has there been one fond memory during Christmas that lasted beyond their opening the gift(s) you got for them?  Isn’t it enough that they already ruined Christmases past for you and/or your children?  Haven’t they always been absent from the festive planning (and spending), anyhow?

It may be the Christmas season, but it’s not better to spend it with someone who will abuse you than to be alone.  If you really want to do something special for Christmas, load up on the chocolate and wine (or scotch and your favorite hors  d’oeuvres), nail some two-by-fours to the front door, and put on the Christmas music.  You (and the wee ones, if applicable) can then sing around the Christmas tree in your own version of the Whos in the Grinch That Stole Christmas.  Here are some lyrics to get you started…

Fah No Contact! Dah No Contact.
Welcome Christmas, come this way.
Fah No Contact! Dah No Contact.
Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day. 

Welcome, welcome! Dah No Contact. 
Christmas Day is in our grasp.
So long as we have hands to clasp.
So long as we don’t see his/her a**. (Okay, this last line is only if you’re alone, sans enfants)

As a reminder, the Narcissist’s heart will NOT grow three sizes that day, and he/she will still have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile.  If you need some encouragement to keep No Contact, hang a page of your diary on the tree, compose a toxic Christmas song out of their last nasty voice mail and put it on continuous loop, or open your medicine cabinet and gaze upon the prescription nerve pills you had to go on when you almost had a psychotic breakdown after their last episode of Narcissistic rage. 

And if that doesn’t work, recall how they almost never bought you a Christmas gift…opting instead to slip you a twenty-dollar bill because they didn’t “get the chance to go shopping.”  Give yourself the gift of empowerment so that you don’t end up loathing yourself for falling for their lies and hoovering once again.

** Link to original post (publish date Dec 20, 2013) First Christmas Without the Narcissistic Ex?.

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Book Tour of Award-Winning Author L. Dwain Boswell

bOOK TOUR LOGO

(I Am Worth the Effort Blog)

I am excited to guest post on this wonderful blog as a part of my virtual book tour.  My first book, “Sex Lies & Alibis”, has proven to be helpful to more than just family and friends.  Many have given their reviews of the book including a 5-STAR independent review.  Thanks to Kim Saeed for this wonderful opportunity.

I recently spoke with several victims of abuse and it was so refreshing to see them all thriving and making a good life for themselves.  The common theme I heard from them all is that they finally found the courage to separate from their abusers.  Some totally abandoned everything they owned to somehow become business owners; corporate leaders; counselors and the like.

Men who abuse women probably don’t realize how much they have become a serpent seeking to devour the seed of the woman, but I see her as triumphant when I look at what remains:

  • Although tempted to distrust, these women remained confident.

Chapter 5 of my book talks about the power men have to improve on whatever they are given, but instead many have added to the damaging statistics of domestic violence. The confidence and comfort these women had would be a riddle from a merely human perspective.  They endured harsh words and pain that would have discouraged most from the hope of a successful relationship, yet they remained confident and are thriving through it all.

  • Even at their wits’ end, their foundation remained.

Isn’t it the ultimate affliction and oppression to destroy the foundation of a woman instead of building upon it? If a man can destroy a woman’s hope in love what else is there to hope for as relational beings? What can any of us do without loving or being loved?  These women remained strong in their foundation which is what kept them from eternal misery because they still had the ability to receive love from the man who would finally treat them like the treasure they are.

  • No matter how bleak the outlook of her domestic situation became, her seed remained.

Even though an oak tree sheds its leaves in the winter, there is still substance in it. Though it may be stripped of its outward prosperity, it will recover in due season and flourish again. The foundation remains strong.  So it is with a woman; the seed in her soul gives her substance; the blessing of grace sustains her life; and the ability to carry the seed of mankind, should be enough to hold her in high esteem.

My book is an inspirational relationships book that exposes a culture of exploitation and why the current dating culture continues to fail. It talks about how we are all vulnerable to a distinct mix of outside forces that can sabotage the success of any relationship whether married or single.  It is then packed with ways to improve your relationship and will present you with a new approach that is guaranteed to be worth every step outlined.

I will be checking back daily to respond to your comments concerning this post or any questions you want to ask.  In the meantime, here are some great ways that you can give back with your purchase.

  1. Use Amazon Smileto make your purchase and automatically give .5% to a charity of your choice! I chose Shared Hope International from the available choices.
  2. Gift a book to a friend and we will donate 20% to groups fighting human trafficking.
    3.Donate this book to your local library. No library will turn down donated books, the more copies in circulation the better. 
    4.  Recommend this to your book club and use chapter 2 to launch a discussion about human trafficking. Email me to set up a free awareness discussion: bookclub@iamworththeeffort.com
    5. Purchase the eBook from Google Play and we will donate 10% to groups helping to end Domestic Violence.

Why Going to Therapy with the Narcissist is a Bad Idea

Couple arguing in therapy

So you’ve been thinking about going to couple’s counseling with your abusive partner.

After all, you’ve apparently committed some serious grievances against them. According to him or her, it’s a wonder you’re not on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. You think back to the times you snapped as you pick up the phone and dial your insurance company to find marriage counselors in your area. You have been feeling high-strung and confused lately …and it seems you’ve been forgetting some things you said to your partner, including how you wished harm upon their past lovers, family, and their cousin, twice removed from their third step-father’s side.

Before you start going down the list of marriage or relationship counselors, it’s important to consider that going to therapy with a Narcissist will accomplish three things: 1) waste time and money, 2) keep you in a relationship that is doomed to fail anyway and 3) likely result in your feeling like more of the “monster” your partner keeps claiming you are.

The sad truth is that in my experience working with clients who have been narcissistically abused, as well as the hours upon hours of research I’ve done, I’ve not come across one success story as it relates to couple’s therapy with a narcissist. Not one.

Sure, your narcissistic/abusive partner might agree to go to counseling with you, but it’s not to make any improvements or lasting change. They only do it to keep their primary supply enmeshed in the relationship and to enhance their false image of trying to “make it work”.

There are reasons for the lack of counseling/therapy success with a narcissist, including:

• Narcissists are masters at creating great impressions. Because of this, some naïve therapists side with the narcissist regarding the extreme and despicable claims made against the true victim – the one being emotionally and/or physically abused.

• Because there’s such a lack of applicable experience dealing with narcissists, most therapists have been trained to address subjective perceptions. Due to this, narcissists get away with playing the victim, which puts them in a one-up position in regards to the abuse dynamic that will inevitably get worse at home.

• On the topic of subjective perceptions, the victim often goes along with what the therapist says, thus working double-time to improve the relationship…all in vain. (This is also due to the victim being co-dependent, which causes him or her to put in more than their fair share, anyway). The narcissist will not appreciate any efforts extended by their victim, and in fact may mock them, causing further emotional damage.

• It’s not unusual for the narcissist to insist on seeing the therapist first. This gives him or her the opportunity to lay down false accusations and give the therapist a wrong impression of what’s actually going on in the relationship.

• Many narcissists come into their relationships already “seeing a therapist”. This is a strategic move in order for them to pave the way for forgiveness when they commit relationship and abuse crimes, allowing them the perfect opportunity to justify their actions with the comments, “I’m seeing someone for that. Are you going to give up on me? How can you just leave me when I’m down?”…and all variations of guilting to keep their target enmeshed.

• The victim, feeling safe and encouraged by the therapist, usually expresses their pain, disappointments, and may possibly confess to serious emotional or physical assault. This often makes things much worse for them at home, and strengthens the trauma bond, thus making it harder to leave.

• Typically, the narcissist goes into the therapist’s office and morphs into a fictional, decent character. Once back at home, they return to their normal, abusive selves.

Please understand that this article is not meant to discourage anyone from seeking individual therapy. This post was written to highlight some of the reasons why therapy with the narcissist is a recipe for disaster. Further, there are some very skilled therapists who can detect a cluster-b disordered person within minutes of meeting one. Those who are skilled in this area will usually inform the abuse victim of their observations regarding the emotional abuse and exploitation dealt out by the narcissist.

Victims of narcissistic abuse and emotional trauma should always incorporate professional therapy as part of their recovery program to address conditions such as depression, PTSD, anxiety, phobias, family of origin wounds, and the like. There are some wonderful and skilled counselors out there, though it may take some exploration to find one who resonates with you.

If you missed Melanie Tonia Evans’ free webinar in November, 3 Keys To Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse, she has another one coming up in just a few days. Don’t forget to register as this might be the last one of the year.

Warning-signThere are some websites on the internet that claim to help you “make it work” with the narcissist, or even to help you “tame” the narcissist. I would exercise extreme caution when visiting these sites. While there may be some great info regarding codependence and changing oneself, there simply is no way to remain in a relationship with a narcissist and maintain a sense of self, much less heal inner wounds that need to be healed in order to recover.

 

 

Headed to Honolulu!

oahu-waikiki-beach

For those of you who follow my blog, you may be aware that my oldest son will be playing in the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Honolulu on December 7th.  I will be overseas starting this Friday and will be back in business on Thursday, December 11th.

The Marching Patriots will be representing the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the memory of all those who served on the U.S.S. Virginia battleship, at the Pearl Harbor Parade.  Marching bands are an important part of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade, and bands from the continental U.S. as well as the Hawaiian islands will be attending.

The parade has been recognized by numerous veterans associations, community organizations, military and government officials and provides participants and spectators an opportunity to salute those men and women who have and continue to sacrifice for our nation.

In addition to marching bands, this tribute to veterans and armed forces features performing groups, associations, dignitaries, military groups and officials joining together to share the Spirit of America with the citizens and visitors of Hawaii.

The parade route takes bands from historic Fort DeRussy, through the scenic streets of Waikiki, to Kapiolani Park at the foot of Diamond Head Crater.

2014 Participating Bands

Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade In order of appearance:

United States Marine Corps Forces Pacific Band

Millennium H.S. Band, Goodyear, Arizona

Seminole H.S. Marching Band, Sanford, Florida

Taiko Drummers, Hawaii

Riverside Military Academy Marching Band, Gainesville, Georgia

Chimacum H.S. Band, Washington

Cameron County H.S. Marching Band, Emporium, Pennsylvania

Westlake H.S. Marching Band, Saratoga Springs, Utah

Western Dubuque H.S. Marching Band, Epworth, Iowa

**Patrick Henry H.S. Marching Band, Roanoke, Virginia   

Warren Central H.S. Marching Band, Vicksburg, Mississippi

North Buncombe H.S. Marching Band, Weaverville, North Carolina

In addition to my Fundly campaign, I received donations from family and friends.  Thank you to all who donated to make this trip possible.  I couldn’t have done it without you.

**Winners who entered the prize drawing via donating through my blog or Fundly will be notified by email.

Why Go No Contact with the Narcissist?

Woman Leaving

If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’re searching for reasons why No Contact is the best way to sever ties with the Narcissist in your life.  You may have already read some material and are now confused with all the conflicting information out there, or perhaps you haven’t yet found anything that resonates with how you’re feeling at the moment.

Perhaps you found suggestions, tips, and reasons such as:

  • No Contact gives you the upper hand and the last word
  • It’s the most hurtful narcissistic injury you could inflict
  • It provides you with much-wanted revenge
  • It’s a great form of punishment
  • It’s a great way to make the Narcissist miss you

…and the list goes on.

If you’ve been mistreated, discarded, and/or found out your partner has been unfaithful, the above suggestions may seem appealing.  However, none of them are good reasons for implementing No Contact.

The best reasons for No Contact are:  self-protection, healing, and moving forward into a life that’s free of abuse and full of peace and joy.

Why sticking to No Contact is better in the long run

  • If you attempted No Contact only to break it later, it likely became clear that you gained absolutely nothing from doing so. You didn’t gain closure, an improved relationship, or a sincere apology.  The only person who gains from your breaking NC is the Narcissist, who gains a sense of authority over you, along with a God complex for being able to affect you in such a powerful way.
  • Think about the long-term. If you stick with No Contact and do the self-work required for healing, you will get to a point of recovery and, eventually, happiness.  If you keep breaking No Contact, you will continue through life experiencing that sick feeling of trauma and addiction due to his or her repeated silent treatments, infidelities, lying, exploitation, and making a point to make you feel invalidated.
  • Breaking No Contact will never provide you with the approval and validation you seek from the Narcissist which, coincidentally, is one of the biggest reasons people break NC. In fact, the more you engage with the Narcissist, the worse you will feel over time as they continue to devalue and invalidate you.
  • Not maintaining NC can, and often does, lead to severe depression. Though not common, the Narcissist’s exes do sometimes commit suicide for the very reasons listed above.  Don’t become that ex.  If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call a qualified therapist or Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-8255.

What to do instead of breaking No Contact

Following are some suggestions:

  • Write a letter to the Narcissist describing everything you’re feeling, but don’t send it
  • Sign up for Melanie Tonia Evans’ free webinar, 3 Ways to Thriving after Narcissistic Abuse
  • Find a coach, friend or mentor who can help you stay the course
  • Stop reading so much about Narcissism and, instead, read something uplifting regarding recovery
  • Journal your successes, thoughts, and dreams
  • Visit Dr. Jenner’s site and sign up for a 60-minute, free consultation for Inner Child healing and/or recovery from codependence

Recovery from narcissistic abuse begins with No Contact.  There is simply no other option.  Further, recovery times are different for everyone and the duration is directly correlated to an individual’s commitment and willingness to put in the healing work required. What can you do today for a better tomorrow?

**If you missed Melanie’s last free webinar, registrations have opened back up for her free event in December.   Don’t miss out as this may possibly be the last one of the year.

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7 ways your relationship could be going wrong.

Kim Saeed:

An excellent article about healthy relationships with a focus on open, loving communication.

Originally posted on Dr Nicholas Jenner PsyD MA:

Nothing is perfect and that goes for relationships too. In the best of intimate relationships, there are those subtle and not so subtle signs that harmony is being disrupted. Some disagreements and discussions make sense and are in fact healthy; his words against hers, her values in the face of his values, old traditions vs. new ideas and so on. However, after a few years of living with a partner, attempting and working on intimacy, you can often see a few patterns emerging. Those patterns might be complicated to detect when you are a part of the everyday ‘drama’.

For me, after a lot of experience of-therapy and relationship-coaching, I find them fairly simple to detect. I have found solving problems in relationships takes commitment, education and a will on both sides. From there the solutions should be within reach.

Some of the patterns listed below are signs of troubled…

View original 459 more words

3 Keys to Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse

Melanie's Webinar Post

Have you been in therapy for months or even years with no relief from the pain, trauma, and anxiety caused by having been narcissistically abused and wounded?

Does it feel like the relationship ended just yesterday, though they have moved on and started a new life with someone else?

Do you wake up every day wondering when or if you will ever get your life back?

Have you lost your friends and even your job due to the depression caused by emotional abuse, yet can’t seem to get motivated to change?

Or maybe you grew up with a Narcissistic parent and have been trying to navigate through a painful life without knowing where to turn…

Many victims of Narcissistic abuse never really recover, regardless of how many books they read or how many support groups they’re in.  Knowledge is extremely important during recovery, but it only takes us so far.  The reason is because real recovery takes place on the soul level.

What if I told you there is hope for your future?

I have partnered with Melanie Tonia Evans to spread the news about her free 3 Keys to Thriving after Narcissistic Abuse webinar.

Imagine for a moment what it would feel like to be completely over this person, to have no attachments, thoughts and feelings concerning him or her, or what happened to you whatsoever.

Imagine being able to get on with your life, enjoy living, being creative, and being able to experience purpose and know what real joy feels like again.  This is exactly what Melanie will talk about during her free webinar.

What makes her program different than other books and healing methods out there

Melanie discovered the FOUR COMBINED TRUTHS about abuse that no one had ever realized – not doctors, not domestic violence workers and certainly not abuse-recovery or support groups.

It became clear to her WHY people all around the world were suffering from abuse, and why most of them weren’t getting better, even decades after their abusive experience.

This information was the key to her recovery, but what she didn’t realize at the time was that it was also a vital key to help liberate other people in the world from narcissistic abuse.

Why you should give her webinar a try

There are many books out there that help people understand Narcissism, and even some pretty good self-help and recovery books, but truly your body has grabbed control of your brain. It is a physiological phenomenon that can’t be controlled by “thinking”. It isn’t until you start addressing the inner wounds and breaking the peptide addiction cycle that the body trauma chemicals will recede … and THEN your brain naturally follows.

The irony of recovery is this:

Our mind tells us if we just think about it more, maybe we can work it out and find a solution. It thinks that if we research more about his/her behavior then we can find the answers that will stop the pain. And yet staying in our head only generates more and more powerlessness, trauma and depression instead.

Incredibly, Melanie is offering a free 2-hour webinar to discuss:

  • How to release the addiction to him or her so that you can detach and stop experiencing mind-bending and soul shattering abuse.
  • How to let go of the repetitive painful thoughts and feelings so that you can start functioning and feeling healthy again, resume your life, your livelihood and be able to connect to the people and activities you care about.
  • Discover how to bypass the obsessive thoughts in your head and release your emotional trauma powerfully and directly.
  • How to rebuild your self-worth and confidence that the narcissist took from you.

Did I mention it’s free? 

True healing takes a commitment to healing your unhealed parts, cleaning up your damaged inner identity, and releasing limiting beliefs that existed before you even met the Narcissist…

With no risk to you, you can take this incredible opportunity to heal your unhealed parts, the ones that you have never reached before, and break free into a life experience that surpasses anything that you believed was possible…

**If you are unable to attend the live webinar, you will get a recording of the event just for signing up!

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I Filed a Restraining Order Against the Narcissist…Now What?

 

Close up of approved restraining order request with pen and calculator

Filing a restraining order against the Narcissist is often a necessary and unavoidable step in one’s road to independence.  The reason why is because many narcissists refuse to respect their target’s requests for no contact, wantonly opposing boundaries and exceeding limits with an alarming sense of entitlement.

Many targets of narcissistic abuse believe that when their abusive partner attempts to break the conditions of the restraining order that it’s out of love and genuine concern.  The reality is that narcissists believe they own their target.  Further, they don’t want to lose the “respect by association” that comes with being in a relationship with said target.  In my practice, I work with doctors, lawyers, therapists, business-owners, and others who are decent, whole, conscientious, and respectable.  Furthermore, they’re all attractive.  By all accounts, most narcissists are seven thousand leagues under the sea when compared to their targets.

And they know it.  (This knowledge is the fuel for the oft-ensuing smear campaign).

They cannot tolerate the thought of losing ownership of their “prized possession”.  Their God-like sense of power is seriously jeopardized when a target goes through the process of getting a restraining order.  This not only causes the disordered individual to become enraged at their target’s attempt at autonomy, they go on a mission to “make” their supply source accept them back into their life, in spite of possible legal repercussions.  Of course, because their target is a warm-hearted and forgiving individual, narcissists may not act out in aggressive ways because that wouldn’t be convincing.  So, the narcissist may pull out all the stops by delivering endearing comments, such as:

  • Why are you giving up on us?
  • No one will ever love you as much as I do.
  • How could you do this to our family?
  • I thought we vowed to stick together for better or for worse.
  • You know you’re the love of my life.

Alternately, when the narcissist is in rage mode, they may throw out hurtful accusations designed to make their target feel guilty, including:

  • I knew you never really loved me.
  • Everyone told me you would do this, but I didn’t want to believe it.
  • You act like a goody two-shoes, but you’re really an evil person.
  • You’ve been building up to this for months.
  • You just wanted me for my money (ironically, they are often epic cheapskates and swindlers)

If you’ve recently had to file a restraining order against your abusive partner, or are considering it, it’s crucial to understand that whether they appear to be heartbroken or try to make you feel guilty, it’s all manipulation designed to get you to break the restraining order and accept them back into your life, which in turn makes them feel God-like (and can also hurt you in court).  If you have a restraining order in place, you must follow through with the guidelines and call the police if they approach you.  Anything less will only result in making it harder to escape the abuse later on.

**These behaviors are not typical of the cerebral narcissist, whose favorite punishment is the silent treatment.  Cerebral narcissists typically disappear without another word.  Stalking and violating restraining orders is more typical of overt, malignant, aggressive narcissist types.

Why Do I Feel Like a Traitor?

It’s a long stretch for targets of narcissistic abuse to move forward with filing a restraining order against their abusive partner.  They feel overwhelming guilt, convincing themselves that an RO is way too harsh.  What they’re not considering is that the narcissist doesn’t hold the same sentiments.

The truth is that once the disordered person gets back in, they will resume their manipulative behaviors with barely a hitch.  It’s for this very reason that victims who break the restraining order often have a period of self-loathing to work through…due to having been “had” once again.  But, more than that, detaching from the narcissist often triggers:

  • fear of abandonment
  • an overwhelming need for closure
  • trauma bond cravings
  • feelings of worthlessness

These are the same reactions one experiences after initiating No Contact.  Instead of reaching out, thereby breaking the restraining order (or No Contact), it’s important to keep in mind that the temporary feelings of relief would soon be replaced with angst, self-reproach, and overwhelming regret.  As a substitute, understand that healing from this type of abuse often requires therapy, self-reflection, and active self-care. Maintaining a no-contact policy is vital to healing and recovery.

**If you are in a shared custody situation where No Contact is impossible, consider implementing the Gray Rock method of dealing with the disordered during modified/low contact.

Is It Possible He’s Not 100% Narcissist?

 

Pensive Lady

Part of the reason targets of narcissistic abuse stay in the relationship beyond a reasonable and rational point is because they find it too hard to accept the idea that some people are cunning, devious and heartless.  People who are conscientious give manipulators the benefit of the doubt and try to see their side of things.

This is exactly what narcissists and other emotional manipulators count on.

It’s no secret that narcissists target people who possess specific personality traits and vulnerabilities.  By definition, vulnerability refers to the inability to withstand the effects of a hostile environment (en.wikipedia.org).  Because of this inability to survive in an unfriendly environment, targets of narcissistic abuse distance themselves from painful reality through the use of defense mechanisms which are fairly unconscious, meaning victims use these mechanisms without even being aware of doing so.

Narcissists keep their victims in a constant state of fear, which in turn causes the victim to react from his or her amygdala (or “reptilian” brain).  The amygdala controls life functions such as breathing, heart rate and the basic emotions of love, hate, fear, lust, and contentment (all of which are considered “primal emotions”).

It’s also responsible for the fight or flight reaction.  Victims of narcissistic abuse live in this state almost every day.  Even after the relationship is over, victims suffer PTSD, C-PTSD, panic attacks, phobias, and more…all due to the narcissist triggering their primal fears, including the fear of abandonment.  Out of these fears, targets of emotional abuse engage in primitive defense mechanisms including (but not limited to):

  • Denial – Targets use denial to escape dealing with painful feelings or areas of their life they don’t want to admit.
  • Compartmentalization – Targets pigeonhole the abusive aspects of the relationship in order to focus on the positive aspects.
  • Projection – Targets project their traits of compassion, empathy, caring, and understanding onto their abuser, when in fact, narcissists and other emotional abusers possess none of those traits.

Therefore, to answer the question, is it possible he or she is not 100% narcissist, one would need to examine facts, and not come to conclusions based on primitive emotions which may cause one to overlook reality.   Has the narcissist been nice at some point in time?  Of course they have, because otherwise you would have left them long ago.  Those small moments of their “being nice” are simply partial reinforcement, which is the manipulative trick of random rewards to cause you to doubt and overlook their otherwise cruel behaviors.

Did they cry and seem sincere when you threatened to leave?  You bet.  That’s positive reinforcement, also known as operant conditioning.  When they turn on the crocodile tears, apologize excessively, and shower you with gifts after they’ve committed a grievous relationship sin, they are conditioning you to subconsciously look forward to these hoovering attempts, thus triggering you to take them back every time.

In closing, it doesn’t really matter if your abuser is 100% narcissist or not.  They could be 80% on the hypothetical scale, they could be 110%.  If you are being abused, whether it’s a little or a lot, that makes your partner unfit.  The best course of action is to sever the relationship and go No Contact.

Will My Narcissistic Ex Ever Feel Guilty?

UNFAITHFUL-MAN

A common question as it relates to a toxic relationship is whether the narcissist feels any guilt or remorse for what they’ve done to their partner (a.k.a. source of supply).

The short answer is no.

In order to feel guilt, one needs to have a conscience.  Because narcissists have no conscience, there are no limits to the destruction they can cause in the lives of their victims…all without an inkling of remorse.

Victims struggle with this because, as conscientious people, they believe there must be some understandable reason why narcissists act the way they do.  They cannot grasp that there are people who are simply cunning and devious, and thus justify the narcissist’s hurtful actions by being all too willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Victims imagine how they would feel if they were mean and nasty to the narcissist, and further imagine the remorse, guilt, and angst they would feel in treating another person as poorly as narcissists do – especially a person they were supposedly in love with.  In other words, they try to put themselves into another’s shoes.

That’s called empathy; something that narcissists are devoid of.

The Illusion of False Remorse

Many narcissists are skilled at portraying an air of remorse.  They use words and gestures to create the illusion that they are sorry for leaving you for another lover, for acting cruelly, and for breaking promises.  But, it’s all smoke and mirrors.  Notice how they are only “sorry” when you threaten to leave or cut off contact?  How they suddenly can’t live without you once you seem serious about ending it – whereas a day before, they were giving you the silent treatment and gallivanting around town with another lover?

These are the reasons for the phrase, don’t listen to their words; pay attention to their actions.   This doesn’t include their hoovering or blowing up your phone and email when they’ve muffed up yet again.  It means their actions when they believe they have one up on you…when you are settled nice and comfortably under their thumb.

The Harm in Magical Thinking

We’ve read the articles about physical and emotional addiction to the narcissist and how codependency is the root of the relationship.

However, there’s another culprit in staying enmeshed with a narcissist, and that’s our engaging in magical thinking.  What does that look like in the context of a relationship with a narcissist?  Following are some examples:

  • The belief that your pain must mean something to them, when in fact, it only means something to you (and perhaps your well-meaning family and friends).
  • Believing they have sincere motives when they agree to go to couple’s counseling with you. The truth is, they only agree to that to 1) keep you enmeshed by creating the false illusion that they are “trying”, and 2) to get you in the therapist’s office to make you seem like the unstable one – which, in turn, enhances your false belief that you are damaged and no one else would want you or tolerate you.
  • Falling for their hoovering attempts when they show up with flowers and cards (and perhaps a few crocodile tears). This is simply the manipulative tactic of positive reinforcement, which is designed to strengthen the possibility that you will keep taking them back.  What it does is relieve the crippling symptoms of your fear of abandonment, which is rooted in low self-esteem and childhood wounds.
  • Falling for their “victim” act. Surely they have a reason for behaving the way they do.  What with their drug-addicted, abusive ex-girlfriends/wives/husband/__________(fill-in-the-blank); the fact that they are trying to work on their shortcomings (see, they’ve been in the care of a therapist – for nine years); their horrible, racist, snotty, power-hungry boss who just hates them and wants to see them suffer (which corresponds quite nicely with their propensity towards serial job-hopping); their sudden physical injury (which you can’t seem to confirm, and by the way…why do they always seem to get hurt when you break up with them?); their grandmother’s being on her death bed (seriously, eleven times in two months?)

In short, magical thinking is when we rationalize their actions and behaviors which cannot be justified with reason and logic.

Why They Don’t Feel Guilty

The reason the narcissist acts the way they do is simple – they hurt you in order to breed fear in you so that they can maintain power and control, and simultaneously keep you as a source of supply.  They need to maintain the superior position in the relationship, and that is why it manifests in their treating you worse over time, while you end up feeling more and more powerless to leave.

Narcissists try to destroy you by exhausting you, manipulating you via using your own emotions against you, instilling fear, thus having control over you, which often leads to illness (which can lead to diseases such as cancer and/or worse, suicide).  This is how they are able to keep their victims engaged and enmeshed for sometimes decades.

Some victims never leave.

This is precisely why a relationship with a narcissist is emotionally and physically draining.  It’s their strategy and nothing they feel guilty about.  That’s why the burden falls on you to stop the cycle through detaching and going No Contact.  If children are involved, modified contact is an alternative and takes a greater measure of discipline.  In fact, if children are involved, it’s almost more imperative that you leave the relationship because otherwise, they will likely grow up to be either narcissistic or codependent themselves.

It’s up to us to stop passing these generational curses down.