How to Get a Narcissist Back (and the danger of nostalgia)

By Kim Saeed | Narcissistic Behaviors

May 18

These search terms lead many people to Let Me Reach and could mean one of two things.  Either 1) someone wants their Narcissistic partner to return to them, or 2) someone wants to exact revenge on the Narcissist, i.e., get the narcissist back.  

Neither of these scenarios will play out in reality as they have in your mind.

1)      “Winning” the Narcissist Back

Let’s consider the first scenario, which is that you want the Narcissist to come back to you.  Perhaps the two of you have just “broken up”, it’s your fifth time breaking No Contact, or you’ve made an attempt to show them you won’t accept their abuse any longer.  Either way, you feel as if you just can’t go another day without them.  Thus, you resolve to wage a campaign to win back the Narcissist’s heart and persuade them to return to you.

The error here is that you assume the Narcissist has a heart.

Remember, your Narcissistic Ex isn’t capable of self-reflection.  They aren’t thinking of all the ways they hurt you, nor about what they can do to be a better person or partner.  If you reach out to the Narcissist making promises of trying harder, being more submissive, letting them have their way, and/or accepting their infidelities, they will only see you as weak, and sadly, repulsive as well…and because of this, the abuse will get worse.

You see, your perspective is that you’ve just gone through a painful breakup.  You’re remembering the “happy times”, the Narcissist’s “good” side.  However, your abusive Ex doesn’t recall those same memories as they pertain to you.  They’ve been obliterated by the Narcissist’s ego.  All they care about at this point is winning, gloating, or using up the last of whatever resources you have left. 

Further, I’ve heard many, awful recounts of the Narcissist returning, only to orchestrate an especially painful and traumatic discard.

How Nostalgia Can Result in Our Downfall

greek nostalgia

Oxford defines nostalgia as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.”  In psychology, nostalgia is often viewed as a coping mechanism.  It can drive us to long for a home that never existed, or in the case of Narcissistic abuse, to cope with an increasingly stressful environment or to deny past and present trauma.

When we exist inside of an abusive atmosphere, we feel we have no control over our lives.  Through the use of nostalgia, we attempt to manipulate our reality to establish a sense of security and serenity.  We rely on our memories to maintain our identity, to process our present reality, and to visualize our future.

And yet, in the case of Narcissistic abuse, our memories are typically not factual.  They are tales co-created by our traumatized hearts and minds.  Further, our culture drives us to replace the reality that does exist in memory with nostalgia.  We listen to songs about true love on the radio, we leave the theater after watching a romantic comedy, we come across poetry written by people in love…and we replace our real history with nostalgic-laced ones that aren’t based on reality.

Mass media designs romanticized myths of people that cause us to wax nostalgic for things that never truly existed.  This causes us to infuse the past with romance, beauty and connection that never really existed in the relationship.  This nostalgia is often fueled by the Narcissist’s hoovering attempts, leading us to make bad choices.

When we approach the situation based off of facts (which is difficult to do), we then come to realize we’ve replaced critical thinking with emotional longing.

2)       Exacting Revenge on the Narcissist

While it’s normal to fantasize about getting revenge on the Narcissist, in reality, it just doesn’t taste as sweet as you might imagine.

First of all, your dreams of revenge are based on how you would feel if something horrid were done to you.  Understanding what would really tick off the Narc requires you to get down on their level, but then how would you feel about yourself?  It might feel good in the beginning, but then you’d likely feel ashamed for the simple fact that you became like them, even if for a brief moment in time.

Subconsciously, performing acts of revenge would add to your already existent feelings of lowliness, spurred on by the Narcissist’s verbal assaults.  You’d create a self-fulfilling prophecy because then they’d go out and broadcast to the world what you’d done, and likely have proof to back it up.

The best way to “get revenge” is to do nothing.  I know it’s cliché, but it’s also the truth.  Giving them the impression that they have no effect on you causes the most damage to their ego and sense of power.  Any display of emotion on your part, whether anger, sadness, or desperation will only fuel their maniacal need for supply. You’ll also feel less worthy of attracting a decent partner in the future once you’ve recovered from the horrendous abuse you’ve endured.

Complete and utter indifference is the kill shot. Anything less is positive validation for their actions.

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