Q&A Tuesday – Why Can’t I Leave the Narcissist When I Know He’s Toxic?

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

May 25
Q&A Tuesday

Everyone who has been in a relationship with a Narcissist experiences this contradiction of logic.  Whether you’re straight, gay, bi-, male, female…we’ve all carried the shame of this reality.  As did those before us, and as those who follow after.

There are reasons this happens, some of which may be embedded in your subconscious so deeply that even with therapy, you can’t make logical sense of the situation.

First, when inside the relationship, we are in survival mode.  We spend our days trying to get from morning to evening with as little drama as possible.  We minimize the abuse, hang onto magical thinking and along the way, come to depend on them for our confidence and self-esteem.  We are unable to end the relationship and it’s not entirely due to being in love, although that’s part of it.  The other part is because we want to hear them say, “I didn’t really mean those things I said about you.  I know I told you that you are fat, ugly, worthless, trashy, and that no one could possibly love you.  But, none of those things are true.  You’re smart, pretty (or handsome), and successful.  You can do anything you put your mind to and anyone would be lucky to have you.”

We wait for our abuser to have this epiphany, acknowledge the torment they’ve put us through and give us our soul back, but it never happens.

We want closure and without it, we stay stuck in the moment.  We ruminate on their accusations, “He said I’m a loser, ugly, and worthless, but I never saw myself that way…” Letting them come back repeatedly, hoping to get their approval…to hear that we are worthy of love, that we can be successful, that we are attractive and desirable.  Any decent human being would feel some element of remorse and apologize, right?  Maybe even admit they said those things in a moment of anger and didn’t mean them.  The Narcissist will not only re-emphasize that they meant it, but that those things still hold true, widening the void that is our lack of self-love and self-esteem.

Often, this is our Inner Child resurfacing, chasing after love and acceptance.  Many of us are caught in a cycle of re-creating our childhood in an effort to resolve the memory of not feeling loved.  We ache for our abuser to wrap their arms around us and tell us we are precious.  Searching for gentle, nurturing words to make the pain go away (the pain they caused)… so that we can go back into the world feeling safe and confident.  We try to reclaim the innocent, trusting person that we were before we met the Narcissist.  However, when we do that, we are looking in the wrong place.  Yes, the Narc stole our innocence and trust, but our abuser cannot be our redeemer.

We can only heal through loving ourselves.  We don’t need their validation, we need our own.  Stop looking to them for love and acceptance and look within.  For the longer you stay with your abuser, the longer the torment and the struggle.  Recognize yourself as a person with a great sense of kindness, honor, and ethics.  Acknowledge that while someone took advantage of those traits, it doesn’t mean you are weak.  In fact, it’s the strongest people who often have the hardest time leaving the Narcissist because of their persistence in shouldering responsibility and inability to give up.

The Narcissist is incapable of love…any and all forms of it.  If you do hear words of love from your Narcissist, they have a hidden agenda. You did what you could.  Let you abuser go and implement No Contact.


Do you have a burning question about your partner’s dubious behaviors?  Submit them to support@letmereach.com and your question will be entered into our database and possibly included in a future publication. 

No Contact Coaching & Mentoring services are available.  Click here to learn more.

© Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach, 2016

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(14) comments

Rema October 21, 2014

Just left a 1 year relationship with the narcissist a week ago. Grabbed my stuff and moved out to never return again. I am feeling great for the most part just within a week I feel my back is not hurting from the stress and arguments that he use to put me. I realize life is better than feeling caged in and trying to please someone who is never going to be pleased. he sucked the life out of me and continuously wanted me to prove myself to him. he never trusted me, and controlled every move I made, accused me of being jealous of him, felt emotionally not supported, I can count in one hand how many days it was about me in this relationship. it was all about him, his always complaining his sick, got a headache, stomach hurts you name it…. I found myself always worrying and ,caring and wondering about him but I highly doubt that he was sick now that I know the personality of a narcissist. I felt suffocated like I couldn’t breath most days. the ups and downs was so bad , I have been called every bad name you could ever imagine, isolated from the world. and to think for a second that i was happy makes me sick to my mind. I completely forgot who i was. after i got away called my friend that i haven’t talk to in one year and told him what was happing to me. the horror on his face while i was telling him about it was my ultimate reality check. He said” what where you waiting for? and why haven’t you left him soon? were you waiting till he wipes his shoes of off you? ” I found myself so embarrassed, felt so low that i allowed someone to walk all over me like this… Every morning i wake up and i thank God that he delivered me from this Mess that i put myself. Every morning i have a deep appreciation for the free will of choice. choice to be single, to be free, to be caring about me and only me, come and go as I please, have my friends around again, to sit somewhere with out feeling anxious about getting home… oh what a joy !!!
don’t get me wrong i do miss the good times and the “Good” Man i thought he was and i am still attached to him. but you know what?? I Missed my freedom, peace, and having a normal conversation, i missed more of my old me that than the Toxic relationship i was in…. just one week and still more to go i look forward to seeing myself after 2weeks, a month, 3, 6 …. feel full of hope just thinking about that.
thank you so much for this website such a comfort to know i am not alone and i am not crazy.

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Trish Ping May 27, 2014

The struggle now is not believing what they say. Im reflecting on me and I don’t like some of things I have done to me and others The last two years have been my lowest. The things I read about how we try feel loved and the perfectionist tendency. Maybe its part of the process to reflect but I can hear his words I’m flawed no future with me never be healed…

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Jenny May 26, 2014

I’ve been pondering this question for quite some time now and researching it a lot, having experienced it myself and having seen it with so many other people too time and time again. Just doesn’t seem to make any sense does it?

I think the answer is dead simple yet at the same time very surprising and disturbing. When we have to do with the more sociopathic or psychopathic narcissists, well these creatures thrive on the more ancient part of the brain/mind, some even function almost entirely from that lower part and their higher minds are severely impaired or simply nonexistent.

However that lower part also controls attraction in ALL of us. And the higher minds of healthy people, all the emotions normal people feel, all the thoughts normal people think, logic, even the self (what we think we are), is up here in the higher part and has no actual control over attraction.

Narcissists, through a very unfortunate coincidence, overload that ancient attraction part of us we have no control over. We get crazy attracted to everythign they say and do and are, because all that stimulates our lower mind and creates insane amounts of pathological attraction.

And so getting rid of a narcissist is a fight between the higher and the lower mind, it’s a total war inside. That’s why it can take years or decades to get rid of them. Because in a way, we must split into two and one part of ourself must defeat the other, more instinctive part.

So trying to find logic in this is like walking in circles, because no logic can apply to the lower mind.

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    Kim Saeed May 26, 2014

    Jenny, this is a very thought-provoking and insightful comment. One I thinks deserves some credence.

    I think you are onto something here. However, I think there is a way to shut down the lizard-brain and get back into our higher mind if we are diligent enough. Just using myself as an example, I was once hopelessly addicted to my Ex. There was a time when I thought I would never get over him. But through educating myself about the Narcissistic personality, along with making a conscious effort to de-hypnotize myself, I successfully broke the “spell”.

    Most people who come out of these toxic relationships put in lots of effort towards understanding Narcs. I’ve interacted with people who’ve become so knowledgeable about the disordered mind that they could write a book. But the missing piece that prevents most people from recovering is they don’t invest the same effort in healing themselves.

    Cognitive knowledge of NPD doesn’t heal us. And many times, seeing a therapist doesn’t, either. Most counselors are not equipped to handle victims of Narcissistic abuse, so their therapy isn’t helpful (though some people get lucky in this regard; there ARE some qualified therapists out there).

    The reason I promote meditations (guided/binaural), essential oils, energy healing, and other healing modalities such as extreme self-care, is because those are the things that heal us, not the knowledge. Yet, most people never practice them, and if they do, it’s only once or twice and then back to nothing. That’s why it often takes years or decades for people to heal, if ever.

    It’s been three years since I left my abusive spouse. I can honestly say I’m healed. I no longer crave my Ex or mourn over the lost marriage. I haven’t for some time now. I have healed my psyche, my cells, my emotions, and by doing so, I deactivated the lizard/lower mind attraction you speak of. It can happen. I am proof, but I’ve put in a lot of effort (and money) in healing myself through various means.

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    Kathy May 28, 2014

    Brilliant post, Jenny!!!

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emergingfromthedarknight May 26, 2014

We are hooked on them for exactly this reason. I was telling a counsellor today it took me one year to actually even figure out what he said was not true, and to go no contact because if I ever showed any vulnerability or emotion he would almost go psycho. I look back and feel so sad to have continued to pursue him hoping he would say exactly what you said, Kim. “I am sorry and don’t mean any of the nasty horrible things I say about you.” At one year I totally let go, but he was still inside my head a lot and it has taken so much work to overcome these inner voices. I was so used to being put down by certain family members it was no wonder I attracted this kind of relationship. What helped me was to realise I had to be the best parent to my own inner child. I had to begin to be a loving inner parent to that child and learn to be my own best friend. This is an ongoing work in process. I now feel free and the longing to hear him say he was wrong is gone. I hope others reading this can lessen their suffering and come into the light sooner.

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    Trish Ping May 26, 2014

    I hate this being hooked and how much head space they rent. I got several emails last week. One was how much I love you close your eyes you know this. Love you forever but not wanting to get together. The second one a few days later how my past made him not to want to have a future with me. I made a mistake and told him my past will always be there. But it has made me someone beautiful kind empathic. Can say those things! So this morning as I’m alone letting him take rent in my head I want to say why can’t you see the beauty courage strength in me?? But the words don’t penetrate they only invoke rage because I pointed out a flaw.
    I get tired of being alone after 7 years of him in and out. This is why your comment of one year feels over whelming its a great deal of things to handle but I can feel the change slowly

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      emergingfromthedarknight May 27, 2014

      I was lucky to have a support group and a very good therapist to sustain me and this really helped me. I feel for you because I do understand the pain. In the end after our last interaction where he was so nasty I decided that was it. I was so sick of the pain. I learned I must learn to love myself and let him go for it was a very unhealthy way of living for me. Acceptance it the key to our problems… that is from the AA Big Book. Its hard to accept the way they are but if we don’t we are in for trouble and wont get unhooked. I mean this in the kindest way.

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alienorajt May 26, 2014

I so needed to read this piece today. Thank you for sharing it. xxx

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armyofangels2013 May 25, 2014

This is great! I can’t wait to do the guided meditation. Along the same lines, I learned about “hero body”, which is another term for survival mode when we are children. As we grow, “hero body” continues to kick in to protect us when triggered. Healing the Inner Child has been an important part of my journey, though admittedly I was skeptical at first.

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Trish Ping May 25, 2014

Thank you for the video this was very moving! My journal this morning was on shame so helping and healing this shame is what my soul needed! I don’t think my narc ever said that any positive about me beingin his life so hearing this unlocked strong emotions. Thank you Kim!

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Aura E Martinez May 25, 2014

This is a really good article, I have to say! Thank you for sharing this with us!

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    Kim Saeed May 26, 2014

    Thanks, Aura! That means a lot 🙂

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selfcarehaven May 25, 2014

“Letting them come back repeatedly, hoping to get their approval…to hear that we are worthy of love, that we can be successful, that we are attractive and desirable. Any decent human being would feel some element of remorse and apologize, right? Maybe even admit they said those things in a moment of anger and didn’t mean them. The Narcissist will not only re-emphasize that they meant it, but that those things still hold true, widening the void that is our lack of self-love and self-esteem.”

This is so true, and this entire post hit home.Thank you for writing this. Since they idealize us so much in the beginning, during the devaluation and discard phases we are left hanging on, trying to chase after the image and possibility they first presented. But you are right in saying they will only reinforce everything they already said and did to make you feel insecure in the first place. That’s their nature, that’s how they keep control. The best way is to leave, maintain NC and validate ourselves.

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