I have been with my Narcissistic partner for four years. He’s been cruel, demeaning, and lies to me left and right. I know he’s not good for me, but I keep hanging on to the nice part of him that I know exists. Aside from being emotionally abusive and irresponsible, he has a sweet, innocent side that I can’t forget. I’m stuck in a cycle of deciding it’s over, then he turns on the charm full blast and hooks me back in every time. Worse, I know he’s been seeing someone, yet I am willing to turn a blind eye to this. Why can’t I leave him?
Your story is very common.
Some of what I’m about to share may be hard to read, but the first thing to understand is that other people don’t hold any special place in a Narcissist’s heart. While you are hanging on to the honeymoon stage where he love-bombed you and made you feel special, he simply sees your relationship as a source for his livelihood. What that means is, you are a source of supply.
All the world is a stage to the Narcissist. They are masters at giving the appearance of being in love. All the tender concern and deep conversations you probably had in the beginning of your relationship were simply an under-cover assessment designed to learn your hopes, dreams, and fears and also determine if you would be good supply. Without your telling me, I would imagine you’ve been taken advantage of financially, isolated from your friends and family, and made to feel unworthy.
The Narcissistic partner is remarkably attentive, available, and endearing—as long as he is the one securing the relationship. Once he knows he has you under his spell (and locked-in as a source of supply) the “Loving Boyfriend” mask comes off. There’s no need for him to put on this show anymore; in fact it’s a big effort for him to put on fake displays of love and emotion.
Now…on to why you can’t leave him.
Resurrecting the Honeymoon Phase
Narcissists spend years honing their fake persona. They are typically fun, have a great sense of humor, and are the life of the party. Studies have shown that Narcissists are generally more attractive than their counterparts because they dress better, move better, have more attractive facial expressions, and so on. It’s no wonder they have partners available at their beck and call. However, it’s important to remember that what you see with a Narcissist is not what you get.
Once you find yourself receiving the attention of a Narcissist, you feel extra special. After all, out of all the people they could have chosen, they picked you. Then, he woos you in the most romantic way imaginable. It’s a dream come true…one that quickly turns into a nightmare.
After being made to feel like a Queen, the Narcissist begins making little jabs about your appearance, your personality, even your morals. He starts comparing you to other women. You do everything in your power to maintain the favor you had in the beginning of the relationship. However, you learn there’s nothing you can do to get back on the pedestal, even if everything you do is faultless.
It’s their oldest trick. Thus begins the brainwashing and control over your mind and emotions.
The Dangling Carrot
After a while, you begin to understand there’s something off about your partner. During this phase, you plot ways to leave the relationship…perhaps looking for another apartment or asking your partner to leave if the residence belongs to you.
Thus begins the seductive dangling of carrots. Suddenly, you see the man from the beginning of your relationship. In addition, remember that new car you mentioned a few months ago? He takes you to the dealership to look at cars. Had the two of you discussed marriage? He takes you to look at rings. Did you express your desire for a house at some point? He’s suddenly talking to realtors and bringing you the latest copy of “Homes for Sale”.
Don’t fall for it. He has absolutely no intention of doing these things because they’re part of his hoovering tactics. When this becomes clear and you call him on it, he’ll resume the character assassinations and lead you to believe it’s all your fault. This is only a scheme to take the blame off of him and make you feel responsible for the destruction of your hopes, as well as the relationship. You may even fall back into submissive behaviors in hopes he’ll keep his false promises. However, this is pointless because he will discard you anyway once he’s secured a new source of supply.
The Other Woman
The fact that he’s seeing another woman has nothing to do with your beauty or attractiveness (or, as he would have you believe, your lack of those attributes). At some point, he realized you were still capable of independent thought and your usefulness fell into decline. Since he likely already sucked dry all of your finances, destroyed your career, and can’t possibly gain more from staying in the relationship, he’s on to his pursuit of a fresh source of supply.
He also derives a twisted form of validation from making you feel you’re not good enough. You deserve better than that.
Once a Narcissist’s victim has taken all they can physically and emotionally, they lose their resolve and resign themselves to their situation. They feel there’s nothing they can do, anyway, so they might as well find ways to cope.
The victim then tries to keep the waters calm, trying their best to not incite the rage of the Narcissist. They live their days keeping the Narc happy, though most of their efforts are in vain. On the days the Narc IS happy, victims experience a chemical reaction from feeling relief, intense joy, and being able to breathe again. This keeps a neurological cycle going in which the victim becomes “addicted” to the rush of feel-good chemicals created within the body. This chemical reaction is interpreted by victims as love.
The Painful Truth
In closing, that “nice part of him that you know exists” was based on lies from the start. The man you saw from the beginning of the relationship never existed because it was all an act. Any crumbs he metes out at this point are solely for his continued benefit until he can leave you for his next victim. Take your power and dignity back by going No Contact and severing the toxic ties.
Hope that helps!
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© Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach, 2016