Are you wondering what to expect on Valentine’s Day from the narcissist in your life? Have you recently been hoovered by the seemingly genuine “Epiphany Speech”, where they claim to have seen the light and promise that this Valentine’s Day is going to be the day when they truly show the fullness of their love and devotion to you?
Or maybe instead, after having recently dropped you for another lover, they tell you how happy they will be as they forge ahead with the new “love of their life.” And perhaps they drive the knife in deeper by sharing their plan to propose to their new partner – although they never asked you to marry them despite your having given them years of your life.
Regardless of which scenario describes your situation as this Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s important to keep in mind one crucial fact: narcissists are highly skilled actors. They have no qualms about putting on the performance of the year for you in order to take advantage of your tender feelings of hope and longing and to exploit your willingness to forgive their outrageous behavior in the relationship.
Valentine’s Day is the Narcissist’s favorite day for displaying their skills in stage-acting and trickery (next to Christmas, of course). If you’re involved with a Narcissist, read below three of the most common performances that these disordered individuals act out on the occasion of our national day of romance.
Valentine’s Day is the golden day of hoovering for Narcissists everywhere. If they believe you are planning to leave them, you might be bombarded with all manner of love gestures. Your toxic partner may give you the “Epiphany Speech”, causing you to doubt your judgment about the failings of the relationship and the deep flaws in their character. If you allow yourself to sit through the performance, you will inevitably start wondering whether they just need a little more love and understanding. Maybe they haven’t been so bad after all, right? And maybe they are going to change….
The narcissist’s charades can seem genuine and heart-felt. It may appear that they are truly remorseful for the way they’ve treated you. But be cautious. Due to the nature of narcissism, they are simply incapable, in any genuine way, of sharing and reciprocating your emotions, of feeling remorse for their actions, or of ever becoming a truly loving partner. While you believe you’re giving the narcissist another chance, the truth is that they will be using the opportunity to exploit you yet again in order to fulfill their needs and self-serving agendas.
Take-away – No matter how long you wait it out, they will never become the person that you want them to be, and that you have every right to expect them to be. If your relationship consists of repeated cycles of breaking up and making up, of forgiving your partner yet again for having betrayed you, and of having your relationship deal-breakers being consistently trampled on, you can be sure that you are in for more of the same if you stay with them.
The Golden Globes
Were you recently discarded and now can’t stay away from the Narcissist’s social media? Have you become a hermit, downing whole bottles of red wine, ignoring your friends, and calling in sick because you’re so devastated by what you’ve seen on Facebook and Instagram?
Social media is the narcissist’s film crew. Every post you see on their social media is specifically fashioned for the destruction of your self-esteem.
The whole theme is to have you believe you weren’t good enough and that they’ve finally found the love of their life. You’ll see them doing things you always wished for but never received from them. That trip you wanted to take? They’ll post pics of plane tickets to your dream destination alongside a photo of their new love interest. They disliked your children? You’ll find photos of the two of them at a school play…the epitome of a happy family (never mind they’ve only been an official couple for eight days). You like sushi and they mocked you for it? Voila…a pic of them feeding one another tuna rolls using chopsticks (with a bottle of sake in the background).
Social media sites around the world see huge spikes on February 14th due to Narcissists posting frame-by-frame movie clips of themselves with the new supply. The plot twist is that although you might believe they’ll never look your way again, those online pics are designed to keep you waiting by the phone with a white-knuckle grip so that when things go awry with the new supply, they’ll have a place to “come home to”.
And the Golden Globe Award goes to…
Take-away – This is part of the narcissist’s contingency plan. You may feel so worthless and undesirable after seeing them with a new lover that when they come back around, you’ll take them back, throw yourself onto the floor, grab their ankles and thank your lucky stars they’ve come back into your life. But don’t allow yourself to become, unwittingly, a supporting player in their sick drama.
The Silent Movie
Imagine yourself all dressed up after having spent three hours in the kitchen preparing a romantic dinner. The candles are lit, soft music is playing, and you pull out the silverware and china. Dinnertime comes and goes. Eventually, you switch off the music and the only sound that can be heard is that of crickets chirping as you acknowledge the almost-dead silence after the Narcissist canceled dinner plans without informing you.
Wouldn’t that be devastating? Narcissists love using Valentine’s Day to carry out painful devalues. Generally, this is a multi-strategic play wherein they leave you high and dry, simultaneously doing the same to other “side partners”, since they are too busy love-bombing the new target they’ve recently brought into their crosshairs.
Take-away – If you find yourself abandoned on Valentine’s Day, don’t take it personally. Remember that everyone in the narcissist’s life is a pawn, something to be moved around in order to achieve their self-serving strategies . And if you dare to put your foot down and point out their painful behaviors, be prepared to be discarded…often without warning, and often on special occasions like Valentine’s Day.
Is there any hope things can ever be different?
The pathology of Narcissism lies on the Axis II spectrum, which means that full-blown narcissists, as well as those who may not fully meet all the criteria for being such, have a chronically disturbed way of relating to other people. The operative word here is ‘chronic’. The term indicates that their perverse behavior is constant, long-lasting, and incurable.
What this means is that your relationship with them is doomed to failure and dysfunction. The narcissist will never take responsibility but will always blame you for the problems in your relationship. You aren’t doing enough, you’re not understanding enough, you’re the reason they cheat, you’re so sensitive and needy that they can’t be themselves around you…and, if you allow them, they will do a great job convincing you that you’re the root of the dysfunction. Since they’re so practiced at play-acting and deceit, you’ll end up having a hard time separating fact from fiction.
The sad but crucial fact is that, although Narcissists may LOOK just like everybody else, on the inside…they are working with a completely different “playbook”. Their “playbook”, grounded in a deep-seated mental disorder, is a kind of script in which they are the star of the show while everyone else is a mere extra, present only to serve their purposes and make them shine. This mental narrative is cemented in their psyche, and they will never stray from it. Therefore, your only chance of moving on from their deceit and trickery is to stop playing a part in their show or even attending their performances.
Copyright 2017 – Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach
*Originally published on February 15, 2015 and freshly edited for publication on February 13, 2017
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