I feel like I’ve had to gnaw off my own leg to get out of this bear trap. It’s only been 4 days and the pain is still there but it’s starting to subside. It’s not easy. Anyone who has been in an abusive relationship with a narcissist can probably relate. Now I am no psychologist or therapist and I am not trained to dispense any therapeutic advice, but I am writing to share my experience and some things I have done for recovery in the hopes that it may help someone else. I know I’m not alone.
You are not alone. From what I have learned about narcissism over the years I know this. The pattern is blatant in hindsight but highly hidden when you’re in the situation. It starts with love bombing. To them, you are the most wonderful person in the world. You are beautiful, you are sexy, you are intelligent, and you are their dream come true. So much better than anything they have ever had. So wonderful! Their soulmate. The person who finally has shown them what love is. I suppose this love bombing phase is different for every narcissist, depending on the severity, but it usually starts like this. They hook you. They suck you in. They mirror you. Your likes. Your wants. Your interests. Your feelings. You are their end-all-be-all. Then things start to change. It can start with little things. You didn’t text back quick enough. You’re not seeing them enough. You not giving them enough attention. You’re not hyper-focused on them. No amount of reassurance will appease them. That’s because they have deep-rooted issues with insecurity and self-esteem. You see, it’s not about you! It’s about them. It’s always about them. Your feelings are inconsequential because all they know is how they feel. That can change daily. That can change hourly. Even by the minute. They have a need to justify their feelings, no matter what they be at the moment, at any cost.
If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist you may have noticed a few things. Have you noticed that past relationships failed because of the other partner? Always? Now they may concede something that they did just to draw sympathy, but there’s never any true accountability. Never any true change. Have you noticed when you get into a discussion that they become defensive automatically? You express your feelings and try to talk about it and they get on the defense. That’s because of their insecurities. There can’t be anything wrong with them. They need to be the victim no matter how much confidence they project. They have an inflated sense of ego that they need to feed. If you are not feeding that ego then you are to blame. You are making them feel less than a person. You are not sustaining them. And that’s what they need. Sustenance from other human beings. You are nothing more than a walking emotional buffet to them. Then comes the push away.
This was always my favorite part. Not really. My push away happened for one of two reasons. Either he felt slighted by me and I was not giving him enough emotional food, or I had become too close to him. This is another thing about a narcissist. They keep people at arm’s length. If you get too close they will contrive something just to push you away. This normally does not last. You see, the narcissist has to eat. The narcissist has to feed on people. If they don’t have someone lined up, they will come back. Telling you how sorry they are. Telling you that they will change. Telling you they understand how unreasonable they were. Telling you they understand that it’s not okay to treat someone like that. This is where the love bombing cycle starts again. It is a LIE. It’s all a lie. They don’t understand. They just need to eat. They will do whatever it takes to suck you back in. I got sucked back in for 6 years.
Be prepared. They will lie about you. They will project their lies to ANYONE that will listen. They will run you down, tell people it was your fault, rely on the sympathy of others regarding what a terrible person you were in order to sustain them until they come back to start the love bombing phase with you. Perhaps they have found another. It’s okay. Remember, you were an energy source and so is the new interest. Nothing more. I am more than that and so are you. It just took me some time to find that again. Remember…THEY ARE TOXIC. Poison.
My story is probably similar to others. The love bombing phase was incredible. It’s a high. I think of my addiction to this relationship as one addicted to drugs. They make you feel so amazing! Then comes the beratement. The name calling. The yelling. The accusations. The paranoia. The physical abuse. Most of it was emotional and psychological with a random choking accompanied by a broken rib and a few instances of some pretty wicked bruising. Let’s not forget the mind games. Oh! The mind games! It took me awhile to figure out the cycle. It took me awhile to figure out the mind games. Yet I always got sucked back in. Why??? Because you’re addicted to how this person makes you feel during the love bombing phase. You remember that feeling and think it will come back. Be better from now on. That is how they hook you! They give you that first taste for free. After that, you pay for it. Dearly.
I am a highly empathetic person. I want to help people. I think that’s why I stuck it out so long. I wanted to believe that the good person he showed me was in there. That he could be that person all the time. What I didn’t realize was that it was a mask. A mirror. He was never that person. It wasn’t real. I think that after all the forgiveness, all the chances given, and all the work that I put in that it’s hardest to come to terms with the fact that it was all a lie. Maybe you’re sitting there feeling stupid that you couldn’t see it. That’s understandable. I cannot tell you how many times I told myself how dumb I was for going back. How dumb I was thinking that he changed. How dumb I was for believing him again and getting hurt again. But you’re not dumb. You are incredible. They choose people who are incredible purposefully because it is a bigger energy source. This is how they survive and they are damn good at it. There is hope!
First, no contact. As much as you want to check and see what they are doing, as much as you want to unblock them, as much as you want to reach out and just shake them and get some validation, don’t do it! You will never get validation from a narcissist. Remember, they feed on emotion, not logic. How they feel is real no matter how unfounded it is. That. Is. Their. Reality. It is truth to them. The only thing that will happen is they will placate you to suck you back in and feed off of you more.
Second, do something for yourself. Something to keep your mind off of things. I started putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I know it sounds simple but it does keep my mind occupied. There are great articles out there that explain the benefits of jigsaw puzzles. Immerse yourself in home projects. Remember that hobby that you had or wanted to start? Those friends that you hung out with before you got into this relationship that have slowly been pushed out of your life? The people that you have been isolated from? Reconnect. Put yourself out there. If you’re anything like me, you feel like you have been beaten down and broken. Just remember…you are smart enough to get out and you are strong enough to still be here. As the hours turn into days and as the days turn into weeks you will find you are much stronger than you think you are right now. You are much better than they have made you feel.
Third, you need to retrain your brain. Most likely you have become dependent on this cycle. I know it’s messed up, but I became dependent on this cycle. This became my normal. It was just how life was. You need to remember why you are not in this relationship anymore. Now I don’t want you to go over every little bad thing that happened incessantly. That’s not going to help. That is allowing them to hurt you again, and again, and again. What I mean by that is, when you feel the urge to reach out tell yourself no. All those things that you said to yourself when you broke up before? Remember those things. They are selfish. They do not care how you feel. They only want what they want. You are nothing more than a possession. Food. Gas for their car to get them where they want to go. You are merely a battery to them. Time to recharge yourself. Remember you are better than that. You are. You deserve better. You do. It is not a healthy relationship. It’s not. They are never going to change. They won’t.
I will end with this. Even though it is only been 4 days, and in this kind of abusive cycle that really isn’t that much time, I’m starting to feel better. I don’t feel great, but I’m starting to feel better. I’m starting to look at the world with a little more hope. I’m starting to look at myself with a little more love and respect. I know it is going to take time. I believed a lie for 6 years. It will, and is, getting better. If anyone out there needs to talk please find me on Facebook at Fern Hart. My door is open. If you found this article helpful or you want to share your story please comment below. Please share if you think this can help someone. We need to stick together. You are wonderful. You are strong. You are worthy.