The Inevitable Loss of Dignity inside Narcissistic Abuse
I talk to people rather frequently who’ve come out of the relationship with their Narcissist and cannot seem to work through their feelings of anger and resentment. This is natural; something we all go through. After all, we gave and gave to the Narcissist, believing the problems in the relationship were our fault. We tried harder, became more forgiving. We swept their transgressions under the rug and perhaps even told them we knew they didn’t mean to hurt us. As humans we aren’t perfect, right?
I also talk to people who are in denial about their situation. They start thinking about all they’d lose if they left their Narcissistic partner who provides them with a nice lifestyle. If children are involved, they may feel it’s unfair to deny them this more affluent lifestyle than they’d be able to afford as a single parent.
Deniers convince themselves that the situation isn’t really that bad, in spite of the emotional/verbal abuse and their partner’s addictions (alcohol, drugs, porn, etc.). They resolve to be a better spouse and hope things will improve just by way of their doing what the Narcissist wants. Some Deniers will even join their abusive partner in drinking and other destructive behaviors to either deal with the pain or be more accepted by the Narcissist. Some engage in their own addictions, such as overspending and/or overeating to fill the emotional abyss that’s ever-present inside the relationship (which gives the Narcissist more ammunition for verbal attacks).
Upon closer inspection, these are all avoiding behaviors; ones that only prolong the inescapable fact that the relationship is doomed. Either the Narcissist will devalue and discard their partner, or their partner will eventually tire of the abuse and leave on their own.
Are You Playing the Martyr?
Do you pride yourself on being “resilient”? Do you talk about your “pain management” skills with your friends and family? Is your identity grounded on all the self-sacrifices you make for the sake of the relationship?
Those are all good traits to have if you’re taking care of a sick relative or volunteering time to a charitable organization. However, they will only lead to your detriment if you live these descriptors in regards to your relationship with a Narcissist. When you play martyr to the Narcissist, your personal power, energy, and non-renewable time go directly into a black hole, where they’ll never be acknowledged or appreciated. He or she will keep taking those things from you until you are used up and destroyed. And just as certain, once they decide you are of no more use to them, they will devalue and discard you without a second thought. This is the cornerstone of Narcissism— no empathy, no conscience.
This is the part where we lose our dignity.
Inside of every relationship with a Narcissist, there is a moment of awareness where we realize they will not change. We know it with every cell, every synapsis, and every breath. Yet, we choose to do nothing. Because it’s too inconvenient, it’s too much work. And we keep blaming the Narcissist for not changing. We may as well blame the sky when it carries clouds or the ocean when its waves are tumultuous.
Perhaps you stay because good girls don’t give up on their man…because God tells us to turn the other cheek. But think about it…when we fail to establish boundaries and let the Narcissist continue on their destructive path,we are essentially enabling them. God doesn’t want us to enable abuse.
Every passing minute…
…is a chance to turn it all around.
You will never find yourself in the Narcissist or the lifestyle they might provide. Or the lifestyle they show you through a kaleidoscope, when the truth might be that the brunt of the responsibilities lie on your shoulders. You will, however, continue to lose yourself.
Let go. Turn inward and heed your broken heart. Don’t continue to engage in magical thinking. How long has it been? Two years, ten, twenty?
Leaving won’t give you instantaneous bliss. There will be personal development, conscious efforts to change, spiritual growth. All of these things bring their own challenges. But you take baby steps until one day you realize you’ve climbed a mountain instead of walking into a black chasm. Or perhaps you’re already there. Living in darkness with no hope or joy in your future. Your life encased in your partner’s narcissism, addictions, and abuse.
It’s scary to go into the unknown. But much of that fear is a conditioned response that the Narcissist indoctrinated you into. Whether you believe in God, Divine Intelligence, the Universe, or a higher power, whatever you need will come to you if you want it. New people will be placed in your life to provide comfort and support. It won’t be easy, but neither will another year of Narcissistic abuse. The time will pass, anyway. You may as well use that time to plan a new life.
Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use. ~ Earl Nightingale
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