Q&A Tuesday – Why Can’t I Leave the Narcissist When I Know He’s Toxic?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and your question will be entered into our database and possibly included in a future publication.
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© Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach, 2016