LMR Q&A Tuesday – Could it be true? Is he really a narcissist?
I’ve been with my partner almost two years now, and while looking up verbal abuse articles, I came across some very alarming links regarding Narcissism. Now, instead of believing I’ve simply been the target of verbal abuse, I think my partner is exhibiting traits of narcissism because he lies and cheats, too. I’ve tried working with him on these issues, but now I wonder if there’s any point because, honestly, these behaviors haven’t improved since I first confronted him on them. When we argue about these problems, he seems to improve for a while, but always reverts back to his old, devilish ways.
I left him three days ago, and since then, he’s been sending texts saying he’s sorry and doesn’t want to lose the love of his life.
Is my partner really a narcissist? What advice can you give me?
Signed – Increasingly Suspicious
Hi there, Suspicious,
I’m not in a position to diagnose your partner, but what I can offer you is what I know about Narcissists (and other “Unavailables”) and how they repeatedly use their partners’ forgiveness to continue getting away with relationship crimes scot-free.
Narcissists function in contrast to what we expect in a relationship, but they also display what appear to be very “normal” times, and can even go through periods when they seem very loving, thoughtful, and accommodating, which leaves their partners conflicted over whether or not they are actually a narcissist (this is a byproduct of cognitive dissonance). Their inconsistent behaviors create a silent uncertainty in their partner’s mind, causing the partner to stay put and try harder to make things work.
This is exactly what Narcissists rely on and it’s all very intentional.
Aside from that, his texts are a classic example of hoovering and are designed to make you believe he has very real feelings for you, which he intuitively knows you wish for. In this way, he can extract large quantities of forgiveness and tolerance from you, all while continuing his dirty deeds behind the scenes.
We all cling to the Narcissist’s texts hoping to draw out some small indication that they really care, but the truth is that Narcissists only communicate with us as a way to condition and manipulate us. Nothing they say, whether good or bad, should be taken at face value. In fact, to understand the true intentions of Narcissists and other Cheaters, one should never listen to their words, but take their actions to heart instead.
As far as whether he’s truly a Narcissist, only a professional assessment could determine that. What you want to focus on isn’t whether or not he’s a narcissist, but how many times you’re willing to forgive him each time he pretends to be remorseful. It’s up to you to put an expiration date on the forgiveness, regardless of his issues, and be willing to walk in spite of how difficult that may prove. The truth is, he will likely keep you in his life as long as he possibly can, but are you willing to sacrifice that kind of time from your own life?
And, by the way, I feel the need to add that being a good person doesn’t require that we tolerate toxic behaviors from people who take advantage of us. It’s good that we may have the willingness to be loyal to someone, but we need to look at whether or not that loyalty is being appreciated and respected. If not, we need to stop throwing our good nature down a rat hole, and instead, save our devotion for someone who will treasure it.
Hope that helps!
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