signs of narcissism

How Obsessively Researching Signs of Narcissism is Ruining Your Life

Have you found yourself obsessively researching signs of narcissism?

Did you recently leave a toxic relationship, only to continue your fact-finding mission like a journalist working for CNN?

Have you spent hours, months – or worse, years – trying to peer inside the mind of the narcissist to find out exactly what makes them tick?

Perhaps your relationships are strained because you talk constantly about your toxic Ex, and so you stay on recovery forums for hours trying desperately to gain a sense of validation.

Do you wonder how you can possibly get past the devastating pain and take your first steps towards healing already?

I hear you!

While recovery is different for everyone, there are particular things we do that hinder healing, and can even reverse any progress we may make when trying to get over a toxic relationship.

Ironically, these are activities that every person coming out of a toxic relationship does, and further, ones which we are innately wired to do!  

When it comes to obsessively researching narcissism, we sometimes believe that if we can figure out why a partner is being cruel and abusive, we can help ‘rehabilitate’ them and fix the relationship (which you’ve probably learned is impossible to do). Other times, we do it because we want to know as much as possible about the disorder to avoid attracting another narcissist into our lives.  Still yet, we may do it as a subconscious means of keeping a toxic Ex’s presence in our lives to fill the void that’s left when they (or we) leave.

Having gone through these experiences myself, I do not come from a place of judgment, but rather, I hope to save you time (and more heartbreak).  In this article, I discuss one of the top behaviors that hinder recovery and often keeps survivors from ultimately making it over the threshold to a better life, and that is…

Continuing to read an inordinate amount of material relating to narcissism.

During the discovery phase of learning why your toxic partner or Ex behaves the way they do, educating yourself about Narcissism is essential.  It aids in understanding the traits of the disorder and helps you recognize the dynamics of abusive relationships.   

However, there comes a point where further reading on the topic of narcissism becomes moot and even destructive. Moot because having a Ph.D. in narcissism won’t change the outcome of the relationship. Destructive because it keeps your focus on the narcissist, the abuse, the trauma, and, more importantly, it keeps you from focusing on healing your own core wounds.

Remember the old saying, “What fires together, wires together”?  Each time you repeat a particular thought or action, you reinforce the connection between your neurons, turning those thoughts and actions into a way of life, and thus influencing your day-to-day reality.

The truth is, you cannot truly begin your healing process while you are reading about signs of narcissism because to your subconscious mind, you are reliving the abuse. 

The more you think about your Ex, the more you’ll obsess about them and that will almost ensure that you’ll continue to attract negativity into your life (and it may also be why they keep appearing out of nowhere!) It’s one example of how your thoughts influence your reality. 

How to Stop the Madness

There are many elements involved in healing from Narcissistic abuse.  Just as with any loss, there will be periods of grieving, denial, anger, and depression. 

However, unlike a typical break-up where you would eventually get to a point of acceptance, many victims of narcissistic abuse stay fixated and obsess about their abuser, often suffering as long as ten years or more post-breakup.

Perhaps the bigger picture may help you make more empowering choices with your time.  When you compulsively research narcissism and spend hours a day on recovery forums, there are other things you may be missing out on in life, such as:

  • Time, presence, and creating fond memories with your children
  • Time with elderly relatives whom you may never see again
  • Time you could spend learning a new skill that could turn into a career 
  • Energy to take care of basic obligations
  • Founding your own business or a side gig that could provide the money to leave a toxic situation
  • The ability to fulfill your work duties for your employer due to increased sick days or weakened performance
  • Creating a healed self and doing things that could bring meaning to your life

While dealing with the unresolved trauma, cognitive dissonance, and extreme abandonment wounds in the aftermath of a toxic relationship are certainly difficult, none of these feel worse than the feeling of regret.  

A healing alternative: True healing begins with looking inside to your own inner, wounded core. Nothing outside of you will help you heal because your emotional injuries are within.

Instead of researching how the person you care about became a narcissist, the type of narcissist they might be, and where they lie on the narcissistic continuum, turn your focus onto healing your damaged self-image and healing the toxic shame that the narcissist cultivated in order to keep you dependent upon them.

Ironically, learning everything there is to know about narcissism will not be the end-all that helps you avoid attracting another disordered person into your life. Typically, all it will do is keep you bitter to the idea of ever falling in love again because you won’t trust anyone, and the real reasons that you stayed with the narcissist in the first place won’t be healed – which are your own emotional vulnerabilities that caused the consuming need for the narcissist’s approval and acceptance (which they exploited and used to their benefit).  

Then, when you do meet someone who becomes a partner, they may show signs of being a narcissist, but because your wounds aren’t healed, you may rationalize, justify, and explain away their bad behaviors.  The dynamics will feel natural to you on an unconscious level, and it will feel that the logical next step would be to stay in the relationship and go into “fixer mode”.  You may even feel like you know them from a past life – because you do.  It’s our innate drive to reenact past traumas in order to resolve them, also known as repetition compulsion and is one of the top self-sabotaging behaviors of those who’ve experienced abuse.  

Almost all toxic relationships parallel one or more that we’ve been in previously, either with parents and/or former partners.  

Lastly, if you want to join recovery forums, choose ones that have an actual healing focus, as opposed to ones where members are not engaging in healing practices of their own, are still in their toxic relationship, are not moving forward in any meaningful way, and keep you in a triggered state…which feeds more into the unhealthy obsession.  While these forums may have a place in the discovery of your partner being a narcissist, they don’t offer much benefit when you need to heal and recover.

You’ll know when it’s time to leave the abuse forums and turn your focus to healing.  The question is, will you?

Get started on your healing plan with The Beginner’s Healing Toolkit below!

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  1. Ethel G

    Thank you so much for this article, Kim. You truly hit it on the head…I had been visiting certain “anti-Narc” pages on Facebook and other places; and eye-opening as they thankfully were, I have found myself constantly focusing on the situations and people responsible. It caused me to question relationships with even deceased family members, at a time when I need to move forward and heal from so many toxic situations. Thank YOU for opening my eyes! <3

    1. Kim Saeed

      You’re welcome, dear Ethel. I’m so glad to know you found my article helpful 🙂


      Kim XoXo

  2. I kind of think you have to initially when you first wake up…
    AND…you I think you need periodic checkins…especially if you are still drawn to someone you suspect…
    AND..if you are able to make the break…
    You MUST tell others it is good and possible..
    But…to obsess ynfortunately I think may be an attempt to look for a way to make it work with the N…
    It CAN’T WORK…

  3. Pingback: 6 Shortcuts to Reclaim Your Inner Strength in One Day - Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed

  4. Deb

    Nearly two years for me. It’s true that the obsessiveness goes on and on. The best thing I did was send a message to her new lover which was really for her… I stand by it 18 months down the line. That lie cost me four years and my marriage. She was never meant to be a serious concern , my husband even knew .. but she sold me on us being soul mates, then left as my divorce was finalised.. Actually plotted my discard for a New Years Eve party. The worst part was mourning the non existent love of my life , secondary was the smear and the realisation of evil .
    I need to be careful because she has three children who I loved and one is still friends with my daughter.
    Sometimes when life is good and I am distracted I forget about her for a few days at a time. When my life and head are quiet , that’s when I obsess again.

  5. sunnychapman

    All the yes.! I dropped out of the narc support groups after about 6 months because all people ever wanted to do was tell awful stories about their exnarcs. And we do need to vent…for a while, but at a point re-telling these stories endlessly and reading about narcs, watching youtube videos about narcs I felt was keeping me from moving forward. I started to realize that some of the people in these groups had been out of the relationship for years but still obsessed with their exnarc.
    Wanting to have a better life, I started looking at ME and what had happened in my life, negative beliefs about myself, the things that led my into relationships with narcs. But if I brought up anything like codependency people would get angry and accuse me of victim-blaming. SO many people insisted that they didn’t have any self esteem issues, nothing about them needed to be healed, it was 100% the narc.
    I used to think that way too, I was just an unlucky woman who was a sociopath magnet, it was all them, not me. But taking a good hard look made me realize that my family had trained me to believe that I was essentially worthless and didn’t deserve to even be alive. It was facing this that changed everything, I don’t obsess about the ex anymore, 9 months after the breakup. He pops up in my head once in a while but I smack him right out of there, lol.
    Now my job is to change these negative ideas I have about myself and I really believe that can be done, I feel different already, more confident, less needy. I went out on a date with a guy who was a total narc and spotted it immediately and walked away. He was EXACTLY the kind of guy I would have just jumped right into a relationship with before.
    It’s good to learn about narcissists and sociopaths so you can recognize them but then we need to turn the focus on healing those old wounds.

  6. Katy

    I have found these posts to be extremely helpful. I have been separated from my husband for two years. As I was getting my affairs in order after meetings with my lawyer to file my divorce papers, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Life expectancy is 18 months. While we do not live together I am still connected to him because of my son and his adult children who are dealing with the effects of this horrible disease. I find myself amazed because even as he is coming to terms with what is happening to him the lies and manipulation continues. I know he feels nothing for me and I try to limit contact with him as much as possible, the man is dying and his mind and physical body slips away more each day. I find myself thinking I will only be able to move in upon his death. The anger towards him is hard to come to grips with when you are struggling with compassion for someone who is suffering and will die soon.

  7. S. Tribby

    I am still interested in NPD, even though I have given up on a cure for my beloved daughter and I have no desire to try to change my mom’s mind about disowning me. I think NPD is raging in epidemic proportions and underpins all the horribly exploitive systems that make up our society from the law to education to the mental health industry itself. I am no longer obsessed. There are exceptions to what you say. A few people are born to fight back against the mental illness that pervades and destroys our world.

  8. Sabine

    I am in complete agreement with this post. I do not stalk my ex N nor do i obsessively read up on narcissism. I no longer need to as I learnt everything that there is to learn during the 2 years of the breakup and divorce. However I am unable to do no contact since we co-parent our younger 2 children. Also he lives very close by and has actually been well behaved for the last year so I have to carefully manage contact with him as the crazy fool cannot understand why we can’t be friends. I have done TRE, EFT , do regular Narcissistic Healing modules, attend CoDa meetings, practice mediation and self care YET he is still in my head constantly. That intrusive voice invades my mind like poison.I find myself repeating things he has said. Still having crazy conversations with him in my head. When will this stop? I have had enough.

  9. Chris

    Yes! Once you understand what happened, which is essential in start of aftermath, in agreement that you just relive pain. I have found most sites want to fuel your anger or sadness and not much on recovery. Furthermore, I am not a big poster but when have my focus been reaching out to say ok, so now how heal, this is only place I see focus on moving on, thanks

    1. Kim Saeed

      Thank you for your kind praise, Chris. I hope you continue to find motivation and encouragement here on Let Me Reach 🙂


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