It’s Narcissist Friday!
In several of the recent comments I read words to the effect that the writer still loved the narcissist. Few people will understand how a victim can continue to love the one who caused so much confusion and pain. Family and friends think you are foolish to allow him or her into your life again. And, actually, you have trouble explaining it yourself.
Will it help for you to hear that this is quite normal? Continued positive feelings are part of the relationship, in spite of the suffering.
Narcissists are parasites. They feed off the attention and kindness and love of others. But it is even deeper than that. They feed off the life of others. After a while, the narcissist needs new life and new energy. No matter how fawning and submissive Victim #1 has been or still is, Victim #2 is fresh and provides more energy. It is a recognized characteristic of narcissism to move from one relationship to another, either at work or at home.
But, in order to do this, the narcissist must recognize likely victims and have skills which attract their victims and disarm the natural suspicions. Most narcissists have developed these skills over years. As children they found ways to make others like them and do things for them. Controlling what others think of them is the narcissist super-power.
And narcissists give—just like certain parasites give. They give something that attracts and holds their victims. They understand intuitively how to manipulate people and they give whatever they need to give to accomplish their purposes.
Keep this in mind as you look through the following list. One or more may apply to you.
Ten Reasons You May Still Love Your Narcissist
- You still need what the narcissist pretends to offer. I have seen hungry fish hit a hook again after being caught and returned to the water. The bait still looks good to them and they are still hungry. Sometimes even a lie is good just to hear the right words. Find someone who will work with you to discover what needs you bring into a relationship.
- Your family taught you to be narcissistic supply. Very often, especially when someone moves from one narcissistic relationship to another, the cause can be traced back to early family dynamics. Children of narcissists can become either narcissists themselves or easy prey for narcissistic abusers. You will either repeat the relationship of your parents in your relationships or you will have to consciously do something else. If you are not prepared to battle the inner defaults, you may well continue the narcissistic patterns.
- You are too depressed to think clearly about change. The battle with the narcissist is draining and the victims often find themselves in difficult situations when the relationship ends. There is little strength to build a new life and, when you are confused or frightened, there is a draw back to what is familiar.
- You want to be nice. Nice people are supposed to love, right? You should blame yourself when things go wrong, not others. You should not judge others for hurting you, but just accept it as part of what is necessary to make a relationship work. I hope you are rejecting these things! Some people have been taught that being nice is more important than being a person. The path of least resistance is the best path, they say. There is a time to be a nice person and there is a time to stand up and say, “No!” You are under no obligation to welcome the narcissist back into your life.
- Associating with special people makes you feel special. Almost all narcissists have a following, a group of people who look up to them hoping that some of the greatness (or benefits of greatness) will fall their way. This is especially true for narcissists in entertainment, politics, sports, etc. Groupies are often willing to suffer abuse just to be close to their idol. Since the narcissist sometimes projects this greatness, it isn’t a surprise that some people are drawn to it.
- You think he needs you. You are important to his drama and it feels good to be important. Narcissists often tell enough of their story to make people feel bad for them. You see yourself as able to help, even though he never really changes. Then you feel bad that you can’t do enough to help him. Maybe if you just do more… This is a trap! It is part of his bait to pull you into his net. Ted Bundy sometimes walked with a crutch so young women would feel sorry for him. Then he beat them unconscious with the crutch. He doesn’t need you. He needs real help.
- You have to stay connected to him. This is hard. Maybe you have a child together or you are married and don’t want to be divorced. Maybe you see him or her at church or in the neighborhood. You can’t move or hide and you are forced to be civil. So be civil and never let him into your heart again. It is possible. Talk with someone to learn how you can do this.
- You miss the energy. Narcissists are often creative, witty, and fun to be around. They can have great humor and are willing to take risks. Normal boundaries fall before them and that can be exciting. In the beginning at least, the physical relationship can be intense and filled with pleasure. Life seems boring without your narcissist. But that isn’t love. That might be adrenalin addiction or rebellion or a desire to stretch your boundaries, but it isn’t love.
- You are still under the control of the narcissist super-power. Don’t underestimate the ability of the narcissist to twist your feelings, particularly your feelings about him. It is what he does. Just about the time you think you are in control, he calls and you are wiped out again with confusion about the relationship. Again, get some good counseling. Find some help in setting up and maintaining your boundaries.
- You are simply lonely. It is hard to leave a relationship, especially one in which you invested a lot of yourself. If you have been controlled and manipulated, you probably are too tired to see yourself in another relationship. Or maybe you feel that you are too damaged to offer yourself to someone else. Yet, you need a companion. Please, there are options other than welcoming back the person who hurt you.
Okay, I know this is hard for some of you to read. Some have probably stopped before this. This is one of my longest and maybe one of my most important posts. Please be aware that opening the door to the narcissist again may hurt you beyond what can be healed. Understand yourself and why you have these feelings.
I recommend the book, “Help! I’m in Love with a Narcissist,” by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol (2005). They have several helpful chapters that talk about these strange continuing feelings for the person who hurt you.
Also, please feel free to contact me. Better yet, find a good counselor who understands narcissistic abuse and how to help people through it. You can be happy and full without that pain.
So what are your thoughts?