It’s Narcissist Friday!
You are probably exhausted. Perhaps a little confused. Balancing between conflicting emotions. On one hand you are glad that person is finally out of your life. On the other you feel guilty for not doing something you feel you should have done better. On yet another you feel used and abused. And you are angry.
Yes, I know that’s more hands than you have, but when the narcissistic friend finally leaves you behind, your world is likely in such a mess that you feel like you could have three or four hands. Or heads. In fact, did she leave you behind or did you leave her? It was her decision, but you were to blame—or something like that. Narcissistic friendships are confusing.
I have suggested that narcissistic friendships are among the most difficult of narcissistic relationships because they lack the normal bonds narcissists use to keep people close. A friend can simply walk away without a divorce or the break-up of a family. The narcissist must manipulate and bind through a variety of powerful tools. Those tools, including intimidation, addiction, even blackmail, compromise boundaries in unexpected ways.
So the narcissist concentrated his or her super-power on you. Few people are able to resist a narcissist when he turns on his charm. You might feel foolish for having trusted such a person, but you should understand that this is what they do best. Narcissists use people. In order to do that, they twist and manipulate and compromise until they get what they want. This time it was you, but it has happened to many.
How did it end? Maybe you were unceremoniously dumped. Someone better came along. Your bank account is empty. You no longer laughed convincingly when the narcissist said something funny. You were so drained that you couldn’t jump when the narcissist wanted you. Maybe you became needy in some way. The narcissist simply found someone else to use.
Yes, your “friend” was like that.
Or maybe you finally realized the truth about the relationship. It was one-sided. You gave, but you didn’t receive. You gave all the time and usually it was inconvenient. But you came to the point where you wanted out and you had enough personal strength left or enough support around you to make it happen. And the narcissist cried—and accused—and pleaded—and threatened—and manipulated—and pretended not to care.
But now that the narcissist is gone, however it happened, puzzling feelings are running through your heart.
You may feel empty. Narcissists are consuming people. They take up time and energy. But they also provide a sense of thrill and joy and purpose. This is what they give in the relationship. Like a drug, they become addicting. Nothing is the same without them and, even if you know you are better for getting out, you still miss them and miss the drama and the high.
But the high came from you. That’s why you are drained and empty now. The narcissist gave you nothing. You felt good in his presence because of what was happening in you. The energy and excitement came at your expense. Like a parasite, the narcissist gave just enough back to keep you giving more and more. Until you were consumed . . . or almost.
You may feel afraid. The narcissist probably knows a lot about you, enough to hurt you. Will she use it against you in some way? Will your “friend” seek to destroy you? Maybe. Narcissists are ruthless and cruel. If they think they will gain something from your pain, even amusement, they will cause it. But you will survive the damage. Just keep going. The threat is there because the narcissist knows, not because the relationship ended. You faced the same danger the whole way and you survived.
And you may feel afraid for other reasons. Do you go back to a life that is somehow less now? If the narcissist brought excitement with the risk and pain, what is life like now? The narcissist probably tried to convince you that your life was worthless and boring without him. Or she made you believe you needed her and that you were incompetent to handle things on your own.
You can overcome all these fears as you understand that the narcissist is a weak and frightened child who throws tantrums and wants to be coddled. Move on with confidence.
You may feel angry. When you begin to understand that you were used and deceived, it is natural to feel anger toward the narcissist and toward yourself. Anger toward the narcissist makes sense; but why should you feel angry toward yourself? You should have known better. You should have tried harder. You should have seen the red flags or listened to other friends. You should have done this long ago.
Remember that the narcissist messes with your head. Not only do they blame others for their own problems, but they are very good at getting the others to accept the blame. Part of what you feel is what the narcissist has planted into your thinking. You have to reject the blame.
The bottom line in all of this is that separation from the narcissist may lead to symptoms of depression. That depression may be serious, depending on the level of addiction or self-incrimination.
Please don’t be afraid of getting some good counsel! You can work through these things. Just lay it all out for the counselor and learn what you can about the powers of the narcissist.
One more thing: be careful of the next narcissist. Narcissists mold people into victims (supply). Many people jump from one narcissistic relationship to another. This time, listen to your friends and family. This time pay attention to the red flags. Don’t let yourself get connected to another one.
Help me out here. What would you say to someone who is just starting to move past the narcissistic friend relationship?