What actually happens when you abandon a narcissist? People who have been in relationships with narcissists, know how emotionally draining this can be.
When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, there will be times when you will be actually happy, and content in the relationship. But most of the time, you will be insulted, denigrated, emotionally tortured, and made to feel like nothing. This might sound horrible and harsh, but this is the absolute truth of being with a narcissist.
If you truly value your sanity you will have to understand that the narcissist is an emotional vampire. You will never have any real value except as “feeding ground” for his voracious appetite of self! Everything must revolve around this self-styled god. Separate yourself from his kingdom of self if you want any identity of your own.
How Does The Narcissist Think
Remember that the personality of the narcissist has a low level of organization mentally, even though they may be functionally organized and organize everything in your life to suit them. It is precariously balanced but as long as they can dominate, and they don’t have to worry about organizing the level of personal involvement. They are free to do their own thing.
When you abandon a narcissist, it causes a narcissistic injury so grave that the whole edifice can come crumbling down. Narcissists usually entertain suicidal ideation in such cases. But, if the narcissist initiated his abandonment, if HE directed the scenes, or if the abandonment is perceived by him to be a goal HE set to himself to achieve – he can and does avoid all these untoward consequences.
The Dynamics of the Relationship
The Narcissist lives in a world of ideal beauty, incomparable (imaginary) achievements, wealth, brilliance, and unmitigated success. The narcissist denies his reality constantly. This is what I call the “Grandiosity Gap” – the abyss between his sense of entitlement and his inflated grandiose fantasies – and his incommensurate reality and achievements.
The narcissist’s partner is perceived by him to be a source of narcissistic supply, an instrument, an extension of himself. It is inconceivable that – blessed by the constant presence of the narcissist – such a tool would malfunction.
The needs of the partner are perceived by the narcissist as threats and insults. He considers his very existence as sufficiently nourishing and sustaining to his partner. He feels entitled to the best others can offer without investing in maintaining relationships or in catering to the well being of his “suppliers”.
To rid himself of deep-set feelings of (rather justified) guilt and shame – he pathologizes the partner. He projects sickness unto her.
Through the intricate mechanism of projective identification, he forces her to play an emergent role of “the sick” or “the weak” or “the naive” or “the dumb” or “the no good”. What he denies in himself, what he is terrified of facing in his own personality – he attributes to others and molds them to conform to his prejudices against himself.
The narcissist must have the best of everything he covets, the most glamorous, stunning, talented, head-turning, and mind-boggling spouse in the world. Nothing short of this fantasy will do. He will mold you and manipulate you into his perfect partner or you will be sorry for not conforming! To compensate for the shortcomings of his real-life spouse – he invents an idealized figure and relates to it instead.
Then, when reality conflicts too often and too roughly with the ideal figure – he reverts to devaluation. His behavior turns on a dime and becomes threatening, demeaning, contemptuous, berating, reprimanding, destructively critical, and sadistic – or cold, unloving, detached, “clinical”.
He punishes his real-life spouse for not living up to his standards as personified in his Galathea, in his Pygmalion, in his ideal creation. The Narcissist plays a wrathful and demanding God.
To preserve one’s mental health – one must abandon the narcissist. One must move on. Moving on is a process, not a decision or an event. First, we have to acknowledge and accept reality.
When you finally abandon a narcissist, it is a volcanic, shattering, agonizing series of little, nibbling, thoughts, and strong, voluptuous resistances. The battle won, harsh and painful realities assimilated, we can move on to the learning phase.
We label. We assemble the material. We gather knowledge. We compare our experiences. We digest. We have insights. Then we decide and we act. This is “to move on”.
Having gathered sufficient emotional sustenance, support, and confidence – we leave to face the battlefields of our relationships, fortified, and nurtured. This stage characterizes those who do not mourn – but fight; do not grieve – but replenish their self-esteem; do not hide – but seek; do not freeze – but move on.
After we abandon a narcissist, after being betrayed and abused – we grieve. We grieve for the image we had of the traitor and abuser – the image that was so fleeting and so wrong. We mourn the damage he did to us.
We experience the fear of never being able to love or to trust again – and we grieve this loss. In one stroke, we lost someone we trusted and even loved, we lost our trusting and loving selves and we lost the trust and love that we felt. Can anything be worse?
The emotional process of grieving is multiphased. At first, we are dumbfounded, shocked, inert, immobile. We play dead to avoid our inner monsters. We are ossified in our pain, cast in the mold of our reticence and fears.
Then we feel enraged, indignant, rebellious, and hateful. Then we accept. Then we cry. And then – some of us – learn to forgive and to pity but never return to a demeaning monster. And this is called healing.
All the feelings that you feel when you abandon a narcissist, each and every stage is absolutely necessary and good. It is bad NOT to rage back, not to shame those who shamed us, to deny, to pretend, to evade. But it is equally as bad to stay like this forever. Permanent grieving is the perpetuation of our abuse by other mean
By endlessly recreating our harrowing experiences, we unwillingly and defiantly collaborate with our abuser to perpetuate his or her evil deeds. It is by moving on that we defeat our abuser, minimizing him and his importance in our lives.
It is by loving and by trusting anew that we annul that which was done to us. To forgive is never to forget. But to remember is not necessarily to re-live.