Forgiving and Forgetting
Forgiving is an important capability. It does more for the forgiver than for the forgiven. But, to my mind, it should not be a universal, indiscriminate behavior.
I think it is legitimate not to forgive sometimes. It depends, of course, on the severity or duration of what was done to you. In general, it is unwise and counter-productive, in my view, to establish “universal” and “immutable” principles in life.
Life is too chaotic to succumb to rigid principles. Sentences, which start with “I never” are either not very credible or, worse, they lead to self-defeating, self- restricting and self-destructive behaviors.
We must assess our friendships, partnerships, even marriages periodically. The past is insufficient in itself to sustain a healthy, nourishing, supportive, caring, and compassionate relationship.
It is a good pre-condition, perhaps a necessary one – but not a sufficient one. We must gain and regain our friendships on a daily basis. Human relationships are a constant test of allegiance and empathy.
In short, after you abandon a narcissist, you should try to to forgive them. This will play an important part in your own healing.
Remaining Friends with the Narcissist (IMPORTANT)
But after we abandon a narcissist, can’t we act civilized and remain on friendly terms with our narcissist ex? Never forget that Narcissists (full-fledged ones) are nice to others if:
(1) They want something from you as their narcissistic supply. It can be a help, support, votes, money, and the list goes on.
They prepare the ground, manipulate you, and then come out with the “small favor” they need or ask you blatantly or surreptitiously for narcissistic supply (“what did you think about my performance…” “do you think that I really deserve the Nobel Prize?”).
(2) They feel threatened and they want to neuter the threat by smothering it with oozing pleasantries.
(3) They have just been infused with an overdose of narcissistic supply and they feel magnanimous and magnificent and ideal and perfect. To show magnanimity is a way of flaunting one’s impeccable divine credentials. It is an act of grandiosity.
You are an irrelevant prop in this spectacle, a mere receptacle of the narcissist’s overflowing, self-contented infatuation with his False Self.
This beneficence is transient. Perpetual victims often tend to “Thank God for little graces” (God being the narcissist). This is the Stockholm syndrome: hostages tend to emotionally identify with the terrorists rather than with the police. We are grateful to our abusers and tormentors for ceasing their hideous activities and letting us breathe for a while.
Related: Traumatic Bonding: How A Narcissistic Relationship Is Similar To Stockholm Syndrome
Some people say that they prefer to live with narcissists, to cater to their needs, and to succumb to their whims because this is the way they have been conditioned. It is only with narcissists that they feel alive, stimulated, and excited. The world glows in Technicolor in the presence of a narcissist and decays to sepia colors in his absence.
I see nothing inherently “wrong” with that if you can handle the heat and understand you will always be undervalued and unloved.
The test is this: If a person were to constantly humiliate and abuse you verbally using Archaic Chinese – would you have felt humiliated and abused?
Probably not. Some people have been conditioned by the narcissistic primary objects in their lives (parents or caregivers) to treat narcissistic abuse as Archaic Chinese, to turn a deaf ear.
This technique is effective in that it allows the “inverted narcissist” (the narcissist’s willing mate) to experience only the good aspects of living with a narcissist: his sparkling intelligence, the constant drama and excitement, his lack of intimacy and emotional attachment (some people prefer this).
Every now and then the narcissist breaks into abusive Archaic Chinese, so what, who understands Archaic Chinese anyway?
I have only one nagging doubt, though:
If so rewarding, why are inverted narcissists so unhappy, so ego-dystonic, so in need of help (professional or otherwise)? Aren’t they victims who simply experience the Stockholm Syndrome (=identifying with the kidnapper rather than with the Police)
Narcissists and Abandonment
Narcissists are terrified of being abandoned exactly as codependents and Borderlines are. BUT Their solution is different.
Codependents cling. Borderlines are emotionally labile and react disastrously to the faintest hint of being abandoned. Narcissists FACILITATE the abandonment.
They subconsciously MAKE SURE that they are abandoned and then they can blame their victim for the failure of the relationship-besides they are basically perfect and they believe they are in complete control of their own mind and will!
This way they secure the achievement of two goals:
(1) Getting it over with –
The narcissist has a very low threshold of tolerance for uncertainty and inconvenience, emotional or material. Narcissists are very impatient and “spoiled”. They cannot delay gratification OR impending doom. They must have it all NOW, good or bad.
(2) By bringing the feared abandonment about, the narcissist can lie to himself persuasively.
It is always someone else’s fault!