Are You In Love With a Narcissist?
Yes? Okay…Now What?!
We’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands, of articles and blog posts that detail all of the signs that we are dating or married to a narcissist. Finally! Someone has put words and a title to our torture and given us the “green light” to get help and get out. However, many who are given this sense of empowerment by these articles are also terrified of what awaits them on the other side of their pain. The mind-control of a narcissist will have you believing that you aren’t good enough; that YOU are your own worse enemy, and that no one else will want you and love you the way the he does. It creates crippling fear and insecurity that keeps you from moving forward. ” And if I do leave, who else will love someone like me?”
The fact of the matter is, many of us women who are (or have been) in these relationships know deep in our hearts that something is not right. So telling someone that they need to leave or why they need to leave a narcissist comes as no surprise. They tell themselves this all the time. Several have walked away from these articles and mustered up the courage to leave, but somehow felt an addictive “pull” to stay or go back. And that is where the problem is…While many of these articles help you understand your hurt and why your relationship is not healthy, NONE of them truly prepare you for life after a narcissist.
The truth? It’s hard. You don’t “dry up your tears” one Monday morning and start dancing around in your underwear. You don’t simply go get new clothes and a hair cut to introduce the world to a “new you for the new year!” It takes EVERYTHING out of you to leave and you have to force yourself up to face each day. There is no dancing.
Depression, anxiety, mood-swings, insecurity, and periods of extreme grief are all of the things you go through when you leave a narcissist–or any abuser for that matter. The reason why many of us end up going back is because our narcissist lover came riding in on a white horse with a truck-load of “I’m sorry” and all of the charm and love that we first fell in love with. Suddenly, all of the pain and heartache that we felt goes away with one “I love you.” But WHY!?! How!? How is it that someone so toxic is able to captivate us and keep us paralyzed under their spell?
- Love. You still love them. No matter how toxic and no matter how dysfunctional their love is, the fact of the matter is that we love them. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, love makes us feel responsible for their well-being which makes us feel guilty for even THINKING about leaving. This is especially true in marriage. How do you abandon your vows, let alone someone you love?
- Hope. Because the narcissist began the relationship with such a mind-altering, too good to be true fantasy, we hold on to a sense of hope that can prove to be just as toxic as the person we’re in love with. Hope that they will return to being the person we first fell in love with. Hope that they will eventually “see” how much we love them and suddenly begin to appreciate us and want to do right by us. Hope that they will change. Hope that we, through our undying love and support, will change them. Hope and pray that God will miraculously change them. Investing hope in a narcissist can emotionally bankrupt you.
- Dependency–Financially and/or emotionally. Making you emotionally dependent on them is easy for a narcissist. It’s how they were able to get you to fall in love with them. Their ability to make you feel like you need them in order to feel loved is paramount to their control. However, financial dependency strengthens their grip. While it began as them seeking to “secure you,” cover you and provide for you, it is now the reason you may feel stuck with them.
- You don’t know any better. Sometimes, we attract toxic love because we have been shaped by a toxic past. Your family, your church and childhood influences of your past may contain pain that is causing the decay of your present and destruction of your future.
- You’re addicted to them. The bottom line reason why you are unable to simply “dust yourself off” and get over them is because your mind and body have physiologically been altered to accommodate their presence in your life. Like a potent drug, they stimulate your pleasure system (no matter how brief) and, when removed from your presence, trigger a withdrawal effect mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically. You’re not crazy or stupid for loving them and wanting them. Even after they’ve hurt you. Since “connection” is a basic human need, our bodies have been designed to form bonds that weren’t meant to be broken. And when they do, it hurts like hell.
So HOW Do You Get Over Them?
There’s really no easy answer or easy way. And since a lot people look for the quick fix to simply stop the pain, that’s one of the hardest truths to face in your new reality. You will need to take time to heal and to “feel” your way through this. In our book, Journey to Freedom: The Soul-Ties Detox, we help people understand that, while healing is necessary, it’s important to also understand HOW you ended up in this or these situations to begin with–so you never end up this hurt or broken again. As survivors of abusive and toxic relationships, we understand the shame you feel after you’ve left a toxic relationship (because everyone said it was the right thing to do and you were crazy if you stayed), as well as the confusion you feel because you still love them and miss them desperately. What do you do when your heart betrays your head and all logic?
Using therapeutic principles, while offering insightful teaching and gut-wrenching realness, we have helped thousands understand that their tolerance for toxic love was shaped in them long before THIS relationship broke them. Click Here to Learn More about our 5-Week Program that is giving so many women the boldness to break the cycle of toxic relationships and reclaim their story.