If you’re lucky enough to never have experienced what it’s like to fall deeply in love with a narcissist, this post will provide you with an idea of what it could possibly feel like to be with one, and hopefully give you an idea of what to look out for when getting to know people.
A narcissist is basically a master of charisma who possesses the kind of social magnetism that easily draws anyone and everyone in. Conversations are somehow always about them and their ego knows no bounds. This is by no means an exhaustive list of their behaviors; narcissists exist on a nuanced spectrum that ranges from people who are mildly irritating to individuals who are toxic for your emotional and mental health.
One of the most frustrating things about being with a narcissist from my personal experience is wrongs never got righted. I fell so deeply in love with a man who adored me one day, gaslighted me the next, and was cold to me on the third. The pattern always repeated itself but I chose to ignore it because of how madly in love I am with him. Sometimes he would just ghost at a time I’m going through the absolute most emotionally and mentally, and I was left reeling. So many unanswered questions, “what just happened?” “what on earth does any of this even mean?” “I give my heart to someone, and they casually just ghost like it was nothing?” It took a lot of mental work: trying to figure out what his motives or intentions were. I was constantly walking on eggshells when his mood shifted, blowing off negative or even nasty behavior just to keep the peace. Our relationship was really exciting in the beginning but ultimately felt draining and infuriating.
A while back, completely by accident, I came across a book about narcissistic abuse, as in, someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, not just a person with narcissistic tendencies. What I didn’t understand at the time was the pattern of behaviour to expect. I discovered that, they need constant admiration in order to boost their inveterate fragile sense of self and shroud their insecurities. This admiration, is referred to as “narcissistic supply”. The primary source of a narcissist’s supply is his significant other (he will also need secondary sources of supply: adoring friends, plenty of side chicks, acolytes, and so on) and he will usually choose a significant other of as high status as possible, whether in looks, money, success, fame or contacts. If it sounds cold and calculating, it is.
A narcissist is incapable of real love.
But it looks like love, at least initially. He will idealise you, love bomb you with affection and praise and feigned empathy. He will display certain behaviours that are guaranteed to secure your adulation. And then he will suddenly withdraw his intimacy, leaving you frightened and destabilised. This “devalue” phase happens when your admiration fails to give him the boost he needs, which is inevitable, because nothing can boost such a person.
If you assert yourself, they will become enraged. Devalue phases can involve both subtle and explicit abuse. The moment he needs a top up of supply (maybe business isn’t going too well, or he’s been rejected elsewhere) is when he’s at his most dangerous. Eventually, he will discard you, generally with shocking coldness like you were some piece of trash.
Narcissists are never alone for long if they can help it, and usually have a new woman lined up before they even leave you. But they will often return to love bomb old partners when they need more supply which is why most narcissists keep in touch with so many “ex’s”. Apparently these cycles can span for decades. These type of men reel you in because they are brilliant at seduction. They are charismatic, because they have to be. They are masters of feigned empathy and love. But it’s that same empathy and love that can be withdrawn at a moment’s notice, and it is this intermittent reinforcement that is the key. You effortlessly get hooked to the random bursts of intimacy.
The pattern of abuse is extremely specific: idealise, devalue, discard. There are abusive partners who are not narcissists: men who have violent tempers and can just explode when angry or drunk, and who are genuinely repentant, but then repeat the cycle. People with narcissistic personality disorder on the other hand can feign repentance to ensure further supply, but it’s all an act. Narcissists are unable to feel empathy or remorse.
If you’ve ever loved a narcissist I’m sure you at some point asked yourself, “Does he even love me?” “Does he even appreciate me?” It’s like you’re torn between his love and his pain, between staying and leaving, but can’t seem to do either until the choice is made for you. Some days you swear you are loved; others you are convinced you aren’t. It’s definitely very confusing, because sometimes you experience the caring person you are in love with, whose company is an absolute pleasure, only to be followed by behavior that makes you feel unimportant or inadequate.
Narcissists claim to love their family and partners, but do they really? Please remember, you never have to tolerate love that doesn’t bring you peace. You’re more likely to excuse someone’s trash behaviour if you’re really physically attracted to them. But you need to understand that no amount of physical attraction or orgasms is worth clinging to someone who does not make you feel at peace with yourself. Your mental health will definitely suffer when dealing with a narcissist.
Empathy and accountability are key love languages as far as being with a narcissist is concerned. Technically there are five main love languages, But after one too many attempts to convince someone to love you the way you want to be loved when he does not have the emotional or mental range to do so, you need to realized how important it is to have empathy and accountability present in your relationship.
Break ups are always hard, and they are even harder if you are madly in love with that person, but when you’ve been in a relationship with someone who uses others and is obsessed with themselves, it can be even harder to deal with.
If most of the things I’ve mentioned in this post sound like your relationship, you have a fairly textbook case of narcissistic abuse. You’re probably an empath which is why you’re an easy target for a narcissistic partner to prey on. Empaths are emotional sponges and are highly sensitive and in tune with other people’s emotions and narcissists love empaths because they see someone who will fulfill their every need in a selfless way.
A ‘toxic’ attraction destined for disaster. It’s not easy to comprehend the fact that you’re in a narcissistic relationship at first, but there are many red flags that will come up as you get to know your person better, don’t paint them green. In many ways, reclaim your time, your ability to love, and your ability to accept love that is authentic and nurturing, someday.
“Sometimes walking away is the only option because you finally respect yourself enough to know that you deserve better.” ~Unknown~