“Whatever I said, whatever I did, I didn’t mean it I just want you back for good (Want you back, want you back, want you back for good) Whenever I’m wrong Just tell me the song and I’ll sing it”
When Gary Barlow penned these words for “Take That”, he wasn’t thinking about Narcissists but love and a broken relationship. Loving a narcissist is almost never a comfortable place to be. And for those, mainly women, who have had relationships with Narcissists which are now over, they will know how hard it is to leave for good. A narcissist will never understand why you chose to leave and will have many reasons why you shouldn’t leave and he won’t give up without a fight. So, if you have just broken up with a narcissist, here’s some friendly advice.
1. They’re Simply The Best, Better Than All The Rest
Narcissists have large egos and a grandiose sense of self-importance. In their humble opinion, they are the best you will ever meet and will tell you so loudly before, during and after your relationship with them. They will also boast or lie about accomplishments. Like the guy trying to data friend of mine at university who claimed to work for MI6! The trick is for a potential lover to spot the bluff and bluster before they get involved but if you didn’t and want to leave:
Be suspicious of grandiose gestures such as ostentatious gifts to try to win you back.
Quite often they will rely on the fact that they have diminished you during the relationship and you will feel not up to starting again. Begin by making an inventory of your skills abilities and qualities – you are better than you think.
2. All By Myself (don’t wanna be..)
Remember, narcissists are arch manipulators and if the grand gestures fail, they will probably try to elicit sympathy from you. They will try to remind you of how much you are needed and how they are nothing without you. Alternatively, they may try to convince you that you don’t want to be alone either. Remember:
Avoid trying to become a rescuer. Many women fall into this trap thinking they can save or heal their man if only they loved them enough. A wise person once said, “A woman can’t change a man because she loved him; a man changes because he loves her” All the evidence says that Narcissists hardly ever want to change because they can’t see what they are.
Having lived in the shadow of a narcissist you may have become isolated and lonely. Make a deal with yourself. Give it a month to find new friends, renew old ones. Without them along to undermine you, you’ll do just fine.
3. Paper Roses
Like the song, their love for you is just a facsimile, an imitation of the real thing. A narcissist loves himself or herself first and foremost. You have been there as a sideshow to the main event. If you are lucky you have been an accessory or a trophy to add to their standing. It may hurt in the immediate aftermath of the break up but paper roses are not as beautiful and authentic as the real thing. So what can you do to avoid the imitation love next time ?
Look to the happiest of all of the couples you know perhaps within the older members of your circle or family – try to find out what makes them happy and look for some of the same for yourself.
Don’t jump into a new relationship quickly. Remember, when we have lost a love and hurt we may look for a reminder. Loving a narcissist exposes a person to psychological abuse. People who are abused in one relationships often choose an abusive relationship again. Try not to fall into that trap.
4. The winner takes it all
“Hell hath no fury like lover scorned”. Narcissists can be aggressive adversaries and are more than ready to fight for what they consider to be their material rights whether it is their business, home, children or lovers. To them you are another possession to be counted amongst the rest. If they can’t have you, they won’t want you to go to someone else. Likewise, they will fight you for control of anything which you possess with they think they should have. This includes children because they are after all another thing boast about and their success a vicarious ego boost.
If you haven’t already left, set up a fighting fund – a secret account or a stash of things which will tide you over when their possessiveness deprives you of resources.
If you have children, maintain the moral high ground and neither try to buy them or use them as weapons. Children generally see through manipulation. You won’t lose their love easily.
Don’t be fooled into giving up your rights for a quick getaway. You may have given up your career, independence and raised children. You are a person in your own right with equal worth. Keep focussed on that.
5. Never Gonna Give You Up
Together with their material rights there is a perversity around narcissistic sexuality which is often termed reactance. Reactance means increased focus and attention to something because it is not available to them. A forbidden fruit becomes more attractive because it is forbidden. By leaving, you may become more of an object of desire, of focus. The narcissists react to such rules by breaking them – or becoming aggressive toward the person who deprives them of it.
If this happens to you, you need to be vigilant. The narcissist may stalk you or if there are children involved try to take them away. In rare cases they may even kill or harm family in an effort to take back control.
Whilst the general tone of this piece has been lighter than some of the others on this site, it is important to recognise if you are being subject to stalking, aggression or are in any kind of danger and act on it. Get help, talk to friends and don’t hesitate to contact the authorities. Most states have strong laws against stalking and harassment. Use them if you have to but don’t become a victim. A narcissist cannot help being a narcissist, but their rights are no greater than yours.