Psychology Relationships

When Leaving is Not an Option

You enter the relationship looking for a deep connection and a lifelong partner to love unconditionally. Little do you know, the so-called love he offers you turns into possessiveness.

You meet a very handsome and funny guy who showers you with love. He takes you out on a couple of romantic dates and lavishes you with gifts. Soon enough, you develop an emotional connection by sharing experiences, laughters, and inside jokes. You start to talk almost 24/7; as soon as you wake up, during your lunch break, when you get back home till you fall asleep. You think to yourself, this is too good to be true. You just can’t get enough of one another.

As this relationship evolves, he becomes more demanding than ever and things begin to go downhill.

When you decide to have a girls night out with your girls, he would tell you that he misses you so much and blame you for not giving him enough time. You feel guilty, you get back home early to talk to him.

This guilt leads you to put all your efforts into making sure that he knows that you love him. You begin to hang out less with your friends, and eventually lose touch with them. You seem to have no problem with that because he’s embracing you and providing you with a loving space that compensates for the loss.

When you decide to hang out with your neighbors, who happen to be guys, he accuses them of being bad guys who just want to hurt you. You start questioning every move your neighbors make and start to believe what he told you. You should have listened to him. You feel guilty, you stop talking to them.

This guilt leads you to appreciate his efforts to protect you from people who are harmful to you. It makes you think that he would never intentionally hurt you.

Things become rocky. They get out of hand. It doesn’t feel right. The littlest things infuriate him, he becomes aggressive. You try to minimize it, dismiss his aggression and consider it a result of a bad day. But it goes on and on and on.

At some point, you feel repressed and anxious. This needs to stop.

You try to speak up for yourself, but his voice rises, stopping you before you even begin to utter. He accuses you of being inconsiderate of his feelings and concerns, and calls you selfish. You start feeling like you are always overreacting, and you stop voicing out your concerns because you know the pattern. He will become cold and distant, refusing to communicate. You end up forced to deal with the aftermath of the silent treatment.

You start to feel uncared for, unimportant, and ignored. You are left feeling guilty for messing things up.

He creates a false reality for you to live in, wherein you are voiceless and helpless. He has his own way of twisting things and shifting the blame to use your own weaknesses against you. The blame is on you. You are the cause of every problem. It’s you. You start doubting your self-worth, memory, and identity. Your self-worth starts to depend on him, as you resort to him to get a better sense of yourself.

He tricks you into coming back for more by using a type of conditioning keeps you in check. He will criticize you, blame you, scream at you, but will occasionally – without habit or regularity – show you an abundance of affection and love. You then will wait for the next episode and put up with the abuse because you have been trained to wait for it. He finds your pain and suffering as an advantage to regain the validation that he thrives off.

You feel torn between the love you have for him and the pain of being with a controlling partner, between staying with someone whom you thought you would spend the rest of your life with and leaving to liberate yourself from the mess you have found yourself in. But you can’t seem to do either because you have been defeated and your soul has been consumed. 

You enter the relationship looking for a deep connection and a lifelong partner to love unconditionally. Little do you know, the so-called love he offers you turns into possessiveness.

The person you are with is a narcissist.

A narcissist is someone who is incapable of feeling guilt nor empathy. It is someone who simply does not hold responsibility for anything. He views himself as superior, and no one can ever get to his level. He creates false image of himself and he believes it to be true. He is a jealous person who is very prone to envy. As a result, he feels the need to be in control to compensate for his insecurity.

Being in a relationship with a narcissist is crippling – he will demand authority and keep her under his control through manipulation. He exerts his power on her if she refuses to listen to him. He is adept at lying, especially to keep the victim close. He will destroy her self-esteem by claiming that she would be nothing without him and no man would be willing to keep up with her or love her. He will claim that he will change but he never does. He will claim that she is lying and that he never said anything hurtful, causing her to doubt herself.

Narcissists hunt on women who are compassionate, as they would be empathetic enough to listen, justify their false excuses, and provide them with constant validation. They take advantage of their nurturing quality. A narcissist sucks the energy out of her, draining the once vibrant woman empty. He steals her time, occupies her mind, and isolates her. His ego is only satisfied when he sees himself in control by asserting his power and causing the woman, whom he claims to love, to suffocate.

He starts off giving her all the love in the world to get her hooked on him. He makes her believe that she needs him and that he has her best interest by offering her protection. Bit by bit, he makes her feel incompetent and dependent on him. He makes her feel like she is crazy if she ever does anything he does not like or approve of. He would go to great lengths just to demean her. He is a narcissist.

A Message To Victims of Narcissistic Partners

Here’s a message from Kristen Milstead:

All breakups are difficult, but this one was one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with in my life.

It led me to start asking the question, at what point does the breakup with a narcissist occur? Breakups with narcissists, no matter how you define them, don’t end well. They often end abruptly with the two parties having completely different narratives for the same relationship, resulting in multiple episodes of making up, a lot of subsequent emotional damage to the partner of the narcissist, and no closure.

For a narcissist, once you enter into the relationship, it never ends. They may discard you temporarily. They may stop talking to you for weeks, months or years. You may cease to be their primary source of love and admiration. Yet in their eyes, you “belong” to them, and they will always feel entitled to reach out to you and try to re-enter your life, if only for a few minutes or perhaps for longer, depending on the situation. In story after story of narcissists returning after years or decades, and in explanations of their behavior provided by narcissists themselves, this appears to hold true.

That’s not the way healthy relationships work, obviously, which leaves it to the partner to put a true end to the relationship. Yet almost everyone in a relationship with a narcissist seesaws in and out of it multiple times. On average, it takes seven attempts to leave an emotionally abusive relationship before being successful. So what point should be the actual point of breaking up? Is it the first time the narcissist discards you? The first time you decide you’ve had enough and leave? Is it some point at which an arbitrary length of time has passed without interaction between the two of you?

A natural break-up point would seem to be when you use the words “no contact.”

But it’s not that simple.

Stating that you are going no-contact or being in a period of no-contact is necessary for having broken up with a narcissist, but it is not sufficient alone to state it as the true end of the relationship. No-contact is always one-sided since the narcissist believes the relationship never ends, and narcissists do not respect boundaries. The problem with stating that no-contact is always the end without qualifying it is that it stretches into an unknown future that requires the partner to be adamant that whatever they are instituting now will hold under conditions they cannot possibly foresee.

Therefore, there must be a strong conviction behind no-contact.

A true breakup occurs when you institute no-contact and consciously intend it with full implications and an awareness of all that that entails in the present and future. It is a deliberate act that contains a solemn vow that you can never go back.

“Intending it” means any unpredictable and unknown action the narcissist takes now or later is irrelevant. The narcissist could drop by your workplace, make a fake social media account, send flowers anonymously, hire a private investigator, or dispatch a carrier pigeon, and it wouldn’t matter. 

You wouldn’t respond. You wouldn’t even be rattled. 

33 replies on “When Leaving is Not an Option”

You’ve captured very well the stage by stage nature of the process. The gradual development is so hard to pin down, yet you illustrate it!
In these stories, even your own pain becomes a cause to be blamed in a twisted way. I think they feel themselves as victims, chronically, and so they’re unable to see what they’re doing. Blind spots abound..


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