There was once Nymph called Echo who fell in love with a Boy named Narcissus. Narcissus never returned any affections to anyone other than himself. Nemesis cursed Narcissus with only having the ability to love himself. So, one-day Narcissus saw his reflection in a pond and immediately fell in love with himself. He died staring at his reflection. Echo was cursed by Zeus in always having the last word, only able to repeat what she hears. What is interesting about this is understanding what a Narcissist does and how it relates to relationships. After spending 1/2 of my life with one, I can tell you the healing takes a long time. The feelings of guilt and embarrassment can be overwhelming. Narcissists are terrific at Love bombing you in the beginning. They show up at work, gift you, and give you loads of attention. They treat you with such tenderness and concern. The just randomly pop into your workplace and they just can’t seem to call enough.
This, of course, is what we all want in our relationships. Someone who loves us and thinks of us often. However, with a narcissist, this lasts until they have sucked their new victim in. That’s when the Narcissist has what is called a SUPPLY. To a Narc, you are NOT human as they have no emotions. You are a SUPPLY. Some refer to their NARCs as emotional vampires. The narcissist needs to metaphorically feed off of their partners or even their children. They start out suddenly and play mind games. They will belittle you and will call you names. They will apologize and inform you that you make them act that way. You trigger their Passion. They will go through your things and make slight accusations that you are doing something to be deceptive. They may even take your cell phone and laptop away to ensure you are not doing something they deem wrong. They will make you feel as though you are less and less desirable. Less and less intelligent. Less and Less worthy of their affections. They will body shame you, tell you that you are mentally ill, or refer to you as “Nut Bag” or “Loopy” or something more along those lines.
There is a spectrum of the NARC personality but most are much more effective in a Covert way. A Narcissist will make it very difficult for you to have friends, go out without them, go on business trips, and even to continue your education. They will come up with excuses for why you shouldn’t go or that they don’t like that friend. They will make long road trips miserable so that you are less inclined to visit family. Over time, they will try to instill in you that you are crazy and that they just don’t know what to do with you anymore. They will refuse therapy but if you leave, they will suddenly want to go and use it as a weapon to shame you. They now have an audience to share their pains with. They struggle with you not doing what they demand and they tell you that you might be depressed.
Once you break free its best to not have contact. The hard part is when you have children with a Narcissist. Unfortunately, the child becomes the new supply. The narcissist will try to convince the child that the other parent is a liar or doesn’t love them. The Narc will do it slowly. They will turn things that you say around to make it seem as though you are crazy. The Narcissist will take the child/children’s electronic equipment so that they don’t have contact with the other parent. Then the SMEAR campaigns start. The Narcissist’s sole purpose is to make the Supply feel the same as they do. EMPTY. Devoid of feelings and thoughts. The Narc will begin telling everyone stories that are engrossed with all the wrong that YOU did and how, if you are the other parent, YOU are alienating them from their child. The Narc will never have any ownership of their actions. They will never admit that what they are doing is wrong. They HAVE to be right and they HAVE to be in control. They HAVE to be in control of your thoughts, your feelings, and your life.
It takes years to heal after a NARC relationship. It takes years to want to feel good and ALIVE again as they suffocate every living part of you for as long as they can. However, you will HEAL. You will THRIVE. You can do it as there is nothing more than LOVE in this world for you. There are so many folks who have had these relationships whether spousal or parental and they make it out. Rules with leaving a NARC? Yes, prepare as they will do anything they can to get you back and when that doesn’t work they will set out to destroy you. It’s highly recommended to not have ANY contact with your NARC. It is highly recommended to get help, resources, and go to NAS groups in your area. It’s also highly recommended that you begin to LIVE again. Nothing makes a NARC go away faster than to see you in LOVE with Life. They will find a new supply as they can’t be alone for too long. They have to “feed”.
And that is how a cycle repeats for the NARC.
But NOT for you!
You matter and you are LOVE. Remind yourself daily.
Rustie MacDonaldAuthor, Mother, Speaker & Advocate to End Domestic Violence & Poverty.