I have a BSc in Psychology and certifications in Mental and Behavioral Health Studies. I’ve interviewed individuals diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)… I’ve coached clients to free themselves from attachment to narcissistic parents…
But my 20+ years of education, experience, and intuition in this field could not prepare me for my intimate relationship with someone who potentially suffers from this disorder. This experience has to be the single MOST horrendously painful, frustrating, and exhausting mind-funkery I have ever been dragged through.
What you are experiencing is nothing like a breakup between two healthy people. This is a breakup with someone who lacks emotional empathy. Someone who completely depends on external approval and admiration to regulate his or her self-esteem and validate their identity. Someone who is quite literally unable to see past their own needs.
You were emotionally invested in a person with a personality disorder. You cannot identify them by physical appearances alone. Most people with narcissistic personality disorder can be charming and socially adept, but these individuals behave and see the world around them much differently than someone who does not suffer from NPD. Their inability to emotionally bond with another person… to genuinely love and care for another person… stems from damages at the neurological level.
WTF Just Happened?
Your soul mate – best friend – and partner in life has finally found you! Now it totally makes sense why your past relationships didn’t work out… because this is the one person you were meant to spend the rest of your life with.
But as time pass, you begin to feel that something is “off” about the love of your life. They say and do things that leave you confused and insecure, but you keep brushing them off because you hope that someone who declared they would “die for you” wouldn’t deliberately do anything to hurt you.
To draw you back, they make it a point to throw little scraps of extreme kindness your way to reassure you that everything between you is still “perfect”. This tactic is called Intermittent Reinforcement and it’s how “trauma bonds” are established. You are conditioned to feel grateful for these little “acts of love” and continue to fight to make this work no matter what… because a relationship like this happens only once in a lifetime.
Then all of a sudden, everything they loved about you irritates them. They accuse you of no longer being the person you were before (because they’ve twisted you up into someone you yourself no longer recognize). They’re not happy anymore. And they move on with someone new… confessing the same exact feelings to the new victim that they’ve had for you until 30 minutes ago. Like your relationship never even happened.
Your head is filled with questions. What just happened? Was any of this real? How could they replace me so easily? What about all the plans we made for our future? How is it possible for them to happily move on like our relationship never happened? I thought they loved me and needed me in their life…
You CANNOT “fix” them by loving them more. You CANNOT make them “realize” their poor behavior by being patient and constantly giving them more opportunities to hurt you. The emotional part of their brain that process emotional empathy… emotional bonds… is BROKEN.
He rushed straight to my heart at full strength and speed, magically manifesting as my soulmate… he made me feel completely supported, understood, loved, and accepted like no one ever has… it felt like we’ve known each other forever. We quickly fell helplessly in love… building a relationship with each other’s children… and planning every detail of our forever.
Then he slowly started chipping away at my heart & mind with chisels dipped in insanity, as he spoke reassuring words of love with a smile on his face. And once he twisted me into something I didn’t recognize, he walked away and resumed his life with a new partner as if our relationship never happened…
You are NOT crazy. This REALLY happened. Family and friends who have never experienced narcissistic abuse will have difficulty understanding why you are unable to just “let go” and “move on” because it’s virtually impossible to relate or understand them through reasoning that applies to non-NPD people. But this does not change the reality you’ve experienced and you’re far from alone. The road to recovery will be filled with challenges, but hang in there… breaking free from narcissistic abuse is absolutely possible.