Being discard by someone you loved, but you now find out is a Narcopath, is one of the most confusing, soul-destroying experiences imaginable. Your mind and body is awash with emotion, there are a load of practical steps needing your attention, but your brain is in overdrive with ruminations as you struggle to make any sense of it. I hope that the following will start the process of achieving some clarity and purpose.
One thing that seems to be synonymous with all discards from a narcopath is the lack of closure. They don’t explain why the relationship isn’t working. There may not even be a seminal moment when the split happens. The fact that you are here implies that you know about NPD to some degree – but it is highly unlikely that a narcopath will ever submit themselves to a test that would confirm a diagnosis. The first thing that you need to do self-validate. This trick might help – take out a sheet of paper and list out all of the general traits and red flags of NPD. Then beside each item, detail how your (probably) narc has shown you each red flag, fulfilled every trait. If you have a sound answer for each that scores 50% or over, there’s your answer. If it’s 75% or over, its a no-brainer. But that solution has to come from you – it will never come from a narc (not least because they want to keep you guessing and susceptible to a hoover or two in the weeks, months and years to come).
Unlove the Illusion
Understand that the person you loved was just a mirage. A complete illusion. It was entirely one-way. And yours wasn’t just love, but also a chemical addiction. The reality is that person in whom you invested so much is actually highly toxic and highly manipulative. Do EVERYTHING you can to unwind that love and replace it with a rational understanding (and frankly the contempt they deserve).
Go No Contact
There is a whole page on No Contact here.
The key to your getting through this awful period, and your healing thereafter, depends on:
- understanding NPD in detail,
- understanding the very different ways that Narcopaths’ brains are wired and that as a result they have a totally different framework of emotional regulation,
- adapting your mindset to manage the whole situation;
- learning counter-intuitive thinking to combat them,
- and avoiding the drama now and forever more.
This website has been set up with this intention in mind.
So read like crazy. Follow accounts on Instagram devoted to NPD abuse survival where you will get regular doses of soundbites that ground you, inform you and inspire you.
Bear in mind that very few people, including psychologists and counsellors, will really understand what you have been through. They may not be able to give you the validation that you need. Only other survivors will really understand it. Why? For the simple reason that the thought process and patterns of these disordered souls is completely counter-intuitive. They are driven by different desires and needs that are incomprehensible to anyone – and I mean anyone – who hasn’t been through the wringer first-hand. The person that you thought you knew was an actor – regurgitating the phrases and emotions they have learnt over the course of their lives. But it is an entirely false self – the real one is entirely Machiavellian and twisted. So reach out to other surviivors if you can. If you do want a counsellor / therapist, make absolutely sure that they are NPD specialists (for which they pretty much need to be NPD abuse survivors too).
Have patience. Self-care, ie putting your mental and physical health first and foremost, is critical. Learn voraciously and regularly. Following FaceBook groups and other forums, and reading the posts every morning will be very useful. But it will take time. Count on about two years as a minimum. So go easy on yourself, and put yourself first. Allow yourself to have awful days and don’t feel bad about it.
Anticipate shit coming your way. It will be extensive and it will be ruthless. Narcopaths may be very charming to most – but behind that mask they are also extremely manipulative, cunning and believable. Bear in mind that in order for them to exit the relationship confident that it wasn’t their fault and that they are wonderful, they will try and destroy you in whatever way they can – emotionally, psychologically, financially etc. If you have them, they will even use your kids as weapons against you. No-one comprehends how extraordinarily toxic and warped they are. Sadly, you are about to find out.
Anticipate Widespread Betrayal
Count on losing all of your joint friends as the most extraordinary and unbelievable smear campaign gets fully underway. The foundations for this were laid a long time ago. Your ex-narc may not even be directly involved – but their harem of flying monkeys will be merciless. Nearly one in ten people have some form of Cluster B personality disorder – and there is a very good chance that your narcopath will be best buddies with the flying monkeys all cut from the same cloth. Anticipate widespread betrayal. History has been rewritten with you as the abuser, them as the victim. Don’t ask me how they do it – it’s incredulous, especially as you think that there is so much evidence in your favour. Don’t fight it, “friends” who aren’t exclusively on your side aren’t worth it. Make new friends instead.
Breaking the Trauma-bonding
Trauma bonding is a bio-chemical addiction, or attachment, that develops binding you to your abuser and abuse. When you go no contact, you essentially go cold turkey as your body adjusts to the change in circumstances.
To overcome this, I would suggest considering taking anti-depressants – particularly if you find that you are waking up in the middle of the night and are unable to get back to sleep again. They do two things – help you get a better night’s sleep, and reduce the incidents and effects of your body jetting adrenalin into itself.
Brace yourself for hoovering – because they will want to mess with you for years and years (it’s a twisted control thing), and they will do all they can to ultimately destroy you (their way of proving to themselves that they are the victor). So anticipate tales of woe when their next conquest dumps them. Or an olive branch saying they want to be friends. Or a fauxpology, when they will appear to have understood how bad they have treated you, and how committed they are to becoming a better person for you. Or that they need XYZ that they left at your house. Indeed any lame excuse, they will be there testing the water, nudging that door open again in order to derive more narc fuel from you. It’s highly toxic and allowing them back in will simply set your healing back lots. Don’t be tempted – even one inch. More information can be found at the Hoovering page.
Turn off the tap of Narcissist Supply
By battling them, you’re giving them narcissistic supply. It’s negative, for sure, but it’s the vital narcissistic supply that they desperately need. It may well be that they have run off with someone who on the face of it is young and attractive, or moneyed etc. They may well be plastering happy pics all over social media. They may well be talking of dreams that you thought that you shared, now being lavished on someone else. But understand this – it’s an entirely false image. First off, all the lovebombing is extremely exhausting for them. Emotionally they are in give mode, and cannot yet be on the take. Underneath they are desperately insecure, their new supply has yet to prove themselves as able to withstand the abuse once the lovebombing stage is over, they are worried if the move was the right one. They have the stigma of the split from you to manage. They suspect that you are badmouthing them to their friends and the local community (which is what they are doing to you, I’m afraid). They are busy constructing a series of lies to cover their actions – and just trying to remember which lies they’ve told to who is quite a feat.
What they do want to feel comfortable about is that they can rely is on negative narcissistic supply from you. They need to feel important, and that you are devastated by the loss. They need to be reassured that you will still be available should they decide to come back. They need to confirm to themselves that they can still run circles around you in drama. They also need to ensure that they are being perceived as the wounded one by everyone else as part of their Victim Narrative – and so need you to look desperate, crazy, abusive and smothering.
Cut Ties & Break Away
So for goodness sake, don’t provide them the vital negative supply that they need. Go No Contact, shut them off, and pretend to both them and the rest of the world that you are not in the least bothered by their loss. It will save your sanity and peace of mind.
And last but by no means least, have faith. You have a very long a difficult journey ahead, but you will make it. And what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. You will come out the other side. And you will find someone worthy of your love. Who will treat you how you deserve to be treated. And you will realise what a lucky escape you had. And that Karma will deal with the narc in the end. I feel sorry for them – contrary to their facade, deep down they live very unhappy and twisted lives.
Be a Warrior
And then, by way of post script, consider offering the same help and support to other victims of abuse as they start their own journey.
Be brave – you can do it!!
This is an excellent article: How To Deal With A Narcissist: The Only Method Guaranteed To Work
If you want to know what you are aiming for, there’s an excellent article over 4 pages at 11 Signs You’re a Narcissist’s Worst Nightmare
If you want to know what is going on in the Narcopath’s head as you are disengaging, how they are mindfucking you and how you mindfuck them back, read The Fading Narcissist (please excuse my French – but these are, after all, adult themes)
A good general read is at How To Deal With a Narcissist (NPD)
Understanding Narcissistic Supply, what the Narcissist needs and how you are providing it to them – On Narcissistic Supply: How You Provide Necessary Ignition for the Narcissist’s Fuel
Push the Narcissist too far and they may end up as collapsed Narcissists – Collapsed Narcissists – Ask Our Experts, Rachel Bernstein
Great article and how eternal victimhood often ends up as Narcissistic collapse at Collapsed Narcissists