Finding the Courage to Walk Away

2014 - Mar Posted by Savannah Grey 39 comments

Your behavior, the days and weeks following a breakup with a Narcissist, sets the tone for the rest of your life.  It is at this stage that you make the choice, whether or not, you will treat yourself with respect, or send your dignity down the river.  If you were the one that initiated the break up, you will ride the feelings of empowerment for a while, but like most emotions they are fleeting and eventually unwanted thoughts begin to creep in.

It’s here that you are faced with a giant truth, that the object of your obsession will no longer be a part of your life.  The sorrow, remorse, fear, panic and doubt become overwhelming, because for so long the Narcissist in your life has been the center of your Universe and now there is an enormous, gaping void where they once stood. 

It’s normal to feel sad, afraid and even anxious when a part of our lives is over. When someone is right beside you one day and gone the next, you are going to feel uncomfortable. It’s a shock to your system. You’re going to feel withdrawal symptoms. You’re going to feel fear. You’re going to wonder if you did the right thing and if he’s going to trot off and live happily ever after with someone else. Making a life altering decision is hard. Sticking with it is even harder.

Never forget that a Narcissist usually does have a lot of really great qualities. You wouldn’t have stuck around if they were all bad all the time.  I had a reader say that, ‘if you took away all the bad stuff, we really do have a great time together.’ It’s this absence that we come to miss the most, this charming, fun, humane side. It is all too easy to forget the reasons why the relationship is where it is – what got you here – what drove you to end it.  All this ‘bad stuff’ is the reason you’re here and it hasn’t gone and won’t go away.  The problem is that the courage and the anger that propelled you to end it in the first place doesn’t stay, but unfortunately the fear is so strong, it keeps pulling you back in.

While you are in the immediate post breakup stage you are at a crossroads, because you know what you should do, but you lack the courage to do it.  A reader told me that within a week of her leaving the relationship, she was back at his place, just hanging out. She missed him and not seeing him was just too painful, and she was pondering a friendship.

When we think about this logically, does it make sense to be “friends” with someone that cheated on us, lied to us, betrayed us? Are those the qualities you would look for in a friend? When we agree to a friendship we are putting them on a pedestal and showing them that we will accept any little piece of them because any piece of them is better than nothing at all. You send a very clear message, that you are they type of person that doesn’t respect themselves enough to walk away from someone who has abused them.  Your Narcissist likely didn’t respect your boundaries when you were a couple – so expecting them to respect the boundaries of friendship is insanity.

Because let’s be honest, it sounds so nice to say let’s be friends, but what you’re really saying is, I will accept everything on your terms and I value you and your needs above my self-respect. Because what ends up happening is that the relationship continues as it was, except this time they have your permission to ignore your needs and wants, make everything about them, date other girls, and not care about your feelings because,’ hey  – we’re just friends’. You even get the added bonus of having a seat, up close and personal, to watch them hone in on another target and relegate you to the back of the harem bus.

I’ve said it once I’ll say it 1000 times, you cannot be friends with someone that you are still in love with. While you may still hold out hope that you will find a way to get back together, but by the time they feel comfortable enough where they feel you aren’t going anywhere, they will certainly start talking to you about other women and you can be damn sure that you have become Harem material. Remember,  you never go from Harem member to girlfriend – you can definitely go from girlfriend to Harem member, but never the other way around. You may hover in top Harem position for a while, but as soon as someone shiny and new comes along, it’s to the back of the bus with you.  So if your attempt to hold on to your guy at any cost lands you in friend/harem member country you are not doing yourself any favors. What you are signing up for is more disrespect, more hurt, with a side order of humiliation, all because it hurt too much to say good-bye when you should have.

Many people will break up with a Narcissist hoping for a better strategic position. They hope that when faced with the prospect of life without them that their Narcissist will see the error of their ways and change their behavior. The problem is that of course a Narcissist is going to chase you, change isn’t easy for them either. They will put in a temporary effort, but not because they’ve mended their ways and will now do things your way, but because they get what they want in the present – which is you – back on their terms.

In all unhealthy relationships there must be a point of no return.  There has to be some point, some line that when crossed a switch goes off in your head that says, I respect me enough to know that this is not a good or healthy situation for me and I need to walk away. There must be consequences when someone doesn’t treat you with the love and respect that you deserve.  A Narcissist has no problem saying and showing their partners that they think only about them – why is it so hard for us to put us first? You must be willing to say, “You cheated on me – and that’s a deal breaker. You have clearly demonstrated that my feelings mean very little to you, so I’m going to respect myself enough and end this.

Sure breaking up with someone is hard, but having courtside seats to their next relationship is even harder. It’s nuts to offer up support and relationship advice to an ex that mistreated you. So do yourself a huge favor and understand that time is a miraculous thing. Breaking up with a bad man is like pulling a band aid. It may hurt like hell at first, but once the sting is gone, you will feel better than you have in a long, long time.

So fight the urge to communicate and be friends with your ex and make this your new motto:

“There are consequences to your behavior and those consequences are, that you don’t get to treat me like that and still be a part of my life. It just doesn’t work that way. ” And mean it.

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