How One Woman Broke Her Narcissist Addiction
Tina was really mad at herself. She let Mark sweet talk his way back into her heart and now he was gone again, two short weeks later. She felt like such a fool. “Never again,” she said to herself. “I am so done.”
She’d gone no contact for a week now and felt really good about her decision. But as she entered her second week she couldn’t help but notice that he wasn’t making any effort to contact her either. That old familiar feeling was creeping back up on her, working its way through her resolve. It started as some type of anxiety in her gut, maybe it was fear, then it travelled upwards to her heart and the ache started again. Then it made its way to her head and she started to have uncontrollable, irrational thoughts about what he was doing and who he was doing it with.
She logged onto Facebook and went to his profile to see what he was up to, then remembered that she had unfriended him. She looked at his public profile and could see that he had posted some new pics of himself, “Who are these women that are making comments and flirting with him?” she said to herself. She noticed he had added 7 new women friends in the past week and her heart sank.
Tina spent the next week hurting and thinking about Mark constantly. She wanted him to contact her again, but she was terrified that he wouldn’t. She thought about reasons she could use to contact him, but she couldn’t come up with any that would allow her to save face, so she gave up the idea. She contemplated sending a text and pretending she meant to send it someone else. ‘No he’d see right through that,’ she reasoned.
Another week goes by and her resolve is completely gone. Now she’s in full panic mode. The thoughts are constant, so is the heartache. He’s got to come back. That thought occupied her every waking moment. She had even tried to contact him telepathically. She’s obsessed checking her phone every minute, just in case she’s missed something. She’s on social media and scanning her email looking for any signs of contact. Nothing. Something’s got to give. She can’t go on this way…. she’s not eating, she’s not sleeping. She stays indoors, just in case.
Suddenly her phone goes off it’s a text message. She leaps for her phone. It’s him. Thank God it’s him. “Hey. How’s it going?”
She isn’t concerned that he’s been gone for weeks. She’s not concerned with what made her want to end it this time and the 7 other times before. All she cares about is that he’s back.
This is a common theme among boomerang relationships. They defy common sense. They are not logical and you usually find people behaving in ways they never would under normal circumstances, such as:
- Putting up with their partner being involved with other women or men
- Putting up with being ignored
- Putting up with never being able to rely on them
- Putting up with long periods of unexplained absences
- Putting up will being lied to and deceived – even though you know you’re being lied to and deceived
- Putting up with them putting in little to no effort
- Putting up with looking weak, like a fool, doormat or like you have no self-respect
- Putting up with the feelings and behaviors that show that we aren’t special to that person – missing our birthday, standing us up, ditching us on holidays
- Putting up with paying for everything and put in all the effort
- Putting up with being allocated to the friend position
The million dollar question is why?
The answer is – they’re addicted to the high. They want the peak in the relationship cycle – they will accept all the crashing and all the sorrow and all self-hate that comes along with it, just as long as they keep getting a taste of those intense high feelings.
The high is that moment where the object of their obsession is giving them their undivided attention, which usually involves sex. Where they can perpetuate the fantasy that the relationship is something different than what it is, where for a brief moment they feel loved, cherished and special.
The reasons for this are complex and can be any number of the following:
- Feeling starved for love and attention
- An addiction to the high intensity feelings
- They are used to poor treatment
- They live in fantasy world
- They’ve claimed some type of ownership on the individual and can justify sleeping with them even though we know they are involved with someone else
- Low self-esteem
An addiction is any activity that we cannot control or stop. Under that definition, our behavior could certainly be described as an addiction. But what is the addiction to?
It makes sense to say that it’s the person we’re addicted to. After all they’re usually our’ type,’ they’re fun and charming. We love being physical with them. We know everything about them. So it must be them, right?
A wave of relief washed over Tina as she text Mark back, “I’m good. How are you?” She asked, completely glossing over the hell she had just been through. They made arrangements to meet that weekend. Tina would have to drive the 80 miles to his hometown and she’d have to spring for the hotel room because Mark didn’t have the money.
She was excited as the days ticked down. Finally the day arrived and she was on her way to see him. Once she got there she noticed Mark was acting kind of aloof. He didn’t seem all that thrilled to see her. They made small talk and ate the take-out Tina brought. Later that night they had sex. It seemed different this time. Almost as if Mark wasn’t really into it. There was no kissing, just the act, then he rolled over and went to sleep. Tina lied there staring at the ceiling. They had gotten together and had sex so often it was hard to keep track of how many times. Why was she feeling so … cheated this time? She was angry and realized this wasn’t what she wanted.
She realized that If Mark would have paid attention to her like he usually did, if he would have been present and seemed interested in being physical with her and if he had held her and made her feel the love she craved afterward she may have continued in this boomerang relationship indefinitely.
This client of mine came to understand that she was not addicted to the man she’d been obsessing over, it was the intensity of feeling that he could take her to that she was addicted to. Once he stopped taking her to that emotional peak, she was no longer interested in having anything to do with him. It took a while for all of the feelings to ebb away, but when she came to that realization the spell was broken and she was free.
Image courtesy of tiverlucky at freedigitalphotos.net