Einstein said that, ‘imagination is more important than knowledge,’ and that’s true, except when it comes to our relationships. When I was young I use to write my name and the name of my crush du jour on a piece of paper and surround it with a big heart. When I closed my eyes at night I was and did so many incredible things, things that never seemed possible in reality. I had a rich fantasy life. And I carried that ability to fantasize with me into adulthood.
As I traveled from relationship to relationship, early on I would create a vision of how I wanted the relationship to be – I’d insert the specifics of the person I was dating, but the reality was always vastly different than what I pretended it was.
When he would do something that correlated with my vision, I would revel in his good behavior, when it didn’t, I labelled it unimportant and somehow, I would forget about it. I got into the pattern of making mountains out of molehills of his good behaviors and molehills out of mountains of his bad behaviors.
I would ingratiate myself to his family members and friends and even sometimes, his children, believing that the more his loved ones wanted me in their lives, the more pressure he would feel to keep the relationship going. They would become my allies and I would try very hard to please them. My people pleasing and my over-giving behaviors would be on overdrive, and I’d make so many excuses for his bad behavior because I convinced myself that he would eventually mesh into the person I wanted him to be.
We can all justify any thing if we really want to. The difference between healthy people and those that live in a fantasy world, is that healthy people see things for what they are, they say it like it is and they act accordingly. Those that live in fantasy land, try to adjust their reality to fit the fantasy, seeing only what they want to and ignoring things that they shouldn’t. They look for hooks and allies they think will help secure their place in the relationship.
What people in this position fail to realize is that these hooks and this chronic over-giving sets them up for more failure. Mainly, because a Narcissist won’t appreciate all that you’re doing. To an entitled, manipulating, ego-maniac, your over-helping is something they believe they deserve anyway, it’s also a sign of weakness to them– they don’t see it as, ‘gosh that Joan is such a sweetie, she does everything for me – I really appreciate her.’ To a Narcissist when you give them everything, they compartmentalize you as easy pickins. Remember that they get bored really easily and that the more you hook yourself into their lives, the more uncomfortable they feel and the faster they want out.
When we live in a fantasy world we ignore those obvious red flags and we get confused by their behavior, because it doesn’t fit with our picture and we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re in love. We get baffled by their behavior, because we can’t understand why they keep checking out, when being together feels so damn good. We can’t understand why they keep fighting the fantasy and that they are acting like they don’t want what we want.
Because we live in fantasy land, what we’re failing to see is that our partners behave the way they do, because they don’t feel the same way. I’ll say it again because it’s important that you get this, YOUR NARCISSIST BEHAVES THE WAY HE/SHE DOES BECAUSE THEY DOEN’T FEEL THE SAME WAY THAT YOU DO. The how’s and why’s aren’t important and are only excuses.
When we live in reality, we can see that the act of someone pulling away means, that they aren’t on the same page as we are. There’s no excuses, no rationalizing or minimizing – it just, is what it is. We call them on it and if it continues we leave. Healthy people judge the action by the action alone, because they know that actions speak louder than words. They don’t get tripped up on trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. They know pretty quickly that it just doesn’t fit.
If, on day one, it’s great you’re flying high and basking in the glow of love and then by day two, he’s out the door with a flimsy excuse and you don’t know when you’ll see him again, you have to stop thinking about how great day one was and forgetting the rest.
You have to consider what happens to you every time they leave, the pain you’re left in, what it does to your self-esteem. Stop only looking at the good times and start looking at the whole picture. Only seriously desperate people would put up with being treated that way – and that’s not you.
You have to realize that this cycle keeps you stuck in it. You start off longing and pining for them, they come back, your emotions soar, you’re almost manic, then they leave and you’re crashing to the ground and it really hurts. You feel depressed , you can’t function and then after some time has passed, you start to feel ok – you accept that they’re gone and you start to feel better about yourself…and just like that they sense their presence is needed and they make another appearance – because let’s be honest, if they left and didn’t ever come back, this would be easy – you’re not struggling with them leaving, you’re struggling with their constant reappearances – because you do start to feel better about yourself the longer they stay away – then they somehow senses that you might be getting over them, so they make another guest appearance, just so they can jerk your chain a little more and so that they know you’re still available to them.
You probably keep thinking that they come back to you because you’re special and unique (well you are, but that’s not why they keep coming back). Don’t get this confused, they doen’t keep coming back because they’ve figured out that they miss you, or that they’ve realized you’re the one. This kind of sentiment isn’t possible for someone that isn’t capable of introspection or empathy. ALWAYS remember, they think only about themselves and what they want. They aren’t thinking about you. At least not in the way a healthy person does. When they think about you, it’s about how their needs can best be met and by whom. They have no idea how much you’re hurting when they leave – they have no idea about the depression or how much you beat yourself up emotionally. They don’t have any idea – your feelings are collateral damage and believe me, they aren’t losing any sleep over it, because they know you’ll take them back, so you couldn’t be that upset about it.
As easy as it is to blame them, they aren’t wholly at fault. This keeps happening because you keep allowing it to happen. You either don’t leave when you know you should, or you keep taking them back. At some point the onus has to be on you to put an end to the insanity.
The key is figuring out why you continued to put up with being treated so poorly and by putting an end to it, because really only you can. This is something that is entirely within your control.
This blog is full of comments and stories from women and men that had the courage to leave their abusive situations and how much better their lives are now that they are free of it. It’s time you put an end to the craziness and added your name to the list of success stories.
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