Sometimes when I hear someone tell their story I can’t help but cringe and think in my head, “Oh boy, this isn’t going to end well.” It happens a lot when people are looking to get something, from someone who treated them very badly, that something being, an apology, or some acknowledgement of wrong doing.
The problem is that when you have relationships with emotional manipulators, they don’t follow the same patterns that normal relationships do. When a normal relationship ends there is communication that one or both parties want out of the relationship, which may be followed by a period of sadness and eventually both individuals move on.
When a relationship with an emotional manipulator ends it’s usually very quick, without warning, without respect and brutally cruel. The dumpee is often in a state of shock, and feeling like an abandoned piece of trash, left by the roadside. They don’t get closure, they don’t get an apology or even, “the talk.” The relationship is often left in a state of ambiguity and even if it’s not, there are so many loose ends that it feels like it is. A Narcissist does this for two reasons, one the fragile state of their ego cannot allow for the perception of them being ‘the bad guy,’ so they spend a great deal of time coming up with reasons why the break up is all your fault.
The second reason is that they are users. They use everyone they can to get their needs met and chances are at some point they’re going to need to use you again. They need love, attention and resources, like a drug addict needs their fix, so they like to leave the door open, just in case they’re running low on supply, somewhere down the road. They don’t concern themselves with how you will take it, the effects it will have on you, your children or anything else. They can be impulsive and they do have amazing powers of justification.
The process of ending the relationship is usually by way of disappearance, where no words are spoken, and they ignore all your attempts to communicate, (this allows them to come back as if nothing ever happened). Another way is by behaving in a passive-aggressive manner, where they do something they know you cannot tolerate (like cheating….) – so that you’ll do the leaving. “I didn’t end it, she did,” because they love to make themselves out to be the victim. Some will be quick to pick fights over seemingly benign issues, they will use projection (blaming you for things they themselves are doing), While others will do the slow devaluation, where they act like you’re an afterthought, always thinking only of themselves and making your life miserable in the process.
Anytime a relationship ends it’s likely going to be painful. Healthy people will communicate their feelings, be empathetic, and feel some type of remorse that a friendship is ending. In contrast an emotional manipulator almost seems to get off on the hurt they cause.
A male friend of mine, whose empathy chip is firmly intact, told me a story about how a woman, he had been dating for about 8 weeks, was doing things that he didn’t like – drinking too much, too much partying, being irresponsible, acting lazy, sleeping all day…. When he did tell her he wanted to break up, she was hurt and asked him why.
Knowing she was already hurting, he didn’t want to hurt her anymore, so he said, “Please don’t take this personally, but I really want to be single right now.” Had he been missing his empathy chip and had a strong need to make everything someone else’s fault, he might have said something like this, “I can’t stand to be around you. You’re lazy. You’re stupid. You smell funny. You nag me. You’re fat. Sex with you is nauseating for me, (Take your pick).” The sensitivity is completely absent and you know they’ve spent a lot of time nursing those reasons in their head.
They are miserable people in general and since they still feel miserable with you – their miserableness must be your fault. So they go on the hunt, or sometimes it even just pops up out of nowhere, for something that will take away their angst. They see something – they want it (usually another partner) – they water the seed of desire, until it consumes them – they find a way to justify their behavior (by blaming you) – they test the waters (because they are cowards) – they act.
The problem many of my clients have is that they know their partner is a Narcissist, yet they keep expecting them to act like they’re not. They want to have ‘the talk,’ they want an apology, they want reassurance that it wasn’t all their fault and they want to hear that they are still loved by them. I’ve said repeatedly on this site that, Narcissists don’t do apologies (not real ones), they don’t accept responsibility, they lack sensitivity and they don’t do loyalty, or nostalgia, so if you’re hanging around waiting for these things, you’re going to be in for a long, long wait.
I can remember saying rather sarcastically to my boomerang Narcissist, after he took off for the third time, “You fooled me again. Good for you. You did it to me again. ” I felt like such an idiot. Like I said they are cowards, they know what they’re doing is really, really shitty and they stay away, usually because they can’t face what they’ve done, so when you show them that you still want to play ball, they’re kind of shocked. Any sane person wouldn’t want to have anything to do with them, but here you come, offering them up your love again, like a fast ball right over the plate.
When you look to someone to give you something that they don’t have, it weakens you. This is the epitome of giving away your power. You can’t get self-esteem from someone else – because they don’t have your self-esteem. You can’t get closure from someone else because they don’t have your closure. You can’t get self-worth from someone else because they don’t have that either. Never approach an emotional manipulator with watery doe eyes and try to appeal to their sense of decency. That’s like looking for water in the desert.
Too many people keep thinking, ‘it’s going to be different this time.’ The million dollar question is, ‘How many times does someone have to kick you in the shin, before you go out and buy a shin guard?’ How do you not see the same thing happening again? When you show an emotional manipulator that you still want them I’ll tell you straight up what’s going through their heads.
They think, “I can still have him/her. They still want me. I’m so special. I can get away with anything. What can I take from them? Good to know I can always go back there. He/she is so pathetic, don’t they know I don’t give a f@^# about them…..”
In my conversation with my male friend, whose empathy was fully intact, he explained that the last thing he’d want to do to his ex was cause her anymore pain, so he had no problem taking the blame for the ending of the relationship. Only a sadistic f$#@ would sit there and keep stabbing you after they already cut you deeply.
He also expressed the hope that she would be able to move on and find someone else. This is how healthy people behave after a break up. A Narcissist doesn’t want you to move on, they don’t want to give you closure, because they want you available and they want you hurting – that’s ambrosia to them.
The thing that we always have to remember is that a relationship with a Narcissist ends when you decide it does. Sure they may have been the ones to initially leave, but you decide when the door is permanently closed. You have to give yourself the closure you need, because you will never get it from them.
Once you close it, don’t open it again, because it won’t be different the next time and believe me, you will feel the fool. And by God, don’t show them, by word or deed, that you still want them. Never give someone the satisfaction of knowing how much they hurt you. You are just giving away your power and igniting their feelings of superiority in the process. Once you know what you’re dealing with, act accordingly. Feed it nothing and shut the door in its face.
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