One of the greatest fears victims of Narcissistic abuse have is the fear that their Narcissist will trot off into the sunset with someone else and live happily, ever after. It is, by far, the most common theme in my inbox. I’ve written about this subject before, but the anxiety and fear surrounding this topic makes it one that needs to be revisited.
We want our Narcissist ex to be miserable. We need them to be miserable, because it’s not the way our story is supposed to end. We’re the good ones. We’re the ones that are supposed to find real love and be happy – not them. If they’re happy in their new relationship, then there’s the chance that every awful thing they said or accused us of just might be true. Their happiness causes us doubt and anxiety, because it makes us to wonder whether or not we were the ones with all the problems after all. We need them to be miserable, because human beings are very concerned with justice and them being happy and us being miserable – is not justice. It’s a travesty. It’s unfair and it’s flat out wrong.
Some victims become consumed with their ex’s new relationship and can’t move on until they’re sure they’re still the same miserable person that left them. They will even offer themselves up to become the other man or woman, just to prove that they’re still cheaters and to make sure the new relationship is doomed to fail.
I tell readers and clients that you should be grateful that there is someone else in their life. I tell them that their Narcissist hasn’t changed, that they’re still the same person and that they are someone else’s problem now, but I always get the same response. How do you know Sav?
How do I know? This is how:
1.The Hedonic Treadmill: Is the theory that human beings have a Subjective Well-Being (SWB) set point, or a constant emotional default setting and that life changes, both good or bad, will change our moods and our behavior, for a while, but they will eventually revert back to our previous emotional default setting after a period of time.
There have been numerous studies, but I’ll illustrate just one by Lucas, Clark, Georgellis and Deiner, (2003). They conducted a study to examine the adaptation and the Set Point Model of Happiness in 24,000 individuals before, during and after marital changes occurred in the lives of participants.
The results of the study showed that individuals SWB did rise during the period just before marriage and remained high during the first two years of marriage, but after a two year period, the individual’s SWB reverted back to base line measurements that occurred prior to marriage and remained at baseline for the duration of the study.
What does this tell us? That sure, if your ex has a new partner they’re pretty happy. Their happiness continues for a while and then after a certain amount of time, their mood goes back to the way it was before they even met (their baseline). Humans are adaptable creatures, we get used to things.
2. The Coolidge Effect: US President Calvin Coolidge and his wife toured a farm during his term in office. Mrs. Coolidge took a walk around the chicken coop and noticed that a particular rooster was mating quite frequently. Mrs. Coolidge asked, “How frequently does that happen?” The response was, “Several times a day.” Mrs. Coolidge responded by saying, “Tell that to Mr. Coolidge.”
Later that afternoon Mr. Coolidge walked around the same coop. He noticed the rooster and was informed of his wife’s comment. The President asked, “Is it always with the same hen?” The response was, “No it’s with a different hen every time.” The President replied, “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.”
The term was first used in Psychology publications in 1955. Researchers found that when a male mammal (mice, rats) were enclosed with females that were in heat, the male would fornicate with every partner to the point of exhaustion and wouldn’t perform sexually again despite prompts from the females. If however another female was introduced to the enclosure the male would begin to mate again with the new female. (There is a biological advantage for males to want to spread their seed to as many females as possible, to perpetuate their bloodline.)
What this shows us, in layman’s terms, is that males will show a renewed interest in sex with a new sexually receptive partner, even if they have another previous receptive partner available. It’s not a stretch to say that even the healthiest of human couples will show less sexual interest in their long-term partners and more interest in newer partners.
3.If you’re here reading this site there’s a pretty good chance your partner is a narcissist or a psychopath. If that’s the case then they are lacking the tools (empathy) required in order to have an intimate and mutually fulfilling relationship. The M.O. of the Narcissist is to love bomb and study their targets in the beginning and then morph into what they believe their partner wants them to be. After a period of time, the mask will slip and they show their true selves. In addition, Narcissists are always looking for new Supply. They grow a tolerance for their current Supply and they are always on the hunt for newer and better supply. Narcissists are also impulsive. They act without thinking, always looking for a new thrill, irrespective of the consequences, or the harm it may cause to those closest to them.
So if we put all of these things together what we have is an individual, who will initially feel happy, according to the Hedonic Tread Mill, when they meet their new target and they will remain happy for a period of time. Then they will fall back to their previous emotional state and if your ex is a Narcissist that means that they will revert back to being a miserable asshole and probably a lot sooner. According to the Coolidge Effect, your Narcissist ex will eventually become bored sexually with their current partner and because Narcissists are impulsive and don’t care how their actions affect others, their heads are on a constant swivel always seeking out new sources of supply. Normal healthy males stay in relationships for reasons other than attention and sex. Healthy males often stay because of history, intimacy, companionship, friendship, love and loyalty. Narcissists are not encumbered by these things.
Back in the early stages of my recovery I watched the Facebook status of my last boomerang Narcissist and it changed every 3-4 months. The second man I ever loved, I later diagnosed as a psychopath, contacted me on social media about 5 years ago. I was curious if I had been right about him, as I made the diagnosis while I was still in University and guess what? I was, he had never been in a long term relationship and continued on his path of using people for his own personal gain.
I have no idea what the marital status is of my long-term Narcissist and I don’t care. What I know about him is that he is a miserable s.o.b. He didn’t stop being a miserable s.o.b. just because he was with someone else. It’s who he is. It’s his default setting. I can tell you that for sure he seeks out attention from other women. I can tell you that he is selfish beyond belief and that he treats her like shit, because that’s what he does to his partners.
Stop worrying about your ex’s happiness and start worrying about your own. Know that they are going to screw up their life all on their own – without your help. Even if they look all lovey-dovey in the beginning, you have to know by now that it’s only temporary. They will eventually revert back to being their miserable selves and will visit their miserable nature on those closest to them – just be happy that that is no longer you.
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