In the early stages of a relationship with a Narcissist, he seems like the answer to a prayer. He is everything that we ever wanted in a man. He showers you with attention and seems to put you on a pedestal. He is the proverbial white knight, swooping in to save us. Faced with the charm and persistent adoration of such a man, it’s easy to find yourself in the glow of budding love. He appeals to your heart and comes off as a great guy, who is just in need of a good woman, who will love and understand him.
Many would have trouble resisting such temptation, but the difference between a woman who has a healthy self-esteem, firm boundaries and self-respect and a woman who doesn’t, is that when the narcissist shows you who he really is,(blows hot and cold, future fakes, his words never match his actions, the relationship is all on his terms …) the woman with healthy self-esteem puts foot to pavement and doesn’t look back.
Women with unhealthy relationship habits tend to put up with a lot of abuse and it is abuse. They usually have low self-esteem, they’re too nice, too giving, people pleasers, women who engage in fantasy relationships, are co-dependent, doormats, or they like a fixer upper. In the Power of Awareness, Neville Goddard states, “When your desire becomes your dominant belief, its attainment is inevitable.” This is a fundamental truth and it doesn’t matter whether your dominant belief is positive or negative. When you believe that you’re not good enough, or you’re unworthy of love, you are going to draw to you, people and experiences that will confirm those beliefs. The Sadist attracts the Masochist, just like the Narcissist attracts his victims.
Healthy men seek intimacy and to get closer to their women, while the Narcissist retreats fearing that if a woman gets too close, that she will see behind the curtain, what no one must ever see – that he is weak, fragile, lacking and a failure. That all his bravado was a con and that all the webs he spun were to keep her off balance, confused and away from the truth. When the Narcissist does start to blow cold, the roles reverse and the women with unhealthy relationship habits will then become the aggressors. As he continues to pull away, she will internalize this behavior, that she did something wrong, that there is something wrong with her and a macabre dance of other self-deprecating thoughts and behaviours.
Emotionally healthy women recognize that relationships don’t work out for all sorts of reasons. They don’t internalize the dysfunctions of others and they are not afraid to walk if a relationship does not meet her needs. While women with unhealthy relationship habits often don’t even recognize that their needs aren’t being met and that they’re not happy. They’re too preoccupied with trying to get their Narcissist to validate them. They’re not focusing on the fact that their Narcissist is making them miserable and the relationship is unhealthy, all they’re focusing on is that he used to treat her like a queen and that she must have done something to make him stop and she keeps trying to prove herself over and over again. They’ve placed their Narcissist so far up on a pedestal, it’s almost as if she is begging to be tortured some more.
And a Narcissist will oblige you. He wants you to put him on a pedestal. He needs your admiration and attention. He’s happiest when you are fully compliant to his desires and put up little to no objections to his behavior. He’ll have no respect for you and he’ll see that you have no respect for yourself, because if you did you wouldn’t still be involved with him.
Narcissists and Long Term Relationships
Dr. Sam Vankin states in his book Malignant Self Love, that some Narcissists do end up in long term relationships and even marriage. That’s because the thoughts and lives of Narcissists are so chaotic there is often at least one island of stability in their lives. In describing his partners traits he says, “She must act as the narcissist’s companion but on highly unequal terms. She must be submissive and motherly, sufficiently intelligent to admire and admiring enough never to criticize, critical enough to assist him and helpful enough to make a good friend.”
The Narcissist’s partner must be subservient, all sacrificing and self-deprecating – the consummate victim. If she wasn’t co-dependent before the relationship she soon will be.
If and when a partner does manage to get away from her Narcissist, after gaining self-respect or matures beyond her situation, she will end the relationship. It is a devastating transition, not only is she struggling to find out who she really is, she is also left with little support as her Narcissist partner has likely isolated her from most of her family and friends. In the final analysis she finds that she is grieving not only for her lost self, but also for a partner that never even existed.
Vaknin says when this happens, the roles get reversed and the Narcissist becomes needy, clingy and emotional. One of the hardest things to accept is that while your long term Narcissist partner maybe begging for you to return, it is not the partner that he longs for, he never saw her – her wants or needs, all he is seeking is the return of his Narcissistic Supply. If you do go back, all you will receive is more of the same treatment.
Some Narcissists do leave their long term relationships. When they do it is because they have a new source of supply and they have begun the process of devaluing the former source. When this happens the Narcissist’s emotions will change almost seemingly overnight and this abrupt change is cold and almost surreal.
Healthy women listen to their instincts, if a situation seems shady or their head is screaming something isn’t right – then they believe something isn’t right and they’re not afraid to act on it. They don’t make excuses for other people’s poor behavior and they don’t fear confrontation. They recognize that they are responsible for their lives, their happiness and the choices they make. They do not rely on the good morals of other people and hope that they do the right thing. They do right for themselves. They don’t try to fix people and they aren’t afraid to call someone out on shady behavior. They recognize when their needs and wants aren’t being met. They believe that it’s better to be alone than involved with someone that treats them in a less-than-manner and they’re not afraid to put foot to pavement and bounce, when a relationship no longer serves them.