How to Survive a Narcissistic Relationship
For the last year, I have been involved in a narcissistic relationship. It took me a while to really understand why I stayed so long and what this relationship truly meant. It all came down to something called a trauma bond. ‘Trauma bonding’ refers to a state of being emotionally attached not to a kind friend or family member, but to an abuser. It’s a negative form of bonding as it keeps you loyal to a destructive situation. The abuser uses cycles of abuse and then some form of reward to keep you trapped psychologically and emotionally. Basically, being abused as a child lead me to think this type of treatment was “love”. But what I went through was far from that.
Let me add that this is in no way shape or form intended to bash this person. I have a large platform and I feel the need to educate and make others aware of these types of toxic behaviors within a relationship because these types of trauma can literally drive a person to go mad or contemplate suicide even. I was not perfect and I did my fair share of fighting, yelling, and lashing out at this guy. But when you are provoked and pushed beyond sanity, sometimes it all becomes too much to handle.
The cycle of narcissistic abuse:
There are many stages of narcissist abuse and if you watch closely, you will be able to see which stage you are in. With Eric*, it was always hot or cold. We would break up, get back together, honeymoon phase, devalue, and then discard aka break up again.
Idealize stage: This stage is where the narc adores or “love bombs” you. This is how the relationship begins. A love bomb refers to the form of emotional manipulation in which a person, often a narcissist, “bombs” you with an over the top amount of affection, flattery, gifts, and praise early in the relationship in order to win over your attention for the purpose of being able to control you.
In the beginning, Eric* was so charming-I could not resist him. On our first date he got me the biggest flowers I had ever seen. I was totally into this guy because I felt special. Love bombing is a tactic many narcs use to draw their prey in for manipulation. They may constantly call you all day or send you endless compliments. Of course this stage feels great and comforting, but it is important to see through it because the narc is not capable of being consistent.
Devalue stage: This stage is where the narc starts to insult or belittle you. They actually will allow their mask to slip. Once a narcissist has hooked their victim, they start showing their true self. This is where the insults and put-downs start slipping into what they say. They suddenly criticize things about their partner that they once seemed to love. They also start controlling every little thing that you do to the point where you are always on edge. The devalue stage starts very slowly, but you start noticing a change in the relationship. They may even insult you in a playful way that seems very minor.
But all the nastiness is intertwined with some affection, because the narcissist knows they have to keep up the illusion that the relationship is worth saving. By pretending they can still be loving, the narcissist makes their victim believe the insults are their own fault.
There was many devalue stages in our year long relationship. In the last few weeks of our relationship I was told who I could and could not talk to. I remember he got mad at me because my girlfriend Torri took a photo of me for my work when he “was supposed to.” Also, I had gotten a new piercing and he was bothered that I posted it to Facebook without telling him first. Not to mention, I was interrogated about every male who liked my photos and commented on them. I was literally walking on eggshells with this person and it was miserable.
Discard stage: The next stage is where the narc abandons or breaks up with you or gives you the silent treatment. When a narcissist has completely worn their victim down, they may tire of them. It might be because they’ve bled them dry of funds, or they’ve simply found someone new to abuse. Either way, at this stage their insults will reach the worst level, and they’ll find more ways to tear their partner down, ensuring they leave the relationship as the “winner.” The narc NEEDS constant validation.
My narc would love to block me to hurt me. He would block my number, my social media channels-you name it. The reason why narcs do this is to show you how indisposable you are to them. Take this as a blessing and block them back or move on. If someone truly loves you, they will not do this. This is not love.
Eventually, I would hear from Eric* and then we would have a reason to rekindle what we had… as toxic as it was. My best advice to you in this stage is to take your blocking as blessing-or do the blocking yourself. Don’t look back. They will never change. I promise.
Hoover stage: The final stage involved the narc hoovering you. They almost always come back to reinsert themselves in your life by apologizing and making up. This is most likely because they have not found a new supply (source of attention aka girlfriend) and is curious as to whether the door is still open with you. They will say they are sorry and might even take the blame. I know, this stage feels so good. But the narc is only telling you what you want to hear so that they can lure you back in. Then the cycle repeats itself. Also more than likely, while your narc is love bombing you, they are also in contact with their ex. I found this to be true after my narc started following his “terrible ex girlfiend” on Instagram after one of our breakups. Amazing right?
How Much is Enough?
In a relationship with a narcissist, you will repeat this cycle many, many times before you decide enough is enough. How much is enough? I feel this varies person to person. For me, with each breakup, I lost a little bit of myself and eventually lost a lot of my feelings for him too because I was so beat down and worn out from going around and around on this carousel to nowhere. I simply was so depressed that I felt I did not have any more of myself left to give this person.
It Is All About Control
Controlling you gives the narc a major high. It makes them feel superior and powerful because remember, they need to be validated all the time. I remember my narc would control many things in my life. He once got upset that I allowed my best friend to snap a photo of me for work because HE wanted to. Another time he got upset that I posted a photo of a new piercing without telling/showing him first. Another time was my daughter’s birthday when he tried to control my kids’ father coming to her party at my home. He would also notice when I was online on Facebook and instantly message me asking why I was ignoring them because I was not talking. Last but not least, he was bothered because I opened a bottle of wine without him because he wanted me to wait on him which eventually led to our last argument before I walked out. They have to have control-end of story.
When we got back together this last time, he wouldn’t unblock me from social media. He told me that I had to “earn it.” He also stressed daily that I had a lot of making up to do for my bad behavior towards him. This is not love. Its not even normal or okay.
It’s Also a Competition
One thing I noticed about my narc-relationship is that I felt like I was in a constant competition with the man who said he loved me. I would change my profile pic… minutes later he would change his. During a fight, I would tell him he was acting like an ass, he would try to one up me by saying “well you are acting like a bitch.” They simply believe that they are better than you.
Lies, Lies, Lies
Narcs will lie. They literally have no other way of thriving. When I found out mine was cheating-he lied! Even though I had the text messages from the sex workers aka escorts in my hands.
Also, I noticed he would run to his ex-wife about our issues. The very same ex wife who “had him arrested for domestic violence” and who “cheated on him and broke his heart.” One narc red flag to look for is that the ex is alwaysssss the issue… Righttttt.
The narc rage is real. I started noticing this early into our relationship starting with the night he threw my cell phone out the car window in a drunken rage. Yes it was totally smashed. But even before that, he would pick fights with me. I remember one time I was pulled over in my lambo and I had called my husband to ask him if he knew where the registeration was and Eric* got so upset because I did this. My husband is the co-owner of my car-this is why I called him. But once i arrived at his house, I got nothing but a yelling at.
One time we had an amazing date at a paint and wine shop. On the way home, some guy pulled up next to us and flipped him off. Well, Eric* lost his mind and took off his shirt while driving. He kept acting like he was going to ram this guy’s car with his truck-with me inside. I started connecting the dots and realizing this person had major anger issues.
Also, one time we broke up, he told me that he would post my nude photos. The very private photos that I sent to him. What genuine, amazing man theatens this sort of action? Only a narcissist of course.
Fast forward to one month ago, he and I went on a date in which I paid 100% for. We were walking back to the parking garage where he noticed a car that parked too close to his truck. He also had a parking ticket on his windshield. To my horror, he broke this stranger’s car door mirror on purpose with his body and threw the ticket off to the side. I honestly was very shocked. I had never witnessed him hurting someone’s property before, but it gave me an in depth look at the person he truly was.
My narcissist enjoyed putting me down with his words. He would curse me out, call me names, and yell at me very often which was traumatic for me. I would be blamed for everything that went wrong and for all of our shortcomings. Here is a sample of what I would hear when he was raging. This was in response because I gave one of my best guy friends (whom I have been friends with since 2010) my new cell #.
The Narcissistic Supply and Demand
The narc has a constant need for attention or supply. Think of a drug addict needing a fix-same idea. Mine would call or text me very often for this reason. He would also comment on my social media pages and one time I did not respond so he commented again until I did. These people want all the attention on them.
I found out that my narc cheated on me back in November. I looked through his Apple watch and saw that he contacted not one, but two escorts while he was on his work trip in Virginia. Even after I found the texts, he denied them… he said he was only contacting the escorts for a “sensual masssage”…… righhhhhhhht. Last time I checked, you don’t give a fake name to get a massage.
Perhaps what makes me feel even more duped is the fact that he accidentally texted me a phone number back in March at the end of one of his text messages. He sent me this random text and then poof! This random ass number. So I googled it….. and what do you know? It was an escort in pensacola-the city he lives in. He could not explain how he texted me this random number. Imagine that.
During a breakup with a narcissist, you may notice that they move on to the next person rather quickly. This is because they cannot stand to be alone-they need a constant supply to feed off of. You may feel jealous over the new supply and wonder if he is treating her differently-he’s not. It will be the same vicious cycle but with a new victim this time. If anything, feel sorry for her but thankful it is not you anymore. He is so stuck in this cycle that he does not know how to free himself. She will get the same treatment you did-if not worse. Count your blessings.
The need for attention was so great for my narcissist that he would purposely ruin every important day or holiday that I had. On Christmas, he came over even though I politely asked him to please come at a later time (I wanted my kids father to be able to spend time with them but he jepordized that). On my son’s birthday, he cut my phone off by reporting it as stolen. I was literally at Verizon for two hours on my son’s birthday trying to get my own phone. On my daughters birthday, he tried to get me to not have the father of my children over for her birthday party. I did not agree so he told me he would kick my dog, Marlow, out of my house and put him onto the street-keep in mind this guy had his own dog put down because he no longer wanted to “deal with him.” Then on the day I got baptized, he tried to ruin that. I remember the kids and I being on the way to an amusement park to meet him and his son when I got a text that read something along the lines of “Dont be mad if I start liking other girls pics.” Then.. when I was on a ride, he saw a comment he apparently didn’t like on my baptism Facebook post and I was literally told to block this person. Not only that, he sent a message to this person and my best friends’ husband to try and start endless drama. The narc loves to isolate you from people whom care about you the most because they want to be #1 in your life.
The Narcissistic Projection
Something I found so strange was Eric*s projection. He would literally accuse me of cheating.. when he was probably doing it behind my back. The narc will project, mirror, and gaslight. They use terrible tactics against you.
In the last week of our relationship, Eric* told me that everyone hated me. Which was interesting because everyone in my life hated him. Yet it was somehow my fault. He would also gaslight and provoke me to make me emotionally react to certain circumstances.
Lets take gaslighting for example. A narc will “joke around” with you. Yet once you react negatively, YOU are the problem.
Going No Contact or Grey Rock
The best thing to do when breaking free from a narcissist is to go no contact or grey rock. This is something I have yet to try, but I am trying NOW. The best way to break free of this stupid cycle is to block these stupid assholes back and move on. There ARE better men (and women) out there who will treat you with the respect you deserve. You deserve more. The past year has taught me this.
Narcs are selfish and babes, they will never change. I promise. Towards the end, I was walking on eggshells. I had blocked everyone this guy wanted me to. But it was not enough. They will literally control you to feel the way they want you to. That is not love. That sure as hell is not living. So go do you, boo. Let go of these stupid pricks who will end up in multiple divorces and unhappy, unfulfilling relationships.
TRUST YOUR GUT 🙂 If you need me, email me! I will be happy to talk to you about this.
*The narc’s name has been changed to reflect the fake name he gave his escorts.
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