I Left a Diagnosed Narcissist
I don’t know why survivors of narcissistic abuse seek fairness but we do. Ironically, it’s such a contradiction to the individual we are freeing ourselves from. There is nothing good, equal, or fair about the relationship with a narcissist. There never will be.
It was always an emotional imbalance.
Nonetheless, we torture ourselves into believing that at least when we leave them, there will finally be justice. That some type of rational equity will bubble to the surface.
And we shouldn’t look for it.
But we do continue to look for some degree of fairness. Not because we can’t get over the narcissist. We left this individual. It’s because even in breaking up with them or divorcing them they haunt us.
And no one can help us.
Society still refuses to understand rather than condone this serious personality disorder. For no other reason but they present as typically attractive, charming, and successful people. This somehow makes it impossible for others to detect the darkness lurking below the facade.
Family law is archaic and ineffective when dealing with this highly manipulative and unethical personality with a compulsion to win. Despite the damage.
Divorce is expensive and counseling is expensive. Both are necessary for the typical divorce. But counseling is imperative for those leaving emotionally, financially, and sometimes physically abusive situations. And in the case of narcissistic abuse where children are manipulated, it is not a luxury but a necessity. However, most survivors of narcissistic abuse can’t afford one let alone the other.
You would have to leave a narcissist to understand that doesn’t necessarily mean they leave you alone.
The narcissist is a skilled bully.
Their deep-rooted insecurity compels their need to make another person feel bad to make themselves feel good.
Leaving a narcissist does not shut down the bully it enrages the bully.
It accelerates their need to take you down. And they will do this in a variety of ways. They will withhold necessities, things your children need, money, housing, etc. They will prolong the breakup or divorce. They will confuse your children. They will tell lies or their distorted perception of the truth to others. They will use emotional sabotage in person, via text, social media, or email. And so much more.
Society thinks divorce resolves relationship issues.
However, a narcissist is a bully, and historically, shutting down bullies of any kind can be impossible. It’s a compulsion. They can’t stop themselves and they need a target for their insecurities.
You can’t let the narcissist upset you. It gives them more power and makes you feel powerless.
Do not engage the narcissist because it fuels them.
This is easier said than done. Because bullies are calculating. They understand where to deliver the blow. They understand what will hurt you the most. They go for that Achilles heel.
The narcissist is an irrational human being who for all intense purposes appears normal. So it’s easy to irrationally engage them ourselves. To get sucked in. But the more we allow it, the more we appear to have the issue. The more we get upset, yell, and react, the more the narcissist will turn the tables and tell others we have the problem.
This is especially worrisome in their ability to manipulate your children. Children are smart and they typically know the truth because they have lived it. But the more the spouse of a narcissist reacts the more it upsets and confuses your children. It actually leaves the door wide open for the narcissist to have a greater ability to manipulate your children against you.
You would have to leave a narcissist to understand that doesn’t necessarily allow you to escape the sense of craziness they bring into your life.
This happens for many reasons.
The need to co-parent, rely on them financially as you rebuild, and other related logistics.
Or because they continue to do what narcissists do best and control, manipulate, and punish. Because breaking up or divorcing them may satisfy your need for peace but it will never satisfy the narcissist. Because they believe you wronged them. So they linger in the background and torture you as they can.
The more independent you become the less control a narcissist can have in your life. This means financial and emotional independence. It means minimizing engagement of any kind. Be it text, social media, email, etc.
It means counseling for our children to hopefully diminish the ability of the narcissist to use, confuse, and abuse them. And try and turn them against the healthier parent.
Sounds so simple but it isn’t.
And any of us who have left a narcissist understand we do the best we can. We are dealing with a person with a serious mental health disorder that society doesn’t understand.
You would have to leave a narcissist to understand the severity of the injustice.
First, there’s the personality. An abusive individual who no one would ever believe was abusive. Not that charming person. Never. This alone is enough to feel extreme frustration.
Secondly, they get away with everything they do. No one holds the golden child narcissist accountable for their bad behavior. Not their family, not their friends, not society, and not the legal system. They are too charming and manipulative and deceptive to be detected.
Thirdly, the outcome of leaving them is wildly unfair. You can have your credit ruined, be left penniless, homeless, have your children manipulated, and more.
You are left in emotional and financial ruins. You, the caring enabler who saw the best in the narcissist just long enough for them to destroy you. You, the person who never gave up on them. You a good and honest person who followed the rules.
The only way to accept and heal from the injustice is to take your power back.
You do this by acknowledging the narcissist is all the things they are. They are abusive and it’s a disturbing and destructive personality disorder.
But you made the choices you made along the way. You stayed with them, tolerated their bad behavior, and became even more vulnerable to them. This means they do not control you. You are in control. You are once again empowered. You can make different choices.
No, it’s still not fair in many ways because you didn’t understand who they were when you initially made the choice. But you did at some point. And at that point, you remained. Often excusing their behavior in the beginning and later because the fear of leaving held you back.
Self-empowerment can heal injustice.
Maybe volunteer at a shelter to help others, or make meals for people who are newly divorced, or go into law or divorce coaching, etc. If the injustice feels too great to heal from, a sense of spirituality and purpose may shift the pain into purpose.
You can’t make sense of the narcissist. There will always be injustice with this mental health disorder. You were unaware of how dangerous they were.
But you can re-establish a sense of justice in your own life. Take accountability, learn from the lesson, and heal.
You would have to free yourself from a narcissist to understand many of us feel as if we never did. Foolish people will say things like move on. We did. The narcissist hasn’t.
Instead, we go through a transition where we grapple with the lack of fairness. How good people can have something so terrible happen to them.
How they can find it impossible to escape an individual they once mistakenly loved.
We understand the sense of desperation that accompanies even post-breakup or divorce. Will we ever be free of this person? Of the bully, of the craziness, of the injustice?
But only when we recognize fairness is a contradiction to the individual we are freeing ourselves from. There is nothing good, equal, or fair about the relationship with a narcissist.
There never will be.