Feeling the pain of being in a narcissistic relationship

We hear the word narcissist bandied about now a lot. Most of us, however, if asked what a narcissist is, will describe the 'grandiose' type. You know, full of themselves - those individuals who give an entirely new meaning to the word superficial, in love with themselves, zero empathy. Everything is massively about appearances. 


But, across the board, all types of narcissist will move heaven and earth not to be exposed or caught out. Do not forget that. Their faux charm or, as it goes sometimes, faux vulnerability often leaves bystanders disbelieving of your problems with them. As they are the definition of the most consummate of paragons outside, of course. 

In the emotional wilderness of their core and key relationships, it is an entirely different story.

You will have your own reality invalidated a great deal of the time whilst you will hear, "Oh, but he or she is so charming and helpful" from family and friends who never get to experience the real way they behave.

Yeah, you want to be on the other side of the front door or in the car on the way home with them when you are being ridiculed, devalued, and so much more indescribably painful variations of experiential trauma, when you are alone, or in the private hell of their rage.

They will zero in on your weakness/s so adept are they, just like they worked out exactly what you needed in the idealisation stage to ensnare you, they are the ultimate chameleon. They will become your own made to measure hero, just what you ever wanted and as soon as you believe you are abiding in your own tailor-made version of emotional “Shangri-La”, they will reflect all their own self-loathing onto you in a nano second and you won’t even be able to catch your breath.

They move in fast, and out fast, just the same.

You will be experiencing intense feelings. In fact, so many things, you won’t be able to even start to explain to anyone you call for comfort or help.

It will be a combination of PTSD, disbelief, hurt, and shame. After all, you will think to yourself "Why didn’t I see this coming?" and, worst still, you will actually miss them, and do anything to get them back because the dopamine of the love bombing idealisation stage will be the 'hit' you need like a drug. That’s where the shame comes in - actually wanting someone who devalues and discards you.

There isn’t an answer to that because they are really very good at their game. After all, their own emotional survival indeed depends how they reel you in. But please don’t add self-blame to the cauldron of what you already have to work through.

These idealisation, devaluation, and discard stages are not linear either, and even after the discard they can go back into idealisation again convincing you that they truly love you after all, or that they missed you, or/and regret their mistakes. So in theory, sometimes this can go on and on. Here, you are continually re-traumatised and your mental health will be in shreds.

It is also important after an experience like this not to believe that everyone in the dating arena is like this. They aren’t. It is important, though, to be aware of red flags and let those keep you away as we are often attracted to certain dynamics and certain types of people.

This awful dynamic can also exist outside of romantic relationships, within friendships, parents, family, neighbours, colleagues, and worst of all even your own adult children. If you are suffering from this kind of hurt, bewilderment and pain please do get support and help. There is a great deal of awareness and help out there.

Do not despair please, you are absolutely not alone in this. So many others are experiencing the same. Sometimes a support group is worth investigating if funds are low for therapy, most especially at the moment whilst we are all feeling the pinch - therapy can seem an impossible luxury. I do treat people on a sliding scale also taking into consideration their personal circumstances.

It is not only important to clarify and define your involvement but also to find out why you either attract or are attracted to this impossibly painful exchange and interaction. The more you are aware, the faster you heal and learn to make better happier choices.

One to one disclosure is invaluable. I treat people for this. My contact details and website are here on the directory.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, N8
Written by Gail Berry, Emotional and Relationship Coach
London, N8

Written by Gail Berry Emotional Coach - both a therapist and an alternative medical practitioner who works with healing people’s core wounds and uses Bach Flower Remedies alongside talking and behavioural therapy to make real change and transformation possible.

07771 715072
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