Why are you still obsessed with the narcissist when it’s over?

You think you got out of your relationship with a narcissist... so why then do you feel perpetually engrossed in what the truth is and obsess over them?


Firstly please know that becoming “aware” is the beginning of change, freedom and personal growth. Your “mirroring” following any exchange in a relationship with a predator will be super corrupted and false. You will be in a torn and bewildered state. You are either all good as you are perceived in the idealisation phase, or you are all bad, as you are perceived in the devaluation stage (which is their punishment to you for, as they see it, “disillusioning” them).

Remember that they are black-and-white thinkers, so you are either a promise or you are a threat. It sounds dramatic l know, but sadly when all the smoke and mirrors clear, variants of this truth will always be the discovery and what remains.

Hypervigilance is a trauma response and not the same as awareness. It is an extreme sensitisation, a ramped-up state whereby we can think or believe it is something that will prevent any chance of future run-ins with other toxic people. It doesn’t and your triggered status which upholds this hypervigilance actually compounds the problem and perpetuates the lack of exit from the labyrinth. 

Actually what it is, and this is the “deep” stuff now, is a derivative state of mind that you adopt because of trauma and also having been “as one” with the narcissist in the idealisation stage.

The idealisation stage is in fact energetically “mutual”. This is both what you cling onto and indeed what ensures the upholding of the illusion. They count on this as it guarantees their “supply”, which is your reaction to their treatment.

What I mean by this is that it is symbiotic – you are his/her “imagined” (and let that be a key word here) ideal, and he/she is yours only in the idealisation stage, as this is only to garner supply.

Often during this stage, there will be expressions used to describe the relationship or person such as soulmate, twin flame, the one, oh how l have done this myself and heard countless others l have coached do the same. You think and feel this about them, and for you this is real, they have a version of this but it is very fleeting and only exists up until you display any kind of autonomy.

Soul mates, end game, meant to be couplings do exist, in fact, that is what a predatory person counts on – the easy justification of their behaviours. As well as the genuine existence of true love. Just not with these imposters.

They have an entirely different agenda and it is not about your shared love or worth. It is about gaining power, and although love is indeed the greatest power of all, it is never true when used for garnering power.

So now daily contact might have stopped and ended, but actually, your mind has still been colonised. Because the initial mutually shared “nirvana” imbeds itself within the psyche of the, let us say, victim, alone, in turn, the victim usually cannot abandon the experience nor shake the innate belief that it is still real because it was felt, and so assumed to be authentic.

This is hugely confusing and also equally byzantine in early essence, because logically if you both shared this longed-for romantic version of the Holy Grail, why oh why can they not just accept it as the gift it is if they truly shared it with you? You were there after all. Yet their part in the shared experience becomes so swiftly corrupted by the inevitability of your being a unique person in your own right. You are then left with a vapour trail and a string of endless whys. So many questions. But the answers only exist within a true understanding of the psyche of the narcissistic brain and their corrupt reasoning.

In all their relationships these A, B, C,  stages will exist.

Whether they be romantic, friendships, or working relationships and whether the narcissist is a man or a woman, you need only to change the pronouns. In all relationships with this predator, there is always A followed by B followed by C. They are predictable, they never change format.

Your eligibility for this kind of relationship will be sensed by them. Your capacity for admiration of them and your hopes and dreams will guarantee your possible entanglement probability. 

Within this probability will be their ability to dismantle and violate your own values, belief systems and rules of conduct. Around this fantasy bubble, in this hall of mirrors, where you start off being idealised and subsequently enthralled by this version of you they falsely crown you with. 

They then of course subsequently withhold this version of the idealised and falsely adored you, by their intermittent presence in it. The self is lost or feels lost and you are dependent on their allowing and their control. 

It is in this state, which remains way beyond their presence, that this article focuses. To give some much-needed clarity. For it is as though without them and the version of you they created during the idealisation stage, you don’t exist.

I cannot tell you the depth of despair this creates. And, it depends if the type of narcissist too. The worst type is psychopathic, where they also have malevolent intent and zero interest in your despair. They are as cold as ice.

I have had so many wonderful people approach me for help and therapy in absolute pieces unable even to get the words out through their tears, who have been reduced to such feelings of worthlessness.

And so here l write to awaken those who are living with its corrosive effect way after the events of discard. Grooming. The shared fantasy. Disappointment and disillusionment. Intermittent punishing and more.

Where convincing promises have been made and then they are withdrawn (or so it seems to the recipient), they are not fulfilled and in their place is emotional absence, in romantic relationships sex will also be refused. Another common tactic.

Feelings of rejection and abandonment and neglect ensue and will be profound. This is because it changes swiftly with little dilution just straight from the “shared everything “to an emotional ghost town.

So even after the cycle has ended, the energy of the impact felt of having lost the shared union is true for one, but the essence of ephemeral for the narcissist as it was proved imperfect by the normal exchange requests and autonomy of the other.

Those who are less broken and damaged are less likely to be hauled in for their part in this faux coupling or faux friendship or work associations.

They know who you are if you are vulnerable and kind. They don’t bother with truly secure individuals. Their swift beginnings are because the narcissist is keen on getting what they want “now” – instant gratification is part of their hallmark alongside entitlement. So their early enthralment is more to do with this aspect of their practised culture, than their authentic joy of you being their “one”.

It is in the after-effects that the wound is ever present and the illusion is clung onto, and here is where dismantling the charade has its most possible chance of giving you back the self you surrendered in the noble name of love.

There is no shame, in this. But allow yourself not only to know the truth of it all but to feel it until it becomes your safe reality.

Way beyond the discard, the psyche of the discarded still belongs to the narcissist. They do enthralment superbly, nobody else can quite match them here. There is something “vampiric” about this, where one is radiant and the other drained of life force after they are “infected”. As well as becoming a pale version of their former self.

Narcissists rarely do casual, there has to be a “felt” significance in order for them to wreak sufficient emotional havoc. Also, in something casual, their discard will not be felt, as there was never an expectation from the other person. 

The discard can only exist in what was promised and broken or withdrawn, and taken away. Something causal will challenge their unique importance to you. So they insist on long-term and exclusivity from the get-go, which is a huge part of their bait. But they can’t deliver. They only take and feign interest in another who will become discardable.

 It was, and is not, love. 

It is in this belief and with the care of a therapist that has a real understanding of where your road to freedom from this terrible hurt will exist and begin. When you can “wash away” all the myths that remain.

I have spent a decade not only studying this, but l have also lived through it myself.

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.

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