The emotional and psychological effects of being in a relationship with a Narcissist.
This is SO very true for survivors of this abuse. It is NOT something that you just get over – that is why it is called a ‘recovery process’ and time is a major part of the process to get there. Never let anyone diminish your recovery by telling you to “just get over it” or “YOU need to move on!”
From my Book: Greg Zaffuto – Author – From Charm to Harm and Everything Else in Between with a Narcissist
Let’s put this in relatable terms that explains the extreme emotional distress as well as psychological damage we experienced and why – knowledge is power every step of the way in our recovery! Think back and recall just how uneasy you felt in this relationship, how YOU were continually accepting the negativity that always seemed to be present when you were together because you were tryin to find stability and right the wrongs. Think about the lies, betrayal, put downs and so many other things that just weren’t normal to a loving relationship or ANY relationship. You worked your hardest at rationalizing and justifying this LOVE (or whatever the relationship was) and continually tried to fix this distorted relationship rather than accepting the truth from your intuition shouting out at you. You may STILL be justifying that it was real and you must have overlooked something or other that could have fixed everything! WHO was making you try so hard to fix this? Who was telling you everything was wrong and it was YOUR fault? Who never put an effort into allowing you to voice normal concerns? Who silenced you over and over again and why? The truth is that this could never have turned out any different than what it did because it was meant to be temporary! What about the new supply and how quickly this Narcissist JUMPED right into that relationship! Where is/was the care or love that you kept fighting for? It was NEVER there in the first place!
Then ask yourself how many times you had to reassure yourself that everything WOULD be OK if you did this, that or any number of different things! Also the many important ‘personal’ things concerning your needs that were always dismissed to make and keep this Narcissist happy and it was NEVER enough. How many times were you so confused about crazy statements, arguments, accountability, or the many lies that you probably justified or ignored? What about affairs? Were there any or many? Did you always feel as if you had to explain yourself for most everything you did or said no matter what? Did you feel any sense of normalcy with this person after the amazing connection OR love in the beginning? Did you feel like parts of your life had mysteriously disappeared and it isn’t the same as it used to be.
You always felt so frustrated in general, confused, anxious, you also felt tired or exhausted from day after day of arguments, disagreements, or put-downs that had no basis, and just the general feeling of unhappiness. Or maybe you felt shabby about yourself or worthless. Was it a feeling like things spun out of control in your life and you were always WONDERING WHY this has happened! You haven’t done anything different than you have in the past (as it concerned your previous ‘normal’ relationships,) but YOU were always working on something or other to get this relationship right! What is the coefficient here? Where is the distress AND stress coming from? Why did you always feel so ANXIOUS and CONFUSED? If you think about this and compile a ‘distress list’ of all of the crazy making and chaos from this relationship it will be hundreds of times longer than a list that would outline the good things that showed this person (the Narcissist) was actually reciprocating with friendship, care, or love. This was not any type of a normal relationship, and you bent so much that you almost snapped in half – it was emotional and psychological abuse! THIS is why it is a process and yes a difficult process to JUST MOVE ON! But, one thing we MUST internalize is that this had NOTHING to do with us and everything to do with a personality disordered Narcissist with an agenda! No/minimal contact so you can return to a life that has goodness, respect, dignity, and reality at the basis of it. Greg