Psychological and Emotional Invalidation
I think one of the most covertly abusive aspects of the narcissistic relationship is psychological and emotional invalidation. When the narcissist has NO reaction to us at all, it denies our humanity. Makes us feel like were worthless, invisible, unimportant, irrelevant. Its so dispiriting we cant believe its happening and so, we try one more time to see if we can get them to respond. If they dont respond, their silence reinforces the belief that were worthless. This is very similar to what a child feels when a parent neglects them and does not meet their emotional needs.
If the N responds though, we perceive it as validation that were living, breathing, human beings. That we do have impact on others even if it hurts us. Even if the N is angry, at least we feel seen and heard and validated. This is the Hook we feel when ending an abusive relationship. If the N had never acknowledged our existence, we wouldnt get hooked emotionally. The hook is called Intermittent Reinforcement. We had ALL the Ns attention, dedication and admiration at one point, so we KNOW its there. If we can just do things RIGHT, well be rewarded with a response of some kind.
The Ns acknowledgment of our existence temporarily fills an inner void that everyone experiences when an important relationship ends.
The problem with thinking we can earn validation (reward) is that were blaming ourselves for doing something WRONG when were NOT validated. We falsely believe that their invalidation is and was our fault.
Invalidation is one of the most painful cruelties human beings can experience. Going No Contact is all about healing yourself. Its not about making the narcissist miss you so much that he acknowledges your existence with a reply. Wondering why or if hell respond is still giving him too much power to validate your existence!
I know this isnt easy and we all do similar things until we get through this painful grieving period. Ending a relationship is excruciating for n-survivors because we think we found the answers to our self-doubt and self-worth when we met the N. Then suddenly, we find out they didnt even see us as human beings. They loved us like people love KitchenAids.
If we had any esteem issues or doubts about our worth and value, the D&D (devalue and discard) intensifies those feelings. It may take years to overcome a dysfunctional childhood after the N awakens fears we may not have known were there. The first step towards healthy self-reclamation is to let the N go his or her merry way and begin a long journey of self-discovery, initiated by our grief. It sounds like youre feeling the loss right now and its probably overwhelming…
Even years later, its unfathomable to me how Ns can pick up and move on as if we never even existed. I will never understand it and I dont have to understand it. All I have to do is ACCEPT it.
Remember, the narcissists lack of attachment says NOTHING about you. All it says is that Ns are incapable of emotional attachment to anyone. They are NOT suffering, though. We are. So even in the darkest of times when you dont think you can tolerate another moment of pain, remind yourself how marvelous it is to Feel and Feel Deeply. Even sorrow.
Every second of their lives they are searching and searching and searching. For something to make the pain and hate they feel about themselves go away. But it aint happening. So they go through woman after woman looking for the perfect love. Find it for the first month or so and then discover this woman has feelings of her own, is not perfect, does not think everything they say and do is right, and ooops, time to move on to the next victim.
I also think narcissists are intent on creating the Image of love and desirability for themselves. As long as they can prove they are sexy or attractive or desirable, they can project fault and blame for the failed relationship on their prior partner(s). Your X probably views those photos more than anyone else. Anytime he feels some doubt about being rejected because you arent reminding him how much you love and need and pine for his sorry arse, he logs-in to his posted photos and reassures his stud-ly-ness as in, See how HOT I am? Two women vie for my attention!
Keep the faith. Be good to yourself. Thank the lord you got out of that relationship. And remember Karma.