Those of us who end up with narcissists are often highly empathic people. We have a strong desire to know the truth and for the truth to be known. We care about the other person’s feelings. We absorb the feelings of those around us and we feel their pain. We want to caretake others and to rescue them from their pain. Although these are great qualities to have, they can be taken advantage of by narcissistic individuals. A narcissist will typically target empathic types. This is because empathic individuals provide them with narcissistic supply. The narcissistic also knows that they are likely to be able to use the target’s kindness to manipulate them.
This dynamic of the empathic person wanting to caretake and rescue the narcissist, who in turn wants to manipulate and control the empathic person, means that we find it very difficult to walk away from these relationships. We may feel as though we are going around and around in circles, with no way out.
The way this manifested in my life is that the narcissist would do something so malicious and hurtful, that I would be in extreme pain and distress. This would give me the strength and determination to leave. A certain amount of time would pass, during which I would be working on moving forward in my life.
Then, just when I least expected it, the narcissist would again enter into my field of awareness. For example, they may have turned up at a place where they knew I would be or they would send me a message, either directly, or through a third party. The net result would be that I would be feeling concerned that the narcissist was feeling sad and hurt because I left them. This is likely to have been precisely how the narcissist wanted me to feel. As we know, they are experts in manipulating others to feel a certain way, without us even being aware of quite how they have done it.
I will take on board the feeling that I was to blame for the narcissist’s pain and therefore I would feel a strong urge to fix it. I would also want the narcissist to understand and to see the truth – then perhaps we could live happily ever after. This would lead me to consider getting back in touch with the narcissist. Perhaps this time it will be different??
No! The REAL truth is that the narcissist is not going to change or to see the errors of their ways. Sadly they believe, (largely subconsciously), that manipulating others is the only way to be safe in the world. Deep down we know that if we approach the narcissist again, we will be hurt again, and the cycle will start over again.
This can be described as the drama triangle. When I take a step away from the narcissist after he has done something unacceptable, he plays the victim. This leaves me feeling as though I am the persecutor. Therefore I want to rescue the narcissist from this position. However he then moves into the position of persecutor and I am victim. There is no one rescuing ME from the victim role. Therefore the only way for me to get out of the victim role is to leave – and stay away!
The bottom line is that this situation is never going to turn out well for you. By rescuing the narcissist, you are effectively sacrificing yourself. The narcissist will always be the winner, for no better reason than the fact that there is no limit to how low they will stoop in order to get what they want. A narcissist cannot function in a normal relationship. They need to steal energy from another person in order to feel alive and therefore they need to create chaos!
If you give the narcissist another chance, they will not thank you for it or treat you any better. In fact, their respect for you will decrease and they will know that they can get away with treating you badly. You show them your standards by your actions.
Your only option is to not play their game. Do not be fooled by their act. It is the narcissist’s choice to be unhappy and there is nothing you can do to change that. The best hope you have is to shine by example and focus on your own health and wellbeing.
Please leave a comment in the box below if you have any experiences of finding it difficult to gain closure. What obstacles have you found and what have you found helps? Look forward to hearing your comments.