By: Bree Bonchay, LCSW
Why do narcissists seem to pick the worst possible times to discard their partners? Are they really that cold-blooded that they not only break-up with you but also plan to do it at a time that would add insult to injury? What would motivate a narcissist to hurt someone they professed to love so much in such a heartless and brutal manner?
I have heard many stories of narcissists dumping their partners right before a major holiday, or on their partner’s birthday, or after their partner shared something very personal. I’ve also heard of narcissists ending relationships right before a special planned event, or when their partner was down on their luck, grieving the loss of a loved one or even diagnosed with a serious illness. The list of heartless, cold and calculating ways that narcissists end relationships continues on and on.
It is not your imagination. Indeed, it is true that the narcissist will purposely plan the timing of their breakups to occur during times when distress or vulnerability is extremely high in your life.
Narcissists thrive from kicking you when you’re down.
Adding to your troubles and blindsiding you increases the odds that you will become completely unhinged by the cruelty of their cold-blooded actions and complete surprise of your expulsion.
Narcissists are fully anticipating you to beg, plead and promise to change even more than you already have when they unexpectedly break things off with you. It is their deranged way of further managing you down the road and fully establishing their superiority and dominance over you. The more that you abandon all dignity in a desperate attempt to try to understand how they could simply dispose of you as though you never meant anything to them, the grander and more in control they feel.
Your pain creates a transitory jolt of self-worth that silences a narcissists nagging feelings of self-loathing. It gives them a temporary rush. Watching your heart break with agony is literally intoxicating to them. It’s equivalent to a hit of cocaine. Their behavior, post-discard, may appear almost manic as they become drunk in their own premeditated ego boost.
Flaunting a new “supply” or relationship in your face just days or weeks later is their coup de grâce. Emotionally healthy people would feel too ashamed or embarrassed to publicly jump into another relationship so quickly. The narcissist doesn’t. Not in the least.
Because the narcissist has most likely been planning your discard and smearing your reputation behind your back for weeks, if not much longer. The narcissists’ supporters won’t think twice hearing that you were replaced so suddenly because they have heard all about your alleged faults and misdeeds for quite some time. They more than likely will be happy that the “poor” narcissist has found someone to rescue them from the likes of you.
What should you do if your narcissist breaks up with you unexpectedly and smears your character? Absolutely NOTHING! Their supporters are still under the influence of the narcissist’s stories just like you were. In fact, you’ve probably seen sides of the narcissist that his or her supporters have never seen or could never even possibly imagine. Guess what? You still stayed and hung in there in the haze of your Kool-Aid spiked cocktail mixed with shots of your own cognitive dissonance and unconditional love.
Do not try to defend yourself to your narcissist or their supporters. This is a waste of precious emotional energy that you will need. Do not try to sway the supporters into siding with you. The narcissist has anticipated the things that you might say and has already countered them by planting a very credible sounding rendition of the truth in the minds of their supporters.
“But it’s NOT fair! Why should I let the narcissist get away with trying to destroy my character and play the victim while I’m the real victim and the one hurting?”
It’s not fair. But narcissists don’t play fair or by the rules. They are morally deficient and lack a conscience. For this reason, you can never win a battle against a narcissist. There is no level that they will not stoop to win. Your mind may be able to travel to hateful and horrible places, but your conscience will not allow you to pack your suitcase and follow suit.
You never entered the relationship to play games or “win.” You entered the relationship with an open heart and pure intentions. It may appear that the narcissist has “won” as they are running off happily into the sunset with their new soul mate while you are beyond devastated, just hanging on by your fingertips trying to put the pieces of your life back together and figure out what just happened.
As the fog slowly dissipates and you, like the thousands of survivors before you, will learn that there’s a name for the ABUSE you suffered. It’s called narcissistic abuse. You will realize that the narcissist tried to destroy, devalue and then discard you not because you were unworthy or flawed, but actually just the opposite. The narcissist devalues, destroys and discards from a place of insecurity and inferiority. “All cruelty springs from weakness”. ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Narcissists believe that if they can destroy and dominate good people who possess qualities that they lack, then they can adopt those qualities through some disordered process of osmosis.
If you’ve been discarded, most likely it’s a tribute to your strength.
You started seeing through the charade of the narcissist. You began challenging the narcissist on their lies and hypocrisy. You saw their mask slip and caught a glimpse of the evil, phony person that they have been hiding from you. At that point, you’re no longer a good source of supply. Your expiration date has arrived.
Your inkling or glimpse of the truth of what has been hiding behind the mask invalidates the deluded image the narcissist has of themselves. Their cover has been blown and to survive they need to discard you so that they don’t have to acknowledge the reality of their real, flawed self. To acknowledge the truth of their real-self would shatter the narcissist into pieces from which they could never recover.
Unfortunately, understanding the motivation and timing behind your dismissal does not lessen the torment of the feelings of pain, heartache, and betrayal. You’ve been lied to, toyed with, and manipulated. Your love has been exploited and used as a weapon against you. Healing from this abuse takes time and tenacity.
When I said that you can never win a battle against a narcissist, I meant that you can never win if you play their game. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you lose. On the contrary, now that the relationship is over, you are no longer their unwilling opponent in their twisted “love” games. You’re sincere, genuine and you believe that love is not a game where there must always be a winner and a loser. Let the narcissist play the “You’re Always Going To End Up The Loser Game” with someone else.
You may still feel that the narcissist has won and that’s okay. Be patient with yourself. The more time and distance you have away from the narcissist, the more you’ll realize how mentally and emotionally imprisoned you actually were.