Easing the Sting of “Rejection”

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– photo by Patty Scheeler

I get emails every day from people who are stuck in an obsessive cycle of feeling worthless, unattractive, and “no good”.  This happens because the Narcissist in their life conditioned them to believe these things and then left them for another partner, which only enforced this false illusion.

Being rejected or abandoned by someone we love is already painful enough, but when it happens at the hands of a Narcissist, it’s felt much more deeply.  The difference is that in a normal relationship, one partner may decide to leave because they’ve met someone else (which was never planned), they’ve decided they want a different lifestyle, they want to discover themselves, etc.  On the other hand, a Narcissist conditions their partners to believe they’re nothing – often mere days after establishing a relationship.


It doesn’t always come off as character assassination in the beginning.  To seem credible, the Narcissist starts off with little jabs here and there such as, “You used to dress so nicely.  Is everything okay?”, “Physical appearance used to be so important to you.  Are you depressed?”, “Your job was so essential to you.  You must feel really worthless after getting laid off.”

These comments seem innocent at first.  In fact, they might even give the impression that the Narcissist cares.  But upon further inspection,  he is planting seeds of self-doubt and worthlessness.  In the first and second comments, he’s indirectly telling you that you look unacceptable, and then adding the hint that something is mentally wrong with you.  The irony is that you may very well look the same, but the Narcissist wants you to believe that something about you has changed to the undesirable and that you might be suffering from mental deterioration.  In the third comment, he is taking your professionalism to a low level by hinting that you’re not as successful as you thought you were.  Now that you’re unemployed, you’re insignificant…as he would have you believe.

It’s crucial to understand that when a Narcissist leaves you, it’s not because you’ve gone through some awful transformation that’s left you unattractive, unsuccessful, or unacceptable.  Though it feels that way because of how you’ve been conditioned, the truth is that in a Narcissist’s mind, relationships are doomed from the beginning.  Therefore, they want you to believe all the problems are your entire fault, leaving them with zero accountability.

Narcissists almost always have a new target that they’ve secured and possibly moved in with; a new woman they want you to believe is better than you.  Have you ever heard of a Narcissist leaving to go out on their own?  I haven’t.  They always follow the same patterns.  One target is discarded while another is secured.  And while it all feels real to you at the moment, when analyzed objectively, they have very specific and clear motives for everything they do which have nothing to do with you, other than perhaps making it clear that you’re unhappy with something they’ve said or done.


Dealing with rejection is one of humanity’s most difficult challenges.  It brings all our fears and feelings of inadequacy to the surface at once.  We internalize the feelings of shame and embarrassment, believing that we did something to deserve the rejection.

The way someone acts towards us really has nothing to do with us, but with who they are and the place they are coming from at the moment.  This is true of Narcissists and those without disorders, as well.  However, if you’re feeling especially low and unworthy after being abandoned by a Narcissist, it’s likely that you have previous issues of unresolved abandonment from another point in your lifetime.  The Narcissist intentionally uncovers these primal wounds to the point that they are raw and bleeding.  After learning about you and your hopes and fears, they initiated a crusade to play on them in order to bring you back to these wounds.  You’re left nursing your broken heart while they ride off into the false sunset with their new target who will eventually end up tending their own wounds.

Abandonment comes in many forms.  However, being rejected by the Narcissist is often debilitating.  We have to overcome the shock and panic before we can begin to grieve the loss.  Then, we grieve not only the loss, but our sense of self as we knew it before the Narcissist came along.  And while it seems that life will never be the same, there is a whole new life waiting for us if we accept the responsibility to discover it.   We only need to tap into our emotions, make the effort, and heal the wounds of abandonment.  It’s not something that will happen overnight.  It might take a few years, in fact.  And it’s during this time that we need to avoid diving into another relationship that will again leave us feeling lonely and unworthy.  The reason we feel that way is because we have feelings that haven’t been addressed or dealt with, and we will always feel lack inside of relationships until we do.


Recovery is a process which involves graduating through all the steps in order to come out healed and renewed.  And while we shouldn’t be rushed through these steps, I feel it’s important to add that if we are stuck in one of the stages, it’s important to seek help.

I’ve read many blogs and Facebook posts that say “take as long as you need”, but there does come a point in time where it’s actually unhealthy to remain stuck in a step of recovery.  If, for example, you’re still as shattered two to three years down the road as when you were first abandoned, it means you haven’t been able to advance to the next step and there are some issues that need to be dealt with.  I’m not saying “Get over it”, but that unless you find a way to overcome the pain after the passage of considerable time, you risk not getting to the point of growth and renewal, which is what we are all designed for.  Abandonment is a catalyst for profound personal growth, but we must make the conscious effort  to regain our balance.

Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth). Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.” ~ Abraham Maslow

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chankla2 says December 13, 2015

Kim has great articles! other sites as well… Use them to help you, an move forward…. I visit them at times for reassurance, its gng be ok….
Acceptance is the key, lesson learned..
they will always effect us in a teeny way, yes…..
NARCS don’t change!!!!! NARCS dont
NARCS are supply, supply, supply, period….
Were growing, changing, thre not, safety ,comfort zone, same pattern, period…..
N/C only way to go! Don’t gve them an ego boost of communication, none….
Always someone in the bkground, always….. accept that….
force yourself to move ahead
Let The NARC be your motivation
remember our vision for life is success, happiness, peace… NARC chaos, drama, ego, SUPPLY, repeat&rinse…….
Wasted time 7yrs ex bf narc!!!!!
New life, new me, new love, normalcy that’s the goal….
Actions speak louder than words!!!!
peace, courage, re-train your brain for you!!!!! Manage the pain, but go forward!!!!!

Lori says April 8, 2014

The narcissist I dealt with actually did leave without another source of supply because I told him that he hurt me by standing me up yet again… Instead of apologizing, working in things or trying at all he just vanished a week after discussing moving to another state with me. Then he instantly started begging for attention on social media, saying how lonely he was and how desperate he was to find love that wouldn’t give up on him. The first girl that took the bait was instantly and publicly love bombed all over Facebook. After less than 2 months knowing each others names she moved in with him. So, I have seen them leave with out a net but with a plan for the next.

    Kim Saeed says April 8, 2014

    Narcissists love social media…this is an excellent example of why.

    It sounds to me as though he was giving you an Epic Silent Treatment and splashed Facebook with tales of woe in an effort to teach you a lesson, possibly? Leave it to a Narc to play the extreme victim on a public venue.

    Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds like you are much better off without him. Just remember to take care of yourself 🙂

    Healing says April 8, 2014

    Lori, your story is similar to mine. I’ve posted some of it above and elsewhere on this site. The similar part is that he kicked me out simply because I asked him to stop namecalling and mocking me and help me to make our home an emotionally safe one. He lost it. Went on a rant and kicked me out while I was 3 months pregnant then cried to everyone that I abandoned him. So, I’d be so interested to know how many Narc victims were kicked out or left when they asked for just a little respect and human decency. I’m so sorry to hear this happened to you, as well, Lori. From what I’ve read, this is when the D and D often begins because you have made them look bad by pointing out they hurt you. So twisted. Not your average, empathetic reaction to hurting someone. In the real world, an apology is called for…or if YOU did something wrong (even an imagined slight) you’d have to grovel to them. But if you say to them, “You hurt me.” then be prepared for the D and D. When the ex divorced me he said, “I don’t like the way you mirror me. I can’t be married to someone who sees me as her abuser. I can’t trust you. I feel I’M the abused one!” Wow, spinning at its finest. As always, thanks for this site, Kim. Keep your chin up, Lori! Know that it’s not you and your ex definitely follows the narc patterns. As Kim said you are so much better off! Best to all. 🙂

Healing says March 23, 2014

I always look forward to your posts! My ex actually did divorce me with no one waiting in the wings. He liked being alone, at least for a time, as he HATED sharing his living space. He found her soon after. He was dating immediately but is very picky. I think my ex was the more methodical, sinister type. I know a previous ex of mine hard narc tendencies and was a serial cheater but he was a “sloppy narc”, lol…not sure what to call it…he was just more obvious and somehow that one hurt me less. The recent ex is far more plotting and intelligent about his narcissism. He goes through great lengths to look blameless and would never have gotten involved with someone blatantly while married. He waited two months to get serious with someone (a long time with a narc, I guess); however, I would not be surprised if he was involved with her prior to that but only made it public knowledge a couple months later. Bottom line is he divorced me in July and told me he just met her in October and by Thanksgiving she was already part of his family and spending holidays with them all and taking his daughter on shopping sprees…which tells me he introduced the kids to her within a month of them meeting. His poor kids have got to be so confused seeing the revolving door of women he is “serious” with. Ugh, he’s gross.

Side note…I just read a bunch of stuff on Charles Dickens. Wow, this guy sounded like a narc through and through…met an 18 year old when he was in his 40s and totally D and D’d his wife who bore him 10 children then he blamed her for having the kids (as if she did it all by herself) and blamed her for not having energy. The woman clearly had post partum and probably dealt with his constant verbal abuse as he was apparently hard to please and expected everyone, his kids included, to function at his level and if he didn’t he discarded them all. He was even quoted saying that he could have done without one of his own children…I forgot the quote exactly but there are many from him where he one minute praises the kids when they are infants and then totally D & D’s them later. Sadly, I bet so many of these “successful” guys were highly narcissistic.

Fellow Survivor says March 23, 2014

Kim, its hard to get out of the rut when the narc and you share children. My x narc was out on the town with my replacement 1 day after our divorce, meaning he was securely ensnared many months before the divorce was final, sound familiar.

Now here is the shocker. The x will send little things back with my daughter every once in a while. The other day she sent some of her famous meatloaf to me as a thank you. She caters and I helped her make thousands of those meatloaves without so much as a request for one dime of the money she made, even though she spent it all on herself. It was only after I started to demand a piece of the action that she began the serious devalue.

Then yesterday she sent my snow skis back. The irony is that the “replacement” loaded my skis up, put them on the plane, loaded them into “the car I bought” her. So, now I am touching the skis the replacement loaded up on her behalf of course.

And then get this. I suggested to my daughter that maybe when she is with the mom that the mom should pay for her gas. Daughter was running on fumes and asked the mom for gas money. The mom to ld her to go ask the boyfriend for his cc.. Needless to say my daughter called me and I met her at the service station. The mom wanted daughter to humble herself in front of the boyfriend to ask for money when the mom is loaded. What a pathetic joke.

The question I ask myself is why I would miss a worthless person like that so much. Answer, sex and excitement.

    Kim Saeed says March 27, 2014

    Fellow Survivor,

    It’s true that sex and excitement keep us hooked long past the expiry date. My Ex and I traveled a lot, and in fact, I had the opportunity to visit Egypt twice, along with frequent visits to the DC Metro area, New York, various beaches, etc. I do miss the travel.

    However, now that I know he never really loved me, I make a point not to recall the “intimacy”. In fact, I have found that that part of my life doesn’t hold as much meaning as finding someone that I can connect with on an intellectual level. Maybe because I’m female and INFJ? I don’t know, I feel that I’m in a place where I’m looking for so much more meaning than can be encompassed in the bedroom.

theabilitytolove says March 23, 2014

On my blog yesterday, a survivor with abandonment issues, posted about her experience. I’m not sure she realizes yet, how powerful these issues are, how they are imbedded deeply into our subconscious. The disordered one can easily exploit the targets shame, abandonment issues, guilt, trauma….but abandonment assures the disordered one immediate emotional and sexual dependence from the victim.

Many survivors are unaware of their abandonment issues, as it can also be the most painful to deal with in recovery, as it opens the survivor’s pandoras box of trauma…

    Kim Saeed says March 27, 2014

    I completely agree. Given that our lives are driven largely by our subconscious mind, we will continue to repeat the same painful patterns until we can get to the root and heal those broken places. We literally keep attracting those lessons until we finally reach the literal rock-bottom. The lesson has to smack us in the face to be acknowledged, and that’s where a transformation begins…

theabilitytolove says March 23, 2014

Reblogged this on The Ability To Love- Recovery From Psychopathic Abuse and commented:
This is an excellent post from an excellent blog. Can you relate?…

imfree says March 23, 2014

Impeccable timing – I really needed to hear that 🙂

    Kim Saeed says March 23, 2014

    Thank you for sharing that… ٩(๑•◡-๑)۶ⒽⓤⒼ❤

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