The Inevitable Loss of Dignity inside Narcissistic Abuse

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I talk to people rather frequently who’ve come out of the relationship with their Narcissist and cannot seem to work through their feelings of anger and resentment.  This is natural; something we all go through.  After all, we gave and gave to the Narcissist, believing the problems in the relationship were our fault.  We tried harder, became more forgiving.  We swept their transgressions under the rug and perhaps even told them we knew they didn’t mean to hurt us.  As humans we aren’t perfect, right?

I also talk to people who are in denial about their situation.  They start thinking about all they’d lose if they left their Narcissistic partner who provides them with a nice lifestyle.  If children are involved, they may feel it’s unfair to deny them this more affluent lifestyle than they’d be able to afford as a single parent.

Deniers convince themselves that the situation isn’t really that bad, in spite of the emotional/verbal abuse and their partner’s addictions (alcohol, drugs, porn, etc.).  They resolve to be a better spouse and hope things will improve just by way of their doing what the Narcissist wants.  Some Deniers will even join their abusive partner in drinking and other destructive behaviors to either deal with the pain or be more accepted by the Narcissist.  Some engage in their own addictions, such as overspending and/or overeating to fill the emotional abyss that’s ever-present inside the relationship (which gives the Narcissist more ammunition for verbal attacks).

Upon closer inspection, these are all avoiding behaviors; ones that only prolong the inescapable fact that the relationship is doomed.  Either the Narcissist will devalue and discard their partner, or their partner will eventually tire of the abuse and leave on their own.

Are You Playing the Martyr?

Do you pride yourself on being “resilient”?  Do you talk about your “pain management” skills with your friends and family?  Is your identity grounded on all the self-sacrifices you make for the sake of the relationship?

Those are all good traits to have if you’re taking care of a sick relative or volunteering time to a charitable organization.  However, they will only lead to your detriment if you live these descriptors in regards to your relationship with a Narcissist.  When you play martyr to the Narcissist, your personal power, energy, and non-renewable time go directly into a black hole, where they’ll never be acknowledged or appreciated.  He or she will keep taking those things from you until you are used up and destroyed.  And just as certain, once they decide you are of no more use to them, they will devalue and discard you without a second thought.  This is the cornerstone of Narcissism— no empathy, no conscience.

This is the part where we lose our dignity.

Inside of every relationship with a Narcissist, there is a moment of awareness where we realize they will not change.  We know it with every cell, every synapsis, and every breath.  Yet, we choose to do nothing.  Because it’s too inconvenient, it’s too much work.  And we keep blaming the Narcissist for not changing.  We may as well blame the sky when it carries clouds or the ocean when its waves are tumultuous.

Perhaps you stay because good girls don’t give up on their man…because God tells us to turn the other cheek.  But think about it…when we fail to establish boundaries and let the Narcissist continue on their destructive path,we are essentially enabling them.  God doesn’t want us to enable abuse.

Every passing minute…

…is a chance to turn it all around.

You will never find yourself in the Narcissist or the lifestyle they might provide.  Or the lifestyle they show you through a kaleidoscope, when the truth might be that the brunt of the responsibilities lie on your shoulders.  You will, however, continue to lose yourself.

Let go.  Turn inward and heed your broken heart.  Don’t continue to engage in magical thinking.  How long has it been?  Two years, ten, twenty?

Leaving won’t give you instantaneous bliss.  There will be personal development, conscious efforts to change, spiritual growth.  All of these things bring their own challenges.  But you take baby steps until one day you realize you’ve climbed a mountain instead of walking into a black chasm.  Or perhaps you’re already there.  Living in darkness with no hope or joy in your future.  Your life encased in your partner’s narcissism, addictions, and abuse.

It’s scary to go into the unknown.  But much of that fear is a conditioned response that the Narcissist indoctrinated you into.  Whether you believe in God, Divine Intelligence, the Universe, or a higher power, whatever you need will come to you if you want it. New people will be placed in your life to provide comfort and support. It won’t be easy, but neither will another year of Narcissistic abuse.  The time will pass, anyway.  You may as well use that time to plan a new life.

Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.  ~ Earl Nightingale

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Kelly says September 14, 2015

I been with a narcissist for 14 years now. I never knew what the real problem was. I was always confused, stressed and depressed. So I would stay up late at night doing research on him. Finally I came across the word “narcissist”, and everything described fits him like a glove! I want to make a run for it but I have two kids from him and he crippled me financially and physically in regards to my health. He is severely damaging to my kids and me.

Narcwife says May 2, 2015

Reblogged this on tamdef.

RD says April 20, 2015

I am sad, shocked and relieved after reading this article. It could not have come at a better time for me because I was unknowingly raised by a narcissistic mother for 18 years and then dated and married my narcissistic husband whom I’ve been with for 14 years. I don’t know whether to be happy that I can finally stop thinking I did something “wrong” and need to “fix” it or if I should be devastated that I let another person in who did just as much (if not more) damage than the first.

The stuff my mother put me and the rest of our family through with her constant needs and narcissistic tendencies was overbearing and I finally cut her off for good 3 years ago.

But my husband…ironically, HE was the one to insist that my mother was controlling me and that I should do something about it. All the while, he was propping himself up to take her place and use me as HIS supply source. Ugh, I just want to kick myself for doing everything I did with my mother: pleading, reasoning, crying, busting my butt to help make him/her more comfortable and giving what was needed that minute/second/hour in hopes that one day, there would be “change.” I feel guilty mainly because all of the warning signs were there with my husband. It was like my instincts where screaming “run before history repeats itself!” And that it has…until two days ago, which is why I’m finally leaving. Nothing is a bigger wakeup call for me than re-reading 14 years of my own hidden journal entries about the SAME unresolved problems, including a disturbing one about how scared our son (who has been struggling with passive-aggressive behavior for a few years now) is of pissing off his father for fear of criticism and oppression. Time to go for real.

Anonymous says January 21, 2015

Thank you so much for your website. I didn’t know what was going on in my relationship. I won’t elaborate with the entire story because it’s the much of the same as everyone else’s. I couldn’t make sense of it. I was in a state of confusion all the time. You and your website was my first discovery and step towards healing. It has been a year now and things are a lot better. The pain does subside if you let it. If you go no contact, if you educate yourself on what has happened. It hurts a lot for a long time but does slowly get better.

I am what he is not says December 14, 2014

It has been on/off for three years. Ironically, the narcissist I was dating said to me “maybe I just need someone more resilient…someone who can handle me.” That was said after one of the very first times I was calling him out on the way he was treating me. My biggest mistake was not sticking to our original break up.

I see now that I am not happy but haven’t been for years and that includes my time before the narcissist. For some reason I decided to move to Florida away from family and friends; over a period of 10 years I have become more and more isolated and lonely. I see now that was a perfect “in” for this guy.

We did stuff and had a blast but the relationship side was bad from the beginning. I still have a few Facebook messages, from a few weeks after we started dating. One is me asking him to take down a picture I sent him privately (nothing big just me making a kiss face and sending it to him) and another where he was not happy with the “coincidences” of my phone being on the fritz (I had a blackberry back then and something went wrong with a system update that caused my phone to freeze up frequently). I specifically said, “if you can’t trust me there is no way this is going to work”.

Bahhh kinda funny considering over the course of 3 years I found him to be flip-flopping between me and another ex AND on a dating website. (His reason for still being active? “sometimes I just need someone to compliment me…to tell me I look good or they like my tattoos”). There were numerous shady-goings-on with Facebook groupies and it finally ended with me seeing he had dedicated a “SADE” song to some girl that when I had asked about her previously (he had been on the phone with her for 30 minutes) he said, “she’s a whack job with four kids who drinks too much.”

So, I watched him while he sat on the front porch, read her reply, delete it and then the song; as well as two other messages from two other girls. He came in and said, “Is there anything you want to do tonight?” I replied, “No, I’m gonna leave and I think you know why” I packed my stuff and left. I am not proud of the next part but enough was enough, I sent a message to the girl he had dedicated the song to and said, “Hi, up until a few minutes ago, I was X’s girlfriend. While he is dedicating songs to you, he is describing you to me as “a whack job with four kids who drinks too much.” The next morning I sent another message, “It occurred to me that song could have also been to the two other chicks he was deleting messages from right after yours…either way, heads up.”

I took him four days to contact me and ask what it was all about. I told him and said, “put the shoe on the other foot…you would have FREAKED if you saw me dedicate a song to another man.” I said I was pissed off, sad and embarrassed. He said, “I feel that way too” …I had this eerie feeling he felt nothing actually…he was parroting MY feelings.

A few days later, in amongst arranging to get back a few other things I left behind in a hurry, I saw that he had been on Facebook, not only commenting on the song girl’s pics (“mark my words” and “this was the night”) he had been on another girl’s pics making other convoluted comments. So when I saw him to get my things back, I KNEW what ever he had to say this whole blow up hadn’t deterred him from anything…none of the hurt I felt mattered or phased him. It was at that point that I mentioned “by the way, I sent a message to the song girl telling her about how you described her to me.” He face was blank. Clearly she had not gotten the message yet as we are not friend it goes into another email box on Facebook. When she did get the message kudos to her she unfriended him.

Over the next month, he buried himself in work and I in my work and school. There was one thing I forgot and I reached out to him for it. Yes, I debated just letting it go but it was kind of expensive. So I ask him to drop it off at my work. He did and I saw him. In tears, he said, “I’m so ashamed of the way I treated you. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I need to see a doctor otherwise I am going to end up alone…and that’s no fun.” I told him whatever it is, it is poisoning him from the inside out and it doesn’t have to be that way. I said, “my friends and family, the people who know me, thought I was crazy giving you another chance (this was our fourth) but I make my own decisions and there would be no way I would have known if I didn’t put myself way out there, be vulnerable and give it one last chance. I did and I got hurt. But I know now.” I turned around and walked away.

Two days later he was on his first date with the new girl he is seeing.

I question myself privately and amongst my friends who have known the situation. I have doubts and fears but I am working through them. I have made some huge steps towards moving on including selling my house and aim to move at the end of May. I am going to my hometown to recharge for a bit and then head to the West Coast. I had been saying for at least 10 years, I wanted to get back out to my roots. Here goes.

    Kim Saeed says December 19, 2014

    Kudos for being able to walk away. It seems you have the inner strength to ride this through. I wish you all the best in your endeavors on the West Coast. Sounds like fun <3

      N says December 19, 2014

      Thanks Kim
      Your site has been a HUGE help.

        Kim Saeed says December 19, 2014

        Glad to know it 🙂

Anonymous says May 12, 2014

25 years I suffered, persevered and made excuses. He left after planning for over two years . Took our money , art , belongings . Bought himself a house and furnished it. Then decided to tell the kids before me and the world that he was forced to leave. Continues to lie about me and the situation to everyone and has spent thousands of dollars on numerous lawyers waiting to hear what they will not tell him. The pain is unbearable as I am left with three children, humiliation and debt. Your articles have helped put some perspective on things. Thank you ………

    Kim Saeed says May 18, 2014

    Anon, I am very glad to know my site has helped you in some way.

    I can relate to your situation. At one time, the smear campaign really bothered me, but then I realized that people will eventually see the truth of the matter. Just hold your head high and stand in your truth.

    If your children are younger, you may want to consider getting them into counseling (and yourself, too, if you haven’t already). What are you doing to take care of yourself?

Fellow Survivor says May 12, 2014

Kim, so much of what you have to say “hits” home for me in a way that I really don’t want to accept. When I was out getting dinner tonight the very real concept of Denial swept over me. One year after the divorce I am still in a state of Denial that all of this happened to me, despite my best efforts to not let it happen. I did everything for her, and I mean everything. What woman would not want coffee delivered in bed every morning for 20 years, or a husband that stayed home watching the child while she went to her “woman’s ” group meetings sometimes 4 times a week. When she had catering jobs I would go buy 150 lbs of chicken at SAMS, clean it, cook it an chop it up for her. In counseling she would say she could get anyone to do that. She would go to bed at midnight and I would stay up until 3 in the morning cleaning and she would say it meant nothing to her. I became a wimp. I think they call it P WHIPPed or whatever.

Anyway, on another site someone suggested this site. It is filled with very good information from a professional point of view

aveline07 says May 12, 2014

Thanks Kim, yet again…am glad you found me, thanks as always for the insight and information

    Kim Saeed says May 12, 2014

    And thank you, Aveline. Your posts will undoubtedly save someone…somewhere….

      aveline07 says May 12, 2014

      If one person relates, that is good…struggling alone is a scary thing…we are all connected…thanks that means a lot Kim xoxo

Kim Saeed says May 12, 2014

Thanks for sharing that, Phill…I get some of my material from the journals I kept during my marriage to my Ex-N. This particular post was based on things I wrote to myself years ago.

Phill Ferreira says May 12, 2014

Reblogged this on The Story of my Twin Boys , Oliver and Oscar Ferreira and commented:
Morning Kim , thank you for this felt like I was reading a page in a book about my life the past 5 years …..

betternotbroken says May 12, 2014

Once again you are on the same wavelength as me, but you put it in a direct manner and spot on. I was thinking about dignity today and that was the last thing to go for me, I didn’t explore the martyr aspect as honestly and bravely as you did but somehow we played a role in the relationship and it must be examined for us to heal and not repeat history. No martyrs!

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