Q&A Tuesday

Dear Kim…Why Can’t I Leave Him?

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Dear Kim,

I have been with my Narcissistic partner for four years.  He’s been cruel, demeaning, and lies to me left and right.  I know he’s not good for me, but I keep hanging on to the nice part of him that I know exists.  Aside from being emotionally abusive and irresponsible, he has a sweet, innocent side that I can’t forget.  I’m stuck in a cycle of deciding it’s over, then he turns on the charm full blast and hooks me back in every time.  Worse, I know he’s been seeing someone, yet I am willing to turn a blind eye to this.  Why can’t I leave him?


Dear Christa,

Your story is very common.

Some of what I’m about to share may be hard to read, but the first thing to understand is that other people don’t hold any special place in a Narcissist’s heart.  While you are hanging on to the honeymoon stage where he love-bombed you and made you feel special, he simply sees your relationship as a source for his livelihood.  What that means is, you are a source of supply.

All the world is a stage to the Narcissist.  They are masters at giving the appearance of being in love.  All the tender concern and deep conversations you probably had in the beginning of your relationship were simply an under-cover assessment designed to learn your hopes, dreams, and fears and also determine if you would be good supply. Without your telling me, I would imagine you’ve been taken advantage of financially, isolated from your friends and family, and made to feel unworthy.

The Narcissistic partner is remarkably attentive, available, and endearing—as long as he is the one securing the relationship.  Once he knows he has you under his spell (and locked-in as a source of supply) the “Loving Boyfriend” mask comes off.  There’s no need for him to put on this show anymore; in fact it’s a big effort for him to put on fake displays of love and emotion.

Now…on to why you can’t leave him.

Resurrecting the Honeymoon Phase

Narcissists spend years honing their fake persona.  They are typically fun, have a great sense of humor, and are the life of the party.  Studies have shown that Narcissists are generally more attractive than their counterparts because they dress better, move better, have more attractive facial expressions, and so on.  It’s no wonder they have partners available at their beck and call.  However, it’s important to remember that what you see with a Narcissist is not what you get.

Once you find yourself receiving the attention of a Narcissist, you feel extra special.  After all, out of all the people they could have chosen, they picked you.  Then, he woos you in the most romantic way imaginable.  It’s a dream come true…one that quickly turns into a nightmare.

After being made to feel like a Queen, the Narcissist begins making little jabs about your appearance, your personality, even your morals.  He starts comparing you to other women.  You do everything in your power to maintain the favor you had in the beginning of the relationship.  However, you learn there’s nothing you can do to get back on the pedestal, even if everything you do is faultless.

It’s their oldest trick.  Thus begins the brainwashing and control over your mind and emotions.

The Dangling Carrot

After a while, you begin to understand there’s something off about your partner.  During this phase, you plot ways to leave the relationship…perhaps looking for another apartment or asking your partner to leave if the residence belongs to you.

Thus begins the seductive dangling of carrots.  Suddenly, you see the man from the beginning of your relationship.  In addition, remember that new car you mentioned a few months ago?  He takes you to the dealership to look at cars.  Had the two of you discussed marriage?  He takes you to look at rings.  Did you express your desire for a house at some point?  He’s suddenly talking to realtors and bringing you the latest copy of “Homes for Sale”.

Don’t fall for it.  He has absolutely no intention of doing these things because they’re part of his hoovering tactics.  When this becomes clear and you call him on it, he’ll resume the character assassinations and lead you to believe it’s all your fault.  This is only a scheme to take the blame off of him and make you feel responsible for the destruction of your hopes, as well as the relationship.  You may even fall back into submissive behaviors in hopes he’ll keep his false promises.  However, this is pointless because he will discard you anyway once he’s secured a new source of supply.

The Other Woman

The fact that he’s seeing another woman has nothing to do with your beauty or attractiveness (or, as he would have you believe, your lack of those attributes).  At some point, he realized you were still capable of independent thought and your usefulness fell into decline.  Since he likely already sucked dry all of your finances, destroyed your career, and can’t possibly gain more from staying in the relationship, he’s on to his pursuit of a fresh source of supply.

He also derives a twisted form of validation from making you feel you’re not good enough.  You deserve better than that.

Chemical Bonding

Once a Narcissist’s victim has taken all they can physically and emotionally, they lose their resolve and resign themselves to their situation. They feel there’s nothing they can do, anyway, so they might as well find ways to cope.

The victim then tries to keep the waters calm, trying their best to not incite the rage of the Narcissist.  They live their days keeping the Narc happy, though most of their efforts are in vain.  On the days the Narc IS happy, victims experience a chemical reaction from feeling relief, intense joy, and being able to breathe again.  This keeps a neurological cycle going in which the victim becomes “addicted” to the rush of feel-good chemicals created within the body.  This chemical reaction is interpreted by victims as love.

The Painful Truth

In closing, that “nice part of him that you know exists” was based on lies from the start.  The man you saw from the beginning of the relationship never existed because it was all an act.  Any crumbs he metes out at this point are solely for his continued benefit until he can leave you for his next victim.  Take your power and dignity back by going No Contact and severing the toxic ties.

Hope that helps!

If you know you need to purge the horrific addiction and devastating emotional and spiritual contamination from a narcissist, then consider The Break Free Program.  Healing is a process that can open up some truly transformative revelations and opportunities when we give ourselves the chance to recover and thrive. 

Please know that as crippling as it feels to finally break free from abuse, there is an end to it.  The body and mind know how to heal themselves when we create the conditions for them to do so.  Students of Break Free write in to tell me all the time how their lives have been changed incredibly by following the steps laid out for them.  I am always humbled and grateful when I hear success stories from those who thought their lives were over.  

This can be possible for you, too.  And it’s my deepest wish that you begin healing and living the life you deserve.  

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kathryn2667 says October 9, 2014

Leaving my narcissist is one of the most painful and excruciating things i have ever experienced. I believe their is an addictive component here. It’s been 3 months 5 days and I feel completely emotionally wiped out. I think once you begin no contact the element of healing does begin but so does the realizations of having to face the cold fact that he did not love me. The nightmares, the zombie like appearance I seem to now wear and the feeling of depression are all part of my process for healing. I have read that Leaving a narcissist can be equal to quitting an addiction. And I believe that to be true. Do I still want him, yes I do. Would I go back, no I would not because inevitably I know I would be right back where I am now; a place I never want to be again. Those who say hell doesn’t exist on earth have never spent time with a narcissist.

kathryn2667 says October 9, 2014

When I first met my narc one of the things that came out of his mouth was the statement ” when I met you Kat my list of phone number went from 300 to just 1″. Now one would think that, that was the sweetest thing a man could say. Meaning her number was the only one he wanted. But as time goes on, and you begin realizing who exactly your dealing with you start to see that the comment previously made was not a compliment but should have been a warning sign. Who normally has 300 numbers of women in their phone for dating purposes other than that of a narcissist or someone possibly trying to build their own dating site. We are not # 1 to them, we are the flavor of the week with about 300 +flavors for the narcissist to choose from..I learned.

Vanilla Sky – Unreality with the Narcissist | Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed says July 19, 2014

[…] Dangling of Carrots – Taking you to look at cars, shopping for homes or engagement rings.  Reality – They have no intention of following through on these things.  They’re simply to keep you hopeful and hooked. […]

Anonymous says July 10, 2014

I feel terribly ignorant though I am an educated, bright and mature (older) adult. I am shamed a bit to see that many have been able to walk away after such short periods of time while I still remain immersed in this muck. I think I have scoured every piece I could find on this blog and I am still very, very uncertain. Why? My “N” is very gentle and loving when he is with me. It is a long-distance relationship and when we are together, it’s a peaceful, easy existence. He was my very first love over 40 years ago. My red flags: 1) Since he re-entered my world 3.5 years ago, my life has been nothing but a series of chaotic ups and downs. 2) He keeps leaving me/questioning his decision to stay in favor of returning to his ex. 3) He did sweep me off my feet in a way I have never experienced before. 4) He is a liar and he lies about stupid things but consistently lies creating a very high level of distrust. 5) He self-admits that he is very rarely if ever wrong about anything. 6) He shared some traumatic stories with me about his father and his father’s abuse and that his father was a womanizer and disrespectful to his mother. 7) When he leaves (and he always does), he doesn’t behave like an adult. He simply cuts me off and leaves me in gut-wretching pain with no contact while he enjoys adventures with his ex. Finally, 8) Maybe it’s so wonderful with him because he has not committed and does not live with me. Most of what we share are grand adventures and vacations and bits of time that never seems to exceed 4-6 weeks. Maybe living with him for real would be a disaster. He has come and gone about six different times in the past 3.5 years. When I cut him off, he is right back, right on, attentive and loving. Now, after reading so much, I believe he is fearful of losing me as his back-up supply. He has just committed to a new, full-time job in another state and this seems like an easy time for me to make a clean break with good reason and logical reasons. What/Why is this so difficult? Am I to focus on the downs in order to understand the need to be free of the in and outs/ups and downs? I am a positive person, full of light. I have a difficult time seeing the negative in anyone and a part of me thinks I was hand-picked by him for this reason. But my inner voice tells me I could never live with the dysfunction of supporting the dishonesty and shenanigans. I have rambled here. Feels good to sort this out a bit though the thought of no contact absolutely terrifies me. Surely there is someone else out there that can love me AND be present in my world. I feel I should be able to move on based on this and this alone – especially at this point.

thenarcissistwrites says July 3, 2014

Narcissists are drug-like – doesn’t matter how terrible you know they are for you, doesn’t matter how sick they make you feel sometimes, they’re crazy addictive. Kim said it – the best way to quit is to go cold turkey.

Sonya Jones says June 26, 2014

OMG, this has come at such perfect timing.. I need to read this article daily to remind myself.. My partner is due back in town on this coming Monday and as much as I’ve tried telling him we are over he just carries on like nothing has happened.. And it’s somewhat hypnotizing and comforting at the same time.. I had kind if resigned myself to just falling back into old habbits as to not rock the boat while he is feeling posative.. He is on 20+ dating sites that I know of, and part of me wants to surrender to him to keep him from being with other women! as I know it would be the first thing he would do if I wasn’t with him. I just don’t understand how repeatedly I turn a blind eye and repeatedly forget the seriousness of all the abuse.. I only can think of his good qualities like the lady who wrote the letter.. Her story is mine almost exactly.. Thanks again.. It’s hard work and I run from the pain of loneliness.. I just wish I could find just 1 good friend so I wouldn’t be so alone.. X

Bittergentleman says June 26, 2014

I got to experience the effects of 2 narcissist women back to back and each one had a crippling hold on me before I managed to get out. Breaking free from those relationships was not easy and til this day it feels like I’m walking around with an exposed nerve in my chest cavity with any signs of closeness from anybody as a threat towards my need to heal. But I will heal.

Your posts always come at a great time because even months after NC with my most recent breakup I find myself asking if anything was real and try to find some substance in our time together after I’ve reminded myself of all the red flags and calculated moves done by her. This was a good post and keeps me going, knowing that as hard it was leaving it was worth it and that gives others find the insight, strength and courage to leave as well.

    Kim Saeed says July 16, 2014


    Thank you for reading my blog.

    I’m very sorry you had to deal with the hostile aggression that is Narcissistic abuse. However, I’m very glad to know my posts have helped you in some way. I hope you will try out some of the healing tools here, especially the guided meditations. They helped me tremendously.

18mitzvot says June 25, 2014

This is perfectly written. You laid out the truth for all to see clearly. Sad but true.

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