Have you been ruminating on this question for weeks? Perhaps mistaking the Narcissist’s repeated reappearances for love or caring; forgiving your disordered partner for “being human”…the old “broken wing” rescue and restore mission, as illustrated below…
“There’s something wrong with this person and I’m going to do my best to fix them and our relationship. Once they finally realize how caring and forgiving I am, they’ll stop this back and forth and we’ll finally experience true love”.
In my post, 7 Things Your Narcissist Won’t Tell You, I explain why the Narcissist keeps coming back. The question, then, isn’t really why the Narcissist can’t move on. It’s “Why can’t you move on?”
Let’s examine some of the reasons a Narcissist leaves, only to come back:
1 – They were unfaithful and you found out or they openly admitted to an affair and left, saying they were in love with someone else. Months, weeks, or even mere days later, they came back with a sob story of how they cannot choose and don’t want to live without you in their life.
Reality – The new supply is likely still being love-bombed. Therefore, the Narcissist can’t show their true colors to them yet. They’re about to blow like Mt. Pinatubo and they need a reliable receptacle. That’s why you experience a “loving reconciliation”, followed by days of darkness after the Narc’s volcanic eruption. After that’s out of their system, they return to the new supply, yet keep you hanging in the balance with volcanic ash on your face.
2 – You expressed your discontentment at something they said or did and their response was a 2-week silent treatment. How dare you mention that they hurt your feelings? Just when you resign yourself to the fact that the relationship is over…BAM! They waltz back in as if nothing happened, perhaps inviting you to lunch, which you accept without batting an eyelash.
Reality – In spite of what it may seem, the Narcissist hasn’t had a life-changing epiphany. What with this likely being the 37th time they’ve ignored you in this hostile way. The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse designed to (1) place the Narcissist in a position of power; (2) silence your attempts at setting a boundary; (3) avoid conflict resolution or personal responsibility; and (4) punish you for a slight against their ego. It’s literally their way or the highway.
3 – After violating your soul and leaving for the umpteenth time, the Narcissist comes back with an apology and even agrees to counseling. After all, if you can get your “craziness, jealousy, sensitivity, and paranoia” taken care of, they might just give you another chance.
Reality – Almost all Narcissists pull the counseling card. It’s nothing more than a new way to buy time. They have no intention of being honest in the therapist’s chair and, in fact, will use the opportunity to make you look unhinged, using their trip to the Dr.’s office as a way of learning the lingo to further make you look like the unstable one, which causes you to further believe you’re the one with problems and feel lucky the Narcissist “has agreed to stay with you”.
So maybe you’re feeling a little off-kilter and have become suspicious and hypersensitive. Guess what, all victims of Narcissists do. It’s a symptom of narcissistic abuse syndrome after having been deceived, lied to, and mistreated. Don’t let your abusive partner fool you into thinking you are the weak link.
It’s not you, it’s them…
Being involved with a Narcissist results in your being deprived so profoundly that your reactions to your own emotional needs eventually result in your believing that they’re unwarranted. You convince yourself that the reason your needs aren’t met is because maybe you expect too much, so you stop yourself from believing you should be treated with respect.
You’ve done everything you can. It’s time to surrender. Surrender and let go. The more impossible it feels to let go, the more important it is to do it. You’ve crossed the line between taking responsible actions to solve the problems in the relationship to wanting to control it. The more you try to control the Narcissist, the more they will use that as an excuse to abuse you more. Moreover, they’ll never give you the validation you’re holding out for.
The Narcissist doesn’t love anyone. Not even the new supply. The more we keep accepting the Narcissist back into our lives, the more we enhance and validate the sense of entitlement they have for themselves. We prove to them that they are idols, which is all they need from life. Our repeated forgiveness and “yielding to their charm” IS the narcissistic supply they seek. That’s why they don’t move on.
It’s up to you to move on. Become your own idol.