One of the biggest struggles when detaching from an abusive relationship with a Narcissist is the perception that he or she loves their new partner more. In fact, it enhances feelings of low self-esteem in the former victim so drastically, that many never fully recover, regardless of how much therapy they receive.
Why? Because of erroneous thinking that originated during childhood and escalated with the Narcissist’s insidious conditioning which began right after the love-bombing stage and grew increasingly worse during the devalue and discard stages.
What do you mean by erroneous thinking?
When you first met the Narcissist, he or she spent a great deal of time observing you and your thoughts, doubts, insecurities, and weaknesses. They may have mirrored those feelings in an attempt to give you a feeling of closeness and comradery. You finally felt accepted, believing you’d found a partner who would love you unconditionally, until…
Once they determined you were in love with them the novelty wore off and they became bored. This boredom caused them to begin looking for so-called flaws in you. Since none were readily apparent, they fell back to the struggles you shared with them during moments of “intimacy and kindredness”. This often happens after you begin to notice inconsistencies in their behavior, which forces them to attack you, taking the focus off of them and their inability to keep up the charade.
Narcissists don’t know love, so your attempt at trying to solve problems in the relationship comes across to them as a personal attack. They resolve to beat you to the punch. Thus begins the devalue stage, and is usually when they begin searching for a new target. However, accepting a grain of accountability would throw off their false persona, so the new driving force in their life is to make YOU believe you’re the reason for their withdrawing their love and affection. Enter your previous confessions of insecurity and feeling betrayed in the past by friends, family, and/or ex-lovers.
Okay, but still waiting for the erroneous thinking part…
In the context of your believing the Narcissist has chosen a new lover because you’re not good enough, it’s important to rely on facts as opposed to what your abuser says. He or she is simply exploiting your emotional wounds, most of which likely developed during childhood (which is often out of our conscious awareness) and/or as a result of an emotionally traumatizing event (such as previous emotional abuse). These wounds typically manifest in the following ways:
- Heightened fear of abandonment
- Guilt, shame, self-blame
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Confusion, difficulty concentrating
- Anxiety and fear
- Withdrawing from others
- Inability to process strong emotions
- Inability to trust other people
- Perpetually being in “fight-or-flight” mode
- Being triggered by random stimuli that you subconsciously associate with a traumatic memory
These symptoms are rooted in false beliefs one has about their worth based on past emotional trauma and are the reason you feel less-than. These feelings are then intensified by the Narcissist’s cruel interjections that their new partner is better than you. However, I like to point out that most everything the Narcissist says is a lie, including the comments they make during attacks on your character and appearance. However, because we’ve internalized harmful messages about who we are from a young age, it’s easy to believe the Narcissist when they deal devastating verbal blows.
Part of healing from Narcissistic abuse includes reframing your beliefs based on reality rather than limiting beliefs you may hold based on how you’ve been treated. Just because the Narcissist says you’re unattractive or unworthy of respect doesn’t make it true. These are erroneous beliefs we hold due to negative conditioning, or our internalized story of self.
Erroneous thinking examined
I work with victims of Narcissistic abuse every day. The things I’ve observed about them are in direct contrast to what they often believe about themselves. People who reach out to me often feel unattractive, unsuccessful, and hopeless. The fact of the matter is they’re all very attractive, successful, accomplished, outgoing individuals. They simply have a faulty belief system.
Replacing old emotional habits with healthier ways of thinking, feeling, behaving, and relating to others begins with taking control of your emotional health. A great way to start is by taking steps to heal your inner child, who has suffered greatly as a result of your relationship with the Narcissist.
In closing, your Ex doesn’t love the new girlfriend/fiancé more. It’s important to understood that his leaving you was likely due to your discovery of his false image and not anything related to you as an individual. Additionally, it’s important to remember that the new partner is being love-bombed by the Narcissist, otherwise she wouldn’t willingly enter into a relationship with them. Moreover, you should acknowledge you are enough…just the way you are. But, you have to believe it.