Kim Saeed:  Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program
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unrequited love

Unrequited Love Isn’t Blocking Your Recovery — This Is

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If you’ve been psychologically, physically, or emotionally abused by someone close to you—especially in a relationship with a narcissist—the road to recovery can be difficult. There might be times that you want to go back just to feel that excitement once again. You crave to feel the supportive, sensitive, and charming presence of the narcissist one more time.

However, this is where your recovery hits a dead end. Underneath the charisma and smiles is a cruel and abusive adversary, who you keep circling back to. It’s hard to break this cycle and even more difficult to move forward in recovery.

Ending the Cycle

With modern-day technology, breaking up, leaving, and forgetting a person is far more complicated. You’re experiencing isolation, anxiety, and depression—all while obsessive thoughts about the narcissist dance through your head. This could lead you to a Facebook rabbit hole of research where you can find a past abuser within just a few clicks.

Unfortunately, this is far more common than you’d like to believe. You might question how you will function without this person in your life and if you will ever feel the same way again.

It’s always important to remember that this is not your fault.

While you may feel that unrequited love is keeping you from recovering from a narcissistic relationship, it’s more likely to be unrequited decency. It’s time to take a step forward to becoming the confident, liberated person you are.

Are you confused whether unrequited love or unrequited decency is holding you back from recovery? Let’s find out.

Unrequited Love vs. Unrequited Decency

While love and decency typically go hand-in-hand, the actual characteristics behind both in an abusive relationship can have a powerful effect on you as the victim.

Let’s get a better understanding of the differences between unrequited love and unrequited decency.

Unrequited Love

Unrequited love is the notion of caring about someone and giving them your whole heart, only to be denied. This love is one-sided, intentionally or unintentionally, and is not accepted by the other half of the relationship. While you might know that you love someone—that person may not always love you back.

If you feel like you’re experiencing unrequited love, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you performing gestures for someone with only a minimal ‘thanks’ or nothing in return?
  • Do you constantly wonder what the other person is doing?
  • Are you waiting for someone to realize you’ve always been there?
  • Do you feel unappreciated and used?
  • Are you waiting for the other person to have the same affection feelings as you?

If you answered yes to these questions—your love may be unrequited.

However, our society has an admiration for unrequited love. Think of Shakespeare’s poems and John Cusack with a stereo—these constant cultural justifications almost make it difficult to break the cycle of waiting for someone to love you back.

With that said, in an abusive relationship, someone may be showing you “love” one day—and then completely ignoring your affections the next. The constant up and down emotions is a form of emotional abuse that can leave you constantly devastated and confused.

This can range from being told “I love you” and “I hate you” often, or denied physical affection. Let’s make something clear—this is not love. If you are suffering through this an abusive relationship, you may experience these signs and thoughts:

  • They can do no wrong and are perfect in your eyes
  • Your identity is defined by loving them and them loving you
  • You feel anxious when you think of them
  • There is little physical contact

While unrequited love is a real and damaging issue in abusive relationships—it’s important to understand the difference between unrequited decency, as well.

Unrequited Decency

The lack of basic decency towards another human being, especially when narcissism is involved, is possibly the most damaging element of an emotionally abusive relationship.

Decency is defined by treating someone with respect and consideration, and not doing or saying anything that intentionally causes unnecessary harm. Essentially, decency is treating someone how you want to be treated. You help, listen, and give warmth.

In an abusive relationship, decency is thrown out the window to create a hostile, toxic, and even violent environment.

Unrequited decency can rip humanity from you, leaving you feeling vulnerable and defeated. If that’s not enough, a common abusive tactic is gaslighting which leaves you feeling like the abuse you’re suffering isn’t real. By questioning your sanity and casting doubt on your emotions, the abuser is able to persuade you into thinking the abuse never existed in the first place.

You might even convince yourself to not “sweat the small stuff” and move on.  If you are experiencing a lack of human decency and subsequent gaslighting, you may tell yourself:

  • I’m not perfect either
  • Now the narcissist is being sweet and back to normal
  • I set boundaries but the narcissist reached out to me—I must be missed
  • The narcissist is just under a lot of stress
  • I reacted to the abuse, so I must have deserved it

Gaslighting can cause serious trauma to a victim because you blame yourself, not the abuser. Abusers may also utilize emotional blackmail to continue to strip decency from you. Emotional blackmail is when the abuser makes threats and demands to manipulate the other person into what they want. In turn, this can lead to controlling a victim’s entire being.

Unfortunately, society and social media have seriously normalized cruelty and lack-of-decency towards others. It’s almost expected to see daily internet “trolls” attacking others because they don’t have to face public repercussions—or that the troll’s humanity is only activated by face-to-face communication. Whatever the reason, society continuously justifies abuser’s behavior by making it seem “normal.”

Unrequited decency is not only one of the most damaging aspects of narcissistic abuse—but it could be hindering you from recovery.

Recover From Unrequited Decency

Ending and recovering from a relationship with a narcissist takes willingness and time. While recovery won’t happen overnight—or even a month—you can break free from the grips of unrequited decency in a productive and healthy way. As a reminder, none of this was your fault and you did not ask for this type of cruelty.

Take these steps into consideration for your recovery plan:

  • Understand why you were attracted to the narcissist in the first place
  • Acknowledge the positive parts of the relationship
  • Identify what you lost when the relationship ended
  • Begin an abrupt no-contact rule with the narcissist
  • Enjoy alone time and practice self-care

If you feel like unrequited love is holding you back, it could be unrequited decency that is keeping you from recovering from an abusive relationship. Lack of human decency is a common abusive tactic that is used to treat victims with little respect and consideration in order to manipulate them.

Finding a support system can be helpful for individuals who have been in relationships involving emotional blackmail and abuse. The focus post-break-up is best placed on victims learning how to engage in self-care, feel validated, and identify their own personal needs.  All this and more is available to you. Sign up today for my free 10-day email recovery series and join over 30,000 individuals who have taken the steps to defeat narcissistic abuse.

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7 comments
Anonymous says May 16, 2019

Dear Kim, thank you again for another article which I find extremly important. I experienced this over decades from three of my closest family members and I found this the most damaging. But I was only able to recognize this as abuse after I went no contact / minimal contact for 6 month now and experience “normal” human interactions now.

Reply
Alicia Siler says May 14, 2019

Excellent information, Kim! Thank you for your work & for sharing it. I’ve learned a lot by reading your material. Simply stunning…& a relief to have so many questions answered. Thank you!!

Reply
malou says May 14, 2019

Hi Laura, I have read your whole story … It is good that you write it all down, especially for yourself, also to read this back again and again .. Until this form of abuse becomes totally clear to you, even though incomprehensible mean and fake what they do. Manipulators choose vulnerable, sensitive ‘goodies’ and all kinds of people who are’nt aware of their skilled forms of manipulations… The contradictions of the narcissist are immense! Even though you have only seen the top of the iceberg !! It is much better to ignore this further, and to trust in your own feelings and instinct. But a manipulator is so many times faster than you are..so handy..so very clever with words..and then it is usually too late when yoy find out! At first you do not realize, but think carefully now… deep down you probably felt red flags much earlier .. Narcs love to play with your emotions, to gain trust .. but afterwards you realize how double and strange their contradictory messages are .. Pure selfishness and self-interest, while your starting point was to see the good in the other (projection of how you are, yourself. Big mistake!) You have fallen into the trap of a cluster B type .. When I read your story, I recognize a lot. Its a kind like my story. It felt horrible when I woke up. I felt really abused and moreover “raped” too .. I now finally realize … that I only have to take myself seriously, and absolutely nobody else!
I feel for you and understand your confusion, isolation..and what more… I got brainfog and cognitive dissonants and lost my identity too..Thats what f*ing narc-energy does to you..
Take care of YOU! Very important.. Bye!
Malou

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Josée Noël says May 14, 2019

Thank you Kimberly! Words cannot express my and others gratitude. Xoxo

Reply
    Kim Saeed says May 14, 2019

    It’s truly my pleasure and honor, Josee. Thank you so much for reading my article and stopping by 🙂

    Reply
Laura says May 14, 2019

In December 2017 I had an interview via Skype for a job I applied in another country. I was interviewed and I wasn’t offered the job but somehow the person who interviewed me and I started chatting via whatsapp. We were talking quite a lot. After a couple of days, I asked if he was married by any chance to what he said yes. I thought to stop there and then but he went onto say that he wasn’t happy in the marriage, that he felt he had married that person in order to not stay alone and that he didn’t want to spend the next 30 years of his life like this. Married 25 years and 3 children. (10 years back he had moved in with another woman and after 2 months he returned home because of the children). He told me he was falling in love with me, that his heart was mine, that he wanted to live with me, be a couple and that he was serious about me. We continued talking.

Coincidentally, at that same time I was offered another job I had applied for in that same country where he lives and where he is from and I took it. This job was in a city 300 kms away from where he is. He told me things such as – “being without you is not an option”, “I want to replace my current relationship” (with me) and so on. I really believed what he told me. Thing is that after about 2 months he came to visit me one day and told me out of the blue that he was not leaving his family and was staying. Somehow, we continued talking but during the 8 months I was living there he came to see me a total of 5 times for about 12 hours each time. Many times, he wouldn’t reply to my messages on whatsapp, another time I was talking to him and told him that he didn’t seem to have the initiative to call and that I was feeling things had changed. He hung up on me while we were talking and told me he wasn’t wasting his Sunday listening to things like this. He refused to answer my messages for hours on end and never apologised. Then he went onto say that he didn’t do that to people, i.e. hanging up. There were many times I would see him online on messenger and whatsapp but he always denied talking to others. Even at the start I remember twice when he said he was going to sleep at 11 PM and then I would see him online at 1 AM. He would never ask me how my weekends were or what I did despite knowing I was alone in a foreign country and knew no one. One weekend I was sick and he wouldn’t even ask how I was. He said we were not living together and therefore he didn’t have to ask and that he wasn’t my babysitter. If I had a toothache he wouldn’t ask and he would say he is not like that. He always would say he likes me a lot but when I asked what he liked he would say – I will tell you one day or I’d rather tell you what I don’t like because I will finish quicker. Another day I told him I like him and what I liked and when I asked back he said I had described it very well and that he would use exactly my same words.

I stayed there for 8 months and decided to go back to my country and leave everything in November 2018. He told me he was convinced we would see each other again and I didn’t really understand how since I was going back home in a different country. After one month, in December 2018 while we were talking one day he told me that the person who was working at his company, which was the position he initially interviewed me for, was leaving and if I was interested in the job. I didn’t have a job at the time and I said yes so this time at the beginning of January 2019 I moved to the city he lives in and where he works to work with him. I must say that he didn’t promise a relationship but he never told me there would be nothing between us. In fact, I came back and there was something going on between us including sex. He always would say he was staying with his family and that this would stay that way. For 2 months he was nice to me although he barely saw me – just maybe once every two weeks. In the office he flirted with me when people were not around and he looked happy to have me here. We went twice for dinner and the last time he said we could go somewhere the next time. And I travelled back home for a week to get stuff from there and he told me “please, come back”. I asked why he offered me the job and he said that it was better to have me here than back where I lived in my country.

He was with me last time on the 11th of March – sex included. The next day I asked if we could have dinner sometime and he started to be really angry saying we couldn’t have dinner every second day!!! – we had had dinner twice in 3 months. He was talking to me in such an angry state to the point he told me to get off the car and that he was leaving with me or without me in it. I was shaking, in shock not knowing what I had done wrong. The times he would visit me he would spend 1 hour at the most, had sex and soon later out of the door. I felt bad, really bad but kept going.

Out of the blue a few days later after being together and after spending the whole weekend without answering a single message I sent, he tells me he has a crisis at home and that he has to deal with it and follow a certain order but he didn’t want to share details with me. He mentioned something about drugs with his son but my intuition told me there was something else. He told me it was better to distance the situation between us and to be friends. I insisted and he ended up telling me “yes I met someone very recently and it is serious”. I asked “but you were seeing me” and he said “yes, but not at the same level”. Then he goes home at 11 PM on a weekday and tells his wife about this and the next day he travels to meet the new woman. He told me the wife was very shocked and I don’t know what he proposed to her. He is planning to move out now for someone he met days ago when he had always told me he was staying at home and this was not changing.

He refused talking to me, walked out on me every time I wanted to talk, shouted and even at the beginning when he was very nice to me one day, he told me he would like to have me in the basement and he would give me food and drink.

Now I wonder, he always told me he would stay where he is with his family, now he meets someone a few days ago and he leaves when on top of that there are family problems with one of the sons. The other woman married with children too. I don’t know what this has been really and I am leaving this job and country. I can’t work with him anymore and this was a mistake to accept this job. He told me he would hate not to have me in this office because he likes to work with me and have me around.

From my post you may know I am alone in the country I am in, no friends and no family.

I gave this person the resignation letter at the end of March ( although witout signature) that I was leaving at the end of April. He confirmed it in writing, that I would leave end of April. My soul and intuition told me to leave. I could not continue working there. His presence was intoxicating.

I did tell him I dont want to see him ever again either as a partner, friend as he proposed ( only when it suited him as he already had someone new) or as a colleague. I told him all I think of him and how he played with me and used me.

At the beginning of April I go to work and I receive an email from him copying HR and my colleague saying I had to hand in the key today and that my services are no longer needed there although I would get paid for the month of April. I responded by email asking the reason why copying HR and stating that he had confirm my departure as of the end of April. He came to my desk angry and shouted in front of everyone to give the key and leave. I said I wanted a reason. He said he doesn’t have to give me a reason. This with the whole office listening. He switched off my computer and I said I had to close my email. He removed keyboard and mouse aggressively and told me that was the company’ s property. I told him whatever he had to tell me to do it in private. He didn’t. He continued talking to me like this in front of everyone. By the way, I continued to do my job as usual even if I informed I was leaving at the end of the month. I asked for a reason to ask me to leave like this. Next thing was ” I will call the police if you dont go now”. My colleague, clearly supporting him said ” yes, I call them. I got my things and he came to the door holding it for me ( I felt escorted like a criminal and I even felt as he would push me if I didn’t leave quickly. I couldn’t do anything.

He told me at the very start that he would keep me in a basement and give me food and drink. I also asked him what he thought of me and he replied “you are vulnerable”. When we continued talking after telling me he was staying with his family he told me “you take this because it is better than nothing”. When I went to work in January with him I asked him why he offered me the job and he said “it is better to have you here than in your home country”. I went home for a week and he said “please, come back”. When I told him that I was thinking of resigning he said “I would hate not to have you in this office”. I asked why and he said “I like to work with you and having you around”. Yet, he met me maybe a total of 5 times in the 3 months I was there. At the start, just after meeting the first time he said: “I really don’t want to hurt you or cause distress, both physically or in other ways”. “Please. this is important to me. Why am I scaring you? I could not stand the idea of hurting you physically when we had sex, and it is the same mentally.” And just before meeting in person he said: “Well you could turn out to be a sociopath trying to kill me while I peacefully sleep dreaming of something innocent”

Please help me with your insight. I am destroyed.

At the start, just after meeting the first time he said: “I really don’t want to hurt you or cause distress, both physically or in other ways”. “Please. this is important to me. Why am I scaring you? I could not stand the idea of hurting you physically when we had sex, and it is the same mentally.”

Just an example of a convo last year:

Him: I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Why are you always pushing the way you do?
Me: I just dont know why there has to be 0 contact
Me: Not even a text
Him: And I just don’t know why there constantly has to be contact
Me: Constant??. You keep saying you dont have the time
Him: Obviously it’s a big thing if I don’t text one day
Me: No it is not
Him: Glad you agree. So please act like it
Me: But dont tell me it is because you can’t because you can
Him: Ah. So you are the expert and judge now, I see
Me: Well no one is that busy to say ” hi how are you?”
Me: No not expert at all
Him: If that’s what you want why don’t you find somebody who thinks alike? Because it’s not me

Me: I find it difficult to understand how you can spend a day with me, have sex with me and everything else and now a whole weekend without even saying “hi”
I was sick all weekend

Him: just stop pushing me. I really don’t like to see numerous messages whenever I look at the phone.

Me: I didn’t push, I only asked

Him: that is bad, and I feel sorry for you. But there is nothing I can do about it, and we are not living together, so I don’t feel obligated to ask every five minutes how you are

He also asked ” where is the block button on whatsapp to block you? I can’t find it”.

What is this?

Then on messenger he says: “Can you please tell me how to block somebody on messenger? I never blocked anybody, so I don’t know”

Reply
    Violet says May 14, 2019

    Ew. From what you wrote, he sounds like he has the hallmark traits of a narcissist. I don’t mean this to be hurtful, but it sounds like you were specifically targeted for occasional, no strings attached sex. Rather than him finding someone who was also looking for that, he swindled you into believing he had decency. He didn’t. He likely enjoys the emotional sadism, contrary to what he said, meaning he DID want to hurt you. Glad you moved. Please leave this creature to his demise.

    Reply
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