By Athena Walker, Quora
It’s the self-sacrifice that you have committed. What happens in the narcissistic relationship, and I am referring to one with a narcissistic personality disordered person that is fully immersed in their narcissism and has no intention to improve, is that you were love bombed to begin with.
The act of being the perfect mate for you. They behaved in a way that was so unbelievable that all you could do was believe it. You wanted to believe it. You wanted to have the fairy tale. Intermingled with the perfect person was a sprinkling of a story, a bad past possibly, something that they were brave for overcoming. Something that made you respect and admire them. Every once in awhile the facade of strength crumbled a bit and you saw the person beneath, the damaged person from that event peak out, and you wanted to help them. They were so special and deserved it from you.
You begin to feel fortunate to be around such an amazing individual. Everything about them fulfills you and makes you a better person. Their values become your values. Why? Because they have an understanding of the world that you desire. They are like a teacher, and you willingly follow. They nurture and embrace you. They are content and happy, this makes you content and happy. You are wrapped in the happy blanket of love, acceptance, and beauty. It could never be better.
You’re right, it couldn’t be. Slowly but oh so steadily there is a change. The person becomes sullen and disappointed in you. What have you done? What do you need to do? They are so unhappy with you and all you want is for them to be happy. You will do anything to get them back to loving you, wanting you, to turn off the tap of thoughtless words, harsh criticism, and cold shoulders. You search for the way to make them come back, but suddenly there they are. They’re happy and smiling again. They want to be around you, and they love you. And you rejoice! You have succeeded!
But you didn’t. As quickly as they came, the perfect person fades away again. This process repeats and repeats, every time the emergence of the person you fell in love with gets shorter and shorter. The shorter their appearance is, the harder you work to make them come back.
All the while who you are, what you hold valuable, what is important to you has disappeared into what I call the narcissistic vanishing.
You didn’t forget to take care of you, you were made to believe that taking care of them was taking care of you All the while you were fading into their shadow and your own was disappearing beneath your own feet. Instead of horror, you felt pride, because that is what they required of you.
You see, you were being trained. You were trained to abandon yourself and become their extension. A personified piece of their ego whose soul purpose is to serve their condition. You are what they needed to be certain of themselves as a person. Inside them they have nothing, you are what they have. It will never be enough, and when you can’t give them all they required of you, because it is impossible, they resent you. They push you harder. They despise that they need you.
When it’s over, it’s like the dome around your world shatters and falls away. The harsh light of reality is there waiting for you, and you are left in shock and horror.
The person that you loved, they didn’t exist. You loved a figment of their imagination, that became the whole of yours. Now that they are gone, you have nothing left of yourself. You invested all you are in who they were, what they needed from you, and now that that person is absent you are as hollow a shell as they are. They sucked every last bit of self from you, left you in ruins, and now you have to rebuild.
It’s so insidious because it’s the sacrifice of all of you, and you do it willingly. You have so much self-doubt, loathing, anger, resentment, rage, fear, sorrow, pain, and disbelief that finding your way out of that shell-shocked state is a harder journey than the sacrifice that you made.
Why? Because you made that sacrifice for love, for that other person, because you felt good when you were doing it. Now you are broken, and finding the desire to rebuild out of the wreckage is hard, and now you have to do it for you. You have to find the strength in the tatters left behind, and it seems impossible. What’s more, you struggle to find the motivation to do so.
It’s not impossible, and it can be done. It’s not fast, it’s not easy, and there are a lot of setbacks. You are going to be pissed that it takes you as long as it does, and you are going to turn that anger in on yourself as criticism for not being strong enough. The fact of the matter is, it’s a process, and even when you are done with it, you are still at high risk for another narcissist. You might think, nope! I know what their game is now! I’ll see it coming from a mile away.
No, you won’t, and here’s why. You still were susceptible to love bombing. You have been trained to seek that payoff through out your relationship with the narcissist. When the next one cozies up to you, and they will, the love bombing will feel so good to your damaged heart. You will subconsciously be drawn to it. Going forward, you have to be hyperaware of what the other person is about. You have to remind yourself, if it’s too good to be true, it is.