Why Narcissistic and Abusive Partners Don’t Want You to Be Happy

29 May 2018

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why does my partner behave so badly? “Why are they SO mean to me?” If you have, that is perfectly normal.  That is one of the key questions that all partners of abusers and Narcissists ask themselves.   This article will provide you with the answer that you need about why narcissistic and abusive partners don’t want you to be happy.

Needless to say, narcissistic and abusive partners don’t want you to be happy for a reason.  A powerful reason.  So powerful that it may well just set you free in a way that asking the question, “Why does my partner behave so badly?” never has.

In fact, the real reason why narcissistic and abusive partners behave so badly gives you a chilling insight into what drives them. It hammers home the point that they do NOT operate like you do.  They never did.  But let me tell you a little about how that realization worked for me.

“What am I missing?”

When I was with “my” emotionally abusive husband back in the day (and yes he was narcissistic, too) I could never make sense of why he behaved that way.

Why would he take offence so easily? Why did he have to spoil ever happy moment? Why did being with him feel like I was living my life on shifting sands? I mean, didn’t he want me to be happy?

I – automatically – assumed that his wants and needs mirrored my own.  Surely, he wanted me to be happy, because I certainly wanted his happiness.

Over the course of our long and miserable marriage, I never found an answer to why he treated me that way. However, in the end I did start to ask myself a better question. That better question was,

“What am I missing? What am I not seeing?”

Because it became obvious  – even to someone as blind as I was – that I had to be missing something.

It took me a while longer to arrive at the right answer – which was that he did not want me to be happy because my happiness did not serve him.  Rather, my happiness inconvenienced him.

Now, this may sound weird and more than a little shocking – but sometimes the truth has to shock the pants off you before it sets you free.  That is absolutely the way that the abusive and narcissistic dynamic works.

What changes for narcissistic and abusive partners when you are happy?

Think for a moment about what changes when you are happy.  You tend to feel more positive and confident. Because you have a strong sense of who you are. You get clear about what you want. You have a vision of yourself and your future.

How well do you suppose that that works for narcissistic and abusive partners? What is in it for them?

Obviously, the correct answer is that none of that would work for narcissistic and abusive partners.  They, after all, only want you to be there to serve them.

So how do they ensure that you are not happy?  They make sure that they control the supply of your good feelings.  First, they make themselves into your love Faucet (UK tap) – right at the beginning of the relationship.  Then they do that thing of rationing your love supply.

At first, narcissistic and abusive partners make you feel that they adore you.  They take charge of the love faucet  but, hey, who’s complaining? It sure beats the previous drought.

Turning the faucet off

At first, abusive and narcissistic partners keep the faucet turned full on – because that is what they need to do to get you to, as it were, dive right into the relationship. But once they have you, and the more that they feel that they have you, the more precarious the supply becomes.

They start turning the supply off unexpectedly. Every so often they turn it on a trickle – just so that you will stay engaged with them. As tactics go, this works incredibly well for them.

If you’re old enough to remember stories about Soviet Russia, you might remember that  normal people – that is people who did not enjoy special privileges – had to queue for hours to get some everyday item that we take for granted. Like bananas and toilet-paper.

That queuing served a very real purpose. It consumed an awful lot of normal people’s time and energy. So much so that it didn’t leave much time or energy for anything else. All that queuing and anxiety and uncertainty about whether they would actually get what they needed, absolutely wore people out. Plus, it left them no time to look at the big picture – they were too busy queuing for the essentials of life.

That is exactly how it works when you have to appeal and work for love all the time, when you’re constantly trying to get your partner’s good opinion so that they will give you the love you need.  They establish an artificial shortage – of love – after they have established themselves as they sole “trustworthy” supplier.  So keeping you unhappy is very, very effective – for their purposes.

But there’s another piece there as well, and that relates to the way that you conduct your relationship.

“I just need to make my partner happy…”

Your partner has doubtless told you that they had a tough upbringing.  Maybe they did.  You likely did too. However when it comes to them, you tell yourself

“Well, I just have to make him happy, and then we can be happy together.”

So you invest and invest, and invest, and invest in the Happily Ever After.  That quickly becomes a full-time job – your full-time job.

However, your conditions of employment (or self-employment) are so impossible that, it doesn’t take long for you to become  horribly depleted and worn out.  All of the constant trying to make them happy so that they’ll make you happy, leaves you without enough energy to really think about the Happily Ever After.  You just operate on blind faith that you one day, through an awful lot of misery, you will reach it – and that is where your real, happy life and love story will begin.  Except that you won’t.

Anyone who ever tells you that the path to the Happily Ever After is through the Desperately Unhappy Here and Now with a Hostile Partner lies through their teeth.

Because if you stop to think about it, your narcissistic or abusive partner is not a happy person. They do not have much of a track record of being happy, or creating much happiness around them.  What’s more, they have even less of a track record of wanting to be happy.  They just want to be in control of you – or whoever else steps into your shoes, if you should fall at one of the many hurdles they place in your way.

So, you see, your happiness would be seriously inconvenient for a narcissistic or abusive partner.  In other words, the relationship is never going to work in a way that would support and nurture you.

When they “finally see the light”

Sure, the time comes when you walk away and they reappear, in their most charming guise to pronounce the words that you really wanted to hear – that finally promise the happy fairy tale ending…  If they dare to come out with these lines from the Narcissists’ and Abusers’ Handbook “I’m terribly sorry, I’ve just got it, “I’ve finally got it, I see where I’ve been going wrong. I’m going to be a good person from now on , and I’m going to make you happy for the rest of your life.” Then LAUGH.  It’s a whole lot better than crying for the next however many years.

Do not believe the Narcissist or abuser who comes bearing promises and gifts. They have one hell of a habit of making you unhappy. That is never going to change because that is what serves them. Focus, instead, on your healing.  You can have a happy life. You just need to learn how to train your happiness muscle.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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