The Hidden Cost of The Good Times in a Narcissistic Relationship

02 Apr 2019

 How do you accept that something that started out so good could turn to dust and ashes?  Surely, The Good Times that you shared with a Narcissistic Partner must count for something?

How do you make sense of what happened?

Survivors of a Narcissistic relationship have an extraordinarily hard time of it.  They struggle to make sense of what happened to them.   They are left with so many questions for which they can find no good – emotionally satisfying – answers.

  • Whatever happened to the person who couldn’t get enough of them?
  • How could their loving partner change like that?
  • How are they meant to forget about the good times?
  • Could they have prevented the breakdown of the relationship?

Your relationship was completely predesigned

In reality, the Narcissist designed your entire relationship experience, right from the start.  Narcissists do so.  They create relationships that exemplify the Law of Diminishing Return.  But you didn’t know that.  And how  you can you believe that? Surely, the good times that you shared prove there had to be a truly exceptional bond between the two of you? Exceptional in a good way.

The relationship leaves you with a load of unanswered – and, seemingly, unanswerable – questions. Ideally, those questions would be confined to this one topic, “What makes the Narcissist tick?” Instead, they tend to hinge on this far more damaging question,

The toxic question every victim asks

“What is it about me that is not good enough to make that person stay in love with me?”

Narcissistic partners are easy to fall in love with and hard to detach from.  There is, of course, a reason for that.  If a Narcissist deigns to take an interest in you in the first place it is because they sense that you possess and/or represent something that adds luster and convenience to their life.  They recognize that a relationship with you is advantageous to them.

Narcissists select empaths because empaths take everything that goes wrong within a country mile of them as their responsibility.  Narcissists know that and exploit that – as they do everything else – to their advantage.

The law of the emotional jungle

The clue is in the name Narcissists.  For the Narcissist, everyone and everything exist solely to revolve around them. Narcissists have the right to do whatever they choose, at whatever cost, if it serves their own interest.  They live by the law of the emotional jungle. They are emotional – and not uncommonly financial – predators.

Still, they are aware that they, like other predators, have to stalk their prey.  The days are just about gone when they can simply drag their chosen victim back to their man-cave by the hair.  These days, they have to do a bit of a soft-sell.

The Narcissist’s soft-sell

The Narcissist’s soft-sell, not uncommonly, comprises two parts:

  • Information gathering, when they show so much interest in you that you can only conclude that they must find you irresistibly, gratifyingly fascinating.
  • “Selling” you on the advantages of their high-ticket product – i.e. themselves. The advantages that they sell you on are, in fact, The Good Times.

The Good Times may, or may not, come with a written guarantee, such as a marriage contract. Either way, that contract will prove to be worthless .  As worthless as the person who issued it.

Once you have signed your heart away on the dotted line, The Good Times tend to become more and more elusive. The golden rule of Narcissistic relationship is simple: they all end up down the pan.

The 3 questions you need to ask yourself

In point of fact, there are just three questions that every ex-partner of a Narcissist needs to ask herself:

1) Were The Good Times really that good? You hear so much about The Good Times from the victims of Narcissistic and emotional abuse.  However, whenever I have asked for more details about these fabled Good Times, I have invariably discovered that they were not that good anyway.  They were merely fit for purpose – the Narcissist’s purpose.  The Good Times  were just good enough to seal the deal.

2) Why do you suppose that the guy who sold you deal on the strength of The Good Times was the real person? You wake up in a committed relationship – committed on your side, at any rate – and have to make a decision about which one of your two partners is the real deal, Mr Wonderful or Mr Nasty. Wishful thinking – and denial – scream, “Mr Wonderful is the real guy.  Mr Nasty is just a mask.”  Hmm!! 

We all know the story of the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I haven’t heard too many stories of sheep in wolves’ clothing.  Admittedly, the facile fiction of the great – but wounded – guy who appears hard and cold on the outside doesn’t help the naive and romantic to orient themselves.  My – admittedly imperfect – recall of the genre doesn’t bring to mind any Good Guy heroes who make an art form out of progressively cheating, robbing, rejecting, humiliating and mentally destabilizing the romantic heroine before declaring undying love.

3) Have you ever stopped to calculate the cost of The Good Times?  Let me explain.  “My” Mr Nasty offered me roughly 5 months of support when I was having major issues with my parents.  We had some Good Enough Times together.  Once I had signed on the dotted line those good times cost me, in short order, my family of origin, a chosen career move, friends and my country.

Being too naïve, too vulnerable and too isolated to leave early on, the long term costs rose to include, financial assets, long-term depression,  my self-esteem, massive professional under-achievement, the waste of 2 decades of my life, and Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, whenever I was working up to ending the relationship, The Good Times would reappear.  One of the happiest times in my marriage was our 6 month trial separation. The cost of those Good Times was another 3 years of misery.

What has been the cost of The Good Times on your life? 

If you grew up in a toxic family, then The Good Times may have been few and far between, leaving you unduly grateful to the Narcissist for the Goodi-ish Times they gave you. From now on, you need to remember two things. First, The Good Times in a bad relationship come at a very, VERY high cost.  Second, when you are with good people, you get to enjoy an abundance of good times. Without paying a high price – or any price for them.  Never forget the hidden cost of The Good Times in a Narcissistic Relationship.


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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