“What Makes a Narcissistic Partner Stupid?”

02 Mar 2021

“Why do you call my narcissistic partner stupid?”

“Why do you call my narcissistic partner stupid?” my lovely client asked. “He was much worse than that.  That just doesn’t convey the mean, sick person that he is.”

Needless to say, my client’s ex-partner is a thoroughly horrible individual.  He is one of those people who,

  • Has a short charm-span.
  • Holds out the promise of happiness but delivers only unhappiness.
  • Sees himself as the centre of the known world.
  • Fondly imagines that he wins the Tough Times Award. (As if he were the only person in the entire history of humankind ever to go through a tough time.)
  • Feels entitled to make a loving partner feel bad in order to make himself better.
  • Believes in spreading a dark cloud wherever he goes. Unless, of course, he is intent on making a killer – superficial – good impression.
  • Imagines that gaslighting is an art form.
  • Never says, or does, a hurtful thing once when he can do it again and again to good effect.

In short, the man is a scumbag. That’s putting it politely.

Is he a Narcissist? A psychopath?  A sociopath? I don’t rule out any of those labels.

So, why would I label him “stupid”?

Do I really think that all narcissistic partners are stupid? Do I think that “stupidity” is a useful label?

Yes, I do – on both counts.  In a moment I shall explain why calling a narcissistic partner “stupid” remains my label of choice.  But, first, maybe, I should explain that I totally accept that Narcissists are vile human beings to those “near and dear” to them.

I also accept that Narcissists most commonly find themselves lovely, caring partners.   Both things go without saying.  So, too, does the fact that a Narcissist does untold damage – because,

  1. They can.
  2. It serves them – inasmuch as it makes them feel powerful.  Plus, it gets them what they want.

But what makes a narcissistic partner stupid – even monumentally stupid?

#1 Narcissists are clones 

“How could you know that my narcissistic partner did/said that?” another lovely client keeps asking in amazement – looking at me as if I am a witch.  (The wasband would, of course, argue that I was / am.)

The answer is simple; all narcissistic partners behave in the same way.   That is why I say that they are all clones, mass-produced on Planet Zog. They conform to the factory setting.  Some may be a slightly higher spec than others.  However, they all,

  • Play mind-games
  • Love to hurt, humiliate and reject.
  • Get off on power and control.
  • Are monumentally self-important.
  • Accuse others of being selfish.
  • Have an inflated idea of their own importance.
  • Tell self-serving, barefaced lies.
  • Subject their partner and children to appalling behavior.
  • Carry on like they really are God’s gift.

This is how all Narcissists are.   Mostly, they learn how to be that way in their home of origin.  They probably grew up in the shadow of a Narcissist.

But this is where it gets interesting.

Most victims of narcissistic abuse also come from homes where narcissistic abuse is the norm.  Yet these abuse victims make a deliberate choice not to become abusive.  They CHOOSE to show up in the world as caring, decent human beings.

The women and men who end up in relationships with a Narcissist have thought long and hard about the kind of relationship/ marriage that they want.  They have also thought long and hard about who they want to be.  They have vowed to themselves NOT to repeat an abusive family pattern. To my mind, that makes these victims of narcissistic abuse bright and admirable.

Even when their relationships don’t work out the way they could hope, these abuse survivors remain bright, admirable and intent on doing the best they can for the people around them.

Compare and contrast with their narcissistic partners who never bother to adjust with the factory settings. How bright do these abusers look now?

#2 Narcissists opt for unhappiness

Let’s keep this one simple. When you fell in love with a narcissistic partner you had no idea who you were really getting involved with.  However, you knew what you wanted. You wanted for the two of you together to,

  • Share love.
  • Build a healthy relationship.
  • Share happiness through the years.
  • Heal old wounds – his and yours.
  • Create a wonderful family and a wonderful life.

That was your masterplan.  In order to achieve it, you were prepared to put up with an awful lot of cr*p from a partner.

But what precisely did your partner contribute to all of that?

Were they actually working to foster that? Or to undermineit?

Maybe they managed a brief period of playing Mr or Ms Wonderful.  However, before too long, the mask slipped. Then it became apparent that what they wanted was to,

  • Blame, shame and criticize,
  • Avoid or destroy intimacy.
  • Feel powerful at your expense.
  • Make you their scapegoat and dogsbody.
  • Exploit and manipulate you however they pleased.
  • Create a tense, unsafe domestic environment.

What kind of an idiot do you have to be to take an environment that could be good and nurturing and – systematically – turn it into a war zone?

Yes, they were mad, bad, and thoroughly unrewarding to know. However, it takes a special kind of… idiot to deliberately create such a life-denying environment.

That’s what makes a narcissistic partner stupid.

#3 Narcissists should come with a government health warning

Narcissists really should come with a government health warning. They are a common enough hazard. They affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 – 7 men. They are damaging to the mental and physical health of both their victim and any children involved.  Plus, they are more or less guaranteed to produce harmful financial effects, somewhere down the line.

All of these things need to be said, over and over again.  Not least because, mostly, society refuses to acknowledge that domestic abuse – in all its guise – is society’s problem.

How many of us would have ended up in the messes in which we ended up if society would take some responsibility foreducating us?  A little education about what abuse is and how it works could have saved us a ton of time and trouble.

In the early stages of recovery, the victim of a Narcissist needs to acknowledge – to themselves first and foremost – that their partner was a monster.  However, once you have acknowledged the truth for what it is, the Law of Diminishing Returns comes into play.

The Law of Diminishing Returns

Narcissists are heartless, horrible and inexcusable.  They treated you horrendously badly without any possible justification.  However, every time you talk about it, that only serves to remind you how badly you suffered and how wrong the whole thing was.  That is absolutely true.  But, beyond a certain point, that does not help you to feel better. Rather, it brings you back to the bad feelings.

In reality, it is never too late for you to have a wonderful life.

Certainly, you have been through a toxic relationship (possibly more than one).  Life may be tough. However, what stands in the way of you feeling happy in the here and now is NOT what you have been through but nursing those agonizing past hurts and reliving them in the present.

You need to mourn, of course you do. But you do NOT need to keep re-experiencing the old feelings of anguish. But, in order to get some respite, you do need to put some distance between yourself and that traumatic – – totally real – experience.

You do not need to keep reliving the awful experience of narcissistic abuse to make the feelings you have about it true. It happened.

Hence my choice to describe Narcissists as “stupid”: defining an abuser as “stupid” puts you on a different – higher – level to them.

As for the fear that, if you do not fixate on their awfulness, you could make the same mistake again, that will not happen.

When you know what it feels like to be badly burnt and you understand the link between cause and effect, there is no way that you will repeat that.

Besides, happiness is the best protection.  Nobody who is happy will tolerate the millstone that is a Narcissist around their neck.

You go into an abusive relationship because you are looking for the happiness that you did NOT have.  You hope that the other person will provide it.

When you are truly happy in yourself, you will not surrender something as precious as your joy to an abuser. Not even if they are doing their best faux Mr or Ms Wonderful act.

Your happiness will keep you strong and safe.


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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