Back in the day, when I was with a narcissistic partner, I knew that something was very wrong. Needless to say, I assumed that the main thing that was wrong had to be me. That didn’t work too well for me – although it worked beautifully for him.
A Narcissist will always make you responsible for their behaviour. Mostly, they will actually say to you, in one form of words or another, something along the lines of:
“You cannot possibly expect me to take responsibility for behaving vilely towards you, because you fell short of the perfection I demanded of you. Was that such a lot to ask, already??!”
Narcissists are hypercritical
A Narcissist is hypercritical of all the perceived wrongs that you do – not least because it serves their best interest to make you believe that you have wronged them. Those perceived wrongs act as a smokescreen, distracting attention from the many, many ways in which the Narcissist has wronged you. Quite deliberately.
They also work to stop you from realizing how you have wronged yourself.
Not deliberately, of course. Why would you?
However, you wrong yourself when you get sucked into their narrative and ask yourself the WRONG questions about the relationship.
Below you will find the 10 Killer Questions, generated by narcissistic behavior, that are guaranteed to make you feel far, far worse than you could ever deserve to feel.
The 10 Killer Questions
- “How can he treat me that way?”
He’s a Narcissist, remember? That’s exactly how he is going to treat you. He’s a piranha. Not a lapdog.
- “Doesn’t he care…?”
He cares a LOT about the way he feels you treat him. He doesn’t have any qualms about the way he treats you. He plays the game by his rules and, according to his rules, he can do whatever he wants. You don’t’ have to like it. However, you are meant to tolerate it.
- “Why does he behave like that?”
He behaves like that because it works for him. His behavior means you don’t get what you want. But he does. That’s what matters to him.
- “Will he ever change?/Can he change?”
Bad question. Ask yourself, instead, “Why should he change?” when negativity, fights, and emotional estrangement are all grist to his (very busy) mill.
- “How can he get away with it?”
You get to decide whether you think he is a Narcissist, sociopath, psychopath, or whatever. He merely sees himself as a superior form of life. One thing’s for sure, he doesn’t have a conscience where you are concerned. He doesn’t see that treating you badly is his problem. After all, if you hadn’t breathed at the wrong time, it would never have happened. Allegedly.
- “Will the next woman make him happy– and prove that the relationship disaster was all my fault?”
Doubtless she will have a damned good try – and, likely, fail. But who cares, anyway? That is irrelevant. He was a pig to you. Not all of the time, perhaps. But enough of the time to hurt, humiliate, and diminish you, hugely. He’ll probably want you to know that it’s all Love’s Young Dream with your replacement. Wish her well! She has not got “your life”. She has won herself your tormentor. Let’s hope her expectations are very, very low.
- “Why does everyone believe him?”
Maybe we understand different things by Everyone. For me, everyone means a vast array of different people, each with their own brain, thoughts, opinions, and experiences. When you say: “Everyone”, are you picturing people in what was once your shared circle who are temperamentally more aligned with him than they are with you? Besides, if they will take his side, were they ever really good friends to you, anyway?
- “Why won’t he listen? ”
He has an addiction to the sound of his own voice. If he’s not the one doing the talking, what’s being said is probably not important – to him! He has no interest in validating you.
- Why does he have to wait until I’ve finally left him before he finally realizes how much he loves me?”
Think back. Mr Nasty has always had an ability to pull the occasional – corny – protestation of love out of the bag. But things have just got serious: if he can’t have you, he’ll have to find himself another social secretary, cook, housekeeper, emotional punch bag etc. etc. That will cost him time, and trouble. Not to mention the financial implications of ending the relationship. A Narcissist can talk about love, they can even spell it, but they can’t give it. At best they may be able to barter it to get what they want. But only short term.
- “Could I have done more/better?”
Bad question. A much more useful question is: “How much less could I have done?” You gave him everything you could. And Mr Terminally Self-Obsessed still told you that you were selfish. Without wishing to, you colluded with his story that the sun shone out of his backside, and The World revolved around him. That story about the Sun was an out-and-out lie. You have the proof. No matter how many times you laundered his trousers, I’m betting you never once saw a burn mark on them where the sun’s rays should have been. He oversold himself, massively. You undersold yourself. Massively. You did way too much for someone massively undeserving. End of…
Ask yourself a better question
Nothing good will ever come out of asking yourself the wrong questions. If you have not yet found great answers for them, then that, already, should tell you all that you need to know. Wrong questions lead to bad answers that only make you feel worse about yourself when you need to heal not hurt.
Instead, start asking yourself just one, much, much better question,
“How do I stop underselling myself, so I can create a happy, fulfilling life for myself?”
If you don’t have an answer, but are willing to work on your recovery, then get it touch. Coaching might be just what you need.
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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