how not to make a special case of a Narcissist

08 Dec 2021

You know how, in a narcissistic relationship, you end up always making excuses and allowances for them? On the one hand, you know that their behavior is awful but on the other, they have so much “potential” and the relationship is “special” and…

You know how, in a narcissistic relationship, you end up always making excuses and allowances for them? On the one hand, you know that their behavior is awful but on the other, they have so much “potential” and the relationship is “special” and…

It’s really hard to walk away because the Narcissistic relationship has become all that you know, all that you can see.

So, you become more focused on what you could lose by leaving rather than what you stand to gain by leaving.

At the time, nothing seems to make sense anymore because you have become so ground down that you have actually forgotten what truly special even feels like.

In fact, specialness was only something that figured in other people’s lives until, I guess, I finally met a man worth meeting.

A special someone

When I first met my lovely partner, I had a strong sense that I had met someone special, someone who could come to have a special place in my life.

How did I know that? A lot had to do with the … well, special quality of the experience of being with the man. It felt fun, gentle, safe, delightful. It felt, in short, a number of things that had never been the case with my Narcissistic ex.

Plus, I am sure you have picked up on there being a lot of intuitive stuff going on, a lot of “gut feel”  At no point was there the clash of intuition saying “NOOO!! ! and brain saying “But he has so much going for him.”

How does that differ from meeting a Narcissist?

When you meet a Narcissist

You can’t be around a Narcissist for terribly long – normally just a matter of minutes – before they start to send out their “I am special” signals. A lot of Narcissists base their specialness on some kind of Hero Story. Others work a good Victim Story. The versatile ones can even work both angles.

That is the broad outline. The bottom line is that they will hang their specialness on anything – good or bad – that they possibly can.  For a Narcissist, it seems, there is no such thing as a bad feature or characteristic, provided it helps make them who they are.

Needless to say, that rule of unconditional approval does not extend to anyone other than them.

At the start of the relationship, they welcome you into their charmed circle of specialness. They may well declare/concede that you are special, too.  However, your specialness lacks lustre.

It won’t be long before they make it clear that if you are to shine, you need to be plugged into their generator.

So, right from the start, the Narcissist establishes how uniquely special he or she is. He or she is the special case that you have to make allowances for, at all times. I suspect that we tend to grossly underestimate what a powerful ploy that is.

The difference between for life and for a season

Here in the UK, Christmas is normally accompanied by the adage that “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas” because, in the normal way, we Brits can’t think of anything better to do than add a puppy into the already fraught Xmas mix.

That “A dog is for life” phrase is all about reminding us that certain responsibilities and relationships are not to be entered into lightly.

You would do well to apply the same hard-headed approach to intimate relationships, also.

You don’t have to be around a Narcissist for too long before the cracks in the relationship start to show. It doesn’t take long for them to start falling short of their own hype.

The law of diminishing returns

The longer you stay with a Narcissist the more you experience the Law of Diminishing returns

The things that you did that they once seemed to love and value hold less and less value for them. Plus, the effort that they make to make you feel loved and lovable decreases on a daily basis.

The allegedly easy-going person reveals a taste for finding fault and being short-tempered. The person who “loves you so much” has wandering eyes and quite possibly hands, too. Mr or Ms Honorable has moments when they bend and twist the truth like Play-Doh. Their shadow side casts an increasingly dark shadow over the relationship.

Your happiness quotient drops dramatically. Yet you still love them and are willing to invest in the relationship.


Because you are still convinced that they are special and the relationship is special.

The benefits of early programming

All that programming that the Narcissist did at the beginning of the relationship pays big dividends further down the line.

The effort that they made to make you feel loved and themselves look special is the gift that keeps on giving – for them.Chances are, they didn’t like doing it but they knew how useful it would prove to be.

Do you see where the great British adage about a dog being for life comes in?

“We should be together”

Early on we – more or less unconsciously – commit to believing that a Narcissist is the special case who is for life. Plus, we become very susceptible to the belief that that Narcissist should be there for whatever occasion we want them to be there for.

Like pretty much anyone old enough to remember 9/11, I remember where I was when that happened. I was newly separated, after tolerating over two decades of my Mr Nasty’s vile behaviour but I remember thinking,

“This is cataclysmic. This tragedy will reshape the world. He and I should be together.”

 Happily, sanity prevailed. Just.

I half-expected him to get in touch to sweep me into his little hairy arms… Fortunately, dealing either with his broken heart or his volcanic rage meant that he didn’t waste too much time thinking about world events (or me).

Narcissists are special

Narcissists really are special – just in all the wrong ways. These include being:

  • Hurtful
  • Cruel
  • Unloving
  • Manipulative
  • Faithless
  • Untrustworthy
  • Selfish
  • Punitive
  • Dishonest
  • Rejecting and
  • Shallow

The only special way in which they are a special case is inasmuch as they belong is the category of people best avoided, at all costs.

A Narcissist is only ever for…

When a Narcissist comes into your life, it takes a while for you to realize what is going on and who you are really dealing with. Once you do understand, you might as well accept that they have been in your life for a season – a season that can sometimes feel like an eternity. However, it is still just a season.

A Narcissist is, unfortunately, for that season. They should never be for life. Once you learn all the lessons from a narcissistic relationship, you should never have to repeat it.

Christmas is the traditional season when Narcissistic exes who are short of supply return to see if they can hoover you back into the relationship with them. Some do, some don’t. If yours tries to reappear, please hold on to the important truth that a Narcissist is for a season, NOT for life. If you struggle, then you need to reach out and help yourself either by joining the Break Free Membership or else by getting yourself some 1 on 1 support.


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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