I frequently–more times than I can count–hear from men and women who are trapped in a severely painful pattern of returning to their narcissistic spouse or narcissistic parent. Each time they go back they believe that life with the NPD is going to be different. This is not true. With very rare exception –Once A Narcissist Always A Narcissist! If you are involved with a narcissist it may help you to repeat these words to yourself and recognize that you can no longer tolerate sharing your life with this highly pathological person.
I use the word “torture” (“the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain”) in the title to emphasize how impossible narcissists make our lives with their multiple cruelties. Sadistic, cold, controlling, treacherous–they gain pleasure from weakening us, to have ultimate control over our being and in some cases to destroy us.
You don’t deserve this. You didn’t when you first became involved with this person. If you are the child of a narcissistic parent, you happened to be born by fate into a highly pathological family. First, know that this is not your fault. You are not to blame.
Some children grow up only knowing cruelty and torture. This is how their identities are shaped. The idea of being loved, feeling peace, protection or freedom is not part of their psychological repertoire. They have a prisoner of the gulag mentality and that is not surprising. We tend to repeat what we have experienced early in our lives. Some children have a sense that their narcissistic family members or their narcissistic spouses are very disturbed and they make a break for it early.
Being a child of a narcissist lingers in the psyche, mind and heart. This innocent person did not get the bonding, loving touch and kind words of affirmation that he absolutely needed. He was criticized, thrown away, discounted and in severe cases—tortured.
Why would anyone return to this horrid scene of psychological massacre that almost killed our souls. Because human beings tend to repeat what they know, what is familiar. A child raised by a narcissist who feels undeserving and worthless and un-entitled will be drawn to partners who have a similar personality structure and will abuse them.
Over and over again the victim returns for more abuse, then leaves, then comes back and on it goes. In some cases the victim is broken and this is tragic.
Don’t wait any longer. Understand who your narcissistic torturer is–through and through. Then make a decision that you will sever this non-relationship. Do the work of healing yourself through the methods that work best for you–excellent psychotherapy (Be careful–don’t choose a narcissistic therapist), yoga practice that is gentle with emphasis on the breathing that quiets the nervous system, getting the sleep that you need and deserve, discovering and using your creative gifts, finding and nurturing loving and caring relationships.
I know that you will end this cycle of abuse and torture. I have faith in your decision and action to change your life along the pathway of healing and wholeness and yes, peace.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.