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It Isn’t Our Fault: Being in Love with a Narcissist

in love with a narcissistNote: Although I share thoughts from personal experience and refer to the narcissist as male, narcissism is not discriminatory.

Maybe you are feeling a desperate need to try and salvage a relationship you intuitively know is unhealthy and imbalanced; or maybe you are wondering why you can’t “let go” and “move on” from the loss of your relationship. It’s possible that you are in love with a narcissist, and now owning the blame for all the sudden problems or downfall. A narcissist is someone who will enter our life and consume our entire existence all for selfish benefit. Understanding the whirlwind and accepting the finality of a relationship with a narcissist will show that we possess tremendous value.

We are smart and confident, so why did we allow ourselves to fall for the narcissist?

He is too skilled to reveal any red flags when we first meet him. He is drawn to our beauty, kindness, and selfless nature because of his own emptiness. The narcissist will be attentive, generous, and impressive, at first. He will charm us with compliments on every small detail giving us attention with such intensity that we believe he is our “soul mate.”

Enchanting promises will be made that make us feel alive and invincible, and he will spend exorbitant amounts of time with us. We will quickly be mesmerized and feel so exhilarated, adored, loved, and then…

Almost instantaneously, the relationship will twist.

Time together will dwindle leaving us confused and craving any small amount of attention from him. We try to connect and share our accomplishments, but he will minimize our effort and make us feel inconsequential. We try to look beautiful for him, but the attention is gone. Intimate moments will leave us feeling used and insignificant.

The partner that once made us feel like royalty is now making us feel insecure and needy. The partner who was affectionate is now a stranger. The narcissist has taken our power to feed his own warped ego.

Why are we hanging on to this relationship?

Our emotions felt heightened so intensely and quickly, and in a blur the table turned leaving our head spinning. We now feel blindsided, angry, and betrayed. It’s almost as though our heart couldn’t catch up with our brain quick enough to understand. So, we are left constantly questioning what went wrong.

We no longer feel a connection to him and wonder if the person devoid of all emotion is the same person we love. We fear the happiness we remember was just a fabrication in our mind. The narcissist has robbed a piece of our soul and we desperately want it back. This is a deeply confusing and emotional process because intellectually, we thought we knew better.

We are assertive and attempt to resolve these relationship issues, but he is so adept at projecting and leading us to believe whatever happened is our fault.

Simply questioning the narcissist will cause him to push further away and punish us with the silent treatment. Being ignored feels so horrid that we will forget why we were upset with him and apologize emphatically to try and win his forgiveness. He preys on this kind of attention, and is incapable of recognizing any personal fault. Our self-esteem has plummeted and our self-respect has diminished.

The narcissist will not show awareness or remorse for the imposed hurt so we assume the downfall was our fault.

We have become so intertwined in making this person happy that we will exhaust and lose ourselves in the process. We start to question our own morals wondering if we deserve this abusive treatment. We start to feel obsessed with “fixing” what is broken in order to feel better, and the more our efforts are ignored, the more persistent we become. We question who this person is that we are chasing and start to feel “crazy” because nothing is changing. It’s a losing battle because after depleting all we can give he no longer has any use for us.

The inevitable downfall with a narcissist.

This relationship is bound to end when we are no longer a conquest and cannot fill the emptiness the narcissist feels inside. The ending feels so awful because we put all our energy and effort into pleasing someone who was never going to genuinely reciprocate, and is too self-absorbed to acknowledge our pain.

The partner we once trusted has completed the narcissistic cycle of abuse and needs to draw the energy and innocence from a new victim. He will end the relationship just as quickly and smoothly as it began, and the coldness and apathy leaves us feeling worthless. He will cut off contact so callously that we feel so defeated and want to curl into ball and disappear. But, this experience has not been in vein, and regardless of how painful the ending feels, it is a gift.

Accepting reality and moving on.

Being under the narcissist’s spell is not our fault and recovering from this will take time. The most important first step is to commit to “letting go.” There is nothing positive that will come from seeing him after all this inflicted damage. We need rebuild and empower ourselves from this experience.

Solicit support from trusted loved ones and make a plan for when there is temptation to reach out to him. Making this commitment will bring relief as the poison is released from our body, mind, and soul. The air will feel fresher and we will welcome healthy people and kindness into our life, slowly beginning to feel like ourselves again.

Overcoming this emotionally torturous experience will produce a stronger self and allow us to feel more attuned, perceptive, and emotionally intelligent. Let’s take the time to define our convictions, keep our heart open and full of courage, and we will find our way to the loving fulfillment we deserve.

Yeko Photo Studio/Bigstock

It Isn’t Our Fault: Being in Love with a Narcissist

Kristin Devaney, MS

Kristin Devaney is a professional counselor originally from New York and now lives in the Washington, DC area. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and her Master of Science in School Counseling. Kristin is currently earning a PhD in Counselor Education. Creative writing is her passion, as well as spending time with her two daughters and traveling anywhere that has access to the ocean. "Ocean air will heal a wounded soul, and inspire movement toward a deeper happiness." -KD

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APA Reference
Devaney, K. (2018). It Isn’t Our Fault: Being in Love with a Narcissist. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 31 Aug 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.