When trying to break out of a relationship with a narcissist, you face many brutal realizations. I liken a narcissist to a drug and our attachment to the narc as a drug addiction. I read somewhere the statement, Narcissists are addictive. Why is this so? There are many reasons; one, is that they are bigger than life. Narcissists are not your typical persons, and relationships with them are anything but normal.
It is very difficult to break free from a relationship with a narcissist. In order to do so you must realize some truths about the reality of your situation. You are not dealing with a normal individual. You are not breaking free from an innocuous union. You must realize that on a deep, unconscious, visceral level, the narc is exactly what you need. Do not underestimate the power of your attachment to the narcissist. All human beings have desires to feel significant, loved and secure. The narcissistic relationship offers the answer to these basic needs. There is no greater feeling of desire than the one a narcissist can express. Once we get trapped in their web, it is very difficult to escape because of the intrinsic, felt needs, the narcissist was able to tap in to and appeal to.
Unfortunately, for those of us caught in their web, we begin to realize that the gift of narcissistic love is the gift that keeps on taking. After extended time in a relationship with a narcissist we barely have any of ourselves left. We become a hollowed out shell of who we used to be.
They inconsistently meet our needs to the point where we become conditioned to accept crumbs, and boy, do we savor those crumbs. Sometimes, days or weeks will pass where we have received no real connection from the narcissist. This causes us to feel even more needy because we are operating out of a need vacuum. Our memories of the love we shared with the narcissist are not only mental, but also physical. Our body remembers how it felt to be near the narcissist. We long to be close to him or her again because it was exactly what we believed we needed; it felt like what we needed; it was what we needed.
Think of the narcissistic relationship like a heroin addiction, or a cocaine addiction. What are the similarities between drugs and narcissists? Many. What do heroin and cocaine have in common? They are both highly addictive. They make you feel on top of the world, peaceful, calm, content, satisfied, and unrealistically happy; at least, when they are working. But, just like with a strong heroin addiction, what eventually happens?
There are a number of reasons this country has such a huge drug addiction recovery movement. Its because drugs destroy lives. Even though drugs help people feel so good, in the end, the price individuals have to pay for the high is their very soul. They lose their health, their job, their family, their home, their life. In the end, all the person lives for or chases is that memory of that euphoric feeling they experienced in the beginning of their drug use.
The same occurs in a relationship with the narcissist. The narcissist is so present and big in your initial experiences. They seem so strong and in to you. They make you feel safe and loved and wanted. No one has ever made you feel so wanted than the narcissist. When they are with you, you feel complete and whole. You feel like you can rest in the safety of their confidence. They are able to work a room and accomplish great things with their charisma and charm. They can motivate like no other. Because they operate with masterful manipulation skills, they can influence others with ease. As the co-narcissist you feel important by association.
Just like with a drug addiction, where people are addicted to the dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, and other brain chemicals released in their brain when using their drugs, a relationship with a narcissist does the same. This toxic relationship offers a promise. The promise is that which we hope for the most: to be significant, loved, and secure. We believe that in this relationship we can finally rest. We live in the hope and are addicted to the constant state of anticipation the narcissist generates. This is the same as the sense of anticipation a drug addict feels as they live in the cycle of addiction.
Unfortunately, just like a drug addict seeking sobriety, the only way to break the addiction to the narcissist is to work a program of sobriety. Live in abstinence from the drama, chaos, and madness the narcissist generates. I hate to tell you this, but this may be one of the hardest endeavors you’ve ever undertaken. I address actual steps for this in my blog, How to Heal from an Addictive Relationship. In the mean time, enjoy this video: