Living Through and Recovering From a Relationship with a Narcissist

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Narcissistic Abuse From A to Z

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What is narcissistic abuse? What is happening to you? Why can’t you leave? How do you leave? What is no-contact like?

As I head into this next phase of my own recovery over the next few weeks, one where I hope to move into a more positive, more introspective, more hopeful space, I thought it would be a good time to reflect, review and organize the information I’ve written to date.

There have been over a hundred articles so far, and I put my whole heart into each one, blending every resource at my disposal, including my own experience, to make them come alive and speak the truth.

Here is a round-up of what I consider to be some of the most important for a variety of reasons, organized into what I hope is a coherent list of topics.  If you’re new to the website or just want to review any of these, I hope you will find this helpful.


Understanding What Happened to You in the Relationship

  • The One Major Thing That Makes Narcissistic Abuse Different makes a case for distinguishing narcissistic abuse as different from all other types of abuse because of the elaborate deception involved, where the narcissist portrays himself or herself as different people to different audiences in order to extract resources. This deception is a form of emotional abuse that can also explain all of the other forms of abuse narcissists use, why they are able to get away with what they do, and why the abuse is difficult to define, detect and describe in the first place.
  • This is a description of the narcissistic cycle of abuse, and why the same things keep happening to you again and again in the relationship.
  • It’s also probably a good idea to just go ahead and read through the Narcissistic Abuse Dictionary as well before moving on to other topics.  That alone will provide you with a lot of insight into relationships with narcissists.


Peeking Behind the Curtain: How Do the Narcissist’s Tactics Work?


Understanding the Narcissist’s Behavior:  Why Do They Do What They Do?

  • One of the things that was crucial to me in my healing was thinking from a narcissist’s point of view.  Sometimes it was enlightening immediately.  Sometimes I denied what I read, but then later after I had more distance from the relationship or read other things, it was easier to process and gave me an even deeper understanding.  I cannot underestimate, however, the importance of this step in my recovery.  It was very brutal, and I had to process it in small chunks.  Without it, however, I would not have recovered as quickly or have gained as great of an understanding as I have now.  I describe this process and where I learned about it in the article How to Think Like a Narcissist and Why You Should.

Getting Your Questions About Narcissism Answered

  • One of the things I realized was that some of the things I read did not seem to apply, and I realized that it was probably because there were different types of narcissists and they sometimes behaved differently. After some research, I cataloged the different types of narcissists and discussed why it is crucial to understand that there are different types and which one you’re reading about in 9 Types of Narcissists and What They Want.
  • I tackled several issues around the topic of how narcissists feel about love and what it actually means to them in Can Narcissists Love You?
  • There is a lot written about the knowledge and intent behind the pain that narcissists cause.  I have categorized the types of pain that they cause (incidental and intentional) and described the philosophical and psychological reasons behind why narcissists inflict pain, but then return to answer the question of why it is we care so much– it is my belief that we’re really asking the wrong question.  The question is, if they know, why don’t they stop?  All of this is discussed in the article, Why ‘Do Narcissists Know They’re Hurting You’ Wrong Question.


Who Do Narcissists Target and What Happens to Them Once They Are in a Relationship with One?

  • You get something I decided to call ““Not My Boyfriend” Syndrome,” which is a form of denial about the nature of what we are dealing with while we are in the relationship.  It can also apply to girlfriends, husbands or wives.


Why Can’t You Leave?

  • With this cognitive dissonance and the other things they use to keep us bound to them, they can keep hoovering us back into the relationship using a variety of methods.  They do it for a variety of reasons, but it’s always insincere.


Leaving the Relationship


After Going No-Contact

  • There are a couple of articles that describe some things to help you move on and heal from narcissistic abuse that you may want to try.
  • Finally, there were several epiphanies I had after leaving. This article describes eight things I realized about the relationship only after I left and had been out of it for a long time.  This article contains things I would tell my ex if I could talk to him again.  And, finally, this article is one in which I realized that no-contact is a process that itself has phases and has led me out of studying narcissistic abuse itself and into a more introspective phase of understanding myself.  Thus, the reason I decided to create this page that organizes some of my posts from the past.


Lastly, you might want to look at two other things: 

  • This toolkit of information, thought exercises and activities I created for going no-contact and moving on.
  • This page of my favorite resources on narcissistic abuse recovery.