Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
How to get over the unfairness of breaking up with a narcissist(22 Posts)
I was with my ex on and off for three years. In that time he's done some awful things - I have kept a list to remind me to be strong and not go back, but every time we've broken up I've gone back to him. He always messages me a few weeks after and it starts again.
He has taken money from me, he's been verbally abusive many times, he has dated other women, I never met his family including his late teenage child.
As a make or break he moved in with me and my children, who think the world of him. It lasted less than two months - I was walking on eggshells and the verbal abuse from him seemed to escalate.
It all kicked off a couple of days ago, over nothing - he started a fight and packed up all his stuff and left. I swore never to go back. He's been in touch since asking. Am I sure this time - and I was.
But he's now on holiday and social media shows he's bought a new expensive thing - even though he didn't contribute a penny when living here. I'm left out of pocket as we had a holiday booked in my name which needed to be paid for - I had to cancel and rebook without him on it, losing a couple of hundred deposit.
So why do I feel so miserable over a nasty man like that and how can I get over the unfairness of it all?
He'll be having a wonderful time, is splashing out on great new things, will have the next girl lined up - and I'm over analysing his every move and wondering why I wasn't good enough??
You were good enough. Too good for him! Get him off social media right away. It sounds easier said than done but every time you check up on him you're opening the wound up again. It's the only way.
Total NC is the only way OP. Let the time roll by and move on. Its going to be the best thing you ever did. Spend the time rediscovering your true self and not the self that he created and you believed.
He is mentally ill, seriously. And Narcissists can be dangerous.
Did you know he was a Narcissist before you brought him into your home and your children's lives?
Go completely no contact. Its the only way. 100%.
Get off social media. Its the only way.
Start your life anew. Forget him. Except to use him as an example of how not to live your life .
I probably did yes. I read about them over the course of our 'relationship' and he fit most of the signs.
He was always amazing with the kids, but I shouldn't have let him move in. I just thought he was making changes and it could work. I wanted it to work so badly.
The kids aren't used to him being around - he was still spending a few nights at his house - so I don't think they'll be too bothered.
Good your kids arent' bothered, maybe they probably picked up on his flakiness.
Narcissists can't change.
Do yourself a massive favour, just get shot of him.
Think of it as a great learning curve!
p.s. are there personality disorders and similar issues in your family of origin? Narcissists are hard work. Most people won't put up with them unless they have had prior "training".
Years ago I had a relationship with a man who is just like the one you describe. To be honest, in the long-run it has made me a much better person and a better judge of character. When we broke up, I was devastated but in hindsight I was flooded with relief - he stole money, he upset my family, forgot to turn up on time for dates, he refused to let me meet some of his older kids (perhaps in case they leaked info. about past infidelity), he scrounged a holiday from me, he was always craving attention and put huge importance on 'talented' people like authors, singers, actors...celebrity adoration and fandom was a fuel for the ego in his mind I suppose. When I was seriously ill, he never rang me in hospital nor visited...ghosted, and then reappeared when he thought I was better and able to give an audience to his ego again...he was wrong, I told him where to go, and suggest you do the same.
Asking yourself why you were not good enough is the wrong question when dealing with someone who is a pathological narc.personality disorder...no one can ever be good enough in their world of self-importance and priority. These types of people are not able to have a normal healthy relationship as empathy has been chipped out of their brain, and they can never fully understand others needs and perspectives. Understand that your ex is mentally ill, and just like you wouldn't allow a hallucinating unmedicated schizophrenic stroking an axe into your house...the same applies to this man. Your children need protecting from him, and you need to be a good role-model showing that you - as their mum - do not take disrespectful behaviour from anyone. It sets them up to have nice, normal relationships in their later life. Get off social media and block his number on your phone...and feel glad that he is out of your life.
And just to add, Ns are often attracted to sensitive Empaths. I learnt to save my love and empathy for people for whom it really matters, for whom it can make a difference. Not for emotional vampires and exploiters.
HidingEyes I have many issues with my parents - was never good enough. My dad would ask my friends why they hung around with me, he couldn't address me by name - just a whole load of nasty nicknames. I don't think he was a narcissist, just a nasty little man.
That's a whole other can of worms.
The image of the axe stroking psychopath is a good one to remember - thank you!
The fundamental way to view a narcissist is as someone who is so desperately incomplete that they will eat you from the inside out to try to fill the void at the centre of their being. And it won't be enough. The they'll move on and devour someone else, from the inside out.
Put it another way. An apple shouldn't be upset that it has been abandoned by a maggot, and wonder if it wasn't delicious or filling enough. Luckily, unlike the apple, you can heal and grow. Every time you look at the maggot, remember that it tricked its way in by pretending to be something nice. It isn't. It just wants to consume more of you. Being tricked because you were trusting and honest doesn't make you the shitty person. It makes you a good person who was tricked. Next time the maggot texts, or calls, or stops by, look at a picture of an actual apple filled with maggots (gross, I know, but a powerful reminder) and remember just why it's getting in touch.
Blimey the relationship I have just gotten out of sounds a lot like yours. Even the moving in together as a last ditch attempt to make things work.
We are still in contact I find it so hard to just block him.
I just doubt myself all the time, like I was the unreasonable one. Expecting him not to be on dating sites and god knows what.
How long have you been split up? I know we will both feel ok again with the passage of time but fuck, its hard
Havalina - that's exactly it, the doubt. He'd say I was the instigator for questioning things, and I'd end up apologising. I'd have thought long and hard before ever bringing anything up and be sure of myself then he'd tie me up in knots.
We booked the trip of a lifetime and I paid for my half, we argued and he took someone else. That I paid for. And then I got back with him but ended up having to apologise for making him feel guilty about going. I lost a lot of money and my dream trip yet I apologised!
That happened many many times over many things.
And yes the dating sites - he'd always be on them, apparently not when we were together but certainly within minutes of us breaking up.
It's only been three days since he left. He's been in contact as usual, telling me it's all my fault and I'd better be sure or he'll meet someone else.
It IS hard - just wish someone would tell me how long it will take, or what I can do to make it pass. Or hoe to stop the sick feeling when I think of him just moving on like I never existed. I know I shouldn't care 😕
Watching this closely as it is resonating very closely with me.
Hope you're ok OP? I think the NC option has to be your best way forward, especially as you don't share children/ home/ not married - you really can make a clean break in theory.
I find my head knows what I 'should' do but my heart is always on a different page and actually just simply doesn't want to let go...Just in case this time is the time when it all comes right? Or what if he meets someone else and treats them wonderfully after everything we've been though. The thought is unbearable although my head knows that no one else would get any better than I've had.
Torture. My sympathy and empathy.
Also watching with interest as I was in a similar situation but sometimes still think about it.
A really comforting thing for me is knowing that they'll never change; whichever woman he picks up next, he will charm and woo her before reverting back to his old ways. He may mellow with time, but he'll never change, and it isn't our responsibility (nor is it within our capability) to make him change. It's fucking unfair that he looks like he's out there living the dream whilst you're the one picking up the pieces, but ultimately we have the ability to have loving, stable and healthy relationships.
Captain Awkward has a great article on difficult people - will link.
I know taking the moral high ground doesn't help when you're sad in the moment, but I find it's something to hold onto. to all!
I think it helps if you find your righteous indignation and anger at being treated in this awful and (being on dating sites!) frankly ridiculous, creepy behaviour. I think somehow you have to find your anger and self-preservation, something which has probably been suppressed to be a "nice girl" or compliant daughter or whatever the issue was when you were growing up.
If you do NC you really have to stick at it. NC means no contact 100%. Its a good idea to change your mobile number and anything else you can. After a while its easy, and you have a real sense of relief and sense of escape, phew! In a year or two you will hardly ever think of them, I am sure thats the way it goes for most people. You have to stick at NC for a while to reap the benefits.
A Narcissist will never treat anyone wonderfully, Martini, it will always and forever follow the boring and predictable cycle of idealisation, devaluation and discard. So you would be missing zilch.
We booked the trip of a lifetime and I paid for my half, we argued and he took someone else. That I paid for. And then I got back with him but ended up having to apologise for making him feel guilty about going
oh copper. This is so wrong. so very wrong.
the adrenaline / cherishment / pain cycle can be very strong. But it's not healthy, not healthy at all and especially not for your children. Concentrate on what is right for them, which is a mother who's not being pulled from pillar to post by a destructive man.
When you are never good enough for your father, you are drawn to the same situation with other men to finally make it right. But those men are damaged and damaging and no good for you. Give up the adrenaline rush (and that can be hard) and step back.
His personality may be dazzling. But his character is utterly shit. You can half- see that. Cut him out.
I was in a relationship with a narc which lasted about a year/year and half. It's really hard to describe how they make you feel, so worthless and not good enough yet somehow, they make you think that the sun shines out of their arse. I was constantly trying to prove myself worthy, let myself be taken for a complete mug. He was addicted to porn, constantly messaging other women, he was a sick, sick individual. We split over three years ago. He got a new girlfriend really quickly, which I had no idea about for ages, probably overlapped with me. Almost 4 years down the line, he is still messaging very regularly, trying to get me to meet him, telling me he misses me, trying to start sexual conversations, all while he has this gf. I'm telling you all of this because I never thought I would get over him and I know how you are feeling, but I can assure you, you will. Now, he has no effect on me whatsoever, and never in a million years would I dream of ever meeting up with him. He pretty much irritates me. Your ex has done some truly despicable things and you can do so much better.
Forgot to add, he will always be this way. I used to worry about him treating the next girl with the respect that I always wanted, but he's doing exactly the same to her as he did to me, and worse still, I am one of the ones he's trying to do it with! God knows how many others there have been or will be. Nothing will ever change with this man. They're not people who are capable of true feelings for other people, they have no empathy. I really hope that you can remove yourself from him for good and give yourself a chance to find someone who can make you happy.
I'm confused as what you think is unfair? You had and continue to have choices, for whatever reason you chose to put up with his crap, you chose to invite this unsuitable man into the lives of your children and your choosing to be powerless. There was never a parallel universe where he wasn't a colossal prick and instead of wallowing in self pity be very thankful that he's gone. Yes, you've lost money but it is a small price to pay for not being and going with this twat.
The only thing you've lost is a massive twat and in my book, that's a huge win. You can't change behaviour that you don't first acknowledge and if your serious about moving forward,you need to understand why you put up with this twat.
I know I made the choice to stay with him - but it was helped by me naively believeing, or hoping, that his promises would happen. He showed me enough of a good side that I knew he was capable of it if I could just put up with the rest.
But you're right, these are all excuses for me not being strong enough to walk away sooner. I should have and wish I had the guts.
Join the discussion
Please login first.