As I have already pointed out numerous times in my earlier posts, when you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you are not quite yourself anymore. You are engulfed by their drama and mind games to such an extent, that you lose touch with yourself and end up turning the narcissist into the center of your world. Your complete fixation on the narcissist often has the effect that you lose your capacity to think rationally, to question your behavior, to protect your boundaries from being overstepped and from saving your emotional well-being from completely going down the drain. The drama that is so readily provided by the narcissist is swallowing us and demanding all of our energy – with the result that we have difficulties functioning in all other areas of our daily lives. We neglect our tasks and find it hard to focus on our work or studies, because we are completely absorbed by their drama.
This constant exposure to drama, ambiguity and deceit can have two very contradictory effects on us. On the one hand, we are slowly but surely growing tired and exhausted of it. We desperately want things to finally be easy, relaxed, less straining and depressing. We would give so much for the narcissist to end his constant unavailability, distance, inconsistency and triangulation. We belief that if they could let go of all of these troublesome modes of behavior, things could finally be the way we want them to be. However – shocking and irrational as it may sound – we also somehow learn to get used to the drama. Our willingness to endure the drama provided by the narcissist can even lead us to get hooked on it. We actually learn to love the drama and accept it as a fixed component of our relationship with the narcissist. We sometimes even reach the point where we can no longer imagine being with him without having to deal with constant drama and heartbreak.
This contradictory frame of mind can be very confusing and damaging. On the one hand, we are sick and tired of their manipulation and ambiguity. On the other hand, we are hooked on the excitement and emotional rollercoaster that accompanies their inconsistency. Our willingness to endure and absorb the drama provided by the narcissist, leads us to question our own sanity. We can’t find the rationale behind our repeated decision to hold on to them in spite of the fact that everything they ever do is causing us nagging feelings of insecurity, agony and disappointment. We can’t really admit to us that we have likely become addicted to their drama and the accompanying excitement, because it completely contradicts human rationality. The bitter truth, however, is that we have been so consistently fed with deceit, ambiguity and drama that he have grown to live with it – even to appreciate it. I still don’t know why we are doing this to us: Is it a survival strategy? Is it a welcome opportunity to punish ourselves for our supposed inadequacy? Is it because our daily lives provide so little excitement that we readily leap at their drama and allow it to become part of our being?
The only thing I know is that I could have surrendered and saved myself on countless different opportunities, but every single time I decided to hold on and submissively endure more of the blows he dealt to my self-esteem on an almost daily basis. I could have told him that I’d finally had enough and that I couldn’t take any more of his drama and deceit. However, I never followed through with it and instead increasingly lost touch with myself and sacrificed my emotional balance. I was on the brink of letting go several times; I tried to break contact with him on several occasions. After a few days, I always quit the endeavor, because on some level I missed the excitement that came from being with him. I was convinced that it was better to endure his drama with patience and endurance than to be on my own again, with no one but myself to deal with. I’ve always had a hard time being lonely, and therefore couldn’t find the strength and resolution to let go and save what was left of my emotional well-being and strength.
I didn’t only accept the drama passively and stoically, but sometimes I even helped to create it and to keep it going – or at least I didn’t try to end it when I could have well done so. When his exgirlfriend harrassed me with her countless attempts to call me and tons of text messages, I could have just blocked her number and saved myself a lot of unnecessary torment and pain. However, on some level, I was too curious, to unwilling to just put an end to the drama. It almost seemed as if I was hooked on the agony and hurt that I derived from reading her messages. The first time she tried to call me I even answered the phone (because I didn’t know her number back then), and instead of just hanging up, I listened to what she had to say for more than an hour. After that phone conversation, I felt so confused, hurt and shocked that it was almost impossible to bear. I learned, during that conversation, that I had become the target of so many lies. Besides, I have been confronted with the sick accusations that the narcissist and his exgirlfriend were throwing their ways on a daily basis. It was heart-wrenching and disgusting. However, instead of hanging up the phone so that I wouldn’t have had to listen to all that bullshit, I talked to her and let the pain paralyze me.
On some level, the pain and drama seemed to make me feel alive and provided my life with excitement – something that had admittedly been partly missing from it before I met the narcissist. I was in a deeply confused state while being in that relationship. On the one hand I was despaired and on the brink of a mental breakdown, because nothing was ever easy or going according to plan. Everything was somehow disappointing and dramatic – and it was slowly sucking the life out of me. However, after I had finally realized that all I would ever get from him was drama, pain, and inconsistency, I learned to accept and live with it. The realization that things would likely never be easy, that he would probably break my heart in the end, didn’t keep me from still chasing after him. I was convinced that getting drama was better than getting nothing at all and than returning to the eventless and monotonous life I lead prior to meeting the narcissist. In the end, I had not only gotten used to the drama, but I had also grown to appreciate it and the excitement that was stemming from it.
So I guess one conclusion that can be drawn from all of this is that I was certainly complicit in my own emotional abuse. I could have walked away a thousand times and told him I had enough of his shady ways. However, out of a deep fear of being alone, and because I had grown used to drama and pain, I allowed him to trample all over me again and again. Looking at my behavior in retrospect, I can – as usual – only shake my head in disbelief. I’m shocked that my desire for excitement and diversion let me to accept to be disrespected and taken for granted. But, I’m not really willing to accept all the blame for what had happened to me. Sure, my codependency was an important factor, as it made me the perfect target for submitting to his drama. However, narcissists are particularly talented at emotionally manipulating us in such a way that we keep going in spite of having lost almost all of our hopes that things might get better.
As usual, there is a positive lesson that I have learned from what had happened to me. I now know that there are both positive and negative kinds of excitement – and that the excitement we receive from being with a narcissist almost exclusively belongs into the negative category. The excitement derived from being in an inconsistent and unhealthy relationship will never add any value to our lives. We might think we can’t live without it, and that our lives are monotonous without the drama provided by the narcissist. However, in our misguided endeavor to submissively endure whatever they are throwing our ways, we often don’t realize that we are doing enormous damage to our emotional well-being and that we are losing touch with ourselves. I’m glad that I’ve finally learned that I alone am responsible for providing my life with excitement and purpose. I never again want to feel so deprived of diversion and excitement that I so willingly allow someone else to hurt me and fill my life with misery and pain.