Dealing with the Disillusionment Caused by the Narcissist

One of the many reasons why narcissists can do so much damage to our well-being and sense of self worth is that their behavior is violating almost every maxim of decent human conduct. Prior to meeting a narcissist we often still hold on to the belief that humans are innately good and always try to avoid causing others pain and agony. After all that is one of the rules we try to stick to as good as we can. We tend to measure the narcissists by our own standards of good conduct and therefore – especially at the beginning – we give them the benefit of the doubt. It takes us far too long to realize that narcissists don’t abide by the rules of decent human conduct. They can overstep our boundaries hundreds of times, they can break promises, manipulate us, expose us to drama and break our hearts, and we still try to find the rationale behind their behavior. We never really lose faith in their innate goodness. We rack our brains trying to find an explanation for their disrespect and inconsideration – thinking that they have probably just temporarily gone astray and will soon treat us with the affection, commitment and stability we are looking for.

We refuse to let go of our belief in the innate goodness of humankind. We don’t want to stop measuring them by the standards of what we think constitutes decent behavior. Our refusal to let go and accept their cold indifference for what it is can become very harmful over time. In the end, we are only drawing out the inevitable through our willingness to rationalize their deceit and impudence. When the relationship is finally over we have to deal with the disillusionment that comes with having to say farewell to our belief that people try to avoid causing each other pain and stress. We are finally forced to realize that not all people are interested in being considerate of the feelings of others. I was greatly disillusioned after the end of my relationship with the narcissist. All the time I had been measuring him by the standards of good behavior I had set for myself. I somehow didn’t really believe that he didn’t act according to the same maxims. It took me a long time to realize that I was not capable of making sense of his behavior, because he was not sharing the same values and outlooks.

While I was still in a relationship with him I always gave him the benefit of the doubt and refused to see his distance, inconsistency, unavailability and deceit for what it was. After all, he occasionally showed me clear signs of affection, interest, care and dedication and I was convinced that he wouldn’t bother to do so if he wasn’t genuinely interested. I didn’t get my head around the idea that he wasn’t sticking to the rules of decent human conduct and that his signs of affection might just be part of his mind games and manipulation. Because of my naive belief in the genuiness of his conduct, I allowed the emotional abuse to go on for far too long. I always had nagging feelings of doubt and insecurity, I consistently feared that he might just abandon me. However, I always dispelled my doubts, telling myself that he wouldn’t have bothered doing this or saying that if he just planned on abandoning me. That prospect always seemed too cruel to me to even be a possibility. In the end, when the full scope of his shameful conduct had finally revealed itself to me, I had to pay dearly for my naivety. As my beliefs have been completely shattered, I was deeply disillusioned and had to adjust my views accordingly.

The narcissist I dated gave me reasons to hold on and to feel that there was indeed hope for a future. He spent an entire weekend with me and my family, he had inspiring conversations with my parents and my brother. He told my mother that he wanted her to teach him how to cook and how to knit (no kidding!). He leafed through old photo albums with me and my mother. After the end of the weekend, he hugged my mother goodbye and told her what a sweet lady she was. He not only met my parents but also my friends. He held my hand and kissed me in their presence. He behaved like a proud boyfriend who couldn’t keep his hands off me – a fact that let my best friend to remark that he was clearly “marking his territory”. He told me on several occasions that he cared about my feelings and respected me immensely and therefore wanted to make sure to treat me with the respect and consideration I deserved. He also assured me that he always wanted me to feel protected and to not have to worry about anything at all. He even urged me to stop my anxiety and worries, because he wouldn’t just leave or disregard me like the guy I dated before him did. Through some of his actions he signalled genuine interest and so I thought that I had every reason to hold on, in spite of my many doubts and the fact that I often felt disrespected, pushed aside and neglected. Judging from some of his actions I was convinced that after all he cared about my feelings, and that his signs of affections weren’t just fake. After he had met my family and friends and spent several days at my place, I never would have though that he could just leave without saying another word…

I don’t know if I could ever convey the depth of the disillusionment I felt after he had flown back to the U.S. without contacting me again, without saying another word (not even goodbye) and without giving an explanation for his sudden decision to leave Germany. The pain I felt was so intense that I had trouble breathing and thought that someone had stabbed a giant sword into my heart. I guess, in some sense, one could say that he really made me lose faith in humanity and completely destroyed my innocent belief system. Through his conduct he introduced me to the corruption, deceit and malignity of narcissism. He drew me into his world of lies, cold indifference and manipulation – a world in which you could just leave without saying goodbye, where you could obviously trample all over the people who had shown you nothing but care and affection.

After all, he didn’t just disrespect and damage me, but he also hurt my mother’s feelings. My mother was unbelievably hospitable towards him, did everything in her power to make him feel comfortable and at home, and she really grew to genuinely like him. Through his sudden and wordless departure and his disrespectful conduct he broke her heart as well. Just as it was the case for me, she also had a hard time accepting the fact that nothing about his conduct was genuine and that his signs of interest and affection were not heartfelt. We both had made the mistake of measuring his conduct against the standard of decent human behavior. I spent weeks trying to find an explanation for everything he had done – for all the drama, ambiguity and disappointments, for the triangulation and manipulation. In the end I had to admit defeat. I couldn’t figure him out because we were not playing by the same rules. Disrespect and cold indifference were not part of my innocent world view and consequently I found it hard to evaluate his behavior.

By now I have finally learned that there is no use in trying to find an explanation for the narcissist’s behavior. If we desperately cling to them, hoping that they will eventually follow the rules of decent behavior, we are only drawing out the inevitable. The only thing we as victims of narcissistic abuse can do is learn to deal with the disillusionment and try to get past it. We will never find satisfying answers, and investing our energy and time to figure them out will get us nowhere. There is nothing wrong with us; it is not because we are full of flaws and not worthy of love that they can just abandon us without showing consideration for our feelings. Some people just can’t behave in a decent way and they have no use for our love and consideration. They don’t know or care about what they are doing to the feelings of others. We have to accept it and no longer try to measure them by our standards or apply our rules of decent behavior to them. Instead we should try to come to terms with the lesson they taught us: Not every person is considerate and honest. There are people who show no respect and can’t value or handle genuine affection and care. It is not our fault that they can’t. Instead of trying to find the rationale behind their behavior, we should feel sorry for them. At least we have the chance to eventually work past the disillusionment they left us with. The narcissists will, however, always have a hard time reciprocating love and settling down in a healthy, committed relationship.

9 thoughts on “Dealing with the Disillusionment Caused by the Narcissist

  1. I feel so bad for you because mine never left without saying a word. We kind of exploded and I was the one who told him I never wanted to see him again and he did all that crying thing which means nothing when it’s a narcissist doing it but, the point being, he did not just disappear without saying goodbye or anything. I can’t even imagine how that felt for you, I really can’t. I was devastated by the relationship with my narcissist and ended up in therapy due to his abuse: my panic attacks which had been gone for years came back, I stopped eating, I stopped sleeping, my friends were in despair over my skinny and miserable self BUT at least he didn’t leave me like yours left you. I really can’t imagine what that must have been like, I just can’t. I know that’s all behind you now but I want to give you big hugs anyway because I’m horrified by how it all ended. So, lots of *virtual* hugs to you ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so so much for your kindness. I appreciate it very much!
      I was absolutely miserable after being so shamelessly abandoned. It made me feel so worthless and small that I can’t even find words to describe it. I’ve loved that guy with all my heart and suddenly was confronted with the realization that he never was nearly as attached as I was. I lost all hope that I would ever find the strength to get past it…and I’m amazed that I have already come such a long way. It is a shattering experience to be treated like this…I had put up with his bullshit for months and endured everything with patience and understanding. I just couldn’t believe that this was how he would repay me. I really lost the will to live and I have to be thankful that I had the suppurt of a loving family and of wonderful friends…I don’t know where I would be without them. Thank you again! It is due to such encouraging comments like yours that I feel so much stronger by now ❀

      Liked by 2 people

      • It helps to write about it as well, doesn’t it? It’s like therapy I suppose. I wrote about it a lot while the relationship was still going on because I didn’t know that he was a narcissist then so I was writing to try to make sense of the craziness. After it was over and I discovered he was a narcissist, I just couldn’t bring myself to write about it at all, I just had to concentrate on getting better – I was just so relieved to have an explanation for it all and to find out (although deep down I knew) that I was NOT crazy as he had repeatedly told me I was. Now that I’m over it, I do write about it but in a veiled kind of way. I think it comes out a lot in the poems I write, there’s a lot of “I can see what you are now and I’m not hurting anymore, you freak” haha
        In any case, writing is good, and what you’re doing is good for you and it’s good for others who have been through the same thing. You (and us) can find solace in your posts because we’ve all been through it and, you never know, somebody who’s going through the same thing now ( as bewildered as we were in our own relationships, not knowing about the narcissism) might stumble onto one of your posts – I certainly wish I had found out about the narcissisism before I ended up in therapy.
        Keep up the good work (in every way) πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • When I still was in a relationship with the narcissist I also didn’t know that he was a narcissist…I just knew that being with him was dramatic, exhausting and unfulfilling. I nearly lost my mind because of all the ups and downs and therefore started writing a journal in order to be able to deal with what was going on. Looking at the journal now is really shocking because it reveals just how brainwashed and dependent I was. After the end of the relationship I immediately started blogging about it…That way I could make sense of what had happened to me. I also started writing poems…I found it helps greatly to release all the things pent up inside me. And I really like your poems by the way…they greatly affect me because I can relate to them…and the language is powerful and beautiful. So keep up the good work as well! And thank you so much for sharing your insights and thoughts with me. I love being able to exchange experiences. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So very true! That’s precisely the thing with narcissists. As you’ve said, they do not follow the same rules as the rest of us “lowly mortals” . They make their own random, twisted rules which are subject to change or revision without prior notice. What hurts to the point of almost losing your mind (at least for me, this is what almost broke me) is the fact that we judge them by our standard. We believe that they live by the same values and belief system we live by because they mirrored those same values and beliefs to us during the idealisation stage. Then, just as you’re starting to get comfortable they pull the rug from under your feet and don’t seem to give a damn where you land as you fall! When this happened I felt so violated, like I had been emotionally raped. It was the worst feeling.

    I feel your pain because I know how devastating the realization is. One thing about us ( people who have lived with narcissists) we believe that People can change and things will get better and Just because we lack the capacity for evil, others lack it too… Not because we’re weak, but like you said, because we’re more inclined to see and expect the best from others. Then along comes the narc who messes with our entire belief system and teaches us a hard lesson… We learn from our experiences, and when we know better, we do better. πŸ™‚
    As always, lovely post and thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right! They mirror our belief system and values in the idealization stage…The narcissist I dated did exactly that…he even told me he worried far too much about other people’s feeling and that he therefore always was the one who had to pay for the damage women have taken with them from previous relationships…He also told me wanted to make sure to treat me with “the care and consideration I deserve” because he respected me “immensely”…And that he always wanted me to feel protected and to not have to worry about anything. Of course I believed he was a genuinely good guy with a big heart who would always try to respect me. I also felt “emotionally raped” when he left without uttering another word…Suddenly I had to deal with the fact that all of his words had been empty and dishonest. I could never find the indecency to treat others like that and my complete naive belief system was shattered…Thank you again for your comment! I am glad you are sharing your insights. It helps to know that I am not alone and that others can relate. Hugs ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is the worst part of it all. Listening to their lies about our future together and dreams of the future. It is totally a sad phase and something which disturbs us emotionally, it is a turmoil.

    Well-phrased Hugsy, this is one of my favourite posts by you. πŸ‘β€

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right…You believe in their lies and deceit and in the end it feels like a slap in the face when you have to realize that nothing of what they said was genuine…Thank you again for your kind comment ❀ I'm so glad I have you as a follower of my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you very much for sharing your story that is a very common theme for right thinking humans.
    If it helps may you know you are not alone in being dragged all over by narcissists.
    As you say… it takes a long time to accept some people are bad and should be related to as such.
    Its a very hurtful , gut wrenching, maddening awakening from the eve-like, child-like state of innocence where the
    narcissists are having all their cakes and eating them at your expense.

    But thank God waking up we do.
    I do the love the fact that i do do not have to be evil like the narcissists….
    but i am telling you…. in a way…. i have become more eviler than them. You see now i know there are these
    worthless animals prowling the earth.
    For a start i am no longer quick giving my trust to any one. Trust must
    be earned and when the narcissists start misbehaving- as they do eventually- they realize they are on their own.
    I am no longer with them. We are on different planets.

    Now my friendship, my considerations, my helpfulness…. all the wonderful attributes i possess are no longer available
    to anyone who comes with a long story.
    I am not afraid to be good or loving…. but i know there are many, very many people
    who say…. this is a wonderful attentive and just man…. very ripe for manipulation and abuse…. but just why can i not get
    an an ounce of him????

    Many of these abusers are essentially on my no contact list and i make them pay hell for breaking the contact.

    So yes there are evil people. narcissists.
    But as the good book says… he maketh a table for me… in the midst of my enemies.
    Of course i wish.
    It had not taken me soo long to understand…. loosing so much precious time. On people i should have
    kicked out of my life… on day one.


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