What kind of power is this that the narcissists have over us? Why are we so drawn to them? No, I’m not talking about what it’s like when we first get to know them, but when they pull us in and shower us with all their love.
Why do we still feel so drawn to them after abuse?
Why do we feel sorry if you flood us with tears of repentance after the violence? Why do we care more about their pain than our own or the abuse they just exposed us to?
And when we finally have the courage to leave them, why do we feel sick about them? Guilty because we think about what will happen to them after we leave them? Why do we long for the man who hurt us to make us feel better again?
I have recently spoken to some survivors and victims of domestic violence. They told me that they are struggling with empathy and asked me to talk about it. It is a struggle that I know only too well because I know how difficult this inner struggle is.
One woman said that when she saw her ex (after not seeing him for a while), she had to struggle with empathy. When she won in court and her ex had to go through hell. She added that it was very confusing for her. She said, “Why am I sorry for the years of abuse he did to me?” And exhausted, she said her strength was about to fail and she started to feel really bad.
I can still remember the time when my ex had this influence on me. I felt so sorry for him, even after he could have killed me. When he said how sorry he is and how much he loves me, I put his needs and feelings above my own. When I finally decided to leave him, I felt guilty. I wondered what would happen to him. I left him when he needed me the most!
Forget the fact that I am now going through life as a young, single mother. My own struggles and pains were secondary.
Our empathy is one of the main reasons why narcissists are drawn to us and why we are with them at all.
They lack empathy. They don’t understand the impact of their actions on other people. They never take responsibility for them. They have to feed their inflated self-confidence, their rights and their ego from other people. And the person you’re targeting is someone who has a great ability to empathize with other people. To the point where they put the narcissist above themselves.
We do this because we have low self-esteem.
With little self-esteem, we are not good at setting healthy boundaries, let alone taking care of ourselves first. So we are ripe for manipulation. We believe them when they tell us that their behaviour is our fault. We put their needs above our own.
Narcissists feel that we have an inner emptiness that tells us that we are not good enough.
This feeling comes from our childhood and you know exactly where the release buttons are. They will press them both when they want to wake the injured child back in us and when they want to calm us down and make us feel special and good again.
We are grateful to the narcissists both for showering us with love at the beginning of the relationship and for showing us their love after the abuse. They fill this gap. It makes the feeling of emptiness disappear.
This gap in us was dug up in childhood. Somehow our emotional needs weren’t fully met, so we don’t feel good enough. We fear abandonment. How ironic is it that we choose someone who is unable to meet these needs and who emotionally lets us down.
And so, we are entering this cycle of abuse. One minute we get the onslaught of their adoring side, the next the pain that they push us away. Like a drug dealer, they dose the love they want to give us, and when they take that away from us, the pain we feel is very great. This is because it picks up on our deepest fears from childhood, namely the fear of abandonment.
We need the narcissists to soothe the inner child with love. We need them to tell us that we are good enough, that we are lovable. And so we become more and more addicted to them. We need the one who hurt us to heal our pain.
What makes this relationship even more dysfunctional is that narcissists feel just like us, even though they are the inflated ego, because of our lack of self-esteem. They also have an inner emptiness. They too fear abandonment. When they start showing us their vulnerable side, they just push us away. Just as we think the relationship might work and we find happiness again, they destroy it. They try to destroy happiness. Your goal is to end the relationship before we leave it. They want to take control of us to suppress their own fears.
We can see her vulnerability under her arrogant appearance. This is what makes us weak and gives us the need to save them. You just need us so that we can heal them. And when we find someone who is more vulnerable than we are, we help them and thus we also heal our own inner unrest.
We are drawn to these types of people because we unconsciously revive childhood feelings and experiences. We try to conquer them. While we focus on their pain and needs, we can avoid facing our own. If you need us, don’t let us down. So our childhood fears remain suppressed. We have them under control.
Facing shame and winning can free you.
That is what brings us back to them. We are sorry for that. When we see them in their vulnerable state when they show remorse after they abuse us. When we feel guilty after leaving them and breaking them. To hide our inner pain, we need the narcissists to feel needed.
These types of women are known for their empathy for attracting the narcissists who lack empathy. They fit together in a destructive way. The only way to break that power that a narcissist has over us is to fill that emptiness with self-love. A relationship with a narcissist has nothing to do with love, but with control.
But how do you stop feeling sorry for them? That is a difficult question. Narcissists manipulate us so that they can no longer take responsibility for their actions.
They press these buttons of fear we have so that we can take the blame.
This is how we convince ourselves that there is hope to change it. If I do this or that, everything will be fine.
But that’s just a false hope. Only they can change themselves. Nothing we say or do can affect that. Especially when we are dealing with someone who is convinced that he is the victim.
We have to learn to let go of the narcissist.
We have to learn to recognize the feelings they impose on us. Learn to distract our focus from saving and healing. And instead, we have to heal our inner wounded child.
Once we do that, time will heal us. The power they have over us is beginning to thin out. As my friend once said, a relationship with a narcissist is like a plant. Stop watering it and it will finally wither. We’re starting to feel less sorry for them and to say more and more “You are no longer my problem”! And the buttons from childhood can no longer be pressed.