It’s difficult to look back on this period of my life.
I was with her for 18 months. She was gorgeous, charismatic and made me feel good about myself.
But it didn’t take long to realize she was a complete and utter narcissist.
She had an inflated sense of her own importance. She displayed grandiose thinking, cared only for her own experience and didn’t have any empathy for others, let alone for me.
The relationship turned sour.
But there was something that kept me in the relationship.
And it’s something that I think not many people from outside the relationship could truly understand.
The thing that kept me in this toxic relationship for so long was a mirage.
A false perception.
It was the image I had built up in my mind of who I was when I was with this person.
This mirage gave me a feeling of self-worth. And breaking up with my narcissistic girlfriend would have meant shattering this feeling.
It would have meant taking an axe to my inner sense of self-confidence.
So I stayed with her.
I ignored the toxic traits. Didn’t worry about the terrible treatment. Let her walk all over me.
But suddenly I had a very powerful realization. This one big insight resulted in me seeing the truth.
I could finally see that the love I thought I had for her was a complete and utter mirage.
It was a painful realization but it was exactly what I needed to finally take action and do something about my relationship.
In this article, I’m going to share with you how I came to this insight.
But first, I need to explain what kept me in the relationship for so long.
Because I think that many people who have been in a relationship with a narcissist will relate to this story.
Why I stayed in the relationship
We were together for about 18 months.
I first met her at my workplace. She was incredibly beautiful and confident in her perspective. Everyone wanted to be with her and spend time with her.
During that period of my life, I was a very shy and awkward person. I didn’t have any confidence in myself.
It felt like we were complete opposites.
Early on in the relationship we had many good times. I felt lucky to be with her. She was more charismatic than me and I felt special for her having chosen to be with me.
It was honestly a surprise that she even wanted to spend time with me, let alone take things to the next level.
I think this is something many people can relate to.
It’s easy to get swept off your feet by a narcissist.
For me, especially being a little insecure, I felt strong in her presence. I admired her for being so forthright. It amazed me that she didn’t question herself.
And the fact that she was so popular and beautiful just made me feel so special.
I started to develop my confidence. People saw me with the beautiful girl. The popular lady. The fact that she chose me influenced how people saw me.
This started to create an image in my mind about who I was.
I started to fall in love with this image of myself. I was finally becoming a man with value. People could see this and so could I.
Then the toxic behavior started
I was starting to love myself.
But as my confidence grew, problems emerged in our relationship.
My narcissistic girlfriend didn’t really appreciate my growth as a person.
She found my confidence unattractive.
Our relationship started to be characterized by a number of toxic patterns, including:
- Manipulation and control: She would constantly make me feel guilty whenever my attention shifted from her towards myself or other people. But rather than display any sense of self-awareness about why this made her feel bad, she accused me of changing and being a bad person.
- Emotional trauma: I ended up becoming constantly on edge, full of anxiety. I never knew what would trigger her outburts. I wasn’t able to reason with her and just had no idea what was going on half the time.
- Fear of retaliation: This really contributed to the trauma. She would use whatever tactics she had at her disposal to make me feel guilty.
Looking back I can now see that she was a narcissist and this is why things were so difficult. She had no ability to put herself in my shoes (or anyone else’s for that matter).
She was completely stuck in her own world.
The illusion of true love
I was really stuck in a deluded sense of what love really was.
Let me explain.
My relationship with her resulted in me experiencing a deep sense of something akin to love when I was with her.
Even during the arguments.
Even when I was made to feel guilty through her constant retaliation.
How could this be the case?
I was feeling a deep sense of love because of the image I had created of myself.
This beautiful yet toxic lady was the reason I had started to feel confident about myself.
I was going through a transition from being incredibly insecure to starting to recognize my value.
I started to see myself in a positive light.
This image was completely dependent on being with her.
But it also required her constant approval.
That’s what made the arguments so painful to me.
Not only was I causing her pain during our arguments.
My sense of confidence was also hurting.
When her approval was taken away, I just felt absolutely horrible.
All because I’d developed a misguided fantasy about who I was when I was with her.
Realizing it was time to break up
I knew it was time to break up with her after I did a powerful exercise.
It was from the love and intimacy masterclass on The Vessel.
It’s a wonderful masterclass and I highly recommend checking it out, especially because it’s free.
In the masterclass, the shaman Rudá Iandê asks us to visualize having the perfect relationship. He then gets us to go through the key things that our partner provides for us.
After reflecting on this for a moment, I realized that I was looking for love, affection and validation.
Then in the masterclass Rudá explains that we need to give these things to ourselves first before expecting them from our partner.
I realized I was utterly incapable of giving myself love, affection and validation. I needed to get this from my girlfriend.
And that’s what kept me trapped in the illusion of love.
Her approval validated the love I felt for myself.
But as a narcissist, her approval wasn’t solid. It was contingent on me feeding her manipulative needs.
It was a toxic situation and I was completely trapped.
This realization was the key moment for me to finally see the truth of my relationship.
I always knew my girlfriend was a bit toxic. But I had no idea that I was the person who kept myself in this situation.
I didn’t realize that I was the one who had the responsibility to keep myself trapped in these dynamics or to finally move on.
So I made the decision to cut the chord. I broke up with her.
It definitely wasn’t easy, but making the decision was the key moment for me.
I’m going to write more about my experience in moving on from this relationship. So make sure to follow me on Facebook where I’ll be sharing updates.