I know that am in a toxic relationship, recently found out my partner is a narcissist, they also admitted that they are, I truly know that they aren’t good for me. And the truth is I don’t want them either because I know I deserve better. But my question is, why is it that I can’t let this toxic person go? My feelings about them are always uncertain and confused; I don’t like the idea of them leaving me but still I don’t want to be with them. Why can’t I let go?
Hi Hezlyn –
Of course I don’t know the specifics of your relationship, but I will tell you something I’ve found about human nature. As much as everyone complains about narcissists, they also tend to be the most charismatic of people. In fact, I sometimes wonder if Charisma is all about narcissism.
A person who walks into a room carrying self-doubt, nervousness, shyness… they’re not going to be all that exciting. But a person who walks in believing the whole world revolves around them, that they and their feelings matter more than anything else… they’re going to have some exciting energy coming out of them! And that excitement doesn’t necessarily mean anything else – good or bad – about them. Which makes things pretty tough.
Gandhi was very charismatic. So was Hitler. So is Beyonce and so is Donald Trump. All I’m sure quite narcissistic, but a great variety in levels of goodness.
But you say this person is toxic. So you want to get out.
Well the best way I know of, to get out of a toxic relationship with a narcissist, is to think of your feelings as similar to an addiction. Did you ever have to quit cigarettes or cut down on caffeine? These substances cause an exciting feeling in humans that you want to keep replicating, and the only way to quit them is to refuse to let them give you that good feeling anymore. Because they’re causing you problems.
Well it’s the same deal with this person, or others like them. You need to, crazy as it sounds, identify the great exciting feeling they engender, and then avoid it! Tell yourself “I don’t want that feeling, at least not from this person, anymore.” And mean it. Change your viewpoint on that feeling from good to bad.
You can do it. But you might need some help. Ask a friend or two to be there for you when you start to weaken, to talk you out of it. Just as an alcoholic might ask someone to keep them from ordering a drink.
The fact is, Hezlyn, you’re in a great place. Realizing the toxicity of narcissists can free you to live a life in which you give YOURSELF more attention, and don’t just give all your best to them. And with this, you can live a life based on what you want, what you believe, and what you care about.
So realizing it is the first step. Now take this on. The future is freedom!
All my best,