Why you should never jump into a new relationship after narcissistic abuse

The Wheel of Abuse

cycle_of_violence
Not all abusive relationships involve physical abuse. Emotional and mental abuse can be every bit as damaging, and sometimes more so. (Click image to make larger).

A new friend of mine (a survivor of several abusive relationships with narcs) and I were talking on Facebook. Rather than try to paraphrase, I’ll quote her directly–and then give my own opinions.

Friend:

“I realized he [her malignant narcissist ex-boyfriend who she’s still in minimal contact with but who is still trying to gaslight her and get her attention by stalking her on Facebook] did everything on that wheel except for the Economic abuse. He started to subtle test the boundaries…and realized I wasn’t game. Although I believe he probably still believes I’ll contact him again. It’s amazing, [Lauren.]

The more time your away, they stronger you feel. Your self-esteem comes back slowly. I get those frightened moments when I think my new boyfriend will just Abandoned me out of nowhere. I understand why the Psychopathic free support group did not recommend a relationship right away. They know you suffer from PTSD from the aftermath of this abuse. It’s difficult. I find myself having dark flashbacks. I also believe you have to be careful and choosy about your women friends and surround yourself with only kind people. We are fragile and vulnerable after this abuse.

My reply (My original reply was short–I embellished it when I wrote this post. I hope my friend sees it).

These are all great points. It makes sense to stay out of relationships if you’ve just escaped from an abusive one because of the PTSD you probably have or even worse problems such as major depression–you need time to find yourself and work on yourself. You need time to be selfish and not have to answer to anyone because you’ve been giving, giving and giving some more with nothing to show for it in return.

We’re mentally and emotionally exhausted and need time to recover, just as if we’re recovering from any illness. We need to not have to be responsible for someone else’s welfare or self esteem or happiness for a while before taking the plunge into a new relationship. We need to take care of ourselves and find out who we are–whether that means going to therapy, writing a journal, turning that journal into a public spectacle like a blog or video diary, taking up martial arts, yoga, or finding God. We need time to heal.

Jumping into any new relationship–even with a non-narc–when you’re this vulnerable is almost guaranteed to fail and retard you in your self growth, and if you’ve been attracted to another narcissistic abuser (which is common in codependent, PTSD and Borderline women), you may wind up much worse when all is said and done.

We’re like addicts. Narcs need their narcissistic supply; we codependents need our narcs. Let’s face it: Narcissistic suitors (male or female)–at first–make us feel alive, vital and fulfill our wildest romantic and sexual fantasies (when they are trying to trap you as their prey). In a weakened state like PTSD or depression, your judgment is not going to be great and you re going to be VERY suggestible. Most likely, you’ll also become unconsciously attracted to a romantic partner who reminds you of the narc you just left (or who left you). He made sure you can’t forget him easily, even if he was terribly cruel at the end.

anime
Anime drawing (artist unknown).

Also, we tend to be attracted to the same type of person anyway. So if you’re usually or always attracted to narcissists, then most likely your taste is not going to change.

Getting involved too early after the end of a relationship with a narcissist is dangerous. Even with a non-narcissist, old patterns will still come up and you will be hypervigilant and suspicious of your new partner, causing them confusion and eventual discord. If you’re falling for a non-narc, that’s a good sign, but if you just left an abusive relationship, please wait. Envision a giant red STOP sign. Be friends instead. Now’s not the time to get involved beyond that level. If you met someone who truly cares for you, they won’t mind waiting a while and being friends with you.

If you’re already falling hard for someone, I know it’s going to be really hard to resist the pull of a new romance. It’s a powerful force, built into normally-wired people’s genes.

But remember, even though it feels like the most exciting, heady, intoxicating rush you ever felt, that feeling won’t last: what you feel is infatuation, a crush–actually caused by changes in the brain that act like a euphoric drug. That’s really what it boils down to.

infatuation-vs-love1

Infatuation so soon after an abusive relationship is really just a form of transference onto a phantom “therapist” [the person you are infatuated with] when you are at your most vulnerable. You’re looking for someone to rescue you. There is no Prince Charming. A love relationship cannot rescue you from yourself, your memories, or your PTSD. By its nature, it can’t. You are the only one who can make you well, with the help of therapists, counselors or another other trusted person who is not involved sexually or romantically with you.

So be patient, wait until you heal yourself and feel more confident. Then if you fall in love, dive in and enjoy it–and with any luck it might turn into the real thing.

Thank you to Mary Pranzatelli for this idea.

About luckyotter

This blog is my journal. I just choose to share it with the world instead of keeping everything inside my head. I'm a recovering Borderline and have also struggled with Avoidant Personality Disorder. I also have Complex PTSD due to having been the victim of narcissistic abuse for most of my life. I write mostly about narcissism, because I was the child of a narcissistic mother, and then married to a sociopathic malignant narcissist for 20 years. But there's a silver lining too. In some ways they taught me about myself. This blog is about all that. Not all my articles will be about NPD, BPD or other personality disorders or mental conditions. I pretty much write about whatever's on my mind at the moment. So there's something for everyone here. Blogging about stuff is crack for my soul. It's self therapy, and hopefully my insights and observations may help others too.
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35 Responses to Why you should never jump into a new relationship after narcissistic abuse

  1. Yes this makes a lot of sense. As much as I feel I am healing from past abuse, I know deep down I am not ready for a new relationship. There is a guy I have a massive crush on who I am emailing and it’s so difficult to identify whether he is just another narc or whether he is healthy. We are only in touch via email but I know I become obssessive about each email and I have put a stop button and stepped back. I told him in my last email that I wouldn’t be emailing him again because I did like him a lot and felt that we were not on the same page. His reply was even harder to decipher; he said that he would reply but he wanted to avoid hurting me at all costs so he would leave it up to me to reply or not and he wouldn’t think any less of me. Doesnt sound like a typical narc?

    It’s been a year since my husband and I seperated and the divorce is in process.

    Liked by 2 people

    • luckyotter says:

      THS,
      Actually, your crush’s reply doesn’t sound like that of a narc. It even sounds like he might have some empathy for your feelings of being too obsessed and is allowing you to back off gracefully without attacking you or making it your fault.
      It’s hard to say if a year is enough time. It could be for some people who for whatever reason heal faster. Others might take many years. And some of us may never want another relationship again–we may have grown happy with just ourselves.
      I would like a new relationship someday (with a non narc) but not any time soon.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think you are right, with this crush there is no pressure and the dynamic feels very unfamiliar to me. With my history, unfamiliar is good! I made myself really vulnerable by telling him outright how I felt about him but I am glad I did!

        I would like my self-love to grow to the point where I would only want a relationship for all the right reasons but having this crush and seeing how much I have invested in it emotionally has shown me that I am not there yet.

        Thank you for your inspiring posts. They’ve helped me a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Joan S says:

    It takes a lot of work for me to be in a relationship with someone who’s not a narc, who’s normal. Who has his own issues as well, we both have scars, but different. I noticed what I thought was “giving” was driving my new man away. I needed a new strategy. I couldn’t give him what the narc wanted, and that was for me to feel badly about myself all the time. Or seeking approval for every little thing. As a result he used to storm out of the house “Your pissing me off!” So everything had to change.

    And we need to be direct with men. This is hard for the ACON who has experienced a lifetime of abusive relationships. And true vulnerability is not a form of neediness, it is the authentic self, without any masks, that’s what will bring the best men into your life. And keep the best one around. To be as open and true. This is what I’ve learned.

    Liked by 3 people

    • luckyotter says:

      I agree especailly with your last sentence, which I love:
      “true vulnerability is not a form of neediness, it is the authentic self, without any masks, that’s what will bring the best men into your life. And keep the best one around. To be as open and true. This is what I’ve learned.”
      Sorry about direct quoting, it embarrasses me when people do it to me, but that statement is so profound and so true. Vulnerability is our true strength , it was never a weakness. It’s weak people who take away the strength of authenticity, which means sometimes wearing your heart on your sleeve.
      A narc could never understand that. It scares them to death.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great article! I’ll elaborate more on it tomorrow. It’s getting late and I’m falling asleep.

        I really liked the part about hurting yourself, or even hurting others in a relationship after narc abuse.

        My advice is when you feel ready to date again after Narc abuse, you must date non narc people and take time with it. At first your kind hearted loving partner may feel different to you. Just embrace it. You will open the door to the beautiful gentle life you deserve.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. idodoyouride says:

    Reblogged this on Empathgirl-SOCIOPATH and commented:
    TRUTH

    Liked by 2 people

  4. idodoyouride says:

    this is so true and an excellent post. good for you, great writing. thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What Joan S. said hit home with me. A narc conditions us to silence down our achievements and our wants and needs. I think its OK to go ahead with dating non narcs providing that you feel you have healed yourself with a healthy enough amount of self-esteem and you must be fully aware of your abnormal behaviors. When I say abnormal behaviors. I am referring to the ability to be in touch with your own self worth and understand that you have the power and control over your behaviors. It also means you can agree or disagree with a non Narc partner knowing you will not injure him to the point of Abandonment if you disagree with some of his points of view. It is normal to differ on specific subjects and values. We are all different from each other. Individuals with healthy confidence know that you can agree to disagree without getting personally offended or an injured ego.

      Liked by 1 person

      • idodoyouride says:

        i couldnt agree with you more my sociopath did this to me constantly to the point i just stopped talking for fear of his reactions. its funny but i didnt even realize i was doing it. i was so brain washed. thanks again i really loved it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lucky Otto knows my recover technique. Its not what the experts advise. I developed a technique when I was 17 years old. I call it, “operation combat fear”. When I know I have to get over something and past something, I come up with a reasonable combat plan to change something I know I want to overcome. That something is always backed by fears that are do to prior ill experiences.

        So my way of combating the Narc has been to do exactly the opposite of what the Narc wants. I’ve learned the Narc wants to defeat your strong points. So in my situation playing guitar and being social was big on his hit list. So I put my combat boots on and I picked up my guitar and played it even more. I put my combat boots on and punk clothes and went to NYC and to see local bands play and very quickly my confidence went up.

        Now if you try out ” operation combat fear”. I must warn you that you often find that you’ll be out and about and you might feel a bit of gloomy darkness. This is normal. Just take off your boots and wipe them clean and put them on again and schedule the next wonderful operation combat event that highlights what you love to do and how you love to live. And don’t forget to reject the new Narcs on your own yellow brick road. The yellow brick road that your paving.

        Liked by 1 person

        • But despite what the experts say, I do think its healthy to slowly explore new relationships. Providing you absolutely forbid yourself to get involved with another Narc.

          My advise is to start surrounding yourself with healthy friends both female and male. Eliminate people who are obvious Narcs. There are lots of them out there. Toxic females friends can definitely stir you off track. Stay clear from people that power over you when you have your own opinions. And if you do date…be aware of what he says and how you react in the relationship. Keep yourself fine tuned. You will find that you have a brand knew keen perception on people. You actually do know what is healthy and what is not healthy.

          Like

        • luckyotter says:

          Do the opposite of what the narc wants. I like that and may try this. Way to drive a narc insane! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Joan S says:

    I like operation combat fear. Thanks Mary. I’m going to try that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes…this will definitely drive the Narcissist crazy. They never expect you to get on up and become social and enjoy life after they so skillfully isolated you to destroy you.

      The best revenge is to live well and to be happy. That is what the Narc despised in you all to begin with. The can’t be happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Linda Turner says:

    Reblogged this on PARENTS HEALING FROM ESTRANGEMENT.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your post is right on. I, too, had a narcissistic mother who was probably bipolar and I’ve survived 2 relationships with NPD abusers. You can see the truth of the lies, schemes, and manipulations only when you get out. After the last fiasco, I gave up on love and romance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      You are 100% correct about not being able to see what is happening to you until you are at a distance from the relationship. Narcs will brainwash you and destroy your soul as well as your mind and pulverize your self esteem. That’s why it’s so important to get away. The fact we’ve survived from this sort of abuse over such a prolonged period proves we are very strong. Blogs like mine take courage and a strong desire to “out” what they have done to us and are still doing to others.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Andrea says:

    Whenever I see “violence” written prominently in a blog about narcissism (as is here) i already know it is a blog written by a female to highlight and bring attention to male narcissists. This is a misleading disservice. Actually one of the hallmarks of narcissism is relatively little physical violence in proportion to the overall level of psychological, emotional, and spiritual abuse narcissists invoke.

    Violence is a catchall drama phrase, unfortunately used by some for sympathy, in some cases unwarranted, but again the lack of violence in proportion to the overall emotional abuse in narcissistic relationships is more noteworthy.

    Like

    • luckyotter says:

      Andrea, your point is valid. Most narcissists do not actually use physical violence against their victims (although they may)– they are more diabolical than that. Violence as I used it here doesn’t have to refer to physical violence, it can also be emotional, mental or spiritual violence. Anything that violates the rights and happiness of others is a form of violence. Gradually, those who work with victims of abuse (both men and women) are realizing that abuse isn’t always physical, and the emotional/mental type can actually be far more damaging because it’s less likely people will believe the victim because there are no physical scars to prove it.

      Like

      • Susan says:

        that happened to me as well. I wasn’t believed. I was seen as an individual in a bad relationship,meaning just “two people that fight and argue and don’t get along” and so both equally to blame and just gotta mature and get over it etc and make efforts…I do blame my mother. she was a passive type who let our father abuse us all…and so when I called her crying about my narc ex.. she would only say oh its your fault.. stop arguing with him.. that gave him MORE power in his mind. that anytime I asked for help.. I was rejected. but the physical violence was rare,i agree. it was all verbal/psychological torment. the physical could even be seen as equally from me! as he would drive me MAD to the point id throw something across the room.. if he hit me id hit back.. if he kicked me I kicked back… it was seen as a joke between us (the physical) I wasn’t hovering in fear bent down like a battered woman like oh don’t hit me.. as some THOUGHT when I got away from him and the rumors flew! it was that I was SCARED and beaten.. and even THAT made me angry! that outsiders didn’t understand what it was exactly that I was in! when I said no it wasn’t like that ..they think im in denial…… I was totally perplexed. more people need to know about this. because it isolates us further…….problem is, some people, with their own soul issues (such as family who knew it all along but DIDNT help us) don’t WANT TO EVER admit what it really was…. narc stir up things in ALL people.. their reactions show who they are as well and they DONT want to deal with it….
        a TON of scapegoating will go on from your family friends and co workers..when you try to tell them the truth. then you will shut down and think all people are abusers (anyone who sides with your narc is on your blacklist in your soul and heart) that’s a problem too.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. M&M, Inc. says:

    Reblogged this on Phoenix Rising From the Ashes and commented:
    After a very long time with a narcissist the last thing I want is to be in another relationship! I am trying to find out who I am while I deal with the depression caused by this relationship and an unloved childhood……

    Liked by 2 people

    • Susan says:

      me too. I felt unloved at home, and I met this man and wanted to magically transform him and his life with all move and joy I had to give, that was rejected by my family. and he pulverized it.made fun of it.. belittled me, severely psychologically abused me for 6 years, now after another 6 years of zero contact, (was with him 2001-2007) now he is a stalker! its true they wont let go. the things he has said to torment me mentally now are almost worse than the 6 years with him. and the ptsd I suffer due to a BREAK IN and attack from him.well…. I want him dead! its ok to feel that way,many of us want them dead..meaning just GONE. until the attack though, I admit.. I had NOT dealt with the 6 years WITH Him.. I brushed it under the rug and moved on with life… the attack triggered it all again..and changed who I am.. from outgoing and social to a total hermit basketcase..that me..who was with him is back:( and I am almost 42 and embarrassed to seem like this little meek quiet timid thing.,and like a child.. my whole body language is like ive been through a war zone and was defeated. I am NOT Happy. these narcs have no conscience. I quit two jobs after the attack . I cant get financial help for I am not diagnosed with anything that’s disability. yet my life is disabled. I think many of us victims have real rage that needs to get out but we call it being strong to push that away and carry on..and that success is being normal again and seeming normal…..that’s not working for me right now. I am MAD..
      but see…I also know that’s what he wants. that’s EXACTLY what he wants. he craves peoples anger at him he LOVES it.. it makes him feel important.. when we are mad because they are NOT important! and truly wish theyd be erased from our memories.
      I had a strong beautiful loved filled faith relationship with God and he destroys that too. I know many will say he cant.. but I mean ..narcs know your particular triggers and YOUR buttons to push and so he did and still does.. … he said he is more important than God and religion..yet when he attacked me he was like get my bible get my bible
      I am just telling you.. whatever is MOST important to you they will etch THEMSELVES onto it….its a trauma for me.
      now I live day to day wondering if my door will get busted in…
      people with bad childhoods … well… we cant help it but we blame the “FIRST PLACE” position we were in MORE than other perpetrators… we need some loving place to revert back to in our minds.. and some of us don’t even have that…what I have is a mother and brothers who KNEW what he was doing to while I cried and begged to come back (to the family home) to escape him and the answer was no
      I have deep pain and hatred…. towards my family… over him.. because its not him
      its ME!
      I am their daughter/sister!!!
      its abuse on all sides.. when its family AND a narc.
      working together seemingly to just isolate you to a point where we seem to suffer real brain damage.this is HARD. it is now 2016 and I cant even believe I am still talking about this
      but he contacted me several times last month even ..even though we broke up in dec 2006…
      I am sick and my current husband is not a narc at all and our relationship suffers as he may not understand but he has been very supportive.
      but I still feel alone
      it happened and it changed who I am. from a loving giddy honest laughing joyful high spirited creative person… to …………………… a wreck…and my former self is only a memory that I replay in pain my in my head in image glimpses all throughout the day and it only makes me cry.
      it scares me because spiritually speaking, I don’t think the “neediness” in these people will ever go away. and it makes them dangerous,as they think you and other random strangers owe it to them.
      they need to be dealt with with a strong hand and no more tip toeing.
      compassion doesn’t work. only indifference does…. but also punishment (mine spent a year in jail and he is still unphased) he has nothing to live for… I see a stranger now in him. just a thing and not a real person. I hate angry people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • luckyotter says:

        Thank you for your comments. Angry people scare me too. Not all anger is bad, but due to my C-PTSD and having been around angry narcissists all my life, I have a knee jerk reaction to ANY anger (even my own!) and just want to run.

        Like

  10. One of the reasons as to why I shouldnt have stepped into a new relationship is because your emotionally shut down after a prior unhealthy relationship. I think I probably picked up some habits from the abuse. Moving quickly onto a new relationship is definitely a form of transferrence, and until your a healthy person you will leave a transferance trail of unsuccessful relationships and not so healthy choices. Luckily, for me, I caught myself and released the relationship I was in did not feel right to me.

    My recent ex-boyfriend keeps writing negative stuff about me on his Facebook. One of the comments refered to me as a gaslighter.

    And I sit here and question myself? Did I gaslight this man? I thought I was being honest. He also referred to himself as he feels like a tool? I am worried. Did I transfer Narcissistic behavior onto him? I confused. I never intended to hurt him.

    He is a reformed Alcoholic… 9 years sober, and he told me he felt the feelings he gets that make him drink. I am upset. I do not want to be responsible for messing up a life, but I also realized we were night right for each other.

    I do not picture myself growing old with this man. We do not have similar concepts in regards to life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      Mary, I’m so sorry he is doing this to you. Even I didn’t think he’d go that far. You…a gaslighter? HAHAHAHA! He is clearly TRYING to confuse you and make you question yourself and your reality, and that is abuse. I hate giving people I don’t know a dx, but my guess is he is a covert narcissist. You’re much better off w/o him, and don’t let his mindfucking get to you. Hugs to you, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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