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Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Updated: Mar 2

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Navigating the Future Of A Narcissistic Abuse Relationship

Written by Narcissistic Abuse Expert and Coach Randi Fine

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

Attraction to a narcissist is like no other. A powerful, irresistible magnetism that can only be described as soul attraction draws you in and mesmerizes you. Suddenly, the world is magically broad brushed with rainbows and unicorns. Worries and cares lose their grip and float away. The feeling is euphoric. No feeling in the world (other than drug induced ones, perhaps) is better than this. You dreamily reflect,"This is what true love must feel like. I can't believe I have finally found it."

For a brief moment, a little voice inside may alert you. Something doesn't feel right. But you don't trust it. Everything seems perfect. Why would you question that? You censure yourself for being judgmental, overrule the alert with logic, and quickly dismiss it. When facts and claims don't add up or something uncomfortable or inappropriate is said to you, you are understanding and forgiving. You tell yourself that you're just being too sensitive. You remind yourself that "no one is perfect - that this wonderful person deserves the benefit of the doubt".

In this blissful, dopamine induced state, nothing seems to matter. There may have been no initial attraction to the person but that no longer concerns you. You are being swept off your feet.

You fully submit to the rapture. Immerse yourself in the pleasure, entirely unaware that a spell has been cast over you. How could you possibly know that this suitor is but a crafty hunter; a wolf in sheep's clothing who has artfully set a trap to capture you.

This portrayal of narcissistic love bombing probably sounds far-fetched to you. You are likely questioning the accuracy of my depiction. You wonder,"how is that possible? I couldn't and wouldn't ever do something like that to another person."

I can only explain it by saying this; narcissists are not your average people. Far from it. They don't think or act the way you do. They are a breed unto their own. Their personality disorder, not their self-identity (because they have none), drives their action and dictates their behavior. They are ruthless, self-centered predators who have no empathy and no ability to love; zip, zilch, nada, squat--none. This may be hard for you to palate, but I can promise you that I am not opining. I am stating facts.

There are exceptions to the way narcissists may play this game. Some may act aloof, some may be harsh, and some may be more obvious about their manipulative behavior. But have no doubt--they all have the same end goal. To quote The Rolling Stones in their song You Can't Always Get What You Want, they are practiced at the art of deception. They know what works for them.

Narcissists, entirely driven by survival, have abilities that the average person does not. I have heard numerous examples of them knowing things they cannot possibly know. They can instantly read a target's personality and determine if that person is malleable enough to con. If so, they find out where the person's vulnerabilities are and customize their approach to that. To convince the target that theirs is a match made in heaven, they seamlessly mirror the person's likes, desires, dreams, and needs. They are adept at charming others to the point of euphoria, knowing that the feel-good chemicals induced in the person's brain will hook them.

An addiction to the narcissist, in it's truest sense, is created. Once addicted to a narcissist, the all-consuming desire to maintain the feel-good high replaces all logic and rationale. That ripens the target's mind to the influence and control of narcissistic propaganda. Unaware of what is happening, the unknowing victim believes that a mutually desired "love" relationship has formed.

Narcissists put a lot of effort into securing their targets. The personality they show during love bombing is fake. It is not their natural affinity, so they need things too move along rapidly. They can only keep the ruse up for so long. Once certain that the target is fully invested in them, the ruse is abandoned. The narcissist abruptly changes from a kind, sympathetic, loving persona to a critical, unreasonable, hostile one.

When this happens, the loving partner cannot understand what has caused everything to go awry. Desperate to bring back the intense feelings, believing they are somehow responsible for the change, they try everything and anything, but nothing works.

Partners who move forward with the "relationship" will see the fake personality emerge from time to time. It is merely a manipulation tactic. Don't be fooled into believing that the person you originally met is back. It is just another ploy. This tactic is know as intermittent reinforcement. All narcissists strategically use it.

In their typical day to day life, loving partners will be blamed for everything that is wrong with "the relationship". The false accusations are conjured up to create drama where there is none. The unknowing partner may initially resist or defend against them, but will soon find that doing so is futile; that it only makes matters worse. To make things a bit easier they learn to assume culpability. This is a pattern that becomes set in stone. From that point on the loving partner will be blamed for and will assume all responsibility for whatever goes wrong between the two of them.

Is this bizarre behavior typical or ordinary in most romantic relationships? Absolutely not! But it is expected and guaranteed in intimate relationships with narcissists. No exceptions. It just is.

Narcissists are not benign life forms. They are among the most dangerous, predatory creatures walking the Earth. Like tornadoes, narcissists destroy everything in their path.

Narcissists are calculating hunters. Prey are captured as exciting, fresh new supply using unscrupulous deception. They are then rendered powerless, their psyches are infiltrated, and their every thought controlled. Done so stealthily, targets of narcissistic predators are completely unaware of what is happening to them.

Due to greed, entitlement, perversion, and their insatiable need for supply, one source of supply is never enough. They are forever on the hunt for fresh, new, exciting supply. If they can't hunt in person, they will do it virtually. Narcissists are perpetual cheaters. They all are. No exceptions.

Narcissists are never monogamous. If you are in a sexual relationship with a narcissist, be diligent about protecting yourself. They often carry venereal diseases. They will infect you and then accuse you of sleeping around. Don't risk your health or fool yourself into believing that "your" narcissist is an exception to the cheater rule. If your partner is truly a narcissist, that's impossible.

So why is it so hard to leave a narcissist? There are several reasons, the primary one being that you've been brainwashed to believe everything you are told. You've been conditioned not to think for yourself; to accept the narcissist's version of everything, beyond reason. You've also been conditioned to believe that you cannot possibly survive on your own. The thought of leaving is likely a terrifying one.

When the torture of staying overpowers the fear of leaving, some people, generally those with strong survival instincts, will take the plunge and leave. Others fearfully stay because they don't want to deal with the repercussions of leaving. They choose to remain victimized and resign themselves to"dealing" with it. They may change their minds when they can't bear the suffering anymore, meet someone else, or become too ill to stay. They may also be discarded by the narcissist and be forced to leave. And then there are those who for whatever reason choose to never leave. They eventually become a shell of who they originally were and willingly submit to being the narcissist's puppet. After several years they may merge with the narcissist and take on their traits.

I've cited some of the reasons why people stay with narcissistic abusers and explained what the long-term prognosis will be. Now lets examine eight compelling reasons why you should leave.

  1. You may think you know who the narcissist you're with is, but you don't actually know that person at all. Everything you've been told has been a lie or a reinvented narrative. This is especially true of their past. You have no idea who the narcissist was before you met. Even if you let your imagination run wild, you won't come close to the truth of who that person is and the destruction he is capable of.

  2. You have no idea what persona the narcissist is using or what the narcissist is doing when you aren't monitoring her, even if she texts you during the day to "fill you in". She is lying to you. What she is actually doing is likely to be deviant.

  3. Narcissists do not care about your health and well being. Whether spiritual, physical or mental, they will not support your growth, healing, or self-improvement. Don't trust their advice. They do not care about your wellness and never will.

  4. Narcissists expose partners to perilous situations such as reckless driving or abandoning them in terrifying places. This is done to frighten them into compliance. If this has happened to you and you survived it, don't give the narcissist a chance to do it again. Next time it could be deadly.

  5. There are no officers of the law who can fully protect you. Some will not believe your side of the story or want to. A typical scenario goes like this: The narcissist assaults or tries to kill you. You call the police. The narcissist plays victim, perhaps hurts himself for evidence, and when the police come, tells them that you assaulted him. You get arrested. Far-fetched? Absolutely not. This happens all the time.

  6. Narcissists know ruthless, dangerous people. There is always someone they can convince or hire to do their dirty work for them and keep their own hands clean. The assault could be on you, your car, your property, your pets, or your kids. Beware.

  7. Narcissists are loose cannons. They are prone to frequent episodes of unrestrained rage, dramatic outbursts, and vicious acts of retaliation. Any one of these episodes can go too far. There is always the potential for you, your children, your pets, or someone you love to be maimed or killed during one of them.

  8. This one is less obvious. You may or may not have considered it. While we know that narcissists alter the minds of their partners, we don't always consider the damage that is being experienced on a deep, physical level. The longer a partner stays with a narcissist, the more likely it is that they will get sick - seriously sick. Many spouses of narcissists die young.

So, now I pose the question again, "Should I stay or should I go". The decision is yours to make. In doing so, please consider the tremendous risks associated with staying. If knowing all the risks involved, you do choose to stay, it should certainly not be a long-term plan.

If children are involved, It would be ill-advised for you to stay until they are grown. Perhaps you think keeping the family together is the most important thing. That is backwards thinking. The influence of a narcissistic parent living full-time under the same roof as their children becomes more detrimental to them developmentally, emotionally, psychologically, and physically, each day. It sets them up for tremendous struggles in their adult life. Don't subject them to it.

If you decide to go, under no circumstance should you threaten to leave or tell the narcissist what you are planning to do. This will give the narcissist a head start in planning a nefarious scheme to decimate your life. Never leave without a well-advised plan from an experienced professional who specializes in narcissistic abuse. If you are married, you must have a high -conflict divorce consultant who specializes in this area. That professional will give you proper advice, arm you with proven strategies, and help you get the best legal representation available in your area. Don't skimp here. These professionals can save you tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of dollars in your legal battle and guide you toward the best possible outcome with significantly fewer bumps in the road.

As always, I am here to help you if that's what you choose. Don't hesitate to reach out for help if you need it. Let the pain stop here.

Randi Fine is an internationally renowned narcissistic abuse expert and coach, and the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing and Recovery Second Edition, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of the official companion workbook Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: A Comprehensive Workbook for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse. Randi Fine is the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.


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