The Narcissist’s Obsession: Understanding, Protecting, and Focusing on Your Future.
When a relationship with a narcissist comes to an end, one might expect a clean break and a chance to move forward. However, this is rarely the case. The narcissist’s obsession with their former partner often persists long after the relationship ends, leaving the victim feeling trapped and unable to escape. In this article, we will explore why narcissists become fixated, the six games they play to maintain control, and practical strategies to protect oneself and focus on the future.
Understanding the Narcissist’s Obsession:
Narcissists possess an insatiable need for admiration, control, and power over others. When their source of supply, usually their partner, ends the relationship, they experience a severe blow to their self-esteem. Their obsession is driven by a desperate attempt to regain this lost control and secure their wounded ego. They see their former partner as an extension of themselves. Losing them means losing a part of their self-image.
The Six Games Narcissists Play:
- Manipulation: Narcissists are skilled manipulators, using guilt, pity, and even charm to maintain a connection with their ex-partner. They aim to control the narrative, painting themselves as the victim and making their former partner feel responsible for their distress.
- Intermittent Reinforcement: By offering intermittent attention, affection, or even promises of change, the narcissist keeps the victim emotionally engaged. This manipulation tactic creates hope, leading the victim to cling onto false promises of a rekindled relationship.
- Gaslighting: Through gaslighting, narcissists distort reality to make their former partner doubt their own sanity and judgment. They rewrite history, denying past events and emotions, making it nearly impossible for victims to trust their own perceptions.
- Hoovering: Hoovering is a strategy where the narcissist actively seeks to draw the victim back into their life. They may send constant messages, show up unannounced, or use mutual connections to gain leverage. The goal is to re-establish control and maintain their power over the victim.
- Smear Campaigns: In an effort to control the narrative and ensure that they are not perceived as the “bad guy,” narcissists may engage in a smear campaign against their ex-partner. They spread false information and manipulate others to gain support, further isolating the victim.
- Stalking Behavior: In extreme cases, narcissists may resort to stalking their former partner, both physically and online. This invasion of privacy aims to fuel their ego, reestablish control, and ensure the victim is constantly aware of their presence.
Protecting Yourself and Focusing on the Future:
- Establish Strong Boundaries: The best boundaries around those who don’t respect your boundaries are continued emotional, psychological and physical distance. Ensure that any communication with the narcissist is limited, if not avoided altogether. Do not engage in their manipulative games.
- Seek Support: Surround yourself with a strong support network of friends, family, or professionals who understand narcissistic abuse. They can provide emotional support, validation, and guidance during this challenging period.
- Document and Report Any Harassment: Keep a record of all interactions, including messages or encounters, as evidence of stalking or harassment. Report these incidents to the appropriate authorities if necessary, ensuring your safety and well-being.
- Practice Self-Care: Focus on self-care activities that promote healing and personal growth. Engage in therapy, exercise, or hobbies that bring you joy. Cultivate self-compassion and remind yourself of your own worth and resilience.
- Visualise and Set Goals: Create a vision of the future you want, free from the narcissist’s influence. Set realistic goals and take steps to achieve them. Visualising a positive future will empower you to move forward and leave the narcissist behind.
While it may seem daunting to escape the clutches of a narcissistic ex-partner, understanding their motivations and games empowers victims to take back control. By establishing boundaries, seeking support, documenting harassment, practising self-care, and focusing on personal goals, individuals can protect themselves and pave the way for a future of healing and happiness, free from the narcissist’s influence.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.