Striving to Satisfy a Narcissist: The Demands and Consequences.
Finding yourself in a relationship with a narcissist can be an overwhelming and deeply traumatic experience. The dynamics of such a relationship are characterised by relentless demands and manipulation, resulting in a painful and often destructive cycle. This article explores the extent to which one must bend over backwards to keep a narcissist satisfied, shedding light on the self-sacrifice, emotional turmoil, and loss of self-worth involved. By delving into the numerous demands placed on individuals entangled in these relationships, as well as the emotional consequences they face, we can better comprehend the complex nature of narcissistic interactions.
Constant Praise and Attention:
To appease narcissists, one must continuously shower them with adoration, attention, and care. Their insatiable need for perpetual affirmation requires individuals to devote themselves entirely to providing unwavering emotional, mental, physical, sexual, spiritual, and financial support. Consequently, personal desires and needs are pushed aside as the narcissist becomes the sole focus of one’s existence. The absence of true intimacy, communication, love, honesty, and trust further erode the foundations of the relationship, leaving individuals feeling emotionally isolated and unfulfilled.
Cheating, Lies, and Manipulation:
Individuals in relationships with narcissists must come to terms with their partner’s inclination towards infidelity, deceit, and manipulation. While hope for improvement or change may arise, such instances are often temporary, and the cycle of pain and betrayal consistently reemerges. Accepting this continuous emotional turmoil becomes necessary, eroding one’s self-esteem and belief in a healthy, fulfilling partnership. The absence of personal opinions, desires, and needs is deemed selfish by the narcissist, disallowing individuals from expressing their individuality and self-worth.
Devaluation and Discardment:
Whether perceived as weak or strong, standing up for oneself against a narcissist leads to devaluation and discardment. Rejection becomes a recurrent motif for those seeking to challenge the narcissist’s behaviour, ultimately enforcing a deep sense of worthlessness. A lack of security, self-esteem, peace, and comfort prevails throughout these relationships, as individuals are deprived of the love, respect, and support they deserve.
Living with Deceit and Manipulation:
Living with a narcissist entails an existence marred by secrecy, lies, betrayals, and manipulation. These deceitful actions control the narrative of the relationship, causing individuals to constantly doubt their reality and feel disoriented. The absence of boundaries, values, and self-respect renders one’s goals and aspirations meaningless, as the narcissist aims to dismantle any form of personal growth or independent thought. As such, individuals experience a loss of identity and a perpetual state of confusion.
Abandonment and Guilt:
Inevitably, one day the narcissist may inexplicably vanish from the relationship. This sudden abandonment leaves individuals without answers, uncertain of their partner’s whereabouts or intentions. However, it is essential to recognise that their return is just as unpredictable. During these moments of reunification, one must refrain from questioning, sharing their feelings, or initiating any serious conversation. Instead, individuals are expected to resume their position as the loving, caring, and kind provider of the narcissist’s needs, disregarding their own confusion and pain.
Shouldering Blame and Begging for Forgiveness:
In this relentless cycle, individuals are continually forced to assume responsibility for alleged wrongdoings and seek forgiveness from the narcissist. Regardless of the reality of these offences, individuals must accept blame and apologise for the perceived hurt caused to the narcissist. Their inability to make sound decisions is transferred onto the unsuspecting partner, placing them in a position of constantly begging for absolution.
Isolation from Support Systems:
The narcissist’s manipulative tendencies often lead to the isolation of individuals from their friends, family, and coworkers. By severing these vital connections, the narcissist further diminishes their partner’s support system, leaving them devoid of the assistance and guidance necessary to break free from the toxic relationship. This isolation perpetuates dependence on the narcissist, reinforcing feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
The High Price of Complaining:
In order to appease a narcissist, one must abstain from offering any form of advice or suggestions that might prevent them from making poor decisions. This is perceived as criticism and is met with severe punishments, leaving the individual in a state of emotional turmoil. One may be subjected to the silent treatment or subjected to personal attacks that belittle and falsely accuse them of wrongdoings. The resulting emotional distress can be deeply damaging, eroding one’s self-worth and creating a constant fear of retribution.
The Quest for Perfection:
To maintain the narcissist’s favour, one must always strive for perfection. Any failure to meet their unrealistic expectations is met with punishment and requires relentless apologies and pleading for forgiveness. The burden of responsibility for the narcissist’s actions becomes solely the individual’s, further heightening the sense of guilt and perpetuating a cycle of subservience.
The Mask of Emotion:
A critical aspect of keeping a narcissist happy is suppressing any emotions that might challenge their fragile self-esteem. Expressing sadness, hurt, or any negative emotion is strictly forbidden, as it may jeopardise the narcissist’s perception of happiness in the relationship. Essentially, the individual must become a master of disguising their true emotions, even when their mental and emotional well-being is deteriorating under the weight of the narcissist’s abusive behaviour.
Abandonment and the Revolving Door:
Living with a narcissist means being prepared for abrupt abandonment without any explanation or resources to sustain oneself and perhaps even care for dependents. This forced dependence leaves individuals vulnerable and trapped in a state of perpetual uncertainty. They must steel themselves to endure the narcissist’s whims, waiting patiently for them to grow bored or disenchanted with their newfound interest, or until that person becomes as worthless as they were perceived to be in the narcissist’s eyes. This constant revolving door of relationships, abandonment, and reconciliation creates emotional instability, which the individual is expected to weather with unwavering strength.
Gratitude for Emotional Turmoil:
In a warped paradigm, the individual is expected to be grateful for being the chosen recipient of the narcissist’s intermittent affection. They are led to believe that their worthiness is measured by their ability to tolerate abuse and cater to the narcissist’s desires. This disturbing dynamic reinforces their role as a inferior, fueling a vicious cycle of powerlessness and self-degradation.
The Illusive Expectations:
A confusing aspect of being involved with a narcissist is deciphering and fulfilling their constantly shifting expectations. These expectations may arise from their own fantasies, societal influences, or envy of others, and are subject to frequent changes. Yet, the individual is expected to intuitively understand these desires without explicit communication, reinforcing their own sense of inadequacy and fueling anxiety.
The Inherent Paradox of Love:
One of the bitterest pills to swallow in such a relationship is the realisation that the narcissist is fundamentally incapable of reciprocal love, respect, or care. Despite fulfilling their expectations, the harder one tries, the more the narcissist despises them. This phenomenon creates an unnerving emotional juxtaposition, wherein the individual pours affection into an abyss, devoid of any hope for genuine affection in return.
The Devastating Consequences:
Staying in a relationship with a narcissist can lead to severe consequences. Individuals may find their financial resources depleted and their personal assets confiscated, leaving them homeless and destitute, while the narcissist comfortably moves on to their next target. The toll on one’s emotional and psychological well-being is immeasurable, leading to a gradual erosion of identity, emotional numbness, and the forsaking of basic human needs.
In conclusion, maintaining the happiness of a narcissist is an arduous and debilitating task that exacts a considerable toll on the individual involved. It demands constant self-denial, walking on eggshells to avoid triggering their insecurities, and enduring emotional and/or physical abuse. The price one pays for this perceived happiness is impossibly high, resulting in a depleted sense of self and a constant scramble to meet an ever-changing set of expectations.
Living to satisfy a narcissistic partner demands an excessive and ultimately untenable level of sacrifice from individuals trapped in these relationships. The countless demands placed upon them, coupled with the emotional toll of deceit, manipulation, abandonment, and isolation, create a deeply distressing and degrading existence. Recognising the harmful effects of these relationships can empower individuals embroiled in such dynamics to seek support, break free, and reclaim their self-worth and happiness.
Breaking free from such a relationship is an uphill battle, but it is essential to preserve one’s own well-being and regain a sense of personal fulfillment and genuine happiness.
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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.