There is no “Winning” with a Narcissist

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Certain “laws” exist in nature. Being a biologist, I often think of equilibrium as one of these laws. Some mistakenly think that equilibrium equates stasis or no movement. A great deal of movement can exist in equilibrium, however there is no NET gain in one direction or the other.

I also believe that the principle of equilibrium can extend beyond simple biological systems into more complex systems and situations, including personal relationships.

The “best” relationships are those that approach equilibrium. They are 50-50 in nature and filled with give and take.

In a relationship with a narcissist, though, there is no hope of 50-50. The end point of equilibrium will never, ever be reached.

The reason for this is that equilibrium only works in an enclosed, intact system. If there is an outlet for the system, equilibrium is unlikely to be reached, as substances are constantly lost to the exit.

The narcissistic personality has a HUGE exit whole. A narcissist has little to no capability to “hang onto” and maintain anything within him or herself.

Remember, narcissists are like black holes. They can consume and consume and consume and they never are “full” as things never stay inside them and instead drain away.

Narcissists are thus in a constant state of esoteric HUNGER. They are empty and they are looking to get their fill. They are actually compulsively driven to find something/someone to fill them up.

A narcissist internally feels at a level best known as “zero”. If you enter in a relationship with a narcissist, the narcissist will seek to fulfill him or herself from your reserves.

Being at zero, the narcissist will see you as having “more” and have the full expectation that you have something to GIVE to the narcissist.

You are likely, at first, to think in terms of exchange and equilibrium like you do in most relationships. You will think – “I will give a little. The narcissist will fill up a little and then want to give back to me. ” Back and forth, back and forth you imagine it to be.

But you forget, nothing stays within the narcissist.

You will give. They will consume and again be empty.

You will give.

Or you will be threatened, belittled, and/or controlled until you give and you will hope, “This is enough.” And the narcissist will feed upon your giving and voila- still be empty and hungry for more.

The narcissist, being so wounded and un-present internally, has no capability to hold onto and maintain energetic exchanges. Whatever you give is simply lost to the narcissistic void.

Final score for internal fulfillment in this type of relationship

Narcissist: 0 You (if you continue to give with nothing in return):0. ( I worry too many actually end up below “0” having given so much of themselves).

No one wins.

If you do have to interact with a narcissist, save your reserves and energy the best that you can. They will only be wasted upon the narcissist – who has nothing to give in return.

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22 thoughts on “There is no “Winning” with a Narcissist

  1. Here’s my two cents…The bold colors in this artwork really convey the intensity of the Narcissist’s selfishness. I love the clock that shows how it is all such a waste of time and the life’s blood also being wasted in an upside-down vessel. This picture evokes a strong emotional response in me and actually makes me want to fortify my protective walls so the Narcissist can’t hurt me anymore! Wow. This drawing speaks to me. -Rivka

  2. Pingback: Reblog: There is no “Winning” with a Narcissist | 18mitzvot

  3. What a wonderful explanation. I have been less than zero. It is possible to get back up from there, but now that I know, with the knowledge you share here too, I plan to literally stay positive from here on out.

  4. You are so much right. Have been there in a relationship, which almost did kill me. I did become sick for years after. Run away while you still can, if you find such a partner.

  5. Ive worked for 2 doctors that are narcissists. They drained me and it was purely professional. I felt like a shell of a woman. I cant even imagine what it would be lioke to live with one. Thank you Kim for your art and wisdom

    • Of course, you are so right. Narcissists always have some convoluted “scoring” system based on some strange personal alogrithm of when they are ahead and when they are behind.

  6. I have only recognized in the last 2 years of a 35 year marriage. NOW it all makes sense. I have set boundaries with consequences. The result? In order for him to maintain his power control, has told me we should separate. I shut down the ‘candy store’ because it was all about him and it got in the way of falsely giving the appearance we had a marriage. First I just wanted to shut it down because there was a catalytic event and I wanted to know if my husband was my friend and could support my needs–emotionally. He ended up raping me even though I told him what he was doing while he was doing it. During another ‘taking’ I started sobbing and he kept ….going. I said ‘You didnt even respond to my crying!” His answer…..wait for it ladies, ” I thought it/I was so wonderful you were crying with happiness!” When it happened again and I began having night terrors from the trauma, I told him he had the power to stop this train wreck. “Don’t make me expose you to your adoring public.” His need for adoration on a fake level is more important than our marriage.
    I made excuses for him for years, saying J… is not an evil man. If he were, I would be gone. In the end he is evil in the purest form.
    His using the ‘D’ card was a manipulation to get me to panic, close out a bank account or the serve him with separation/divorce papers. I did not respond so I diffused his manipulation.
    These people make you feel inadequate, stupid, worthless and are nothing without them. He cannot now make me feel that way unless I let him. I stop him when he starts verbal abuse and put downs. BTW I also reminded him a time when he shut down the ‘candy’ store for over 2 years and I did not throw him aside like a used rag. So I am not falling for this latest manipulation.
    Its complicated. I am arming myself with information about NPD’s and joining a support group.
    I am showing him no anger or any emotion. We are polite. Not waiting for the other shoe to drop either.

    • Thanks for the great response. I love his answer to your crying…that he was so “wonderful” that you were crying tears of comments. Wishful thinking, buddy.I really like what you say about making excuses for him for years. We so often get caught in that loop – protecting them at a severe cost to ourselves.

      • Thank you Kimberly. Any validation is valuable to me because of the years of not having it. Even from a stranger it is important! Only someone who has been in the insidious position of ‘sub-human’ could understand the isolation. I turned to art for my healing and loved it! He showed signs of ….jealousy as if I was ….competing with attention. Good luck to you and thank you again for the kind words. No longer his PUPPET!

      • Well, I have thought of your comment a lot. I have some narcissists in my life, and I could never understand why they would escalate things to such an extent. Then your words helped me understand that they escalate when they think they are losing control. thank you!

      • It is all about power and control. I can tell you what to expect when you point out a character flaw or that you need more from them in any way (remember there is NO room for improvement when you are perfect—how DARE anyone suggest they change) First: Denial–Defensive then Offensive and distancing. You will come to recognize it over and over. Set boundaries—no name calling or put downs, be specific, name an example of the behavior or the response. I doubt that they will listen to the real message of the pain caused you by their behavior so don’t expect an apology as they will only hear you listing what they did rather than how that made you FEEL (the ‘F’ word) They don’t care how it made you feel. It was not about them. If you can —run the other direction as this person will never want to hear, know or support you. It is more than just having an ego.

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