Dangling The Carrot: The Narcissist’s Promise To Change

(Read time: 1-2 mins)

Your relationship with the narcissist is over. Maybe you were able to get away from him; or he did the discard. However it happened, it’s over… but, not really.

It’s never over with a narcissist until the partner goes, and maintains No Contact. It’s a straightforward solution, but by no means simple. Staying disentangled from a narcissist is made even more complicated and difficult by his hoovering and carrot-dangling – his convincing promises of changing, in order to secure a second chance, or third, or fourth, and so on, with his partner.

The narcissist has no intention of changing, and he knows it. A narcissist will do whatever he/she needs to do to get his needs met. The narcissist wants what he wants, and he will say whatever he has to, in order to get it. If he has to promise to change, he will. However, the promise has no meaning to him, whatsoever.

It is very common, however, for the narcissist’s partner to believe that the narcissist will change. The narcissist is an expert in luring his partner back into the web. He stages grand hoovering campaigns, manipulates family members and friends to advocate for him, make all sorts of promises – going to therapy, respecting boundaries, stopping abuse, screaming and yelling, etc. etc. He proclaims his undying love, manipulating his partner through the trauma bond, calling it a soulmate connection.

In addition to the trauma bond, and her own deep desire and hope for him change and be the man she fell in love with; the partner is subconsciously biased in favor of the narcissist, because during the relationship her ability to trust her own feelings has been nearly, if not totally destroyed from the narcissist’s gaslighting, criticism, invalidation, and devaluing. She has become conditioned through abuse, invalidation, and being “made wrong” – to automatically disregard her own feelings and reactions as wrong and worthless.

So, she gives him a second chance. After weeks, or months, or longer, the narcissist’s mask falls off. There has been no change, just the illusion of it. The toxic abuse is again unleashed – the gaslighting, control, screaming, manipulation, devaluing, dehumanizing, lying, threatening infidelity; all of the harm that the narcissist inflicted the first time, except in many cases it is worse the second time around.

If the partner leaves again, the narcissist will stage yet another grand hoovering campaign, with more future-faking and grand promises. This is why No Contact is so critically important. Every time the partner opens herself up to contact with the narcissist, she adds another link in the trauma bond chain. If she keeps believing the narcissist’s promises to change, it can progress to the point where she is permanently trapped and cannot, and will not leave him.

The only way out is through; a horribly painful reality, but true. Every step of the healing path is painful, sometimes excruciatingly so. The partner must must fight very powerful feelings of hope that the narcissist will change, love (for the mirage man she fell in love with), feelings of obligation and guilt, as well as endure the painful biochemical withdrawal. She must accept the fact that the narcissist, and the soulmate relationship was a grand illusion, and let it go. It is a very challenging process, but it can be achieved, step-by-step; and every day of No Contact adds more strength, clarity, and resolve.


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