Why Narcissists Hate Boundaries

(Read time: 1-2 mins)

Narcissists hate boundaries. Here’s why:

When the partner attempts to establish and maintain boundaries with a narcissist, the narcissist experiences this as a total loss of control, a form of “disobedience” by the partner, and profound rejection of self – a negation of him/herself. He experiences intense anxiety and rage. He aggressively attempts to demolish whatever boundaries, real or perceived, and tries to re-establish his sense control over the partner, and his sense of self.

Perception is important, because a narcissist will perceive boundaries in merely everyday commonplace instances, such as the partner not answering the phone – it doesn’t matter if she can’t get to the phone, is busy with work, etc. – the narcissist will see this as a boundary and a rejection of him, and he will react accordingly.

He will get angry, try to exert more control over the partner, become even more abusive, and guilt-shame his partner – such as accusing her of being selfish and uncaring. Often the narcissist will use these occasions to throw in the threat of leaving the relationship.

Over time, the partner is conditioned by the narcissist’s abusive reaction to her boundaries to believe: “Boundaries = I am selfish, uncaring, I will be punished, my partner will leave me.” Establishing and defending boundaries becomes traumatic for the partner, so she stops trying. Enmeshment follows.

A narcissist simply does not acknowledge or respect the partner’s “otherness” in any way. He co-opts his partner, and in his mind she becomes an extension of himself (and eventually becomes his detested internal trash can, into which he dumps his rage, self-loathing and abuse.)

Over time, if the partner does not leave this toxic dynamic, the narcissist will continually and intentionally provoke conflict, aggressively use emotional, verbal, and even physical abuse, manipulate and invalidate his partner. Eventually he will establish complete control. This dynamic dismantles the partner’s identity, and she will become a just a fractured shell of her former self.

The good news is, this is not permanent.

Healing begins as soon as the partner leaves the narcissist. Leaving is the catalyst. It may not feel like healing, at first. But it is, and it just takes time.

Takeaways:

1) Know your boundaries and stick firmly to them. Follow your gut instincts, from the very beginning of a relationship. If something doesn’t seem right, sound right, feel right, or look right; it’s not right. If you feel a boundary has been violated, it has. So cut it off, and cut off contact. And don’t look back.

2) Love-bombing, no matter how wonderful it seems, is a major boundary violation and a significant red flag. Healthy relationships do not start this way. Toxic relationships; relationships with narcissists, always start this way.

Do Narcissists Love?

(Read time: 1-2 mins)

I’ve been asked on several occasions whether narcissists have real feelings for their partners, and if they love. In addition to the roller-coaster emotions of the love-bombing stage, narcissists do have feelings in a relationship, but they’re not love.

Narcissists feel euphoric at the beginning of the relationship, exhibited through over-the-top expressions of admiration, intense attraction, praise, and a “I think we are soulmates” narrative.

During love-bombing the narcissist will focus fake and intense spotlights of love, admiration, respect, soulmate connection, desire, future bliss on his partner, completely blinding her so she cannot see the darkness to come.

When the narcissist feels he/she has secured his partner, his real feelings about his partner emerge: boredom, disdain, irritability, annoyance, contempt, envy, jealousy, and seething anger. This is the narcissist’s natural state, and in a relationship they are the true feelings he has for his partner.

The “love euphoria” is never real, and is never sustained. The new partner is the new “love object” for the narcissist, and nothing more. After her newness wears off, she will become, and always be an object of his contempt.

If the partner leaves the narcissist, and he successfully hoovers her, she becomes – for a short time – exciting and desirable again to the narcissist. This period does not last nearly as long as the first love-bombing phase, and when the narcissist resumes his devaluing and abusive behavior he picks up right where he left off, being just as cruel and brutal.

Narcissists do not feel genuine love, nor do they care about it. They care about one thing: getting what they want, when they want it.

There is nothing a narcissist’s partner can do to change the narcissist or how he feels. There is nothing the partner can change to make the narcissist love her. The partner can change one thing: her future. She can leave the relationship, move on, never look back, and have a true chance at happiness and love; something she will never, ever have with the narcissist.

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.